Wiktionary:Tea room/2013/June

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discussion rooms: Tea roomEtym. scr.Info deskBeer parlourGrease pit ← May 2013 · June 2013 · July 2013 → · (current)


That's said "to descend again". But in French redescendre means mainly "to descend after to ascend", the use "to descend a second time" comes really far after this first use. So, this first use (descend after ascend) didn't exist in English or it's an omission ? V!v£ l@ Rosière /Whisper…/ 10:58, 1 June 2013 (UTC)

In English, redescend is a little-used word (not in some dictionaries), and can mean descend again in either sense. Its usage can mean descent following ascent (we would normally say "come back down", "go back down" etc.) Perhaps we should adjust our entry. I'll do that. Dbfirs 06:36, 4 June 2013 (UTC)
Ok thank you for the answer. V!v£ l@ Rosière /Whisper…/ 08:58, 6 June 2013 (UTC)
I suspect many uses are a simple calque of French text; none of the uses I could find on Google Books were clear as to what it means besides "descend".--Prosfilaes (talk) 02:34, 7 June 2013 (UTC)

casting him up

From "Sons and Lovers" : "He hated her as she bent forward and pored over his things. He hated her way of patiently casting him up, as if he were an endless psychological account." - does that come from the mathematical meaning of cast as "to add up" (4) and cast up as "compute"? Just want to be sure. Never met such expression concerning a person. --CopperKettle (talk) 18:06, 1 June 2013 (UTC)

I'm not familiar with it in my idiolect and would view all use as cast + up, up being perhaps an aspect marker or an intensifier. Collins has a sense "(transitive) to bring up as a reproach against a person". But that seems like a derivation from usage of the compute sense as a simile and, in any event, has a different object, ie, "casting up his things against him". DCDuring TALK 18:55, 1 June 2013 (UTC)
Tnanks, DCDuring! --CopperKettle (talk) 01:25, 2 June 2013 (UTC)
Yeah, it just means "adding him up" as though he were a balance-sheet (normally you "cast up" accounts). Ƿidsiþ 08:02, 4 June 2013 (UTC)


We don't have a proper definition of clothing. Someone on Commons quoted Wikipedia (which turns out to have multiple contradictory definitions) and I looked here, but it just loops; clothing says "clothes; apparel for wearing"; clothes says "items of clothing; apparel."; apparel says simply clothing and wear likewise says "To carry or have equipped on or about one's body, as an item of clothing, equipment, decoration, etc." The last helps a little, but still doesn't resolve if hats or shoes or belts are clothing, or if leather and fur items aren't clothing (as the first definition on Wikipedia states).

Interestingly enough, most adult non-learner dictionaries online fall into the same trap, though they usually get garment in their loops.--Prosfilaes (talk) 02:05, 3 June 2013 (UTC)

First attempt at a noncircular definition of clothing: "any of a wide variety of articles, usually made of fabrics, animal hair, animal skin, or some combination thereof, used to cover the human body for warmth, to preserve modesty, or for fashion". All modifications welcome. —Angr 06:40, 3 June 2013 (UTC)
For most folks, hats, belts, shoes, and all garments - whatever the material - are clothing, etymology notwithstanding. There may be definitions from, for example, the garment industry, that exclude leather and fur garments and most headwear, probably because the supply chain and skillsets are quite distinct as often is the retailing.
Accessory and clothing share a fuzzy boundary. On which side do ties and scarves fall? Belts and gloves? Permanently attached jewelry? Diadems? Eyeglasses? What about sports protective gear, like a baseball batting helmet? It's a good thing that normal people don't need precise definitions to use words. Organizations that need to classify (businesses, tax-collectors, labor unions, etc) need more precision, which precision can influence normal usage. DCDuring TALK 11:26, 3 June 2013 (UTC)
I'm adding my proposed definition above to clothing now. Fine-tuning still welcome, of course. —Angr 19:48, 18 June 2013 (UTC)

I cannot find a word that I have only heard, do not know correct spelling ( sisspasate, cyspessate,?)

The word was given to me as a gift (I love words)by someone that I will never see again. Supposedly it means something like "solidified to the point of just starting to obscure light."

This sort of reminds me of the word "precipitate", I think that it also might be a chemistry term? Or maybe occult type term to describe a stage in a manifestation? It was pronounced like( siss-pah-sate),with the middle syllable being the long one. I would love to hear from someone about this word.

Can't find such a word. The closest I can think of is inspissate (thicken, condense, become viscous). Equinox 07:24, 4 June 2013 (UTC)


I think it should be somehow underlined that it is union while repeated before two or more words in affirmating negation (I don't know how to render it). And as particle, 1 and 4 translations seem to me unclear (for first, usage notes needed, I cant replace один in ни один on any other nominative word, but it can be with genitive: вокруг ни души (nobody around), я не потратил ни копейки (I haven't spent a penny). For 4th, nothing is ни[…]что, not ни).

antonym of monopsony

Monopoly is not the antonym of monopsony since it is logically possible for an agent to be both a monopoly (single provider of a good) and a monopsony (single purchaser of a good). I don't know if the word exists, but the proper antonym of monopsony would be polyopsony. —This comment was unsigned.

