Wiktionary:Tea room/2014/May

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discussion rooms: Tea roomEtym. scr.Info deskBeer parlourGrease pit ← April 2014 · May 2014 · June 2014 → · (current)


Why is the 5th definition of the verb exercise is marked obsolete? I've recently read it in The Economist. It's something like "to worry".

Nearwater (talk) 02:42, 1 May 2014 (UTC)

Thanks, it is not obsolete though I think it is used mostly in the passive. Exercised also used as an adjective, being used as a predicate, modified by very as verbs are not: [be] very exercised, and being used in comparatives: [be] more exercised about/over/concerning. It may be that the fifth definition will become obsolete, with exercised being considered solely an adjective with this meaning.
Are you familiar with any modern use of the fifth definition in the active voice? DCDuring TALK 04:33, 1 May 2014 (UTC)
No. The other examples I found are used in the same way.
On the obsolete question: though it may not be obsolete, I wonder if it's principally used in the UK. (My Economist example is from a London publication.) Nearwater (talk) 04:52, 1 May 2014 (UTC)


In the German ety#1 of sein, none of the usage examples use sein but a different inflection of it. That is not very helpful, uses of the actual headword are needed. Also, the usage note seems to be irrelevant to the page. It is a plea for not considering mir ist kalt to be a quirky case. SpinningSpark 08:44, 1 May 2014 (UTC)

I've had a quick look and it seems that there are many verbs, English and otherwise, that are quoted in inflected forms. The quirky case thing is quite weird though. --Blarkh (talk) 16:27, 4 June 2014 (UTC)


Thank you, whomsoever, so much for this entry on SűDű Language! I have been looking for this language for some time. I believe this language will help me to learn many other languages. Please continue. Again, Thank You!

Csanty (talk) 20:16, 1 May 2014 (UTC)Csanty

Template:gerund of

I believe this template to be confusing and overused. Many nouns ending in -ing use this template instead of an actual definition. If a person doesn't know what the word ending in -ing means, he/she is unlikely to know what a gerund is and the definition will be of no use to him. Thoughts? Purplebackpack89 (Notes Taken) (Locker) 15:29, 2 May 2014 (UTC)

We could link to a definition of "gerund" in our glossary. --WikiTiki89 15:31, 2 May 2014 (UTC)
But there are many different definitions. It depends on the language. —CodeCat 15:53, 2 May 2014 (UTC)
There are only two definitions I know of: a noun representing the action of a verb, or an adverb representing that something is happening during the action of a verb. --WikiTiki89 16:07, 2 May 2014 (UTC)
Apparently there are other definitions as well, at w:Gerund. —CodeCat 16:20, 2 May 2014 (UTC)
From the list w:Gerund#Gerunds in various languages, only the French deviates from the two definitions I provided above, using it to refer to adjectival participles as well. --WikiTiki89 16:30, 2 May 2014 (UTC)
What would be best is to not use the template, and have an actual, applicable definition instead Purplebackpack89 (Notes Taken) (Locker) 16:23, 2 May 2014 (UTC)
You know well that that would be pointless. It would just mean duplicating all the definitions of the lemma, with predictable maintenance problems to follow. It's why we have form-of entries in the first place. —CodeCat 16:53, 2 May 2014 (UTC)
User:CodeCat, no, it wouldn't be pointless. It would make the definitions more precise and easier to understand. No maintenance problems would arise from that. I'm starting to think form-of templates are a mistake unless a) every single usage of them is a 100% accurate definition, and b) they use simple enough language for Joe Smordley to understand them. Gerund of is neither of those things. Purplebackpack89 (Notes Taken) (Locker) 19:49, 2 May 2014 (UTC)
I really don't understand how you think that duplicating definitions across dozens of form-of entries would not be a maintenance nightmare. Do you really believe that every single editor on Wiktionary will bother to update all of them? I certainly don't, and I doubt anyone else does either. —CodeCat 19:54, 2 May 2014 (UTC)
User:CodeCat, a) It's not duplicating definitions, it's replacing a very uninformative template with a definition that could be way clearer, and b) If it makes this Wiktionary more informative, it'd be worth it. You seem to be willing to sacrifice information for ease, which I find unfathomable and at cross purposes with the goal of the project. The present template isn't a definition, it's a categorization that doesn't tell the user anything. It's completely useless if a user doesn't know what a gerund is (and it's not a BE 1500 word, so most people probably don't), and it's not that helpful even if you do know what a gerund is. Getting rid of the template makes definitions much clearer. Purplebackpack89 (Notes Taken) (Locker) 20:00, 2 May 2014 (UTC)
So what would you propose that does not lead to duplication of definitions? —CodeCat 20:31, 2 May 2014 (UTC)
User:CodeCat: Removing the template from articles, as I've said above. You lose the template and you get an actual definition. I'm not sure where you're getting this whole duplication of definitions line of arguing. There never was any duplication of definitions. Purplebackpack89 (Notes Taken) (Locker) 20:54, 2 May 2014 (UTC)
You still haven't explained what text, exactly, you would put in the entry instead of the template. —CodeCat 21:00, 2 May 2014 (UTC)
Because there isn't any one sentence that I would put in instead of the template. It would vary with the word for increased precision. Purplebackpack89 (Notes Taken) (Locker) 21:04, 2 May 2014 (UTC)
Can you give an example? —CodeCat 21:58, 2 May 2014 (UTC)
IMO, best would be a single PoS header for each -ing-form that did not have a distinct sense, that is one not present in the associated verb. I'd think "Verb" would be the most straightforward. We could explain simply in a short linked-to Appendix that -ing-forms can fill a range of grammatical roles. DCDuring TALK 21:26, 2 May 2014 (UTC)
I'm not sure I understand the objection to the term gerund. When I was in secondary school, that was the name they taught in English classes. And that's English as a second language (for Dutch speakers) too. So if they understand it, why don't native speakers? —CodeCat 21:57, 2 May 2014 (UTC)
My particular objection to the whole gerund business is you're calling a word a gerund in lieu of actually defining it Purplebackpack89 (Notes Taken) (Locker) 22:40, 2 May 2014 (UTC)
Do you have similar objections to "plural", "past participle", "nominative", "future indicative", "definite" and the likes? —CodeCat 22:43, 2 May 2014 (UTC)
Those are nothing like gerund. The first two are used in more common parlance than gerund is. Furthermore, what a gerund means varies from word to word. What a plural means doesn't Purplebackpack89 (Notes Taken) (Locker) 23:14, 2 May 2014 (UTC)
Gerund isn't really all that different from "participle" in its vagueness. w:Participle doesn't elaborate a whole lot on what a participle actually is, probably because it's not really possible to give one single clear definition. What's more, the terms "participle" and "gerund" actually overlap in meaning. The same form in many Romance languages has been called a participle by some, and a gerund by others. What you're also missing is that while these terms are vague in general, they often have very specific meanings within any given language. Look at groene for another example of that. Clearly, "inflected form" doesn't mean a whole lot on its own. But it's the standard term for this specific form in Dutch, so that's what we use. Calling the English verbal noun that ends in -ing anything other than "gerund" would be disregarding the common term for it as it's used in linguistic literature and teaching alike (as demonstrated by my anecdote). We should follow established practice when reasonable, and I don't see how it would be unreasonable here. —CodeCat 23:21, 2 May 2014 (UTC)
It's unreasonable because "gerund of BLAH" isn't a definition! Purplebackpack89 (Notes Taken) (Locker) 23:39, 2 May 2014 (UTC)
Why not? —CodeCat 23:54, 2 May 2014 (UTC)
Because it's just a link to another page and a word that's ambiguous and nobody knows any of the definitions of anyway Purplebackpack89 (Notes Taken) (Locker) 00:03, 3 May 2014 (UTC)
I asked why not. "just a link to another page" is also a definition, as shown by thousands of form-of entries already existing on Wiktionary. Please explain. You've yet to give any compelling reasons that don't involve huge changes to over half of Wiktionary's entries. —CodeCat 00:19, 3 May 2014 (UTC)
I don't know where you're getting "over half of Wiktionary's entries" when I only suggesting abandoning this template, not others. I consider it a leap of faith to say if we delete this, we have to delete the plural one. I believe "gerund of BLAH" is not sufficient enough explanation for a lay user, as gerund is ambiguous (plural isn't) and gerund isn't a well-known word (plural is). That's a perfectly good reason to abandon the gerund template. Purplebackpack89 (Notes Taken) (Locker) 00:39, 3 May 2014 (UTC)
I was responding to your claim that it wasn't a definition. Presumably, if "gerund of" is not a definition, then neither is "plural of", and all the consequences follow from that. Sorry if I don't just take your claim that "gerund" isn't a known word among those with knowledge of English grammar. Furthermore, Wiktionary uses many words that are not known to people who haven't at least done some studying of the grammatical concepts of the language. The average speaker will not know what a participle is either, let alone "nominative", to say nothing of things like "pinyin" or "construct form". So that a word isn't well known among English speakers generally is not a reason to exclude it. Especially not if it's the common term used a to describe something in descriptive grammars of the language (as opposed to learning material). —CodeCat 00:45, 3 May 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Why use a complicated word when you can use a simple word? Gerund isn't a simple word. There is a list of 1500 simple words and gerund isn't on it. Which of the following definitions is more useful?

