Wiktionary:Tea room/2021/October

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discussion rooms: Tea roomEtym. scr.Info deskBeer parlourGrease pit ← September 2021 · October 2021 · November 2021 → · (current)

jack and blue boy[edit]

According to the lyrics to Cockney Translation by Smiley Culture (1984), Cockneys say ‘Jack’s’ for what Jamaicans would call ‘a Blue Boy’, genius.com says that ‘Jack’s’ is cockney for £5 (sterling) and ‘a Blue Boy’ is Jamaican slang for J£5 [1] which is consistent with ‘Jack’s alive’ and ‘Jackson Five’ being rhyming slang for a fiver according to the Cockney rhyming slang dictionary [2] but as Jamaica went from pounds to dollars in 1969 and changed from a five dollar note to a five dollar coin in 1994, perhaps the actual truth is that ‘a Blue Boy’ was slang for five Jamaican dollars at some point between these two dates, including 1984? Any thoughts on this or further evidence for it? Overlordnat1 (talk) 22:03, 1 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Portuguese man-of-war[edit]

The Alternative forms section is a mass of redlinks to a number of minor variations in capitalization, hyphenation and presence or absence of apostrophes. Do we really need all of that? Chuck Entz (talk) 01:19, 2 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

I don't see why not, but it should be collapsed and put after the definitions. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 03:50, 2 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
As long as they are attested, it's fine (WT:EL, WT:CFI). --Myrelia (talk) 11:21, 2 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Meh... some seem unlikely to be standard ("Man-O'War"?), and should be labelled if they're rare, uncommon, etc, but I wouldn't bother to remove such links if someone has added them, though I agree with Andrew that they should be collapsed and/or moved below the definitions. I do think it's useful to link to all alt forms (and all inflected forms of verbs, etc), for findability and because linking increases the odds that someone will notice if multiple spellings are hosting (potentially out-of-sync) definitions. Sometimes people do just put a note like "any of these, but with 'X' capitalized", though, like someone put on idle hands are the devil's workshop, or like I put on devil's beating his wife, rather than repeat the entire list of alt forms But Capitalized Differently This Time. - -sche (discuss) 12:07, 2 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I would call any uncommon ones rare misspellings, not to be included. Or compare them to the randomly capitalized nouns in older English writing, which we also don't include even if a Noun was written that way three times. Vox Sciurorum (talk) 13:59, 2 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I reduced the alternative forms to those differing in letters and apostrophe. A search of any of the former alternate forms should end up in the right place. Vox Sciurorum (talk) 19:24, 5 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Which of the 25 noun definitions of float is this entry using? Not like a رَمَث(ramaṯ)? I needed to go via two links to the German Wikipedia to understand what the talk is about, where under “Aufbau des Tieres” they directly tell us what is structurally remarkable with the animal. The “large, gas-filled structure” English Wikipedia mentions under “Anatomy and physiology” could only strengthen the notion that lifeboats are meant. Fay Freak (talk) 20:59, 5 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I must also confess to being confused about what ‘float’ means in this context. English Wikipedia seems to refer to this float as a pneumatophore[3] but on searching for pneumatophore in Wikipedia, I was redirected to another article where ‘pneumatophore’ is used with a different meaning [4]. Lexico, the free dictionary and Merriam Webster define a float as being the gas-filled sac, bag or body of a siphonophore (of which the man-of-war is the most well-known example) though, which is hinted at in our siphonophore entry.Overlordnat1 (talk) 09:13, 8 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I’ve just added a new definition for float to account for this usage. Overlordnat1 (talk) 09:28, 8 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]


Does anyone pronounce TEFL as /tiː.iː.ɛf.ɛl/ or is it always /ˈtɛf(ə)l/? I'm not familiar with this initialism. — SGconlaw (talk) 12:25, 2 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

I’ve heard/said it as /ˈtɛf(ə)l/, I don’t think I’ve ever heard /tiː.iː.ɛf.ɛl/ but then it’s not a word I say or hear an awful lot, so the other way may be possible I suppose. Overlordnat1 (talk) 14:02, 2 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I found some YouTube videos where it is pronounced /ˈtɛf(ə)l/, but am wondering if that is the only way it is pronounced. — SGconlaw (talk) 14:06, 2 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
In any case, it’s better not to do guesswork. ·~ dictátor·mundꟾ 17:13, 2 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
We should certainly minimise the amount of guesswork that we do but unless we ask all 7 billion or so people on Earth how they say the word, we can’t be sure no one says /tiː.iː.ɛf.ɛl/. I think there’s only one pronunciation, as with AWOL; not two, as with ASAP. Overlordnat1 (talk) 22:18, 3 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I was always under the impression that it was pronounced /ˈtif(ə)l/, which means I must have heard someone pronounce it that way sometime over the last several decades. I doubt that I've heard it more than once, and I certainly have never used it myself. Chuck Entz (talk) 23:56, 3 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Personally always heard /ˈtɛf(ə)l/, though I haven't heard it enormously often. Equinox 21:19, 5 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I regularly heard it pronounced both ways when I was in the business R∴W∴Bro∴ Froggo Zijgeb 18° (talk) 00:15, 18 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

English cheroot pronunciation[edit]

I have edited it. I am surprised that the common pronunciation with /ʃ/ was missing, and instead the one with /t͡ʃ/ was given. I am not at all sure if the latter is still valid, but based on evidence from the loanwords in Indian languages, it looks as though that is the older pronunciation. And I see Merriam-Webster lists both pronunciations. More input? ·~ dictátor·mundꟾ 17:06, 2 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

The old Century Dictionary notates the pronunciation as she-rötˈ, which means the first syllable is the same as chenille or shebeen, and the second syllable is root. (If /tʃ-/ had been the main pronunciation in the past, I'd've expected them to list it.) On the other hand, searching YouTube, I find several cigar reviewers, all of whom say /tʃ-/: this review (0:08) says /tʃəˈɹuːt/ (same reviewer, 0:20), this one (0:17, 0:33, 0:38) says /tʃ-/ but with a more ambiguous vowel, and this one (1:57) outright says "chair roots" as does this reviewer (0:21, "chair oots"). (In this video, around 1:00, someone in Myanmar seems likee they might be saying it with /tʃ-/ as well.) - -sche (discuss) 22:34, 3 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
It looks like a case of the historically-correct spelling losing out to a spelling pronunciation as the word fell from common use and people were more likely to first encounter the word without hearing it pronounced. If you didn't know it was pronounced with /ʃ/, the obvious guess would be /tʃ/. After all, the only common source of /ʃ/ spelled as "ch" is unadapted French loanwords, and "-oot" doesn't look anything like French. Chuck Entz (talk) 02:15, 4 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I suppose if the people who use and review the product pronounce it "chair roots", that is a pronunciation, hah.
I did finally find a reviewer who says /ʃəˈɹuːt/, at 6:44. (What I've linked is all I've found.) - -sche (discuss) 20:18, 4 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]


I can't seem to find this word in Merriam-Webster's, Cambridge's or in Oxford's. Does it even exist? —⁠This unsigned comment was added by (talk).

By our standards, yes, it does, though it's far from common. I can find one use on Google Books dating to 1918, though most examples are from the last 50 years or so. It's even in the US Federal Communications Commission's section of the Code of Federal Regulations. Chuck Entz (talk) 19:34, 2 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Is our definition right? I'd have expected "One who is shared" or "that which is shared". I suppose that it comes from a dynamic sense of share ("give a partial interest in"), whereas my expectation is that comes from a more stative sense. DCDuring (talk) 20:07, 2 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

whatever etymology[edit]

Is it right: what + -ever? We have no such suffix entry. Equinox 03:44, 3 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Not that I am aware of. I have fixed it for the time being. Leasnam (talk) 07:44, 3 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Well, it should be notable if ever was ever reanalysed as suffix and generalized about wh-words. This is rather likely. That would better belong in the ES, but I don't expect clarity beyond the uncertain etymology we alread have. If the e- is cognate with aye and je, etc. Grimm has a lot to say about the impossibility of distinguishing it from ja, which is littered all over the place in colloquialisms, not to mention that je- combines variously, similar to al- and any-. Thus it seems likely that different phrases were common and fosilized on occasion, as German comparisons offer at least three options other than feorh.
  • The later internal comparison to any- is of interest because, for one, expressions to the effect of any are quite versatile with quisquis or xejn for example. I'd argue that Ger. ein jeder (Mann) was a reinterpretation of *ei(n)j-eder from the hey-days of articelization, therefore maintaining the original semivowel of *Hey-, thus the surface anlysis a(n)- be in part accounted for by homonymy that is also apparent in the paradoxical meanings of any per-se (far away from Ger. einig), and anyhow as synonym in that sense, whatever. We also see once with a temporal semantics which is rather reminiscent of yonder, as well as the root glossed PIE "beyond" > and, or farther--which might be due to equivalent morpho-syntax, viz. -n- and comparative degrees (Ger. einst, the superlativ is not original)--while erst (first) appears related to *Hey- two. The interjection as discourse marker does work as conjunction, too. However(!), it's clear that a phrase equivalent to meh or bud'umh doesn't need much of an etymology, as it's more or less explicit nonsense, possibly a thought terminating cliche by itself.
  • I keep singing my song that the formation of was auch immer, was aber auch immer is inherently related, as is was ja (aber) sein kann. I would consider the *f in the root of aber a problem, however, that'd also count for feorh as it stands, afaics. This "aber" may itself have various roots, that shouldn't matter. I am not sure what the ending is and can't exclude coincidence. On the other hand, we derive Old English ǣċe, ēċe from the same root via *h₂oyu-gʷih₃- with an original meaning of "ever-living"; which matches "auch" sufficiently well (true cognate eke), see also sarcastic ach so (whatever, whatsoever).
  • Another reading that is half way possible could go for a verbal phrase, que sera, either with b lenited or from *wezan through a route that lenites /w/ > /v/, like Danish, or related to the uncertain etymology of are. There are two tangents: 1. The equivalent of What if? goes Was wäre wenn? or Als ob (freely translated, rather corresponding to "as if"). In the latter case, ob is akin to if, but *jabai reconstructed on account of Gothic does also mimic ja-aber, which may rather sound as **j'abą under lenition (cp. also idiomatic wenn aber "but if"). 2. was ja sein kann and Jenseits show a subjunctive aspect, if not irrealis, closer to sera << *Hs-.
  • Same as for *wezan, if unrounded /v/ < /w/ had an explanation, it might also work for the model of quisquis, ubiubi.
Over all it would be surprising, though it should not be unexpected, if it is an irregular reflex of *aiwaz*. The collocation with for should imply something as well. Nevertheless, the premise of *Hey- could be mistaken, if, just for example, possible reflexes of *-kʷe "and" are uncertain (and, incidently, involving contraction with *ain-); In fact, it's also trivially obvious that the wh-part was (also) from *-kʷe, usw., cp. etcetera, En. /eksetera/ as if *equecetra. This cannot be completely explained from the post-position. ApisAzuli (talk) 00:42, 10 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

in my opinion - in one's opinion[edit]

We're currently inconsistent in the way we treat these, and the translations are all over the place too. What should be done?

First, I don't think one's is correct; if we follow our usual lemmatization rules, it should be someone's. Second, I realise that most of these are used chiefly (exclusively?) in the first person (and it's often true for translations too), but is that a reason to use I / my in the entry title and end up with duplicates? I think we could lemmatize everything at someone's, redirect the I / my versions there, add a usage note when an expression is used chiefly or only in the first person, and use two translation tables: one for the one's form, and one for the I / my form.

my one's / someone's
in my opinion in one's opinion / in someone's opinion
in my book in one's book / in someone's book
to my knowledge to one's knowledge / to someone's knowledge
to the best of my knowledge (redirect) to the best of one's knowledge / to the best of someone's knowledge
as far as I know (redirect) as far as one knows / as far as someone knows
by my lights (redirect) by one's lights / by someone's lights
to my mind (redirect) to one's mind / to someone's mind
to my way of thinking (redirect) to one's way of thinking / to someone's way of thinking
in my view in one's view / in someone's view
not that I know of not that one knows of / not that someone knows of
according to my understanding according to one's understanding / according to someone's understanding

PUC – 11:42, 3 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

For purpose of standardisation, all of these should be redirected to the forms with one’s, because we tend to treat the form with one’s as the standard lemma, and as such someone’s is clutteringly unwieldy. ·~ dictátor·mundꟾ 11:53, 3 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I'm not resolutely opposed to it, but that's not our usual practice: we normally use one as a placeholder for a pronoun that refers to the subject of the sentence. But in a sentence such as "John will be starting his new job next Monday, to my knowledge", my doesn't refer to John. PUC – 11:57, 3 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Interesting, this highlights an unclarity in our guidelines, because my understanding has been different, that "one's" is used when a phrase mostly refers to the subject of the entry-worthy phrase, who may not be subject of the sentence. In "John starts his new job next Monday, which I turn up my nose at, but which he is excited about", I take it we have "turn up one's nose" because one is the person turning up the nose (me) even when this isn't the subject of the sentence (John). But WT:AEN#Phrases only directly addresses verb phrases: "in verb phrases, “one(’s)” and “oneself” are used to indicate that the referent is usually the same as the subject of the (reflexive) verb and “someone(’s)” is used to indicate that the referent is often different". I see how different people would make different assumptions about how to generalize this to verbless phrases — you take it to mean one should be subject of the overall sentence, while I take it to mean one should still be the person the (shorter) phrase we're making an entry for is about. In practice, we seem to use one's more:
- -sche (discuss) 15:26, 3 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
@-sche: Sorry for the confusion: "sentence" wasn't the right word, "clause" would have been more accurate. So let me rephrase my initial statement: we use one('s) as a placeholder when the subject of the clause and the pronoun/determiner are coreferential. That's the case with your example: in the subordinate relative clause "which I turn up my nose at", the person is turning their own nose up, not someone else's. It indeed makes no matter that the subject of the main clause (that is of the sentence, you might say) is different.
What I'm bothered by are examples such as "John will be starting his new job next Monday, to my knowledge". "to my knowledge" isn't a clause in itself, is it? It's simply a phrase that's part of the main clause, imo (or is it a sentence adverb?); that means that the subject of that clause and the pronoun/determiner of that phrase aren't coreferential, and that consequently we should use someone('s), not one('s).
Maybe that's my mistake, though: perhaps I shouldn't work at the level of clauses, but of phrases, as you do? But if one does this, it only makes sense to draw a distinction between someone('s) and one('s) when there are several arguments, which may or may not be coreferential (otherwise the distinction loses its meaning): that's the case with turn up one's nose, where there are two arguments (the subject of the verb, and the determiner of nose); but not with in one's opinion, where there's only one argument (the determiner of opinion).
I don't know if I'm making sense? PUC – 17:29, 3 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I would generally prefer that someone's be used rather than one's. But I believe it to be true that most (all?) of the expressions in PUC's list are much more commonly used with my. In all(?) uses the idea is to express epistemic uncertainty or qualification. But when I use it with my (or our), it is "polite", whereas using it with you verges on rude. I suppose all this could be handled with usage notes at the "someone's" entries. And most of the entries should contain the my version of the expression in usage examples. DCDuring (talk) 20:56, 3 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
@PUC: Yeah, I'm not entirely sure what's right or best here. FWIW, at OneLook, no dictionary has "to someone's knowledge" or "in someone's book", but both Merriam-Webster and Dictionary.com (as run-in entries under "knowledge" and "book") join us in having "to one's knowledge" and "in one's book". (For comparison, no dictionary has "in one's shoes", but Dictionary.com joins us in having "in someone's shoes".) - -sche (discuss) 21:29, 3 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]


