Wiktionary:Tea room/2012/September

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discussion rooms: Tea roomEtym. scr.Info deskBeer parlourGrease pit ← August 2012 · September 2012 · October 2012 → · (current)

gray magick

This refers to "magic polarity". What is that? Even a Google Web search reveals little. Equinox 22:12, 1 September 2012 (UTC)

From context, I assume that the "poles" are white magic and black magic, such that "transcends the magic polarity" means something like "is not entirely on one side of the white-magic–black-magic dichotomy". But that definition was added by Luciferwildcat (talkcontribs), so I don't set too much store by it. —RuakhTALK 22:47, 1 September 2012 (UTC)


Why isn't this a much simpler entry, possibly with an elaborate etymology, possibly the "children of Israel" sense distinguished? DCDuring TALK 06:01, 3 September 2012 (UTC)

{{plural of|child}} anyone? Mglovesfun (talk) 08:58, 3 September 2012 (UTC)
That's obviously what it should be, why should it be treated differently to any other plural? BigDom (tc) 11:44, 3 September 2012 (UTC)
"More than one young person, or none" ha. Does looks curiously like a joke. Anyway done. Mglovesfun (talk) 17:29, 3 September 2012 (UTC)
I remember seeing this form discussed. It seems to be the regular descendant of the Old English dative plural ċildrum, actually. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 20:57, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
That would be very strange. The dative plural isn't exactly the most common plural form, the nominative and accusative are. So it would be surprising if it was the only form to survive. —CodeCat 23:19, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
See Category:English words suffixed with -ren. DCDuring TALK 00:00, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
No matter how interesting the etymology (and we should keep anything distinctive about it), unless there is some sense distinction beside number, it still seems to be the plural of child. See our treatment of went#Verb. DCDuring TALK 00:00, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
It's not directly from ċildrum. It's from childer + the plural ending -en known from oxen, which used to be quite productive in some dialects of English. Another example is eyren, a Middle English dialect form for "eggs", famous from an anecdote Caxton told: "And one of theym named Sheffelde a mercer cam in to an hows and axes for mete, and specyally he axyed after eggys. And the good wyf answerde that she coude speke no frenshe. And the marchaunt was angry for he also coude speke no frenshe but wold haue hadde egges and she understode hym not. And thenne at laste a nother sayd that he wolde haue eyren. Then the good wyf sayd that she understood hym wel." —Angr 11:35, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
Does this mean that "-ren" was never a productive suffix but is an accidental co-occurrence of "r" and "-en". If so, there may be five entries that need correction. DCDuring TALK 12:21, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
It was never fully productive in the sense that it could be freely added to new coinages. All of the nouns listed as having the -ren suffix started out as having the -ru suffix in Old English, which became -re/-er in Middle English, which then became -(e)ren when -en was added to it. AFAICT -ren was never added to a noun that didn't already have a plural suffix with an R in it. —Angr 12:54, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
Dutch has a development that is completely parallel to this, happening in the same words: kinderen, eieren, kalveren, lammeren. In Dutch, the -en plural eventually became the most common plural, but these words still have a double plural marking like the English words. —CodeCat 12:45, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
AAVE and other non-standard varieties of English have re-marked this word as a plural again in [[chilluns]] (i.e. children + s), making it triply marked (child + r + en + s). We don't have an entry for "chilluns" yet, but there are plenty of b.g.c. hits. —Angr 13:10, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
The problem is that you can't simply add a plural ending -en to what is already a plural, even though many linguists operate with such arbitrary "analogies" and heaping-on of suffixes. That was actually the point of the example. Wherever you can actually trace the development of a language in detail, it turns out that proportional analogies are sufficient to explain the changes and no other forms of analogies (though often postulated) can be demonstrated to have taken place; if I remember correctly, Juliette Blevins has written about that. The only way it is conceivable that children could be formed this way would be if childer could be re-analysed as a singular (perhaps in ambiguous sentences such as I shall care for the childer), and according to a productive pattern like singular -er vs. plural -ren a new plural children was created. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 16:29, 24 October 2012 (UTC)

faggot verb

faggot is a verb, an alternative spelling of fagot (to bundle up sticks etc.). The page is locked because of vandalism. Could someone add it, please? Equinox 21:53, 3 September 2012 (UTC)

It said only registered users could edit. You are registered. DCDuring TALK 22:23, 3 September 2012 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Done DCDuring TALK 20:16, 5 September 2012 (UTC)

wergeld and weregild need combining

wergeld and weregild seem to duplicate each other and need combining, but I'm not competent to do it -- dougher (talk) 14:41, 4 September 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for pointing that out. :) The two forms seem equally common on Google Books, so I've made wergeld the standard form, because it was also the Middle English and Old English forms. - -sche (discuss) 23:08, 5 September 2012 (UTC)

at a stand

In what English is this used? I don't recognize it in my experience of any English. DCDuring TALK 20:15, 5 September 2012 (UTC)

Maybe a variant of at a standstill? Either way, I don't think it is idiomatic. --WikiTiki89 (talk) 06:29, 6 September 2012 (UTC)


When is the telic sense of the verb own ("defeat") first attested? Does the OED even list it? It sounds like a late 20th century slang development to me, but I could be wrong. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 21:16, 5 September 2012 (UTC)

I remember reading that the verb pwn was first used as a misspelling in Warcraft I (1994), so presumably the original verb in that sense is older. —CodeCat 23:16, 5 September 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, but how old? Is it really a recent development (no more than a few decades old) or is it perhaps attested considerably earlier, counter to my intuition? I'm just curious because it sounds rather odd to me to use own as a telic verb in formal English. Owning a slave does not mean defeating or embarrassing the slave. Anyone have access to the OED? --Florian Blaschke (talk) 18:55, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
But that's not the primary and original sense, the original meaning in its gaming sense is 'to dominate' or 'to show who's boss'. —CodeCat 20:18, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
That's still a telic use of the verb, even though it is otherwise atelic. Therefore I'm wondering how old that use is. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 16:38, 24 October 2012 (UTC)


The metal tool for flattening clothes is Etymology 1. The verb "to iron" (flatten clothes) is Etymology 3. Would it not make more sense to merge these two sections entirely? Equinox 09:22, 6 September 2012 (UTC)

I think all three are one Etymology. The separation was perpetrated by an anon in 2007. (I'm glad it wasn't me.) DCDuring TALK 11:41, 6 September 2012 (UTC)


Is whereabouts#Noun, necessarily "approximate location"? I'm pretty sure it can be used for exact locations also. --WikiTiki89 (talk) 13:38, 6 September 2012 (UTC)

I think "location, especially approximate" or similar would capture the usual use for approximate location without short-changing more specific use. Certainly, "What is his location?" asks for more specificity than "What are his whereabouts?". DCDuring TALK 15:22, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
I could imagine someone saying "I don't know his location, but I do know his whereabouts." DCDuring TALK 15:23, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
I can't. To me they're synonymous, or very nearly so.​—msh210 (talk) 22:12, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
@msh: Another sound only the dogs and I can hear. DCDuring TALK 23:14, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
I can't imagine someone explicitly distinguishing "location" from "whereabouts" (by saying a sentence like the one you suggest), but I support having "especially approximate" or "often approximate" as part of the definition. - -sche (discuss) 06:10, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
It's definitely not necessarily approximate; google books:"exact whereabouts" claims to find tens of thousands of hits. —RuakhTALK 15:56, 6 September 2012 (UTC)


Isn't the sense 3 of halt (Etymology 1) "to waver, to be hesistant" simply that of the verb halt (Etymology 2) "to waver, to falter"? In this case, sense 3 should be removed. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 18:51, 6 September 2012 (UTC)

Thanks. Yes check.svg Done Removing clearly redundant senses is the only deletion action that doesn't necessarily need to go through RfD or RfV. Redundancy is less obvious across etymologies or with different valences, connotations, or claimed contexts. DCDuring TALK 19:32, 6 September 2012 (UTC)

ride bitch

See Lucifer's edits to the etymology. Is there any chance that the "riding" an erection/sex bit is accurate? Surely it's just ride (a bike) + bitch (in the style of a woman). Equinox 20:10, 7 September 2012 (UTC)

