Wiktionary:Tea room/2018/September

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discussion rooms: Tea roomEtym. scr.Info deskBeer parlourGrease pit ← August 2018 · September 2018 · October 2018 → · (current)

tohu-bohu, tohubohu[edit]

These are two almost identical in spelling English derivatives of the same Hebrew phrase (the well-known תֹהוּ וָבֹהוּ‎ from the Book of Genesis). The first is said here to refer specifically to a "formless chaos" or "void". The second is said here to refer generally to "chaos" or "confusion".

As a side note, as one can see, French also has this term, spelt like the former, but meaning the same as the latter. German also has Tohuwabohu, closer to the original phrase.

My question is in regard to whether or not we ought to have these two entries have an interreference within the definitions (a "see also" kind of thing), if they ought to be combined, or if they ought to be left as is. Tharthan (talk) 02:19, 1 September 2018 (UTC)

Poking around, I don't see any consistent difference in meaning based on punctuation, so one of them should be an {{altform}} of the other. Ngrams suggests it's more often hyphenated (even though other modern dictionaries seem to prefer to lemmatize the unhyphenated form), so I've made that the lemma. - -sche (discuss) 05:29, 3 September 2018 (UTC)
Thanks! Tharthan (talk) 07:35, 4 September 2018 (UTC)


Moved over here from the August 2018 Tea room.  --Lambiam 09:55, 2 September 2018 (UTC)

I don't think it is borrowed from Afrikaans sambal. The word is of Javanese origin and refers to a condiment commonly found in the Malay archipelago. It is likely to have been introduced into Afrikaans by the Cape Malays. The South Africa label is also incorrect. KevinUp (talk) 09:43, 1 September 2018 (UTC)

@Sgconlaw I think you might be familiar with this. It's a common ingredient used in Peranakan cuisine. KevinUp (talk) 11:51, 1 September 2018 (UTC)
The British colonization of the Cape preceded that of Malacca by several decades, so the route through the Cape to Britain is not implausible. It seems quite likely to me that the British learned the word directly from the Malay spoken there as well as through its use in “kitchen Dutch” (i.e., early Afrikaans), and it may not be possible to assign a definitive single linguistic transmission route. I have removed the label South Africa, which stands for South African English.  --Lambiam 10:21, 2 September 2018 (UTC)
Well, that does sound plausible. Are there any Afrikaans editors here on Wiktionary? Please add an entry for Afrikaans sambal. I'm interested to know whether sambal was introduced to Britain from South Africa or from the Malay archipelago. KevinUp (talk) 11:56, 2 September 2018 (UTC)
I can't find the word in Cambridge or Macmillan, but Oxford and Merriam-Webster indicates the word to be of Malay origin. Could we perhaps reword the etymology as follows? KevinUp (talk) 11:56, 2 September 2018 (UTC)
"Borrowed from Indonesian sambal, from Malay sambal, from Javanese ꦱꦩ꧀ꦧꦼꦭ꧀ (sambel). Also borrowed from Afrikaans sambal."
If anyone borrowed it from Indonesian it should be the Dutch, but that lemma just states, “from Malay”, which, I think, is plausible enough. Indonesian is merely a standardized version of Malay that attained its status when Indonesia gained its independence from the Dutch colonizers after World War II. I suggest leaving the reference to Indonesian out. A further slight modification gives, “Borrowed, either directly or via Afrikaans sambal, from Malay sambal, from Javanese ꦱꦩ꧀ꦧꦼꦭ꧀ (sambel).”  --Lambiam 16:58, 2 September 2018 (UTC)
Good idea. Indonesian sambal is listed as one of the descendants of Malay sambal, along with Dutch, English, Afrikaans and etc. Curiously, I noticed that the Dutch etymology says that it is borrowed from Malay, rather than Indonesian. I think there was some discussion previously as to whether Malay refers to the Malay language used in the Malay archipelago or the national language of Malaysia. I'm not sure whether this has been sorted out or not, but statements such as "Borrowed from Malay, from Indonesian" or "Borrowed from Indonesian, from Malay" should be avoided. KevinUp (talk) 18:15, 2 September 2018 (UTC)
It would also be best to remove Indonesian sambal as one of the descendants of Malay sambal. Words in both national languages can often be traced back to a common ancestor, eg. Proto-Malayic, as found in the etymology Etymology sections of both languages in Wiktionary often use the same etymology, such as that of makan ("to eat"). For sambal, an Indonesian section with the same etymology as Malay ("borrowed from Javanese") is probably needed with Dutch listed as one of its descendants. KevinUp (talk) 18:15, 2 September 2018 (UTC)
Please note that Malay was always a dialect continuum, and that the distinction between Malaysian Malay (Bahasa Melayu Malaysia) and Indonesian Malay (Bahasa Indonesia) came about by virtue of these becoming standardized norms in the respective countries. Words in American English and British English can also often be traced back to a common ancestor, but that ancestor is not Proto-Anglic.  --Lambiam 23:07, 2 September 2018 (UTC)
That makes sense. I'd like to know whether the Malay section on Wiktionary refers to the dialect continuum used in the Malay archipelago (including Singapore, Brunei and Indonesia)? Currently it seems to lean towards the standard national language used in Malaysia. A technical discussion has been created at Wiktionary:Beer parlour/2018/September#Malay as an ISO 639 macrolanguage for further discussion. KevinUp (talk) 11:12, 3 September 2018 (UTC)
How about "Borrowed from either Afrikaans sambal or Malay sambal, from Javanese ꦱꦩ꧀ꦧꦼꦭ꧀ (sambel)." Any Afrikaans editor here who is familiar with sambal? KevinUp (talk) 18:15, 2 September 2018 (UTC)
This leaves the possibility open of an interpretation that the transmission route was Javanese → Afrikaans → Engels, bypassing Malay. I hope the version chosen will make clear that Afrikaans sambal comes from Malay, or in any case that – whatever the route – English sambal comes from Malay.  --Lambiam 22:52, 2 September 2018 (UTC)
The earlier suggestion of "either directly or via Afrikaans, from Malay" seemed to get that across well, and such constructions are fairly common in our etymologies (e.g. quite a few say "possibly via", so I've implemented that. Please edit it further if necessary. But where is the Malay word from? Merriam-Webster and Oxford indeed just say it's from "Malay", but I notice that the American Heritage Dictionary and Dictionary.com say the Malay term is from not Javanese but a Tamil term (AHD says sambhar, Dictionary.com says campāl but mentions Telugu sambhāram as a relative) ultimately from Sanskrit saṃbhārayati i.e. संभारयति (compare संभालना). Are they confusing it with sambhar? - -sche (discuss) 05:51, 3 September 2018 (UTC)
@Lambiam, -sche: Thank you for fixing the etymology. It looks much better now. As to whether sambal is related to sambar or sambhar, the Javanese origin of the word needs to be further investigated. Note that the Malay language also contains Sanskrit loanwords due to the influences of Hinduism and Buddhism from 5th century BC up to 14th century AD. KevinUp (talk) 11:12, 3 September 2018 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── A book in Dutch by N. Mansvelt entitled Proeve van een Kaapsch-Hollandsch idioticon (“Attempt (?) of a Cape Dutch Idioticon“) [Link], published in Cape Town in 1884, has this to say (my translation):

Sambál, finely cut onions, quinces, cucumbers, etc., prepared with vinegar, used as a side dish with meat. Sambal is Malay for salad, or fragrant, seasoned food.

The 1989 edition of J. van Donselaar‘s Woordenboek van het Surinaams-Nederlands (“Dictionary of Surinamese Dutch”) also puts the stress on the second syllable, and gives the variant spelling sambel, stating that the word stems from Javanese. (Large numbers of Javanese were brought to Suriname after the abolition of the slave trade, recruited with false promises and effectively becoming indentured labourers.) The Wikipedia article Sambal also states that the word is from Javanese, citing the Indonesian Kamus bahasa Jawa-bahasa Indonesia (“Javanese–Indonesian Dictionary”) as one of its sources. On the talk page there is a small discussion of the relationship between sambal and sambar, at Talk:Sambal#Etymology, where it is argued that sambar may actually derive from sambal.  --Lambiam 11:59, 3 September 2018 (UTC)

That's a bit strange. Sambal in Malay does not mean "salad, or fragrant, seasoned food". It is in fact a chili paste pounded along with various secondary ingredients (finely cut onions are one of those ingredients). Also, its used as a dip or accompaniment for meat (occasionally) and salads (usually raw vegetables). KevinUp (talk) 13:14, 3 September 2018 (UTC)
Anyway, it seems unlikely for sambal to be related to sambar. Sambar (dish) has its own origins dating back to the 17th century. (See the references section of its Wikipedia page). More importantly, chili, the main ingredient of sambal is not used in sambar. As mentioned above, the Javanese origin of sambal needs to be further investigated. KevinUp (talk) 13:14, 3 September 2018 (UTC)
It is possible that the meaning shifted since the 1884 book was published. In an 1886 Dutch handbook for people leaving for the Dutch Indies explaining many unfamiliar concepts to the hopeful colonist, the various sambals are said to be “consisting of pork or dried buffalo meat and shrimps fried in fresh coconut oil with onions, chilis and terasi”. Interestingly enough, in common Surinamese (Sranan Tongo) the hot sauce we know as sambal is called pepre, which may be a shortening of pepre sowsu (pepper sauce). The term sambal is reserved for a spicy spread, usually eaten on a bread roll, prepared with finely chopped chicken organs such as chicken liver.  --Lambiam 15:43, 3 September 2018 (UTC)
@Wirjadisastra speaks Javanese and Indonesian, and @Amir Hamzah 2008 speaks Malay, so they may have access to and ability to read materials in those languages that could clarify the origin of the Malay word (and the Javanese word, while we're at it).
The possibility that the meaning has shifted leads me to wonder if one of the possible etyma influenced a word derived from the other, e.g. if the original sense was from Tamil/Sanskrit and shifted under the influence of Javanese, or vice versa.
- -sche (discuss) 18:42, 3 September 2018 (UTC)