Antonymy is not a simple relationship. Two words are antonyms more by convention than by logic or physics.
To try to play out the logic, we could say that there are two dimensions of the meaning of monopsony: directionality and number. Focusing on the directionality dimension of the meaning, monopsony and monopoly can be said to antonyms as much as buying and selling can be. As to the number dimension of monopsony, mono- corresponds to "one", which does not have a conventional antonym in the sense of single. In your choice of polyopsony, poly- corresponds to "many". "Many" and "few" are conventionally considered antonyms, but in economics monopoly and oligopsony are considered to have important shared characteristics, principally their unpopularity with buyers, and would not be considered antonyms.
Getting back to convention, reviewing Google books, one can find only 176 reported publications in which polyopsony is used, more or less as you say and another 25 for polypsony, which I find more euphonious. To compare, monopsony and oligopsony each have more than 20,000 hits at Google books. I find it hard to consider polyopsony to be common enough in economic discourse to be considered a "conventional" antonym of monopsony. DCDuring TALK 10:24, 5 June 2013 (UTC)

gotcha journalism

Are you guys aware of the term "gotcha journalism"? Should we include it as a separate term, or add a new definition of gotcha? ---> Tooironic (talk) 08:14, 6 June 2013 (UTC)

What does it mean? — Ungoliant (Falai) 19:17, 6 June 2013 (UTC)
See w:Gotcha journalism. —Angr 20:20, 6 June 2013 (UTC)
Looks idiomatic. — Ungoliant (Falai) 20:41, 6 June 2013 (UTC)

let one's hinterland show

A quote from The Economist: "Sometimes the younger Paul’s populism involves silence. In New Hampshire he did not mention a position disliked by many Republicans: his conditional support for immigration reforms that would give millions a path to citizenship. Sometimes it involves letting his hinterland show. Recent speeches have seen him recite lines from a love poem by Pablo Neruda, verses from T.S. Eliot and lyrics by the 1980s Scottish pop duo, the Proclaimers."

  • Does this mean "providing a glimpse into his soul, his inner world"? --CopperKettle (talk) 11:28, 7 June 2013 (UTC)
    • Sort of. It means the parts of oneself that aren't normally seen. I added a sense to hinterland, which anyone is welcome to tweak. Chuck Entz (talk) 04:14, 8 June 2013 (UTC)
  • Huh, that's not what I would have expected this to mean at all. I imagined someone in a hospital johnny that doesn't close properly in the back. —Angr 09:00, 8 June 2013 (UTC)
    • An image akin to that glimpsed in my head also, but hah.. politicians usually show that kind of hinterland after being elected, not before. (0: --CopperKettle (talk) 09:33, 8 June 2013 (UTC)

all along

all along - it seems that it may mean not only "for the whole length of time" but "for the whole length" in the physical sense. "All along the Watchtower" ; " He and she stood leaning against one another, silent, afraid, their bodies touching all along." (Sons and Lovers chapter 12). --CopperKettle (talk) 03:45, 8 June 2013 (UTC)

Yes, but it's simply all + along, so we don't have it on SOP grounds. Chuck Entz (talk) 04:01, 8 June 2013 (UTC)
Added.​—msh210 (talk) 16:47, 25 June 2013 (UTC)


Definition 1 of logorrhea has a context:medicine template which I am doubtful of. Anyone think it should be kept? RJFJR (talk) 23:05, 9 June 2013 (UTC)

Do you dispute the existence of the medical diagnosis?
If you do not, there are those who think that such labels should be reserved for register and those who think it should be also allowed for terms not restricted to a medical usage context but about a medical topic.
The medical diagnosis, if it exists or has ever existed, would seem to warrant a usage-context restriction. DCDuring TALK 23:34, 9 June 2013 (UTC)
Very, very many terms have the wrong or inappropriate context label. I think that medical conditions, ailments, diseases etc should have the "pathology" context. Particularly misused in the context "chemistry":- about half of the terms should be use a better context - either more specific "organic chemistry", "biochemistry" etc) or should use "organic compound" or "inorganic compound". One day I'll get around to fixing them. SemperBlotto (talk) 07:40, 10 June 2013 (UTC)
There's no RFV in this is there? See the prolog of this page. Mglovesfun (talk) 18:49, 10 June 2013 (UTC)

Definition of catharsis

The definition of Catharsis as a phenomena triggered by Vicarious experiences is inadequate. As a student of Gestalt Therapy and an individual whose most transformational Catharses came about when I had constructed enough supports to process them with no modeling involved. I can testify that Catharsis is (less frequently but more powerfully) experienced in or as realization of a part of self locked off for self protection. This likely involves the same type of phenomena as repressed memory. I "realized one day,while out in a field, that my father had tried to kill me, before I was born . I checked this information with my mother who abashedly confirmed that he gave her quinine to abort me and later pushed her down the stairs seeking the same result. While emotionally presented material sparks emotional reactions more strongly in individuals with similar unresolved feelings, true Catharsis is Internal. Thus I interpret the root Katharos as pure, not from dirt, but from the chaotically configured energy that carries with it a shaming sense of dysfunction or brokenness (conscious or unconscious). Catharsis then brings completion that releases the misconfiguration of energy that is chaotically bound and so impure (dysfunctional), and guilt producing improving function and removing negative feelings.

Post definition note - FYI-

I also did my MA thesis on the "Inter-Generational Transmission of Trauma" and noted similar occurrences in others who were processing material from grand parents they had not even known indicating that trauma or configurations of UN-resolved fear, terror, and other trauma can be passed by one generation to another by emotional posture and other non-verbal communication which has never been fully explored. I suspect that the status of ductless gland excretions is resultant rather than creative of particular types of damage thus limiting the efficacy of psychoactive medications.