I'm really regretting that I abstained from the vote to permablock him. But on the bright side, maybe he'll come up with something interesting for ride shotgun? —RuakhTALK 20:17, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, I favored giving him another chance, but he still insists on adding crap (like that ridiculous "birfday" etymology)... I wouldn't mind at all if someone blocked him again. - -sche (discuss) 20:20, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
Well, that vote applied to everything up to there, not everything since. It's a bit like if you're acquitted of murder, doesn't mean subsequently you can murder as many people as you like and not go on trial for it. Mglovesfun (talk) 16:26, 8 September 2012 (UTC)
Um, what's with you and over-the-top murder analogies? LOL --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 05:24, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
I don't see what's "over-the-top" about them. Murder is just a basic thing that everyone agrees is bad and that can therefore be used as a convenient starting-point for analyzing the logic of law and ethics. No one is saying that other things are as bad as murder, just that they're bad, and therefore subject to the logic of bad things. —RuakhTALK 15:10, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
Well, I can see that this discussion is looking even less fruitful than the last one. It's kind of like doing a botched murder and then murdering someone else in a totally different place just to get it out of your system. Seriously, though, the "law of bad things" doesn't allow for the ample grey area that one encounters in life. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 01:20, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
Well, sure it does. But regardless, the point of analogies is to clarify reasoning by simplifying matters and capturing an essential point. Sometimes this doesn't work, and something essential is lost in the simplification, in which case you should say so; but if the only "something essential" in question is that nobody died, then well, I think that's implicit in the fact that we're discussing a block, not a notification to the civil authorities. —RuakhTALK 12:28, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
In addition, he has added the "non-standard" form rided bitch (perhaps copying from ride), but I doubt it exists in this phrase prevalently enough to be worth a note. Should perhaps be removed. Equinox 23:07, 8 September 2012 (UTC)
  • FYI, I have blocked him. Although the straw/spark was [[rided bitch]], I made clear in the block summary that the block was for cumulative/longterm behaviour. - -sche (discuss) 00:43, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
  • I support that. He didn’t improve one bit since the vote. — Ungoliant (Falai) 02:51, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
I have reduced the block to 1 year. - -sche (discuss) 07:19, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
Thank you. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 01:20, 13 September 2012 (UTC)


Etymology 2 says "Alternative form of care, used in Carling Sunday or Care Sunday". However, Carling Sunday suggests that a carling is some kind of dried pea eaten on that day, while Care Sunday seems to come from some other word. So is this sense of carling accurate? Equinox 00:30, 9 September 2012 (UTC)


I have noticed an over-enthusiasm to label anything related to the reproductive organs as "vulgar". I feel uncomfortable with that because it is sometimes a stretch. i hope this gets addressed. Pass a Method (talk) 19:19, 9 September 2012 (UTC)

Can you give us some examples? — Ungoliant (Falai) 19:34, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
English unfortunately doesn't have a middle level for talking about the reproductive organs; either you go formal like "the reproductive organs", or you go vulgar, like "dick". I think there's been some normalization in there in recent times, but there's still times where "penis" is too formal, "dick" or "cock" is too vulgar, and "willy" is too childish. In other languages, it will have to be weighted on a language and culture-specific basis.--Prosfilaes (talk) 04:43, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
For instance horny which i removed.Pass a Method (talk) 05:04, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
The question isn't whether you consider it vulgar or not, but what the general attitudes are among speakers. It may vary regionally, I suppose, but there are plenty of people who would consider horny to be vulgar. Ignoring that opinion because you, personally, disagree with it would be a disservice to non-native-speakers who don't know the context. Chuck Entz (talk) 05:58, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
There's two cites attached to it, both of which are clearly vulgar. (And it's not really related to the reproductive organs.) It's slightly questionable; most of the books I saw that used it in the title on Google Books were self-published or erotica or both, but [1] is a use in what seems to be a respectable guide to sex in pregnancy. And there's [2] published by the University of Georgia, that labels an item the "Horny Hillbilly" (I can't tell if it's actually labeled such on the packaging). Otherwise, the uses in this sense range from the borderline vulgar to the clearly vulgar.
Your first sentence just doesn't fit the facts. We're labeling words that are vulgar as vulgar, which some natural room for discussion one way or the other. The fact that most of them are related to sex and the genitalia is a fact of life in English.--Prosfilaes (talk) 06:27, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
I'm not at all convinced that those cites are "clearly vulgar", and I heard the word "horny" (in its sexual meaning) on American commercial prime-time TV in the 1970s, when there was still strict censorship of vulgarities, indicating that professional prudes whose job it was to stamp out vulgarities didn't consider it one. —Angr 11:32, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
Some lemmings use a three point system. One star for "informal only", Two stars for "mildly vulgar", and Three stars for "vulgar". So we would expect something like penis no stars, willy one star, dick two stars, and prick possibly three stars. Not a bad system imo. Could we copy it in some way? -- ALGRIF talk 11:36, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
I'd move both willy (informal, childish) and prick back a notch. There's no word for penis that really reaches the vulgarity of cunt, which could probably be taken as around the maximally vulgar English word.--Prosfilaes (talk) 00:30, 11 September 2012 (UTC)
"Get it in all the way... please, please do... I’m horny." is pretty vulgar to me. More generally, you're probably right; old-school prime-time TV can probably be taken as a pretty decent judge of what was considered overtly vulgar.--Prosfilaes (talk) 00:30, 11 September 2012 (UTC)
The sentence as a whole is vulgar, but that that doesn't make the individual word "horny" vulgar any more than it makes "way" or "please" or "I'm" vulgar. Also, the sentence would be no less vulgar if it were "Get it in all the way... please, please do... I'm sexually aroused." —Angr 12:42, 11 September 2012 (UTC)
@Prosfilaes: There are love muscle, John Thomas, Johnson, and other similar informal, non-vulgar terms. DCDuring TALK 11:41, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
But English doesn't have a term like Irish bod, which is neither as clinical as penis, nor as vulgar as dick or cock, nor as euphemistic and/or childish as love muscle and John Thomas, but is rather as neutral a term for its referent as English elbow is for its. —Angr 12:42, 11 September 2012 (UTC)


For the English word nexus, we offer the possible plurals nexuses or nexus or nexûs or nexūs. I can't believe that nexûs and nexūs are English. Who would use such accents in English? Equinox 23:50, 9 September 2012 (UTC)

Apparently some philosophers do. The spelling with the circumflex (nexûs) in running English text is just barely attestable [3], and with the macron (nexūs) isn't that much more so [4], but it exists. Such usage seems to always trace back to w:Alfred North Whitehead and w:Process philosophy. Chuck Entz (talk) 03:36, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
If it's only just barely attested, it doesn't seem appropriate to mention in the headword line. We should have entries for those plural forms, but the rare plurals should be confined to usage notes. (DCDuring rightly worries that using obsolete / rare terms in translations where modern / common terms are available will mislead non-native speakers. Highlighting such rare plurals is similarly misleading.) - -sche (discuss) 03:51, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
Agreed. Those forms were added by Doremítzwr, who always was fond of such things. You would need more than a Wiktionary entry to be able to use the term properly in the contexts where those plurals are expected, so a usage note should suffice. Chuck Entz (talk) 04:58, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
I took a shot at a usage note in the main entry. I'm not quite sure what we should do with the nexûs and nexūs entries (we don't do separate entries for spellings with macrons in Latin, so Latin sections are missing from entries that are arguably more Latin than English- which is odd). Chuck Entz (talk) 05:22, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
Maybe we should have the entries on [[nexus]] itself, since diacritics are never mandatory in English. --WikiTiki89 (talk) 09:07, 11 September 2012 (UTC)
Diacritics aren't mandatory, but when diacritic forms are attested, they get their own entries (soufflé vs souffle, etc). @Chuck: I suppose {{also|nexus}} and the mention of the Latin form in the etymology section are sufficient. - -sche (discuss) 20:48, 11 September 2012 (UTC)


I have noticed a double standard regarding the usage of the term myth. For example soul, angel, devil have no such descriptions. However, unicorn, fairy, vampire do. This double standard also exists regarding deities, i.e. Krishna vs Zeus. Are there any guidelines on this? Pass a Method (talk) 08:06, 10 September 2012 (UTC)

