Wiktionary:Tea room: difference between revisions

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(Caramel carmel)
(Schrödinger's cat: attempt to clarify my comment, because BenjaminBarrett12's reply to it makes no sense to me . . . :-/  )
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::: "Cat" in the citations for the proper noun meaning is not capitalized, but there is no article indicating the proper noun POS is correct. I wonder if the common noun meaning can be handled by grammar along the lines of "Is there a John in the room?" --[[User:BenjaminBarrett12|BB12]] ([[User talk:BenjaminBarrett12|talk]]) 08:56, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
::: "Cat" in the citations for the proper noun meaning is not capitalized, but there is no article indicating the proper noun POS is correct. I wonder if the common noun meaning can be handled by grammar along the lines of "Is there a John in the room?" --[[User:BenjaminBarrett12|BB12]] ([[User talk:BenjaminBarrett12|talk]]) 08:56, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
:::: I'm not sure, but I don't think so. Judging by the quotations, it looks to me like there're just two different conceptualizations of Schrödinger's cat (both the term and the concept): some people (myself included) imagine the thought experiment as applying to a single, specific, imaginary cat, whereas others apparently imagine the thought experiment as an experiment that is imaginarily performed repeatedly on many imaginary cats. —[[User: Ruakh |Ruakh]]<sub ><small ><i >[[User talk: Ruakh |TALK]]</i ></small ></sub > 17:10, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
:::: Re: "I wonder if the common noun meaning can be handled by grammar along the lines of 'Is there a John in the room?'": I'm not sure, but I don't think so. Judging by the quotations, it looks to me like there're just two different conceptualizations of Schrödinger's cat (both the term and the concept): some people (myself included) imagine the thought experiment as applying to a single, specific, imaginary cat, whereas others apparently imagine the thought experiment as an experiment that is imaginarily performed repeatedly on many imaginary cats. —[[User: Ruakh |Ruakh]]<sub ><small ><i >[[User talk: Ruakh |TALK]]</i ></small ></sub > 17:10, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
::::: I don't understand how you get that from the quotations. Under the common noun section, there is one quotation using the indefinite article and one using the plural form. Under the proper noun section, the quotations are all singular with no article (which is a characteristic of proper nouns). --[[User:BenjaminBarrett12|BB12]] ([[User talk:BenjaminBarrett12|talk]]) 18:16, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
::::: I don't understand how you get that from the quotations. Under the common noun section, there is one quotation using the indefinite article and one using the plural form. Under the proper noun section, the quotations are all singular with no article (which is a characteristic of proper nouns). --[[User:BenjaminBarrett12|BB12]] ([[User talk:BenjaminBarrett12|talk]]) 18:16, 5 July 2012 (UTC)

Revision as of 21:37, 5 July 2012

Wiktionary > Discussion rooms > Tea room

Wiktionary > Discussion rooms > Tea room

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Tea house party in Japan (not tea ceremony)-J. M. W. Silver.jpg

A place to ask for help on finding quotations, etymologies, or other information about particular words. The Tea room is named to accompany the Beer parlour.

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Tea room archives edit

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Oldest tagged RFTs


March 2018


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

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


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

  • (file)

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

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

How did this happen?

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

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

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

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

preferential treatment, traitement de faveur

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


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

- 16:37, 1 March 2018 (UTC)

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


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

It's ſ (long s), and the text seems to me to be cited correctly. - 16:55, 1 March 2018 (UTC)
It doesn't look even remotely like the real thing. DonnanZ (talk) 17:02, 1 March 2018 (UTC)
The font in the book gives it a subtle horizontal stroke, but other than that it renders the same to me.__Gamren (talk) 12:24, 12 April 2018 (UTC)
Wikimedia is not sending pictures, it's sending character codes, and that's the proper character code for the long s. If your system is rendering it in a way that you're unhappy with, you need to change which fonts you're using or edit the fonts if you want to be happy with the way it is rendering it.--Prosfilaes (talk) 22:02, 20 April 2018 (UTC)


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

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


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

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


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

forbidden fruit is the sweetest

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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Adverbial use of Swedish för


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

home delivery = homebirth?

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

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

ecclesiast, ecclesiastic

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

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


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

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

little old

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

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

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

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


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

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

mortality rate

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

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

Organization that provides 'useless' jobs

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

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

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

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

Nonsense color

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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


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


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

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

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


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

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

I, l as "disguise letters"

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

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


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

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

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

open the batting

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Definition of pendlovky

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

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

IPA containing symbols not in the pronunciation appendix


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

fuck as adverb

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

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

Etymology inconsistency with floss and floccus

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

Currently, the etymology reads as follows:

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

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

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

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

The Online Etymological Dictionary has the following entry:

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

This article allows adds this alternate explanation:

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

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

The abstemious

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

English cornual

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

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

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

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

English handlanger

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

I've given the Dutch sense a label and updated the English term's etymology, but the positive sense is still present in Surinam and Zeeland, so obsolete wouldn't really be accurate. ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 10:57, 4 April 2018 (UTC)


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

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

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

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

"X Time"

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

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

Lines lacuna

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

For this purpose, graduation's definition

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

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

And marking's definition really misses

2. a mark

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

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

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


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

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

i need words that start or end with gragh


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

fo'c'sle, fo'c's'le, fo'c'stle: contractions?

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

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

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

contraction of I'm gonna

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

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


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

bulldog clip

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

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

yesterday night

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

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

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

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

republic (small-r)

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

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

Contribs of User:

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

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

Related terms

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

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

golden number

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

colsidium ??

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

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

priority to the right, give way to the right, yield to the right

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

eye dialect

Defined as:

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

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

No; the point is that the speaker uses nonstandard or dialectal speech elsewhere. Consider for example this "Snuffy Smith" cartoon: in the last panel Lukey is shown as saying ennyway instead of anyway. Now /ˈɛniweɪ/ is the standard pronunciation of anyway (outside of Ireland at any rate), but the cartoonist used the eye dialect spelling ennyway to reinforce the character's nonstandard dialect shown by other words like fergit (representing /fɚˈɡɪt/ for standard /fɚˈɡɛt/). I suppose th’ for the is eye dialect too, since th’ can hardly represent anything (at least before a consonant) other than standard /ðə/. —Mahāgaja (formerly Angr) · talk 15:03, 17 March 2018 (UTC)
OK, thanks, but the "elsewhere" aspect is not made particularly clear in the present definition. It reads pretty much like a contradiction. The speaker uses standard pronunciation but nonstandard or dialect speech. Mihia (talk) 17:51, 17 March 2018 (UTC)
The speaker uses a standard pronunciation but the author is using a nonstandard spelling to indicate the speaker is speaking dialect. That's not a contradiction; that's just bad writing on the part of the author.--Prosfilaes (talk) 03:04, 24 March 2018 (UTC)
My opinion remains very much that the present definition is confusing. It may be a definition that seems to make sense to those who already know what the term means, but confuses those who don't. Unfortunately I am not sure how to best fix it. Mihia (talk) 04:24, 24 March 2018 (UTC)


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

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


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

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


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


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

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

haram police

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

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


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

cuatro gatos

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

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

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

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

cordon bleu

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

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

top to tail

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


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

on the pretext, under the pretext, on the pretense, under the pretense (that)

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

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


There's an adjective sense at tensor, but is it just an attributively used noun? ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 13:48, 20 March 2018 (UTC)

@Lingo Bingo Dingo, yes it looks like attributive use of a noun to me. -Stelio (talk) 11:56, 22 March 2018 (UTC)

open-ended question

We have yes-no question; should we have this? Are they terms of art? --Per utramque cavernam (talk) 19:59, 20 March 2018 (UTC)

And if it's not entry-worthy per se, should we have it anyway as a translation hub? --Per utramque cavernam (talk) 20:06, 20 March 2018 (UTC)


Many languages have words for "blue-gray", see User:-sche/blue-gray. English also has several words, including clair de lune ("pale bluish-gray"), Copenhagen blue ("greyish blue"), slate / slate blue / slate gray ("[dark] bluish-grey/gray color of slate"; confusingly, "slate" defines the other two as synonyms but they have different color swatches and translations), and Wedgwood blue (defined, apparently correctly, as "pale grey-blue", but with a dark color swatch). However, none of those are as common as "blue-gray" and all seem a bit narrower. Should [[blue-gray]] be created as a translation hub or should one of those entries (maybe "slate"?) be picked to host the (more general) translations? - -sche (discuss) 02:15, 21 March 2018 (UTC)

I don’t find any problem in making blue-gray, which is only slightly less common than the existing yellow-green: [4]. — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 11:36, 21 March 2018 (UTC)
  • It's in the OED. Dates and early citations are particularly interesting for terms like this. Ƿidsiþ 11:17, 23 March 2018 (UTC)

(Notifying Wyang, TAKASUGI Shinji, HappyMidnight): , also @Eirikr:

Is (dae) also a quoting particle, similar to the Japanese って (tte)? Can they be cognates? See example here with a question about 떴대 (tteotdae). 떴다 + 대? I'm more interested in a definition, the etymology may not be easy. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 13:09, 21 March 2018 (UTC)

It's from the well-known "Boys Over Flowers" @about 6:30. Korean and English simultaneous subtitles can be enabled in options. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 13:13, 21 March 2018 (UTC)
@Atitarev: In functionality, yes, exactly, but etymologically it has nothing to do with the Japanese って. It is a contraction of -다 해. Its forms depend on a word class and tense it follows. It might be confusing with a euphemistic form (equivalent of Japanese and けど) for beginners.
Declarative Declarative Hearsay Euphemistic
Formal Informal Formal Informal Informal
Non polite Polite Non polite Polite Non polite Polite Non polite Polite Non polite Polite
한다 합니다 해요 한단다 한답니다 한대 한대요 하는데 하는데요
먹는다 먹습니다 먹어 먹어요 먹는단다 먹는답니다 먹는대 먹는대요 먹는데 먹는데요
있다 있습니다 있어 있어요 있단다 있답니다 있대 있대요 있는데 있는데요
했다 했습니다 했어 했어요 했단다 했답니다 했대 했대요 했는데 했는데요
좋다 좋습니다 좋아 좋아요 좋단다 좋답니다 좋대 좋대요 좋은데 좋은데요
책이다 책입니다 책이야 책이에요 책이란다 책이랍니다 책이래 책이래요 책인데 책인데요
할 거다 할 겁니다 할 거야 할 거예요/거에요 할 거란다 할 거랍니다 할 거래 할 거래요 할 건데 할 건데요
The pink cells are homophones (verbs whose radical ends with a consonant). — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 14:36, 21 March 2018 (UTC)
There are also the imperative hearsay -래 and the hortative hearsay -재. The interrogative hearsay -냬 exists but is not common. — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 15:03, 21 March 2018 (UTC)
FWIW, I've fixed the etym at って (tte). ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 18:51, 21 March 2018 (UTC)
@TAKASUGI Shinji: Great table, thank you! Is there anything worth adding in terms of a definition at (dae) as an example? --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 11:30, 22 March 2018 (UTC)
@Atitarev: Dictionaries often has four separate entries for informal non-polite register: -ㄴ대 (vowel-ending verbs), -는대 (neundae) (consonant-ending verbs), - (dae) (adjectives, existentials, past forms), - (rae) (copula), four for formal non-polite register, and four for fomal polite registers, with or without four for informal polite register. Korean has a lot of verb endings and we shouldn’t hesitate to include all of them. — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 04:17, 23 March 2018 (UTC)


I just created the page for the German verb radeln. Could someone check over it please? Also I'm not sure if the verb is colloquial or not. Cheers Zumley (talk) 16:21, 21 March 2018 (UTC)

I think so, and de-wikt says so. —Mahāgaja (formerly Angr) · talk 19:26, 21 March 2018 (UTC)
Yep. Looks good now. - -sche (discuss) 03:30, 22 March 2018 (UTC)
I think the "l" is forming a diminutive, so that the surface analysis should be Radel+n. But the noun (dialectical "Radel" perhaps, cf. Rädelchen, Radler). could be derived from the verb, so I am not sure. Not that it matters, just wondering because -eln is a red link, so while we are at it ... anyone have a clue? Doesn't it sound a bit yiddish, e.g. kabbeln, brabbeln, schmulen, schuseln ... Rhyminreason (talk) 02:57, 23 March 2018 (UTC)
Indeed, there is רעדל‎ (redl‎) at ראָד (rod, wheel). Rhyminreason (talk) 00:16, 26 March 2018 (UTC)


According to knowledgable, it is a misspelling; according to knowledgeable, it is an alternative form. Which is it? To me, it looks like a misspelling, but some other dictionaries list it as legit. One source suggests that it is a US variant (I am British). Mihia (talk) 23:09, 21 March 2018 (UTC)

See -able#Usage notes. We should not judge correctness if the two are used, but data shows that the use of knowledgable is 50 times rarer and decreasing ([5]), which indicates it is considered a misspelling. — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 23:54, 21 March 2018 (UTC)
Is that 50x thing a specific Wiktionary policy or just, you think, a reasonable conclusion to draw? Mihia (talk) 00:22, 22 March 2018 (UTC)
Just my thought. When in doubt, define it as an alternate spelling rather than a misspelling. — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 01:45, 22 March 2018 (UTC)
See knowledgable at OneLook Dictionary Search. Some have it as an alternative spelling; some have redirects; many don't include it. DCDuring (talk) 12:05, 23 March 2018 (UTC)
  • On the basis that at least two dictionaries (Oxford + M-W) list it as a legitimate variant, I have changed the label at knowledgable to "Alternative form of". On the basis that 'Ngrams' shows it to be 50 times less common, I have also added the label "rare". Mihia (talk) 18:50, 24 March 2018 (UTC)
I've had trouble with the use of rare in such cases. Hapax legomena are rare. Something that requires our best citation talent to get three cites for might be rare. This is just much less frequent. A usage note or some label after the form could indicate how much less frequent than the main form. The rare label seems unwarranted. DCDuring (talk) 01:07, 25 March 2018 (UTC)

The suffix on the suffix...

How best to write etymologies for worserer, worsererer, worserererer, bestestestest, bestestestestest, and bestestestestestest? What sort of etys does the OED have for these, say? ("Empty not then the vials of scorn upon it. / Nor, since we're on the subject, should you scorn / The sonnet on the sonnet on the sonnet.") Equinox 05:52, 22 March 2018 (UTC)

What about, for example, "best + five repetitions of -est"? (Is that last word even verifiable?) — SGconlaw (talk) 07:01, 22 March 2018 (UTC)
Erm, some of these should be redirects per WT:REPEATING. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 07:11, 22 March 2018 (UTC)
I'd put, "Alteration of best with reduplication of suffix." Ƿidsiþ 11:44, 4 April 2018 (UTC)

Body/Mind relationship

I have asked my doctor for a word that describes the relationship a person has with his body, as I have noticed that some people take great care of their body and its health while others abuse their bodies with drugs, both prescription and recreational. "Psychosomatic" does not fit. My doctor either did not understand what I was searching for, or did not know such a word. —This unsigned comment was added by LShecut2nd (talkcontribs).

Consciousness? Rhyminreason (talk) 02:19, 23 March 2018 (UTC)
There's body image. Can you give a sample sentence with a blank where the word should go? Equinox 12:17, 23 March 2018 (UTC)

squaw winter

Some books I've stumbled onto in the process of citing blackberry winter and its synonyms think that this can refer, in parts of Canada and perhaps elsewhere, to a cold snap in spring (like blackberry winter / blackthorn winter). Is anyone familiar with this usage? - -sche (discuss) 20:52, 22 March 2018 (UTC)

"my goodness" as an idiomatic expression

Hello! According to this page, "my goodness" is idiomatic. Why? The Sackinator (talk) 22:53, 22 March 2018 (UTC)

Why not? When you say “oh my goodness” you are not talking about your goodness. — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 23:34, 22 March 2018 (UTC)
Because people overuse {{lb|en|idiomatic}}, but I see it's been removed now. - -sche (discuss) 23:37, 22 March 2018 (UTC)
Is e.g. rhyming slang not idiomatic? Surely this was in the strict sense an idiom of those who do not dare use their lord's name in vain. It is still easily recognizable as such. Maybe people simply use a lot of idioms. Rhyminreason (talk) 02:46, 23 March 2018 (UTC)


There appears to be no trace of the phrase "to have (no, little, much) thild" (or even of the existence of the lexeme "thild" in modern English after 1500), even "fossilised", or even just in dictionaries, anywhere on the internet, including google books, i.e. covering the past 400 years of the history of print. You would expect there to be the possibility of at least one example of the lexeme in actual use (alternatively, the lexeme would have to be moved out of "English" into "Old English" entirely). --Dbachmann (talk) 08:10, 23 March 2018 (UTC)

  • Well, Middle English. But yeah, it doesn't seem to have made it past the 13th century. Ƿidsiþ 11:16, 23 March 2018 (UTC)
    I've RFVed it. - -sche (discuss) 21:12, 23 March 2018 (UTC)

be quick about it, quick about it; be quick about, quick about

Is one of these entry worthy? There's “be quick slow about it” (US) / “be quick slow about it” (UK) in Macmillan Dictionary, but I dunno. --Per utramque cavernam (talk) 11:12, 23 March 2018 (UTC)

Usage of whom

I've just noticed that the usage notes of whom err too much on the side of making whom look too prevalent, speaking as a native English speaker who would never use whom, even in the most formal of situations, and has never heard it being used in my (admittedly imperfect) memory. Google Ngram Viewer shows that whom is pretty consistently only used one-tenth as much as who, which would be unexpected if it was consistently used in the objective case. Overall, I feel for me and for many native speakers of English like me, whom seems archaic and outmoded, or at least extremely/excessively formal, and the entry gives the mistaken impression that it plays a role in English that it doesn't. Additionally, the entry for who should display the objective case as "who or whom" (or maybe "whom or who") to better reflect the reality of some speakers.

Hazarasp (talk) 12:07, 23 March 2018 (UTC)

Overall usage of who vs. whom is irrelevant. What matters is usage of who vs. whom in an actual object position. See this Ngram, for example. --WikiTiki89 19:10, 23 March 2018 (UTC)
And even more strikingly, this one. —Mahāgaja (formerly Angr) · talk 19:46, 23 March 2018 (UTC)
@Mahagaja: I think that's more because of word order differences. If you use whom, you'd say "With whom did he go?" and "The people with whom he went.", while if you use who, you'd be more likely to say "Who did he go with?" and "The people he went with.", whereas "Whom did you see?" and "Who did you see?" have the same order. --WikiTiki89 20:15, 23 March 2018 (UTC)
That still shows that who is being used more than it the entries for who and whom imply; especially including whom as the only objective case in the entry for whom is misleading, especially for the spoken language. Hazarasp (talk) 01:49, 24 March 2018 (UTC)
  • I agree that the usage notes are poorly organised. Mihia (talk) 04:34, 24 March 2018 (UTC)

game adjective, sense 1

The quotation doesn't seem particularly illustrative of usage to me, and the synonyms are confusing me ("courageous"? "valiant"?). I was expecting things like down, up for, etc. Am I missing something? --Per utramque cavernam (talk) 13:22, 23 March 2018 (UTC)

The courageous/valiant synonyms presumably intend the idea of soldiering gamely on in the face of adversity, i.e. being willing to continue despite setbacks. Equinox 15:44, 23 March 2018 (UTC)


What does it mean to be of Greek type? DTLHS (talk) 20:29, 23 March 2018 (UTC)

I think it means the adjective is used of (regarding) Greek typography/print. Equinox 20:38, 23 March 2018 (UTC)
Yes, that must be it thanks. DTLHS (talk) 20:55, 23 March 2018 (UTC)

feel, feels

Regarding "feels": Is the 1809 line by King George III of England really the same sense as the modern internet-slang-y "my feels were hurt"? To me, "Dr. Pope confirms my feels that the side is no better & the tenderness to the feel as great as when he was last here" seems like that could also be the plural of a sense "a (vague, mental) impression" or "an act of feeling (fondling)".
Regarding "feel": is "a vague mental impression: you should get a feel of the area before moving in" really a different sense from "a vague understanding: I'm getting a feel for what you mean"?
- -sche (discuss) 21:12, 23 March 2018 (UTC)

I see a difference, but not in verbiage. There would be a notable difference, if you would want to categorize every kind of feeling imaginable, but that does not seem to be in our scope. "Feeling" et al are underspecific, so there is no reason to be specific here. "feels" is a simple plural of n. feel, so it doesn't merit its own page at all, in my humble opinion. Rhyminreason (talk) 19:47, 2 April 2018 (UTC)

Radical of .

Hi! Now the character (chapter/article/movement) is classified under the radical like "" as Kangxi Dictionary did. But Kangxi said, its etymology is "ten (十) pieces of music (音) become one movement". Morden dictronaries - includes Revised Dictrionary of Ministry of Education (Taiwan), Xinhua Zidian (Mainland China) (11th ed. index page 111), and the Chinese Wiktionary - followed its etymology and classified it under the radical "". So which one is preferred? --Muhebbet (talk) 14:45, 24 March 2018 (UTC)

Radicals are there to search characters rather than to explain etymology. There are some characters whose etymology and radical don’t match.
Character Etymology Kangxi
Don’t you think it is easier to search and with the radical than and with the counterintuitive radicals? — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 15:56, 2 April 2018 (UTC)
@TAKASUGI Shinji: I agreed. But said by Kangxi, radical of 章 is 立, and said by morden Chinese dictionaries, the correct radical of 章 is 音 (but 立 is error-toleranced) - they are both sourced. I mean do we just follow the the Kangxi dictionary? Or Japanese dictionaries never classify it under 音? --Muhebbet (talk) 16:56, 5 April 2018 (UTC)
@Muhebbet: I prefer multiple categorization if possible. Many Japanese kanji dictionaries have redirects. In this case they may have a redirect in 音 and a main entry in 立. — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 05:18, 7 April 2018 (UTC)

Neuter nouns in Hindi

I'm a little baffled by this Category:Hindi neuter nouns. Afaik Hindi only has two genders, masculine and feminine and the emptiness of this category seems to confirm that. So, why the category? Jcwf (talk) 19:59, 24 March 2018 (UTC)

@Jcwf: Good catch, deleted. —AryamanA (मुझसे बात करेंयोगदान) 23:50, 25 March 2018 (UTC)

expressive (noun sense)

I've added a noun section, but I've had trouble defining it because references vary in whether they consider it a synonym, a hypernym or a hyponym of ideophone. (For some examples of expressives, see here.) - -sche (discuss) 20:37, 24 March 2018 (UTC)

'Have' as a noun in NZ English

I put this on the discussion page for 'have' but per the suggestion decided to mention it here as well. 'Have' has a noun form in NZ English not mentioned on the page's definition. It means roughly something is a lie or a con or something illegitimate somehow, especially in the sense of justification. Mostly you hear it in the form of the understatement "is/it's a bit of a have". for example I might say "Steam deals can be a bit of a have. Some publishers will put their prices up before the sales start to inflate the discount percentages."

It's a spoken English thing so it mostly turns up on the net in transcribed quotes. An example from November 2017 on the stuff.co.nz article 'Go with the flow in Abel Tasman National Park': "Open your eyes" is the company's tagline and part of its mission is to wake us up to the area's history, to the fact that New Zealand's '100% pure' marketing is a bit of a have, as well as to share the encouraging conservation efforts under way."

Possibly from have on? If you're having someone on, you are trying to deceive them. Equinox 20:28, 25 March 2018 (UTC)
@Kiwima Maybe you've heard this? DTLHS (talk) 20:30, 25 March 2018 (UTC)
No, I haven't heard this specific one, but it seems very plausible to me - New Zealand English does this sort of thing a lot. Kiwima (talk) 20:33, 25 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Yeah it's from have on. You get it in Oz as well. Ƿidsiþ 08:19, 26 March 2018 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Done Created a noun at have (etymology 2). Please expand and cite. Equinox 20:47, 27 March 2018 (UTC)

reading comprehension, listening comprehension

reading comprehension” in the Collins English Dictionary, Glasgow: HarperCollins Publishers.. The definition ("a text that students use to help them improve their reading skills") makes me think this is somewhat idiomatic; or perhaps we should simply add a sense at comprehension. --Per utramque cavernam (talk) 22:07, 26 March 2018 (UTC)

  • I don't think they are correct. As I understand it, reading comprehension is the act of reading and understanding such a text, not the text itself. SemperBlotto (talk) 06:26, 27 March 2018 (UTC)
I'm fairly sure in my English class in folkeskolen there were also set phrases for "the ability to express oneself verbally" and "the ability to express oneself in writing" in addition to the above, but I can't remember what they were.


Is the Celtic languages label here really appropriate? Lenition as a phonotactical phenomenon is not limited to this language family; indeed, lenition also occurs in Navajo and Japanese, among other places. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 17:41, 27 March 2018 (UTC)

@Eirikr: Seeing as lenition made no mention of Celtic languages specifically, I took the liberty of removing that from lenite. --Per utramque cavernam (talk) 20:06, 28 March 2018 (UTC)


The word PASSIM appears in Microsoft Word, In the Table Of Authorities dialog box, as one of the options: The checkbox says "Use passim" without an explanation.

The MOS 2013 Study Guide - Microsoft Word Expert says, "Keep this check box selected if you want to use the term passim to indicate that information the citation refers to is scattered throughout the source. Clear this check box to list specific pages for each citation."

See passim. —Mahāgaja (formerly Angr) · talk 20:08, 27 March 2018 (UTC)

treason / high treason

Isn't there a difference between the two? I'm a bit surprised by our definition of treason, which seems overly specific.

Or maybe betrayal is the more general term? But its translation table is a redirect to that of treason too. --Per utramque cavernam (talk) 20:57, 28 March 2018 (UTC)

See what other dictionaries do with treason and high treason and, for that matter, petit treason at OneLook Dictionary Search or petty treason at OneLook Dictionary Search. Our definition of high treason isn't too bad considering that absence of citations, labels, etc. Our entry for treason needs work, including the relationship to high and petit/petty treason. Legal definitions differ between US and UK. Probably most other English-speaking countries follow the UK's legal definition. DCDuring (talk) 21:12, 29 March 2018 (UTC)

take possession or take possession of

Does this merit an entry? --WikiTiki89 20:07, 29 March 2018 (UTC)

I don't know. Like the French prendre possession (de) (which does exist on fr.wikt), it sounds more like a common collocation than a real unit to me.
By the way, there's also come into possession. --Per utramque cavernam (talk) 20:45, 29 March 2018 (UTC)
See take possession at OneLook Dictionary Search and take possession of at OneLook Dictionary Search. DCDuring (talk) 20:49, 29 March 2018 (UTC)

Category:en:Alcoholic beverages

Should terms like fall off the wagon (verb) be in Category:en:Alcoholic beverages? I'd think not but there are quite a few in there. Equinox 03:15, 30 March 2018 (UTC)

I think it's OK if they are arranged at the beginning of the category using a space as the first character of the sorting key (e.g., "[[en:Alcoholic beverages| beer o'clock]]"). In that way, they are not listed in the alphabetical part of the category as a type of alcoholic beverage, which shows they are only allied terms. — SGconlaw (talk) 02:17, 2 April 2018 (UTC)
There are already a score of terms getting the treatment SGconlaw recommends and many more might be added: fifth, pint, shot, postprandial, etc. When there are so many, IMO we should use some other means to link the category to other terms, generally under a "See also" header. If [[fall off the wagon]] were in a relevant category we could link to that. In this case Thesaurus:drunk would work, whether or not fall off the wagon appeared in it, as it does not at present. If there is no suitable Thesaurus or Category page and a list of words merits ready availability from the category page, they could appear under a show-hide bar hidden by default. DCDuring (talk) 15:19, 2 April 2018 (UTC)
Happy to go along with whatever the consensus is. — SGconlaw (talk) 07:59, 7 April 2018 (UTC)

The octopus in Crimean Tatar

I do not know much about Crimean Tatar, except that Wikipedia can't really decide whether it is mutually intelligible with Tatar (about which I also know nothing). But meanwhile, I was looking at blekksprut, the Norwegian for octopus, puzzling over its origin, until I spotted that "blekk" must be "black" (ink), so "sprut" must be something like "squirt". Then of course I noticed the Etymology, confirming "ink", but taking me to sprut.

  • Mystery 1: Is it plausible that sprut is the Crimean Tatar for octopus? This is one of many entries added by a contributor with reference to a genuine-looking dictionary; but how likely is it that this classic Germanic vowel cluster would just happen to make the CT identical to the end of the Norwegian name? Norwegian fishing boats in the Black Sea? I tried searching a list of Tatar words for 'spr' (actually in Cyrillic, спр) and found only "ekspres" (or similar). Seems fishy, or at least marine invertebratorial, to me.
  • Mystery 2: A web search on "sprut" (or "spruter", the present tense verb form) throws up pages of 50% dictionaries, 50% "erotik...", but this should surely be the very sprute as at Det Norske Akademis ordbok. I really don't know enough about Norwegian to make a new entry, and am not even quite sure how/why the stem form is "sprute".

Imaginatorium (talk) 07:21, 7 April 2018 (UTC)

@Imaginatorium: The mutual intelligibility with Tatar has nothing to do with the topic in question, does it? Both Crimean Tatar and Tatar are Turkic languages and they are similar as much as other Turkic languages are similar to each other. Crimean Tatar is closer to Turkish and (Volga) Tatar is closer to Bashkir and Bashkir Kyrgyz and both are heavily influenced by Russian. sprut is apparently a borrowing from Russian спрут (sprut) but I don't have access to the Crimean Tatar dictionary at the moment, so I can't confirm and I'm not 100% sure where the Russian term came from but it's not a native Russian word, obviously. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 07:44, 7 April 2018 (UTC)
I don't think it can be a native Turkic word either, since I'm pretty sure those don't allow s + consonant clusters at the beginning of a word. But contact between the Varangians and the speakers of Crimean Tatar is not improbable. —Mahāgaja (formerly Angr) · talk 07:56, 7 April 2018 (UTC)
Thanks - that solves mystery 1, since a loan from Russian is obviously plausible. But mystery 2: I will change the etymology to point to a redlink "sprute", then hope someone can take it from there, or maybe I will have a go. Imaginatorium (talk) 03:24, 8 April 2018 (UTC)
My sources say the Crimean Tatar term is sekizayaq. The Crimean Tatar-Ukrainian dictionary mentioned in the reference says sprut=спрут. "спрут" is a large octopus in Russian or Ukrainian. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 05:23, 8 April 2018 (UTC)
The link pointed to sprut#Norwegian_Bokmål before the recent edit, so the whole question about Crimean Tatar is negligence on your part, which is understandable considering the misguidance that are blue color links to an nonexistent section, paired with the surprisingly fitting sense given at the top of the page. There might not be a lot of difference between sprut and sprute, but I'm curious.
Pinging @Donnanz Rhyminreason (talk) 02:08, 19 April 2018 (UTC)
I wasn't responsible for the Crimean Tatar entry (entered before my time), however Einar Haugen (Norwegian English Dictionary) says sprut can be a squid, Ommastrephes sagittatus, which is an apparently outdated reference to Todarodes sagittatus, usually called akkar in Norwegian. Sprut is apparently an alternative name for the akkar. DonnanZ (talk) 09:08, 19 April 2018 (UTC)
I'm almost certain that Crimean Tatar term was borrowed from Russian спрут (sprut) but I can't find anything about the etymology of the Russian term. Vladimir Dal defines the term in 1863-66 with alternative forms спруд (sprud), скрут (skrut), which make it sound native Slavic but I can't confirm it. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 11:39, 19 April 2018 (UTC)

April 2018

Syllables of whitening

The word whiten has a syllabic nasal at the end: /ˈwaɪt.n̩/ (“white-n”). Dictionary.com shows the pronunciation of whitening as /ˈwaɪt.n̩.ɪŋ/ (“white-n-ing”) having three syllables with a syllabic nasal in the middle, but that seems to be different from the audio file there. Isn’t it rather /ˈwaɪt.nɪŋ/ (“white-ning”) having two syllables? Similarly, isn’t whitener pronounced /ˈwaɪt.nɚ/ (“white-ner”) rather than /ˈwaɪt.n̩.ɚ/ (“white-n-er”)? — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 15:31, 2 April 2018 (UTC)

The two-syllable pronunciation is much more common in normal (rather than careful) speech. In normal speech there is sometimes a need to distinguish between terms like lightening and lightning. But in the more general case, is that kind of syllable-dropping lexical information rather than a general phenomenon of speech? DCDuring (talk) 15:45, 2 April 2018 (UTC)
Well, it can vary from dialect to dialect. For example, I pronounce settler in three syllables with the /t/ realized as a flap: [ˈsɛɾl̩ɚ] and was quite astonished as a teenager when I heard someone from a different part of the States pronounce it in two syllables with the /t/ realized as a glottal stop: [ˈsɛʔlɚ]. This contrasts with butler, which both of us pronounced in two syllables with a glottal stop: [ˈbʌʔlɚ]. So it's not lexical in the sense that it's something specific to the word whitening, but it's still lexicographically relevant as it's not automatically predictable in all accents. —Mahāgaja (formerly Angr) · talk 17:04, 2 April 2018 (UTC)
As another datapoint, I have settler with two syllables but whitening and the like as invariably trisyllabic in my dialect (or at least idiolect (?)). It might be very difficult to pin down which pronunciations are normal in which dialects without finding academic research on the subject. — Vorziblix (talk · contribs) 21:17, 4 April 2018 (UTC)
Thank you guys. There seems no consensus among native speakers… — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 07:40, 5 April 2018 (UTC)

Italicising "especially" in sense lines

Italicising "especially" in sense lines is a practice that I dislike and sometimes undo. Example: person might be "any living creature, especially a human being". If you remove the italics, the line still makes perfect sense, and looks less prissy. The apparent distinction is that the italicised text should be interpreted on a "meta" level, i.e. X is defined as Y but is especially defined as Z; however, there is almost never any real difference between saying this and saying that X is defined as "Y, especially Z". I can't imagine us italicising thus: "any small dog, but never a poodle"; it also looks sillier the shorter the entry is. (Would you want italics on the "especially" in alevin?) Policy issue? Equinox 02:16, 3 April 2018 (UTC)

Bonus argument: putting a word in italics isn't semantically useful either (it's not safe for automated tools to interpret those italics as a gloss etc., because italics inside a sense line could be a genus or anything), so if we are going to do this then we need some kind of template. Equinox 02:23, 3 April 2018 (UTC)
@Equinox so "if we are going ....", very funny. Sobreira ►〓 (parlez) 09:09, 3 April 2018 (UTC)
I don't particularly like the italics, but see the "meta" distinction. Surely it is very common in dictionaries to abbreviate this to "esp.", and this distinctive abbreviation needs no italics to be distinguished from the word "especially" if it occurs in a definition. Why not use "esp." here? Imaginatorium (talk) 09:30, 3 April 2018 (UTC)
Thanks for the input; however, (i) "esp." and "especially" shouldn't be semantically different (even if they have historically been different in dictionaries); (ii) any actual difference is clearly based on the fact that paper dictionaries needed to save space for print purposes; for an Internet dictionary, saving the letters "-ecially" makes no difference (and would force a few users to look up "esp." to see what it means). Equinox 02:34, 5 April 2018 (UTC)


Can we give a direct translation or example, so we can understand something like "Questo utente ha imparato a programmare su uno ZX Spectrum 48k e a distanza di più di trent'anni si ritrova a programmare per lavoro dispositivi che non arrivano a 8kB di ram. Averceli 48kB!"? (Taken from here) Sobreira ►〓 (parlez) 09:09, 3 April 2018 (UTC)

QAnon, The Storm

These proper nouns related to a conspiracy theory are citable under hot word criteria, but I'm not convinced that their inclusion is desirable and would appreciate some opinions on this. (For reference, "QAnon" or "Q" is an anonymous 4chan user and Trump supporter who purports to have Q-clearance and has originated "The Storm". "The Storm" or "Follow(ing) the White Rabbit" is a conspiracy theory among Trump supporters that postulates that the Mueller investigation is a "deep-state" effort to support Trump and round up a satanic paedophile ring supposedly operated by several prominent politicians.) ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 10:50, 3 April 2018 (UTC)

Eastern Armenian: Feminine Ending for Nationalities

I'm working through Pimsleur's ten only-audio lessons in Eastern Armenian. Pimsleur always teaches you how to say "I am an American." along with how to say the L2 country's nationality. The male form is ամերիկացի - amerikats’i. The female form sounds like "amerikoohee" 1. How is that spelled in the Armenian alphabet? 2. Could that be added to the entry for ամերիկացի? With the corresponding Armenian words հայ, հայուհի (hay, hayuhi) the feminine form is listed under "derived term"

My guess is ամերիկուհի. Google translates from Armenian to English as "American woman" without any "did you mean ..." corrections.

(It can be very difficult to get Google to reveal feminine and formal 2nd-person plural forms where English is ambivalent.)

@Vahagn PetrosyanΜετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 17:16, 4 April 2018 (UTC)
What you heard on the audio is ամերիկուհի (amerikuhi). But use ամերիկացի (amerikacʿi) for both genders. The forms in -ուհի (-uhi) are linguistically marked. Using them is similar to using authoress for a female author. --Vahag (talk) 19:43, 4 April 2018 (UTC)

interrogative lemma and IPA

Are there interrogative lemmata? What is acceptable: to be, or not to be? or, to be, or not to be?
And please, could someone help: what IPA symbol would i use for an interrogative /ˈti ˈðeon ʝeˈnesθe?/ (for τι δέον γενέσθαι) Thank you sarri.greek (talk) 13:00, 6 April 2018 (UTC)

@Sarri.greek There are several here. The page title doesn’t get a ?, but you can add it to the head= (as in who's 'she', the cat's mother).
IPA has characters for intonation if Greek questions are marked with that, but I have never seen these characters used in Wiktionary. — Ungoliant (falai) 13:30, 6 April 2018 (UTC)
Thank you @Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV: sarri.greek (talk) 13:42, 6 April 2018 (UTC)

amoret, bandon, delightous, etc.

I've been adding some quotes to words in Category:Requests for quotation/The Romaunt of the Rose. The text uses alternate spellings (e.g. baundon, delitous); I added them under alternative forms. Should these forms found in The Romaunt of the Rose be Middle English rather than English? Chaucer was certainly writing in Middle English. – Gormflaith (talk) 13:38, 6 April 2018 (UTC)

Yes please. Webster 1913 did not clearly distinguish ME (or OE) from ModE; I should have entered them as ME in most cases. Equinox 13:39, 6 April 2018 (UTC)
Alright, will do. Thanks. – Gormflaith (talk) 13:51, 6 April 2018 (UTC)

social pattern

This may or may not be a legitimate entry but the definition seems barely meaningful: "The systems of control mechanisms to dominate these entities of the organization to achieve a defined goal." Equinox 17:00, 6 April 2018 (UTC)

cubalibre etymology

It mentions a battle cry (i.e. "free Cuba!") but Rum and Coke says that the libre is an adjective, not a verb. Who's right? Equinox 18:01, 6 April 2018 (UTC)

"free Cuba" = "a Cuba that is free", it is not an imperative. DTLHS (talk) 18:03, 6 April 2018 (UTC)
Spanish has a word order that's the reverse of English's for adjectival modifiers, but not for verbs. If libre were a verb, the only way to say this as two words would be "Libre Cuba!". There's nothing wrong with a battle cry being a bare noun phrase- it's actually quite rare for them to be complete sentences. Chuck Entz (talk) 21:33, 6 April 2018 (UTC)
In fact, libre is an imperative verb form, corresponding to the subject usted, so ¡Libre Cuba! does mean "Free Cuba!" as an imperative, speaking formally to one person. —Mahāgaja (formerly Angr) · talk 05:47, 7 April 2018 (UTC)
But it's not "libre Cuba", it's "Cuba libre". DTLHS (talk) 05:59, 7 April 2018 (UTC)
Yeah, I know; I was responding to Chuck's sentence "If libre were a verb, the only way to say this as two words would be 'Libre Cuba!'"; I was pointing out that that sentence needn't be a hypothetical. —Mahāgaja (formerly Angr) · talk 06:58, 7 April 2018 (UTC)

pirog, pierogi

Should we merge these two pages into a singe main entry? DTLHS (talk) 05:43, 8 April 2018 (UTC)

My first answer is no. The etymologies are similar but not the same and they are different types of dishes, which is a confusion not only in the recipient languages but in the source languages as well, to some extent. Basically, these are mostly pies vs dumplings. Less confusion in Polish dumplings and Russian pies, more confusion in Ukrainian pies and dumplings. Care should be taken in English about which dish they are talking about and whose cuisine. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 05:52, 8 April 2018 (UTC)
If you think about it, the main difference between a Russian пиро́г (piróg) and a Polish pieróg is the type of dough. --WikiTiki89 17:16, 9 April 2018 (UTC)


There seems to be something called a 'tailgut cyst', so there must be another meaning of 'tailgut' which I didn't put when I started the entry, but I can't find its meaning on its own. Kaixinguo~enwiktionary (talk) 18:01, 8 April 2018 (UTC)

(It seems to be mentioned in Daniel John Cunningham's Text-book of Anatomy. —Suzukaze-c 00:17, 9 April 2018 (UTC))
I see plenty of uses in a medical sense and also in a music sense. Alternative spellings tail gut and tail-gut seem attestable, possibly in both senses. DCDuring (talk) 02:40, 9 April 2018 (UTC)
@Suzukaze-c: Thank you, for some reason that is not accessible in my location. Kaixinguo~enwiktionary (talk) 00:05, 10 April 2018 (UTC)
@DCDuring: Thanks, the music sense is the only one I knew. I can't add the other sense of 'tailgut', though. Kaixinguo~enwiktionary (talk) 00:05, 10 April 2018 (UTC)
Thanks for adding that sense. Kaixinguo~enwiktionary (talk) 19:45, 10 April 2018 (UTC)

Definition of burn missing sense of nuclear fusion

The definition of "burn" does mention the sense in which the term os used here, for example: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxygen-burning_process

"The oxygen-burning process is a set of nuclear fusion reactions that take place in massive stars that have used up the lighter elements in their cores. Oxygen-burning is preceded by the neon-burning process and succeeded by the silicon-burning process.”

