Wiktionary:Tea room/2018/March

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discussion rooms: Tea roomEtym. scr.Info deskBeer parlourGrease pit ← February 2018 · March 2018 · April 2018 → · (current)



Hey all. Is there a word in English for an informal game of baseball? Something like a kickabout, but with baseball. --Otra cuenta105 (talk) 12:31, 1 March 2018 (UTC)

Pick-up game, maybe? - -sche (discuss) 15:17, 1 March 2018 (UTC)
@Otra cuenta105@-sche In NW Spain we call the "amateur football" kickabout pachanga, which has coincidentally also a Cuban meaning. DRAE confirms. Sobreira ►〓 (parlez) 11:17, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
Yeah, I knew about pachanga. It was my favourite word for a while. I woudl put it as a synonym, but I haven't really done synonyms in my 10+ years here. --Otra cuenta105 (talk) 21:42, 7 March 2018 (UTC)


Could someone transcribe this (Wonderfool's) tongue twister:

  • (file)

and possibly upload a new audiofile for woodchuck? --Per utramque cavernam (talk) 13:09, 1 March 2018 (UTC)

"How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if woodchuck could chuck wood. Just as much wood as a woodchuck would chuch if woodchuck could chuck wood." Crom daba (talk) 10:41, 2 March 2018 (UTC)
Oh dear, I forgot about those audios. Now you know what Wonderfool sounds like and where he lives, I'm assuming it can be easy to find who he his. That's disturbing. --Otra cuenta105 (talk) 14:56, 3 March 2018 (UTC)

How did this happen?[edit]

Why is there an "s" on the verb when single but not on plural? Examples:

  • Bob directs traffic.
  • Bob and Sue direct traffic.

I don't know what this is called, how it evolved, etc. Sorry I don't know how to better phrase the title question. Thanks in advance. ~ JasonCarswell (talk)

It's called agreement, and it's a characteristic of Indo-European languages like English (and in fact a whole lot of non-Indo-European languages too) that verbs take different endings depending on whether the subject is singular or plural. "Bob" is a singular subject, so it takes singular agreement on the verb, and in English -s marks the singular form of a verb (in the third person of the present tense). "Bob and Sue" is a plural subject, so it takes plural agreement on the verb, and in English the plural form of a verb in the present tense has the same shape as the infinitive (except for the verb be, for which the present-tense plural form is are. —Mahāgaja (formerly Angr) · talk 15:11, 1 March 2018 (UTC)
Which is why directs is described as the third-person singular present indicative form. DonnanZ (talk) 16:50, 1 March 2018 (UTC)
Thanks for the info. In my 47 year(s) I had never before questioned adding "S" to indicate singular(s) and removing "S" for multiple(s). It's standard, but upon my first inspection(s) seems bassackward(s). ~ JasonCarswell (talk)
It may seem backwards, but the -s of the verb is not the same -s as the plural of nouns. It's a coincidental similarity. Leasnam (talk) 20:22, 1 March 2018 (UTC)
It's a profoundly remarkable inverted "coincidence". How did it evolve to be here? Why "S" and not "Z"? Why not any of the vowel sounds or "ed" or "ing" or "tion" or "urp"? I'm so blown away I'd never noticed this before. ~ JasonCarswell (talk)
One letter is less of a coincidence than a whole chain like ing would be. For details, read the etymology in our -s entries. Equinox 10:37, 2 March 2018 (UTC)
Joking around
I teach my people to get used to it with "the fly flies" and "the flies fly"... Sobreira ►〓 (parlez) 11:01, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
I figure it's like E=mC2 in physics, where there's the rule about the conservation of energy and mass: energy can convert into mass or the other way around, but the total amount of both in the universe is (broadly speaking, and theoretically) constant.
In the above example of English, the fly flies can become the flies fly as we "conserve" the s. Similarly in the spoken language, we "pahk the cah" in New England -- which might look like a loss of r, until we expand our scope and realize that the missing r from New England simply migrated to Texas, where we "warsh the car" instead.
<...ba-dum.../> ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 21:44, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
@Eirikr: That first sentence is not unworthy of Rhymeinreason... --Per utramque cavernam (talk) 21:48, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
He's being silly... but I bet some people, maybe even the OP, will get confused. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 21:51, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
Oh, dear -- I tried to make it clear that this was a joke by adding the <...ba-dum.../> tag. Was that still too ambiguous? ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 22:07, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
Guys, I'm not that thick! My use of "..." is apparently {{lb|nonstandard}}. Basically, I use it when I'm attempting a witty (ahem) retort --Per utramque cavernam (talk) 22:17, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
@Eirikr: LOL at the bit about the "r"! - -sche (discuss) 00:58, 8 March 2018 (UTC)

preferential treatment, traitement de faveur[edit]

SOP? --Per utramque cavernam (talk) 16:06, 1 March 2018 (UTC)


Posted in TR as Citations talk:Linkshänder-Fänger-Handschuh doesn't work.

- 16:37, 1 March 2018 (UTC)

It's spelled with a capital B in this online version (ctrl-f to find the sentence). And "Ruggen" isn't in Duden. I think it's safe to assume that they're both typos. – Gormflaith (talk) 19:28, 1 March 2018 (UTC)


In the quotations (which need reformatting, by the way) there is an unfamiliar character used (4 times). Is it a poor apology for an old-fashioned S? DonnanZ (talk) 16:44, 1 March 2018 (UTC)

It's ſ (long s), and the text seems to me to be cited correctly. - 16:55, 1 March 2018 (UTC)
It doesn't look even remotely like the real thing. DonnanZ (talk) 17:02, 1 March 2018 (UTC)


Something seems wrong here: how can a cross between a tangerine and a grapefruit yield an orange? Furthermore, some Google Books results suggest it's actually Minneola (capital M, double n) and that it's a cross between a tangelo and an orange! Equinox 17:42, 1 March 2018 (UTC)

Yeah, I think it is Minneola, and not considered an orange. This source from UF/IFAS says that it is a tangelo, being a cross between a grapefruit and a tangerine. Also described as "quite handsome and a genuine pleasure to eat." This study describes Minneolas as Citrus reticulata × Citrus paradisi (mandarin orange/grapefruit), as does this one and this one. – Gormflaith (talk) 19:49, 1 March 2018 (UTC)


The Pronunciation clip at Luxembourgish sechs sounds as though it belongs to Luxembourgish sechst (sixth) (which it does). Can this please be corrected ? Leasnam (talk) 18:55, 1 March 2018 (UTC)

An anon has fixed it quite simply. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 22:57, 2 March 2018 (UTC)
Great. I wasn't aware that a file for sechs already existed. I'll try that next time first. Leasnam (talk) 03:29, 3 March 2018 (UTC)


I translated the definition from German: sehnige Teile des Fleisches (the sinewy parts of meat). It seems pretty awkward; can someone give a better translation? Or, even better, is there a word for this in English? – Gormflaith (talk) 19:17, 1 March 2018 (UTC)

forbidden fruit is the sweetest[edit]

Defined as "Forbidden things have more worthwhile short-term consequences." Is that really what this means? Other references seem to think it's more like "Forbidden things seem more appealing", where the consequences (e.g. of sleeping with a best friend's spouse) might well still be disastrous. - -sche (discuss) 08:49, 2 March 2018 (UTC)

Your def seems more accurate, yes. Equinox 10:32, 2 March 2018 (UTC)
Me too. DCDuring (talk) 13:58, 2 March 2018 (UTC)
I've changed the definition. - -sche (discuss) 23:22, 2 March 2018 (UTC)


Are the pronunciations okay? Would have thought the /dz/ should be /dʒ/, but I'm not familiar with that slur notation. Equinox 13:44, 2 March 2018 (UTC)

Fixed. —Mahāgaja (formerly Angr) · talk 13:59, 2 March 2018 (UTC)


I was an exchange student in Bad Bergzabern last year. Among teenagers, chillen was used almost exclusively as it is in sense 7 of English chill (to smoke marijuana). It's mentioned in this article, but everything else I've found seems to be in the context of "to chill out by smoking marijuana". Is this sense ("to smoke marijuana") in widespread use in German-speaking countries? – Gormflaith (talk) 15:39, 2 March 2018 (UTC)

I've only ever heard it in the sense of "relax, chill out" without any reference to marijuana at all, but I have almost no contact with teenagers, and what little contact I have never involves talking about drugs. —Mahāgaja (formerly Angr) · talk 16:04, 2 March 2018 (UTC)
"Almost exclusively" is due to sociolect. The examples for "to chill" 6. ("hang out") and 7. are interchangeable, likewise "chillen" is an unspecific umbrella term, simply by association of activities. It might be used specifically as a cover-up because of taboo, I guess, and then invariably shift in meaning. There's also chillig and I don't know any adjective that would fit sense 7 literally. A funnier variant I heard is schimmeln. Rhyminreason (talk) 01:05, 3 March 2018 (UTC)
"Chill" means "smoke weed"? Dang, and I thought I was hep and with it for knowing what "Netflix and chill" meant. Equinox 21:57, 6 March 2018 (UTC)


Strategetic is marked as "archaic" in its entry. I dispute this specifically on the grounds that it seems to have emerged as a rare illiterism for "strategic" in the early mid-nineteenth century, and to have propagated for less than a century before dwindling to negligibility about the time of WWII.

Now, some of us seem to hold the opinion that lexicography has no business deciding what is "right" or "wrong" about language usages, and certainly many practically universal modern usages originated as what amounted to illiterisms or even misprints in their day, and were scorned and railed at accordingly. That I accept to a great extent, but add that the lexicographer wields great power and accordingly bears great responsibility; what appears in the dictionary commonly leads or misleads generations of people, and to dismiss that power either abjectly or airily is ethically dubious at best.