Modern mainstream religion is not regarded as "mythology" by neutral sources, only by POV-pushing atheists. Equinox 10:01, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
Many so-called neutral sources are co-written by religious folk. I personally believe we should only accept the highest quality sources for issues such as this one. Besides, acording to some sources there are roughly 4200 religions out there. Who gets to decide which religion is "mainstream"? Pass a Method (talk) 11:35, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
Anyway, it isn't true that modern mainstream religion is never called mythology, or at least that aspects of it aren't. See w:Christian mythology, w:Jewish mythology, and w:Islamic mythology for example. A myth is just "a traditional story or narrative that embodies the belief or beliefs of a group of people"; it doesn't mean it's false. I'm a mainstream Anglican Christian myself, but I have no hesitation in considering the Christmas story, for example, a myth of my religion. —Angr 11:43, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
Maybe we could call all of them hypotheses, like the Big Bang theory. DCDuring TALK 13:00, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
Just one note... If it's a theory like you say, it's no longer a hypothesis. :) —CodeCat 13:34, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
@DCDuring. I did try to call all of them hypotheses back in April, but i ended up being reverted by Mglovesfun, and blocked by Equinox.Pass a Method (talk) 13:57, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
Calling religions "hypotheses" is absurd. Religion doesn't compete with science and doesn't follow the scientific method; the two complement each other but have totally different methodologies. —Angr 13:51, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
Angr, i dont want to call religions itself hypotheses/mythological, but rather certain implausible aspects within religions, such as devils etc.. Pass a Method (talk) 14:05, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
Shall we call string theory mythological then too, just because the existence of 10 dimensions is implausible? I actually don't object to calling devils and angels mythological since they're part of Christian/Jewish/Islamic mythology (and the mythologies of some other religions too), but I do object to calling them hypothetical, as if people were gathering data to form a theory about them. —Angr 14:32, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
We could use (angeology) and (demonology). — Ungoliant (Falai) 14:40, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
I should probably clarify I'm speaking generally above. In terms of what labels to actually put on these terms at Wiktionary, I think {{religion}} is probably sufficient for things like angel; there's no particular need to tag it {{mythology}} as well. —Angr 14:42, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
google books:Hindu mythology turns up a lot of things that don't look like the POV pushing of atheists. William Joseph Wilkins seems to have been a missionary, and w:A. Berriedale Keith would probably mention if this respected British official was a POV-pushing atheist. And considering the demographics, Zeus probably has more worshippers today then he's ever had in history.--Prosfilaes (talk) 20:17, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
I wonder whether a British (presumably Anglican) missionary might have chosen to refer to elements of Hinduism as "Mythology" for much the same reason that a PoV-pushing atheist would want label all religions "mythology". Zeus has seen far better days: his modern-day worshippers, the Hellenic Polytheistic Reconstructionists, hover somewhere below three thousand worldwide - and they don't even offer him sacrifice! Furius (talk) 11:18, 24 November 2012 (UTC)
What tag is appropriate for soul? There are some studies on it so maybe "hypotheses" is applicable? Any thoughts? Pass a Method (talk) 16:03, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
Since the definition already contains the hedges "usually thought" and "often believed" I don't think it needs any tag. —Angr 16:26, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
@Pass a Method et al: I don't think hypothesis is a serious candidate for a category or label in a public utility such as Wiktionary. It might work on a free-thinkers' wiki. All knowledge is partial and potentially falsifiable or subject to disbelief, but folks strongly hold some hypotheses beliefs. DCDuring TALK 17:37, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
Oh, sorry. I already added a hypotheses tag to sixth sense. Feel free to remove it. Pass a Method (talk) 19:00, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
"Folklore" is another possible tag for usage as in leprechaun. Pass a Method (talk) 08:46, 14 September 2012 (UTC)
This issue applies to soul in the modern usage, with the meaning of spirit. I'd doubt anyone would label soul in the meaning of mind as mythical. DAVilla 08:41, 19 September 2012 (UTC)
Personally, I don't think we should be deciding any of this. A unicorn is a unicorn and an angel is an angel whether or not either of them exist, are believed to exist, or are just fantasy. All that is extraneous information that belongs on Wikipedia (mostly because it can't be sufficiently summarized). --WikiTiki89 (talk) 09:54, 15 September 2012 (UTC)
I strongly disagree. It is extremely important to know whether or not something exists. This endeavor should not be abandoned as futile insomuch as writing a concise definition is futile. To state how it is interpreted, the extent that it is believed, and by whom, we must simply choose our words carefully. DAVilla 08:41, 19 September 2012 (UTC)
I remember a TV ad, in which a Diet Dr. Pepper salesman joins a support group including Santa Claus, the Easter bunny, the tooth fairy, and Bigfoot, where they too scoffed at a soda pop with no calories being so tasty. Sometimes, their status as beings of myth can be their most relevant feature. ~ Röbin Liönheart (talk) 21:55, 24 September 2012 (UTC)


I've been watching a lot of Australian TV lately, and it seems like they use the word heaps differently than we do in the US but I can't put my finger on it. Does it have a particularly Australian meaning? I think I've heard it used as an adjective too but I can't find an example of that. (One big example I'm thinking of is the South Australian boy from Angry Boys and We Can Be Heroes, who uses the word "heaps" in like every sentence). Happerslaffer (talk) 22:49, 10 September 2012 (UTC)

Could you give some examples of the sentences you are hearing? Equinox 09:07, 11 September 2012 (UTC)


Our only current sense is "Good as a remedy against disease of the spleen". I tried citing it and any other senses I could find, but the cites I found seem to mean "Acting against the spleen". I'm really not sure, though. There's also another sense in use, that seems to mean "Acting against spleen (bad humor)", but, again, I'm really not sure. More pairs of eyes would be helpful.​—msh210 (talk) 19:48, 11 September 2012 (UTC)

I don't think the senses are distinguishable. I didn't see any truly medical usage in the sole sense we had, inherited from Webster 1913 and found in Webster 1828. I think the "spleen disease" was some kind of excess secretion of a humor, in line with your second sense.
Century had no cites to support its definition. Its definition of splenetic is pretty much what we would have, with just a hint of a medical basis for the association of ill humor with spleen, the organ, rather than spleen, the humor.
I have the suspicion that we won't find any usage that is distinguishable from the other sense, which I cited and labeled as literary or historical. The labels might be proven wrong.
I don't think there is much modern medical usage, either. DCDuring TALK 20:39, 11 September 2012 (UTC)
No, the modern medical usage is of antisplenic (current redlink) AFAICT.​—msh210 (talk) 22:38, 11 September 2012 (UTC)

You guys have been debating this for 5 years? wow--Sigehelmus (talk) 18:01, 15 February 2017 (UTC)


Would appreciate it if someone added the IPA pronunciation real quick. Thanks ---> Tooironic (talk) 14:06, 12 September 2012 (UTC)

by and by

Good evening! I'm reading the "Tempest" and in the commentaries the "by and by" phrase is explained as "immediately" but in more modern dictionaries it is given to mean "eventually". Has the meaning shifted in the centuries and if yes, is it OK to add (archaic) "immediately, right away" meaning to the "by and by" entry? Cheers, --CopperKettle (talk) 17:23, 12 September 2012 (UTC)

The meaning has shifted, becoming much more vague. I conjecture that the use of the term in religious consolation, probably predating the publication of the hymn In the Sweet By-and-By in 1868, influenced the shift. Such consolation usually frames the time until one rejoins recently deceased loved ones as relatively short. But in ordinary experience, it is not, so hearers of the hymn may have stretched the definition of by and by to fit their understanding of the time frame. DCDuring TALK 18:38, 12 September 2012 (UTC)
If the conjecture is true, then the sense shift should have occurred earlier in the US than elsewhere. DCDuring TALK 18:40, 12 September 2012 (UTC)
Thank you! Very interesting! --CopperKettle (talk) 00:39, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
There is circumstantial evidence from Southwest Pacific English-based creoles that suggests that it was used in Australian English by the mid-1880s, in the sense of "sometime in the future". --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 01:31, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
Before yesterday, I've only associated it in my mind with the lyrics of Pie In The Sky, where it is used also in the "sometimes" sense. (0: --CopperKettle (talk) 01:40, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
I noticed that our byembye has a second sense, "hereafter". Equinox 10:41, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
In 1882 Tennyson, in a cite in the entry, distinguished between now and by and by, so, wherever the sense shift originated, it seems to have spread fairly widely by then. But neither Century nor Websters noted it in 1913. The OED might be a help for this. DCDuring TALK 11:00, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
Yes, the OED marks this sense as obsolete, citing Tyndale's 1526 bible (Mark i. 31 "... in the By and by the fever left her" where Coverdale has "immediatly". Shakespeare normally used the expression in the modern sense to mean "soon", as in Henry IV, Part 1 V. iv. 108 "Inboweld will I see thee by and by, Til then in bloud by noble Percy lie.". The OED records the latest usage with the "immediately" meaning in 1690 (W. Walker). I still consider "soon" rather than "eventually" to be the usual meaning here in the UK. Dbfirs 07:28, 15 September 2012 (UTC)
A "hereafter" sense seems archaic in our terms, being present in religious texts, hymns etc, where no one has trouble understanding it, but wouldn't imitate it. DCDuring TALK 14:54, 15 September 2012 (UTC)
An alternative view is that the hymnwriters meant "soon", and we, with our modern wishful thinking, interpret this as "much later in the distant future". Dbfirs 20:43, 15 September 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, that's more or less what you said earlier! Dbfirs 20:48, 15 September 2012 (UTC)
I'm glad you independently came to a similar hypothesis. DCDuring TALK 20:59, 15 September 2012 (UTC)

western world

The current definition is "All of the countries of the world other than those in Asia taken as a whole," which feels unsatisfactory - It includes a lot which I would not have thought of as Western (principally Africa and the Pacific Islands) and excludes a few areas which I would consider western, like Israel, Singapore and (perhaps) Hong Kong, South Korea, and Japan at times as well. When I think about the concept, I feel like there are a lot of grey areas and a lot of bleed-through from first world. I wonder whether a specific definition is possible? Furius (talk) 08:51, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