Alex R. Anlyan MA--Pndrgn99 (talk) 23:08, 10 June 2013 (UTC)

We have to get our information from reliable sources. Equinox 23:10, 10 June 2013 (UTC)

drill cuttings

By the arguments used to defend many multiword entries, this might be included. Because of the general disinterest in technical matters, no one will apply those arguments to this term. The term does appear in one dictionary at OneLook: McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, 2003. DCDuring TALK 10:22, 11 June 2013 (UTC)
Thank you, DCDuring! --CopperKettle (talk) 16:34, 11 June 2013 (UTC)


Something's off with the example paragraph: "Two significant activities which to contribute to community projects, such as wikipedia, are to refactor complicated articles into simpler ones, or refactor duplicated content into reusable templates." "...which to contribute to..."? Was it supposed to be "...which contribute to..."?


I'm just not seeing a difference between the two adjectival senses. Are there two different adjective meanings, and if so, can we provide (a) clearer distinction in the definitions, and (b) clear quotations to differentiate them? --EncycloPetey (talk) 03:41, 13 June 2013 (UTC)


This seem like a misleading entry without some kind of usage tag. I would consider it a misspelling if I ran across it in something contemporary. According to GloWBE (new Brigham Young corpus of 1.8B words of global web-based English), this occurs less than 2% as often as every + way. Above-average use occurs in New Guinea and Tanzania! COHA shows it to have been more frequent in the US in the 19th century than lately. At OneLook, Wordnik carries our entry and Collins and RHU have it (without comment).

What is the right kind of label for this to be helpful for someone trying to actually write useful English? Should we just refer folks to other sources or not offer any help at all? DCDuring TALK 12:41, 13 June 2013 (UTC)

I take some comfort from the fact that at least we don't use everyway in the definiens. If we are going to keep such entries and have translations, how can we suggest that "everyway" is inferior to "every way" in writing? DCDuring TALK 12:44, 13 June 2013 (UTC)
Lots of ways: {{proscribed}}, {{nonstandard}}, {{misspelling of}}, take your pick. —Angr 15:45, 13 June 2013 (UTC)
It seems to me to have had more currency/validity in the past, but not to be obsolete, archaic, or dated. Is it an alternative spelling in PNG and Tanzania, but nonstandard elsewhere? Our effort to have all words terms in all languages dialects seems to be leading us to try to be all things to all people and, hence, jack of all trades and master of none.
Perhaps the best things for us to give up are the lingering vestiges of prescriptivism, like {{non-standard}} and {{proscribed}}. We are not well suited to the task. We do not have access to the information required to make valid assessments (lack of data or copyright being in the way), nor standards for using the information that is available in a way comprehensible to us, let alone normal humans, and let alone that meets scholarly standards. In any event, it takes a better man than I to reconcile all this. DCDuring TALK 16:11, 13 June 2013 (UTC)
I think I'd just regard it as {{dated}}. The OED has cites from 1828 and 1878 (Carlyle and Browning) (with everyways being marked as obsolete, and everywayness having only one cite). Carlyle also used everywhen, but it doesn't seem to have much other usage. Dbfirs 20:57, 13 June 2013 (UTC)
We have at least as much information on whether a word is non-standard or proscribed as we do on say pronunciation. In some cases proscribed is easy; find some page on the web ranting about it, or check Strunk and White or Eats, Shoots, Leaves. Just as importantly people who use our dictionary frequently want to know if a word is the best choice for their writing (I know that's frequently my goal when looking something up); whether it's standard or not is an important part of that.--Prosfilaes (talk) 20:36, 16 June 2013 (UTC)
"We have at least as much information on whether a word is non-standard or proscribed as we do on say pronunciation"
I believe that to be false in the case of English. There are numerous online dictionaries that provide pronunciations for almost all words commonly used in speech, all of which are in near agreement, allowing for regional differences.
In contrast, there are relatively few usage guides that cover more than a relatively modest number of terms. For example, Garner's Modern American Usage (2009) is among the most comprehensive. In its 876 pages it rarely covers more than 10 words on a page and often covers topics in grammar and rhetoric at much greater length than its coverage of individual terms. I estimate it to cover between 5,000 and 10,000 terms, offering five grades of acceptability, the only source that does so AFAIK. We could not simply copy their ratings without it being obvious that we had done so. If we did so systematically, it would risk being a copyright violation.
Garner's far exceeds works like Eats, Shoots and Leaves in its coverage, which I estimate to cover far fewer than 1,000 terms. Strunk and White (4th) covers perhaps 250 terms. Comprehensive usage dictionaries are not frequently published. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary of English Usage (1989) was the most comprehensive previous American usage, covering perhaps 5,000 terms, rarely judgmentally.
I have not examined overlap, but I suspect that there many, many terms with at most one resource providing coverage, rarely as simple as saying that a given Wiktionary definition of a term is to be "proscribed". Thus, I find it hard to see how we can find multiple sources to make it possible for us to produce a reasonably objective, comprehensive guide to usage.
Of course, others may disagree and, more constructively, someone could prove my judgment wrong by simply doing it in a way that contributing users find acceptable. DCDuring TALK 22:09, 16 June 2013 (UTC)

freezing cold

Soo...I just edited freezing cold to categorise it as an adjective. It seems to be uncomparable but I searched b.g.c. to confirm. Consequently, I found something else of possible interest; it seems to also have a noun sense...see this search google books:"more freezing cold". I included more because as I said I was initially confirming the adjective is uncomparable. User: PalkiaX50 talk to meh 16:31, 13 June 2013 (UTC)

I’m seeing a few cites for comparative and superlative among the noun hits though. — Ungoliant (Falai) 16:38, 13 June 2013 (UTC)
I added the noun sense before I noticed this discussion. I suppose that speaks for its existence in some non-official way? —CodeCat 17:18, 13 June 2013 (UTC)
freezing cold can be a nominal or an adjectival, but either way it's just an SoP collocation, cluttering up Wiktionary as if it were an idiom. In contrast piping hot is an idiom, IMO, because piping/pipe#Verb is archaic/poetic in the relevant sense. DCDuring TALK 17:27, 13 June 2013 (UTC)


destroyed town on Chios. When? Why? What happened? —This unsigned comment was added by N. Scott Catledge (talkcontribs).