For example, when a word answers no need apart from temporary convenience to an author who does not know the existing (and especially superior) word and perpetrates a barbarism to fill the gap, it does not mean we should dignify it with automatic acceptance, nor with the compliment of calling it an archaism, when all it really amounts to is a usage derived from a blunder and that fell out of use in favour of a more generally acepted and superior word (compare "strategic" with "strategetic" for example).

Accordingly I think we should be more specific about qualifications such as "archaic" and "nonstandard". For example 'adventitious, apparently ignorant usage instead of "strategic", mainly 1850-1950'.

Of course, I may be overlooking some standard guidelines that cover this sort of thing adequately, in which case I apologise, but would be grateful for comments and explanations. (I at least, am no lexicographer.) JonRichfield (talk) 07:28, 3 March 2018 (UTC)

  • There seems no justification in calling a word used by Anthony Trollope and The Economist (among others) "ignorant". Are you really suggesting that these people did not know that the word "strategic" existed? That's obviously ridiculous. Adding the suffix -etic is a perfectly valid, er, strategy for creating words in English – as it is in other languages, like French, which has stratégétique – and if lots of people use it then it's our job to record it, not pass judgement on it. Ƿidsiþ 07:56, 3 March 2018 (UTC)
As for passing judgement, I already have covered that. Passing judgement is fully justifiable where it is justifiable, otherwise, how dare we judge a word as "archaic"? Recording a usage is one thing; calling it "archaic" as opposed to "ignorant", "whimsical", "redundant", "ephemeral" or whichever cap fits, is dubious at best. This usage goes back only about 1.5 centuries, and practically petered out about a century later, if as much as that. At all times in its history it was used so rarely in comparison to "strategic" that it barely shows on the chart.
As for Trollope as an authority on English, he does nothing to alter the case. I can only find one instance of his using either word, and there is nothing in his usage to suggest whether he knew "strategy" or not, so he is irrelevant. The OED would be a more persuasive authority,but it omits the word. Interestingly, under strategetics I found the status given as "dated", which is so much more appropriate than archaic (and in a sense more dismissive) that I'll change strategetic to dated and leave it at that. Its status certainly does not match the appendix glossary entry for "archaic".
As for the strategetics of the expedientics of redundential agglutinatics of suffixionary syllabilliary affixitivity, feel welcome to any validatetics that satisfy you, but forgive my reservetics in the matter. JonRichfield (talk) 12:10, 3 March 2018 (UTC)
I'm afraid you're wrong – it is in the OED (that was the first place I looked). They added it in December 2016. Ƿidsiþ 15:34, 3 March 2018 (UTC)
Oh no, I am totally right. I looked in older copies dating back to when folks still could spell. But please tell us, Ƿidsiþ, what did the new Barbie OED say strategetic was, obsolete? Dated? Jazzed-up? It is one of the books my family won't let me buy... (too grown-up! ) JonRichfield (talk) 19:48, 3 March 2018 (UTC)
Really? Ƿidsiþ 08:53, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
Close enough for jazz — or the tearoom :D JonRichfield (talk) 10:03, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
Hmm, reminds me of technicology, which I bumped into again yesterday... Equinox 14:16, 3 March 2018 (UTC)
Gosh, I wish you were joking Equinox, but various searches convinced me that you might not be... I had hoped that it might be a misspelling of technistologicity. <snnfff...> JonRichfield (talk) 19:38, 3 March 2018 (UTC)
It seems to have seen the most use between 1830 and 1930; in its heyday of 1830 to 1900, it was ~1/50th as common as "strategic". It's now very rare. However, it was used by too many educated writers to be dismissed by any descriptivists as "illiterate" or "ignorant", and it appears in period dictionaries, too (which were often prescriptivist). Century even claims it has an Ancient Greek etymon στρατηγητικός (stratēgētikós) (this copy of the works of Demosthenes mentions, in the footnotes of a certain line on page 86: "στρατηγικόν ] στρατηγητικόν S. στρατιωτικόν codex unus Morelli"). "Archaic" probably isn't the right label if it (probably) isn't used today to "sound old" (but perhaps it is used to sound stilted). "Now rare" or even just "rare" is an appropriate label. - -sche (discuss) 10:33, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
Sounds accurate. Sooner "rare" than "archaic" anyway. The Greek connection is not very persuasive, given that it didn't very closely match the modern semantics. From that point of view I prefer Ƿidsiþ's stratégétique JonRichfield (talk) 10:40, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
You seem to be conflating the two strata (if you'll excuse the pun). Perhaps they simply have separate meaning, like "energic" and "energetic", where one is technical jargon. The french seems to conflate the two, too, so perhaps that is a hint that it is not in fact the sole source. (that was an uneducated guess, I don't actually know). Rhyminreason (talk) 21:24, 4 March 2018 (UTC)

Adverbial use of Swedish för[edit]


My Swedish friend told me that the adverb use of "för" is never by itself but used with other words, such as "för mycket (too much)". Could we confirm this? And add some examples of "för" as an adverb? Jclu (talk) 09:44, 3 March 2018 (UTC)

home delivery = homebirth?[edit]

Assumed it's really used that way (it sounds funny to me), isn't it SOP? --Per utramque cavernam (talk) 18:19, 4 March 2018 (UTC)

I have added one cite for each sense. You could argue that both senses are SoP. Maybe the fact that two SoP senses exist is some kind of (weak) argument for having an entry at all. Equinox 18:26, 4 March 2018 (UTC)

ecclesiast, ecclesiastic[edit]

Look at the citations I just added to ecclesiast, which clearly aren't of sense 1 (member of the Athenian Ecclesia). We seem to be missing one or more senses. Some dictionaries think this means ecclesiastic#Noun, but we define that as "one who adheres to a church-based philosophy", which is too vague for me to make sense of, and also seems inadequate to cover all the citations that can be found. Some citations seem to mean "member of an ecclesia (church)", which I added, but others refer to Jewish people, so it seems like there's still some other sense missing. Other dictionaries suggest "theologian" and "one who addresses the church or assembly of the faithful; a preacher or sacred orator" as senses. - -sche (discuss) 18:23, 4 March 2018 (UTC)

I have added a new sense (with help from the OED) which seems to cover the remaining cites well, although 2016 is so poorly written that I can't be sure. I think sense 2 is actually an uncommon mistake, so I will RFV it if nothing more turns up. Note also Ecclesiast. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 18:35, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
I don't know, the "ecclesiast like Torquemada" and "ecclesiast [like] the fiery and passionate Dupanloup, Bishop of Orleans" do seem like they might not mean "administrator of a church" but rather something more in line with ecclesiastic's weird definition, like "church ideologue" or something. And if the citations about Jewish people are to be subsumed under the "administrator" sense, presumably "church" should be expanded to "church or other religious gathering". - -sche (discuss) 18:42, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
That definition is terribly wrong, though; I have replaced it with "cleric". Dupanloup certainly works in context, but I share your misgivings about the Torquemada one. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 18:46, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
The parallel structure in 1918 is actually very odd, as it sets a "Hebrew" vs a "Christian" vs an "ecclesiast" vs a "Brigham Young". Perhaps from a Mormon perspective at that time, they really all were rather separate sorts of religious figures. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 18:52, 4 March 2018 (UTC)
The issues I raised have been mostly resolved. If either of these words can be "theologian" (as some dictionaries say) that sense is still missing, but in general "ecclesiastic" is more sensibly defined now and "ecclesiast" has a "clergy member" sense that covers most of the non-Athens-related uses. I also broadened the other sense of "member of any ecclesia". - -sche (discuss) 00:54, 8 March 2018 (UTC)


A user removed the adjective sense, making the frankly plausible argument that the ostensible uses of it just seem like uses of the noun. Indeed, I'm not sure it meets grammar/syntax-based tests of unambiguous adjectivity, though perhaps it might pass a "jiffy"-like "Talk:aliquot test". But other dictionaries do have an adjective section and sometimes an adverb section, too, for usage in cases where it could be an adjective/adverb (but it just could also be a noun). @DCDuring and others with an interest in grammar. - -sche (discuss) 18:59, 4 March 2018 (UTC)

Hmmm. As we are, among other things, a historical dictionary intended to help users decode works that use terms that are dated, archaic, or obsolete, it could be argued that we should include the term as the PoS in which it first entered the language. Online Etymology Dictionary shows it as having entered English around 1560 as an abbreviation. Century 1911 (Supplement) showed it as per cent. or per ct., only as an abbreviation of Latin per centum ("by the hundred")". Webster is similar, but offering "in/by the hundred" as definitions. Even now per can be used in the applicable sense with ordinary English words ("per foot"). So, perhaps it was originally thought of as a prepositional phrase. If so, one would have forced into the procrustean bed of traditional parts of speech as an adverb or adjective. In any event, it didn't enter English as a noun, though it has became one.
As a noun, percent is often synonymous with percentage, clearly a noun and not an adjective by the usual tests, though bother are used attributively. Percent (and not percentage) occurs in the phrase of a percent ("3 tenths of a percent"), where it seems to be a noun. In an expression like "ten percent commission", formerly it might have been analyzed with ten being the head of an adjective phrase, modified by percent. Now we would have percent being the head, modified by ten.
A weasely resolution that I like would be putting all the old grammar into the etymology and the current attributive use into a usage label or a usage note, with only the noun PoS remaining. DCDuring (talk) 22:05, 4 March 2018 (UTC)

little old[edit]

Is definition two really restricted to the Southern United States? I agree that "little old me" and the like are largely Southern dialect, but I do hear people say little old man (meaning 'sweet, harmless, unjaded and endearing old man') plenty, and I'm from the Northeast.

