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

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January 2016

this is why we can't have nice things

Can there be an entry on this expression? It is used quite humorously sometimes. 22:10, 2 January 2016 (UTC)

Have a look at Wiktionary:Criteria_for_inclusion to see if it fits in with what should be covered on Wiktionary. --JamesPoulson (talk) 07:06, 6 January 2016 (UTC)

dead skin

Do we currently include the relevant sense of dead skin at dead? ---> Tooironic (talk) 02:58, 3 January 2016 (UTC)

"No longer used or required." works for me. DCDuring TALK 04:11, 3 January 2016 (UTC)
Not for me. It looks pretty straightforward: "No longer living". It's true that, technically speaking, even parts of living skin are already dead, and the distinction is based on a serious over-simplification- but that's the concept behind it, as far as I can see. Likewise, a vacuum isn't really the 100% absence of air, and black isn't the 100% absence of reflected light- but that's how you explain it. Chuck Entz (talk) 04:53, 3 January 2016 (UTC)
I do think we need a sense of dead that's wholly or partially synonymous with necrotic. I'm not sure if dead skin is considered necrotic, though. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 06:40, 3 January 2016 (UTC)
I don't think a word like dead should have any definitions that need medical education to understand, because the medically educated would typically use other words to make fine distinctions and most use of dead is outside of a medical technical register. DCDuring TALK 11:17, 3 January 2016 (UTC)
"No longer used or required" sounds weird to me - we don't use or require our skin, do we? And we don't describe a body part or organ as "no longer living" do we? I'm tempted to add an entry at "dead skin" because I don't see how we can define "dead" in this term. ---> Tooironic (talk) 05:07, 6 January 2016 (UTC)
This isn't about you, at least not the conscious you. It is that your body doesn't need it and your body's homunculus inside can't do much about it. DCDuring TALK 12:47, 6 January 2016 (UTC)

PLK at the start of a German postal address

Does anyone know what this means? Equinox 02:54, 4 January 2016 (UTC)

Probably w:de:Postlagerkarte. - -sche (discuss) 04:54, 4 January 2016 (UTC)
It is the abbreviation for Postlagerkarte, explained in English here and at Wikipedia-logo.png Postlagerkarte on the German Wikipedia.de.Wikipedia:Postlagerkarte. I'd never heard of it and still don't fully get it. DCDuring TALK 04:56, 4 January 2016 (UTC)
Thanks. That makes sense; it was an author's address given out publicly in the text of some 1990s software. Presumably used to avoid giving out the real home address, like a "P.O. box" in Britain. Equinox 12:35, 4 January 2016 (UTC)

Peases (горох)

The entry for горох could do with a usage note or similar: this Russian noun is said to mean "peas", but that's the singular. So I am left wondering what the plural does? Imaginatorium (talk) 09:19, 4 January 2016 (UTC)

Like some other nouns for fruits, vegetables "горох" is a collective noun, plural "горохи" is seldom used, more like "types of peas" and "горошина" is an individual, single pea. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 09:24, 4 January 2016 (UTC)
@Imaginatorium Examples - купить гороху (partitive case) or купить горох/гороха - to buy (some) peas. Other similar words - лук, картофель, чеснок, укроп, фасоль, виноград, вишня, etc. The rule is not universal for all fruits and vegetables, e.g. помидор, огурец, арбуз, etc. will require proper plurals in such cases--Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 09:31, 4 January 2016 (UTC)
Is this similar to English cereal or wheat? — Ungoliant (falai) 16:31, 4 January 2016 (UTC)
@Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV: To me it feels most similar to the English word rice (and in fact the Russian word рис ‎(ris) works the same way). I guess this is because when I picture rice, the individual grains are always distinct. --WikiTiki89 16:52, 4 January 2016 (UTC)
It was a close analogy, anyway. Benwing2 has added usage noted, thanks!--Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 20:05, 4 January 2016 (UTC)


Anyone here clued up about Polish onomastics? If so, can you shed any light on the etymology of this Polish surname, please? Apparently, it's nominal, rather than adjectival, which is supposedly unusual for Polish surnames. — I.S.M.E.T.A. 16:15, 4 January 2016 (UTC)

Zuba (using Czech or Ukrainian phonetics) from ząb. —Stephen (Talk) 19:12, 4 January 2016 (UTC)
@Stephen: Thanks! So, Zuba means "tooth", yes? If so, is this etymology correct? — I.S.M.E.T.A. 23:06, 4 January 2016 (UTC)
Yes, that’s right. Or you could also add the information about Czech and Ukrainian. If Zuba had been derived by Polish speakers, it would have been Zęba, but it was made by Czech or Ukrainian speakers who did not know how to write Polish vowels. —Stephen (Talk) 23:16, 4 January 2016 (UTC)
I added more details to the etymology. --WikiTiki89 23:21, 4 January 2016 (UTC)
@Stephen, Wikitiki: Thank you both. I've looked at the declensions of all the descendants of the Proto-Slavic *zǫ̑bъ ‎(tooth), and they all have genitive singulars ending in -a / -а apart from the Czech zub, whose declension table states that its genitive singular is zubu; @Dan Polansky, can you confirm whether or not the information given by that declension table is correct, please? It would make sense that Ukrainians coined this surname — given that the guy I know who has this surname is from Stalowa Wola and that the only person with this surname I could find an article for on Wikipedia, Maria Zuba, is the Member of the Sejm for Kielce — but why, Stephen, do you say that it was coined by Ukrainians or Czechs? Could it not just as plausibly have been coined by White Russians (зу́ба), Sorbians (zuba), Russians (зу́ба), Yugoslavs (zuba, зуба), or Slovaks (zuba)? — I.S.M.E.T.A. 14:45, 8 January 2016 (UTC)
It really doesn't matter that the genitive is zubu in Czech, since it could easily have been "corrected" in Polish. Linguistically, there is no reason it couldn't have come from any of the languages you listed, but realistically it likely came from one with which Polish has a lot of contact. The surname itself might even have been coined in Polish, just using a borrowed stem. --WikiTiki89 15:55, 8 January 2016 (UTC)
@Wikitiki89: I told the guy I know (henceforth “Mr Zuba”) that his surname derives from a Slavic word meaning “of a tooth”, but he was incredulous, maintaining that “it [sc. his surname] means nothing”. Unfortunately, I don't feel I currently have much evidence with which to convince him of your and Stephen's theory. For example, if the name had been coined by Czechs, is there any early (pre-“correction”) evidence of this surname being spelt *Zubu? (Alternatively, the Czech declension table may simply be wrong, which possibility seems more likely once you consider that it's generated by the code {{cs-decl-noun|zub|zubu|zubu|zub|zube|zubu|zubem|zuby|zubů|zubům|zuby|zuby|zubech|zuby}}. Since Dan Polansky is yet to tell us whether or not it's correct, I ping @Auvajs, Droigheann, Jan.Kamenicek, JanSuchy, Jklamo, Mormegil, Silesianus — the other members of Category:User cs-N with contributions since the beginning of 2016.) How do I convince Mr Zuba? Where and when did his surname first occur? Was it applied, as a nickname, to someone with big teeth? Or perhaps just one tooth? Or sarcastically to someone toothless? Or does “of a tooth” have a more figurative sense here, perhaps with “tooth” signifying martial prowess in some way? Is there grammatical evidence for his surname's origin in a genitive singular form of a common noun in its indeclinability? Or, if Zuba does now decline, was there a time when it was indeclinable? I would appreciate any evidence, citation, and/or argument you could provide to which I might have recourse in my conversations with Mr Zuba. — I.S.M.E.T.A. 01:52, 12 January 2016 (UTC)
I think the Czech genitive zubu is correct. There is no hard evidence that this last name must come from the word "tooth", but it is almost a certainty that it comes from something, whether its bearers are aware of it or not. "Tooth" is just our likeliest theory. --WikiTiki89 02:16, 12 January 2016 (UTC)
Incidentally, I did just come across the last name Ząbkowski, which clearly comes from ząbek (diminutive of ząb) + -owski (forming last names). --WikiTiki89 02:23, 12 January 2016 (UTC)
FWIW, the Czech genitive of zub is indeed zubu, although as pointed above, zuba is the genitive in Slovak. That said, I fail to see why this should have anything to do with a Polish surname. I can't think of a Czech surname which would be a common noun's genitive except where the noun denotes persons, presumably ancestors, e.g. Matějů/the Mathews', Kovářů/the smiths' &c. --Droigheann (talk) 06:38, 12 January 2016 (UTC)
Although I think that there can be a connection with the Czech word "zub", it is not certain. The genitive "zuba" would be possible in Czech only if the word was considered to be animate (inanimate genitive is "zubu"), which could happen after it started to be used as a surname, but I doubt that the surname Zuba was formed in such a strange way. I do not think it is possible to find out the etymology of the word without the knowledge of its historical usage and historical forms. By the way, nowadays only 4 people in the Czech Republic have such a surname (see [1]), so it might not be a Czech surname at all. The fact that the words Zuba and zub are surprisingly similar does not have to mean that they have common etymology. I can also imagine that it was derived from a different surname like Szuba (though also not very probable). --Jan Kameníček (talk) 09:20, 12 January 2016 (UTC)
Zuba is a fairly common surname in two Polish provinces, w:Województwo świętokrzyskie and w:Województwo podkarpackie (Subcarpathia). The provinces are adjacent to one another and border on the Ukraine and Slovakia (formerly Czechoslovakia). The idea that it might be Czech is due to the earlier name of Slovakia. So it is more likely from Ukrainian or Slovak, not Czech. The Slovakian genitive of zub is zuba. Mr. Zuba is mistaken...all names originally meant something. The meaning behind Zuba is that it originally was a nickname for someone with a prominent or noticeable tooth. Even though it’s a genitive form, it does not mean "of a tooth." It’s just that the genitive is a common way to form a surname. It just means "the Tooth." The Polish surname probably originated in Subcarpathian province, and a Polish citizen of Slovakian or Ukrainian heritage probably wrote it as Zuba. —Stephen (Talk) 15:46, 12 January 2016 (UTC)

Devanagari ष़

What's the transliteration of "ष़" ( with a nuqta)? This rare symbol is supposedly used to transliterate "zh" ("ž") from South Indian languages. Which ones? Should it be "ẓ" or "ž"? --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 11:10, 5 January 2016 (UTC)

No takers? Meanwhile, I have changed Hindi transliteration module Module:hi-translit to use "ẓ" but I still need to know its pronunciation and usage. One example I found on the web was आलप्पुष़ा ‎(ālappuḻā). @DerekWinters, Wyang, Aryamanarora. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 00:30, 7 January 2016 (UTC)
Ooh, I found some stuff! w:hi:आलप्पुष़ा जिला has a Malayalam translation of ആലപ്പുഴ ‎(ālappuḻa) included. Great lead by the way! —Aryamanarora (मुझसे बात करो) 01:00, 7 January 2016 (UTC)
See also w:en:Alappuzha district. It has audio as well. —Aryamanarora (मुझसे बात करो) 01:07, 7 January 2016 (UTC)
@Aryamanarora Thanks. Do you think the Malayalam transliteration is correct? In English, it's spelled "Alappuzha". What sound does "ḻ" represent? Or should Hindi transliteration be changed instead? (I'll have a listen later, is it Malayalam or English pronunciation?) --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 01:09, 7 January 2016 (UTC)
@Atitarev: This is puzzling. The pronunciation is Malayalam - the end sounds like Hindi [ɽä], but the article w:Malyalam script says the letter at the end is [ɻa] ( ‎(ḻa)). I can't make heads or tails of the ष़. —Aryamanarora (मुझसे बात करो) 01:15, 7 January 2016 (UTC)
@Aryamanarora Thanks. OK, let's park it until we get more info. It may as well be that Hindi is a misspelling, no? For 'ḻ' there is a letter (Malayalam = Devanagari , not ष़?). And [ɽ] and [ɻ] may be different (erroneous) ways to render the same sound? [ɽ] sounds more plausible and makes more sense why it's "zh". The Chinese (Mandarin) sound is often transliterated as "zh" and in Russian it's ж (English rendering "zh"). Mandarin (ròu) is жоу (žou) in Russian. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 01:27, 7 January 2016 (UTC)
I'm voting for "ř", reason is that it's a retroflex 'r' sound. Wyang (talk) 03:09, 7 January 2016 (UTC)
@Wyang Sounds good to me. Do you want to change it?--Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 08:18, 7 January 2016 (UTC)
Yep, no problem. Done. Wyang (talk) 10:34, 7 January 2016 (UTC)
You have my पूर्ण समर्थन. —Aryamanarora (मुझसे बात करो) 15:08, 7 January 2016 (UTC)
Sorry, I have been on vacation and just got back. So, ഴ is most definitely ɻ. Malayalam ള is equivalent to Devanagari ळ as it is simply the retroflex l. The zh came into use for transcription for ഴ because of the Portuguese when first coming to India. From the sources I've seen before, including the Hindi Wikipedia article on the Malayalam script, ഴ is transcribed as ऴ. However, specific articles, like that of the Alappuzha district and Kozhikode use ष़. I personally would always use ऴ but it seems ष़ is used due to English influence. I think the two are equivalent and that ष़ should be given ḻ as well. Having done some searching around on Hindi sites, it seems ष़ is used primarily for Malayalam transcription and is also an acceptable choice compared to ऴ. DerekWinters (talk) 01:41, 11 January 2016 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── So you're suggesting to change it to "ḻ". I kind of liked "ř". @Wyang, Aryamanarora Any opposition to changing it to "ḻ"? --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 03:11, 11 January 2016 (UTC)

Basically yeah. I see no difference between the two in usage. DerekWinters (talk) 05:18, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
I'm fine with ḻ, as that is what Malayalam uses for the transliterate ration of ‎(ḻa) on Wiktionary. I did think ř was cool though. —Aryamanarora (मुझसे बात करो) 12:55, 11 January 2016 (UTC)


Why does it not get a page. Utonian is now a word in Utah. It is someone who was born and raised in Utah. "I am A true Utonian."

See WT:CFI#Attestation. --WikiTiki89 20:36, 5 January 2016 (UTC)
Trawling through Google Books I'm not finding much besides the yearbook of the University of Utah and a song called "Utonian Automatic". There's this that uses it as an adjective synonymous with Utahn/Utahan, and then there are this and [2], which are only snippet views, so I don't have enough context to figure out what they're referring to. I suspect they're referring to a fictional country being used as a placeholder in an example scenario, but I'm not sure. Otherwise just incorrectly spaced scannos for Plutonian and the like. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 21:03, 5 January 2016 (UTC)
There's also a fictional Utonia that is generating a lot of false positives. There was a 19th century newspaper called The Southern Utonian in what was then called Beaver City, Utah. --WikiTiki89 21:41, 5 January 2016 (UTC)
Go ahead and create the page. DAVilla 01:01, 7 January 2016 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Done. --WikiTiki89 01:11, 7 January 2016 (UTC)

New taxlink template

I created Template:taxlinkwiki on the basis of Template:taxlinknew by DCDuring. The reason was that it seems to me that the links to Wikipedia, Wikispecies and Commons are too many and make the link line too long. So I tried to shorten it by omitting Commons, which DCDuring has already suggested at Wiktionary:Tea room/2015/June#A new taxlink template?. The difference can be seen here:

  1. FlammulinaWP WSp Commons (genus of fungi in the family PhysalacriaceaeWP WSp Commons)
  2. FlammulinaWP WSp (genus of fungi in the family PhysalacriaceaeWP WSp)

I believe it will keep the advantage of the red link and at the same time it will not be so messy, as can be seen at the entry penízovka. The link to the appropriate Commons category, if needed, can be put into the External links section. Jan Kameníček (talk) 20:22, 5 January 2016 (UTC)


Can we remove the part of the definition that says "in German law defined as a person under 14 years of age"? --WikiTiki89 20:35, 5 January 2016 (UTC)

Yes. Renard Migrant (talk) 20:51, 5 January 2016 (UTC)
Not so fast. In English we often use the word minor in a legal context. Is Kind sometimes so used in German or is there another word that corresponds to minor? Why did the contributor pick 14 as the age? DCDuring TALK 12:59, 6 January 2016 (UTC)
Yes, but we don't add a parenthetical comment after the definition stating one country's legal interpretation. Why Germany, but not Austria, Switzerland or Liechtenstein? Chuck Entz (talk) 14:01, 6 January 2016 (UTC)
We add qualifications and specifications to definitions all the time. If there is a style problem, that is correctable.
I'd be fine with the legal definition for any country that wrote its laws in German. If this were something that required even a full sentence for each country, it might be too encyclopedic for inclusion. An alternative is to use one country as an example, possibly even in a usex. DCDuring TALK 16:58, 6 January 2016 (UTC)
[[Jugendlicher]] contains a usage note that has some bearing on this. Why are we taking action before native speakers (or DE-3s, at least) of German have a say? DCDuring TALK 17:07, 6 January 2016 (UTC)
The usual German word for a legal minor is Minderjähriger. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 18:22, 6 January 2016 (UTC)
Is the usage note for Jugendlicher warranted by use either in law or in general usage? Or is someone trying to introduce a spurious precision to the word? DCDuring TALK 22:23, 6 January 2016 (UTC)
Yes, to the best of my knowledge German law does stipulate that the word Kind in any statute refers to a person under 14 years old, while the word Jugendlicher refers to a person between 14 and 17 inclusive. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 15:44, 7 January 2016 (UTC)
Hi there, I'm a native speaker. I just want to add some things.
As to Jugendlicher, in the Duden dictionary (here the online version) the word has been given two definitions: 1. the more general meaning of "a male person in his youth". 2. in legal language, the meaning of "a male person between the age of 14 and 18 years".
As to Minderjähriger: this word is used in the legal language. (see Duden)
As to Kind: the Duden defines it first and foremost as:
1. "human being not yet born, just or not long ago born"; thus it can be used synonymous as "Neugeborenes" (new-born), "Baby" and "Kleinkind" (infant)
2. "human being who still is in the chapter of his childhood's life (more or less until it enters its sexual maturity), [and who] is not yet a Jugendlicher [adolescent]; human being not yet grown-up"
Furthermore, I just want to point out that the German language is not an exception at all. In many languages words with a general meaning can get a more specialised meaning in certain jargons, slangs and so on. In Germany the legal definition of a child differs from law to law. For instance, in the Jugendschutzgesetz (Protection of Young Persons Act) "Kind" is defined as "[a person] who has not yet reached the age of 14 years" (§ 1, JuSchG), in the Jugendarbeitsschutzgesetz (Health and Saftey Protection at the workplace of Young Persons Act) "Kind" is "[a person] who has not yet reached the age of 15 years" (§ 2, JArbSchG). In the context of the Achte Buch Sozialgesetzbuch (Eight Book of the Social Rights Code) "Kind" is "[a person] who has not yet reached the age of 14 years, as far as the paragraphs 2 and 4 rule something differently" (§ 8 SGB VIII). The exceptions given in paragraph 2 and 4 are as follows: "[a] child in the sense of § 1, paragraph 2, is who has not yet reached the age of 18 years" (idem., paragraph 2: Care and Education of Children as the Right and Duty of Parents), "persons who have not yet completed their 18th year of age" (idem., paragraph 4: Adoption of a Child). According to the Aufenthaltsgesetz (Residence Act) "minderjärige ledige Kind" (minor single child) is (§ 32 AufenthG) a person who has not yet completed his/her 16th year of age.
The legal situation in Austria and Switzerland is similar. In Austria the legal definition can even differ between federal states.
I hope you guys see now that it would not be a good idea - for practical reasons - to mention all these specialised definitions. — Best wishes and happy New Year to all of you, Caligari ƆɐƀïиϠ 17:46, 7 January 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for the help. This makes it seem to me that usage notes in all the entries involved would be the best way to address this, noting which words have definitions with sharp age boundaries (eg "14", "18"), and which are redefined for specific legal purposes, without getting into the specifics of the redefinition. DCDuring TALK 18:23, 7 January 2016 (UTC)

Ic vs. Iċ

I have often wondered why Old English had both a palatised form of Germanic *ek (> , iċċ) beside ic, and indeed seems to be the only Germanic language to show a palatised variant. Frisian forms do not show palatisation (at least, not that I am aware of). I have a theory as to how this may have come about, and I am just wondering how sound my reasoning is.

Old English palatised PGmc k before i, j (e.g. PGmc *finkiz > OE finċ > Modern finch, etc.), but nowhere else (cf. *þekuz > OE þicce > Modern thick). I am toying with the idea that the dual form for "I" in OE may be the result of two separate instances of the use of PGmc *ek. The one resulting in ċ being from a contraction of PGmc *ek immi into *ekimmi, *ikimmi > OE iċim, iċiom > iċ eom, and the other (ic) from the normal outcome of *ek in all other situations. Does this sound reasonable ? Leasnam (talk) 21:02, 5 January 2016 (UTC)

I've never heard of being pronounced /ik/ in Old English; what's the evidence for it? Campbell's Old English Grammar doesn't mention it, but he does say that affrication was blocked/undone before a consonant, so it's possible that if /ik/ is real, it started out as a variant form before a verb starting with a consonant, while /itʃ/ was used elsewhere. He does also mention the variant ih in Northumbrian, and says this is probably the origin of the modern English word. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 21:13, 5 January 2016 (UTC)
Oh, now I see northern Middle English and Scots ik. Campbell mentions that the lack of affrication in northern dialectal forms brig ‎(bridge), rig ‎(ridge), steek ‎(stitch), eg ‎(edge), seg ‎(sedge), weg ‎(wedge), birk ‎(birch), and benk ‎(bench) is attributable to "complete failure to assibilate by Scandinavian settlers"; so maybe ik is also Scandinavian influence from ON ek. At any rate, now I'm thinking dialectal variation is more likely than free variation within a single dialect. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 21:22, 5 January 2016 (UTC)
But how is OE the ~normal~ outcome of *ek, unless followed by i/j ? bæc doesn't palatise, nor does frician ...Leasnam (talk) 21:31, 5 January 2016 (UTC)
I forget where, but I read that at some point (I think in Middle English), "I" was used before consonants and "ich" before vowels and before "h-". Maybe this could be relevant. --WikiTiki89 21:26, 5 January 2016 (UTC)
Apparently there were two forms in Proto-Germanic, stressed *ek and unstressed *ik. Benwing2 (talk) 23:16, 5 January 2016 (UTC)
If you're wondering about the palatalization , Old English palatalized /k/ in the following situations:
  1. After /i/, except before back vowels. Hence ditch, pitch, etc. Maybe also after /in/; see below.
  2. Before all front-vowels when word initial, hence cheap < OE ċēap, churl < OE ċeorl, etc.
  3. Elsewhere, before /i/ and /j/.
finch and thick are special cases that are discussed extensively by Ringe. It's often said that /k/ in Old English also palatalized after /n/, but all cases admit alternative explanations, e.g. for finch I think the proto-form isn't clear (whether it's *finkiz or *finkaz). As for thick, Ringe has a long discussion of this but concludes that the failure of palatalization was because the form still had (or maybe kw) at the time, which didn't palatalize. Ringe says that non-word-initial was preserved in West Germanic through the separate history of the various descendants and lost individually in each language. Apparently Old Frisian preserves a clear distinction between non-word-initial k and in certain circumstances, but I forgot the details. Benwing2 (talk) 23:28, 5 January 2016 (UTC)
BTW, thick can't be derived from nominative *þekuz, and must come from the oblique stem *þikwi-, with West Germanic gemination of /k/ before /w/. Benwing2 (talk) 23:31, 5 January 2016 (UTC)
Thank you. I always thought that dīċ may have had interference from *dīkiją, yielding 2 possible forms, but I am satisfied for now. I still wonder why Old Frisian doesn't have a *itz for ik though. Leasnam (talk) 00:03, 6 January 2016 (UTC)
You're welcome. Keep in mind that palatalization was a totally separate process in Old Frisian, with its own idiosyncrasies, somewhat like how umlaut worked separately in each language. Benwing2 (talk) 00:53, 6 January 2016 (UTC)

About egalitarianism and the alternative form égalitarianism

I just looked up the definition and see that the accented form, égalitarianism, is put forward as an alternative. Is this correct? I speak both fluent English and French and have never seen accents used in English except when a word has been borrowed (like café). Does this indicate that the word originally comes from French? Or some older form of the English language? --JamesPoulson (talk) 01:00, 6 January 2016 (UTC)

Well this word does come from French (since in French, the equivalent of equal is égale; and there is no such *egal- form in English). Nonetheless, such accents are normally dropped in English. You might notice that in google books:"égalitarianism", most of the few legitimate results are rather old. --WikiTiki89 01:19, 6 January 2016 (UTC)
That's right. I was just wondering if alternative form means it could be used as such in print today. English has many examples of Germanic and latin-derived words having the same meaning. The "proper" word would then be the synonym equalitarianism with egalitarianism having been adopted later on. --JamesPoulson (talk) 02:20, 6 January 2016 (UTC)
I guess we should add an "obsolete" or "dated" label to égalitarianism? —Pengo (talk) 02:28, 6 January 2016 (UTC)
How is that done? Actually, looking at the quotations it appears it was still used as is as recently as 2000. Perhaps this is particular to a literary crowd that wish to mark it's origins. I don't know as I'm not an avid reader or writer so it would figure I've never encountered it :) . --JamesPoulson (talk) 07:16, 6 January 2016 (UTC)
We can add the tag {{lb|en|rare}}. --WikiTiki89 15:42, 6 January 2016 (UTC)


Calling our talented English-language editors: we are missing four distinct sub-senses for nodule, i.e. those used in medicine, botany, geology and mollusc biology. See the Wikipedia page for more information. ---> Tooironic (talk) 05:03, 6 January 2016 (UTC)

For the medical definition:

In thoracic radiology, a more or less dense opacity, homogeneous and round, single or multiple, visible in the lungs.