Is there any difference between dowel and wall plug? Wikipedia treats them as different things and here we understand them as more or less synonymous. Hromi duabh (talk) 13:41, 3 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

A dowel is a generic material. The non-electrical UK sense of wall plug might typically use a dowel. Dowels are or, at least, have been commonly used in furniture joinery. DCDuring (talk) 21:36, 3 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
The construction sense at dowel is also more general than wall plug. One could have a dowel in that sense in, for example, a metal or other column or masonry not part of a wall. DCDuring (talk) 21:42, 3 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I have been involved as an engineer in the UK building industry for 50 years, and have never heard anyone using wall plug or dowel in any way that one could be mistaken for the other (although I was not a carpenter or joiner, so there might be some usage I missed).
In the usage I have heard, dowel has always meant a (relatively) small solid cylindrical object (min approx 10 mm dia) which is used (in the construction industry) to strengthen a joint between pieces of wood ranging in size between (in previous eras) large baulks forming major columns, beams, etc, down to small items of furniture. In the engineering industry it refers to a (relatively) small solid cylindrical object which sits in holes drilled into two pieces of metal, to locate them exactly when they are fitted together, since the bolts used to hold them together would otherwise allow some sideways movement leaving them not fully aligned. For example, most cylinder heads are dowelled to the cylinder blocks. The WP article appears to say much the same. Actually, there is one other use which it misses. w:John Smeaton, who had to reinvent mortar that would set underwater, also located the huge stone blocks from which he built the first robust modern lighthouse (Eddystone lighthouse) with marble dowels, so that breaking waves would not slowly displace them.
None of these uses could really be attributed to wall plugs, which traditionally were for fastening items to brick walls, but also to stone and concrete. I can't remember how the Romans did that, but after they left the UK, there were centuries where such construction was very rare. Once bricks came back into widespread use, the Georgians, Victorians and whoever else used them, would chisel out recesses in the soft lime mortar they used, and hammer in slightly-wedge-shaped plugs, split off from planks of wood, and often of cross-section about 25 x 12 mm, into which nails, or occasionally screws, could be driven. Hand-held electric drills only came into common use in the 1930s, so a "plugging chisel" was used to cut into the soft mortar. Then, an electrical contractor by the name of Rawlings realised that time could be saved by using what he called a "Rawldrill", effectively a small circular chisel, to hammer out a small diameter hole and tap in a "Rawlplug", a small (say 5 mm) diameter plug made of fibre with a small hole down the middle, and then screw a screw into it, which would expand it into the surrounding brick and provide a good fixing, without the need to replaster round a big plug hole. This was the only time when a wall plug was remotely like a dowel, but differed by being a smaller diameter, having a hole down the middle, and being for a different purpose.
After WWI there was a labour shortage, due to the millions killed in the war and the further millions killed by the Spanish flu coronavirus. Mr Rawlings' company, now called Rawlplug, was very successful due to his labour-saving inventions. And once, in the 1930s IIRC, builders started to use harder bricks and much-harder cement mortar, the old system of large plugs was no longer practicable, and his was the only alternative. Post-WW2, Black and Decker, and others, made the hand-held electric drill ubiquitous, and then added a hammer facility, which meant that Rawldrills were no longer the only means of drilling hard plaster, hard brick and hard mortar. Rawlplug started to invent or buy in improved products. They produced expanding bolts for really-heavy loads, still made today. Rawlplugs had never been wonderful in old crumbly brickwork, so they marketed a fibrous dust which, if you spat on it, you could roll between your fingers and tamp in to fill a hole. It worked really well, but unfortunately had to be taken off the market quickly in the 70s, when it became common knowledge that rubbing white asbestos between your fingers was unwise. About the same time, plastic wall plugs came into fashion, being easier to use in most situations, and ever-more-wonderful fixings were invented for drywall and other types of construction, though I'm not sure those should really be called plugs. Again, the WP article certainly corresponds to UK professional uses of the term, and I have never noticed any confusion when speaking to people outside those industries, but perhaps practice in other countries differs. --Enginear 02:08, 16 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

galoshe and galosh[edit]

Is there any reason not to merge galoshe and galosh? I'm asking because the senses recorded don't seem to match perfectly. Thanks in advanced and take care. —The Editor's Apprentice (talk) 23:58, 3 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

I believe they are the same word; Dictionary.com explicitly lists galoshe and golosh as mere alternative spellings of galosh. (Webster's adds galoche as another spelling, and the meaning "clog", but this meaning may not have survived into modern English.) I've centralized the content on galosh. - -sche (discuss) 02:05, 5 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
A related question is: is there actually a distinction in US vs UK usage or could the "US" and "UK" senses be merged? - -sche (discuss) 02:08, 5 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Thanks for doing the work of merging the entries. I think there is actually a distinction. The word galosh isn't in my active vocabulary, but my understanding of the term as a person who acquired English in the US is that a galosh is basically a rainboot. That means that it is the only footwear, other than say a sock, that a person has on. My understanding of what is marked as the UK sense is that it describes a second layer of footwear over another. —The Editor's Apprentice (talk) 17:11, 5 October 2021 (UTC) (edited)[reply]
Overshoes are (in my personal experience, anyway) uncommon in the US, but even so, when I first learned this word in the late 1970s in the central east coast area of the US, I learned it as meaning "waterproof overshoe". I later learned the "rainboot" sense. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 16:13, 13 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Yes, the only person I ever knew to have galoshes was my dad (UK, but had lived a year in the US), and they were water-resistant overshoes. The only similarity between them and his Wellington rainboots was that they were both made of rubber. --Enginear 02:28, 16 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Kost und Logis[edit]

What is the gender of "freie" in "freie Kost und Logis"? --Espoo (talk) 06:25, 5 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Feminine, from Kost f. – Jberkel 07:58, 5 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
It's not clear what you are asking because, surel, you have checked Kost before the post.
I don't think it has been shown that the etymology of the phrase was certain enough to allow the given inference. The context very much implies coinage in the language contact situation that the word itself came to be, where its gender was ambiguous. One can point to freie Kost und Logie (sic!) but this is not unambiguous. Basicly, set noun phrases like this have no gender marker. Even though prescriptivist language puritans will insist that Rohkost is feminine that's not the case when elliptic from Rohkost-Salat, as the adverbial attribute carries no gender.
After careful considerstion, regardless of historical evidence, I conclude it was akin to continental breakfast (metathesis after second consonant shift; besides the loss of s in one Latin word derived from sto) or costa (cf. fr.WP "A small stand or tray", see analoguous boarding school with board as "table or tray" supoosedly suggesting "meal", but not "bread") or stable, akin to constable (because your horses need lodging and a batman, or chamberlain, cp. Küster, from custos), or canister (loss of intervocalic n seems more likely than not; in that case either a can, viz. toilet, or something made of reeds) or all of the above. Although two Latin etyma spell costa and suggest female gender, their etymologies do not instill any confidence. Finally, the German forms in kiesen, küren would go well with frei (free + choice), to say the least, see also buffet or à la carte.
If you know more about that, please add to the discussion. ApisAzuli (talk) 16:36, 7 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]


I have three questions about this alien[1] word:

  • Is it possible to add an English translation, such as 'to put in alphabetical order'?
  • Does it encompass putting Thai words[2] or Chinese characters[3] in alphabetical order?
  • Would it encompass phonetically aware sorting orders, e.g. to put Llanberis before Llangollen (which does not contain the letter 'ng', so both are 8-letter words) in a Welsh list of Welsh place names.

I am assuming that, unlike Frenchmen, Quebeckers can consistently alphabetize sets of French words. --RichardW57m (talk) 13:55, 5 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]


  1. ^ The questioner is British.
  2. ^ Thai words need some minor reordering of their letters (sensu lato) before one can use a lexicographic sort
  3. ^ Chinese characters can be sorted by radical and then stroke count.

norther defined as "south wind"[edit]

Are we sure that sense exists? The only citation is a mention which expresses confusion at it, and that confusion could well have to do with how a word like "northerly", used to describe most things, would mean "going north" ("a northerly voyage from Rome to Berlin"), but when describing wind means "going south, from the north". (I.e., the citation may not actually be claiming "norther" means [[south wind]], it may just be claiming it means a [[wind]] that's blowing towards the [[south]], which is sense 1, "north wind".). Is the sense just a misunderstanding / error? If not, do similarly contranymic senses exist for easter, wester, souther? - -sche (discuss) 18:28, 5 October 2021 (UTC) edited - -sche (discuss) 04:03, 6 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Definitely confusion. Rather than defining them as merely "north wind", etc, we should specify which direction they blow in. Every mariner knows that you name a wind based on where it comes from, and a current based on where it goes — but most people don't! —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 19:00, 5 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I clarified the definitions of norther, souther, easter and wester. (I RFVed the "south wind" sense.) Another issue: the verb senses of souther etc ("to move toward the south") need to be clarified: if a wind southers, does that mean its source moves toward the south (blowing north), or it moves the wind itself (the air) towards the south (i.e. it blows from the north)? Whereas, if a wind southers your course, is it moving you towards the south? It's not clear from the present wording, which probably needs to be split based on transitivity, if not also based on the wind-vs-current distinction. - -sche (discuss) 15:05, 6 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
It would be difficult for a storm system containing winds blowing northward to be simultaneously moving southward. I guess I wouldnt write it off completely, but I'd think it'd be if anything confined to rapidly rotating storms, whose winds wouldnt be moving in a single compass direction, but rather in all of them at once. Soap 22:05, 12 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Hm? I'm not asking about a storm moving one way or winds another, I'm asking which one it is: if wind southers, which we define as "move toward the south", does the source of the wind move towards the south (so that the wind is blowing from the south, towards the north)? or does the wind (and e.g. a leaf carried aloft in it) move, that is to say blow or transport air, towards the south (i.e. blow from the north)? If the wind southers a ship's voyage, does that mean it pushes the ship further south? (Is the verb thus as contranymic as the adjective? In that case it needs to be split.) - -sche (discuss) 05:14, 13 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I may have misunderstood .... do you mean that the wind would rotate instead? So that a west wind becomes a south wind? That could happen, but I think it's still rare enough that i've never heard that term used in meteorology before .... if the a wind direction is changing there's almost certainly something else going on too that would make the change of wind direction just a secondary detail. Even so, you have a point .... I guess Im just being picky about details here, because it's certainly possible for the wind to blow from the north one minute, and from the south the next .... it just wouldnt be the same airmass that you were feeling. From a layman's perspective, I can see how one would say that the wind has changed, as if it were all coming from a single source. But, that said, you wouldnt find a term like that in a weather report since its technically incorrect. I hope this helps, Soap 02:58, 14 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Like -sche said, he's not talking about wind moving. He's wondering if "southering" means blowing something southward or from the south. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 07:55, 14 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
old reply here Well I think this is an issue of transitivity. We have two senses at play here .... one means, from the perspective of someone on the ground, that a wind blowing from some compaass direction transitions into a wind blowing from the south, and yes I am sure that it is a progressive verb and not a static one, but i dont want to cause a distraction. The other sense is that a wind is progressively blowing something towards the south. I think this is essentially the same sense, but with the difference of transitive vs instransitive.
Put another way, if there were a verb southen, made up of south + -en, it would likely also have two meanings, one transitive and one intransitive. I would think that those two meanings would correspond perfectly well to the two meanings we have attested here in the four quotations on the page. They are 1) to move oneeslf towards the south, and 2) to move something towards the south. The only difference here is that the term is nearly always confined to talking about wind (though one of the four quotes still isnt). i hope this helps more concisely explain what i see going on here than the words i wrote above. Soap 01:01, 16 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I found a passage that describes the wind as "southering" and also gives wind directions. I'm not great at nautical terminology, but if I understand it correctly, "southering" is applied to the change from a north of east wind to a south of east wind. That would make sense if we assume -er to be the comparative ending: a southering wind is becoming more of a south wind: blowing more from the south than it was.
A ship being "southered", then, would become more south than it was, i.e. moving toward the south. Thus, a north wind that was southering the ship would decrease the southering effect on the ship the more the wind southered, until finally the wind would be from the south and northering the ship.
By the way: when you talk about "the wind", you're not talking about different winds blowing from different directions, but rather the overall direction of air movement at a given location. In a coastal area, the daily change in relative density of the air over the sea and land caused by the greater change in temperature of the land than the sea causes the wind to blow in opposite directions at different times of the day and night. You have two different air masses pushing against each other, but you talk about "the wind" blowing onshore, then offshore- whatever the direction, it's still "the wind". Chuck Entz (talk) 05:20, 16 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
FWIW, if you zoom out far enough on a meteorological chart, you will see that all storm systems (and also anticyclones) consist of winds blowing round in a circle as the centre of the storm moves (fairly) steadily in one general direction. --Enginear 02:44, 16 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]


Adverb senses:

  1. In or to the front; in advance; onward.
    The island was directly ahead.
  2. In the direction one is facing or moving.
    Just ahead you can see the cliffs.