Alternatively, if it is truly restricted to the South, is it possible that little old man is unrelated to the adjective little old?

I ask this because definition one looks at first glance to be what I am referring to, yet I can't find any definition of "little" in that sense that seems to fit what I am talking about. On the other hand, "[e]mphatically, affectionately, ... little; ordinary or harmless" seems to fit with what I am describing. Tharthan (talk) 23:14, 4 March 2018 (UTC)

Not restricted to Southern United States. See also good old. ---> Tooironic (talk) 02:02, 5 March 2018 (UTC)
(And big old.) Yeah, I guess we should drop that part of the label. If Southern US English uses these terms noticeably more often than other dialects, or in more constructions, that could go in a usage note. - -sche (discuss) 16:17, 5 March 2018 (UTC)
Alright, I'll make the change then. Tharthan (talk) 16:44, 5 March 2018 (UTC)


You can search Teochew Peng'im pronunciation to be put into zh-pron at https://www.mogher.com . It is the best source I can find. --Octahedron80 (talk) 02:18, 5 March 2018 (UTC)

@Octahedron80: I think http://www.czyzd.com/ is a better one for single characters, since most entries have definitions corresponding to pronunciations. — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 03:12, 5 March 2018 (UTC)
What Justin said. Also, there is this Japanese site that has correspondences between multiple dialects. —suzukaze (tc) 03:19, 5 March 2018 (UTC)
Mogher does also give definitions per pronunciation, more detail than czyzd. Try search . --Octahedron80 (talk) 03:37, 5 March 2018 (UTC)
It really depends on the entry. Try for example. I find czyzd is more reliable because Mogher sometimes just shows generic Chinese definitions for entries they haven't polished, like . — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 03:45, 5 March 2018 (UTC)

mortality rate[edit]

Should mortality rate be considered "sum of parts" (the rate of mortality) or not? If not, related terms used in the insurance industry for transitions from one policy state to another include divorce rate, lapse rate, morbidity rate, PUP rate, recovery rate, remarriage rate, retirement rate, surrender rate; should all these be included as separate entries as well? -Stelio (talk) 16:45, 5 March 2018 (UTC)

I think that mortality rate is SOP and I will RFD it. I also think the others should not be created. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 18:45, 5 March 2018 (UTC)
Sounds good to me. Thanks @Metaknowledge! -Stelio (talk) 20:38, 5 March 2018 (UTC)
See mortality rate at OneLook Dictionary Search. DCDuring (talk) 02:42, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
What about the confusion between the atmospheric lapse rate and the insurance policy lapse rate? Why is one more definition-worthy than the other? DCDuring (talk) 02:56, 6 March 2018 (UTC)

Organization that provides 'useless' jobs[edit]

Portuguese has a word cabide de empregos for "an organisation that exists primarily to provide useless jobs" (our definition) or "organization or entity with the main purpose of guaranteeing positions to political patrons, employing several people without need for administration" (pt.Wikt's definition). This seems like a candidate for Appendix:Terms considered difficult or impossible to translate into English, if there isn't an English word for it. Is there? Certainly the English-speaking world has companies that provide useless jobs. A company that featherbeds (see Featherbedding#Brazil)? - -sche (discuss) 21:02, 5 March 2018 (UTC)

The position is a sinecure; I don't know a word for the organisation. Equinox 21:05, 5 March 2018 (UTC)
"sinecure shop", "sinecure factory" and "sinecure mill" have a handful of google hits together, and "sinecure factory" has one hit on Google Books. Crom daba (talk) 21:54, 5 March 2018 (UTC)
"Sinecure business" might actually be attested in this sense (idiomaticity is a different matter), though so rarely that I am not sure I'd be comfortable considering "cabide de empregos" to be translatable just because of it. "Sincecure company" also gets a couple hits. - -sche (discuss) 21:55, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
Also make-work, but again I don't know of a word for the organization. DTLHS (talk) 22:00, 5 March 2018 (UTC)

Rube Goldberg machine, Heath Robinson machine, bureaucracy. That's not really what you're looking for, but sorta. --Per utramque cavernam (talk) 22:04, 5 March 2018 (UTC)

diploma mill... Not really either. Per utramque cavernam (talk) 22:07, 5 March 2018 (UTC)
gravy train? Or is it simply a synonym of sinecure? --Per utramque cavernam (talk) 22:15, 5 March 2018 (UTC)
If featherbedding is the practice, then maybe featherbed is attested with the sense we want. — Ungoliant (falai) 01:58, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
  • If I were translating this, I would probably say "job mill", and when I search for that term I do see a little usage. "The county appears to be a patronage job mill for the criminal sons of some politicians" (The Trentonian, 2017); "the idea of a university as a place where students can explore and express ideas, rather than be run through a very expensive job mill" (Alphr, 2015). At the moment it doesn't seem to be a set phrase in English, though. The Portuguese term is rather great. Ƿidsiþ 08:11, 8 March 2018 (UTC)

Nonsense color[edit]

In the way eleventeen is a nonsense number, does English have a nonsense color? Not a one-off like bank butt, but a word or phrase (I see a book titled "a sky the color of chaos", but that doesn't seem to be a set phrase) you use as a made-up color, and/or if a color you actually see is unnameable. Is grue or sky-blue pink used that broadly? Or are any of Wikipedia's List of fictional colors attestably used that way? I see we define "sky-blue pink" that way, but it actually seems to be a real color the sky turns; see Citations:sky-blue pink.
This is another question inspired by vetting "untranslatable" terms; several languages call such a color "the color of a donkey/dog that flees".
- -sche (discuss) 23:29, 5 March 2018 (UTC)

Two standard impossible colours in English are reddish green and bluish yellow (possibly also dark white and pale black). Reddish green is the most commonly attested.
In my experience, sky-blue pink is indeed used as a real colour: the colour of pink clouds in a blue sky as the sun sets. -Stelio (talk) 08:02, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
There is a fictional magical colour called "octarine"; this is best known from the Discworld comic novels, but seems to appear in a few magickal/occult texts too, so perhaps it's an older word. Equinox 09:43, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
I don't see any citations of "octarine" before 1983's The Colour of Magic, other than as a name or OCR error (Google Books). -Stelio (talk) 11:07, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
tiver (a pigment) is cognate to Zauber ("magic"), certainly related, but not a non-sense color as far as I can see. --Rhyminreason (talk) 14:42, 16 March 2018 (UTC)


reassurance has the sense "reinsurance" which is labelled as "legal, dated". While it may be dated in legal circles, it's still a current term in the insurance industry. How should that best be indicated in the labels? -Stelio (talk) 13:24, 6 March 2018 (UTC)

Perhaps {{lb|en|legal|dated|_|except in the insurance industry}}? —Mahāgaja (formerly Angr) · talk 15:27, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
Removed dated. Maybe I was wrong about that. Equinox 19:33, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
Resolved with that; thank you very much! -Stelio (talk) 10:41, 7 March 2018 (UTC)

How to reverse the entry of a word and it's alternate spelling? (pu'er & pu'erh)[edit]

Hi, How appropriate this is called the Tea Room. Let's talk about tea!

There is a problem with the Wiktionary entry for the word "pu'er" https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Pu%27er

In this entry, "pu'er" is listed as an alternate for "pu'erh" https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Pu-erh

However, these should be the other way around. "Pu'er" is the correct, standard pinyin for the Chinese word 普洱 (pǔ'ěr). Pu'erh (with an added "h") is an "alternate" spelling. The character for "er", 洱, has its own entry here https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%E6%B4%B1

As this requires more than a simple edit/correction, and I'm not a master-wiki-editor, thought to post this here for advice, or to see if someone else wants to make this change for me.

Thank you. —This unsigned comment was added by Mlondon (talkcontribs) at 19:09, 6 March 2018 (UTC).

While Pu'er is the correct pinyin for 普洱, Pu-erh (derived from the Wade-Giles romanization) seems to be the more common form of the word in English. See Google ngrams. — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 19:21, 6 March 2018 (UTC)


In the entry repine, have I updated {{en-verb}} correctly to reflect the archaic forms repinest and repineth? — SGconlaw (talk) 20:16, 6 March 2018 (UTC)

I don't agree with showing them at all. DTLHS (talk) 20:23, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
Ditto. It is incredibly cluttered. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 20:28, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
I agree these shouldn't go in the headword line. (There have been a few discussions before about excluding obsolete forms from the headword line, like "low" as a form of "laugh".) I think we should make more use of conjugation tables (which should include these forms), as at abandon#Conjugation. - -sche (discuss) 20:46, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
OK, will look into using a conjugation table, though I'll need help with this as I'm not a linguist. — SGconlaw (talk) 12:25, 7 March 2018 (UTC)


Added a reference which only shows it as an adjective (which isn't included in the entry). DonnanZ (talk) 01:03, 7 March 2018 (UTC)

I don't think that's adjectival, but rather attributive usage. "Tractor" isn't an adjective just because you can have "tractor parts". Equinox 01:23, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
Hmm-yeah, both Collins and Merriam Webster say it's a noun. One thing leads to another, I was working on a translation of elektrosjokkvåpen (electroshock weapon) in a quote I added, and elektrosjokk is regarded as a noun in Norwegian. DonnanZ (talk) 11:55, 7 March 2018 (UTC)