  1. Gerund of greenlininggreenline
  2. The process of greenlining

It's pretty clearly #2, because it's more precise and uses easier language. You shouldn't use complicated words like gerund if you can say it more simply. Furthermore a description isn't a definition! I again remind you the plural of is NOT part of this discussion, so please stop claiming it is. Purplebackpack89 (Notes Taken) (Locker) 01:41, 3 May 2014 (UTC)

Both are useless, because they refer to themselves. #1 should be "Gerund of greenline", and #2 is beyond fixing: the obvious question that arises from it is "but what is this greenlining that it's the process of", to which the definition answers "greenlining"- are you beginning to see a pattern here? Chuck Entz (talk) 02:20, 3 May 2014 (UTC)
What is this greenlining? The verb definition! Purplebackpack89 (Notes Taken) (Locker) 03:18, 3 May 2014 (UTC)
@Purplebackpack89 You didn't close the <s> tag, so I did for you. --WikiTiki89 03:32, 3 May 2014 (UTC)
The problem is, "The process of greenlining." is a circular definition. Expanding it gives "The process of the process of greenlining." and then "The process of the process of the process of greenlining." etc. And this does not bring anyone closer to understanding the word greenlining. --WikiTiki89 15:13, 3 May 2014 (UTC)


...are an Indian food; see e.g. google books:fryums and a raw Google search for "lentil fryums". What are they? A Google Image search suggests they're tiny, coloured, shaped pieces of pasta, but other sources suggest they are papads/papadams. One Wikipedia page equates them with "sandige" (which I'm not sure of the lemma form of), which are in turn equated with vadagams. Also, is the lemma fryum or fryums? The apparent plural seems to be so much more common than the singular than I'm not sure if the singular is actually attested, and/or if the word just happens to end in s and isn't actually plural. (PS, considering how many ways papadam can be spelt, it's possible fryum(s) is more commonly spelt some other way.) - -sche (discuss) 16:59, 3 May 2014 (UTC)

I'm pretty sure the lemma is fryum and that it is not a native word in any language of India but is simply English fry + 'em or -um (sense 3). All the recipes I could find online mention that they are fried. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 20:09, 3 May 2014 (UTC)
To clarify, I'm pretty sure the nominal lemma is fryum, but I can't find any actual evidence of the singular either, so maybe it should be treated as a plurale tantum. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 20:20, 3 May 2014 (UTC)
See noseeum for a similar construction. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 20:31, 3 May 2014 (UTC)
It was a trademark [1] for "pasta, rice, flour; formed food products made from flour, starch and spices and adapted to be deep-fried by the consumer; spices (other than poultry spice), starch and salt". Equinox 20:44, 3 May 2014 (UTC)
This seems similar to pierogi and varenyky. —CodeCat 21:24, 3 May 2014 (UTC)


http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/obstrusive Should the other forms be stated for a misspelled word? —This comment was unsigned.

I think not, especially for circumlocutions like more obstrusive. DCDuring TALK 23:46, 3 May 2014 (UTC)


Where are the other genders? Lysdexia (talk) 16:11, 4 May 2014 (UTC)

The word is a noun, so it doesn't have to have multiple genders: it's masculine, with the feminine counterpart, Ἑλληνίς (Hellēnís), being a different word. Chuck Entz (talk) 22:01, 4 May 2014 (UTC)

Transwiki:ISO 639

Regarding these pages [2], which have sat in transwiki limbo for ages: I doubt the abbreviations should have separate entries, since they are terms in an ISO standard rather than terms in the language (and I bet many would prove impossible to attest, rather like those made-up ISO measurement units). Can we either zap the pages or move them to an ISO appendix of some kind? Equinox 11:36, 5 May 2014 (UTC)

Italian-American gravy

I was under the impression that Italian-Americans use gravy to refer specifically to tomato sauce, and not any sauce used for pasta in general. --WikiTiki89 12:34, 5 May 2014 (UTC)

Not per Partridge: "pasta sauce mid-Atlantic Italian-American usage US 1976"

It's hard to tell what is meant by this usage:

  • 2005, Edward Giobbi, ‎Eugenia Giobbi Bone, Italian Family Dining: Recipes, Menus, and Memories of ..., page 191:
    The ladies marched out of the kitchen with [] steaming homemade biscuits, a mound of curly bacon, and a bowl of white gravy with the handle of a ladle sticking out.
It would seem wise to limit "tomato" to an "especially". DCDuring TALK 13:54, 5 May 2014 (UTC)
I think that might be actual gravy. See "cream gravy" (a.k.a. "white gravy") in w:Gravy#Types. --WikiTiki89 18:09, 5 May 2014 (UTC)
Yes, the presence of biscuits and bacon and the absence of any kind of pasta make me strongly suspect this is cream gravy. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 18:39, 5 May 2014 (UTC)

afeard, afeared, affeard, affeared

Is there any way to standardize these a bit more? Are all spellings still used or are some archaic and some archaic or colloquial. Definitely currently used in my part of the world. Renard Migrant (talk) 16:13, 5 May 2014 (UTC)

Yes. It just takes a little empirical research or consultation of references (affeared at OneLook Dictionary Search and affeard at OneLook Dictionary Search). DCDuring TALK 17:21, 5 May 2014 (UTC)

o#Etymology, o#Etymology_1_3

I suspect that these are folk etymologies; it would be very, very unusual for a Romance language to have a derivation from the ablative case. Does anybody believe in these? --Æ&Œ (talk) 22:30, 5 May 2014 (UTC)

I wouldn't call them folk etymologies; they're simply mistakes. The forms are all from illum and/or illud. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 22:34, 5 May 2014 (UTC)


Is Preponed word correct to use in Conversation...? If not please give the appropriate word which can be used instead of "Preponed"...