It probably needs a third sense, separate from the others, and you'd be hard-pressed to find a solid definition, but it could be fuzzily defined along the lines of "A loose group of developed countries whose cultures share characteristics, often including democracy, capitalism or postindustrialization, associated with North America and Western Europe." Wikipedia uses a different defintion, based on European decent and the Greek and Roman empires, which I've not come across before, which if we cited it would be yet another separate sense. Smurrayinchester (talk) 11:13, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
Given the existence of western practices, western economies, western clothing, I think we should be adding this sense at western rather than focusing on western world. Equinox 11:16, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
I would avoid using the word "countries" as countries have borders while the western world has no clear border. I think it would be best described as a family of cultures. --WikiTiki89 (talk) 11:25, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
This seems like classic SoP, where the meaning of western world is entirely dependent on what western and world mean. I'll bet we already have satisfactory definitions for both. Mglovesfun (talk) 11:32, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
Just noticed that [[West]] already has a reasonable definition. --WikiTiki89 (talk) 11:37, 13 September 2012 (UTC)


The UK slang sense of this doesn't seem to line up at all with how I've heard it used. I'm familiar with it mostly as a London (especially South and East London?) word that just means neighbourhood, without any reference to authority, policing or crime. The cites I can find generally seem to back this up:

  • 2005, "Beckham kicks off last minute Olympics campaigning", The Guardian
    Beckham was asked what it would mean for the Olympics to be held in his old neighbourhood.
    "You mean my manor?" Beckham replied, in fluent East End argot. "I'm obviously from the East End, so it would be incredible for me if it was held there. It could go down as one of the best games in history."
  • 2012, "My East End manor is now as smart as Notting Hill", The Evening Standard
  • 2012 "Golden balls: West Ham United's co-owner reveals his cunning plan for the Olympic stadium", The Independent
    And, Gold adds, he can understand that West Ham's famously dedicated supporters, Londoners though they themselves mainly are, may mistrust businessmen "coming into the club and talking about loyalty. But this is my manor. I worked on Stratford Market, where the Olympic Stadium sits now. I remember the bomb falling on West Ham football ground and thinking: my God, they're coming after me. West Ham is my passion."

Nevertheless, it is sourced (albeit to a site that doesn't seem to be working), and the one citation given:

arguably does back up the current sense (though "operating in our neighbourhood" would still make some sense in context), so I'm reluctant to change it. Is the current sense ok, or is it too specific? Smurrayinchester (talk) 10:56, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

Wow, I've never heard of this at all. Chambers 1994 has "an area or base of operation, esp a police district (slang)". Equinox 14:19, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
Ah, so we might have two separate senses here? Smurrayinchester (talk) 20:06, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Anyone remember (or at least heard of) Dixon of Dock Green? Here's some publicity quotes: "When PC George Dixon and the rest of the staff of the Dock Green manor went on holiday earlier this year, ..." or "The Dock Green manor has never considered itself short of odd characters ..." In those days the British police certainly worked in well defined manors AFAIK. -- ALGRIF talk 09:36, 15 September 2012 (UTC)
This looks quite parallel to US usage of turf (the territory claimed by a person, gang, etc. as their own), at least in the non-police sense. If a policeman said "They were operating on our turf without telling us" I would think he was referring to his precinct, but I would still think that he meant his "territory". DCDuring TALK 16:54, 15 September 2012 (UTC)
So then there are two definitions. One is that manor means a vaguely defined area, territory, or neighbourhood. The other that manor means (for the police, or other organization) a specifically defined area with known borders. -- ALGRIF talk 11:57, 16 September 2012 (UTC)


The definition of thou says that it is dialectal. Are there any dialects that still use it? If so, which ones? --WikiTiki89 (talk) 13:53, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia says "it is used in parts of Northern England and by Scots". I associate it with Yorkshire. See Yorkshire_dialect#Vocabulary_and_grammar. TV and globalisation are probably well on the way to killing it. Equinox 13:57, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
Yes, Lancashire and Yorkshire are the main hold-outs, although the way the word is pronounced nowadays doesn't sound much like the Biblical/Shakespearean /ðaʊ/, being more like /ðaː/ or /daː/ (hence the nickname for people from Sheffield, "dee-dahs", from the way they (historically) pronounce "thee" and "thou"). Smurrayinchester (talk) 14:11, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
I don't know whether there are still Quakers in the U.S. who use it, but for a while it was fairly characteristic of them. In The Philadelphia Story Jimmy Stewart's character goes to the library and is asked by the librarian, "What does thee wish?" For more info on current usage, see Wikipedia's article w:Thou. —Angr 14:22, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
My understanding was that Quakers typically, or at least stereotypically, used thee, but not thou. (But I could be mistaken.) —RuakhTALK 15:55, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
True, even in my cinematic example. But then, as Smurrayinchester says, other people use "tha" rather than "thou" too, so maybe no dialects use "thou" per se. —Angr 16:18, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
Yes it's /ðaː/ in my bit of Yorkshire, I don't know anyone I would say thou mind you. Mglovesfun (talk) 21:46, 14 September 2012 (UTC)
I've heard "thoo", but not the exact biblical pronunciation of "thou" in dialect. Dbfirs 07:34, 15 September 2012 (UTC)
Do any dialects that use any form of thou still preserve the -(e)st verb endings? --WikiTiki89 (talk) 09:45, 15 September 2012 (UTC)
Yes, my local dialect (Yorkshire–Cumbria border) retains "doest thou" but in abbreviated form: do'st t'. Dbfirs 20:38, 15 September 2012 (UTC)
Agreed. Do'st th' is pretty much standard in those parts of UK. Can easily be found in any eye dialect book about folks from there, such as James Herriott's books for a start. -- ALGRIF talk 12:02, 16 September 2012 (UTC)
So how would that be pronounced, /dʌstθ/? Also, is -(e)st regularly used in other verbs? --WikiTiki89 (talk) 14:16, 19 September 2012 (UTC)
Well on your last point, and speaking of Herriot, the typical greeting he tended to get was "Mr 'Erriot! How ista this mornin'!" (To which the appropriate Dales response is "Nobbut middlin', lad, nobbut middlin'.") Ƿidsiþ 14:34, 19 September 2012 (UTC)
... and on your first point, the pronunciation /dʌstθ/ might be retained in some regions (though it sounds archaic to me), but is usually shortened to either /dʌs.tə/ or //dʌs.ðaː/ (or maybe /dʌs.θ/) depending on region. I'm not familiar with the Sheffield variant. Dbfirs 09:04, 4 October 2012 (UTC)


This word, possibly a blend of disband and abandon,* is or was clearly in fairly wide use, but what does it mean? I can't find it in any dictionaries, and it's not obvious from the uses what it could be, beyond having something vaguely to do with abandonment or disbanding. Smurrayinchester (talk) 13:15, 14 September 2012 (UTC)

* "This gang is disbandoned!" "No... "dis" what?" "Disbandoned." "Disbanded, do you mean?" "Abandoned?" "Yep, all of those things!" Smurrayinchester (talk) 13:15, 14 September 2012 (UTC)


The definition of this Italian word is recordability. We don't have an entry for that English word, and the definition seems to waver in the Google Books hits; except for the OSHA definition (which may be statuary), the rest seem to be repeated reinventions. Can we get a better definition?--Prosfilaes (talk) 21:34, 14 September 2012 (UTC)


We are missing many of the extended senses, including the famous one used in psychology (see Wikipedia page). Anyone care to help? ---> Tooironic (talk) 01:10, 15 September 2012 (UTC)

meal ticket translations

I was looking for a way to say this in Spanish. I still don't really know the best answer, but I'm pretty sure that primo ain't it. I'm also pretty sure that the Italian entries aren't correct either. Would someone(s) care to check out the translations in this entry? Cheers. -- ALGRIF talk 09:30, 15 September 2012 (UTC)


I hav two problems here: 1. 2, Simple past tense and past participle of wreak which is wrong per the Oxford Dict. Online (wreak) and M-W (wrought) which only has it as the past tense of work, not wreak. And, 2. then in the usage note it states: In a past tense verbal sense, wrought has come to be used as a past tense of wreak more often than work (it wrought havoc). Yes, but wrought as in "worked" is acceptable here (per the Oxford Dict. Online, wreak)) which states:

The phrase wrought havoc, as in they wrought havoc on the countryside, is an acceptable variant of wreaked havoc. Here, wrought is an archaic past tense of work. It is not, as is sometimes assumed, a past tense of wreak.

For that matter, I think the most of the usage note is more opinionated ... or at least needs to be rewritten. --AnWulf ... Ferþu Hal! (talk) 17:37, 15 September 2012 (UTC)

Yes, it looks like "wreak havoc" has eclipsed the lesser-used "work havoc" in the present tense, probably because both wreak and havoc are starting to disappear except in set phrases. I wonder, though, if the historically-wrong concept of wrought being the past tense of wreak may have taken hold in actual usage, just as pea replaced pease as the singular form for that word. I wonder if there are any uses of wreak that are incompatible with work that we could use to check for wrought vs. wreaked as a past tense of wreak. Chuck Entz (talk) 18:43, 15 September 2012 (UTC)
I did an ngram on wreak havoc and work havoc and was I amazed by that there was so many hits for "work havoc". For many years, it topp'd "wreak havoc". Along with the aforemention'd quote from the Oxford Dict. Online, I found it back'd by M-W:
  • 1994, Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of English Usage[5], 2, revised edition, Merriam Webster, →ISBN, page 966:
    Usage commentators, who seem to be unfamiliar with the work havoc variant, regard wrought simply as an erroneous substitute foe wreaked, they issue stern warnings against its use. It is not an error, ...
I also found sundry byspels of "work havoc" in Google Books. Anway, it all points to that it is not a past tense for wreak. That should be taken off. The rest of the usage note should be rewritten. If I want to write, "Yesterday I wrought the metal before I welded it on the truck", that is grammatically fine; maybe a little odd but likely not to a metal worker.