--JamesPoulson (talk) 07:24, 6 January 2016 (UTC)

Question about myrrhine-myrrhic relation

Is myrrhine really related to myrrhic, as it is stated in the myrrhic#Related terms? --Jan Kameníček (talk) 14:46, 6 January 2016 (UTC)

I think the problem is that, as far back as Latin at least, the same spelling was used for both the stone and the plant/resin. In the Ancient Greek dictionaries I have access to the corresponding word seems to have only applied to the plant/resin. I find it hard to understand how the plant/resin lent its name to the stone or vice versa. It would be easier to imagine that the spellings of two words had merged. I suppose we could call the English terms related because the two meanings in Latin either were the same or were in the process of merging. DCDuring TALK 18:31, 6 January 2016 (UTC)

eyalet - etymology

The entry for ‘eyalet’ currently names the supposed Arabic word إِيَالَة as the ultimate source of the Ottoman Turkish term, whereas the Arabic Wiktionary entry says the origin is Turkish. Which is correct? Can someone cite a source? 2A02:8109:9200:7F58:A094:C488:A547:612D 19:05, 6 January 2016 (UTC)

According to the dictionaries I've checked, it belongs to the Arabic root ء و ل ‎(ʾ w l). I might either be a verbal noun of آلَ ‎(ʾāla, to lead), or just a simple noun from this root. Now I'm going to speculate a bit and say that it is entirely possible that this Arabic word was created by the Ottoman Turks for use in Turkish before it was ever used in Arabic, which could explain why Arabic Wiktionary says it comes from Turkish; this would be similar to how new Latinate words are created in English. --WikiTiki89 19:26, 6 January 2016 (UTC)


"To erroneously book or reserve something for two people, when there is only space for one." Not all double-booking is erroneous; some medical offices purposefully double-book patient appointments to accommodate for no-shows, etc. And if both patients show up, both are seen, so it's not really accurate that "there is only space for one". I'm not sure how to reword the definition, though... --Brainy J (talk) 02:59, 7 January 2016 (UTC)

Sometimes the thing that's double-booked is a person (or people) so 'reserve something for two people' isn't entirely accurate. Renard Migrant (talk) 18:44, 9 January 2016 (UTC)
See double-book at OneLook Dictionary Search. DCDuring TALK 19:56, 9 January 2016 (UTC)

Latin 4th declension neuter noun "veru"

There is a Latin 4th declension neuter noun that is not included in the Wiktionary. It is "veru", meaning a "spit" (such as what one might roast a pig on), "javelin," etc. I'm not well-versed in how to create new pages, add them to categories, etc. Here is the entry from Lewis and Short's Latin dictionary if someone knows how to do the entry:

vĕru, ūs (collat. form of the nom. sing. vĕrum, Plaut. Rud. 5, 2, 15 and 17; masc. collat. form of the plur. vĕrōnes plumbei, Aur. Vict. Caes. 17; abl. verubus, Ov. M. 6, 646; Juv. 15, 82 al.: veribus, Charis. pp. 50 and 112; Prisc. p. 672; Verg. G. 2, 396; id. A. 1, 212; Plin. 30, 10, 27, § 88 al.), n. [perh. for sveru; Sanscr. svarn, a stake] . 1. A spit, broach, esp. for roasting upon, Varr. L. L. 5, § 127 Müll.; Verg. A. 1, 212; 5, 103; id. G. 2, 396; Ov. M. 6, 646; id. F. 2, 363; Plin. 30, 10, 27, § 88.— 2. A dart, javelin, Verg. A. 7, 665; Tib. 1, 6, 49; Sid. Carm. 5, 413.— 3. Plur., a paling or railing round an altar or a tomb, Inscr. Orell. 736.— 4. A critical sign on the margin of a book, = obelus, Hier. Ep. 106, 7.

This request shouldn't really be here, but here’s verū anyway. :)JohnC5 07:41, 7 January 2016 (UTC)

abime vs. abîme as lemma

A 1990 spelling reform eliminated circumflexes on a number of French words. We have the new spelling, abime as a lemma, yet the verbal form, which underwent the same spelling change, has abîmer as the main form. Both forms are still used, and I'm fairly sure that many French speakers are unaware of this spelling reform. I'm not certain, but I believe the older spelling remains predominant.

Obviously, we should be consistent. Should the newer, official spelling be the lemma, or should the more common form (from my experience, anyway) have the main entry? Andrew Sheedy (talk) 06:11, 9 January 2016 (UTC)

Wiktionary:About French#Spelling reform says (in a nutshell) while both should be included, 'traditional' spellings should be lemmatized while 1990 spellings should be alternative form ofs. 1990 spellings aren't as common, for one thing, they've only been around for 25 years. Renard Migrant (talk) 18:26, 9 January 2016 (UTC)
The 1990 spelling reforms didn't abolish any spellings by the way, it introduced alternatives that make more phonological sense (the circumflex on the i doesn't change the meaning on the pronunciation, so you can dump it) but they were realistic enough to realize the pre-1990 spellings weren't going to stop being used. Both sets of spellings are accepted in exams in France by the way. In fact I got told off once for spelling plaît as plait at University. Renard Migrant (talk) 18:37, 9 January 2016 (UTC)
Good to know, thanks. I knew that both were accepted, but I had thought that the newer one was an official replacement rather than an alternative. Thanks for making the appropriate changes. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 21:02, 9 January 2016 (UTC)


The etymology for the moon name is muddled between the given name Charlene and the Greek god Charon (it seems to me, after some searching, that Charlene was the ultimate source for the moon name and the Greek god simply influenced Jim Christy to not toss out the name), and also resulting in the pronunciation differences. Should we separate the etymologies of the god and the moon? And the pronunciations separated too? Hillcrest98 (talk) 00:52, 10 January 2016 (UTC)

I think it strains credibility to suppose that Christy wasn't aware that "Charon" was a notable underworld figure when he proposed it. Perhaps his choice was influenced by his wife's similar-sounding name, but Charon is not and has never been a nickname for Charlene, nor would the IAU have accepted any other etymology when the declared the name "official". I would reword the current entry to indicate that the moon is named after the ferryman, but that the name was influenced by the name of the discoverer's wife, Charlene. P Aculeius (talk) 19:11, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
A few sources conclude it as a concoction of "Char" (nickname) + -on suffix. Hillcrest98 (talk) 03:12, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
That's just not believable. "-on" doesn't mean anything in English; the entry for it seems to be built entirely on the adoption of the neuter inflection of Greek nouns. People don't just pull random suffixes out of a hat, and stick them on the ends of loved ones' names. It would be like claiming that "Jupiter" wasn't named after the Roman god, but after the mascot of its discoverer's favourite sports team, Youppi + the suffix -ter. Sure, maybe if his mother were named "Polly" he might have suggested "Polyhymnia", but that still wouldn't make the name "Polly + the suffix -hymnia". There's a difference between being influenced by a similar sound or name, and deriving another name from it. What we have here is the source of the namer's inspiration; not the name's etymology. P Aculeius (talk) 04:03, 14 January 2016 (UTC)


Our entry has

Abature (plural abatures)

  1. (usually plural only) Grass and sprigs beaten or trampled down by a stag passing through them. [Late 16th century.]

What does "usually plural only" mean?

How could one determine from this label whether abature is used with a singular or plural verb? DCDuring TALK 18:06, 10 January 2016 (UTC)

I interpret this to mean that "abature" is singular and "abatures" is plural, but that the plural form is the one that usually occurs, while the singular is rare. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:27, 10 January 2016 (UTC)
Wouldn't that make the label "usually plural"?
I neglected to mention that the term uses {{en-plural noun}}. DCDuring TALK 23:20, 10 January 2016 (UTC)
http://micmap.org/dicfro/search/complement-godefroy/abateure has this exact sense: "traces qu'un cerf laisse dans les broussailles où il a passé" (traces that a stag leaves in the undergrowth where it has been). Renard Migrant (talk) 11:53, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
  • I am puzzled by how specific this term is. How does this term apply if the grass etc. was trampled down by some other animal? ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 23:31, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

one or more

Would you create this entry as an indefinite article? We are having a debate on fr:witk regarding un ou plusieurs. --Diligent (talk) 08:18, 11 January 2016 (UTC)

  • Hmm. This is probably going to lead to a grammar war. I would say it was an adjective or maybe a determiner. It is probably a useful thing to have here, if only to discus whether the following noun should be singular or plural (I would vote for plural). SemperBlotto (talk) 08:29, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
It's not unique to one though; two or more, three or more, etc. Renard Migrant (talk) 11:51, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
Yes, there are one or two such phrases. (IMO: determiners, specifically postdeterminers — but perhaps only in the way "big and round" is "an" adjective.) Equinox 13:53, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
If we were to have the English entry, the PoS should probably be determiner because it must precede any adjectives in the NP of which it is normally a part.
IMO, the sole reason to have an entry is to discuss the grammatical point that SB refers to. DCDuring TALK 14:05, 11 January 2016 (UTC)


Someone just changed this from nonstandard to standard. I'd revert but because of the number of regions involved it might be standard in some of them and nonstandard in others. Certainly the UK spelling is honorific. Basically anything in the UK derived from honour that doesn't end in 'honour' (like dishonour) reverts to honor; honorific, honorary, etc. Renard Migrant (talk) 11:50, 11 January 2016 (UTC)

  • I'm pretty sure that it's neither British nor Commonwealth - it just looks weird to UK eyes. I'm going to revert it. SemperBlotto (talk) 11:54, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
    • en-GB does have honourable though, right, not honorable? —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 13:31, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
      • Yes sorry I missed one. That's why I said 'basically' as I wasn't intending to check thoroughly. Renard Migrant (talk) 16:28, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
        • Though I'd write honorable, our entry says it's an alternative. Renard Migrant (talk) 16:41, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
  • This spelling does not appear in BNC, COCA, or COHA. It appears with very modest relative frequency at GloWBE (Global Web-Based English) (8 vs. 514). DCDuring TALK 14:13, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
My understanding is that -our endings revert to -or- when certain Latinate suffixes are added, but not from ordinary English inflections and fully naturalized suffixes: honorific & honorarium but honoured, honouring, & honourable. Likewise colorize & humorous but coloured & humouring.—Odysseus1479 (talk) 21:56, 19 January 2016 (UTC)

sein#German in mir ist....

Usage note says it's shortened from 'mir ist es...' - I've never heard the phrase with 'es' and it sounds wrong as fuck to me. So maybe anyone else here is familiar with it and can shed some light? According to these , I don't think that usage note should be there, as the form with 'es' seems a minority neologism. Korn [kʰʊ̃ːæ̯̃n] (talk) 14:03, 12 January 2016 (UTC)

No, I agree, "Mir ist es kalt" isn't possible. Nevertheless, "Mir ist kalt" isn't quirky case either. The sentence simply has no expressed subject. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 14:50, 12 January 2016 (UTC)
Google Books can't even find enough instances of "mir ist es kalt" to make an ngram comparison of it with "mir ist kalt". —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 10:01, 13 January 2016 (UTC)

child prodigy vs. wunderkind

The translations for "child prodigy" have been shunted off to "wunderkind", which I find mind-boggling; I would have thought child prodigy is the more common term in use. Donnanz (talk) 17:08, 12 January 2016 (UTC)

I agree. --WikiTiki89 18:21, 12 January 2016 (UTC)
How should we note that wunderkind is much more likely to be used pejoratively than child prodigy? I don't think that is just in my idiolect. DCDuring TALK 19:32, 12 January 2016 (UTC)
With {{lb|en|sometimes|pejorative}}? --WikiTiki89 19:42, 12 January 2016 (UTC)
It's possible of course that it's used pejoratively, but Oxford for one gives no hint of that [8]. Donnanz (talk) 20:45, 12 January 2016 (UTC)
The way I see it, it is possible for wunderkind to be used pejoratively, but it is not nearly as possible for child prodigy to be used pejoratively. --WikiTiki89 20:53, 12 January 2016 (UTC)
Perhaps you're right. I jumped to the wrong conclusion actually, "child prodigy" wasn't created until 2009, and "wunderkind" was created first in 2005, so there may be a historical reason why the translations ended up there. Donnanz (talk) 20:59, 12 January 2016 (UTC)
I can imagine wunderkind being used pejoratively, but I associate that more with people sarcastically using a foreign term to make a situation seem more pompous or stilted than the word wunderkind itself being pejorative. I wonder if that distinction is too subtle to matter? —JohnC5 21:00, 12 January 2016 (UTC)
Along a side note: we have golden boy as a synonyms for child prodigy. Is there any reason why we shouldn't have golden child ? Leasnam (talk) 21:04, 12 January 2016 (UTC)
Only if it were not attestable. Google N-gram shows golden boy and golden child trending up and golden girl flat. It is difficult to determine when these phrases became something more than live metaphors, exploiting the positives of gold. I would expect that the ironic or sarcastic use would have soon followed. DCDuring TALK 22:26, 12 January 2016 (UTC)
Isn't child prodigy a narrower term than wunderkind ? A wunderkind can be an adult, who was previously a child prodigy, but not the other way round, right ? Leasnam (talk) 21:57, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
I always though that a wunderkind had to be young, but perhaps not quite a "child". But regardless of age, wunderkind isn't really the same thing as a child prodigy: wunderkind highlights miraculous talent, while child prodigy highlights the potential for great success in the future. --WikiTiki89 22:11, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
I don't know, but an enfant terrible is usually an adult, so I wouldn't get too caught up in the literal meaning of Kind. Equinox 23:15, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
Yes, but in that case enfant also serves to degrade the person, so it makes more sense. I wasn't getting "caught up" in the meaning of Kind, but that's just what I always felt when I heard the word wunderkind. But on the other hand, unlike presumably most English speakers, I've been familiar with the word kind (as a relic from Yiddish) from a very young age, so I can't separate that association from the word wunderkind. --WikiTiki89 23:25, 13 January 2016 (UTC)


The usage notes describe that the genitive object is possible for "that which is reminded" and shows an example of this. I have only ever heard of "sich einer Sache erinnern" but not "jemanden einer Sache erinnern". I checked Duden, it mentions the possibility for a genitive object in the meaning of "remember" but I see no such thing for "remind". I researched through Google and I only found one relevant resultː a dictionary from 1788 titled "Versuch eines vollständigen grammatisch-kritischen Wörterbuches der Hochdeutschen Mundart, mit beständiger Vergleichung der übrigen Mundarten, besonders aber der oberdeutschen (Erster Theil, von A - E, Volume 1)". On page 1758, it lists "jemanden einer Sache erinnern" as an alternative to "jemanden an etw erinnern" (for the reflexive though, it does show the genitive object version as the main one).

If "jemanden an etw erinnern" was already the main form in a 1788 prescriptive grammar, I feel the genitive object form of this is long archaic. Should the page be edited to only include the possibility for a genitive object when it means "remember"? If it must stay, it would be better to seperate it from the reflexive as it is fully archaic, while the reflexive is dated/highly formal style.

Link to the dictionaryː https://books.google.ca/books?id=dWheAAAAcAAJ&pg=PA180-IA57&lpg=PA180-IA57&dq=jemanden+einer+sache+erinnern&source=bl&ots=XOsU9L9jIr&sig=iG5fE96z2zY88RR4H45dI8MBXv0&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwicrLO9vKXKAhWJ8RQKHdRZCLEQ6AEIUTAI#v=onepage&q&f=false

I'm not sure if these changes would be appropriate, so I'm asking here to make sure. TrioLinguist (talk) 04:42, 13 January 2016 (UTC)

друг на друга, друг с другом, etc.

@Atitarev, Cinemantique, Wikitiki89 There are a bunch of these, maybe 8 or 10 with different prepositions in the middle. They claim to be pronouns but they're kind of like adverbs. Should they be in Wiktionary and if so, what part of speech? (BTW this issue came up not long ago but wasn't resolved then, I don't think.) Benwing2 (talk) 04:12, 13 January 2016 (UTC)

They're adverbs. I think they're used as idioms, but most Russian-speakers can readily produce forms with arbitrary prepositions and the appropriate case without having heard them, and there are derived forms, e.g. друг с дружкой for друг с другом. I think at least the most common bunch are worth keeping - they're rather like "whatever", "however", etc in that once you understand one, you understand them all, but the meaning isn't clear from the phrase itself. In both cases, they were SOP in the past, but have become idioms. We do have друг#Etymology 2 but I doubt many think of that word separately from the phrases. Eishiya (talk) 23:23, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
I think we can delete them, leaving just друг друга (and друг дружку) with declension tables, much we have некого, but not не с кем or не у кого. --WikiTiki89 23:34, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
There was no consensus to delete them in the previous discussion. Perhaps {{form of}} is an option, after all. No need to create all possible combinations but we can keep the existing ones and add some more common forms.--Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 01:44, 16 January 2016 (UTC)
I think it's better to put some usage examples of those "друг друга" variations. --KoreanQuoter (talk) 02:25, 16 January 2016 (UTC)


The description of the animal is slightly more complicated than just a "horned horse". H. Stanford London, who wrote a book about the Queen's Beasts in 1953, describes the unicorn that most Britons (and other nationalities) are familiar with, the Scottish unicorn, in this way:

"To the head and body and mane of a horse, and slim legs of an antelope, a tail which is borrowed as oft from the lion as from the horse, and a goatee which would do credit to 'Uncle Sam' himself, is added the single, long, straight horn with its spiral twist which gives the creature its name and which it took from the narwhal or sea-unicorn." —This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 10:14, 13 January 2016‎.

Britons 1953 are certainly not the world 2015. Korn [kʰʊ̃ːæ̯̃n] (talk) 12:53, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
One single person described a unicorn like this in 1953. So? Renard Migrant (talk) 14:57, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
Our definition doesn't say a unicorn is a horned horse, it says it resembles "a horse with a single, straight, spiraled horn projecting from its forehead". It is true, though, that unicorns as depicted in art from the Middle Ages on are different from horses in more ways than just the horn. The painting we use to illustrate shows a beast with cloven hooves and a beard, which horses don't have, though the tale looks more like a horse's tail than a lion's tail to me. But these details are probably best kept in the encyclopedia article rather than here. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 15:53, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
Though we do include historical definitions, they have to be used in English to get in the English section. Medieval French, Latin, Spanish (etc.) definitions go in their own language sections. Renard Migrant (talk) 17:00, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
There are plenty of books in English describing the unicorn as having cloven hooves and a beard, e.g. [9], [10]. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 17:19, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
WLA metmuseum The Unicorn is Killed and Brought to the Castle.jpg
It's been a while since I read up on unicorns, but I seem to recall that they're supposed to be or to resemble one-horned goats, not horses. Both are mentioned in the lead of our Wikipedia article, but if you look at the illustrations (at least the ones definitely intended to be unicorns), they're all much smaller than horses. I suspect that the belief that they're horse-sized may be very recent, perhaps influenced by the lack of familiarity most people have with the scale of either horses or goats. If you don't see horses up close very often, you may not realize just how big they usually are! Note that in this detail from La Chasse à la licorne, a dead unicorn is slung over the back of a very modest horse! P Aculeius (talk) 19:01, 13 January 2016 (UTC)

precision instrument

What is a precision instrument? The Chinese equivalent (精密儀器) comes up in two different dictionaries. ---> Tooironic (talk) 12:14, 14 January 2016 (UTC)

instrument (sense 3 or, possibly, sense 4) for precise measurement (or manipulation). DCDuring TALK 13:28, 14 January 2016 (UTC)

no spring chicken

I'd be tempted to merge this into spring chicken. Renard Migrant (talk) 17:20, 14 January 2016 (UTC)

Should be deleted. Just standard use of "no". She's no angel; I'm no expert; etc. Equinox 18:18, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
Well, it is an idiom, I'm no spring chicken myself. I wouldn't mind betting that the idiom is more common than "spring chicken" sans "no" [11]. Donnanz (talk) 18:36, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
One advantage with merger is that the non-metaphoric sense is present on the page, making further etymology unnecessary. A redirect to [[spring chicken]] and a second definition for the idiomatic sense should do the trick. DCDuring TALK 18:39, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
We need the idiomatic definition for spring chicken anyway, as the term is attestable. I don't know whether not a spring chicken is even worth a redirect. DCDuring TALK 18:59, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
Ngrams the usage of "no spring chicken" as a percent of the usage of "spring chicken" has been steadily growing over the past century, reaching about 50% in the past decade (here's a plot of the actual percentages). So "no spring chicken" is by no means an overwhelming majority of the uses of "spring chicken". --WikiTiki89 18:49, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
@Wikitiki89: fyi, you can get ngrams to actually show it as a relative percentage: [12]Pengo (talk) 01:12, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
@Pengo: See the second link in my post. --WikiTiki89 04:00, 17 January 2016 (UTC)


I have always been under the impression that verboten was quite stronger than forbidden, almost akin to "absolutely and entirely FORBIDDEN" or something like that. Anybody else have any comments about this? Tharthan (talk) 18:53, 14 January 2016 (UTC)

I think verboten sounds more autocratic or authoritarian and implies the threat of harsh punishment as well Leasnam (talk) 19:43, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
Yeah, I think that that is right. Tharthan (talk) 19:52, 14 January 2016 (UTC)

Uncountable car

Sense 11 is:

(uncountable, US) The aggregate of desirable characteristics of a car.
Buy now! You can get more car for your money.