This is a dictionary, not a repository of all knowledge. We don't even have an entry for it, so what prompted you to come here? Chuck Entz (talk) 01:38, 14 June 2013 (UTC)
Original poster should probably ask at w:Talk:Chios or w:Wikipedia:Reference desk/Humanities (or just Google around). (Note that the only mention of Anavatos in the English Wikipedia seems to be at w:Chios#West coast, although this doesn't answer the question.) - dcljr (talk) 01:45, 14 June 2013 (UTC)
Curiosity trumps my better judgment again: See this link. DCDuring TALK 02:20, 14 June 2013 (UTC)


I just created re-form after noting a redlink at re-#Derived terms. I included the usage note:

In modern usage, the hyphenated form of this word is usually reserved for the sense of "to form again" rather than the other senses of reform.

(I place a copy here in case someone wants to remove it from the entry entirely.) Apart from the awkward phrasing, does anyone object to the purported fact itself? It seems right to me, although I have no actual evidence. Would anyone like to actually research this? - dcljr (talk) 02:06, 14 June 2013 (UTC)

Take a look at how other dictionaries cover the term via the OneLook link at re-form. MWOnline doesn't seem to find it worth covering, but many others do. DCDuring TALK 02:23, 14 June 2013 (UTC)
No need for further research; the OED does exactly what you have done, with the last cite for reform in anything like the modern re-form sense being 1672. I would be inclined to mark the "alternative spelling" as dated or obsolete, but someone might prove me wrong because there will be some modern writer somewhere who hasn't made the distinction. We need also to note the difference in pronunciation. Personally, I side with the OED in regarding these as different words, not alternative spellings. Dbfirs 16:51, 14 June 2013 (UTC)

"(much) given to"

We don't seem to have a meaning at given or give corresponding to the now rather old-fashioned meaning found in our usage example at crabling and in our definition of poodlefaker:

  • The juvenile members of most of our seaside communities are much given to crab-fishing...
  • A young man too much given to tea parties and ladies' society generally

It seems to mean 'addicted to' (in the nontechnical sense) or 'fond of' or something like that. I'm not sure whether we're missing a definition of give or of given or if given to needs to be its own entry. —Angr 15:35, 14 June 2013 (UTC)

If it comes to that, we're also missing the more old-fashioned sense of addicted which merely implies a great fondness for something considered improper, rather than physical or psychological dependence. Usage examples from Wikisource can be found here, here, here, here, and here. —Angr 15:48, 14 June 2013 (UTC)

As to given to, perhaps it could be a redirect to the right sense of given#Adjective, which might be something like:
(with to) Prone, disposed. DCDuring TALK 16:22, 14 June 2013 (UTC)
I added the sense and another one, split one of the previous senses, and provided three usexes, all of which could stand improvement. Also, can anyone give usage example for the senses showing as 1 and 2. I'm not getting them. Perhaps rewording would help, too. DCDuring TALK 16:38, 14 June 2013 (UTC)


The fourth listed meaning of the conjunction "when" is described as "at a time in the past". Is this really confined to the past? Wouldn't it be the exact same "when" in "It will be raining when I come tomorrow" as in the example given, "It was raining when I came yesterday"?

Also, something might be needed on the usage of "when" in chess literature. A chess author writing about the Queen's Gambit Declined might well write something like

If Black makes no attempt to defend the pawn, White normally plays 3.cxd5, when 3...Qxd5 simply loses time to the natural development move 4.Nc3.

or, if writing about the Poisoned Pawn Variation, perhaps something like

This sharp variation begins 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Qb6, when White must decide whether to sacrifice the b2 pawn for piece activity, or protect it with 8.Nb3.

(Both examples made up, but similar things abound.) I can't see how this usage falls under any of the described meanings. It clearly means "at which time" or "at which point", although often perhaps "and now" would be a more natural replacement. 12:20, 15 June 2013 (UTC)

What might be behind the definition is some intuition about the asymmetry between past and future in terms of definiteness. In the past something happened at a definite time. Future events may not happen and may not happen at the particular time the speaker has in mind.
I am not sure whether that intuition can be accommodated in definitions without causing users (like you!) to question the definition.
Comparing our 3 good definitions with MWOnline's 7 for the conjunction, I'd say the section is ready for a cleanup and expansion. DCDuring TALK 14:47, 15 June 2013 (UTC)
BTW, the definition "at some time in the past" is not "substitutable" as written, usually a bad sign, unless the definition is explicitly worded as a "non-gloss definition". In the usage example, substitution into "It was raining when I came yesterday" leads to "It was raining at some time in the past I came yesterday.", which is non-grammatical. The definition given is one appropriate for an adverb not a conjunction. DCDuring TALK 14:53, 15 June 2013 (UTC)
The "chess" sense is not restricted to chess. As you say, it can be worded substitutably as "at which time/point". I don't see a definition covering that at MWOnline. DCDuring TALK 14:58, 15 June 2013 (UTC)
You don't? I just checked MWOnline and definition 2a is "at or during which time". —Angr 20:06, 15 June 2013 (UTC)

from time to time (legal use)

Hi! Reading a translators' forum, struck upon a discussion of a quaint legalistic use of "from time to time", like in:

  • "..and references to “USD” or “US Dollar” are to the lawful currency of the United States of America, from time to time." etc..
  • also google "from time to time outstanding".
  • Here the legal aspects of the phrase are addressed in English; I quote:

"A second use of from time to time serves to clarify that the subject referred to may change after the agreement enters into force:


  • If Supplier desires to amend the Statement of Work, it shall notify Customer of all proposed amendments in accordance with Customer's engineering change (EC) procedure from time to time.
  • Chairman means the chairman of the Non-Executive Board from time to time."