Is this English? Is it a prefix? Should it be at tiru-? I doubt that this has been used to form words in English; if it is something we are trying to reanalyse after transliteration then it's not an English prefix. Equinox 13:03, 1 September 2018 (UTC)

Doesn't seem like an English term at all. Ultimateria (talk) 18:59, 1 September 2018 (UTC)
Yeah, I would delete it, it doesn't seem to be used in English except as part of other names that have been transliterated/borrowed wholesale. It's like taking the sentence "I visited Bad Kreuznach and Bad Kissingen" and deciding "Bad" is an English prefix(!). - -sche (discuss) 05:56, 3 September 2018 (UTC)
"Bad Kissingen" sounds like a fine place for a first fumbled teenage date. Okay, I will just delete this "English" entry. Equinox 23:58, 3 September 2018 (UTC)
That might have been such an occasion for my late father, who grew up near Bad Kissingen at Saal an der Saale. DCDuring (talk) 17:10, 4 September 2018 (UTC)


Is this word also used in the sense of commuter or commuting? I added a quote at troop train which includes the term commutation service. DonnanZ (talk) 13:33, 1 September 2018 (UTC)

I found another reference here. DonnanZ (talk) 13:45, 1 September 2018 (UTC)

I found this from a Google News search on a University of Melbourne web page: "The origin of the word commute itself heralds from the late nineteenth-century United States’ commutation ticket, a reduced price railway season ticket by which the price of multiple daily tickets was “commuted” into a single payment." It's a twofer: both etymology and definition. DCDuring (talk) 21:10, 1 September 2018 (UTC)
We don't seem to have a definition for this, should it be added? This sense for commutation isn't used in British English. DonnanZ (talk) 21:27, 1 September 2018 (UTC)
The same etymology for the verb commute in the sense “to travel regularly between home an one‘s daily business” is given by the Online Etymology Dictionary.  --Lambiam 10:59, 2 September 2018 (UTC)
It is obvious that all of commute, commuter, and commutation relating to "daily trips between home and work" derive from commutation ticket (which is probably SoP). I have changed commute to show derivation from commutation ticket. Are commuter and commutation#Etymology 2 derived from commutation, commutation ticket, or commute#Etymology 2? In some sense it doesn't matter, but what does the OED address (or finesse) this? DCDuring (talk) 18:13, 2 September 2018 (UTC)
Looking at the reference I dug up, "commutation" in this sense is also used on its own, not only as a qualifier: e.g. "commutation from the Upper Harlem segment" and "commutation between the Upper Harlem and Mid-Harlem segments". I'm not worried about SoP terms. DonnanZ (talk) 18:26, 2 September 2018 (UTC)
That's not what I was trying to ask about. I was asking about what the derivation graph should look like:
  1. a linear chain, eg commutation (etymology 1) → commutation ticketcommutation (etymology 2) → commute (etymology 2) → commuter
  2. a chain + branch commutation (etymology 1) → commutation ticketcommute (etymology 2) → commutation (etymology 2) and commuter.
Or some other scheme.
DCDuring (talk) 18:58, 2 September 2018 (UTC)
I guess that will do, thanks. I also found those OneLook refs while you were beavering away. I guess I can add some quotes now... DonnanZ (talk) 19:21, 2 September 2018 (UTC)
I also added [[commutation ticket]] because it seems to have slid from being SoP from the first etymology of commutation to now being perceived as SoP from the second. DCDuring (talk) 20:24, 2 September 2018 (UTC)
My hunch is graph #2, in which commute (etymology 2) comes directly from commutation ticket and commutation (etymology 2) is a back formation. However, I have nothing to back this up, except the observation that commutation (etymology 2) seems to be much rarer than you would expect if it was the preceding link in the chain.  --Lambiam 22:43, 2 September 2018 (UTC)

incunable, incunabulum[edit]

Should we centralise the translations? If yes, where? Per utramque cavernam 10:51, 2 September 2018 (UTC)

Following the lead of several dictionaries, I've merged incunable into incunabulum. Ultimateria (talk) 14:27, 4 September 2018 (UTC)
Thank you. Per utramque cavernam 15:45, 4 September 2018 (UTC)


I believe it's a brand of paint, but I hesitate in providing an entry. Is it idiomatic? I came across a reference in an American book to "plus a few gallons of bright Duco". DonnanZ (talk) 12:53, 2 September 2018 (UTC)

I failed to notice it is included at duco, where the Wikipedia article describes it as a former brand; the book was published in 1959 so it probably existed then. DonnanZ (talk) 13:03, 2 September 2018 (UTC)


I can hardly find any hits for the infinitive, but I can for "destreamlined" and "destreamlining", including a quote from the same book mentioned above: "The process of destreamlining a GS-4 amounted to little more than ripping off her running board skirts and painting her black." What to do? DonnanZ (talk) 15:04, 2 September 2018 (UTC)

Among the uses of destreamlined are plenty that attest to it being a form of a verb and not an adjective. I'd just add the infinitive/bare form as if it were attested. It isn't too unusual among less common verbs for the bare/infinitive form to be hard to attest. DCDuring (talk) 20:41, 2 September 2018 (UTC)
OK, but I'm in "do-nothing mode" on this at the moment. DonnanZ (talk) 21:08, 2 September 2018 (UTC)
OK, I've created the entry, can you check the definition and change/improve it if necessary? - -sche (discuss) 06:05, 3 September 2018 (UTC)
Done that. That's a nice quote from "Trains", I used to buy that magazine years ago. DonnanZ (talk) 08:36, 3 September 2018 (UTC)

Are "undoing" and "removing" streamlining the same thing? Ultimateria (talk) 16:26, 4 September 2018 (UTC)

Semantically, undoing refers to the process of streamlining; removing refers to the result. We often finesse such distinctions in our definitions of less common words. DCDuring (talk) 18:39, 4 September 2018 (UTC)

Turkish help needed at yok[edit]

See this edit: [1]. If the IP is correct that this should be an adjective (I have no idea about Turkish) then the PoS header needs fixing too. Equinox 20:59, 2 September 2018 (UTC)

I pinged some Turkish contributors to weigh in on Talk:yok. For now it looks like we're going with 'adjective'...? - -sche (discuss) 21:05, 2 September 2018 (UTC)
I hope so. Determiner doesn‘t make sense.  --Lambiam 22:06, 2 September 2018 (UTC)

IPA for alcoholism[edit]

So this evening I wanted to check the stress on alcoholism, but the entry had no IPA. I was thinking /'æl.kǝ.hǝ.ˌlɪ.z(ǝ)m/, but Google Translate sounds like /ˌæl.kǝ'hɑ.lɪ.z(ǝ)m/. Is either of these correct? MGorrone (talk) 21:23, 2 September 2018 (UTC)

For me (BrE) the third vowel is /ɒ/, the same as in alcohol. Equinox 21:30, 2 September 2018 (UTC)
I hear primary stress on the first syllable (æl) and weak secondary stress on the penult (lɪ). The third vowel is definitely not a schwa, but from listening to some YouTube videos it is speaker (dialect) dependent.  --Lambiam 22:22, 2 September 2018 (UTC)
For me (California,US), the word alcohol retains its original vowels, which implies a secondary stress on the third syllable, but the final syllable doesn't seem to be any less stressed than the third syllable. Chuck Entz (talk) 03:49, 3 September 2018 (UTC)
I've added the pronunciations which I've heard that I could also find references for. Note that, aside from the disunity regarding the vowels and stress, there is also disunity over whether it syllabifies as /-hVl.ɪz.əm/, /-hVl.ɪ.zəm/, /-hV.lɪ.zəm/, or /-hV.lɪz.əm/, which I didn't reproduce as I felt it was not significant and would clutter the entry too much. - -sche (discuss) 05:05, 3 September 2018 (UTC)


Is this a phrase worth including or a SoP of 好處 + 費? Dokurrat (talk) 02:21, 3 September 2018 (UTC)

Abbreviation with or without .[edit]

Should abbreviations that are normally terminated with "." also have an entry without the "."? For example I added ppor., but should ppor also be listed, perhaps as a redirect? —This unsigned comment was added by Graeme Bartlett (talkcontribs).

If it's attested, it should be an {{altform}} (or similar). Many abbreviations that normally end in dots are attested without them and vice versa, so it's just a matter of trawling through enough results on Google Books/Scholar / Issuu / etc (or maybe some better search engine that doesn't disregard punctuation?) to find out. Hard redirects aren't used for short strings like that because of the danger that ppor could be a valid entry in another language. Thanks for adding so many Moss entries, btw! - -sche (discuss) 04:27, 3 September 2018 (UTC)


This is also used as a noun. I have added a quote which can be moved if it is decided to create a noun entry. DonnanZ (talk) 11:37, 3 September 2018 (UTC)

Did an entry anyway. It appears to be mainly used as a plural. DonnanZ (talk) 11:54, 3 September 2018 (UTC)

bowel movement[edit]

I find the usage notes weirdly worded:

  • "often incomprehensible, even to native speakers and especially to non-native speakers." > says who?
  • "An equally polite but usually understood form of this very important medical question is, for example, "When did you last do number two?"" > What is the "very important medical question"? "bowel movement" is not a question.