அல்ல ..! அக்து தவரான சொல்..!

"Preponed" is Indian English; it is not used in British English, American English, etc. Instead you could say "brought forward" or "rescheduled to an earlier time". Equinox 11:33, 6 May 2014 (UTC)
preponed. pre is the opposite of pone in Latin, anyway: prepone|ponepone||antepone|postpone. Lysdexia (talk) 16:42, 6 May 2014 (UTC)
What? pre (well, prae, actually) is the opposite of post in Latin, and there is a Latin verb praepōnō, although I suspect the Indian English verb was formed by analogy to postpone rather than being inherited or borrowed from the Latin. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 18:55, 6 May 2014 (UTC)

Origin of polygamy

I'm looking for the first known uses of the word polygamy in each of its different contexts (zoology, botany, and anthropology). All I can find is claims its first recorded use is in 1591, and nothing actually tells me what that known use is.

I'm trying to find this out because there is conflicting information about what discipline the word originally belonged to. (Some sources claim that biology uses it in a broader sense, yet others claim that sociology associated it with marriage in order to make anthropological descriptions more precise.)

Does anyone have any actual sources for early usage?

2nd C. CE Claudius Ptolomy, Tetrabiblos Book 4 Chap. 5:
ἔπειτα ἐὰν μὲν ἐν μονοειδεῖ ζῳδίῳ ᾖ καὶ ἑνὶ τῶν ἀστέρων συνάπτουσα τύχῃ, μονογάμους ἀποτελεῖ: ἐὰν δὲ ἐν δισώμῳ ἢ καὶ πολυμόρφῳ ἢ καὶ πλείοσιν ἐν τῷ αὐτῷ ζωδίῳ τὴν συναφὴν ἔχουσα, πολυγάμους.
Then again, if the moon is in a sign of a single figure, or is applying to one of the planets, she makes them men of one marriage; but if she is in a bicorporeal or multiform sign, or applies to several planets in the same sign, she makes them marry more than once.

fag - photovoltaic sense

Discussion moved to WT:RFV.


I am looking at putting a log into Wiktionary for a phenomenon that has now been around for some time - eTravel. Details below:

"eTravel - the art of exploring the globe through the eyes of others who chose to share these journeys through an electronic media platform.

There is no right or wrong here. eTravel is all about the subjective nature of the writers who publish an article and the extent to which the writer is prepared to share these experiences.

Joining the eTravel generation is designed to be exciting. It provides both readers and writers alike the opportunity to escape to another place - and simply through using a e platform.

Have a great day."

Thoughts welcomed. —This unsigned comment was added by fxhqroamers (talkcontribs).

It sounds as though you've made up this term. There is, however, e-travel; see entry for book citations. Equinox 17:00, 10 May 2014 (UTC)
I think you need to revisit the context of the term versus e-travel. Completely different. Take a look at some of these journeys on the web under eTravel. —This unsigned comment was added by fxhqroamers (talkcontribs).
I don't see much usage of eTravel for virtual travel. DCDuring TALK 15:07, 13 May 2014 (UTC)


I learned 'wonk' as backwards for 'know' (Harvard c. 1966). The call of the wonk? 'twirk! twork! twirk!'.

Frank Thompson <email redacted>

French: traiteur

The entry for traiteur only has an English entry. The English word has French etymology and is a valid word in French, meaning both caterer and delicatessen. I'm not familiar enough with Wikitionary editing to put the meaning in myself. -- 04:17, 11 May 2014 (UTC)

the word numerous

I need to help on the term as I have been described as allowing something to happen on numerous occasions and in reality it happened twice would the amount of twice actually fit the description of numerous please help me I would be exceptionally gratefull

"Numerous" means "many". I don't think many people would consider two to be many! Equinox 11:48, 12 May 2014 (UTC)


Why does the page geblaft say that "This participle needs an inflection-table template."? Many participles of unergatives are never used attributively but only as an element of the perfect tenses and impersonal passive voice. In that case there is only one form and there are no inflections. Jcwf (talk) 04:56, 13 May 2014 (UTC)

The Category:Dutch non-adjectival past participles comes close to explaining this, but the explanation is not entirely correct. E.g. huisgehouden can very well be combined with worden and with zijn: er werd vreselijk huisgehouden, er is danig huisgehouden. Unergatives do form impersonal passives. Jcwf (talk) 05:06, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
Could someone check the etymology at blaffen as well? It doesn't look right. Wyang (talk) 05:08, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
It was added by the sockpuppet of a notorious contributor of junk edits who has been permanently blocked under several accounts (though that had a lot to do with his obsession with spanking, too). I nuked it on sight as careless nonsense. Chuck Entz (talk) 06:15, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
Look at the edit history: creation and editing have been done entirely by bots. Chuck Entz (talk) 06:24, 13 May 2014 (UTC)
The entry doesn't need an inflection table, but there was no way for a bot to know which past participles inflect and which don't, so a request was the lesser of the two evils. I've fixed the entry now. —CodeCat 11:39, 13 May 2014 (UTC)

pacy/pacey, sports label, and labels generally

A few questions about these entries.

  1. Pacy is listed as alternative spelling of pacey. Why aren't alternative spellings always redirected? They have different spellings in the quotations for these two entries, but I think the quotations could be listed together without confusion.
  2. On the pacey entry (but not the pacy entry), it's labeled as chiefly sports. How was that decided? Here's a counter-example that's not from sports: "Glenn Greenwald has delivered a pacy account that is sure to satisfy readers who see things the way he does."
  3. More generally, is there a guideline for adding labels like "chiefly sports" or "UK"? I've encountered a couple words lately in the Economist (e.g., exercised and pacy/pacey) that I think are chiefly British. Should I add the UK label?

Thanks. Nearwater (talk) 16:45, 13 May 2014 (UTC)

  1. Because pages may have entries in different languages. See WT:REDIR for a more detailed rationale.
  2. We try to avoid repeating information from the lemma in alternative form entries. “Chiefly sports” does not exclude the possibility of it being used outside sports.
  3. Do some research first. You can, for example, check what other dictionaries say or find some books using the word and see where the authors are from, or even ask here to see if someone knows the word. Don’t sweat too much over it though; no person in the world is familiar with every English dialect, so in the end adding such labels always has some degree of uncertainty. Once a user got blocked for adding an AAVE label to a word and using an Irish citation to support it, but that guy had been making shoddy contributions for years.
Ungoliant (falai) 21:44, 13 May 2014 (UTC)

ravin as noun?

Hi! I'm new. Any reasons why I shouldn't have just changed ravin from a noun to an adjective? Today I found the entry showing a single English definition. It was deemed a noun, but the definition was "ravenous", which is an adjective. I fulfilled the request for a quotation from Shakespeare, and the single citation is also an adjective: "Better 'twere / I met the ravin lion when he roared / With sharp constraint of hunger;" I thought I'd pop in and ask.

