Wiktionary:Tea room/2013/March

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This is an archive page that has been kept for historical purposes. The conversations on this page are no longer live.
discussion rooms: Tea roomEtym. scr.Info deskBeer parlourGrease pit ← February 2013 · March 2013 · April 2013 → · (current)

March 2013

right pronunciation

I see "right" has been given IPA|/ɹaɪ̯t/ as pronunciation. Not IPA|/ɹaɪt/ ?? -- ALGRIF talk 14:23, 1 March 2013 (UTC)

I'm not sure what the /ɪ̯/ is intended to indicate, but it contradicts the three homophones and the rhyme. Dbfirs 16:57, 1 March 2013 (UTC)
It means that it isn't syllabic, so it just emphasizes the fact that it's a falling diphthong and not a rising one. —CodeCat 17:03, 1 March 2013 (UTC)
Thanks. If it were syllabic, there would be a syllable separator wouldn't there? Is there a policy on which IPA symbols to use? I find the basic ones sufficiently confusing for my limited understanding. Dbfirs 09:13, 2 March 2013 (UTC)
I don't know if it's Policy™, but it's certainly a good idea to follow the symbols on Appendix:English pronunciation, making it /ɹaɪt/.
Thanks Angr. I can't find /ɪ̯/ in that article or in any of the linked articles. I can pronounce /ɹaɪt/ with either a falling or (for a question) a rising dipthong, and I've heard it as two syllables (for another variant meaning in the UK), so I support your change back to match the stated rhyme. I think that trying to include every possible variant accent doesn't improve the entry for most users. Dbfirs 08:17, 4 March 2013 (UTC)
I'm not sure you have the right idea about the difference between falling and rising diphthongs: it's not a matter of pitch, per se. A falling diphthong starts with the main vowel part and ends with the semivowel part, while a rising diphthong starts with the semivowel part and ends with the vowel part. English seems not to like rising diphthongs- the only examples I can think of are in other languages. Chuck Entz (talk) 14:44, 4 March 2013 (UTC)
Yes, thanks for the gentle correction. I had misunderstood CodeCat's comment. Dbfirs 20:10, 4 March 2013 (UTC)
Yeah, the only English arguably-single-phoneme rising diphthong that I can think of is /ju/, as in "use", "pure", "few", "mule", etc. —RuakhTALK 15:54, 4 March 2013 (UTC)
I think a good example of the difference is -uo- which is rising /u̯o/ in Italian but falling /uo̯/ in Finnish. —CodeCat 16:58, 4 March 2013 (UTC)

Policy on misspellings?

I have found multiple CFI citations for sabreuer, a misspelling of sabreur. I see that certain notorious misspellings, like supercede, have their own entry, but I assume that in general this is not appropriate. I also found two citations for beau sabreuer. Notably, one citation anglicized the plural of the compound term: beau sabreuers, without the -x. Suggestions? Choor monster (talk) 17:05, 1 March 2013 (UTC)

We have {{misspelling of|example|lang=en}} which yields: Misspelling of example..
What we don't have is an explicit standard for inclusion or exclusion. Mere attestability is not good enough because it is easy to find three examples of many, many misspellings, so that we might have more misspelling entries than entries for the correctly spelled words. A "common" misspelling is presumably:
  1. attestable,
  2. common relative to the correctly spelled term,
  3. common enough in absolute terms to likely to cause users to look the term up, but
  4. not so common as to be considered an alternative form (ie, not an error),
  5. not intentionally produced so as to simulate a dialectal pronunciation, and
  6. not produced by mechanical-type errors, ie, scannos.

How do the facts of this term fit these proto-criteria? DCDuring TALK 17:51, 1 March 2013 (UTC)

What DCDuring said, no policy just one help page; Help:Misspellings. Mglovesfun (talk) 18:02, 1 March 2013 (UTC)
Thanks, but the Help page is mostly for what to do when the misspelling has an entry (like calender) because the misspelling actually means something, in English or some other language. I'm assuming adding a new entry is not appropriate here, as misspellings are everywhere, but this example does have linguistic issues. (OK, maybe all misspellings have linguistic issues.) The ending -eur has been anglicized: see talk page for four misspelled citations, two with -euer and two with -uer. I note that some words don't bother mentioning their common misspellings (eg, misspelling, while some give a Usage note calendar. Is a "Usage note: Some authors have anglicized the spelling as sabruer or sabreuer." helpful or presumptuous? Should I just delete these citations? Choor monster (talk) 19:44, 1 March 2013 (UTC)


Hi! What's means the word "turn-taking" please? V!v£ l@ Rosière /Whisper…/ 00:20, 2 March 2013 (UTC)

It is about the same as take turns/taking turns. DCDuring TALK 00:25, 2 March 2013 (UTC)
Turn-taking can be used "attributively", like an adjective: Under Malaysia's turn-taking political tradition, whoever wins the post will be next in line for the nation's top job as head of the ruling coalition
Turn-taking as a countable noun seems to mostly be used in social science discussion of dialog, referring to the alternation of speaking from one participant to the other.
One can also find taking of turns. DCDuring TALK 01:13, 2 March 2013 (UTC)
Thank you very much it's was the 2nd definition I looked for. V!v£ l@ Rosière /Whisper…/ 03:31, 2 March 2013 (UTC)


  • Surely uncountable?
  • I have expanded the gloss (adequate > more than adequate), which surely suffered from English understatement? — Saltmarshαπάντηση 07:28, 2 March 2013 (UTC)
One can find instances of both countable and uncountable use of the noun. Neither is common and both seem "literary". I agree that plenty is not synonymous with adequate or enough. It denotes more. Perhaps the contributor was focused on the use of the word in circumstances where polite hospitality requires that an invitee be reassured that, magically, his consumption does not deprive anyone else of anything. I don't think that this is a feature of the lexical meaning of the term.
I have RfDed the pronoun, which seems redundant to the noun. DCDuring TALK 12:24, 2 March 2013 (UTC)

gek op, dol op

These both mean "crazy about". I'm not really sure what part of speech they should have, though. dol op is currently marked as an adjective, but it doesn't really seem like an adjective because it can't stand on its own. It has to modify something else, just like "crazy about" does. On the other hand, a phrase consisting of "dol op" and a noun is an adjective phrase, so it seems like this is kind of an incomplete adjective phrase, kind of like how prepositions are incomplete adverbial phrases. Is there such a thing as a prepositional adjective? —CodeCat 15:09, 2 March 2013 (UTC)

It's just an adjective plus a preposition as dol can stand on its own (I presume?). I'd probably mark it as a phrase? JamesjiaoTC 20:27, 2 March 2013 (UTC)
Yes, they are composed of an adjective, combined with a prepositional phrase. However, it's not "gek" or "dol" by themselves that are idiomatic in this case, but the whole phrase "gek/dol op (something)". —CodeCat 20:31, 2 March 2013 (UTC)
This reminds me of verbs with a "semi-fix" preposition, like "denken aan", "kijken naar", and phrases like "woedend zijn op iemand", "gesteld zijn op iets of iemand". I would say that "gek", "dol", "verzot" (and whatever) are adjectives, and they require a certain preposition in order to function correctly. This could be mentioned in the usage notes or in the usage examples. The whole phrase would be "dol zijn op" (etc) because the verb "zijn" seems to be required. --MaEr (talk) 12:15, 3 March 2013 (UTC)
Except that it's not required. Any copula will do: zij blijft nog altijd gek op haar "she remains, as always, crazy about her". That is what makes this an adjectival phrase and not just a verb combined with some extra words. Syntactically, a phrase like is gek op chocolade would be parsed like (is (gek (op chocolade))) or like ((is gek) (op chocolade)), but not (is (gek op (chocolade))), so "op" is more like a preposition than something that belongs to "gek". The same applies to "denken aan" and "kijken naar", but those are verb+adverb combinations rather than copula+adjective. English has plenty of cases like this too... crazy about itself is, but we don't have an entry for that. We do have think about and look at, but we lack fond of and angry with. Yet I don't think that anyone would doubt that the chosen preposition in cases like these is more or less fixed, or else it's chosen from only a limited amount of possibilities. So it is certainly idiomatic to some degree. —CodeCat 19:56, 3 March 2013 (UTC)


Whats the antonym of moral high ground ? Pass a Method (talk) 19:00, 2 March 2013 (UTC)

Moral low ground [1]. Equinox 19:02, 2 March 2013 (UTC)
Cesspool of iniquity, mire of corruption, lowest comon denominator, legislature. DCDuring TALK 19:58, 2 March 2013 (UTC)
legislature is not an antonym of moral high ground. Pass a Method (talk) 11:30, 3 March 2013 (UTC)
You obviously haven't hung around too many legislatures.​—msh210 (talk) 05:52, 4 March 2013 (UTC)

Adjective meaning "caused by a reflex"

Is there an adjective in English that means "caused by a reflex"? For example, when you jerk your hand away from a hot stove, it happens automatically, that action is .... I thought it would be reflexive, but that entry doesn't have any definition like that. —CodeCat 20:07, 2 March 2013 (UTC)

It's "reflexive", our entry is just missing both the literal (a reflexive jump back from the massive spider) and figurative (a reflexive lurch to the ring wing of the political spectrum) "caused by reflex" senses. - -sche (discuss) 20:13, 2 March 2013 (UTC)
I added two more definitions. Feel free to improve. A userex for the figurative definition will be appreciated. JamesjiaoTC 20:24, 2 March 2013 (UTC)
In addition, reflex is used attributively. And there are automatic, spontaneous, and involuntary for different aspects. I note that there is usage in BNC (probably US, too) of reflexive meaning "reflective" or "reflecting", both literally(!) and figuratively. DCDuring TALK 21:01, 2 March 2013 (UTC)

Which definition does the use of the highlighted as in this passage belong to?

