Wiktionary:Tea room/2014/October

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discussion rooms: Tea roomEtym. scr.Info deskBeer parlourGrease pit ← September 2014 · October 2014 · November 2014 → · (current)

Afghan hound

Is there a reason for keeping both Afghan Hound and Afghan hound? I would keep only Afghan hound, just like we keep only red fox, not Red Fox. Lmaltier (talk) 05:56, 1 October 2014 (UTC)

Outside of the fields of dog breeding, training, etc, in fiction, for example, Afghan hound seems overwhelmingly preferred. Newspaper usage looks split, with reports on dog shows tending toward capitalization. I expect that those motivated to add entries for dog breeds prefer the capitalized form. If it were easy to get counts of a large sample of usage we could rely on such counts to indicate which should be the main form. I'd say that we need a generic usage note on the spelling for entries with both capitalizations. My preference is that we default to having the lowercase form as the main one (with the usual capitalization of proper noun/adjective components like Afghan). DCDuring TALK 11:53, 1 October 2014 (UTC)
Definitely redirect Afghan Hound to Afghan hound. The "H" is found mostly in those (primarily specialist, non-general) sources that capitalize Important Words in their Jargons. This is the same basic issue that was discussed in WT:BP#Birds (see also my comment there), and Lmaltier's comparison to "Red Fox" is also apt. Ngram. - -sche (discuss) 17:19, 2 October 2014 (UTC)
I assume you mean a soft redirect for the capitalized form as alternative form to the one used in non-specialist writings. DCDuring TALK 19:08, 2 October 2014 (UTC)
I detect creeping prescriptivism. If the specialist dog and cat people and horticulturalists capitalize terms not capitalized in general literature, that's something to be described not proscribed. I suppose we could incorporate a usage note into the entry and have hard redirects where possible, but that usage note does not now exist at Afghan hound. I don't see why we should discourage specialists from adding content at the capitalization of their choice. Whatever the situation with birds, where there was disagreement among nearly equal-sized groups of specialists, w:Afghan Hound is the location of corresponding WP entry. DCDuring TALK 19:20, 2 October 2014 (UTC)
Some points are clear: 1. capitalized or not, it's the same word, with the same spelling. 2. Capitalization can be used for all animal or plant names; it's not a "specialist spelling", not at all, capitalization is used to make more explicit the fact that the name is used in a generic way (it's true in English, and in other languages too). This is what happens in Wikipedia: the Wikipedia page uses Hound when it's a generic use, when referring to the species (but it's not mandatory), and hound when referring to individuals (two Afghan hounds), because it's not a generic use. Capitalization in sentences also makes something more explicit: this is the beginning of a sentence. There are other meanings of capitalization as well. 3. It would be absurd to duplicate all words because all words can be capitalized in some cases. It would be equally absurd to duplicate millions of animal or plant names for this reason. It's not prescriptivism to choose we rather than We as the page title: everybody knows that the word can be capitalized when needed or preferred. Lmaltier (talk) 19:43, 4 October 2014 (UTC)
I don't understand why such abstract considerations should trump considerations of possible effect on user behavior, in particular our opportunity to get more content. Our search box does not automatically lead to the entry the deletionists here are proposing as the correct one, unlike its handling of initial caps. So users are taken to the search list page, which I take as a sign of lack of content when I find it at other sites, often causing me to go to the next site rather than persist.
The only entries we are likely to see are for dog, cat, and bird breeds, possibly tropical fish or other pet animals as well. I personally would not add them, but would welcome any entries so capitalized with substantial content, eg, pictures, derived terms, etymology, translations, etc. DCDuring TALK 20:57, 4 October 2014 (UTC)
A redirect could be the solution. Lmaltier (talk) 21:29, 5 October 2014 (UTC)

Postvocalic -r in English phonemic IPA

In rhotic varieties of English, the phoneme /ɹ/ triggers different pronunciations of the preceding vowel. For example, /eɪ̯/ + /ɹ/ triggers [ɛəɹ]. But this is completely allophonic as far as I know, as the combination [eɪ̯ɹ] cannot exist in English, nor can [ɛə] at least in rhotic varieties. I think that, at least for phonemic pronunciations, we should not indicate this allophony but note the underlying phonemes that these are allophones of. Otherwise we end up with a half-phonemic transcription, which is not what / / means. —CodeCat 15:45, 3 October 2014 (UTC)