Per utramque cavernam 14:21, 3 September 2018 (UTC)

It's a medical term, I think, but I think "do number two" would be equally incomprehensible to non-natives. One term that seems to have been missed is pass a motion, meaning "perform an evacuation of the bowels" (British apparently), but even that has two meanings. DonnanZ (talk) 15:33, 3 September 2018 (UTC)
From M*A*S*H (TV series):
Major Burns: "My God! We're being bombed. We've got to evacuate immediately."
Captain Pierce: "I think I just did." DCDuring (talk) 19:06, 3 September 2018 (UTC)
lol :p Per utramque cavernam 19:13, 3 September 2018 (UTC)
I'm a native, and as an adult I had to infer the meaning of "number two" from jokes (in Silent Movie and, if memory serves, Murder by Death). —Tamfang (talk) 06:32, 5 September 2018 (UTC)
It's not my impression that bowel movement is incomprehensible to native speakers, and the second part of that sentence seems meaninglessly true of any word a non-native speaker isn't familiar with. I also don't think "when did you last do number two" would be acceptable in a medical context; it's too informal; I would expect defecate or have a bowel movement. And, as pointed out, "bowel movement" isn't a question. I would delete those notes entirely (I see DCDuring has) and move the synonyms into the Synonyms sections or thesaurus. - -sche (discuss) 19:47, 3 September 2018 (UTC)

well, that's me told[edit]

Is that a thing? I've found this, but I can't find it in other dictionaries.

It's specifically British, according to this convo. @Equinox? Per utramque cavernam 18:24, 3 September 2018 (UTC)

Well, shut my mouth (Southern US) seems almost equivalent. I think shut my mouth is used to express surprise (at a statement or something observed) as well as acknowledgement of a correction (I don't know about its use with a rebuke.
There's a closer parallel, I think, but it escapes me now. DCDuring (talk) 18:48, 3 September 2018 (UTC)
"You sure told me!" Equinox 18:50, 3 September 2018 (UTC)
That's not what has been eluding me, but it fits. Each of those mentioned seems appropriate for somewhat different sets of situations and the meaning shifts a bit in different situations. They are relatively easy to decode when used in the most appropriate situations and also not too hard to remember and apply in similar situations. I'm not surprised that dictionaries and even idiom references rarely have these. DCDuring (talk) 19:01, 3 September 2018 (UTC)
@DCDuring: I stand corrected? Per utramque cavernam 15:46, 4 September 2018 (UTC)
This construct isn't unique to the phrase, by the way (though I agree it might be peculiarly British): you might also hear "that's me sorted" (when given the thing that I need) or "that's me done for the day" (end of work hours), etc. Equinox 23:53, 3 September 2018 (UTC)


I'm querying "rare or erroneous" added to the "move quickly" sense. I added a quote here, which implies that the train is moving quickly, which is obvious from the illustration in the book, where it is leaving a trail of smoke behind it. This would appear to be derived from the noun sense "an all-clear or full speed ahead signal". DonnanZ (talk) 12:59, 4 September 2018 (UTC)

It may be dated, but not rare or erroneous. People are increasingly unfamiliar with the railroad use and its figurative extended use. They may think the person meant hightail. DCDuring (talk) 16:41, 4 September 2018 (UTC)
I don’t see how it could be erroneous. Fay Freak (talk) 17:23, 4 September 2018 (UTC)
OK, I have replaced that with "possibly dated". If anyone disagrees they can revise it. Cheers. DonnanZ (talk) 17:40, 4 September 2018 (UTC)

the business[edit]

"to think one is the business" = "to think one is hot shit". I think it's sense 15 of business, but would it be worth it to duplicate the info and add that sense to the business? Per utramque cavernam 17:55, 4 September 2018 (UTC)

at the ready[edit]

Can you say of a person that she is "at the ready", or is it always used for objects? Per utramque cavernam 20:11, 4 September 2018 (UTC)

Google "sniper at the ready" (BooksGroupsScholar). DCDuring (talk) 20:37, 4 September 2018 (UTC)
And e.g. google books:"men at the ready". - -sche (discuss) 07:28, 5 September 2018 (UTC)


I'm trying to work out what roster means in American railroad terminology. I'm not sure that the current senses cover it. For example:

"the largest roster of Berkshires in the land"
"30 of which found their way onto the Union Pacific roster in 1945"

Both cases are referring to locomotives, but I'm not sure that these two examples even mean exactly the same. DonnanZ (talk) 22:59, 4 September 2018 (UTC)

I found more here. I get the impression it's either a fleet, or a list of a fleet. DonnanZ (talk) 23:12, 4 September 2018 (UTC)

  • Doesn't "list of names" cover it? SemperBlotto (talk) 05:26, 5 September 2018 (UTC)
Yeah, it seems like that sense (or possibly a general "any itemized list or roll" sense extended from it, like some dictionaries have); one also hears about a google books:"roster of ships", google books:"roster of planes", "United States Navy roster [of ships], etc. - -sche (discuss) 07:16, 5 September 2018 (UTC)
Btw, I removed the note that claimed roster differed from foster in that it couldn't pronounced with /ɔ/; that's not true in my experience and MW explicitly contradicts it. - -sche (discuss) 07:22, 5 September 2018 (UTC)
Well, I think that in the sense of a list of locomotives (or whatever) it is only used in American English (I have never come across it in the UK in this sense), but I have limited myself to adding a reference and category for the time being. DonnanZ (talk) 09:30, 5 September 2018 (UTC)

In addition to that, I found a quote for the past participle (referring to locos again, not people). I have added the quote, but done nothing about the definition of the verb. I wouldn't know what to put anyway. DonnanZ (talk) 18:46, 5 September 2018 (UTC)

I have just come across "re-rostered", in British English this time; from Trains Illustrated, March 1961: "some expresses diverted via the former route had to be re-rostered for light Pacifics, as the "Merchant Navy" class is barred from the Netley line." DonnanZ (talk) 12:46, 8 September 2018 (UTC)

final salary[edit]

For final salary, should I add a {{&lit}} entry for the NISOP noun sense or just not include a noun entry at all? -Stelio (talk) 09:42, 5 September 2018 (UTC)

I'm very sceptical that the sense currently in the entry would meet any tests of adjectivity (*"his pension was very final salary, more final salary than hers"?). It sounds like a noun that can be used attributively. Ditto for defined benefits, defined contributions and the other recent additions. - -sche (discuss) 21:21, 5 September 2018 (UTC)
(For completeness, money purchase is the other related addition.) Oh, okay. These terms are certainly not used comparatively, as you point out (which is why I marked them as not comparable). But they are also not used as standalone nouns. When talking of a pension scheme, you would say, "It's final salary." You would not say, "It's a final salary," or, "It's the final salary." In that context, would you really prefer noun to adjective? The noun {{&lit}} sense that I referred to was simply a salary that is final, entirely separately from the (as I see it) adjective that described UK pension schemes. -Stelio (talk) 07:47, 6 September 2018 (UTC)
Some examples of common collocations, for context: final salary basis, final salary benefits, final salary pension, final salary plan, final salary scheme. Separately there are also plenty of citations for final salary as a noun, but that is its NISOP use as an employee's level of wages at the point of retirement. -Stelio (talk) 08:01, 6 September 2018 (UTC)
Collins calls it an adjective. DCDuring (talk) 18:40, 6 September 2018 (UTC)
In a sentence such as “Perhaps the best-known active attack is man-in-the-middle”, you cannot put a definite or indefinite article in front of “man-in-the-middle” either. If I understand the argument, it implies that currently man-in-the-middle is misclassified as a noun.  --Lambiam 19:04, 6 September 2018 (UTC)
I have never heard such a sentence ("Perhaps the best-known active attack is man-in-the-middle") and would think it incorrect. DTLHS (talk) 19:07, 6 September 2018 (UTC)
www.google.com/search?q=“Perhaps+the+best-known+active+attack+is+man-in-the-middle”.  --Lambiam 22:00, 6 September 2018 (UTC)
I agree it's misclassified! The hyphens in "man-in-the-middle" are there to indicate that a normal spaced noun phrase ("man in the middle", i.e. the attacker) is being used as a single adjectival modifier. To try to pluralise this to "men-in-the-middle", hyphenated, as we do, seems very misguided. Equinox 22:10, 6 September 2018 (UTC)
I’ve put that alleged plural up for verification.  --Lambiam 07:23, 7 September 2018 (UTC)
I am equally sceptical that this is an adjective. Mihia (talk) 20:55, 6 September 2018 (UTC)

in the matter of a few days[edit]

Is this entry worthy? Per utramque cavernam 17:31, 5 September 2018 (UTC)

Mh, I see sense 3 of matter already covers this. Per utramque cavernam 17:32, 5 September 2018 (UTC)

The Bengali word বিনা[edit]

Since this word seems to be used prepositionally (see বিনা), is it worth creating the category of "Bengali prepositions"? বনাম is another such word which acts as a preposition, per a quick Google search. Is it worth creating the category for words such as these 2, which are admittedly few in Bengali as far as I know?

To clarify - I am not a native speaker of Bengali, but have been trying to add to the Bengali entries on Wiktionary based on my knowledge.