Also, another Shakespeare line gives "ravin down" as a verb, as in "to gobble ravenously". Do I want to put that on the main ravin entry, or make a new entry for "ravin down"? Thanks! Kjtobo (talk) 22:29, 14 May 2014 (UTC)

I added that noun (from Webster 1913), and it should have been an adjective, so thanks for fixing it. W1913 does also have ravin/ravine as a noun ("Food obtained by violence; plunder; prey; raven"): e.g. Tennyson, "Nature, red in tooth and claw with ravine". So perhaps we should add that. Equinox 23:21, 14 May 2014 (UTC)
Thanks! I copied the etymology and pronunciation from ravine and declared the noun uncountable, although I'm really just guessing. So if "ravin down" is a verb, then must "ravin" also be a verb with the same definition? This seems just like "gulp" and "gulp down". Kjtobo (talk) 15:22, 15 May 2014 (UTC)


(grammar) The uninflected form of a verb. In English, this is usually formed with the verb stem preceded by 'to'. e.g. 'to sit'

This is wrong on three counts:

  1. some languages do inflect the infinitive;
  2. there are uninflected verb forms that are not infinitives;
  3. The second sentence excludes the bare infinitive.

I don’t really know how to define it accurately, and Wikipedia tells us that “there is not a single definition applicable to all languages”, but I hope we can do better than this. — Ungoliant (falai) 00:32, 15 May 2014 (UTC)

"The A form of a verb usually found in dictionaries"? Keφr 00:37, 15 May 2014 (UTC)
Counterexample: Latin. --Catsidhe (verba, facta) 01:29, 15 May 2014 (UTC)
Another counterexample: any language that doesn't have infinitives, of which there are many. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 10:43, 15 May 2014 (UTC)
Which is why I said "usually". Given the above, I think writing down a definition that precisely captures the distinction between infinitives and non-infinitives is a hopeless task. Instead, I think we should aim to describe commonly found features of verb forms which are called "infinitives". We are writing dictionary definitions, not mathematical definitions. (Which also get generalised and misused a lot, by the way.) Keφr 13:42, 15 May 2014 (UTC)
I don't know if there are many languages where it doesn't apply, but in the languages I am familiar with, the infinitive is typically the verb form that is used when an auxiliary verb is used. —CodeCat 12:04, 15 May 2014 (UTC)
My Japanese may be a bit rusty, but I am somewhat reluctant to call て-forms "infinitives". If anything, I think it is rather the る-forms which deserve this name. Keφr 13:42, 15 May 2014 (UTC)
This rusty beginner agrees. The plain form/dictionary form (~う,~つ,~る, etc.) of Japanese verbs is more like the infinitive, but the て-form that is used with auxiliary verbs to make present, progressive, passive, and other forms. Kjtobo (talk) 15:36, 15 May 2014 (UTC)
We could do something like this:
  1. (grammar) A non-finite verb form used in some languages.
    1. (English) []
    2. (other Germanic languages) []
    3. (Romance language) []
This way we don’t have to make it vaguer and vaguer whenever it turns out a language has an infinitive that doesn’t fit the description. — Ungoliant (falai) 13:29, 15 May 2014 (UTC)
We are a dictionary, concerned with how the word is used by groups of speakers, including those without linguistics training. Most English speakers use the word to refer to "English to-infinitives" and any corresponding form in another language. To start with a vague hyponym and include English as one case seems wrong-headed. It seems to me that the English term has been extended to cover verb forms in other languages and then appropriated by linguists for more technical uses, possibly until its lack of universality made it less useful. A diachronic approach to the defining the term would require distinct definitions for the usage in texts of various vintages as well. DCDuring TALK 15:03, 15 May 2014 (UTC)
Yet the different senses must be included. google books:"the Italian infinitive" is not using the word infinitive in the sense of “the English to-infinitive”. How do you suggest this be done? — Ungoliant (falai) 18:55, 15 May 2014 (UTC)
I wish I could simply do it, but I don't have the linguistic chops. I wouldn't want to exclude much, except a laundry list of languages or language families and their particular infinitives. I would have (1) the English-only sense(s) (possibly just the "to-infinitive" sense) fairly prominent, (2) the original sense in English (if different from sense 1), (3) extended sense(s) that included European languages and any other languages that were commonly studied, and (4) any technical senses that differ from the first three in scope of languages covered or in identifying characteristics. to-infinitive and bare infinitive probably warrant separate entries for the English uses, bare infinitive probably also having scope outside English.
This is really excessive for a general-purpose dictionary, but we seem to enjoy elaborate technical definitions in the technical fields that are well represented among regular contributors. DCDuring TALK 22:16, 15 May 2014 (UTC)
If we need to have entries for Italian infinitive, so be it. I hope that one or more of the technical definitions of infinitive can be written to include all uses of infinitive in combination with language names. DCDuring TALK 22:21, 15 May 2014 (UTC)
BTW, under which definition of antonym is bare infinitive and antonym of to-infinitive? If there is a definition that fits, is it the definition that most users would expect in the "Antonyms" header? DCDuring TALK 22:30, 15 May 2014 (UTC)
We don’t need an entry for Italian infinitive, we need a definition of infinitive that covers the meaning it takes when referring to the Italian infinitive, as well as the other languages whose infinitive is citable as an English word. Now, obviously we don’t need to add a line detailing the language-specific aspects of every verb form called infinitive, nor can we add a single definition that covers what the various infinitives mean without being so vague as to be useless; instead, we need is a balance between vagueness and accuracy. What I find unacceptable is excluding real meanings of a word for our own convenience. — Ungoliant (falai) 01:14, 16 May 2014 (UTC)
Most dictionaries make do with one or two definitions. Crystal's A dictionary of Linguistics & Phonetics spends one and a half lines on a translingual definition and five and half on the particulars of the English-only sense. DCDuring TALK 23:02, 15 May 2014 (UTC)
I think you have it backwards: the word originated in reference to Latin, then was applied to an analogous item in English grammar back when explaining everything in terms of Latin was required of any scholar. In the case of the Romance languages, their infinitives were the historical continuation of Latin ones, even if they had changed in function. The infinitives in other languages are mostly a hodgepodge of perceived analogues to infinitives in languages that were familiar to those who decided to identify them as such. The result is that the history of grammatical scholarship for a language can have more bearing on what an infinitive is in that language than any inherent meaning of the term itself.
I think we would be better off having a sense for Latin (Perhaps Greek can be lumped in with it as well, under the heading of "classical languages"), a sense for English, and a sense saying something sort of like: "things in various languages that have been identified by grammarians with things known as infinitives in other languages". I suspect there are a few common threads: they're noun-like verb forms, for the most part,though they can sometimes be pressed into service as adjectives and other parts of speech, and mostly have less verb-like inflectional morphology/syntax than the finite forms of the verb- but those are tendencies, nothing cut-and-dried. Chuck Entz (talk) 02:52, 16 May 2014 (UTC)
I don't have convenient access to the OED or other source about early usage in English. I certainly would expect the usage to be at least heavily influenced by Latin if indeed not about Latin. When it was applied to English, I am under the impression that it came to refer to the to-infinitive, at least in school grammars.
If we list the English senses in order of emergence, is the order as follows: 1 as applied to Latin, 2a as applied to the English to infinitive, 2b as extended to the English bare infinitive (and other nonfinite forms?), 3 as generalized to apply to certain verb forms in certain languages mostly not inflected for tense, person, number, mood, or aspect or to analogous verb forms that are inflected, but are otherwise similar to infinitives in other languages? DCDuring TALK 09:20, 16 May 2014 (UTC)
I don't know that 2a and 2b are worth distinguishing. Did sense 1 ever exist as distinct from sense 2a or 2? I have seen reference to infinitive forms in Arabic. Does anyone have a good idea of the scope of applicability of the term across languages? Slavic languages? Semitic? DCDuring TALK 10:11, 16 May 2014 (UTC)
I think the problem is more than just terminological analogy (trying to apply Latin terms to analogues in one's own language). There is actually a sprachbund in Europe, which would presumably have led to forms which have similar functions being more aligned with each other in various languages. This effect is especially strong between the central Romance and Germanic languages, i.e. primarily between French and German. So that means that "infinitive" is not just a term applied by scholars; it's also a concept (even if they don't refer to it as such) applied by ordinary people to certain forms across the various European languages. This had the effect of making those forms more similar in usage. So it's not just that Latin terms are being applied to very different forms in different languages, but the speakers themselves also contributed to those forms becoming closer to each other in function over the centuries. —CodeCat 12:38, 16 May 2014 (UTC)
I'm not quite sure when the first English grammars where written, but I should have thought that it happened in a time where the bare infinitive was quite distinctive from most finite forms of a verb (which it still was at about Chaucer's time, I think), so I would actually have guessed that the bare infinitive was called infinitive first, and the to infinitive was just identified as 'the same thing with a 'to' in front of it. As to applicability, I think most IE languages have something conforming more or less to what we'd call an infinitive, although especially the difference between an infinitive and a gerund is nowhere as salient as we'd like it to be. (As in Finnish, which has several infinitives, which act very much the way nouns do; and I think the Proto-Germanic infinitive seems to have been pretty much a noun derived regularly from a verb.) Sadly, those are all only facts that I stumbled across when writing a paper, but I don't think I have any sources for them. --Blarkh (talk) 16:17, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
Germanic infinitives are nouns in origin, but they didn't inflect as nouns by Proto-Germanic times. —CodeCat 16:20, 4 June 2014 (UTC)