I am struggling to see how these usage examples demonstrate separate senses. I can see a distinction between a static sense, such as in "the island was directly ahead" and a dynamic sense, such as in "move ahead", but that doesn't properly fit what we have. Can anyone see what the intention is here?

Furthermore, the usual PoS issue arises in e.g. "the island was directly ahead" and the like. We have apparently decided not to call it a preposition, so this apparently leaves adjective or adverb, neither of which seem very satisfactory to me. Any opinions welcome. Mihia (talk) 17:31, 6 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Ex. 1. carries a temporal aspect that the sense of immediacy in the second one doesn't need. If that's dynamic I'd gloss it as before, but it does not have a head attached (pun intended) and feels like it needs an indirect object, The island was directly before / in front of (us).
In a spacial sense it might rather refer to the orientation of the direct object, eg. enemy ships in a maneuver, cp. head-on? ApisAzuli (talk) 23:08, 9 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I agree that the first example may have faintly more sense of immediacy and progress than the second, but to me this seems far too hair-splitting to be a basis for separate definitions (more so even than the distinction with e.g. "move ahead"). In your last comment, are you suggesting for instance that one can say that a ship is "ahead" to mean that it is "head on"? I have never heard of such a sense. Mihia (talk) 16:50, 10 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
No, that's just speculation to illustrate what I meant by "orientation". Now, comparing Kopf an Kopf (neck to neck), as in Kopf-an-Kopf-Rennen, it occured to me that ahead usually implies movement in one same direction.
Anyway, before has separate defs for temporal and spatial so I don't understand your disagreement. The examples don't really show it, but the definitions don't contradict but rather support the notion, afaict. ApisAzuli (talk) 15:58, 14 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
ahead also has separate definitions for temporal and spatial. The temporal definitions are presently 3 through 6. I do not believe that either of the senses 1 or 2 is intended to be temporal (except in the very indirect sense that it takes time to progress from where you are now to a location "ahead"). I believe that both 1 and 2 are intended to be spatial definitions. The only sense distinction that I can think would apply here is the static/dynamic one that I mentioned at the outset, but the present entries and examples do not illustrate this clearly. For example, there is no clear distinction between "onward" and "in the direction one is moving" or between "to the front" and "in the direction one is facing". Mihia (talk) 17:37, 16 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Re: "We have apparently decided not to call it a preposition".
Etymologically ahead, is derived from a#Preposition (To do with position or direction; In, on, at, by, towards, onto.) + head. Thus it would be a reasonable hypothesis that it would behave like an English prepositional phrase, which would mean it would sometime behave like an adjective and sometimes an adverb. It certainly doesn't behave like a preposition in the standard definition of English preposition. DCDuring (talk) 17:40, 14 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
No, for sure it is not a traditional preposition. I think that irrespective of the specific etymology here, exactly the same issues arise when ahead is the complement of the "be" verb as do with a host of other words, such as in "she is upstairs", "he was away but now he's back", "the meeting is tomorrow", etc. IMO it is a word usage that does not fit any traditional class, though some people are happy that these are adverbs (arguing e.g. that "upstairs" has exactly the same grammar function in "she is upstairs" as in "she ran upstairs", which we presumably agree is an adverb), while others, as I understand it, want to call at least some of these cases prepositions. Mihia (talk) 17:54, 16 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
In my very early education copulas were not modified by adverbs. So all the spatiotemporal terms that followed forms of be could only be adjectives. Now, I read of some of these advarbs being called intransitive prepositions. DCDuring (talk) 19:05, 16 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
For me, adjective classification is a problem too. For example, would you say that the function of "outside" is the same in "an outside toilet" (adj.) and "the toilet is outside" (???). I would say no, it isn't. Mihia (talk) 19:43, 16 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

historical present and literary present[edit]

Currently we say that the historical present is the use of the present tense:

1. when referring to real past events
2. when writing a fictional narrative

and that the literary present is present tense as used:

1. to describe events in fictional works, such as when explaining the plot of a book or film
2. to describe an action of speaking or writing that lives on through written works or record

(I just recently added the entry for literary present and also one of the senses at historical present.)

While our definitions seem consistent with many sources, there are others that use the term "historical present" in our "literary present" sense, and/or say that the two mean the same thing. For example:

"Use the present tense to describe fictional events that occur in the text: (This use of present tense is referred to as 'the historical present.')" [5]
"Most textual analysis and commentary is written in the form of the present tense called the historical present (or literary present)." [6]
Wikipedia redirects "literary present" to "historical present" and explains that "Summaries of the narratives (plots) of works of fiction are conventionally presented using the present tense" at the latter article.

Does anyone have a view as to whether we should list this as a valid sense of "historical present", or as a mistaken use, or not at all?

Generally, opinions about whether our definitions of these terms are complete and accurate are welcome, as this seems to have the potential to be a bit of a minefield. Mihia (talk) 16:52, 7 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

I would be surprised if all users maintained a distinction between HP="Use of the present tense when writing a fictional narrative" (a book saying "Alice lives in a cottage") and LP="Use of the present tense by convention to describe events in fictional works" (a review saying "in the book, Alice lives in a cottage"), especially since it seems logical to call the use of the present tense in the first instance (in literature) the literary present. However, google books:"literary present" "when writing" suggests most people really do just use it for writing reviews of fiction and not for writing original fiction. Well! If there are nonetheless references saying the present tense in fiction is also the literary present, or examples of it being used this way, that seems like a basis for a usage note; in any event it might be helpful to have a usage note in each entry explaining that the use of the present tense in fiction is HP while the use of the same present tense when saying the same things in a review of fiction is LP.
google books:"historical present" "when writing" finds people who do use historical present to refer to the present tense that's used "when writing about subjects in literature, film, and art", so perhaps it would make sense to have {{synonym of|en|literary present|the present tense, used when describing events in fictional works}} as a sense of historical present; the first two references above also seem to support this. - -sche (discuss) 20:48, 8 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Thanks, yes, I can certainly add the cross-uses, but I guess I am a little concerned that they may just be wrong (I'm not sure). If people are getting mixed up and using the terms incorrectly, even in published works, then we wouldn't want to perpetuate this in our definitions, or we would at least need a health warning. Mihia (talk) 08:19, 9 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I have added some citations to [[historical present]] (def. 2). Usage examples should be illustrating the usage of the term historical present, not be providing examples of the historical present. We have {{examples}} for that. Confusingly, {{example}} redirects to {{ux}}.
Many of the grammarians, literary critics, et al. who use the terms historical present and literary present define the terms, but in ways that make it difficult to write a single definition that encompasses all and has the specifics of our definitions. It is very much as if both terms were SoP. DCDuring (talk) 18:12, 9 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I've added a usage note and also moved the examples to examples boxes. Mihia (talk) 09:13, 10 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

tastes pronunciation[edit]

/teɪs/ is listed as an alternative pronunciation, but is it correct? ·~ dictátor·mundꟾ 18:39, 8 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

I'm sure it exists in some nonstandard speech (I find tas' in written in representations of old African American speech, for example), but AFAIK it's not standard so it's misleading as currently presented. (Whether it should be listed in tastes at all, vs moved to tas', is questionable.) - -sche (discuss) 19:15, 8 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I agree with -sche. /teɪs/ for tastes would only be found in nonstandard speech.
I chose to be bold and removed it. If someone has a good justification for keeping it, they can say so here. Tharthan (talk) 19:19, 8 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I'm fairly sure I've heard this often in casual speech. It's more of a general pattern with the consonant cluster /sts/ than a particularity of this word, though. Another example I've heard is /pris/ (maybe with an elongated S) for "priests". Andrew Sheedy (talk) 20:54, 8 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
It can definitely sound like that in fast casual speech but then words like ‘desks’ and ‘crisps’ as well as ‘tastes/priests/texts’ can display the same phenomenon and sound a bit like ‘des’ and ‘cris’ with a longer ‘s’ than normal, usually the ‘k’ and ‘p’ sound is reduced but still present though. As I don’t think it’s consistently said like that in any dialect, it may not be worth mentioning in the entry. Overlordnat1 (talk) 23:07, 8 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
/teɪs/ is ***not** non-standard pronunciation, but the natural assimilation that occurs in "sts". It is an incorrect understanding of linguistics to think that the spelling governs the pronunciation. The natural phonology comes first. Although I think you could/should edit it to show the long s: /teɪs:/. Honestly, I sometimes wonder if everyone here has heard the English language being spoken.... /ɪʔ tʲeɪsː laɪˀk ʃɪʔ/
Which shows a lousy understanding of linguistics. The word is "taste", which conjugates to "tastes". The natural phonology is /teɪst͡s/. You can transcribe the sound that comes out as /teɪs/ or /teɪs:/, but generally English speakers will hear /teɪst͡s/ and linguistic students who know English will transcribe it as /teɪst͡s/ unless they're very careful, and even nonliterate English speakers would say /teɪst͡s/ in careful speech. The issue here has nothing to do with spelling; it's about different levels of transcription and how the mind turns audio into understood speech.--Prosfilaes (talk) 03:41, 24 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Your reply shows a lousy understanding of linguistics. You revert to discussing "careful speech", and give a transcription only of the slowest version of the enunciation of this word. I gave the transcription of the word in fluent speech, where it is generally not /teɪst͡s/ if you have ever heard English spoken. 12:30, 24 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
All kinds of things happen to pronunciation in "fluent speech" that we don't transcribe between slashes. Basically, you're focusing on the phonetic realization of the final cluster and ignoring the differences between the phonetic realization of the rest of the word and our transcription. And how is the way someone pronounces "tastes like" any more valid as evidence than careful speech? I haven't seen any evidence that you understand phonology and the use of phonetic transcription in dictionaries any better than the people you're lecturing about "linguistics". If I want to be set straight on the matter, I'll consult someone like @Mahagaja, who's done graduate work on this kind of thing. Chuck Entz (talk) 15:50, 24 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
We're a dictionary, not a textbook of English phonology. We should include only lexical information in our Pronunciation sections, not surface phonetic changes that happen to any word with the relevant phonotactic shape, especially not surface phonetic changes like {{subst:x2ipachars|/teIsts/}} → {{subst:x2ipachars|[teIs:]}} that happen only for some speakers some of the time. Someone who doesn't know how the word tastes is pronounced is not helped at all by the information that some speakers might pronounce it {{subst:x2ipachars|[teIs:]}} in rapid speech some of the time. —Mahāgaja · talk 18:19, 24 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]


The usage examples under etymology 1, sense 3, seem a little odd to me. (The definition, "Used to form gerunds, a type of verbal nouns, from verbs", is also ungrammatical.) The examples are:

  • After having forged the sword, he was tired.
  • He likes eating chocolate.
  • She has a habit of sleeping late.