I meant to give each of you some of this to take with you,” said she, “but as there is so little toast, you must have it now,” and she proceeded to cut slices with a generous hand. We feasted that evening as on nectar and ambrosia; and not the least delight of the entertainment was the smile of gratification with which our hostess regarded us, as we satisfied our famished appetites on the delicate fare she liberally supplied.Jane Eyre Chapter 8. Can't for the life of me figure out what this as is doing here. To me, the sentence is perfectly fine without it. JamesjiaoTC 07:39, 3 March 2013 (UTC)

"as" in that sentence is an elision or at least a synonym of "as if", "as though". I think that means it's the sense "introducing a comparison with a hypothetical state", which was tagged {{obsolete}}, but which I just changed to {{dated}} because I think it can still be used (and certainly, can still be understood, which makes it {{archaic}} at worst). - -sche (discuss) 07:49, 3 March 2013 (UTC)
I dunno; the quotations under that sense use it in a way that genuinely seems obsolete to me, whereas Eyre's usage strikes me as merely literary or slightly archaic. I think the key difference is that the former use it with an irrealis clause ("as he were" = "as though he were"), whereas the latter uses it with just a prepositional phrase (after some sort of ellipsis, presumably). "walked as in a dream" sounds O.K. to me, too. But maybe it's the same sense, but over time it's just picked up some more syntactic restrictions? —RuakhTALK 08:48, 3 March 2013 (UTC)
I am having the same problem trying to work out the difference. Clearly when followed by a full clause, it's obsolete (Coleridge, ‘He looks as he had seen a ghost’ – that doesn't fly anymore), but Austen's use with a prepositional phrase seems rather different and much more natural (though archaic) in modern English. But the OED doesn't seem to make a distinction and I can't pin it down. Ƿidsiþ 08:57, 3 March 2013 (UTC)
Maybe it has something to do with the narrowing of acceptable subjunctive use, rather than with the nature of "as" itself. Perhaps the presence of a verb in the subjunctive requires the "if" to be explicit rather than implicit. Chuck Entz (talk) 02:57, 4 March 2013 (UTC)
I don't see that the sense is even dated. I looked at COCA for as followed by on and found the following, which is almost identical in structure: "Newspapers and magazines would load their graphics, and you could doodle as on the Sony Reader Daily Edition." One might not speak it, but it seems fine to write it. DCDuring TALK 12:45, 3 March 2013 (UTC)
Hmm. That example seems less counterfactual to me. —RuakhTALK 19:43, 3 March 2013 (UTC)
Is there an essential difference, as, perhaps, the comma? DCDuring TALK 21:12, 3 March 2013 (UTC)
I think the as if line of thought seems to fit this the best. We could further expand the sentence to this: We feasted that evening as though we were feasting/as if we would on nectar and ambrosia.. JamesjiaoTC 02:32, 4 March 2013 (UTC)
That's not quite right: it's "as though we were feasting"/"as if we were feasting"/"as we would" (not *"as if we would"). —RuakhTALK 06:00, 4 March 2013 (UTC)

waltz Matilda and auf der Walz

I removed a rather-badly-worded reference in the waltz Matilda etymology to the phrase auf der Walz, but would like to put it back- in a more useful form. The term refers to the years journeymen (in traditional practice) travel around to work for more experienced craftspeople before they can set up shop on their own. If I understand my old Duden correctly, Walz is a variant of Walze, in a sense we don't have. We also don't have Wanderjahre, the name for those years (or the corresponding singular Wanderjahr)- though we have English wanderjahr and its rather un-English plural wanderjahre. I would like to get rid of all the redlinks in the above, and tie all the relevant entries together. Any thoughts? Chuck Entz (talk) 02:44, 4 March 2013 (UTC)


Is the following sentence grammatically correct? "Some analysts have described Cain, son of Adam and Eve, relationship with his sister to be incestuous." Shoud it be reworded? Pass a Method (talk) 17:57, 4 March 2013 (UTC)

It's wrong. It seems to mean "Cain's", but the "'s" has been removed without reason. How about: "the relationship of Cain (the son of Adam and Eve) with his sister"? Equinox 18:30, 4 March 2013 (UTC)
Also "describe to be" is not nearly as good as "describe as". Thus:
Some analysts have described the relationship of Cain, son of Adam and Eve, with his sister as incestuous.
As incestuous could be move to after described. Relationship of Cain could be replaced with Cain's relationship. DCDuring TALK 19:52, 4 March 2013 (UTC)

Creation for the meaning/origin/language of "-bole"

Please further define the root(?) of hyper-"bole". "Bole" has no sub-definition in your reference as of yet. From which language does this originate? Thank you.

I think it is from the Greek "βάλλειν" (to throw), via "ὑπερβολή" (excess) but I expect an expert will be along soon to give a more erudite answer. Dbfirs 08:54, 5 March 2013 (UTC)

SemperBlotto automated reversions on -gasm

Hello, I want to report proof and evidence that admin SemperBlotto is running a script to revert some IP contributions without actually checking the edits:

  • The suffix page -gasm missed a link to its derived-terms category, so I added it (as well as a one-line example) with my complete addition provided as the edit summary: [2]
  • The article for orgasm had no link to its own suffix -gasm, so just I added it with my complete addition as edit summary: [3]
  • Yet both have been immediately reverted[4][5] by SemperBlotto with an automatic message, despite the fact they were cleary normal edits with clear edit summaries. He just undid all my edits at once.

It's anti-wiki and hypocrite to claim "anyone can edit" while running some automated reverting of anon editors. 13:07, 5 March 2013 (UTC)

I can't decide whether to take this seriously, but here goes. SemperBlotto isn't a bot he's just rather fast. If you look at the edit history, he reverted three minutes after you edited. But it is a bad revert and I'll re-revert. PS the idea that anyone can edit also means editors can undo others' edits. There's nothing contradictory about this, otherwise we'd get vandalized and be 'forced' to keep it. Mglovesfun (talk) 13:48, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
I can see why SB reverted, though: the "Derived terms" isn't the problem so much as the "An eyegasm. A nerdgasm. " part. I think it would have been better to have removed that part than doing a wholesale amputation of the edit, but that's a judgment call. Likewise, it's a philosophical question as to whether a combining form should be listed under "Derived terms", or under some other header. As for the -gasm entry itself, I'm tempted to rfd it, since the examples arguably could be analyzed as blends rather than addition of a suffix. Chuck Entz (talk) 14:25, 5 March 2013 (UTC)

Wikinews properly cited?

See Citations:Wikinews. I can't tell if WT:BRAND has been respected. Choor monster (talk) 22:13, 5 March 2013 (UTC)

The Usenet & Kissing cites fail "The text preceding and surrounding the citation must not identify the product or service to which the brand name applies" by including Wikinews URLs. The Kaye cite looks okay AFAICT.​—msh210 (talk) 04:40, 10 March 2013 (UTC)
Personally, I don't think of a link as "text", but "formatting". Choor monster (talk) 18:12, 15 March 2013 (UTC)

Appendix:Proto-Indo-European/só and Italic

Don't *nom. of >ille, >illa, >illud, etc. belong here?[6]. It's much work to add them and their nonmasculine reflexes. Lysdexia (talk) 01:41, 6 March 2013 (UTC)

That book is over 100 years old. Do you have anything more up to date? —CodeCat 01:45, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
Lysdexia (talk) 07:47, 17 March 2013 (UTC)


There are currently entries for licenced, licenced victualler, and licenced victuallers. These are incorrect. Even in British English (which uses licence as a noun) the verb form is license and so the participle is licensed in all forms of English. Consider: Wikipedia:Federation of Licensed Victuallers Associations for example.

(I'd "Be Bold" and change it myself, but I've not edited Wiktionary before and so am unfamiliar with the appropriate process to follow.) -Stelio (talk) 10:40, 6 March 2013 (UTC)

Would the correct move to be to add Category:English misspellings and reformat as per wierd etc.? -Stelio (talk) 10:45, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for spotting that. Fixed. SemperBlotto (talk) 10:49, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
I watched your flying work in recent changes. :-) Thank you for the quick and efficient response! Should the "licenced" pages be marked as common misspellings too? (I see there is some related discussion on Talk:licence.) -Stelio (talk) 11:05, 6 March 2013 (UTC)


Its here on the wikitionary, but nowhere else. In a sentence, "He presenced the fall of a nation." meaning was there for, also implying observed directly.

It's a real word, right? —This comment was unsigned.