I re-wrote the definition, based on some of the ideas mentioned above. As I said, writing a precise and all-encompassing definition seems hopeless, so I wrote something to convey the rough idea of how the term is used. Improvements are welcome. Keφr 17:52, 13 June 2014 (UTC)

All of these entries, along with the academic definitions worldwide, are wrong and what I dispute other than that the term infinitive must be nonfinite:
  1. Infinitives are inflected for tense and aspect: dico#Latin, tæcan. Infinitives begin but do not end. Narrowly follows that there is no such thing as the perfect infinitive. A better name is innominative—it doesn't take a direct subject.
  2. The dictionary form of a verb is not the same part of speech for each language. For English, it has defected into the verbal stem, the imperative, which is almost or usually identical to the subjunctive. For Latin and Greek it's the first-person singular present active indicative. (I don't know why, as the imperative is the most natural and utilitarian lemma.)
  3. After auxiliary verbs (like I do need.) the verb stays a verb; unlike a verbal noun it can be stative, transitive, or factitive. There is no such thing as a to-infinitive. The to construes a prospective mood with the supine form: https://en.wiktionary.org/w/index.php?title=to&diff=9138931&oldid=9138928. In Latin this is -tu or -tum after the stem; in Romance this is with at (a; à). Instead the Romance use of to (de; di) like in English is to link nonauxiliary or nontransitive verbs [prospectively]. The former use, still as a prospective but assumed infinitive, is a kind of suppletion afforded by the death of English 1000 years ago, after the Norman Conquest and within the Dark Ages, and the malliterate fallout. In Semitic can be seen the same fake infinitive with the to (l'), for Hebrew at least, and Arabic has a faker infinitive with the masculine past active indicative. These professionals don't even understand these terms. Lysdexia (talk) 07:22, 26 June 2014 (UTC)
The question for the entry infinitive is not what is a correct linguistic model. It is, what does the word "infinitive" mean to the author a potential user is reading or to the audience a potential user is writing to. So long as writers call "to be" an infinitive and readers understand "to be" to be an infinitive, we need to correctly indicate to users that "to be" is considered an infinitive.--Prosfilaes (talk) 10:06, 26 June 2014 (UTC)

true that

Worth an entry? --Fsojic (talk) 12:06, 19 May 2014 (UTC)

Not sure. This seems to be some kind of set phrase (I've seen it spelled "tru dat"). But moving that to the end of a sentence is possible in general: "Funny, that." "It's a funny thing, that." Equinox 12:08, 19 May 2014 (UTC)
I think "true that" may be possible in dialects of English where "funny, that" and "it's a funny thing, that" are ungrammatical or at least highly unusual. (I associate "true that" with AAVE—hence the spelling "tru dat"—and "funny, that" with British English.) Certainly the intonation of "true that" is different from that of "funny, that", suggesting it isn't just another manifestation of the same construction. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 12:15, 19 May 2014 (UTC)
I can confirm that in my native dialect, "true that" is normal, whereas I would only say something like "funny, that" if I were imitating an English accent. And as Angr pointed out, the intonation is very different. Accordingly, I've created the entry. —Mr. Granger (talkcontribs) 06:10, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
True dat is how I hear it and read it. DCDuring TALK 16:37, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
That does reflect how it's pronounced in some dialects, but not in mine – I use a [ð]. (I'm from northern California and not a speaker of AAVE.) —Mr. Granger (talkcontribs) 14:03, 5 June 2014 (UTC)

Rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic

This line is a quote from a Neil Simon play, CHAPTER TWO, a comedy about a frustrated writer who feels that his latest play he's attempting to write isn't going very well.

The entry has examples of usage from before the play came out, so it would seem he was just using an expression that already existed. Chuck Entz (talk) 02:51, 20 May 2014 (UTC)


In the book "Lost Enlightenment" R. F. Starr (Princeton) the origin of the word "gibberish" is the philosopher Jabir (721-815). Know in the West as Geber. His writings were "mystifying." No mention of this in Wiktionary. (Why is "Wiktionary" a misspelling?) —This comment was unsigned.

Hmm... Chambers calls it imitative, while Merriam-Webster says it's "probably from gibber". Equinox 17:33, 21 May 2014 (UTC)

play — to have sex

Play currently has "(intransitive) to take part in amorous activity; to make love, fornicate; to have sex" as its second sense, but the only quotation is from the 1500s. Is the sense still used, distinctly from the first sense ("to act in a manner such that one has fun; to engage in activities expressly for the purpose of recreation"), outside of the phrase "play around"? Dictionary.com assigns its sexual sense to "play around"; Merriam-Webster has "to have sexual relations; especially : to have promiscuous or illicit sexual relations — usually used in the phrase play around". If "play" by itself is no longer common with this meaning, I'd like to add a context tag to that effect, like {{cx|obsolete}} or {{cx|now|uncommon|outside of the phrase ''[[play around]]''}}.
BTW, Merriam-Webster also has a noun sense "sexual intercourse", which they mark as obsolete; if attested, it would seem to be distinct from our non-obsolete noun sense "sexual role-playing". - -sche (discuss) 19:51, 21 May 2014 (UTC)

