Wiktionary:Tea room/2012/May

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discussion rooms: Tea roomEtym. scr.Info deskBeer parlourGrease pit ← April 2012 · May 2012 · June 2012 → · (current)

May 2012

pigtail vs. ponytail

I was looking at pigtail and ponytail, and it turns out they disagree on the definition of ponytail. Pigtail says "Either of two braids or ponytails on the side of the head", but ponytail defines it as "A hairstyle where the hair is pulled back and tied into a single "tail" which hangs down behind the head.", so a pigtail can't be two ponytails.--Prosfilaes (talk) 09:47, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

I would agree. Pigtails are on the side, a ponytail is at the back. However, when you just have the hair pulled into one strand on one side, it tends to be called a side-pony rather than a single pigtail. Ƿidsiþ 09:54, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
I didn't think that unbraided hair formed a pigtail under any circumstances, but citations could prove me wrong. I think one could have one or two pigtails or one or two ponytails. I would not find it much fun to try to verify such specific meanings. DCDuring TALK 12:40, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
  • For that matter, growing up, one of the additional distinctions was length -- pigtails were shorter than ponytails (much as with the actual animals). Someone with two short bunches of hair on the side would be said to have pigtails, while someone with long bunches of hair on the side would be said to have ponytails. Though, generally speaking, girls tended to keep their hair towards the back when it got long, so double side-ponies were rare. (This was in Virginia in the late '70s, early '80s.)-- Eiríkr ÚtlendiTala við mig 15:44, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

food miles

I don't think this is plural only; there are plenty of hits for "a" or "one" food mile on Google Books. ---> Tooironic (talk) 10:29, 2 May 2012 (UTC)


I think this needs rework. The first three def.s are currently:
1. great meal/in the evening
2. meal in the evening
3. great meal/at noon

So it seems to me that dinner means: 1. evening meal 2. great meal. And further the translations are problematic. The Germanic names for the supposed "main meal" all mean either "mid-day meal" or "evening meal". I think most denominate neither size nor importance, but only the time of the meal. (The German term certainly means time only, the Danish means - I think - a warm meal around noon.) So the same is probably true for the other languages as well.Korn (talk) 12:20, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

I've taken the "lighter" out of definition 3 - for some people (esp. working class) in Northern England, dinner is any midday meal, even just sandwiches (here's a clear example, though it may be hard to cite, since it's explained that they're having sandwiches for dinner in one paragraph, and that dinner is at midday in another). The usage note explains the somewhat complicated situation with how the word is used in the UK (personally, I always thought it was a geographic thing rather than a class thing, with northerners using it to mean "lunch" and southerners using it to mean "tea", but I'll defer to the experts on this). Smurrayinchester (talk) 13:29, 3 May 2012 (UTC)
(I think you're right with regards the German translation, though. I think the proper translation of "Main meal, regardless of time" is Hauptmahlzeit) Smurrayinchester (talk) 13:37, 3 May 2012 (UTC)
In a way you're right of course, but then you're not. Hauptmahlzeit has the clinical sound of a medical term, you might find it in an ethnographic context but never in common use as in Will you come to dinner? As noted above, in German you don't have the ambiguity of time, when invited to dinner you never need to ask what time of day the host is talking about. Axel-berger (talk) 07:39, 8 May 2012 (UTC)

demissionary cabinet

This is a term specifically used to refer to a type of cabinet in Dutch politics. I'm not quite sure how to format this in a definition though, nor whether it belongs to demissionary (with {{context|Netherlands|of a cabinet}}?) or at demissionary cabinet. —CodeCat 20:07, 3 May 2012 (UTC)

I took a run at an additional definition at demissionary that included both political and ecclesiastical usages. In the political usage not only cabinets, but governments and ministers can be demissionary apparently. DCDuring TALK 22:42, 3 May 2012 (UTC)
Thank you! —CodeCat 22:49, 3 May 2012 (UTC)

haulmier and haulmiest

Apparently only in Scrabble, as the comparative and superlative of haulmy which neither can I find in print nor in any dictionary, though someone might still check the OED. Do we have an appendix for these?

If it is used in Scrabble, it will appear in the official Scrabble dictionary (and I'm sure others, like the OED) and thus be eligible for addition to Appendix:English dictionary-only terms. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 04:09, 4 May 2012 (UTC)
I've added it to the appendix. If someone wants to track down the OED's 1 citation go ahead. Nadando (talk) 04:30, 4 May 2012 (UTC)
Haulmy itself is in the OED, but the three citations are all from the same 17th century work, and all spell it as ‘hawmy’. So the comparative and superlative are purely speculative and the word itself probably doesn't meet our main CFI. Ƿidsiþ 04:36, 4 May 2012 (UTC)
Maybe I should have done even the most cursory check first. Haulmy definitely exists, and I've now cited it and created an entry; I'll take it off the appendix. Haven't found any comparative or superlative forms yet, but still, by normal English rules, they seem valid enough. Ƿidsiþ 04:51, 4 May 2012 (UTC)

Definition of SOP definition

Most dictionaries including Wiktionary have entries for "hour hand", "minute hand" and "second hand". Given that one meaning of 'hand' is "each of the pointers on the face of an analog clock, which are used to indicate the time of day", it seems to me that the meaning of these expressions is derivable from the meanings of the constituent words... Assuming that editors of so many dictionaries couldn't all be wrong, I'd like to be educated on why a definition for "minute hand" in the form of "the hand of a clock or watch face that revolves once each hour and indicates the minutes" is not considered a sum-of-parts definition. --İnfoCan (talk) 14:44, 4 May 2012 (UTC)

Judgment call, I guess. Perhaps other, seemingly simpler and more obvious, yet incorrect meanings could be derived too. Michael Z. 2012-05-04 15:05 z

antenna, antennae, antennas

Our entries make a clear usage distinction in the plural form between the entomological meaning (antennae), and the radio meaning (antennas) which I believe is misguided. Certainly, there are some who follow this distinction, sometimes energetically, but as an electrical engineer myself I am certain it is not the commonly accepted distinction, at least in my field. This can be demonstrated with numerous citations. IEEE Xplore returns nearly 100,000 hits for "antennae", if anyone was policing correct terminology in this field I would have thought it would have been the premier professional organisation in the field. Google scholar returns 877 hits for "microwave antennae" and 1,700 hits for "radio antennae". Likewise gbooks gets 17,000 hits for "radio antennae". There does seem to be a marked preference for "insect antennae"over "insect antennas" but it is by no means unused. SpinningSpark 17:56, 4 May 2012 (UTC)

One more thing, the antenna entry gives the Concise Oxford English Dictionary as a reference for the distinction. I do not have access to the concise edition, but the entry in the full online OED makes no distinction between meanings as far as plurals are concerned. It does say that the plural forms are antennae, rarely antennas. SpinningSpark 18:04, 4 May 2012 (UTC)

I think you are correct that both biologists and engineers prefer the Latin plural, but I suspect that installers often use the colloquial plural, and it is often heard in Beetle Drives. Perhaps our distinction is too rigid. Dbfirs 14:55, 5 May 2012 (UTC)
Well, that may be going too far the other way. There is a similarly large number of hits in engineering for "antennas". Not many from biologists though. I will compile some citations from the more well known authors. SpinningSpark 21:48, 5 May 2012 (UTC)


"For" originally means "towards", or "in support of somebody". But since it indicates some causality, it can also indicate causality with something from the past. Am I right ?