Your sentence is not right. To presence is to make present, to cause to appear. It isn't to be present. Equinox 09:13, 7 March 2013 (UTC)
But the word, the verb is real? It just doesn't show up anywhere else but here. Thanks for clearing up the meaning, at any rate. —This comment was unsigned.
I wouldn't use it with any definition. We don't have even have three citations for it. Our sole citation shows it used in a philosophy book, about Heidegger yet. Two conventional expressions for the intent of your sentence would be: "He was present at the fall of a nation" or "He witnessed firsthand the fall of a nation." DCDuring TALK 22:32, 7 March 2013 (UTC)
The verb was added by long-term editor and admin Beobach972 in November 2011. The verb is certainly very rare, and I would be inclined to mark it as "only in ..." (but I'm not sure what -- philosophy perhaps?). There's another clear use in Intersubjective Temporality: It's About Time" by Lanei M. Rodemeye (2006) "Temporalizing consciousness, however, is not only made up of the activity of presencing described above. Those retained experiences that are "flowing away" from what is being immediately presenced do not simply disappear ..." I hope you understand it better than I do! Dbfirs 12:50, 8 March 2013 (UTC)
{{rare}} indeed. I'm suspicious of the existence of attestable consistent meanings for presenced or presence#Verb rather than serial nonce use, in different "senses". A great deal of philosophical and spiritual writing seems to make a point using nonce coinages to suggest that they are putting words on the near-ineffable, perhaps for the first time. With a more technical term in philosophy, as with technical terms elsewhere, it may be hard to determine the meaning, but one has hope that it can be done. DCDuring TALK 13:23, 8 March 2013 (UTC)
A Google books searchsuggests possible existence of three citations for an adjective, though I am not sure with a single definition. DCDuring TALK 13:36, 8 March 2013 (UTC)
  • OK, I admit it, I can't tell whether our definition fits the citations in the entry, let alone the range of them. Let a better philosopher than I confirm the definition. DCDuring TALK 14:13, 8 March 2013 (UTC)


I feel we're missing a sense of both the verb and the noun play, namely what young animals (mostly mammals and birds) do. Sense 1 of both the verb and the noun come closest, but I wouldn't want to assume such motives as "fun", "recreation", and "amusement" for animals. —Angr 11:53, 7 March 2013 (UTC)

  • I've had a stab at the noun sense. SemperBlotto (talk) 11:59, 7 March 2013 (UTC)
    • It's a well-studied area of scientific interest. I have a book on the subject at home, I believe not packed in a box. If so, I'll not-exactly-copy its definition. Choor monster (talk) 17:05, 7 March 2013 (UTC)
      • SB's first stab looks good, but older animals do play too, just not as often as young animals—and when they do play, it's mostly with the young'uns. I think that small-scale mimicking of the behavior of adults plays a role in (both human and animal) play as well. Do we maybe want to write the definition in such a way as to include humans? After all, when children play, they are also exploring their environment and learning new skills. —Angr 18:30, 7 March 2013 (UTC)
        • I have the book with me, and will be adding to the page and its Discussion. But note that what "we want" is to be descriptive, not prescriptive. Choor monster (talk) 15:34, 8 March 2013 (UTC)
If possible, we should be avoiding theory-laden definitions of any type and stay close to everyday use unless we are marking the term with a specialist context. Any one book's definition may be ahead of usage. OTOH, popular theories, even mistaken ones, that lay behind usage may be worth referring to or reflecting in a definition. Most normal humans impute human-like emotion and motives to mammals, and much, much less to other forms of animals. I certainly do. Also, corresponding modifications of the verb are needed. DCDuring TALK 17:13, 8 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Well, I've made my contribution over there. Feel free to remove it. If you think the quotation form is bad style or somehow a copyvio, rewrite it, but be careful. As I explained on the talk page, what "most normal humans" do was once the scientific norm, it disappeared from scientific usage, and has come back in a severely codified manner. This is probably relevant to numerous other human-cognition terms. For example, checking intelligent for senses that modify (network, keyboard), I see no appropriate sense. Yet smart, as in (bomb,car,card) refers to it! Choor monster (talk) 17:36, 8 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Fixed. Choor monster (talk) 17:42, 8 March 2013 (UTC)


This noun seems to have once had a second, now-obsolete meaning (besides "zealot"), but I can't quite tell what that meaning might have been. It doesn't seem to be "religionist, member of a religion", per se. Perhaps "clergyman"?? See e.g. The Present State of Europe, which mentions that "the Duke of Savoy [] declar'd, that he will no longer pay the Religionaries that were in his Service".
A "religionist: member of a religion" sense may also be attested, though I'm not sure:
  • 1992?, Lawrence Stone, Uncertain Unions: Marriage in England, 1660-1753, page 118:
    Unfortunately for his future prospects, during his period of education at Wadham Edward had picked up strong dissenting religious views. He called his fellow religionaries 'friends' and may perhaps have been a Quaker.
(or that might be the "zealot" sense) - -sche (discuss) 00:18, 10 March 2013 (UTC)

casualty of war

The WP article Casualty of war was little more than a list and a one line definition hence my changing the article there into a disambiguation and my creation of an entry here. However I am unfamiliar with the intricacies of formatting enteries here and would appreciate it if someone could take this entry under their wing. Of most concern to me is the question as to whether the phrase is distinct enough to merit its own entry?--03:02, 10 March 2013 (UTC)

It looks as though someone's cleaned it up, and nominated it for deletion. Thanks for checking. (Striking.)​—msh210 (talk) 04:36, 10 March 2013 (UTC)
Thanks all--KTo288 (talk) 10:31, 10 March 2013 (UTC)


Whats the noun for an irreligious person? Pass a Method (talk) 20:42, 10 March 2013 (UTC)

There is irreligionist. Possibly a bit dated. Equinox 21:14, 10 March 2013 (UTC)
I created None. Pass a Method (talk) 12:32, 11 March 2013 (UTC)
I've created none#Noun and formatted and RfVed None#Noun. DCDuring TALK 13:34, 11 March 2013 (UTC)


I'd appreciate it if someone who knew a thing or two about Christian heresies could look over this entry. It was defined as "the belief that God is composed of four persons", but the references I could find all (confusingly) used the phrase "three persons" and then 'added' a fourth 'essence'. - -sche (discuss) 20:50, 10 March 2013 (UTC)

It looks like the "essence" is a putative Platonic ideal associated with the object that is the trinity. The orthodox view aligns with the Aristotelean way of thinking, which does not hold truck with such ideals. — Pingkudimmi 11:18, 11 March 2013 (UTC)


Should intersex be mentioned in usage notes as a third sex? Pass a Method (talk) 11:26, 11 March 2013 (UTC)

Rather, if the definition is correct, it is a demonstration that the male/female split is not a strict dichotomy — some individuals may be both. — Pingkudimmi 13:49, 11 March 2013 (UTC)

ooh arrh

Hi all. Can someone have a glance at my new entry ooh arrh. We surely should have some kind of entry for this phrase, I'm just not sure how to spell it! --Dormouse3 (talk) 13:08, 11 March 2013 (UTC)

When you use {{regional}}, you should add a second parameter specifying the region where the term is used. — Ungoliant (Falai) 13:33, 11 March 2013 (UTC)
Is there any meaning to it at all? Or any emotion? DCDuring TALK 13:35, 11 March 2013 (UTC)
It's probably somewhat like the "arr" used to evoke pirate speech (which apparently has roots in the same regional dialects)- whatever expression it might have been based on, it's now just an opportunity to use sounds characteristic of the speech variety. It brings to mind Valspeak utterances like "fer shure" and "totally", or Minnesota Scandinavian "yah, sure, you betcha", or Canadian "eh" as used in comic impressions. Chuck Entz (talk) 14:18, 11 March 2013 (UTC)
There's very little on gbooks, but another usage, suggesting a noun used attributively, is: "Thrown into this puddle are a snivelling, cheap-jack hack with the verbals and strongman 'Goliath', a sensitive simpleton with an ooh-arrh accent." — Pingkudimmi 14:55, 11 March 2013 (UTC)
As it's a Wonderfool addition, I'm tempted to just delete it. SemperBlotto (talk) 15:25, 11 March 2013 (UTC)
I think it's usually written ooh arr. Agree that gratuitous Wonderfolly is to be zapped. Equinox 21:41, 12 March 2013 (UTC)


What am I missing?

Why is this somewhat obscure term (occurring only twice in BNC and not at all in COCA; not appearing in shorter English dictionaries, eg, Longman DCE 1987; not appearing in most grammars) put in front of our users as a grammatical context label?

In English, we often end up splitting the sense to which this might be applied into a transitive and an intransitive sense, following the practice of every dictionary I've ever cracked. Was this intended to be a temporary expedient, to avoid the need to type in two definitions? I don't object to the category, just to the label. DCDuring TALK 19:49, 11 March 2013 (UTC)