I oppose. The situation is much more complicated than that and anyway, in our current system /ɛəɹ/ is defined as a single phoneme, making it completely consistent with a phonemic transcription. --WikiTiki89 17:13, 3 October 2014 (UTC)
But it's not really a phoneme. Otherwise you could just say that every possible word is its own phoneme, which misses the whole point of splitting words into phonemes in the first place. So what is so complicated about this, that would preclude saying that "stare" is simply "stale" with one consonant phoneme replaced with another? Remember that phonemes are concerned the bare minimal distinguishing pieces that make up words, so any redundancy and allophony is removed. —CodeCat 19:21, 3 October 2014 (UTC)
Phonemes are just abstractions. You choose them in any way that is consistent and convenient. Having whole words be phonemes is not convenient. --WikiTiki89 19:36, 3 October 2014 (UTC)
But is "stare" simply "stale" with one consonant phoneme replaced with another? None of the phonetic descriptions of RP or American English that I've read seem to think it is, synchronically. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:58, 3 October 2014 (UTC)
If it's not, then it implies there are cases where both vowels can appear before the same consonant, and therefore contrast with each other. But I don't know any cases of that. They seem to be in complementary distribution. —CodeCat 20:12, 3 October 2014 (UTC)
w:English phonology seems to agree with me, and doesn't mention any special phonemes before /ɹ/. But it shows things somewhat differently from how I would analyse it. Where I would say that stare has the phoneme /eɪ/, Wikipedia says it has /ɛ/. My analysis is more diachronic I suppose, and partly based on spelling. If you consider the Great Vowel Shift, then it makes perfect sense to see stare as simply stale with one consonant replaced, they were both simply /staːl/ and /staːr/ in late Middle English, which the Great Vowel Shift then changed to /stɛːl/ and /stɛːr/. The vowel of the former then was raised further and diphthongized, while the latter kept its original value till today. In any case, there is no justification in the well-sourced Wikipedia article for considering /ɛə/ or /eə/ distinct phonemes in rhotic accents. —CodeCat 20:22, 3 October 2014 (UTC)
All that's true historically, but synchronically it's less obvious, and it's not made any easier by the fact that most discussions of English phonology consider only RP (which is nonrhotic) and/or General American (which has the Mary/merry/marry merger). There's very little discussion of rhotic accents in which stare has the same vowel as Mary but a different vowel than merry. Scottish English is described as having the situation you describe, but in ScEng the vowel isn't actually different before r than before l; stare and stale are just /steːr/ and /steːl/. American accents without the MMM merger usually also have æ-tensing, with the result that /ɛə ~ eə/ appears not only in Mary but also in pass and pan. And then there's yeah /jɛə ~ jeə/, which forms a minimal pair with yea /jeɪ/. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 20:11, 4 October 2014 (UTC)

CodeCat -- In the historical dialect which was kind of the last common ancestor of modern standard American and modern standard British, there were several vowel sounds which could only occur before an [r] consonant: [ɛː], [ɜː], [oː]. (In almost all modern dialects, old [oːr] and [ɔːr] have now merged, but [ɛːr] and [ɜːr] are often still relevant.) At least [ɛːr] and [oːr] were originally allophones in the historical dialect, but I strongly doubt that that's the case for the descendant of [ɛːr] in many dialects today... AnonMoos (talk) 22:36, 3 October 2014 (UTC)

P.S. Strictly speaking, "phonemic IPA" is kind of a contradiction. AnonMoos (talk) 22:39, 3 October 2014 (UTC)
"Phonemic IPA" is not a contradiction. The IPA is intended to be used for phonemic transcription just as much as for narrow phonetic transcription. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 20:11, 4 October 2014 (UTC)
Angr -- Traditionally "broad transcriptions" have been used to cover over a multitude of minor variants and alternations, but a broad transcription is not usually the same as a phonemic analysis. If a single symbol is used for allophones with strongly divergent articulations -- such as Japanese [h] and [ɸ] etc. -- then it would be hard to say that IPA is being used at all, in the way in which the International Phonetic Association intended it to be used... AnonMoos (talk) 21:50, 4 October 2014 (UTC)
I know, I specifically said rhotic dialects. Concerning the [ɜ] vowel, I would treat it as a phoneme as Wikipedia's sources do, because it resulted from merging former /ɪɹ/, /ɛɹ/ and often also /ʌɹ/ (although in the variety of English I speak, /ɜɹ/ and /ʊɹ/ are still distinct). —CodeCat 22:42, 3 October 2014 (UTC)
Codecat -- in my particular dialect of American English, there is a strong tendency for tense/long vowels and diphthongs to not occur directly before /r/ (except an intervocalic /r/ surround by stressed vowels on both sides, as in "Ahab the Ayrab"), so I doubt whether analyzing [ɛr] as /eɪr/ would make too much sense for my speech... AnonMoos (talk) 21:50, 4 October 2014 (UTC)

Who can help with the question: Where is the idiom of "it's still up in the air" from?

Who can help with the question: Where is the idiom of "it's still up in the air" come from? (Bible or some book) We have the homework of it, anyway, not so many peopole know of it. Thanks to the one who can help with this! :) -- 6:17, 3 October 2014

up in the air meaning "uncertain, doubtful" is from 1752. —Stephen (Talk) 16:32, 3 October 2014 (UTC)

↑Thank's Stephen!:) But what do you mean by "1752"? Is it a book's name or the time from when people start to use this idiom? -- 17:17, 3 October 2014

He means the year, AD or CE.
I conjecture that it is simply from a metaphor: a ball [apple?] (decision, question) is thrown into the air (raised) and, while it is up in the air (still undecided) one doesn't know exactly where it will fall (how it will be decided). One could imagine a bird-based metaphor as well, which might be a better fit, as Newton could have made a good prediction of cwhere the ball would fall, given just a couple of facts. DCDuring TALK 17:47, 3 October 2014 (UTC)
I can't find any use of throw one's hands up in the air until 1850 in David Copperfield, so that seems an unlikely source. DCDuring TALK 18:00, 3 October 2014 (UTC)

Thank you very much DCDuring!^^ Such a vivid explanation! I agree with that idea of metaphor theory, especially the bird-based one.