There are also hydrogen burning, helium burning and carbon burning processes.

罣礙/挂碍 (guà'ài/ke(i)ge/ga-ae)

Term found in the Heart Sutra, appears to be translation of Sanskrit आवरण (āvaraṇa, covering, or other meanings in this link). Is there a modern term for this in any of the three major East Asian languages? You can check the usage examples at 菩提薩埵.

Also, can this be allowed to be added by CFI? Likely archaic/obsolete term in my view. ~ POKéTalker (ŦC) 04:24, 9 April 2018 (UTC)

@Poketalker: This term is still used in modern Chinese, but it's now more often written as 掛礙挂碍 (guà'ài). Even if it were archaic, I don't see why it would not be allowed by CFI, unless you're talking about a specific Buddhist sense different from the ones listed in the entry. From the translation at 菩提薩埵, it seems to translate to "obstruction", which is easily attestable in Chinese. — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 05:23, 9 April 2018 (UTC)
@Justinrleung:, thanks. Thought was an obsolete variant for /. Still, in traditional and non-Chinese texts, the sutra uses 罣. Interesting... ~ POKéTalker (ŦC) 04:02, 12 April 2018 (UTC)
@Poketalker: No, 罣 is not obsolete, just rare in simplified Chinese and a bit uncommon in traditional Chinese. — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 04:06, 12 April 2018 (UTC)

taruf, tarruf, teruf, terf

See Citations:terf: taruf, tarruf, teruf and terf seem to be one or more lexemes for a unit of land in India. Are any of them citable in English? What is the etymon and specific meaning? (Pinging @AryamanA, Mahagaja as users who might know or know how to look it up in Sanskrit or Hindi dictionaries.) - -sche (discuss) 17:26, 9 April 2018 (UTC)

Sanskrit doesn't have an /f/ sound; if this word exists in Hindi it's probably a borrowing from Persian and/or Arabic. —Mahāgaja (formerly Angr) · talk 19:00, 9 April 2018 (UTC)
@-sche: It's तरफ़ (taraf, side, face; direction) judging by the first quote, but I haven't heard of any relation to units of land for it. (I'm also not a farmer though) I'll check my dictionaries and see if anything can be cited. —AryamanA (मुझसे बात करेंयोगदान) 01:17, 10 April 2018 (UTC)
I found Bengali তরফ (tôrôph, revenue-collection area) (source). It is cognate to the Hindi word, and judging by this Hindi dictionary's "Mughal glossary" it meant the same thing in Hindi-Urdu during Mughal rule. I'll add the definitions to the Hindi entry. —AryamanA (मुझसे बात करेंयोगदान) 01:22, 10 April 2018 (UTC)
Thanks. I've created an entry for taraf. It's not common, but I think that's just because tarafs are not often mentioned (rather than that taraf is a rare word for a concept often referred to using another word), so I haven't labelled it "rare" or "uncommon". - -sche (discuss) 15:51, 10 April 2018 (UTC)

Term shoefie / quotations

How to add / correct quotations? Just came across your definition of this term and noticed the earliest dated quotations are from 2015. However, I have invented this term back in 2014 for our Photoresk art expo in Brussels when I introduced the first automatic shoefie machine. Here is still the web-site of the expo https://disclosure.photoresk.com/shoefies/ How can I have this information amended? Thank you. Claus Siebeneicher claus@photoresk.com

I expect that this dialog will appear on the entry's talk page. Generally we only show citations from "durably archived" sources, which excludes sites only archived on archival sites that may themselves not be durable. DCDuring (talk) 14:24, 10 April 2018 (UTC)

Just curiosity

Is it "As continue conveys the sense of progression, it is pleonastic to follow it with on" equals to the following?

  • ..., it is pleonastic following it with on
  • ..., following it with on is pleonastic

Is one of the ways more formal or diachronically/diatopically marked? Sobreira ►〓 (parlez) 13:09, 10 April 2018 (UTC)

"it is pleonastic to follow it with on" and "following it with on is pleonastic" are both fine (I'm not sure if there is a difference in formality). But "it is pleonastic following it with on" is wrong, although if you insert a comma "it is pleonastic, following it with on" then it sounds very colloquial or as though the clarification is an afterthought, meaning you meant to just say "it is pleonastic" and then realized you need to add "following it with on". --WikiTiki89 15:41, 10 April 2018 (UTC)
The former it is not fine because it contains "it" twice with different meaning in it. Rhyminreason (talk) 20:48, 12 April 2018 (UTC)
That's not the reason. --WikiTiki89 20:51, 12 April 2018 (UTC)

wazoo, up the wazoo, out the wazoo

Are these in fact vulgar, as currently labelled? I thought they were euphemistic/bowdlerized words, somewhat like hoo-ha. - -sche (discuss) 16:19, 10 April 2018 (UTC)

These are euphemistic and about as mild as hoo-ha, like you say. Also, it might be worth mentioning that "wazoo" doesn't really exist outside of these two phrases. Ultimateria (talk) 18:15, 10 April 2018 (UTC)
By vulgar we mean "Language considered distasteful or obscene." per Appendix:Glossary. I wouldn't call these obscene and don't think most others would either. If they were truly distasteful E*Trade wouldn't have used "out the wazoo" in their award-winning ad. I suppose they are just informal. DCDuring (talk) 18:23, 10 April 2018 (UTC)
Thanks; I relabelled them as "colloquial". - -sche (discuss) 16:40, 11 April 2018 (UTC)

heraldry term?

I can't find a translation of the Catalan adjective caironat, but I can translate the definition as "In heraldry, that rests on one of its angles, applied to square coats of arms". What is the English term? Ultimateria (talk) 18:13, 10 April 2018 (UTC)

I don't know, but maybe you can find it if you browse http://www.apl385.com/gilling/herldref.htm. —Mahāgaja (formerly Angr) · talk 18:30, 10 April 2018 (UTC)
Es diu cantoned. Bona nit! 猛犸象牙 (talk) 22:04, 10 April 2018 (UTC)
er no. — If I needed such a term I'd probably say lozengewise or bendwise. —Tamfang (talk) 05:55, 11 April 2018 (UTC)
Yeah, a couple years ago I spent ages trying to find a translation for caironat too. Never got one. --Cien pies 6 (talk) 12:44, 11 April 2018 (UTC)
Well, I've at least added the definition given above (confirmed by Wikimedia Common's category of "Caironat shields"). Probably "(of a square) lozengewise" or "...diamondwise" would cover it. - -sche (discuss) 16:39, 11 April 2018 (UTC)


I made a change in the page Pornocracy, translating Sæculum as Century. It was translated as age and someone undone my translation just because in the Wikipedia page is translated as age but in Latin, Sæculum means century, not age, epoch or whatever. Latin for age is aetate. Someone can help me?

That's a different sense of age. Here is the entry in the dictionary nearest to my hand (Smith & Lockwood):
saeculum (poet. saeclum), ī, n. I. the period of one generation (i.e. 33⅓ years), a generation. 1. Lit. a. Prop.: Cic., Verg., Liv., etc. b. More vaguely: aureum, Cic.; Pyrrhae, Hor. 2. Transf. a. the people living at a particular time, a generation : Pl., Lucr., Cic., Verg., etc. b. In pl.  : successive generations, races : Lucr. c. the spirit of the age, the times : nec corrumpere et corrumpi saeculum vocatur. Tac. II. the full period of a man's life, a period of a hundred years, a century. a. Prop.: Varr., Cic., Hor. b. More vaguely : an age : Cic. [It secolo ; Fr. siècle.]
Tamfang (talk) 06:08, 11 April 2018 (UTC)

righteous among the nations

Is this really plural only? And are there alternative capitalisations? --Per utramque cavernam (talk) 12:37, 11 April 2018 (UTC)

Really the English phrase is an adjective. The Hebrew phrase is plural (but perhaps it can be used in the singular as well). On a separate note, this is the name of an award, is it really dictionary-worthy? --WikiTiki89 16:32, 11 April 2018 (UTC)
There's some singular use: "[name] was honored as a Righteous Among the Nations in [year]" (with a it's singular and a noun). But is there enough for attestation? The adjectival use, e.g. "the Righteous among the Nations award", could also be a noun in an English spaced semi-compound, but in this case it's no title. As a title, if that exists, it could be a noun too like Lord is a title and a noun. - 10:12, 12 April 2018 (UTC)
The ordinary use is adjectival "he was recognized as Righteous Among the Nations". Without the "a", it's adjectival. I didn't say that a title can't be a noun. Not all titles are the same. --WikiTiki89 14:15, 12 April 2018 (UTC)
Recently, there was an interesting discussion about (the) use of (the) articles at Wiktionary:Information_desk#that's_the_wrong_direction. Grammar is complicated and apparently arbitrary. Rhyminreason (talk) 21:06, 12 April 2018 (UTC)


These definitions are...pretty bad. Is this the page to find volunteers for rewriting definitions? I'm terrible at lexicography and I don't know where to ask. Ultimateria (talk) 00:45, 13 April 2018 (UTC)

Can you point out what you are dinding badly written? The ety is complicated, the definitions seem straight forward.
No, this is not the page for a request like that. At least you need to be more specific. Rhyminreason (talk) 08:04, 13 April 2018 (UTC)
The definitions are incredibly vague. "Covered" how? How does "caused" apply to a prefix? At the very least, each sense needs an example. Ultimateria (talk) 22:31, 15 April 2018 (UTC)
@Ultimateria: Just ignore him. You're right, this entry needs work. --Per utramque cavernam (talk) 22:34, 15 April 2018 (UTC)


Found at Category:English entries that don't exist

  1. pathological fear of hearing a specific word or name.
    A classic case of onomatophobia is the actors' superstition for the word “Macbeth”‎; they never utter it, but use euphemisms instead: “The Scottish Play”‎, “MacBee”‎.

sarri.greek (talk) 19:49, 13 April 2018 (UTC)

It had two citations already; I've managed to find at least one more. Ten years after Conrad's comment that it'd be nice if someone could find a third citation, it's finally citable! So I've resurrected the entry. :)
A miracle! Two...! How nice of you @-sche:. Your citations, always inspiring, especially for us, non-anglophones. Thanks sarri.greek (talk) 21:19, 13 April 2018 (UTC)

Kakistocracy etymology appears to be wrong -- please help


I don't the time right now learn how to contribute (but I would like to do so).

Problem: The word "kakistocracy" is topical in the current political environment re Trump, but the entry in Wiktionary has an apparently wrong attribution in its Etymology.

Specifically, the current Etymology states that "The word was coined by the English author Thomas Love Peacock (1785–1866) in his 1829 novella The Misfortunes of Elphin as the opposite of aristocracy (see the quotation)."

However, there is a credible citation to a much earlier (1829-1644=185) use of the word:

1644, Paul Gosnold, "A SERMON preached at the PUBLIQUE FAST the ninth day of Aug. 1644 at St. Maries, OXFORD, BEFORE the honorable Members of the two Houses of PARLIAMENT, There assembled. By PAUL GOSNOLD Master of Arts. And published by authority.", OXFORD, Printed Henry Hall. Cover+30 pages. Early English Books Online-Text Creation Partnership (EEBO-TCP Phase 1) Ann Arbor, MI (USA); Oxford (UK), 2008-09 URL: https://quod.lib.umich.edu/e/eebo/a41582.0001.001/21:A41582.0001.001?page=root;size=125;vid=94937;view=text

"Therefore we need not make any scruple of praying against such: [...] against those tempests of the State, those restlesse spirits who can no longer live, then be stickling and medling; who are stung with a perpetuall itch of changing and innovating, transforming our old Hierarchy into a new Presbytery, and this againe into a newer Independency; and our well-temperd Monarchy into a mad kinde of Kakistocracy." (pages 17-18)

So, someone, please check this out and perhaps edit the entry accordingly.


  • Seems legit. I've amended the entry accordingly. Thanks. Ƿidsiþ 13:55, 16 April 2018 (UTC)

How'd Chell survive sleeping without waking up for anything, for 5 million years?

Also, what's the word for the definition "1 million years"? Please answer both questions. - I is American English.

mega-annum or megayear. The Chell question isn't relevant to a dictionary; try asking at Wikipedia. Equinox 00:00, 15 April 2018 (UTC)

It's a Portal 2 question. It's about a game. Let someone from Game Theory answer that one. Also, I thought I was on Wikipedia. - I is American English.


Anyone have an idea where the name of the wolf-like dog in Lessing's fable has it's name from, what it means? These are closely modeled after Aesop's fables. "Hylax" looks foreign enough to be from Greek, as the less mysterious Lykodes from the same story, while the well known Meister Lampe seems to be a pun on french lapin (rabbit) and Lampe (lamp). Is it related to hyena (which has a surprising etymology)? Also a play on words? Here's the reference at Deutsches Textarchiv. --Rhyminreason (talk) 02:42, 15 April 2018 (UTC)

See LSJ for some Greek words that seem to have the same root. The stem seems to be a verb meaning "bark, howl". L&S has an entry for Hylax, the proper name of some dog, glossed as Barker. DCDuring (talk) 03:33, 15 April 2018 (UTC)



Is there any particular reason there are two sections « Letter » for this entry—perhaps could they be merged? — Automatik (talk) 10:53, 15 April 2018 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done (formatting of the first letter section was obvy not correct: definition about head, missing definition in the definition section). - 23:56, 19 April 2018 (UTC)

Please advise how to add the word "citadel" as a reference to a Salvation Army place of worship

I would like add the word "citadel" (a Salvation Army place of worship but there doesn't seem to be a "wizard" tool to assist people in adding content to wiktionary. A google search for:

"citadel definition Salvation Army"

turned up the following results:

www.thefreedictionary.com www.thefreedictionary.com%2FSalvation%2BArmy&usg=AOvVaw1zQvNFW1XtNBCNHZgR8s9K

en.oxforddictionaries.com en.oxforddictionaries.com%2Fdefinition%2Fcitadel&usg=AOvVaw3qdipkGXdyPgQ6qEbbuW0t

www.bbc.co.uk www.bbc.co.uk%2Fnorfolk%2Fcontent%2Farticles%2F2007%2F08%2F20%2Ffaith_salvation_army_20070820_feature.shtml&usg=AOvVaw2Csd_-zhJkE-QWGQ4oYgjm

www.sheffieldcitadel.co.uk www.sheffieldcitadel.co.uk%2Falpha%2F&usg=AOvVaw1dfWbnaFedZAif43tfUCJq

Please help. Adrian816 (talk) 14:14, 15 April 2018 (UTC)

spin alley, spin row

WP gives these as synonyms of spin room. Is that correct? --Per utramque cavernam (talk) 15:19, 15 April 2018 (UTC)


As in "single-issue politics", "single-issue party". Is this lexicalised? --Per utramque cavernam (talk) 15:24, 15 April 2018 (UTC)

treasure chest

"The chest that held the royal treasury." What royal treasury does this refer to specifically? ---> Tooironic (talk) 02:35, 16 April 2018 (UTC)

“Sugar beet” in Persian

In “Lauferica” (1987, Orient), Eiichi Imoto writes:

On the streets of Iran boiled sugar beets sell well. The sugar beet (Beta vulgaris) is called labū or lapū in Persian. Pers. labū or lapū is derived from Pahl. *lapūy, *lapūg or *lapūk. Pahl. *lapūk is derived from O Pers. *lā̆pūka-.

Can these Persian words be confirmed, and what are their native-script forms? @ZxxZxxZ Could you help? Hayyim has:

لبو (laboo) Noun Boiled beet.

And Steingass:

لبلبو lablabū, Beet boiled and eaten with whey and garlic.

Asking because these words bear an interesting resemblance to Chinese 蘿蔔 (and variants, < Old Chinese *rabuk ?).

Also, could the Persian be borrowed from Akkadian 𒇻𒊬 (laptu, liptu, turnip) (~ Hebrew לֶפֶת (lefet, turnip), Classical Syriac ܠܰܦܬܳܐ (laftā, turnip), Arabic لِفْت (lift, turnip)), like proposed in TURNIP in Encyclopædia Iranica? Is the -ūka an explainable element?

Thanks in advance! Wyang (talk) 13:26, 16 April 2018 (UTC)

There are lots of interesting resemblances when it comes to words for turnips: there are cognates or borrowings to the Akkadian word in Arabic and Hebrew, Latin has rāpum and nāpus, and Greek has νᾶπῠ (nâpu) (said to be a possible borrowing from Egytian). My impression is that there's a very old word for turnip and related plants (see Ancient Greek σῐ́νᾱπῐ (sínāpi), for instance) that's been wandering around the Middle East and elsewhere for thousands of years, perhaps as long as there have been domesticated turnips. Sugar beets, on the other hand, are only a couple of centuries old. New things tend to receive variations of existing names for similar things, so this is what one would expect. Chuck Entz (talk) 14:06, 16 April 2018 (UTC)
Don't forget Ancient Greek ῥάπυς (rhápus), which corresponds to the Iranic cognate most closely. Crom daba (talk) 00:33, 17 April 2018 (UTC)
The sense "boiled beet" is correct for لبو (labu) and لبلبو (lablabu), but regarding لبلبو (lablabu) in particular, it is less common in Iran, and I can't confirm that particular sense based on dictionaries other than Steingass. لبلبو (lablabu) also has other senses in some dialects of Iran, including "blackberry" in Persian of Gorgan. --Z 09:41, 18 April 2018 (UTC)
@ZxxZxxZ Thank you! Any luck with the Middle and Old Persian forms? They look like they were taken from somewhere, though it is not clear what the source for them was. Wyang (talk) 09:50, 18 April 2018 (UTC)
No problem. We can derive it from Middle Persian because the suffix ـو (-u) (from Middle Persian suffix [Term?] (/-ūg/)) which forms adjectives from nouns (if I'm not mistaken) is not a productive suffix in Persian, though I know it is a productive suffix in some other modern Iranian dialects, beside Middle Iranian languages. The first component could be لب (lab, lip). --Z 15:46, 18 April 2018 (UTC)

OED sex and gender

The last OED update included a load of revisions and additions to terms related to sex and gender – there's a very interesting summary of it here which I think even non-subscribers can access. Since this is an area we've struggled with a bit, and which attracts a lot of attention, it might be a useful read. Ƿidsiþ 07:47, 17 April 2018 (UTC)

Their update pages are visible to non-subscribers and can be an interesting source of information and ideas, or at least an interesting read.--Prosfilaes (talk) 20:30, 17 April 2018 (UTC)


Can someone clean up underneath? The quotes for the adverb use the word below instead of underneath, and I'm not convinced that her underneath is an adverb. It should be a noun, fitting that definition well. Danielklein (talk) 09:05, 18 April 2018 (UTC)

Good catch. Looks like someone had a thinko. — Ungoliant (falai) 12:36, 18 April 2018 (UTC)


seems to require a proper definition. Equinox 09:08, 18 April 2018 (UTC)

Seems, shmeems. DCDuring (talk) 19:27, 18 April 2018 (UTC)
Memes. —Suzukaze-c 02:01, 19 April 2018 (UTC)
Note: This was deleted without RFD. Rhyminreason (talk) 03:35, 19 April 2018 (UTC)
By the entry's creator and sole contributor. DCDuring (talk) 03:41, 19 April 2018 (UTC)

RFV: sweep for English natives

Did I write this "# An expanse or a swath, a strip of land." taken from swath right?

In other words: are swath, expanse, sweep, spread, stretch all synonyms?

Sobreira ►〓 (parlez) 09:39, 18 April 2018 (UTC)

Yes. Swath might be dated; sweep might be 'literary'. There are probably other slight differences in usage, but not much in definition, IMO. DCDuring (talk) 19:16, 18 April 2018 (UTC)

Serbo-Croatian budemo/будемо

@Crom daba, Demilux, Dijan, Maria Sieglinda von Nudeldorf, Vorziblix and anyone else who knows Serbo-Croatian: an anon just created budemo/будемо and called it a pronoun meaning "we". Is that right? I thought it was a verb form, but I don't know Serbo-Croatian. —Mahāgaja (formerly Angr) · talk 19:32, 18 April 2018 (UTC)

Now cleaned up by Per utramque cavernam. —Mahāgaja (formerly Angr) · talk 11:50, 19 April 2018 (UTC)

Night of Broken Glass

WP gives this as a translation of German Kristallnacht, but the evidence of GB looks pretty scarce. Is it actually used? --Per utramque cavernam (talk) 09:50, 19 April 2018 (UTC)

Google Books makes it pretty clear it's a translation of Kristallnacht. HathiTrust offers at least this cite for a use; there seems to be a lot more if we accept versions in quotes.--Prosfilaes (talk) 22:59, 19 April 2018 (UTC)
Well, it's not a proper translation of Kristallnacht; at best it's a semi-calque (Nacht = night; Kristall = crystal – broken glass) or explanation.
"quotes" as in usages with quotation marks (AKA quotes) around it, or as in citations? If it's the second, there could be a proper non-quote usage (only "could", as there are exceptions like the quote not being a proper quote but a translation). - 23:53, 19 April 2018 (UTC)


So, I'm creating entries in Bulgarian now apparently. I figure брегова means coastal, but is probably not the lemma. Then I get no further, as I suck at Bulgarian. Can someone check the entry? --Cien pies 6 (talk) 13:45, 19 April 2018 (UTC)

If you suck at Bulgarian, maybe you should leave the creation of Bulgarian entries to people who don't. —Mahāgaja (formerly Angr) · talk 13:55, 19 April 2018 (UTC)
I totally agree with you! --Cien pies 6 (talk) 17:09, 19 April 2018 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Done --WikiTiki89 16:09, 19 April 2018 (UTC)


Sense 2 of the noun ("Taking up too much of something so others cannot use it"). Is that not just the present participle of hog? – Gormflaith (talk) 21:51, 19 April 2018 (UTC)

-cast suffix entry?

Should we have one? It seems to have developed its own life and personality beyond the parent broadcast. Possible candidates might include blogcast, multicast, nowcast, peercast, podcast, unicast, videocast, vodcast. Equinox 07:16, 21 April 2018 (UTC)

That would be a normal development. The uses in peercast, singlecast, and unicast, in particular, seem to contrast with the meaning in broadcast. And it doesn't seem like a return to cast#Verb. DCDuring (talk) 23:32, 21 April 2018 (UTC)


I am doing a bit of editing and encountered Wikipedia's [6] in which they say, mostly believably (to me anyway, Latin always was Greek to me)
"The Latin word exuviae, meaning "things stripped from a body", is found only in the plural. Exuvia is a derived singular usage that is becoming more common, but in fact this is incorrect. Only a single work by Propertius uses the term Exuvium as a singular form"
In the Wiktionary entry OTOH, we have a whole table of Latin inflections, singular and plural, and ploughing through Ainsworth, I don't see where the author of that table got her/his authority from. I am tempted to edit the item in line with WP's entry, but could I first beg a bit of input at this end.

I must admit that exuvia/e always did set my teeth on edge, just as virus/i did (as I am sure it used to set true-blue Romans' on edge, who never failed to say "viruses" whenever they desired the plural), but let that wait till we have these exuviuses settled.

Cheers JonRichfield (talk) 11:51, 21 April 2018 (UTCT)

The Cassell's New Latin Dictionary gives only "exuviae, -arum". All the examples given are in the plural. Caeruleancentaur (talk) 19:07, 21 April 2018 (UTC)
Georges' dict gives "exuvium, iī, n. (exuo), Nbf. v. exuviae (w. s.), Prop. 4, 10, 6." and "Sing. exuvia, ae, f., Augustin. serm. 59, 1 Mai (nova bibl. patr. 1. p. 118).". In later ML and (early) NL, exuvia could have become more common than in antique Latin and early ML. It's possible that the "is becoming more common" properly is "is becoming more common IN ENGLISH". - 22:16, 21 April 2018 (UTC)


hi why very words in wiktionary not reference in bodem of word

Maybe doesn't properly answer the question, but English Wiktionary has WT:CFI (rules for inclusion) and WT:RFV (for verification if a term really exists by Wiktionary's inclusion rules). Reference material, like dictionaries, can have invented terms which English wiktionary doesn't accept. - 22:09, 21 April 2018 (UTC)


So, I'm creating entries in Taíno now apparently. I figure Borinquen means Puerto Rico, but it is probably missing something. I get no further, as I suck at Taíno. Can someone check the entry? --Cien pies 6 (talk) 18:29, 21 April 2018 (UTC)


This is a preposition, not an adverb, right? Caeruleancentaur (talk) 19:03, 21 April 2018 (UTC)

No, I think it's an adverb indeed; it's always used (as far as I know) with σε (se), which is the real preposition. --Per utramque cavernam (talk) 19:16, 21 April 2018 (UTC)


This seems like some kind of restaurant term:

2017 November 26, Natange Smith, “How To Cook Like A Bajan with Chef Rhea Gilkes”, in Nation News[7]:
It was at The Cliff restaurant where I did estage for six months, I was then hired by Sandy Lane Hotel.

Also [8], "I am definitely planning on returning to the Fat Duck for another estage, don’t get me wrong it’s no summer camp, it is very (very!) hard work from the early hours of the morning until late into the night."

What does it mean? DTLHS (talk) 23:34, 21 April 2018 (UTC)

Please do not edit section titles as this breaks links on talk pages and in other discussion fora.

Oldest tagged RFTs

January 2012


Is this really a noun? is used to create adjectives, in Chinese anyway, don't speak Japanese though... ---> Tooironic 20:20, 1 January 2012 (UTC)

We have decided to call them so recently, based on the fact that they are indeed nouns grammatically. See Wiktionary:Beer parlour#Proper label for Japanese "quasi-adjectives". — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 10:54, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

non divisi

Is non divisi a sum of parts if its entry (if it will have one) has:




# {{music}} not divided

====Usage notes====

* to make every player play all of the notes in a non-[[arpeggiate|arpeggiated]] chord or other groups of notes played simultaneously

Celloplayer115 20:49, 1 January 2012 (UTC)

I wouldn't say so, because the term isn't actually English but Latin. In Latin it would be SOP, but not in English. —CodeCat 21:16, 1 January 2012 (UTC)
Italian, not Latin - like many terms from music. SemperBlotto 08:41, 2 January 2012 (UTC)


This is a Dutch verb that describes some kind of dance, often associated with carnaval. But I'm not really sure what it actually is, or how to define it. Can anyone help? —CodeCat 14:05, 7 January 2012 (UTC)

  • Dutch wiktionary describes it something like "to dance and jump about as a group". Maybe to square dance? SemperBlotto 14:45, 7 January 2012 (UTC)
    • It's not usually performed in a square but in a line, so it seems more like conga. —CodeCat 14:48, 7 January 2012 (UTC)

Does this describe it a bit?

--MaEr 14:18, 8 January 2012 (UTC)

I don't understand the last link but the other two show it well yes. :) —CodeCat 14:42, 8 January 2012 (UTC)
About the last link: just click the search icon, this will start the google image search for "hossen", skipping all manga stuff with "Silvia van Hossen". --MaEr 14:53, 8 January 2012 (UTC)

Could this be a w:en:Polonaise (Dutch w:nl:Polonaise)? --MaEr 15:07, 8 January 2012 (UTC)

The Dutch article does contain this sentence:
Aanvankelijk betekende het 'langzame Poolse dans in driekwartsmaat', maar later werd het vooral gebruikt in de betekenis "dans waarbij men in een sliert achter elkaar host, met de handen op de schouders van de voorgaande persoon"
At first it meant 'slow Polish dance in three-quarter measure', but later it came to be used especially in the meaning "dance where people hos after one another in a line, with the hands on the shoulders of the person in front"
CodeCat 15:11, 8 January 2012 (UTC)
So hossen is the same as dancing a polonaise? If yes, you could add the missing definition. --MaEr 18:23, 10 January 2012 (UTC)
As I understand the article, the modern form of polonaise dancing involves hossen. The only real defining feature of hossen that I can think of, aside from the polonaise part, is taking steps in the rhythm of the music, so that everyone moves together. —CodeCat 18:25, 10 January 2012 (UTC)


The entry for /. "(computing, proscribed) the punctuation mark /, properly called "slash"; see below." The notes claim that / is often misread when reading out Internet addresses. I've never heard this mistake made. Are others familiar with it? Is it really so common? Equinox 14:37, 7 January 2012 (UTC)

I've heard it many times, even from people who I think probably do know which one is the slash and which is the backslash, but who get it wrong sometimes in speech (or in listening — hear "backslash", type /); but I really don't know how common it is. Obviously the error stands out much more than the correct version. It pretty clearly meets the CFI that we apply to non-errors:
but we do apply a "common"-ness requirement to misspellings, and we've sometimes applied that to certain other types of clear errors, so if people want to treat it only in usage notes, I think a case could be made.
RuakhTALK 22:05, 7 January 2012 (UTC)
A commonness requirement for misspellings is important because we accept cites from Usenet, where typographical errors and lazy typing are rampant, and, for that matter, from published works, where typographical errors are not at all uncommon. Use of backslash for slash is not a typographical error or a misspeaking or a lazy typing but a wrong choice of word, which is the kind of thing we as alleged descriptivists should not bar form full entry in the dictionary. MHO.​—msh210 (talk) 17:02, 8 January 2012 (UTC)
Okay. I don't object to us having it if it's real, and Ruakh's examples seem to show that. (I'd really like to see that kind of thing in the entry to support the usage note.) Thanks. Equinox 00:29, 9 January 2012 (UTC)
O.K., I've added the cites to the entry. :-)   I think the definition and usage notes should be rewritten, though. Or maybe the usage note should just be removed, and the definition reworded. —RuakhTALK 01:21, 9 January 2012 (UTC)
The usage note surely belongs on \, not on backslash. 10:37, 10 January 2012 (UTC)
For the record, I was referring to a usage note that's since been removed (by me). The usage note that you refer to doesn't pertain to this sense. (But yes, I agree.) —RuakhTALK 21:05, 10 January 2012 (UTC)
  • My feeling is that backslash can now refer quite acceptably (if confusingly) to either / or \. Ƿidsiþ 11:00, 10 January 2012 (UTC)
    • Perhaps some Windows users, accustomed to seeing backslashes as directory separators, don't notice that slashes in URLs go the opposite direction. In other words, to those who don't recognize the difference, backslash may signify not / per se, but either / or \. ~ Robin 23:57, 10 January 2012 (UTC)
I agree with Robin: people unaware of the handedness of slashes use backslash to mean “file-system pathname delimiter,” or perhaps just “slash character,” and not specifically back- nor forward slash. However, since this contradicts all of the subject experts (glossaries, standards, and style guides in writing, computing, typesetting, etc.), we should indicate that it is considered an error, even if we documentary lexicographers refuse to hold it as such ourselves. Michael Z. 2012-01-12 18:04 z

Proto-Germanic -eu- in Saxon (and/or Dutch)

Moved to Wiktionary talk:About Middle Low GermanCodeCat 22:23, 29 January 2012 (UTC)

acknowledg, judg

Can someone check these out and confirm they are not just scannos? I'm worried Pilcrow doesn't know what he is doing and is inadvertently creating garbage (e.g. he had created the definitely wrong forms judgs and acknowledgs). Equinox 23:07, 7 January 2012 (UTC)

acknowledg would find ready attestation at google books:"acknowledg". A search for judg yields many hits for the abbreviation of the book of the Old Testament. But Locke's Of Human Understanding has the verb abundantly and I think that would be a well-known work. DCDuring TALK 02:29, 8 January 2012 (UTC)


Do you really pronounce pronounce /pɹəˈnæwns/? Should that /w/ be there for a start? 10:35, 10 January 2012 (UTC)

I do, which is why I added that transcription to the entry. I see it's now bene changed to use /aʊ/ instead. Is that a British thing? I really do think Americans have an /æ/ in there, not an /a/.​—msh210 (talk) 16:44, 10 January 2012 (UTC)
I pronounce it /pɹəˈnaʊns/. —Stephen (Talk) 16:54, 10 January 2012 (UTC)
I think in most varieties of both General American and RP the starting point is closer to [a] (not [ɑ]!) than to [æ]. At any rate, it's a custom of long standing to transcribe the mouth vowel as /aʊ/ in broad transcriptions (which is what we want here) of both GenAm and RP. Whether we transcribe the end of the diphthong as /w/ or /ʊ/ is much of a muchness; /ʊ/ is more customary in IPA-based transcriptions, while /w/ is more customary in Americanist transcriptions. Our {{IPA}} links to w:International Phonetic Alphabet chart for English dialects, which uses /aʊ/. Our own WT:ENPRONKEY also uses /aʊ/, though why {{IPA}} doesn't link there, I cannot fathom. —Angr 18:02, 10 January 2012 (UTC)
I pronounce it closer to [æʊ] or even [ɛʊ]... —CodeCat 18:13, 10 January 2012 (UTC)
Yeah well, you're Dutch. ;-) —Angr 18:20, 10 January 2012 (UTC)
*points to the native English speaker tag on her profile page* I was raised speaking Dublin English! —CodeCat 18:21, 10 January 2012 (UTC)
I've been to Dublin. Frankly, Dutch is easier to understand than Dublin English, and I don't even know Dutch! But I suppose in Dublin, your Netherlandic tendency to change th into t or d won't be particularly noticeable. (I once bought something in Dublin for £3.30 and was told "Dat'll be tree turrty.") —Angr 18:31, 10 January 2012 (UTC)
But I don't have any Netherlandic tendencies, I still speak Dublin English with my family. You're right dough, I do dat... —CodeCat 20:59, 10 January 2012 (UTC)
I actually only edited it so the IPA matched the rhyme, I dunno what the 'correct' IPA is. Mglovesfun (talk) 10:08, 11 January 2012 (UTC)
However msh210, I seem to think we've been here before with dominoes. I mean, I couldn't say /ow/ if I wanted to; is your accent just a bit unusual? I think it would be best to avoid rare pronunciations as otherwise we would have literally dozens of pronunciations in some entries. Mglovesfun (talk) 11:46, 12 January 2012 (UTC)
I don't think he's indicating a rare pronunciation; he's using an alternative transcription of a common pronunciation. Transcribing the vowel of pronounce as [æw] isn't wrong and doesn't indicate some minority pronunciation, it's just another way of transcribing exactly the same sound as [aʊ] indicates. But [aʊ] is the more usual transcription in IPA--very few print dictionaries and phonetics textbooks that use IPA will use anything other than [aʊ], and Wiktionary should use it too. —Angr 12:33, 12 January 2012 (UTC)

I've been wondering about that some time ago. /aʊ̯/ is used for German <au>. While my dialect pronounces German /au/ as [ɒʊ̯], I am constantly exposed to the German pron. [aʊ̯] through school, university and media. It does sound very much like -ou- in pronounce. It does however not sound like English /au/ in thousand, which always and in every dialect sounded more like /θäo̯zə̯nd/ to me. Are those two really the same? Because no German pronounces Haus like any English-speaking person I've ever heard in my life ever pronounced house. Ever. Dakhart 17:12, 12 January 2012 (UTC)

Apart from the fact that the ou in pronounce is nasalized, I don't hear a difference between the ou in pronounce and the ou in thousand. It's true that Haus and house sound very different, but that's a matter of precise phonetic realization, which isn't within the scope of a dictionary's pronunciation guide. The fact that German /aʊ/ and English /aʊ/ don't sound the same doesn't mean it's wrong to transcribe them the same way when your goal is a broad phonetic transcription. German /iː/ as in Miete and English /iː/ as in meet don't sound the same either, but we use the same transcription for both. (In a phonetics paper where the difference between the two sounds is the topic of discussion, of course two separate transcriptions would have to be found.) —Angr 17:22, 12 January 2012 (UTC)
I think we should provide both a broad and a narrow transcription, when possible. A narrow transcription can help aid in the exact pronunciation especially when there's no audio. —CodeCat 18:25, 12 January 2012 (UTC)
... but we'd need dozens of different "narrow transcriptions" and lots of new symbols if we were to precisely represent every possible variant. Most readers struggle with simple standard IPA. ... also, could Dakhart please explain how German Haus differs from my northern English house? I've always heard them as homophones. Dbfirs 17:08, 4 February 2012 (UTC)

Ree (Latin)

In response to the Latin form, double e is very unlikely (as vocative of reus). Is this backed up by any other dictionaries (mine doesn't say)? Might it form a vocative singular like deus instead?Metaknowledge 16:05, 13 January 2012 (UTC)


I have no idea what this word means, or even that it existed once. I found it in this book: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/38540/38540-h/38540-h.htm#Page_202 Is it a bycycle, or something else? 03:07, 14 January 2012 (UTC)

It seems to be only in that one book. A few lines later, it is referred to as a "pedalmobile". Equinox 02:37, 16 January 2012 (UTC)


Listed as an alt spelling of at large. Is this real? It would be non-standard (at best! — IMHO wrong) to say "the criminal is at-large", but perhaps you could talk about an "at-large criminal" (?). Equinox 02:36, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

As you know, in English you hyphenate an adjective placed before a noun if it contains spaces, like a book out of print vs. an out-of-print book, and coding from scratch vs. from-scratch coding. Don’t they have different stresses, by the way? — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 10:38, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

Ego Eris, correct standalone

I'm not sure if I'm doing this correctly. I'll be finding out the hard way, I suppose.

In the phrase "Tu fui ego eris" are the parts of the phrase grammatically able to stand alone? Is "Tu fui" grammatically sound? Then is "Ego eris" able to stand alone as well? Looking at the words individually in their tenses all seems correct, but I wanted to be sure. Many thanks for any information.


Neither its parts nor its whole would be grammatically correct. It's like saying "tu suis, je seras" in French (using present rather than past for illustration), deliberately misconjugating être in the wrong person to suggest "I [you]-are, you [I]-will-be". ~ Robin 10:21, 18 January 2012 (UTC)


Paucity is defined in Wikipedia as few in number. This is inaccurate. Specifically the meaning is "not enough". This is a critical distinction. A person may not have very much money but they may be considered as having enough and therefore are not paupers.—This unsigned comment was added by (talk).

  • I have adjusted the definition. You could have done so yourself. SemperBlotto 15:44, 19 January 2012 (UTC)


This is a colloquial or humorous variation of the imperative of 'help' that's pretty common on the internet. I'm quite sure it would meet CFI, but what is it exactly? Is it a misspelling (but it's intentional), is it an alternative form? —CodeCat 14:40, 20 January 2012 (UTC)

How about {{nonstandard|humorous}}? Mglovesfun (talk) 10:45, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
That particular template application appears to work perfectly for this entry. ;) -- Cirt (talk) 23:29, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
Halp is also the archaic spelling of the noun help and the archaic strong past tense help, halp, (ge)holp(en). --AnWulf ... Ferþu Hal! 16:21, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
Really? I've only ever seen holp for the strong past tense, at least in Modern English. You seem to think of Middle English helpen (in view of your mention of holp/holpe(n)geholpen with the prefix is only Old English, for all I know), for which halp is apparently attested as a variant of holp; but on Wiktionary, Middle and Modern English are treated separately. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 18:34, 20 April 2012 (UTC)

Devoicing next to voiceless cons.