I don't think this should be a separate definition, it's just a type of usage of the other senses. Most countable nouns can be used uncountably in the "more X for the/one's Y" construction and its derivatives, this isn't something specific to car. Eishiya (talk) 18:59, 14 January 2016 (UTC)

Grammatical distinctions related to countability/uncountability seem to cause non-native speakers a great deal of trouble. I don't think that all senses of car are used uncountably. DCDuring TALK 19:03, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
They may not be actually used, but all of the senses we have listed can be. I feel that the distinction between "get more (rail/elevator/...)car for your money" ("get a better, longer-lasting thing!") and "get more (...)cars for your money" ("get more things!") is specific to that type of construction, not to car. We don't tend to say "get more elevator car for your money" or "get more house for your money" because most of us aren't in the business of selling elevator cars or houses, but I can easily imagine scenarios where such phrases would be appropriate, and the house example gets plenty of Google hits in just that sort of context ("get a bigger/better/newer house"). (Edit: Also, this uncountable sense only seems to occur only in this construction and its derivatives, which would suggest that it's not a separate sense. It's rather hard to verify that, though.) Eishiya (talk) 21:27, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
I agree. Equinox 22:06, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
I don't really trust contrived I ("imagined") examples that purport to "prove" that a given usage is possible. It's time to put armchair evidence, even more than armchair theories, behind us. And we don't include every innovative use of language. \
What are your feelings about transitive and intransitive senses for verbs that can be claimed to have the same meaning? DCDuring TALK 22:10, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Delete this sense: We had a similar definition at house and that was deleted. This sense is no different from the sense of car that means "automobile". Perhaps we should have some single place for describing the more X for the Y phenomenon, but having pseudo-definitions at house and car ain't the way to do it. Purplebackpack89 04:43, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
You have to ask if something's a property of this word or a property of the English language in general. The same goes for sarcastic usage such as 'brilliant' to mean 'terrible'. Renard Migrant (talk) 11:50, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
  • I would love to see facts or reliable authority demonstrating or asserting the universality of countable interpretations for all definitions of nouns. Does the principle apply to all organisms, to the basic meaning/referent of a proper name of a person (vs. certain metonomic "meanings"), to number nouns, to words used in partitive constructions ("piece of furniture")? How elaborate a set of rules and exceptions do we need to believe that Wiktionary users are aware of? Is it obvious that uncountability could be made to apply to any noun that has magnitude, extent, duration? How can we be sure?
In any event, certain common instances of uncountable use of common, normally countable nouns are useful, even necessary, for a user to be led toward whatever general principle there might be. "House" and "car" are two that a language learner could encounter. DCDuring TALK 13:07, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
  • I do not think this should be a separate sense. I do not think there is a count noun that cannot appear in a non-count context, given a bit of ingenuity. For example, you could say "His parking skills were so terrible, there was more car outside the garage than inside". Just as I don't believe there are any non-count nouns that can never appear in a count context. Does anyone have challenge examples? Imaginatorium (talk) 06:46, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
  • The ability of English and many other languages to use any normally-count noun as a mass noun is called the "universal grinder". The quintessential example is "after the traffic accident, there was dog all over the road" — one could as easily say (and Google suggests people have said) "there was car all over the (road|floor|place)". - -sche (discuss) 07:44, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
    So, this raises some questions in my mind:
    1. What about an EL learner whose native language, eg, apparently Chinese, does not have the "grinder" apparently misnamed as "universal"? We are often very solicitous of such learners.
    2. Most native speakers have no trouble using the grinder if it applies in their language. But how would someone curious about usage who used the grinder, say, me, find out about the principle and its limited scope across languages? Most of one's experience is of instances, not principles. Should no instances of the usage be left as breadcrumbs? We have no other mechanism that I believe is now effectively used to communicate about this.
    Such questions have much application beyond this instance. We often rely on general principles of language which are not obvious, limited to some languages, usually without any but armchair support, that may even be false, especially as stated, to justify exclusion of a term or definition. DCDuring TALK 12:55, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
I agree the principle of "universal grinding" (this means, surely, universal within any particular language, not universal to human thought) will not be obvious to a person whose native language does not have it, but nor will any other grammatical feature which does not match their previous experience. This is supposed to be a dictionary, not a grammar, nor a language course, so I do not think it is a good argument to add bits here and there on the grounds that they might help particular speakers to be reminded of facts of English grammar. What of speakers of languages with no grammatical number (like Japanese, or Chinese); should we add separate entries for "cars" to remind them that this means a number of cars being 2 or more? (AAMOF, I doubt if Chinese has a grammatical mass/count distinction, any more than I am fairly sure Japanese has, and therefore I do not see how you could even attempt to use a putative "grinder". It is the anomalous grammar of "dog" as a NP without article which marks it in this way, and without an article to omit, no such marked expression could be created.) Imaginatorium (talk) 13:28, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
  • 1999, Hana Filip, Aspect, Eventuality Types, and Nominal Reference, page 62:
    We have seen that the "Universal Grinder" is not truly universal, because not all the expected count-to-mass shifts can occur.
Hence my skepticism about our invocation of general principles. Based solely on my reading of that section of that book (which uses these only for analogy), it seems to me that we are at least bound to note for English the exceptions to the twin principles of the universal grinder and the universal packager, the latter referring to the idea that almost all mass nouns can be used in plural form. For example, pea is not used uncountably. And principally foodstuff mass nouns can be used countably to mean "portion of" (eg, "a beer", "two beers"). (BTW should the universal packager [with the same author as universal grinder] be renamed the universal foodstuff packager?) DCDuring TALK 13:54, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
I am not quite following you here. (Indent confusion: Is this a response to my post?) You seem to be advocating adding distinct "senses" for the generally productive use of "grinding/packaging", on the grounds that this might help some foreign learners. I think that is a very bad approach. Two other comments: this "packaging" thing works rather easily for plausible restaurant orders; but it is easy to use count:dirt, just imagine counting three lorries into a tip... "There go two dirts and a scrap metal." Also just about any mass noun can be counted by types. And second, your throwaway remark about "pea" is obviously wrong, as in "My attempt at a pea souffle with the new mixer just left pea all over the ceiling." Imaginatorium (talk) 15:40, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
That seems a little off. I would say "peas" in your example sentence. Aside from the possible confusion with pee, there are some nouns that are plural when used in mass-noun contexts. A good illustration of the difference is when you refer to wheat berries instead of wheat- they're really the same thing, but one is uses the singular and the other uses the plural. That doesn't mean they're countable, though: a cup of peas isn't spoken of in the same way as would be the number of individual peas that making up that cup. Chuck Entz (talk) 16:32, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
Well, when my automatic pea-shelling machine went wrong, there were peas all over the floor. When the blender went wrong, there was pea all over the ceiling. I agree this is not a particularly likely example, but it does make a real distinction, and I am arguing against the idea that you can divide nouns into those that can and those that can't be ground. Again, I don't know the term "wheat berries", but it is very common that there are both count and mass ways of talking about the same thing, to the mystification of speakers of languages without mass/count *grammatical* distinctions. (I don't understand your comment about the cup of peas, but I must draw your attention to the question I asked right at the top of this page, about горох, this very vegetable.) Imaginatorium (talk) 19:50, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
Betsy Sachs, The Boy Who Ate Dog Biscuits (1989, ISBN 0394847784), page 46: He put some mashed pea on the spoon. [...] Sarah made a face. She spit pea all over Billy.
- -sche (discuss) 22:20, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
Is it pea or mashed pea? I find it is easier to accept uncountable mashed pea than uncountable pea. I wonder what the corpus evidence would say, if appropriate instances were found. If folks here accepted quantitative corpus evidence on semantics, then the work of gathering and preparing such evidence would be more worthwhile. DCDuring TALK 22:54, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
I think I agree with Eishiya. You can substitute almost any noun and have "more X for the money" (or buck, or anything else). I don't know how many variations I've heard; it just seems to work with just about everything. More tree, more house, more computer, more wall, more gun, more cat, etc. Apparently anything normally countable can be treated as uncountable in this type of phrase. As Mr. Backpack points out, we did just delete a virtually identical sense at "house" with near unanimity. Dare I suggest that such definitions constitute a slippery slope (but not a fallacy)? P Aculeius (talk) 15:44, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
Should we revisit the question of even having any reference to un/countability on the inflection line? Should we abandon having uncountable definitions? IOW, should we leave our FL users to task of figuring out for themselves which determiners go with which definitions or of using determiner-noun collocation to locate definitions? If we keep some such definitions but not others, how do we decide which to have and which not to have? DCDuring TALK 16:30, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
I don't think there is a good way to decide which nouns should have a special "uncountable" sense for what seems to me to be a rather colloquial figure of speech. People would be forever adding and deleting these definitions, and arguing over whether they were sufficiently attested, while the rest of us would be tempted to seek some armchair. I think that "uncountable" is important to note with nouns that are at least nominally uncountable; I don't think it's important to note nouns that are usually countable, since most are, although it may occasionally be necessary to note a countable exception to a typically uncountable noun. But if so, it ought to be a use particular to that noun, rather than a general principle that most countable nouns can be informally referred to as a quantity.
Even though this is a dictionary, and not a grammar, grammatical rules do have their place, and if we're trying to help people understand figures of speech, it would make sense to provide some guidance for countability in general; perhaps have "uncountable" and "countable" link to an explanation that indicates that countable nouns can colloquially be used as though they were quantities (although I would spare readers the images of the "universal grinder" and "dog all over the road"; surely we can come up with less grisly examples). P Aculeius (talk) 17:39, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
The idea would be to come up with some criteria which gave a safe haven to definitions that conformed to the criteria. Any such safe haven would be temporary anyway, but at least we would have a chance to consider the consequences of the criteria in practice, based on our actual experience rather than on speculation unsupported by evidence or authority. DCDuring TALK 22:54, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
Preferably a very simple policy statement. But I'm having trouble formulating it. Something along the lines of "many nouns that are ordinarily countable can be described colloquially or humorously as a mass or substance. This usage does not make the noun uncountable or require additional definitions, although words that have both countable and uncountable meanings should have separate definitions." I'm sure that could be worded more clearly. Can you think of any examples of words with both countable and uncountable meanings outside of this specific figure of speech? A few examples might help to reformulate this. P Aculeius (talk) 00:05, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
information has (at least) one very specific countable meaning, though it is often used as the prototype of uncountability. I'll try to produce a list. DCDuring TALK 00:20, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
See User:DCDuring/EnglishNounsBothCountableAndNot for a list of 40. They look like words recently edited. I've noted a few that seem duplicative. DCDuring TALK 00:49, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
Thank you, I have a better sense of what to suggest now. Just as a starting point, how about:
"Many nouns are ordinarily countable in a particular sense, but can be described colloquially or humorously as an uncountable mass or substance; for example: get more car for the money. Such figures of speech do not give make the sense itself uncountable, or constitute a new, uncountable sense. Note that some nouns do have separate countable and uncountable senses; for example:
  • The builders did some work (uncountable); we purchased three works of art (countable).
  • They took in some fresh air (uncountable); the pipers played several airs and other melodies (countable).
  • The fence was made of iron (uncountable); Mrs. Hughes purchased two irons (countable).
P Aculeius (talk) 13:56, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
Since the term figure of speech was first used here in this context, it seemed inaccurate and to prejudice the discussion. I also prefer that we stand on our hind legs and admit we are making choices of presentation rather than acting as if we were being coerced by reality. There are or may be conflicting views on almost all matters that we write about.
"Many nouns are ordinarily countable in a particular sense, but can be describedused colloquially or humorously as anto convey the referent as an uncountable mass or substance; for example: get more car for the money. We do not treat [s]uch figures of speechexpressions as do not give make the sense itself uncountable, or constitute a new, uncountable sense. Note that some nouns do have separate countable and uncountable senses; for example:
  • The builders did some work (uncountable); we purchased three works of art (countable).
  • They took in some fresh air (uncountable); the pipers played several airs and other melodies (countable).
  • The fence was made of iron (uncountable); Mrs. Hughes purchased two irons (countable).
Added earlier, forgot to sign. DCDuring TALK 16:02, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
I don't think that figure of speech is inaccurate, much less "prejudicial." I don't think anybody was cowed into silence because I described "dog all over the intersection" as a figure of speech. I think that "expression" is a bit vague. But my main objection to this version is the rather opaque phrase, "used to convey the referent" in place of "described". "Described" seems reasonably accurate, since what we're discussing is something like a metaphor; in formal speech we would never speak of amounts of "car", or "house", or "dog". "Convey" is simply the wrong word. It means to carry, escort, transfer, bear, or impart; one can convey meaning or an idea, but "convey" does not mean "to impart the meaning of" or "to describe as." Most people don't know what a "referent" is; I had to look it up, and according to WNCD it could mean the person referring to a thing, as well as the thing referred to (in fact, that's the first meaning given). IMO policy statements should be written as clearly as possible, preferring familiar words and phrases to unfamiliar ones. Also, if one strikes the words "do not make the sense uncountable..." (the word "give" should not have been there), then it seems that an editor could justifiably reject the description of a term as "countable" merely because it can be colloquially referred to as an uncountable mass. A particular sense of a noun should be either countable or not (irrespective of whether it's labeled); it shouldn't be both, and useful labels shouldn't be affected by this unusual type of expression. P Aculeius (talk) 00:37, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
Rephrasing following discussion:
"Most nouns are countable, but can be described colloquially or humorously as an uncountable mass or substance; for example: get more car for the money. In Wiktionary entries, such expressions do not render a countable sense uncountable, nor should they be treated as separate, uncountable senses. Note that some nouns do have separate countable and uncountable senses; for example:
  • The builders did some work (uncountable); we purchased three works of art (countable).
  • They took in some fresh air (uncountable); the pipers played several airs and other melodies (countable).
  • The fence was made of iron (uncountable); Mrs. Hughes purchased two irons (countable)."
Simplified opening clause; retained described in second clause of first sentence; in second sentence, changed potentially vague "we do not treat" to more specific and neutral "in Wiktionary entries"; adopted expression after considering alternatives; changed "make... itself" to "render"; changed "or constitute" to "nor should they be treated as". P Aculeius (talk) 14:56, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
DCDuring, after your criticisms of armchair theorising, I'm surprised to see you post this [13]: "almost all proper nouns can be forced to be used uncountably ("There was too much Boston in his speech")"! Seems just like "more car for your money", IMO. Equinox 01:28, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
IMO, there are uses of proper nouns, such as pluralization and uncountability, that can be forced without a native speaker viewing it as an error. Theses instances fall into a small number of types with can be described in a comprehensive grammar and are described in CGEL. These uses cannot necessarily be readily attested for each individual proper noun. Something similar is true for common nouns. What distinguishes car and house is that the usage is readily attestable and perhaps widespread, whereas perhaps it is not for "salt shaker" or "rosebush". DCDuring TALK 04:12, 26 January 2016 (UTC)

Indonesian bom

Is there anyone around who knows Indonesian? Johanna-Hypatia, Malaysiaboy, Taxman1913, anyone else? Is this edit legit? Normally I'd be inclined to revert an anon who changes both the etymology and the meaning of a word, but in fact I am more inclined to believe that Indonesian borrowed the Dutch word for "bomb" than that it borrowed the Dutch word for "tree". Or are they both right (in which case we need to list two separate etymology sections)? —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 21:11, 14 January 2016 (UTC)

'Bomb' is essentially the only meaning for bom in Indonesian, so the edit is correct. For completeness's sake, there are two further meanings derived from the Dutch word for tree, but both are now obsolete: 'pole, shaft of a carriage' and 'boom, i.e., a barrier of chains or poles over a river to obstruct navigation, toll-bar, Customs. pegawai bom 'Customs officer'. Stevens & Schmidgall-Tellings, A Comprehensive Indonesian-English Dictionary (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2004), p. 148–149. Johanna-Hypatia (talk) 15:18, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
Actually watching the news coverage of the Jakarta bombing, I did notice the word 'bom' from the native Indonesian pictures being shown on the BBC. I think it's legit based purely on that. Totally different etymology I assume. Renard Migrant (talk) 22:24, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
w:id:Bom Jakarta 2009 (see the English interwiki if in doubt). Renard Migrant (talk) 22:27, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Yeah, I can confirm it's legit. I don't know if the 'tree' sense is real, but it's not immediately verifiable if so. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 23:59, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
[14] agrees. It's a "bomb", not a "tree". --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 00:31, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
  • OK, thanks everyone! —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 06:29, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
Aɴɢʀ, Malaysiaboy, Renard Migrant, Μετάknowledge, Anatoli T.: Sorry for joining in so late. 'Bomb' is the only meaning of bom to which I can attest. It is a very common word and used frequently on television news. The official dictionary of the language the government publishes has three entries for bom. The first is 'bomb'. The second entry is as Johanna-Hypatia says: 1. a pole for pulling a carriage or cart; 2. a joist; 3. a boom - this is really any type of pole from which things like sails or anchors on a ship or a mosquito net over one's bed are hung; 4. gate at a tollbooth. This second entry is obviously derived from the Dutch boom. But there's no indication that it means 'tree' in Indonesian. The common word for 'tree' is pohon. The definition in the second entry is not marked archaic, as the government usually does with words that are nearly obsolete. My wife, a college-educated native speaker, is unable to attest to this second sense of the word. The third entry is a word from the Biak language that the government has judged is used commonly enough in Indonesian to merit a dictionary entry. It is defined as a 'spear used as a dowry'. I doubt anyone other than those familiar with the culture of Biak Island could attest to this definition. Taxman1913 (talk) 05:29, 4 February 2016 (UTC)

cur is archaic?

Both senses of cur are tagged as archaic. I'm not sure I believe that. Benwing2 (talk) 02:22, 15 January 2016 (UTC)

I've never used it in natural speech except humorously or when imitating a pirate. Maybe we need to add "now humorous" or similar to the context label. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 02:36, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
I wouldn't normally use it either, but I can see it used in literature or maybe by Brits, or humorously as you mention. Benwing2 (talk) 03:42, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
Still used in both senses, but not a common word. "Archaic" seems to fit, as it's still reasonably familiar. P Aculeius (talk) 03:49, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
rare would also fit well. I too am surpised that it is labelled archaic Leasnam (talk) 12:21, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
I wouldn't say it's as rare as it is old-fashioned, which probably explains the difference. Someone using the word nowadays is more likely to be affecting erudition or waxing poetic than simply trying to avoid repeating "dog". P Aculeius (talk) 14:50, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
I don't think so. A cur is not just a dog, but its a mean, nasty, (stray), unsocialised, street dog. It's also a pejorative when used of a person. Leasnam (talk) 02:59, 16 January 2016 (UTC)
All of which is in the definition. It doesn't make it any less old-fashioned. P Aculeius (talk) 03:03, 16 January 2016 (UTC)
It's old-fashioned enough to be dated perhaps, but not really archaic. I wouldn't be surprised to see it in a book from the 1940s; I don't expect to have to look all the way back to the King James Bible or Spenser to find it. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 18:39, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
It can be found in dialog in recently written novels, it seems to used to date the dialog. ("Unhand her, you cur!") To me it seems more likely to be used in the second sense than in the second in current speech or writing. DCDuring TALK 18:57, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
You mean more common in the second sense than in the first? —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:10, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
D'oh. DCDuring TALK 13:57, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
I agree that "dated" is more suitable. Equinox 19:09, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
OK, I tagged both senses as "dated or humorous". Benwing2 (talk) 23:05, 17 January 2016 (UTC)

balme and/or barma

I can't figure out the English translation of these French and Italian words. See Balme (cavité naturelle) and/or Barma on the relevant Wikipedias. Any ideas? SemperBlotto (talk) 11:23, 15 January 2016 (UTC)

This page translates Italian balme pl as "rock shelters", and this page translates it as "protruding rocks". It's very hard to search for because of the large amount of interference from words meaning balm. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 12:04, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
Running modern words through {{R:DMF}} is incredibly useful. It finds the etymology and links to Old and modern French dictionaries. DMF gives it as cave or excavation (but which sense?) while Godefroy gives cave or cavern. Renard Migrant (talk) 16:57, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
Thanks all. SemperBlotto (talk) 17:03, 15 January 2016 (UTC)

Missing sense at 決まる?

I think a sense is missing at 決まる

  1. to look good in (clothes)

Source: http://jisho.org/search/kimateru

--Daniel Carrero (talk) 11:34, 15 January 2016 (UTC)

Yes, confirming, eg 服装が決まっている. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 00:08, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
  • For clarity's sake, it bears noting that this sense arises as an extension of the general to be set, to be decided sense: to be set → to be in orderto be properly put togetherto be sharp and neat in attitude or appearance. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 00:04, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
Yes but that belongs to etymology. Basically, it's the expanded sense of うまくいく or 整う, as described in Japanese dictionaries. The example I gave above (服装が決まっている) is present in a Japanese-Chinese translation - 服裝整齊/服装整齐 (fúzhuāng zhěngqí) ("clothes are neat/tidy"). --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 00:20, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
I agree. The problem is that just adding a "second meaning" would be rather misleading. The current "to be decided" really gives no idea of the range of meaning, and I can't easily see how to make it do so.Imaginatorium (talk) 06:15, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
  • As Imaginatorium notes, this sense is more than just a second meaning, and simply adding a sense line that states to look good in (clothes) would be very misleading -- while one can say in English, you look good and have the clothing left out, one cannot say in Japanese 決まる or 決まっている and have it come across as the same intended sense -- the Japanese sounds more like you are (your schedule, your situation, etc. is) decided / set / determined. Any expression that conveys the look good sense must include some mention of clothing or attitude or appearance. The underlying meaning is still to be set, to be in order. The entry needs usage notes and usexes, in addition to etym, pronunciation, alternative forms, and several senses not yet present.
Time allowing, I'll have a go at both the 決まる ‎(kimaru) and 決める ‎(kimeru) entries. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 17:37, 19 January 2016 (UTC)

sit on the fence

Tagged but not listed. Or if it has been listed, I can't see it in an archive. Renard Migrant (talk) 13:18, 15 January 2016 (UTC)

Here's the archived discussion, FWIW. Keith the Koala (talk) 13:54, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
Why should we have this other than as a redirect to on the fence? It's not strictly speaking a set phrase as adverbs can intervene. Be, remain, leave, stuck, and perch are verbs used with on the fence, be being more common than sit. Sit is a common collocation, which fact should be in collocation space. DCDuring TALK 14:40, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
Agreed. Although if consolidated, I would keep the cartoon with "on the fence". The fact that the caption adds "sit" notwithstanding, it clearly uses the phrase. P Aculeius (talk) 14:46, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
We can use usexes too, probably underused for this purpose in our entries. DCDuring TALK 16:29, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
In its defence, there's no actual sitting involved in sitting on the fence. It's part of the metaphor. Renard Migrant (talk) 01:20, 16 January 2016 (UTC)

assume the mantle

Now, I am not very familiar with "assume the mantle", although I am very familiar with "take up the mantle".