  1. Don't we have a category for verb participles couples like dreamt/-ed and learnt used (written and oral) differently in BrEN/AmEN? Aren't burnt, spelt and wept also a pair of this?
  2. Is the Usage note for dreamt also true for learn/learnt?
  3. Should spelt be in category:English irregular past participles as misspelt is?
  4. How comes that 4 out of 5 examples in -t (=-th, section 12) are not in the list? Sobreira ►〓 (parlez) 11:44, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Not forgetting spilt, and earnt which is highly irregular, but I use it. DonnanZ (talk) 12:04, 7 March 2018 (UTC)


I wonder if Greek script in the etymology can be entered here, and other cases added by User:Pseudomugil, Cheers. DonnanZ (talk) 14:13, 7 March 2018 (UTC)

Also the ref-no-references tags need sorting out. DonnanZ (talk) 14:15, 7 March 2018 (UTC)

Done. Could you leave a message on his talk page to explain the usual deal (no {{etyl}}, Greek terms shouldn't be entered in the first parameter/the Latin alphabet, etc.)? --Per utramque cavernam (talk) 14:23, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
Thanks. I've done that, you can add to it if you want. DonnanZ (talk) 15:04, 7 March 2018 (UTC)


If this refers specifically to the wooden part of the match, there are several wrong translations. --Per utramque cavernam (talk) 16:41, 7 March 2018 (UTC)

Such as? In some languages both match and matchstick could be the same, vis tändsticka, fyrstikk, Streichholz and Zündholz. DonnanZ (talk) 17:43, 7 March 2018 (UTC)

I, l as "disguise letters"[edit]

These two letters look extremely similar in many fonts, and are sometimes used to disguise themselves as one another. For instance, if a forum user had the username "generalluigiT", if someone ELSE wants to make an impersonating alt-account pretending to be this user, they might create an account called "generaIIuigiT". Or maybe a username on a site was taken and never used, and it happened to be called "TheInvincible", so another user who actually wanted the username and didn't want to waste it might angrily make the account "Thelnvincible" or "ThelnvincibIe". In many fonts, the two usernames in both instances would look exactly the same. Does this merit a sense in the Translingual definitions of these two characters? (IMO I've only seen this used informally on the Internet in situations like these, so as for its attestedness I'm not too sure...) PseudoSkull (talk) 20:07, 7 March 2018 (UTC)

The reason I say it should go to Translingual is because this phenomenon shouldn't really apply to one particular language AFAIK. It could be used in any Latin-based language or on any string of words that uses these Latin-script letters. PseudoSkull (talk) 20:11, 7 March 2018 (UTC)
  • My gut feeling is that "disguise letters" are not in our purview. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 06:37, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
    Yeah, it doesn't seem like lexical information that should go in a sense; it seems font-/display-dependent; if the forum used a font where the characters were obviously distinct, someone would probably only make such a username as a gag reference to the letters' usual indistinctness. I would just link them via either {{also}} or our cop-out catch-all section, "See also". Particularly egregious cases might merit mention in usage notes as something "not to be confused". - -sche (discuss) 08:06, 10 March 2018 (UTC)


Shouldn't that be a heptakishecatonpentakontakaipentagon rather than a circle? It does not have enough sides to be the latter I would think.

Aside from the word being a probable protologism in Russian? Jcwf (talk) 02:09, 8 March 2018 (UTC)

Presumably, though I imagine one could use it humorously in reference to circles. Maybe WT:BJAODN material if it is a protologism (which it looks to be). — Vorziblix (talk · contribs) 02:36, 8 March 2018 (UTC)

open the batting[edit]

Apart from the cricketing sense, I think it can be used figuratively, e.g. for someone who makes the first move. Any thoughts? DonnanZ (talk) 13:12, 8 March 2018 (UTC)

Yes, I agree: to commence proceedings. -Stelio (talk) 11:22, 12 March 2018 (UTC)
@Donnanz, I've added this as an idiomatic sense to the entry now. -Stelio (talk) 10:44, 16 March 2018 (UTC)
@Stelio: Thanks, that's a good def, I think. DonnanZ (talk) 10:56, 16 March 2018 (UTC)'


As per the modern spelling of the term in the Christmas carol "Away in a manger".

I recall receiving a transcript in primary school, during the late 1950's or very early 1960's of this Christmas carol in which the term was spelled Lewing. It sticks in mind as it caused many questions amongst the other students and some discussion which, among other things, confirmed that the spelling was correct at the time.

Does anybody have confirmation of this or any etymology for the word and the older, possibly original, spelling? It has had a renewed interest for me as I have recently moved into Lewers Street and having subsequently, quite by accident, met a person with the surname Lewers who, confirmed the pronunciation to be Lowers.

Does anyone have information regarding this apparent change? Is this yet another victim of the "spellchecker"?

  • The OED has citations of the verb low back as far as the 16th century with no alternative spelling. It has nothing related in the "lew" verb. SemperBlotto (talk) 05:59, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
    • I've also never seen lew for any sense of low, though of course shew for show was quite common until the early 20th century. —Mahāgaja (formerly Angr) · talk 08:33, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
I remember seeing shewn in the 1950s, in a map key if I remember correctly. DonnanZ (talk) 11:01, 16 March 2018 (UTC)

Definition of pendlovky[edit]

The original definition of pendlovky was "pendulum clock in a long glassed case", but Metaknowledge pointed out that the word glassed is uncommon in English and does not sound natural in this context, and for this reason it was changed for a "glass case". However, the long case is not completely made of glass, there is just a glass at the bottom of the front wall of the case so that the pendulum is visible, as can be seen in the picture. The word "glazed" was rejected too. May I ask for some more suggestions to find a better description? Thanks. --Jan Kameníček (talk) 09:41, 10 March 2018 (UTC)

"pendulum clock in a long case and featuring a glass window through which the pendulum is visible"? —suzukaze (tc) 09:45, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
I was thinking about something shorter, but if nothing like that is found, ... why not, thanks. --Jan Kameníček (talk) 09:50, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
"glassed case"→"windowed case"? —suzukaze (tc) 09:52, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
Hm, sounds good to me. --Jan Kameníček (talk) 09:59, 10 March 2018 (UTC)
Care to add a translation to grandfather clock? and match the descriptions? I'm asking because "-ky" is a diminuitive, so "wall mount, smaller version of ..." could work. "short longcase clock" is an oxymoron, but the current "long case" works. Rhyminreason (talk) 13:57, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
Not every use of the diminutive is literal. Chuck Entz (talk) 14:41, 11 March 2018 (UTC)

IPA containing symbols not in the pronunciation appendix[edit]


This is a list of 228 English pages with IPA pronunciations that contain characters that are not in the wiktionary pronunciation appendix: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Appendix:English_pronunciation

"work" /wɜɹk/ - there's no "ɜ" in the appendix. "cow" /kaʊ̯/ - there is a "ʊ" in the appendix, but no "ʊ̯".

I think these should all be changed, or have the symbols added to the appendix?

If there's a General American IPA, I'm checking that. If not, enPR. If not, whatever's left. And I'm only currently checking the first, if there are multiple.

Darxus (talk) 17:22, 11 March 2018 (UTC)

They should be changed to meet our standards. Your examples should be written as /wɝk/ and /kaʊ/ respectively. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 17:26, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
Also note Category:IPA pronunciations with invalid IPA characters. —Mahāgaja (formerly Angr) · talk 17:38, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
I changed all instances of /ʊ̯/ to /ʊ/ (cow hello co-op sauro- Latin@ go ham), and all instances of /ɜɹ/ to /ɝ/ (work turkey bird preservation furry durst myrtle Aaron's beard Cerberus frigatebird ursid above stairs). I believe these were appropriate? Anybody want to suggest other simple changes to make? How do I figure out what they should be? The most common first characters of unmatched IPA symbols are "ɜ" and "e".
Darxus (talk) 19:10, 11 March 2018 (UTC)
[aʊ̯] is proper IPA and useful (maybe cp. en:w:International Phonetic Alphabet#Diacritics and prosodic notation), [ɜ] is proper IPA too (maybe cp. en:w:Open-mid central unrounded vowel) though whether it's part of a correct English IPA transcription is another thing. - 00:50, 12 March 2018 (UTC)
We are not talking about what "proper" IPA usage is. We are talking about Wiktionary standards for representing IPA for English in broad transcription. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 02:05, 12 March 2018 (UTC)

I'm working on a table of symbol suggestions for these cases. I'd love feedback. —Darxus (talk) 22:56, 14 March 2018 (UTC)

The problem is that no one agrees on what the proper symbols for English should be, and despite repeated discussions here there still isn't much consensus on it. Ƿidsiþ 08:50, 16 March 2018 (UTC)

fuck as adverb[edit]

I think this is wrong. "Fuck no" etc. is just the interjection, isn't it? Equinox 00:17, 12 March 2018 (UTC)

He was fuck running when the clock ran out. Meh. It works, but not with the provided sense. - Amgine/ t·e 00:22, 12 March 2018 (UTC)
I would hardly say that works. I would vote in favour of that use of being an interjection. Tradereddy (talk) 00:44, 12 March 2018 (UTC)
"What the fuck are you doing" is using it adverbially, isn't it? --Rhyminreason (talk) 02:37, 16 March 2018 (UTC)
No, you can never place "the" before an adverb like that. It's like "the house" or "the dog". Equinox 02:40, 16 March 2018 (UTC)
So it should be analyzed as "doing the fuck", like "leaving the house", not as "what are you the fuck / fucking doing", where "fucking" is clearly a adverb, but the fuck moves to the front to highlight the importance of it, as is "fucking who do you think you are?". Either way there recently was discussion concluding that nouns used adverbially are not to be added as adverbs, if I remember correctly now that I think about it, can't find it though. Also: the hell is marked adverb. --Rhyminreason (talk) 03:23, 16 March 2018 (UTC)

Etymology inconsistency with floss and floccus[edit]

I appologize if this approaches spamming, but I've added to the talk pages of both Talk:floss and Talk:floccus the following:

Currently, the etymology reads as follows:

1750, from French floche (“tuft of wool”), from floc, from Old French flosche (“down, velvet”), from Latin floccus (“piece of wool”), probably from Frankish *flokko (“down, wool, flock”), from Proto-Germanic *flukkōn-, *flukkan-, *fluksōn- (“down, flock”), from Proto-Indo-European *plAwək- (“hair, fibres, tuft”). Cognate with Old High German flocko (“down”), Middle Dutch vlocke (“flock”), Norwegian dialectal flugsa (“snowflake”), Dutch flos (“plush”) (tr=17c.). Related to fleece.