What makes ergative verbs special is that they are active when transitive, but (medio-)passive when intransitive. We could of course split that into two senses, but there are some languages like Dutch where the significance is not just semantic, but also grammatical. The active voice uses hebben (to have) as the auxiliary verb in the perfect tense, while the passive uses zijn (to be). This means that a normal verb that is used without an object is grammatically different from an ergative verb that is used without an object. An example is the verb smelten (to melt), which is ergative. When used with an object, it is active: imperfect ik smelt de sneeuw "I melt/am melting the snow", perfect ik heb de sneeuw gesmolten "I have melted the snow". But without an object, it is passive, and the perfect therefore takes the other auxiliary: imperfect de sneeuw smelt "the snow melts/is melting (by itself)", perfect de sneeuw is gesmolten "the snow has melted (by itself)". Contrast this with a non-ergative verb, eten (to eat). With an object: imperfect ik eet de sneeuw "I eat/am eating the snow", perfect ik heb de sneeuw gegeten "I have eaten the snow". Without an object: imperfect ik eet "I eat/am eating", perfect ik heb gegeten "I have eaten". —CodeCat 20:31, 11 March 2013 (UTC)
I know what they are and why they are special. I am interested in whether the term belongs front and center in a sense line.
From what you've said so far, it seems that it is the kind of term that only certain language professionals could love. Further, whatever its merits for someone learning Dutch, they do not seem terribly relevant for English as the broader population has no familiarity with the term and few linguists seem to find it useful for English. DCDuring TALK 21:52, 11 March 2013 (UTC)
But do you think that "transitive" is going to be understood that well? It is probably better known, yes, but how many people actually understand it in a linguistic sense? As a dictionary, linguistics (specifically lexicography, orthography and grammar) is our "field" and therefore we can't avoid linguistic jargon. I am not saying we shouldn't try to avoid making it too technical, but certain concepts are expressed much better with a linguistic term than with some other explanation. Besides, we do link to many jargon terms in our glossary, so that should "excuse" at least some of the uses. And in any case, if we don't use "ergative", how do we clearly express the behaviour of those Dutch verbs in an entry? Putting a usage note on each one seems excessive, as there may well be hundreds of those verbs. —CodeCat 22:02, 11 March 2013 (UTC)
(...after edit conflict...)
  • I'm not sure I fully follow. I mean, I understand your line of argument, CodeCat, I just don't think I agree.  :)
In terms of the perfect / imperfect senses, Dutch and German use their respective versions of "have" when an object is involved, and of "be" when there is no object, not even an implied one. I really don't think this has to do with ergative / non-ergative -- it really looks like it has more to do with transitivity. Ich habe gegessen ("I have eaten", implied object), Ich bin gegangen ("I have gone", no object possible). The bin ("am") here is not at all passive, but rather more stative. Meanwhile, English hasn't kept this distinction, so while we can still say things like "I am gone to the market", it rings strangely and might be misinterpreted.
By another analysis, one could say that verbs like "to melt", that are usually intransitive, are actually being used in a causative fashion when they take objects: I melt the snow == I make the snow melt. The use of "have" in other Germanic tongues (that I'm familiar with, anyway) always indicates an object: Ich habe geschmolzen necessarily implies an object by use of the verb "to have", while Ich bin geschmolzen certainly _could_ be passive, but not necessarily -- again, the bin here is more stative than passive, indicating a state or change in state. (Appropriate, perhaps, for the verb "to be".)
Meanwhile, verbs like eat or eten are inherently transitive and can be argued to _always_ have objects, even when left unstated. I eat necessarily implies that something is the object. One cannot eat without eating something. Consquently, Ich bin gegessen indicates passivity _not_ just because of the use of bin, but because of the inherent semantic qualities of the verb "to eat" in combination with this grammatical context.
I have run across suggestions that modern Germanic-language verbs that are simultaneously transitive and intransitive arose, at least in some cases, as the merger of older intransitive verbs and their causative forms. Meanwhile, I haven't run across any solid arguments for an ergative verb structure in Germanic languages.
But as with anything, I reserve the right to be wrong.  :) -- Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 22:36, 11 March 2013 (UTC)
(E/C) I don't think that is true. There are also verbs in Dutch that can never take an object, like zitten or liggen, but they still take hebben as the auxiliary. Moreover, any intransitive verbs that are newly created also take that auxiliary. So from a modern perspective, the ergative verbs are clearly the exception. —CodeCat 23:03, 11 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Dutch is, in many ways, kind of in between German and English. Is it possible that Dutch is just following the same trend that happened in English, where the hebben vs. zijn distinction is being lost in perfect forms?
And even with older verbs that never take an object but still use hebben, 1) might these be early adopters of this English-y paradigm? 2) how are these ergative as opposed to nominative? -- Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 23:48, 11 March 2013 (UTC)
There doesn't seem to be any trend. If anything, what is happening is that zijn is becoming more strongly associated with the passive voice to the extent that it wasn't already. To understand this you really have to look back at early Germanic history. The periphrastic perfect like it exists in Germanic languages nowadays was formed like a noun phrase originally. The past participle was originally an adjective that meant to be in a state of having undergone the verb's action (it was passive in meaning). So "seen" meant "that has been seen", and a sentence like "I have seen a friend" was no different from "I have a friend who is seen". "a friend who is seen" acted as the direct object of "have". Therefore, the difference between the two auxiliary verbs was quite clear: either you have a friend who is seen (I have a friend, "seen"), or you yourself are seen (I am "seen"). This also explains why the copula is used for the passive; it is the participle itself that is passive, and the verb "have" serves to make it active and/or transitive because it is itself active and transitive. There are some cases where English has actually preserved this better than Dutch: I am forgotten reflects the original semantics, whereas ik ben vergeten additionally has the meaning of "I have forgotten" and can also be transitive. This is an innovation within Dutch that has extended the use of the auxiliary "be" to convey a sense of not being responsible (grammatically speaking, an action with no agent; i.e. a mediopassive). The implication of ik ben vergeten is therefore that you could not help having forgotten, it just happened to you. —CodeCat 00:20, 12 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Reading more, I find I may be barking up the wrong tree -- I was arguing about the ergativeness of Dutch, English, and German, but ultimately not to the purpose.
@DCDuring, Template:ergative would presumably be used for languages like Basque or Tibetan, or other languages listed at Ergative–absolutive_language. See that WP article for more about what "ergative" is and ultimately why we would want to keep this context template. -- Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 22:57, 11 March 2013 (UTC)
It would be necessary if the target audience for this dictionary is linguists rather than more generic users such as language learners. If linguists are our main target then we should expect WMF to pull the plug on us completely when they find out.
I thought the generic case for an ergative verb in English is "I melt the snow" and "The snow melts". If so many verbs can be used ergatively. "That wine drinks best with beef." is a transformation of something like "One drinks that wine best with beef." or "That wine is best drunk with beef.". Our Category:English ergative verbs seems quite incomplete. DCDuring TALK 23:07, 11 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Poking around, it looks like the etym for EN melt is a bit unclear, but probably related to NL smelten and DE schmelzen; for the latter two, from what I can glean, this is an older intransitive verb that melded (ha! :) with its causative form -- i.e., this isn't ergative, just a verb that can be both transitive and intransitive. If it were "I melt him" and "him melts", then sure, I'd agree that this is ergative. But the only way that utterance happens in modern English is when someone is 1) learning the language, or 2) being intentionally silly.  :::: As to whether to keep Template:ergative, my understanding about WT is that we are attempting to describe each language as it is. From my reading of Ergative-absolutive_language, these languages have constructs that cannot be clearly or cleanly described without relying upon specialized terminology. Are we to mislead users by using the wrong terms to describe these languages? I would prefer to use the correct descriptive terminology, albeit presented in as accessible a fashion as we can without dumbing things down too badly. When it comes to ergative verbs, these don't really exist in nominative/accusative (intransitive/transitive) languages like English, and require proper description and explanation. The terms used for such description and explanation should themselves be clearly defined, naturally. -- Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 23:48, 11 March 2013 (UTC)
Communication is not dumbing down. Failing to communicate is our inadequacy, not the users'.
Why do the users need to know a technical term where our definition seems to disagree with, say Collins': "denoting a type of verb that takes the same noun as either direct object or as subject, with equivalent meaning. Thus, "fuse" is an ergative verb: "He fused the lights" and "The lights fused" have equivalent meaning" or others at ergative at OneLook Dictionary Search?
This discussion seems to be providing ample evidence that this term does not belong where it can be seen by normal humans. DCDuring TALK 01:16, 12 March 2013 (UTC)
  • I don't have access to Collins. I disagree with their definition; I think they're describing the same thing as my understanding of "ergative", but doing so poorly, such that the meaning is muddled. That said, Merriam-Webster's definition matches my understanding, and comes across more clearly (bolding mine):

of, relating to, or being a language (as Inuit or Georgian) in which the objects of transitive verbs and subjects of intransitive verbs are typically marked by the same linguistic forms; also : being an inflectional morpheme that typically marks the subject of a transitive verb in an ergative language

English masks how this functions, by dint of not having grammatical case for most words. Deliberately using case-bound words in English sentences makes it clear that English verbs are not ergative. Examples:
  • I help him.
  • Him helps.
If English were ergative, the above would both be correct. However, English is not ergative. English verbs have a nominative/accusative paradigm instead, and as part of this, the second sentence above is ungrammatical.
I think "ergative" is a useful label -- for languages that actually have ergative verbs. English is not one of these languages, and I am dismayed to see that Category:English ergative verbs exists.
(Must run now, more later.) -- Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 02:01, 12 March 2013 (UTC)
As has been pointed out in a discussion on Eirikr's talk page, there's two different senses of ergative at play here: with respect to nouns, the ergative case is used to show the subject of a transitive verb. With respect to verbs, it refers to those that can take an active form even though the subject isn't the cause of the action. You can say "I broke the window" (active), or the window was broken by me (passive), or "the window broke" (mediopassive). In the latter, "the window" is the subject, but it's not the cause of the action: "the window broke" doesn't mean the same as "the window broke itself". This is something that's not really covered by the traditional transitive vs. intransitive distinction: in the sentence "he sat", "he" is clearly the cause of the action, and yet "he sat" and "the window broke" are both intransitive verbs. It also doesn't apply to most verbs: you can say "I read the newspaper", but not "the newspaper read". It's a very real and useful piece of information about the verb, but there's unfortunately no other term that I know of for it. We just need to explain it better. @DCD: you talk about the term as if it's uniquely obscure and confusing, but it's no more so than "fused head construction", which you use frequently, without explanation- as if everyone already knew what it is. Chuck Entz (talk) 00:50, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
I take your point about fused-head constructions. Though I noted that CGEL said there was dispute about the concept, I didn't realize that it is not at all widespread in linguistic scholarship. But I did not advance it as a term to be put in front of users rather than a justification for us as lexiciographers to avoid proliferating PoS sections with duplicative semantic content.
I do not think "ergative" needs to be explained to the great mass of users. As imperfect as users' understanding of transitive and intransitive may be, many users have some understanding of the terms, which understanding normally doesn't lead them astray.
I wonder if the fundamental problem in this and many other matters is that I am reasonably sure that Wiktionary is and ought to be direct to helping relative casual users who have no great interest in linguistics as opposed to definitions and translations, whereas others think it is for the needs of language professions.
Perhaps both sets of users could be accommodated by having tags like {{ergative}} not display by default, but be displayed if some preference gadget provided other wise. That seems like something that could be easily done with CSS. It could even be varied by language, if need be. There is the difficulty that my view would require that there be two sense lines, one 'transitive', one 'intransitive' for all sense lines in English now marked 'ergative'. DCDuring TALK 01:23, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
{{ambitransitive}} has the same characteristics: It puts a term usually used by linguists about languages other than English and applies it to English. I would dispute that it was of any great use to many language learners, except for those learning languages that are learned only by native speakers (not using Wiktionary or other web resources), proselytizers, and linguists. DCDuring TALK 11:43, 25 March 2013 (UTC)