  • I am curious of Stephen's source, as the OED has up in the air not attested before 1873, and then only in the now-rare sense of ‘with heightened emotions’ (e.g. "Labor Department officials went up in the air when they discovered DPA's line of authority included that department"); the current sense of ‘uncertain’ is not attested before 1933. Ƿidsiþ 10:08, 7 October 2014 (UTC)
    Another possibility for the underlying metaphor is a coin toss. This might be where Stephen's source draws from. For example, I found:
    • 1837, John Bellenden Ker, An Essay on the Archaeology of Our Popular Phrases:
      And does not one of those who are to try the event cast up the coin by an effort made where he stands ? and does not another call that which is to be the issue of the trial while the coin is up in the air?
    I didn't find anything with "up in the air" and coin earlier. DCDuring TALK 13:33, 7 October 2014 (UTC)
Judging by come of the same author's other bizarrely clueless pronouncements on the origins of phrases (see Talk:a little bird told me), I would rate his credibility somewhere below a random internet post by an idiot. It does attest the presence of the sense, though. Chuck Entz (talk) 13:53, 7 October 2014 (UTC)
I was just happy to find a specimen of up in the air in a related sense. I was happier yet that it was not a mention. And, after all, we accept random internet posts, often apparently by idiots, as evidence for many expressions. DCDuring TALK 02:29, 8 October 2014 (UTC)

verbal idioms (french)

I'd like to add the French idiom "rouler les r" (that's very common, it means pronouncing "R" in an Italian / Spanish / Dutch fashion, as opposed to our French guttural "R"s), but I don't know how to include conjugation in a verbal idiom… BTW if a knowledgeable French speaker is around, the WK-fr page is here: fr:rouler les r Geogi (talk)

I'm assuming this is a translation of the English "rolling the r" (something that we would see as French!); not sure whether we have a sense line for it yet. Equinox 03:58, 4 October 2014 (UTC)
The usual way to express this in English would be "rolling one's R's" or "to roll one's R's" (with "one's" replaced by the possessive pronoun corresponding to the subject of the verb in most usage)... AnonMoos (talk) 21:56, 4 October 2014 (UTC)
MWOnline has a sense of roll (to sound with a full reverberating tone) that might make the expression non-idomatic. Is rolling one's r's something distinct from this in general speech or among speech professionals? DCDuring TALK 22:36, 4 October 2014 (UTC)
That sounds more like something along the same lines as the rolling of thunder. This seems to be much more specialized to the mechanics of speech- you can't roll your m's, for instance. Chuck Entz (talk) 22:50, 4 October 2014 (UTC)
MWOnline also has "to utter with a trill <rolled his r's>". Which of the two MW senses applies in this case?
I don't think we have either definition in [[roll#Verb]], not that it is easy to tell in our single list of 34 verb definitions, inconsistent as it is in presenting transitivity/intransitivity, subordinating specialist terms, grouping relating senses. You'd think we didn't have or follow a style manual. DCDuring TALK 22:45, 4 October 2014 (UTC)

Wrong Commons link in 'wideawake' entry

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/wideawake has a link to https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wideawake which arrives at a page with the message "This page does not currently exist." Perhaps some link in Category:Headgear is relevant. I don't know how to fix the problem. Is there a concise summary someplace of how to edit wiktionary pages?

Yes check.svg Done I've removed that apparently pointless link! Equinox 17:02, 5 October 2014 (UTC)
1860 cartoon

By the way, organized supporters of Abraham Lincoln in the election of 1860 were known as "Wideawakes" or "Wide Awakes". They marched in parades wearing short capes and carrying metal torches. Lincoln himself is shown as a kind of "Wide awake" in the image... AnonMoos (talk) 05:22, 6 October 2014 (UTC)


I was curious about the meaning of the word 'mundabor' when referred to a weblog called by the same name, 'Mundabor's Blog'. The author claims the name is used in Psalm 51 as follows:

   Asperges me, Domine, hyssopo et mundabor,
   Lavabis me, et super nivem dealbabor.
   Miserere mei, Deus, secundum magnam misericordiam tuam.
 English translation:  
   You will sprinkle me, O Lord, with hyssop and I shall be cleansed
   You will wash me, and I shall be whitewashed more than snow is.
   Pity me, O God, according to Your great mercy.

Not being particularly knowledgeable in either Latin onor the Psalms, I invite corrections, comments, and suggestions. Traddie (talk) 19:06, 5 October 2014 (UTC)

Presumably it means "I shall be cleansed". Compare English (from Latin) mundatory, and e.g. placebo (lit. "I shall please"). Someone with proper knowledge of Latin can probably elaborate. Equinox 19:11, 5 October 2014 (UTC)
We do have an entry for mundabor, which says that it's the first-person singular future passive indicative of mundō (I clean, I cleanse). —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:26, 5 October 2014 (UTC)
Also, obsolete English mundation Leasnam (talk) 19:57, 5 October 2014 (UTC)

Thousands and thousands

There are hundreds of wiki-markup formats and rules. At some point it gets difficult to keep track of them all. How do you guys remember them all so easily as if its second nature? Is it an impressive memory or some other tactic? Zeggazo (talk) 09:00, 6 October 2014 (UTC)

There are nearly universal ones, for example in WT:ELE, which almost everyone quickly learns, selectively ignoring some of it, such as some heading orders. There are family similarities and cross-family similarity of structure in templates. The most common templates actually have documentation. And usually each person works with only some of the templates. Also, each individual makes mistakes. Many of them are corrected by others, sometimes by bots. DCDuring TALK 10:51, 6 October 2014 (UTC)

Please help fix plural of OS and remove OSes or refine.