Do you mean in the sense of "because"? If so, then yes, past, present or future. I have an issue with sense 9: "Despite, in spite of" because I claim that this is not a sense of "for" on its own, only the meaning of the phrase "for all that". Dbfirs 15:01, 5 May 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I meant in the sense of "because". Thank you.

only for

Looks like a conjunction to me. Sense not covered at only and possibly not at for either. --Coctel (talk) 23:37, 5 May 2012 (UTC)

What about only to? ("He got up, only to fall down again.") Equinox 12:31, 6 May 2012 (UTC)
For (sense 10) alone can introduce the actor for a following infinitive. It can be used without only in this way: "For Chelsea keeper Petr Cech to show brilliant reflexes is unexceptional." It may be that we lack an appropriate sense of only. DCDuring TALK 13:16, 6 May 2012 (UTC)
MWOnline has an adverb sense of only: "with nevertheless the final result", which seems to include the usage in the sole citation at [[only for]] and in only to + [bare infinitive]. We lack such a sense at only#Adverb. I am not sure that it has this sense with other following constructions.
If the following constructions are not clauses, it is not a conjunction in any event. DCDuring TALK 13:35, 6 May 2012 (UTC)


I don't know French, but the conjugation seems off. Check out an inflected form like syndiqueerons and you'll see the problem. What is going wrong here? --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 03:13, 6 May 2012 (UTC)

I think I fixed it. There was an -e at the end of the stem in the template that shouldn't have been there. Chuck Entz (talk) 03:44, 6 May 2012 (UTC)
I should say: I fixed the problem on the lemma page. Someone created entries for all the bogus forms it produced, so there's a bit of moving and editing to do. Chuck Entz (talk) 03:47, 6 May 2012 (UTC)
They were bot-created, actually, but I deleted them somewhat manually. I'm pretty sure I got them all, but it would be great if someone could check. Just compare this diff with this log. Thanks --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 04:11, 6 May 2012 (UTC)
Thanks. I've now deleted [[syndiqueé]], and Special:PrefixIndex/syndique looks as it should. :-)   —RuakhTALK 17:15, 8 May 2012 (UTC)


This page contains a reference to the OED, which is fine, but includes a link, which is not. The link doesn't work because the OED is searchable without a subscription. I haven't changed the reference but it needs to be fixed. How many other similar links are there on Wiktionary? — Paul G (talk) 10:21, 7 May 2012 (UTC)

This is definitely an annoyance, but there is no real option that I see for a solution, except removing the links by bot, which would serve no purpose. If you're curious how many OED links exist, the answer is more than 300. This main namespace search shows all of those entries. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 23:37, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
I don't know if I agree that the link "doesn't work". Presumably it does work for those with access to the OED Online. It might be more polite to indicate that the link requires a subscription, but I don't see much point in removing it entirely. —RuakhTALK 23:41, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, I don't think anyone would object if an article referenced an academic paper that needed a subscription, or a link to a newspaper like The Times which is behind a paywall. Smurrayinchester (talk) 07:43, 9 May 2012 (UTC)
... but the link doesn't work even for those of us logged in to the OED. I get redirected to [[1]]. Does this happen for everyone? Dbfirs 13:48, 11 May 2012 (UTC)
Quite possibly. That's what it did for me, but I was hoping that for people with genuine OED access it would still work. That's annoying; why would they break all inbound links to their site? It required a subscription before, and it still does, there's no reason for it to stop working. —RuakhTALK 14:02, 11 May 2012 (UTC)
They've changed their website fairly recently. I've just tested a genuine link in my sandbox and it goes straight to the entry, so I've changed the link at zoon to point to the new website. Try it to see if it works now (if you have a subscription). Is it worth changing all the other links? Dbfirs
Re: "They've changed their website fairly recently": Yes, such that entries are now on www.oed.com instead of dictionary.oed.com; but there's no reason they couldn't have set up the redirects to actually work. —RuakhTALK 18:59, 12 May 2012 (UTC)
Yes, fair comment, though they've no obligation to arrange their website for the convenience of rivals! Dbfirs 22:50, 13 May 2012 (UTC)
[2]​—msh210 (talk) 23:24, 13 May 2012 (UTC)
An excellent recommendation, but how many websites implement everlasting links? Certainly not the BBC, or government in the UK. They all seem to assume that they can redesign their websites without redirecting old links. Dbfirs 08:17, 15 May 2012 (UTC)


Collins defines verbid as "any nonfinite form of a verb or any nonverbal word derived from a verb". I'm not sure I've ever seen nonverbal used in this way. DAVilla 07:37, 8 May 2012 (UTC)

I've seen it before, but it would be living hell to cite. I'll add that sense anyway, and you can RFV it if you want and make somebody else deal with it. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 23:40, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
I've seen it too, and I agree it will be difficult to track down examples. The first place to look is in scholarly writing on morphology and syntax. —Angr 17:36, 9 May 2012 (UTC)
As I do not have access to a good means for generating citations from scholarly journals, I tried this search, yielding a raw count of 380 hits at bgc to get a start. A more experienced linguist than I could refine the search and sort through the jargon to identify the most relevant citations. DCDuring TALK 17:47, 9 May 2012 (UTC)


The adjective has a sense specific to US politics. But a similar sense is also used in the Netherlands, where it also means a blend between red (socialist) and blue (liberal or conservative). And I imagine that in other countries where a colour association exists, similar terms are used as well. So rather than listing a sense for each country, could the sense be made more general somehow? I'm not sure how to word it... —CodeCat 16:20, 8 May 2012 (UTC)

Unless a great many English senses turn out to meet the CFI, I think it would be best to list each of them separately. For one thing, the usage patterns are likely to be quite different; in the U.S., for example, the red/blue/green/purple system is mainly applied to geographic areas, whereas the red/pink/[unmarked] system is mainly applied to individuals and groups. —RuakhTALK 17:04, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
Judging from w:Purple (government), the Dutch and US senses are the most common. —CodeCat 17:08, 8 May 2012 (UTC)


I am trying to find (invent?) an English translation of this Italian word. It is used to describe train systems in which all the trains travel at the same speed (and all make the same stops). homotachic might fit, but it gets very few Google hits. Any ideas? (p.s. homotaxic is to do with homotaxy, so that's not right.) SemperBlotto (talk) 08:39, 11 May 2012 (UTC)

Do you mean something along the lines of a funicular, where the train cars are all linked, and so they all have to travel at the speed and stop at the same time, or a line that doesn't mix local and express trains? Smurrayinchester (talk) 21:02, 11 May 2012 (UTC)
The second. Something like the Central Line on the London Underground where the trains are more or less forced to go round and round at the same speed (and there is no possibility of overtaking, or waiting in a siding for the express to go through). SemperBlotto (talk) 21:13, 11 May 2012 (UTC)
"Single-service" seems to get a few Google Books hits, though I'm not sure how many mean it in this particular way (the ones talking about the Trans-Siberian railway certainly won't mean it like that). Smurrayinchester (talk) 22:12, 11 May 2012 (UTC)



I don't think we have the right sense of what used in expressions like what's the rush/what's the hurry. It seems to mean "why". We show that as an obsolete sense. If it is obsolete, then the terms which seem to use it are idioms. But no OneLook reference shows them as idioms. Thoughts? DCDuring TALK 16:36, 12 May 2012 (UTC)

I'm not sure, but I think that in those examples, the sense of "cause" may be in rush and hurry rather than in what; compare "there's no rush/hurry" (meaning "take your time"). —RuakhTALK 19:12, 12 May 2012 (UTC)
Is the same to be found in urgency' brouhaha, rumpus, fuss; delay, hold-up? It seems as if there are elisions in the expressions: something like What's the X (about/for)?. That would argue for all of the common (widespread) expressions being idiomatic. There would be greater economy and generality in amending our possibly deficient entry for what. MWOnline has 14 senses/subsenses/sub-subsenses; Wiktionary has four, plus the two determiner senses. DCDuring TALK 00:21, 13 May 2012 (UTC)
Another, similar construction: what's the matter?, though what's the problem? may be closer. Chuck Entz (talk) 00:42, 13 May 2012 (UTC)
MWOnline simply has a sense for matter (problem). Does matter have this sense in any other expressions? Is it the same sense as in "There's nothing the matter with me' there's something the matter with the room: it's tilted."?
I can't construe "what's the matter" as an elision either. DCDuring TALK 01:26, 13 May 2012 (UTC)
BTW, we don't seem to have a sense that fits matter in There's something the matter with the room. DCDuring TALK 01:30, 13 May 2012 (UTC)
Perhaps it's not elision, but metonymy: "the reason for your rush" being represented by "the rush" (or something along those lines) Chuck Entz (talk) 03:03, 13 May 2012 (UTC)
google books:"what's the rush" "the rush is" finds plenty of hits where the person replying to "what's the rush?" takes "the rush" to refer to the reason for urgency (as well as some hits where (s)he does not). That's not exactly ironclad proof — google books:"me too" "me three" finds plenty of hits where someone has taken the "too" in "me too" to be the number two, which certainly is not the case — but I think it's suggestive. —RuakhTALK 04:19, 13 May 2012 (UTC)
Oh, what's the use. DCDuring TALK 06:17, 13 May 2012 (UTC)
"Why's the rush?" doesn't sound grammatical, except perhaps as a stereotypically ludicrous philosophical question (from the citations given (a longer version of the Milton quote is here), it looks like the obsolete what-as-why behaved grammatically like modern why) - we'd say "Why the long face?", not "Why is the long face?" - indeed "Why the rush?" gets a lot of Google Books results. "Why is the rush?" only appears as part of larger sentences ("Why is the rush to professionalization so pervasive in society?"). That doesn't necessary mean it can't be the root cause, of course - there are plenty of idioms that don't make sense when analysed with basic grammar - but without extra evidence I'd put a separate sense at "what" or create a page for the idiomatic "what's the"/"what is the" rather than describing this as the continued use of what-as-why (that sense comes from 1913 Webster, incidentally. Smurrayinchester (talk) 07:37, 13 May 2012 (UTC)
I always liked the expression Why the long face?, which I have come to associate with John Kerry.
I had come to this from the idiomatic expression what's the rush/hurry/fuss/delay?. In this expression what's could be glossed as "why" and so could what is. How could one gloss what? Does it need a {{non-gloss definition}}? Or should what is and what's be glossed as "why"? My brain isn't functioning (yet?) so I'm having trouble clarifying this.
What is the scope of the omission of is in short questions? Why certainly permits, even requires, the omission. Are there other question words that have this? Is this connected to the various idiomatic questions intensified by the fuck, the hell etc? DCDuring TALK 12:56, 13 May 2012 (UTC)