--AnWulf ... Ferþu Hal! (talk) 19:41, 15 September 2012 (UTC)

Yes, you've given lots of reasons for a prescriptive dictionary to remove the reference to wrought being a past tense of wreak. Too bad we're not a prescriptive dictionary. Chuck Entz (talk) 21:27, 15 September 2012 (UTC)
Oh, the admin been hella prescriptiv on a few of my entries. The thing is, work havoc is also a set phrase so one can't say that wrought is the past tense of wreak from wrought havoc ... that is the past tense of work havoc. Thus, where is the proof that it is a past tense of wreak? Now if someone can show me where it is clearly the past tense of wreak other than with the word havoc, then I'll this go. But right now, this may go to an rfv ... and I don't like RFVs. --AnWulf ... Ferþu Hal! (talk) 20:58, 16 September 2012 (UTC)
I agree with AnWulf about this: is there any evidence that wrought is the past tense of wreak? If the only "evidence" is the ambiguous phrase "wrought havoc", where "work(ed) havoc" is an equally attested alternative form bzw. lemma, it would be conjecture on Wiktionary's part to say "wrought" was also a past tense of "wreak". Merriam-Webster and Dictionary.com both say it is only the past tense of "work". - -sche (discuss) 21:20, 16 September 2012 (UTC)

50 shades of Asturian colors

So, working with Asturian colors. I've been left scratching my head about the colour red. Various sources give it as coloráu[6], roxu[7], bermeyu[8] and encarnáu[9]. I link to the Asturian Language Academy too. It looks like all are red or shades of red, but it's beyond my pay grade. Any tips? -- 21:05, 15 September 2012 (UTC)

As an Asturian speaker, I can help you saying that is usually depends on what you want to say. Now, now must know that, from all words you've used there is une which does not mean "red" actually i.e. "roxu". Even though it might be used for concepts as the Red Army (Exércitu Roxu), the mein reason is because it sounds pretty close to Spanish "Ejército Rojo", but "roxu" actually means two things: readhead or blonde. And it can be used either for people or animals. For instance, for those who are readhead or blonde (such as Xuan Xosé Sánchez Vicente, an Asturian regionalist politician from the 90s), they are usually called "el roxu". But also you find it for those animals which have red fur, such as both Asturian cow races, the "Asturiana de los valles" and "Asturiana de les montañes" are both "vaca roxa".
So that's for the word "roxu", but what about the other three? Well, I must tell you they simply depend on the contest, and I don't really think there is any rule about it. I would say you can normally use any of them as long as you are referring to something merely "red". Now, what I can tell you is a few cases in which we use one or another:
  • Red card e.g. football: la (tarxeta) encarnada
  • Red light (traffic lights): bermeyu/a
  • Red Cross: Cruz Bermeya
  • Red Army: Exércitu Roxu
I personally prefer using "bermeyu", since it was the most common word used in my house, but as I told you this is a very free-use issue. I hope I had helped you —This unsigned comment was added by Iniciati (talkcontribs) at 10:06, 16 September 2012‎.

lemon platt

Only occurs in James Joyce. We define it as "lemon-tasting sweets", which seems like a reasonable guess from the context, but nobody seems to know what kind of sweets. Is it right to have an entry for a Joyce nonce word where the definition can only be vaguely guessed at? Equinox 23:18, 15 September 2012 (UTC)

This isn't an answer to your question, but I've been tagging other such terms used only by one famous author and where the meaning is guesswork with {{context|used only by _}} to emphasize to potentially unaware, non-native readers the unlikelihood of anyone understanding the term should they choose to use it. - -sche (discuss) 21:14, 16 September 2012 (UTC)
  • The OED has a non-Joyce citation: 1965 Amer. N. & Q. III. 117/2 ‘Lemon Platt’, commonly sold as ‘Yellow Man’ at fairs in the North of Ireland,..derives its name..from its flavor. Ƿidsiþ 14:30, 19 September 2012 (UTC)


There is a hidden section at khaki. Could someone clean this entry? Best regards --Yoursmile (talk) 16:13, 16 September 2012 (UTC)

Fixed. Chuck Entz (talk) 16:23, 16 September 2012 (UTC)

Plural of Dutch "bod" 'offer'

This anon edit just showed up on my watchlist. That the gender is masculine and the diminutive is bodje seems entirely plausible to me. That the plural of bod is biedingen (as opposed to, say, bodden), on the other hand, doesn't. Can anyone confirm or deny? —Angr 22:07, 17 September 2012 (UTC)

biedingen is the plural of bieding, boden is the plural of bod. I don't really know how else to say it. Also, the gender is neuter. —CodeCat 22:58, 17 September 2012 (UTC)


The usage note doesn't seem very NPOV and has no citations. Can anyone back this up? --WikiTiki89 (talk) 14:19, 19 September 2012

That the participial form originally lacked the -g is definitely true, the two have distinct etymologies. Whether that is still reflected in a difference in pronunciation I don't know, but it's certainly plausible. —CodeCat 15:35, 19 September 2012 (UTC)
The English upper classes have (stereo)typically retained a tendency to use -in, as in the famous pastimes of "huntin', shootin' and fishin'". This has been defended on occasion as harking back to the original "original" word endings, rather than representing the same g-dropping phenomenon as evidenced in the working classes. It doesn't really make a lot of sense, as the original present participle ending was -ende, so historically speaking, even if you're not dropping a G, you must be dropping a D. I think some British dialects have traditionally kept a slight distinction between the PP and the verbal noun (especially in Scotland), but generally speaking, nowadays, anyone who says "singin'" for "singing" will do so whatever part of speech it's fulfilling. Ƿidsiþ 15:48, 19 September 2012 (UTC)
What about the 60% figure? I would really like a cite for that. --WikiTiki89 (talk) 21:11, 19 September 2012 (UTC)


An anon points out on the talk-page that this can be singular: "a means to an end". —RuakhTALK 14:58, 19 September 2012 (UTC)

Yes it's a bit weird, the OED describes this usage as "plural, with singular concord and sense". Ƿidsiþ 15:12, 19 September 2012 (UTC)
What do they mean exactly? How do we tell a plural from a singular until we know the concord and determiners it permits? Do they just mean that it ends in "s"?
It is not obviously identical to the "resources" sense that we have either. (Is a person, method, or technique a "resource"?) The missing sense is something like "something useful for a desired goal". It seems to be countable, with plural identical to the singular in form. And not just in a means to an end. DCDuring TALK 15:50, 19 September 2012 (UTC)
Re: "Do they just mean that it ends in 's'?": Certainly not. Presumably they mean that, etymologically speaking, singular 'means' is an extended use of the plural of 'mean'.   Re: "And not just in a means to an end": Right. That was just an example. Another example is "a means of blahing" (meaning "a way to blah"). —RuakhTALK 15:59, 19 September 2012 (UTC)
Only before 1800 were there periods when "a mean to an end" was more frequent than "a means to an end", per Google NGrams. Webster 1913 has "In this sense the word is usually employed in the plural form means, and often with a singular attribute or predicate, as if a singular noun.
By this means he had them more at vantage. Bacon.
What other means is left unto us. Shak.
By their concord shall you know them.
Webster also shows the "resources" sense after this, with "Hence". DCDuring TALK 16:04, 19 September 2012 (UTC)

You may light on a husband that hath no beard

There's an abstruse passage in the "Much Ado About Nothing" that I've stumbled upon:

  • BEATRICE. Just, if he send me no husband; for the which blessing I am at him upon my knees every morning and evening. Lord! I could not endure a husband with a beard on his face: I had rather lie in the woollen.
  • LEONATO. You may light on a husband that hath no beard.