I'm not particularly knowledgeable about linguistics. I thought a gerund use of a verb form was when it is used like a noun, such as those under sense 1 ("The learning of Latin is necessary to be a teacher"; "I bring you glad tidings of great joy"). Could someone enlighten me? — SGconlaw (talk) 14:28, 11 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Where a phrase such as "eating chocolate" behaves as a noun, as in the above example, it is called a gerund phrase, and I believe it is fairly standard practice to consider the "-ing" word itself a gerund, even though it has an object. Nevertheless, it would be clearer to include at least some objectless examples under sense 3. When a verb-derived "-ing" word achieves sufficient individual status as a noun, such that it no longer clearly refers solely to someone doing that action, it ceases to be a gerund IMO. This can be a blurry line, but I think e.g. "meeting" in "I attended the meeting" would be an acceptable example. However, some of the examples at sense 1, such as the "learning of Latin" example, seem poorly chosen to demonstrate any contrast with gerunds. The ety at tiding shows that it is not originally derived from a verb "tide" at all, so it seems altogether misplaced. Mihia (talk) 19:34, 11 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
For Latin itself the gerunds can also take direct objects. (And they can be replaced by gerundives, the definitions at the page gerundive are odd.) In Arabic the verbal nouns can take direct objects and they have sometimes been called, and are still called, gerunds, though now other books say “gerunds do not exist in Arabic”, in the end still admitting their likeness to English gerunds. You aren't even telling us what a gerund would be in opposition to a verbal noun which is not gerund. Fay Freak (talk) 19:50, 11 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
@Mihia: thanks. In the case of sense 1 ("Used to form nouns from verbs denoting the act of doing something, an action, or the embodiment of an action"), is that not a gerund as well? If so, then it seems to me that that should be pointed out. Feel free to tidy up the entry, by the way. I think you're more qualified than I am to do so. — SGconlaw (talk) 20:13, 11 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I agree that sense 1 is not at the moment adequately differentiated from sense 3, either in the definition or in the examples, but I'm not 100% certain what the intended difference is or was -- whether it is along the lines of my suggestion that e.g. "meeting" is not a gerund in "I attended the meeting", or whether it is in fact something else. I wonder if anyone else might have a view on this. On another point, I must say also that I always assumed gerunds to be derived from, or even one could say uses of, the present participle, but our article has them under different etymologies. I think I'll raise that at the ety forum just to check that this is definitely correct. Mihia (talk)
See Wiktionary:Etymology_scriptorium/2021/October#-ing. Mihia (talk) 21:06, 11 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
@Mihia: OK, thanks. — SGconlaw (talk) 21:57, 11 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I dispute that "After having forged the sword, he was tired." is a gerund. (I also agree that senses 1 and 3 are not clearly distinguished at the moment, although Lexico has the very same division of senses.) - -sche (discuss) 01:53, 12 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Why would it not be a gerund? Isn't it similar in structure and meaning to "After forging the sword", and that similar to "After the forging of the sword"? If not a gerund, it would presumably have to be a present participle, but participles are supposed to behave similarly to adjectives, and I don't think we can use adjectives after "after" (but we can use noun phrases). That said, "Having forged the sword, he went to sleep" seems a clearly participial usage, so I guess it seems a bit odd that using "after" changes the category of the word.--Urszag (talk) 03:49, 12 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Terminology in this area is often confused at worst, or variable between sources at best, so "gerund" is not a very communicatively useful term if not explicitly defined. As you say, the basic gist of "gerund" is a verb "used like a noun". In examples like "The learning of Latin" and "glad tidings of great joy", the -ing word is often considered to be an outright noun (compare e.g "destruction"), and therefore not a gerund (in some terminological systems) because "gerund" is defined as a verb used as a noun, not a noun derived from a verb. In those terminological systems, the derived -ing noun can be called a "gerundial noun", "verbal noun", or "deverbal noun". Compare the difference between a present participle, such as "eating" in "the child eating cake", and a derived adjective with the form of a present participle, such as "exciting" in "a very exciting discovery".--Urszag (talk) 03:49, 12 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
@Urszag: oh dear, if that is the case that is highly confusing. I struggle to see why learning in the example above isn’t a gerund since it is a verb (present participle of learn) used as a noun. I am asking as I found the definitions at -ing unclear, and want to be sure that I am using {{gerund of}} and stating things in etymology sections correctly. — SGconlaw (talk) 04:32, 12 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
The issue is whether "learning" in that example is a verb, or just a noun that is related to and has the same form as a verb. For comparison, "love" is used as a noun (in phrases like "the love of money"), and it has the same form as the verb "to love", but the noun and verb typically aren't considered to be the same word. Nouns related to verbs often have some verbal properties, while lacking other properties that may be considered characteristic of actual verbs. For example, in a sentence like "Learning Latin is easy", the word "learning" can take a direct object ("Latin"): this is considered to be grammatical behavior characteristic of a verb, and "learning" in this kind of context would be called a gerund by pretty much anyone who uses the term "gerund". But when the word 'learning" is used with an article (like "the") before it, you can't put a direct object after it (you can't say *"the learning Latin")--you have to use a prepositional phrase like of Latin. (Ignoring certain rare usages.) This difference can be interpreted as evidence that these are actually two different constructions, involving two different words with the same form ("learning") but with different parts of speech (verb and noun).--Urszag (talk) 05:34, 12 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
If sense 1 is indeed supposed to be for "outright nouns" as opposed to gerunds, I think we should delete the "learning of Latin" example as too confusing/debatable. Also we should delete the misplaced "tidings" example, and as necessary come up with replacement examples that we think very clearly are not gerunds. Also I wonder whether in fact #1 and #3 should both be subsenses of a definition along the lines of present def #1 ("Used to form nouns [...]"). I think it rather depends on the historical or etymological basis of this distinction between "outright nouns" and gerunds, which I am not knowledgeable about. I guess I could raise this at the ety section too. But if not, definition #1 definitely needs clarifying as to how it is distinct from gerund because it is presently too confusing for ordinary readers. Mihia (talk) 08:58, 12 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
@Mihia: might I also suggest that we add under etymology 2 a sense indicating that the present participal of verbs are often used as adjectives (compare Lexico)? We are missing this frequently encountered sense. — SGconlaw (talk) 09:05, 12 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
@Sgconlaw: The definition at ety 2 links to present participle, where the various uses of present participles, including adjectival, are explained. My feeling is that it is not necessary to repeat this information at the -ing article, and there is also already a relevant usage example. Mihia (talk) 19:37, 12 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
A present participle cannot function as the subject or object of a verb. It has an implied subject that is usually easily identified. For example, take the sentence, It was the grace of God meeting the starving scholar.[7] The subject of the first one is the grace of God, of the second the scholar. In the phrase, learning Latin doesn't have to be arduous,[8] the subject is not Latin; here learning Latin is the subject of the sentence, and its sense is clearly “the process required to learn Latin”, a noun phrase. So this is a gerund. Although we can readily identify a candidate subject in the sentence, He is eager to draw because he likes drawing,[9] we should compare this to, perhaps he finds that he likes drawing and literature.[10] The coordination with literature, unambiguously a noun, makes clear this is a gerund, the object of likes.  --Lambiam 09:28, 12 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Here are the three in one example: "Didn't you get the email? We're meeting in the staff room in 5 minutes. Don't miss it- the new employee will be at the meeting, and I know you like meeting new people." I'm a little unclear on examples like "the meeting of the two tunnels was an important milestone in the project." It seems like the verb is still "live" in that sense, as opposed to just being part of the etymology. Another example: "Our meeting at the meeting was a pleasant surprise- we're meeting again at lunch." Chuck Entz (talk) 14:47, 12 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I don't think that I would call anything pluralisable a gerund. The word "meeting" in your "tunnels" example seems pluralisable in principle (even if actual examples may be a bit strained). Mihia (talk) 17:17, 12 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Editors here have engaged in the view that that gerunds must be verbs and not nouns (“an outright noun […] therefore not a gerund”), but I always thought that gerunds are always nouns. So the Latin gerunds are even declined by case. With Latin and even more obviously with Arabic as the talk is of verbal nouns, you may doubt that direct objects presuppose verbs. But the truth is probably that the concepts of a verb and a noun are not mutually exclusive and there is an intersection of the sets. So we can understand Wikipedia, coming from object (grammar) to argument (linguistics), with the claim that an argument completes a predicate (grammar). German Wikipedia at least acknowledges clearly that there are different traditions for the concept of Prädikat (Grammatik). It says “Meistens dienen Verben dazu, das Prädikat des Satzes zu bilden, dies ist jedoch nicht in allen Sprachen zwingend.” (“mostly verbs are predicates of a sentence but this is not a must in all languages.”)
To bad that the dictionary is strictly organized after “parts of speech”. Fay Freak (talk) 14:30, 12 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
An English gerund is a verb acting as a noun. Chuck Entz (talk) 15:00, 12 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Personally I think that this is not an ideal (or complete) characterisation if (and no one has disagreed) cases such as "I like eating chocolate" are gerunds. While "eating chocolate" can be understood as a noun phrase, I don't see how "eating", which takes an object, can be seen as "acting as a noun". Mihia (talk) 17:25, 12 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
  • I have made a first attempt at reworking this section. Anyone please feel free to make further changes that you think are needed. Mihia (talk) 17:57, 12 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
    @Mihia: thanks. As someone not particularly knowledgeable about linguistics, this is clearer. Do add something under etymology 2 about the use of the suffix to form adjectives as well. — SGconlaw (talk) 05:35, 13 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
    Please see my reply about this above. Mihia (talk) 08:18, 13 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
    I should also check if I’m using {{gerund of}} correctly – are the uses at childing and uprushing all right? — SGconlaw (talk) 05:38, 13 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
My own feeling is that it is not necessary to trouble readers with the g-word in definitions of "-ing" words along the lines of "action/process of ~", even if these are indeed gerunds. The etymology section can give "verb + -ing", and anyone interested can look at "-ing", or if thought important enough the g-word can be mentioned in the etymology (as indeed is the case at childing). Mihia (talk) 08:30, 13 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
@Mihia: it adds the entry to the category “Category:English gerunds”, though. I thought that was one of the main reasons for using {{gerund of}}. — SGconlaw (talk) 15:06, 13 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I suppose the category can also be added manually if necessary? However, the present extreme random sparsity of that category, given that it could in principle include entries for almost every single English verb, does also rather highlight the question of when and why we would include predictable "gerund of ~" entries anyway (distinguished from "-ing" words that have attained "true noun" status). If, notwithstanding that they apparently had different origins way back, we now consider gerunds to be present participles used as nouns, as indeed present participle says, then there is arguably no need for predictable "gerund of ~" entries in addition to "present participle of ~" entries, just as arguably there is no need for separate entries for predictable "adjectival" use of present participles that have not attained "true adjective" status, saying e.g. essentially e.g. "hesitating = that hesitates", or whatever. I don't know whether we have fixed policies on these things. If not, it might be worth opening a general discussion. Mihia (talk) 15:57, 13 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

vasectomy and 结扎[edit]

Should 結紮结扎 (jiézā) be the Chinese translation for vasectomy? It's not clear to me whether they are precisely the same. (A Chinese friend was relaying news and/or rumor about restrictions on 结扎 for men, and didn't know the English word.) Vox Sciurorum (talk) 14:42, 12 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

they say[edit]

This is used in a usage example of the pronoun sense 3, but this screams set phrase to me. No one ever says "they ask", "they wonder", "they exclaim" in the same sense as this. I think they say has a rather specific meaning—that is "people, in general, say", "most people say", or "(an unspecified large amount of) people say". In my experience, "they say" is usually followed by some proverb. Your thoughts? PseudoSkull (talk) 18:40, 12 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

In the usage example it seems run-of-the-mill, but I agree that in the example in the usage notes it has a specific meaning. Some more examples:
They say that a man who represents himself in court has a fool for a client.[11]
They say that home is where the heart is.[12]
They say that when a man is tired of London, then he is tired of life.[13]
The meaning is: “there is a saying ...”. This is distinct from the use as an unidentifiable attribution seen in “The Democrats, a lot of it had to do, they say, with Ukraine.”[14]  --Lambiam 05:15, 13 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
It exists on a continuum from "a common saying is"-type use to more general use, and there seem to be other ways of saying it (people say, it is said; Merriam-Webster has you know what they say, "used to introduce a common saying", which should be a redirect if we add they say), but there does seem to be lemming support for it. Cambridge has they say ("to say something") with the example "they say the house is haunted" (common local belief even if not a more broadly-known proverb); Lexico has it defined as "it is rumored", "they say he's ruthless and unscrupulous" (common knowledge of those who know of the guy). Longman has they say/think ("used to state what people in general say or think") with examples ranging from "they say it's bad luck to spill salt" (common belief) to "Black children from middle-class or affluent families, they say, are more apt to adopt [Black slang]" (which seems more like "unidentifiable attribution"). - -sche (discuss) 17:04, 13 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
On the subject of vague they: is the use of they to allude to a nebulous cabal covered by sense 3 (it does seem to exist on a continuum with non-cabal-y usexes like "they should do something about this"), or is it specific enough that it should be a separate sense? (Would that be playing into their hands, doing just what they want us to do? "That's what they want you to think." Etc.) - -sche (discuss) 17:04, 13 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Could be. French and German would use the indefinite pronoun, as I'm sure you know, Ger. wie man so sagt, Fr. on-dit (communément que), where man is akin to, y'know, the man, the gentry establishment, the dictatorship, or the monarchy (where noble "they" is quite topical). I do not think either that anyone is consciously using it like that, nor that the origin could be traced in sufficien detail. Anatoli Liberman finds that idioms before the 13th century are unlikely, so that sense can't be too old, although there are of course sagas.
Mind, I doubt the masculinist etymology of the pronoun and the theist etymology of the noun, but that's for a different meal. ApisAzuli (talk) 15:48, 14 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I created an entry, please revise as needed. I see so they say and you know what they say already existed as entries. - -sche (discuss) 19:14, 14 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I don't think that these expressions are limited to the present tense as the current entries seem to imply. E.g. "They said man would never fly" or "They used to say that the Moon was made of cheese". Mihia (talk) 19:52, 14 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
"so they said" can be past tense, too. I suppose we could add these to the headwords. (Maybe not "...used to...", since we don't give that form for verbs in general.) I couldn't find any examples of "(so) they're saying" in this sense, but I didn't search exhaustively. There is Citations:so they had said, and probably also "they had said" but sifting through the many irrelevant hits is tedious. I reclassified "so they say" from "adverb" to "phrase" to match the others and better handle the inflections. - -sche (discuss) 20:20, 14 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

I don’t think we should have these entries. One does this with any verb. E.g.: “They hate me because I told them the truth.” “They might kill you for it.” “(((They))) don’t want you to know this.” You can likewise create (((they))) and define it as “the Jews” (whoever that is). Or define “situation” as SARS-CoV-2. Note also that in Russian the 3rd person plural present form of a verb is the usual way to express “one, you, man”, the situation with other Slavic languages is similar. Just the frequency differs between languages. You can argue it is SOP because it is covered by they but I believe it is not dictionary-content for being too much an issue of grammar rather than the meaning of any word; i.e. the meanings are not provided by the parts but by pragmatics (which may be language-specific, then also part of language-specific grammar education). Fay Freak (talk) 20:23, 14 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

I do somewhat agree with your first sentence. Other examples might be "They thought that man would never fly", "Next they'll be inventing smell-o-rama smartphones", or whatever. Really it seems to me to be a sense that can be, and indeed largely is, covered at "they". Mihia (talk) 21:05, 14 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I do think it appears idiomatic enough with the lemming support, but they say (collocated with determiner similar to the man) should suffice to make the other entries really SoP. I find it is similar to ... as she is spoke, which is more clearly figurative, exusively refering to English, for what' s practically an anthropomorphism although I'mm not sure where that came from (I suspect accidental convergence cp. Ger. hier ~ hie ("here") and En. she << OE hēo, hīo, hīe or less likely from sēo, sīo, sīe).
Given impersonal expressions, "as is usually said", the added pronoun almost looks like a dummy pronoun, by the way. ApisAzuli (talk) 04:16, 16 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Yeah, it's debatable. It's in quite a few lemmings, but a lot of verbs can follow they; in looking for citations of other tense forms I found "They said man would never fly, they lied! They say that it's impossible that anyone can cross the vastness of space, that's the biggest lie of all!" - -sche (discuss) 01:47, 20 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I could be wrong, but it seems to me like this is a placeholder for a null subject- a different way to do that same thing as is done with passive constructions, as in "it is said". It also reminds me of sentences like "in Scotland, they eat haggis." Chuck Entz (talk) 03:23, 20 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

is a parent also a gossip / godsib[edit]

w:Gossip says gossip denoted a godparent or parent, from the other's POV (a parent would be, to a godparent, equally sib (kin) in God). We define gossip/godsib as only a godparent, which matches most uses. But at least one work (Huaylas) seems to use godsib and gossip in a way that includes a parent from a godparent's POV. Is broad use (including the parent) attested enough that we should broaden the def or add a usage note? Also: the OED has separate senses for a gossip to a child (who godparents it), vs a google books:"gossip to the parents" (who does not godparent the parents! but co-sponsors a child with them); do we need to revise/split our def to cover the latter better? - -sche (discuss) 20:49, 12 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

scope of godsibling vs godbrother[edit]

Until recently, we defined godsibling only as "child of one's godparent" or "godchild of one's parent". However, there are cites that use it for "fellow godchild of one's godparent", so I broadened the first def, but now I wonder if the other sense should be rolled in to one combined sense? AFAICT the term is basically used for "sibling, except the kinship tie partially or entirely involves godparentage rather than blood-parentage". Relatedly, godbrother (and m.m. godsister) is defined only as "son of one's godparent", not "fellow godson of a godparent" (the only(!) sense the old OED seems to cover, with one cite), nor as "godson of one's parent". Do these meanings, which exist for godsibling, not also exist for the gendered terms? - -sche (discuss) 20:49, 12 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

I expanded godbrother and godsister. I also added god- as a prefix for the copious godfamily terms (godaunts, godkids, godgrandfathers, etc), although i anyone thinks we should insist consider alllll of these to be compounds with god or blends with other, earlier god... terms, let's discuss that... - -sche (discuss) 21:18, 14 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

rear its ugly head[edit]

Also redirected from rear one's ugly head. I think the adjective ugly should be removed as this term is also used without it or any other adjective. I have added a reference and a quote that prove this point. Any adjective could be included in usexes or quotes - I'm not denying "rear its ugly head" is used. At present there is no entry for rear its head or rear one's head. DonnanZ (talk) 19:01, 13 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Moved to rear one's head. PUC – 22:00, 13 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Would it be better to have the main entry at rear its head (presently a redirect)? In my experience this phrase is more often used of issues, problems etc. than of people. Also, the usage notes presently are written as if the entry is "rear its head". Mihia (talk) 08:57, 14 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I was just looking at that. It appears the original sense is a person raising their head (sense just added). I am 50% in agreement with you, but on the whole it may be better to leave rear its head as an essential redirect. DonnanZ (talk) 09:43, 14 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Latin deglutissent[edit]

Psalm 123 in the Vulgate contains a word deglutissent which is degluttissent but spelled with only one t instead of two. Here: http://vulsearch.sourceforge.net/html/Ps.html#x123_3 I think that's the only place in the Vulgate that that word appears, but I'm not sure.