Hold one's...

Special:PrefixIndex/hold one's, specifically hold one's pee, hold one's poop, hold one's urine, hold one's water and probably hold one's breath too, is there no way to cover this at hold? Otherwise, surely there have been to a few more variants that are attested; hold one's crap, hold one's piss, hold one's poo, hold one's shit, etc. Mglovesfun (talk) 23:22, 12 May 2012 (UTC)

I think "one's" is there to semantically limit it to one's person, somewhat like "me" in "Je me casse la jambe" or "mir" in "Ich habe mir das Bein gebrochen". Another expression you missed is "hold one's liquor". Chuck Entz (talk) 01:16, 13 May 2012 (UTC)
That one seems to be a different meaning, that's why. Mglovesfun (talk) 10:29, 13 May 2012 (UTC)


It looked attestable on Google Books, so I created it. Not sure if it can be considered "eye dialect" though. ---> Tooironic (talk) 11:56, 13 May 2012 (UTC)

I've seen it used many times. I'm not quite sure what nuance it's supposed to convey though. —CodeCat 12:20, 13 May 2012 (UTC)
In my experience it usually conveys one of two things: (1) the slurred speech of intoxication, head trauma, etc.; (2) a lateral lisp (a.k.a. "slushy S"; see w:Lisp). I'm certain that both of these are citeable. —RuakhTALK 14:35, 13 May 2012 (UTC)


As far as I can tell, based on their Wikipedia pages, the definition given here is more for a combination lock rather than a padlock. I.e. a padlock is opened by keys, not a combination of numbers. ---> Tooironic (talk) 03:53, 15 May 2012 (UTC)

may well

Valid as an entry, or part of may/well? --Airforce (talk) 12:20, 15 May 2012 (UTC)

We could well delete it. Mglovesfun (talk) 12:28, 15 May 2012 (UTC)
We may fairly need to add a sense of well for this. We have an intensifier sense that doesn't seem to me to capture this. I think there are a significant number of modal (I think) adverbs that can fit in the slot occupied by well. I think indeed, truly, reasonably, and really are examples. Note also that comparative and superlative forms of well work: "may better", "may best". DCDuring TALK 14:11, 15 May 2012 (UTC)
might well, could well, may very well, may just as well... Equinox 14:15, 15 May 2012 (UTC)
The last one of those is different. Siuenti (talk)
We do have an entry for just as well, which describes it as an adverb just like the others. Smurrayinchester (talk) 21:01, 15 May 2012 (UTC)
may very well is sum of parts of may well + very, whether or not may well is valid or not. Mglovesfun (talk) 21:18, 15 May 2012 (UTC)

enemy combatant

Way back in 2007 I added the Bush defintion of "enemy combatant" to the wiktionary's entry for "enemy combatant". It was reverted the next day.

Apparently I asked the contributor who reverted me for an explanation, in 2008, and we started a discussion on User talk:Geo Swan#Could you please explain more fully?. They stuck to their guns, and wouldn't agree to restore the second definition I had added. They suggested I call for a broader discussion here.

I participate here very intermittently, so I am initiating that discussion now. The justifications for reverting the definition I placed were:

  1. too narrow;
  2. US-centric;

Apparently my correspondent forgot, or didn't notice, that the original definition was also US-centric.

I think it is very unfortunate that the definition I added was removed as this was the definition used throughout the Bush administration -- not the definition that sits in the entry -- and I think this was a very serious disservice to wiktionary users.

In early 2005, a handful of the Guantanamo captives, finally had their habeas corpus petitions reviewed by a judge. Joyce Hens Green questioned a senior Department of Justice official about the Bush administration definition of "enemy combatant", she asked whether a little old lady in Switzerland, who donation to what she thought was a legitimate charity could be considered an "enemy combatant" if unknown to her some of that charity's resources were siphoned off to fund a terrorist enterprise. She was told the little old lady could be considered an enemy combatant.

There has been a tremendous amount of confusion over this term, and similar terms, some of which used in the Geneva Conventions. And the removal of my contribution to the entry provided no help in resolving that confusion.

"lawful combatant" and "privileged belligerent" are two terms used in the Geneva Conventions. From my reading of the GC they are synonyms. There are vast differences between the Geneva Conventions' definition of a combatant and the definition of "enemy combatant" used by the USA following the attacks of 2001-9-11.

Under the Geneva Conventions once demobilized or discharged a soldier becomes a civilian. If their country is invaded, the demobilized soldier remains a civilian, provided he stays at home, and minds his own business.

Most of the Taliban are illiterate. After decades of civil war the Afghan civil service was understaffed. The Taliban had come to the point where they press-ganged some of the few Afghan civilians who could read and write and forced them to fill positions in Afghanistan's civil service. These individuals were forced to hold positions as clerks, secretaries, even executives of the national bank. Filling this kind of position, either through choice of compulsion, would leave one a civilian using most definitions of combatant. But the Bush administration, using the definition the other contributor reverted, used their positions within the civil service to justify calling them "enemy combatants".

The Bush administration classed men captured in Afghanistan as "enemy combatants" for prior military service, even though they had been demobilized, and would have been considered civilians under the Geneva Conventions definition -- and I belive under the sole remaining definition the reversion of my addition left in our entry.

I suggest the addition I entered, which was reverted, should be restored.

I believe wiktionary should also have a definition for lawful combatant and its synonyms. Geo Swan (talk) 15:42, 16 May 2012 (UTC)