There is a phenomenon in German and Polish, similar to Terminal Devoicing, where a voiced consonant becomes voiceless when preceded by a voiceless consonant. (Sucht = /zuxt/, Streitsucht = /ʃtraitsuxt/) What's it called?Dakhart 21:13, 20 January 2012 (UTC)

I think it's called voicing assimilation, and it happens in many languages, not just those with terminal devoicing. For example, Latin scribo has the participle scriptus. English has leaves /liːvz/ but sleeps /sliːps/. It doesn't always work the same in every language though or even the same in one single language, for example the equivalent Dutch words are strijd /strɛi̯t/ and zucht /zʏxt/ but the combination can be either /strɛi̯dzʏxt/ or /strɛi̯tsʏxt/ depending on the speaker. —CodeCat 21:50, 20 January 2012 (UTC)


We have an entry for the abbreviation xtal but I'm used to seeing it XTAL. What should be placed at XTAL? RJFJR 23:41, 21 January 2012 (UTC)

There is no good reason for capitalising "xtal" (no good reason to abbreviate either, but that's another story). When seen capitalised, it is usually in electronic parts lists, which tend to captitalise everything not nailed down anyway. SpinningSpark 22:29, 22 January 2012 (UTC)

(colloq. Japan)

What does "(colloq. Japan)" mean in the current version of ronin? --Daniel 14:25, 22 January 2012 (UTC)

colloq is short for colloquial. How does it look now? We need citations for this def in English. I know it's totally valid in Japanese. JamesjiaoTC 01:25, 3 February 2012 (UTC)

+ and/or ++

There appears to be a fairly widespread Internet phenomenon of applauding particularly clever comments by responding with pluses, usually with two together. I imagine such a thing would be nearly impossible to document in a CFI-worthy fashion, but it still seems to me to be a clearly widespread use. Any thoughts on that? Cheers! bd2412 T 16:23, 22 January 2012 (UTC)

I would think + would be enough, other iterations would then become SoP as + + + (yeah I know, it looks pretty funny) -- Liliana 20:20, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
But it might very easily be derived from the ++ used in programming languages to increment, or add one, i.e. a geeky way to say "me too". Equinox 20:27, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
I think the preponderance (at least in my experience) of pluses coming in pairs suggests that Equinox's theory is the more likely explanation. How do we search for citations for something like this? bd2412 T 14:26, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
Dunno. Try Usenet, perhaps? -- Liliana 17:32, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
Right, but how? How do you search Usenet for ++? —RuakhTALK 15:25, 29 January 2012 (UTC)
Perhaps subscribe to a newsserver for a few weeks and then search around a bit? -- Liliana 16:01, 29 January 2012 (UTC)
I read Usenet more or less regularly, so if you have a particular newsgroup in mind, I could subscribe for a month and then search the downloaded text. The ones I read are a little too old-fashioned to use this ++ notation. Equinox 00:20, 30 January 2012 (UTC)

It may be a typical German/Swiss thing: there is regularly used and official classification of apparatus in terms of efficiency fo using or wasting energy. Highest class was "A", but since some time they became even better; so now we have A+/A++/A+++ for e.g. refrigerators. RMK, 14.05.2012 —This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 10:20, 14 May 2012 (UTC).

A/A+/A++/A+++ exists in the U.S. as well, but the question here is just + or ++ alone (without the A). —RuakhTALK 11:48, 14 May 2012 (UTC)


I'm suspicious of the plural forms. In English (paganism), it varies, but isn't it always uncountable in Latin? Metaknowledge 22:56, 23 January 2012 (UTC)

I have no answer to your question, but would like to point out that Paganismus is one German translation of paganism. Cheers! bd2412 T 05:35, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
While I agree that the plural forms sound strange, you could only be sure by searching through the whole known corpus of Ecclesiastical Latin, I guess ... --Florian Blaschke (talk) 18:37, 20 April 2012 (UTC)

Ravel==unravel, is there a name for this?

I was watching an episode of "The Big Bang Theory" where a character uses the pseudo-word "un-unravelable" to mean something like a mystery that can't be solved. So, I wondered if "ravelable" was a word, checked here, and was surprised to see that definition #1 of ravel is unravel. So, I wonder if there is a term for this situation that can be added at the definitions of ravel and unravel? Cheers. Haus 02:40, 24 January 2012 (UTC)

Sadly, there is but one cite for un-unravelable, but I shall add it to Citations:un-unravelable and hope that more shall poke up at some point.--Prosfilaes 08:16, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the response. I see that my question was probably unclear - let me try again. Is there a name for the situation where un-word means the same as word? Thanks! Haus 02:48, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
I don't know what the word for the phenomenon is, but another facet is that "ravel" itself means both "untangle" and "tangle", which makes "ravel" an auto-antonym, contronym or antagonym. That doesn't describe its relationship to "unravel", but I would guess most words that are synonymous with unwords are probably also their own auto-antonyms. Another example of the phenomenon is "unthaw" (meaning both "freeze" and "unfreeze") and "thaw" (also meaning "unfreeze"). Phol 08:14, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
It's related to the contranym but I'm not sure what they're called. Other examples are debone and bone, regardless and irregardless, flammable and inflammable. DAVilla 03:33, 28 January 2012 (UTC)
Interchangeable pairs, or pseudantonyms. Other pairs are flammable/inflammable; regardless/irregardless; caregiver/caretaker; restive/restless; iterate/reiterate; candescent/incandescent; loosen/unloosen. —Stephen (Talk) 04:17, 28 January 2012 (UTC)


Wiktionary currently has two senses relating to women:

  • 3. A young (especially attractive) woman. Three cool chicks / Are walking down the street / Swinging their hips
  • 4. A woman. Check that chick out.

I wonder about the following:

  • Do we need two senses? (Dictionaries often have only one sense relating to women.)
  • Age
    • Is being young a necessary condition for a chick as a woman?
    • Is being young an "especially" condition for a chick as a woman?
    • Is being young a condition at all for a chick as a woman?
  • Attractiveness
    • Is attractiveness a necessary condition for a chick as a woman?
    • Is attractiveness an "especially" condition for a chick as a woman?
    • Is attractiveness a condition at all for a chick as a woman?

See also chick at OneLook Dictionary Search. I am interested in informal perceptions of native speakers, and, formally, in attesting quotations. --Dan Polansky 09:55, 24 January 2012 (UTC)

My informal perception as a native speaker is that young is an "especially" condition for a chick as a woman, but not an absolutely necessary one. Attractiveness is not a condition at all for a chick as a woman--I myself have been known to refer to women as "chicks", but for me the properties "woman" and "attractive" are mutually exclusive. —Angr 10:11, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
I agree. Chick is a slang term for a woman, particularly a young women. As for attractiveness, however, Google Books returns 500+ hits for "ugly chick". bd2412 T 20:09, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
I'd say they are a single sense, but it needs to be broadly worded to include what bd2412 says, which is almost exactly what I was going to say. Mglovesfun (talk) 21:18, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
I've long noticed the striking similarity between American English slang chick and Spanish chica. Perhaps the formation of the American English slang term was inspired (or at least reinforced, given that the metaphorical sense of chick(en) referring to humans seems to be much older, but not necessarily particularly frequent prior to the 20th century) by chica in the area of North America where Spanish and English are in heavy contact – as in, for example, monolingual AmE speakers picking up the term chica in English context and re-interpreting it as chick. Possibly, this idea could be supported with evidence if one looked into it. I notice that Wiktionary mentions an attestion from 1927, and etymonline.com even speaks of an origin in "U.S. black slang" (AAVE, then), which wouldn't necessarily contradict this. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 20:32, 20 April 2012 (UTC)


Can someone research this and/or flag the entry? I've added an note on the discussion page, but have some doubts that this is an accepted word...?? About the only authoritative place I've found it is here! Samatva 19:22, 24 January 2012 (UTC)

It’s okay. Valid citations are easy to find. For example, this one. —Stephen (Talk) 00:01, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
Yes, it's certainly an accepted word. Good source cited above by Stephen G. Brown (talkcontribs). -- Cirt (talk) 23:28, 13 February 2012 (UTC)

Places for language-specific discussions

Is there a place where aspects particular to a single language can be discussed? I was thinking maybe the 'WT:About' page for that language, but is that common practice? —CodeCat 21:48, 24 January 2012 (UTC)

I think so. --Yair rand 22:52, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
The "WT:About" pages are to discuss how we treat languages. (what are the templates, POS headers, definitions, romanizations, etc.)
I'd use the Information desk for linguistic questions like "WTF is the difference between 'tu' and 'você' in Portuguese anyway?" or "How is the order of words in this Egyptian Arabic phrase?" --Daniel 08:30, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
But for consensus-building discussions about a single language? —CodeCat 11:30, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
Wiktionary talk:About Languagename.​—msh210 (talk) 19:16, 25 January 2012 (UTC)

be be a form of be!

In a sentence like "I try not to offend them: I be polite, I take off my shoes when entering their house, etc", what form of "be" am I using? The infinitive? A conjunctive/subjunctive form? I am aware that I could also say "I am polite", but isn't "I be polite" also grammatical, if literary? What form am I using in the sentence "I'll make you a deal: I be nice to your friend John, you be nice to my friend Jane"? Phol 07:54, 25 January 2012 (UTC)

You be nice is imperative. I be polite is, I believe, an antiquated form of the present indicative. —Stephen (Talk) 09:31, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
That use of be is part of AAVE. Some linguists who study the dialect assert that it is usually used to indicate a habitual or characteristic or, at least, continuing state or condition. Superficially, it seems to me to be used to cover more tenses, aspects, and moods than that. DCDuring TALK 15:04, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
It's not just AAVE. It's relatively rare, but I remember noticing it in a preview for Bratz: The Movie; one of the lead characters asks, "What do we do?" and another replies, "We be ourselves." (N.B. I don't know if this exchange occurred in the actual movie; previews are not always accurate.) I think everyone can agree that "We are ourselves" would not have worked (though I'm sure that many speakers will find that even "We be ourselves" will not work for them). As for what form — I think it's just a regular old non-third-person-singular present indicative form, but of a certain, defective sense of be. ("Defective" in that it doesn't have a complete conjugation; I'm fine with "We be ourselves", but I would not be fine with "So what did you do?" ?"I be'd myself!". Some speakers, however, do accept "be's" and "be'd", so for them I guess the conjugation isn't defective.) CGEL, by the way, refers to this sense of be as "lexical be", giving the example of "Why don't you be more tolerant?"[10]RuakhTALK 15:23, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
This work has be's as an inflected form sometimes occurring in the corpus used. OTOH, be'd seems much rarer. DCDuring TALK 17:24, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, I think we need to backtrack a bit. Above, I wrote, "It's not just AAVE"; but really what I should have written was, "it's not AAVE at all". I disagree with your statement above, "That use of be is part of AAVE." There is a use of "be" that is part of AAVE, but Phol is (I believe) asking about a different use. My comment was about the use that (s)he is asking about. So the book that you link to, with its AAVE quotations that use be's, is not relevant to my comment. —RuakhTALK 18:23, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
See under Observations. —Stephen (Talk) 18:32, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
All these non-subjunctive senses might well be archaisms reflecting the Old English dual conjugation of the copula, see beon-wesan. In fact, ic bēo(m), þū bist, hē/hēo/it biþ, wē/gē/hī bēoþ, which would then be continued more or less directly in I be, thou beest, he/she/it be, we/ye/they be (which is also found as the general paradigm dialectally), do seem to have had a habitual sense originally. Note that AAVE can very well continue dialectal/archaic features conveyed through Southern American English dialects. Fascinating stuff. --Florian Blaschke 19:43, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
@Stephen G. Brown: Yeah, that may be what Phol has in mind; I wouldn't have thought so, except that (s)he describes it as "literary", which is a fair description of that use, and not a fair description of the use that I mentioned. —RuakhTALK 19:44, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
Thinking over it again, the usage that Phol describes (and you, Ruakh, too, in your movie example) may rather be something else than an archaism – just an infinitive with a pronoun prepended: "What do we do?" – "We? Be ourselves." or "We, be ourselves." Though this might eventually have been supported by the archaic or (also) AAVE usage. --Florian Blaschke 19:59, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
Re "What do we do? ―We be ourselves", is that because there's an elided "do" in there ("We [do] be ourselves"), copied over from the question? Does the answer to that question make any difference?​—msh210 (talk) 22:01, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
This source characterizes non-imperative "do be" as part of Irish English and not part of Standard English, the latter being in accord with my ear.
There are a few things you can't quite say without it. "So what do we do? Do we be ourselves?" Definitely cannot use "are" here. Equinox 20:25, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
I would be nice to know more about the context of the usages Phol has offered for discussion. DCDuring TALK 22:27, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
sorry, i've just been following this discussion rather interestedly. Perhaps this is actually a (rare) example of a first-person plural imperative being attested in English? Piddle 05:14, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
CGEL's "lexical be" seems like a simple infinitive to me, at least in the example given. Phol 06:52, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
No, sorry, you misunderstand me. CGEL's "lexical be" is not a form, but a sense. Like, the word "child" has one sense where it means "young human" (as in "hundreds of children attend the school") and one sense where it means "a human's offspring" (as in "all of her children are in their thirties"). In the example sentence, "Why don't you be more tolerant?", the form is the infinitive, but the sense is the so-called "lexical be". —RuakhTALK 14:47, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
Ah, gotcha. Phol 21:12, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
So would a good definition be "To exist or behave in the manner specified" with a usage note about how it differs from the usual be?​—msh210 (talk) 22:01, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
Ah, now I gotcha (I hope); it is easier to handle this as a sense (with its own conjugated forms), rather than as a conjugated form. [[Hang]] might be a model for how to explain the differing conjugations of the different senses. Phol 00:30, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
I can't be sure it's the same form, because I'm not sure what the form is, but I think "what do we do? we be ourselves" is great example of the form I'm thinking of. An alternate indicative rather than a subjunctive seems like a good explanation. In fact, I would guess that Ruakh's defective conjugation of "be" is Stephen's archaic conjugation, which just lost a few forms as it made its way into the modern era. (It's not missing past tense forms for me; I'd say "what did I do? I was myself"; but I am missing a third person singular indicative.) The difference between the conjugations for me is that "I be" connotes doing, whereas "I am" is static. "I am polite to them" means I am unremarkably showing them the politeness I generally show everyone (and note this as I list everything that should lead to them not being offended), whereas "I be polite to them" emphasizes that I show them politeness (even when they test me with rudeness, or even when my politeness is not sincere). Hence I wrote "I be" in an e-mail, but then I questioned the grammar. (And FWIW I would say "We’re in Japan! What do we do? We be ourselves.") Re: my second, hypothetical example: I suppose whether "I'll make you a deal: I be nice to John, you be nice to Jane" is subjunctive or imperative depends on whether it's truly an offer or a demand. Phol 06:52, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
Re: "'I be' connotes doing, whereas 'I am' is static": Yes, exactly: "I be polite" is a lexical be, whereas "I am polite" is a regular copula be. —RuakhTALK 14:47, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
So, how's this for a usage note? (Maybe we should have a giant collapsible table of forms like rechercher#Conjugation.) Phol 21:12, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
In the case of I'll make you a deal: I be nice to your friend John, you be nice to my friend Jane? ... That's a subjunctive form. Fee, fie, fo, fum / I smell the blood of an Englishman; / Be he alive or be he dead, / I'll grind his bones to make my bread. (Jack and the Beanstalk) --AnWulf ... Ferþu Hal! 15:29, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
This is correct. --Jtle515 (talk) 23:20, 16 April 2012 (UTC)

Irish sí and English sidhe

Isn't sidhe/Sidhe simply borrowed from the pre-reform spelling sídhe/Sídhe of ? Both words mean "(of the) fairy-mound", and seem to be pronounced identically; however, the pages note no connection, and lacks an etymology.

Note that the pages sídhe and Sídhe have been deleted for unclear reasons. Also note Scottish Gaelic sìdh, sluagh sìdhe, bean-shìdh and the like.

More precisely, I think the derivation is (and MacBain agrees): Proto-Celtic (Nom. Sg.) *sīdos, (Gen. Sg.) *sīdesos (a neuter s-stem) 'seat' > Old Irish síd, síde (neuter, I think) 'fairy dwelling/hill/mound' > Modern Irish sídh, sídhe (modern spelling: , ) and Scottish Gaelic sìdh, sìdhe, with the genitive abstracted from set phrases such as fir síde, daoine síde and áes síde already in Old Irish as síde 'fairies', from whence Modern Irish sídh ~ sígh (modern spelling: ) 'fairy', Scottish Gaelic sìdh ~ sìth. Proto-Celtic *sīdos is apparently also the origin of Old Irish síd 'peace' and its modern descendants. A mailing list post suggests that the ambiguity could be employed in Old Irish deliberately, to interpret the Áes Síde as 'people of the peace'. --Florian Blaschke 20:44, 25 January 2012 (UTC)

judgment of Solomon

Has anyone else heard of judgment of Solomon to mean 'really good judgment'? It's one of those things where I say it, and I'm not sure if anyone else does. Compare patience of Job. Mglovesfun (talk) 22:41, 25 January 2012 (UTC)

I'm familiar with wisdom of Solomon. I'm not sure it's idiomatic.​—msh210 (talk) 20:13, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
I've heard it in connection of decisions that appear to be impossible to make. "It will take the judgement of Solomon to make a fair settlement in this divorce". SpinningSpark 22:16, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
I've had a go. feel free to improve. SemperBlotto 22:22, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
Daniel come to judgement is similar. In the case of Solomon, the famous judgement seems to be the one about cutting a baby in half to appease two woman claiming to be its mother. (The one who refused to have this done was the real mother.) Equinox 21:27, 29 January 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I'd have to agree I've certainly heard it used in that fashion. -- Cirt (talk) 23:24, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
In German, we rather use salomonisches Urteil, i. e. "Solomonic judgment", and it seems that variant is in use in English, as well. A salomonisches Urteil is a wise judgment that satisfies all involved sides. Apparently the German sense is different from the English (and from the original story), or simply more general. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 22:33, 2 March 2012 (UTC)


The noun meaning of batshit is given as "alternative spelling of bat shit", but bat shit redirects batshit leaving no definition at all. Also, this does not have a plural, surely. SpinningSpark 22:36, 26 January 2012 (UTC)

Fixed. JamesjiaoTC 22:43, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
The etymology is simply fascinating! -- Cirt (talk) 23:20, 13 February 2012 (UTC)

lord of creation

In the entry for weaker vessel there's this quote:

    • 1868, Louisa May Alcott, Little Women, ch. 41:
      When women are the advisers, the lords of creation don't take the advice till they have persuaded themselves that it is just what they intended to do. Then they act upon it, and, if it succeeds, they give the weaker vessel half the credit of it. If it fails, they generously give her the whole.

Does "lord of creation" refer to men? If so, is it a common enough usage to merit an entry? I searched Google for this term, but found little evidence, but perhaps it's dated. Capitalized it seems to refer to God. In Finnish there's the expression luomakunnan kruunu (crown of the creation), which refers to men, and I would want to find a proper translation for it. "Men" will do, of course, but I want something that catches the spirit. --Hekaheka 05:51, 27 January 2012 (UTC)

I'm not familiar with that phrase in lowercase referring to mortal men, either. But I suppose patriarchal Judeochristians may hold a doctrine that Yahweh created Adam in his image to be lord over Yahweh's creation. ~ Robin 06:57, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
Plenty of bgc hits in the plural. I'm not sure if it means men, though, or has some other meaning with men as the most common referent.​—msh210 (talk) 15:55, 27 January 2012 (UTC)


Could someone not previously involved in editing this entry please check it over and make sure it conforms to this project's policies, please? Definition 2 seems particularly gratuitous. --Anthonyhcole 14:31, 28 January 2012 (UTC)

Note: Admin CodeCat (talkcontribs) has dutifully explained matters pertaining to site policy at the talk page for the entry, and admin Robin Lionheart (talkcontribs) has been quite helpful with adding additional sourcing and referencing for the page, both at its main definition page with quotes, and at the citations page with additional referencing. -- Cirt (talk) 16:14, 28 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Definition one is absolutely solid. Definition 2 is a bit more precarious, and I will be happier when we get more printed citations and fewer usenet ones. But it still looks like it passes CFI. (Arguably, the two could be combined without much loss.) Ƿidsiþ 08:45, 29 January 2012 (UTC)
  • I made this edit to the etymology to correct some POV. The wording "equated homosexuality with bestiality" was particularly nebulous IMO. Equated in what way? You could read that as "he said that homosexuality was equally as bad as bestiality" whereas his opinion was really that bestiality is another thing that a "healthy family" is not. It was enough to say that his views were "perceived as anti-gay" in the spirit of NPOV. Although even for NPOV it wouldn't be a too much of a stretch to say that they were anti-gay, someone might take exception to that and WT:NPOV does say "It's OK to state opinions in articles, but they must be presented as opinions, not as fact." —Internoob 03:56, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Update: Admin Robin Lionheart (talkcontribs) created a Citations page for this entry, at Citations:santorum. Cheers, -- Cirt (talk) 04:04, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
  • I just realised we copied the definition verbatim from spreadingsantorum.com and several other sources. Isn't that a copyright violation? Shouldn't we reword the definition? —CodeCat 21:11, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
If it originated at spreadingsantorum, I wouldn't worry, since that site's name (and the fact that the definition is its entire contents) makes it clear that it wants people to share and distribute the definition. I wouldn't even be surprised if such a site was using our definition — perhaps cause and effect are reversed here? If it comes from somewhere else then we should think about it more. Equinox 21:14, 6 March 2012 (UTC)


This Italian word is defined as meaning morphosis, which doesn't appear to be an English word at all. Is morphosis a word that needs to be added, or is morfosi bogus/unclear/otherwise problematic? Metaknowledge 23:45, 28 January 2012 (UTC)

  • Added English word. I know we have nearly three million words, but there are just as many that we haven't got yet. SemperBlotto 08:40, 29 January 2012 (UTC)


How come this is defined as an alternate form of gelatine? In my experience, it is exactly the opposite. Can we switch these two? Metaknowledge 21:00, 29 January 2012 (UTC)

The label of "alternative form" does not mean "lesser" or less common. It means that the spelling is an alternative, and the difference may be regional. --EncycloPetey 21:13, 29 January 2012 (UTC)
It's probably a US/UK variation. In these cases our normal policy is - whoever bothers to actually add the word gets to choose which is the primary form and which is the alternative. It is considered impolite to swap them around later. SemperBlotto 21:17, 29 January 2012 (UTC)
What about a case such as this in which gelatin is 75 times more common than gelatine in the US and just one-third as common in the UK (based on COCA and BNC)? And generally are evidence-based changes rude? DCDuring TALK 23:07, 29 January 2012 (UTC)
Interesting. I suppose we could use ((mostly|UK)) and ((mostly|US)). IMO, in general, if one form is significantly more common than another, and without large variation between major Englishes, we should put the main content at the common form and have others link to it. But (i) ideally those "links" should probably be drawing in the content from the main entry, rather than forcing us to click again, and (ii) the commonness of forms is definitely variable across the time dimension. Equinox 23:19, 29 January 2012 (UTC)
I have a package of "Gelatine" which clarifies itself by saying "Ingredients: Gelatin" :P - -sche (discuss) 00:44, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
The other ingredient is an E number. Equinox 00:46, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
@ -sche on my packet of ibuprofen it says "do not take if allergic to ibuprofen". Mglovesfun (talk) 12:26, 2 February 2012 (UTC)

February 2012


Can someone write a real definition for it? The current one isn't very helpful. — Jeraphine Gryphon 10:11, 2 February 2012 (UTC)

I agree; LART needs work too, if attested, in both cases. Mglovesfun (talk) 12:27, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
Good now? (Both entries.) Incidentally, for future reference, you can use [[WT:RFC]] for issues like this.​—msh210 (talk) 21:13, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
I'd say both entries look pretty understandably worded right now, good work. ;) -- Cirt (talk) 23:18, 13 February 2012 (UTC)


I think there's at least a phonetics sense missing here, which might possibly even make contour tone SoP. -- Liliana 00:56, 4 February 2012 (UTC)

Added it. Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV 01:35, 4 February 2012 (UTC)


This does not seem like a real word after a quick Google search. Attestation, anyone? Metaknowledge 02:33, 4 February 2012 (UTC)

Striking as an RFV has been started. Equinox 13:10, 5 February 2012 (UTC)


I seem to remember occasionally hearing the word "upstate" used in a euphemism for killing an animal (like put out to pasture... hmmm... the entry doesn't mention that meaning, either). On 1/31, Colbert's "The Word" had a screen suggesting that the Arapaho people were "Sent to a Reservation 'Upstate'". Does anyone know more about such uses of "upstate"? Rl 10:02, 4 February 2012 (UTC)

they two

"third person dual pronoun." From User:Shoof, who IMO has done quite a few strange/non-standard entries. I would like to know if this is either non-standard (versus "those two", "the two of them") or NISoP. Equinox 20:04, 4 February 2012 (UTC)

they two sounds alien. I’ve never seen it or heard it before. If I encountered it, I would think they were saying "they too". —Stephen (Talk) 20:34, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
you two failed RFD, so I would guess this is also SOP. - -sche (discuss) 20:56, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
I would have supported keeping "you two." I'd note that "us two" also doesn't sound horrible, and I've heard it used before, though "the two of us" or "both of us" sounds better. With "them two," you've got not only "two of them" and "both of them" but "those two" as well, yet I can still see it working. On the other hand the term in question: "they two" definitely sounds weird. --Quintucket 21:39, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
I agree with the misgivings. It seems rare, at best, though it looks like it might be used ocaasionally to translate certain pronouns (Arabic & Tok Pisin?) - which consideration should be ignored. See [11].— Pingkudimmi 23:31, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
Dual seems wrong as English, to the best of my knowledge, has never had a dual. Mglovesfun (talk) 12:04, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
Old English had dual forms for we (wit) and you (ġit). I second what Quintucket said. You two is very common, at least in my region, ... as is us two and them two ... I'v even heard we two tho us two is more common. An aside here ... When you admin folks delete an entry please put something more than failed RFD ... that tells the reader absolutely nothing!. Either provide a link to the RFD discussion or provide a one or two sentence comment. Forwhy you two failed, I don't know. But it couldn't hav been for the lack of cites. Byspels of its usage are many. ... Back on topic, they two can be found in a few versions of the Bible:
  • Matthew 19:5: And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they two shall be one flesh?
  • Mark 10:8 And they two shall be one flesh: so then they are no more two, but one flesh. or noting twain: And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. --AnWulf ... Ferþu Hal! 15:26, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

In the expressions discussed so far, the first word is a determiner functioning as a specifier (or a determinative functioning as a determiner, in CGEL terminology), and the second word, the number, is a noun functioning as the head of the NP. As a determiner, they is likely archaic or at best regional, but it's essentially the same as other determiners like you, these, another, and every. It's strictly SOP.

  • Ezekiel 1:8 And they had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides; and they four had their faces and their wings.

--Brett 01:06, 18 February 2012 (UTC)

So now subject pronouns are determiners? I don't know if calling this a dual is the right meaning but it's an unusual use and more than the some of its parts. In fact, I ween that it's seld-seen usage argues that it isn't normal and deserves some type of comment. Some SOPers hav an unreasonable dislike of two-word terms. I'm sure that full time would hav been dismissed as SOP but yet now we hav full-time and fulltime. For this, I'm guessing that it is more of stilted translation (or mistranslation) of the original Greek or Hebrew (in the case of Ezekiel). Both Classical Greek and Hebrew had duals. I say it feels stilted because the more natural "duals" in English note the objectiv form of the pronoun ... OE often has pronouns in the dativ case where we now hav subject pronouns which may explain why "them two" and "us two" are common whereas "they two" seems mostly found in the Bible or references to the Bible. So maybe the meaning should be something like "a calque sometimes used in Bible translations for Greek and Hebrew duals" (assuming that is the origin of them) and marked nonstandard. --AnWulf ... Ferþu Hal! 17:05, 18 February 2012 (UTC)
The original Greek for Matthew 19:5 is "οἱ δύο" ("the two"), with a plural- not dual- article. Classical Greek had the dual, but it was pretty much lost well before Koine arose. I believe δύο could be technically construed as dual, but the fact that it takes a plural article here argues against any influence on the translation. Chuck Entz 17:47, 18 February 2012 (UTC)
Not all pronouns have a second life as determiners, just you, we, and us, as in you people are good or it's different for us players.--Brett 20:23, 18 February 2012 (UTC)
@AnWulf: It's true that Hebrew has a dual, but it's very limited, and there are no dual pronouns. Brett's Ezekiel quotation uses they four to translate Hebrew אַרְבַּעְתָּם (arba'tám), which is an inflected form of ארבע (árba, four); the narrowest translation would probably be "the four of them". —RuakhTALK 21:17, 18 February 2012 (UTC)
I found a translation of Beowulf with they two in the section header and they twain in the body. I looked at the OE and I would hav a written they both. They twain or they two is more skaldic so I think what we hav here is poetic license even in the Bible version. So rather than calling it a 3rd person dual. Change it to: Template:poetic they both ... Then if someone looks it up (huru an outlander), they'll understand that it isn't some usage that they can throw out in everyday speech. --AnWulf ... Ferþu Hal! 23:14, 18 February 2012 (UTC)
There's no need to call it anything. It's just a poetic/archaic/perhaps-regional use of determiner they where standard current English would expect the or those. It can be they two, they three, they four, they others, etc. There's nothing special about they two.--Brett 00:57, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
I've added the determiner sense to they.--Brett 14:21, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
They is a subject (nominative) pronoun. It is NOT a determiner any more than you is a determiner in you two. The byspels that you posted are poor grammar rather proper byspels of it being a determiner. Darn'd if they Cockney Chaps can zee there worn't nort but lie in him. Really? Would you also like to claim that worn't is a past tense of "to be"? It would be like posting you is and claiming that is is a valid 2nd person plural verb form and I could eathly find byspels of you is in books. Further, claiming it is a determiner could be befuddling. In "they both", the determiner is "both" not they. I am far from a prescriptist but even I have limits. I wouldn't call "they both" proper or even good English but I'll give it a pass as poetic since that is where it is mostly found. But then, I see that wiktionary has "they" as a possessive as well ... So what the heck! Call it anything you want. --AnWulf ... Ferþu Hal! (talk)
Your comment is very confused. First of all, Brett explicitly wrote of "other determiners like you, these, another, and every", so your attempt to compare it to "you two" was preempted by the opposition. ;-)   Secondly — and much more importantly — this is nothing like claiming that is is a valid second-person plural verb form; it is only like claiming that is is sometimes used as a second-person plural verb form. —RuakhTALK 21:58, 5 March 2012 (UTC)


The forms enthraling and enthraled seem very much obsolete, and rare. I get the impression that the usual inflections of this verb are enthralling and enthralled (just as the L can double in, say, travelling). Equinox 23:34, 4 February 2012 (UTC)

Yes, the participle forms with the single ell don't exist in British English, and if American English always uses "enthrall", then the single ell form for the participles must be a mis-spelling. I've changed the entry, and also removed the false impression that "enthrall" is not used in British English. I think the mistaken impression arises because British English removes an ell before -ment (as in enthralment, instalment, etc.), so some people assume, by back-formation, that the word enthrall has only one ell. The single ell version is not unknown, of course, and the OED includes it as an alternative spelling (with just two cites out of seventeen using the single ell, and those are from 1695 and 1720), but does not permit the single ell participles. My preference would be to have just "alternative spelling of", rather than a separate entry for the single ell version. I believe that Garner's modern American usage is wrong in its claim that "enthrall" is American and "enthral" is British. Search Google books for evidence, where both spelling are used on both sides of the pond. What does anyone else think? Dbfirs 08:09, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
Agree with all you said. Just to add 2c .. I am of the informed opinion that when the stress of a word like this falls on the last syllable, the ell is normally doubled in British English, and in participle etc. formations in both UK/US English. Hence traveled in US and travelled in UK, but enthralled in both language pools. -- ALGRIF talk 12:30, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
That rule doesn't fulfil my expectations. Dbfirs 18:11, 12 May 2012 (UTC)


Do I have the correct part of speech for this? Metaknowledge 03:30, 5 February 2012 (UTC)

I'd say it appears to be a preposition. —Quintucket 09:59, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
I didn't know, so I just put it as an adverb because it seemed like a broader form of sic#Latin. Metaknowledge 16:41, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
I'd say it appears to resemble, based on the definition give, the English preposition "like." ("You worked him like a dog.") —Quintucket 17:30, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
Maybe I didn't define it well enough. If x is a noun, then Samoan: fa'a x can be translated to English: x-style. Metaknowledge 17:44, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
I'm afraid I still don't understand. —Quintucket 18:00, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
I think that in English we'd use the preposition like, or another preposition, for a word with that meaning — except that sometimes we'd use the noun style (appended, after a hyphen). In general, AFAIK, what POS something is isn't dependent only on its meaning, and doesn't necessarily translate from one language to another. You need to know Samoan to answer this question. (This is but one of the reasons people shouldn't add entries in languages they don't know.)​—msh210 (talk) 18:23, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
I'm afraid that I am ignorant about many POS designations even within English, my native language. If there is a way I can help you tell which one this is by means of usage, let me know. Metaknowledge 03:02, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
Can you give us some example sentences with word-for-word translations? I also suspect it's a preposition, but I need to see it in its native habitat to be sure. —Angr 11:14, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
Common phrases using it include: fa'a Samoa ("Samoa-style", or "the way it is done in Samoa"), fa'a tama ("like a [male] child", usually translated as "tomboy"), fa'a fafine ("like a woman", referring to certain feminine men). "Fa'a Samoa" if treated as a single word would be an adverb or adjective, depending on usage, but "fa'a tama" and "fa'a fafine" usually function as nouns when each is taken as a single word.Metaknowledge 01:51, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
It's almost certainly a preposition then, as it's always followed by a noun. The noun-like usages of fa'a tama and fa'a fafine are substantivized prepositional phrases. —Angr 11:12, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
Changed it. Metaknowledge 05:08, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
I Just noticed the subtle changes you made there, Meta. The spacing between fa'a and Samoa is entirely optional. In fact, more often than not, the two are written together with fa'a acting as a prefixed preposition to the name of the country/culture following it. JamesjiaoTC 00:58, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
As I understand it, fa'a is also somewhat like "to make" or "to do", with a multitude of senses. It's much more complex than this single construction. Chuck Entz 22:33, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
It is an intensifying prefix (AFAIK) when not isolated, but as Jamesjiao pointed out, orthography can vary in this regard, and in many cases if fa'a were to be separated from the verb, it would take the form of "make" or "do" with the verb interpreted as a noun. I thought about making fa'a-, but the subjective decision of what a prefix is or isn't seems to be too much for me. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 22:56, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

queen of beasts translations

How sure are we that the translations given under "queen of beasts" mean "lioness" and not just "queen of beasts" ? Shadyaubergine 22:33, 6 February 2012 (UTC)

They all are "Queen of Beasts". None of them contains any literal term for lion or lioness. Chuck Entz 21:41, 18 February 2012 (UTC)

win and victory

So, to win is to obtain a victory and victory is the state of having won a competition or battle. Is this a circular definition or not? --flyax 22:49, 6 February 2012 (UTC)

I think we are missing a victory sense; the current one seems to be uncountable, and the one we are missing would be a synonym of win (noun: an individual victory). But I can't think of a definition which isn't circular. Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV 03:44, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
The "SB rule of dictionary circularity" states that EVERY definition in EVERY dictionary is ultimately circular. They all define words in terms of other words whose definitions do the same. To avoid circularity you would need to start with a word (or words) that need no definition because they are self-evident. SemperBlotto 08:28, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
Ultimately, yes. However there is a difference between a circle of 5 and a circle of 2 words. It seems we have here the latter. --flyax 11:56, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
Even in American Sign Language, where it seems like things should be self-evident by pointing, only the numbers 1-5, you, I, and he/she are self-evident, and the latter three wouldn't be self-evident if you tried to used them to explain a spoken language. See w:Gavagai. That said, it's possible that these could be clearer. I'll think about it and y'all should too. —Quintucket 11:44, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
I agree with SB about the ultimate impossibility of escaping circularity of definitions. Further, I think that in practice we are likely to have instance of circles of two. From a user perspective, it is probably satisfactory if at least one of the headwords in the circle has either, 1., a good set of usage examples in the appropriate sense or, 2., an ostensive definition, such as, 2a, an image or, 2b, another reference to one or more examples, such as the, 2bi, examples of rhetorical devices or, 2bii, the sound files. Still, checking to see how other dictionaries word their definitions wil;l almost always reveal an approach to, 3., rewording. DCDuring TALK 17:04, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
Bingo. If, theoretically, we wanted to avoid circular definitions, DCDuring hits on the way we could do it: not self-evident words, per se, but words defined by pictures (and videos and sounds). Of course, it would be impractical to sort through our entries to be sure they were all noncircular, so let's not... but we could expand this' circle if we defined win as "to obtain success, to triumph" or such. - -sche (discuss) 18:12, 7 February 2012 (UTC)


It's 3am and I'm tired so I'm not going to touch this one, but suffice to say the definitions are far from adequate. "Delete" is more than just "remove, get rid of, erase" - it is only used in written or computing contexts, for one. An example sentence wouldn't go astray either. Who can help? ---> Tooironic 15:50, 7 February 2012 (UTC)

Can it also be a euphemism for kill/destroy? Is the computing sense correct, to hide? Mglovesfun (talk) 14:44, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
I don't think so. It's true that "deleting" is often used in computing contexts to refer to actions that don't actually expunge something from existence (for example, "deleting" a file just unlinks it from the filesystem, but doesn't immediately affect the contents of the file; and "deleting" a bit of text doesn't mean that Ctrl-Z can't retrieve it), but I think that "delete" still means "delete", it's just that sometimes expunge-from-existence is an adequate abstraction even it's not really what's happening. —RuakhTALK 00:52, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
I was referring more to the context in which the word is used, not the actual process that occurs when you delete something. I've modified the definition to "To remove, get rid of or erase, especially written or printed material, or data on a computer." It's not perfect, but it's closer to being a clearer, more helpful definition. ---> Tooironic 11:56, 10 February 2012 (UTC)

judical vs judicial

Hello, guys! I'm from russian wiktionary and we have the entry judical (ru:judical). I think it's a common mistake (typo) in english, and it's a word for immediate deletion. And others think is a word spelled by a small community, for example by emigrants or it's a intentional typo. And the number of entries in google can prove it, according to their opinion. I think not the number, nor the small community not explain the addition of the word to the wiktionary. Have you heard about this word? The discussion in russian wiktionary (in russian) -- #1 #2, #3 Thank you! -- 16:21, 7 February 2012 (UTC)

  • Hi there. I think that many of its usages are spelling mistakes / typos for judicial, but that it is (or has become) a real word. I can see many Google hits from government (and similar) websites. It seems to have a slightly different flavour of meaning - maybe "pertaining to judges" rather than "pertaining to courts". We should have an entry for it, SemperBlotto 16:31, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
    I don't see it as other than a misspelling. The "pertaining to judges" sense is just missing from our definition of judicial, I think. To test the independent word theory we could see whether the distribution of meanings for judical was about the same as that for judicial in contemporary usage. Though we don't have multiple meanings for judicial, MWOnline has five, some of which seem current. DCDuring TALK 19:31, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
    I don't see this difference neither. I agree with DCDuring. I think if we talk about difference we should view a constant use of the word in a part of a book (1st sense) and in other part of a book (2d sense "pertaining to judges"). And i don't see it. I don't see the strong system of 2 different senses of this two different words. In fact i see statistically irrelevant results in google. May be, i missing something because i'm not a native speaker... -- 12:30, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
  • I agree with DCDuring and the anon: I can only find what appear to be typos for judicial. Like SemperBlotto, I see many Google hits from government web-sites, but in most of them, the typo appears only the page's "title" (where it's easy to miss), with the exact same phrase appearing correctly-spelled in the page proper. The only page I can find that even could be using them non-synonymously is this one, and even there, I see no reason to interpret it that way. —RuakhTALK 18:38, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
... agreed, so should we have just "common mis-spelling of judicial"? Dbfirs 13:18, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
I'd say no; it's probably a typo not a spelling error. In the same way that to is spelt ot if you accidentally invert the letters. The mean reason I say this is the two can't really be homophones, since -cal should be pronounced /kəl/. Mglovesfun (talk) 14:43, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
I don't think the rules about soft and hard "c"s are taught much these days, but you are probably right. It's an amazingly common typo with over nine million ghits, and nearly a quarter of a million in Google Books. I can see that it is very easy to omit the second "i" when typing, but the fact that the errors don't seem to have been noticed suggests that some people must think that "judical" is a correct spelling. Perhaps people are just less observant than I expect them to be? Dbfirs 17:23, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, I think it's chiefly that people don't notice it. Like I mentioned above, there are a lot of web-pages that use it in the page-title, but not in the body; to me, this suggests that it's a simple typo that best escapes notice in small print that no one reads very carefully. —RuakhTALK 21:08, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
I agree too, that is not a spelling error, but a pure typo. I think it may be a recognition error also. I compared the book on BNC [12] (judical) and on google books [13] (judicial). -- 14:29, 13 February 2012 (UTC)

Policy violation w/ regard to spelling variations?