Pretty sure this is a genuine variant spelling rather than a printing error, typo, or faulty OCR: if it is a printing error then it goes all the way back to Gutenberg's bible: https://www.bl.uk/treasures/gutenberg/pagemax.asp?Page=321r&vol=1&strCopy=G&strResize=no (first column, about half way down the page)

Anyway, I think an entry should be added so that people who happen to search for it will be able to find it more easily (as of right now, a search for "deglutissent" automatically redirects to déglutissent). But I'm not an official editor and don't know the correct way of adding a new entry. (Especially since it's a non-lemma form) Anyone who knows what he's doing, go ahead and add it if you'd like :) 19:35, 13 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

It does also appear in printed Vulgates, and dictionaries give both forms: "dē-gluttĭo (deglūtĭo)", "dē-glut(t)io", "dēglūtĭō ou dēgluttĭō" (French), "dē-gluttiō en dēglūtiō" (Dutch). Compare for example with lītera vs. littera. --Myrelia (talk) 08:29, 14 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Deglutio with one 't', and every inflected form of it that I searched for, also seems to be adequately attested, so I created an entry deglutio from which the inflected forms can be created. - -sche (discuss) 09:35, 14 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
However, I don't see degluttissent in the conjugation table for degluttio (and degluttio doesn't show up in degluttissent's Whatlinkshere), nor deglutissent in the table for deglutio. Are our tables omitting some forms? - -sche (discuss) 09:43, 14 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Yes, they are. Firstly, it is preposterous to assume that dēgluttiō would not have had perfect forms, secondly our tables of fourth conjugation verbs use to omit the contracted perfect forms which are particularle common in the perfect infinitive: gluttīvisse and gluttiisse are given but not gluttīsse. They definitely occur even in Republican times for metrical reasons. Only for irregular īre it was standard. Fay Freak (talk) 15:55, 14 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
The verb is said to be defective, missing a supine stem. Interpolating the supine deglūttum, we can analyze this form as third-person plural pluperfect active subjunctive of deglūtio.  --Lambiam 16:07, 14 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Psalm 105 in the Vulgate contains the form deglutivit, apparently the third-person singular perfect active indicative of deglūtio, also absent from our conjugation tables. This has nothing to do with supinelessness.  --Lambiam 18:59, 14 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
(e/c) Ah, yes, I should've noticed that in the text at the very top of the table. Given that degluttissem, degluttisset, degluttissent; deglutissem, deglutisses, deglutisset, deglutissemus, deglutissent; deglutiissem, deglutiisses, deglutiisset, deglutiissent all get hits, and we already have entries for a few of them(!), would someone like to edit the tables to un-suppress them? - -sche (discuss) 19:00, 14 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
@-sche: No, because the tables (i.e. their codes in the entry) are not at issue. Module:la-verb documented at Template:la-conj would have to show them. But I am not sure it should, since, as said, they are only contractions occurring in certain environments (when īvi then there are ī forms). The full forms are all given. Although it is questionable even that we always give the ii forms, so for contrast we would expect the ī form too. Maybe @Brutal Russian wants to implement it. The issue is less with us though than with IP’s Latin teacher not informing him about the contractions, so it is really grammar that he lacked, Wiktionary can’t always give all forms (like it is disputed for Bantu and Nahuatl). Fay Freak (talk) 19:17, 14 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
We don’t list any īvi forms either.  --Lambiam 10:53, 15 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
@Lambiam: I was talking about the base verb gluttiō and ī-conjugation verbs in general. About dēgluttiō I already said that its not listing perfect forms is preposterous, as they must have existed just like with the base verb.

@Lambiam, Fay Freak, -sche:

  • I've been aware of this issue for years now but at first I didn't know how to fix it, and now I don't know to fix the results of fixing it (but see below). The thing is those -iisse forms, with two short vowels, that currently are being automatically listed for all of the 4-th declension verbs should only be listed for the derivatives of the stem eō, īre, iisse uncontracted from *ejisse > iisse as well as petere, with no interfixed /u=v/. The rest of the 4th declension is the result contraction of two identical vowels /ī/ into one vowel with deletion of the intervening /u=v/. This long vowel belongs to the stem, and the ending is simply -sse, thus fully parallelling amāsse. The two short vowels of īre and petere didn't originally contract because the first vowel had been a diphthong (broken across two syllables), but they did eventually.
  • The result is that the newer adisse outweighs adiisse by 106-5 but with audiisse it's by 385-1 in the PHI corpus. Plautus would have distinguished them systematically since for him /ei/ and /ī/ hadn't yet merged. So in the majority of the 4th declension double-i spellings either spell one long /ī/ or are etymologically false and rare, but with these two stems both spellings are rightful - including all the prefixed verbs (though no examples of nequiisse seem to be attested). Importantly, only the root of eō, īre is found in Plautus with the double-i.
  • When maintained, the sequence /ii/ was most likely pronounced as [ie] via dissimilation (as indicated by spellings such as -iesse, -ieisse), something the Latin pronunciation module had indicated before it was recently hacked and thrashed as part of a campaign of abuse against me. The major point is that the double-i spelling is common enough to be included for these two but in the rest it seems to be exceptional - although PHI just attests the spelling in modern editions, perhaps there's more variation in the manuscripts.—Come to think of this however, the two exceptional verbs can simply be overriden on each page, and the 4th declension automatic given only the single-i perfect stem - no additional template tinkering necessary, which is what I was afraid of. The other option is to make all three automatic: -īvi-, -ī-, -ii-, which seems superfluous given the rarity of double-i outside of those two roots.
  • In order to add the Perfect and the PPP one has to use 4++ which I also find surprising - do so many 4th declension verbs lack these forms? Brutal Russian (talk) 20:37, 22 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

any other family[edit]

We have a definition: "(countable) Synonym of family member (an individual who belongs to one's family). Do you have any other family?"
I don't think this is right. I mean, you wouldn't answer "yes, I have three other families: a brother, a sister, and an aunt." Isn't it just the general sense (sense 1)? You could similarly ask "do you have any other kin?", or ask a shopkeeper "do you have any other merchandise?", where we define "merchandise" only as an ucountable collective (apart from the archaic sense 3). - -sche (discuss) 21:33, 14 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

I agree. Do we need any further evidence, or do the evidences of kin and merchandise suffice?  --Lambiam 10:49, 15 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I think this is an uncountable use of family. The uncountable sense we have isn't it (and doesn't seem correctly labeled as uncountable). I could say I don't have much family in this country., but not I don't have many families in this country. with this meaning. DCDuring (talk) 11:48, 15 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Family member isn't even substitutable into the usage example:
  • Do you have any other family member?
Do you have an other family member?
Determiners make a difference in (educated) standard English. The problems English speakers have with inflection in other languages is matched by the problem non-native speakers of English have with English determiners. DCDuring (talk) 11:56, 15 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I agree with DCD. As far as can be told from the usage example, as well as the fact that present definition is wrong and this sense is otherwise missing from the article, it should be changed to uncountable, which I have now done. Mihia (talk)
  • By the way, do we need sense 11, Used attributively? Attributive use is possible with vast numbers of nouns and AFAIK we do not usually mention it separately. Is there a special reason why we should do so here? Mihia (talk) 20:29, 15 October 2021 (UTC) And there is a question also in my mind of whether the adj. senses are true adjectives, though adj senses did survive RFD/RFV a long time ago. Mihia (talk) 20:36, 15 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
    I think the main point of including the attributive sense would be to list examples there to help illustrate the difference between it and the (alleged) examples of adjective usage. Urszag (talk) 20:46, 15 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I agree with listing distinct attributive senses where these are not routinely predictable from general senses. Presently, though, we have examples "family pet", which means "pet belonging to a family" and "family characteristic", which means "characteristic of a family", and I'm unsure that either the "belonging to" or "of" relationship constitutes "not routinely predictable". To my mind, the less predictable attributive senses of the noun are those presently under "adjective" (excepting the "homosexual" sense, which I am not familiar with). Mihia (talk) 21:04, 15 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Attributive and adjective senses sent to RFD. Mihia (talk) 12:54, 16 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
"Do you have any other family?" is a normal phrase in the UK. Family here is a collective.


A question: should the definitions at Lincoln that are stuff named for Abraham Lincoln be listed at a separate etymology than the definitions that aren't? Purplebackpack89 02:55, 15 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Personally I would say no. Lincoln's surname is the name Lincoln, with the same etymology. Equinox 04:41, 16 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]


Is منطقوي really an Arabic word? It appears in the etymology for mıntakavî, which I copied from {{R:tr:OTK}} "Ar. minṭaḳavī منطقوی". But it's not in the ن ط ق(n-ṭ-q) section of {{R:ar:Wehr-3}} and a web search includes a lot of hits from Afghanistan (which I can't read). (ḳ is how the Turks spell q.) Vox Sciurorum (talk) 16:36, 15 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

The usual Arabic form is مَناطِقِيّ(manāṭiqiyy), but you do find Arabic uses for the variant. Look for inflected forms like المنطقوية on Google. I can't say how common it is. Moreover, it doesn't prove that it is an original Arabic formation. It could have been borrowed from Ottoman Turkish into Arabic. Derivations in -awī are particularly productive in Persian. 17:11, 15 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I think the term mıntakavî may be labelled (dated); it is not listed in the TDK dictionary.  --Lambiam 23:02, 16 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I put {{tlb|tr|obsolete}} after the head line. Perhaps it is not clearly visible there. I figured the word's absence from the usual references meant was uncommon even when it was in use. Vox Sciurorum (talk) 23:18, 16 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

τ (mathematics)[edit]

An IP made changes that I don't agree with. I don't think ('C') and ('r') should be written here. What's more, the whole text reads very awkwardly; first it is defined as 2π (which is fine) only to the be "defined" again without hinting at the fact that these definitions are indeed identical? If that wasn't enough, the definition goes on to give yet another equivalent definition (radians in a full turn) only to close it off with a repetition of 2π ("twice the value of pi"). My proposed wording:

(mathematics, neologism) An irrational constant with value 2π (approximately 6.283), the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its radius.

--Fytcha (talk) 20:03, 15 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

We don't need to mention ('C') and ('r') here. I don't personally have a problem with mentioning that 2π is "twice the value of pi", though I would move the latter next to the former, or that it is equal to the radian measure of a full turn. But if we don't link pi anywhere then we should link π (or even both). I would put π in italics according to convention. Mihia (talk) 20:49, 15 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Just thought I'd mention this: I think a note should be made that there isn't a universal consensus regarding using τ in place of 2π. I mean, it's pretty widespread... but see here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turn_(angle)#Tau_proposals Moreover, I believe that some mathematicians instead use τ for π/2. (Because of the fact that the τ symbol looks like half a π symbol.) And for all I know, some mathematicians might even use τ to mean other things. The naming convention for τ as 2π looks to be relatively recent and doesn't seem to be as universally accepted as π, at least in my opinion. Which I think is why there are groups trying to spread awareness and promote the idea, by having "tau day" on June 28th, etc.. Also, maybe add an etymology: I think τ comes from the word "turn" but I'm not entirely sure. 12:20, 16 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Indeed, mathematicians also use as an ordinary variable: [15], [16], [17].  --Lambiam 13:52, 16 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Most mathematicians use LaTeX for mathematical markup. The markup <math>\pi</math> produces . I suggest that when using in its mathematical sense, we too use this makeup.  --Lambiam 13:52, 16 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I agree it’s a good practice to use LaTeX for mathematical markup where appropriate, for example, at googol.SGconlaw (talk) 04:22, 17 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Was [redacted by OP, see explanation below] (or something similar) ever used?[edit]

[As the OP, I have redacted the word I asked about, because I now feel it may have been coined with a bad motive, to make fun of Germans, and I don't want web-crawlers and mirrors to plaster it everywhere when it appears to be a post-WW1 lexicographer's joke, probably never used and therefore not in our remit. It was nothing more than the gently humorous w:Henning Wehn would use, but I'll leave the stand-up to him [18]. Obviously, the word can be found by anyone interested by reading the version before this in History. --Enginear 21:58, 17 October 2021 (UTC)][reply]

In the early 1930s, my dad learned German at school, and kept a typical school German/English dictionary published IIRC in the 1920s. In the 1960s, I was doing some German homework and realised I had left my dictionary at school, so looked in my dad's, and spotted this long word for what would now be der Gleichrichter (and I think I have seen das Rektifier too, a few years back). It seemed a wonderful coinage, so I (sort of) remembered it, occasionally mentioning it to friends.

But by some time in the 70s, I realised that I couldn't quite remember it any more, so when visiting my parents, I went to check it, only to discover that my Dad had thrown the dictionary out -- apparently that wasn't the only archaic word in it. So all I had left was my cod-translation of back-forward current right-going putter, from which I tried to re-engineer it. I believe I checked my own ex-school G/E dictionary (probably late-50s vintage) and found that what is now called Wechselstrom was then Rückvorwärtsstrom, which was what I expected, and the other words were obvious. I think recht comes next, though it could conceivably have been gleich, I think gehen or gehend follows, and similarly, I think macher is correct even though it's not the best translation of putter.