The issue, however, is that under the page 'Floccus' the Latin etymology points towards the following:

Possibly from Proto-Indo-European *bʰlok-, related to Old High German blaha, Old Swedish blan, bla, both from Proto-Germanic *blahwo (“tuft”), and Old Norse blæja, which is from Proto-Germanic *blahjon (“flock of wool”).

With a citation: Szemerenyi, Scripta minora: selected essays in Indo-European, Greek, and Latin, Volume 2, p. 714

The Online Etymological Dictionary has the following entry:

"rough silk," 1759, of uncertain origin, perhaps from French floche "tuft of wool" (16c.), from Old French floc "tuft, lock," from Latin floccus "tuft of wool," a word of unknown origin. Or from a dialectal survival of an unrecorded Old English or Old Norse word from the root of fleece (n.). Compare the surname Flossmonger, attested 1314, which might represent a direct borrowing from Scandinavian or Low German. In "The Mill on the Floss" the word is the proper name of a fictitious river in the English Midlands. Meaning "fine silk thread" is from 1871, short for floss silk (1759). Dental floss is from 1872; the verb floss in reference to use of it is from 1909. Related: Flossed; flossing.

This article allows adds this alternate explanation:

Walter Skeat, however, argues floss came directly from the Italian floscia seta, “sleave silk,” ultimately from the Latin flux, “flowing.” He considers soie floche the French borrowing of the same Italian phrase.

I was wondering if anyone had an expertise, interest, or ability to follow this issue further. Tradereddy (talk) 00:38, 12 March 2018 (UTC)

The abstemious[edit]

I'm seeing uses of abstemious in an apparent noun sense in the form "the abstemious". Should I add "Preceded by the: abstemious people as a group", or is this actually still an adjective sense? (For example, what is meant is "the abstemious [people]", but the word people is never added.) It occurs to me that this could apply to any number of adjectives: "the clever", "the thin", and so on. — SGconlaw (talk) 03:17, 12 March 2018 (UTC)

See Wt:Beer parlour/2015/October#Nominalized Adjectives for a prior discussion, with links to relevant RFDs. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 03:24, 12 March 2018 (UTC)
Great, thanks. Hmmm, there doesn't seem to be a consensus on this. — SGconlaw (talk) 03:30, 12 March 2018 (UTC)
But as a practical matter, what language learner would fail to decode it and, having seen some of the more common nominalized adjectives ("the rich/poor/needy/indigent/good/sceptical/ignorant/intelligent"), wouldn't be able to encode reasonably well? DCDuring (talk) 04:23, 12 March 2018 (UTC)
Indeed. Should w have a vote on this and make it a rule? — SGconlaw (talk) 13:04, 12 March 2018 (UTC)


Some person Geddess (talkcontribs) wants to add this word to the database. It's defined as follows: a main meal taken once in the day to replace breakfast, lunch and dinner. The term Brelundin is an abbreviation and stands for Bre (Breakfast), Lun (Lunch), Din (Dinner). It is used as a means of dieting for people who are busy throughout their day. The one meal tends to be had in the evening but it is up to the individuals preference. The term was created by Stephen Geddes due to an extremely busy schedule.

I'm not sure what to think of this lede, whom I have blocked for a week. Any suggestions? --Lo Ximiendo (talk) 04:41, 12 March 2018 (UTC)

I'm taking the silence on this as approval of adding the term to WT:BJAODN. --Lo Ximiendo (talk) 05:37, 16 March 2018 (UTC)
It's just another made-up word ("protologism"). I don't see why it's particularly funny or clever. Equinox 05:42, 16 March 2018 (UTC)
The definition may not sound nonsensical, but at least the term sounds funny to me. --Lo Ximiendo (talk) 05:52, 16 March 2018 (UTC)
I think I did add lupper at some point (and "linner" seems to be used once or twice; might not meet CFI). Equinox 15:44, 16 March 2018 (UTC)
I'm surprised about linner, which is part of my idiolect, at least. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 17:41, 16 March 2018 (UTC)


Demure has some gender binding as its used that needs to be noted. -Inowen (talk) 04:51, 12 March 2018 (UTC)

diff, Yes check.svg Done. (Is it "usually" or can we safely say "always"?) —suzukaze (tc) 04:53, 12 March 2018 (UTC)
google books:"demure man" (and a few relevant ones to be found at google books:"his demure", along with several irrelevant hits for "his demure [woman]", and misc other search phrases like "demure young lad|man") show that it's not always used of women; indeed, I can find some cases where it's used of animals; so "usually" or "chiefly" seems right. - -sche (discuss) 05:00, 12 March 2018 (UTC)
google books:"demure young man" gets even more hits, and google books:"demure boy" gets almost as many as "demure man". (And doing a Google Images search for "demure boy" definitely reveals the effeminacy associated with demureness.) —Mahāgaja (formerly Angr) · talk 13:05, 12 March 2018 (UTC)

English cornual[edit]

@Wyang: Did you mean to post this in the GP? —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 04:43, 13 March 2018 (UTC)
Sorry, moved. Wyang (talk) 04:45, 13 March 2018 (UTC)

Current definition and example: (anatomy) Located near, or relating to, an animal's horns. the cornual branch of the zygomaticotemporal nerve.

This is ... related to an animal's horns, but only very distantly. Point to cornu (which has many senses) instead in the def? Wyang (talk) 04:41, 13 March 2018 (UTC)

... and all the anatomical senses of cornu are missing. Wyang (talk) 07:15, 13 March 2018 (UTC)

English handlanger[edit]

In Dutch this word has (gained? today?) a very negative connotation: an accomplice in crime. Period. In Afrikaans it is far more positive: a helper, assistant. As the page is now the content is very confusing on that point, e.g. it says that in Dutch it can also be used in a positive sense. I'm tempted to scrap that. (nl.wikt does not have it), An article written in 1899 in WNT does mention more positive interpretations, but also mentions that the word is mostly used in the sense of accomplice ("een verachtelijke benaming": a contemptuous term).WNT. So perhaps the second meaning should simply be labeled obsolete. The etymology of the South-African English lemma should imho refer to Afrikaans rather than Dutch. Jcwf (talk) 14:32, 13 March 2018 (UTC)


The symbol ea is quite common in Korean as in 5ea입 (“5 items included”) and 10ea씩 (“10 items each”) which is clearly an equivalent of the general counter (gae), not “each”. I have a discussion in ko:사용자토론:Nuevo Paso#ea with two native Korean speakers and they say it is an English counter, not Korean. In fact ea seems to be used commonly in invoices ([1]) and in some game communities ([2], [3]). I would like to know:

  1. whether English speakers actually write ice burner 5ea instead of 5 ice burners in game communities
  2. how to pronounce ice burner 5ea if it is actually used
  3. whether we should have a Korean entry (personally I think we should because of the Korean pronunciation)

Thanks in advance. — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 15:14, 13 March 2018 (UTC)