  1. To give a part or share.
    to impart food to the poor
    The sun imparts warmth.

While I suppose the idea of "part" may be involved etymologically, it seems to me that "a part or share" has little relevance to the ordinary modern meaning of this word. I propose to remove it from the definition, but I want to raise the issue here first just in case I am missing something. This "part or share" thing propagates through the "Synonyms" and "Translations" sections, so obviously people in the past have thought it correct. If anyone objects to its being removed, please say. Mihia (talk) 20:52, 6 September 2018 (UTC)

Several dictionaries list this meaning, for example as “1. To give, grant or communicate; to bestow on another a share or portion of something; as, to impart a portion of provisions to the poor.” Maybe that is not the common modern meaning, but we aim to also give historically attested senses. If a sense is obsolete, archaic or dated, it can be labelled as such. Additionally, the Tea room is not the appropriate venue for proposals to remove definitions; for that we have Requests for deletion. Better yet, first seek verification of a doubtful sense at Requests for verification.  --Lambiam 22:20, 6 September 2018 (UTC)
It is not a proposal to remove a definition, it is a proposal to change a definition. It is a proposal to change the definition so as to actually fit the examples given, to neither of which the idea of "part or share" is important or even relevant. Mihia (talk) 23:49, 6 September 2018 (UTC)
It’s the classical philologist’s sense of it. If someone who understands Latin uses that word he is most likely to understand it in such an abstract way and it is most likely the only definition for him; “to communicate the knowledge of” and “hold a conference or consultation” are of course submeanings, about the imparting of information. Fay Freak (talk) 23:28, 6 September 2018 (UTC)
Would you be able to come up with an example where the "part or share" idea is clearly present? Perhaps it would be better to split out this specialised (it seems to me) meaning as a separate sense, but contrasting examples would be good. Mihia (talk)
  • OK, since I do not know how to make an example specifically illustrating the "part or share" idea, I have combined this meaning and the "ordinary" meaning into one sense. Mihia (talk) 20:50, 19 September 2018 (UTC)
    One way is to look at comprehensive dictionaries that attempt to cover the history of a word, eg, OED, Century 1911, Webster 1913. Impart can thus be shown to have had many meanings, not all of which make sense to our individual idiolects. I think it is unreasonable to obscure the sense evolution by combining definitions. It is fairly clear to me that the sharing sense is applied to wisdom, information, etc. which is not any the less available to the sharer after having been imparted. Various intangible things can similarly be imparted ("shared"). After all, "Did not Mazzini impart his spirit to divided Italy"? DCDuring (talk) 01:36, 20 September 2018 (UTC)

Czech and Slovak descendants of Proto-Slavic *strastь[edit]

Czech strast and Slovak strаsť seem to have preserved the original (?) meaning of the Proto-Slavic *strastь related to "suffering" or "pain". South and East Slavic descendants, except for Old Church Slavonic страсть (strastĭ, suffering, pain) (if the definition is correct) now only have the "passion", sense, e.g. Russian страсть (strastʹ, passion), Bulgarian страст (strast, passion) but there are other words Russian страда́ть (stradátʹ, to suffer), which are definitely related. We don't have the Czech and Slovak entries and I'm having trouble finding these words in dictionaries.

What meanings did *strastь have?

If Czech strast and Slovak strаsť are valid words, what are their modern and old meanings? --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 00:31, 7 September 2018 (UTC)

BTW, Polish straść seems to be used (not 100% sure) as an adverbial amplifier, which can be used in Russian as well, e.g. "Он страсть как лю́бит конфе́ты!" = "He loves candies SO much!". Can't find other uses related to the above senses. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 00:46, 7 September 2018 (UTC)

willfulness wilfulness[edit]

willfulness wilfulness willful wilful : any need to merge ? 02:30, 7 September 2018 (UTC)

Moving to Requests for moves, mergers and splits Leasnam (talk) 02:59, 7 September 2018 (UTC)
There is no need to change willful. In any case, I have added or amended labels, showing which are British or American spellings. DonnanZ (talk) 12:14, 7 September 2018 (UTC)


What is the character appearing in the Ancient Greek in the etymology? Should it be there? —Rua (mew) 12:55, 7 September 2018 (UTC)

It was a symbol from a Southeast-Asian script that was developed in the 1950s – too late for it to have found its way into Ancient Greek orthography. Fay Freak has fixed it for us.  --Lambiam 16:21, 7 September 2018 (UTC)

dustpan and brush[edit]

This is a set phrase to me, but I'm not sure whether it's just British English? I see from the internet that some people call the set a dustpan and duster, or "halfbrush and shovel" (what?). Anyway I think we should have an entry for it, since in many languages they say it the other way round. Ƿidsiþ 13:55, 7 September 2018 (UTC)

  • I've been bold and created it. Feel free to improve and expand (and yes, I think it might be UK English). SemperBlotto (talk) 14:00, 7 September 2018 (UTC)
Wouldn't the plural be "dustpans and brushes"? DonnanZ (talk) 15:05, 7 September 2018 (UTC)
Google Ngram Viewer shows both form in use, but your form is more popular. SemperBlotto (talk) 15:11, 7 September 2018 (UTC)
Ngram is no an arbiter of the language, as much printed English is subedited in a way to remove the idiom. Dustpan and brushes is the only plural here. —This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 23:10, 7 September 2018‎ (UTC).
  • I can report this is used in Australia too. ---> Tooironic (talk) 07:25, 10 September 2018 (UTC)
  • It's also used in America; I can find e.g. American shops selling sets under that title. It seems SOP. I also question whether "dustpan and brushes" is a plural: looking at Google Books results, of which there seem to be almost too few to meet CFI, it seems to refer instead, quite predictably, to what someone has when they have a dustpan and several brushes, rather than being the plural of dustpan and brush and denoting multiple sets thereof. - -sche (discuss) 05:37, 15 September 2018 (UTC)

hate with a passion[edit]

Is it entry worthy? Per utramque cavernam 14:32, 7 September 2018 (UTC)

No. DTLHS (talk) 16:22, 7 September 2018 (UTC)
That was short and sweet, but I agree - NO. DonnanZ (talk) 16:44, 7 September 2018 (UTC)
There may be policy against including such phrases here, but it is an established phrase. You find an example and enter it as a usage example under "hate". —This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 23:08, 7 September 2018‎ (UTC).

Ok, thanks. No entry. Per utramque cavernam 12:41, 8 September 2018 (UTC)

  • with a passion seems to me worth consideration. It occurs about 200 times more frequently than hate with a passion. It must have been SoP once, but seems to me like a set phrase now. After excluding those uses of with a passion followed by qualifying phrases and clauses, one can find it following verbs like embrace, live, work, do, love, dislike, play, reinvest, approach, fire ("My father fired ground balls in my direction with a passion."), pursue, move, represent, bear down, etc. DCDuring (talk) 14:01, 9 September 2018 (UTC)

quotation for pandar#Noun[edit]

The quotation for the noun is for "pander" with an e instead. --Azertus (talk) 16:49, 7 September 2018 (UTC)

moved to correct entry pander. - 22:26, 8 September 2018 (UTC)


The final two quotations seem to be for dimpsey as an adjective or is that just an attributive noun? Thanks. --Azertus (talk) 16:52, 7 September 2018 (UTC)

Note that the alt form dimpsy is adj, not noun: this is inconsistent. Equinox 12:43, 8 September 2018 (UTC)

Swedish "med i"[edit]

I struggled to find a translation of this. I read: Hon är med i en reklamfilm. I came to the conclusion that "med i" means "taking part in", but there is no hint of any such phrase in Wiktionary. —This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 22:35, 7 September 2018‎ (UTC).

The same phrase occurs in Norwegian, and it be translated many ways. DonnanZ (talk) 16:27, 8 September 2018 (UTC)
Based on perusing a variety of examples, it appears to me that the combination can often be neutrally translated as just “in”; however, there is specifically a sense of “included in” – but not necessarily as active as suggested by “taking part in”. There will often be a more idiomatic translation if the verb is taken into account; for example gå med i = “to join”. Disclaimer: I don’t speak Swedish and my understanding (or lack thereof) of the examples I looked at is that of Google translate.  --Lambiam 17:23, 8 September 2018 (UTC)
The Swedish translation offered for the verb join in the sense of “to become a member of” is gå med (i). For take part in the sense of “to participate or join” we have the translation delta; the very first definition we find at the Swedish Wikipedia for the verb delta is vara med. Somehow I am reminded of Dutch and German separable verbs like meedoen and mitgehen (Swedish: följa med).  --Lambiam 22:18, 8 September 2018 (UTC)
Yes, "vara med" is a synonym of deltaga (to take part) see here: Synonymer.se - Lexikon för svenska synonymer --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 06:59, 10 September 2018 (UTC)
Thank you Anatoli.

the Moon is made of green cheese[edit]

Worth an entry? Per utramque cavernam 12:41, 8 September 2018 (UTC)

get one's tit caught in the wringer, get one's dick caught in a wringer[edit]

Is this a thing? Per utramque cavernam 13:24, 8 September 2018 (UTC)

Maybe once upon a time, but you would be hard put to find a wringer nowadays. IMO, not entry-worthy. DonnanZ (talk) 16:29, 8 September 2018 (UTC)
Maybe just caught in the wringer. —Stephen (Talk) 04:58, 14 September 2018 (UTC)


I'm looking to add the word wið, våmhusmål for we. However, Wiktionary doesn't have Våmhusmål as far as I know, so should the word be placed as a dialectal Swedish word or as an elfdalian word? —This unsigned comment was added by Norégveldi (talkcontribs).

wet cough, loose cough, chesty cough[edit]

Per this thread, these are all antonyms of dry cough. Correct? Per utramque cavernam 20:13, 9 September 2018 (UTC)

I am not familiar with "wet cough" or "loose cough" (but I can imagine that maybe it's loose because coughing moves some material around, i.e. phlegm/catarrh). Chesty cough is definitely an opposite of a dry cough. Dry cough is the "superficial" cough that is just pushing air around; the chesty one goes down deep to the chest and may produce a lot of nasty phlegm. Equinox 22:52, 9 September 2018 (UTC)
I'm familiar with "wet cough" as one that produces sputum, and thus yes an antonym of "dry cough". I'm not familiar with "loose cough", but it seems to exist with the same sense (google books:"loose cough with" expectoration). - -sche (discuss) 05:26, 15 September 2018 (UTC)


This mainland internet slang is widely used and I've seen quora topics on it. Should it be given it's own entry? Or should it be disregarded as sum of parts and only added as an example in 節奏, under a new sense?