I've seen the non-obsolete noun a lot among BDSM people (though personally I find it really twee-sounding) but I've never seen the verb used that way. "We played last night"?! Equinox 19:43, 22 May 2014 (UTC)
I'm familiar with a noun being used in compounds, e.g. "bondage play" and "breath play"; is it also used by itself? (And is it used in the sense we have, "sexual role-playing", or the sense Merriam-Webster has, "sexual intercourse"?) - -sche (discuss) 22:35, 22 May 2014 (UTC)
It is used by itself, and I think it means role-playing rather than just sex. I've added two more noun citations that seem to back this up. Equinox 11:47, 24 May 2014 (UTC)
I've seen it by itself, as in "come out and let's play" in a suggestive, almost euphemistic way to mean "fool around/fornicate/have sex" in personal ads online. This is quite common, referring to sexual activity as innocent "playing" but also for 'cheating/committing adultery'. Leasnam (talk) 16:29, 7 June 2014 (UTC)
Is there a chance that this sense of play necessarily involves "toys" or "games"? DCDuring TALK 16:58, 7 June 2014 (UTC)
as I am well acquainted with the poster of many of said ads, and know firsthand that no addl 'devices' are used, I would emphatically say No...it simply means ' mess around/be naughty/cheat on your significant other wo their knowledge...(I know :/ ) Leasnam (talk) 18:35, 8 June 2014 (UTC)
'party & play' , often abbreviated PnP, is another example Leasnam (talk) 14:47, 4 July 2014 (UTC)

exotic dancer

My friend claims this term can also be used to refer to a belly dancer or pole dancer, and not just a stripper. Does anyone know for sure? ---> Tooironic (talk) 01:37, 24 May 2014 (UTC)

I believe so. w:Exotic dancer and w:erotic dancer imply at least the meanings are confused.--Prosfilaes (talk) 03:21, 24 May 2014 (UTC)
OK thanks I'll add those additional senses now. ---> Tooironic (talk) 07:49, 3 June 2014 (UTC)


What is the definition of "telos" please?
Copied direct from Wikipedia: Social Fluency:
American academic M.J. Packer illustrated the importance of Social Fluency in his 1987 work Social interaction as practical activity: Implications for the study of social and moral development.[3] He declared "I want to propose that social fluency is at least as important a telos for social development as the formation of explicit theories, principles and hypotheses about the social world... More explicitly, social development consists in (sic) increasingly broadened fluency: becoming socially fluent in an increased range of situations and subworlds...”
Thanks -- ALGRIF talk 11:29, 24 May 2014 (UTC)

From Ancient Greek τέλος (télos), it means "end" or "goal". —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 11:47, 24 May 2014 (UTC)
Thanks. Added. Please could someone format the entry correctly? -- ALGRIF talk 12:37, 24 May 2014 (UTC)

The cheese, Gouda or gouda?

What is the more usual capitalisation for the name of the cheese? We have entries at both currently. —CodeCat 21:25, 24 May 2014 (UTC)

I tried looking on Google Books Ngrams. Alone, the capitalized version is much more common, but that doesn't rule out the place name or sentence-initial position. So I tried several phrases like "eating {G/g}ouda", "ate {G/g}ouda", "some {G/g}ouda", "this {G/g}ouda", and "that {G/g}ouda". Most of these phrases occur too rarely for Ngrams to output a result at all, but with "that {G/g}ouda" and "some {G/g}ouda" the uppercase version was common enough to get a result, and the lowercase version wasn't, so my guess is the uppercase version is more common. But I acknowledge this isn't really great evidence. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 09:10, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
The evidence from the BNC and COCA likewise points to uppercase 'Gouda'. The BNC has 12 instances of 'Gouda' as the name of a cheese and no instances of 'gouda'. (It also has 3 instances of 'Gouda' as a placename and 1 instance of "The Greatest Flower Show on Earth and Historical Gouda".) COCA has 120 instances of 'Gouda' as the name of a cheese versus 33 instances of 'gouda' as the name of a cheese. (Several of COCA's citations are duplicates, but this is the case for both forms, and so probably a wash. COCA also has 8 instances of 'Gouda' as a placename, 4 instance of 'Gouda' in inline citations where it is either a last name or a placename, 1 instance of 'Gouda' as a first name (sic), 3 instances of 'Gouda' where it has no clear meaning, 2 instances of 'GOUDA' in text which is in all caps, and 1 instance of "I don't feel so gouda" where it is apparently a cheesy pun on "good".) - -sche (discuss) 16:53, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
A first name? As in Gouda Meir? —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 17:39, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
This is the citation: "Jamie Oliver, the British culinary star, christened his child Poppy Honey, not nearly so unfortunate a name as that of a poor soul dubbed Gouda. Increasingly, children are also named for prized possessions." 21:30, 25 May 2014 (UTC)

male, female, and "gender identity" definitions

A major sense at female says "Belonging to the feminine (social) gender; identifying one's gender as feminine (see gender identity)." male has a corresponding similar sense. I realise this is a contentious issue, especially on the Internet, but it seems to me that whether somebody is (socially, as well as biologically) male or female is generally something determined by the observer, and that discussions of "gender identity" rarely leave the journal or the university. Are these, then, fair and unbiased definitions, or are they verging towards some kind of utopian ideal? Equinox 22:40, 24 May 2014 (UTC)

Ah, I think I am to blame for that less-than-fluent attempt at conveying that the words can refer to social gender. At the time I edited the entries, they had only biological-sex-based senses.
It's trivial to find statements (by both cisgender and transgender authors) that "I am male" or "as a female, I think XYZ", etc, i.e. statements where subjects identify their own gender.
It's also easy to find statements where observers identify someone's gender, and in the case of transgender people, these identifications can even clash, such that the author who says "as a female, I think XYZ" may be described by certain observers as "male". When I think about it, however, this is probably a red herring, because it is also the case with other words: one person can say "I (X) am Russian", another person can say "X is Russian" or "X is Ukrainian".
One could expand the entry to explain that the identification can be done by either the person themselves or someone else ... i.e. "belonging to the feminine (social) gender; identifying one's gender as, or having one's gender identified as, feminine" ... but it may be best to shorten the definition instead, and just say "belonging to the feminine (social) gender", or perhaps "belonging to the feminine (social) gender, or having a feminine gender identity". (Compare the definitions of feminine and masculine.) I do think the link to gender identity should stick around, either in the {{qualifier}} after the sense or in the See also section, to help people who don't at first understand how sense 2 is different from sense 1. - -sche (discuss) 05:45, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
  • I think the sense should be removed as unattested. Quotations like "I am an airplane" should not be used as evidence of the word "airplane" being used to refer to humans. OneLook dictionaries do not support this craze, from what I can see. --Dan Polansky (talk) 20:28, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
    • I am an airplane and I feel offended by the above statement. What is wrong with "I am an airplane"? Keφr 04:33, 26 May 2014 (UTC)

indwelling vs. implanted

@CopperKettle My own instincts says these are not inherently opposed. In addition the -ing ending is an indicator of progressive or continuous aspect, whereas the -ed ending indicates completion. There are a few uses, as below of both terms in series that suggest that these terms have independent meaning and can be simultaneously applied to the same object.
  • 2011, Brain Machine Interfaces, page 132:
    Nonetheless, one serious and nagging problem for many BMIs is failure of effective transduction, putatively due to the reactive tissue response to the indwelling implanted device.
That makes an inherent (rather than one that is strictly contextual) dichotomy harder for me to believe. DCDuring TALK 12:44, 25 May 2014 (UTC)

Locative of dno

At https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/dno it says the locative singular form of the Czech words "dno" is "dnu", as the Russian version states. In the French version of the Wiktionary, it says "dně ou dnu" (dně or dnu). Czech and German versions agree with a Czech friend of mine in stating it is only dně. Could we coordinate the various language versions of this entry that have the declension of this word so that they agree on this form and show the correct one? Also, for the plural, all the mentioned versions agree to "dnech", while the French version has "dnách". Could we investigate this matter?