My question is, could this not be used like this:

PERSON1: Why does Batman look so different?

PERSON2: That's because he isn't Bruce Wayne.

PERSON1: What?!

PERSON2: Yes. After Bruce Wayne went missing, Dick Grayson took up the mantle.


Whilst I admit that I do not recall ever hearing it used in that way, it doesn't sound odd to my ears. Tharthan (talk) 18:13, 15 January 2016 (UTC)

Other verbs used with the mantle: claim, pick up, take on, inherit, clothed in, pass, accept, take over, accept, wrap in, don, transfer, wrest. They are listed roughly in order of frequency in COCA.
Many of these verbs are also usable with throne and crown; some with scepter; a few with role and its near-synonyms, all with similar meanings. DCDuring TALK 18:57, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
Actually, my question was this:

It says that the phrase is used with "of", but can it not be used in the fashion demonstrated in the dialogue above as well? Tharthan (talk) 19:22, 15 January 2016 (UTC)

@Tharthan: Can you please get into the habit of linking to entries that you are discussing, especially in the section heading? That way it is clear that you are discussing an entry and not a random phrase you came across. --WikiTiki89 19:27, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
Oh, alright. Sorry about that. Tharthan (talk) 19:30, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
This does sound like a sense of 'mantle' rather than an idiom. Renard Migrant (talk) 21:05, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
If the context made fairly clear what mantle was being assumed or taken up, there would be no need for an of phrase, adjective, or other modifier to specify the mantle being assumed. In the more metaphorical uses of mantle it often is necessary to further specify the nature of the mantle. DCDuring TALK 23:14, 15 January 2016 (UTC)

Medieval Greek vs. Byzantine vs. Constantinopolitan, here and at en.WP

Hi! I'm chronically ill, so I have to leave these points for others to follow-up on. Thanks in advance!

At γραφή § Ancient Greek, the Pronunciation section expands to display:

5th BC Attic: IPA: /ɡra.pʰɛ᷄ː/
1st BC Egyptian: IPA: /ɡra.ˈpʰe/
4th AD Koine: IPA: /ɣra.ˈɸi/
10th AD Byzantine: IPA: /ɣra.ˈfi/
15th AD Constantinopolitan: IPA: /ɣra.ˈfi/

Byzantine and Constantinopolitan both link to the en.WP article, Medieval Greek, which en.WP says is "also known as Byzantine Greek."

  1. Is the Byzantine and Constantinopolitan distinction a Wiktionary-only distinction or one that appears in general scholarship (whether or not it's universal)? Would it still make sense without the century labels?
  2. If the distinction is not a scholarly one, should the last line be changed to "15th AD Byzantine" to remove any implication otherwise?
  3. If the distinction is a scholarly one, should the en.WP article explain the distinction? Should its intro also include "and [aka] Constantinopolitan Greek"?
  4. Should the Wiktionary entries Byzantine and Constantinopolitan include mention of being distinct or synonymous nouns or adjectives relating to Medieval Greek?
  5. Do any of these points suggest that the other Pronunciation lines need similar review?
  6. I created a redirect on en.WP to Medieval Greek with the title Constantinopolitan Greek, but will not change the article itself. Current redirects are listed here. If necessary, please change the redirect to point at a section or anchor.

Sorry all I can do is point these things out, but my real-life limitations are getting in the way of doing this myself and likely have made me miss something obvious here or on en.WP. My limitations might also prevent me from making it back here to review your responses. Thanks in advance if you can work on this! — Geekdiva (talk) 20:59, 16 January 2016 (UTC)


Could someone have a look at sense 3? I can't really understand it and I don't see how it differs from sense 1. The usage example given seems identical in meaning, despite the attempt at clarification. Smurrayinchester (talk) 23:01, 16 January 2016 (UTC)

 ??? Sense 3 is entirely different from senses 1 and 2. I'm not sure what needs further clearing up. Tharthan (talk) 23:25, 16 January 2016 (UTC)
The distinction eludes me too. DCDuring TALK 23:46, 16 January 2016 (UTC)
I could possibly understand the difference if the example at sense 1 ran "making the film" instead of "the making of the film", but then I don't understand the "explanation" at sense 3 at all (a planned procedure rather than a specific physical action took hours?) --Droigheann (talk) 23:52, 16 January 2016 (UTC)
This diff introduced the definition, apparently as a translation target for Low German -unge, -en and Middle Low German -inge. DCDuring TALK 00:26, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
I would merge the two senses, based on how they are currently written and based on their current usexes. I'm not sure if the distinction between "making of a foobar" and "the making of a foobar" is something that would require separate senses, but the senses in the entry now both use "the ...ing" in their usexes. - -sche (discuss) 07:35, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
I can make no sense of this either, but it looks awfully like the stuff they write in language learning books, as though trying to explain the difference between two different forms in German (or Latin) which correspond to the same English form. (Quote: "usually identical with meaning 1. in the English language" gives it away.) Imaginatorium (talk) 07:59, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
Yeah, it seems to have been designed to explain the Middle German translation that was added with it, as DCDuring notes. I have (perhaps speedily) merged the senses. - -sche (discuss) 08:21, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
Oh, I see. You said "sense 3". I thought that you said "etymology 3". My bad. Tharthan (talk) 10:48, 17 January 2016 (UTC)


Is Twinkle not available on this wiki? Ipadguy (talk) 00:27, 17 January 2016 (UTC)


Shouldn't this also be defined as a "blow", i.e. a nominalization of "to slug"? Cf. "she gave him a slug in the arm" etc. Benwing2 (talk) 07:45, 17 January 2016 (UTC)

Yes, that would be a good idea. P Aculeius (talk) 15:31, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
Added defn. There are also two very similar definitions, a commuter picked up to allow use of HOV lanes and a hitchhiking commuter, that might be the same, although I'm not sure; someone from the regions where these defns are current should fix if needed. Benwing2 (talk) 23:06, 17 January 2016 (UTC)


Just added as a noun. Considering Talk:selah, there is consensus not to have such entries, right? Equinox 02:37, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

Isn't this more like the surviving senses of selah? DCDuring TALK 03:08, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
Only one sense of selah survives, which is specifically not "an occurrence of the word selah" (more or less the one that got deleted). So, since continueds refers to occurrences of the word continued, I think the answer to your question is no. Equinox 06:16, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
Yes, this seems to fall clearly on the mention side of the use/mention distinction. Smurrayinchester (talk) 12:35, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
It could be rephrased as a non-gloss definition, along the lines of selah#Interjection ("A word occurring between verses or paragraphs in parts of the Hebrew Bible, namely in Habakkuk and the Psalms, perhaps indicating a pause for contemplation."), eg, The word used at the apparent end of a body of text to indicate that the text continues in another location, such as the next page.
It had never occurred to me that such directions to a reader were dictionary material, but we have verbal analogs such as uh, er, as I was saying, etc. (BTW, the definitions for those should be reformatted as non-gloss (functional) definitions. They are obviously not even close to being substitutable and so should not take the form of our usual gloss-type definitions.) DCDuring TALK 13:46, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
I don't think selah and continued are entirely analogous. The other sense of continued is a participle and the surviving sense of selah, well, isn't. Purplebackpack89 15:21, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
I think if continueds exists, it's not the plural of a noun continued. Renard Migrant (talk) 18:04, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

God does not play dice with the universe

Is this in fact a general English term/proverb, or just a famous quotation? Equinox 06:15, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

It's the most familiar version of Albert Einstein's reaction to various aspects of quantum theory (which depends on the source, as does the exact wording of the statement), suggesting inherent randomness or unpredictability (quantum indeterminacy, the uncertainty principle, etc.). Always attributed to Einstein, never cited as a proverb. P Aculeius (talk) 13:30, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
Uh oh, time to expunge all the proverbial expressions taken from the Bible and from other identified sources. Or will three attestations of use without reference to Einstein suffice? DCDuring TALK 13:50, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
Sorry you're in favor of deleting all proverbs just for Hell of it? Renard Migrant (talk) 18:15, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
On the contrary, I favor keeping all of them, even everything happens for a reason. I don't think it should matter whether we can identify a supposed original author, whether the expression is news, whether it is SoP, whether it is a declarative or imperative sentence, or whether it is subject to variation in any or all of its components. The previous comment implicitly invoked a principle that attributed quotes or paraphrases (always?!?!?) attributed to a coiner are not proverbs. (The putative proverb in question is not always attributed to Einstein.) DCDuring TALK 18:40, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
I think you're misunderstanding my point. The question was whether the saying was a "general English term/proverb, or just a famous quotation". I understand the question to be asking whether the assertion has some significant use independent of Einstein or his feelings about quantum indeterminacy, or perhaps even existed before it became identified with Einstein, perhaps as an proverb (the usual understanding of "proverb" being a traditional saying expressing some profound truth, especially a religious one). The saying certainly isn't religious; despite its mention of God, the notion of God playing dice would never have been used by Biblical scholars; Einstein used it as a metaphor for the theory that one could not predict the action of matter and energy on a quantum level, even with a full understanding of its physical laws. So it doesn't come from the Bible, and it seems highly unlikely that anybody would come up with it independently or have a substantially different use for it. It doesn't express a profound truth; it's not especially profound, and a fairly high proportion of the scientific community now accepts the theory, and has concluded that Einstein was wrong to dismiss it with a pithy sentiment. So it's definitely not what most people would call a "proverb." Nor does it seem to be in general use, which is understandable considering how specific it is. There just aren't a lot of occasions that would justify a metaphor like this. I have no doubt that people have repeated it with various wording and without being able to recall who "said" it. But the answer to the original question would seem to be, "no, it's not a general English term/proverb. It's just a famous quotation (or at least a paraphrase of one)." That's all I meant. P Aculeius (talk) 23:57, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
Nothing about the substantive meaning, let alone the truth value or utility or profundity, of the expression has any bearing on whether it is called a proverb and on whether or not we might keep it as such.
The expression is used with at most the most tenuous of connection with physics and sometimes without attribution to Einstein. (See these uses from Google Books. Some of the usage is about God or fate or something.
The sole thing that IMO disqualifies this from being a proverb is that it is not referred to as a proverb, in contrast to everything happens for a reason. DCDuring TALK 02:45, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
proverb 1. Chiefly Bib. A profound maxim; in Scriptural use, a parable; a truth couched obscurely. –Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary. proverb 1. a short popular saying that expresses effectively some commonplace truth or useful thought... 3. Bible. a profound saying, maxim, or oracular utterance requiring interpretation... A proverb is a saying popularly known and repeated, usually expressing simply and concretely, though often metaphorically, a truth based on common sense or the practical experience of mankind... –Random House Dictionary. proverb 1. A short, pithy saying in frequent and widespread use that expresses a well-known truth or fact. –American Heritage Dictionary.
So truth, profoundness, useful thought, common sense, practical experience, and fact are attributes of proverbs, none of which apply to "God does not play dice with the universe." It is neither truth nor fact since it expresses an opinion generally believed to be incorrect; it is not useful because it relates to a very specific matter and cannot be extended to unrelated situations without changing the meaning; it is not common sense because it concerns a controversial aspect of quantum physics; it does not reflect practical experience because one cannot directly experience it or know from experience whether it is true or false; and while undeniably pithy, there is nothing particularly profound about a probably incorrect conclusion couched as a rather unserious metaphor.
Please don't mistake my meaning; I have the utmost respect for Albert Einstein, even if he was wrong about this; I am inclined to sympathize with his view, whether it is true or not; I may even hope that he was right, although the consensus of the world's leading physicists suggests otherwise. But the only truth here is that nobody, to the best of my knowledge, ever imagined God playing dice at all, before Einstein's quip about quantum indeterminacy; and if someone did suggest it, nobody was brave enough to publicize it and the saying never caught on.
The search above for the phrase in fiction without the occurrence of "Einstein" contains seven hits from 1995 to 2012, two of which don't count, as one appears on the list for no apparent reason (a search for the word "dice" didn't turn up any hits in the book), while another one attributes the phrase to "one of your leading physicists," an oblique reference to Einstein. Of the remaining five, four appear to be from self-published novels, and none of them quote it or identify the source, although all of them use variations of the language attributed to Einstein. According to Wikiquote, Einstein's original words, written in 1926, and paraphrased as given above, were "I, at any rate, am convinced that He does not throw dice." As the earliest of the unquoted hits occurs nearly seventy years after, and all of them use identical phrasing, I think it's apparent that it is derived from the common paraphrase of Einstein, whether attributed or not, and irrespective of whether taken out of context. Whether quoted or paraphrased, it is not a proverb; nor is it a general English term. Five hits in novels spanning the last twenty years hardly constitutes a common saying, compared with, say, actual proverbs such as, "a stitch in time saves nine" (34,000 hits in Google books) or "good fences make good neighbors" (13,000) or "home is where you hang your hat" (748, probably a bit dated) or "there's no time like the present" (14,500). P Aculeius (talk) 05:01, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
Quite a good point. Still, I do think proverbs should be proverbs and not only quote. Quotation does not imply not proverb, but it doesn't imply always proverb either. Usage as not a direct quotation does look like a good idea to me. Doing that doesn't rule anything in or out automatically in my view. Renard Migrant (talk) 18:42, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
Wikiquote gives a bit more detail about the origin. The "original" is translated from a letter in German to Max Born. The pronoun is simply a reference to the noun of the previous sentence, Alter ‎(old man), which may or may not be a standard epithet for God. Einstein himself apparently repeated his statement several times in different forms. (Personally, I think Born's reply deserves more airplay: "Don't tell God what to do.")— Pingkudimmi 07:57, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
I note that the definitions above exclude that of MWOnline 11th:
proverb 1 "a brief popular epigram or maxim : adage; 2: byword [only included to avoid selection bias]
adage "a saying often in metaphorical form that embodies a common observation"
All considerations of the quality of an expression that is a candidate to be a Wiktionary proverb entry seem to me to depart from the principle that Wiktionary is descriptive rather than prescriptive. I am not surprised that some dictionaries, especially AHD, offer a more elitist definition of proverb. Under Wiktionary's policy, attestation requires but three unambiguous citations; additional ones are superfluous. One rationale for this is that we attempt to include emergent proverbs and those that have a low chance of making it into print.
I would argue that the Einstein quote may be an emergent proverb, but that it has not yet become a proverb. The expression in not found in near proximity to the words proverb, adage, or proverbial nor does it appear in books of proverbs or even online compilations of proverbs, in contrast to everything happens for a reason, which arguably reflects the same sentiment as God ... universe does when used outside of the context of physics. DCDuring TALK 12:36, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
I don't think it's "elitist" at all. Nobody is saying that Einstein is somehow too lowbrow. It's just that quotations and proverbs clearly don't seem to be the same thing, to most of us. Equinox 15:14, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
No publication suggests that Einstein's quote is a proverb. So my intuition that it was one is apparently wrong.
I was taking issue with the use of selected definitions of the term proverb, many of which definitions strike me as elitist and inconsistent with Wiktionary's purportedly descriptive principles. To me, any expression that is attestable and included in a compilation of proverbs or called a proverb in durably archived works is includable because its status as a proverb makes it a "set phrase" sensu lato. I also think the use of proverbs is a speech act, invoking that authority or wisdom of such expressions to achieve a purpose in discourse, such as consolation or advice. DCDuring TALK 17:11, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
The definitions in question were quoted in response to the assertion that "nothing about the substantive meaning, let alone the truth value or utility or profundity, of the expression has any bearing on whether it is called a proverb..." Since the general understanding of what a proverb is depends largely on factors such as truth, value, utility, or profundity. The question asked was "is this a proverb?" There's nothing elitist about quoting relevant definitions and usage notes from other dictionaries in order to decide if the label fits. P Aculeius (talk) 20:47, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
Sorry, I meant proverb as we use the term for an L3 header. DCDuring TALK 21:13, 19 January 2016 (UTC)


@Hekaheka and anyone else who does Finnish: is symbooli a common enough misspelling to warrant keeping, or should we RFD it? —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 18:31, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

I would rather say it's an archaic spelling. It gets more than 1.000 BGC hits, mostly in 19th and early 20th century books, whereas 19th century hits for "symboli" are hard to come by. In modern Finnish double-o spelling would be considered an error, but one sees it every now and then. I have edited the entry accordingly. --Hekaheka (talk) 18:48, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

web site vs website

[[15]] indicates that we should consider moving everything at web site to website. thoughts ? Leasnam (talk) 22:55, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

So I'm not the only one who thought that the content being at web site was bizarre. I support moving it. —suzukaze (tc) 22:58, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
Only one thought, which is 'yes'. Renard Migrant (talk) 22:59, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
done. Leasnam (talk) 23:03, 18 January 2016 (UTC)


User:Alphama has been trying to get this changed from a misspelling, first by using a Wikipedia {{fact}} template, then by making various badly-formatted edits to the entry. I've reverted all of those, but their concern is legitimate and should be addressed by someone who speaks Vietnamese. Chuck Entz (talk) 23:23, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

For what it's worth the Wikipedia page seems to be at Súp, with another page also using Xúp in its title. —suzukaze (tc) 23:30, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
There are no any evidences which prove súp is a mispell of xúp. We use both, check [16], [17] Alphama (talk) 16:01, 25 January 2016 (UTC)


We have give a monkey's and not give a monkey's. Does anybody give a monkeys? Keith the Koala (talk) 21:01, 19 January 2016 (UTC)

The Chinese section says "姫, is a variant form of 姫" (i.e. it links to itself). Where is it supposed to link to? ? - -sche (discuss) 07:40, 21 January 2016 (UTC)

It should link to ... fixed. —suzukaze (tc) 08:06, 21 January 2016 (UTC)


"Sophron" is an adjectival form of the word "sophrosyne", which is a very important word to ancient Greek playwrights. But it's not found in Wiktionary. Is it possible to have the adjective added to Wiktionary? I found the word in an Oxford Press edition of "Hippolytos" by Euripides (Euripides. Hippolytos. Oxford University Press. (1973) 978-0-19-507290-7 p. 6) Clockchime (talk) 17:25, 21 January 2016 (UTC)

We do have sophrosyne. —Stephen (Talk) 17:49, 21 January 2016 (UTC)

Yes, we do, which is good, but sophrosyne is a noun, and Euripides uses the adjectival form quite often. Wiktionary requires a separate entry or page, even for an adjective. Clockchime (talk) 02:39, 22 January 2016 (UTC)

Euripides doesn't use English sophron, he uses Ancient Greek σώφρων ‎(sṓphrōn)- in Euripides day, the ancestors of the English probably spoke an early form of Proto-Germanic. If the Oxford Press translation uses the word a lot, it could very well be that they're just transliterating it so their readers don't have to deal with an unfamiliar alphabet in addition to the foreign word. Leaving a word untranslated is a way of making readers aware that the meaning doesn't exactly fit any one word or phrase that might be used to translate it in a given context, and of forcing readers to approach the word on its own terms.
For us to create an entry for sophron, we would have to have evidence that it's been used in English to convey meaning as an English word, not just to discuss or define the Greek word. Chuck Entz (talk) 05:28, 22 January 2016 (UTC)

I believe I have found good quotes for an entry on the word “sophron", which is an adjective defined as: of sound mind, self-controlled, temperate, sober-minded, modest, chaste. Here are three quotes:

“Phaedra tries to conquer her passion by being sophron, hates those who are sophyon only in words, and dies hoping that Hippolytus will learn to be sophron.” From: Appendix written by Michael R. Halleran, (page 279) of the book: Medea, Hippolytus, Heracles, Bacchae: Four Plays. Author of the plays: Euripides. Hackett Publishing (2012) ISBN 9781585105991

“As a young gentleman, Charmides was expected to be sophron, self-restrained in his moral behavior, and we learn in the prologue that he so well fulfills this expectation that he is regarded as the most moderate … of the young men of his generation.” From: Plato's Charmides and the Socratic Ideal of Rationality. Author: Walter T. Schmid. SUNY Press (1998) ISBN 9780791437636 (page 11)

“Her longing for Hippolutus is raised beyond plain lust because it is also a longing for purity, an end to lust, for what is saphron.” From: Introduction by Robert Bagg. Euripides. Hippolytus. Author: Euripides. Oxford Univerisity Press. 1973 ISBN 978-0-19-507290-7 (page 8). Clockchime (talk) 13:08, 23 January 2016 (UTC)

  • Would this be better as a redirect to the Ancient Greek entry? DCDuring TALK 13:27, 23 January 2016 (UTC)
  • It appears that the word meets the definition that would allow it an entry or a page on Wiktionary, and it has the citations. Also since it is the adjective of the word sophrosyne, which has an entry here, (as is pointed out above), then it seems that "sophron" should have a page here on Wiktionary. Its use is often contrasted with the word "hubris" or hubristic. Clockchime (talk) 16:50, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
@Clockchime, Stephen G. Brown, Chuck Entz, DCDuring: If sophrosyne gets an English entry, I see no reason why sophron shouldn't get one, too. — I.S.M.E.T.A. 18:58, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
I appreciate all the comments here. With no objection, I'll see about adding "sophron" as an entry. Thanks to all. Clockchime (talk) 03:15, 1 February 2016 (UTC)

plug-in (noun)

Currently we only have the computing sense I'm acquainted with, but in this article I've read "It seems that while enjoying the aroma of fragranced candles, plug-ins, air fresheners and cleaning products we are increasing our exposure to a serious nasty." Now it's obvious what the author means in the context, but how wide could be the scope of the noun - any device one plugs in the mains? And is this widespread usage or would it deserve attestation to meet CFI? --Droigheann (talk) 23:38, 21 January 2016 (UTC)

I think it is used mostly in situations where what is typical or salient is not plugged-in but the component in question is. For example, a plug-in lamp might be contrasted with a flashlight, a plug-in lamp-dimmer with one integral to a lamp, plug-in air-freshener to the more customary kind, a plug-in network connection to a wireless one. Something similar covers the situation with browser plug-ins, where the contrast is with capabilities integral to the browser.
I suppose the term was used to modify nouns in its early use (c. 1922) before it became a noun itself. DCDuring TALK 00:10, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
I see, that makes sense, thanks. --Droigheann (talk) 00:39, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
Almost all use at COCA is about plugging in to either a power circuit, an information circuit, or a software system. I found only this for another kind of plug-in, a camp stove:
  • 2005, Michael Lanza, “Kitchen”, Backpacker, volume 33, number 2, page 91:
    Most Versatile / MSR SUPERFLY With a wider burner and greater flame distribution than the Raptor, this stove cooks more evenly, which is ideal for gourmet camp feasts. And its innovative cartridge connection accommodates both screw-on and plug-in canisters, increasing your fuel options
Perhaps a genericised trademark from Glade® PlugIns®. Equinox 22:35, 23 January 2016 (UTC)


This is a rare case where a weird Unicode shape actually does have a meaning beyond its codepoint definition – the aubergine/eggplant has become a fairly standardized symbol/euphemism for "erection". But how do we cite/define this? Since there's no good way to search by emoji, is something like "It’s called Deuce, and it’s an HBO series about the ’70s-’80s porn industry (yes!) from The Wire/Treme creator David Simon (YES!), starring James Franco as identical twin gangsters (*eggplant emoji*)." acceptable? Smurrayinchester (talk) 10:25, 22 January 2016 (UTC)