Hi, just wanted to check on Wiktionary policy regarding spelling variatons between US, Canada, Commonwealth, NK, AU, and so on. The only thing I can find regarding this is on Talk:color, where User:Stephen_G._Brown says,

Any spelling that is normal in the U.S. carries exactly the same weight as a different spelling that is normal in the UK or NZ, regardless of which came first or which is truer to etymology or any other reason.

If this is correct, then I wanted to bring to someone's attention the recent edit to aeroplane (UK/NZ/AU spelling) and airplane (US spelling). Previously, airplane was defined as "an aeroplane; [rest of definition]" and aeroplane was defined as "an airplane; [rest of definition]". This was just changed by User:SemperBlotto, who has removed aeroplane from the definition of airplane, and replace the entire definition of aeroplane with the text "an airplane". Is this as per Wiktionary policy? Edam 17:04, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

There really isn't any policy on this as we don't agree. Some argue that having a full entry for color and colour in English is impractical as editors will edit them separately, so they'll say different things. Others say that since they're both very common, both need an entry and there's no way to choose which one to 'soft redirect' to the other. In cases where one variant is common and all other variants are uncommon or a lot less common, {{alternative form of}} is usually used uncontroversially. The problem is situations like this, where both are very common. Mglovesfun (talk) 17:08, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
Wow. I'd have thought you'd have a clear policy for this! Well, SemperBlotto is an Admin and, as a simple user, it's probably not appropriate for me to roll back his edits. So who would I raise this with? How should I resolve this if there is no policy!? Edam 17:17, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
Just negotiation I'm afraid. Unless anyone else has a better idea. Mglovesfun (talk) 17:18, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
To me, it makes no sense to duplicate definitions as we do on color/colour. We should choose just one to have the definitions etc., and the other should be a soft redirect. On color/colour we have a synchronization warning at the top, but editors only see this if they edit the entire article (rather than a section). SemperBlotto 17:23, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
I don't like it either; I always use US spellings when editing for the same reason, despite being British. Mglovesfun (talk) 17:24, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
Hi SemperBlotto. Thanks for replying! No, I agree that having two separately maintained definitions is a poor solution. The only reason that I think it is a better solution than one being defined in terms of the other (or a redirection) is that it gives greater credibility to one (and in this case, defines one in terms of a word that doesn't exist in the same language variant!). Let me ask you this: as an Admin, how would you have reacted if someone had edited those entries in the reverse, so that airplane was defined as "an aeroplane"? Edam 18:01, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
That would be even better (I'm English and "aeroplane" is the spelling that I use). SemperBlotto 19:45, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
Oh, fair enough.  :o) So, IIUC, you are saying that you find having to maintain separate definitions more obnoxious (even where the definitions are trivial) than redirecting one to the other (even where the other spelling variation is not valid in places where the one is used). If this is your preference then I suppose that will probably be unable to sway you to revert your edit. Edam 00:09, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
On a slight side-note, a nice solution would be if the technology allowed for two separate pages to display the same content. Not a redirection, but an "alias". Then, the one page, accessible via all spellings, could list the spelling variations. Edam 18:01, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
The technology does allow for that. (We call such a thing a "redirect", sometimes a "hard-redirect", as opposed to the soft-redirection discussed above and (I assume) in the comment of yours I'm replying to.) We've decided not to use it for things like this.  :-) ​—msh210 (talk) 21:14, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
But a redirect does not allow two pages to show the same content. It only allows one page to show the same content as a second "master" page. There is still one page that is clearly the main, true, master page. If we redirected colour to color then it would be clear that colour was the poor relation. Equinox 23:46, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
I just had this idea... The problem with different spellings doesn't just happen with term entries but also with definitions that use those terms, even definitions of words in other languages (such as German Farbe). In the end, a user is probably only going to be interested in the spelling native to their area, and will expect US spellings to be 'alternatives' if they use British spelling, and British spellings if they use US spelling. So in a sense this is really a localisation issue, and what users expect to see depends on each individual user. So, could a script of some kind be made so that users can set their preferred spelling standard in their preferences, and then entries can be formatted in such a way that it takes that setting into account? That way, color could show 'US spelling of colour' if their preferred spelling is British, but contain all the right definitions if their preferred spelling is US. —CodeCat 18:09, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
Even if that's feasible, it'd only help the very few users who set preferences.​—msh210 (talk) 21:11, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
Speaking of German, that brings up a similar issue. If someone is making an entry of a German loanword (as an English entry), he/she might as well make one in lower case (in the case of a noun) and without an umlaut (if it has one). Most English speakers don't speak German and aren't aware of German orthography. If they encounter a "clean" German word (minus the umlaut and capitalization), they won't know about umlauts and German capitalization to try and find it. And if there is a redirect to the German word (or German spelling of the word), there usually isn't a usage note telling the reader that under English orthography that capitalization and diacritics aren't required. --AnWulf ... Ferþu Hal! 15:35, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
I agree that spellings within articles are a localisation issue, but I'm not sure that I would agree for the entry names themselves. What if an Englishman wanted to look-up an American spelling? I like the idea of a script that handles in-article spellings though. Edam 00:09, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
See also the pair mold/mould, although that might be controversial. -- Liliana 21:19, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
Since some people get so touchy about this, I think we should have a user-level setting or preference saying "I want to see N.Am. spellings as the primary spellings", or "I want to see British spellings as the primary spellings". Citations aside, we could then present the same content under either form. This would also work for those madmen who liketh ye Spællings of Olde. (Obviously this is over-simplified and I know there are forms of English that are neither US nor UK. I'm really having a jab at the modern Democracy2.0 where you stick your fingers in your ears and downvote anything you don't like.) Equinox 23:08, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
D'oh, CodeCat got there before me. Well done. Equinox 23:44, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
The solution, when we find it, needs to be easily available to all users, even casual IPs, so I'm not convinced that a settable preference would work. I've suggested elsewhere (with help from others) that both spellings should be redirects to template space where the full entry is shown with both spellings (as in the OED and other good dictionaries). I'm not expert enough in the way things work here to risk testing this out, and I don't want to upset the experts here who work so hard to improve Wiktionary. Are there reasons why this method will not work? Dbfirs 13:10, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
It breaks things like Random page, AutoFormat, Statistics, and others. Bad idea. -- Liliana 13:18, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, yes, I got that wrong, didn't I? I should have suggested having both as real entries (without redirect), but using a template that has both spellings and contains the definitions . Can anyone suggest a better solution? Dbfirs 13:22, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
We've had that before, for translations only. It was a lot of trouble because it made the pages really confusing to edit for newcomers. -- Liliana 13:53, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
If MediaWiki were to support page "aliases" (where the same content is displayed an can be edited via multiple page names), this wouldn't be a problem. Edam 00:23, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
To Edam, this is exactly why we have no policy on this; there are many ideas of how to handle this situation, and none of them has something even close to a majority. Mglovesfun (talk) 14:41, 9 February 2012 (UTC)

That's all well and good until someone realizes they actually aren't used in exactly the same way. We've been through these kinds of conversations before, and no preference has always been the recommended course. Corrected. DAVilla 21:21, 13 February 2012 (UTC)


Scrabbled together from Wikipedia. Can someone who knows about tasty PIE check that my definition makes sense, please? Equinox 13:10, 10 February 2012 (UTC)

It was a little confusing so I changed it a bit and added a usage notes. The definitions of amphikinetic and proterokinetic are much more vague, though, especially in the context of PIE... and when compared to hysterokinetic and acrostatic which are much clearer. —CodeCat 13:18, 10 February 2012 (UTC)


I don't do "social networking", but I've come across this term wall for a sort of personal Internet notice-board that shows an ongoing stream of messages related to its owner (e.g. stuff posted by their friends). Is this only used on Facebook or is it a generic term? For example can you have a "Google+ wall" or a "LiveJournal wall" as well? Equinox 17:23, 10 February 2012 (UTC)

I've only heard it on FaceBook, but Google Plus calls it a wall and apparently people apply the term to MySpace and other social networking sites. LiveJournal is closer to a blog and doesn't seem to have it. DAVilla 21:10, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
I'd agree with this assessment by DAVilla (talkcontribs), it seems to be primarily a term that grew out of Facebook and is quickly becoming applicable to multiple other spheres of social networking. -- Cirt (talk) 23:16, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
Okay, I've tentatively added the following: "(internet) A personal notice board listing messages of interest to a particular user." Equinox 22:06, 19 February 2012 (UTC)


The definition reads, "boldly self-assured; aggressively confident; cocky". This is not the meaning I am familiar with. I always thought it meant something like you are confident but not in an aggressive way. Apparently this is also how the Oxford Dictionary interprets it. ---> Tooironic 11:16, 11 February 2012 (UTC)

The definition seems within range of some of the usage I hear. AHD: "Inclined to bold or confident assertion; aggressively self-assured." DCDuring TALK 14:59, 11 February 2012 (UTC)
In my impression, the word often alludes to aggression as well as confidence. Assertive people are usually calm, and make sure-footed progress towards a goal often at the expense of other less assertive individuals. They tend to be more in favour of their own ideas, and would voice them without giving others a chance to voice theirs. JamesjiaoTC 21:53, 12 February 2012 (UTC)
Actually, I've encountered the word usage in various mediums as all of the definitions discussed, above. Perhaps the best approach would be to document each definition, with appropriate citations. -- Cirt (talk) 23:08, 13 February 2012 (UTC)


The extended definition of "háček" that has been entered into háček, resulting in this revision, seems unduly encyclopedic. The pronunciation háček is used to indicate in various languages is not part of what the diacritic is. I am inclined to remove the recent additions to the definition, leaving only this: "A diacritical mark: 〈ˇ〉, usually resembling an inverted circumflex: 〈ˆ〉, but in the cases of ď, Ľ, ľ, and ť, taking instead a form similar to a prime: 〈′〉" or this "A diacritical mark 〈ˇ〉 used in some West Slavic, Baltic, and Finno-Lappic languages, and in some romanization methods, e.g. pinyin, to modify the sounds of letters", which was the definition before recent additions. I do not see two senses of "háček" but only one. --Dan Polansky 09:31, 12 February 2012 (UTC)

I think you're right that the word háček just means 〈ˇ〉, but ˇ needs all the information that I've currently added to háček. I'm a bit swamped IRL at the moment, so could you give me a couple of weeks to transfer to and re-present that information in various sections of ˇ, so I can show you what I mean? — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 18:51, 12 February 2012 (UTC)
Done and done; is that alright? — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 21:55, 6 March 2012 (UTC)

Since the original complaint has now been addressed, I'll strike this section's header and remove the {{rft-sense}} from the entry. — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 19:22, 9 March 2012 (UTC)

in I don’t know how long

I have seen in I don’t know how long several times, and its meaning is clear, but isn’t it unusual grammatically? The preposition is directly placed before the proposition. I can’t find a grammatical explanation here on Wiktionary. — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 15:44, 12 February 2012 (UTC)

It's not too unusual:
  • "You have to ask permission before each and every action, from smooching to you know what."
  • "He's engaged in God knows what {activities|shenanigans|nonsense)."
  • ":It's been in business since I don't remember when."
It does seem best considered grammatical, not lexical. CGEL, I think, characterizes such clauses as constituting "nominals" in such usage. DCDuring TALK 16:27, 12 February 2012 (UTC)
Okay, they are similar to the French je ne sais (like in je ne sais quoi) but freer grammatically. — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 00:48, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
For a contrasting case of one particular instance of preposition + nominal clause that may be idiomatic because of a semantic shift, see in that. A few OneLook dictionaries show in that as an idiomatic run-in entry at in. DCDuring TALK 01:00, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
In French too, it's used: in I don’t know how long = dans je ne sais combien de temps. Lmaltier 21:00, 17 February 2012 (UTC)


(Adjective) I have discovered numerous uses of "more plural than", sometimes seeming to me to mean "more pluralistic than". However, some of the citations don't really fit that definition. What definition would fit? DCDuring TALK 17:08, 12 February 2012 (UTC)


Someone pointed me to this on Youtube [14]. Obviously the whole thing's in Italian, but what's the instrument called if not a hang? The artist describes himself as a "hang player", presumably both of those words are from English. Do we need another definition for hang, and if so, what's the etymology, maybe Mandarin or Korean. Mglovesfun (talk) 23:26, 12 February 2012 (UTC)

Probably German. W:Hang_drum. Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV 23:32, 12 February 2012 (UTC)
Just noticed. We already have this entry at Hang. Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV 23:34, 12 February 2012 (UTC)
Hmm. I've added it at hang (English & Italian) as well. SemperBlotto
Note there's an oral citation for musicoterapia in the link above. Mglovesfun (talk) 12:02, 13 February 2012 (UTC)

enjoy your meal

Is this just a sum of parts, or am I missing some odd idiomaticity? Metaknowledge 05:56, 13 February 2012 (UTC)

It's SOP. It's arguably, but probably not, phrasebook material.​—msh210 (talk) 07:01, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
Probably is phrasebook material. Many people would want to know how "Bon appetit" is said in the local language. A rather important word in terms of politeness/etiquette, and for practical purposes--they would like to know what the waiter/waitress is saying when they bring their meal, etc.-- 10:56, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
Right, but because "bon appetit" is used in English, we can list the translations there and delete this (IMO). - -sche (discuss) 16:50, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
Discussion continued at [[WT:RFD#enjoy your meal]].​—msh210 (talk) 19:23, 20 February 2012 (UTC)

's for does

At 's, to the meaning "contraction of does" I have added the following qualifier: (used only with the auxiliary meaning of does and only after what). Can anyone think of any exceptions to these conditions? I can't think of any other time when does contracts to ’s. Probably not after who (*?Who's he think he is?), certainly not after non-interrogative pronouns (*He's not see her for He doesn't see her), and definitely not after non-auxiliary does (*What's its best? for What does its best?). Other ideas? —Angr 13:31, 13 February 2012 (UTC)

Not specifically what — consider "Where's he live?", "When's he get […]?", "How's he do […]?" — but I agree that it's only with auxiliary does, and I can't think of any examples without subject-auxiliary inversion. —RuakhTALK 15:02, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
Hmm, BGC also has several hits for google books:"who's he think he is". But perhaps only after wh-words (a group that includes how). —Angr 15:36, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
Is this relevant?​—msh210 (talk) 17:01, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
I'm not sure; I don't see anything there but a description of the book. Is there a possibly relevant quote you mean? —Angr 17:59, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
Sorry. I've added it to the right.​—msh210 (talk) 18:07, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
Well, in that clearly nonstandard and possibly nonnative variety of English (a pidgin or creole, perhaps) it's difficult to say. "He's" may be "he is" followed by a bare infinitive rather than the present participle. In "he's come" and "he's sed", of course, it may be "he has". —Angr 18:36, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
An American Indian dialect, FWIW. (Per the book's intro.)​—msh210 (talk) 19:29, 13 February 2012 (UTC)


There are several prominent Pakistani people whose name is of the form Xyz-ul-Haq (e.g. the cricketers Inzamam-ul-Haq and the less famous Misbah-ul-Haq (currently 0 not out against England)). What does the term signify. and is the entire name a surname (or what)? SemperBlotto 15:55, 13 February 2012 (UTC)

From Arabic الحق (ul-Haqq, the Truth), one of the epithets of God in the Qur'an. The whole name (such as Misbah-ul-Haq) forms the person’s last name. مصباح (miSbaH, lamp) + الحق (ul-Haqq, the Truth) = Lamp-of-Truth or Light-of-Truth (where Truth is a figurative reference to God). —Stephen (Talk) 18:38, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
I think "the Truth" is al-Haqq. As I understand it, ul-Haqq is "of the Truth", with the u being a Classical nominative-construct ending from the previous word (and the al getting reduced to l as a result). —RuakhTALK 18:58, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
I don’t think it’s like that ... different countries and different languages that use Arabic words romanize the Arabic differently. In some countries such as Egypt, it’s usually el-. In others, it’s il-, in others al-. In some like Pakistan, it’s ul-. And u being a Classical nominative-construct ending from the previous word is Classical Arabic, it’s not Urdu, and generally not the case with modern Arabic dialects. —Stephen (Talk) 19:23, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
Obviously Classical endings are Classical, what else would they be? ;-)   But you said yourself that this construction is from Arabic. I'm just clarifying what (I think) the ul means, and that it's ultimately that way from Classical Arabic. It's pretty common, cross-linguistically, for borrowings to act as a bit of a "freezer" while the original language changes; speakers of modern Arabic dialects have updated the "ul-" to "el-/il-/al-" in such names because they no longer use the case endings anywhere, but Urdu-speakers have no reason to do that. Like how in English we write connoisseur, even though the French no longer use that spelling, because once we'd borrowed the word we no longer had to keep it up-to-date. (And I think that Urdu speakers probably have some idea of the Classical meaning of ul in such names, because in romanization they'll sometimes attach the ul to the preceding name-part, e.g. by writing "Zia-ul-Haq" as "Ziaul-Haq".) —RuakhTALK 22:08, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
It would be different if we were speaking of the spelling or construction in Perso-Arabic, but we are not. This is just the romanization. Romanizations don’t do those things that you mentioned. Even in Classical Arabic, the ul- did not mean "of the", it only meant that the head word was in the nominative case. Hebrew has a feature where a word like Template:Hebr is analyzed as "houses-of", but Classical Arabic does not have anything like that. Classical Arabic has true noun cases, so "lamp of truth" would have the word al-Haqq in the genitive, which is al-Haqqi. The head word, if the subject of the sentence, would be in the nominative, giving ul-Haqqi, but in other parts of the sentence, the head word could be in the accusative or the genitive, giving al-Haqqi or il-Haqqi. But "of truth" is in the Haqqi, not in the ul-. But in Urdu, we are talking about romanization only, and the u of ul- is the English u of uh. —Stephen (Talk) 00:45, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
Re: " [] Classical Arabic does not have anything like that": Well, it does, but you're right: in that case Haqq should also be in the genitive. (And I see what you mean about the romanization.) —RuakhTALK 01:52, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
I knew that somebody here would know. So, do we need an (English?) entry for any of ul, ul-Haq or Haq? SemperBlotto 19:29, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
No, because they don't seem to be productive in Urdu, just as we don't need al- for words like algebra. I suppose someone could check for haq in Arabic, but I'd be astonished if we didn't already have it. Chuck Entz 17:58, 18 February 2012 (UTC)
Just to back up Ruakh's explanation: it's really the reanalysed Classical Arabic case-ending -u (...u 'l-Haqq, (al-)baytu 'l-kabīr[u]), attached to the article instead. In contexts such as these, case endings remain even in Modern Standard Arabic, by failing to be dropped as they regularly are at phrase endings. It's a big headache because many people do not realise that the a of the article al- is volatile; it's basically a Stützvokal (supporting vowel) already at the Classical stage, much like i- before consonant clusters, which explains why it varies so much in dialectal Arabic: il-, el- etc., but it's really underlyingly l-, and the preceding vowel simply coalesces with it, leaving the syllable boundary different from the word boundary ((al-)baytul-kabīr[u]), see w:Al-#The vowels in al-. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 19:00, 20 April 2012 (UTC)


I'm not sure, but think we may be missing the sense(s) of both found in "Both of them are..." and/or in "Give me both." (which latter usex we do have, but I think it may be under the wrong sense).​—msh210 (talk) 19:35, 13 February 2012 (UTC)

These are standard determiner constructions (cf., many/none/all/etc. of them are & give me many/none/all/etc.). What is missing is the function as a marker of coordination (e.g., it was both good and bad). This is still the determiner, but it is being used in a different function (analogous to a noun phrase being used not as a subject, but as a complement).--Brett 22:24, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

Entry for aza

I occasionally come across entries that are or may be in error. The latest find is for "aza". The word has been categorized as an English noun (uncountable) when I believe it should be an English adjective (not comparable). One can see from the quotation cited in the definition that the word "aza" is used as an adjective, and througout the source cited, "aza" is used in the same manner as "azo", a word that is noted in many dictionaries as an adjective. I did not find any use for "aza" that could imply its use as a noun. 09:10, 16 February 2012 (UTC) Stuart K

Only occasionally? I do it a dozen times a day, if not more. Mglovesfun (talk) 12:00, 16 February 2012 (UTC)

Full - prefix or compound

Is full/ful a prefix or part of a compound word? In the etym of fulfill it is written as a prefix (category full- is red-linked); in full-time/fulltime it is a compound; in fullbring, it is a prefix; there is no etym for fullback … Which would it be … prefix or compound? There are a lot of hyphenated full- words … prefixes or compounds? --AnWulf ... Ferþu Hal! 21:14, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

I would say that ful- is trivially a prefix because it is not a stand-alone word. In contrast full is and seems to lend its meaning as an ordinary word to the words formed from it. Thus, fullback would seem to be a compound of full words. DCDuring TALK 16:01, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
Then what about fulsome? It's given as full + suffix -some in wikt ... other wordbooks have it as full + some ... same for fulfill, full + fill. Then there is fullbring. It looks and acts like a prefix there even tho is has both L's. There are a lot of full words. Do we want a category to track them? To me it could go either way. Since full is noted so much as the lead word, it feels like a prefix. Should we hav it both ways ... for byspel, list the etym of fullback as a compound but add the internal category marker of a prefix so that that it can be grouped with other full+ words? There doesn't seem to be any consistency across these words. --AnWulf ... Ferþu Hal! 21:14, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
Generally, I would be loath to add a term like full- when full exists. But if there were no current sense of full in any good dictionary that suits a word starting with full, there would be nothing for it but to add full- with the sense in question, which may be an obsolete sense of full. It can be helpful to determine whether the prefix is "productive" and place it in Category:English unproductive prefixes and note the unproductiveness for each sense or in a usage note. DCDuring TALK 23:14, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

Just another sense

There's one sense of just that we don't seem to cover in our current definitions. It's derived from "only, simply, merely", but it's not quite the same. It seems to be a marker of unimportance applying to the whole sentence rather than just the verb. For example, "I just called to say 'hi'" (not "I only called to say 'hi', not to do anything else"). I've heard it used in prayers by US Protestant Christians of a more evangelical bent as sort of a marker of humility, as in: "We just want to thank You and praise Your Name...". I'm not quite sure how to incorporate it into the current framework of the entry. Chuck Entz 18:03, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

We have Category:English sentence adverbs, which may give you ideas of how to proceed. DCDuring TALK 18:53, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
Ok, I added two senses. What do you think? Chuck Entz 20:39, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
I had previously punted on this entry, despite having a copy of CGEL and other references at my immediate disposal. I find many of the adverbs that don't end in -ly to be difficult to define well.
I reordered the senses, split a sentence-adverb use from the first sense, added {{non-gloss definition}} and broadened the prayer sense. Senses 2 (split from 1) and 3 and 4 (yours) seem to overlap, but I can't quite figure out how. DCDuring TALK 23:03, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
Did you mean to move the "Just follow the directions on the box" sentence to the "prayer" sense? It looks better under the 2nd sense, which you just added Chuck Entz 23:29, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
Yes. Thanks for catching the error. We could compare our definitions with the references at just at OneLook Dictionary Search or consult the OED. DCDuring TALK 00:02, 18 February 2012 (UTC)
I'm a speaker of US English and I'm not sure humility is the key sense, or only sense, behind the "prayer" usage. Perhaps part of it, but it also serves as an implicit intensifier, and, ultimately, it seems to have become formulaic, increasingly difficult to discern the specific function other than being an accepted or expected norm (in certain circles, of course).-- 10:59, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
That "de-intensifier" meaning might cover other senses as well, I suppose. DCDuring TALK 12:42, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
You're right. Your interpretation makes more sense than mine. The intensifier sense is another we're missing: "I just love that song!", for example. As for the opposite, "de-intensifier" meaning- that interpretation might tie together a couple of the definitions we've been discussing. Chuck Entz 15:44, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
Hm, I don't think "Lord, we just want to thank you" is that different from the first sense, "only, simply merely", or any different from the "I just called to say hi" sense. (I was baffled when I read above that there was a "prayer" sense of "just", and had to click through to the entry.) One could possibly even subsume the "reduce an imperative" sense ... although after looking at this further, I see what you mean by distinguishing those senses from the first one. (Still, I don't think "Lord, we just want to thank you", "I just called to say 'hi'" and "Lord, I just called to say 'hi' and 'thank you'", lol, are any different.) - -sche (discuss) 16:43, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
I would also consider putting "moments ago" and "by a narrow margin" as subsenses of one sense. - -sche (discuss) 16:52, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
Let me clarify: I was agreeing with the anon. that the prayer sense is an intensifier, rather than to show humility. When used in prayers, it's sprinkled throughout, with little attention payed to the semantics of the verbs it goes with- definitely used to establish a tone or a register, much as "thee" and "thou" and other King James bible language is used in more old-fashioned prayers. Chuck Entz 17:37, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the agreement, Chuck :) In any case your suggestion that its use is sprinkled throughout also adds to the argument that it is implicitly formulaic, as you said, forming a feature of this particular "register" or mode...And just to touch on another point (this use of "just" was unconscious, I promise), I would argue strongly that its use in "Evangelical" prayer language can not be reduced to merely the "only" sense.-- 21:01, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
The more I think about it, the more it seems like the use of "just" in prayers is to evoke a feeling that the speaker is having trouble finding the words to express strong emotions: "pouring one's heart out to the Lord". IMO this is in line with the evangelical Christian philosophy that religion should be very personal and intensely emotional. Chuck Entz 21:31, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
Incidentally, CGEL characterizes all of the the adverbial use of just as "informal". I'm not sure that "all" is correct, but some senses certainly seem "chiefly informal". DCDuring TALK 18:11, 19 February 2012 (UTC)


Which of these synonyms listed in dustman is the most popular in English? I want to merge translations to one table and add {{trans-see}} on other pages. Maro 23:12, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

It depends. Each of the regional varieties of English have their own "most popular" form. On a related note, I think the relationship of dustman to dustbin needs to be pointed out, and I suspect that the use of "dust" rather than "garbage" in both is the result of euphemism Chuck Entz 00:20, 18 February 2012 (UTC)
In the U.S., I think "garbage man" is the most common, but even so, I think it would be better to list the translations at "garbage collector" than at "garbage man", because the latter is more colloquial and less gender-neutral. (Or, potentially, they could both have translations sections, in the hopes that the differing translations would reflect these nuances.) —RuakhTALK 00:26, 18 February 2012 (UTC)
In my household they are the binmen. Of course, dust is no longer the major part of the rubbish because there are far fewer people with coal fires, and much more packaging to be disposed of. SemperBlotto 08:07, 18 February 2012 (UTC)
I've generally heard them casually called "dustmen" (southeast England) but "binmen" isn't uncommon. Anything with "garbage" or "trash" sounds American. Official bodies like the council are likelier to call them "refuse collectors". When I once referred to the rubbish collection vehicle as a "dustcart" (father's term) I was mocked by contemporaries. Equinox 22:01, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
To me, binman is the most common. I guess that an American term would be the "most popular in English", simply because there are more Americans than Brits, Canadians, Aussies and so on. Am I right? Mglovesfun (talk) 22:06, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
I generally call them, informally, 'bin vanners', it is gender-neutral. I do not know what I'd call them informally, I have never had to talk about them in that way.

"Where in" vs "What part of"

Suppose I'm talking to an English person and looking for an answer like "London" or "Yorkshire". Is it more natural to ask "where in England do you come from?" or "what part of England do you come from?" I'm also kinda curious as to how other languages would handle this kind of question. Shadyaubergine 17:35, 18 February 2012 (UTC)

I think it depends on what kind of answer you're looking for. If you asked me the first question I would be more inclined to say something like Liverpool or Cambridge, while the other question might lead to answers such as the Midlands, Yorkshire or the Southeast. In Dutch, my other native language, it's the same more or less. You can ask 'Waar in Engeland kom je vandaan?' or 'Uit welk deel van Engeland kom je?' and you might expect similar answers. —CodeCat 21:52, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
To me (British) they are basically synonymous, though "what part" might carry an extra hint of wanting to know the county. Equinox 21:58, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
In France I would say "tu viens d'où en France" (or vous venez, let's not split hairs). Not sure if a native speaker would say the same. Mglovesfun (talk) 22:18, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
Re: English: If someone asked me (American) "where in the U.S." I come from, I'd probably say "Ohio" or "Cleveland", but if they asked me "what part of the U.S." I come from, I'd just as likely say "the Midwest". Re: other languages: in Hebrew, you can say Template:Hebr (lit. "from where you in …?"), but I'm having a hard time picturing a conversation where that would sound natural. I think that in a typical conversation, this question would be a response to "I'm from …" (e.g., "I'm from the U.S."), so the most natural question is just Template:Hebr (lit. "where in …?"), with no need for the "from" or "you". —RuakhTALK 03:29, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
If you want to elicit a specific answer, I recommend you to use more specific wording, such as Which town in England are you from?. I realize it's unusual, but you can't expect people to read your mind. JamesjiaoTC 21:09, 20 February 2012 (UTC)

be off

Today an anon added a new sense at be off: [15]. The content is good, but is it under the right headword? It seems to require an adverb, i.e. it is not (ever) just be off. Cf. well off (but this doesn't cover the "how are you off for milk?" sense). Equinox 21:57, 19 February 2012 (UTC)

  • Well, you can say "How are you off for money" as well as for milk. But well off seems to be almost unrelated. Thinking ..... SemperBlotto 22:01, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
    There's badly off too. But you can never simply ask (as be off might suggest) "Are you off at the moment?" Equinox 22:09, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
    It's ruddy hard to think of another adverb that goes with off in this way. You can't be brilliantly off or terribly off. Not with the same meaning anyway. Mglovesfun (talk) 22:11, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Perhaps there should be more at off#Adjective?— Pingkudimmi 16:41, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
    Well, MWOnline has six senses (16 subsenses), including "started on the way" <off on a spree> and "circumstanced" <worse off>. DCDuring TALK 17:28, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
    The latter would seem to be it.​—msh210 (talk) 18:59, 20 February 2012 (UTC)

programmer and developer

There's recent discussion at http://programmers.stackexchange.com/q/135911/30490 about these two entries.​—msh210 (talk) 18:56, 20 February 2012 (UTC)

I agree with the comment there that "one who designs software" is a misleading definition for programmer. It is common for somebody else to do the design, and the programmer to do the actual implementation of that other person's design. But in general a programmer is anyone who writes computer programs, so that would be a fine def. Equinox 17:51, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
In my days (i.e. in the last century) the design was normally done by a systems analyst - at least in the commercial world of data processing. SemperBlotto 17:54, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
I would say programmer is a hyponym of developer. —CodeCat 18:00, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
I have gone ahead and changed programmer to "One who writes computer programs; a software developer", moving it away from the inaccurate focus on design of programs. Equinox 16:29, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

buy a dog and bark oneself

Can anyone define this? See google books:"buying a dog and barking yourself|himself|herself". Mglovesfun (talk) 19:39, 20 February 2012 (UTC)

To use an inferior approach when a better one is readily available. Chuck Entz 20:34, 20 February 2012 (UTC)


how the heck do you pronounce this? short a or long a? whichever it is, this entry should have a pronunciation entry.—This comment was unsigned.

And now someone's added it. Short a.​—msh210 (talk) 00:25, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

geek vs nerd

We have geek and nerd as synonyms, more or less, but I have always thought of them as being defined based on usefulness and applicability of knowledge/interests (nerds having the "useful" interests). Is this a definition particular to my social subset or an actual definition that should be added? --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 08:02, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

Your definition isn't universal. Note the corporate/brand name "Geek Squad", applied to technical support services. The rise of the "tech-savvy" sense is recent enough that it's hard to pin down established usage. Chuck Entz (talk) 22:33, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
I'm thinking that these defs are all too similar to cite, anyway (how would you know which def a citation referred to in most cases?). --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 05:13, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
You also have to realise that this discussion renders itself moot (see xkcd 747). 15:25, 1 March 2012 (UTC)

"thru" versus "through"

Is "thru" synonymous with "through''"? 12:02, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

Yes, because they are the same word. Read the usage notes in thru for more information. Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV 13:40, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
... except in British English where "thru" is considered incorrect by most people (or is just not used). Dbfirs 23:53, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
... and in American English, where the same is true. (And probably all other national forms of English as well, though I suppose you never know!) —RuakhTALK 00:47, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
I agree. Definitely nonstandard, though no one seems to mind it in advertising or when used as a sort of abbreviation (signs, notes on plans, etc.). Chuck Entz (talk) 01:07, 25 February 2012 (UTC)



Defined as "A name given to Messiah in the Old Testament". POV, anyone? Jews don't interpret the verse in Isaiah as describing the messiah at all. I suggest "A person in the Old Testament". (That's if we're to have this sense at all. Personally, I don't think we should have "character" senses at all: the second sense, "A male given name", is sufficient. But I think I'm in the minority on that.)​—msh210 (talk) 00:18, 23 February 2012 (UTC)

The POV problem is a direct consequence of encyclopedic content. There might be a way of rewording though, perhaps using {{non-gloss definition}}. DCDuring TALK 00:35, 23 February 2012 (UTC)
How about Immanuel: "a biblical name which Christians believe prophetically refers to the messiah." It provides information to those who run into it in Christian writings without pushing a POV Chuck Entz (talk) 21:14, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
That fixes the "what Christians believe is correct" POV, but it leaves the "we only care about what Christians believe" POV intact. —RuakhTALK 21:28, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
True. Of course, it probably is more significant to Christians than to others, but I'm not familiar with other interpretations. Chuck Entz (talk) 21:46, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
After looking at the wikipedia entry for w:Immanuel, it would seem too complicated to explain both interpretations. The messianic interpretation is too common in Christian theological usage, though, to simply omit it. Perhaps we need a separate sense, with context appropriately marked, of Emmanuel as a Christian term for messiah. Chuck Entz (talk) 22:02, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
Maybe various groups' beliefs about who he is should be a usage note? E.g. define I/Emmanuel as "a figure mentioned in the w:book of Isiah", perhaps even "a figure mentioned in the book of Isiah as to be born to a virgin mother" (which is the text of the verse), and then have a usage note explain that different groups regard him as X, or Y. - -sche (discuss) 22:53, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
I think it should be pretty easy to cite as a synonym for messiah, starting with "Jesus, our Emmanuel" from w:Hark! The Herald Angels Sing. Chuck Entz (talk) 23:09, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
Ah, good point. It even acts a bit noun-like, rather than strictly proper-noun-like, in usage like that — although strictly speaking, I could still interpret that as "Jesus, our [figure mentioned in Isiah as born of a virgin]", heh.) What does everyone think of something like this? If anyone has suggestions for a {{Judaism}} sense, please make them. Also: do we want to rephrase references to the 'Old Testament' in this and other entries, to something like 'Hebrew Bible'? - -sche (discuss) 01:07, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
I think "Hebrew scriptures" sounds less POV to me. I also use "the Christan New Testament" in similar situations for the New Testament Chuck Entz (talk) 01:14, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
My impression of the difference between Christianity and Judaism here is it amounts to a uniform article of faith vs. a more open debate. It doesn't seem to be amenable to summary in the same way. Also, in Christian usage it becomes at times sort of a title. Google "He is the Emmanuel" and you'll see what I mean. Chuck Entz (talk) 01:25, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
"The Emmanuel" might be a noun derived from the proper noun, rather than the proper noun per se. Actually, a Google Books search for "are Emmanuels" supports the idea that Emmanuel can be a noun. - -sche (discuss) 02:03, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
To muddy things further, the word translated as "virgin" has multiple senses such as "young woman", with "virgin" being one of the least common. I don't think you can mention "virgin mother" without being POV. Chuck Entz (talk) 02:24, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
Oh, right; I've modified that bit. - -sche (discuss) 04:10, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
@Ruakh or msh210: can you check the Hebrew in the etymology I added? - -sche (discuss) 02:22, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
The obvious quibble is that it's a compound, with the 'Immanu and the El being separate words. Chuck Entz (talk) 02:30, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
Or to analyze it further, the 'immanu part is the preposition עם + the suffix form of the 2nd-person plural pronoun אנחנו/אנו Chuck Entz (talk) 03:27, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
I presume it's also considered a whole unit (namely a name) in Hebrew, too, though. - -sche (discuss) 04:10, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
It looks ok to me as a single name, but you shouldn't take my word for it since my knowledge is rather limited. I did find some names in Wikipedia that had Hebrew interwikis on the side, though, and the Hebrew articles seem to use the same spelling. I notice that the Hebrew disambiguation page doesn't even mention the Isaiah passage [16]. I also notice that Immanuel is also the name of an Israeli West Bank settlement w:Immanuel (town). I suppose the further etymology could go in the article for the Hebrew, but we don't have one yet. Chuck Entz (talk) 04:58, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
@-sche: Yes check.svg Done. I've also created [[עמנואל]]. —RuakhTALK 00:07, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
Thanks! Are there still problems with the entries, or should I remove the RFT tags now? - -sche (discuss) 00:36, 1 March 2012 (UTC)


aphrodisiac: There is a new one called azulinstant: wouldlikea write up on it including the contents. Itis an all new one put out by noveau life pharmaceuticals and sold at Wlgreens soon.

This is a new brand name that appears to only show up so far in press releases and discussion in financial media about the company and its marketing of the brand. It doesn't seem to have entered the language in any way that would pass our Criteria For Inclusion. Chuck Entz (talk) 21:24, 24 February 2012 (UTC)

Change from plural to singular

The entry cellophane noodles says it is only plural, but of course like noodle in general, one cellophane noodle is singular, more are plural, and a dish is typically plural. Since the page itself has the plural "s," what is the best way to change this? BenjaminBarrett12 (talk) 03:35, 25 February 2012 (UTC)

I'm a newbie myself, but I believe you would want to create a new page for the singular, then edit the plural to make it a "plural form of" page for the singular page. Chuck Entz (talk) 04:00, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
Chuck Entz is right. I've done basically what he suggests, except that I've moved the page so that the "lemma" has the history (of who created it, etc). It would have been perfectly alright to have just created the singular and modified the plural without moving anything, of course. - -sche (discuss) 04:09, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
Thank you so much! BenjaminBarrett12 (talk) 08:28, 25 February 2012 (UTC)


There are two senses that say "with a capital initial letter". Should these be moved to Sana, then? Equinox 16:26, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

I assume so, also the synonym, according to the entries themselves, is for the wrong sense of sana. Mglovesfun (talk) 12:41, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

pervert the course of justice

Sum of parts? Mglovesfun (talk) 11:29, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

Of course. DCDuring TALK 11:35, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
I don't think so. It's a specific offense with a definition that goes beyond perverting justice's course. See the Wikipedia entry. ---> Tooironic (talk) 12:26, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
It seems very much like a concept, referred to by various SoP terms.
The article says that in England and Wales the offense is variously referred to as "perverting the course of justice", "Interfering with the administration of justice", "Obstructing the administration of justice", "Obstructing the course of justice", "Defeating the due course of justice", "Defeating the ends of justice", "Effecting a public mischief".
I did not find compelling the NSW statute citation, in which perverting the course of justice is used in the title. DCDuring TALK 12:53, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

Hatschek’s pit

What is the full name of the discoverer of Hatschek’s pit, for whom it is named? — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 15:24, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

It is probably Berthold Hatschek (1854–1941). Equinox 15:28, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
This corroborates that. Thanks. — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 15:56, 27 February 2012 (UTC)


This is used in support of a w:United Ireland (a single country spanning the whole island of Ireland). It's supposed to indicate that the 26 counties of the Republic of Ireland and the 6 counties of Northern Ireland together make 1 Ireland. I'm quite sure this can meet CFI because it appears all over the place, but what is its definition? —CodeCat 21:32, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

I suppose the definition is what you said: "The 26 counties of the Republic of Ireland and the six counties of Northern Ireland together make one Ireland." Equinox 21:34, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
United Ireland. Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV 21:38, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
I created the entry now, is this ok? —CodeCat 21:54, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
Attested? I see nothing on ggc.​—msh210 (talk) 23:19, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
It doesn't seem like something that would show on google books, it's a popular slogan. You'd more likely find it on t-shirts and bumper stickers. Maybe usenet? —CodeCat 23:36, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
That's what I meant by ggc.​—msh210 (talk) 02:05, 1 March 2012 (UTC)


Usage note says: "Possessive forms: princess's (main form used by academics and book publishers) The princess's golden hair.; princess' (main form used by newspapers) The princess' golden hair." This seems remarkable to me. Can we find any evidence for these two disparate forms per media? Equinox 00:07, 29 February 2012 (UTC)

I've never heard this pronunciation (except as a dialectal omission of possessive), nor seen the spelling in newspapers, and if I did I would think it an error, but I'm willing to learn otherwise if someone can find some cites. Dbfirs 17:42, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
Both versions are definitely citeable; that's not even a question. But I agree with Equinox; there's no way there's a categorical distinction here between academic/book usage and newspaper usage. I doubt there's even a tendency toward such a distinction. —RuakhTALK 22:30, 3 March 2012 (UTC)
Maybe it's a terrible way of saying "(some) newspaper style guides (e.g. AP) prefer A, (some) academic style guides (e.g. Strunk & White) prefer B", in which case it would be better to name specific authorities. - -sche (discuss) 04:19, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
Is it only in American newspapers (or other publications) that Princess' is common. If I saw it in a British newspaper, I would blame a lazy typesetter! Dbfirs 18:30, 12 May 2012 (UTC)

Ordinal numbers (or not?)