Dan Polansky should know the answer to this. —Stephen (Talk) 14:43, 1 June 2014 (UTC)
I have set the locative singular to "dně" in dno; an example is in "na dně oceánu". As for the locative plural, "dnech" sound correct to me but I do not have an example sentence or phrase. You can also check here: http://prirucka.ujc.cas.cz/?slovo=dno. --Dan Polansky (talk) 19:56, 1 June 2014 (UTC)


I would again request some help from the community for translation of a Finnish term, this time knoppi. It means "insignificant item of unimportant information, especially one assumed useful for passing an exam". I've not found it in any fi-en dictionaries, but I believe triviality and detail are at least close in meaning. I would appreciate any feedback you can give, like which word did you use for this kind of data when you were in school? --Hekaheka (talk) 08:51, 25 May 2014 (UTC)

will#Etymology 2

I'd like to add things like "Will you marry me?" and "Will you come swimming with us tomorrow?" as example sentences, but I'm not sure which sense they belong to. Sense 4 ("To choose to (do something), used to express intention but without any temporal connotations") seems close, but the example sentences do seem to have temporal connotations, namely that the events haven't happened yet. Sense 5 ("Used to express the future tense, formerly with some implication of volition when used in first person") also seems close, except that the implication of volition is not obsolete in these example sentences, and they're in the second person, not the first person. Are we missing a sense? Does one of our existing sense require tweaking? —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 14:09, 25 May 2014 (UTC)

I don't think the "will you come" example is a separate sense, but more an additional use of the future tense. Compare for example "Are you coming swimming?" which doesn't even use will, but simply uses the present tense as future. The same kind of construction is common in Dutch too ("Kom je morgen met ons zwemmen?") and is a holdover from the time when Germanic languages had no explicit future tense.
As for "will you marry me", it's a kind of formulaic phrase, so it's possible it retains the original sense of will as "want to". In Dutch, where willen has no future meaning, the same verb is used in this case: "Wil je met me trouwen?" So that might be some indication too. —CodeCat 14:27, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
The question was inspired by this XKCD comic, where the humor derives from someone misinterpreting "Will you marry me?" as a question about a future state of affairs rather than about volition. But then it occurred to me that "Will you come swimming with us tomorrow?" is also a question about volition, not a question about a future (or expected future) state of affairs like "Will it rain tomorrow?" I do think "Will you come swimming..." has different implications from "Are you coming swimming..." What you said about Dutch is true about German too ("Willst du mich heiraten?"), and I would translate "Will you come swimming..." with "Willst du mitkommen..." and "Are you coming swimming..." with "Kommst du mit...". —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 15:00, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
I wouldn't make that same distinction when translating into Dutch. —CodeCat 15:05, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
As CodeCat suggests "Will you marry me?" is too much a set phrase to be a good indication of current meaning. It's also a speech act, a proposal (of marriage) and should thereby be included in the lexicon - not merely as a helpful phrase for a phrasebook.
As to the general question, the ambiguity between volition and futurity accounts for why a verb indicating volition has become grammaticized to indicate futurity to begin with. It would be hard to find cases where, absent context, both readings are not possible (ie, inherently ambiguous), except for unnatural ones involving volition about the past ("I will that I never had met her.") or events or states which are otherwise beyond the reach of one's volition ("I will a coronal mass ejection that takes out some of these infernal satellites.") DCDuring TALK 15:14, 25 May 2014 (UTC)
Would has an analogous sense, but without the complication of the future-tense construction. As for CodeCat's example, I wouldn't interpret "Are you coming swimming?" as a request, but as a question about someone's plans- though such a question can be used, indirectly, as a request. But then, most of the ways I can think of to make a request (rather than an order) have some level of indirectness: "will you?", "would you?", "would you like to?", "do you think you might like to?", "can you?", "could you?", "any chance you might?", "Do you think you might?", "do you want to?", etc. The indirection seems to be a way to soften the request. Then there are the really indirect ways, such as "Might I ask you to?", "If I were to ask you to, what would be your answer?", "I was thinking, maybe we could...", "Could I prevail upon you to?" etc. I think "will you?" as a question of fact (except for constructions such as "will you be") is fading out of modern usage, and the request sense is becoming dominant- so I think it should be included. Chuck Entz (talk) 16:08, 25 May 2014 (UTC)


The example given for the Latin "mihimet" is incorrectly translated.

Neque, ita me di ament, credebam primo mihimet Sosiae.

The translation given is "And so I may love the gods, I would not have believed it myself, me Sosia" but the first clause clearly has a plural verb and "me" (accusative case) rather than "ego," so it's more like "so the gods may love me"--with the implication (to my ear) we'd have in the contemporary English usage "as God is my witness" (i.e., implying that if we're wrong we're inviting God to point that out or to bring down judgment for it).

Thanks for pointing that out. I've edited the translation. Feel free to correct errors like this yourself, of course.—Mr. Granger (talkcontribs) 18:18, 31 May 2014 (UTC)

Antitauromachy or anti-tauromachy

In English how is the word antitauromachy or anti-tauromachy? It is a opposing to tauromachy. How is the word also anti-taurine or antitaurine? --Vivaelcelta (talk) 01:40, 26 May 2014 (UTC)

antibullfighting, anti-bullfighting, antibullfight, anti-bullfight. — Ungoliant (falai) 02:01, 26 May 2014 (UTC)

examples (not quotations)

What's the correct format to put in examples which don't appear in quotations? Specifically, I'd like to improve the third definition of collocation with a couple examples. Looking at the oxforddictionaries.com definition, the examples are very helpful (and the definition is also more clear IMHO): “strong coffee” and “heavy drinker” are typical English collocations. http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/collocation Nearwater (talk) 07:59, 26 May 2014 (UTC)

@Nearwater We have a template {{examples-right}} that is intended for such things. It is simple and has some documentation. You can use <br> to aid in formatting. DCDuring TALK 16:03, 26 May 2014 (UTC)

A box spring isn't a box-spring?

Oddly, we define box spring and box-spring as different things (one being a part of the other). That seems implausible and Wikipedia doesn't seem to distinguish the two. Anyone know more? Equinox 15:40, 26 May 2014 (UTC)


Is it just me, or are we missing a very common sense? (such as in "are you messing with me?") --Fsojic (talk) 16:37, 26 May 2014 (UTC)

We have it at mess with. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 16:42, 26 May 2014 (UTC)
Indeed. From which sense in mess does this phrasal verb arise? --Fsojic (talk) 17:00, 26 May 2014 (UTC)
One from the verb section under Etymology 2. I've added two senses copied from Century, but MWOnline has several more, though mostly they are with particles up, around, and with. DCDuring TALK 01:40, 27 May 2014 (UTC)


Doesn't it have any sexual connotation at all? --Fsojic (talk) 16:59, 26 May 2014 (UTC)

I think in old-fashioned slang it used to mean "prostitute" or "slut", a meaning now preserved almost only in son of a bitch, which is intended to impugn the chastity, rather than the personality, of the mother of the person receiving that appellation. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:17, 26 May 2014 (UTC)
It could also be argued that SOB is an indirect way of calling someone a dog. Chuck Entz (talk) 00:14, 27 May 2014 (UTC)

I should think so in modern slang, yes.-- 22:32, 27 May 2014 (UTC)

Etymology added at son of a bitch for perspective Leasnam (talk) 00:34, 29 May 2014 (UTC)

synapses pronunciation

synapses should have a pronunciation section- is it synapsiz or synapseez?