Well, it's not durably archived. I seriously doubt that this will be citable, but it leaves you with two options: struggle to find such uses in durably archived media (I have seen emoji in newspapers on occasion, for example), or suggest that CFI be emended to improve our ability to add such definitions. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 23:43, 23 January 2016 (UTC)

Very Old Slang

What do we do with slang from centuries ago, such as the "bam" noted in the etymology of "bamboozle"? Is it eligible for inclusion, so long as it meets the standard requirements? What ought it be marked with? "archaic slang"? Because "archaic" doesn't really cut it, as it was indeed slang, not just some informal speech. Tharthan (talk) 22:55, 22 January 2016 (UTC)

{{lb|en|archaic|slang}}. What's the problem? --WikiTiki89 22:57, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
"Archaic" means "No longer in ordinary use, though still used occasionally to give a sense of antiquity" (per the entry); nothing here prohibits it being slang as well. If this sense is never used any more, it should be marked obsolete. Benwing2 (talk) 23:11, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
Indeed, what's the issue here? Renard Migrant (talk) 12:38, 24 January 2016 (UTC)

salu-salo (Tagalog)

I was rather startled to find a translations section has been added. Is that OK? Shouldn't the translations be entered in the respective Wiktionaries? Donnanz (talk) 23:22, 23 January 2016 (UTC)

Wiktionary:Entry_layout_explained#Translations says that it shouldn't be there. —suzukaze (tc) 23:38, 23 January 2016 (UTC)
The entry was a total mess, which I cleaned up to the best of my ability. If anyone wants to explain to its creator how to make a good entry, that would be great. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 23:40, 23 January 2016 (UTC)
Yes, it was a mess, and the translations seem to be for a gathering, not a table. Donnanz (talk) 11:00, 24 January 2016 (UTC)


The entry for the Ancient Greek word ὄσσε needs some work: additional information should be added about exactly what forms do and don't exist, and the declension table should be edited accordingly. Also note that the header for the declension table currently says ‘Declension of , ’. Esszet (talk) 23:36, 23 January 2016 (UTC)

@Esszet: I've added what I could from the LSJ entry. If someone better than I at parsing Ancient Greek could tell me what the number and case of each of the cited uses is, I could edit the declension table accordingly. I couldn't source quotations for "Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 3.400.5" (the genitive plural ὄσσων ‎(óssōn)?), "Sophocles Ichneutae 47" (either of the datives ὄσσοις, ὄσσοισι ‎(óssois, óssoisi)? [LSJ doesn't give the number]), "Eustathius of Thessalonica Collected Works 58.28" (the dative ὄσσει ‎(óssei)? [LSJ doesn't give the number]), or "Hesychius Alexandreus" (the genitive plural ὀσσέων ‎(osséōn)?); if they could also be added, we could supplement the declension table with those forms. — I.S.M.E.T.A. 21:21, 24 January 2016 (UTC)
Alright, thanks for that. Esszet (talk) 23:06, 24 January 2016 (UTC)
I couldn't find the "Eustathius of Thessalonica Collected Works ", but there is an index to his commentaries (the relevant page is here with the actual works indexed listed here). It may not have the exact form mentioned, but it does have an interesting assortment of other forms, with the sentence containing each occurrence included in the listing. Chuck Entz (talk) 01:01, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
Actually, I misunderstood the nature of the text in the index. At any rate, I think I've figured out the numbering system (there are several of them overlaid on each other in the text volumes, and they tend to be a line or two off). So, here are all the relevant passages:
  • 58.25 (25th line of global section 58), with the LSJ-referenced one a few lines down [https://archive.org/stream/commentariiadho01eust#page/50/mode/1up here. The numbers you want are on the left side of the page, or you can look for where it says "(Vers. 105.)" in the text. There are a good number of uses in the next half-dozen or so lines.
  • 75.25 Section 75 starts on the previous page, so look at line 25 or so in the numbers on the left (line 10 in the numbers on the right). Not much to look at in this one, but the link is here.
  • 432.10 This actually starts on line 9, and there's a particularly interesting form on line 12 here.
  • 855.34 For this one, the numbers to look a are on the right-hand side, and it seems to start on line 35, where it says "(Vers. 453.)", and continues to the first line on the next page here.
  • 1746.23 For this one, you can ignore the numbers. It starts with the first line on the page and continues for 5 lines, with the most interesting stuff on the 4th line here.
That should be everything, if we can believe the index. Chuck Entz (talk) 03:03, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
@Chuck Entz: Thanks. I make that:
  • ὄσσε τὼ ὀφθαλμὼ, παρὰ τὸ ὄσσω, ὅ ἐστι βλέπω, ὅτι κατά τινας μὲν ἀπὸ τῆς τὼ ὄσσω δυϊκῆς εὐθείας μεταπέπλασται, κατὰ δ᾽ ἑτέρους ἀπὸ τῆς ὄσσος ὡς τεῖχος εὐθείας κεκίνηται, ἧς καὶ δοτικὴ ἑνικὴ εὕρηται ἐν χρήσει, ἡ εὐθεία τῶν δυϊκῶν τὼ ὄσσεε καὶ συγκοπῇ τὼ ὄσσε. 58, 25. 75, 25. 1746, 23. καὶ ὅτι ἀμφισβητεῖται κατὰ τὸ γένος, πλὴν ἐκ τῆς χρήσεως τῆς ὄσσων πληθυντικῆς γενικῆς καὶ τῆς ὄσσοις δοτικῆς ἀρσενικοῦ ἐλέγχεται γένους εἰναι. 432, 10. ἀλλαχοῦ δὲ ὅτι τὸ ὄσσος ὄνομα παρ᾽ Ὁμήρῳ μὲν οὐδετέρου γένους ἐστὶ, παρὰ δὲ τῇ τραγῳδίᾳ ἀρσενικοῦ. 855, 34.
Can you give a rough translation, please? — I.S.M.E.T.A. 03:02, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
Somehow we overlapped posts without an edit conflict. Ignore that paragraph, since it seems to be a summary by the editor (though I could be wrong, yet again). Chuck Entz (talk) 03:07, 25 January 2016 (UTC)

Making changes

I cannot work out how to make a change when I identify that a particular word is incorrectly spelt. The word is 'contemporania' in Catalan. It should be spelled 'contemporània', but I cannot see how to make the change.

Can someone offer a tip on how to do this? Thanks. —This unsigned comment was added by 79philip (talkcontribs).

Click the move button. — Ungoliant (falai) 13:41, 24 January 2016 (UTC)
  • I have deleted the incorrectly spelled entry. Thanks for pointing out the error. —Mr. Granger (talkcontribs) 18:56, 24 January 2016 (UTC)


I found in the A Dictionary Of Modern Slang, Cant And Vulgar Words Used At The Present Day In The Streets Of London from 1848 this:

AXE, to ask.---Saxon, acsian

So is it not possible that the modern nonstandard use is so derived, if acsian lasted that long? Tharthan (talk) 17:26, 24 January 2016 (UTC)

Of course. The use of "ax" for "ask" goes clear back to Old English. There's nothing modern about it. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 17:55, 24 January 2016 (UTC)
And the route from OE. to AAVE is obviously the widespread use of Beowulf in middle schools. DCDuring TALK 15:53, 27 January 2016 (UTC)
ಠ_ಠ —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 16:17, 27 January 2016 (UTC)
In which British dialects is ax ‎(ask) common? DCDuring TALK 17:11, 27 January 2016 (UTC)
Well, D H Lawrence has a character asking, "How should thee like to go home wi' thy tale o' today, to Minnie, might I ax thee?" Equinox 17:16, 27 January 2016 (UTC)
Any idea about the part of the country the story was set or where character was supposed to be from? I could imagine it to be widespread, as recurring metathesis reinforces the history (or is it vice versa?). DCDuring TALK 17:54, 27 January 2016 (UTC)
It's The Daughter-in-Law (1912), set in Nottinghamshire. Equinox 18:07, 27 January 2016 (UTC)
Some of the words seem to be northern: tha, nowt, which is consistent with what the WP article on East Midlands English says about northern Nottinghamshire.
Any thoughts on other regions? DCDuring TALK 18:18, 27 January 2016 (UTC)
FWIW, OED lists forms of ask as "α. OE ásci-an, ácsi-, áhsi-, áxi-, áhxi-, áhxsi-, áxsi-an, -gan, -gean, æcsian; ME axien, acsien, ME æxi, axi, ME acsi, acsy, oxi, oxy, oxsi, oksi, ME axen, (ME axse, exe,) ME–15 axe, ax, (15– dial. ax). Also β. ME esci-, eski-en, ME easki, ( Orm.) asskenn, ME ask-en, ME–16 aske, (ME hask, haske, ascke, axke,) ME– ask. Also γ. ME esch(e, esse, ME asch(e, ME ashe, ME–15 asshe, (north. asse, pa. tense ast)."; ODO doesn't specify England's dialect(s) either but mentions West Indian.

Category for attendees/alumni of a university

Do we want a category to house words like Yalie or IITian? What would it be called? There are undoubtably enough of them to fill one. Additionally, do we want entries like Bruin ‎(a student at UCLA, especially one on a UCLA sports team) to exist? —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 00:50, 25 January 2016 (UTC)

University is too narrow. There are words for (former) school pupils as well, e.g. Grecian, Carthusian, Etonian. Equinox 00:52, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
@Equinox: Good point. But what might that category be called? —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 01:04, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
"Members of academic institutions" or something? What comparable categories do we have for groups of people? Equinox 01:10, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
The nearest cousin or sibling-cat that comes to mind is Category:en:Demonyms, or perhaps its “informal” subcat.—Odysseus1479 (talk) 01:40, 25 January 2016 (UTC)


What is 14-snap as in "14-snap blade"? (a blade of a box cutter of a certain measurement, I suppose?)

Like in this Amazon page: [18]

--Daniel Carrero (talk) 15:27, 25 January 2016 (UTC)

  • It isn't a "14-snap blade". The knife comes with 14 blades that can be snapped into position. SemperBlotto (talk) 15:32, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
If they're like Stanley-knife blades (and they look very similar), the blades are diagonally scored at regularly intervals so that, as the blade edge blunts (which tends only to happen to the first few millimetres of the leading edge), that part of the blade can be snapped off, leaving a new, much sharper, leading edge. — I.S.M.E.T.A. 15:59, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
Yes, and the blade is attached to a thumb-slide mechanism that includes a spring-loaded stud engaging a series of notches inside the handle, allowing it to be extended to the desired length and latched there. The spacing between the notches matches that between the scores on the blade, so advancing it by one click after snapping off the last segment will restore it to the same length. Some models have a removable pocket-clip that doubles as a blade-breaking tool.—Odysseus1479 (talk) 00:57, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
I think the usual term (if one wants to be specific) is a "snap-off utility knife". --Droigheann (talk) 07:47, 26 January 2016 (UTC)

boots on the ground

I am having difficulty understanding how to deploy topical labels to this entry. Sense one says it is "military", which in this case is a topical, not a context, label. I have added sense two, for which one of the citations is (humanitarian/civil) military, but other usage is not. Both definitions reflect current usage.

What label, if any, belongs on sense two? Should the label on sense one be removed? DCDuring TALK 13:24, 26 January 2016 (UTC)

I'd go with "by extension" Purplebackpack89 15:25, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
That makes more sense than removing the label on the first. P Aculeius (talk) 15:50, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
Thanks. Yes check.svg Done DCDuring TALK 15:51, 27 January 2016 (UTC)

Translation of potecă

(the following discussion was brought here from WT:RFV, because the Tea room is a more appropriate forum)

An editing war broke out earlier at walk, because of this word. The primary sense of the word is "mountain path", "narrow pathway" and "track" (N.B. only by extension can it mean a natural "path" and "trail") – not walk as a "maintained place on which to walk", as another user insists. I don't want to get into a prolonged editing war or get into an unnecessary discussion about semantics, but it just isn't the correct translation (see the discussion page for walk). --Robbie SWE (talk) 16:32, 27 January 2016 (UTC)


When comparing most to much, it seems there is disagreement as to whether certain usages are determiners or adverbs. I'm pretty sure the "most" entry is wrong in a few different ways and "much" is correct. Can someone familiar with the relevant grammatical nuances look into this? - dcljr (talk) 22:50, 27 January 2016 (UTC)

Never really encountered the term "determiner" before Wiktionary. As far as I can tell, determiners seem to be a subset of adjectives. The distinctions under much seem to be correct (except that "hope" is uncountable in the example given as an exception to the usual uncountability of things described by "much"). The first example given under most is not. In "most bakers and dairy farmers..." most is an adjective, not an adverb. It modifies bakers and dairy farmers, which are nouns. The easy way to remember the distinction is that adjectives modify nouns or pronouns, while adverbs modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs. I'm less sure of "most of the world's water". Without the possessive case of world's, the phrase reads "most of the water of the world", in which most describes the noun water and therefore is an adjective, but I'm not sure if "of the world's" could be considered an adjectival phrase modified by "most", which would make it an adverb. P Aculeius (talk) 00:26, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
A determiner doesn't have to be an adjective. I gather it can be an article or a pronoun (the, this, each, ...) --Droigheann (talk) 01:35, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
I don't see how "most" in "most of the water" can be an adjective. If anything it looks like a noun. Equinox 00:37, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
Or a pronoun. At least ODO think so [19]. --Droigheann (talk) 01:35, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
The Simon & Schuster Handbook for Writers identifies this use of "most" as something called an "indefinite pronoun". Otherwise, most is usually an adjective or an adverb, depending on what it modifies, although there are also some noun senses. Webster's Third seems to agree about the pronoun sense. What's confusing about this is that it doesn't appear to take the place of a noun, but instead describes or limits it, which should make it an adjective. At any rate, the grammarians seem to classify it as a pronoun in this type of construction. I've made an attempt to separate the adjective and pronoun uses and supply examples where they were lacking or moved. But I'm guessing someone will want to re-combine both of them, so we'll see how long that lasts. P Aculeius (talk) 04:17, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
Our presentation of much does not include either adjective or pronoun as PoSes. I think both classes of function are subsumed under the Determiner PoS.
The entry for [[most]] seems wrong, possibly in its entirety. The entry for [[much]] seems less wrong, but still needs work.
I realize that asking what you mean by "its entirety" seems illogical, but are you saying that the definitions are wrong, or the example sentences and quotations are bad, or located under the wrong headings? I'm reasonably certain that I sorted them correctly and provided appropriate extra examples where some were moved, and that the uses listed as adjectives and pronouns are under the right headings, as far as those traditional parts of speech are usually defined. Is your objection mainly that all of the adjective and pronoun senses should be combined under the heading of "determiners"? P Aculeius (talk) 05:36, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
We have made an incomplete transition between the traditional treatment of the words we now call determiners using PoS headers Adjective, Pronoun, Noun, and Adverb and a modern treatment which includes almost all functions and definitions under the Determiner heading. It might be time to complete the transition. One useful discussion is at Wiktionary:Beer_parlour/2007/January#Tests_for_English_determiners. See w:English determiners too. DCDuring TALK 04:52, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
Not convinced that would be useful for most readers. Almost all English speakers go through school learning eight parts of speech: nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, conjunctions, prepositions, and interjections. All of them have fairly simple definitions that can be applied to determine which part of speech any given word should be; there are occasional grey areas, but these eight types of words have been recognized for a long time and are understandable to everybody. I like to think I have excellent grammar and a good understanding of the basic rules, but even after reading the above discussion of "determiners" I have very little sense of how one identifies them or distinguishes them from adjectives or pronouns. The heading seems to include a great many words that are traditionally considered one or the other, and which clearly function as one or the other. But the rules for distinguishing them from other adjectives or pronouns seem to go on forever; there is a list of twelve characteristics used to distinguish them from other adjectives, and seven more to distinguish them from other pronouns; and they require the unsuspecting examiner to be familiar with concepts such as "phrase structure", "fused-head constructions", "gradeability", "licensing", "slots", "anaphoric references", and "tag questions," all of which would require the reader to look them up and try to comprehend exactly what makes a "determiner" like or unlike an adjective or pronoun. The definitions of "adjective" and "pronoun" are simpler by orders of magnitude. An adjective is a word that modifies (limits or describes, if you want to be technical) a noun or pronoun; a pronoun is a word that takes the place of a noun. What possible advantage is there in eliminating clear and widely-understood headings such as "adjective" and "pronoun" that most English speakers are familiar with, and which have been found in nearly all dictionaries for generations, in favour of a new category that combines both, but which requires paragraphs and paragraphs of technical knowledge to describe accurately? P Aculeius (talk) 05:36, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
You sound like an improved version of my 2008 rantings against Determiners.
As I see it, the principal value of the Determiner heading is that it is not the Pronoun or Adjective heading: it suggests that the words of the determiner type behave differently.
Most native speakers do not have any trouble using determiners, just as they do no have any trouble using prepositions, conjunctions, pronouns, and certain adverbs. However, some of these are the words that hardly anyone, including lexicographers, can do a good job of defining or of describing all the ways in which the word is or is not used.
Someone learning (or teaching) English as a foreign language is more likely to benefit from a dictionary's efforts to characterize these words. There may be a better chance of helping the user because the determiner heading highlights the distinct character of these words rather than lumping them with words that behave differently, eg adjectives or pronouns. As to the technicalities of tests to distinguish word classes, they are important to grammarians and lexicographers in helping them (us!) put the word into a category, which conveys a first level of help to a user.
I don't expect to be able to convince skeptics of any of this. My only hope is that they will take the trouble to consider how two or three determiners behave in detail. They can then draw their own conclusions. DCDuring TALK 06:35, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
MacMillan considers most and much to have three parts of speech: pronoun, adverb, and determiner. Cambridge Dictionaries consider most to have the same three parts of speech, and much to be just a determiner. MacMillan considers what we currently label noun sense 1 to be a pronoun; Merriam-Webster, on the other hand, agrees with how we've split the pronoun vs noun senses. - -sche (discuss) 06:18, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
What you neglected to mention was what part of speech Merriam-Webster classifies it as: an adjective. Which is how it's defined in the Oxford English Dictionary (1971 edition, the one I have at home, no subscription required), Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary and Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, Webster's New World Dictionary, The American Heritage Dictionary, The American College Dictionary, The Random House Dictionary, and Funk & Wagnalls, as well as in the Simon & Shuster Handbook for Writers. While the free "Oxford Dictionaries" website calls it a "determiner", it also describes it as a superlative adjective in an example sentence. Our entry now contains no mention of adjectives. I'm not saying that it's not a determiner, or that dictionaries or grammars which so describe it are wrong. Merely that most people have no idea what a determiner is, and if you try to describe or explain the category and how it differs from a subclass of adjectives (to which a class of pronouns has been added), their eyes are going to glaze over and they'll have no idea what you're talking about. Everybody knows what an adjective is. So if you want to say that a word is a "determiner" because some modern grammarians and dictionaries have adopted the term and applied it to certain words, go ahead. But don't erase the heading of "adjective" if you want people to understand what part of speech it is. Put the two descriptions alongside each other; by all means do so (without implying that one is correct or the other incorrect, or that one is "modern" and one "dated", which is the same thing). But Wiktionary does a disservice to users when it eliminates established and familiar terminology in favour of unfamiliar and highly-technical distinctions that most people don't understand, in this case leaving readers with no clue that the two senses currently listed as "determiners" are ones that would otherwise have been called "adjectives". P Aculeius (talk) 13:37, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
I don't think the free ODO website "describes it as a superlative adjective", at least I didn't found an "example sentence" where it's supposed to do that, all I see is "adverb forming the superlative of adjectives". Incidentally the subscription-only online OED divides its entry into three parts: "adjective and determiner", "pronoun and noun", and "adverb". Funny things, these English parts of speech. "Seven", for instance, is simply a cardinal number per ODO, either an adjective or a noun per OED, and either a numeral or a noun per Wiktionary. --Droigheann (talk) 14:25, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
I assume we're seeing the same thing, but what it says is: "Forming the superlative of adjectives and adverbs". It's not calling it an adverb that forms the superlative of adjectives. However, if OED online refers to it as an "adjective and determiner", and most print and all older dictionaries call it an adjective, then perhaps what we should consider is creating a new header: "adjective or determiner" (and perhaps one for "pronoun or determiner", since that also seems to occur). This wouldn't replace the adjective header in all instances, but only those in which a word is considered both, depending on the authority, for a given sense. So "green" would still be an adjective, but "most" would be listed as "adjective or determiner" (alternative titles: "adjective and determiner", "adjective (determiner)", "adjective and/or determiner"). Not surprised by the treatment of "seven." As an abstract concept, it's a thing, which makes it a noun. But most of the time it's used to describe nouns, and so is usually an adjective. Under the traditional headings, "numbers" are either nouns or adjectives, depending on usage. Not sure if an ordinal number couldn't be considered a pronoun instead of a noun. However, as I've always understood it, the term "numeral" refers to a symbol representing a number; i.e. 5 or XII, standing for the "numbers" five, twelve, or twelfth. This may not be a universally recognized distinction, however. P Aculeius (talk) 15:42, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
Re most at ODO: It has the header "adverb" just above "Forming the superlative of adjectives and adverbs", exactly like it has the header "suffix" just above the same claim at -est. As regards numbers/numerals, I suspect it's a matter of tradition and/or interpretation, and anyway not directly related to most: I just wanted to allude to the fact that there are cases where a grammar or a dictionary has to be arbitrary because there's no generally accepted approach. --Droigheann (talk) 16:34, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
I see what you mean. It's saying that it makes the adjectives or adverbs modified superlative, rather than calling it a superlative itself, so this isn't an example of adjectival use, even though OED does use the word "adjective" in addition to "determiner". Sorry for the confusion. P Aculeius (talk) 16:41, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
In fact I wouldn't be surprised if they used "adjective and determiner" without further specifying which applies to which following subsection precisely because they too couldn't come to an agreement ;). Or maybe they wanted to imply "for some this is an adjective, for others a determiner, it's not for us to judge". Or maybe they meant "here it's an adjective and at the same time a determiner" ... who can tell? --Droigheann (talk) 23:50, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
Hence my opinion that adjectives and pronouns need to be so labeled, even when they can also be described as "determiners". I don't object to indicating that something is a determiner, but I do think it's a mistake to pretend that they're not still basically adjectives or pronouns. P Aculeius (talk) 01:54, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
Not all sources will recognise "determiner" as a distinct class anyway. So with your proposal, every single "Determiner" would become "Adjective or determiner". We might as well just stick with "Determiner". What we can do, though, is templatise the header so that it points to Appendix:Glossary#determiner. —CodeCat 16:02, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
I don't think I understand your logic. "Not all sources will recognise 'determiner' as a distinct class anyway... [therefore] we might as well just stick with 'Determiner'." All sources recognize "adjective" or "pronoun". Why not favour headings that everyone understands and recognizes? I'm happy to compromise with a header that indicates that some adjectives or pronouns are considered "determiners" by some sources. But it makes no sense to favour a heading that many people and sources do not recognize to the exclusion of one that everyone does understand. P Aculeius (talk) 16:37, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
I think "determiner" is a reasonable description for these terms; it describes succinctly and specifically the class of pronominal adjectives, articles and similar entities, which behave similarly to each other and have lots of special properties vis-a-vis regular adjectives. Traditional grammar arbitrarily segregates a, an, the as "articles" and has problems classifying other determiners, e.g. "my" is sometimes called a "possessive pronoun" (although it doesn't function as a noun, like most pronouns do) or a "possessive adjective" (which is better used to describe things like Russian's -ов/-ин adjectives) or other things. Among the special properties:
  • Cross-linguistically, determiners can often be used as pronouns (cf. "this is" vs. "this horse is", also "most", Latin meus "my/mine", etc.)
  • Cross-linguistically, determiners have a special position w.r.t. normal adjectives, e.g. in English they must always go first before any adjectives
  • There are often restrictions on stacking determiners, whereas adjectives can normally be stacked ("the large, red, beautiful house"), e.g. in English you can't say "this my horse" or "my this horse" (although Italian allows "questo mio cavallo")
  • Determiners often have special morphological properties that are not shared by adjectives, e.g. German's der-words and ein-words or the "pronominal declension" of Latin, Sanskrit and many other old Indo-European languages
  • etc. Benwing2 (talk) 06:15, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
As explained above, nobody is arguing that words shouldn't be labeled as "determiners". The argument is that "determiner" shouldn't be used in place of the identification of a word as an adjective (or pronoun, in cases where pronouns are considered determiners). As you've just demonstrated, figuring out what is or isn't a determiner is a tricky, technical business. The typical English speaker doesn't understand what's meant by "cross-linguistically" unless you explain it, and won't necessarily know what other languages do with their equivalent words; won't analyze to see if they can be used as multiple parts of speech, have special positions, won't be familiar with "stacking", and will not understand terms like "special morphological properties" or "pronominal declension" or be familiar with Latin, Sanskrit, or other old Indo-European languages. If these are (some of) the distinguishing properties of determiners, then the distinction is useless to the average reader trying to understand what is meant by the heading. By comparison, nobody is confused by the basic definition of an adjective: a word that describes a noun or pronoun.
Apparently most determiners are also considered adjectives, although a few may be pronouns, or either, depending on their use (note that many words can be multiple parts of speech depending on the sense or usage). For that matter, articles such as a, an, and the are also adjectives; nobody objects to identifying them as articles, however; the best way to consider articles may be as a particular subset of adjectives. Which is probably the best way to describe adjective determiners. A subset of adjectives identified by particular technical rules, which most speakers of the language either do not know, apply without understanding, or do not need to know. And, as also considered above, all or nearly all printed dictionaries, most dictionaries found in homes, schools, and libraries, and most on-line dictionaries still describe them as adjectives, even if they also call them determiners; Wiktionary seems to be exceptional in suggesting that they're not adjectives. Why?
Wiktionary's goal is to be as inclusive and helpful as it is possible for a dictionary to be, so why would it reject the most familiar and common terminology in favour of a very recent distinction, the rules of which simply fly over most people's heads? Again, I'm not arguing that the word "determiner" be stricken as a description from the definitions of words to which it applies. Merely that such words should be clearly labeled "adjectives" when they are adjectives, whatever else they may be. Would it be so difficult to use a heading such as "adjective or determiner", "adjective and determiner", "adjective, determiner", or "adjective (determiner)"? It would certainly make Wiktionary entries more accessible to readers. P Aculeius (talk) 13:18, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
As modern grammarians understand them, determiners are a separate class from adjectives, so calling them adjectives is inaccurate. The dictionary is in the business of presenting accurate information, even if (perhaps especially if) it is information readers are unaware of. Many English speakers and many grammar textbooks from the past, and even many from the present day, erroneously think that capitalization is what determines whether something is a common noun or a proper noun, but our entries do not label all capitalized things proper nouns, nor all lowercase things common nouns, because that would be inaccurate: American ‎(person from America) and Archimedes' screw are common nouns; bell hooks and ffrench are proper nouns. Over the years Wiktionarians have often fixed entries like this. (Another issue with "adjective and determiner" is that we have traditionally limited part of speech headers to one part of speech. We've also tended not to have links inside headers, but perhaps we should revisit that and link determiner as CodeCat suggests.) - -sche (discuss) 21:52, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
That seems to be your point of view, not demonstrable fact. Who decides what parts of speech there are in English? Nobody. We don't have a governing authority deciding what is and isn't English. A point Wiktionarians should be all too aware of, considering the frequency with which the doctrine of Wiktionary being "descriptivist" in the sense that it defines words as they're used rather than with some notion of correctness or etymological meaning is trotted out. The notion that it is inaccurate to call a word an adjective merely because some grammarians and dictionaries refer to that type of word as a "determiner" is an assertion of correctness which apparently represents a distinct minority opinion. Nearly all dictionaries continue to refer to such words as adjectives, even if they also use the word "determiner" to refer to them.
Just as importantly, this doctrine flies in the face of the notion of Wiktionary as "descriptivist", in the sense that it rejects the common understanding of most English speakers, giving as justification that common use and understanding are "incorrect". So you need to make a choice. Is Wiktionary supposed to be the most inclusive dictionary, or the most correct dictionary? Are Wiktionarians the arbiters of English grammar, deciding for the rest of the English-speaking world what is and isn't a part of speech, when even the cited authorities cannot agree? It's not Wiktionary's job to push the English language forward, discarding rules and concepts that editors consider obsolete, even though the rest of the English-speaking world does not, and enforcing their own ideas of how English grammar works or ought to work.
As for the suggestion that a link be placed in section headings, to an encyclopedia article explaining what a "determiner" is, and how to tell whether a word is one, simply to avoid using the word "adjective" to describe words generally regarded as adjectives: how could that possibly be a better solution than simply keeping the traditional definition of an adjective in the header? No further explanation would be needed, as everyone understands what an adjective is; but even with the benefit of an encyclopedia article defining what a "determiner" is, most people will still be left scratching their heads as to just what part of speech it is after reading it. And why exactly should anyone have to read an article about it, anyway? It doesn't take an encyclopedia article to understand what an adjective is. That can be summarized in eight words: "a word that describes a noun or pronoun." So, is the goal here to avoid anything that would actually be useful to the average reader? Outside the Wiktionary community, can one person out of a hundred define what a "determiner" is, in a way that reliably and predictably includes them and excludes non-determiners? Can it even be done without a series of bullet points, using complex grammatical concepts that most people have never heard of, and omitting the finer distinctions that distinguish them from similar parts of speech? That doesn't sound like a dictionary that's trying very hard to serve all readers. P Aculeius (talk) 22:28, 29 January 2016 (UTC)