Does that mean "to alight", i.e. "to lie on", "to sleep with"? Please enlighten me on this. --CopperKettle (talk) 05:58, 20 September 2012 (UTC)

No, light on just means ‘come upon, discover, end up with’. But there are lots of sexual double-entendres going on in this passage which make it fairly complicated to understand. It's part of a long bit where Beatrice's uncles are teasing her about what kind of man she'll end up with, and she keeps objecting to all their suggestions: here she complains she can't bear their beards, and they say she might find one without a beard (but she goes on to say that a man without a beard would be no better than having a woman). Ƿidsiþ 06:20, 20 September 2012 (UTC)
(We have it at light#Etymology 4 at the moment. If it only takes "on" and "upon", presumably we could have entries for light on and light upon as well.) Smurrayinchester (talk) 10:01, 20 September 2012 (UTC)
Thanks everybody for the answers! --CopperKettle (talk) 14:30, 21 September 2012 (UTC)

teddy (kind of lingerie)

"Why on earth are these called teddies?" someone asked me. I don't know why. Do you? Equinox 20:07, 21 September 2012 (UTC)

The Online Etymology Dictionary doesn't. It just says "meaning 'women's undergarment' ... is recorded from 1924, of unknown origin, perhaps from some fancied resemblance to a teddy bear, a theory that dates to 1929". —Angr 20:57, 21 September 2012 (UTC)

Japanese honorific suffixes in English

Just a note: we have -san in English, but we have -chan, -sama, -sensei only in Japanese (and I suppose there are further honorifics). In fact, practically all Japanese honorifics are now thrivingly present in English, mainly because of the younger generation's large fandom for anime and manga. It can be found particularly often in fan fiction. Obviously they don't really understand the social rules, and just attach the honorifics to be cute and trendy. However, they might well be attestable, even from Usenet alone. Equinox 00:39, 22 September 2012 (UTC)

mouse pad and mouse mat

Is "mouse pad" really US English? In Australia we always say "mouse pad", I've never heard "mouse mat" before. ---> Tooironic (talk) 06:40, 22 September 2012 (UTC)

Yes, mousepad or mouse pad is US English. I’ve never heard of a "mouse mat" either. —Stephen (Talk) 09:08, 22 September 2012 (UTC)
Being marked US doesn't mean a term is necessarily exclusively US. If the term is used in Australia as well, you can add an Australia tag to it. —Angr 11:16, 22 September 2012 (UTC)
But it does tend to indicate that it is not common in UK. Which is contrary to my experience. It should not really carry any tag at all AFAICT. -- ALGRIF talk 13:06, 28 September 2012 (UTC)

good edit?

Is this a worthwhile edit? -- 08:59, 22 September 2012 (UTC)

I think this is the link you want. —Angr 11:19, 22 September 2012 (UTC)

a very large number: billion, nonillion and novemdecillion

I could find no previous discussion of this, though I thought I recalled some. In any case, all three of these have as one definition "a very large number". The billions example sentence--"There were billions of people at the concert"--sort of supports this, but I'd rather just call it hyperbole. The others have cites that don't support it, IMO. Both nonillion and novemdecillion have ‘I then looked into the zatetic forest behind it / And saw a nonillion, no, a novemdecillion of them!’; which makes no sense if they're synonyms. ‘When we say 2 we mean exactly 2, not 2,00001 or 2,0000000000000001 or 2 with a novemdecillion zeroes and then a 1...’ is not using novemdecillion exactly, but I see no reason to interpret it as "a very big number" instead of "1060". "The odds that one of the Cowboys linebacking corps reads this blog is one in... oh, let’s use a really big number... a novemdecillion" doesn't support the definition, as it uses novemdecillion as an example of a very large number, not meaning very large number.--Prosfilaes (talk) 09:41, 23 September 2012 (UTC)

As you know we often insist on lexicalizing various kinds of tropes and features of grammar as they catch someone's fancy. Here some hyperboles have so been memorialized.
But is there any non-hyperbolic use of such terms? I'd bet one could not attest to the meaning, rather than the existence, of such terms. Are there a lot of calculations that use them? Sometimes lawyers write out formulas using words, but there is little call for such large numbers in contracts, legislation, or regulation. What scientist or practical numerate person would use them? The folks who use such words are almost certainly innumerate and have no need for precision in their use of the terms. There may be a partial ordering of such terms that would be attestable, though it may have more to do with the numbers of syllables than the semantics. Don't we have appendices that explain how these are formed or that provide a table of some of them in various languages? DCDuring TALK 14:12, 23 September 2012 (UTC)
Maybe the senses should stay, but with a non-gloss definition along the lines of “Used in hyperbole.”? —RuakhTALK 14:49, 23 September 2012 (UTC)
Maybe even just a usage note? --WikiTiki89 (talk) 14:53, 23 September 2012 (UTC)
Wouldn't we be just a little bit interested in knowing whether they are used and how, ie, what the content of the entry is, before deciding how to present it? DCDuring TALK 16:06, 23 September 2012 (UTC)
A usage note means no citations. A non-gloss definition means that the cites stay, supporting the non-gloss def. I think unsupported usage notes are a step backward.
We already have {{hyperbolic}} used hundreds of times for related instances. DCDuring TALK 09:40, 24 September 2012 (UTC)
A quick Google Books search clearly shows that nonillion can be attested. After ignoring mentions, there's certainly hyperbolic uses (which I haven't used to cite it), but they're dwarfed by the number of actual uses. It's the number of IP6 address, there's the repeated line that "In Hungary during World War II it took 1.4 nonillion pengoes in 1946 to buy what one pengo could purchase a few years earlier", it's an estimate for the number of ice cubes needed to cool down the sun, etc. I get the impression few use it hyperbolically because used normally it needs an explanation (and gets one in most cases of normal use.)--Prosfilaes (talk) 04:07, 24 September 2012 (UTC)

трожь and трожьте

I want to create entries for these terms but I don't know how to classify them. They are exclusively negative imperatives but I don't know if they belong to трогать or some other verb, which perhaps is otherwise obsolete. Perhaps the entries should be не трожь and не трожьте instead since they are only negative. If they do belong to трогать, then should they be included in the conjugation table? --WikiTiki89 (talk) 09:59, 23 September 2012 (UTC)

In fluent speech, they are synonyms of не трогай/не трогайте ,hence they strickly belong to трогать / perhaps used sometimes more emphatically -NEGATIVE IMPERATIVE , you see/;

 in  text they  may  reflex  fluent /concise  speech or  mimicked  use  of  low-end  colloquial

speech. imho, they may stand in entry for трогать, or may be linked трожь >не трогай ( AS RELATED /PARALLEL FORM in entry for трогать ),with qualifier {slightly emphatic}.Sergei Bragin.

Yes, they are просторечие (colloquial) for не трогай(те). Yes, they should be included in the conjugation table, but there really are no provisions for negative imperative. Maybe in трогать under Usage notes. —Stephen (Talk) 04:18, 18 December 2012 (UTC)
One can also use Category:Russian verb forms. I have created трожь (trožʹ) and трожьте (trožʹte). --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 04:54, 18 December 2012 (UTC)
I've added an interesting quote in трожьте (trožʹte). I've always wondered how to properly translate "лезть" (climb) in such sentences (when someone is molesting, harassing) a woman but both words don't really match. --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 05:05, 18 December 2012 (UTC)
For "лезть", I would have said "reach" or "grope", but neither of those really fit quite right in that sentence. The subtleties of Russian are just untranslatable. --WikiTiki89 06:41, 18 December 2012 (UTC)
Sorry,perhaps similar things exist in many languages. I just now ( Merry Christmas and Happy New Year ! ) recall another sample: пускай and пусть. They

indeed mean/indicate the same: Let (it be).

(in Russia) on every street I may  hear it in proportion  50/50.

But in childich speech it is usually пускай ,so may occur in a colloquial speech, and I've never heard it in beautiful song,for example. I just mean , <in a speech/text> they do mean the same thing or action; so if English speaker could see or hear it in every form , she/he can easy find a suitable entry. May be , unusual form>link> common entry

Sorry, and Happy New Year. Sergei Bragin.

knock back & knockback

I've been editing these two. Do Americans also use these words? ---> Tooironic (talk) 12:49, 23 September 2012 (UTC)

The only sense I am sure is used in the US is the drinking sense. "We knocked back a few more beers and drove home." DCDuring TALK 14:26, 23 September 2012 (UTC)
As a gamer, the first sense that pops into my mind is the MMORPG sense of bumping a PC or monster backward when they get hit. ~ Röbin Liönheart (talk) 20:31, 23 September 2012 (UTC)
But that's the literal sense. --WikiTiki89 (talk) 08:17, 24 September 2012 (UTC)
I'm only familiar with meanings two and three (& the SoP meaning, of course). Meaning one sounds odd to me. But I'm a New Zealander. Furius (talk) 10:04, 24 September 2012 (UTC)


I regularly come accross userpges where editors claim they can speak 8 or more laguages. I find this hard to believe because that is rare. Is wiktionary filled with geniuses or are some editors exaggerating their linguistic abilities? Pass a Method (talk) 15:03, 24 September 2012 (UTC)