Hi. I am not good at making the changes using wiktionary and wikipedia, so could others, who are fluent in usage of these places, please make the following additional change to https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/OS and https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/OSes#English:

It is absolutely incorrect to state OSes is plural of OS when OS represents Operating System and Ordnance Survey. The correct plural of the OS initialism is OSs. I have found discussions on this that are old and new. Others have already covered this, but throughout Wiktionary it is sated wrong because an incorrect usage of the automated plural listing is being done. You can reference a detailed examination here: http://technotes.whw1.com/computer-related/operating-systems/22-what-is-the-plural-of-os-operating-system

If and when OS represents Outsize, and Old Style, which are very uncommon, and rarely used, then one may argue it is OSes. So, if someone wants to state two plural variations for OS in Wiktionary (https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/OS), depending what the Initialism represents, then that seems fine. But, again, OSes is completely incorrect to represent Operating Systems and Ordnance Surveys. You can reference the plural form of the word Survey here http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/survey?s=t to get a understanding why it would be OSs when the phrase ends with the word Surveys. Wikiposter1 (talk) 21:16, 6 October 2014 (UTC)Wikiposter1

"an incorrect usage of the automated plural listing is being done" - incorrect; your -s plural would be the default; the -es has been specifically stated by a user. And you can prove that it's widely used by simply googling "OSes". Your rule does not apply; we are a descriptive dictionary, not a prescriptive one, so we go by actual usage; "OSes" is common. Equinox 21:17, 6 October 2014 (UTC)
I've now added two examples of "OSes" from published books. There are many more to be found. (Note also, if you want to make up arbitrary rules, you could argue for "OSes" because of the confusion between "OSs" and "OSS", or "open-source software"!) Equinox 21:20, 6 October 2014 (UTC)
To be fair, "OSs" is also attested and even looks to be a bit more common. DTLHS (talk) 21:26, 6 October 2014 (UTC)

change transitive for clothes?

Can be used for babies, e.g., I changed the baby (the nappie)? Or also my son told me to change him, as his shoes were wet from the rain puddles. I'm not referring to the meaning of the changeling (I changed/swapped/exchanged my son for another). Sobreira (talk) 09:28, 7 October 2014 (UTC)

Yes indeed, it can. Ƿidsiþ 10:03, 7 October 2014 (UTC)

concern in w:passive voice

I found this in WP:w:agrammatism:

There is little written about agrammatism. The beginnings of the field should be encountered in the work of Peña-Casanova & Bagunyà-Durich (1998), and Junque et al. (1989). These papers do not describe case reports, they are rather concerned in more general topics such as lesion localization or rehabilitation of agrammatic patients.

I obviously changed it to dealing with more general topics, but my doubt is:

  • I guess concern can be used in passive voice: I was concerned, but I wanted to confirm that the preposition used is by. Or I was concerned with/about/in this problem are also valid?

Thx, Sobreira (talk) 09:36, 7 October 2014 (UTC)

with sounds better. You could also use focused upon. Use of by with concerned smacks at alarm, which is not what you might intend to convey. Leasnam (talk) 14:34, 7 October 2014 (UTC)


Hello, in this recording, there is a "boom" at the end, can you remove it please ? Thank you. 22:29, 7 October 2014 (UTC)

Audacity is your friend here. You can edit audio files with it. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 03:18, 8 October 2014 (UTC)

Unfornately, Audacity doesn't work in my computer, who can do it for me ? 22:17, 8 October 2014 (UTC)

Since sound files are actually at Wikimedia Commons, you could ask at the help desk there about how to request an edit to a sound file. Chuck Entz (talk) 01:04, 9 October 2014 (UTC)
It sounds a poor recording to me. I'd ask for it to be re-recorded. Dbfirs 14:39, 30 October 2014 (UTC)


The door opened softly and Mrs. West entered just in time to catch the impatient exclamation - a very lady-like person indeed, in noiseless black silk, and a neat lace cap that surrounded a face only half as old as that of the lady of Lancaster Park.

What does "noiseless" mean in this context? DTLHS (talk) 19:49, 8 October 2014 (UTC)

I think it means that the silk (clothing) isn't making any rustling sounds; she moves silently in it. Presumably this is ladylike! Equinox 19:55, 8 October 2014 (UTC)

dietitian or dietician?

Both entries need more information, including etymological development. This might be a useful start... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dietitian#The_spellings_.22dietitian.22_and_.22dietician.22 —This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 04:26, October 9, 2014‎.

Thanks. See dietitian. DCDuring TALK 10:17, 9 October 2014 (UTC)

Tesco's financial black hole

I have noticed that the British press keeps using the term "black hole" to discuss £250m of bogus profits in Tesco's accounts like in http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/epic/tsco/11156131/Tesco-audit-chairman-set-to-leave-as-director.html and http://www.managementtoday.co.uk/news/1316101/fifth-exec-sucked-tescos-250m-black-hole/ . However, our page named black hole does not cover this case. Could someone familiar with British accounting terms please add that definition to the black hole page? I am not a British English person, so I am rather unqualified for this. Being an American who is interested in accounting fraud, I would have used the terms "accounting error", "accounting mistake", "accounting fraud", "accounting scandal", "bogus profits", or "cooked books" depending on the whether there was fraud involved or if this was just a genuine mistake. Thanks. Jesse Viviano (talk) 19:35, 11 October 2014 (UTC)

The second, figurative sense covers it perfectly. This not a technical sense at all. It is a term to sell newspapers or get an article read. DCDuring TALK 22:24, 11 October 2014 (UTC)
To be fair, I just added that in response to this. I agree about it not being a technical term, though. Chuck Entz (talk) 00:31, 12 October 2014 (UTC)
No wonder it seemed so apt. It almost doesn't need the subsenses. DCDuring TALK 03:26, 12 October 2014 (UTC)

Earthian noun



A single or multi-celled organism that works to heal itself physically, emotionally and/or spiritually.

the idea that an earthian is only a human shaped organism because it considers itself capable of dominating all other life forms, and considers itself only of communicating with other species when found in this universe is egotistical in the extreme.

Life depends on single celled organisms that convert chemicals into organic matter. Thus the first earthians to exist on this planet were single celled. The single celled organism are staff and the multi-celled organisms are dependent organisms that over time resulted in a symbiotic relationship with and assisted single cells to survive.