The examples bring aspects that may influence the object that is modified by the phrase from time to time outside the immediate scope of the provision. How and when the Chairman is appointed should be addressed elsewhere; it is clear who is referred to. Similarly, although a change in the engineering change procedure might well affect the possibility of amending the Statement of Work (or even render such amendment illusory), such change is outside the scope of this amendment provision."

--CopperKettle (talk) 06:10, 16 June 2013 (UTC)

I read this in the opposite way, bringing future changes in the identity of the chairman, and future changes in the EC procedure, within the provision of the amendment procedure. Thus "from time to time" implies "incorporating any change in the last-mentioned person or procedure". Dbfirs 08:54, 16 June 2013 (UTC)
I believe these are separate examples they provide (the authors of the book that I've given URL to); the "procedure" clause does not relate to the "Chairman". So I've reformatted the sentences, separating them. Anyway, I wonder how one would go adding this meaning to the "from time to time" article; I barely can grasp the use of the term.. phrasing a definition for this would be a hard needle to thread. --CopperKettle (talk) 15:34, 16 June 2013 (UTC)
Yes, it's not easy to explain. Perhaps something along the lines of "as may exist at some time in the future"? Dbfirs 15:49, 16 June 2013 (UTC)
I don't really think the legal use is very distinct from the normal idiomatic use of the expression. I think it could be glossed as "occasionally", "on occasion", or "at intervals" for irregular or unspecified intervals, "periodically" for regular intervals). The idea is there are events that change the state of affairs, rather than that the state of affairs changes gradually. One could take a look at from time to time at OneLook Dictionary Search to see how others handle it. DCDuring TALK 18:00, 16 June 2013 (UTC)
Looking a google books for uses in a legal context, it seems that the phrase is used to achieve a specific kind of result and may be applied in ways that do not fit the expected syntax/semantics of the general expression. Perhaps a non-gloss definition would more accurately reflect the reality of the usage. "Used to make clear that a clause or provision applies even under certain changes in specified conditions, such as the individual holding an office or position, or a law or contract as amended." That's a little long, so separating out the usage examples would improve it. DCDuring TALK 18:18, 16 June 2013 (UTC)

I've made a stab at it, adding # {{rfquote-sense}} {{context|legal|lang=en}} In whatever status exists at various times.{{attention|en|topic=law|definition may need improved wording}}.​—msh210 (talk) 16:41, 25 June 2013 (UTC)


Consistency? It seems odd to me that the text describes these as "baked" and the photo is of doughnuts/dognuts which are deep-fried, aren´t they?

  • Yes. I have replaced the image with another one randomly selected from the many on Commons. SemperBlotto (talk) 10:01, 17 June 2013 (UTC)


Does anyone have a quotation using the word "disambiguate" (or one of its inflected forms) predating its use among Wikipedians? I heard it used on radio this morning in the context of a debate about the elimination of the apostrophe. I have heard it suggested in the past that this was a Wikipedia invented word, and it certainly has been a useful and effective word in the Wikimedia projects. How much has this word's usage in other places been influenced by Wikimedia practice? Eclecticology (talk) 19:13, 17 June 2013 (UTC)

  • The OED has the following:- "1963 Language 39 175 A speaker can disambiguate parts of a sentence in terms of other parts.
    1967 Language 43 619 When necessary, the Greek spelling is disambiguated by an appended phonetic transcription." - Language would appear to be a journal. SemperBlotto (talk) 19:19, 17 June 2013 (UTC)
  • I've added a citations page from a quick Google book search. SemperBlotto (talk) 19:28, 17 June 2013 (UTC)
    • Um, yes. Language is probably the best known linguistics journal in the United States. Certainly disambiguate has existed in linguistic jargon since long before Wikipedia. —Angr 19:33, 17 June 2013 (UTC)
This Google Books search for uses before 1960 yielded only two no-preview hits. But one is from Ogden and Richards' The Meaning of Meaning, which might remind someone of where those authors used it (if indeed they did). The other work seems a bit less likely to have been read by someone here. How far back do on-line databases of language scholarship go? I don't have access to one. DCDuring TALK 20:26, 17 June 2013 (UTC)
  • I have a sneaking suspicion that disambiguate is more recent than the noun disambiguation; if so, the etymology should probably be changed to {{back-form|disambiguation}}. —Angr 21:18, 17 June 2013 (UTC)
    Indeed, I have a citation from Bentham's Logic. 1827 for disambiguation, which I will add there. I didn't find a French precursor for disambiguation in Robert. DCDuring TALK 21:47, 17 June 2013 (UTC)
    The Bentham is apparently George Bentham, nephew of Jeremy, with the work, apparently published when George was 27, partially based on papers left by uncle Jeremy. DCDuring TALK 22:10, 17 June 2013 (UTC)


A cranse iron is a fitting on the end of a bowsprit of a traditional sailing yacht or larger sailing vessel —This unsigned comment was added by (talk)..