I'm not an expert in Turkish but I found this Turkish word to mean "preposition" rather than "particle". Even the translations in "preposition" seem to support this. Malafaya (talk) 14:12, 12 March 2013 (UTC)


In addition to a wall of text, the inflection section could have a table. I started one here, but I don’t know some of the forms. — Ungoliant (Falai) 14:31, 12 March 2013 (UTC)

The ye-forms are in every case identical to the you-forms; a separate column is unnecessary. The negative thou forms are "art not" and "wast not"; "wilt be" is correct for the future. I don't think there are contractions for the thou forms. The first-person future, both singular and plural, should include the option of "shall be". Second plural imperative is also "be" of course, and there are no first singular or third-person imperative forms. Perhaps there should be a row for the conditional forms "would be" (as well as "should be" for the 1st person). —Angr 14:46, 12 March 2013 (UTC)
Thanks. I applied your changes. It’s still missing the conditional and imperative of thou. (link) — Ungoliant (Falai) 15:06, 12 March 2013 (UTC)
They're "wouldst be" and "be", respectively. I can find a few instances of "thou would be" on Google Books too, but it doesn't seem to be at all common or standard (compared to other thou forms, I mean). I think they mostly come from modern authors trying to sound archaic but letting their ignorance show. —Angr 15:25, 12 March 2013 (UTC)
I have added it to the entry now. — Ungoliant (Falai) 15:53, 12 March 2013 (UTC)
I don't think the future or conditional are necessary, because they are formed the same way for all verbs and are not at all irregular in this specific verb. The same applies to the imperative, only the form "be" should really be listed because it's used for singular and plural, and first and third person are expressed differently. —CodeCat 16:20, 12 March 2013 (UTC)
Given the highly irregular nature of this verb, I think even the regular forms should be listed so the readers know it’s regular. — Ungoliant (Falai) 22:07, 12 March 2013 (UTC)


A veteran Wikipedian was indefinitely blocked a few days ago for using the term "buckwheat". Subsequent discussion revealed that the term—which we and other dictionaries define only as a cereal—can be used in the US to refer to a stupid person, often but not always with racial overtones. Is this usage common enough to be included in our entry? I can't find any citations of it, but then, I'm totally unfamiliar with it, so I hardly know where to look or what to look for. - -sche (discuss) 22:21, 12 March 2013 (UTC)

See Our Gang#African-American cast members and Eddie Murphy#1980s acting career.
Just what level of cultural reference to individual fictional entities do we want to cover? Also, I'm not sure that the purported definition is accurate. The fictional characters were childish and childlike - because they were children. DCDuring TALK 22:48, 12 March 2013 (UTC)
Well, if people can say "You Buckwheat!" or "He's such a Buckwheat" without any direct reference to Our Gang in sight, then we ought to include it. But it is probably usually capitalized, so the entry would be at Buckwheat, not buckwheat. —Angr 23:00, 12 March 2013 (UTC)


Is the word can't the most confusing word in the English language? It sounds the same as can especially in dialects which have a silent T. Pass a Method (talk) 23:43, 14 March 2013 (UTC)

I don't know, but other candidates for Most Confusing Word include autoantonyms like "sanction" and "dust", and words like "run" and "set" that simply have so many senses that it can be very hard to know which sense is meant. - -sche (discuss) 03:58, 15 March 2013 (UTC)
I don't know any dialects that have a silent "t", so it's not at all confusing to me, but presumably the "silen" speakers distinguish by the length of the vowel? Dbfirs 09:42, 15 March 2013 (UTC)
Not completely silent, but it can surface as just a glottal stop, which can make it difficult to hear the difference between the two words in accents where they have the same vowel. But in accents where can't is pronounced [kɑːnt] (like RP) or [keɪnt] (like Southern US) the difference is easier to hear. —Angr 14:12, 15 March 2013 (UTC)
can and can't have different vowels in Southern England, at least. can rhymes with man, plan, tan; can't rhymes with aunt, aren't, chant. Equinox 17:09, 15 March 2013 (UTC)
They're also pronounced differently (with the same vowels as down south) in Lancashire (and most of the rest of Northern England, I think) as well, although here can't doesn't rhyme with aunt, chant etc. because we pronounce those with an /a/ rather than an /ɑː/. BigDom (tc) 17:47, 15 March 2013 (UTC)
Yes, that's standard throughout the north of England. "Can't" normally has a long "a" like a southern "aunt", though I have heard it in extreme dialects with a short "a" (as in "can", but /a/ not /æ/) to rhyme with a northern "aunt". The "t" then needs to be clearly annunciated to avoid confusion, especially in the abbreviation of canst not thou to can't t' (like non-rhotic "canter" but with an extra nasal stop). Dbfirs 09:44, 16 March 2013 (UTC)
The most confusing words, for me, are in and on. For native English speakers, my guess is you’re. — Ungoliant (Falai) 12:43, 16 March 2013 (UTC)
English is a "singing" language, where any phrase has only 1, or maximum 2 stress points, so the difference is a lot easier to hear. We normally only stress the important word in a phrase. Affirmative statements are expected, and so "can" is normally unstressed, as not carrying any actually new information. Hence it is normally heard as a not-confusing /kn/ in a phrase such as "I can play the piano" - where "piano" would probably be the important, and hence stressed, word. "Can you?" "Can" here carries a stress, being a question word. Q words are not confusing either. Then we get to "can't". It sounds different, as stated above, because it carries a stress. It is negative, and so it is unexpected and important. If English used accents, there would be one on this word. Regional differences depend on how "cánt" would be pronounced. -- ALGRIF talk 10:59, 17 March 2013 (UTC)


What sense covers “a tax on X”? If none, it needs to be added, but I can’t think of a decent wording. — Ungoliant (Falai) 21:26, 16 March 2013 (UTC)

Perhaps sense 5 or 8 of the preposition. —Angr 21:37, 16 March 2013 (UTC)
It may be connected. There seems to be the idea of the object being the target of the subject, with the subject being some kind of official or pseudo-official action or ruling, generally with a negative or inhibitory effect on the object. I have a hunch that "a ban on", "a moratorium on", "a prohibition on" are all the same sense, and perhaps also "a war on (from declare war on?), as well. It seems to me like there may be an underlying metaphor of placing something heavy on the object. Chuck Entz (talk) 22:19, 16 March 2013 (UTC)
Among the 26 senses and subsenses that MWOnline has for on as a preposition: "used as a function word to indicate reason, ground, or basis (as for an action, opinion, or computation) <I have it on good authority> <on one condition> <the interest will be 10 cents on the dollar>".
We have 19 senses, but three are mathematical senses of a type I think MW does not cover. I also suspect that not all of our senses are as distinct as they ought to be. But prepositions are among the toughest terms to define. {{n-g}}/{{non-gloss definition}} is useful to give license to an explanation rather than a gloss. DCDuring TALK 23:34, 16 March 2013 (UTC)
MW's definition above includes sense 8 of ours ("Because of, due to")
@ChuckEntz: MW has a distinct sense for "ban on" etc.: "used as a function word to indicate the object of collision, opposition, or hostile action <bumped my head on a limb> <an attack on religion> <pulled a gun on me>
Almost all of the senses have an underlying metaphorical unity that doesn't require a complete knowledge of OE, ME, EME and all of Modern English to grasp, but that doesn't necessarily help a learner or someone who is stuck on a word choice issue. DCDuring TALK 23:52, 16 March 2013 (UTC)


We currently have two senses, "a discharge of atmospheric electrical charge" and "a flash of light caused by a discharge of...". I cannot think of a way to use the senses contrastively / to use one sense without using the other. Other dictionaries combine them and have only one sense, "a brilliant (i.e. flash-of-light-causing) discharge of...". Can anyone think of a reason we shouldn't combine them? PS, if any of this is worth saving, save away! - -sche (discuss) 02:59, 17 March 2013 (UTC)