There have been some prior discussions, some of which go over this very same ground:

You can probably find more.

It's not that this hasn't been discussed. We didn't rush to add "Determiners" because it was the latest fashion. (It isn't.) DCDuring TALK 00:40, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

  • I have taken a run at correcting the entry, retaining the Determiner heading. To summarize the changes:
    Usage examples have been moved, edited, and added.
    Citations have been moved.
    {{sense}} templates have been added.
    Countability/uncountability labels have been edited.
Questions about revising our presentation practices for entries for words some call Determiners are Beer Parlor matters, possibly requiring one or more votes. It seems a bit complicated to me. DCDuring TALK 17:06, 29 January 2016 (UTC)


Discussion moved to WT:RFV.

The "penny century": 1920s slang or one-time joke?

Hello. The expression "penny century" is used in the December 12, 1920, sunday page of the classic comic-strip Krazy Kat. It's a pun on "the penitentiary", but I couldn't find whether it was actual slang or a one-time joke?

Context: They're talking animals, and that page is about a blind pig beggar. A mouse notices he's a fake blind and reports him to the police station. They send a cop, but bleeding-heart Krazy Kat runs ahead to avoid the pig "be put in the klink". The pig is asleep and the cat fixes him. When the cop and mouse arrive, there's no evidence and the cop leaves. The cat says to the mouse, eye dialect included:

Was'nt it kleeva of me to fix that poor "blind-pig" up like that, and save him from the penny century, or something, heh? [sic]

(It's lettered ALL-CAPS but I assumed lowercase rather than the Penny Century.)

The thing is, Herriman's strip was full of wordplay and mangled words and eye dialect, but also real slang, so it's hard to tell: slang or nonce?

P.S.: Looking it up, it's drowned out by modern things:

  • Some modern biking slang that should maybe be documented?

Okay, that's all. Thanks if you can find something! 06:39, 29 January 2016 (UTC)

It says here [20] that the name of the modern comic book character Penny Century is a pun on penitentiary, but this could be an independently discovered pun. I wouldn't be surprised if this was a one-time joke. Benwing2 (talk) 07:28, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
Well, I was wondering if it could have been in use in some blues or folk songs of the era, as Herriman was often quoting from them... Or maybe not. Thanks. 19:47, 31 January 2016 (UTC)

an all, and all

I assume an all is etymologically a dialectal form of and all. Can and all be used the same way as an all? If so, an all should be switched to soft-redirect to and all via some "form of" template, yes? (Should they have the same part-of-speech header?) - -sche (discuss) 08:35, 29 January 2016 (UTC)

It appears to be from and + all (maybe and + al(so) ?). I am not familiar with and all being used in a similar way Leasnam (talk) 20:54, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
If there were cites for an all we could possibly answer the questions. It might be that the definition of an all ("as well") could be subsumed into def 3 of and all:
(dialectal) Used to add emphasis.
He starts yelling and we come running to help, but a fat load of thanks we get and all!
Cites would help. DCDuring TALK 21:03, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
None of the 6 uses of an all at COCA seem to be anything but alternative forms of and all with the definitions that we have there. OTOH, some of the 49 uses at BNC, mostly from speech, could be read as "as well'. Eg, "So we lost, but went down fighting, and had a good night out an all. Which makes it all okay, I guess." DCDuring TALK 21:12, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
It's basically a Scottish thing: [21]. --Droigheann (talk) 22:16, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
I didn't know that dictionary. Thanks. DCDuring TALK 01:24, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
You're welcome. You can find some instances in the Scottish corpus too ([22], [23]), but of course as "an" in Scottish texts can be "an" or "and" and "a" can be "a", "all" or even "I" one has to look for them. I'll treat our entries on Monday if I remember. --Droigheann (talk) 02:23, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
The D-less form is certainly Scottish; indeed I’d say markedly Scots as spelt in the heading, because in English texts (Scottish or otherwise) it’s usually graced with an eye-dialect apostrophe—often an’ a’, as in w:The Hundred Pipers#Lyrics. (BTW an can also mean “if”.)—Odysseus1479 (talk) 03:31, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
It's not exactly eye dialect, it's the apologetic apostrophe. --Droigheann (talk) 22:01, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

tenpercenters - Jewish origin

The term "tenpercenters" has its roots in Jewish literature. The Hebrew version is "ma'asair". It can be found in the Old Testament, particularly the Torah (a.k.a. the Five Books of Moses).—This comment was unsigned.

Well we don't have an entry for tenpercenter for a start, and your Hebrew word is written in Latin script, which is a lot less helpful than in Hebrew script. Renard Migrant (talk) 22:57, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
The entry is at ten-percenter, and the term מַעְשַׂ֤ר just means tenth or tithe. It has no relationship with ten-percenter beyond being coincidentally the same number. Chuck Entz (talk) 23:57, 29 January 2016 (UTC)

Can anyone check the Spanish entry for van?

Hi! I am not sure if it is the right place to post here, so here I go! I don't speak Spanish at all, so I can't fix this one. But I notice that in the Spanish entry for van, the "second person plural ..." entry conflicts with the one shown in the conjugation table for Spanish ir. Thanks for the fix/explanation! --TheBlueWizard (talk) 03:41, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

That’s because the Spanish pronoun usted is used with third-person verbs despite being a second-person pronoun. — Ungoliant (falai) 04:00, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

Should Suggilate be spelled with two Ls (Suggillate)?

Our version is spelled suggilate, but Webster's Unabridged Dictionary 1913 spells it as Suggillate (with 2 Ls). These are the only 2 dictionaries I can find it in, except Wordnik (which is explicitly copying our version) and at Merriam-Webster.com (which lists the noun form "Suggillation" (again with 2 Ls) as a medical term, but not the verb "Suggilate/Suggillate"). 2600:1015:B106:F21E:C58E:CDC7:232A:AA22 06:21, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

@2600:1015:B106:F21E:C58E:CDC7:232A:AA22, SemperBlotto, Renard Migrant, Chuck Entz: Latin usage isn't entirely unanimous on this; the Latin verb can be spelt suggillō, suggilō, or sūgillō; du Cange, Gaffiot, the OLD, and Niermeyer all lemmatise the suggill- spelling, whilst Lewis & Short lemmatise sūgillo (presumably for consistency with its presumed etymon, sūgō). This suggests that suggillate is the preferred spelling etymologically, but that suggilate and sugillate are also etymologically justifiable. — I.S.M.E.T.A. 02:34, 31 January 2016 (UTC)

Japanese "verb conjugation"

I just happened on this entry: 傳送. Basically a Chinese word meaning "transmission", it forms a verb in Japanese in the absolutely standard way, using the auxiliary verb する (suru). Of course the entry for suru contains its full conjugation, as it should, but the entry for 傳送 also contains a copy of this conjugation, with 傳送 prefixed, all repeated in kana and romanisation. This strikes me as unimaginably silly, and not helpful, because it fails to present the generalisation. It is as though in a dictionary in some other language, every English entry for an adjective included the complete conjugation of the verb "to be" to show the predicative use of the adjective. Is this an isolated example, and can I just delete it? Imaginatorium (talk) 14:11, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

I don’t see the problem. I assume you realize that these entries are for English-speakers, most of whom have little knowledge of Japanese grammar. The entries are not for native Japanese. I think the 傳送 entry is good the way it is. —Stephen (Talk) 23:59, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
Of course I understand the purpose of en:wikt; can you see the problem if every English adjective came with a complete conjugation of the verb to be? The word 傳送 is invariable; it can be made into a verb by adding suru, just as war can be made into a verb by adding make. Should we give the entire conjugation of make at war as well? Imaginatorium (talk) 03:44, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
  • I think it's fine as it is. The JA editors went rounds arguing the pros and cons of this approach, and what you observe on that entry is the consensus we arrived at.
Japanese monolingual dictionaries give 伝送 (the modern spelling) as a suru verb. Native speakers understand how suru works, so there's no need to go into conjugation. For that matter, native speakers understand how conjugation works, so aside from a few cryptic notations to indicate conjugation type, dictionaries don't give any real conjugation information at all. Wiktionary is not bound by the same restrictions, so entries include lots of explicit information that is merely alluded to, if that, in printed dictionaries. Moreover, this is all handled by templates, so there's no concern of manual labour, or of information getting out of sync.
I will ask a question in return, Imaginatorium: what harm is there in including this information? It's apparent that you, personally, don't see value in this. But others do. Why should we remove it? What harm is there in keeping it? ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 04:47, 31 January 2016 (UTC)


Certainly no dispute over the meaning, but trillions here is described as an adjective. Surely it's a noun, the plural of trillion. Same as billions, millions, quadrillions and gazillions. Renard Migrant (talk) 14:59, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

But who really cares about grammar?
The usage example is clearly for a noun. But eventually English might morph into an inflected language in which something like trillionsa will be an inflected form of an adjective modifying dollars, which would be closer to the semantics. DCDuring TALK 15:41, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
Yep, I've moved the usex. - -sche (discuss) 20:52, 30 January 2016 (UTC)


In April last year, the page on "satt" was edited (https://en.wiktionary.org/w/index.php?title=satt&type=revision&diff=32897640&oldid=32663672) to remove the usage notes that a genitive object with "satt" was archaic; in the definitions, "with accusative" was changed to "with accusative or genitive", and the given example which was in accusative had been switched to genitive. Now, this edit seems to me to be pretty prescriptivist -- I've personally never seen it used with genitive, but I'm not a native speaker. Should these edits be reverted? TrioLinguist (talk) 20:56, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

The editor who made the change is a POV-pusher of older, often no-longer-used spellings and grammar who(m?) we've been cleaning up after for a while. Their edit was par for the course, and illustrates why we tolerated them for so long: they're taking something which could be argued to be inaccurate in one direction and changing it... but pushing it deceptively, inaccurately far in the other direction. (I finally blocked them the other day after they marked the current spelling of dass as "obsolete".) Use of satt with the genitive isn't labelled "archaic" by German dictionaries like DWDS and the Duden, but it's not accepted without comment, either; they label it gehoben, which generally corresponds to our label {{lb|de|literary}}, and it may in fact be archaic in actual practice: google books:"Faulheit satt" and google books:"Dummheit satt" show use with the genitive in the 1700s and 1800s, and use with the accusative in the modern era. The collocation "des Lebens satt" (vs "das Leben satt") does still see use in the modern era, but it is a set phrase from 1 Chronicles 23; contrast the dates of the hits for "des Todes satt" and "den Tod satt". - -sche (discuss) 22:14, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

"esforzar" spanish conjugation

There are errors with the conjugation for the verb "esforzar" and I've got no idea how to fix those. (talk) 21:59, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

The problem seems to be in {{es-conj-zar (o-ue)}}. All of the entries that use this template have errors in the past participles. Only the masculine singular returns correctly; the other three forms are wrong. —Stephen (Talk) 23:52, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
Fixed. Benwing2 (talk) 06:44, 31 January 2016 (UTC)

"never!" (interjection)

In Wallace and Gromit's 3rd short film (A Close Shave), there's this exchange:

"[My father] was an inventor."
"Never! Well, I do a bit of that myself."

Are we missing an interjection sense at never that covers this? --Daniel Carrero (talk) 01:17, 31 January 2016 (UTC)

It sounds like a shortening of well, I never, includable if it's attested. - -sche (discuss) 01:30, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
I'd say the sense is closer to "you don't say". I would have assumed it was just "never" as in "that was never the case; I can hardly believe it". Equinox 14:01, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
It does sound like an interjection rather than an adverb to me. It's basically a synonym of no way, expressing surprise. Renard Migrant (talk) 20:04, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
I've been trying to think how I could cite that use, since apparently I can't just search for "never" and expect a (seemingly rare) interjection sense to come up.
I even searched for "never I do a bit of that" to see if someone had published that quotation in Google Books or Google Groups. (0 results) --Daniel Carrero (talk) 23:49, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
Perhaps "never he said", "never she exclaimed" etc.? Equinox 23:54, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
@Equinox Thanks for the idea, I'll search for it later when I have the time. --Daniel Carrero (talk) 02:27, 3 February 2016 (UTC)

on the town

The header says "adjective", the headword-line template says "adverb", and the category says "prepositional phrase". Which is it? - -sche (discuss) 01:31, 31 January 2016 (UTC)

Prepositional phrase includes both adj and adv. That's why we have it as a PoS. DCDuring TALK 02:07, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
Thanks. - -sche (discuss) 07:59, 31 January 2016 (UTC)

is "smoke" meaning "beat" used in the UK? Australia?

Following up on #Smoke (v), it seems improbable that "smoke" would mean "beat someone at something" only in the US and New Zealand, but other meanings offer so much interference when searching (and books don't always say where their authors are from) that I can't find clear evidence that it's used elsewhere. Can anyone confirm? If it's a general sense of the word, not limited to any particular dialects, we could remove "US, New Zealand" from the context label. Usage examples: "we smoked them at rugby", "we smoked the other team". - -sche (discuss) 07:59, 31 January 2016 (UTC)

It's used this way in Canada as well. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 18:07, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
I can't think of any obvious British usage. I mean, I'd understand it of course but it doesn't strike me as British. Renard Migrant (talk) 20:06, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
@Renard Migrant: It doesn't strike you as specifically British, or it strikes you as specifically not British? --WikiTiki89 19:29, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
I don't think I've ever encountered this in British speech or writing. Equinox 19:35, 3 February 2016 (UTC)

Latin verb "lacio"

I came across the page lexi, which says that the word is the 1st person singular perfect active indicative of the verb lacio. However, on the page for lacio, it says that the verb has no perfect forms, as does Lewis and Short. Looking at it now, it wasn't just lexi that was created — the entire perfect system was created for this verb (i.e. lexero, lexeram, lexisti, etc.) Could this be a bot error or something like that? Also, the page for lacio itself is missing a conjugation table. Calucido (talk) 18:26, 31 January 2016 (UTC)


How is this pronounced? A user tagged the pronunciation section with a verification template, disputing that it could be pronounced with a schwa in the second syllable. - -sche (discuss) 23:05, 31 January 2016 (UTC)

In Greek, it's Σόλων, or /so'lōn/, and accordingly The Bantam New College Latin & English Dictionary gives "Sol•ō(n)". However, Webster's Biographical Dictionary gives "sō'lŏn; -lŭn", and The Cambridge Biographical Encyclopedia gives "sohlon". So in English it's usually pronounced with a short vowel or schwa in the second syllable, but in Greek and Latin the second o is long. The first o is stressed in Greek, but written with an omicron rather than an omega. It's treated as a long o in English, but it looks like the stress is always on the first syllable, which probably explains why the second o is treated as short in English. P Aculeius (talk) 23:27, 31 January 2016 (UTC)

February 2016

law of one

How general is this? I can only find it discussed with relation to a particular book, "The Ra Material" (supposed taped interviews with the spirit of the Egyptian sun-god). Equinox 12:44, 1 February 2016 (UTC)

index word?