Thanks. Cranse iron added. Feel free to further edit it. — Ungoliant (Falai) 23:52, 17 June 2013 (UTC)


Our entry boondocks classifies this noun as plural only but makes no mention of the singular boondock, which also exists and has the same origin (Tagalog, interestingly). I suppose it could be said that boondock and boondocks are two separate lexemes with slightly different meanings and do not form a paradigm, in the way that the meaning of boondocks could be simply derived by imagining the plural of boondock (it's rather the reverse: boondock seems to refer to a larger region, boondocks to a smaller place, though in practice they are probably largely synonymous), although boondock does give boondocks as the respective plural. Another point is that perhaps most speakers who use boondocks (the much more widely known lexeme according to my impression) do not have boondock in their active lexicon and may not even be aware that it also exists in English. Perhaps boondocks is plural only simply by virtue of the obscurity of the singular (in fact, most people may never have encountered the word outside the idiomatic expression out in the boondocks, and can derive its meaning as a stand-alone lexeme only from the phrase)? So you could say that the noun is a plurale tantum only on the level of an individual speaker's idiolect (or may exist merely in fossilised form as part of an idiom), but not contemporary Standard (American?) English in general. In any case, the situation is awkward. How to solve it best? --Florian Blaschke (talk) 17:39, 18 June 2013 (UTC)

I would label it chiefly plural or chiefly in plural. In English, everything has exceptions. There are probably many nouns that could be labelled with the seemingly contradictory “uncountable; plural ---s”. Michael Z. 2013-06-18 17:52 z
Good idea, and good point too; it's not only that way in English, but, for example, in German, for most singularia tantum and pluralia tantum you can easily find attestations defying this classification, although they tend to strike the average speaker as unusual sounding. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 17:56, 18 June 2013 (UTC)
Do we have a "chiefly plural" template? Or how would you go about adding such a remark? --Florian Blaschke (talk) 17:59, 18 June 2013 (UTC)
Use this: {{context|chiefly|_|in the plural}}. For general instructions, see {{context}}Michael Z. 2013-06-21 19:15 z
Cool, thanks! But how and where do I properly mention the singular in such a case? --Florian Blaschke (talk) 22:12, 23 June 2013 (UTC)
Okay, also a good question. Normally everything goes in the singular-form entry, and the plural is only a brief “form-of” entry referring to that. There might be a good case to make boondocks a fuller entry, but I will give a try to reorganizing this the usual way. Michael Z. 2013-06-23 23:18 z
I have consolidated the entry at its lemma boondock. How does that look? Michael Z. 2013-06-23 23:29 z
Looks fine to me. No relevant information has been lost, as far as I can tell. (In fact, "rural location or town" seemed redundant if not simply wrong anyway, as this expression does not seem to refer to towns specifically, just locations in general.) Thank you! --Florian Blaschke (talk) 21:00, 24 June 2013 (UTC)



I'm not feeling the difference between sense 1 ("the shore of a body of water, especially when sandy or pebbly") and sense 2 ("a horizontal strip of land, usually sandy, adjoining water"). —Angr 23:14, 20 June 2013 (UTC)

Maybe there's a pill for that. ;-|} DCDuring TALK 23:54, 20 June 2013 (UTC)
Other dictionaries make various kinds of distinctions, differing from ours. Are ponds without significant wave action (hence, mud not sand or pebbles) said to have beaches? If someone says they are "going to the beach", but stay on the boardwalk, are they mistaken? Collins has a definition that refers to the strip between high- and low-water marks.
AHD has:
  1. "The shore of a body of water, especially when sandy or pebbly.
  2. The sand or pebbles on a shore.
  3. The zone above the water line at a shore of a body of water, marked by an accumulation of sand, stone, or gravel that has been deposited by the tide or waves."
People clearly use the word differently. I don't know how many senses we would need to capture all the various kinds of metonymy, let alone the missing figurative sense: "a place or state of idleness or unemployment" The associate was on the beach between assignments more than most. DCDuring TALK 00:14, 21 June 2013 (UTC)

Typography measurement en

Wiktionary has an entry for the typography measurement em, but none for en; that's odd.

  • Yes, we do. It's Etymology 2, sense 2 of en. —Angr 15:35, 22 June 2013 (UTC)

face that would stop a clock

faces that would stop a clock is the most attested plural, but there are two valid google hits for faces that would stop clocks. Can anyone find one more to fulfil the attestation requirement? Hyarmendacil (talk) 04:58, 23 June 2013 (UTC)

Wouldn’t that be the plural of face that would stop clocks? — Ungoliant (Falai)
Not necessarily, although that is also attested. Compare the nuanced plurals of e.g. deus ex machina (the rarest of which I've just moved out of the headword line and into the usage note). - -sche (discuss) 13:04, 23 June 2013 (UTC)

Variation on Workcation

A suggested, and somewhat opposite meaning for workcation would be. A pseudo vacation during which one travels to restful places, but remains connected to and continues to engage in work related activities.

We go by usage. Do people already use the term with that meaning, or are you just suggesting it because it seems like a good idea? If the second is true we can't include the sense until the first is also true. See WT:CFI. Chuck Entz (talk) 22:27, 23 June 2013 (UTC)


It seems we have no entry for the English noun kugelblitz as in w:Kugelblitz (astrophysics). What's its plural? Perhaps kugelblitzes, according to the regular English pattern? Or kugelblitze, as in German? In contrast, kugelblitzen as in w:Orders of magnitude (temperature) doesn't seem right. Except as a jocular form like boxen or fen, analogical to the few remaining irregular (old consonant-stem) plurals in English, or perhaps as a dative plural (of) kugelblitzen (like von Kugelblitzen), which makes even less sense in an English context. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 22:21, 23 June 2013 (UTC)

None of the above is common, but kugelblitzes is the only plural that shows up in English in Google Books or Google Groups, as far as I can tell. Chuck Entz (talk) 22:46, 23 June 2013 (UTC)

Khmer translation

I need "proud to be Khmer" in Khmer transcript please!