We're a descriptive dictionary: we describe the way terms are used or have been used in actual language. We don't include stuff that people just made up, regardless of its merit. On the other hand, if people use a term and it becomes a part of the language, we include it- regardless of what we might personally think about the word. The only way we can include your definition is if we have evidence that it's been used as part of the language (see WT:CFI). Chuck Entz (talk) 04:33, 13 October 2014 (UTC)


I was trying to look up grumblu, and another dictionary led me to English grumble and French grommeler. However, grumble has multiple distinct meanings, and grommeler is merely translated as grumble. Does grommeler have both the noise and the complaint meanings of grumble?--Prosfilaes (talk) 00:18, 14 October 2014 (UTC)

Use {{rfgloss}} to see if anyone pays attention. DCDuring TALK 19:11, 18 October 2014 (UTC)


The 'etymology' of Thunderbird is most certainly not From the 1960s TV series Thunderbirds as the article currently states. For one thing, the 1950s Ford automobile Thunderbird pre-dates it, and it's also in the Webster's 1913 Revised designating a type of Australian bird, and Etymonline gives an 1848 origin as deriving from translations from several Native American languages. See also T-bird above. Mathglot (talk) 00:29, 14 October 2014 (UTC)

But our definition is only (currently) for the locomotive, and it may well be correct for that. Equinox 00:31, 14 October 2014 (UTC)

How to indicate verb-subject case combinations?

For some verbs, e.g. many Polish vulgarities, the meaning depends on the case of the object. For instance, zajebać + subject in dative means "to hit, to punch someone" or "to steal from someone", zajebać + personal or animate subject in accusative means "to kill", and zajebać + inanimate subject in accusative means "to steal something". Is there a standard way to denote the case of the subject for such context-dependent senses? --Tweenk (talk) 17:51, 15 October 2014 (UTC)

You can use context labels, like {{lb|pl|with inanimate subject in accusative}}. — Ungoliant (falai) 18:00, 15 October 2014 (UTC)
User:Kephir created a special purpose template for these kinds of cases. —CodeCat 18:14, 18 October 2014 (UTC)
Yes, {{+obj|pl|inanimate subject|in|acc|means=object}} and {{+preo|pl|od|gen|means=from someone}}. The names are rather provisional, but I would like them to start with a +; the formatting also has room for improvement. I wish someone picked these up and brought them to production quality. Keφr 19:50, 18 October 2014 (UTC)
Actually, I never heard zajebać used with dative in the sense of "to hit". I think the verb should be wjebać in that case. Keφr 19:50, 18 October 2014 (UTC)
It's not very common, but it is used in this sense, e.g. [1] [2] [3]. --Tweenk (talk) 00:00, 21 October 2014 (UTC)


This is also a retail acronym and the listing needs a 4th definition. I do not know the meaning of "IRC" as a retail term. —This unsigned comment was added by Edward27821 (talkcontribs).

Any citations of usage? Would be helpful. Keφr 19:51, 18 October 2014 (UTC)
Instant rebate coupon or instantly redeemable coupon perhaps? They are the kinds of rebate coupons which are applied at the point of sale rather than through a rebate process. - TheDaveRoss 13:01, 22 October 2014 (UTC)

all things considered

My understanding was that this is an informal version of "in conclusion" - i.e. "having taken everything into account..." But the definition given is "despite possible indications to the contrary" which seems different. Anyone have any views on this? ---> Tooironic (talk) 02:52, 19 October 2014 (UTC)

I would side with the latter, though on the surface it probably ~should~ mean the former but it doesnt. However i can certainly see it emerging from '(despite/in spite of) all things considered' Leasnam (talk) 04:22, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
  • I've always read it the same way that Tooironic has. Sometimes it carries the implication given in the entry - specifically, that while the text appears to push one viewpoint, it acknowledges its own bias and hasn't "considered all things" - but it seems to have quite a few other nuances depending on context. For example, the quote from Robinson Crusoe, "We had a good stock of tea, with which we treated our friends, as above, and we lived very cheerfully and well, all things considered." doesn't mean "We lived well, despite possible indications to the contrary" but that "We lived well, given the constraints of the situation". Smurrayinchester (talk) 12:54, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
    (In terms of other dictionaries, Cambridge Advanced Learners says "generally good although the situation was not perfect", Cambridge American Idioms says "after carefully thinking about all the facts or opinions" and the Oxford British and World English Dictionary says simply "Taking everything into account".) Smurrayinchester (talk) 13:13, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
  • Our entry seems to be trying to hold the user's hand for some discourse analysis. It seems to me to go far beyond what is usefully lexical. That the expression could be used in a variety of situations where its implications are significantly different is true, but the same could be said about about yes and no. The three verbose definitions risk impeding users trying to understand the expression. To understand what a person intends by saying something like this requires knowledge of psychology or game/negotiation theory, which is not provided by this dictionary entry and which my limited imagination cannot see being provided by a dictionary. DCDuring TALK 14:30, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
    • I'd disagree - I think we have the minimal number of distinct senses right now (although I have moved the most general definition to first place). In terms of more-or-less synonyms, it's 1) by and large, 2) as a matter of fact, 3) as far as it goes. They could be made less verbose ("generally speaking", "actually", "relatively speaking", maybe) but I think each one conveys useful lexical information - much more than a quasi-SOP definition like "taking everything into account" would. Smurrayinchester (talk) 15:07, 20 October 2014 (UTC)