FYI for Taiwanese friends here, the term means "to stir up a conflict", explanations can be found here. --Tsumikiria (talk) 02:32, 10 September 2018 (UTC)

@Dine2016: @Suzukaze-c:


Some commentators in the past considered the sense "personal, animal or inanimate trait (...), such as sex, gender, (...) profession," etc., an Americanism. The sense can also be found in some British and Australian text, but is it still chiefly North American? ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 10:00, 10 September 2018 (UTC)

FWIW, I am a BrE speaker and I do not recognise this use as being noticeably North American. On a separate point, I find the part "... that is not (very) liable to be changed by persuasion" in that definition a bit odd. To me it seems to be implying that the fact that a trait is not liable to be changed by persuasion is the reason why it is called a "persuasion". This isn't how I see it working. Mihia (talk) 17:47, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
That's exactly how I have perceived it. It is intended to be humorous, though I mostly know it from the the phrase of the darker persuasion, where it would also be offensive. I have inserted an 1890 citation that discusses the (mild?) offensiveness of the word then. DCDuring (talk) 22:34, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
When you say that's exactly how you have perceived it, which part are you referring to? Are you referring to the idea that something is called a "persuasion" owing to the fact that it is not liable to be changed by persuasion? Mihia (talk) 22:53, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
Yes. Look at the citations (and ignore the possibility of non-surgical gender reassignment). DCDuring (talk) 23:31, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
Hmm, OK. I must admit that I cannot grasp at all the idea that someone of a certain persuasion is called that because they cannot be changed by persuasion (even though that may be true). Mihia (talk) 23:41, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
I assume you have just temporarily lost your sense of humor. DCDuring (talk) 23:45, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
Sorry, I don't understand your point. Mihia (talk) 00:43, 14 September 2018 (UTC)
I'm surprised that you can't see the humor, lame though it may be. DCDuring (talk) 01:21, 14 September 2018 (UTC)
I believe that I recognised the mildly non-serious nature of your comment about "non-surgical gender reassignment". Beyond that, I'm afraid I am totally in the dark. I have no idea now what actual view you are taking about the original question. Mihia (talk) 01:40, 14 September 2018 (UTC)
A "joke" that needs explanation isn't a successful joke. But: Def 5 gives the use of persuasion in the sense of a set of religious beliefs (especially after the Reformation), perhaps also an ideology. The essence of this word is the notion that in principle one could become persuaded of another set of religious beliefs, as by the now-quaint notion of rational argumentation. In the past rational argumentation did not seem relevant to one's identity as a male or female or as a human of dark or yellow complexion, or as a dog of yellow fur. The humor, such as it is, is precisely in the inappropriateness of the word as traditionally defined and applied. Perhaps the humor works even less well in our post-post-post-Modern age. DCDuring (talk) 02:14, 14 September 2018 (UTC)
ARREST THIS MAN Equinox 04:41, 14 September 2018 (UTC)
I just don't get it. I have no idea how any of that supports the wording "... that is not (very) liable to be changed by persuasion" that I queried. If anything, it seems to be supporting the view that a "persuasion" could be changed by persuasion. Never mind. Mihia (talk) 20:44, 17 September 2018 (UTC)
I'm puzzled what's so puzzling. Sometimes persuasion is used to describe things that are not liable to persuasion, like skin color, because it is nonsensical (Wodehousian) and therefore funny. Other times it is non-ironically used for things that are liable to persuasion like religion. — Eru·tuon 21:11, 17 September 2018 (UTC)
Yes, but the fact that something may be "not (very) liable to be changed by persuasion" has nothing whatsoever to do with the reason why it is called a "persuasion". It is a total red herring in the definition, just a muddling-up of ideas. With this I rest my case. Mihia (talk) 22:05, 17 September 2018 (UTC)
Doesn't sound American to me. Conversely it's the kind of twee circumlocution I'd expect to see in P G Wodehouse. Equinox 23:37, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
One citation (1890) (See page link.) specifically alleges that the term in this sense is more common in the UK than the US. DCDuring (talk) 23:45, 13 September 2018 (UTC)

Reminds me of the term obedience. Per utramque cavernam 08:23, 14 September 2018 (UTC)


(see also Wabash) A red link at cornfield meet, does this by any chance relate to the former Wabash Railroad? DonnanZ (talk) 16:33, 10 September 2018 (UTC)

It must, though I've never heard of it, ie, the word in that use. Wasn't there a song Wabash Cannonball? DCDuring (talk) 17:57, 11 September 2018 (UTC)
I don't see evidence of any famous crash. There was some kind of supposed hobo legend that the Wabash Cannonball would take a hobo from where he died to meet his maker. DCDuring (talk) 18:59, 11 September 2018 (UTC)
I can't find anything either, but it be something like a sideswipe or side-on collision, trains on parallel tracks that merge into one. An accident like that could be be due to faulty signalling systems, or the drivers ignoring signals. It may have occurred on the Wabash originally, and the name got used elsewhere in similar situations. But not to worry, it intrigues me though and I may find it eventually. DonnanZ (talk) 19:46, 11 September 2018 (UTC)


I've created a draft entry for autoplagiarism on a userpage. Does it look suitable to publish? Cheers Zumley (talk) 22:08, 10 September 2018 (UTC)

You don't need to list related terms since "plagiarism" is in the etymology. {{affix|en|auto|plagiarism}} should be {{affix|en|auto-|plagiarism}}. Don't add {{lb|en|uncountable}} to the definition line since there is only 1 sense. Other than that it looks fine. DTLHS (talk) 22:10, 10 September 2018 (UTC)
Thanks very much for your help! Zumley (talk) 22:20, 10 September 2018 (UTC)
I have a problem with the definition. Plagiarism is, by definition, copying and presenting another person’s work pretending it is one‘s own, so copying and presenting one‘s own creative work does technically not qualify as plagiarism. Perhaps something like, “Extensive reuse of material from one’s earlier published work without acknowledging this reuse.“  --Lambiam 01:24, 11 September 2018 (UTC)
One of the very common norm violations that leads to retraction of scholarly papers is republication of one's own work in a new article. The offense might lie in there being a different group of authors or it might be in violation the copyright of the publisher. Is it autoplagiarism when an author publishes two works with exactly the same multisentence paragraph in them? What exactly does autoplagiarism cover? DCDuring (talk) 09:46, 11 September 2018 (UTC)
"Unethical reuse of one's own work [by oneself]"? Equinox 11:31, 11 September 2018 (UTC)
Is it plagiarism if an author publishes a work with exactly the same two-sentence passage in it as found in another author‘s published work? Surely, it depends on the context and the content, and there will always be boundary cases where in the judgement of some it is while to others it isn’t. Even if it is not outright plagiarism, is it perhaps nevertheless unethical? Again, it depends on the facts of the case and one‘s necessarily always somewhat subjective judgement. Surely, for autoplagiarism it is the same. If an author uses a term of art – one whose meaning is highly specific to their particular field of study – in several popular articles in which they report their findings, they will need to give a definition that explains the term to their audience. Once one has found a good definition, using simple language that is widely understood, why should one have to come up with a different definition in the next article? That is to no-one’s advantage.  --Lambiam 15:48, 11 September 2018 (UTC)
As useful as this discussion is, we still need to see how the term is actually used, ie, cites.
I found one OneLook reference that has it, with the definition "the act or process of plagiarizing one’s own work." 2008, -Ologies & -Isms, Gale. DCDuring (talk) 19:06, 11 September 2018 (UTC)
What I was trying to say above is that the concept is fuzzy. Distilling definitions from cites is non-trivial; doing it for fuzzy concepts is challenging. But in all uses I have seen (examples of actual use are not hard to find) the meaning is not plagiarism of one’s own work for the simple reason that that is logically impossible, just like you cannot have an adulterous affair with your legal spouse.  --Lambiam 09:33, 12 September 2018 (UTC)
I have rewritten the definition without using the word plagiarism. Is that any better? SemperBlotto (talk) 09:40, 12 September 2018 (UTC)
I think it is an improvement. A friend once explained to me that fondue bourguignonne was just like cheese fondue, except for the cheese being replaced by beef. As I could not quite imagine the beef melting in the pot, that was confusing and I was not enlightened. Likewise, the reason for a reader looking up a definition is very likely that they do not know the meaning of a term; supplying a definition that is a contradiction in terms is then bound to be needlessly unhelpful.  --Lambiam 10:20, 12 September 2018 (UTC)
Hm, reminds me of recently seeing sense 2 at tapas and feeling sceptical: if you say "___ is like Japanese tapas" that isn't a separate sense; rather it's an alienans or something. But I didn't bother challenging it. Equinox 22:37, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
Is this very different from self-murder or self-assassination? DCDuring (talk) 23:41, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
  • On Google NGrams self-plagiarism is about ten times more common than selfplagiarism and twenty times more common than autoplagiarism, auto-plagiarism not appearing there at all. Raw results from GBooks searches yield the same order of frequencies, but less difference among the terms. Academic discussions have no trouble with the "self-contradiction". Copyright infringement is an important element in most articles on the subject. DCDuring (talk) 18:35, 12 September 2018 (UTC)