Nouveau Dictionnaire Larousse page.JPG

What is the English term for the "index words" that are often found at the top of a page of an encyclopedia or dictionary, as for example CYPHELLE - CYPRINIDES on top of the right-hand page of this sample of Larousse? Are they simply index words? --Hekaheka (talk) 15:39, 1 February 2016 (UTC)

They're called guide words (a term we don't have, but see [24]). —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 15:48, 1 February 2016 (UTC)


Just noticed we have /ɡɹɪ.ˈmeɪs/ as one of our pronunciations. Any dictionaries have this? Who pronounces it this way? Renard Migrant (talk) 22:53, 1 February 2016 (UTC)

While we're at it, I assume "A distortion of the countenance" is from the Webster's 1913 dictionary as it's so old fashioned. I mean, countenance rather than face, lucky for me I know what that means. Renard Migrant (talk) 22:57, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
Merriam-Webster, Oxford Dictionaries, and American Heritage all include the /ɡɹɪ.ˈmeɪs/ variant. Can't say I've ever heard it myself, but it's in them. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 13:17, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
Open challenge to anyone who can find evidence of this on the Internet. YouTube, facebook videos, Vimeo (etc.) would be great. Renard Migrant (talk) 20:28, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
This stack exchange thread provides some references (and at google books:"gri-mace" "grim-ace" there are more) suggesting that /ɡɹɪ.ˈmeɪs/ was the pronunciation in the 1800s, but that people must have already been changing by then to the current pronunciation /ˈɡɹɪm.əs/, since prescriptivists were railing against it. There've been a few cases (bon appétit is one) where dictionaries claim one pronunciation can be used, but we've removed it from the pronunciation section due to a conspicuous lack of real-world use. The poster of that stack exchange thread claims to use "gri-MACE", though. - -sche (discuss) 23:45, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
OED has only /ɡrɪˈmeɪs/, including the attached sound file, both for noun and verb [25], [26]. Maybe it's a UK vs US thing? --Droigheann (talk) 19:58, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
Renard is British and hasn't heard of it. And Angr names two American dictionaries that have it. I think it's an 1800s (/ɡɹɪ.ˈmeɪs/) vs 1900s (/ˈɡɹɪm.əs/) thing, with apparently a few pockets of speakers preserving /ɡɹɪ.ˈmeɪs/. - -sche (discuss) 04:34, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
Well there's also Forvo [27] and acapela [28] but of course I don't know how reliable they are. --Droigheann (talk) 14:08, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
I just checked the New Oxford American Dictionary app on my computer: it has "ˈɡrɪməs, ɡrəˈmeɪs" Chuck Entz (talk) 14:21, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
Well, references that are uses, not mentions. An audio file of someone who's told to pronounce a word a certain way defeats the object about as thoroughly as you can defeat an object. Renard Migrant (talk) 17:58, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
Scottish poet Robert Fergusson (1750–1774), in a poem, rhymes "na: rather gleefu' turn your face, / forsake hypocrisy, grimace". John Mitchell, in a work published in 1838, rhymes "without a hindrance or grimace, / a ready grave in every face". I haven't seen more recent examples. - -sche (discuss) 23:13, 4 February 2016 (UTC)

woodwind player

There are entries for woodwinder and woodwindist, both I have never heard of, but "woodwind player" wins hands down on Google: 74,300 untested results for woodwind players, 243 for woodwindists, and 668 for woodwinders. I think it's worth an entry. Donnanz (talk) 09:38, 2 February 2016 (UTC)

I should have known: woodwinder and woodwindist are WurdSnatcher creations. Donnanz (talk) 10:09, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
Being widely used isn't one of our Criteria for inclusion, but being idiomatic is. And a woodwind player is still just a [[woodwind]] [[player]], so there's no need for a separate entry. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 13:14, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
How odd, there is an inexplicable aversion to the use of player, yet there's entries for woodwind instrument and wind instrumentalist. But never mind, translations for woodwind player can go on a different site which doesn't have this kind of phobia. Donnanz (talk) 19:39, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
Those other entries existing doesn't mean they are approved of by all. Equinox 20:14, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
Nor is the aversion "inexplicable"; it has been explicitly explained more than once. Equinox 20:15, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
Off the top of my head I can't think of a single idiom ending in 'player'. X player is a player of X, no matter what X is, be it one word or several. Renard Migrant (talk) 17:59, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
Bit player has a figurative sense. Donnanz (talk) 10:37, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
In that case we're missing a sense at brass, which only talks about "a class of wind instruments", I think a brass player only plays one instrument at a time. --Droigheann (talk) 10:54, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
That has to be true, a brass player has only one mouth, different from a percussionist who may play more than one instrument. A brass band, of course, has several brass players, as well as drummers. Donnanz (talk) 12:08, 6 February 2016 (UTC)

Infiniverse neologism?

This might be one of the countless random entries added by young enthusiasts backing what is either an obscure science fiction reference or an inside joke of some sort, there is this page on the word "infiniverse", an obviously unprofessional addition. It looks like the definition of "universe", also confusing it with the notion of "observable universe", with an extra mystical mention of "dark matter and energy", which I, random everyday user as I am, took the liberty to edit out. This definition has apparently existed since October 2005. Looking through the history of edits, I am growing more dubious as of the legitimacy of the word at all. Search engines return mostly trademarks. Unless coined by a confirmed source, should the "infiniverse" page event exist? 22:45 2 February 2016

Well we're not professionals so looking 'unprofessional' is like a dog that looks like a dog. Also if the word passes WT:CFI, it doesn't matter who made it or whether we like 'unprofessional' due to the inclusion of this single word among millions of others that we have. Renard Migrant (talk) 22:47, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
I can see some (not very many) hits in a Google Books search. You can use WT:RFV if you want to challenge its existence with the given meaning. Equinox 00:18, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
Same random everyday user again. Google Books does return the use of the word "infiniverse" as early as 1888, capitalised or not (also countable, really as a substitute word for universe). My apologies if my first comment was counterproductive. Let me rephrase. "(Tibetan Buddhism) Everything that exists, seen or unseen.(dark matter or energy) The universe is the observed part (material substance) of the infiniverse" is not an acceptable definition. 10:03, 6 February 2016 (UTC)

spot on

Is this really common in American English? It rings British/Australia to my ears. ---> Tooironic (talk) 23:14, 2 February 2016 (UTC)

It's common in American media. Unless it was originally limited to Britain, I would just remove the context label — if it's common everywhere, there's no need for a label. On that note, can you shed any light in last month's thread on whether "smoke" as in "we really smoked (beat) the other team" is used in the UK / Australia? It seems to me like it is, in which case it's another word that's used everywhere and can drop its regional label. - -sche (discuss) 23:50, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
To my American ears this sounds fine. Benwing2 (talk) 01:01, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
Then I support removing the context tag altogether. As for this supposed usage of "smoke", I have never heard it, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. ---> Tooironic (talk) 02:33, 3 February 2016 (UTC)

"carrot" as an example of pronunciation

Please see Wiktionary:Votes/pl-2016-01/Pronunciation. It uses the word carrot as a (simplified) example of a pronunciation section that is being proposed to be added to WT:EL.

Current discussion about using carrot: Wiktionary talk:Votes/pl-2016-01/Pronunciation#Suggested changes. There, @Tharthan said "Carrot is improper [...]" and gave their reasons. Can we keep that example or should we change it?

Please check if the pronunciation information of carrot in the vote is accurate and good as an example entry. I'm also open to using a different word if other people want. I'd just like to use a single entry with all the information (IPA, audio, rhymes, homophones, etc.), since the current pronunciation section in EL has the information a bit scattered in different places with different entries.

Thank you! --Daniel Carrero (talk) 02:23, 3 February 2016 (UTC)

Why not use "was", "of" or "off"? Those words have differing GA and RP pronunciations. Tharthan (talk) 02:27, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
That idea is good, but can we use a word with two or more syllables? It would demonstrate the use of the hyphenation template. --Daniel Carrero (talk) 02:29, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
The problem isn't with "carrot", by the way. It was with how Angr listed the pronunciation transcriptions. Merged pronunciations (such as the cot-caught merger, hurry-furry merger, merry, Mary, marry merger) come after the unmerged pronunciations.

What about cauliflower? Tharthan (talk) 02:27, 3 February 2016 (UTC)

Hmmm. In my speech, marry (/e/) and Mary (/e/) sound the same but merry (/ɛ/) is different, so I'd say /keɹət/ not /kɛɹət/ (which would be spelled kerrot) or /kæɹət/ (not possible). But I suppose I'm in the minority here. Benwing2 (talk) 02:44, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
OK, I see Tharthan made the same point basically. Benwing2 (talk) 02:45, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
@Tharthan As for cauliflower, you could say that cot-caught mergers in the US have either [ɑ] or [ɒ] (or [ɔ]?) depending on the speaker. Benwing2 (talk) 02:48, 3 February 2016 (UTC)

@Benwing2 In response to your" /kæɹət/ (not possible)" I notice that with speakers with the merry, Mary, marry merger, they are often literally taught the merger as children, as in they are taught that /æ/ cannot come before /ɹ/. I have always found this amusing; that a merger would be taught to children, so as to stop them from pronouncing the words in the original, unmerged fashion. I would be like if I were to teach my children that "sh" cannot come before a consonant, and that instead it is pronounced as "z" so that when they read "shmoe", they read it as "zmoe". Anyways, my point is that it is very strange that a merger would be taught to children. At best it's misguided, at worse, I daresay it could be malicious. Tharthan (talk) 02:53, 3 February 2016 (UTC)

  • You have stepped, apparently unintentionally, into a minefield (namely the minefield of how to represent those confusing Mary, marry, merry sounds; even the agreed-upon IPA symbols we use aren't really good representations of how many pronunciations of some of them actually sound). If all you're looking to do is give an example of format, pick some other word. :) How about lever or privacy, which have different GenAm/US and RP/UK pronunciations? - -sche (discuss) 03:15, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
    To recap what I said in the discussion I linked above: if it's not asking too much, I'd like a single example entry with all pronunciation items simultaneously: 1) IPA pronunciations; 2) audio files; 3) rhymes; 4) homophones; 5) hyphenation. (I hope I didn't forget anything?) Thanks for all the suggestions, but cauliflower, lever and privacy don't seem to have homophones, so I can't use them as example entries with {{homophones}} in them. The word carrot seems to be perfect because it has all the items, including "caret, karat, carat" as homophones (assuming this list is accurate). Only one or two homophones would be okay. If there's actually no "perfect" entry like I asked, I would settle with using multiple example entries. --Daniel Carrero (talk) 03:35, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
Carrot is fine with me. Benwing2 (talk) 03:39, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
BTW, yes, caret, karat and carat all sound the same as carrot. Benwing2 (talk) 03:42, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
Yes, Benwing2 is correct, "caret", "karat", "carat" and "carrot" are all homophones. The choice of "carrot" is fine, so long as the pronunciations are properly listed. Tharthan (talk) 03:44, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
"Properly" meaning giving your preferred pronunciation first, as opposed to the one used by the majority of Americans? —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 06:00, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
No, properly meaning giving mergerless pronunciations first just as we do with other entries. Unless you are also going to suggest that the initial pronunciation given for "caught" to be the same as for "cot", and the pronunciation for "both" to be the "bolth" pronunciation, having /pɔɹ/ before /pʊɹ/ in the "poor" entry, or the "melk" pronunciation for milk, etc. etc. The number of people who use a merged pronunciation is irrelevant to whether a pronunciation ought to come first or second. For instance, a major city in a country might have a certain pronunciation be used that is not the traditional pronunciation, and that city may have loads and loads of people in it. However, in other places the traditional pronunciation is still used on a daily basis, and so that pronunciation should be listed first, especially if there are other dialects in other countries which also use that same pronunciation (and that pronunciation is the only pronunciation used in those other places). It gives entries a neat and tidy look as well to do it that way. It is simply good form.
Mind you, this is not just in regards to English. Look at German "stark", and how the pronunciations are listed there. Now I don't know about you, but /ʃtaɐ̯k/ and /ʃtaːk/ are the pronunciations I have most heard of that word, yet nevertheless /ʃtaʁk/ is the traditional pronunciation, and is a pronunciation still in use, hence it is placed before the "newer" pronunciations. Again, it is simply good form. Tharthan (talk) 14:51, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
Where did you get the idea we give mergerless pronunciations first? I'm unaware of that convention and have never followed it. Especially in a pronunciation labeled General American, a nonmerged pronunciation is quite marginal, since most Americans without the merger don't speak GenAm, but rather a Northeastern or Southern variety. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 15:21, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
Question: Would you list the "cot" pronunciation of "caught" before the "caught" pronunciation of "caught"? Would you list the "melk" pronunciation of "milk" instead of the milk pronunciation of "milk"? Would you list the "bolth" pronunciation of "both" before the "both" pronunciation of "both"? If you would, then you would be in the minority because that's not how pronunciations are generally listed across the English Wiktionary, irrespective of the language (as far as I can tell). If you wouldn't then don't be hypocritical in this scenario.
The number of Californians means that the "cot" pronunciation of "caught" probably number-wise has more speakers in the United States. But, y'see, that's biased. The population of California, and Californians themselves, are not indicative of the rest of the country. Same thing with the Midwest, for instance. The Midwest may like to pronounce route as /ɹaʊt/, but that doesn't make the pronunciation list order /ɹaʊt/, /ɹuːt/.
The other thing is that, as -sche noted: the number of different merged pronunciations for words hit by the merry, Mary, marry merger is ridiculous. Why list your preferred merged pronunciation /kɛɹət/ over other merged pronunciations /keɹət/ / /keəɹət/ / /kɛəɹət/ etc.? At least if we used the unmerged pronunciation, we don't have these problems. Same thing with the cot-caught merger: do we use /ɒ/, /ɑ/ /ɑː/? No, we just use the unmerged pronunciation, which doesn't have those problems. Tharthan (talk) 15:49, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
How about queue (one syllable), aloud (two syllables but not broken up by hyphenation), or wholly, symbol or altar (broken up by hyphenation)? Surely at least one of these is uncontentious... :p - -sche (discuss) 17:59, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
Thanks, any of these would be great to me! (because they all have IPA/audio/rhymes/homophones/hyphenation as I requested) I'd be happy with any of these examples, I'll let other people choose. I'd settle for the one that is less controversial if that makes any sense, whichever allows WT:EL to be updated quicker. :) --Daniel Carrero (talk) 18:29, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
queue, aloud, and symbol don't have separate lines for RP and GA, and the latter two don't have any homophones. It might be confusing to illustrate the use of {{hyphenation}} with a word that doesn't hyphenate. altar has the same problem as carrot, namely two different pronunciations in GA (depending on presence vs. absence of the cot-caught merger this time instead of the Mary-marry-merry merger), but really at this point the only controversy with carrot is which GA pronunciation to list first, and I don't think that's an important enough issue to disqualify it from being used as an example. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 18:58, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
Yeah, like I said, carrot is fine with me, for one. Also, you never addressed "wholly". That has two homophones: holy and holey.Tharthan (talk) 19:07, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
wholly and holy aren't homophones in some accents. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 20:05, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
What, is it a homophone of holly in those other accents, then? Tharthan (talk) 20:14, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
No, wholly has a new phoneme in those accents: see Wholly-holy split. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 21:45, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
I agree with -sche that we should use a word with a less controversial transcription as an example, such as lever or privacy. --WikiTiki89 20:31, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
One of Daniel's desiderata is a word with homophones. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 21:46, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
Even then, isn't it just being read as "whole-ly" or something? And /ɒʊ̯/ is a phoneme I have never seen, but wouldn't it sound something like "au-ww" (I'm reading it as /ɔəʊw/) or something? How on Earth did that come about? Tharthan (talk) 22:10, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
What about censor? Chuck Entz (talk) 04:18, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
lever is homophonous with leaver in British accents. There's also marten, which seems to be homohonous with Martin in all accents, while simultaneously being pronounced differently in the US and UK. Google site:en.wiktionary.org English pronunciation US UK "IPA" "audio" "rhymes" "homophones" "hyphenation" and page through the results until you find something you like. - -sche (discuss) 05:29, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
If it's okay with everybody, I'm going to start Wiktionary:Votes/pl-2016-01/Pronunciation on the scheduled date, which is February 9. The word carrot looks fine to me. This is a wiki, so the example entry of WT:EL#Pronunciation can be changed in the future if people want. --Daniel Carrero (talk) 04:11, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
I used the words suggested here to create Poll: example word. --Daniel Carrero (talk) 05:08, 4 February 2016 (UTC)


I came across this paragraph in Treasure Island:

And now I began to feel that I was neglecting my business; that since I had been so foolhardy as to come ashore with these desperadoes, the least I could do was to overhear them at their councils; and that my plain and obvious duty was to draw as close as I could manage, under the favorable ambush of the crouching trees.

Here the word ambush has no implication of attack or surprise, but only of hiding under cover. We don't seem to have any such sense. --WikiTiki89 20:51, 3 February 2016 (UTC)

Chambers has "a place of lying in wait". Equinox 21:07, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
So the couch, when lying in wait of the pizza delivery guy? It seems a little underspecific. --WikiTiki89 21:13, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
Well, it means lie in wait in the idiomatic sense. Not for pizza. Equinox 22:12, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
Oh. Well it seems that our entry for lie in wait also implies an attack. So that definition doesn't help much. --WikiTiki89 22:47, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
Merriam-Webster has “the persons stationed in ambush; also : their concealed position”. —JohnC5 21:08, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
But that refers back to the the first definition, which does mention a surprise attack. --WikiTiki89 21:13, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
I'm pretty sure this is a metaphorical use. —JohnC5 21:28, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
It's not a very metaphorical book. Otherwise, that would have been a good explanation. --WikiTiki89 21:33, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
What about "crouching trees"? That seems at least a tad metaphorical to me. Either that, or Jim-lad has a lot more to worry about than pirates... Chuck Entz (talk) 07:32, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
Looking at some 200 of many hundreds of uses of ambush at COCA, there were some few uses that did not involve physical attack, but there was at least a metaphorical attack involved. I don't see how there is not some kind of implication of attack even in the Treasure Island quote above. The "crouching trees" support this implication IMO. DCDuring TALK 22:44, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
There is no such implication in the quote. He very explicitly says that his intention is only to eavesdrop. --WikiTiki89 01:17, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
If a word is normally (say, 99% of the time) used with a specific meaning, then in the other 1% the word can bring the normal meaning to what would seem to be an inappropriate context. An author or speaker counts on the reader or audience being influenced by the normal usage and exploits their expectations. That's a large part of creativity in the use of language: somewhat inappropriate, unconventional use of words that nevertheless communicates because of the shared expected meaning.
Pursuing every instance of such creativity is not just losing sight of the forest for the trees, it's losing sight of the trunks for the twigs. DCDuring TALK 15:34, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
There's nothing wrong with taking interest in an unusual twig. It may be that this is an unconventional usage, but I wouldn't know until I've asked the question. --WikiTiki89 15:45, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
This quotation seems to be using a sense more along the lines of the "a place..." ones mentioned above, and they seem to cover it, even insofar as they imply that an attack either literal or figurative is involved. This quotation does seem to be invoking an attack metaphor, as John and DCDuring say. He has penetrated their defences to observe them; they are unaware and would be surprised. - -sche (discuss) 14:37, 5 February 2016 (UTC)

warp, cast

What is a "cast of fish" as in the second definition of warp, which reads "A cast of fish (herring, haddock, etc.); four, as a tale of counting fish." For that matter, what does the whole definition mean? Andrew Sheedy (talk) 21:19, 4 February 2016 (UTC)

Pinging @Leasnam, who added it - I can't make head nor tail of it either. Keith the Koala (talk) 22:24, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
It was taken word for word from Century 1911, usually not a bad source. I don't understand this one. I have a link to Century at the bottom of our entry. DCDuring TALK 22:52, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
No idea either. Renard Migrant (talk) 23:24, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
This Google Books search has some discussion and may generate some cites. I don't see how we can let the wording stand. DCDuring TALK 00:08, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
This is an instance of a rare, archaic or obsolete sense of a word (tale ("count, enumeration") being used in a definition. A warp is a group of four fish used to speed the counting compared to counting by individual fish. It may offer some benefits of averaging (lower standard deviation of weight). We need to weed these out, though I don't know how to identify rare, etc senses of common words. DCDuring TALK 00:17, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
What do you suggest as a new definition? Should it be general ("a group of four"), or specifically refer to fish? There's evidence that it has been used in reference to weeks, but I can't find any actual uses of that. I'll have to take a look and see if I can find cites referring to something other than fish. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 00:26, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
[edit conflict] I see now that tale is meant in one of the archaic/obsolete/rare senses having to do with counting and numbering, and that "four, as a tale of counting fish" may mean something like "approximately four fish," making warp, in this sense, something like "dozen" or "couple" but for four. This is supported by one of the results for "a tale of counting fish", which notes that "a warp of weeks" is a month, or approximately four weeks. Searching "warp of fish" yields a few results, as does "warp of weeks", though the latter are all from dictionaries or wordlists of some sort. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 00:23, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
Notes and Queries (1893) reports: "The fish are counted by taking two in each hand and throwing the four together in a heap. Thus: “Four herrings make a warp. Thirty-three warps make a hundred, or one hundred and thirty-two fish." Hence the value of elementary education in arithmetic. DCDuring TALK 00:32, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
Century also shows a sense of cast ("an allowance; an amount given, as of food: as, a cast of hay for the horses"). HTH. DCDuring TALK 00:38, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
I think both cast and warp refer to throwing, as mentioned above "The fish are counted by taking two in each hand and throwing the four together in a heap." We might call it a "toss" today. Leasnam (talk) 02:03, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
"an allowance; an amount given, as of food: as, a cast of hay for the horses" --Same here, the amount equal to that which can be tossed out at one time/instance Leasnam (talk) 02:05, 5 February 2016 (UTC)

Unusual pronunciations


This word and several of its rhymes say that in the US they can also be pronounced /ˈbɹiːŋ/ (/θiːŋ/, etc). Really, with the first part sounding like brie cheese? It's not in the US dictionaries I checked. Is this GenAm or a specific (sub)dialect? - -sche (discuss) 15:47, 5 February 2016 (UTC)

There was an editor recently promoting this supposedly Californian phenomenon (and a seemingly rare one) of "-ing" beeing pronounced "-eeng". I've always been skeptical of it. --WikiTiki89 15:50, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
Was it the same editor who was trying to convince people that "cole" and "(mono)cle" sounded the same? - -sche (discuss) 15:56, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
I think so. User:Gilgamesh~enwiktionary it seems, who did in fact add this pronunciation to bring. --WikiTiki89 15:57, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
...and who was the one behind the "cole" pronunciations. I am going to remove those pronunciations, then, since I can't find them in dictionaries and the user is known to have ideas about pronunciation which are ... idiosyncratic. There are also a lot of /æ/ words like /ˈæŋkɚ/ (anchor) to which /eɪ/ variants like /ˈeɪŋkɚ/ have been added, labelled "US". I'm guessing that's the same editor. - -sche (discuss) 16:06, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
Actually pronouncing /ˈæŋkɚ/ as something like /ˈeɪŋkɚ/ (in general pronouncing /æŋ/ as [eɪŋ]) is very common in æ-tensing accents. See Wunu's pronunciation at Forvo. --WikiTiki89 16:34, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
What about the alternative /-iːŋks/ pronunciations listed at lynx and some other pages? - -sche (discuss) 17:13, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
Also added by him. --WikiTiki89 17:17, 5 February 2016 (UTC)


The pronunciation /ˈbl̩θ/ is almost certainly spurious and part of the "cole" issue discussed in the section above this. But is /boʊlθ/ valid? For which accents? - -sche (discuss) 17:11, 5 February 2016 (UTC)

I have no idea how widespread it is, but I've always suspected that some people throw in an /l/ (although I've never consciously noticed it). I've even noticed that I myself sometimes almost let an /l/ slip in. As for the process itself, first of all, in these accents, /oʊ̯l/ is already monophthongized as /o(ː)l/ or /ɔ(ː)l/, and in the case of both, the /ʊ̯/ of /boʊ̯θ/ is simply hard to distinguish from /l/ (which is really something like [ɫˠ]), so the /l/ is stuck in instead of the /ʊ̯/, merging with the /o(ː)l ~ ɔ(ː)l/ phoneme. --WikiTiki89 17:27, 5 February 2016 (UTC)


Added by the same user who edited the entries named above: [wɫ̩f]. Has anyone heard it pronounced that way? - -sche (discuss) 20:32, 5 February 2016 (UTC)

You can kill it. Incidentally, I have always pronounced this as /wɔlf/ and pl. /wɔlvz/, in contrast with "Beow[ʊ]lf" and "w[ʊ]lverine", but cannot find any dictionary that attests to that pronunciation, but it's exactly like JessicaMS's pronunciation at Forvo. --WikiTiki89 20:44, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
That seems like it might be a spelling pronunciation. —CodeCat 21:05, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
In this wordreference thread, someone from the Pacific Northwest says they use that pronunciation (sort-of... they also say it's /o/ and that it's the same vowel as "wool", sic). OTOH, I can't find anything more reliable that would confirm that either in the specific case or as a general Pacific Northwest English phenomenon. - -sche (discuss) 21:23, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
I think he's saying that in the Pacific Northwest they pronounce /ʊl/ as /ɔl/, since he says that it's the same as both wool and coal. As for me, I do make a distinction, as I said, I pronounce wolverine with /ʊl/, which makes it seem that the spelling pronunciation theory is insufficient as an explanation, since wolf is a more common word than wolverine (despite X-Men, think), but spelling pronunciations tend to affect uncommon words. --WikiTiki89 21:39, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
It seems like a phonetic variant one might hear in rapid speech. Chuck Entz (talk) 01:43, 6 February 2016 (UTC)

kaufen vs. käufen

This is both a TR and an ES question really, I decided to put it here.