Please post this at WT:TRREQ. Chuck Entz (talk) 00:48, 24 June 2013 (UTC)

A Riot

We don't seem to have anything for (someone) (is/are/etc.) a riot, in other words, extremely funny or amusing. Should this be a sense under riot, an entry as "a riot", or an entry as "be a riot"? I'm leaning toward the second, since it's always singular, regardless of the referent, and because I can imagine saying that someone who has improved their sense of humor has "become a riot". Also, what's the part of speech? It looks adjectivish, but good arguments can be made for noun or stative verb, depending on the construction. Chuck Entz (talk) 13:27, 24 June 2013 (UTC)

It’s a sense of riot#Noun. Perhaps it should be marked {{context|figurative}}. If the usage is always in the singular, mark it {{context|in the singular}}Michael Z. 2013-06-24 18:35 z
Our entry for riot#Noun has but three senses. MWOnline has seven senses and subsenses. We lack the figurative sense used in "riot of color". Our definition of the public disturbance sense looks excessively legalistic.
Could we use a YouTube link to Jackie Gleason, The Honeymooners for the sense Chuck has identified as missing? I don't think the meaning is well conveyed by a simple quote, though, perhaps one or two lines of preceding dialog is enough. BTW, "You're a riot, Alice" gets 26 hits at Google Books, many of them explicitly referencing the show. DCDuring TALK 19:53, 24 June 2013 (UTC)

referencable -> referenceable

Coming from the community of the software project Drupal, I have a quite urgent question on the (mis)spelling of referencable, which in Wiktionary is stated to be an alternative spelling of referenceable. While Google shows a number of hits, particularly in other software projects, there seems to be evidence from English grammar, the spelling of similar adjectives and just common sense that this is instead a plain misspelling that shouldn't be further proliferated.

The question is quite urgent because Drupal will be on code freeze by Juli 1st, and it won't be possible to change the spelling of classes afterwards, so in order to not further proliferate a plain misspelling, we'd need definitive input until June 30. I filed an Rfv for that but would like to invite you to help out with some input.

Thank you very much! --PanchoS (talk) 12:40, 25 June 2013 (UTC)

Drupal won't include class names that are not in English Wiktionary? This is very curious. I know nothing about Drupal (don't even now what a CMF is), but programming languages include things like esac, elif, and goto. In any event, I think this duplicates the RFV discussion and can be stricken.​—msh210 (talk) 16:32, 25 June 2013 (UTC)
Don't get what's weird about it. Just as school books, software projects of course shouldn't proliferate plain misspellings, especially not in names of subsystems or classes that tend to further propagating the misspelling. And Wiktionary is of course a valid indication of whether this is an acceptable alternative spelling or an unacceptable misspelling. Sorry, if duplicating. --PanchoS (talk) 19:32, 25 June 2013 (UTC)
referenceable is the standard spelling, regardless of whether or not referencable is attested. Just use referenceable. - -sche (discuss) 16:45, 25 June 2013 (UTC)
Yes, the OED allows only the standard spelling, but the OED is conservative in spellings. It's always difficult to decide whether cites are genuine alternative spellings (that the author intended to use) or just an error (or typo) that slipped through the editing process. The other problem is that spelling changes over time. Most of us (older generation) would never think of missing the "e after c" to soften the "c", but if enough people who are not aware of the rule miss out that letter, it will eventually become an alternative spelling, and when the rule is eventually forgotten, "referencable" might become the standard spelling. I estimate that it will take another 100 years for this to happen (if ever). Meanwhile, most dictionaries allow only referenceable. Strangely, my spellcheckers didn't recognise either version (until I added the correct one)! Dbfirs 21:24, 25 June 2013 (UTC)

Clearly, referencable is a mistake, even if it has occurred in three books. (In the second quotation it occurs only once in the book, in the third, the misspelling occurs along with two correct spellings, so the attestation is incomplete, and also lame.) It would be pronounced like referenkable, because the Latin-derived c is hard unless followed by i or e. Michael Z. 2013-06-25 21:59 z

I agree. Unfortunately, Wiktionary has a number of spelling errors purporting to be alternative spellings just because someone has found three examples. In this case, I think the request for verification will clearly fail, but there are others that are borderline. How do we decide? Dbfirs 06:10, 26 June 2013 (UTC)
On the basis of the above discussion and sheer common sense, I'm changing {{alternative spelling of}} to {{misspelling of}}. How do you like them apples?. —Angr 13:47, 26 June 2013 (UTC)
I certainly agree, and so for me that's fine. Beyond common sense and all it might be worth defining not just criteria for inclusion, but also some concise criteria for discrimination between alternative spellings and misspellings. Finally this seems to be a rather clear case, with others being less so. I'm new to Wiktionary, but willing to help. --PanchoS (talk) 19:26, 26 June 2013 (UTC)
I see value in linking to an entry from a common misspelling. But I don’t think we need a list of misspellings to be headed “Alternative forms.” Michael Z. 2013-06-26 20:18 z
Sorry, I guess, you got me totally wrong. I pleaded for a set of criteria used to differentiate what makes a form be considered an "alternative spelling" vs. a mere "misspelling". --PanchoS (talk) 21:08, 26 June 2013 (UTC)
No, I’m sorry – I changed topic. Just saying I would remove the link to referencable from the entry referenceable.
(I've gone ahead and removed that link. I hope that's OK with everyone. Dbfirs 08:02, 27 June 2013 (UTC))
Not sure if it’s helpful, but I guess there are 1,476 examples to look over in Category:English misspellings. What evidence can indicate that a non-standard spelling is actually a misspelling?:
  1. Source uses standard spellings alongside misspellings.
  2. Source corrects a misspelling in a later edition.
  3. Errata, discussion in interviews, published letters of correction, etc.
What else? Michael Z. 2013-06-26 22:51 z
If one starts with an on-line search, the first thing is to exclude scannos or possible citations that don't allow inspection of the scanned image.
Evaluating each citation individually is tedious, but appropriate for hard-to-attest spellings. The harder cases are those for which there are numerous attestable instances some of which won't fail on the grounds you mention. If there are 200 raw cites with preview available, but the other spelling has 5,000 raw cites with preview, and there is no evidence that the less common spelling is relatively common among some user group, and there is no dictionary support, I'd be inclined to call the less common spelling a misspelling. The quantitative criteria matter. DCDuring TALK 23:47, 26 June 2013 (UTC)
I have placed some evidence at WT:RFV#referencable; some discussion takes place there. --Dan Polansky (talk) 10:24, 5 July 2013 (UTC)