Most of the usexes appear to be past tenses, and not adjectival. I'm not even sure how common it is as an adjective, but I don't mind being refuted on that. DonnanZ (talk) 12:00, 11 September 2018 (UTC)

Here are some adjectival uses: [2]; [3].  --Lambiam 16:16, 11 September 2018 (UTC)
Well, we should have usexes for those, and move the others upstairs to the verb form. DonnanZ (talk) 17:09, 11 September 2018 (UTC)


The usage note at swath (noun) reads "To be distinguished from main meanings of swathe, but that is also an alternative spelling for this word." However, as a BrE speaker, to my mind the "main" meaning of "swathe" (noun) is as an alternative spelling of "swath". According to the definitions at swathe, the only other possibility for the "main" meaning would be "A bandage; a band", which to my mind is pretty rare. Does anyone think the "main" meaning is that? Possibly in AmE? Mihia (talk) 19:23, 11 September 2018 (UTC)

Growing up in the eastern US, I'd learned somewhere that swath is to swathe as breath is to breathe -- i.e., the former with the unvoiced final is the noun and the latter with the voiced final is the verb. Looking at the purported etymologies we have here, I now wonder if I was taught correctly. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 19:56, 11 September 2018 (UTC)
So, as an AmE speaker, what do you understand the noun "swathe" to mean, if anything? Mihia (talk) 20:09, 11 September 2018 (UTC)
To me, it sounds like a mistake for swath, much like if you heard someone use breathe as a noun. Understandable, but it feels ... off. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 20:31, 11 September 2018 (UTC)
OK, thanks. So if the main meaning of "swathe" (noun) in BrE is as a spelling of "swath", and if in AmE it sounds like a mistake for "swath", then I see no basis for that usage note. I have therefore deleted it. If anyone disagrees please make any changes you see fit. Mihia (talk) 23:24, 11 September 2018 (UTC)

needs must[edit]

A recent RFD of must needs has reminded me of this phrase (which we don't have an entry for yet), and of the fact that it's supposedly short for "needs must when the devil drives". But that doesn't seem like a full (grammatical) sentence, either, so what is it short for? "Needs must take precedent when the devil drives"? "One needs do as one must when the devil drives"? Or else, what is its grammar? - -sche (discuss) 20:05, 11 September 2018 (UTC)

It's definitely a very old expression: [4]. DTLHS (talk) 20:08, 11 September 2018 (UTC)
Some people seem to say that "needs" in "needs must" is a noun meaning "necessity" (e.g. [5]), while others say it is an adverb (e.g. [6]), as in "must needs", I suppose. My initial thought on reading this thread was that it was an adverb, so I think at some point in the past I must have been taught that. Mihia (talk) 20:16, 11 September 2018 (UTC)
FWIW, I always parsed the needs here as a plural noun, as in the example -sche listed, needs must take precedence.... I struggle to see how this could be an adverb, even after reading the linked site; can't say as I agree with their reasoning. If needs were an adverb equivalent to necessarily or unavoidably, as that site contends, then ostensibly we should be able to replace needs with the equivalents in the longer expression, needs must when the devil drives -- except we can't because we wind up with gibberish. They also reference an OED explanation that the proverb unpacks to “he must whom fate compels”, further suggesting that the word before the verb must would be the noun subject of the verb. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 20:38, 11 September 2018 (UTC)
In the "adverb" interpretation, I take the saying as short for e.g. "One needs must when the devil drives", i.e. "One necessarily must (do difficult or unpleasant things) when the devil drives". I'm not saying this interpretation is necessarily correct though. Mihia (talk) 21:01, 11 September 2018 (UTC)
The Phrase Finder cites a proverb from Assembly of Gods (c. 1500): “He must nedys go that the deuell dryues.” In modern language: If the devil drives you, you have to go – resistance is futile. I bet this is the source of the elliptic saying. The Phrase Finder also remarks that Shakespeare uses the phrase several times. More in general, Shakespeare uses must needs and needs must quite often, apparently interchangeably except for metrical reasons. There are also a few occurrences of must not needs, which in my opinion proves that needs is not a noun here. Shakespeare also has many uses of will needs, which appears to mean, “will unavoidably”. A few examples:
  • Wilt thou needs be a beggar? (All's Well That Ends Well I, 3)
  • Or if thou wilt needs marry, marry a fool; for wise men know well enough what monsters you make of them. (Hamlet III, 1)
  • Nay, if there be no remedy for it, but that you will needs buy and sell men and women like beasts, we shall have all the world drink brown and white bastard. (Measure for Measure III, 2)
 --Lambiam 23:00, 11 September 2018 (UTC)
I'd like to think that they are both verbs and both give the sense of "compel"; needs implies (because English does not have one) a middle voice, while must† is active. “He must nedys go that the deuell dryues” is merely an example of a rhetorical device in Middle English....call it adjunction, anastrophe, take your pick. Also, in all three of the Shakespeare examples above, "will/t needs" can simply be replaced with "must" (bringing them a giant step closer to Modern English), from which we can infer that in this instance they have the same meaning, and we could then call the aforementioned Middle English rhetorical device tautologia.
†[From Middle English moste (“must”, literally “had to”), from Old English mōste (“had to”), 1st & 3rd person singular past tense of mōtan (“to be allowed, be able to, have the opportunity to, be compelled to, must, may”).]Mousebelt (talk) 04:16, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
Well, the OED says needs was an adverb, and needs must is a set phrase in which must was originally used in the impersonal sense. It might originally have meant it must by necessity be. It's ungrammatical nowadays because must needs a dummy subject it and a bare infinitive as complement.
In response to @Mousebelt, it was an adverb rather than a verb because it ended in s even in Old and Middle English (looking at quotations in the Oxford English Dictionary), whereas if were a third-person singular verb form, it would have ended in : needeth. It has the adverbial ending derived from the strong masculine and neuter genitive singular ending.
I think the plural noun interpretation is just a reanalysis because of the ungrammaticality of needs must. Since needs could occur with must (or mote) and other words in various other orders where it couldn't be interpreted as a plural noun (for instance, from the OED, Stooping down as needs he must Who cannot sit upright), it would be very capricious for it to suddenly transform into a plural noun just because it got fossilized into a phrase where it precedes a verb. — Eru·tuon 05:14, 13 September 2018 (UTC)

Thesaurus:lunatic asylum[edit]

Why is the headword here a dated, offensive term? We lunatics have feelings and wouldn't feel safe in a lunatic asylum.

What should a substitute be: psychiatric hospital? mental hospital? mental home??? mental institution? Other?

Or should we split the Thesaurus page into pejorative and non-pejorative synonyms? I've never understood why Thesaurus pages don't have labels and usage notes for the various registers and nuances. DCDuring (talk) 11:59, 12 September 2018 (UTC)

Definitely move. I'd say mental hospital because it's more common (to me), but psychiatric hospital may be better because it's the least pejorative(?). See Thesaurus:money for a good example of qualifiers in thesaurus pages. Ultimateria (talk) 17:44, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
I'll wait for more opinions.
Thesaurus:money is also a good example of poor maintenance and even conceptual/semantic confusion. DCDuring (talk) 22:26, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
Hmm, "lunatic asylum" is offensive if you're talking about an actual modern psych facility but probably not if you're just saying "that person belongs in a ____", as an exaggerated way to say that they have crazy ideas. The list seems splittable into two on that sort of basis. Equinox 22:30, 13 September 2018 (UTC)


The etymology for εἶδος has the following: From Proto-Indo-European *wéydos (“seeing, image”), from *weyd- (“to see”). So, would it be appropriate to add that this word is cognate to Sanskrit विद्या • (vidyā) and Latin videō and that it (apparently) used to begin with a digamma ϝ? Mousebelt (talk) 03:11, 13 September 2018 (UTC)

The initial consonant may have disappeared long before the language was written in the Greek alphabet, so mentioning the digamma would be wrong. The entry for Proto-Indo-European *weyd- does have a redlink to a Proto-Hellenic form, so (assuming that isn't mistaken) you could link to the same form in the etymology. As for cognates, there are just too many to do them justice. In English alone you have wit, witness, wise, wizard, guide, guise, idol, idea, -oid, history, story, Hades, view, visit, druid, and others. Chuck Entz (talk) 04:10, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
It would be inappropriate to state the earlier presence of a digamma if the form ϝεῖδος was unattested; but see for example the Partheneion by Alcman, quoted in the Wikipedia article on Greek prosody in the section “Mixed meter”.  --Lambiam 10:59, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
As to mentioning cognates, we could keep it at Latvian veĩds and Lithuanian véidas, which are more closely related than most other cognates, all being descendants of Proto-Indo-European *wéyd-os (see Reconstruction:Proto-Indo-European/weyd-).  --Lambiam 11:09, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
I just found this in the Ancient Greek verbs article on Wikipedia:
ὁράω (horáō) "I see" is another verb made from stems from three different roots, namely ὁρά (horá), ὀπ (op) and ἰδ (id) (the last of these, which was originally pronounced ϝιδ- (wid-), is related to the root of the Latin verb video):
ὁράω, ὄψομαι, εἶδον, ἑόρᾱκα/ἑώρᾱκα, ἑώρᾱμαι/ὦμμαι, ὤφθην
horáō, ópsomai, eîdon, heórāka/heṓrāka, heṓrāmai/ômmai, ṓphthēn
I see, I will see, I saw, I have seen, I have been seen, I was seen Mousebelt (talk) 11:42, 21 September 2018 (UTC)

tarjeta & target are not false friends[edit]