It looks like the definition you're citing comes from one particular case - note that the "definition" starts "For purposes of the Order, the term "enemy combatant" shall mean an individual who was part of or supporting Taliban or al Qaeda forces" (emphasis mine). It's only relevant with respect to detainees of Guantanamo Bay detention centre. In other words, this isn't a definition of enemy combatant, it's just defining the legal shorthand used in this particular document. Here, as a completely random example of why this doesn't define the term "enemy combatant", are the T&Cs of a sales document by a company called Litho Circuits:
The term "The Company" shall mean Litho Circuits Limited and its trading divisions, successors and assigns or any person acting on behalf of with the authority of Litho Circuits Limited.
The term "The Customer" shall mean any person, the firm or company who purchases any Goods or Services from the Company, this shall mean any person or entity described or identified as such in the invoices of application for credit, quotation, work authorisation, claim or any other forms to which these Terms and Conditions apply, this should mean any person acting on behalf of this and with the authority of such person or entity.
This doesn't mean that I can add "Litho Circuits" to the page company though, nor "Person who buys from Litho Circuits" to customer. It's a specific legal reading of a broad term only used in the context of one particular company, and not a total redefinition of the word. That's all this document does, as far as I can tell, to the word "enemy combatant". Smurrayinchester (talk) 19:49, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Sorry, your reply says this definition "comes from one particular case". Where in heaven's name did you get that idea?
With the exception of Iraqis apprehended in Iraq, in the separate Iraq war, every captive apprehended by the Bush administration was considered an "enemy combatant" using this definition -- not the sole definition currently carried by the wiktionary. This was true no matter where they were captured. Some were captured in Africa, Asia, Central America, Europe and the USA.
Consider American citizen Jose Padilla, apprehended at a Chicago airport: "From June 9, 2002 until January 5, 2006, without any judicial fact-finding to support his detention, Mr. Padilla was detained as an “enemy combatant” in Charleston, South Carolina, where he was held in complete isolation and denied access to the court system, legal counsel and his family."
Consider Khalid el-Masri, a German citizen of Lebanese descent who was unlucky enough to have a namesake who was a suspcted terrorist. Traveling on vacation in Europe, his name was flagged by Macedonian border guards, and he was sold, for a bounty, to the CIA -- who shipped him to a torture site known as "the salt pit" He too was considered an "enemy combatant"
The DoD treated the Afghanistan and later Iraq war as two separate wars. In theory every captive apprehended in Iraq was supposed to be treated in full accordance with the Geneva Conventions. (Yes, I know that at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere Iraqi captives were abused, but this was a lapse from policy.) It was Bush policy that captives apprehended in Afghanistan, in Pakistan, were not entitled to the protections of the Geneva Conventions. Captives held in Afghanistan, who never made it to Guantanamo were also considered to fall under this definition of "enemy combatant".
The DoD had to be ordered, by the US Supreme Court, to convent the 2004 Combatant Status Review Tribunals. And like naughty schoolboys DoD officials set up CSR Tribunals they thought complied with the letter of the SCOTUS order, while flagrantly violating the spirit of the order.
A key element of these controversial tribunals is that it was always the position of the Bush administration's DoD that the CSR Tribunals were merely part of a long process during which these captives had been determined to be "enemy combatants". It was always the position of the DoD that these captives had already satisfactorily been determined to be "enemy combatants". It was always the position of the DoD that the 2004 CSR Tribunals were merely confirming earlier determinations that the captives met the definition for "enemy combatants". At Bagram the commandant had the responsibility to oversee "enemy combatant review boards". Those boards were less formal, and even less fair, than the 2004 CSR Tribunals. And they were secret. Was this 2004 order the first time this definition was published. I don't know. Maybe. But this doesn't matter, because the Bush administration was using this definition from very early in the Afghanistan war -- maybe from the first day the first elements of the CIA and US special forces entered Afghanistan in October 2001.
Sorry, your analogy based on corporations makes no sense to me. Perhaps that is because it is based on your serious misconception that the order only applied to a single case in Guantanamo, when it applied to all captives, captured anywhere, held anywhere, or anywhere except Iraqis captured in Iraq. Geo Swan (talk) 23:40, 17 May 2012 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but I don't really follow your argument. Firstly: The Bush Administration used the term enemy combatant in reference to such people precisely because it was claiming that they were enemy combatants in sense #1 ("Any person in an armed conflict who could be properly detained under the laws and customs of war"). Secondly: You copied your definition directly from a document titled Order Establishing Combatant Status Review Tribunal, only removing the phrase "For purposes of the Order". Smurrayinchester's analysis is correct, and his analogy is apt; that order's definition does not demonstrate that a new sense of "enemy combatant" exists, it's merely doing the same sort of locally-scoped redefinition that Litho Circuits is doing. Thirdly: Your argument seems to be disturbingly political. Statements like "Those boards were less formal, and even less fair" have no place, so far as I can see, in determining whether the term enemy combatant has a second sense. —RuakhTALK 00:36, 18 May 2012 (UTC)
Ruakh has said everything I was going to say, so all I'll add is this: our current definition of enemy combatant - and the one that was in use when you edited the article, reads "Any person in an armed conflict who could be properly detained under the laws and customs of war." The Bush administration detained the people it called enemy combatants as POW, and the courts declared their detention legal. It's definitely still possible to disagree with the courts on this issue, but it doesn't change the fact that the people declared "enemy combatants" at least fit the definition given in the article - note that the article does not say that an enemy combatant has to be someone who was a combatant, and our usage notes make clear that "Enemy combatants in the current conflict are not defined by simple, readily apparent criteria such as citizenship or military uniform, and the power to name a citizen as an 'enemy combatant' is therefore extraordinarily broad." The "definition" given in the Order Establishing Combatant Status Review Tribunal is an example of the government using this ability to name people enemy combatants according to broad criteria. Khalid el-Masri was not someone who had fought for al-Qaeda or the Taliban, but he was someone who the US believed (falsely as it turned out) could be detained under the laws of war, which is why he was declared an enemy combatant. Someone can be declared a murderer and then found innocent, but that doesn't change the definition of murderer. Smurrayinchester (talk) 08:56, 18 May 2012 (UTC)
  • I am going to thank User:Smurrayinchester, and User: Ruakh, for responding here. I said I was a newbie, with less than 2 dozen edits and I am going to assume that it was their intent to explain to a newbie what steps would be necessary to demonstrate the second entry I proposed were appropriate.
  • Unfortunately, they offered counter-arguments that were rendered meaningless by the very serious factual misconceptions they were based on. The clearest example is this passage:
"our current definition of enemy combatant - and the one that was in use when you edited the article, reads "Any person in an armed conflict who could be properly detained under the laws and customs of war." The Bush administration detained the people it called enemy combatants as POW, and the courts declared their detention legal."
  • The first misconception Murray repeated "The Bush administration detained the people it called enemy combatants as POW" is wrong, wrong, wrong, incredibly wrong, and incredibly damaging to the integrity of this project. In fact the Bush administration went on record soon after al Qaeda's attacks on 9-11 -- individuals whose captivity was triggered by those attacks would not be treated as combatants. Following a little publicized doctrine called the mosaic theory, it was useful to apprehend, detain, interrogate -- even torture -- individuals who weren't themselves suspects, but who were merely acquainted with suspects, or who merely traveled in the same mileui, were held as combatants -- even if they were totally oblivious to all terrorist activities.
  • Murray then went on and wrote: " and the courts declared their detention legal."
Murray, are you aware that four Guantanamo related cases were considered by lower courts, and rose to be considered by the US Supreme Court? In Hamdi v. Bush, Rasul v. Bush, Hamdam v. Rumsfeld and Boumediene v. Bush the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the captives. In Boumediene v. Bush the SCOTUS ruled that the US Congress did not have the Constitutional authority to strip the protections of the rule of law from the captives, and they had to be allowed to have access to civilian habeas corpus. Following that restoration, when US District Court Judges had were allowed to consider the secret evidence that had been used to justify the captives' detention they started to rule that in well over half the cases the "evidence" were merely highly unreliable rumor and innuendo. They ruled that, in those cases, the USA had never had a legitimate justification for holding those men. Bear in mind, this was after the least suspicious two thirds of the captives had already been repatriated. The DoJ appealed some of these rulings to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals -- often described as one of the most conservative courts in the land. They routinely ruled that the lower court had erred in considering the credibility of the evidence in its reviews. They ruled all evidence offered by the executive branch should be considered credible. Some commentators and legal critics have stated that these rulings render reviews irrelevant, and are essentially a rebellion against the SCOTUS. Others say that the SCOTUS will not take up the captives cases one more time.
So I suggest that it is a lot more complicated than the claim that "the courts declared their detention legal."
Further, I suggest, even if, for the sake of argument, the SCOTUS does not take up the captives' cases one more time, leaving "their detention legal", your assertion that the new definition was synonymous with the old, and not worthy of inclusion is also wildly incorrect.
  • I am going to return to the assumption at the beginning of this note -- that Murray and Ruark's intention was to help a newbie navigate internal rules here. Would it be possible for you to reconsider the misconceptions? Would it be possible for you to simply explain what would be required to add this definition to the entry? Geo Swan (talk) 00:35, 11 June 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, but I still just don't see your point. Even if the Bush administration had declared that all non-citizens were enemy combatants and indefinitely detainable without right of habeas corpus, and even if every court in the land had replied by saying "WTF mate?" and explaining that it isn't supposed to work that way, that still wouldn't mean that the term "enemy combatant" had a new and distinct sense. To show that the term "enemy combatant" has a new and distinct sense, I think you'd have to find quotations that simultaneously (1) describe someone as an "enemy combatant" and (2) acknowledge that they're not actually an enemy combatant in the conventional sense. And I just don't think you can do that, because I don't think there's anyone who uses the term "enemy combatant" in such a way. —RuakhTALK 01:39, 11 June 2012 (UTC)
To reply to the original point/question, it's a stone-cold straightforward revert. For so many reasons, I won't even attempt to list them. Mglovesfun (talk) 02:48, 11 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Hmm. I'd thank you, if you decided to make a helpful contribution to this discussion. Geo Swan (talk) 20:04, 11 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Ruakh, I think I already quotted the questions US District Court Judge Joyce Hens Green made. A little old lady, from Switzerland, who innocently donates to what she thought was a legitimate charity, would nevertheless be classed as an "enemy combatant" if someone at that hcarity diverted donations to finance a terrorism related project.
  • UK captive Moazzam Begg is a well educated guy. Prior to his 2004 CSR Tribunal he was entitled to request documents, and he requested the POW card that had been issued to him. His request triggered a lot of confusion in the agency responsible for the status reviews (a separate agency than that responsible for running the camps and the interrogations).