Nasal + f sequences in Latin

As far as I know, many sources agree that Latin turned sequences of vowel + nasal consonant into nasal vowels before fricatives. These then became long non-nasal vowels in the development to Vulgar Latin. But while there are plenty of cases with -s-, what about -f-? Most sources seem to write īnfāns with the length marks suggesting nasalisation, but the development to Old French enfes suggests that this sequence was not affected the same way. Instead of becoming a long vowel, the development is as a short vowel with the usual lowering, and the nasal consonant is preserved. So I wonder, were these sequences nasalised in the same way in earlier Latin? It seems unlikely [ˈĩːfãːs] could become enfes, so was it really [ˈɪɱfãːs]? —CodeCat 19:41, 21 October 2014 (UTC)

Some traditionalist sources claim that in Classical Latin "A vowel before nf, ns, gm, gn is long by nature" (Gildersleeve and Lodge's Latin Grammar p. 7), but I'm not sure how this correlates with developments into Romance... AnonMoos (talk) 14:00, 15 November 2014 (UTC)


The Library of Congress (US) utilizes in their call number system a "CPB" initialism which I assume stands for PaperBack or Paperback Book; however the "C" is unclear and of course it would be better to know for sure which of the two options is accurate. Speednat (talk) 06:01, 22 October 2014 (UTC)

Copyright Paperback apparently. It doesn't look like this initialism is ever used on its own outside book serial numbers though, so it's probably not dictionary material. Smurrayinchester (talk) 07:50, 22 October 2014 (UTC)


According to sense 1, pretender means "to pretend", with the given example "Juan pretended to be dead". But according to the usage note, "Pretender is a false friend, and does not mean pretend in the sense of to claim that or act as if something is different from what it actually is." So... which is correct? Smurrayinchester (talk) 08:04, 24 October 2014 (UTC)

  • It does mean pretend, but with the meaning "pretend to the throne". --Type56op9 (talk) 08:09, 24 October 2014 (UTC)
  • I know it’s confusing, but both are correct. Spanish pretender does not mean pretend exactly, but its meanings are varied and broad enough that it can sometimes be used to mean that. Spanish pretender means (1) to try to do, intend to do; (2) to aspire to do, want to do, mean to do, hope to do; (3) to claim to do; (4) to hope to achieve; (5) to expect one to do; (6) to apply for; (7) to court. The sentence...
Juan pretendió estar muerto para evitar que el oso lo atacara.
Juan pretended to be dead so the bear wouldn't attack him.
...seems reasonable to me, although I would prefer to use the verb fingir for this. —Stephen (Talk) 08:57, 24 October 2014 (UTC)

Pronunciation of ×

I am no good at pinning down accents, but is there somewhere west of the North Atlantic where "×", in the phrase "10 x the capacity", is regularly pronounced "eks" rather than "times", or is it just Ned Desmond's idiolect -- see 01.41 in the attached video (or from 01.36 in context) [4]? I don't recall ever hearing it before. --Enginear 09:04, 24 October 2014 (UTC)

You could just characterize it as a w:spelling pronunciation, though abbreviations are not always included. In the US I have never heard anyone pronounce et al. as et alia. DCDuring TALK 12:35, 24 October 2014 (UTC)
If the times symbol is not followed by a multiplicand, isn’t it common to pronounce it as ex, such as 20x DVD drive and 150x zoom? — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 02:02, 25 October 2014 (UTC)
Much the same in the UK -- I've only heard et al, and 20eks may be normal too, though I can't at present remember any pronunciation for that. I think I've only ever heard 9 times zoom, etc, but to be fair, I haven't heard many people talk about zoom lenses. I was merely intrigued at hearing 10eks the capacity since I'd never heard eks spoken when in the middle of a phrase (I would take 20× as being the description of the drive type, rather than the × alone being part of the phrase; in the phrase recording speed 20 × playback I would expect to hear times. So I was wondering if the eks usage in the middle of a phrase was widespread in some area of the USA or Canada. Many -- perhaps most -- abbreviations have common "spelling pronunciations", but a fair number do not, and in my limited experience (mainly London, UK), this (if it is an abbreviation) has been one of the latter. One further oddity is that it is not an x or X, since those are not usually written with the two strokes exactly at right angles. It is an ×, drawn as a + turned through 45° (though I'm not claiming that that is its origin). Anyway, if it is thought of as a symbol, rather than an abbreviation, similar comments apply -- in my experience of maths, Σ is often pronounced sigma even though that is longer than saying sum, and δx is pronounced delta eks so often that I've forgotten the formal title for what δ represents, possibly small incremental difference. But we usually say plus, minus, times, and various things for divided by. And we speak of the plus sign, minus sign, multiplication (or times) sign and divide (or various others) sign. Just idle curiosity though -- I'm not suggesting we should change the entry for ×. --Enginear 18:03, 25 October 2014 (UTC)
Here in California, I use eks for things like zooms and optical-drive speeds, but this is the first time (as far as I can remember) that I've heard anything like "ten eks the capacity". Perhaps it's a attempt to sound more "techie" by imitating the style of written shorthand. Chuck Entz (talk) 18:41, 25 October 2014 (UTC)
In my opinion: "The capicity is 3x [ex or times]", but "It is 3x [times] the capacity". This is regardless of whether it is a zoom, optical-drive speed, or whatever else. --WikiTiki89 20:43, 25 October 2014 (UTC)
If I heard "x" meaning "times" pronounced as "ex", I doubt I'd even understand it. 02:41, 27 October 2014 (UTC)
Only ever heard it as "times" (or "multiply" etc.); it's been "times" in CD-ROM drive speeds too. Equinox 03:13, 27 October 2014 (UTC)
Searching YouTube for "10x the" and "5x the" turns up quite a few videos about various American states' lottery cards. Apparently filming yourself playing a cheap scratch-off is a thing? Almost all the videos pronounce it "times" (e.g. [5], [6]), but here's one that says "eks". I don't think "eks" is restricted to or typical of Illinois, though; my hunch is that it's found in informal contexts throughout the US and maybe elsewhere, just less commonly than "times". - -sche (discuss) 04:42, 27 October 2014 (UTC)

Cantonese pronunciation of 隕石

@Wyang, Atitarev, kc kennylau I think 隕石 is pronounced jyun4 sek6 instead of wan5 sek6. Besides, I think that Wyangbot is missing some Jyutping readings of certain characters such as . --Lo Ximiendo (talk) 08:00, 25 October 2014 (UTC)

@Lo Ximiendo 隕石 is pronounced as wan5 sek6 indeed. --kc_kennylau (talk) 08:02, 25 October 2014 (UTC)


Discussion moved to Wiktionary:Etymology_scriptorium/2014/October#brujería.