Does anyone know the correct term for numbers such as 'primary', 'secondary','tertiary', and 'quaternary' ? And, more important, does the sequence continue (fifth, sixth, etc.), and if so, what are the further terms? Where could I find that information?

wikipedia:English_numerals#Ordinal_numbers BenjaminBarrett12 (talk) 00:35, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
Sorry about that. Wikipedia calls them ranking numerals. It seems there are words for one to ten and twelve: Ask Oxford. BenjaminBarrett12 (talk) 00:46, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
See arity. In addition, Google gives you undenary for 11-ary. — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 07:16, 9 March 2012 (UTC)
Isn't undenary strictly for designating base 11, analogous to binary for base 2? The Latin derivation of the ending seems to be the same, but the meaning is different. Chuck Entz (talk) 02:35, 10 March 2012 (UTC)
This class of words seems to be formed, for the most part, on the stem of Latin distributive numerals + -ary, although primary, secondary, tertiary, and nonary are instead formed on the stems of Latin ordinal numerals + -ary. — Raifʻhār Doremítzwr ~ (U · T · C) ~ 15:02, 9 March 2012 (UTC)

French audio for renaissance

Hi, I'd really love to hear how the French pronounce this word (seeing as it's theirs originally). If anyone with a knowledge (preferably native) of French is able, could you please upload an audio file here? [17] Thanks! --Person12 (talk) 12:13, 29 February 2012 (UTC)

March 2012

"damned if"

There is a common construct along the lines of "I'm damned if I know", "I'll be damned if she cheats me out of my inheritance", which really means "it isn't the case or won't happen" (cf. a cold day in Hell). This is also sometimes flipped around (presumably by guilty sinners, for whom being blessed is beyond the realm of possibility) into "I'm blessed if I know" etc. I can't immediately see a good way for us to include this ("damned if" and "blessed if" seem like awkward fragments, in the same way that we wouldn't have, say, "willing to"), but they seem like important idioms. Equinox 00:13, 2 March 2012 (UTC)

I've added a usage note to damned#Adjective. Tweak or supplant as necessary.​—msh210 (talk) 00:59, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
You're probably right that we should handle this at damned rather than damned if, but I say we should still redirect damned if to damned, just to reinforce the relation (so "damned if" shows up in the search autocomplete). - -sche (discuss) 01:12, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
There's also the idiom (I'm/you're) damned if I/you do(,/ and) damned if I/you don't. How would one go about adding such an idiom? There are so many variants. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 16:50, 20 April 2012 (UTC)

dark horse

I am thinking of extending the political sense to a more general one. I hear this used on a regular basis to mean someone or something who's little known or reveals little about him/herself, but who otherwise possesses talents that are not expected by others. The political sense is really just a specific case of that. JamesjiaoTC 22:36, 3 March 2012 (UTC)

I'm not familiar with the second sense. It's often used to describe someone or something which has an outside but realistic chance of winning something, despite not being amongst the favorites. E.g. "Chico is the dark horse to win the 2012 Series of Dancing on Ice" (UK cultural reference). Once the person has won, you might say they were the dark horse, not they are a dark horse. Mglovesfun (talk) 12:26, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
I have to agree with you on that. For me it has always referred to the person getting the success, not the success itself. Anyway what do you think of my suggestion of extending the first definition? JamesjiaoTC
I think MG is saying that the competitor can only be a "dark horse" before the success. A "dark horse" who has won a competition is no longer a "dark horse". DCDuring TALK 21:40, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
I'm familiar only with the political meaning, but the Wikipedia entry supports an expanded meaning. The AHD ([[18])] does not seem very good, and the OED is badly dated (last citation: 1893). BenjaminBarrett12 (talk) 21:44, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
Some dictionaries have a sense under which a successful dark horse remains a dark horse. That isn't how I would use it, but presumably they have citations supporting their definition. DCDuring TALK 23:27, 6 March 2012 (UTC)
I think it has been reduced to meaning long shot in much current usage, but has had much more specific meaning in US politics. The entry could stand improvement to include the sense evolution, especially if the US Republican presidential nomination contest leads to a brokered convention, from which "dark horse" candidate in one of the older narrow senses could have emerged at least in earlier days. Sarah Palin might be viewed as having been a "dark horse" candidate for the Republican vice-presidential nomination in 2008, as she was not at all well-known to the US public and media.
I've forgotten where I read that dark meant "of unknown parentage" in horse-breeding. DCDuring TALK 23:49, 6 March 2012 (UTC)

Ø superscript

Is there a character that looks like Ø that is superscript, so that it will look like Ø⁷? Celloplayer115 (talk) 04:03, 4 March 2012 (UTC)

Ha, what's the context? There's a BP discussion about superscripts. One thing discussed there was small-sup tags, so in this case Ø(⁷). - -sche (discuss) 04:15, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
I assume the context is notating half-diminished seventh chords. Wikipedia uses a superscript ø for that. —Angr 19:53, 12 May 2012 (UTC)

on and off

Usually we would say put on and take off as opposites of each other. I've seen that this can be abbreviated if both actions are taken. Something can be put on and off or taken on and off. However, put off and take on by themselves do not have the meanings of removing or replacing. Where should this be documented, if at all? DAVilla 05:39, 4 March 2012 (UTC)


A recent edit by a redlinked user with very few contributions has significantly changed the definitions without an edit summary (diff); it was on 15 January 2012. His edits: "Without artificial additives" -> "Without intervention, "[sic]; two definitions for colors were removed; two definitions were moved. Translation tables were left unadjusted. Should we revert? --Dan Polansky (talk) 08:11, 4 March 2012 (UTC)

Yep. He was right (IMO) to remove the two odd noun senses (from the adjective section!), though. - -sche (discuss) 04:16, 13 March 2012 (UTC)


I very much doubt this series of edits were an improvement (diff). The edits made the entry quite messy, and the allegged subsenses ("With verbs, especially past participles", "With prepositional phrases and spatial adverbs", etc.) have nothing to do with semantics, so are not really subsenses. I also find the definition "In a fully justified sense" not so good. The original version has example sentences associated with each main definition; I find example sentences much better than quotations equipped with all that metadata (year, author, etc.) that is of no concern to understanding the definition. I don't know what to do about it; reverting would be an option, and copying most of the citations to citations namespace. --Dan Polansky (talk) 09:13, 4 March 2012 (UTC)

That's quite (1.2? 2.3?) ugly! I'm not quite (1.6?) sure what to think... Definitely TMI. Chuck Entz (talk) 02:27, 10 March 2012 (UTC)
Indeed. The three main headings are good, but the sub-headings of the first two should be significantly pared down. --Jtle515 (talk) 20:08, 5 April 2012 (UTC)


Interesting page; I added {{t+|en|scolopids}} and KassadBot moved it to the top ahead of Catalan. Thoughts? Is adding English translations desirable to translation tables in Translingual entries? Mglovesfun (talk) 12:20, 5 March 2012 (UTC)

  • Normally, we would just include "- the scolopids" as part of the definition. SemperBlotto (talk) 12:22, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
I had thought that our practice is to completely exclude Translation L3/L4 sections from Translingual L2 sections. The "translations" that we have in such sections seem to me to be often calques of the equivalent of "scolopid family" or transliterations of the equivalent of "scolopids". Such "translations" are not equivalent in context to the Translingual headword. DCDuring TALK 12:46, 5 March 2012 (UTC)


I'm not convinced this is a word at all, but really llama with the particle me attached to it with no space. The only difference between this and call me is that call me has a space in it. Are we prepared to keep this solely because it doesn't contain a space in the title? I mean nor does Steven's but we don't allow it. Mglovesfun (talk) 22:40, 6 March 2012 (UTC)

Isn't that the principle behind Wiktionary:COALMINE, that we should keep those words?--Prosfilaes (talk) 02:02, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
No, not at all. Wiktionary:COALMINE would only apply if we did decide to keep these entries; in that case, it would say that we should have entries as well for any spaced-out forms that are more common than the solid ones — which, as it happens, is none of them. —RuakhTALK 03:04, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
Our rules aren't clear here, but the implication I've got is that in most, non-polysynthetic, languages, a word basically amounted to a space-delineated set of letters.--Prosfilaes (talk) 12:35, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
Your comment is indented as a reply to mine, but it doesn't seem to have anything to do with mine . . . but I'll try to address it anyway. That definition is a reasonable place to start when trying to understand what the word "word" means, but I think it should quickly become clear that it's not workable as an actual rule. Consider:
  • Plenty of languages aren't written, or aren't written with "letters". Do these languages therefore not use "words"? How about languages whose writing systems don't use spaces — or languages with multiple writing systems, of which one or more do use spaces and one or more do not?
  • In "Maya gave her a why-so-many-questions look, then shrugged", is "why-so-many-questions" a "word"?
  • In "you & I", is "&" a "set of letters"? If not, is it therefore not a "word"?
  • Some English-speakers, historically, systematically wrote o' (of) without a space after it; as a result, combinations like "o'time" and "o'the" meet the attestation requirements. However, it was much more common to write it with a space; as a result, there are combinations like "o'room" that, due to their word-sequences being less frequent overall, seem to have only one or two cites. (If 0.1% of uses of o' don't use a space, and o' room was used only 2000 times, then ceteris paribus, we'd expect o'room to get 2 cites.) Do we say that "o'time", "o'the", and "o'room" are "words", such that "o'time", "o' time", "o'the", and "o' the" merit entries, while "o'room" and "o' room" do not?
In some of these cases we may be satisfied with the space-separated-set-of-letters approach; but I'm not prepared to take it for granted that we want to use it for all of them.
RuakhTALK 16:54, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
Is "coalmine" a word? It's clear that does Ruakh think this is a word and does the Tea Room thinks this is a word are not workable as actual rules, and you haven't offered a workable actual rule. It's entirely natural that our definition of word is specialized by language; there's no reason, practical or theoretical, that our definition of word for Chinese should be the same for English or Spanish. There is good reason for our definition of word for English to be the same as German or Spanish, since they're similar languages and the same rule works for them all. It's pretty clear to me that a set of space-delineated letters is our definition of word for English. Since all your questions include non-letters, they don't seem pertinent to the issue. (And no, & is not a word; it's an abbreviation symbol.)--Prosfilaes (talk) 23:30, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
I . . . I actually do think that "does the Tea Room thinks this is a word" is workable as an actual rule. (Not that it's exactly the rule I'd propose, but it's in the right general ballpark.) Can you elaborate on how/why it's clear that it's not? —RuakhTALK 23:44, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
There's 3,000 "words" on User:Prosfilaes/Esperanto corpus/4-5; which of them are acceptable to the Tea Room? On one hand, that's a lot more entries then the Tea Room can reasonably process, all of which involve getting into the details of Esperanto. On the other, when I take the time to add a word to Wiktionary, I like to know my work isn't just going to get summarily deleted. Me adding 3,000 entries to Wiktionary knowing that half my work can go up in flames on a whim of the Tea Room? Not happening.-- 02:09, 9 March 2012 (UTC)
If you have real reason to doubt that the community would accept them, then I'd advise you to ask about them (here or at RFD, as you prefer) before you create them. And I think the Tea room can process a great many entries at once; this discussion, for example, is simultaneously processing several million potential Spanish entries. But in general, there are never any guarantees; we could decide that something is worth including, and then change our minds. Someone could start a vote tomorrow proposing that that Esperanto entries be banned, and — if you don't trust the community's judgment, as you apparently do not — then that vote could pass in a month's time, and all your work deleted. —RuakhTALK 02:51, 9 March 2012 (UTC)
Yes, that was me.
Yes, a vote could be started. But there's a huge difference between a vote could be started and we as a community could decide to make a change after a month's discussion, and us having no rule and each word living or dieing by ad hoc reasoning of who ever is on RFD that day. I don't see that as not trusting the community's judgment; I see that as having general guidelines for me to work with, and for the community to have generally agreed-upon guidelines on how to decide words.
You still haven't explained why words like coalmine, which is a simple combination of English words and unforgivable, that is a combination of un- and forgivable (which itself was assembled from smaller, completely predictable pieces) are words and llámame isn't. If this were a vote on general principles, I could use the result to figure out how that applies to ĉeesti and ĉirkaŭflugi. If it's an ad-hoc word-by-word decision, I suspect there will be no coherent answer.--Prosfilaes (talk) 05:06, 9 March 2012 (UTC)
Fair enough. (By the way, re: llámame vs. unforgivable: me is a clitic, whereas un- is an affix. Though Wikipedia claims, on the basis of a single foreign-language Chomskyite journal article, that me is actually an affix by all criteria; it's clearly violating its NPOV policy by making that claim, since the standard view is that me is a clitic, but at least this suggests that there may be some disagreement on this point.) —RuakhTALK 15:02, 9 March 2012 (UTC)
You're right that it's not a word not a clear-cut word; me is a clitic pronoun both in no me llames (where it precedes the verb) and in llámame (where it follows it). But one difference from call me or Steven's is the addition of the accent-mark; this is just a spelling detail (llama and lláma- are pronounced the same), but still. And in related compounds, there are actual small pronunciation changes: -s, when present, gets dropped before -nos. Overall, I'd prefer that we deleted them — especially ones like llamarme where there's not even the slightest spelling change — but I don't feel strongly about it. I just worked it out on paper, and I believe that allowing these compounds, when attested or at least plausible, would less-than-quadruple the number of Spanish verb entries. —RuakhTALK 03:04, 7 March 2012 (UTC) Edited later to change "not a word" to "not a clear-cut word", since as others point out, there are senses of "word" that this does satisfy. 23:44, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
Would it work to put those in as redirects and provide a table that shows how the orthography changes? BenjaminBarrett12 (talk) 04:24, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
Whether this is word or not depends on the precise definition of the term word. For example one could argue that inflected forms are no words but a combination of the root plus suffixes or affixes. At least applying a phonological criteria (pause in speech) or orthographic criteria (space in written text) llámame is IMHO a word. On the other hand using morphological or syntactic criteria it is not easy to give an unambiguous definition. So we really should give definition of what exactly we understand to be a word.Matthias Buchmeier (talk) 17:37, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
I agree with much of what you say; but note that phonological criteria would also count me llamas as a word. The word "word" is definitely blurry around the edges. I strongly disagree with your last sentence. I don't think we can give a definition of what exactly we understand to be a word; if such a thing were possible, it would be great, but it's not, and the best we can do is consider individual situations individually, inform ourselves as best we can, and make decisions that apply as narrowly as necessary. —RuakhTALK 18:21, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
Even though we are all amateurs, I find WT:CFI too amateurish even for us: WT:CFI says “all words in all languages” but then doesn't define word or language. Note the language issue comes up just as often if not more; see Category talk:Croatian language. Mglovesfun (talk) 18:53, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
Catalan is closely related to Spanish and its orthography follows very similar rules when it comes to accents. The cognate phrase of llámame would be clama'm. But here the orthography is different as the clitic is separated with an apostrophe (and in other forms with a hyphen), the two words are never written together. And the Catalan word does not have an accent mark on any of the letters, even though when written as a single word it would require one (clàmam). I very much doubt this has to do with an inherent syntactical difference in the usage of the clitics. French treats the clitics as Catalan does, but Italian treats them as Spanish does and writes them together. So I think that this is still a matter of orthography to some degree: llámame is a single word in writing, even though it probably is not one in speech. —CodeCat 20:37, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
@Ruakh's comment (several paragraphs ago) "Wiktionary:COALMINE would only apply if...": ah, but BACKWARDS COALMINE!
Er, but on a serious note, I recall that we've discussed the many, many forms of Finnish words. In this case, we aren't dealing with many forms of words, we're dealing with only a few forms per word. I still don't have an opinion on whether we should have entries for the forms or not. - -sche (discuss) 04:27, 13 March 2012 (UTC)

carbonitride, nitrocarburize

These are both techniques for hardening metals, and they both involve carbon and nitrogen, but they are not the same thing. Perhaps somebody who knows more can improve my rudimentary definitions to distinguish the two. Equinox 01:43, 9 March 2012 (UTC)


I noticed this in the English requests. We have English boutonniere (flowers worn in a buttonhole) and French boutonnière (a buttonhole), but we don't have English boutonnière (flowers worn in a buttonhole). Online, I see both spellings. The dictionary app on my Mac has only the boutonnière spelling, and I have yet to find either spelling in any of the older dictionaries online (from before 1922). This leads me to guess that the word was borrowed recently enough that prescriptive sources still insist on the French spelling- accent grave and all- but that it's rapidly losing the accent in everyday use. Which leads to my question: how should I treat the different spellings in English? I could add an English entry to boutonnière as an alternative spelling, move the definition from boutonniere to boutonnière and make boutonniere the alternative spelling, or I could have definitions in both places. I'm sure there are some bells and whistles I'm omitting, but that basically seems to be it. Chuck Entz (talk) 01:50, 10 March 2012 (UTC)

I don't believe there's any really standard rules. Pick one, preferably the one that already exists or the one that is truly dominant if there is one, and make the other alternative spellings.--Prosfilaes (talk) 11:49, 10 March 2012 (UTC)


Found by using the "Random word" function: someone added a second sense in this eidt, but it seems redundant to the first sense. Should we combine the two? - -sche (discuss) 05:09, 10 March 2012 (UTC)

The anon had a point. Take a look. DCDuring TALK 14:31, 10 March 2012 (UTC)

German: gerunds/deverbal nouns

German has a few ways of making nouns from verbs..
1.1 Das Verzieren ist eine hohe Kunst. – "(The) adorning is a high art."
1.2 Die Verzierung ist eine hohe Kunst – same as above
2. Die Verzierung an der Jacke passt. – "The adornment at the jacket fits."
3.1 Die Verzierung war eine mühselige Arbeit. – "(The) adornment was a tiring task."
3.2 Das Verzieren war eine mühselige Arbeit. – same as above
I think that are all the uses. Am I using the right terminology if I call 1+3.2 gerunds and 2 a deverbal noun? (3.1 should be interpretable as both.)ᚲᛟᚱᚾ (talk) 12:31, 10 March 2012 (UTC)


I generalized the definition of heartbreaker; google books:"it was a heartbreaker" quickly shows that it's not limited to people. But I don't know if the translations, in Finnish, Norwegian and German can be so generalized.--Prosfilaes (talk) 00:12, 12 March 2012 (UTC)

The definition applies now only to things, not to people. It seems possible that "s/he's a heartbreaker" can refer only to love, in which case, the definitions for things and people should be different. BenjaminBarrett12 (talk) 02:40, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
For me, something includes people, but feel free to change it to "something or someone" if you like.--Prosfilaes (talk) 05:05, 12 March 2012 (UTC)


I know that this page is not durably archived enough to qualify as a citation, but it does raise the question, do we need a new definition of intolerant, namely "lactose intolerant"? —Angr 07:41, 12 March 2012 (UTC)

To me, "1. Unable or indisposed to tolerate, endure or bear." works fine for that.--Prosfilaes (talk) 22:13, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
You think that on the page I linked to the person meant he was "unable or indisposed to tolerate" in general? —Angr 22:33, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
I don't think intolerant is ever used as "in general"; there's always an implied "against other religions", "against blacks", etc. In this case he is indisposed to bear lactose.--Prosfilaes (talk) 23:29, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
But lactose is not otherwise mentioned in the utterance; it has to be inferred from the word "intolerant", suggesting that "intolerant" by itself may be used to mean "lactose intolerant". (Do you feel that lactose intolerant is SOP? I don't.) I would look for other, more CFI-friendly cases if I could, but living in Germany I don't get as good b.g.c. results as people in the U.S. do, and I don't really know how to google for cases where the word "intolerant" means "lactose intolerant" in a situation where the word "lactose" does not appear. —Angr 10:31, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
The comments on that imply that the abbreviation of lactose intolerant to just intolerant is not good English, at least not yet. lactose intolerant is a subset of the definitions of intolerant of lactose, so it does sort of work as English without a new definition for intolerant. It strikes me as a one-off example that the audience was slightly intolerant of.
I'm finding b.g.c. hits for wheat intolerance and food intolerance; unless I could find a lot of examples where intolerant was used for lactose intolerant in a way where the context doesn't make the lactose part crystal-clear, I'd look at expanding intolerant to include a food meaning, not just add lactose intolerant.--Prosfilaes (talk) 12:27, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
MSG intolerance is another common one (monosodium glutamate). Equinox 12:29, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
And glucose intolerance has become popular over the past several years. —RuakhTALK 12:52, 13 March 2012 (UTC)
I think adding a food/medical definition at intolerant is a good idea, and one at tolerate as well. —Angr 13:18, 13 March 2012 (UTC)


What sense of tour are these: "The soldier is married with two children, and a veteran of three tours in the Iraq War. He was on his first tour in Afghanistan"? I keep seeing it all the time, maybe it needs a new military sense or I am missing something. Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV 23:43, 12 March 2012 (UTC)

tour of duty Equinox 23:48, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
I've added that as a sense to tour.--Prosfilaes (talk) 23:56, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
Thank you both. Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV 00:12, 13 March 2012 (UTC)

lateral area

I need to knw the corct defintion nd de equation!!!!!!!!!!!! plz nd thnk you :)

  • I would have thought it was fairly obviously the product of the perimeter of the polygon times the length of the prism. You also seem to have a problem with your keyboard skipping letters. SemperBlotto (talk) 08:00, 13 March 2012 (UTC)

Is lower case an alternative "spelling"?

For the English word "delete" the definition reads:

Noun delete (uncountable)

Alternative spelling of Delete. I lost the file when I accidentally hit delete.

Is "Delete" an alternative spelling of "delete"? It's the case that's different. Would "Iphone" be an alternative spelling of "iPhone"?

That is how we do it. For example, German nouns are always capitalised, so they'd have a separate entry from a lower-cased word of the same spelling. I prefer to say "alternative form" though. Equinox 16:57, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
Yes, “form” is now preferred, because it covers a range of things that include spelling, capitalization, hyphenation, whitespace, diacritics, etc. Michael Z. 2012-03-14 17:16 z


This is listed under the Translingual header, but I'm not sure how it got there. It was coined in an English work and (besides translations of English works) I can't find any uses in other languages, although it is certainly cited well in English. Can we switch the language to 'English'? --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 03:15, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

I’d consider it an English word, or word-like entity. ~ Robin (talk) 09:15, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

Marco Polo and the noodle

The noodle entry has a sample sentence saying that Marco Polo brought noodles back from China. According to wikipedia:Pasta#History, that is a story invented to promote pasta in the US. I don't want to delete a sentence that someone has written, but leaving it seems against the purposes of Wiktionary. BenjaminBarrett12 (talk) 20:24, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

There's no expectation that example sentences be true, is there? —Angr 21:05, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
Well, if you read something stated as a fact in a dictionary, you generally would accept that as fact. One possibility is something like "is an urban rumor," but I think that would be distracting. BenjaminBarrett12 (talk) 21:12, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
Why not replace it with some real citations? They are always better to have than usage examples. Equinox 21:07, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

Why debate this? It's factually wrong, it misapplies quotation marks, and worst of all, it doesn't really serve the goals of WT:ELE#Example_sentences. I'll replace it. Michael Z. 2012-03-18 19:45 z

Nice! BenjaminBarrett12 (talk) 22:04, 18 March 2012 (UTC)


acostado was added as a translation of inshore. It does look like "coast", but the only meaning I can find in dictionaries is "lying in bed". Does it, indeed, also mean "inshore"? - -sche (discuss) 17:58, 19 March 2012 (UTC)

After the DRAE definition of acostar that is one of the meanings. Matthias Buchmeier (talk) 10:57, 20 March 2012 (UTC)


I have recently been doing some tinkering at wireless, and I realise that I am confused about whether, in compounds such as "wireless network", "wireless communication", and so on, the word "wireless" is truly an adjective, or is really an attributive noun. To me, it seems more like the latter. If that is really the case, then I am struggling to think of any true examples of adjective sense 2, "Of or relating to communication without a wired connection, such as by radio wave." Can anyone shed any light on this? 21:57, 19 March 2012 (UTC)

I suspect that wireless as a noun in the field of computers is a backformation from wireless network. "wireless" certainly feels like an adjective that's become a noun.--Prosfilaes (talk) 23:02, 19 March 2012 (UTC)
“Is your network wireless or is it wired?” looks like an adjective to me.
I'm not even sure how you can consider it to be a noun. Certainly, a wireless network is a network without wires, not “a network based on the wireless.” “Has Coffeebucks got wireless” is an abbreviation of “wireless networking,” rather than the other way around. Michael Z. 2012-03-20 02:05 z
In your last example 'has got wireless', even if it is a noun, in that usage it's clearly an uncountable noun. —CodeCat 02:50, 20 March 2012 (UTC)
In 1898, Tesla proposed a system of "wireless transmission of power." — Pingkudimmi 02:51, 20 March 2012 (UTC)
There's another sense that I see a lot in advertising, as an adjective to distinguish cellphone service from regular phone service: "You can save money by combining your wireless plan with your home phone service". It shows up in names of business entities in the cellphone industry, too. I'm not sure how independent it is as a sense, though. Chuck Entz (talk) 19:00, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

me, myself and I

Is me, myself and I a pronoun? I guess so, as it is a combo of 3 pronouns, but it looks a bit like an adjective too. Maybe an emphatic pronoun? --Cova (talk) 08:23, 20 March 2012 (UTC)

put someone up

I've heard this used about men who buy apartments for their mistresses ("he put her up in an apartment on Upper East Side"). Should this be an article? __meco (talk) 12:44, 20 March 2012 (UTC)

It's put up (to house or shelter). Equinox 12:49, 20 March 2012 (UTC)

Okay. __meco (talk) 15:46, 20 March 2012 (UTC)

draw a line in the sand

A RFV resulted in all the senses in this entry being well-cited, but the question remained: are we interpreting the citations correctly? I left this on WT:RFV for a month tagged {{look}}, but it occurs to me it's more of a Tea Room (or perhaps WT:RFC) question, anyway, now that it's cited. For "draw the line / draw a line", Merriam-Webster has "1: to fix an arbitrary boundary between things that tend to intermingle, 2: to fix a boundary excluding what one will not tolerate or engage in". Dictionary.com has "draw a line in the sand: to set a limit; allow to go up to a point but no further". What senses, if any, does the OED have? What senses do we think the citations support? - -sche (discuss) 20:47, 21 March 2012 (UTC)


We seem to be missing the sense found in civil sunrise, civil dawn, civil dusk, civil sunset, and civil twilight.​—msh210 (talk) 15:53, 22 March 2012 (UTC)

I think the sense is 'having to do with government' and covers civil service. I'm not clear that that's distinct enough from Having to do with people and government office to require another sense. Wcoole (talk) 19:32, 22 March 2012 (UTC)

I've never heard of any of the four collocations msh210 suggests, are they US only? Or non-UK should I say? Mglovesfun (talk) 22:56, 22 March 2012 (UTC)
I don't think so. The UK Air Almanac for the Year 2006, authored by (and I quote Google Books here) "S.A. Bell, Great Britain: H.M. Nautical Almanac Office. Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, C.Y. Hohenkerk" lists times of civil twilight.--Prosfilaes (talk) 03:18, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
I would interpret it as "sunrise/dawn/dusk/sunset/twilight for civil purposes", "civil purposes" being things like park openings and closings. If there are legal meanings to the terms, we should find out what they are. I could see entries for the legal senses of each compound term more easily than I could imagine a corresponding sense for civil. DCDuring TALK 03:56, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
google books:"civil twilight" come up with several sources (over almost a hundred years) that say that civil twilight is between sunset and the sun being 6° below the horizon.--Prosfilaes (talk) 04:14, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
That's the sense I know for civil dusk, with civil dawn being its mirror in the morning and civil twilight being either. Civil sunrise and civil sunset I've come across recently; they seem to mean, respectively, "when the sun is six degrees below the horizon before sunrise" and "[same] after sunset". But what sense of civil is all this? A new one, "referring to the sun's being six degrees below the horizon"?? (Seems very strange.)​—msh210 (talk) 06:50, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
It was probably civil=government and then it got specialized.--Prosfilaes (talk) 13:34, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
That's good info for an etymology section, then, I'd think. Right?​—msh210 (talk) 16:49, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
It looks to me like a very specific definition of each of these terms must have been created for regulatory purposes, and the term civil was used to distinguish between these specialized versions and general usage, after which it spread to places that never heard of those regulations as an independent term. Chuck Entz (talk) 18:21, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
Likely, or perhaps some of them (e.g. sunrise and sunset) had regulatory definitions, and people called them civil sunrise and civil sunset, and civil twilight et al. followed therefrom. That's a question for etymologists, and an important one, but my more immediate question is what definition to put.​—msh210 (talk) 19:37, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
(Re DCDuring.) I have no reason to think the term is / terms are lawyers'. (Do you?) Astronomers', maybe? Meteorologists'?​—msh210 (talk) 06:54, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
I know it's used in aeronautics; besides the UK air almanac, the term shows up in the works by the Federal Aviation Administration in the same b.g.c. search. I think it's used by anyone needing to make subtle distinctions of light levels as the sun goes down.--Prosfilaes (talk) 13:34, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
Merriam-Webster has "of time : based on the mean sun and legally recognized for use in ordinary affairs"; Dictionary.com has a new and possibly different collocation by its temporal def "(of divisions of time) legally recognized in the ordinary affairs of life: the civil year". Civil day and civil year are other collocations; we either need a vague sense, or multiple senses, or dedicated entires for civil sunset, etc. - -sche (discuss) 19:42, 23 March 2012 (UTC)


Rft-sense: The last noun sense is defined as (informal, attributive) Secretly. This doesn't look like a noun at all to me, but rather some other part of speech. Opinions? -- Liliana 22:42, 22 March 2012 (UTC)

If anything, should be secret, not secretly. A closet Republican is not a secretly Republican, but a secret one. And 'secret' on its own is still way too ambiguous for a definition. Mglovesfun (talk) 22:51, 22 March 2012 (UTC)
Other dictionaries have as many as three adjective senses, roughly: "private", "secret", and "theoretical". I'm not familiar with the third. DCDuring TALK 04:07, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
I think the missing element is that the person in the closet is the one hiding something from others, though there's also often the implication that it's "out of shame" or "to avoid disapproval" Chuck Entz (talk) 19:19, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
The -ly would mean adverbial, but I can't imagine saying "he closet was a homosexual". I agree with Mglovesfun that it's an adjective. It originated as shorthand for "a homosexual who is in the closet (as a homosexual)", so one could make a case for it being attributive use of a noun sense, but it substitutes for the whole phrase- not just the single word that's left. Chuck Entz (talk) 18:35, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
I have a cite for closet drinker from 1940. I have added the adjective sense of "secret". DCDuring TALK 22:50, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

possessive adjective

Currently, there is just one category for possessive adjectives for Catalan. Shouldn't be a separate category for possessive adjectives for all languages? At the moment they are classified as pronouns not even (simple) adjectives.--Forudgah (talk) 07:56, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

liar liar pants on fire

Definition: "There will be discomforting consequences to lying." Is that what it means? I thought it was just a rhyming catcall to be chanted at a liar, without any implication of consequences. Equinox 13:22, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

To the best of my knowledge, you are correct. Mglovesfun (talk) 13:24, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
Agreed. SemperBlotto (talk) 13:26, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
Fourthed. (American.)​—msh210 (talk) 16:53, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
Another one I remember from school: copycat, copycat, don't know what you're looking at. (This makes more sense because it is saying that the plagiarist doesn't understand the material being copied!) Equinox 13:29, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
Fifthed. Shouldn't be worded as a proverb. I don't know how many childhood rhymes merit inclusion, but "liar liar...." would be perhaps one of the most meritorious candidates. Are there any attestable chants or rhymes that would not warrant inclusion based on absence of meaning or some other criterion? DCDuring TALK 18:04, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
Sixthed. As a child, I always interpreted "pants on fire" as being another example of a lie, as if to say "You're lying, the same as if I said your pants were on fire." —Angr 10:03, 31 March 2012 (UTC)


Really? No reference to the meaning of life? That is kind of shocking. That is probably one of the most important definitions. -- Liliana 12:50, 25 March 2012 (UTC)

I added it (we all know it's citable), but I think it needs cleanup from somebody else, because this may be the driest defintion ever made for such a tongue-in-cheek concept. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 15:35, 25 March 2012 (UTC)
I don't see how this can be given a definition in this regard. All it means is the number two above forty; the fact that that number is the meaning of life in a certain fiction franchise doesn't give it another sense as such. It seems rather like having an entry for 39 because it is a famous number of steps in a book title. Equinox 20:08, 2 April 2012 (UTC)
And yet the sense "the number 2 more than 40" is not listed as either of the current definitions! --EncycloPetey (talk) 20:56, 2 April 2012 (UTC)
I suppose it should be Translingual (see 99), but numerical figures follow a thoroughly predictable pattern and probably don't (i) require attestability or (ii) require definition in a dictionary. Equinox 21:00, 2 April 2012 (UTC)
At best, 99 is a sum-of-parts construction, not a symbol. The digits 1–9 and 0 can appear in the dictionary because it is our convention to include all symbols, although in most dictionaries this kind of material remains in appendices. Otherwise, numerals should only be included when they form words.
42 is not a word meaning “The answer to life, the universe, and everything.” This is backwards, and no one would say “I visited the mystic to find 42.” Whether you agree with me about numerals or not, this is not a definition of “42,” and it doesn't belong in the dictionary. Michael Z. 2012-04-02 21:23 z
Maybe the "meaning of life" bit should be made into a usage note. - -sche (discuss) 21:39, 2 April 2012 (UTC)
What would it say about the usage of 42? I'd like to see some quotations showing how it is used, anyway. Michael Z. 2012-04-02 21:42 z
I'd always considered this a bit like a punch line to a joke. It was years later that I found out why it was supposedly 42. I'd agree that it's not a definition, no more than we need at 5 "the number of toes on a human foot". Mglovesfun (talk) 22:36, 2 April 2012 (UTC)
The current content of Citations:42 doesn't help, as you can't substitute 'the answer to life, the universe, and everything' for '42' in those citations. Mglovesfun (talk) 22:54, 2 April 2012 (UTC)
There might be citations that support the current definition, but I think the definition needs revision and/or a new definition to match the citations. BenjaminBarrett12 (talk) 23:04, 2 April 2012 (UTC)

I put up four citations. I searched on "the answer is 42" so that's the expression in each citation. It may be that "the answer is 42" is what should get an entry, but there's no doubt that this is in use in reference to Adams's book. BenjaminBarrett12 (talk) 22:55, 2 April 2012 (UTC)

I suspect this is not a word, but merely the subject of a joke. But this dictionary isn't a catalogue of jokes and their punchlines, so let's remove that silly definition. It is perhaps even better known that 42 is also “the answer to 6 × 7,” but we're not bloody putting that in. Michael Z. 2012-04-06 05:46 z
Defining what constitutes a word is a pointless struggle. Clearly this term has widespread use, and thus ought to be defined here. I will freely concede my definition needs work (as I said above). However, I see no reason to delete this kind of lexicographic information, instead of improving it. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 05:49, 6 April 2012 (UTC)
It's not a term with a lexicographical meaning. It doesn't have a definition, any more than “to get to the other side” does (I realize I link that phrase at my peril)). I've added this to WT:RFV#42. Let's move the discussion there. Of course you're welcome to prove me wrong with a better definition, but the current one is not lexicographic information, it's nonsense. Michael Z. 2012-04-06 05:54 z


Could someone check whether the audio file is for the noun or verb senses? — Paul G (talk) 08:49, 25 March 2012 (UTC)

I think it covers all senses of both PoSes, except the verb sense "to cry louder than". DCDuring TALK 12:25, 25 March 2012 (UTC)
The audio is for the noun pronunciation, with stress on the first syllable. The verb would have the second syllable stressed. --EncycloPetey (talk) 20:59, 2 April 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I have heard the verb only with stress on the second syllable. Dbfirs 08:22, 7 April 2012 (UTC)


Is the audio file for the noun or the verb? — Paul G (talk) 09:55, 25 March 2012 (UTC)

It is correct for the noun. Not quite sure about the verb! Equinox 13:22, 25 March 2012 (UTC)
In my (US) experience, noun and verb are pronounced identically in this case. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 15:25, 25 March 2012 (UTC)
The audio would be noun only in my UK English, where the stress is either equal or on the second syllable for the verb. The Wiktionary entry says that the same is true in American English, but the American Heritage dictionary allows either for the verb. (The Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary claims that only American English has the verb stress on the second syllable, but I think they are confused!) Perhaps the stress is changing, and varies by region. Dbfirs 08:16, 7 April 2012 (UTC)


Which part(s) of speech is the audio file for? — Paul G (talk) 10:04, 25 March 2012 (UTC)

Again, noun only in my northern UK English, where the adjective tends to have equal stress, but the stress probably varies by region. Dbfirs 08:20, 7 April 2012 (UTC)


It has 11 alternative forms, most obsolete, and currently arranged as a list. What do you think of formatting it like this? It wastes less vertical space and makes the American form more visible, in my opinion. Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV 16:47, 25 March 2012 (UTC)

  • I would just lay them out as a comma-separated list - on one line. SemperBlotto (talk) 16:50, 25 March 2012 (UTC)
  • What about this? It's something of a combination of both ideas. - -sche (discuss) 17:48, 25 March 2012 (UTC)
Pretty good. Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV 18:20, 25 March 2012 (UTC)

Pronunciation of -tion/-sion

The Scandinavian languages, English and Low German pronounce the mentioned endings with /sh/ or /ch/ while not having a notable palatalisation-feature. (As in Polish /s/=/s/ -> /si/=/shi/)
Can anyone provide information on why this is and where it originated?ᚲᛟᚱᚾ (talk) 17:57, 25 March 2012 (UTC)

w:Phonological history of English#Up to the American–British split. "In some words, /tj/, /sj/, /dj/, /zj/ coalesce to produce /tʃ/, /ʃ/, /dʒ/, and new phoneme /ʒ/ (examples: nature, mission, procedure, vision)". Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV 18:18, 25 March 2012 (UTC)
But that would mean that all languages took their pronunciation from the fairly uninfluential English in the 17th century. Also, in languages other than English the /sh/ is confined to that specific syllable rather than to /Cj/-pairs. (Cf. djup, matjes, själv, which all sport different sounds.)ᚲᛟᚱᚾ (talk) 14:45, 26 March 2012 (UTC)
The coalescing isn't unique to English, it happens in Dutch too, although the result is slightly different and more palatal in pronunciation, not a true palato-alveolar. /tj/ is often realised as [tʲ] or [c] in Dutch, and /sj/ as [sʲ] or [ɕ]. —CodeCat 21:31, 26 March 2012 (UTC)


Does our entry for [[group]] account for things like these? What POS is "group" in such quotations? It is contrasted with adverbs. - -sche (discuss) 00:31, 26 March 2012 (UTC)

I read the one with seriatum[sic] to be using it a verb: "You say on one hand, you run it seriatum and then [you] group [the results]". (I see how it could be read as an adverb — "You say on one hand, you run it seriatum and then [you run it] group" — but by asking b.g.c. to show me results for "group it" in that book, I found that another part of the page has "When you group[,] it seems to me that you do not introduce any wider [] ", which is clearly a verb.) We do have [[group#Verb]], though depending on your point of view, it either doesn't include this sense, or else it mislabels this sense. (That is, either we're missing a sense, "Template:intransitive To put things together to form a group", or else our existing sense "Template:transitive To put together to form a group" needs to be tweaked.)
I believe the ones that coordinate individually with group are using it as a noun complement to "housed" or "penned"; "group-housed" means "housed in groups". There's a general tendency for coordinands to have the same part of speech, but it's not a very strong tendency, as long as the coordinands have the same semantic role and the same locally-relevant grammar.
RuakhTALK 01:36, 26 March 2012 (UTC)


Is there a word, "contraeuphemistic," meaning pejorative? That is contraeuphemistic = contra- + euphemistic If so, could you create this entry in the English wikitionary? Thankyou.