So, I'm interested to know if there's any evidence that this word, which wonderfully describes what a rectifier does, was ever used, or whether it was just a lexicographer's dream of a word that "should" be used. I have tried books.google from time to time, and have never found any mention, but that might just be due to a few spelling errors, and I doubt if Google's corpus stretches to many German texts about electrics at the start of the 20th century. I realise this might better be addressed to de.wikt, but my German really isn't up to that any more! --Enginear 04:39, 16 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Don't know anything about electrics, but it doesn't sound realistic. German does sometimes use very long words, but I'm sure something shorter could have been thought of here, even if it wasn't "Gleichrichter" yet. Also the formation "-gleichgehendmacher" sounds a bit childish or ad hoc. If you remember the word correctly, I would suppose that it was made up. Of course you never know... When you search for it, be sure to spell "vorwärts" with a v :-) 2A01:598:9290:214:8BD1:12D4:9B73:9850 09:59, 16 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Aargh, whoops! I've corrected the spelling. Ta --Enginear 16:39, 16 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Of course, the "a bit childish or ad hoc" could just be the way a 15 yr old boy (as I was then) mis-remembered it! Perhaps the original was better. --Enginear 21:58, 17 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Wechselstrom was already the customary term in the 19th century.[19][20][21]  --Lambiam 12:00, 16 October 2021 (UTC) Gleichrichter is also a term found already in the 19th century.[22][23][24]  --Lambiam 12:09, 16 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
No, because Handwerker are simple people who prefer not to talk much. Fay Freak (talk) 13:25, 16 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Nicely put :-) Though if you look at the forums on the IET's website you'll find similar drawn-out discussions about the number of electrons which can dance on the head of a wire as you'll find here, with even more uses of arcane acronyms and similar occasional trolls. TBH, their predecessors probably discussed this very same topic at far greater length 60 yrs ago! --Enginear 16:39, 16 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Thanks Lambiam, Fay and the Anon. I agree, and it's interesting to see that even the word for alternating current was obsolete (if it ever existed) by the 70s. I think this is an example of the need to be careful not to believe everything in school textbooks...particularly if associated with a country you have recently been at war with or previously colonised. I (more or less) remembered it because I thought it was a really clever way of describing a newish item which was not yet well known, cf physics teachers speaking of Nm/s2 for a while before saying that the unit has its own name, watts.
However, it seems possible, perhaps probable, that the lexicographers' motives were less pure, "we know what a rectifier is, but the Germans need this long description", similarly to the trope in the UK boys' comics of the 60s, where Germans were shown as ridiculously rule-bound, and the British would win because they had made some error which the Germans had failed to imagine, with the last panel including an exclamation such as "Ze English, zey are zo muttling!" In case that were so, I avoided using the agglomorated word [I forget the lexicographical term] in the body of the post, and after a few more hours, I'll change the title to "...the word I previously mentioned..." in the hope of limiting the number of mirror sites which pick it up. There are enough clues for anyone else to reverse-engineer the word if they want to, or just to use History and return to the version at the time-stamp of this revision. Thanks for your input. --Enginear 16:39, 16 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

English thence[edit]

Sometimes I hear "from thence". But at least according to Wiktionary's thence entry, the "from" would be redundant, since "thence" already means "from there". Anyone know anything about this, or think a usage note should be added? 12:24, 16 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

This parallels German von dannen, in spite of dannen already meaning it, likewise von hinnen. Possibly this is caused by the unwontedness of the words, by reason of which speakers attempt to clarify them (thereby diverting your attention and thus working against their goals …). Fay Freak (talk) 13:19, 16 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
A similar case is "from whence", which is mentioned in a usage note at whence. Mihia (talk) 16:56, 16 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
There's also from off! Equinox 04:25, 17 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
And off of. Leasnam (talk) 05:16, 17 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Don't even get me started on "off of". Mihia (talk) 13:58, 18 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Curious, any chance that's a Pondian difference? I'm quite accustomed to hearing constructions like "Get off of there!" in US usage. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 22:14, 18 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I’d say constructions where ‘off of’ means ‘off’, like “Get off of me, are fairly commonplace here in the U.K but “off of” for “out of” or “on” (eg. “Based off of”) is much rarer. All three senses get roundly criticised and widely proscribed as Americanisms in some quarters and with some justification, despite Shakespeare being quoted in our entry as writing ‘off of’ for ‘out of’. The situation seems analogous to the way that using ‘mad’ to mean ‘angry/cross’ is thought of as an Americanism, the truth is probably a bit more complicated than that. Overlordnat1 (talk) 08:56, 19 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I don't have a strong feel that "off of" is an Americanism. As Overlordnat says, it is fairly commonplace in the UK, and among speakers who I would not judge to be intentionally using Americanisms. Mihia (talk) 14:08, 20 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
"Off of" is common in the UK. "Get off of me". This feels prescriptively wrong, but descriptively is common. "From thence" is just wrong on all levels.

and friends[edit]

I just heard the phrase "...and there are scientific reasons why we'd like to know what colour T-Rex and friends were... - here and friends refers to other dinosaurs. I'm not finding this particular use of 'friends' at friend or friends. We have a similar collocation in and company which appears to be unfinished (missing a definition). So, is and friends worth an add ? Leasnam (talk) 11:15, 17 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

I feel we need more evidence that this isn’t a one-off use. — SGconlaw (talk) 12:50, 17 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
No, I don't believe it's a one-off. In colloquial English it is not too uncommon to describe or refer to someone or something and their ilk collectively as "(someone/something) and friends", when in fact they're not literal friends of (someone/something). I think it's an extension of terms we often hear like "Sesame Street and Friends", etc. that as adults we employ when we want to relate something briefly and without a lot of effort. I would also not say that it is common - I don't think I use it much (if ever) but I hear it from time to time. This time I heard it on YouTube's SciShow. Leasnam (talk) 13:27, 17 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
It seems as valid as other member of Category:English coordinates. DCDuring (talk) 15:27, 17 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Without checking for strict citability, I consider this use common enough to have in the dictionary. I would add it at friends where it is more likely to be found. Vox Sciurorum (talk) 19:07, 17 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I've heard it, too. Comparable expressions like and company suggest it should be at and friends with redirects/altforms at & friends etc, although I'm sympathetic to the view that even if we link such things in long lists of Derived terms, they may not actually be found without some kind of pointer as a definition-line at friend. (Either put it at the form the expression actually has or put it at the base word, though, I don't know who would look for it under friends, and anyone who does can follow the link to the lemma form friend.) - -sche (discuss) 19:45, 19 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

troll: Etym 2 & 3[edit]

I'm trying to determine why we show Etymology 2 and Etymology 3 separately at troll. Can someone please help me understand ? To me, they look like they should be merged, since they are the same term (?). Leasnam (talk) 17:01, 17 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

I’m inclined to agree. The MED only has one entry for trollen. — SGconlaw (talk) 11:27, 18 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Dutch regenen dat het giet, vriezen dat het kraakt, dat het een aard heeft[edit]

What is the meaning of dat in these expressions? zoveel dat? Are there other similar idiomatic expressions? PUC – 20:16, 17 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Isn't it just "that" ? Am I missing something ? Perhaps meaning "(to the extent/degree) that" so yes, 'zoveel dat' sounds right. Leasnam (talk) 23:41, 17 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Yes, but you can't use that like that in English (as far as I know). That's why I find this use a bit puzzling - and interesting. PUC – 13:46, 19 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
In German, man can feiern, rocken, etc dass die Schwarte kracht (alongside bis die...), and jazzen (etc) dass die Schwarte knacht. - -sche (discuss) 21:54, 19 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]


Turkish gangava is a borrowing from a Greek word for a sponge fishing dredge or dragnet used around the Mediterranean until the mid-20th century. English and French writers also wrote gangava, while Italians had a gagova[25]. Usually it refers to a dredge or dragnet, but sometimes to a boat. What is the original Greek word? It would not be currently in widespread use because the fishing method has been banned or severely restricted in Greece since the 1950s. Vox Sciurorum (talk) 23:56, 17 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]


Hostage is an adjective, change my mind. DAVilla 10:18, 18 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Many of the examples in the alleged "adjective" section are of the form "more/less/most/very/so hostage to ~". In all these, the modifier "more/less/most/very/so" applies to the whole of the phrase "hostage to", so these are not evidence that the word "hostage" itself is an adjective. (Let me also mention in passing that these kinds modifiers are not anyway proof of true adjectivity; consider e.g. "a very New York way of doing things", "a more New York way of dressing".)
Attributive uses such as "hostage doll/pet" are inconclusive.
The example with "hostage of" ("leaves the interviewee even more hostage of the researcher") is clearly not adjectival by any contortion. Mihia (talk) 16:56, 18 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
The only evidence against it being an adjective that I have is that no OneLook dictionary has an adjective entry for it. The OED almost always has an entry for attributive use of a noun, so that alone would not count. But it seems to meet the adjectivity criteria we use, which include both predicate (He is hostage to the situation., ie, no determiner) and attributive use. A definition of the word as used as predicate in this way might be something like "in the condition of a hostage or one resembling that of a hostage." I don't have any examples of hostage in attributive use that aren't really best characterized as attributive use of the noun (eg, hostage crisis, hostage situation). Those uses don't fit the definition I have offered above. DCDuring (talk) 20:31, 18 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I can't accept "He is hostage to the situation" as an adjective use. I see it is an idiomatic omission of the article, blurring into idiomatic uncountable use, something like "He is party to the deception" or "She is mother to him". Mihia (talk) 21:28, 18 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Compare also the article-less uses of servant in “the fool shall be servant to the wise of heart”,[26] of slave in “When I was a child, I was slave to my impulses; now I am slave to my habits, as are all grown men”,[27] and of master in “the older man was master to the younger”.[28]  --Lambiam 22:23, 19 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
The first grammatical comparison that came to mind for me was beholden. —Suzukaze-c (talk) 06:39, 20 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
One difference with "beholden to ~" of course is that an article can't be supplied. Also, to me, while e.g. "hostage and slave to ~" coordinates, "hostage and beholden to ~" does not (or not well), suggesting (to me) that the two are not the same species of word. Mihia (talk) 13:58, 20 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Looking at Citations:hostage#adjective, I think we can dismiss all instances of attributive use as insufficient to discriminate hostage#Noun from hostage#Adjective. Accordingly, I will separate those citations. DCDuring (talk) 14:48, 20 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
To me the citations that most clearly favor accepting an adjective PoS for hostage are the two with very hostage (2008, 2009). The use with so (2009) is similar. Both seem a bit strange to my ears, but not outrageously so. Furthermore, one can find multiple instances of too hostage and somewhat hostage at Google Books. I find the more/less and most citations weaker evidence because such sometimes can be read as a construction that any noun can fit. But the other degree adverb uses seem to show that hostage is somewhat adjective. DCDuring (talk) 15:23, 20 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
It occurred to me that a test for the "very/so" examples is whether we can say "How hostage is/are/was/were (X to Y)?" I found zero Book Search hits, and near-zero general web search hits, which I must say is fewer than I expected. Mihia (talk) 16:42, 20 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Based on comments, I've reorganized and added new citations. Certainly "how hostage" must imply a degree. DAVilla 10:42, 23 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]


Are we missing a sense at Latin tragula ? Could it also mean "dragnet", a later sense evolution belonging to Late or Middle Latin ? Leasnam (talk) 11:47, 18 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

@Leasnam: Added with 1st-century CE quote. Fay Freak (talk) 15:00, 18 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Thank you ! Leasnam (talk) 15:04, 18 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]


The noun at strange has "vagina" as the definition, however I'm not sure this is quite right. 1). 'strange' should refer to "sex outside of one's current relationship", as in "I'm feeling like getting me some strange this weekend" (strange = "heretofore unknown sex/sexual encounter", i.e. "strange love", "sex with a stranger", "sex with someone new", etc). 2). The quote there from South Park seems to be referencing a slightly different but related term taming strange from the verb to tame strange which means to "conquer, control, or subdue a prostitute (i.e. "a strange sexual partner" - see meaning above) based off of the analogy of 'taming wild horses'. I've never heard of someone's vagina being referred to as a "strange". Leasnam (talk) 13:19, 18 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

  • I agree that it refers to a stranger's vagina, in the sense of an affair, not a generic vagina. I looked at the South Park episode's Wikipedia page and I do not understand how the word is being used there. I would move the quotation to the Citations page and redefine. Vox Sciurorum (talk) 13:01, 19 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
The new definition is an improvement; good work. Makes me think of ass as in "I'm going to [...] try to get me some ass", which we also define as "sex". In fact, I can find two cites of google books:"get some strange ass", and miscellaneous other cites that I'd take to be adjectival (google books:"get some strange dick", google books:"get some strange pussy", suck / meet / screw up a chance at google books:"some strange dick", etc) ... are these covered by the existing adjective sense "unfamiliar", or should we add a more specific (sub)sense for this? - -sche (discuss) 20:29, 19 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Personally, I would add a more specific one. - All this reminds me of that song by Depeche Mode, Strange Love :] Leasnam (talk) 22:31, 19 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

ScG ‘càil’[edit]

Can anyone hope with the etymology of the Scottish Gaelic càil (nothing / anything) used with neg. phrases ? CecilWard (talk) 21:19, 18 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]


  1. "(plural only) Participants in a two-way friendship relationship." : isn't this just the plural of friend?