What kind of people you expect will be drawn towards a multilingual dictionary? I don’t think anyone is exaggerating too much. There’s WF, but in his case it’s outright lying, not exaggeration. — Ungoliant (Falai) 15:37, 24 September 2012 (UTC)
Of course, some people even have a problem with English. SemperBlotto (talk) 15:41, 24 September 2012 (UTC)
Also, the Babel boxes on user pages really only represent the languages the user feels comfortable handling lemmas in at Wiktionary; it doesn't necessarily mean they can fluently carry on a conversation in those languages. For example, my Babel boxes include Old Irish and Modern Irish, but my ability to converse in Modern Irish is highly limited and my ability to converse in Old Irish is nonexistent. —Angr 15:45, 24 September 2012 (UTC)
Yes, this is a general problem with Babel boxes - they say "speak" but most of us just assume that this means "read" and "write". SemperBlotto (talk) 15:48, 24 September 2012 (UTC)
Worse yet, some of them say "contribute" implying that we'll be writing Wiktionary content in those languages. —Angr 16:00, 24 September 2012 (UTC)
The Babel box didn't accommodate fractional (less than 1) levels of attainment when I completed mine. DCDuring TALK 16:43, 24 September 2012 (UTC)
From now on i'm just going to assume that "advanced" means intermediate and "intermediate" means basic. I speak 4 languages but can write in two and have difficulties in one. And people tell me i'm impressive, lol. Pass a Method (talk) 08:32, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
When I was studying linguistics back in the 80's just about every general linguistics class had a questionnaire you filled out on the first day to let the instructor know what the areas of expertise there were among the class. There was one that I still remember, because it was completely different. Dr. Ladefoged's version was (I don't remember the exact wording): "What languages can you ask for a dozen eggs in?" Chuck Entz (talk) 13:26, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
The only languages that I would claim I can actually "speak" are those that I regularly use: Bavarian, my native language (although the dialect I speak is urban and full of Standard German interferences), Standard German (with occasional Bavarian/Upper German regionalisms) and Standard English. My English is supposed to be largely British but ends up sounding like a mix of American and British, I suspect. My written command of English is quite good, I'm sure, even if far from perfect, but my listening comprehension is lacking a lot and whenever I try to talk English it's downright horrible, I'm sure (strong accent, struggling for words and phrases, and awkward, clumsy, halting, even when it comes to grammar, I fear – well, you know what they say about Broken English). I'm much more comfortable reading and writing it, especially when there is no time pressure and I can polish my run-on sentences. I think I manage to sound fairly idiomatic and not too foreigner-like. It's sad that even thorough linguistic training does not give you magical language-mastering skills (although I think that it makes it considerably easier for you to acquire a language when needed), but languages are famously like muscles (or musical instruments, etc.) and require regular training to be good at them; even though I may have studied Italian and also some Spanish, even a bit of Finnish and Russian (not to mention various ancient languages), and do manage to decipher connected texts in various Germanic and Romance languages such as Swedish, French or Portuguese largely by transfer (i. e., by way of similarity to those already studied), I would never claim I can actually usefully read and write any of these, much less understand or speak. I never give much credence to people who claim to "speak" dozens of languages anymore, and am not impressed by those who can speak eight languages but it turns out four of these are Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian and Montenegrin and the rest are Slovenian, Bulgarian, Macedonian and English. :P Show me someone who can lead even simple everyday conversations in Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, Georgian, Tamil, Inuktitut, Korean, Mongolian, Vai and English, and read simple texts in these languages (in the original scripts!) and then I'll be impressed. The combination of divergent lexicon, phonological and grammatical typology, idioms and of course writing systems is going to keep anyone busy. (Hey, I've spared you Tagalog, Navajo, Irish, Skolt Sami, Ancient Egyptian, Hurrian, Klingon and ASL!) --Florian Blaschke (talk) 19:33, 24 October 2012 (UTC)


Missing important sense of treat as "I'll treat sb to a sth". Maybe split defn 6, which is biased towards food and drink? -- 00:51, 26 September 2012 (UTC)

hours counted in 24

We often count hours in units of 24. This might be worth exploring for Wt's sake.

look copulatively, if you dare

Clicking on "copulative" on defn 3, we get directed to a null page. Also, the less astute of users may not understand what copulative means. Both should be more user-friendly.

Yes, good point. I've changed Template:copulative to link to our entry copular verb. The experts might have a better solution. Dbfirs 08:53, 4 October 2012 (UTC)


I found mention of "Shorthand" as a level 3-er. Added by this guy. WTF is it? -- 01:23, 26 September 2012 (UTC)

We have been keeping the Shorthand headings as a monument to ill-conceived, soon-abandoned projects. DCDuring TALK 01:46, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
Worth keeping tho? —This comment was unsigned.
Perhaps they should be moved to usage notes or alt forms? - -sche (discuss) 01:56, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
They are in the next least conspicuous place after anagrams. What could be better? We have any number of non-conforming headers in various other languages, such as the 1,825 Pronunciation n headers, only one of which is in English [[imp.]]. DCDuring TALK 02:32, 26 September 2012 (UTC)


We're missing adj. sense of dream - a dream house, my dream job, a dream date etc.

Sounds like attributive use of the second noun definition: house/job/date of one’s wishes. You can’t say “this house is more dream than that one” even if you desire this house more than that one. — Ungoliant (Falai) 01:38, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
Looks like a non-comparable adj to me —This comment was unsigned.
Almost every sense of almost every every noun can be used attributively. We need more than attributive use of a noun to determine it is worth having an adjective entry. It should behave like an adjective in other ways. See WT:English adjectives. DCDuring TALK 01:54, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
Correct, you cannot really say "This house is dream (adj)" or "This job is very dream (adj)"--that would make it an adjective. Leasnam (talk) 18:46, 2 November 2012 (UTC)
It is a compound, not an adjective. You can tell because of the intonation. "dream house" has the same intonation as "coalmine" but different from "large house". —CodeCat 18:48, 2 November 2012 (UTC)
It's sort of a backwards compound though because it does not mean a house containing dreams, but a house that is dreamed about. --WikiTiki89 18:59, 2 November 2012 (UTC)

fashion-monging - a form of "fashionmonger"?

From "Much Ado..":

...I know them, yea,
 And what they weigh, even to the utmost scruple,
 Scambling, out-facing, fashion-monging boys,
 That lie and cog and flout, deprave and slander...

Does it belong in the fashionmonger ? As an adjective or as an -ing form of a verb? Cheers, --CopperKettle (talk) 12:50, 26 September 2012 (UTC)

Well no, it's a separate word, an adjective. And apparently a nonce-word. Ƿidsiþ 10:41, 28 September 2012 (UTC)


[From my talk page:] Hi there - regarding the usage note you wrote for the Wiktionary entry for "strict": What's the source for saying that "more strict" / "most strict" is most often used outside the UK? I've lived in the US all my life, and I've never heard "more strict", only "stricter". "More strict" sounds very odd to me. All the North American dictionaries I can find give only the -er / -est forms. I think this usage note should be removed unless a reference can be given to back it up. Thanks. Seansinc (talk) 07:09, 26 September 2012 (UTC)

I was greatly relieved to find that someone else had added that remark originally in this edit. I merely moved it this past March from the inflection line to a usage note.
I checked COCA for relative frequency both over the whole corpus and in speech. It shows a bit more than the usual use of "more" and "most" rather than the "-er" and "-est" forms. In speech "more"/"most" were about 10% as common, in writing about 4%. At BNC there were no instances of more and most.
This suggests to me that perhaps some US speakers don't like to pronounce "cter" and "ctest" and avoid it when they have a choice.
Let's take this to WT:TR where some who are more knowledgeable about speech than I can weigh in. DCDuring TALK 14:36, 26 September 2012 (UTC)

Anyone? DCDuring TALK 14:36, 26 September 2012 (UTC)

  • My understanding is that any single-syllable adjective can take -er, -est, and it certainly seems more natural in this case. More/most sound rather strange to me (UK). SemperBlotto (talk) 14:41, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
  • I would guess that it's a style issue, and you might use more strict if you wanted to emphasise the moreness, and otherwise probably use stricter. — Pingkudimmi 15:13, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
What I found curious is that, though the usage note is wrong, there is something behind it. US writers and speakers are noticeably more likely to use the "more"/"most" expressions and more likely to do so in speech. That is what made me think of it as possibly phonetic in origin, associated with a US region perhaps. DCDuring TALK 17:30, 26 September 2012 (UTC)
Just thinking about this quickly, I realized that in my English (New England), out of the words that have their own comparatives and superlatives, there seems to be a set of words that absolutely cannot take more and most. These words include good, bad, fast, big, small (that's what I thought of off the top of my head). Other words can take more and most pretty much interchangeably (possibly depending on emphasis, or other such things). These words include strict, dry, brave. I don't know if there is any pattern to determine which group a word belongs to other than maybe its frequency. A grammar freak is likely to correct you if you use more or most with these words but it is nevertheless common to do so. --WikiTiki89 (talk) 10:55, 27 September 2012 (UTC)


moved from Wiktionary:Requests for verification

What's gender or is it genderless? See User_talk:O_ec#Munique_.28capital.29_has_no_gender_in_Portuguese. --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 08:15, 27 September 2012 (UTC)