(The second discussion for "game communities" is about a Korean game :P —suzukaze (tc) 19:01, 13 March 2018 (UTC))
Yes, the use of ea in online games seems to me rather Korean-influenced English. You just can’t read ice burner 5ea in English. — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 01:26, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
It seems common in cooking:
2012, Al Meyer, The Working Garde Manger, p. 31:
    1 ea. egg yolk
    ½ oz. whole milk
    1 ea. puff pastry sheet
    2 oz. Parmesan cheese
    tt Hungarian paprika
Seeing this, we need to add an English counter. If it meant “each”, the author would have written ½ oz. ea. but that’s not the case. — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 10:07, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
I am certain that "ea." in those cookbooks is the English word "each" and not derived from Korean in any way. Compare google books:"1 pc. egg" and google books:"1 each egg". Ingredients lists in recipes sometimes have an odd "grammar". (This may or may not deserve an entry/sense-line, but it's not derived from Korean.) - -sche (discuss) 18:05, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
I would certainly agree that this usage of ea. is odd.
That said, it certainly derives from native English usage, and not from Korean. The oddness is simply that "each" is more commonly used when parceling things out. Reading ea. in the context of the linked recipe, at first glance, it sounds like the author means to use one whole egg yolk per serving -- but the fuller context and the long-form directions make it clear that this cannot be the case, and the author is instead simply intending that amount for the whole recipe. I'm more used to seeing the number with no unit afterwards, if the intention is to use that number of the ingredient (for discrete things like egg yolks). The author Al Meyer appears to be a native of California, judging from his biography on his website, and is likely a native speaker of Californian English. I wonder then if this usage of ea. is a term of art for high-end cooking? ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 20:17, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
I don't think it's even particular to high-end cooking. In my experience, the tendency to have something (like a unit of measure, or something indicating singularity) after numbers/measures of ingredients, leads for whatever reason to "1 each egg", "1 ea. egg", "1 pc. egg", "1 piece egg" etc. In some cases this seems to be caused by cooking-website-input-formats and/or authors dividing the ingredients list into three columns, "number", "unit", and "item being measured", where "unit" gets filled with "each" or "piece" for something like an egg that is just a single thing. For example, that seems to be why Mediterranean Diet Cookbook: 70 Top Mediterranean Diet Recipes calls for "1   piece   Egg (large, beaten lightly)". Looking at the Google Books hits for those phrases, I see cookbooks all across the spectrum, from pop-culture-y ones to ones that might be intended to be high-end. - -sche (discuss) 21:59, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
That's the kind of idiotically unthinking linguistic abuse that makes me want to flog cookbook editors with lasagna noodles whilst, and at the same time, bludgeoning them with a conveniently sized halibut.
Yech. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 00:28, 15 March 2018 (UTC)
Heh. I can even find: Tony Bednarowski, Get Your Lean On: A Simple, Sensible yet Scientific Weight Loss Solution (2013, ↑ISBN):
 » 2 T. onion, chopped
 » 1 count egg
 » 1 T. canola oil
 » 4 slices Canadian bacon
 » 2 c. cabbage, thinly sliced
- -sche (discuss) 01:22, 15 March 2018 (UTC)
Ugh. My wife informed me that a couple different recipe websites she's used suffer from badly implemented data validation, where ingredient entry lines require something in each field -- much as you suggested above, only enforced by naive-developer fiat.
I feel like there's a research paper in there somewhere -- the broader linguistic impacts of poor database design decisions. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 04:39, 15 March 2018 (UTC)
I know the Korean ea is from the English ea. I just thought that it only means “each” in English and the general counter sense was a Korean invention. Now it is clear that the latter is also from English. — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 05:54, 15 March 2018 (UTC)
Sense added: ea.TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 04:08, 16 March 2018 (UTC)

"X Time"[edit]

There are a lot of cultures that have stereotypes of being late to everything. I'm curious how best to lemmatise and define these. Right now, we have African time with a rather poorly worded definition, and CP Time is claimed to be the equivalent (although in my experience, it's pejorative and somewhat dated, unlike African time). We also have Caribbean time given as a synonym, although it's different in that it refers to Caribbean people. How do we approach this? —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 02:34, 14 March 2018 (UTC)

Coordinate terms IMO. DTLHS (talk) 02:36, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
Hard to coordinate when there are so many — we probably need a thesaurus, but I don't know what to call it. Some other attested times (sometimes with capitalised Time) include: Indian time, Jewish Standard Time, Hawaiian time, island time, Fiji time. The antonym, punctuality, is also attested, including: White People's Time, haole time, mzungu time. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 02:41, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
As long as it's linked from entries I don't think the name of a thesaurus page matters that much- call it "Thesaurus:X time" if you want. DTLHS (talk) 02:48, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
Thesaurus:lateness or Thesaurus:tardiness? — SGconlaw (talk) 03:03, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
Thesaurus:tardy time, perhaps? Or, if a thesaurus entry is not desired, just put all the coordinate terms in one entry (say, the most common, or the alphabetically first) and have all the other terms say "see list in X". - -sche (discuss) 04:38, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
Not sure the Thesaurus page name needs to be that specific, IMHO. — SGconlaw (talk) 06:11, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
@-sche, since you tend to be better at this to me, think you could reword the def at African time, so I can use it as a template? —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 04:40, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
OK, I've taken a stab at writing definitions for both CP Time (mentioning that it is sometimes treated like a notional time zone) and African time (mentioning the positive aspects WP says it has). If "African time" is not so derogatory, or has stronger positive connotations, please edit the definition further to reflect that. The definitions could be shortened by moving the "who uses it how" bits into usage notes. In my experience, some African Americans still use "CPT" / "Colored People Time" in a sort of self-deprecating humorous way among themselves (off the top of my head I recall writer Ijeoma Oluo mentioning her mother using it recently), but use by even well-meaning white people is rather fraught, as the Wikipedia article mentions. - -sche (discuss) 05:24, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
I think it's pretty good; it's hard to judge how derogatory something is, but my experience is that Africans, at least, use "African time" in a fairly neutral, descriptive way, so "sometimes derogatory" seems better for the label. Another issue is that it's difficult to expand this to an entry like island time, which references a place rather than people. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 05:48, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
Using the definition of African time as a base, what about changing "...Africans..." to "...the [inhabitants|natives] of [certain] islands [line Hawai'i and Fiji]..."? - -sche (discuss) 21:49, 14 March 2018 (UTC)

Lines lacuna[edit]

Pick up a ruler. What are those lines on the ruler called? Well, that article says both graduations and then less pleasingly markings.

For this purpose, graduation's definition

3. (sciences) A marking (i.e. on a container) indicating a measurement.

rather misses the sense of lots and lots of equally-spaced lines dividing the length.

And marking's definition really misses

2. a mark

I'd been wondering about ruling, similar to the sense as used when describing the ruling lines that together inscribe a diffraction grating, but that article here has no idea what I'm talking about, although w:Diffraction_grating does know about 'rulings'. (w:Grating says they are 'grooves'. Groovy) "Century Dictionary" has "2. The act of making ruled lines; also, such lines collectively." And ruled has a hint of those ruler markings.

So, graduation clearly is deficient, as is ruling, and I still feel there is a better definition or better word that better fits "those lines on a ruler". Shenme (talk) 06:36, 14 March 2018 (UTC)

I've extended the definition a bit at graduation. As for marking, that's a hard one; I wouldn't say it misses, but it could use to be more exact. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 18:15, 14 March 2018 (UTC)


Can this also mean "certain/sure"? "but I am satisfied that it" @ Google Books. —suzukaze (tc) 07:31, 14 March 2018 (UTC)

It's not quite that strong: more like convinced or persuaded, or willing to accept because one's standard of proof has been met. The focus is on the subjective decision to believe rather than on objective certainty. Chuck Entz (talk) 09:06, 14 March 2018 (UTC)

i need words that start or end with gragh


I would like to propose a possible etymology of "saffron" from Median farnah-, Avestan xᵛarənah-, Sanskrit suvarṇa (सुवर्ण), all with the meaning of yellow, golden, yellow ochre, turmeric and, through a small semantic shift, glory, aura, fortune. 13:48, 14 March 2018 (UTC)

fo'c'sle, fo'c's'le, fo'c'stle: contractions?[edit]

What do we mean by "contraction"? Is the criterion visual or auditive?

By the way, I'm not terribly fond of having things like antimonselite or astrogate listed as "contractions" alongside isn't or he'd've. --Per utramque cavernam (talk) 19:30, 14 March 2018 (UTC)

In this case it's both, so it doesn't matter. I would call antimonselite and astrogate blends rather than contractions, since they are intentional coinages. --WikiTiki89 19:35, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
@Wikitiki89: Ok, let's take a more obvious example. fo'c'sle is said to be a double contraction, fo'c's'le a triple contraction. Shouldn't these be labeled as simple contractions? --Per utramque cavernam (talk) 20:43, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
Why "simple" contractions? In terms of pronunciation they are both "double" contractions. But what do we call spellings like ask'd? Are they contractions, even though they are pronounced the same as the full spelling? Perhaps historically they were spoken contractions before the standard pronunciation dropped the sound in question as well. Anyway, I think we should generally go by pronunciation, and call purely written contractions "written contractions". After all, gonna is a contraction even though there is no apostrophe. --WikiTiki89 20:52, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
I too would prefer we disambiguate and speak of "written contractions".
I'm confused by forecastle to be honest. What's the standard pronunciation? If it's /ˈfoʊkˌsəl/ or /ˈfəʊksəl/ or /ˈfɒksəl/, then how are the apostrophe versions (pronunciation) contractions at all? They're just written contractions. And if /ˌfɔːˈkɑː.səl/ exists, is it the historical pronunciation, or a spelling pronunciation, or both? --Per utramque cavernam (talk) 21:18, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
Well then the question is again, what came first, the contracted spellings, or the loss of the uncontracted pronunciation? If a few decades from now, the pronunciation /ˈaɪ ˈæm/ for "I am", completely falls out of use, does I'm suddenly cease to be a contraction? --WikiTiki89 21:44, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
Regarding these being listed as "double" or "triple" contractions: we perennially have problems with unaware users adding things to those categorized based only on the number of apostrophes in the word, and I revert them. (fo'c'sle is not, AFAICT, said to be a double contraction, because I undid the last editor who listed it as such last year.) To be a double contraction, as I understand it, it needs to have two instances of contraction (like "y'all'd": contract "you all" to "y'all", and then contract "y'all would" to "y'all'd"). AFAICT, "fo'c'sle" is one word that was shortened (in one swoop). - -sche (discuss) 21:45, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
How do you know it was in one swoop, and not first forec'sle and then fo'c'sle? --WikiTiki89 21:49, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
Shout it a few dozen times in a very windy place so people upwind and down can understand you. - Amgine/ t·e 23:11, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
I don't mean this in a bad way, but I honestly don't get what point you're trying to make. I wasn't questioning the cause of the contraction. --WikiTiki89 14:40, 15 March 2018 (UTC)
It is very difficult to shout "forecastle" clearly and understandably. Stop and think about the context of the word: part of a vessel which requires (and desires) to operate in high wind/wave. More specifically, a vessel with an abnormally high number of crew - a military vessel. An order given near the helm is passed forward by many crew shouting it sequentially, and it is answered by repeating it back through the same chain of communication with an affirmative append. "Fo'c'sle Away!" "Fo'c'sle Away Aye!" And it has to be *perfect* going forward and aft again. I suspect it would be impossible for any game of 'telephone' in those circumstances to not result in fo'c'sle in a single pass. - Amgine/ t·e 02:15, 18 March 2018 (UTC)

contraction of I'm gonna[edit]