    Initially the President of his Tribunal was going to rule his POW card as irrelevant. But she decided to ask for an official legal opinion from the agencies legal advisor, a JAG officer named James Crisfield. He concurred that it wasn't relevant.

    Why? Because the Geneva Conventions definition of combatant wasn't relevant:

pages 5-6
The detainee proffered that this witness was an ICRC employee who would testify that the detainee had previously been issued a POW identity card at a U.S. detention facility in Kandahar, Afghanistan. The Tribunal President initially determined that the witness was relevant, but after consultation with the Assistant Legal Advisor, she changed her determination. She based her decision on her conclusion that the Combatant Status Review Tribunals do not have the discretion to determine that a detainee should be classified as a prisoner of war—only whether the detainee satisfies the definition of "enemy combatant" as provided in references (a) and (b). In my opinion, this decision was correct.... [I]n a written statement prepared by the detainee especially for the CSRT, the detainee specifically says that he does not claim POW status (see exhibit D-e).
The sole current definition in the wiktionary's entry for enemy combatant is a paraphrase of the Geneva Convention definition of "combatant". The legal opinion I quoted here establishes that it was the official position of the DoD and Bush administration that they were using a different definition of "enemy combatant". As Begg correctly noted, under the Geneva Convention he could be classified into one of three groups. He and the officer assigned to help him state his case get the three classes slightly wrong. He could be a civilian bystander, captured in error; he could be a POW, because he was a "lawful combatant", who had fought, but according to the established laws and customs of war; or he could have fought in a way that violated those conventions, so thus wasn't eligible for POW status. What the Geneva Convention requires is that a captor should convene a Tribunal to determine the captive's status "when doubt exists". Crisfield notes Begg didn't claim to be a POW. It is a sneaky assertion because Begg claimed to be an civilian bystander.
Neither the Geneva Conventions, or domestic US law allows the President to assert captives aren't entitled to POW status. Both the GC and US law require all captives to be treated as POWs until a Tribunal determines their status. While the Combatant Status Review Tribunals the DoD convened in 2004 -- under duress when forced by the SCOTUS are sometimes described as if they fulfilled the USA's Geneva Convention obligations, they did not do so.
Under the standard definition of combatant, a veteran is a civilian, once they are discharged or demobilized. But under the Bush administration definition demobilized veterans, who had not engaged in hostilities, were nevertheless considered "enemy combatants". Geo Swan (talk) 20:04, 11 June 2012 (UTC)
I get the feeling that you're not paying attention to other people's comments, and are instead more focused on trying to eke a political debate out of anyone you can. Please don't waste our time further with this, or at least provide the evidence that Ruakh has requested and is required under the CFI. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 20:21, 11 June 2012 (UTC)
  • I take at face value that you think other contributors have clearly explained what Wiktionary requires that was missing from my efforts to get this definition added.
You told me to check WT:CFI -- important and helpful information Murray and Ruakh skipped. Thanks for that.
This definition was the official US government definition for over seven years. The Obama administration retired the term "enemy combatant" on 2009-03-13, when it changed the rules on detention. In commentary following the retirement of the use of this term this Salon magazine article explains how the Bush era definition differed from the new rules.
Under the new rules an individual had to provide "substantial support" -- not merely "support". And the substantial support had to be to "armed" groups. Thus, according to Salon magazine the new set of rules: "does not justify the detention at Guantanamo Bay of those who provide unwitting or insignificant support to the organizations identified in the AUMF [Autorization to Use Military Force]."
Ruakh demanded I show the Bush era definition applied to individuals who would not be considered combatants under the older, Geneva Convention compliant definition. I think I have done that. Absurd as it may sound, the "little old lady" who donated to what she thought was a legitimate charity could unwittingly make her an "enemy combatant" under the Bush definition. She would not be subject to detention under the new rules. This is not just a theoretical distinction. Lots of captives who would have been considered civilian bystanders under the older Geneva Convention compliant definition were nevertheless classed as "enemy combatants" under the Bush era definition.
Following find a bunch of references to the Bush era term being used or discussed.
  1. I'll start with Scotusblog. Although "scotusblog" misleadingly contains "blog" in its title, it is actually one of the most respected legal websites in the USA. Lyle Denniston, one of the site's highly regarded commentators discussed the Bush era term in dozens of articles. Here is one entitled Defining a wartime “enemy”
  2. Here is William Teesdale's declaration.
  3. Justice Richard Leon's analysis of the definition.
  4. Obama DoJ withdraws the Bush "enemy combatant" definition on 2009-03-13.
  5. Washington Post
  6. USA Today
  7. Solon
  8. does a CNN broadcast count?
Metaknowledge, thanks for referring me to WP:CFI -- the first actually helpful advice in five years. Please tell me if you think I have satisfied the "attestation" requirement. Geo Swan (talk) 13:09, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
@Geo Swan, I'd thank you, if you decided to make a helpful contribution to this discussion. I don't think you have yet. Mglovesfun (talk) 21:17, 11 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Consider my thanks to you here as proportional to the actual effort you made to be helpful. Geo Swan (talk) 13:09, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
Consider my thanks to you as inversely proportional to the amount of trolling your doing (that is, getting lower and lower by the minute). Mglovesfun (talk) 13:11, 12 June 2012 (UTC)

Re my talkpage: Geo Swan, I obviously don't feel like dealing with this, and it appears everyone else feels likewise. Obviously, blogs (even if they are respected legal websites) don't meet our requirements. If you want me to take you seriously, read WT:CFI#Attestation, figure out how many citations you can muster that meet the criteria (durably archived, independent, etc) and add them to per the guidelines in WT:". Then we can talk. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 20:32, 12 June 2012 (UTC)

  • You seem to be telling me to go ahead and (1) try to create a Citations:enemy combatant; (2) restore the Bush era definition. I took a crack at that. Geo Swan (talk) 00:37, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
    • I removed the def, which I did not say should be added. Your citations need work; for many of them, taking a look at w:use-mention distinction will show you that they are mentions ("known as 'enemy combatants'", "the term 'enemy combatant'", etc). Also, Mr Hamad is obviously using the term with the meaning of the first definition; if he meant it as the second, his statement would be nonsensical at best. I don't think that leaves with enough cites. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 01:14, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
      • You say you don't think there are "enough cites" -- how would a newcomer learn how many were enough? Is there a policy document that gives guidance as to how many are enough?
      • Is there a way a good faith newcomer can learn how many further steps they will be asked to undertake prior to restoration of material? Geo Swan (talk) 01:33, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
    I have gone through the citations you provided and sorted them under headings showing my estimation of their "durably archived" status. I also note that they do not go very far toward establishing a very specific meaning (cf. "show meaning" in CFI). To the extent that the term is used in legal documents, official legal definitions can be assumed to be supported, though I gather that more than one official legal definition exists. That might make it harder to "attest" a specific definition. There is a simple strategy for handling this complexity and controversy: punt. We sometimes use non-gloss definitions for this. See the Talk:enemy combatant. DCDuring TALK 02:10, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
    • Thank you. I saw you working on this.
    • The Bush administration used the term, without publicly defining it, for some time. The first official published definition that I am aware of is that in the Order Establishing Combatant Status Review Tribunal, from 2004-07. I am not aware of any other published official definitions.
    • Because I read all the transcripts -- close to 1000 -- I think I know what the definition meant -- in practice. But it is the theoretical definition that counts here?
    • I may be able to find references that regulars here are happier with. But I don't understand regulars want. Geo Swan (talk) 02:41, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Well, speaking as one regular, the main thing I want is for you to suppress your political and emotional outrage. Your "little old lady in Switzerland" feels like an attempt to manipulate us into applying emotional considerations to a question of linguistic fact. Such an attempt is doomed to backfire. Your goal here should be to demonstrate that the Bush administration used the term "enemy combatant" in reference to people without suggesting that those people could lawfully be detained. Instead, you seem to be trying to demonstrate that the Bush administration wrongly claimed that various people could lawfully be detained. (Imagine that I point at a blue car and claim that it's red. I'm not using a different meaning of the word "red"; I'm just lying.) —RuakhTALK 03:06, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
    • Clarification please. Metaknowledge told me I should do what you asked, and once he or she pointed me to WT:CFI and some other policy pages, and once they explained to me that they thought you wanted me to add entries to Citations:enemy_combatant. I added entries. Did you make your comments immediately above after reading Citations:enemy_combatant?
    • I didn't offer examples to push an agenda. Have you forgotten that you and Murray initially argued that there was no point in adding the second definition, as it was functionally equivalent to the first definition? The examples I offered demonstrated that the two definitions differed.
    • Your car analogy mystifies me.
    • I have no idea why you made your comment about lying. Geo Swan (talk) 03:59, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Re: Citations:enemy combatant: Yes, I saw it.   Re: functional equivalence: Neither Smurrayinchester nor I ever used the term "functionally" or "equivalent", and I don't think either of us made a claim like you describe. Perhaps you misunderstood what we meant?   Re: car analogy, lying: I've really been grasping here, trying to understand what you've been trying to say. Apparently I failed. The car analogy was a response to the point that I thought you were making; if you don't get it, then apparently that's not the point you were making, in which case I have no idea what any of your comments have been trying to say. I think I'll leave this discussion now, since my participation seems to be fruitless; hopefully you'll have better luck communicating with someone else.   —RuakhTALK 06:03, 13 June 2012 (UTC)