One usex is "we became friends in the war", but you could also say "I became his friend" / "he became my friend", which also implies a "two-way" relationship. (You could say "I was a friend to him, but he kept being an asshole to me", but it doesn't seem to be the normal implication, and is ruled out in we became friends mainly by the fact that you shouldn't say we became friends if "we" plural did not become friends.)
You can plug other words into the usexes: we became besties, we remain buddies, we were pals with some girls, etc. And don't enemies, foes, etc similarly imply mutuality in the plural? Only make friends seems idiomatic, and citations shouldn't be in both entries: either they're idiomatic and we should keep make friends (as I think), or if they're using a generic sense of friends then make friends is SOP. So I think this sense at friends was created in error / redundantly, perhaps to link to the "make, take do" appendix. No?
(Also, "mutual" would be better than "two-way", since 3+ people can also all be friends.) - -sche (discuss) 21:32, 19 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

“You make friends where others make enemies.”[29]  --Lambiam 22:29, 19 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I'm open to the idea that make friends isn't idiomatic, either, lol. My chief question is whether "friends#Noun_2" is idiomatic. - -sche (discuss) 23:27, 19 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
How else is "make" ever used in this way? You cannot "make neighbours" or "make colleagues" or even "make enemies" (if referring to two people's mutual relationship, rather than an ongoing habit of alienating people in general). Equinox 05:50, 20 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I think it's clear that "make friends" is more than just SOP; it only works with "friends" and not other relationships, as Equinox said. This makes me wonder whether "be friends with" is idiomatic with any noun, or just "friends". I have found a few results for "colleagues", but to my ear the construction sounds a little odd. On the other hand, "be pals with" (as Lambiam suggested) sounds pretty normal (eh, the more I think about it the less sure I am about this - actually, looking it up, this is much more common than I would have expected). Combining "make friends" and "be friends with" covers 3/4 of the usex's on "friends". The remaining usex seems like it would make sense with any relationship (e.g., "We became colleagues in the war and remain colleagues to this day"), and therefore is unconvincing. 06:08, 20 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
One can also make new acquaintances.[30]  --Lambiam 09:48, 20 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I wonder whether friend#Noun needs to make explicit that relationships associated with friend can be one-way (friend#Verb or He didn't know I was his friend.) or two-way/mutual (friendship). Is friend a human universal, with all languages having a corresponding word that is similarly ambiguous between (or inclusive of both) one-way and mutual friend relations?
I do think that, in some cases, friends tends to imply mutual friendship. Consider: He (A) didn't know they (B & C) were friends. Unless qualified this virtually always refers to the mutual relationship between B and C, not to the possible relationships A-B, A-C, A-B&C. I think pal, buddy, bestie, bro, enemy, etc. are more likely to refer to mutualistic relationships than friend. DCDuring (talk) 00:02, 20 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Mutuality will be assumed by default for any plural of a relation noun, in the absence of other referents: the pair became partners in crime; the men turned out to be roommates; Jack and Jill were siblings.  --Lambiam 10:04, 20 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I think what is a bit different about friend is that it is used more frequently than most normally mutualistic relationship terms to characterize one-way relationships. I am a friend to nature/the poor/small business, etc.. Another term with similar behavior is lover. One can love humans, non-human organisms, and things that don't/can't love you back.
Having argued this case, I nevertheless think that, if we have adequate definitions of both mutualistic and one-way forms of the "friend" and "lover" relationships, we should not need a special sense for the plurals. DCDuring (talk) 14:42, 20 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
We have lungs soft redirect to lung, but pants receives a full entry (lemme check, yes). We even have Hüften and hips purely as plural although I'd bet that most people are blissfully oblivious of the distinction, as I surely was (and still am). I feel a bit proscriptive about denying that a singular friend makes any sense. Keeping them distinct is well advised. There is no singular to "be friends with". I'd argue it is arguably not even a noun in this case. ApisAzuli (talk) 16:24, 22 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
The issue is solely the plural-only definition of friends, so I don't see the relevance of the lungs and hips entries. No one is challenging any existing definition of friend in this discussion. DCDuring (talk) 16:49, 22 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
My point was that it seems to me a mere matter of policy defaulting to singulars, but if pants can be well understood as pluraliatantum, so can friends. I agreed with you so far. This should automatically challenge the fact that a plural can follow directly from the definition of the singular noun. I see hardly any way not to challenge that on formal grounds ("citations shouldn't be in both entries", -sche).
It is pragmatic to assume some overlap, so that the singular definition should not really matter, indeed, unless the overlap leads to subsumption. Showing that the pluraletantum did and does however not follow immediately from the singular might facilitate a definition. I'm sorry if that's too much editorializing. It grinds my shears, because it prompts more questions than I could possibly answer.
> How else is "make" ever used in this way?
Cp. make peace with. See also Frieden (peace), Frieden finden. See also Pack (as in ... Pack verträgt sich).
Cp. make due with, often proscribed. ApisAzuli (talk) 19:31, 22 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
If we thought this was just like pants, glasses, etc., there wouldn't be much discussion. Both pant and glass are not (were never?) in general use with the meaning of the corresponding p.t. sense.
  1. Do you think pals, besties, BFFs, lovers, etc. also need p.t. definitions at the plural?
  2. Do you think we need definitions at friend (singular) that differentiate mutualistic friend from one-way friend?
  3. Is that definition never used for singular friend?
  4. If we have the definitions as for 2., isn't it misleading to label the p.t. definition as plurale tantum?
DCDuring (talk) 20:44, 22 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

be the bigger person[edit]

Is this entryworthy? PUC – 10:09, 20 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

  • I doubt that particular form deserves an entry. I think you're offering a use similar to better. "If you can watch her out with someone new, you're a better man than I am." But the better thing need not be named by any special word. Man is the traditional word because it was most often said by manly men complimenting other men on their superior manliness. Vox Sciurorum (talk) 12:21, 20 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Yeah, I think big covers this, or tries to (it has a usex for be the bigger person as well as That's very big of you). Other dictionaries also seem to cover this at big (MW has a usex "a truly big man"). One can also google books:"act like the bigger person" (earnestly or insincerely). - -sche (discuss) 17:05, 20 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]


This word should be added back to the dictionary. 15:13, 20 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

It does not meet our attestation standards. See Talk:earrape. If you can find the three citations meeting WT:CFI then it may be re-added; otherwise not. Equinox 15:15, 20 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

About the entry ǩiõlljåårǧlõʹtti[edit]

Hi, the entry for Skolt Sami ǩiõlljåårǧlõʹtti uses a wrong g-letter both in its name and all of the forms of the conjugation table. The correct letter is ǥ, not ǧ, so the word should be ǩiõlljåårǥlõʹtti. Wlqq (talk) 18:34, 20 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Pinging @Rua, Tropylium as editors with knowledge of Sami. - -sche (discuss) 20:42, 20 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Fixed. —Rua (mew) 07:11, 21 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

смеше́ние from смеша́ть, not смеши́ть?[edit]

I saw that WingerBot added to смеше́ние (mixing) the etymology as from смеши́ть (make laugh, make a bad impression), while ru.wiktionary gives смеша́ть (mix), citing Vasmer. In the face of such strong evidence I was bold enough to modify смеше́ние, but I thought I should draw attention to this behaviour of WingerBot, and, to be on the safe side, to my change. PJTraill (talk) 16:20, 21 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Autological terms taken to the extreme[edit]

Autological is definable as "Of a word, possessing the property it itself describes." I'm starting to wonder if words like non-living or uncookable are autological. How far can you take this game? The word non-living is non-living because as a word, it obviously could not possibly be alive. The word uncookable is also uncookable because cooking isn't something you can even ascribe to a word, so you could say in a sense it is uncookable for that reason. However we're messing with technicalities at that point, and ability to be cooked and being alive are not linguistic attributes at all. Do you think putting non-living or uncookable in Category:English autological terms is appropriate, then, or is that taking this too far? PseudoSkull (talk) 19:34, 21 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

IMO this is inappropriate. Outside of language games, it is understood that adjectives have semantic scope, and thus adding these words to the categories would be breaking the conventions of human communication. The word uncookable is therefore neither cookable nor uncookable, but undefined for the property of cookability. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 21:43, 21 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I agree. Looking at w:Autology, I think the concept only extends to the orthographic quality of words, and not to other supposed qualities like cookability. — SGconlaw (talk) 21:58, 21 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I had a quick look at the category, and it seems to contain quite a few inappropriate entries. Why, for example, is alphanumeric autological? It contains no numerals. — SGconlaw (talk) 22:01, 21 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Well, alphanumeric just means containing letters or numbers, not necessarily both. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 01:59, 22 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Huh! I thought it had to consist of both letters and numerals. — SGconlaw (talk) 13:28, 22 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
In the computer-y technical-y realms of my day-to-day, alphanumeric indicates a string that may contain letters, or numbers, or both. This explicitly excludes punctuation. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 22:35, 22 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I wouldn't say that it's strictly orthography, but I think we need to limit it to things that are specific to the term as a lexical item. Cookability or lack thereof is a characteristic of words and phrases as a class regardless of their lexical content, so it's of no interest whatsoever for a category such as this. By the same logic, I'm sure that the vast majority of words in both Category:English adjectives and either Category:English words prefixed with un- or Category:English words prefixed with non- would end up in the category- who cares whether "unagrarian" is agrarian or not?
Besides, just about anything in the English language is cookable if you spell it with alphabet pasta. Chuck Entz (talk) 03:22, 22 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
718smiley.svgSGconlaw (talk) 13:16, 22 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
The scope appears to extend beyond orthography; the autology of noun is grammatical. How serious are these categories? Is it proper to call “noun” a property? Being a noun is a property a word may or may not possess; does the term extend to such categories?I have the feeling adverbially and plurals do not belong; “plurals” is not plurals, and “adverbially” is not adverbially. And I do not understand in what sense the word “modern” is modern. On the other hand, meaningful is meaningful, yet missing. And what about mispelling?  --Lambiam 21:31, 22 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
If noun isn't autological because it's not a property, then I guess you'd have to remove oxymoron, term, and every other non-adjective. But the Wikipedia article on autological words starts off by listing a few nouns, so I think it's safe to include them.
What I don't get is why verb is in this category. The word verb (to verbify, verb) is a verb (word that indicates an action, noun), but is that sufficient, or do they have to be the same sense? I guess there's a workaround technicality though: certainly verb (any word; a vocable, noun) can be described as itself. 22:49, 22 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]


I made very extensive argumentation on the Talk:gay page about why the definition of this word, as universally-understood for decades, should be kept consistent with every dictionary in publication, as I quoted (attraction towards members of the same-sex) and why no dictionary definition should be changed by prescriptivist order from on-high to fit any modern fringe activist demands. Adding the poisonous weasel words "or gender" undermines the meaning of the word so substantially as to render the word meaningless—as well as as homophobic and offensive. Life could be much easier for gay people if attraction could be based on "sex OR gender"—but it's NOT. Claiming otherwise amounts to gay erasure and is highly offensive. There's no reason to add those weasel words that seek to re-define the word into oblivion. 'Gay' is a real identity referring to a real life experience which is based on the reality of biological sex. Not the subjective amorphous concept of "gender" which is meant to apply to grammar, not people. It's not about hypothetical scenarios speculating over what an editor thinks the word "gay" should apply to. "Gay" already has a known accepted meaning; it's not a new word for which the definition should even be up for debate by a handful of people on the internet in 2021. No editor or admin has the authority to re-define such a word to match his personal opinion... Unlike the bully who abused his power to just lock the page, crudely claiming victory for himself while totally ignoring absolutely everything I said for months (is there no accountability for those who abuse "admin" powers?), I expended a lot of time and effort already and spilled way more than enough virtual ink on the Talk page; I don't have the will or energy to re-state everything here. It's not fair to just have everything I said totally ignored, not even basic courtesy of acknowledgment or any attempt at good-faith engagement; rather, have an admin lie and and claim it's been "extensively discussed" (among other lies and calumnies made against me). I don't care for talking about myself, least of all about something as personal as sexuality, but this is personal. (I have social anxiety issues as it is, but went from making daily contributions, to quitting even coming to Wiktionary for six months, as the callous homophobic way this whole topic has been handled was so personally offensive and upsetting.) There is overwhelming consensus over the decades-long established definition; not a close call at all. Gay = homosexual = attracted to same sex. Period.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary: GAY 1. of, relating to, or characterized by sexual or romantic attraction to people of one's same sex—often used to refer to men only
Merriam-Webster Advanced Learner's English Dictionary: GAY 1. sexually attracted to someone who is the same sex
Merriam-Webster Medical Definition: GAY 1. of, relating to, or characterized by sexual or romantic attraction to individuals of one's same sex
Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary: GAY 1. sexually attracted to people of the same sex and not to people of the opposite sex (cf. homosexual, same-sex)
Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary: GAY 1. homosexual (Note: *Sometimes gay refers only to men.)
Collins COBUILD Advanced Dictionary: GAY 1. A gay person is homosexual. (Synonyms: homosexual, lesbian, same-sex)
Collins English Dictionary: GAY 1. homosexual
Webster’s New World College Dictionary, 4th Ed.: GAY a. homosexual now often used specif. of male homosexuals b. of, for, or relating to homosexuals, often, specif., male homosexuals
Penguin Random House Dictionary: GAY 1. a homosexual person, esp. a male
Oxford Dictionary of English: GAY 1. (of a person) homosexual (used especially of a man) 1.1 Relating to or used by homosexual people.
American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Ed: GAY adj. 1. Of, relating to, or having a sexual orientation to persons of the same sex. n. 1. A person whose sexual orientation is to persons of the same sex. 2. A man whose sexual orientation is to men

The page should be unlocked, and the definition should match every other dictionary in describing what the word "gay" actually means to real average Anglophones out in the real world (including gay Anglophones)—attracted to the same sex. Thus remove those weasel words "or gender" trying to re-define the word and prescribe something else, that serve to erase the very precise meaning of the word; equivalent to saying "2+2=4 or 22". Inqvisitor (talk) 13:10, 22 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