In the Usage Notes for tarjeta: "tarjeta is a false friend of target; Spanish terms for it are blanco, objetivo, destino". It took me a moment to figure this out. "it" refers to "target" in the figurative sense of "goal" (see below). But the primary meaning of target is "shield" (1.1 A light round shield or buckler; a small targe) and tarjeta means "little shield". They're not false friends (in the sense of: two words in two different languages that are derived from the same word in a third, but end up having different, perhaps even conflicting meanings, to the consternation of language learners) at all, and the Spanish synonyms (blanco, objetivo, destino) represent just one peripheral meaning: f.3.f colloq. An amount set as a (minimum) objective, esp. in fund-raising; a result (i.e. a figure, sum of money, etc.) aimed at. Phr. on target, on the right track, as forecast. Hence loosely, any goal which one strives to achieve. This Usage Note could just be deleted rather than modified, unless someone has strong feelings about the primary meaning of "tarjeta" being "card"....what is a card but a little shield? (especially a business card, or a calling card from Victorian Britain) Mousebelt (talk) 06:09, 13 September 2018 (UTC)

The "shield" sense is by no means the primary sense. "Goal" or "something one aims at when shooting" are the primary senses. So it is a false friend in a sense. The word actual (current) in Spanish is a false friend of actual (real) in English, but they have the same origin historically. They don't have to have no commonality in order to be false friends. One just has to be a bad translation of the other in most contexts. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 19:21, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
See false cognate, second sense, quotation: "all false cognates are false friends, but not all false friends are false cognates." —Tamfang (talk) 05:15, 19 September 2018 (UTC)

Adverbial senses of Italian mica[edit]

The entry at mica reports 5 adverbial senses. Senses 3 and 4 seem identical to me, sense 3 being "bit" (or rather "one bit"), example "Non è mica cambiato | It hasn't changed one bit", and sense 4 being "at all", example "Non costa mica molto | It's not at all expensive". What is the difference supposed to be? Should they be merged? MGorrone (talk) 06:40, 13 September 2018 (UTC)


russian for bagel? Polish is listed ? Thebigicedgrapes (talk) 13:43, 13 September 2018 (UTC)

Russian is written in Cyrillic, not Latin. SURJECTION ·talk·contr·log· 13:52, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
rogalik is Polish, рога́лик (rogálik) is Russian. I don't know enough of either language to verify if either word is a correct translation for bagel. @Atitarev Chuck Entz (talk) 13:57, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
Bagels orginated in Poland, and the Polish term for it, bajgiel, comes from the same Yiddish word as the name in English. The Russian Wikipedia gives two terms for bagel, бейгл (bejgl) and бейгель (bejgelʹ). The first looks like a direct transliteration of Yiddish בייגל (beygl). All of these are listed in the Translations section of bagel, so it is not quite clear what the question is.  --Lambiam 14:26, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
Рога́лик is apparently a form of crescent-shaped pastry – neither circular in form like a bagel, nor made of puff pastry like a croissant – known in Germany as Hörnchen, in Austria as Kipferl, and in Hungary as kifli.  --Lambiam 23:42, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
Are there still questions? I got late pings here just now. Yes, Russian рога́лик (rogálik) is crescent-shaped and "rogalik" can't be the Russian spelling, since it's in Roman letters. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 06:24, 21 September 2018 (UTC)

live rough[edit]

Entry-worthy? It looks like it passes the lemming test.  --Lambiam 14:05, 13 September 2018 (UTC)

"Sleep rough" is also common (and "rough sleepers" may be distinguished from the "homeless" in that the latter may have a temporary roof over their heads but no permanent right to live there). Equinox 15:49, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
I think so, since the meaning would not necessarily be obvious from "live" + "rough". Mihia (talk) 19:30, 13 September 2018 (UTC)
It probably is entry-worthy, it's worth pointing out that those people are homeless, but probably not registered or recorded as such. DonnanZ (talk) 23:39, 13 September 2018 (UTC)

sporting means wearing[edit]

As I know, word "sporting" means "wearing" sometime. Could someone prove it, please? And, maybe, add to the wiki-articles. --Важнов Алексей Геннадьевич (talk) 12:04, 14 September 2018 (UTC)

In that sense it is the present participle of the verb sport – see the third, transitive sense. The meaning of “sporting” is thus “(ostentatiously) displaying”. A rather common combination is “sporting a moustache”. When the thing being sported happens to be clothing (“Victoria Beckham was spotted sporting a sleek, simple yet classic all black Victoria Beckham ensemble”), the person displaying it is probably wearing it, but that is then merely an implied meaning.  --Lambiam 12:32, 14 September 2018 (UTC)
So, do you mind if I will add sense from sport: "To display; to have as a notable feature"? --Важнов Алексей Геннадьевич (talk) 09:09, 16 September 2018 (UTC)
We don't need it at sporting because it's already at sport. (Note it's a verb, not an adjective.) Equinox 13:06, 16 September 2018 (UTC)

Request for accountable accountability[edit]

The first sense given for accountable is “Having accountability”. The first sense given for accountability is “The state of being accountable”. Help, I’m trapped in a dictionary.  --Lambiam 12:16, 14 September 2018 (UTC)

Too many definitions of accountable, ie, too much overlap. Historically, accountable was more common than accountability, but now (since 1970) the relative frequencies are reversed. I think that means that neither should be defined in terms of the other. DCDuring (talk) 14:33, 14 September 2018 (UTC)


Is this really a suffix, or is it a (proper) noun form that happens to come last in compounds? You can see the same element at the beginning of names, too. Chuck Entz (talk) 22:59, 14 September 2018 (UTC)

In names in which these consonants, as related to the Tetragrammaton (in the proper noun יהודה they have a different etymology), appear at the beginning of a name, they are usually vocalized as יְהוֹ־‬ (yeho-) rather than ־יָּהוּ (-yahu). So in an etymological sense they are the same, but phonologically they can be distinguished. This is not a shibboleth, though, for determining whether it is a proper suffix or merely a form of a proper noun masquerading as a suffix. As a suffix it is not productive, but neither are many other forms generally recognized as suffixes (for example, we have manship but not *boyship).  --Lambiam 08:55, 15 September 2018 (UTC)

wet (sense 5)[edit]

Does this really deserve to be a separate sense? Kaixinguo~enwiktionary (talk) 07:29, 15 September 2018 (UTC)

I think we can do without it. DonnanZ (talk) 19:26, 15 September 2018 (UTC)
To me it seems fully included in sense 1. DCDuring (talk) 22:02, 15 September 2018 (UTC)


I know nothing about baseball, but should it be regarded as an adverb? I believe it means cleanup hitter. DonnanZ (talk) 09:31, 15 September 2018 (UTC)

I likewise know nothing about baseball, but I think you must be right about the meaning. I think it is very doubtful that it is truly an adverb in the example usage. Most likely it is a noun, short for cleanup hitter (to which the definition should in any case link). I see it as similar to usages such as "In the relay, he ran anchor" or even "He played goalkeeper for Mudchester Rovers". Mihia (talk) 17:31, 21 September 2018 (UTC)

suffect -- needs an article?[edit]

A few times now, in Wikipedia articles about officials in the Roman Empire, I've come across the word suffect. For instance, in this excerpt from the article on the emperor Antoninus Pius:

"Arria Fadilla, Antoninus' mother, married afterwards Publius Julius Lupus, suffect consul in 98;"

I tried to look it up here, but we don't have an article. Merriam Webster on their site gives it as "a Roman consul elected to complete the term of one who vacated office before the end of the year." Could we write a definition for Wiktionary, or at least use one from an old dictionary aged out of copyright like so many other words here?