I have created a raw translation of a German citation but I don't dare to remove the <!-- comments -->. Could some one please check and correct the English translation? Then we can remove the "Tea room" template from this article (after two years). Thank you! --MaEr (talk) 16:43, 17 May 2012 (UTC)

I tidied it up a bit, but basically it was fine. I've uncommented it, but of course others are welcome to take a look and polish it some more. —Angr 21:58, 17 May 2012 (UTC)
Thanks to all of you! --MaEr (talk) 16:48, 18 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Google suggests that there's some debate about the haru- part. Some sources connect it to a noun hīra (intestine), but other sources seem to be more circumspect about claiming that hīra means "intestine", or even that it exists. A few sources just say outright that its origin is unknown. I don't know Latin at all, and am not even remotely equipped to judge these claims. —RuakhTALK 17:27, 18 May 2012 (UTC)
  • I added some etymological information to the Latin part of the lemma.
    Eiríkr, -spex is indeed related to specto, specio. I guess it's like -fex (in pontifex) to facere.
    Ruakh, unforunately I cannot say much about the discussions about intestines. I just tried to write the etymology section in such a way that some other theories can be added easily (I hope). --MaEr (talk) 18:01, 18 May 2012 (UTC)
    Thank you, MaEr, that's interesting stuff. From this I also gather that English yarn and cord ultimately derive from the same PIE root. Fun. (Yes, I'm a geek.  :) ) -- Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 18:06, 18 May 2012 (UTC)

"Vem" (Czech)

Is this imperative a part of the verb vzít or vést? Filelakeshoe (talk) 15:40, 18 May 2012 (UTC)


One of our adverb senses is:

  1. (dialect) Indeed.
    The water is so cold! —That it is.

But that seems wrong to me. It's true that "that it is" means "indeed it is", but I don't think it's because "that" means "indeed"; rather, I think that "that" here is standing in for "cold".

Does such a dialectal sense really exist? If so, maybe it could use a better example?

RuakhTALK 20:34, 18 May 2012 (UTC)

I'm with you: the that in the sample sentence (and in other examples that I can think of) is referring to the predicate of the preceding statement. Used this way, it functionally means the same thing as indeed, but that's not quite the same thing as saying that that has a sense meaning indeed. -- Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 20:45, 18 May 2012 (UTC)
Indeed, one can substitute the antecedent for "that". It seems odd, because one would expect "that" to be used- but it's grammatical. Chuck Entz (talk) 21:31, 18 May 2012 (UTC)
The OED describes this as a demonstrative adverb thus:- " a. [Closely related to the adjective use in II. 4.] To that extent or degree; so much, so. (Qualifying an adj., adv., or ppl., †rarely a vb.) Now dial. and Sc.; also colloq. with a negative: not (all) that , not very." SemperBlotto (talk) 21:40, 18 May 2012 (UTC)
Well, but that's our sense #2. (And I don't think that "indeed" would be a good gloss for it.) This sense is ostensibly different. —RuakhTALK 21:53, 18 May 2012 (UTC)
Isn't this that? It seems to be an anaphora. It is essentially the same, I think, in the following:
"He sure left quickly last night." / "That he did." = "Last night, leave quickly is what he did."
But this could be compared with:
"He sure left quickly last night." / "So he did." which might have either the same interpretation or it might focus on the manner of leaving ("quickly"). The response using that could have the same adverbial focus, I suppose, so perhaps it could be deemed an adverb.
The pronoun interpretation allows more flexibility if we could interpret that as "what was just said" without being to particular about grammatical (PoS) niceties. DCDuring TALK 23:19, 18 May 2012 (UTC)
We can do that. It's called a summative consrtuction and is both extremely common and grammatical. Circeus (talk) 19:18, 27 May 2012 (UTC)
But DCDuring's example goes a bit further than that. In the uses that Dr. Zwicky describes in the page you link to, "that" is functioning as a subject. Its antecedent is, somewhat atypically, an entire previous sentence (or at least, more than just a noun phase), but within its own sentence, its grammar is exactly a normal use of a pronoun. But in DCDuring's example, "that he did", "that" is behaving somewhat atypically for a pronoun; you can't say *"it he did", for example. (You can, however, say "him I like", so it's not completely unique.) —RuakhTALK 03:25, 28 May 2012 (UTC)


Is that lowercase spelling correct? Currently cossack is a redirect. Maro 23:13, 19 May 2012 (UTC)


Is this definition copied from Merriam-Webster or is that definition taken from an earlier source? —Internoob 00:52, 20 May 2012 (UTC)

  • The text was certainly identical. I have modified it (you could have done so yourself). SemperBlotto (talk) 07:15, 20 May 2012 (UTC)


Is this really non-productive? ambigram, ambisense and ambisexual (in the orientation sense - ambisexual for "of unknown sex" seems older) seem to be 1980s coinings, ambigendered seems 1990s, and there are continued coinings of nonce words like ambiracial. What are our conditions for non-productivity? Smurrayinchester (talk) 08:52, 20 May 2012 (UTC)

Seems you are right. Mglovesfun (talk) 11:42, 20 May 2012 (UTC)


Is there such a thing? Do some people pronounce the "p", or is it just a spelling convention? Chuck Entz (talk) 05:43, 21 May 2012 (UTC)

The sound file in exempt seems to pronounce it. Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV 05:46, 21 May 2012 (UTC)
I certainly pronounce the [p] in such words. I find it difficult not to, and when I'm speaking German I have to make a concerted effort not to put a [p] into words like Zimt and Amt. —Angr 05:54, 21 May 2012 (UTC)
I would only pronounce the [p] if I was making an effort to speak clearly. Siuenti (talk) 10:04, 21 May 2012 (UTC)
This is an example of w:Epenthesis and it may differ per speaker. /mt/ may just be realised by some speakers as [mpt], and /mpt/ may be realised as [mt], so there is no actual underlying phonemic difference between the two (and no way to tell which is original). Compare the way hamster is pronounced by some speakers. —CodeCat 12:14, 21 May 2012 (UTC)


USA TODAY has the headline "Mali protesters hospitalize interim president". The article says "Mali demonstrators attacked interim president Dioncounda Traore at his office Monday, knocking him unconscious", i.e. the headline is using "hospitalize" to mean "[injure and] cause the admission to [a] hospital of". I haven't seen this usage before, and it seems like headlinese. Is it common enough to add? - -sche (discuss) 18:34, 21 May 2012 (UTC)

The first two hits (conveniently!) on GB for "hospitalized him" provide further evidence:
Closer to your specific meaning:
HTH. --BB12 (talk) 19:00, 21 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Seems like a simple shift to a causative meaning for an otherwise intransitive verb.
(I like some of the badly written examples Benjamin gave. Reminds me of Eats, Shoots & Leaves.) -- Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 19:13, 21 May 2012 (UTC)