How do you spell the /ˈaimənə/ contraction? I'm'na? --Per utramque cavernam (talk) 20:38, 14 March 2018 (UTC)

I've been wondering this for years. In real life, I usually spell it I'm gonna. Incidentally, in my idiolect it's pronounced /ˈʌmənə/, or rarely /ˈʌɪ̯mənə/. --WikiTiki89 20:55, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
I'mma is what you want. Sadly ATM it is a redirect to Imma. --Otra cuenta105 (talk) 21:25, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
@Otra cuenta105: I'mma is a more contracted contraction pronounced /ˈa(ɪ)mə/, not the one we're talking about pronounced /ˈa(ɪ)mənə/. --WikiTiki89 21:38, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
"I'm 'onna" is attested (Citations:I'm 'onna). Searching for that also revealed that some people "contract" on a to the longer spelling onna. - -sche (discuss) 21:36, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
on a roll > onna roll? --Per utramque cavernam (talk) 21:40, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
Well, what I ran into was more "I'm onna bus". - -sche (discuss) 21:46, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
That's beautiful. I'm 'onna try and use it onna regular basis. --Per utramque cavernam (talk) 21:52, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
@-sche: Are you sure onna isn't on the (pronounced /ˈɒn̪n̪ə/)? --WikiTiki89 21:57, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
Good point. That seems more plausible. We'll have to look for shortened set phrases that originally had "a" or "the", like the one Per utramque cavernam mentions. - -sche (discuss) 22:05, 14 March 2018 (UTC)
Ima 'mindeda da erly Rolling Stones: "Ima gonna tell ya how its gonna be". DCDuring (talk) 03:32, 15 March 2018 (UTC)


I think we're missing a phonetic sense (synonym or hyponym of monophthongization?). --Per utramque cavernam (talk) 21:24, 14 March 2018 (UTC)

bulldog clip[edit]

According to the entry it's a genericized trademark from 1944, however, there are some uses in the 19th and early 20th century (before 1944). Is this a separate sense or is the note in the etymology inaccurate? DTLHS (talk) 22:11, 14 March 2018 (UTC)

I can't see any part of the first source at all, but since it is the Dictionary of Practical Surgery, perhaps that is a completely different sense (some surgical instrument?). As for the second source, I can't see enough of the text to get a clear sense of what is meant. Perhaps try looking at Archive.org or the Hathi Trust Digital Library to see if you can find full-text versions of these and other sources? — SGconlaw (talk) 03:46, 15 March 2018 (UTC)
I've added some actual cites to the entry. DTLHS (talk) 03:53, 15 March 2018 (UTC)
Thanks, and I see that @Kiwima has kindly supplied an image and a definition. Any idea what the etymology might be? A reference to the surgical clip gripping strongly like a bulldog's bite, perhaps? — SGconlaw (talk) 10:51, 15 March 2018 (UTC)
That would be my guess, or perhaps the serration or even the shape, in addition to the grip, was vaguely/fancifully likened to a bulldog's jaw. But I haven't spotted actual evidence of that. A 1914 Colliery Engineer mentions yet another type of "bulldog clip"/"bulldog grip", with illustrations... - -sche (discuss) 16:57, 15 March 2018 (UTC)

yesterday night[edit]

The usage notes a missing something: "Based on a review of Google News (which allows specification of location):

  • Last night occurs about 1,000 times more often in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia,
  • Last night occurs about 100 times more often in Singapore, India, and South Africa."

More often ... than some other phrase? Than this phrase occurs in some other place? What? - -sche (discuss) 17:05, 15 March 2018 (UTC)

"last night" occurs more often than "yesterday night". --WikiTiki89 17:41, 15 March 2018 (UTC)
Oh, duh... I need more sleep, apparently! - -sche (discuss) 21:54, 15 March 2018 (UTC)
Dumb search for "last night" versus "yesterday night" may not be very meaningful as a comparison since "last night" would also pick up "final night" uses ("the last night of the holidays", "my last night as a single man" , etc.) Mihia (talk) 22:01, 17 March 2018 (UTC)
@Mihia: When it means "final", it is nearly always preceded by "the". Since "last night" still occurs about 200-300 times more often without the "the" than with the "the", the possibility of it meaning "final" does not skew the results very much. --WikiTiki89 15:57, 19 March 2018 (UTC)

republic (small-r)[edit]

  • I don't think a "republic" should be defined in terms of sovereignty. There are multiple interpretations as to the nature of sovereignty and if applied to the word "republic" could lead to conflicting meanings. I recommend replacing number 1 with following:

republic = describes a form of government which is not a monarchy, is kingless, and has no hereditary nobility. -- Calif.DonTracy (talk) 22:58, 15 March 2018 (UTC)

Contribs of User:[edit]

A little suspicious about the hockey obsession: e.g. latest inline sledge hockey is barely in Google Books. Equinox 05:40, 16 March 2018 (UTC)

He's adding lots of French terms too; I don't want to look into it because it's probably going to piss me off. --Per utramque cavernam (talk) 14:08, 16 March 2018 (UTC)
It's not specific to hockey. This is the same person who's been systematically going through a variety of subjects and strip-mining them for entry ideas. They're responsible for the flood of sports-team abbreviations, and with the start of the Winter Olympics they switched to winter sports.
The worrisome part is that they geolocate the same as Fête (talkcontribsglobal account infodeleted contribsnukeedit filter logpage movesblockblock logactive blocks)/Phung Wilson (talkcontribsglobal account infodeleted contribsnukeedit filter logpage movesblockblock logactive blocks)/À la 雞 (talkcontribsglobal account infodeleted contribsnukeedit filter logpage movesblockblock logactive blocks)/Fête Phung (talkcontribsglobal account infodeleted contribsnukeedit filter logpage movesblockblock logactive blocks) , a non-native English- and French-speaker in the Montreal area who added a lot of weirdness to entries in both those languages (especially pronunciation), as well as being a general nuisance at times. Montreal is a big city, though, so we can't be sure (the checkuser tool can't be used on old edits). Even if it is Fête, he was pretty young back then, so he might be growing out of the worst of his problems. Still, there's an an element of cluelessness about this editor that bears watching. Chuck Entz (talk) 01:36, 17 March 2018 (UTC)

Related terms[edit]

Why bone head in boner#Related terms? Sobreira ►〓 (parlez) 13:44, 16 March 2018 (UTC)

@Sobreira: I've removed the whole section, it was useless there. --Per utramque cavernam (talk) 14:08, 16 March 2018 (UTC)
OTOH, we are missing more than a half dozen derived terms that would be blue links. DCDuring (talk) 17:42, 16 March 2018 (UTC)

golden number[edit]

Is there a missing sense related to the golden ratio? Ultimateria (talk) 20:07, 16 March 2018 (UTC)

colsidium ??[edit]

Is there any such word or is it made up? I want to translate a quote I added to gullbarre of kolsidiumnitratfosfat, which I suspect is itself a work of fiction, only one hit on Google from the book. DonnanZ (talk) 11:27, 17 March 2018 (UTC)

I have assumed that it's fictitious when doing the translation. DonnanZ (talk) 16:03, 17 March 2018 (UTC)

priority to the right, give way to the right, yield to the right[edit]

Are these entry-worthy? --Per utramque cavernam (talk) 12:31, 17 March 2018 (UTC)

eye dialect[edit]

Defined as:

  1. (uncountable) Nonstandard spellings that indicate a standard pronunciation, deliberately used by an author to indicate that the speaker uses a nonstandard or dialectal speech.

Indicates "standard pronunciation", yet the speaker uses "nonstandard or dialectal speech"? Isn't this a contradiction? Mihia (talk) 14:10, 17 March 2018 (UTC)

No; the point is that the speaker uses nonstandard or dialectal speech elsewhere. Consider for example this "Snuffy Smith" cartoon: in the last panel Lukey is shown as saying ennyway instead of anyway. Now /ˈɛniweɪ/ is the standard pronunciation of anyway (outside of Ireland at any rate), but the cartoonist used the eye dialect spelling ennyway to reinforce the character's nonstandard dialect shown by other words like fergit (representing /fɚˈɡɪt/ for standard /fɚˈɡɛt/). I suppose th’ for the is eye dialect too, since th’ can hardly represent anything (at least before a consonant) other than standard /ðə/. —Mahāgaja (formerly Angr) · talk 15:03, 17 March 2018 (UTC)
OK, thanks, but the "elsewhere" aspect is not made particularly clear in the present definition. It reads pretty much like a contradiction. The speaker uses standard pronunciation but nonstandard or dialect speech. Mihia (talk) 17:51, 17 March 2018 (UTC)


Said to be "eye dialect", which, in turn, is defined as "Nonstandard spellings that indicate a standard pronunciation". However, 'arf doesn't indicate a standard pronunciation. That's the whole point. I believe this may have been discussed before, but I just want to be sure that I am doing the right thing if I remove the "eye dialect" tag from this and all similar entries (where nonstandard spelling indicates nonstandard or dialect pronunciation). Mihia (talk) 14:15, 17 March 2018 (UTC)