  • Added. I believe that it can also be used as an adjective. SemperBlotto (talk) 17:06, 15 September 2018 (UTC)
There is also a verb: "Pope Gregory 13 died and was suffected." DTLHS (talk) 16:14, 17 September 2018 (UTC)


The definition says "to fraudulently justify and defend someone" but I question the notion that fraud is necessarily involved. Here are a couple of examples of usage: (1) 为什么有些人喜欢给朝鲜洗地? 朝鲜是一个信奉主体思想而非马列主义思想的国家,为什么有些自称左派的人喜欢给朝鲜洗地,他们是不是纳粹分子。 (2) 为何现在有这么多人给文革洗地? Richwarm88 (talk) 12:04, 17 September 2018 (UTC)

In these examples the meaning seems to be that of the verb whitewash, sense 2: To cover over errors or bad actions.  --Lambiam 17:47, 17 September 2018 (UTC)
That's what I figured. I suppose the existing gloss "to cover up evidence of wrongdoing" comes close to being adequate for these two examples. But my question is about the 2nd gloss of sense 3 ( "to fraudulently justify and defend someone"). Is 洗地 ever used to imply fraud, thus justifying the use of "fraudulently". Or is it like "whitewash", where no fraud is implied by use of the term. (Simply glossing over unsavoury facts can be called "whitewashing".) — Richwarm88 (talk) 21:23, 17 September 2018 (UTC)
@Dokurrat. Wyang (talk) 03:44, 18 September 2018 (UTC)
😱I think I misunderstood the meaning of "fraudulently". Dokurrat (talk) 04:27, 18 September 2018 (UTC)
@Richwarm88, Wyang: I modified it. How does it look now? Dokurrat (talk) 06:20, 18 September 2018 (UTC)
Sense 3 now reads "to cover up evidence of wrongdoing; to justify and defend someone against blame, charges or accusations as a veneering". The first of those two glosses is similar to the one I wrote for cc-cedict in January: to cover up evidence of sb's wrongdoing. [7] I think mine is a little better because my impression is that when you xi-di, you are not covering up evidence of your own wrongdoing. (One definition on the Web is 替别人(尤指做坏事的)处理后续收尾工作.) As for the 2nd gloss, I think there must be a simpler way to put it. Perhaps "to be an apologist for sb" would work. I understand what you mean to convey with "as a veneering" but it's not the sort of usage of "veneer" that I'm familiar with. — Richwarm88 (talk) 10:49, 18 September 2018 (UTC)
This webpage [8] sounds about right: The term means to whitewash, to cover up or gloss over scandals, vices or crimes. I think you added "as a veneering" on the end of your definition because otherwise it would include defending a completely innocent person, which is not the case with 洗地. I'd suggest something like this: to cover up evidence of somebody's wrongdoing; to whitewash; to gloss over serious misdeedsRichwarm88 (talk) 21:27, 20 September 2018 (UTC)

not the best[edit]

An IP created this entry and I added the necessary formatting into it. Should it exist or perhaps be at not the best at? SURJECTION ·talk·contr·log· 13:30, 17 September 2018 (UTC)

It's not the most idiomatic phrase I've seen. There are several other ways of saying the same thing: "not the greatest", "less than world class", etc. It's a simple figure of speech- litotes. Chuck Entz (talk) 13:56, 17 September 2018 (UTC)
Delete IMO. Compare ongoing RFD for less-than-stellar. Equinox 14:00, 17 September 2018 (UTC)
Delete per above. DCDuring (talk) 15:52, 17 September 2018 (UTC)
Note that this is also listed at Requests for Deletion. Mihia (talk) 22:08, 17 September 2018 (UTC)

Polymorphic Turkish morphemes[edit]

Due to regular phonological processes such as assimilation and vowel harmony, some Turkish morphemes may assume a variety of forms without change in meaning or function. An example is the suffix -dir/-dır/-dur/-dür/-tir/-tır/-tur/-tür. (This particularity is shared with other Turkic languages, such as Azerbaijani.) If you look at the treatment of the suffix -im, you will see extensive usage notes for Etymology 1, which I just copy-edited. However, these are largely repeated at -ım, -um, and -üm, and so these should likewise be copy-edited. And then there are two more etymologies (one of which is not yet represented here). Clearly, repetitively scattering such notes is awkward and wasteful. There must be a better way of handling this. Advice is welcomed.  --Lambiam 18:55, 18 September 2018 (UTC)

There should be one lemma, and the others should just say "alternative form of" with a qualifier saying which environments the specific variant is in. I should mention that one of the main Turkish editors is rather compulsive about adding redundant information, templates, etc., so you'll no doubt find lots of useless repetition all over the place. That, and they're absolutely unable to tell when something is SOP. Chuck Entz (talk) 03:28, 19 September 2018 (UTC)
Thanks. An issue is then still which of these variants is the urform and which are alternative forms. Is -de an alternative form of -da, or is it the other way around?  --Lambiam 06:01, 19 September 2018 (UTC)
@Lambiam It’s because “alternative form” is inappropriate wording, used for forms that are not regularly required alternatives. We could use a template {{positional variant of}} instead of {{alternative form of}}. Not only useful for Turkic. Fay Freak (talk) 16:36, 20 September 2018 (UTC)
That does not resolve the issue which one should be the “main” lemma, that is, the one with the extensive usage notes, to which the others refer. An alternative might be to move such usage notes (which are not really about usage in the usual sense) to Appendix:Turkish suffixes and refer to there, treating all variants equally.  --Lambiam 16:54, 20 September 2018 (UTC)
@Lambiam It does somewhat because then it does not sound like some are subordinate to another, so a reader would acknowledge that one had to choose one arbitrarily. And there is an arbitrium already, so as we read {{affix|tr|küçük|-lik|alt2=-lük}} (in küçüklük), i. e. it got decided that -lik is the category and not -lük, -lık, -luk, it is just less visible, but even more arbitrary to editors. The Appendix solution though is something that would anyway happen for transfixes – e.g. were the idea of Wiktionary:Beer parlour/2017/January § Arabic consonant patterns to be implemented, as the Arabic appendices describe the forms already (though not all the plural forms). But for Turkish one would put things like etymologies and quotes to it and it therefore seems like mainspace matter.
Since now it has caught on to put even quotation text into templates (Wiktionary:Grease pit/2018/September § Using quotations multiple times) one can put the article content of contextually variable headwords into templates, but … if you suggest that, I will just be bowled over and say no more in that direction … Fay Freak (talk) 21:00, 20 September 2018 (UTC)

attend to the false friends[edit]

false cognate#Usage notes. In the example about attend, would it be a good idea to add that the French cognate attendre has yet another meaning (‘wait’)? I'm new here. —Tamfang (talk) 05:37, 19 September 2018 (UTC)

Since the third sense is already an abuse of the term, and the point of the example is merely to illustrate the sense, not to lecture on it, I feel it is better to keep it simple and not add further fun facts.  --Lambiam 06:58, 19 September 2018 (UTC)


The definition says that a casement or casement window is one that "is hinged on the side and opens outward". Is this specification correct? And if so, what's the word for such a window that opens inward? Thank you. —This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 09:11, 2018 September 19.

PS: I see that wikipedia's casement window has a photo of a window (the kind that I as a German would call "a normal window") captioned "casement window swinging in". So it's apparently incorrect. I'll change it. —This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 09:33, 2018 September 19.
I made it "usually opening outward", not because I took a window census, but because some lemmings had it only "outward". DCDuring (talk) 00:56, 20 September 2018 (UTC)
Google Books search has about the same number of raw hits for "casement window opening in" as for "casement window opening out". So I'll return it to in-out neutral. DCDuring (talk) 01:06, 20 September 2018 (UTC)


Senses 4 seems to be merely a more specific example of sense 2. Any objections to me removing it? Andrew Sheedy (talk) 16:16, 19 September 2018 (UTC)

I object. Definition 4 confounds two distinct applications of question, one to the idea of a specifically worded proposal, eg, a resolution, a bill, a budget, the other to something more like sense 2, a topic or matter for discussion.
I think we need to try to preserve distinct meanings, especially since we have fewer definitions than the more complete online and print dictionaries, both in this case and in the cases of many common words, at least those that apparently are boring to would-be contributors. DCDuring (talk) 04:08, 20 September 2018 (UTC)
I find sense 4 a bit confusing. I don't fully understand the use of the word "as" in the definition, and I'm puzzled as to why something should be put to a vote at the stage that it is proposed for deliberation. Mihia (talk) 11:31, 21 September 2018 (UTC)


Shouldn't that be diœcesis? That's how it's spelled in several of the references (and the link to http://ducange.enc.sorbonne.fr/dioecesis doesn't work due to the spelling being different). --Espoo (talk) 07:56, 21 September 2018 (UTC)

in non-Fuzhou Min Dong[edit]

I have been informed by a native (female) Fuqing speaker (born in the early 80s) that 刣 tài (Fuqing IPA: /tʰai⁵⁵/) is not used for "to kill" with humans, and that 殺 sák (Fuqing IPA: /θɑʔ¹²/) would be better in reference to this verb. Can anyone confirm this? Or perhaps deny this? Michael Ly (talk) 09:56, 21 September 2018 (UTC)

Yes, 刣 only means "slaughter (an animal)" in the Fuqing dialect, not "kill (a person)". Wyang (talk) 10:09, 21 September 2018 (UTC)
Thanks! So that means that there might be some areas of the Min Dong area where there's an isogloss (or several?). I'll edit the pages. Michael Ly (talk) 10:44, 21 September 2018 (UTC)


The usage note at as#Preposition reads:

The object in older English may appear, and it may be prescribed as appearing, in the nominative case, similar to than, eg. You are not as tall as I, which is presumably resultant from a shortening of the adverbial use.

I don't get this. Is it referring to a shortening of "You are not as tall as I am"? If so, why is that any more "adverbial" than "You are not as tall as I"? Mihia (talk) 11:24, 21 September 2018 (UTC)

It's comparing "as tall as I" with "as tall as me", I guess. 16:18, 21 September 2018 (UTC)
I do not see how "as tall as I" could be described as a "shortening" of "as tall as me". Even if it is, I do not understand why "as tall as me" is said to be "adverbial" use any more than I understand why "as tall as I am" is said to be "adverbial" use. Actually, now I'm looking at it again, I wonder whether "adverbial" is just a mix-up, and actually it should say "conjunctival" (if that's a real word), i.e. use of (the second) "as" as a conjunction, not adverb. That would seem to make sense. Mihia (talk) 17:21, 21 September 2018 (UTC)


Adjective sense:

3. remarkable of its kind.
a spanking good time

Is "spanking" in "a spanking good time" an adjective, or is it actually an adverbial intensifier modifying "good"? Mihia (talk) 19:32, 21 September 2018 (UTC)