Sorry, just to be clear you're disputing the validity of the word Munique which you just created, right? Mglovesfun (talk) 09:53, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
I couldn't find a better way to check some info regarding this word - issue too small for BP, IMHO. Not verifying the existence but the gender of the word. --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 10:02, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
The Tea Room is the place to discuss individual words, isn't it? As for the gender of Munique, Portuguese Wikipedia's article w:pt:Munique uses feminine agreement of adjectives in the phrases "Munique é atravessada pelo rio Isar", "Munique também já foi atingida em sua região por climas intensos", and "Munique está bem ligada às linhas internacionais de trens", so I guess it's feminine. —Angr 10:07, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
Finding out the gender of place-names in Portuguese is difficult, because most of them don’t take articles. For example: “o Reino Unido é belo”, “o Brasil é belo”, “o Paraguai é belo”; and “a Alemanha é bela”, “a Inglaterra é bela”, “a Rússia é bela”; but “Portugal é belo”, “Munique é bela”, “Moscovo é belo”“Moscovo é bela”. Having feminine adjectives doesn’t necessarily mean it’s feminine, because it may be the result of an implied a cidade (“(a cidade de) Munique é atravessada pelo rio Isar”). But in this case, I think it is feminine. — Ungoliant (Falai) 16:40, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
That's a good point. w:pt:Hamburgo and w:pt:Moscovo use feminine adjectives too despite the very masculine-looking -o at the ends of the names. —Angr 17:05, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
If Moscovo and Hamburgo always take feminine adjectives because of an implied "cidade de", doesn't that just mean that they are feminine despite the ending? --WikiTiki89 (talk) 17:37, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
We could do that. {{pt-proper noun}} should also display whether the proper noun takes an article or not. — Ungoliant (Falai) 17:46, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
James Taylor's A Portuguese-English Dictionary has "Munique, Muníquia (f.) Munich." - -sche (discuss) 17:50, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
Does (f.) apply to Muníquia only or to both (Munique and Muníquia)? --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 22:49, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
User:O_ec (native Portuguese speaker) insists the word has no gender when we had a bit of an edit war on Munich (about the Portuguese translation). I have invited him to join the discussion bu he declined. I don't agree that languages with grammatical genders may have "genderless" words. In my opinion, in such languages some words may have multiple genders or gender is unclear, unknown or not YET established (used too seldom or in such contexts where the gender is irrelevant or not clear). So far we don't have any solid evidence for either claim. What should we do? --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 22:47, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
I think we have as much solid evidence as we can get about such a relatively obscure topic: we have a print dictionary which marks it as feminine (Taylor's), pt.Wikt marks it as feminine(!), and Ungoliant (also a native Portuguese speaker) thinks it's feminine. If it doesn't take an article, that may be why O_ec thinks it doesn't have gender. - -sche (discuss) 02:06, 28 September 2012 (UTC)
Thanks. You probably missed my little question about the dictionary - Does (f.) apply to Muníquia only or to both (Munique and Muníquia)? It's not obvious. Ungoliant didn't sound very sure.
I thought I could make an analogy with Russian - obscure or rare foreign words with uncommon endings are hard in terms of determining their gender. However, country, company and river names become feminine, city names become feminine because of the common name gender. Even the same word, which means both country, city and/or river may have various genders depending on the meaning. Russian doesn't have articles but adjectives, verbs in the past tense and pronouns reveal the gender. Does it apply to Portuguese? --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 02:43, 28 September 2012 (UTC)
You’re right, I’m not sure. I’m starting to suspect every city name that doesn’t take an article is feminine, because w:Caçador also takes feminine adjectives despite its etymon being the masculine noun caçador (hunter). — Ungoliant (Falai) 03:01, 28 September 2012 (UTC)
I have removed the -rft, despite some doubts. --Anatoli (обсудить/вклад) 23:27, 1 October 2012 (UTC)


Pursuant to the discussion of #barză here and on my talk page, I blocked Torvalu4 (talkcontribs) for one week. That block has now expired and the user has returned, and Robbie has questioned if Torvalu's recent edits to Spanish and Basque entries check out. While our paucity of Romanian-speakers tempered the previous discussion, I think we have enough Spanish, Basque (and Old Irish) speakers to sort this out. Robbie specifically wondered if it was appropriate to remove the {{unk.}} tag from [[bruja]]. - -sche (discuss) 19:20, 27 September 2012 (UTC)

Removing {{unk.}} from bruja was not appropriate at all. Its etymology is NOT certain. Hispano-Celtic is a possibility, but many others are suggested: Latin bruchus; bruscus (doesn’t mention language, but I assume it’s the same as Italian brusco); Basque buruz. — Ungoliant (Falai) 19:32, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
I removed the unknown bit because it said unknown rather than uncertain, which seems like a contradiction if there are theories. If there are theories, then the origin isn't exactly unknown, and those theories should be mentioned, as opposed to the total absence of info. that was there before. What's the problem? In any case, the current wording doesn't pose a problem at all. Mountain out of a molehill? Torvalu4 (talk) 01:12, 28 September 2012 (UTC)
It is unknown, those theories are only guesses (as evidenced by the fact that there are at least four of them). You could have changed it to uncertain which, I agree, is somewhat more accurate. Certainly more accurate than not saying anything about the fact that it’s an uncertain etymology. No one is questioning the addition of the Hispano-Celtic etymology, it was a good edit. The problem is that in bruja and elsewhere your edits make it seem (whether intentionally or not) that words with theoretical etymologies have a certain etymology. Does the word bruja come from Hispano-Celtic? It’s the most convincing theory I’ve found so far, but implying that we’re sure of it is misleading. — Ungoliant (Falai) 01:36, 28 September 2012 (UTC)
So, to recap, we agree. And removing unknown was apparently appropriate after all. Thank goodness this was brought to the tearoom. Torvalu4 (talk) 02:16, 28 September 2012 (UTC)
No it wasn’t. If you had replaced Unknown with Uncertain it would have been appropriate. But that’s not what you did. — Ungoliant (Falai) 02:21, 28 September 2012 (UTC)
Not only bruja lost its uncertainty. So did terco and vega (no longer akin to Basque, but derived from Old Basque). As said before, I'm not contesting the information added. However, removing ambiguity is peculiar. --Robbie SWE (talk) 10:34, 28 September 2012 (UTC)

arnaut capitalization

If it were an inhabitant of Albania etc., shouldn't it be capitalized? w:Arnauts mentions it in the 1st reference with a capital A in the second ref as does the Free dictionary. --biblbroksдискашн 21:55, 28 September 2012 (UTC)

Since no input for 2 days decided to move it to [[Arnaut]] as well as plural. Will rfd arnaut. --biblbroksдискашн 14:04, 30 September 2012 (UTC)

clutch: two etymologies or one?

Etymonline.com offers separate etymologies for the clutch as "transmission \ clasping fixture etc." and "the set of eggs laid by a single female bird". Traces the latter to "klekken"="to hatch", probably of Scand. descent. Other dictionaries lump both the mechanical and zoological senses under one etymology. Who's to believe? Cheers, --CopperKettle (talk) 02:15, 29 September 2012 (UTC)

MWOnline also has a separate etymology for the eggs. DCDuring TALK 03:53, 29 September 2012 (UTC)
So does American Heritage. What dictionaries lump them together? —Angr 09:30, 29 September 2012 (UTC)
Century Dictionary. --CopperKettle (talk) 10:23, 29 September 2012 (UTC)
And so does the 1913 Webster's. But I would trust new dictionaries to be better informed about etymologies than older ones. —Angr 10:36, 29 September 2012 (UTC)
See also English from Scots cleek; we may also need an entry cleck (to hatch) (Scottish; courtesy Chambers).— Pingkudimmi 10:49, 29 September 2012 (UTC)
  • It's definitely two words; I've split the entry. Ƿidsiþ 08:47, 1 October 2012 (UTC)


I'm wondering if definition #7 of abbreviation ("Reduction to lower terms, as a fraction.") is correct. I've never heard it (I know "reduction"), references don't mention it, and I couldn't find it searching google either. -Fedso TALK 02:23, 29 September 2012 (UTC)

Take a look at abbreviation in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911. Century is very good for dated definitions. They seem slightly more complete than Webster 1913. I keep a browser tab with it. DCDuring TALK 03:59, 29 September 2012 (UTC)
Thank you for the link, definitely a useful new entry in my bookmarks! -Fedso TALK 15:52, 29 September 2012 (UTC)
Although they seem reliable, their standards for inclusion were probably not the same as ours, so RfV may still be appropriate, though it might be tedious to cite the sense. It would seem to need a context and/or a usage tag. I don't see it in MW3. If none of the more complete dictionaries or specialized glossaries have it, perhaps we can say it is obsolete. DCDuring TALK 17:31, 29 September 2012 (UTC)


The senses in the adjective section don't seem very adjective-y to me . . . —RuakhTALK 16:04, 29 September 2012 (UTC)

I have added a sense to the noun pilot (something used for a test or trial), which covers a large portion of the attributive use.
For the noun, the road transport sense "pilot car" would seem to warrant a sense of "guide or escort". I didn't find any use of pilot alone to mean "pilot car". DCDuring TALK 18:48, 29 September 2012 (UTC)