This doesn't occur outside the phrase in petto in Dutch or English. By itself, it doesn't actually mean anything and it has no part of speech. So what kind of part of speech is it? Should it even have a part of speech heading? Or should it be left out and the definition line given by itself without the 1. in front? —CodeCat 22:15, 21 May 2012 (UTC)

I would say it is a noun, albeit one in an unusual case that merits a usage note. It is similar to de facto and a good deal of other examples, where the second word is a noun in the language it was borrowed from, and would function thus in English if it had been borrowed independently of the phrase. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 03:37, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
The tricky part is that "in" is found in all three languages, so it's tempting to assume that it's English or Dutch.It's neither- it's Italian, and can only be independent of the phrase in that language. The phrase was borrowed as a whole, and can only function grammatically in English or Dutch as a whole.
The best example I can think of to show how this works is bona fide. I know it's a Latin phrase with two words of two syllables each, but If I were to pronounce it that way to someone who doesn't know Latin, they wouldn't recognize it. Instead, I have to pronounce it as if it were the past tense of the imaginary verb "*bonify". The two halves have completely lost any function or meaning outside of the phrase. in petto hasn't had enough time or usage to be absorbed that completely, and the "in" probably confuses things, but it shouldn't be that long before no one realizes that it's not just another way of spelling "impetto" or that it didn't always rhyme with "meadow". Chuck Entz (talk) 06:47, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
So then what part of speech do 'bona' and 'fide' have in that phrase? How should we list them in Wiktionary? —CodeCat 11:57, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
The same POS as the "ov" in "over"- none. It doesn't really function as a separate grammatical unit in English. I suppose there might be a soft redirect for those who aren't aware of this, but not a POS header. I think we're headed into the same territory as the "What is sum of parts?" discussion, in that these are separated by spaces like words, but really aren't words in any practical sense. By the way, there's also the term bona fides, which we treat as uncountable, but which looks like a plurale tantum to me. Chuck Entz (talk) 12:55, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
I've removed the part of speech header and the headword line. It looks quite strange to me now... —CodeCat 13:52, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
I've added the Dutch and English words sub the Italian entry for petto as descendants. I think we can (indeed, should) remove the Dutch and English entries forpetto.—This unsigned comment was added by msh210 (talkcontribs).
But why should we? It's quite likely that someone who sees the phrase will not realise it's idiomatic (and this is a sensible assumption) and will look up its constituent parts. They will find 'in' but they will not find 'petto', nor 'bona' nor 'fide'. It's kind of the opposite of SoPness. —CodeCat 19:49, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
What about having {{see also|in petto}} at the top of the page? Hopefully anyone who finds petto while trying to decipher in petto will see it and go to the correct page. Smurrayinchester (talk) 05:53, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
Because they'll find the foreign-language entry. The English phrase can link to the individual foreign words in its Etymology section. But I suppose you're right that the English section should exist as an {{only in}} or {{only used in}} or the like.​—msh210 (talk) 21:51, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
{{only used in}}? Circeus (talk) 19:14, 27 May 2012 (UTC)

Ancient Greek declension template request

Hi, could someone please add the right template from Category:Ancient_Greek_declension_convenience_templates to γραφή? This is so that people can see what the plural etc. is at a glance. Thank you. It Is Me Here t / c 19:43, 23 May 2012 (UTC)

I added the right declension template, but it isn't in Category:Ancient Greek declension convenience templates. It's in Category:Ancient Greek 1st declension templates. —Angr 22:10, 23 May 2012 (UTC)

tomato juice

Second definition reads: "(standard of identity) A fodd obtained from the unfermented liquid extracted from mature tomatoes of the red or reddish varieties of Lycopersicum esculentum P. Mill, strained free from peel, seeds, and other coarse or hard substances, containing finely divided insoluble solids from the flesh of the tomato." A fodd? A food? What is this? ---> Tooironic (talk) 00:54, 24 May 2012 (UTC)

Clearly, it must be an acronym, standing for "fresh or diluted drink", and rhyming with Todd. Either that, or it's a typo. —RuakhTALK 01:08, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
Why not check the source:
§ 156.145
Tomato juice.
(a) Identity— (1) Definition. Tomato juice is the food intended for direct consumption, obtained from the unfermented liquid extracted from mature tomatoes of the red or reddish varieties of Lycopersicum esculentum P. Mill, with or without scalding followed by draining. In the extraction of such liquid, heat may be applied by any method which does not add water thereto. Such juice is strained free from peel, seeds, and other coarse or hard substances, but contains finely divided insoluble solids from the flesh of the tomato in accordance with current good manufacturing practice. Such juice may be homogenized, may be seasoned with salt, and may be acidified with any safe and suitable organic acid. The juice may have been concentrated and later reconstituted with water and/or tomato juice to a tomato soluble solids content of not less than 5.0 percent by weight as determined by the method prescribed in § 156.3(b). The food is preserved by heat sterilization (canning), refrigeration, or freezing. When sealed in a container to be held at ambient temperatures, it is so processed by heat, before or after sealing, as to prevent spoilage.
--Hekaheka (talk) 07:09, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
Typos aside, the second definition is really just a restatement of the first in very lengthy legalese. I've taken this up at RFD, which seems like the proper place for it. Chuck Entz (talk) 08:44, 30 May 2012 (UTC)

Category:English synonyms

Err... is this something we really want? "English synonyms" could contain an almost infinite number of words. ---> Tooironic (talk) 10:05, 24 May 2012 (UTC)

Doesn't even make sense, something isn't a synonym on its own, something is a synonym of something else. FWIW there was a similar French Wiktionary category fr:Catégorie:Synonymes en français which was deleted as it offered nothing useful to readers, and was more or less redundant to fr:Catégorie:français, that is to say that category which lists all French words. Mglovesfun (talk) 10:22, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
PS can we move this straight to WT:RFDO with your permission Tooironic, please? Mglovesfun (talk) 10:23, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
Yes please. And then delete it and all its associated templates etc. SemperBlotto (talk) 10:42, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
I second that. ---> Tooironic (talk) 22:37, 27 May 2012 (UTC)
Comment. It looks like this category isn't for all English terms that have synonyms, but rather, just for terms that we actually define as {{synonym of|…}}. In that respect it's like Category:English alternative forms. —RuakhTALK 11:10, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
Then in that case it's extremely badly named and defined - it explicitly says "This category is for all English synonyms", which it clearly isn't. Does it serve any purpose that simply checking template:synonym of's transclusions doesn't? Smurrayinchester (talk) 12:37, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
Isn't there a faster-reached limit on the number of transclusions that can be examined? Circeus (talk) 19:11, 27 May 2012 (UTC)

Symbol, Prefix, or Abbreviation?

In music, intervals are abbreviated by either a +, M, P, m, or d before a number, for example, P5. Would the bolded characters above be considered symbols, prefixes, or abbreviations? Celloplayer115 21:41, 24 May 2012 (UTC)

I'd say + (standing for augmented) is a symbol and M, P, m, and d are abbreviations (of major, perfect, minor, and diminished respectively). Incidentally, the entry [[perfect]] is lacking the relevant musical definition. —Angr 22:21, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
I just added one for perfect, but the [[minor]] one did not have a definition regarding intervals, and the [[augmented]] definition was inaccurate before I made changes to them. Celloplayer115 00:20, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
I must say I'm not thrilled with the definition of [[minor]] relating to scales: "Of a musical scale in which some notes are sounded flat." Does that mean a B-flat major scale is minor, since it contains B-flat and E-flat? Or a major scale played on an instrument that's out of tune, or sung by someone who's off-key? —Angr 00:27, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
Either way, the definition would not be accurate. Celloplayer115 00:43, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
That was Angr's point. —RuakhTALK 14:00, 25 May 2012 (UTC)

Capital cities as symbols of national government

I've been starting to add definitions like this one, for Tbilisi: "(by extension) The government of Georgia", fully cited. Are these in fact independent of the first sense, that of the city itself? Are they just examples of common figurative language instead of real meanings? Or are they different enough to merit inclusion? --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 13:36, 25 May 2012 (UTC)