You could think of it as a register difference or reflecting different states of knowledge in the speaker/audience. The discharge sense is merely encyclopedic from an everyday experience point of view. The word itself is much more evocative of the surface phenomenon, the direct experience. Lightning(flash) is caused by Lightning(discharge), as is thunder, the blasted remains of a stricken tree, the fresh smell(ionization), and a fire on the dry timber or prairie grass. DCDuring TALK 03:23, 17 March 2013 (UTC)
ummm... hello, these two existing ones are logical nonsense. can we at least work (simplify) on the two additions I added??? I'll go grab and bring over. :) Borealdreams (talk) 03:27, 17 March 2013 (UTC)
Definition 1 - The visible form usurping the entirety of the thing discussed
* A general and well accepted name for the visible portion of a complex phenomena which equalizes areas of spacial polarity within the atmosphere. "Lightning" is often used to describe the entire process, given the near instantaneous time of the visible event, but the multiple strokes of electrical current cause the visibility to which it is attributed. "Lightning" is composed of invisible portions happening over a much longer period of time and the sum total of a single event is termed a flash.
Definition 2 - The physical properties of lightning & what they can cause or lead to
* A general term used to describe and simplify the electrical and physical properties of a complex phenomena which equalizes areas of spacial polarity within the atmosphere and also to the earth. Often "lightning" erroneously accepts larger responsibility than its much smaller and simpler brother, a spark, ignoring the fact that without oxygen or fuel, lightning would go relatively unnoticed.
TBDH, I would settle for this, to take the place of the other two existing...
  1. "a complex phenomena which equalizes volumes of spacial polarity within the atmosphere.
  2. "a giant spark in the atmosphere which may or may not be entirely visible to an observer —This comment was unsigned.
Could you find three citations that would show that folks using the word lightning actually mean the first sense above. What kind of people are they? DCDuring TALK 03:52, 17 March 2013 (UTC)
Easy enough.... and they would be scientists, people who work in the industry, meteorologists, etc.
#Example #1 - Written by one of the foremost expert on lightning formation in the world.
#Example # - Industry publications
#Example #3 - Those involved dealing with all the "ignored" properties, just thinking of it as "flash of light" or "thunder maker"
Borealdreams (talk) 04:04, 17 March 2013 (UTC)
Good, but we require that citations be from books, magazines, newspapers, or Usenet. Google offers ways of finding such citations fairly easily. If you can't find them, I'm sure someone would be willing to try to help. DCDuring TALK 04:09, 17 March 2013 (UTC)
So I'm not getting what you are looking for. 1) No other wiktionary pages have citations, the citation page for lightning would need to be created. 2) Lightning is complex and varied, you will not find a concise 10 word explanation of what is. It will have to be orig sync, no? Borealdreams (talk) 04:23, 17 March 2013 (UTC)
Many do. We also accept definitions copied from out of copyright dictionaries, those that are consistent with modern dictionaries or the experience of a consensus of editors. Whenever there is a sense that is disputable citations help show how a term is actually used. In fact the best original definitions start with citations. As I said, I'm sure someone could find them for you if the definition is challenged. DCDuring TALK 04:29, 17 March 2013 (UTC)
(after edit conflict) 1) Lots of other pages have citations. Theoretically, they all should, but in practice they're only required when there's a question as to whether something is actually in use.
2) This is not an encyclopedia or a technical work. We can't deal with all of the multitudinous dimensions of a given phenomenon. This is a descriptive, not a prescriptive dictionary: we describe language as it's actually used in the real world, where the vast majority of people don't know what on earth you're talking about. Dictionary definitions don't have to be theoretically rigorous and complete- even if these were, they would useless to someone trying to master the full implications of the technical concepts, which require considerable background knowledge. Although we don't want to be actually wrong (no reference to projectiles hurled by gods or to dragons running around in the sky, for instance), we have to simplify our definitions to the point that it reflects what it means to most speakers, and also is comprehensible to people who are looking up the word.
If only the tiny fraction of a percent of English speakers who truly understand the technical details of the phenomenon have a given definition in mind, it's very inaccurate to substitute it for the definition as understood by everyone else, as if hundreds of millions of people were well-enough-trained in the physics of high-voltage electrical discharges to make the distinctions you're describing. Chuck Entz (talk) 04:59, 17 March 2013 (UTC)
Alright, I'm gonna use the Be:Bold principle and just insert the two above. A simple Google search of "lightning definition" results in at least 3 dictionary listings that are 1000 times better than the garbage current here, and closely resemble that which I have prepared. One even has a part a) & part b), as was agonized over above. The largest problem I find is ambiguity of words in this field... "discharge" being one of the worst, "flash" a close second, and "stroke" pulling in number 3... all of which are technical words used to explain what lightning actually IS, and all 3 have lots of other meanings which can be used to describe observational properties of lightning. And "lightning", we can't forget about that... it trumps them all while being able to be used with them too.
As to Chuck, I understand your point, but reality of it is, the two existing definitions mean absolutely nothing and are not even in agreement with other definitions online. *sighs* Borealdreams (talk) 05:13, 17 March 2013 (UTC)
Several comments: 1) If terms have different meanings in everyday speech and in specific scientific fields, e.g. meteorology, both meanings are welcome. 2) If, however, there is only one meaning — and everything that laymen call "lightning" is indeed "lightning" according to the scientific definition, even if the laymen think of it as a flash and the scientists describe it in terms of polarity/ionisation/etc — then as Chuck notes, the definition needs to be intelligible to the laymen, and should be relatively concise, because Wiktionary is not an encyclopedia or a technical reference work. That said, 3) the problem with the definitions you added earlier wasn't that they were overly scientific—they weren't—it was that they were more like jumbled commentaries on the use of the word "lightning" than definitions of lightning. (For example, this entire paragraph has no definition in it at all: "A general term used to describe and simplify the electrical and physical properties of a complex phenomena which equalizes areas of spacial polarity within the atmosphere and also to the earth. Often "lightning" erroneously accepts larger responsibility than its much smaller and simpler brother, a spark, ignoring the fact that without oxygen or fuel, lightning would go relatively unnoticed.") - -sche (discuss) 06:22, 17 March 2013 (UTC)
Here's a look at how other dictionaries define "lightning":
  • Merriam-Webster: the flashing of light produced by a discharge of atmospheric electricity; also: the discharge itself
  • Oxford: a. the occurrence of a natural electrical discharge of very short duration and high voltage between a cloud and the ground or within a cloud, accompanied by a bright flash and typically also thunder; b. literary: a flash or discharge of lightning (as, the sky was a mass of black cloud out of which lightnings flashed)
  • dictionary.com: a brilliant electric spark discharge in the atmosphere, occurring within a thundercloud, between clouds, or between a cloud and the ground
  • Collins: a flash of light in the sky, occurring during a thunderstorm and caused by a discharge of electricity, either between clouds or between a cloud and the earth
  • The Free Dictionary (1): a. an abrupt, discontinuous natural electric discharge in the atmosphere; b. the visible flash of light accompanying such a discharge
  • TFD (2): a brilliant electric spark discharge in the atmosphere, occurring within or between clouds, or between a cloud and the ground

TFD (3): A flash of light in the sky caused by an electrical discharge between clouds or between a cloud and the Earth's surface. The flash heats the air and usually causes thunder. Lightning may appear as a jagged streak, as a bright sheet, or in rare cases, as a glowing red ball.

Based on that and on how the words are commonly used, I've modified the definitions. As I wrote above: if, in meteorology, "lightning" can denote phenomena other than the (typically flashy) discharge of atmospheric electricity, that will need to be addressed. - -sche (discuss) 08:31, 23 March 2013 (UTC)


The 4th entry needs an update. Deists dont believe god is omnipotent. I propose "initiator of the big bang (as in deism)" Pass a Method (talk) 10:10, 17 March 2013 (UTC)

Citations supporting this proposed definition? DCDuring TALK 10:50, 17 March 2013 (UTC)
Your update makes it much worse, as the defining factor of what deists call God is that he created the universe, not how he did it. If “omnipotent” is the problem, the definition can be rewritten without it, like “The being who created the universe (as in deism).” — Ungoliant (Falai) 12:27, 17 March 2013 (UTC)
How about this cite? Pass a Method (talk) 12:28, 17 March 2013 (UTC)
The idea of God existed way before any notion of a "Big Bang". Furthermore, some theists believe in God, but not in a Big Bang. Equinox 12:30, 17 March 2013 (UTC)
@Ungoliant, actually since the Big Bang is currently largely a scientific fact, todays deists generally see "the creator of the universe" and "initiator of the big bang" to be synonymous. Pass a Method (talk) 12:31, 17 March 2013 (UTC)
[] todays deists generally see [] ” Yep, generally, not always. But even if all did, the important thing for deism is that what they call God created the universe, not how he created it.
Suppose, for example, that scientists convinced every deist that the Big Bang never happened. Deists wouldn’t stop being deists, they would just consider that God created the universe in another way. On the other hand, if the scientists convinced them that the universe wasn’t created by God, they wouldn’t be deists any more. — Ungoliant (Falai) 13:05, 17 March 2013 (UTC)
I vestedly agree that the deistic model of "God" need not include omnipotence. An excellent resource for this discussion is Charles Hartshorne's Man's Vision of God and the Logic of Theism. While I would dispute Harteshorne's conclusions, he does outline characteristics accorded "God" under many theological models -- Pantheism (for which "God" is simply another name for Nature and its laws); Pandeism (for which "God" simply becomes Nature); Deism, Theism, Panentheism, etc, etc. And Hartshorne distinguishes degrees of onipotence and omniscience, some of which fall short of what traditional theists would understand to be accorded to "God." DeistCosmos (talk) 04:21, 12 April 2013 (UTC)
I think the senses should be combined into one general sense that incorporates them all. Something like "The (male) creator or sustainer of the universe or sustainer of mankind, or any similar being". With a usage note indicating that use varies widely by belief. Having a separate definition for each belief system (which seems to be the approach the entry and previous commenters here are taking) makes sense, too, except that we can wind up with thousands of definitions.​—msh210 (talk) 18:05, 19 April 2013 (UTC)

Statistical methods with Phrasal Verbs

A discussion has started at Appendix talk:English phrasal verbs#Statistical methods with Phrasal Verbs about determining if a given word couple/group is recognized as being a Phrasal Verb in statistical analyses of corpora, and whether this could be a useful criteria in resolving some of the innumerable RfDs for Phrasal Verb entries. I believe there is an essential tool here, not only for Phrasal Verbs, if we can agree how to use it. -- ALGRIF talk 11:08, 17 March 2013 (UTC)


Is it time to recreate sizzurp (codeine-laced cough syrup/soda mixture)? I'm not sure what the deletion log "no usable content" was referring to. It's in the news again. It's listed in this 2008 dictionary, Vice Slang. Choor monster (talk) 15:57, 18 March 2013 (UTC)