anyone can make mistake


Does anyone can make mistake is an idiomaitic expression? Thanks by advance for your answer. Automatik (talk) 22:33, 27 June 2013 (UTC)

If this were Wikiphrasebook, I would vote to include it, but not here in a dictionary. It's meaning is perfectly transparent from its component terms, unless one is too lazy to go through a long dictionary entry such as the one for make#Verb. DCDuring TALK 23:45, 27 June 2013 (UTC)
It is grammatically incorrect as written: you'd need to say make a mistake or make mistakes. Equinox 00:52, 28 June 2013 (UTC)
Also, it's not what you asked about, but, in English, "do" can't be used with be: you would say "Is 'anyone can make a mistake' an idiomatic expression?". I might add that when you use an auxiliary verb like "do", only the auxiliary is inflected- the main verb is in its infinitive form (but without "to" in front of it). Chuck Entz (talk) 02:34, 29 June 2013 (UTC)
Thank you for the correction. Automatik (talk) 13:08, 2 July 2013 (UTC)

Thank you all for the answers! Automatik (talk) 13:08, 2 July 2013 (UTC)

A problem with "自" and"英明" pages

There is no definition in the "自" page and I was looking for the Chinese definition of "英明" but there isn't any.--Leopardfoot (talk) 15:16, 29 June 2013 (UTC)

Hello and welcome to Wiktionary. When mentioning pages, you should link to them using double brackets: [[自]] (although there seems to be a custom of using quadruple brackets when meaning a page, and not the word it defines), so people do not have to copy and paste the title.
We are a bit short on contributors in Mandarin, unfortunately. Category:Mandarin definitions needed contains almost 25 thousand pages. In the meantime, the definitions in the Translingual sections for the invididual characters will have to suffice. Keφr 15:39, 29 June 2013 (UTC)
英明 means "intelligent" in Mandarin. That's a rough definition: I don't know Mandarin, but I do know Japanese, and their page has an entry for the Mandarin word 英明, and it claims that means the same thing as the adjective 英明 in Japanese (not the give name) which means "intelligent" or "wise." Their page for claims that it means "from" or an affix meaning "on one's own." I hope that helps. --Haplology (talk) 16:37, 29 June 2013 (UTC)
  • It means "wise". I've added it now. Cheers. ---> Tooironic (talk) 01:15, 2 July 2013 (UTC)

other meaning to "come in"?

I've just read this in Harry Potter: "Mrs Dursley had nearly twice the usual amount of neck, which came in very useful as she spent so much of her time craning over garden fences, spying on the neighbours." Can it mean "prove", a meaning that is not mentioned on come in? --Fsojic (talk) 14:49, 30 June 2013 (UTC)

Some new definitions have come in at come in (arrived). Sense 7 would seem to fit the usage. Prove is a certainly a near synonym. Come in seems to work better with less formal complementary adjectives (like handy) than prove, which I would use instead of come on with useful in the sentence from Harry Potter. It may be that prove is better with complementary adjectives that have a clear valence (positive or negative) or where there is a relatively explicit "test".
Thanks for noticing the missing sense and letting us know. Comparison with MW Online, which has seven non-SoP senses (We had three, one of which seems SoP.) should be humbling and concerning to us. DCDuring TALK 15:59, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
We already have come in handy. It seems to me to be a bit more restricted in meaning/usage than the new definition. Chuck Entz (talk) 16:15, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for these explanations! --Fsojic (talk) 16:56, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
@Chuck: Maybe. The synonyms useful, serviceable, and profitable (in that order) are much less common than handy at Google books and news. come in handy is covered in Wordnet and one idioms dictionary at OneLook. come in useful and not come in handy is in Cambridge Advanced Learners. Only the one idioms dictionary covers them both.
I may have confounded this with another sense of come in - not that senses are always as distinct as we make them out to be - "arrive", "emerge from a production process". "The pineapples came in a bit fibrous this year." DCDuring TALK 17:05, 30 June 2013 (UTC)


I have encountered the word "historicals" through the sentence "Historicals throughout the text provide brief biological sketches of such engineering pioneers as...", found in a published textbook, "Fundamentals of Electric Circuits", 4th. ed. There is no noun def. in historical, so is this word a neologism or is a def. missing? Rnabioullin (talk) 20:09, 30 June 2013 (UTC)

Yes, it's evidently been used as a noun. I can find a few texts using "historicals" as shorthand for "historical romances"; there might be other senses too. Equinox 11:46, 2 July 2013 (UTC)