I wouldn't simply remove the "eye dialect" tag; I'd change it to {{nonstandard form of}} or something. —Mahāgaja (formerly Angr) · talk 15:04, 17 March 2018 (UTC)
Indeed. Mihia (talk) 17:51, 17 March 2018 (UTC)


Hey all wrestling fans. Do we have a word for semiestelar in boxing, wrestling etc. It refers to, I'm pretty sure, the second most important fight on a fight night. sub-top-bill? under-top-bill? --Otra cuenta105 (talk) 16:43, 17 March 2018 (UTC)

A Google Books search suggests this may have a broader meaning, btw. But for the meaning you speak of, the phrase "second-billed [fight]" seems to be attested. - -sche (discuss) 16:54, 17 March 2018 (UTC)


Is this word archaic or obsolete? I can't tell, but the only dictionaries that I have found it in thus far are A Critical Pronouncing Dictionary and Expositor of the English Language by John Walker and Noah Webster's American Dictionary of the English Language (1828). Tharthan (talk) 20:04, 17 March 2018 (UTC)


Does anyone know this word? I have heard it in the UK. I think it may be some northern England dialect. I thought it just meant "money", but from some of the few uses that I can find on Google search, I wonder if people use it more to mean "a small amount of money". Because of the small number of relevant search results, I'm wondering also if I have spelled it correctly. Mihia (talk) 20:29, 17 March 2018 (UTC)

It must be related to flumpence but other than that I know not
Citations:umpence. Only found 2 uses. DTLHS (talk) 20:40, 17 March 2018 (UTC)
The form reminds me of umpteen and umpty. Those words use it for an unspecified (probably large) amount. Curious that it can be tracked back to a dash in morse code. In accounting you would use a dash to represent nothing, so looking at e.g. a payroll / paycheque / whatever and seeing dashes, you could interpret that as "umpence" (ie no pence or thereabouts). Just speculation Moogsi (talk) 22:39, 17 March 2018 (UTC)
I mean that you would have 6 | 5 | — in your ledger or 6 pounds, 5 shillings (and umpence). Moogsi (talk) 22:47, 17 March 2018 (UTC)
Isn't it a bit weird that Citations:umpence exists but not umpence? Is that normal/allowed? It's like it's been orphaned or something. Mihia (talk) 00:06, 18 March 2018 (UTC)
No it's not weird. See Category:English citations of undefined terms. DTLHS (talk) 00:07, 18 March 2018 (UTC)

haram police[edit]

The citations are of poor quality (using different capitalizations or different terms, or having no clear meaning), but is this idiomatic, anyway? The definition in the entry now is not necessarily obvious, but the general construction is, since one can also find google books:"kosher police", google books:"morals police", google books:"sharia police". OTOH, "fashion police" exists. But I don't want to RFD it if other people think it just needs cleanup. - -sche (discuss) 23:06, 17 March 2018 (UTC)

This certainly fits Pass a Method's MO of taking common phrases and substituting allegedly equivalent items from a context they want to promote. If things really work the way PaM assumes they do in this case it would probably be SOP, since that would mean the part substituted is interchangeable and the rest could be defined to work in both phrases. Of course, any resemblance between PaM's understanding and reality is strictly coincidental, so it would help to know what actual usage says it means. Chuck Entz (talk) 00:11, 18 March 2018 (UTC)


The definition doesn't seem to match the citations. - -sche (discuss) 23:46, 17 March 2018 (UTC)

cuatro gatos[edit]

What's the English equivalent of this, i.e. the opposite of everybody and their dog? Some references say "nobody [here] but [us] chickens", but it's not obvious that that's attested in a relevant sense. - -sche (discuss) 00:07, 18 March 2018 (UTC)

One man and his dog? Mihia (talk) 03:04, 18 March 2018 (UTC)
Yes, is the opposite of everybody and their dog. Is not 'nobody', is 'a small quantity of people', 'very few people', as properly attested in the entry's definition and usage example, but I'll add a shorter and translated example anyway. 17:17, 18 March 2018 (UTC)
We're looking for an analog to smell of an oily rag, once in a blue moon, etc, I think. DCDuring (talk) 16:16, 18 March 2018 (UTC)
In BrE (at least), it does mean "very few people", but I see this has already been dealt with below. Mihia (talk) 23:01, 18 March 2018 (UTC)
If anyone comes up with a translation, remind me to add it to gato pingado. — Ungoliant (falai) 16:32, 18 March 2018 (UTC)
I don't think I have an idiom for this, at least not in my idiolect. I'd just say it literally: "hardly anyone", "almost no one", that sort of thing. —Mahāgaja (formerly Angr) · talk 16:34, 18 March 2018 (UTC)
Just/but us chickens seems close, but is situationally limited to cases where the speaker is present. DCDuring (talk) 17:11, 18 March 2018 (UTC)
My bad, I didn't realize at first you were asking for a translation, not an explanation. The closest unmentioned thing I can come up with is hardly a soul. Also, there were tumbleweeds may apply, albeit that expression can imply that there was no one, thus becoming not a synonym of cuatro gatos. 17:17, 18 March 2018 (UTC)
Related, but by no means equivalent, is Kilkenny cats ("Two cats which, according to legend, fought until only their tails remained.").
I think we need a special summons of Australian and Irish contributors. DCDuring (talk) 18:44, 18 March 2018 (UTC)
Well, I think @PalkiaX50 is from/in Ireland and @Tooironic knows Australian/NZ English... do either of you know of an idiomatic expression for when there's hardly any people present, that would be comparable to the Spanish saying there were only "four cats" present? - -sche (discuss) 20:48, 18 March 2018 (UTC)

trois pelés et un tondu (fr) in French, with various alternative forms (I myself use deux pelés trois tondus) --Per utramque cavernam (talk) 20:50, 18 March 2018 (UTC)

This French website gives bunch of nobodies as an English translation, which seems wrong to me (i.e. "bunch of nobodies" doesn't mean that), as well as two men and a dog? --Per utramque cavernam (talk) 20:55, 18 March 2018 (UTC)
Amid quite a few literal uses, "one man and his dog" seems to be attested in a sense like this; I've created an entry. Thanks, all! Quite a few of the quotes are specifically British, so it might be dialectally/ regionally restricted. Variants like "two men and a dog" and maybe "one man and a dog" are probably attested, but hard to search for because so many instances are literal. - -sche (discuss) 21:51, 18 March 2018 (UTC)

cordon bleu[edit]

How is it that we don't have a French entry for this common term? ---> Tooironic (talk) 03:22, 18 March 2018 (UTC)

  • Added. It might also mean the food item (slices of breaded veal &c). SemperBlotto (talk) 09:22, 18 March 2018 (UTC)
    Thanks! ---> Tooironic (talk) 12:16, 18 March 2018 (UTC)
    Is the food item really only American? The dish certainly exists in Germany with the name Cordon bleu, but maybe it's called something else in the rest of the English-speaking world. —Mahāgaja (formerly Angr) · talk 16:38, 18 March 2018 (UTC)
    Yes, and searching thetimes.co.uk for "cordon bleu recipe" turns up many instances of that phrase, and google books:"chicken cordon bleu" "flavour" gets hits, which suggests cordon bleu and chicken cordon bleu are at least sometimes used in the UK. Whether other names are also used, or the dish is seen as particularly American, I don't know. The ↑ISBN edition of the Oxford English Dictionary does have it as a postpositive adjective for a dish made up of the food we have as the noun sense. They also have a noun sense we lack, for a "cordon-bleu finch", an African waxbill (Uraeginthus). - -sche (discuss) 21:01, 18 March 2018 (UTC)
    We do have that sense, at cordon-bleu. If it's spelled without the hyphen sometimes, then an "alternate form of" definition coulld be added. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 04:17, 19 March 2018 (UTC)

top to tail[edit]

Is this a legit entry? --Per utramque cavernam (talk) 10:26, 19 March 2018 (UTC)


In summer sleepaway camps (at least in the US), bunk can mean one of two things: a cabin in which a group of campers sleep, a group of campers assigned to a particular cabin. In day camps, bunk can still refer to an assigned group of campers, even though there is no longer any connection to an actual sleeping space. We currently don't cover either of these definitions. But in order to make this as general as possible, does anyone know if these meanings are used outside of summer camps? --WikiTiki89 14:46, 19 March 2018 (UTC)

on the pretext, under the pretext, on the pretense, under the pretense (that)[edit]

Are (some of) these entry-worthy? --Per utramque cavernam (talk) 16:47, 19 March 2018 (UTC)

Why those specific nouns? Lots of other words do this ("condition", "assumption", "proviso", "understanding"...). Perhaps the correct preposition to use belongs in an appendix, or usage notes. Equinox 21:07, 19 March 2018 (UTC)
Probably because I'm thinking of French sous prétexte que, which I feel is lexicalised/grammaticalised. --Per utramque cavernam (talk) 21:21, 19 March 2018 (UTC)
MWOnline has an entry on one pretext or another. Using OneLook's wildcard search, I didn't find another MWE using pretext, except a single legal one.
MWOnline also has entries for abandon all pretense at/drop all pretense at and on the pretense of/under the pretense of.
OneLook's wildcard search can provide useful lemming information on MWEs. We should use it.
Nevertheless, I don't find the MWOnline entries very satisfying as they seem to imply that other verbs, determiners, nouns, and prepositions are somehow less idiomatic than the one or ones selected for inclusion. on this or that pretext/on this pretext or that/on some pretext/on some lame pretext would work for MW's definition for on one pretext or another. You wouldn't have to work too hard to find others. DCDuring (talk) 23:39, 19 March 2018 (UTC)