The opposite of euphemistic is not contraeuphemistic, but dysphemistic (eu- is from the Greek word meaning "good", dys- is from the Greek word meaning "bad"). Smurrayinchester (talk) 07:49, 7 April 2012 (UTC)

Etyl of Japanese term ピン (pin)

I just substantially expanded the entry at ピン, but ran across a puzzle in the background to etyl 1. My sources to hand all list one sense of Japanese pin as deriving from Portuguese pinta, and all explain that pinta means "point". Yet, as the pinta entry clearly shows, it means "he/she/it paints", while the Portuguese word for "point" is ponto.

Does anyone know if there might be a Portuguese dialect in which pinta = "point"? Or are my sources to hand incorrect on the source language, and pinta means "point" in some other tongue not yet included on the pinta page?

-- Cheers, Eiríkr ÚtlendiTala við mig 20:28, 28 March 2012 (UTC)

日本語大辞典 agrees with Portuguese "pinta" as the source. See pt:pinta, where the first definition is "mancha de pequeno tamanho." BenjaminBarrett12 (talk) 21:20, 28 March 2012 (UTC)
Aha, so the issue is that en:pinta#Portuguese is in need of significant expansion to cover the senses listed at pt:pinta. Thank you, Benjamin. I shall amend ピン momentarily. -- Eiríkr ÚtlendiTala við mig 21:44, 28 March 2012 (UTC)
pinta means a small dot or stain (especially, but not necessarily, one in the skin). It's not dialectical as far as I know. Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV 21:44, 28 March 2012 (UTC)
I've expanded pinta and it now includes this sense. Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV 22:00, 28 March 2012 (UTC)

up to

I question whether the following sense of "up to" is adjectival as claimed:

What have you been up to?

"up to" in this sense, as far as I can see, must have a noun as an object, as in He's been up to something. (In the example sentence I would say the object is "what", which has become detached due to inversion.) Therefore, "up to" would seem to have the properties of a preposition. However, I am not quite confident enough to change it unilaterally. 02:39, 29 March 2012 (UTC)


I have copiously cited a definition of this relating to ethnicity. But I'm having trouble defining it and I'm not sure where I should go with. Right now I have a literal definition of an ethnicity not having a hyphen, but that seems to miss a lot of the real meaning. Some of them have the implications of "real" Americans or Canadians, whereas some (mostly social science material using "unhyphenated whites") have a neutral definition of "those who identify themselves as simply Americans instead of Italian-Americans or the like". Given the complexity of use, I'm not sure how or if to tag it in someway; the idea (of "real" Americans or Canadians) is more offensive then the word, but the two are tied fairly tightly together.--Prosfilaes (talk) 07:41, 30 March 2012 (UTC)

Attempted. Still seems a little forced, but it's a start.Chuck Entz (talk) 08:14, 30 March 2012 (UTC)
My problem with "belonging to a single ethnicity or nationality" is with African-American or as one cite puts it "Negro-Americanism", which is no more multiple ethnicity or nationality then white American.--Prosfilaes (talk) 10:14, 30 March 2012 (UTC)

“Not hyphenated#Adjective.” Michael Z. 2012-03-30 19:27 z


The entry "papa" gives one definition as "The letter P in the ICAO spelling alphabet." This is correct, but as the ICAO spelling alphabet is international, surely this should be a translingual entry rather than an English one? Furthermore, it is capitalised in other dictionaries in this sense. The translations given appear to be for other words used to represent P in other languages, not for the word in the ICAO spelling alphabet. The same would be true of the other 25 entries. — Paul G (talk) 15:46, 31 March 2012 (UTC)

Seems like a good idea to me. Be bold! --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 01:00, 9 April 2012 (UTC)

April 2012


I've created a page for doust. The problem is that I couldn't find it in any online dictionaries (except The Free Dictionary, but their definition - "to punch" - seems to be wrong). All the definitions of I found came from Victorian collections of West Country slang and Victorian mining handbooks. None of these cared about pronunciation or etymology, and they all have senses that the other dictionaries don't (one of which - "to dust" - I can't attest, though given that I can attest "to separate dust from ore", it seems likely). Can anyone with access to a more definitive dictionary (presumably British) make sure the definitions are correct? Smurrayinchester (talk) 14:58, 2 April 2012 (UTC)

I personally don't understand which meaning of put out applies to the first definition. The OED has "doust" only as a noun, but includes it in one of the citations for "douse" (meaning to strike, punch, inflict a blow upon): "To death with daggars doust." BenjaminBarrett12 (talk) 20:45, 4 April 2012 (UTC)
It seems to be put out as in extinguish, judging from the sailor who "dousts" his skylights ("put out" was one of the definitions I came across in a Victorian slang dictionary). Surprised the OED doesn't have it, though. Smurrayinchester (talk) 14:27, 6 April 2012 (UTC)
I don't think the OED records "eye-dialect". It does have a link to dust (and the cite mentioned above in douse). Are we claiming that "doust" is a word in its own right, and not just a spelling of dust or doused? Dbfirs 14:05, 25 April 2012 (UTC)


I would think Israelite qualifies as being archaic (except for the second noun definition), but it doesn't have that label. Is there a reason for that? BenjaminBarrett12 (talk) 20:37, 4 April 2012 (UTC)

I don't think it's archaic; so far as I know, it's still the term people use. (Do you use a different term?) {{historical}} would make sense, though. —RuakhTALK 21:39, 4 April 2012 (UTC)
"Israelite" refers to the people of ancient Israel. The people of modern Israel are Israelis. The glossary seems to allow either historical or archaic for this example; it's not very clear. BenjaminBarrett12 (talk) 21:51, 4 April 2012 (UTC)
Re: your first two sentences: right, so it's historical, not archaic. Re: your third sentence: feel free to adjust the definitions to make them more clear. —RuakhTALK 22:07, 4 April 2012 (UTC)
{{historical}} or {{biblical}}Michael Z. 2012-04-05 05:57 z
I don't see "biblical" in the glossary at all! Also, the definition of archaic seems to be better than the glossary entry. Still thinking about this (and "rare" and "uncommon" above). BenjaminBarrett12 (talk) 06:03, 5 April 2012 (UTC)
I'm not sure why it needs a qualifier; the definition should make it clear what it is, and it should be obvious that thing is historic. It's surely not archaic; a quick search on Google Books shows a host of 21st century uses.--Prosfilaes (talk) 08:50, 5 April 2012 (UTC)
I think obsolete words are ones not used currently. Archaic words are still in use, but have an old feeling to them. BenjaminBarrett12 (talk) 09:00, 5 April 2012 (UTC)
Archaic words are words that are in use only by people deliberately trying to affect an old feel. If you use an archaic word in an academic work, you will get nasty remarks from your editor, and it will be removed before publication. Heck, most of the time if you use an archaic word, you will get eye-rolling from your audience. (Authors of historical literature, maybe fantasy, and people at a Renaissance fair may get passes.) Israelite does not have an old-time feel to it; it is the perfectly modern word for something that happens to be historical, used by academic authors and other authors for a professional audience.--Prosfilaes (talk) 09:59, 5 April 2012 (UTC)
Archaic words also still survive in fixed expressions, near-quotations, etc.; "to thine own self be true" probably won't trigger an eye-roll, but "just be thyself" probably will. —RuakhTALK 13:36, 5 April 2012 (UTC)
It is certainly not archaic in the religious/biblical context. I am reasonably sure that we can find citations of its current application to those we usually call Israelis, possibly with an allusive intent. DCDuring TALK 14:12, 5 April 2012 (UTC)
I said it the other day by accident, so it might be worth entering a separate definition with attestation :) BenjaminBarrett12 (talk) 16:56, 5 April 2012 (UTC)
And conversely, Israeli is sometimes used in reference to the people of ancient Israel. (In some cases I think there's a political/PR dimension to that — sort of fighting back against the standard-but-misleading coincidence whereby Palestine means "ancient Israel" and Palestinian means "Arab from the formerly British-held part of the Levant", despite the lack of relationship between those two referents — but in other cases I think it's just a sort of de-distancing of the Bible, a way to make the Bible more relevant/current/relatable.) —RuakhTALK 19:41, 5 April 2012 (UTC)
Digging through the quotations at Google Books, I see a lot more support for Israelite meaning Jew or Jewish, particularly in France. EB said "Mardochee, a member of the first Israelite family who settled in Timbuctoo, has described the Daggatoun" and Jewish citizenship in France[19] frequently uses it as a calque of the French word Israélite (which, BTW, is just defined as Israelite; I don't touch French, but it looks clear to me that Israélite has a pretty strong sense of Jew in that language). The Politics of Everyday Life in Vichy France[20] says "Historians have noted the divisions within the Jewish community between French men and women of the Israelite confession and the unassimilated Jewish immigrants." There's also some use by various Christian or new religious groups for themselves.--Prosfilaes (talk) 01:52, 6 April 2012 (UTC)

time over

Is this the same as time and time again? __meco (talk) 20:50, 5 April 2012 (UTC)

I haven't seen it with that meaning. What context did you have in mind? Dbfirs 07:44, 7 April 2012 (UTC)
Perhaps Meco is thinking of many times over? "Time over" is not a separate entity. This, that and the other (talk) 04:24, 8 April 2012 (UTC)
Well, I'm not able to cite a usage. I'm thinking that it sounds idiomatic to my ears that someone would say "I've said it time over that ..." But I surmise I'm wrong on this. And as This, that and the other suggests, it might be an idiosyncratic contamination based on having heard many times over. But then again, isn't there an idiom somewhere in there? That's hardly a mere sum of its parts term, is it?__meco (talk) 07:21, 9 April 2012 (UTC)
It sounds like "time and time over again" to me. This seems reasonable as an idiom. It certainly qualifies in Google Books. BenjaminBarrett12 (talk) 08:32, 9 April 2012 (UTC)
I've only seen it (unrelatedly) in video games where you run out of time (cf. game over). Sonic the Hedgehog is one. Equinox 10:42, 11 April 2012 (UTC)


I don't know the least bit of Chinese, but it seems rather unlikely that the word means LP record and CD album, but not SP record or EP record or a 78. Google Translate gives w:zh:唱片 as "The album is a musical communication media summary of its physical form can be divided into early wire LP bakelite 78 record, vinyl record and today's CD-ROM. Now, the album (commonly known as the "album"), the single has become a mainstream record." so I'm guessing I'm right and this should be phonograph record.--Prosfilaes (talk) 08:08, 6 April 2012 (UTC)

The terms 唱片 covers various types of music records - phonograph record (or gramophone record), vinyl disc. LP is translated specifically as 密纹唱片.
From NCIKU dictionary: album; phonograph (or gramophone) record; disc; vinyl. I have more doubts about the 2nd sense - "CD album" --Anatoli (обсудить) 09:45, 6 April 2012 (UTC)
Verified both senses. Redefining. --Anatoli (обсудить) 13:11, 6 April 2012 (UTC)


I created this misspelling page because, up until yesterday, I thought it was spelt and pronounced like this. There are quite a few hits on Google Books too so it seems I'm not the only one who's been fooled. Anyone else aware of this misspelling? ---> Tooironic (talk) 12:40, 6 April 2012 (UTC)

I hadn't come across the mis-spelling before, but I'm surprised how common it is (including lots of photos of it [21], and a dictionary entry [22]). Thanks for drawing my attention to the etymology. Dbfirs 07:42, 7 April 2012 (UTC)
No worries. Up until yesterday I thought "remuneration" was spelt and pronounced "renumeration". Oh dear. ---> Tooironic (talk) 02:01, 15 April 2012 (UTC)


I added a simple etymology to this German word using the {{prefix}} template. Should I have used "Di-" or "di-" as the prefix (neither related German category exists (and I am not a German speaker)). SemperBlotto (talk) 08:38, 7 April 2012 (UTC)


From Chambers - a further meaning: a white or light patch or stripe on a horse esp. on the nose —This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 10:22, 8 April 2012.

  • We're also missing the sense used in internet forums and the like, where only part of a previous post being replied to is quoted. See [23] for example. I don't have time to add it myself now. Thryduulf (talk) 23:07, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
That should probably be a sub-sense of "The act of snipping; cutting a small amount off of something." Equinox 23:12, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
It's also used as what I guess is an interjection(?), see [24] for example. It represents omission in the same way as […] I suppose. Thryduulf (talk) 03:22, 2 July 2012 (UTC)


This has to be one of my favourite entries! :D But I'm wondering about the etymology, it doesn't really make much sense to me. Isn't the entire word just an onomatopoeia, rather than a compound of two of them? —CodeCat 22:23, 8 April 2012 (UTC)

The etymology should say that it comes from observing evil genius behavior, I suppose. __meco (talk) 21:26, 9 April 2012 (UTC)
That's not really what I'm asking. The etymology says that it's a compound of mu + hahaha... which implies that it is a compound of two onomatopoeias. But if you pronounce two onomatopoeias in sequence, doesn't that just create a new one? I very much doubt anyone would see it as a compound! —CodeCat 21:47, 9 April 2012 (UTC)
I agree. Calling it a compound sounds pretty stupid. With no reference we may assume it was the assumption of the editor who wrote it, and I think we should removed it. __meco (talk) 21:52, 9 April 2012 (UTC)
Can somebody explain the subtle semantic nuances distinguishing muahahaha, mwahaha, and bwahaha, and the relevance of the number of repetitions of ha? Muahahaha. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 16:10, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
No real difference. Just variations of the sound. I have noticed that Bowser (the enemy from the Mario game series) is often given "gwa ha ha" in dialogue. Equinox 16:15, 20 April 2012 (UTC)


Is this a plurale tantum? Isn't rather "headqurters" both the singular and plural form? __meco (talk) 07:13, 9 April 2012 (UTC)

I would say so. I've always thought the important thing for users might be to know the number of the verb that is standard. The terminology plurale tantum is supposed to indicate that only a plural form of the verb is standard, I think.
BTW the term plurale tantum seems quite pedantic. Note that no OneLook source except for WP and Wikt has it. If it fails to convey information about subject-verb agreement usable by normal users, it should probably be replaced. DCDuring TALK 11:56, 9 April 2012 (UTC)
I don't see why. It is the correct term for a grammatical quality, just as singular and plural are.Korn (talk) 14:45, 9 April 2012 (UTC)
Who do you think are the target users for Wiktionary? Do you think that we should help them understand using their existing vocabulary or that we force them to learn technical vocabulary? If this project is to be limited to linguists, then it doesn't really deserve the financial support of WMF, the general public, or of whatever other funders WMF may have. DCDuring TALK 15:19, 9 April 2012 (UTC)
It takes one click to understand the term. It's no hard learning effort. And when looking into a dictionary, you have to be prepared to be confronted with language-y terms. We cannot restrict the terminology to every-day speech without at least looking at the edge of a slippery slope. But that's a thing for the Beer Parlour.Korn (talk) 15:25, 9 April 2012 (UTC)
I think you overestimate the likelihood of clickthrough and underestimate how easily many (most?) users are discouraged by the least impediment to immediate understanding. Many users don't seem to click through to lemma entries from form-of entries, judging from our feedback page. DCDuring TALK 15:41, 9 April 2012 (UTC)
So, how do we distinguish between plurals the can have an indefinite article in front of them and those which can't? Or don't we bother with that far-fetched linguistic quirk? __meco (talk) 21:23, 9 April 2012 (UTC)
I do think that something like 'plural only' or 'no singular' would be more helpful than 'plurale tantum'. But I don't think any of those terms apply to 'headquarters', which clearly has a singular and a plural to me. Depending on the sense, it's either an uncountable noun that is morphologically plural, or a countable noun with an identical plural, like 'sheep'. 'The headquarters' seems more like an uncountable collective to me, whereas 'a headquarters' is a countable unit that can be pluralised as 'many headquarters'. —CodeCat 21:59, 9 April 2012 (UTC)
@Meco: I think that {{countable}} addresses that specific issue, although possibly that doesn't cover all situations.
@CodeCat: I have the feeling that plurale tantum is a lingering form of prescriptivism that does not capture the facts of usage accepted as normal or even correct. I doubt that investigation of any large corpus would fail to show pluralia tantum used both with singular and plural verb forms. Moreover, close investigation would probably reveal that a singular referent of a word like "scissors" might be referred to both by "the scissors is" and "the scissors are". DCDuring TALK 22:34, 9 April 2012 (UTC)
This happens more often with terms for a single entity consisting of multiple parts. 'United States' is another notable example. But with 'headquarters' it's less clear, because the semantic connection with 'a quarter' seems much weaker. —CodeCat 22:38, 9 April 2012 (UTC)
It's probably better without the semantic connection, since headquarters in many organizations tend to behave like hindquarters ... Chuck Entz (talk) 05:09, 10 April 2012 (UTC)

Headquarters also sounds like the plural quarters in “officer's quarters.” A headquarters can be a place, but it can also be an organization or the members of a staff, which is often singular in American English but plural in British English (e.g., “Sony is/are releasing a new camera”). Headquarters is also referred to with or without an article: “report to the regimental headquarters/report to regimental headquarters.” I think there are too many valid overlapping and indeterminate kinds of usages to pin it down. Michael Z. 2012-04-11 07:08 z

Long consonants/Geminates in West-Germanic languages

I have read several elder (~1900) Grammars mentioning the existence of true (=pronounced) geminates, and none gives a description, assuming the reader is familiar with long consonants. But there are two systems, with for example a /p:/ being either /p.p/ (as in modern Polish) or ambisyllabic /p̚p/, as it is - I assume - in modern day Swedish. Does anybody know about West-Germanic languages? (Any language, at any point of history, really.)Korn (talk) 14:41, 9 April 2012 (UTC)

Proto-Germanic had true geminates, and presumably so did all the 'old' Germanic languages as well. Many Germanic languages (if not all) experienced lengthening of vowels in open syllables, which was conditioned by consonant length as well, since a following geminate closed a syllable and therefore kept the vowel short. The dating of the lengthening can be used as evidence that geminates were retained until that time. So they were retained in Dutch until sometime during the Middle Dutch period (1200-1500), after the lengthening. —CodeCat 21:44, 9 April 2012 (UTC)
But what was the pronunciation (of the stops, specifically)? Two separate full-consonants with release or a single release with a longer held closing beforehand?Korn (talk) 14:39, 10 April 2012 (UTC)
I would say that they were single long consonants. Germanic also had an alternation between voiced stops and fricatives, and apparently they were fricatives when single and plosives when geminated. So -ada- was [ɑðɑ] but -adda- was [ɑdːɑ]. —CodeCat 17:01, 10 April 2012 (UTC)
The same is true for GML/NDS. So the Swedish system it is. Thanks. 11:39, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
Polish does not have geminates; double consonants are something completely different and only occur at morpheme boundaries. Check Finnish or Hungarian for typical geminates. That said, the Proto-Germanic system does seem to have been like Swedish or Italian because I do not remember any cases of long vowel + long consonant the way they can be combined in Finnish, for example. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 16:27, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
That is mostly because of a sound change in early Proto-Germanic. According to that change, geminates were de-geminated when following a long syllable (one with a long vowel or diphthong). Before that time, an 'overlong' syllable like -ōss- or -aiss- could have existed, but it was simplified to -ōs- and -ais-. This happened in the word Template:termx for example. —CodeCat 16:50, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
Ah, good point; Latin has an analogous shortening. Are you familiar with w:Kluge's law, by the way? It would also have operated after long vowels, in principle. The shortening would have followed Kluge's law, then. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 17:24, 20 April 2012 (UTC)


What sense of "race" is used in phrases like "the human race", "a salve against the race of elves", "join the race of gods"? It isn't really "A large group of people distinguished from others on the basis of a common heritage", because it isn't always people, and group membership isn't always about heritage — I've added several quotations of the form "join the race of" to Citations:race. Incidentally, I also found a few thoroughly abstract uses like "join the race of faith" (apparently meaning "community"). - -sche (discuss) 20:02, 9 April 2012 (UTC)

What do you mean it isn't always people? All the examples you gave were people. The fantasy sense of "race" seems to be something like an informal name for subspecies. I pedantically could argue that the human race, Homo sapiens sapiens, is a subrace of Homo sapiens; in the mermaid cite, I would argue that it means "A large group of people distinguished from others on the basis of common physical characteristics" (that is, the people who don't have tails and don't breathe water); in many cases, it's a kickback against meanings 1-3, implying there is no meaningful large group of people distinguishable from others on the basis of common inherited physical characteristics. (#2 is not quite an accurate definition, as the fact is that if your parents were the same race (#2), you will be considered the same race.)
I'd almost make senses 1-3 subsenses of one sense and add a fantasy sense to include elves and gods and whatnot.--Prosfilaes (talk) 07:08, 10 April 2012 (UTC)
I'm confused by your first comment ("All the examples you gave were people")... as you note later, several of the citations I added pertain to elves / gods, not people. I do think it seems to be synonymous with "species" (why do you say subspecies?), though our current relevant definition (sense 1) of [[species]] needs improvement. Modifying your "common physical characteristics" idea slightly, "A large group whose members are distinguished from nonmembers by common attributes" (such as divinity in the case of a "race of gods") seems like a good definition.
I've added another citation, this one discussing an extraterrestrial race.
Re combining senses 1-3: dictionary.com separates a sense "a group of peoples" ("the Slavic race") from "a people with a common history" ("the Dutch race"), which seems even stranger than our current separation of 1-3. I do think we could have a general sense like "A group distinguished by common characteristics", and make all of the other senses (human, animal, 'fantasy' etc) into subsenses of it. - -sche (discuss) 07:55, 10 April 2012 (UTC)
Elves are people. Whether gods are people or not is more complex, but on the mortal realm, I'm sure I can find cites showing that most sapient creatures have been people. I'd be interested to see cites showing that elves, Vulcans and Wookies aren't people.
The conception of elves as a race that can interbreed with humans and produce fertile offspring certainly makes them subspecies in the modern biological sense, though that gets a little silly in settings that have dragons and angels interbreeding with humans.
I think your new definition is still missing the concept of heritability. The one thing virtually all definitions of race is that if your parents are of a race, you will be too. (Occasional sci-fi sudden mutation, and bad science 'throwbacks', like the concept that Downs syndrome was a reversion to Mongolism, aside.) "by common inherited attributes", perhaps.--Prosfilaes (talk) 09:23, 10 April 2012 (UTC)
A race was originally thought of as a large group of people sharing a common ancestry (in a broader sense), with characteristics stemming from that common ancestry- in other words, a different "kind" of people (this even applies to cases like "the Anglo-Saxon race").
In cases like elves and gods, the concept of "people" is broadened to include such beings. In traditional racist views, other races are held to be an inherently inferior kind of people, just barely people, with terms reminiscent of animals being used for gender and other subcategories: a male might be a buck or a brave, a female might be a squaw, a child might be a pappoose or a pickaninny.
The idea of characteristics beyond superficial ones like skin color and facial structure being different between races has pretty much been debunked, but I think the modern senses refer back to the original idea, even if there's disagreement with part of the basic premise.
I think most of the "join the..." senses should be metaphorical rather than literal (though I haven't looked through them, so I could be wrong). As for the "race of faith", that brings to mind the metaphor of running a race that Paul used in the Christian New Testament. In the case of "joining the race of gods" I think that's a magical transformation of "kind", much as one might be magically transformed into another species, such as a frog- an exception to the rules, not an example of them. Chuck Entz (talk) 19:28, 13 April 2012 (UTC)


Elves are not people! People exist, elves don't! Mglovesfun (talk) 09:30, 10 April 2012 (UTC)

Yeah, we currently (correctly) define "people" as "a body of human beings", and "person" as "an individual human"... which an elf is not. - -sche (discuss) 06:42, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

They've been called the Little People for a long time. BGC turns up "Because if it was true, the elf-people would help her.", and "The clever Elf people had been very busy with the mountain- peak to make it elegant", "the little people who help Santa Claus to make Christmas toys are elves" and "A Natural History of Elves: The Hidden People of Iceland and the Arctic Circle", "Elves, people of the woods and waters, celebrate and protect the natural beauty of Middle Earth." and ""My people call me Nir," said the elf.". Beyond elves, we have "A bug is an insect, sweetheart. The Thranx" (giant alien bugs) "are not insects. They're people, just like you and me, and they're supposed to be very smart." and "“Really, Char Mormis,” he observed in the delightfully musical voice of the thranx, “inhospitality is hardly the mark of a successful businessman. I am disappointed. And this looking for a hidden weapon on my person." and "The quintessential Klingon person, of course, is the warrior, and there are several words for “warrior.” " and "As soon as I started creating the Klingon crew. the absolute first person I wanted in there was Leskit because he was a snide. obnoxious Klingon. which is never simple."
A large swath of science fiction has been engaged in proving that just because someone is covered in scales and has a tail, doesn't mean they're not a person, so I'm sure I can find an endless stream of quotes from that direction.
(In contrast, of course, is "I realized that it wasn't a person sitting on the root of that tree—it was an elf.")--Prosfilaes (talk) 08:58, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
I see no reason why we should accommodate fictional universes in this way. There is no common word characterizing people that cannot characterize fictional near-people or characterizing animals that cannot characterize fictional near-animals or characterizing vehicles, or clothing, or devices....
If someone would like to document what has or has not actually been imagined to exist in such fictional universes, that might be an interesting wiki. It could probably even be a money-making proposition. DCDuring TALK 10:35, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
I think you're missing the point; the original point was that this sense of race doesn't only apply to human beings. Elves was one of the initial examples given, up couldn't it also apply to non-human animals like dogs or cats or whatever. Mglovesfun (talk) 10:52, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

OK Corral

I am inexperienced with Wiktionary and would appreciate it if someone helped flesh out the defintion(s). The ACLU citation in particular strongly suggests multiple definitions. More complicated (and hence my posting here) is that sources like this one make me wonder if gunfight at the OK Corral and other permutations might be a set phrase. Thanks. BDavis (talk) 17:23, 10 April 2012 (UTC)


Is this really pronounced with a different vowel (/bʊti/) than butter (/ˈbʌ.tə/), or is Stephen MUFC (talkcontribs) adding weird pronunciations again? (See also assume and Maryland.) - -sche (discuss) 06:31, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

I've always heard it pronounced with the same vowel as butter, but what vowel that is will depend on the accent. Some Northern English accents pronounce the "u" as /ʊ/ (as in, "it's grim oop north"), and in that case butter would be pronounced /ˈbʊ.tə/ as well. Stephen MUFC (talkcontribs) claims to be from Manchester, so presumably he's put it up with a Manchester accent. Here's a southerner (from Berkshire, I think) saying /bʌti/ (about 30s in) and here's a lot of notherners (from South Yorkshire) saying /bʊti/ (again, about 30s in). Smurrayinchester (talk) 09:11, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
(Incidentally, I can't vouch for /ˈmɛɹələn/, which seems odd to me, but /əˈʃuːm/ sounds right for assume, at least as pronounced in the UK. Here's a couple of examples. To my ears, they don't sound like /əˈsjuːm/) Smurrayinchester (talk) 09:22, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
Hmm, on second thoughts, I think I can hear the /j/ sound in the first video. The second still sounds like a-shoe-m to me though. John Wells, a linguist at UCL, says /əˈʃuːm/ is a rare British pronunciation. Smurrayinchester (talk) 12:51, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
They both sound like /əˈsjuːm/ to me, though the second one does have a little palatalization of the /s/ before the /j/. But it doesn't sound like a full-fledged /ʃ/. —Angr 13:13, 11 April 2012 (UTC)


Shouldn't this page (which was moved to Rhymes:English:-ʌnʃ and which contains entries like bunch) be moved back? Or is this a US-vs-UK thing? - -sche (discuss) 06:38, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

In the UK it's /ʌntʃ/, the version without a /t/ might be a valid colloquial option, but not worth a separate page. PS I'm not that far from Manchester, so it's not another Stephen MUFC Manchester-versus-the-rest-of-the-world thing. Mglovesfun (talk) 10:49, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
I think it's a matter of non-contrastive variation of the same sound: whether you pronounce it /ʌntʃ/ or /ʌnʃ/, you don't have (AFAIK) /ʌntʃ/ words that rhyme with other /ʌntʃ/ words, but not with /ʌnʃ/ words, and likewise in reverse. One could debate which version to move to which, but they shouldn't be independent categories. Chuck Entz (talk) 17:54, 13 April 2012 (UTC)


w:toad says that toads are an ill-defined subset of frogs. I was going to update the definition along those lines, but neither the Wikipedia article or our current definition really help me, and I'm not really familiar with the subject.--Prosfilaes (talk) 09:54, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

Hmm, how about defining toad as "(1) a member of the order Anura, especially one belonging to a species with relatively dry and bumpy skin", "(2) a member of the family Bufonidae (also called true toads)", and defining frog as "a member of the order Anura, especially one belonging to a species with relatively moist and smooth skin"? That seems to cover the popular distinction without doing too much violence to the taxonomic facts (that there is no firm biological distinction between toads and frogs, except that all Bufonidae are called toads). —Angr 12:22, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
I believe that originally toad referred to a species of Bufo, which was a predominately dry-land species with dry, warty skin, and frog referred to a species of Rana, which was an aquatic species with smooth, moist skin. Frog has since been become the general term for all tail-less amphibians- including toads- but when used specifically it refers to species reminiscent of Rana, while toad covers those reminiscent of Bufo (in both cases, reminiscent especially in the skin characteristics).
I don't know about using "especially" in the toad definition, since it would imply that it's ok (but not preferable) to refer to any member of Anura as a toad. The two aren't parallel: toad is a subset of the general frog sense differentiated by skin type (I'm not sure how dwelling in drier habitats figures in, but it might), while frog is both a general term for Anura and a specific term for the subset that has moist, smooth skin. Chuck Entz (talk) 17:32, 13 April 2012 (UTC)


The definitions given for the noun sense of this word, all based on whether or not it contains curry powder, seem completely wrong. Curry powder is a European invention from the imperial period, as a way of using dried spices to replicate Indian cuisine in Europe. Not all curries are cooked with curry powder - Thai curry, for instance, uses vegetables and spices pounded together into a paste as its base, Sri Lankan and Indonesian curries tend to get a lot of their flavour from curry leaves and even many Indian and Anglo-Indian use spice mixes that don't include turmeric (indeed, garam masala is the most commonly used spice mix in The Curry Secret, a fairly definitive Anglo-Indian cookbook). As it stands, our definition means that Thai red curry is not a curry, but coronation chicken and kedgeree are. A better definition might be something along the lines of "One of a family of dishes consisting of meat or vegetables flavoured by a spiced sauce." Smurrayinchester (talk) 12:00, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

Absolutely. I would go so far as to say that truly authentic curries don't use curry powder. Curry powder is more a seasoning reminiscent of curries (of a certain type) than a seasoning to be used in them. Just about any book on Indian cuisine will have a section on curry powder in order to debunk the very common myth that curries are made with curry powder. Most disparage curry powder as a very crude, one-size-fits-all imitation of the multitudinous art of Indian seasoning. Another, less-common, myth is that curry leaves are what makes a South Asian dish a curry. Chuck Entz (talk) 16:58, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
Heh. I love curry. And I agree here -- curries need not have any particular spice or herb to make them curries, but consist more of the blend of spices in a sauce. American chili always struck me as a curry of sorts. Likewise for Hungarian paprikás, though that depends on how it's made -- a strict paprikash that only uses paprika would probably not qualify, as it's only using the one spice. But the way I've generally seen it made uses paprika, chili powder, black pepper, cayenne, and a few other spices to boot. And there are some wonderful curry dishes in the Caribbean, apparently based on recipes brought over from western Africa -- a Ghanaian friend once made us a traditional fish curry that was out of this world.
If I ever got into the restaurant business, I'd love to open a place that did curries of the world, as a kind of restaurant cum culinary museum -- wander through the museum part, get some background on the history of the cooking and the spice trades, get to smell samples of spices, herbs, and mixes, and then at the end there'd be a restaurant instead of just a gift shop, where you could order up a bowl of whatever tickled your fancy.
I can dream, anyway.  :) -- Eiríkr ÚtlendiTala við mig 17:42, 13 April 2012 (UTC)


I've had a go at adding IPA for what I hear in the US. I'd appreciate it if someone could double-check this, and ideally add renderings for pronunciation in the UK and anywhere else as appropriate. -- TIA, Eiríkr ÚtlendiTala við mig 20:30, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

I haven't heard it pronounced, myself, but it wouldn't surprise me to find a "net-sucky" pronunciation out there somewhere. Chuck Entz (talk) 17:03, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, American pronunciations of Japanese words make me cringe much of the time. A few have made it into English in semi-recognizable forms, such as skosh from JA 少し (sukoshi), but a lot of things mutate in the borrowing. -- Cheers, Eiríkr ÚtlendiTala við mig 17:50, 13 April 2012 (UTC)

Synonyms for some sex-related terms

[25] What are others' opinions? I don't think the meaning is the same. Substituting one for another in a sentence would be very misleading and even offensive. Equinox 13:46, 14 April 2012 (UTC)

Feedback urgently wanted please, to avoid revert war. Equinox 19:38, 16 April 2012 (UTC)
I've replied on the user's talk page. - -sche (discuss) 19:52, 16 April 2012 (UTC)

great-aunt, grandaunt / great-uncle, granduncle

It looks like great-aunt is a full synonym of grandaunt, essentially making it an alternate form. The only difference between the entries that could justify separate listing is the etyl. Otherwise, these two terms are identical.

Could one be turned into a soft redirect to the other? Otherwise keeping the content in sync becomes a problem. And for some reason the great-aunt entry doesn't point to grandaunt, but grandaunt does point to great-aunt.

Same for great-uncle and granduncle. -- Eiríkr ÚtlendiTala við mig 16:32, 14 April 2012 (UTC)

I'd never seen "grandaunt" before today. It is glossed as US-only. Equinox 16:34, 14 April 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I am definitely a great uncle (here in the UK), not a granduncle (which I have never heard of). SemperBlotto (talk) 16:37, 14 April 2012 (UTC)
I’ve never heard of "grandaunt" or "granduncle" before today, either, and I’m in the U.S. Where do they use those? —Stephen (Talk) 16:46, 14 April 2012 (UTC)
I've seldom referred to such relations using any terminology at all, but when I have, it's usually been using the grand- forms. I don't recall when or where I learned the terms. I grew up in the DC area, and my parents were from upstate New York and Minnesota, FWIW. When referring to such relations one generation further back, I've used the terms "great grandaunt" / "great granduncle", by analogy from "great grandparents". -- Eiríkr ÚtlendiTala við mig 18:11, 14 April 2012 (UTC)
I'm with Stephen. I grew up in the States, and I only ever used or heard great-aunt and great-uncle. I don't mind "grandaunt" and "granduncle" being labeled "U.S." as long as "great-aunt" and "great-uncle" aren't labeled "U.K.". —Angr 19:15, 14 April 2012 (UTC)
I don't see a need for soft redirects. None of the pages has very much content. The only content that seems to be problematically duplicated is the translations, and those can be merged by using {{trans-see}}. (By the way, like Stephen and Angr, I'm an American who's only ever used and heard great-aunt and great-uncle. The fact that grandaunt and granduncle are tagged (US) should not be taken to imply that all Americans are familiar with them.) —RuakhTALK 19:18, 14 April 2012 (UTC)
Symbol comment vote.svg My research (Talk:grandaunt) suggests that "grand-aunt" / "grand aunt" was used throughout the English-speaking realm in the 1800s, even in the UK — indeed, it's used in Jude the Obscure. It may always have been much rarer than "great aunt", though. It seems it's only still in use (post-1980) by some Americans and non-native speakers. Perhaps we should tag it Lua error in Module:labels/templates at line 32: The parameter "lang" is required. or Lua error in Module:labels/templates at line 32: The parameter "lang" is required.? Or would that discourage the US speakers who still use it? - -sche (discuss) 21:11, 14 April 2012 (UTC)
Funnily enough, Jude the Obscure only uses "grand-aunt" once: elsewhere Jude's great-aunt is referred to either as "aunt" or as "great-aunt". (The narration seems to use "aunt" and "great-aunt" with equal frequency, and "grand-aunt" only once; reported speech and correspondence use "aunt" almost exclusively, "great-aunt" only once, and "grand-aunt" not at all.) —RuakhTALK 23:37, 14 April 2012 (UTC)


Isn't the adjective just an attributive form of the noun? ---> Tooironic (talk) 00:20, 15 April 2012 (UTC)

I agree. And I also think the noun’s definition is too encyclopedic. Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV 02:49, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
Ditto on the adjective sense. FWIW, I think the noun def is just fine as it is -- describes what asbestos is and why it might come up in public discourse. -- Eiríkr ÚtlendiTala við mig 03:02, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
Agreed, I read the definition and assumed it had already been modified since this debate had started. Mglovesfun (talk) 16:27, 20 April 2012 (UTC)

at table

Today, I encountered for the first time the apparently abundantly attested phrase "at table". Should we have an entry for it, like we have an entry for in hospital? (google books:"sitting at table with a") - -sche (discuss) 06:11, 15 April 2012 (UTC)

  • Yes. Go for it. SemperBlotto (talk) 06:55, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
    and thank you for improving it. Now I know what it means. (I couldn't figure out from the uses whether it was more than "at a table" or not, hence my initial definition of it.) - -sche (discuss) 07:16, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
This seems to be like the German idiom zu Tisch(e), where the article is conspicuously absent, too. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 17:39, 20 April 2012 (UTC)


I heard it several times on TV. Drew Carey Brought up US) sometimes seems to use it exclusively for preterite, I think Ryan Styles (brought up Canadian, lives US) used it thusly too and Ricky Gervais (England) has at least once used it as a conjunctive. Is it a nonstandard form or were those just a row of slip-of-tongues?Korn (talk) 14:04, 15 April 2012 (UTC)

I made an entry for it (taked) and wrote a note about it (take#Usage notes). Any revision is welcome. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 14:43, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
We have a few such entries; teached for example. Mglovesfun (talk) 16:27, 20 April 2012 (UTC)


I was surprised by the pronunciation section because it's not how I've been pronouncing it in my head at all. I pronounce the 'pasta' part just like the separate word. Are both pronunciations in use? —CodeCat 01:13, 17 April 2012 (UTC)

I've been pronouncing it in my head the same way as you, but I'd never actually heard it pronounced, so I suppose that doesn't say very much! —RuakhTALK 02:13, 17 April 2012 (UTC)   Update: synchronicity-ically, I just now overheard it at work — pronounced like the foodstuff. So, that answers that. :-)   —RuakhTALK 13:26, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
Is the /peɪstə(r)/ pronunciation perhaps specific to the UK? I'm in the US, and the few times I've heard this term in speech, it's always been /ˈpaːstə/ for the latter half. -- Eiríkr ÚtlendiTala við mig 05:55, 17 April 2012 (UTC)
It has an alternate form “copy pasta”, and my inclination would be to pronounce it like a notional foodstuff. ~ Robin (talk) 06:08, 17 April 2012 (UTC)
The normal UK pronunciation is just like the foodstuff, /ˈpæstə/. BigDom (tc) 07:29, 17 April 2012 (UTC)
FWIW, Russian borrowed the term as копипаста with /a/ not /eɪ/, though that was surely influenced by the existence of паста. These links have it both ways:

I say we give both pronunciations, pasty-/eɪ/ and noodly-/aː/, as possibilities. - -sche (discuss) 06:27, 17 April 2012 (UTC)

I have only heard it like the foodstuff pasta. The ety seems to support this (since it was based on "paste" and then that part was humorously replaced by "pasta"). Equinox 13:31, 20 April 2012 (UTC)


Two points, looking for guidance on both.

Usage notes: "Adjectives often applied to "rhetoric": political, legal, visual, classical, ancient, violent, empty, inflammatory, hateful, heated, fiery, vitriolic, angry, overheated, extreme." Is it a good idea to give example of adjectives that combine with a noun? It feels a bit iffy to me, a bit "point of view".