It seems to me the touchstone should be how the word is used in practice, so relevant quotations should be examined to see how it should be defined. — SGconlaw (talk) 13:15, 22 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I am strongly inclined to agree with Inqvisitor, as our definition strikes me as being merely politically correct, not describing the word as the vast majority of people use it. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 15:46, 22 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
To elaborate some more, since I see this has been discussed quite a bit on the Talk page: there are certainly people who use the word to mean attraction to the opposite sex, to the exclusion of attraction to merely the opposite gender. This is quite logically because sexual attraction has to do with sex (which is biological) rather than gender (which is a socio-cultural expression of sex). Thus, a trans man who is attracted to a cismale is considered gay if one considers them to have undergone a sex change, and heterosexual if one considers their underlying sex to be female and only their gender to be male or masculine. All this being said, I don't deny that the definition as we have it exists, so it should be listed as a subdef, but I am highly doubtful that the word as used by most people contains the concept of gender. In attempting to describe use, we have to be careful to not limit ourselves to describing one usage that fits best with our sensibilities when multiple senses exist. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 15:59, 22 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
By report and by personal experience, straight guys are attracted to female-presenting people; ContraPoints (from YouTube) reported that straight men were attracted, even before she underwent bottom surgery and even when men knew that. Personally, that matches my experience; knowledge of someone's personal anatomy doesn't trump the right female presentation when it comes down to attraction. I imagine any definition is going to be muddied by most people not thinking about it, and feel it's about like "is it murder if you switch the trolley track?" which sort of is but largely isn't about the definition of murder.--Prosfilaes (talk) 22:56, 22 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
On another note, is it really necessary that this page be protected (rather than just semi-protected)? Given that we are a multilingual dictionary, it doesn't make much sense to me, since it provides a strong disincentive to ever improve the other entries on the page. For instance, the French entry is missing a lot of information, such as an adjective section and the Canadian pronunciation, but I can't touch the page despite being a fairly experienced editor. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 15:43, 22 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Pinging @-sche who protected the entry. — SGconlaw (talk) 16:18, 22 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
It's a huge vandalism target too. QuickPhyxa (talk) 20:14, 22 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I can imagine, but is there a reason that semi-protection isn't enough? Or is there a way to protect only the English entry and leave others open to editing? Andrew Sheedy (talk) 00:47, 25 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
2+2=22, which is a sense we include (string concatenation). It is also true that 2+2=2 (+ being bitwise OR in certain contexts), though we don't include that sense.
Can I point out that this post is dramatically unhelpful? It's loaded with fulminations and is careless about the facts. In particular, several quotes from dictionaries merely define it as "homosexual", which just pushes the question down the road, and the AHD says "A man whose sexual orientation is to men", which given our definition of "men", is a "sex or gender" definition. (And you didn't include the Oxford English Dictionary, the most major dictionary of English in the world, so your claims of every dictionary are looking pretty questionable.) Sex and gender make my head hurt, but I don't seem to be the only person who your post annoyed for reasons that had nothing to do with the underlying argument.--Prosfilaes (talk) 22:56, 22 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
For the record, the OED defines it as “homosexual”. I reiterate that if some editors feel that “gender” should be part of the definition, they should locate quotations that clearly show this is one way the word is used. — SGconlaw (talk) 04:44, 23 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I disagree that that is the appropriate standard here. Now, as always, we should not be dismissing cases seriously argued where the cites are ambiguous. It is just as much your responsibility to show a cite that excludes the case as anyone else's to show a cite that includes it. I can't do it for about a week, but I could find a non durable YouTube cite from ContraPoints saying that a man being attracted to someone female presenting who has a penis is not gay, and that gay men generally aren't so attracted.--Prosfilaes (talk) 18:48, 23 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
The idea that a typical gay man is more attracted to sex and so to a woman like Janet Mock or Kat Blaque ("I just find her Y chromosome really hot!") or would be if she'd kept a dick, than to e.g. Aydian Dowling, or that the average gay woman (or straight man) is more attracted based on sex to a man like Dowling or Buck Angel than to a woman like Mock, is...intriguing. (The idea that anyone waits until they can inspect a stranger's sex before thinking "he's attractive", rather than experiencing attraction based on visible gender presentation, is not how attraction works.)
Fixation on scoping gay to only ever using the word sex is a modern thing; in older works one sees either interchangeably or both; e.g. the foreword to Brian McNaught's On Being Gay: Thoughts on Family, Faith, and Love, published thirty-three years ago, is "Being gay is far more than being physically attracted to persons of the same gender. It is a way of being in the world[...]" (And Lou Sullivan, subject of one of the citations already in the entry, didn't put in so much work in the 80s just to see anyone now act like trans men being and dating gay men are new.)
I don't think separating sex and gender senses would be sound, because most cites don't clearly narrow themselves / clarify which they mean (because the targets of "attraction to sex" and "attraction to gender" are almost all the same, anyway, as most people's sex and gender match; far more difference in who any person is attracted to is from if they personally like blonds vs redheads, twinks vs bears, etc). While some people may be happy to assume that unless proven otherwise any cite carries whichever biases and trappings they think are the default, the fact there are incompatible ideas of what the obvious default is should be a sign splitting the sense and creating a situation where most citations can't be assigned to one sense or the other without recurring long discussions like this would be unwise. (This could be addressed by retaining a "sex or gender" super-sense for most of the citations, but I still don't think it'd be a sound split, because...) As User:Colin M pointed out in previous discussions, the dispute isn't really over the scope of this word, anyway; it's "upstream", and I suspect we could (probably should!) resolve this dispute by rewording the definition to not use either the word "sex" or the word "gender" (like, as remarked upon above, many other dictionaries don't use sex either), rewording it like e.g. ~"of men: attracted to other men; of women: attracted to other women", since we probably agree that's what it means here. (There are also other senses going back half a century or more where gay was an umbrella in the way LGBT or queer is now, but that's a separate matter.) The real dispute is over who is "really" a man or woman, which is "upstream" of gay (and, in large part, upstream of lexicality, since we also probably agree on the relevant definition of man, too— ~human male—the issue being who really counts as one of those). - -sche (discuss) 19:43, 23 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I think avoiding the words "sex" and "gender" would be a reasonable solution here. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 00:47, 25 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Jive as AAVE[edit]

Jive is defined as

(US, colloquial, often derogatory) African-American Vernacular English.

Could somebody add supporting citations or other evidence for this sense? The movie Airplane! used jive for a fictional dialect spoken by black people. Vox Sciurorum (talk) 13:57, 22 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

@Vox Sciurorum Two citations added. There seem to be plenty of attestations on Google Books.--Tibidibi (talk) 14:31, 22 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Thanks. For extra credit, are there any mentions of jive as dialect from before Airplane! ? Vox Sciurorum (talk) 16:22, 22 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
There are many mentions of ‘jive talk’ before Airplane, not sure about ‘jive’ on its own. Overlordnat1 (talk) 10:37, 25 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

covert baron[edit]

This is defined as covert, but the quote there doesn't really make sense here. Any ideas? QuickPhyxa (talk) 19:47, 22 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

It’s the attributive form of the noun sense – “under the protection of a husband”. We are missing this sense at covert. — SGconlaw (talk) 21:40, 22 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
In Old French, coverte de baron was an adjectival phrase. Is it possible that the sense in English was also originally adjectival, in which case the noun sense is a nominalization of the adjective?  --Lambiam 14:19, 23 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
@Lambiam: probably. The OED says that it is from Anglo-Norman couverte baroun, coverte de barun ("covered by a husband"), which isn't a noun. — SGconlaw (talk) 20:59, 23 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Yeah, it'd have to be nominalization of that adjectival/verbal phrase ("covered by a husband"), wouldn't it; what would the alternative be? I don't think English substantive use could be a NP "covert (adj.) baron (n.)", because the semantics would be wrong ("husband covered by a husband"). - -sche (discuss) 00:17, 24 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I've added a sense at covert, and added "under coverture" to the gloss on covert baron to make it less ambiguous. - -sche (discuss) 20:07, 23 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
@-sche: perhaps the sense at covert should just indicate "Synonym of covert baron"? It's likely to be a clipping of the entry under discussion here. — SGconlaw (talk) 20:59, 23 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I guess it's subjective when to use #{{synonym of}} vs #:{{syn}}. The reason I didn't use {{synonym of}} is that to me it'd suggest they could be used interchangeably and that covert baron was the main term, both of which suggestions are questionable. It's hard to compare their commonness directly in Ngram Viewer because of covert's other meanings, but fem(m)e covert and woman covert are more common than covert baron. And covert seems to be usable in more ways: a woman is "covert of her husband", whereas AFAICT a woman can't be "covert baron of" anyone, and covert can function more like a true adjective ("covert women also needed a next friend for common law proceedings", etc) whereas I'm not finding examples of "covert baron woman" (covert baron seems limited to postpositive use where it functions like a more verbal phrase "covered by a husband"). - -sche (discuss) 00:17, 24 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
@-sche: OK. — SGconlaw (talk) 04:09, 24 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

drift of the forest[edit]

What's the modern term for drift of the forest, where villagers go and check who owns which cow(?)? Yeah, I know there are no more wild cows in Britain, but I remember watching a documentary about a Scandinavian country where they go into the hills with horses and whips and quad bikes and get all the animals together. It's probably reindeer... know what I mean? QuickPhyxa (talk) 20:06, 22 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

It was the Faroese sheep drive. Sorry to bother you QuickPhyxa (talk) 20:08, 22 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
A roundup? — SGconlaw (talk) 21:43, 22 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Well, while we're talking about the subject, what's a sheep drive called in Faroese? QuickPhyxa (talk) 20:09, 22 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
@QuickPhyxa: Extrapolating from Proto-Germanic *drībaną and noun form *draibō, perhaps dríva for the verb and dreiv for the noun? ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 22:48, 22 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]


Rfv for Teochew pronunciation "giu3 iêng6". -- 14:08, 23 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

@Mar vin kaiserSuzukaze-c (talk) 00:21, 24 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
@沈澄心, Suzukaze-c: Hi, sorry, I think that was an error on my part, I think that was supposed to be for 救援. I'll remove it. Thanks for spotting it! --Mar vin kaiser (talk) 00:34, 24 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]


Wiktionary states colouration is the British spelling of coloration. Er... is it? There are far too many throwaway comments in Wiktionary. Colour is indeed spelt in England with -ou-, but coloration is not. See the OED, which lists colouration only as a minor variant of coloration. Coloration is how the word is nearly always spelt in the UK - whatever is written in Wiktionary.

Collins and Chambers both list ‘colouration’ as a variant of ‘coloration’ without passing judgement, though under the main entry of ‘coloration’ rather than as an entry in its own right, so it shouldn’t be labelled as non-standard. It could perhaps be labelled as ‘rare’ (or perhaps not: despite being English I use ‘colour’ and ‘colouring’ in preference to ‘coloration/colouration’, so it’s hard to say.). Overlordnat1 (talk) 10:50, 24 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
The British spelling” is wrong, but I think the label (British spelling), especially in combination with {{alternative spelling of}}, does not mean more than that this spelling is not a common American English spelling but can be found in Great Britain. Compare the labelling at student union, which is said to be US spelling; but it would be preposterous to state this spelling is not found in England.[31] Google Books Ngram Viewer shows a clear preference for the spelling coloration in its British English corpus,[32] but not so strong as to justify labelling colouration as non-standard.  --Lambiam 15:14, 24 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
OED uses coloration as the lemma, and does not give colouration co-equal status as a headword (as it does with color and colour). It does seem that coloration is more common on both sides of the Atlantic, even though colouration has been used since the 17th century. Perhaps there should be a usage note at both coloration and colouration explaining that coloration is the more common spelling in both American and British English. — SGconlaw (talk) 18:49, 24 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
That sounds like a good solution. Overlordnat1 (talk) 07:45, 25 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I have been irked by some inaccurate "ou is always the British form of o" stuff on here. It's not usually obvious, as there are cases like this one (where coloration is more common in BrE) and cases like honourable where the ou does seem more common. Equinox 00:39, 25 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Yes, honourific comes to mind too (though this is correctly labelled as non-standard. Overlordnat1 (talk) 07:45, 25 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
My favourite example is favourite; its older u-less spelling was modified by the influence of the spelling favour.  --Lambiam 10:45, 25 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

pick one's battles / choose one's battles[edit]

Are these entryworthy? PUC – 09:59, 24 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

In my opinion, they are because of their non-literal meanings. Fytcha (talk) 11:06, 24 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
We already have the relevant "non-literal" sense included at battle (sense 1) and pick and choose are used in their most common definitions.
Also we have proverb entries for pick your battles and choose your battles. I wouldn't have called them proverbs, partially because there are so many ways of formulating the advice using the term battle and its synonyms. DCDuring (talk) 16:03, 24 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Clearly not a proverb; one can say “he knew how to pick his battles”.[33][34][35] Offered as sage advice (still not a proverb), a common form is “pick/choose your battles wisely”.  --Lambiam 10:39, 25 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
In light of the above, I took the liberty of moving the two entries, and of changing their POS to "verb". They can be RFD'ed if necessary. PUC – 10:51, 25 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

German -chen Genitive[edit]

German dictionaries (including en.wikt and de.wikt) seem to unanimously agree that the genitive singular of -chen is -chens. However, according to my own Sprachgefühl and a plethora of hits on books.google.com ([36], [37], [38], [39], [40], [41]), -chen is also a correct form of the genitive singular. Thoughts? Fytcha (talk) 20:38, 24 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

There are a few results, but chiefly I see:
  • OCR errors, e.g. of "des Häuschens", "des Mädchens", "kleines Häuschen", "[...] des   Häuschen [...]" (in different columns)
  • Compounds, e.g. in "Plan des Mädchen-Versorgungs-Instituts"
  • Typos, e.g. in "Zusage des [correctly: das] Häuschen ... stehen zu lassen ..."
Google says there 29.400 results for "des Mädchen", 379.000 for "des Mädchens".
-Myrelia (talk) 20:54, 24 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Three results for des Mädchen that seemed to be genuine: [42], [43], [44]. However, as to the last one, it appears that the Amsterdamer made a copying error in quoting a German translation of Deuteronomy 22:20, which elsewhere has “die Unberührtheit des Mädchens”.[45] Establishing that observed occurrences of -chen genitives are not errors is not trivial.  --Lambiam 10:25, 25 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]


The definition of this noun is:

(biochemistry, genetics) The complete set of RNA molecules (transcripts) produced in a cell or a population of cells.

The appropriate definition of transcript would be this sense:

(genetics) A sequence of RNA (molecules) produced by transcription.

(Note: I've introduced a parenthetical word - in italics - to further clarify the intended sense.)

Wouldn't that imply that the definition of transcriptome should then be either:

(biochemistry, genetics) The complete set of sequences of RNA molecules (transcripts) produced (by transcription) in a cell or a population of cells.


(biochemistry, genetics) The complete set of transcripts produced (by transcription) in a cell or a population of cells.

(Note: again, I've introduced a parenthetical phrase - in italics - to further clarify the intended sense.)

Otherwise, the present definition only describes a collection of all the distinct RNA molecules produced by transcription - without regard to their sequencing, rather than a collection of all the transcripts. yoyo (talk) 10:01, 25 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]


quoth (third-person singular simple present quoth, no present participle, simple past and past participle quoth)

“Quoths”, “quothing”, and “quothed” can be found (in both old and new books). J3133 (talk) 10:58, 25 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]