Feel free to create Citations:sizzurp anyway. Michael Z. 2013-03-18 19:29 z
Well, it seems easier to just create the entry. Google books on "sizzurp" gives numerous use citations, way more than three. I mean, I see Shatneresque sitting there without any citations. They're certainly easy to find!
Basically, I have no idea of what "no usable content" means here. It doesn't mean lacking citations, so I'm not sure what toes to not step on. Choor monster (talk) 20:38, 18 March 2013 (UTC)
Well in the case of the deleted sizzurp entry, I guess it means that it looked like a prank. Why don’t you enter some citations? Michael Z. 2013-03-18 21:25 z
We just like to have citations for questionable terms, especially those not in reputable dictionaries. See sizzurp at OneLook Dictionary Search. And, sometimes, citing something one creates surprises in terms of when the term came into use, multiple meanings, etc. Among Google Books and News and Usenet (Scholar?) there should be some citations. DCDuring TALK 21:29, 18 March 2013 (UTC)
Like I said, there are lots of them. I've done the legwork for difficult terms like seven-level screwdriver and number 2 (meaning the pencil). But here, it's shooting fish in a barrel. Heck, the OneLook entry you suggested links to Wikipedia Purple drank, which begins with a list of synonyms and five citations for "sizzurp", including WSJ, ABC news, USA Today. Five years ago it may have been dodgy, but it seems to have gone mainstream. Choor monster (talk) 22:32, 18 March 2013 (UTC)
But are they good citations? The LA Times one just used it in the name of a song (which brings up questions of independence from other sources that may just be quoting the song) and quoted in the lyrics, spelling it differently. If it's a clear as you say, it shouldn't be that hard to find 3 good citations.--Prosfilaes (talk) 00:22, 19 March 2013 (UTC)
@Choor monster: I don't have enough contact with this main stream you speak of to be able to tell. DCDuring TALK 01:51, 19 March 2013 (UTC)
"No usable content given" is specifically about the content of the deleted version, not about whether the term itself meets CFI. In this case, the entire entry consisted of a couple of ungrammatical sentences. No language header, part of speech header, formatting, or anything else. They didn't even bother with capitalization or punctuation, and the example sentence used a different spelling. When we see that kind of thing we just delete it- it would take longer to fix it than it would to just create an entry from scratch.
Whenever you see that deletion message, you should just proceed as if the other version had never existed, and base your decision about creating an entry on whether the term itself meets CFI- not on the entry's edit history.Chuck Entz (talk) 06:37, 19 March 2013 (UTC)


The inability to smell? is that what it means???"1??

Google Books has never heard of the word. Neither had Wikipedia until you added it to the article anosmia, which I have now reverted. Wikipedia requires edits to be verifiable on the basis of reliable sources, and Wiktionary requires evidence of actual usage of the word in durably archived sources. I can't find evidence of either. —Angr 16:24, 19 March 2013 (UTC)


This entry has "/trɑːθ/" listed as an alternate US pronunciation. Really? Sure, there are plenty of lects where θ->f, but I don't think I've ever heard of it going the other way, except for a few individuals who pronounce every word word with /f/ that way. I thought I'd better check, though, since I'm not exactly an expert on regional variation. Chuck Entz (talk) 05:04, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

Yes, I'm not doubting that Teh Rote heard this pronunciation (possibly at camp when he was 15?), but I would regard it as non-standard, so not appropriate for the entry. He no longer edits here, so I expect he won't mind if we revert. Dbfirs 09:47, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
In the absence of any support, is it OK to delete the mispronunciation? Dbfirs 16:23, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
No-one has objected, so I'm deleting the strange pronunciation. Dbfirs 19:27, 11 June 2013 (UTC)
Sorry I didn't notice this thread till now. Kenyon and Knott say that trough has an alternative pronunciation in /-θ/ which is "esp. freq. in N Engd.", but the vowel is /ɔ, ɒ/, not /ɑː/. K&K are known for listing some very old-fashioned pronunciations though; even if troth was a common pronunciation among rural New Englanders in the 1930s, that doesn't mean it still has any currency. BTW, there's no rule that nonstandard pronunciations are disallowed here, is there? —Angr 20:15, 11 June 2013 (UTC)
Just checked all my American dictionaries: Merriam-Webster's Collegiate, Webster's Third New International, and Random House College all include /tɹɔθ/, marking it "dialectal". (Webster also informs us that American bakers tend to pronounce it /tɹoʊ/ and British bakers /tɹaʊ/.) I think this is enough lemming support that we can include it as a variant pronunciation. —Angr 20:24, 11 June 2013 (UTC)
That's fine if the pronunciation is widespread in the US. I'd be inclined to say that including all the possible non-standard dialectal pronunciations in our entries just makes them very messy and unfriendly to users, but there's no rule against inclusion as far as I know. I removed it only because it seemed to lack support. The OED doesn't seem to have consulted British bakers in compiling their dictionary. Dbfirs 21:44, 11 June 2013 (UTC)
"Widespread" is probably an exaggeration, but it apparently does occur. The "troth" pronunciation isn't mentioned in Kurath's Pronunciation of English in the Atlantic States, but maybe it's in one of the other dialect atlases. —Angr 08:07, 12 June 2013 (UTC)
I'd just like to comment that we omit British pronunciations that are very widespread. I'm not intending to add them. They rightly belong in a Wikipedia article. Dbfirs 08:29, 13 June 2013 (UTC)
I think many, maybe even most, Wikipedians would disagree with you, saying that detailed pronunciation information belongs at Wiktionary since it's information about the word, not the concept. Maybe we should introduce some sort of collapsible box for regional pronunciations so they don't take up too much space, especially since people are already complaining about the amount of info they have to wade through before they get to the definition. If this is an idea other people like, we could include just the "big two" pronunciations (GenAm and RP) above the box and then include things like Scottish, Australian, and regionalisms inside the box. —Angr 09:10, 13 June 2013 (UTC)
I think many Wiktionarians would disagree with you as well. Things about the word belong on its page, and that includes every pronunciation variation.--Prosfilaes (talk) 20:43, 16 June 2013 (UTC)
Yes, I see what you mean. We need to distinguish between variations in vowels, of which there would be dozens for every word (and therefore I still think belong in a Wikipedia article or an appendix here), and variations in consonants, as in this entry, where there is an unexpected variant. I've been wondering for some time whether to add the pronunciation /aks/ to our entry at ask because it's common in some regions of northern England (not just African American Vernacular English). I haven't done so because I consider it a mis-pronunciation. Dbfirs 13:10, 20 July 2013 (UTC)
That pronunciation (using /æ/ rather than Northern English /a/) is listed at ax, though, whose Etymology 2 is the relevant meaning. I wouldn't call it a mispronunciation so much as a nonstandard form. I'd save "mispronunciation" for things like slips of the tongue as well as spelling pronunciations that have not yet become established, such as /ˈfeɪstiəs/ for facetious, as pronounced by someone who had only seen the word written down and had never heard it pronounced. That really shouldn't be added to the entry. But /æks/ (and /aks/ for dialects where the TRAP vowel is realized as /a/) is so well established (it dates all the way back to Old English) that it can hardly be called a mistake. —Angr 14:24, 20 July 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for the explanation and link. I hadn't realised the reason for what I previously thought was a widespread mispronunciation. I agree that it should be regarded as a non-standard or archaic or dialectal form rather than as an error. Dbfirs 13:38, 22 July 2013 (UTC)

come clean

By what definition is this a phrasal verb and clean a particle? It's an idiom, not entirely SoP.

I thought particles were limited to prepositions and adverbs and that clean is a complement. Is every noun or adjective complement of a verb potentially a particle and the phrase a phrasal verb? DCDuring TALK 17:29, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

Whatever else this may be, it is NOT a phrasal verb as we and all the dictionaries I've looked at (all those on phrasal verb at OneLook Dictionary Search) define it. I'm deleting the category memberships and the category Category:English phrasal verbs with particle (clean). DCDuring TALK 11:35, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
Quite rightly, too. -- ALGRIF talk 19:35, 24 March 2013 (UTC)

let go

By what definition is this a phrasal verb and go a particle? The phrase certainly has idiomatic senses. DCDuring TALK 17:35, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

Whatever else this may be, it is NOT a phrasal verb as we and all the dictionaries I've looked at (all those on phrasal verb at OneLook Dictionary Search) define it. I'm removing the category memberships and Category:English phrasal verbs with particle (go). DCDuring TALK 11:35, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
I have also deleted other similar categories that would require that clear, even, and open were particles. DCDuring TALK 12:06, 22 March 2013 (UTC)

decapitalize, uncapitalize

First of all, "decapitalize" is missing an economic sense. Secondly... both words claim to mean "to convert a word or character string from incorrect to correct capitalization, especially to convert the first letter from uppercase to lowercase". This means that one could "decapitalize" "germany" by changing it to "Germany", which I highly doubt. I think "decapitalize" and "uncapitalize" mean "to convert the first letter (or more) of (something) from uppercase to lowercase". Any objections to modifying the def? - -sche (discuss) 05:42, 23 March 2013 (UTC)

No, no objection here. I think you have it spot on. Leasnam (talk) 05:49, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
Agreed. The citations at uncapitalize clearly show it as the antonym of capitalize, never a synonym. Dbfirs 08:58, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Done - -sche (discuss) 20:12, 24 March 2013 (UTC)

Part of speech help (Aragonese)

I can’t figure out the PoS of the Aragonese word pas. It is used to emphasise negative sentences:

  • “pero no pas superficial, asperamos” - but not at all superficial, we hope
  • “No ocurre pas debant de f-” - It does not occur before f-

Ungoliant (Falai) 20:29, 23 March 2013 (UTC)

Operating from complete ignorance of the language and no formal linguistic training, but based on how such a function word would be classified in English, I'd say adverb. DCDuring TALK 20:32, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
Looks like the same as French pas. The development of using the pas in French without the ne is a recent development, it used to be the opposite where the ne was needed and the pas was optional. You'll find quite a lot of that in Chroniques by Jean Froissart, which is the text I'm coming to the end of now (volume 1 anyway). Mglovesfun (talk) 20:37, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
Catalan (on the same page) has the same usage: further evidence that it's not restricted to French. Chuck Entz (talk) 21:11, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
Thanks. I added it as adverb. — Ungoliant (Falai) 22:44, 23 March 2013 (UTC)


This entry has a noun section consisting of:

  1. {{plural of|you}}
    • 1992, Robert Dubin, Central Life Interests: Creative Individualism in a Complex World (page 10)
      Most of your life after babyhood has been played out by the several yous.
    • 2010, Patrick M Morley, The Man in the Mirror: Solving the 24 Problems Men Face (page 36)
      There are two yous — the visible you and the real you. The visible you is the you that is known by others.