It's /ˈsɪnæpsɪz/ as the plural of synapse and /sɪˈnæpsiːz/ as the plural of synapsis. I'll add that info now if my stupid Internet connection will let me. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 13:06, 29 May 2014 (UTC)

hard bark

Anyone know if this idiom is widely understood and what exactly it means? From the film No Country for Old Men (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0477348/quotes):

  • El Paso Sheriff: Yea all that over at the Eagle Hotel? Huh, it's beyond everything.
  • Ed Tom Bell: Yea. Got some hard bark on him.
  • El Paso Sheriff: Well... , well that don't hardly say it. He shoots the desk clerk one day, walks right back in the next and shoots a retired army colonel.

From the above I would guess it's something like being thick-skinned or cold-blooded. Another quote from a western implies it's something closer to having a lot of gall (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0061770/quotes):

  • Grimes: Mister, you've got alot of hard bark on you walkin' down here like this. Now, I owe you. You put two holes in me.
  • John Russell: Usually enough for most of 'em.

Nearwater (talk) 05:48, 27 May 2014 (UTC)

I don't really think it is an idiom. I would view it as a live metaphor, but then I live very close to, and for some hours a day in, a well-treed park.
The meaning, judging from the component words and the context, is pretty clear: gall.
For anyone who doesn't spend all of his time in a treeless environment, the metaphor seems to me to be from the idea of the hard bark being some kind of strong protection against all possible opponents or adversity. DCDuring TALK 01:07, 29 May 2014 (UTC)

Origin of 'turnover' to mean 'revenue'?

If you think about it this is a really strange word for this concept and I can't find anywhere an explanation for why "turnover" is used to mean "money taken in by a business" – there is nothing specifically that gets flipped over as far as I can tell. —This comment was unsigned.

Don't remain focused on only the most literal possible reading of a word with as many extended meanings as turn#Verb or even turn over. Arguably what is "turned over" (ultimately into cash) in a business are its assets.
But I, too, found it a bit strange at first.
The word turnover in business is also applied to working capital and its components, such as inventory. For these assets turnover refers to the number of times the asset is converted to another asset (eg, accounts receivable and cash for inventory) in a time period, traditionally almost always a year. One can say that a business turns over its inventory 3.1 times a year. The idea is that there is a recurring cycle of such conversions, hence the idea of turning over.
I think the use of turnover to mean "revenue" (which itself derives from French and Latin words meaning "come back", "return", also suggesting a cycle) is just the idea that revenue/turnover is what comes back to the business from its application of all of its assets (property, cash, etc) over a period of time. DCDuring TALK 23:22, 27 May 2014 (UTC)


According to our article, dysbiosis seems to have a credible origin in Greek. But is that enough to qualify it to appear here?

In general, how important to Wiktionary is it whether a term is actually in use?

Thank you, CBHA (talk) 00:41, 28 May 2014 (UTC)

Very important. Fortunately, dysbiosis is indeed in actual use: see Google Books. —RuakhTALK 01:10, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
Thank you Ruakh. CBHA (talk) 01:26, 28 May 2014 (UTC)

French pris(e) > English prize

Where did the "z" come from? Why don't the other words have "z"? (The other words = enterprise, surprise, ...) (Forgive my English)--kc_kennylau (talk) 07:16, 29 May 2014 (UTC)

The z probably arose from the conscious effort made to differentiate prize from price. Curious thing though, but enterprize and surprize are both alternate/variant forms of these words. Leasnam (talk) 04:01, 30 May 2014 (UTC)

Just thought you might want to add Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream to the quotations: "The starry welkin cover thou anon/With drooping fog as black as Acheron" (3.2.356-57).


The term "photoplay" seems to exist in modern legal jargon, similar to definition number three. I'm currently watching a 1997 episode of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys (And Fancy Free), whose credits end (as many TV series do), with this line:

The characters and events depicted in this photoplay are fictitious. Any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

In this context, it's referring to an originally written television episode, not an adaption of a theatrical play nor a term for a theatrical motion picture.-- 00:52, 31 May 2014 (UTC)

I've generalized the last sense. In the most general sense, motion picture does include a TV episode, but someone might want to rephrase that.--Prosfilaes (talk) 01:13, 31 May 2014 (UTC)

Aussprache des Worts malte

Is the /a/ there long or short? --kc_kennylau (talk) 12:33, 31 May 2014 (UTC)

It's long. malen and mahlen are homophones, and as such the rhymes entry is wrong. -- Liliana 12:45, 31 May 2014 (UTC)
However, the boy's name Malte does have a short /a/. I've added a pronunciation section to both malte and Malte. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 13:40, 31 May 2014 (UTC)

Is there a verb : to minge ?

…probably with a meaning like "to minimize", comparable to adjective "mingy" that according to LEO shares meaning with "puny" ? My hardware dictionary (Langenscheidt) has not heard of it, LEO has no such entry, and I have no access to m-w.com nor OED.
I just heard Tim Wonnacott say that on BBC's Bargain Hunt. Sadly it can only be accessed online from UK-IPs, and I did not get to seeing it by using a proxy - maybe my outdated browser, maybe just me being thick.
It is maybe 40 to 45 min. into the show : the auctioneer examining the bought items, and Tim Wonnacott explaining to the auctioneer and the audience, that since the teapot in question was damaged during transport to the auction they are going to count it as if it sold for the auctioneer's high estimate for an uncracked specimen, biecause they would not want to appear trying to "minge" that team's profits. (maybe he used the form "mingeing"). The episode is online here. Now did I totally mishear, or is Tim Wonnacott known for inventing words now and then, or does the word actually exist ? And if the latter, is it (still) in use, or at least will it be understood within context ? Thanks. Fiiiisch! (talk) 12:51, 1 June 2014 (UTC)

It's not a verb: he said (around 48'10), "I'd rather do that than be mingy." Equinox 13:04, 1 June 2014 (UTC)
Ah, OK, thank you. Combined with some other incidences lately, I may really need to have my hearing tested. :( darn. Fiiiisch! (talk) 14:23, 1 June 2014 (UTC)
There actually is a verb: minge, which is a dialectal variant of ming though unrelated to the above. Leasnam (talk) 01:25, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
... and there's another obsolete one from post-classical Latin mingere (to urinate). I suspect that this is the true etymology of the British adjective mingy (hard g) (no entry?) from minging (why do we claim Scots?), but I've no proof. Dbfirs 08:41, 5 June 2014 (UTC)


Isn't the 3rd definition in wiktionary overly narrow?

  • wiktionary: A person who arranges immunity for defendants by tampering with the justice system via bribery or extortion, especially as a business endeavor for profit.
  • oxforddictionaries.com: A person who makes arrangements for other people, especially of an illicit or devious kind.
  • merriam-webster: a person who intervenes to enable someone to circumvent the law or obtain a political favor

Nearwater (talk) 16:53, 5 June 2014 (UTC)