Second point, there are two noun definitions, aren't we lacking a countable non-pejorative meaning? Like on the news "Iran's rhetoric" or "Obama's rhetoric". I don't think this is "The art of using language, especially public speaking, as a means to persuade" nor "Meaningless language with an exaggerated style intended to impress". Mglovesfun (talk) 19:28, 19 April 2012 (UTC)

My understanding is that the Usage notes are an example of an attempt to enable wikisearch to find common collocations without requiring an entry for each, possibly non-idiomatic term. I think DanP was doing some of these. In order for the attempt to be worthwhile to normal users it would need to be in principal namespace. It is hard to think of a better location under our current headings for such material. Incidentally, a search for "vitriolic rhetoric" does find [[rhetoric]], so the effort does have benefits.
MWOnline has 5 senses/subsenses. A definition like "a characteristic type or mode of language use" with usage examples might include the usage instances you give, I think, though "(uncountable) language in a characteristic style" is distinguishable and may be a better definition, especially of the "Iran" instance. DCDuring TALK 20:27, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
I still feel uneasy about the usage notes. What about if we had to woman "Adjectives often applied to "woman": beautiful, sexy, angry, jealous, ugly, horrible, nasty, vindictive...". Where would it end? If the person's actually done some frequency analysis to list the 15 most common collocations, then hats of. If it's personal opinion, hats not off. Mglovesfun (talk) 10:05, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
A justifiable, if hard to execute, approach that might address your uneasiness would be to ignore "free combinations" (eg, "angry woman"), no matter how frequent. We could retain those words that co-occur with the headword preferentially. Perhaps the mutual information (MI) score should exceed a threshold value. For less common terms this doesn't work with a controlled corpus, even a large one like COCA, due to statistical unreliability. It is also less than helpful with polysemic terms, like head.
Using a minimum number of adjective occurrences of 10 and a minimum MI score of 9 (both criteria arbitrary) on the COCA database yields 14 terms: AL-QA'IDA, BELLICOSE, INCENDIARY, INFLAMMATORY, HIGH-MINDED, ANTI-AMERICAN, ANTI-GOVERNMENT, OVERHEATED, BELLIGERENT, POPULIST, FIERY, NATIONALIST, LOFTY, and APOCALYPTIC. Also, we would probably want to do this for nouns used attributively as well and move AL-QA'IDA to that list.
Interestingly only three or the fifteen adjectives listed in the usage notes (inflammatory fiery and overheated) appear on this list, suggesting that it was probably not comparably prepared, quite possibly based on subjective impressions from a Google Books search. DCDuring TALK 13:56, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
Surprising to me, no noun used attributively has a sufficiently high MI score to make the cut, though "class warfare" would. DCDuring TALK 14:03, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
What is this collocation obsession? If people are really too unconversant with dictionaries to try looking up two spaced words separately, then the solution is not to pack this extra stuff into entries but to overhaul the search functionality so that it looks up each individual word in their search string. Equinox 16:17, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
Yes I forgot about that. Usage notes are not all about accuracy, they are supposed to be useful as well. Mglovesfun (talk) 16:24, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
The question is useful to whom. To understand (aka "decode") an English expression, collocations are unnecessary. For a (usually non-native) speaker to produce (aka "encode") an English expression, the collocations can be helpful, even essential to produce idiomatic speech.
Practically, I think it is a question of whether we compromise Wiktonary as a monolingual dictionary in our efforts to make it also a bidirectionally translating polypanlingual dictionary, a project which seems to have no precedent. DCDuring TALK 16:38, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
  • Sounds to me like a question of scope: how far do we go in being descriptive? Such collocation information is certainly pertinent to describing terms and how they are used. And if someone does add substantial collocation information to an entry, at what point does "a lot" become "too much" to where some other editor feels the need to prune? -- Eiríkr ÚtlendiTala við mig 21:21, 20 April 2012 (UTC)

Pronunciation of "fajita"

I often wonder about the pronunciation of foreign words and names in English, but there are disappointingly many cases where neither Wiktionary nor Wikipedia are particularly helpful (band names, especially in the realm of metal, are a pet peeve of mine – I mean, Drudkh, WTF, there's not even an etymology: it seems to be a made-up word; but I digress). Case in point: fajita. What do you guys pronounce it like? Wiktionary, Wikipedia, Merriam-Webster and this guy (who doesn't even seem to have a clue what he's really saying, because the "fast" and the "careful" pronunciation are completely different) all contradict each other. Frustrating. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 16:43, 20 April 2012 (UTC)

It is pronounced /fəˈhitə/ in English. Drudkh is supposed to be a transcription of a Sanskrit word meaning forest, but I don’t know how Ukrainians transcribe Indic languages, so I can’t figure out what the Sanskrit word is. merriam-webster.com says the same, except that they use a different system to represent the sounds. We use IPA here. —Stephen (Talk) 17:14, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
IME fajita is fəˈhiɾə rather than the fəˈhitə SGB notes: that might be a pondian difference.​—msh210 (talk) 17:47, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
You and Stephen are on the same side of the pond, and I don't think any dialect of U.S. English has /ɾ/ as you suggest; rather, [ɾ] is said to be an allophone of /d/ or (as here) /t/. See w:Intervocalic alveolar-flapping. My personal impression (not based on anything I've read) is that in some dialects (including mine), the distinction between /d/ and /t/ in some words is completely neutralized by flapping (except in hyperarticulated speech, which doesn't count), such that there's really an archiphoneme /D/ — and Google suggests that I'm not the very first person to have that impression — but even so, I don't think that makes /ɾ/ its own phoneme. —RuakhTALK 23:13, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
I don't think I'v ever heard an 'r' in fajita in the US. A fajita is more tex-mex food ... Overall yu won't find a good fajita in Mexico once yu get away from the border area ... til yu get to Belize! (I know, I'v been all down the east side of Mexico). The point is, that word is more tex-mex and is said pretty much the same on both sides of the border with a slight sunderness of the 'a' in the 'fa' in sundry places (see Florian's comment) ... but I'v never heard it with an 'r'. In the US, adding a 'r' in there would sound hickish and (likely done for humor). I can't speak for the other side of the pond. Maybe saying it with an 'r' is the wont there. --AnWulf ... Ferþu Hal! (talk) 14:00, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
An ɾ is not an r.--Prosfilaes (talk) 21:49, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
That's right. The "ɾ" sound being talked about is the sound common in US English in words like "butter" and "fodder" where the t/d becomes a flap sound. The general rule is t/d before a schwa becomes a flap. You can test this by saying "butter" and then purposefully saying the "t" sound very slowly and clearly. If you have this flap in your pronunciation, you will notice a clear difference that you do not notice in normal speech. --BB12 (talk) 22:29, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
I know that M-W doesn't use IPA, but it mentions a variant pronunciation. How about /fɑˈhitə/, /fəˈhitɑ/, /fɑˈhitɑ/, /fæˈhitɑ/ or other pronunciations that may approximate the Spanish more closely – are they wrong or not in use? (As for Drudkh, I am aware of the Sanskrit explanation, but I can't take it seriously: the closest I've been able to find is druminī "collection of trees, forest" besides words for "tree" such as dāru- and rukṣa- or rūkṣa-, a half-Prakritised version of vṛkṣa-, rukkha- in Prakrit; and -dkh doesn't fit Sanskrit phonology anyway, unless we admit some schwa-dropping as in Hindi-accented pronunciation, but d(a)rudakha- is again nothing except a vague lookalike of Indic tree/forest-words, just enough to make you hesitate to dismiss the explanation outright. The point about Ukrainian makes no sense to me.) --Florian Blaschke (talk)
fəˈhiɾə is fine when you use a pronunciation with flapping, but that is optional in every accent it occurs in, and we don't show it in pronunciation sections here since it's always predictable and never obligatory. —Angr 18:18, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
Using YouTube videos to determine pronunciations is an iffy business. I'm certainly not going to modify our given pronunciation of curaçao on the basis of this. —Angr 18:22, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
You know that PronunciationManual's videos are spoofs of those pronunciation videos, right? See KnowYourMeme. Anyway, you see I actually used the video to demonstrate how questionable these videos are (even the serious ones, I mean), given how the one I gave was even internally inconsistent (first the guy said /fəˈhitə/, then /fɑˈhitɑ/), but it also made me suspect that even native speakers aren't sure how to pronounce this word. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 19:14, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
No, I had never encountered either the genuine ones or the parody ones until today, so I didn't notice they were from different sources. Anyway, I think the "slow pronunciation" /fɑˈhitɑ/ is more likely to be due to the fact that people are unsure what to do with a schwa when they're pronouncing a word extra slowly and putting full stress on each syllable. Me, I would have gone with /ˈfʌ ˈhi ˈtʌ/, but this guy seems to have gone with a spelling pronunciation instead. —Angr 21:27, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
Videos or audio of any source seem to be the main way to get samples of how people pronouncing things. Stuff like http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vm5QpjF_svU seems like a pretty good example of how people actually pronounce fajita.--Prosfilaes (talk) 22:55, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
Well, it's a pretty good example of how people who are familiar with Spanish pronounce it. She doesn't reduce the unstressed vowels and she uses a dental [t̪]. That isn't the usual anglicized pronunciation, which you can hear here. —Angr 23:42, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
I seem to go with something like fʌhitʌ when pronouncing it extra slowly. I'm a little iffy, but I think even at normal tempos it's fəhi'tʌ (or fəhi'ɾʌ), not fəhi'ɾə.--Prosfilaes (talk) 22:49, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
I don't think the stress is ever on the final syllable. —Angr 23:42, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
Prosfilaes, in IPA, the stress mark goes to the front of the stressed syllable, not after its core – it's not like the acute accent.
Thank you, guys, for clarifying this for me. So /fəˈhitə/ it is. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 18:24, 24 April 2012 (UTC)
I realize where the stress mark goes in IPA. If we were physically colocated, I'd have more discussion about the issue, but as it is, I'll chalk it up to my lack of formal training in phonetic transcription. Maybe I'll upload a sound file if I can get a decent audio recording.--Prosfilaes (talk) 05:30, 25 April 2012 (UTC)
Sometimes it's pronounced /fə'dʒitə/ but then it's anyone's guess what the cooks are actually making. DAVilla 06:24, 6 May 2012 (UTC)
Maybe they're cooking up a storm... Chuck Entz (talk) 23:00, 23 June 2012 (UTC)


This is currently listed as a noun meaning (heraldry) Two figures of the same form, interlacing each other. This probably exists in some form, but I am pretty sure it is not a noun. What other part of speech could it be? -- Liliana 22:51, 21 April 2012 (UTC)

It's an adjective, but it follows its noun (sometimes with a comma between them), which is probably what led someone to think it was the noun. It usually modifies chevronels (usually three), but also often chevrons (usually three) or annulets (usually two). —RuakhTALK 23:35, 21 April 2012 (UTC)
The word order is normal for heraldry. I believe it's a relic from Norman Old French, which has all but a few adjectives following their noun (much the same as Modern French)). —This unsigned comment was added by Chuck Entz (talkcontribs) at 01:01, 22 April 2012‎ (UTC).
Yes, exactly. —RuakhTALK 02:16, 22 April 2012 (UTC)
See braced in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911 for additional confirmation. Definition there is "in heraldry, interlaced or linked together". DCDuring TALK 23:49, 21 April 2012 (UTC)

aetiology, alternative spellings

aetiological (what i searched) leads to etiological leads to etiology leads to aetiology (the definition i wanted)

due to switching back and forth between "accepted" and "alternative" spellings, which differ. could not all of the "alternative spelling of" pages just be replaced with redirects? NonNobisSolum (talk) 02:54, 23 April 2012 (UTC)

Redirects would be too heavy a hammer for this problem, but I'll try cleaning up these words to make searching faster. —Angr 08:43, 23 April 2012 (UTC)

adrift of

I added this as a preposition, but I'm not sure if that's correct. There's nothing at [[adrift]] that fits with the new quotation, so I created this page instead --Itkilledthecat (talk) 09:56, 23 April 2012 (UTC)

It doesn't seem any more a preposition than south of. If there were 2 more citations clearly showing the meaning, it might be better to show it as a sense of adrift with ''(often with "of"), but it might conceivably occur more often without "of", which would make it exceeding difficult to find citations for. It looks like the kind of metaphorical usage that sports journalists sometimes dream up, this time trying perhaps to convey a lack of direction on the team that was behind. It's interesting, but is it part of the language as generally understood? It reminds me of various novel uses in poetry, which we don't normally count as valid attestation because often the success of poetry lies in novelty of the use of words. DCDuring TALK 12:40, 23 April 2012 (UTC)
I think DCDuring is right that "adrift of" is like "south of" in this case. Searching for "Boro adrift" (as in the perennially struggling Middlesbrough football team) finds uses like:
Boro were left needing snookers after a toothless goalless draw with Dead Men Walking Doncaster left them well adrift and fading in the chase for a Championship play-off place. [26]
Four points adrift, two to play, rampant Rugby League-alikes Southampton up next to play a demoralised and toothless Boro who can't score past a team who have shipped 77 goals this season and who are one paced and one dimensional at home, live on TV and with the season possibly terminated before kick-off. [27]
Although performances improved considerably, Boro still finished the season well adrift at the bottom of Division Two [28]
Though it's more commonly used with "of", there's certainly use of "adrift" on its own to mean behind or at/near the bottom. Incidentally, behind doesn't quite seem right - Boro are also stated to be "five points adrift of the play-offs". Perhaps "Away from" would be a better definition. (As to whether it's English as generally understood, searching for the name of any football team + adrift gets hundreds of thousands of Google hits, so it's understood at least in British sport. The results for "knicks adrift", "packers adrift" and "steelers adrift" all failed to find any examples of this use of "adrift" (except for uses by some British and Australian teams also called "Steelers"), so I'm guessing it's a UK/Commonwealth phrasing). Smurrayinchester (talk) 15:51, 23 April 2012 (UTC)
Actually, just found the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary page, which says:
adrift (of somebody/something) (British English) (in sport) behind the score or position of your opponents.
Smurrayinchester (talk) 15:53, 23 April 2012 (UTC)
Excellent research. Can you tell if this is a modern or long-standing usage? DCDuring TALK 16:08, 23 April 2012 (UTC)
I can track it back at least to 1990 ("The club is six points adrift of the leaders before a two point deduction") and possibly to 1983 (an article in The Listener describes someone's wife as being "several points adrift of his social class", which might be a reference to the football use of the phrase). I also found quite a few uses of it in political contexts ("The Party's mean poll rating was [...] still four points adrift of its 1992 vote share.", "This was Gallup, which was still seven points adrift of the actual level of Conservative support.", "The Czech Republic in 1994-95, with a pegged nominal exchange rate and nominal deposit rates of 7 percent, was several percentage points adrift of the interest parity condition"). It's certainly not brand new. Smurrayinchester (talk) 22:29, 23 April 2012 (UTC)
It does seem plausible that it would come from sports. I found a UK use from 1970 and US use later in the decade. DCDuring TALK 23:19, 23 April 2012 (UTC)
Ok, so how does
{{context|UK|chiefly|sport|often with ''of''}} Behind one's opponents, or below a required threshold in terms of score or position.
The team were six points adrift of their rivals.
sound as an additional definition of adrift? Smurrayinchester (talk) 15:13, 24 April 2012 (UTC)
The definition seems fine, but how about: {{context|chiefly|UK|often with ''of''}}. It does seem to get some US usage and usage outside the sports context. The usage example conveys the use in sports. DCDuring TALK 23:21, 24 April 2012 (UTC)
Done. I've also been bold and redirected adrift of to adrift. Feel free to revert if anyone objects to this. Smurrayinchester (talk) 09:23, 25 April 2012 (UTC)
  • Thanks to Itkilledthecat (who detected the usage) and SMurray we have a good, well-cited sense at adrift. Macmillan and CompactOxford among on-line dictionaries have this. Macmillan applies a context tag of "journalism" and Oxford "informal". DCDuring TALK 13:15, 25 April 2012 (UTC)


My German isn't great, but so#German seems to be missing a sense along the lines of thus or "in this way/like this" - for example, as it's used in "So bauen Sie ein Haus", meaning "This is how you build a house". Is this right, or does one of the senses already there capture this? I know "so" in English can sometimes mean "thus", although usually in the phrase "like so" rather than on its own, but that's a fairly obscure sense of the word - if someone asked me to give a definition of the English "so", that certainly wouldn't be my first choice. Smurrayinchester (talk) 13:14, 23 April 2012 (UTC)

I think you're right, it is missing this meaning. Even German Wiktionary is missing this meaning (it's also missing the English word so completely). —Angr 15:00, 23 April 2012 (UTC)
OK, now I've added the meaning. If you're satisfied, you can remove the tea room tag from the entry. —Angr 15:15, 23 April 2012 (UTC)
Thanks, that looks really good! Smurrayinchester (talk) 15:54, 23 April 2012 (UTC)

lineup line-up and line up as a noun

I would prefer to see line-up as the main entry here for the noun. lineup is also a possibility, but line up is a verb, IMHO. I see there are some who would agree with me. What say? -- ALGRIF talk 17:40, 23 April 2012 (UTC)

I agree (as you saw on the talk page). Unless line up (noun) is much more common than I think it is, it should only be there as a misspelling, if anything. Equinox 17:51, 23 April 2012 (UTC)

augmentative and superlative: culón

Could someone smarter than Lucifer and I tell us the difference between a superlative and augmentative. And am I right in calling a culón an augmentative? One more thing, can you put the kettle on, we're dying for some tea. --Itkilledthecat (talk) 22:18, 23 April 2012 (UTC)

I think a superlative applies to adjectives and an augmentative applies to nouns. An augmentative also has an opposite which is a diminutive. But most languages that I know of don't have something that's opposite to a superlative... the closest is usually the superlative form of the base word's antonym. For example, the opposite of biggest is smallest. —CodeCat 14:41, 24 April 2012 (UTC)


Within the context of the online virtual world w:Second Life this verb normally means to 'spawn' or 'create' an object. I imagine that meaning came from the gaming sense 'resurrect' that's already listed. I'm not sure if this new meaning would merit inclusion because I haven't seen it with that meaning outside SL, but SL seems like a rather large community so it would seem at least somewhat widespread. —CodeCat 23:47, 23 April 2012 (UTC)

Compare derezz and render (I've seen things like "textures not rezzing properly", whatever that means). Equinox 23:51, 23 April 2012 (UTC)
Some of the meanings might be or be derived from resolve. DCDuring TALK 13:14, 24 April 2012 (UTC)


There's a discussion on the Talk page about what this term can and cannot mean; note also my <!--commented-out--> comments in the entry itself: I think the proscribed sense should be, well, its own sense, rather than a usage note; among other things, that would better handle the quotations I just added. - -sche (discuss) 08:56, 24 April 2012 (UTC)

If we stuck to the strict meaning of a word life might be a lot easier - I would say "of course" the everyday usage should be a separate defn. What proportion of users know the strict definition? (cf decimate) — Saltmarshαπάντηση 11:13, 24 April 2012 (UTC)
I have split the page into two definitions, but have left the translations with the mathematical sense. SemperBlotto (talk) 11:29, 24 April 2012 (UTC)

Metaphorical meanings of the noun overweight?

This edit gave me pause – I mean, it's pretty clear what overweight means here, and it's clearly not obesity, right? In fact, it was crystal clear to me that it is literally over-weight, namely "excessive (metaphorical) weight": preponderance or predominance/predominancy. (Uhm, is a difference between predominance and predominancy? Or, that said, between preponderance and those two?) Right? Right? – But overweight doesn't tell me that, admittedly. Only about fat people. Boo! – Or is the metaphorical sense a foreignism, Germanism (Übergewicht has both senses), archaism? --Florian Blaschke (talk) 18:38, 24 April 2012 (UTC)

It's almost certainly a translation mistake; probably, as you say, a Germanism. It dates back to the creation of the page, when it was written by an editor who was a native German and/or Russian speaker, but apparently not fluent at English. That said, I can find one example in Google Book Search which might be of this kind of use:
Give us brain, give us mind, however ungovernable, however preponderant its overweight to the physical powers, however destructive to the powers of the body.
That's from 1861, however, so if it ever was used to mean "predominance" in English, it's almost certainly archaic now. (There was one other example, but that's from a paper translated from German, which is further evidence that it's most likely a Germanism). Smurrayinchester (talk) 22:26, 24 April 2012 (UTC)
Hm, thank you. Fine. I did see that it was added by an apparent non-native speaker, but it actually just sounded bookish or archaic to me, not necessarily foreign; but that might as well be my German misguiding me.
I've often been surprised how frequently archaic English constructions, idioms etc. look as if literally translated from German, and have apparently inadvertently created archaisms myself when unconsciously doing the same. Early Modern English is more like German in so many ways than Modern English is – syntax, morphology, idioms, meanings, vocabulary –, it never ceases to amaze me. (Especially the use of auxiliaries as main verbs as in try as you might or do as thou wilt, or usages such as they will/would not work, which has long baffled me because may/might to me indicates only the potential mood, would only the subjunctive and will only the future tense, suddenly made sense to me when I realised I simply need to convert these turns of phrase into German 1:1.) While much of the similarity can be chalked up to older usages or words which have simply disappeared in contemporary English but remained in German, I also suspect some degree of convergence and calques – from (Middle) Dutch and Low German especially – at play, in the Late Middle Ages or so, reinforcing the existing similarities. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 20:54, 29 April 2012 (UTC)
Relatedly, the securities investment community often talks about over- and underweight as adjective, noun, and verb. The use is derived from the concept of weight as in weighted average. I have added the adjective and noun senses. The existing general verb sense seems to cover it adequately. DCDuring TALK 22:53, 29 April 2012 (UTC)

Words for non-gypsy

I have just added gadjo as the French word for a non-gypsy. I can't remember the English term (I thought it was gajo or something like that). It would be good to have the terms for this in foreign languages, but presumably they would have to be in a translations section of a term that we (probably) haven't got yet. Any ideas? SemperBlotto (talk) 21:22, 29 April 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia lists this word, with the slang variation "Gadgie" in North East England and Scotland. --BB12 (talk) 22:12, 29 April 2012 (UTC)


This entry has a translation section with seemingly two duplicated sense subsections:


  1. (obsolete) ...
  2. A fire to burn unwanted or disreputable items or people: proscribed books, heretics etc.
  3. A large, controlled outdoor fire, as a signal or to celebrate something.

Translation glosses:

  1. fire to burn unwanted items or people
  2. large, outdoor controlled fire
  3. large, controlled outdoor fire

You'll see that even though there are three senses and three translation subsections, that sense #1 is obsolete and has no translation subsection while sense #2 has a translation subsection and sense #3 has two translation subsections with slightly different wording.

Unfortunately both subsections have different content for Hungarian so we might need an expert in that language to help fix this problem without creating new subtle issues. — hippietrail (talk) 10:26, 30 April 2012 (UTC)

máglya is like a funeral pyre, and örömtűz literally says "pleasure fire." So örömtűz is the equivalent of a common bonfire, and máglya is a pyre ... máglyahalál = a burning at the stake (literally, pyre death). —Stephen (Talk) 10:50, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
Ah so maybe máglya should go under the obsolete sense I didn't include which is actually "A fire in which bones were burned"? — hippietrail (talk) 20:41, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
I don’t know of that tradition. How and why was it done? I suppose if they were just using bones as a substitute for wood, it would still be a pleasure-fire; but if the bone-burning was some sort of funeral ritual, then it would be a pyre. I don’t know, maybe the Hungarian for a "bone fire" would be literal, like csont-tűz. —Stephen (Talk) 02:04, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
Isn't a funeral pyre a bone fire? I'm only familiar with funeral pyres of the sort used to dispose of bodies, be it a Viking lord's burning longship, the burning ghats in India, or a pile of wood on Endor with Darth Vader on top. So if a máglya is a funeral pyre, then it would also seem to be a type of bonfire. No? -- Eiríkr ÚtlendiTala við mig 16:51, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

stop Translingual?

I believe there is a case for a translingual entry for stop as it seems to be internationally used as a highway command at a road junction. What do you think? -- ALGRIF talk 15:30, 30 April 2012 (UTC)

What? Hardly. Also, I think we argued this already with pizza. -- Liliana 15:51, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
Italian stop sign.
I think this is closer to the situation with mayday (which is translingual) or pan-pan than pizza, in that it's a word that has been given international use by a treaty, even in languages where it's otherwise meaningless. For context, the international regulation is that a stop sign needs the word stop written in English, in the local language, or both. There are definitely countries which write "STOP" on their road signs despite not using the word in language otherwise. Italy, for instance, uses "STOP" rather than "FERMATI" or similar. I think that probably pushes it into translingual territory, although unlike "mayday" or "pan-pan", which are corruptions of French that have taken on a life of their own, Translingual "stop" means English "stop", except in a more limited context. Smurrayinchester (talk) 16:02, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
But there are also places where the English word STOP does not appear on stop signs, but something else does. Take a look at w:Stop sign#Sign variants and the gallery there for examples of stop signs that say ARRÊT or ALTO or the like, but not STOP. —Angr 16:06, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
Does our definition of translingual mean it has to be used in every single language/area? I agree that it's certainly not universal, but it's used fairly widely across Europe, and more in more scattered areas across the rest of the world - if the gallery at commons:Stop is correct, it's used in Poland, Germany, Spain, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Indonesia and even Russia, where it's written in an entirely different alphabet to the language used in that country. That said, if other users agree it's not widely used enough (I'd admit that the fact that local alternatives are allowed harms its possible status as a translingual term), then I'd have no object it not being listed. Smurrayinchester (talk) 16:21, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
  • FWIW, I thought the ==Translingual== heading implied that the terms so listed are understood and used in multiple different languages, not that they are necessarily the only terms covering the stated meanings in those languages that use the terms. As such, the presence of signs in Russia saying both "STOP" and "СТОП", for instance, would in no way reduce the translingual-ness of "STOP", as I currently understand things here at WT. Am I in error in this regard? -- Eiríkr ÚtlendiTala við mig 16:32, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
if the situation is as described above, I agree with Angr we should list it as translingual. What POS and definition, though? Is it an imperative verb, as in English? (Some languages that use it may not even have imperative verbs.) Is it just a ===Symbol=== or ===Particle===, with definition along the lines of {{n-g|Used on road signs to instruct motorists to temporarily stop their vehicles}}? Other ideas? Also, should it be listed under stop or under STOP? (I like the former, but perhaps with a redirect. But arguably, especially if it's a ===Symbol===, and if its form is STOP only, it should be listed under STOP.)​—msh210 (talk) 17:04, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
I didn't say we should list it as translingual, so I'm not sure how you can agree with me that we should. I merely pointed out that it's not universal. In fact, I'm not convinced it is translingual. I'd be more inclined to call it an English word that is used in many places worldwide, including places where English is not spoken locally. —Angr 17:38, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, Algrif, not you.​—msh210 (talk) 18:30, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
The question is whether it's truly language-independent, or just out-of-place English. Here in the US we get lots of bilingual English-French product packaging: not because of any significance to US customers (few of whom can read French), but because the manufacturers don't want to create separate packaging for Canadian markets- where French is required. Such labeling is French, not translingual: the intended audience is French-speaking, while everyone else is expected to ignore it.
According to this, English is explicitly specified as the alternative to local languages on stop signs. by international agreement. I'm sure it's the shape and color that makes it a stop sign, so the text is just filler- if it wasn't for the Vienna Convention, it could just as easily have said LOREM IPSUM instead of STOP Chuck Entz (talk) 05:33, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
Chuck makes the key point: the very convention that calls for the English word "stop" to be used on signs in non-English-speaking countries calls for the English word "stop". (I think it's not translingual.) - -sche (discuss) 08:06, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
Not really an argument in itself, since Translingual is not a language and therefore all words which we call Translingual are words in specific languages (often Latin). Ƿidsiþ 04:27, 4 May 2012 (UTC)
Yet even such drivers as claim to know no English know the word. We don't generally rely on standards to say what's a word in Italian and what's not, so I'm not sure that the convention has much bearing.​—msh210 (talk) 17:01, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
Even drivers who claim to know no English actually understand what a single English word signifies? Not surprising, IMO, especially given that they're exposed to it in contexts that make it unambiguous. Would they ever use the word themselves under any circumstance other than when making a stop sign? If someone used "stop" in French or Russian (or other languages) in some way, e.g. the way English uses "full stop"/"period", there'd be a case for translingualism. As it is, it's like "Москва", which is attested (in Cyrillic) in texts in German and English and probably other non-Cyrillic-script languages, but which was deemed to be Russian, not translingual. ("Москва#English", you'll remember, was actually used in sentences, and was still deleted by consensus; "stop" just appears isolated on signs.) - -sche (discuss) 21:44, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
I'm sure that people in all languages talk about the STOP sign in their daily lives, incorporating the word STOP into their native language. This alone makes it as translingual as H2O. But just to add more grist ... when I started searching for reasonable phrases in other languages including the word STOP as part of the sentence, I discovered that in many European languages, the word in its general sense seems to have been adopted almost universally. Interesting, I think. With all this in mind, I would still propose a translingual entry. -- ALGRIF talk 09:58, 7 May 2012 (UTC)

Interestingly, I just came across a Web copy of a 1928 booklet on how to write telegrams which includes about stop "It is interesting to note, too, that although the word is obviously English it has come into general use In all languages that are used in telegraphing or cabling.".​—msh210 (talk) 16:48, 22 May 2012 (UTC)

Interesting, indeed! Also interesting is to Google search the word stop in any language they list. Arabic for example, gives nearly 55 million hits of mostly running text with the word "stop" in the middle as part of the text. -- ALGRIF talk 12:39, 6 June 2012 (UTC).

May 2012

pigtail vs. ponytail

I was looking at pigtail and ponytail, and it turns out they disagree on the definition of ponytail. Pigtail says "Either of two braids or ponytails on the side of the head", but ponytail defines it as "A hairstyle where the hair is pulled back and tied into a single "tail" which hangs down behind the head.", so a pigtail can't be two ponytails.--Prosfilaes (talk) 09:47, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

I would agree. Pigtails are on the side, a ponytail is at the back. However, when you just have the hair pulled into one strand on one side, it tends to be called a side-pony rather than a single pigtail. Ƿidsiþ 09:54, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
I didn't think that unbraided hair formed a pigtail under any circumstances, but citations could prove me wrong. I think one could have one or two pigtails or one or two ponytails. I would not find it much fun to try to verify such specific meanings. DCDuring TALK 12:40, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
  • For that matter, growing up, one of the additional distinctions was length -- pigtails were shorter than ponytails (much as with the actual animals). Someone with two short bunches of hair on the side would be said to have pigtails, while someone with long bunches of hair on the side would be said to have ponytails. Though, generally speaking, girls tended to keep their hair towards the back when it got long, so double side-ponies were rare. (This was in Virginia in the late '70s, early '80s.)-- Eiríkr ÚtlendiTala við mig 15:44, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

food miles

I don't think this is plural only; there are plenty of hits for "a" or "one" food mile on Google Books. ---> Tooironic (talk) 10:29, 2 May 2012 (UTC)


I think this needs rework. The first three def.s are currently:
1. great meal/in the evening
2. meal in the evening
3. great meal/at noon

So it seems to me that dinner means: 1. evening meal 2. great meal. And further the translations are problematic. The Germanic names for the supposed "main meal" all mean either "mid-day meal" or "evening meal". I think most denominate neither size nor importance, but only the time of the meal. (The German term certainly means time only, the Danish means - I think - a warm meal around noon.) So the same is probably true for the other languages as well.Korn (talk) 12:20, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

I've taken the "lighter" out of definition 3 - for some people (esp. working class) in Northern England, dinner is any midday meal, even just sandwiches (here's a clear example, though it may be hard to cite, since it's explained that they're having sandwiches for dinner in one paragraph, and that dinner is at midday in another). The usage note explains the somewhat complicated situation with how the word is used in the UK (personally, I always thought it was a geographic thing rather than a class thing, with northerners using it to mean "lunch" and southerners using it to mean "tea", but I'll defer to the experts on this). Smurrayinchester (talk) 13:29, 3 May 2012 (UTC)
(I think you're right with regards the German translation, though. I think the proper translation of "Main meal, regardless of time" is Hauptmahlzeit) Smurrayinchester (talk) 13:37, 3 May 2012 (UTC)
In a way you're right of course, but then you're not. Hauptmahlzeit has the clinical sound of a medical term, you might find it in an ethnographic context but never in common use as in Will you come to dinner? As noted above, in German you don't have the ambiguity of time, when invited to dinner you never need to ask what time of day the host is talking about. Axel-berger (talk) 07:39, 8 May 2012 (UTC)

demissionary cabinet

This is a term specifically used to refer to a type of cabinet in Dutch politics. I'm not quite sure how to format this in a definition though, nor whether it belongs to demissionary (with {{context|Netherlands|of a cabinet}}?) or at demissionary cabinet. —CodeCat 20:07, 3 May 2012 (UTC)

I took a run at an additional definition at demissionary that included both political and ecclesiastical usages. In the political usage not only cabinets, but governments and ministers can be demissionary apparently. DCDuring TALK 22:42, 3 May 2012 (UTC)
Thank you! —CodeCat 22:49, 3 May 2012 (UTC)

haulmier and haulmiest

Apparently only in Scrabble, as the comparative and superlative of haulmy which neither can I find in print nor in any dictionary, though someone might still check the OED. Do we have an appendix for these?

If it is used in Scrabble, it will appear in the official Scrabble dictionary (and I'm sure others, like the OED) and thus be eligible for addition to Appendix:English dictionary-only terms. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 04:09, 4 May 2012 (UTC)
I've added it to the appendix. If someone wants to track down the OED's 1 citation go ahead. Nadando (talk) 04:30, 4 May 2012 (UTC)
Haulmy itself is in the OED, but the three citations are all from the same 17th century work, and all spell it as ‘hawmy’. So the comparative and superlative are purely speculative and the word itself probably doesn't meet our main CFI. Ƿidsiþ 04:36, 4 May 2012 (UTC)
Maybe I should have done even the most cursory check first. Haulmy definitely exists, and I've now cited it and created an entry; I'll take it off the appendix. Haven't found any comparative or superlative forms yet, but still, by normal English rules, they seem valid enough. Ƿidsiþ 04:51, 4 May 2012 (UTC)

Definition of SOP definition

Most dictionaries including Wiktionary have entries for "hour hand", "minute hand" and "second hand". Given that one meaning of 'hand' is "each of the pointers on the face of an analog clock, which are used to indicate the time of day", it seems to me that the meaning of these expressions is derivable from the meanings of the constituent words... Assuming that editors of so many dictionaries couldn't all be wrong, I'd like to be educated on why a definition for "minute hand" in the form of "the hand of a clock or watch face that revolves once each hour and indicates the minutes" is not considered a sum-of-parts definition. --İnfoCan (talk) 14:44, 4 May 2012 (UTC)

Judgment call, I guess. Perhaps other, seemingly simpler and more obvious, yet incorrect meanings could be derived too. Michael Z. 2012-05-04 15:05 z

antenna, antennae, antennas

Our entries make a clear usage distinction in the plural form between the entomological meaning (antennae), and the radio meaning (antennas) which I believe is misguided. Certainly, there are some who follow this distinction, sometimes energetically, but as an electrical engineer myself I am certain it is not the commonly accepted distinction, at least in my field. This can be demonstrated with numerous citations. IEEE Xplore returns nearly 100,000 hits for "antennae", if anyone was policing correct terminology in this field I would have thought it would have been the premier professional organisation in the field. Google scholar returns 877 hits for "microwave antennae" and 1,700 hits for "radio antennae". Likewise gbooks gets 17,000 hits for "radio antennae". There does seem to be a marked preference for "insect antennae"over "insect antennas" but it is by no means unused. SpinningSpark 17:56, 4 May 2012 (UTC)

One more thing, the antenna entry gives the Concise Oxford English Dictionary as a reference for the distinction. I do not have access to the concise edition, but the entry in the full online OED makes no distinction between meanings as far as plurals are concerned. It does say that the plural forms are antennae, rarely antennas. SpinningSpark 18:04, 4 May 2012 (UTC)

I think you are correct that both biologists and engineers prefer the Latin plural, but I suspect that installers often use the colloquial plural, and it is often heard in Beetle Drives. Perhaps our distinction is too rigid. Dbfirs 14:55, 5 May 2012 (UTC)
Well, that may be going too far the other way. There is a similarly large number of hits in engineering for "antennas". Not many from biologists though. I will compile some citations from the more well known authors. SpinningSpark 21:48, 5 May 2012 (UTC)


"For" originally means "towards", or "in support of somebody". But since it indicates some causality, it can also indicate causality with something from the past. Am I right ?