There's no noun sense at you, nor is there any pronoun sense there that fits the quotes. My question, so I can fix it: is this really a noun, or is it a pronoun used as if it were a noun?

This particular construction can be used with just about any noun or pronoun: "Who is the real John Smith?". "The Las Vegas nobody sees"."Each has his own particular reality". "This is the real me". Are we opening ourselves up for a whole new class of senses? On the other hand, the quotes show an easily-cited usage that doesn't seem all that much like that of a pronoun. I'm not sure whether to delete the noun sense or add a corresponding one to the singular. Chuck Entz (talk) 23:49, 24 March 2013 (UTC)

The pronoun and singular and plural nouns don't seem as much of a waste of bandwidth as the separate entries for the plurals of proper nouns (though a user might like to see the plural of Mary at [[Mary]]). Some users might become confused on seeing such a usage or wonder whether another language would translate using a similar principle. DCDuring TALK 03:48, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
I recommend William Arthur Deacon The Four Jameses. Choor monster (talk) 15:59, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
Note somewhere#Noun and somewheres#Noun; they seem at least somewhat similar. I added the "unspecified or unknown (unlocated) place or location" sense as a noun because it had a plural and seemed more like a noun than anything else, but if we decide to handle you not as a noun, we might decide to handle somewhere similarly... - -sche (discuss) 03:40, 28 March 2013 (UTC)


What does it mean when people say "throw herself at somebody"? Wyang (talk) 23:04, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

To make an embarrassingly desperate attempt to get someone's romantic attention. One old form of this can be found in Chaucer: "For as a spaynel she wol on hym lepe" (she will leap on him like a spaniel). Equinox 09:34, 26 March 2013 (UTC)
I added spaynel and lepen. Mglovesfun (talk) 22:02, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
throw oneself at seems idiomatic to some lexicographers, but not others. See throw oneself at at OneLook Dictionary Search and throw at OneLook Dictionary Search. MWOnline's efforts to cover the construction at their entry for throw don't seem adequate to me. We need the entry I think. DCDuring TALK 22:55, 1 April 2013 (UTC)


Apparently this word as a noun has a technical jargon meaning in social network theory and likely in related fields. 'This article from BMJ' says, in the Glossary, "Alter: a person connected to the ego; this is the person who is potentially influencing the behaviour of the ego" (and "ego" is itself a technical term, not used in the psychological but a network sense of an individual node). I'm not in this field but found the use, with no explanation, in the article 'Network Structure and Information Advantage', e.g. "In addition, the greater structural awareness of actors in constrained networks (Coleman 1988) may enable alters to differentiate their information flows from one another," so it has probably become an accepted technical term. It would be helpful if it could be added to the Wiktionary.

Is alter ego synonymous in this sense? Equinox 11:15, 26 March 2013 (UTC)

I'm yet to see it

Which senses of yet and to are used in "I've yet to see it"? What about in "I'm yet to see it"? (For those who haven't heard the latter, it's semantically synonymous with the former.) The usexes suggest adverb sense 1 of [[yet]] is intended to cover such phrases, but subbing it into the sentence results in "I have [thus far, up to the present] to see it", which doesn't seem intelligible to me. - -sche (discuss) 04:37, 28 March 2013 (UTC)

The OED has an extra sense: "Followed by an infinitive referring to the future, and thus implying incompleteness (e.g. yet to be done, implying ‘not hitherto done’; I have yet to learn, implying ‘I have not hitherto learnt’)". Does this cover your examples? Dbfirs 12:53, 28 March 2013 (UTC)
The MWOnline handles it: "up to now : so far <hasn't done much yet> —often used to imply the negative of a following infinitive <have yet to win a game>. DCDuring TALK 16:32, 28 March 2013 (UTC)
Thanks! The OED definition seems especially good. I've added a sense based on it, though it could probably be worded better than I've worded it. - -sche (discuss) 18:25, 28 March 2013 (UTC)
I think this can only occur after forms of certain stative copulative verbs: be, seem, remain, and similar, not become.
"I am yet to be convinced" (yet in this new sense) transforms to "I have not yet been convinced." (yet in first sense).
"Hitherto" confuses the deixis in the time reference, I think.
This could still use some work. DCDuring TALK 23:39, 1 April 2013 (UTC)


Is it acceptable to nest templates in the manner that I have in this entry? (it seems to work more or less, the word being added to the two correct categories) SemperBlotto (talk) 10:34, 28 March 2013 (UTC) p.s. In case you were wondering - it is from Dante's Inferno.

It is confusing. Is it an apocope of Camicione, or is it an apocope of an alternative form of Camicione (this form being used during the Middle Ages)? — Ungoliant (Falai) 16:46, 28 March 2013 (UTC)
It would be an apocopic form of Camiscione, but we haven't got an entry for that yet (but it seems to be an Italian surname itself). SemperBlotto (talk) 16:52, 28 March 2013 (UTC)
In a word, no. Mglovesfun (talk) 17:01, 28 March 2013 (UTC)
OK - I've made it an orthodox entry. SemperBlotto (talk) 17:15, 28 March 2013 (UTC)
It looks good now. FWIW, I have sometimes combined {{alternative form of}} with other form-of templates or with itself, but only by writing {{alternative form of|foo|nodot=1}}: {{other form-of template}} or by doing things like this, not by nesting. Another way of formatting this entry might have been something like {{context|archaic}} {{acopic form of|Camicione}} {{defdate|during the Middle Ages}}. - -sche (discuss) 18:16, 28 March 2013 (UTC)

Googleable and ungoogleable

We prefer googleable over Googleable, but unGoogleable over ungoogleable. This seems inconsistent. Do we have any guidelines on capitalization of verbs that incorporate proper nouns? If not, any suggestions? Kaldari (talk) 21:57, 28 March 2013 (UTC)

Having X as "alternative form of Y" should not be understood as a preference of Y. It is just a way to avoid duplicating the content. In that light, I don't think we have any guidelines. Common words with multiple common spellings (e.g. color, colour) tend to have two synchronised full entries because otherwise patriots would go nuts. Equinox 22:57, 28 March 2013 (UTC)
Yeah but no one is patriotic for the monstrosity unGoogleable, and like it or not, people do interpret "alternative form of" as meaning "less common/preferred form of". —Angr 09:19, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
For about a year now, I've been slowly reducing content duplication on en.Wikt; as part of that, I've been reducing the number of entries which were theoretically supposed to be synchronised. (I do that by editing two pairs of spellings at once and making the US spelling of one pair the host of its content, and the UK spelling of the other the host of its content.) When I started, there were 13 pairs of supposedly synced entries, not a single one of which actually was or had even recently been synced; there are now only two pairs: colourful/colorful, which may be consolidated at some point, and color/colour (which, NB, are synced—only because I synced them), which I've been content to leave as a monument to failure, a reminder of naïveté, a proof for anyone who, in the future, ever finds it hard to believe that people would have attempted such a thing as the total duplication and perfect synchronisation of content across dozens of pages. Let all view the entries' edit histories see that Wiktionary did once try that, and that the entries did indeed spend much of their time out-of-sync! - -sche (discuss) 02:16, 30 March 2013 (UTC)
In this case, I say make [[ungoogleable]] the lemma. - -sche (discuss) 02:16, 30 March 2013 (UTC)

positive larger

I heard an interesting sentence on NPR yesterday. It referred to "other larger cities" and after spending time trying to figure out 'larger than what' I realized this is a case of larger being positive rather than comparative. Here's a sample sentence I found at google books "As shown by experience in New York and other larger cities, these towering buildings tend to aggravate conditions..." It seems to be a positive adjective meaning something like big. Before I add it does anyone have any insights into how general this is (and is my interpretation correct)? RJFJR (talk) 13:11, 30 March 2013 (UTC)

The standard for comparison is a vague notion of the prototype to the noun modified.
I think it's more part of "universal semantics" that all or many or frequently used comparatives can be used in this way. It's certainly common in English. DCDuring TALK 13:51, 30 March 2013 (UTC)
It's common in other languages like Latin and German, too. In fact, my impression is it's more common in German than in English, which is why I usually render it "rather X" or "somewhat X" when I encounter it in a German text I'm translating into English. —Angr 14:05, 30 March 2013 (UTC)
Sounds like it’s being compared to an implied “average city.” — Ungoliant (Falai) 15:16, 30 March 2013 (UTC)
There's nothing to add. This is a pretty normal use of the comparative. Ƿidsiþ 16:36, 30 March 2013 (UTC)


Shouldn't the mythological noun be Gorgon? SemperBlotto (talk) 15:18, 30 March 2013 (UTC)

Both are citable, but upper-case seems to be more common. Gorgon isn’t the name of one specific creature, but a class of creatures. — Ungoliant (Falai) 16:27, 30 March 2013 (UTC)