It seems common to use the name of the place housing some kind of institution instead of the name of the institution itself. In Britain, 'Downing Street' refers to the office of the prime minister, 'Stormont' refers to the Northern Ireland parliament, in the Netherlands 'Den Haag' refers to the Dutch government. I suppose even 'The White House' when used to refer to the office of the US president is like this. —CodeCat 13:40, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
It goes back a ways: pharaoh literally meant "big house" Chuck Entz (talk) 14:07, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
  • I feel strongly that metonymy and synecdoche are not separate senses, but, that said, it is quite difficult to know how a dictionary should treat them. It's not just capital cities but buildings (Matignon = the French prime minister), streets ("Downing Street refused to comment"), and general districts (Hollywood = the US film industry). I don't think the way you've done it looks that bad, but I worry slightly that it opens the door for any kind of metonymy to be given a new sense-line, when this is a actually a very normal and productive aspect of the way English works, and can be applied to all kinds of words. Ƿidsiþ 13:43, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
    Well, that is a problem. Where exactly do we draw the line? (As a semi-related note: only a few streets, buildings, etc are citeable but tons of capital cities as minor as Tbilisi certainly are, even in English.) --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 13:49, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
    (Edit conflict) I don't see the problem with noting metonymies. For someone not necessarily familiar with cultural context, "Brussels issued new laws regulating Harley Street, overriding previous regulations from Whitehall, which led to a furious response from Fleet Street" isn't clear even if you know that Whitehall is "a wide street [that] houses several government offices" and Fleet Street is "A street in Westminster that runs from Ludgate Hill to the Strand, formerly the centre of English journalism." Noting specifically that Whitehall is a metonym of the British Civil Service or that Brussels is a metonym for the European Union doesn't harm the project and potentially helps our users a lot. I'm not sure it's quite as productive as you say it is - a term has to be very widely known to work as a metonym. Smurrayinchester (talk) 14:04, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
I think it should be noted whenever they can be cited. Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV 15:54, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
I don't see the reason to include these. Anyone who sees the definition "the government of Georgia" under the meaning of Tbilisi will understand the connection. For Whitehall, the definition can be changed from "; it houses several government offices" to ", where a large number of national government offices are located." --BB12 (talk) 23:16, 27 May 2012 (UTC)
But it's the definition "the government of Georgia" that's under discussion here. Another example is Foggy Bottom, metonymic for the U.S. Department of State. —Angr 17:47, 30 May 2012 (UTC)

It can get more local. See Broadway (for the government of Manitoba). Michael Z. 2012-06-27 03:45 z


I am sure this has been covered before, but I can't find anything and based on what it is I am looking for, there won't be an easy way to find an earlier discussion. But under the definition of 'a', it is missing this definition and I am not sure how to word it, or even if it is warranted. "used before plural nouns like few, many couple, great many, etc." It is in my copy of American Heritage Dictionary, and WNCD, Thanks Speednat (talk) 19:18, 25 May 2012 (UTC

Second thing on a: The definition that from the 3rd etymology and the 2nd definition of that etymology, or in other words "In the process of; in the act of; into; to" is repeated under a-, which is how I believe it is more readily used. In fact the Dylan song is hyphenated and all my dictionaries show it with the hyphen. So I believe that the non-hyphenated entry should either be removed or point towards the hyphenated entry. Speednat (talk) 20:02, 25 May 2012 (UTC)


Usage note is debatable --Maria.Sion (talk) 14:56, 26 May 2012 (UTC)

Certainly American English uses a hyphen after a double ll. Something may be "ball-like" or "pill-like", but not *"balllike" or *"pilllike". Maybe even after a single l; I think I'd be more likely to write "gel-like" than "gellike". —Angr 16:00, 26 May 2012 (UTC)
I've edited the usage note to say "sometimes" for American usage. If you think it should say "often" instead, then please edit it. Certainly the note should not imply that the hyphen is always omitted in America (or always inserted in Britain). Dbfirs 16:19, 26 May 2012 (UTC)
-like Is not the only suffix/suffixoid subject to this kind of variation. Look at -pants, for example (not to mention the longstanding variation in english compounds in general). Circeus (talk) 19:08, 27 May 2012 (UTC)


I think this word Snuggie should be included here, perhaps with a kind of copyright notice, as this may be trademarked--Maria.Sion (talk) 23:11, 27 May 2012 (UTC)

I don't think we need to make trademark notices, do we? But I'm pretty sure the second meaning of snuggie, currently undefined, is the same thing as Snuggie. —Angr 10:36, 28 May 2012 (UTC)

dole out

Definitions here are crappy--Maria.Sion (talk) 09:32, 28 May 2012 (UTC)

Isn't meaning 3, currently undefined, simply definition 1 "distribute"? —Angr 10:37, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
I have moved the cite to sense 1, deleted the rfdef, and added "in small amounts" to the first sense. Also added {{en-verb}}, replacing {{head}} (Why would anyone use {{head}} for something in English?)
Can anyone guess which sense of generate is meant in definition 2? I have RfVed that sense.
Are there other problems? DCDuring TALK 12:51, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
I might use {{head}} for something in English, simply because I don't edit English that much and am not sure what headword-line templates are available for it. —Angr 13:52, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
I was cranky. I normally used {{infl}} for languages I don't know and now use {{head}}. In English every true PoS has a good template of the form {{en-PoS}}. On inspection, this instance of {{head}} is the result of a mass replacement of {{infl}} by {{head}}. DCDuring TALK 14:46, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
I think some people prefer to use {{head}} for multiword idioms where only the syntactic head shows inflection; for example, it's not clear that [[walk a mile in someone's shoes]], if it existed, would benefit from fully listing out the inflected forms "walks a mile in someone's shoes", "walking a mile in someone's shoes", in "walked a mile in someone's shoes" (especially since these would be self-links: someone who clicked on them would find themself at the same entry they were already on). —RuakhTALK 15:31, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
When I'm cranky, I'm often wrong. That's what I do myself. I even used to use infl/head for phrasal verbs with irregularly conjugating verb heads. DCDuring TALK 15:43, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
This is yet another of WF's entries (original and current version). Although most of his entries are good enogh, his attempts at defining English terms are crappy (to use his own term). SemperBlotto (talk) 13:59, 28 May 2012 (UTC)


I added this several years ago as an alt spell of xiphioid (swordfish). I'm not sure about it now. G.Books seems to suggest that it's something akin to ziphiid (whale), i.e. still fishy but not a swordfish. Anyone know for sure? Equinox 01:32, 29 May 2012 (UTC)

I've just spent some time examining google books:"ziphioid" and google books:"ziphioids" and so on, and found that:
  • It's obsolete, or at least archaic. The Google Ngram Viewer's graph shows it more or less dead by 1920.
  • It's chiefly found in the phrase "ziphioid whale(s)", meaning "beaked whale(s)", i.e. "ziphiid(s)". (I'm quite confident of this identification; a few of the cites list four genera of ziphioid whales, namely Mesoplodon, Berardius, Ziphius, and either Hyperoodon or Hyperoödon. w:Beaked whale lists a few other genera in addition to these four, but all of those other ones are either (1) extinct or (2) not described until after 1920.)
  • It's often used as a noun meaning "beaked whale".
  • It's often used in phrases such as "ziphioid genera" (meaning, in that case, "genera of beaked whales"); I'm not sure if that's best viewed as an adjective or as an attributive noun ("ziphioid genera" = "genera of ziphioids").
RuakhTALK 15:31, 29 May 2012 (UTC)

Definitely whales. I've changed to be an alt-form of ziphiid, both as a noun and an adjective. I haven't given it any context labels about obsoleteness or the like because it seems familiar enough to me, but given the Ngram data, I'd welcome something along those lines. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 01:02, 30 May 2012 (UTC)

come on home

Just created this entry. Not sure if it's idiomatic. Doesn't seem to be 100% intuitive to a non-native speaker. ---> Tooironic (talk) 12:40, 30 May 2012 (UTC)

Oh, come on! That can't be right. ;-)
I think we lack the right sense of come on. It is an informal or colloquial sense as in "He came on over to visit.", "The dog was coming on back before he called him". It might be related to the idiomatic sentence "Come on!".
Perhaps the particle on is just there for prosodic reasons. DCDuring TALK 13:14, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
Not just for prosodic reasons- it definitely has a semantic dimension, if only to change the tone or register. Chuck Entz (talk) 14:26, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
How would you characterize what on adds? It certainly softens an imperative.
Other adverbs that follow come on are in/out, here/there, down/up, by, around, behind,. Prepositional phrases don't seem impossible, but few seem acceptable. "Come on to Times Square." seems implausible to me, though not "Come on up/down/over to Times Square." DCDuring TALK 17:26, 30 May 2012 (UTC)