Do you mean in the sense of "because"? If so, then yes, past, present or future. I have an issue with sense 9: "Despite, in spite of" because I claim that this is not a sense of "for" on its own, only the meaning of the phrase "for all that". Dbfirs 15:01, 5 May 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I meant in the sense of "because". Thank you.

only for

Looks like a conjunction to me. Sense not covered at only and possibly not at for either. --Coctel (talk) 23:37, 5 May 2012 (UTC)

What about only to? ("He got up, only to fall down again.") Equinox 12:31, 6 May 2012 (UTC)
For (sense 10) alone can introduce the actor for a following infinitive. It can be used without only in this way: "For Chelsea keeper Petr Cech to show brilliant reflexes is unexceptional." It may be that we lack an appropriate sense of only. DCDuring TALK 13:16, 6 May 2012 (UTC)
MWOnline has an adverb sense of only: "with nevertheless the final result", which seems to include the usage in the sole citation at [[only for]] and in only to + [bare infinitive]. We lack such a sense at only#Adverb. I am not sure that it has this sense with other following constructions.
If the following constructions are not clauses, it is not a conjunction in any event. DCDuring TALK 13:35, 6 May 2012 (UTC)


I don't know French, but the conjugation seems off. Check out an inflected form like syndiqueerons and you'll see the problem. What is going wrong here? --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 03:13, 6 May 2012 (UTC)

I think I fixed it. There was an -e at the end of the stem in the template that shouldn't have been there. Chuck Entz (talk) 03:44, 6 May 2012 (UTC)
I should say: I fixed the problem on the lemma page. Someone created entries for all the bogus forms it produced, so there's a bit of moving and editing to do. Chuck Entz (talk) 03:47, 6 May 2012 (UTC)
They were bot-created, actually, but I deleted them somewhat manually. I'm pretty sure I got them all, but it would be great if someone could check. Just compare this diff with this log. Thanks --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 04:11, 6 May 2012 (UTC)
Thanks. I've now deleted [[syndiqueé]], and Special:PrefixIndex/syndique looks as it should. :-)   —RuakhTALK 17:15, 8 May 2012 (UTC)


This page contains a reference to the OED, which is fine, but includes a link, which is not. The link doesn't work because the OED is searchable without a subscription. I haven't changed the reference but it needs to be fixed. How many other similar links are there on Wiktionary? — Paul G (talk) 10:21, 7 May 2012 (UTC)

This is definitely an annoyance, but there is no real option that I see for a solution, except removing the links by bot, which would serve no purpose. If you're curious how many OED links exist, the answer is more than 300. This main namespace search shows all of those entries. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 23:37, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
I don't know if I agree that the link "doesn't work". Presumably it does work for those with access to the OED Online. It might be more polite to indicate that the link requires a subscription, but I don't see much point in removing it entirely. —RuakhTALK 23:41, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, I don't think anyone would object if an article referenced an academic paper that needed a subscription, or a link to a newspaper like The Times which is behind a paywall. Smurrayinchester (talk) 07:43, 9 May 2012 (UTC)
... but the link doesn't work even for those of us logged in to the OED. I get redirected to [[29]]. Does this happen for everyone? Dbfirs 13:48, 11 May 2012 (UTC)
Quite possibly. That's what it did for me, but I was hoping that for people with genuine OED access it would still work. That's annoying; why would they break all inbound links to their site? It required a subscription before, and it still does, there's no reason for it to stop working. —RuakhTALK 14:02, 11 May 2012 (UTC)
They've changed their website fairly recently. I've just tested a genuine link in my sandbox and it goes straight to the entry, so I've changed the link at zoon to point to the new website. Try it to see if it works now (if you have a subscription). Is it worth changing all the other links? Dbfirs
Re: "They've changed their website fairly recently": Yes, such that entries are now on www.oed.com instead of dictionary.oed.com; but there's no reason they couldn't have set up the redirects to actually work. —RuakhTALK 18:59, 12 May 2012 (UTC)
Yes, fair comment, though they've no obligation to arrange their website for the convenience of rivals! Dbfirs 22:50, 13 May 2012 (UTC)
[30]​—msh210 (talk) 23:24, 13 May 2012 (UTC)
An excellent recommendation, but how many websites implement everlasting links? Certainly not the BBC, or government in the UK. They all seem to assume that they can redesign their websites without redirecting old links. Dbfirs 08:17, 15 May 2012 (UTC)


Collins defines verbid as "any nonfinite form of a verb or any nonverbal word derived from a verb". I'm not sure I've ever seen nonverbal used in this way. DAVilla 07:37, 8 May 2012 (UTC)

I've seen it before, but it would be living hell to cite. I'll add that sense anyway, and you can RFV it if you want and make somebody else deal with it. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 23:40, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
I've seen it too, and I agree it will be difficult to track down examples. The first place to look is in scholarly writing on morphology and syntax. —Angr 17:36, 9 May 2012 (UTC)
As I do not have access to a good means for generating citations from scholarly journals, I tried this search, yielding a raw count of 380 hits at bgc to get a start. A more experienced linguist than I could refine the search and sort through the jargon to identify the most relevant citations. DCDuring TALK 17:47, 9 May 2012 (UTC)


The adjective has a sense specific to US politics. But a similar sense is also used in the Netherlands, where it also means a blend between red (socialist) and blue (liberal or conservative). And I imagine that in other countries where a colour association exists, similar terms are used as well. So rather than listing a sense for each country, could the sense be made more general somehow? I'm not sure how to word it... —CodeCat 16:20, 8 May 2012 (UTC)

Unless a great many English senses turn out to meet the CFI, I think it would be best to list each of them separately. For one thing, the usage patterns are likely to be quite different; in the U.S., for example, the red/blue/green/purple system is mainly applied to geographic areas, whereas the red/pink/[unmarked] system is mainly applied to individuals and groups. —RuakhTALK 17:04, 8 May 2012 (UTC)
Judging from w:Purple (government), the Dutch and US senses are the most common. —CodeCat 17:08, 8 May 2012 (UTC)


I am trying to find (invent?) an English translation of this Italian word. It is used to describe train systems in which all the trains travel at the same speed (and all make the same stops). homotachic might fit, but it gets very few Google hits. Any ideas? (p.s. homotaxic is to do with homotaxy, so that's not right.) SemperBlotto (talk) 08:39, 11 May 2012 (UTC)

Do you mean something along the lines of a funicular, where the train cars are all linked, and so they all have to travel at the speed and stop at the same time, or a line that doesn't mix local and express trains? Smurrayinchester (talk) 21:02, 11 May 2012 (UTC)
The second. Something like the Central Line on the London Underground where the trains are more or less forced to go round and round at the same speed (and there is no possibility of overtaking, or waiting in a siding for the express to go through). SemperBlotto (talk) 21:13, 11 May 2012 (UTC)
"Single-service" seems to get a few Google Books hits, though I'm not sure how many mean it in this particular way (the ones talking about the Trans-Siberian railway certainly won't mean it like that). Smurrayinchester (talk) 22:12, 11 May 2012 (UTC)



I don't think we have the right sense of what used in expressions like what's the rush/what's the hurry. It seems to mean "why". We show that as an obsolete sense. If it is obsolete, then the terms which seem to use it are idioms. But no OneLook reference shows them as idioms. Thoughts? DCDuring TALK 16:36, 12 May 2012 (UTC)

I'm not sure, but I think that in those examples, the sense of "cause" may be in rush and hurry rather than in what; compare "there's no rush/hurry" (meaning "take your time"). —RuakhTALK 19:12, 12 May 2012 (UTC)
Is the same to be found in urgency' brouhaha, rumpus, fuss; delay, hold-up? It seems as if there are elisions in the expressions: something like What's the X (about/for)?. That would argue for all of the common (widespread) expressions being idiomatic. There would be greater economy and generality in amending our possibly deficient entry for what. MWOnline has 14 senses/subsenses/sub-subsenses; Wiktionary has four, plus the two determiner senses. DCDuring TALK 00:21, 13 May 2012 (UTC)
Another, similar construction: what's the matter?, though what's the problem? may be closer. Chuck Entz (talk) 00:42, 13 May 2012 (UTC)
MWOnline simply has a sense for matter (problem). Does matter have this sense in any other expressions? Is it the same sense as in "There's nothing the matter with me' there's something the matter with the room: it's tilted."?
I can't construe "what's the matter" as an elision either. DCDuring TALK 01:26, 13 May 2012 (UTC)
BTW, we don't seem to have a sense that fits matter in There's something the matter with the room. DCDuring TALK 01:30, 13 May 2012 (UTC)
Perhaps it's not elision, but metonymy: "the reason for your rush" being represented by "the rush" (or something along those lines) Chuck Entz (talk) 03:03, 13 May 2012 (UTC)
google books:"what's the rush" "the rush is" finds plenty of hits where the person replying to "what's the rush?" takes "the rush" to refer to the reason for urgency (as well as some hits where (s)he does not). That's not exactly ironclad proof — google books:"me too" "me three" finds plenty of hits where someone has taken the "too" in "me too" to be the number two, which certainly is not the case — but I think it's suggestive. —RuakhTALK 04:19, 13 May 2012 (UTC)
Oh, what's the use. DCDuring TALK 06:17, 13 May 2012 (UTC)
"Why's the rush?" doesn't sound grammatical, except perhaps as a stereotypically ludicrous philosophical question (from the citations given (a longer version of the Milton quote is here), it looks like the obsolete what-as-why behaved grammatically like modern why) - we'd say "Why the long face?", not "Why is the long face?" - indeed "Why the rush?" gets a lot of Google Books results. "Why is the rush?" only appears as part of larger sentences ("Why is the rush to professionalization so pervasive in society?"). That doesn't necessary mean it can't be the root cause, of course - there are plenty of idioms that don't make sense when analysed with basic grammar - but without extra evidence I'd put a separate sense at "what" or create a page for the idiomatic "what's the"/"what is the" rather than describing this as the continued use of what-as-why (that sense comes from 1913 Webster, incidentally. Smurrayinchester (talk) 07:37, 13 May 2012 (UTC)
I always liked the expression Why the long face?, which I have come to associate with John Kerry.
I had come to this from the idiomatic expression what's the rush/hurry/fuss/delay?. In this expression what's could be glossed as "why" and so could what is. How could one gloss what? Does it need a {{non-gloss definition}}? Or should what is and what's be glossed as "why"? My brain isn't functioning (yet?) so I'm having trouble clarifying this.
What is the scope of the omission of is in short questions? Why certainly permits, even requires, the omission. Are there other question words that have this? Is this connected to the various idiomatic questions intensified by the fuck, the hell etc? DCDuring TALK 12:56, 13 May 2012 (UTC)

Hold one's...

Special:PrefixIndex/hold one's, specifically hold one's pee, hold one's poop, hold one's urine, hold one's water and probably hold one's breath too, is there no way to cover this at hold? Otherwise, surely there have been to a few more variants that are attested; hold one's crap, hold one's piss, hold one's poo, hold one's shit, etc. Mglovesfun (talk) 23:22, 12 May 2012 (UTC)

I think "one's" is there to semantically limit it to one's person, somewhat like "me" in "Je me casse la jambe" or "mir" in "Ich habe mir das Bein gebrochen". Another expression you missed is "hold one's liquor". Chuck Entz (talk) 01:16, 13 May 2012 (UTC)
That one seems to be a different meaning, that's why. Mglovesfun (talk) 10:29, 13 May 2012 (UTC)


It looked attestable on Google Books, so I created it. Not sure if it can be considered "eye dialect" though. ---> Tooironic (talk) 11:56, 13 May 2012 (UTC)

I've seen it used many times. I'm not quite sure what nuance it's supposed to convey though. —CodeCat 12:20, 13 May 2012 (UTC)
In my experience it usually conveys one of two things: (1) the slurred speech of intoxication, head trauma, etc.; (2) a lateral lisp (a.k.a. "slushy S"; see w:Lisp). I'm certain that both of these are citeable. —RuakhTALK 14:35, 13 May 2012 (UTC)


As far as I can tell, based on their Wikipedia pages, the definition given here is more for a combination lock rather than a padlock. I.e. a padlock is opened by keys, not a combination of numbers. ---> Tooironic (talk) 03:53, 15 May 2012 (UTC)

may well

Valid as an entry, or part of may/well? --Airforce (talk) 12:20, 15 May 2012 (UTC)

We could well delete it. Mglovesfun (talk) 12:28, 15 May 2012 (UTC)
We may fairly need to add a sense of well for this. We have an intensifier sense that doesn't seem to me to capture this. I think there are a significant number of modal (I think) adverbs that can fit in the slot occupied by well. I think indeed, truly, reasonably, and really are examples. Note also that comparative and superlative forms of well work: "may better", "may best". DCDuring TALK 14:11, 15 May 2012 (UTC)
might well, could well, may very well, may just as well... Equinox 14:15, 15 May 2012 (UTC)
The last one of those is different. Siuenti (talk)
We do have an entry for just as well, which describes it as an adverb just like the others. Smurrayinchester (talk) 21:01, 15 May 2012 (UTC)
may very well is sum of parts of may well + very, whether or not may well is valid or not. Mglovesfun (talk) 21:18, 15 May 2012 (UTC)

enemy combatant

Way back in 2007 I added the Bush defintion of "enemy combatant" to the wiktionary's entry for "enemy combatant". It was reverted the next day.

Apparently I asked the contributor who reverted me for an explanation, in 2008, and we started a discussion on User talk:Geo Swan#Could you please explain more fully?. They stuck to their guns, and wouldn't agree to restore the second definition I had added. They suggested I call for a broader discussion here.

I participate here very intermittently, so I am initiating that discussion now. The justifications for reverting the definition I placed were:

  1. too narrow;
  2. US-centric;

Apparently my correspondent forgot, or didn't notice, that the original definition was also US-centric.

I think it is very unfortunate that the definition I added was removed as this was the definition used throughout the Bush administration -- not the definition that sits in the entry -- and I think this was a very serious disservice to wiktionary users.

In early 2005, a handful of the Guantanamo captives, finally had their habeas corpus petitions reviewed by a judge. Joyce Hens Green questioned a senior Department of Justice official about the Bush administration definition of "enemy combatant", she asked whether a little old lady in Switzerland, who donation to what she thought was a legitimate charity could be considered an "enemy combatant" if unknown to her some of that charity's resources were siphoned off to fund a terrorist enterprise. She was told the little old lady could be considered an enemy combatant.

There has been a tremendous amount of confusion over this term, and similar terms, some of which used in the Geneva Conventions. And the removal of my contribution to the entry provided no help in resolving that confusion.

"lawful combatant" and "privileged belligerent" are two terms used in the Geneva Conventions. From my reading of the GC they are synonyms. There are vast differences between the Geneva Conventions' definition of a combatant and the definition of "enemy combatant" used by the USA following the attacks of 2001-9-11.

Under the Geneva Conventions once demobilized or discharged a soldier becomes a civilian. If their country is invaded, the demobilized soldier remains a civilian, provided he stays at home, and minds his own business.

Most of the Taliban are illiterate. After decades of civil war the Afghan civil service was understaffed. The Taliban had come to the point where they press-ganged some of the few Afghan civilians who could read and write and forced them to fill positions in Afghanistan's civil service. These individuals were forced to hold positions as clerks, secretaries, even executives of the national bank. Filling this kind of position, either through choice of compulsion, would leave one a civilian using most definitions of combatant. But the Bush administration, using the definition the other contributor reverted, used their positions within the civil service to justify calling them "enemy combatants".

The Bush administration classed men captured in Afghanistan as "enemy combatants" for prior military service, even though they had been demobilized, and would have been considered civilians under the Geneva Conventions definition -- and I belive under the sole remaining definition the reversion of my addition left in our entry.

I suggest the addition I entered, which was reverted, should be restored.

I believe wiktionary should also have a definition for lawful combatant and its synonyms. Geo Swan (talk) 15:42, 16 May 2012 (UTC)

It looks like the definition you're citing comes from one particular case - note that the "definition" starts "For purposes of the Order, the term "enemy combatant" shall mean an individual who was part of or supporting Taliban or al Qaeda forces" (emphasis mine). It's only relevant with respect to detainees of Guantanamo Bay detention centre. In other words, this isn't a definition of enemy combatant, it's just defining the legal shorthand used in this particular document. Here, as a completely random example of why this doesn't define the term "enemy combatant", are the T&Cs of a sales document by a company called Litho Circuits:
The term "The Company" shall mean Litho Circuits Limited and its trading divisions, successors and assigns or any person acting on behalf of with the authority of Litho Circuits Limited.
The term "The Customer" shall mean any person, the firm or company who purchases any Goods or Services from the Company, this shall mean any person or entity described or identified as such in the invoices of application for credit, quotation, work authorisation, claim or any other forms to which these Terms and Conditions apply, this should mean any person acting on behalf of this and with the authority of such person or entity.
This doesn't mean that I can add "Litho Circuits" to the page company though, nor "Person who buys from Litho Circuits" to customer. It's a specific legal reading of a broad term only used in the context of one particular company, and not a total redefinition of the word. That's all this document does, as far as I can tell, to the word "enemy combatant". Smurrayinchester (talk) 19:49, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Sorry, your reply says this definition "comes from one particular case". Where in heaven's name did you get that idea?
With the exception of Iraqis apprehended in Iraq, in the separate Iraq war, every captive apprehended by the Bush administration was considered an "enemy combatant" using this definition -- not the sole definition currently carried by the wiktionary. This was true no matter where they were captured. Some were captured in Africa, Asia, Central America, Europe and the USA.
Consider American citizen Jose Padilla, apprehended at a Chicago airport: "From June 9, 2002 until January 5, 2006, without any judicial fact-finding to support his detention, Mr. Padilla was detained as an “enemy combatant” in Charleston, South Carolina, where he was held in complete isolation and denied access to the court system, legal counsel and his family."
Consider Khalid el-Masri, a German citizen of Lebanese descent who was unlucky enough to have a namesake who was a suspcted terrorist. Traveling on vacation in Europe, his name was flagged by Macedonian border guards, and he was sold, for a bounty, to the CIA -- who shipped him to a torture site known as "the salt pit" He too was considered an "enemy combatant"
The DoD treated the Afghanistan and later Iraq war as two separate wars. In theory every captive apprehended in Iraq was supposed to be treated in full accordance with the Geneva Conventions. (Yes, I know that at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere Iraqi captives were abused, but this was a lapse from policy.) It was Bush policy that captives apprehended in Afghanistan, in Pakistan, were not entitled to the protections of the Geneva Conventions. Captives held in Afghanistan, who never made it to Guantanamo were also considered to fall under this definition of "enemy combatant".
The DoD had to be ordered, by the US Supreme Court, to convent the 2004 Combatant Status Review Tribunals. And like naughty schoolboys DoD officials set up CSR Tribunals they thought complied with the letter of the SCOTUS order, while flagrantly violating the spirit of the order.
A key element of these controversial tribunals is that it was always the position of the Bush administration's DoD that the CSR Tribunals were merely part of a long process during which these captives had been determined to be "enemy combatants". It was always the position of the DoD that these captives had already satisfactorily been determined to be "enemy combatants". It was always the position of the DoD that the 2004 CSR Tribunals were merely confirming earlier determinations that the captives met the definition for "enemy combatants". At Bagram the commandant had the responsibility to oversee "enemy combatant review boards". Those boards were less formal, and even less fair, than the 2004 CSR Tribunals. And they were secret. Was this 2004 order the first time this definition was published. I don't know. Maybe. But this doesn't matter, because the Bush administration was using this definition from very early in the Afghanistan war -- maybe from the first day the first elements of the CIA and US special forces entered Afghanistan in October 2001.
Sorry, your analogy based on corporations makes no sense to me. Perhaps that is because it is based on your serious misconception that the order only applied to a single case in Guantanamo, when it applied to all captives, captured anywhere, held anywhere, or anywhere except Iraqis captured in Iraq. Geo Swan (talk) 23:40, 17 May 2012 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but I don't really follow your argument. Firstly: The Bush Administration used the term enemy combatant in reference to such people precisely because it was claiming that they were enemy combatants in sense #1 ("Any person in an armed conflict who could be properly detained under the laws and customs of war"). Secondly: You copied your definition directly from a document titled Order Establishing Combatant Status Review Tribunal, only removing the phrase "For purposes of the Order". Smurrayinchester's analysis is correct, and his analogy is apt; that order's definition does not demonstrate that a new sense of "enemy combatant" exists, it's merely doing the same sort of locally-scoped redefinition that Litho Circuits is doing. Thirdly: Your argument seems to be disturbingly political. Statements like "Those boards were less formal, and even less fair" have no place, so far as I can see, in determining whether the term enemy combatant has a second sense. —RuakhTALK 00:36, 18 May 2012 (UTC)
Ruakh has said everything I was going to say, so all I'll add is this: our current definition of enemy combatant - and the one that was in use when you edited the article, reads "Any person in an armed conflict who could be properly detained under the laws and customs of war." The Bush administration detained the people it called enemy combatants as POW, and the courts declared their detention legal. It's definitely still possible to disagree with the courts on this issue, but it doesn't change the fact that the people declared "enemy combatants" at least fit the definition given in the article - note that the article does not say that an enemy combatant has to be someone who was a combatant, and our usage notes make clear that "Enemy combatants in the current conflict are not defined by simple, readily apparent criteria such as citizenship or military uniform, and the power to name a citizen as an 'enemy combatant' is therefore extraordinarily broad." The "definition" given in the Order Establishing Combatant Status Review Tribunal is an example of the government using this ability to name people enemy combatants according to broad criteria. Khalid el-Masri was not someone who had fought for al-Qaeda or the Taliban, but he was someone who the US believed (falsely as it turned out) could be detained under the laws of war, which is why he was declared an enemy combatant. Someone can be declared a murderer and then found innocent, but that doesn't change the definition of murderer. Smurrayinchester (talk) 08:56, 18 May 2012 (UTC)
  • I am going to thank User:Smurrayinchester, and User: Ruakh, for responding here. I said I was a newbie, with less than 2 dozen edits and I am going to assume that it was their intent to explain to a newbie what steps would be necessary to demonstrate the second entry I proposed were appropriate.
  • Unfortunately, they offered counter-arguments that were rendered meaningless by the very serious factual misconceptions they were based on. The clearest example is this passage:
"our current definition of enemy combatant - and the one that was in use when you edited the article, reads "Any person in an armed conflict who could be properly detained under the laws and customs of war." The Bush administration detained the people it called enemy combatants as POW, and the courts declared their detention legal."
  • The first misconception Murray repeated "The Bush administration detained the people it called enemy combatants as POW" is wrong, wrong, wrong, incredibly wrong, and incredibly damaging to the integrity of this project. In fact the Bush administration went on record soon after al Qaeda's attacks on 9-11 -- individuals whose captivity was triggered by those attacks would not be treated as combatants. Following a little publicized doctrine called the mosaic theory, it was useful to apprehend, detain, interrogate -- even torture -- individuals who weren't themselves suspects, but who were merely acquainted with suspects, or who merely traveled in the same mileui, were held as combatants -- even if they were totally oblivious to all terrorist activities.
  • Murray then went on and wrote: " and the courts declared their detention legal."
Murray, are you aware that four Guantanamo related cases were considered by lower courts, and rose to be considered by the US Supreme Court? In Hamdi v. Bush, Rasul v. Bush, Hamdam v. Rumsfeld and Boumediene v. Bush the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the captives. In Boumediene v. Bush the SCOTUS ruled that the US Congress did not have the Constitutional authority to strip the protections of the rule of law from the captives, and they had to be allowed to have access to civilian habeas corpus. Following that restoration, when US District Court Judges had were allowed to consider the secret evidence that had been used to justify the captives' detention they started to rule that in well over half the cases the "evidence" were merely highly unreliable rumor and innuendo. They ruled that, in those cases, the USA had never had a legitimate justification for holding those men. Bear in mind, this was after the least suspicious two thirds of the captives had already been repatriated. The DoJ appealed some of these rulings to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals -- often described as one of the most conservative courts in the land. They routinely ruled that the lower court had erred in considering the credibility of the evidence in its reviews. They ruled all evidence offered by the executive branch should be considered credible. Some commentators and legal critics have stated that these rulings render reviews irrelevant, and are essentially a rebellion against the SCOTUS. Others say that the SCOTUS will not take up the captives cases one more time.
So I suggest that it is a lot more complicated than the claim that "the courts declared their detention legal."
Further, I suggest, even if, for the sake of argument, the SCOTUS does not take up the captives' cases one more time, leaving "their detention legal", your assertion that the new definition was synonymous with the old, and not worthy of inclusion is also wildly incorrect.
  • I am going to return to the assumption at the beginning of this note -- that Murray and Ruark's intention was to help a newbie navigate internal rules here. Would it be possible for you to reconsider the misconceptions? Would it be possible for you to simply explain what would be required to add this definition to the entry? Geo Swan (talk) 00:35, 11 June 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, but I still just don't see your point. Even if the Bush administration had declared that all non-citizens were enemy combatants and indefinitely detainable without right of habeas corpus, and even if every court in the land had replied by saying "WTF mate?" and explaining that it isn't supposed to work that way, that still wouldn't mean that the term "enemy combatant" had a new and distinct sense. To show that the term "enemy combatant" has a new and distinct sense, I think you'd have to find quotations that simultaneously (1) describe someone as an "enemy combatant" and (2) acknowledge that they're not actually an enemy combatant in the conventional sense. And I just don't think you can do that, because I don't think there's anyone who uses the term "enemy combatant" in such a way. —RuakhTALK 01:39, 11 June 2012 (UTC)
To reply to the original point/question, it's a stone-cold straightforward revert. For so many reasons, I won't even attempt to list them. Mglovesfun (talk) 02:48, 11 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Hmm. I'd thank you, if you decided to make a helpful contribution to this discussion. Geo Swan (talk) 20:04, 11 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Ruakh, I think I already quotted the questions US District Court Judge Joyce Hens Green made. A little old lady, from Switzerland, who innocently donates to what she thought was a legitimate charity, would nevertheless be classed as an "enemy combatant" if someone at that hcarity diverted donations to finance a terrorism related project.
  • UK captive Moazzam Begg is a well educated guy. Prior to his 2004 CSR Tribunal he was entitled to request documents, and he requested the POW card that had been issued to him. His request triggered a lot of confusion in the agency responsible for the status reviews (a separate agency than that responsible for running the camps and the interrogations).

    Initially the President of his Tribunal was going to rule his POW card as irrelevant. But she decided to ask for an official legal opinion from the agencies legal advisor, a JAG officer named James Crisfield. He concurred that it wasn't relevant.

    Why? Because the Geneva Conventions definition of combatant wasn't relevant:

pages 5-6
The detainee proffered that this witness was an ICRC employee who would testify that the detainee had previously been issued a POW identity card at a U.S. detention facility in Kandahar, Afghanistan. The Tribunal President initially determined that the witness was relevant, but after consultation with the Assistant Legal Advisor, she changed her determination. She based her decision on her conclusion that the Combatant Status Review Tribunals do not have the discretion to determine that a detainee should be classified as a prisoner of war—only whether the detainee satisfies the definition of "enemy combatant" as provided in references (a) and (b). In my opinion, this decision was correct.... [I]n a written statement prepared by the detainee especially for the CSRT, the detainee specifically says that he does not claim POW status (see exhibit D-e).
The sole current definition in the wiktionary's entry for enemy combatant is a paraphrase of the Geneva Convention definition of "combatant". The legal opinion I quoted here establishes that it was the official position of the DoD and Bush administration that they were using a different definition of "enemy combatant". As Begg correctly noted, under the Geneva Convention he could be classified into one of three groups. He and the officer assigned to help him state his case get the three classes slightly wrong. He could be a civilian bystander, captured in error; he could be a POW, because he was a "lawful combatant", who had fought, but according to the established laws and customs of war; or he could have fought in a way that violated those conventions, so thus wasn't eligible for POW status. What the Geneva Convention requires is that a captor should convene a Tribunal to determine the captive's status "when doubt exists". Crisfield notes Begg didn't claim to be a POW. It is a sneaky assertion because Begg claimed to be an civilian bystander.
Neither the Geneva Conventions, or domestic US law allows the President to assert captives aren't entitled to POW status. Both the GC and US law require all captives to be treated as POWs until a Tribunal determines their status. While the Combatant Status Review Tribunals the DoD convened in 2004 -- under duress when forced by the SCOTUS are sometimes described as if they fulfilled the USA's Geneva Convention obligations, they did not do so.
Under the standard definition of combatant, a veteran is a civilian, once they are discharged or demobilized. But under the Bush administration definition demobilized veterans, who had not engaged in hostilities, were nevertheless considered "enemy combatants". Geo Swan (talk) 20:04, 11 June 2012 (UTC)
I get the feeling that you're not paying attention to other people's comments, and are instead more focused on trying to eke a political debate out of anyone you can. Please don't waste our time further with this, or at least provide the evidence that Ruakh has requested and is required under the CFI. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 20:21, 11 June 2012 (UTC)
  • I take at face value that you think other contributors have clearly explained what Wiktionary requires that was missing from my efforts to get this definition added.
You told me to check WT:CFI -- important and helpful information Murray and Ruakh skipped. Thanks for that.
This definition was the official US government definition for over seven years. The Obama administration retired the term "enemy combatant" on 2009-03-13, when it changed the rules on detention. In commentary following the retirement of the use of this term this Salon magazine article explains how the Bush era definition differed from the new rules.
Under the new rules an individual had to provide "substantial support" -- not merely "support". And the substantial support had to be to "armed" groups. Thus, according to Salon magazine the new set of rules: "does not justify the detention at Guantanamo Bay of those who provide unwitting or insignificant support to the organizations identified in the AUMF [Autorization to Use Military Force]."
Ruakh demanded I show the Bush era definition applied to individuals who would not be considered combatants under the older, Geneva Convention compliant definition. I think I have done that. Absurd as it may sound, the "little old lady" who donated to what she thought was a legitimate charity could unwittingly make her an "enemy combatant" under the Bush definition. She would not be subject to detention under the new rules. This is not just a theoretical distinction. Lots of captives who would have been considered civilian bystanders under the older Geneva Convention compliant definition were nevertheless classed as "enemy combatants" under the Bush era definition.
Following find a bunch of references to the Bush era term being used or discussed.
  1. I'll start with Scotusblog. Although "scotusblog" misleadingly contains "blog" in its title, it is actually one of the most respected legal websites in the USA. Lyle Denniston, one of the site's highly regarded commentators discussed the Bush era term in dozens of articles. Here is one entitled Defining a wartime “enemy”
  2. Here is William Teesdale's declaration.
  3. Justice Richard Leon's analysis of the definition.
  4. Obama DoJ withdraws the Bush "enemy combatant" definition on 2009-03-13.
  5. Washington Post
  6. USA Today
  7. Solon
  8. does a CNN broadcast count?
Metaknowledge, thanks for referring me to WP:CFI -- the first actually helpful advice in five years. Please tell me if you think I have satisfied the "attestation" requirement. Geo Swan (talk) 13:09, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
@Geo Swan, I'd thank you, if you decided to make a helpful contribution to this discussion. I don't think you have yet. Mglovesfun (talk) 21:17, 11 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Consider my thanks to you here as proportional to the actual effort you made to be helpful. Geo Swan (talk) 13:09, 12 June 2012 (UTC)
Consider my thanks to you as inversely proportional to the amount of trolling your doing (that is, getting lower and lower by the minute). Mglovesfun (talk) 13:11, 12 June 2012 (UTC)

Re my talkpage: Geo Swan, I obviously don't feel like dealing with this, and it appears everyone else feels likewise. Obviously, blogs (even if they are respected legal websites) don't meet our requirements. If you want me to take you seriously, read WT:CFI#Attestation, figure out how many citations you can muster that meet the criteria (durably archived, independent, etc) and add them to per the guidelines in WT:". Then we can talk. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 20:32, 12 June 2012 (UTC)

  • You seem to be telling me to go ahead and (1) try to create a Citations:enemy combatant; (2) restore the Bush era definition. I took a crack at that. Geo Swan (talk) 00:37, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
    • I removed the def, which I did not say should be added. Your citations need work; for many of them, taking a look at w:use-mention distinction will show you that they are mentions ("known as 'enemy combatants'", "the term 'enemy combatant'", etc). Also, Mr Hamad is obviously using the term with the meaning of the first definition; if he meant it as the second, his statement would be nonsensical at best. I don't think that leaves with enough cites. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 01:14, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
      • You say you don't think there are "enough cites" -- how would a newcomer learn how many were enough? Is there a policy document that gives guidance as to how many are enough?
      • Is there a way a good faith newcomer can learn how many further steps they will be asked to undertake prior to restoration of material? Geo Swan (talk) 01:33, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
    I have gone through the citations you provided and sorted them under headings showing my estimation of their "durably archived" status. I also note that they do not go very far toward establishing a very specific meaning (cf. "show meaning" in CFI). To the extent that the term is used in legal documents, official legal definitions can be assumed to be supported, though I gather that more than one official legal definition exists. That might make it harder to "attest" a specific definition. There is a simple strategy for handling this complexity and controversy: punt. We sometimes use non-gloss definitions for this. See the Talk:enemy combatant. DCDuring TALK 02:10, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
    • Thank you. I saw you working on this.
    • The Bush administration used the term, without publicly defining it, for some time. The first official published definition that I am aware of is that in the Order Establishing Combatant Status Review Tribunal, from 2004-07. I am not aware of any other published official definitions.
    • Because I read all the transcripts -- close to 1000 -- I think I know what the definition meant -- in practice. But it is the theoretical definition that counts here?
    • I may be able to find references that regulars here are happier with. But I don't understand regulars want. Geo Swan (talk) 02:41, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Well, speaking as one regular, the main thing I want is for you to suppress your political and emotional outrage. Your "little old lady in Switzerland" feels like an attempt to manipulate us into applying emotional considerations to a question of linguistic fact. Such an attempt is doomed to backfire. Your goal here should be to demonstrate that the Bush administration used the term "enemy combatant" in reference to people without suggesting that those people could lawfully be detained. Instead, you seem to be trying to demonstrate that the Bush administration wrongly claimed that various people could lawfully be detained. (Imagine that I point at a blue car and claim that it's red. I'm not using a different meaning of the word "red"; I'm just lying.) —RuakhTALK 03:06, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
    • Clarification please. Metaknowledge told me I should do what you asked, and once he or she pointed me to WT:CFI and some other policy pages, and once they explained to me that they thought you wanted me to add entries to Citations:enemy_combatant. I added entries. Did you make your comments immediately above after reading Citations:enemy_combatant?
    • I didn't offer examples to push an agenda. Have you forgotten that you and Murray initially argued that there was no point in adding the second definition, as it was functionally equivalent to the first definition? The examples I offered demonstrated that the two definitions differed.
    • Your car analogy mystifies me.
    • I have no idea why you made your comment about lying. Geo Swan (talk) 03:59, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Re: Citations:enemy combatant: Yes, I saw it.   Re: functional equivalence: Neither Smurrayinchester nor I ever used the term "functionally" or "equivalent", and I don't think either of us made a claim like you describe. Perhaps you misunderstood what we meant?   Re: car analogy, lying: I've really been grasping here, trying to understand what you've been trying to say. Apparently I failed. The car analogy was a response to the point that I thought you were making; if you don't get it, then apparently that's not the point you were making, in which case I have no idea what any of your comments have been trying to say. I think I'll leave this discussion now, since my participation seems to be fruitless; hopefully you'll have better luck communicating with someone else.   —RuakhTALK 06:03, 13 June 2012 (UTC)


I have created a raw translation of a German citation but I don't dare to remove the <!-- comments -->. Could some one please check and correct the English translation? Then we can remove the "Tea room" template from this article (after two years). Thank you! --MaEr (talk) 16:43, 17 May 2012 (UTC)

I tidied it up a bit, but basically it was fine. I've uncommented it, but of course others are welcome to take a look and polish it some more. —Angr 21:58, 17 May 2012 (UTC)
Thanks to all of you! --MaEr (talk) 16:48, 18 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Google suggests that there's some debate about the haru- part. Some sources connect it to a noun hīra (intestine), but other sources seem to be more circumspect about claiming that hīra means "intestine", or even that it exists. A few sources just say outright that its origin is unknown. I don't know Latin at all, and am not even remotely equipped to judge these claims. —RuakhTALK 17:27, 18 May 2012 (UTC)
  • I added some etymological information to the Latin part of the lemma.
    Eiríkr, -spex is indeed related to specto, specio. I guess it's like -fex (in pontifex) to facere.
    Ruakh, unforunately I cannot say much about the discussions about intestines. I just tried to write the etymology section in such a way that some other theories can be added easily (I hope). --MaEr (talk) 18:01, 18 May 2012 (UTC)
    Thank you, MaEr, that's interesting stuff. From this I also gather that English yarn and cord ultimately derive from the same PIE root. Fun. (Yes, I'm a geek.  :) ) -- Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 18:06, 18 May 2012 (UTC)

"Vem" (Czech)

Is this imperative a part of the verb vzít or vést? Filelakeshoe (talk) 15:40, 18 May 2012 (UTC)


One of our adverb senses is:

  1. Template:dialect Indeed.
    The water is so cold! —That it is.

But that seems wrong to me. It's true that "that it is" means "indeed it is", but I don't think it's because "that" means "indeed"; rather, I think that "that" here is standing in for "cold".

Does such a dialectal sense really exist? If so, maybe it could use a better example?

RuakhTALK 20:34, 18 May 2012 (UTC)

I'm with you: the that in the sample sentence (and in other examples that I can think of) is referring to the predicate of the preceding statement. Used this way, it functionally means the same thing as indeed, but that's not quite the same thing as saying that that has a sense meaning indeed. -- Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 20:45, 18 May 2012 (UTC)
Indeed, one can substitute the antecedent for "that". It seems odd, because one would expect "that" to be used- but it's grammatical. Chuck Entz (talk) 21:31, 18 May 2012 (UTC)
The OED describes this as a demonstrative adverb thus:- " a. [Closely related to the adjective use in II. 4.] To that extent or degree; so much, so. (Qualifying an adj., adv., or ppl., †rarely a vb.) Now dial. and Sc.; also colloq. with a negative: not (all) that , not very." SemperBlotto (talk) 21:40, 18 May 2012 (UTC)
Well, but that's our sense #2. (And I don't think that "indeed" would be a good gloss for it.) This sense is ostensibly different. —RuakhTALK 21:53, 18 May 2012 (UTC)
Isn't this that? It seems to be an anaphora. It is essentially the same, I think, in the following:
"He sure left quickly last night." / "That he did." = "Last night, leave quickly is what he did."
But this could be compared with:
"He sure left quickly last night." / "So he did." which might have either the same interpretation or it might focus on the manner of leaving ("quickly"). The response using that could have the same adverbial focus, I suppose, so perhaps it could be deemed an adverb.
The pronoun interpretation allows more flexibility if we could interpret that as "what was just said" without being to particular about grammatical (PoS) niceties. DCDuring TALK 23:19, 18 May 2012 (UTC)
We can do that. It's called a summative consrtuction and is both extremely common and grammatical. Circeus (talk) 19:18, 27 May 2012 (UTC)
But DCDuring's example goes a bit further than that. In the uses that Dr. Zwicky describes in the page you link to, "that" is functioning as a subject. Its antecedent is, somewhat atypically, an entire previous sentence (or at least, more than just a noun phase), but within its own sentence, its grammar is exactly a normal use of a pronoun. But in DCDuring's example, "that he did", "that" is behaving somewhat atypically for a pronoun; you can't say *"it he did", for example. (You can, however, say "him I like", so it's not completely unique.) —RuakhTALK 03:25, 28 May 2012 (UTC)


Is that lowercase spelling correct? Currently cossack is a redirect. Maro 23:13, 19 May 2012 (UTC)


Is this definition copied from Merriam-Webster or is that definition taken from an earlier source? —Internoob 00:52, 20 May 2012 (UTC)

  • The text was certainly identical. I have modified it (you could have done so yourself). SemperBlotto (talk) 07:15, 20 May 2012 (UTC)


Is this really non-productive? ambigram, ambisense and ambisexual (in the orientation sense - ambisexual for "of unknown sex" seems older) seem to be 1980s coinings, ambigendered seems 1990s, and there are continued coinings of nonce words like ambiracial. What are our conditions for non-productivity? Smurrayinchester (talk) 08:52, 20 May 2012 (UTC)

Seems you are right. Mglovesfun (talk) 11:42, 20 May 2012 (UTC)


Is there such a thing? Do some people pronounce the "p", or is it just a spelling convention? Chuck Entz (talk) 05:43, 21 May 2012 (UTC)

The sound file in exempt seems to pronounce it. Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV 05:46, 21 May 2012 (UTC)
I certainly pronounce the [p] in such words. I find it difficult not to, and when I'm speaking German I have to make a concerted effort not to put a [p] into words like Zimt and Amt. —Angr 05:54, 21 May 2012 (UTC)
I would only pronounce the [p] if I was making an effort to speak clearly. Siuenti (talk) 10:04, 21 May 2012 (UTC)
This is an example of w:Epenthesis and it may differ per speaker. /mt/ may just be realised by some speakers as [mpt], and /mpt/ may be realised as [mt], so there is no actual underlying phonemic difference between the two (and no way to tell which is original). Compare the way hamster is pronounced by some speakers. —CodeCat 12:14, 21 May 2012 (UTC)


USA TODAY has the headline "Mali protesters hospitalize interim president". The article says "Mali demonstrators attacked interim president Dioncounda Traore at his office Monday, knocking him unconscious", i.e. the headline is using "hospitalize" to mean "[injure and] cause the admission to [a] hospital of". I haven't seen this usage before, and it seems like headlinese. Is it common enough to add? - -sche (discuss) 18:34, 21 May 2012 (UTC)

The first two hits (conveniently!) on GB for "hospitalized him" provide further evidence:
Closer to your specific meaning:
HTH. --BB12 (talk) 19:00, 21 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Seems like a simple shift to a causative meaning for an otherwise intransitive verb.
(I like some of the badly written examples Benjamin gave. Reminds me of Eats, Shoots & Leaves.) -- Eiríkr Útlendi │ Tala við mig 19:13, 21 May 2012 (UTC)


This doesn't occur outside the phrase in petto in Dutch or English. By itself, it doesn't actually mean anything and it has no part of speech. So what kind of part of speech is it? Should it even have a part of speech heading? Or should it be left out and the definition line given by itself without the 1. in front? —CodeCat 22:15, 21 May 2012 (UTC)

I would say it is a noun, albeit one in an unusual case that merits a usage note. It is similar to de facto and a good deal of other examples, where the second word is a noun in the language it was borrowed from, and would function thus in English if it had been borrowed independently of the phrase. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 03:37, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
The tricky part is that "in" is found in all three languages, so it's tempting to assume that it's English or Dutch.It's neither- it's Italian, and can only be independent of the phrase in that language. The phrase was borrowed as a whole, and can only function grammatically in English or Dutch as a whole.
The best example I can think of to show how this works is bona fide. I know it's a Latin phrase with two words of two syllables each, but If I were to pronounce it that way to someone who doesn't know Latin, they wouldn't recognize it. Instead, I have to pronounce it as if it were the past tense of the imaginary verb "*bonify". The two halves have completely lost any function or meaning outside of the phrase. in petto hasn't had enough time or usage to be absorbed that completely, and the "in" probably confuses things, but it shouldn't be that long before no one realizes that it's not just another way of spelling "impetto" or that it didn't always rhyme with "meadow". Chuck Entz (talk) 06:47, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
So then what part of speech do 'bona' and 'fide' have in that phrase? How should we list them in Wiktionary? —CodeCat 11:57, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
The same POS as the "ov" in "over"- none. It doesn't really function as a separate grammatical unit in English. I suppose there might be a soft redirect for those who aren't aware of this, but not a POS header. I think we're headed into the same territory as the "What is sum of parts?" discussion, in that these are separated by spaces like words, but really aren't words in any practical sense. By the way, there's also the term bona fides, which we treat as uncountable, but which looks like a plurale tantum to me. Chuck Entz (talk) 12:55, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
I've removed the part of speech header and the headword line. It looks quite strange to me now... —CodeCat 13:52, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
I've added the Dutch and English words sub the Italian entry for petto as descendants. I think we can (indeed, should) remove the Dutch and English entries forpetto.—This unsigned comment was added by msh210 (talkcontribs).
But why should we? It's quite likely that someone who sees the phrase will not realise it's idiomatic (and this is a sensible assumption) and will look up its constituent parts. They will find 'in' but they will not find 'petto', nor 'bona' nor 'fide'. It's kind of the opposite of SoPness. —CodeCat 19:49, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
What about having {{see also|in petto}} at the top of the page? Hopefully anyone who finds petto while trying to decipher in petto will see it and go to the correct page. Smurrayinchester (talk) 05:53, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
Because they'll find the foreign-language entry. The English phrase can link to the individual foreign words in its Etymology section. But I suppose you're right that the English section should exist as an {{only in}} or {{only used in}} or the like.​—msh210 (