How do you define whether or not someone is ambidextrous? Does it mean they can write equally well with both hands or does it mean for every action, they have just as much skill to do that action as its mirror image? For example, somebody might satisfy the second definition of ambidexterity but not satisfy the first definition because they are highly skilled at writing forwards with their right hand and writing backwards with their left hand but less skilled at writing forwards with their left hand and writing backwards with their right hand. In fact does the definition of ambidexterity require that somebody actually uses a tool with both hands equally often rather than that they have the skill to do so? Similarly, if somebody suddenly decides to switch from using their right hand to using their left hand for every thing, are they defined to become left-handed right away because that's the hand they normally use or are they defined to become left-handed once their left hand passes their right hand in skill level? Blackbombchu (talk) 23:48, 25 October 2014 (UTC)

I don't think anyone in the world's qualified to answer that; it's purely a matter of opinion. Having said that I never met anyone or heard of anyone that's really equally good as lots of things left-handed and right-handed. I think de facto it's used for people who do some tasks naturally left-handed and some tasks naturally right-handed. Dictionaries give broad definitions an ignore completely different nuances that different speakers give to words. That's for a reason, if there are half a billion speakers of a language, who do you cover all those nuances? You don't. In the same way that an average IQ of 100 in a group doesn't mean that all of them have an IQ of exactly 100.
To attempt some sort of answer I'll use specific examples. There's a minor league pitcher called Pat Venditte who can pitch right- and left-handed because he's been raised to do that by his father from a young age. Bu his fastball is about 10mph slower as a leftie. By what I'd call the usual definition of ambidextrous, he qualifies because he can do the task to a high and similar standard right- and left-handed. I doesn't have to be identically good. As for the left-handedness question, some might consider right-handedness a quality you can never get rid of (apart from losing function in your right hand) no matter how much someone only uses their left-handed. 'Preference' doesn't really mean 'choice' in the sense of 'I prefer chocolate to fruit'. Rafael Nadal is famous for being a left-handed tennis player who's right-handed for everything else, so you can call him right-handed or left-handed as long as your context is right.
Back to our entry ambidextrous, I have no idea if the bit about writing is right, is it especially about writing? Furthermore usually it refers to people doing tasks to a similar and competent level both sides. For example a complete inability to do something right- and left-handed not usually an example of ambidexterity! On the other hand "having equal ability in both hands" could be part of a speaker's mental definition of the word, even if on closer examination it turns out not to be factually very good. Words don't need to be limited to factually accurate things, we have words for dragons, unicorns and whatnot. Renard Migrant (talk) 22:03, 26 October 2014 (UTC)
Ultimately, words are defined by usage, if most people use use a word to mean X, it comes to mean X, regardless of what some authority might have said up to that point. The tricky part for Wiktionary, or for any dictionary, is to correctly identify the consensus. The latin root implies equally proficient, but this is extremely rare. Even persons who initially have no predisposition to prefer one hand over the other will pick one and get more practice doing particular tasks with a particular hand, leading to a snowball effect. Preferring the left hand for some tasks and the right for others is fairly common and is usually referred to as "being ambidextrous". My son is like that and I'm unaware of any other term for it, at least in common usage. In baseball, players are rarely referred to as ambidextrous; "switch hitter" or "bats left, throws right" are the most common terminology. I had taken that as an indication that "ambidextrous" refers primarily to inborn preference, while learned ability to be proficient with the non-dominant hand for strategic advantage or due to disability isn't really part of how people understand the word.--Wcoole (talk) 19:47, 27 October 2014 (UTC)

super Muslim

Definitely ought to be SoP but I can't clearly distinguish the sense at super, so think we are missing one there. Equinox 10:35, 26 October 2014 (UTC)

Probably one related to the adverbial one: "very, extremely" (one of the citations given is in fact of an adverb). I could find some title matches clearly distinct from "finest quality, excellent": [7], [8], [9].
Just asking, is anyone at all keeping PaM's obsession with Islam, Palestine and meronyms for lesbian in check? Keφr 11:09, 26 October 2014 (UTC)
Both super and super- seem to lack the sense. It is something like "Having the characteristics of its type to an extreme degree", but perhaps someone can up with better wording. DCDuring TALK 21:58, 26 October 2014 (UTC)

Correct Latin translation

I want to verify the Google translator to make sure I have made the correct translation. I don't know the nuances of Latin ... so I want to make sure I have the translation correct. I want to translate "for the one beside me" correctly. The spirit of the phrase is one of camaraderie among those accomplishing group accomplishments, and being there to support the person I'm working with. Originally, "for the man beside me" was what we were planning on translating, but wanted to make a non-gender statement.

The current Google translation is for this is "quoniam absque me". I'd like to ensure this is correct, or get the correct translation if it is not.

Thanks for any help you can provide.

No, what Google gave you is nonsense. It basically means "because apart from me". I'd say pro homine iuxta me "for the person beside me" or pro iuxta me sedente "for the one sitting beside me" or pro iuxta me stante "for the one standing beside me" or even just pro socio meo "for my associate/companion". I'd personally recommend the last one, as Latin is a quite direct language that tends to take things very literally and avoid metaphors. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 18:50, 26 October 2014 (UTC)

Thank you. I appreciate the help.


I've looked at swash and buckling and I can't make any guess whatsoever as to where swashbuckling comes from. Renard Migrant (talk) 21:00, 26 October 2014 (UTC)

Chambers suggests it's a sort of back-formation. A swashbuckler was someone who clashed his sword against a buckler. Equinox 21:06, 26 October 2014 (UTC)
That's what the OED 1 says, too.--Prosfilaes (talk) 22:49, 26 October 2014 (UTC)


Thew definition suggests it's obsolete, but I found usage at http://www.buxtons.net/silky-pocket-boy-folding-saw-2-sizes#product-tabs that seems current and natural, if technical. I suspect that there is a more specific meaning than "woody", but don't know exactly what. I suspect a relationship with various pace names, such as https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frithy_and_Chadacre_Woods ; that article has a reference to a possible etymology, but seems to have a typo, so I'd need to look at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:BookSources/0-460-04449-4 to make sense of it.--Wcoole (talk) 19:23, 27 October 2014 (UTC)

I think it's the "brushwood", "undergrowth", "hedge", "partial clearing in the forest" sense that gives the adjective, rather than just woody, but the etymology and changes of meaning are unclear. The OED claims our etymology 3: Old English (ge)fyrhðe. Dbfirs 14:34, 30 October 2014 (UTC)


Hi. Can I suggest adding a meaning to pejorative, to refer to "pejorative suffixes" and the such. --Type56op9 (talk) 15:11, 30 October 2014 (UTC)

How are these not simply "[d]isparaging, belittling or derogatory"? Keφr 15:26, 30 October 2014 (UTC)
What is it that a suffix, for example, disparages, belittles or derogates? Perhaps the intended metonymic meaning of pejorative in "pejorative suffix" is clear to those who operate in the usage context of Wiktionary, but not necessarily to others.
A convenient illustration of the semantic distinction Type56op9 is suggesting can be found in our (and AHD's) definition of pejoration:
  1. The act or process of becoming worse; worsening or degeneration
  2. (linguistics) The process by which a word acquires a more negative meaning over time DCDuring TALK 18:35, 30 October 2014 (UTC)


Curious as to what this is called outside of the Commonwealth countries? ---> Tooironic (talk) 07:24, 31 October 2014 (UTC)

See w:Blu-Tack#Similar products. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 07:49, 31 October 2014 (UTC)
Yes, I've read the Wikipedia page, but I was hoping some non-Commonwealthers here might let me know which is common enough to warrant adding a Wiktionary entry. "Blu-Tack", as it stands now, gives none of this information. ---> Tooironic (talk) 08:55, 31 October 2014 (UTC)
I would just call it tack or putty. --WikiTiki89 13:12, 31 October 2014 (UTC)
Judging by Google, "sticky tack", "poster tack" and plain "tack" are all in use. I would add a sense like "sticky substance used to adhere one thing to another" to [[tack]], but I actually can't find unambiguous uses of it at Google Books. - -sche (discuss) 14:57, 1 November 2014 (UTC)

French term "neuneu"

The "External links" section indicates a source in "le Trésor de la langue française informatisé" (TLF[i]). However, TLF no longer includes the word - if it ever did.


I've read in the etymology of this word that it comes from italian banchetto and that's true but the meaning of banchetto is not "light repast between meals". Banchetto comes from banco and the difference between this two words is that the first one doesn't have a backrest. When people have lots of guest at launch (not a light repast), you don't have enough chairs at home to sit them at a table and then you improvise a banchetto made with a board over something as if it were a bench.--Dafne07 (talk) 17:25, 31 October 2014 (UTC)


something is screwed up in this entry.

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/sight_for_sore_eyes Wikidrift (talk) 22:58, 31 October 2014 (UTC)

Not just that one. There's a module error in many (all?) multi-word English nouns; see also chainman, shoe polish, hot dog. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 23:00, 31 October 2014 (UTC)
There are 366 pages in Category:Pages with module errors, but the entry that led me to the problem and all the pages names by Angr seem OK now. The category will take a while to empty. I don't know how to locate whatever software change may have led to this except by looking at contributions by the usual suspects to Module pages. DCDuring TALK 23:07, 31 October 2014 (UTC)
To find out what caused it, you can edit an effected page and look at the list in the footer of templates and modules used. Examining the edit histories generally shows which module has been edited during the time period: Module:links is the only one to be edited more than once today. You can also click on the red text from the module error to see which module had the error, but errors are often caused by changes in the data supplied by other modules, so looking at revision histories is necessary for those who don't have the expertise to debug module code. Chuck Entz (talk) 23:25, 31 October 2014 (UTC)
By the time I was looking the error has disappeared, so tracing that way didn't work. It would be nice to believe that it was just a data error that affected only some entries rather than a coding error that could affect many more. DCDuring TALK 00:37, 1 November 2014 (UTC)
The first method doesn't require the error still being present. It's not foolproof: for instance an error caused by a module providing incompatible data to another module could be fixed by changing the other module to not get its data from that module. It may be indirect and imperfect, but it's good enough for figuring out whom to ask about the problem.
This is a good illustration of the peculiarities of the edit queue: there were so many affected entries that the wave of edits propagating the problem overlapped with the wave of edits propagating the fix, so there are still entries appearing in Category:Pages with module errors, only to disappear and be replace with new ones, etc. Chuck Entz (talk) 02:56, 1 November 2014 (UTC)