I have occasionally heard an umlauted form of this verb, in particular I remember hearing it in the parody song "wir käufen alle bei ALDI". I wonder if an entry for it is merited, and how widespread it is. As for the etymological question, I wonder if the umlauted version is old or is it only a recent phenomenon? An entry for *kaupijaną was just created, which could be the ancestor of this umlauted form, but of course only if it has been in continued use since Germanic times. Old High German didn't write down umlauts, but Middle High German did, so are there any traces of an umlauted form in MHG? —CodeCat 17:28, 5 February 2016 (UTC)

In Gerhard Koebler's OHG dictionary I find entries for both koufōn (class 2 weak) and koufen (class 1 weak). Umlaut would be expected in the latter form. Now the question is whether the modern käufen descends from old koufen. —CodeCat 17:38, 5 February 2016 (UTC)

The forms formed by strong conjugation (käuft, käufst etc.) are regional nonstandard variants. Matthias Buchmeier (talk) 23:31, 5 February 2016 (UTC)

But what about wir käufen? —CodeCat 00:01, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
I've looked around Booble Gooks and found quite a few hits for the umlauted form and its inflections. So I've created an entry for it now. I'll leave it to someone more knowledgeable to specify where and when this form is actually used. —CodeCat 01:20, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
That seems to be a regional variant too, but from my experience it's far less common than the conjugated forms with Umlaut. Matthias Buchmeier (talk) 12:20, 6 February 2016 (UTC)

by the way

How is this a prepositional phrase? --Fsojic (talk) 20:53, 5 February 2016 (UTC)

Because "by" is a preposition, and "the way" is a noun phrase that is the object of that preposition. This is the very definition of a prepositional phrase. Now to be more specific, it is an adverbial prepositional phrase, and should be labeled as an ===Adverb===. We really shouldn't use ===Prepositional phrase=== as a POS header. --WikiTiki89 20:57, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
Thanks. I thought "prepositional phrase" meant a phrase that behaves syntactically like a preposition. Another question: how is the supposedly British meaning ("irrelevantly; off-topic") under the header "Adverb" different from the first one? And "off-topic" isn't even an adverb itself, why use it to define an adverb? "off-topically" (if it does exist) I could understand, but not this. --Fsojic (talk) 22:05, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
It's just a poorly written entry overall. --WikiTiki89 22:49, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
I had changed the PoS from Adverb to PP. Although many PPs are used both adjectivally and adverbially, I don't think this one is used as an adjective. I could not find it used after a form of be. Though there may be some examples somewhere, it is misleading not to make clear that it is basically (or entirely) adverbial. Whatever changes are made, please make sure it appears in Category:English prepositional phrases, wherever else it appears. DCDuring TALK 04:11, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
That's why I never understood why we have the heading Prepositional phrase at all. What information does it give me, except that the first word is a preposition? I can learn that by clicking on it. Perhaps there is a reason but I'm unable to fathom one out. --Droigheann (talk) 11:31, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
Most prepositional phrases can be used both adjectivally and adverbially. Why would you want to be adding and maintaining duplicate semantic content? DCDuring TALK 13:18, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
Because looking at Category:English prepositional phrases I'm not sure those that can be used both adjectivally and adverbially form such an ovewhelming majority. I can imagine even by the way used attributively, as in "in a by the way manner", but is it adjectival? Wouldn't that imply that a noun used attributively turns into an adjective? --Droigheann (talk) 13:45, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
Don't ascribe to much reality to word classes, especially as we apply them to phrases. I don't know whether there are any dictionaries that label phrases with word-class labels. IMO the focus should be on presentation to the user, avoidance of duplication (for user and contributor), respecting user expectations and, to some extent, reflecting changes in lexicographic fashion (eg, determiners). Lexicographic fashion is far, far behind linguistic fashion, probably because it is more constrained by user expectations. DCDuring TALK 15:01, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
User expectation is what troubles me - when I see Adverb or Adjective, I expect some kind of behaviour; when I see Prepositional phrase I think "So there's a prep, and?" But it may be just me; and there's something in what you say about avoidance of duplication. As regards our treating noun phrases as Nouns, verb phrases as Verbs and so on, that's why I'm ready to put up with almost anything here POS-header-wise, only sometimes I can't help grumbling a bit, sorry for that. I'm getting too old and fogeyish I guess. --Droigheann (talk) 16:01, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
We had a vote, but there's no reason why we couldn't go back to the former approach. It would be much easier to decide if we had some facts about users. As it is, we depend a lot on imitating other dictionaries.
The adoption of "Determiner" as a PoS heading was more controversial (I initially opposed it.). Part of the decision was based on a few dictionaries (all UK-based, BTW) adopting the practice. I think Oxford uses "determiner" as a label in some of their UK editions, but not in (any of?) their US editions. One advantage I've found is that I've learned a good deal more grammar since we've adopted "Determiner". DCDuring TALK 16:31, 6 February 2016 (UTC)

lesser mortal

Does anyone have a good definition for this? It's listed twice in requested entries, in 2011 and 2016 (the 2nd one by me without noticing the first) Donnanz (talk) 10:10, 6 February 2016 (UTC)

Isn't this just lesser + mortal? We may be missing a sense at lesser, but unless there's a use of it that I'm not familiar with, I would think it's SOP. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 18:51, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
I have the feeling it could be idiomatic - "we lesser mortals" for instance. Donnanz (talk) 19:34, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
What makes that evidence of idiomaticity? Consider "we members of the City Council". DCDuring TALK 20:36, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
Not in the same league IMO. Not the same as mere mortal either. I did find a wee bit here [29] - "You're looking down your nose at us lesser mortals". Donnanz (talk) 00:26, 7 February 2016 (UTC)
OK. how about the very attestable we Members of Parliament? Is that any less idiomatic? I still don't see why you think the Oxford Dictionary usage example for "lesser" makes lesser mortal idiomatic? It would seem just the opposite: they wouldn't use an idiom to illustrate the meaning of a component term. Eg, He kicked the bucket would not be used to illustrate the meaning of bucket or kick. DCDuring TALK 00:45, 7 February 2016 (UTC)
Hmm, right, whether it's an idiom or not is debatable. But it's apparently also regarded as humorous [30] (unfortunately this site is ruled by the advertisers). Anyway I thought an entry for lesser mortal is worthwhile, so I created one, adding an example sentence which can be altered, and some quotations would be useful. By the way, Andrew Sheedy is right in saying there is a sense missing at lesser. Donnanz (talk) 14:34, 7 February 2016 (UTC)
That's not the definition I'm familiar with. I often see it used about someone who's particularly brilliant at what they do, a Serena Williams, Albert Pujols or Ronnie O'Sullivan for example. 'A lesser mortal would have crumbled under the pressure' isn't someone of inferior social status but someone who isn't as virtuosic. If the lower social status sense is real, could someone add a couple of citations just to put my mind at ease? Renard Migrant (talk) 15:50, 7 February 2016 (UTC)
I have added "ability", which I very nearly added in the first place. That should cover your point, I think. It can always be revised further. Donnanz (talk) 16:03, 7 February 2016 (UTC)
Added {{rfquote}} to the entry. I'm not sure whether it should be "rfquote" or "rfquote|lang=en"; I did the latter. Donnanz (talk) 19:19, 7 February 2016 (UTC)

male-only disease

Out of pure curiosity, is there a word like gynecopathy for a male-only disease? --Ce mot-ci (talk) 10:58, 6 February 2016 (UTC)

andropathy --Catsidhe (verba, facta) 11:02, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
Cheers Cat. --Ce mot-ci (talk) 19:00, 7 February 2016 (UTC)


See .e#Etymology. I avoided using using {{etyl}} and {{m}}, on purpose; with the current guidelines, Loglan cannot be documented and therefor cannot have a code. How exactly should this be handled? -Xbony2 (talk) 22:13, 7 February 2016 (UTC)

We can have etymology-only languages. Or using plan text as you've done. Renard Migrant (talk) 00:20, 8 February 2016 (UTC)
There's not much point using {{m}} if it can't be linked to, so... plain text it is. -Xbony2 (talk) 19:37, 8 February 2016 (UTC)
There is still some point. {{m|lang||unlinked word}} would still tag the text with metadata (at the HTML level) that is in the language with code "lang". This could be useful information to screen readers and other such things, indicating that it is not English. The code und can be used for an undetermined or unsupported language. --WikiTiki89 20:02, 8 February 2016 (UTC)
Well, alright. -Xbony2 (talk) 21:04, 8 February 2016 (UTC)

Appendix:Proto-Slavic/korabjь (vs. korabljь)

I sort of thought Proto-Slavic was normally reconstructed with l's between labials and /j/, and that the lack of such sounds in certain languages (e.g. West Slavic) is due to them dropping out later. Benwing2 (talk) 23:05, 9 February 2016 (UTC)

It doesn't seem likely that they would have dropped out later, precisely in the locations they had been added in the first place. But we do tend to include the *l in our entries (like *zemlja). This in particular is an unusual case because the *l is lacking in variants of the word in some languages (Serbo-Croatian and Ukrainian), where it would have been expected to be there, although it can also be explained through inter-Slavic borrowing. This word also came in relatively late in the history of Proto-Slavic, as an early borrowing from Greek. Previously, we didn't even have an entry for this in Proto-Slavic and handled each descendant as a direct borrowing from Greek. See also the previous discussion we had in the ES. I'm not sure what we should do here. --WikiTiki89 23:36, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
At least in theory, there are possible cases of inherited -blj- and -plj- sequences. Proto-Balto-Slavic underwent a change of -eu- to -jau-, so this could produce -bljau- and -pljau- from -bleu- and -pleu-. If such cases can be identified, with other Balto-Slavic cognates to confirm it, then we can tell by the outcome in West Slavic what is actually going on. —CodeCat 23:55, 9 February 2016 (UTC)
@Wikitiki89, CodeCat Thanks. Note that a change like [pl] -> [pʎ] -> [pj] may have occurred in Italian, so it's not so far-fetched for labial+/l/+/j/ to have simplified to labial+/j/, and there was analogical pressure to do so. Note that in general sound changes getting reversed isn't so strange, esp. when there are easy analogies to do so; e.g. it's often said that Yiddish reversed the final devoicing of obstruents. Or the Old English changes ɑ -> æ (Anglo-Frisian brightening) -> ɑ -> æ (second fronting in Mercian and such), where we only know such back and forth changes occurred because of intervening changes that interacted with them. Benwing2 (talk) 00:23, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
It's not far-fetched, it's just less likely. But like CodeCat said, if we were to find instances of original *-blj- or *-plj- sequences, then we can know for sure. --WikiTiki89 04:03, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
Not sure if this is what you are looking for, but these four words have blj or plj: Appendix:Proto-Slavic/čaplja, Appendix:Proto-Slavic/sablja, Appendix:Proto-Slavic/stьbljь, Appendix:Proto-Slavic/pljьvati. - -sche (discuss) 22:47, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
In *čaplja, *stьbljь, and *pljьvati, the *l is epenthetic, but *sablja could potentially be just what we were looking for. It does seem interesting that Bulgarian and Macedonian still drop the *l, but all the West Slavic languages keep it. But we have to account for the possibility of later borrowings into West Slavic, and it would be nice if the direct source of the word in Proto-Slavic were clearer. --WikiTiki89 23:36, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
I did some further researching and apparently Latvian has the lateralisation too. For Latvian pļaut there is the Lithuanian cognate piauti, and for spļaut there is spiauti, matching Slavic *pljuti. Greek evidence confirms the PIE sequence -py- here. —CodeCat 01:08, 11 February 2016 (UTC)
Although they are redlinks, various entries also mention Appendix:Proto-Slavic/bljuvati/Appendix:Proto-Slavic/bljьvati, Appendix:Proto-Slavic/bljuzgati, Appendix:Proto-Slavic/bljuščь and Appendix:Proto-Slavic/pljunǫti, if that gives you any blj/plj leads to look into. There's also Appendix:Proto-Slavic/pljuťe, which my previous search missed because it was added after the last database dump. - -sche (discuss) 04:59, 11 February 2016 (UTC)


Is there a special definition of "roads" being used in sentences like "Deaths on British roads rise by 13%"? It's not necessarily literally true, since it doesn't refer to, say, people who had a heart attack on the street. Instead it means "Deaths due to road vehicles increased". Does this deserve a separate definition like "(by extension) Road traffic as a whole"? Smurrayinchester (talk) 07:45, 10 February 2016 (UTC)

I'd be reluctant to add this kind of metonymic usage. On roads means something like "in the system of roads and vehicle". I would find it hard to come up with a substitutable definition of roads that could be part of a prepositional phrase headed by on. IMO deaths on roads conveys its meaning successfully because it brings to mind "deaths typically closely associated with typical activities on roads". I think that typicality is a common element in the use of words to communicate among humans. DCDuring TALK 11:51, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
Reminds me of on camera (recently raised regarding on TV). Equinox 15:06, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
I think that [PREP] + [bare NOUN] often has a more figurative or abstract than [PREP] + [DET/ART] - [NOUN]. There are a lot of them at home, to work/at work/from work/during work, to/at/from/during church/school/hospital (UK English), by car/train/plane/boat.
In/on/for TV/television have the same "feel".
CGEL has a section "Restricted non-referential interpretation of bare NPs" which covers this class of usages of singular count nouns without determiners ("bare"). One type is "role" NPs, eg, president, office manager, which can appear after the preposition as and some others. Other types are fixed expressions or fixed frames of everyday life:
  1. activities linked to locations: hospital, school, stage
  2. indications of status: off/on target, in/out of place
  3. means of transport and communication: by email, by bicycle
  4. meals: lunch, brunch, supper
  5. times: dawn, siesta, noon, two o'clock
  6. repeated nouns: arm in arm, side by side
  7. matched nouns: from father to son, from beginning to end
(I don't think this categorization by any means exhausts the possibilities.) The number of nouns that can be used in these ways is large, with varying, short lists of prepositions for each category, sometimes not working with all the nouns in the category.
I think one implication is that we need to test our definitions for some of the nouns involved to make sure we have suitable definition for it in this kind of use preferably with a usage example. It is conceivable that some would want entries for these, but it cannot be because they cannot be readily understood. DCDuring TALK 18:22, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
I agree with DCDuring; I wouldn't add a sense for such usage. Compare "the Kenyans won the World Cup qualifying match": not all of them, almost all of them didn't play, but we shouldn't add a sense "[a member of] Kenya's World Cup qualifier match team" to Kenyan. - -sche (discuss) 05:03, 11 February 2016 (UTC)
Yes you have to be careful about retrospective logical analysis. The reason is, that's not how language works. We can all find alternative interpretations for language after the fact. A bit like "I have a cat's head on my T-shirt". No I don't, it's a picture of a cat's head. Renard Migrant (talk) 19:52, 11 February 2016 (UTC)
In this particular instance, "deaths on British roads" we're talking about a quality of the utterance as a whole, not the word 'road' in particular. Renard Migrant (talk) 17:38, 12 February 2016 (UTC)

About the meaning of amigo/a

I have always thought "amigo/a" only meant "friend". Google translates "amigo" to "boyfriend" and "amiga" to "friend", so I looked things up. Wiktionary agrees with my old belief. However, looking at spanish Wiktionary, I see only the "boyfriend" meaning (quoting, «Hombre con quien se tiene trato sexual habitual sin el vínculo del matrimonio», «Man with which one has a habitual sexual intercourse until the bond of matrimony», and just under that «Relacionado: amante.», «Related: amante», amante meaning lover), plus a technical meaning and a euphemistic «penis» meaning. So I wonder: is this true? What is the meaning of "amigo": "lover" (as is even backed up with a citation on the Spanish entry) or "friend"? Both, perhaps? And is there an asymmetry in the meaning between masculine and feminine?

MGorrone (talk) 16:28, 10 February 2016 (UTC)

It can mean both friend or lover and there is no gender asymmetry. BTW the Spanish Wiktionary lists lover as the 5th sense, the first beeing friend. Matthias Buchmeier (talk) 17:55, 10 February 2016 (UTC)

Right, I should have mentioned that Spanish wiktionary distinguishes between four senses as a "adjetivo" (adjective) and 3 as a "substantivo" (noun), and the "friend" sense appears under "adjective". So perhaps the Spanish Wiktionary just forgot to duplicate the meaning and misnumbered the meanings since when starting the "noun" section the numbering should restart from 1. So should I take it it is only the Spanish entry being sort of untidy, and the "friend" meaning being valid both for "amigo" as an adjective and as a noun? And also, this means "amiga" can also mean "lover" (female lover), sense which is missing from both entries, right? MGorrone (talk) 22:32, 10 February 2016 (UTC)

Yes, that's right, however it's common practice at the Spanish Wiktionary not to duplicate adjective senses in a following noun section, as a lot of adjectives are also used as noun with mostly the same meanings. They simply add a usage note se emplea también como sustantivo (also used as substantive). Matthias Buchmeier (talk) 00:43, 12 February 2016 (UTC)


Defined as an English preposition meaning "under". How is this in fact used in English (outside of fixed borrowings like sub rosa)? Can we add examples? Does it need a gloss, e.g. legal, formal? Is it just wrong? Equinox 17:53, 10 February 2016 (UTC)

They must have been thinking of "first man to run a sub four-minute mile" or "a sub second gamma spike". Those are among the very few uses to be found at COCA. The second one is normally spelled sub-second, probably because it is (always?) used attributively. "Sub-second speeds" is 8 times more common at Google Books than "subsecond speeds". There aren't enough of those collocations for Google n-grams. OneLook doesn't have an entry for subsecond (or sub-second). I found some predicate use of sub-second.
I conclude that sub can be used in terms that are used attributively and may sometimes also be used in terms used as predicates. The usage seems limited to quantitative thresholds. I think that usage can be interpreted as prepositional phrases with sub as the preposition. DCDuring TALK 22:37, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
A sub par performance? Renard Migrant (talk) 22:42, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
That one is using a sub- prefix, I think. subpar. Equinox 22:46, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
Relatedly, I think our entry for subsecond wrong. First, one can have "sub-two-second pit stops" and "sub-two second pit stops". Second, subsecond seems to be used as a countable noun, so the "adjective" use might be better interpreted as attributive use of the noun. DCDuring TALK 22:49, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
It think sub par preceded sub-par and subpar. The earlier forms remain in use as predicates after forms of be. It is interesting that par is also a kind of threshold level, though often used less quantitatively than in golf. DCDuring TALK 22:57, 10 February 2016 (UTC)


what is the difference between appendices and appendixes?

Appendixes does actually cover this. Renard Migrant (talk) 19:43, 11 February 2016 (UTC)


Anon has questioned "(intransitive) To miscarry; to bring forth offspring prematurely. [First attested in the mid 16th century.]"

Is this really not obsolete? In general, the whole entry could do with having the most common definitions first. With commons words, we're really bad at this! Renard Migrant (talk) 20:35, 11 February 2016 (UTC)

I see -sche's already started on it. Renard Migrant (talk) 20:37, 11 February 2016 (UTC)


Translations have been redirected to stead, but when looking under stead I can't see anything relating to behalf. Am I missing something? Donnanz (talk) 11:53, 12 February 2016 (UTC)

I see stead is mentioned in the definition, which may explain it. But I think the definition needs a lot of revision anyway. Donnanz (talk) 12:02, 12 February 2016 (UTC)

I have opened a new translations section with a provisional title. Donnanz (talk) 12:10, 12 February 2016 (UTC)

The list-of-synonyms approach to definition is a problem. Some on the list don't work as simple substitutions for behalf. The list of synonyms should appear under Synonyms. Only a near-perfect synonym, with the same grammar (eg, complementary preposition), preferably not incompatibly polysemous, could be a good definition. I wonder whether that "definition" is an unedited copy of the Webster 1913 entry. There are quite a few. DCDuring TALK 13:17, 12 February 2016 (UTC)
It may be a difficult one to put "in a nutshell". I have added a reference for the time being. Donnanz (talk) 15:07, 12 February 2016 (UTC)
The definition doesn't seem to be from Webster, it's more or less the same as first entered in 2004. Donnanz (talk) 15:24, 12 February 2016 (UTC)
As it was in Webster 1913:
"Advantage; favor; stead; benefit; interest; profit; support; defense; vindication."
As we have it now:
"Advantage; favor; stead; benefit; interest; profit; support; defense; vindication."
Very common for our first waves of definitions, many of which are substantively untouched. DCDuring TALK 16:02, 12 February 2016 (UTC)
Hmm, OK, it's only 102 years out of date. Donnanz (talk) 18:38, 12 February 2016 (UTC)
Some basic words don't change very much in a hundred years. Webster 1913 is copyright-free, so fair game for legal copying. Wiktionarians are not really all that great as lexicographers, so copying has been and remains a natural alternative for building up a large mass of definitions. DCDuring TALK 22:57, 12 February 2016 (UTC)
A note saying the definition came from Webster should be added, I think. But there's no reason why the entry can't be updated and generally improved. If Wiktionarians have a reputation as mediocre lexicographers, there's a challenge. Donnanz (talk) 10:44, 13 February 2016 (UTC)

can't whack it

I'm having difficulty deciding what to do with this - "can't whack it" roughly means "can't beat it", but whack (attempt) doesn't exactly mean beat (win). (See also this classic Viz cartoon.) Keith the Koala (talk) 17:09, 12 February 2016 (UTC)

"Whack" does mean "beat", though. - -sche (discuss) 18:10, 12 February 2016 (UTC)
The term bushwhacker springs to mind. Donnanz (talk) 10:51, 13 February 2016 (UTC)


The example sentence for the noun's eighth meaning ("vagina") really isn't the best, is it? --Fsojic (talk) 18:53, 12 February 2016 (UTC)


Couldn't blogmaster be something different from "blogger", just as a webmaster can be different from the main poster on a website?

What I mean is this:

Couldn't a blogmaster just be someone who maintains a blog, rather than being the blogger themselves? Tharthan (talk) 19:15, 12 February 2016 (UTC)


Could a gamester be someone who "games" something. For instance, could someone who "games the system" be pejoratively referred to as a "gamester"? Tharthan (talk) 19:16, 12 February 2016 (UTC)

in school

Does this warrant an entry? In a sentence like "he has three kids, two of them are in school, one's not in school yet." it doesn't mean that the two kids are in the school right now, just that they go to school. 2602:306:3653:8920:558D:3E52:6937:8C37 02:55, 13 February 2016 (UTC)

I feel like this is more a function of the ambiguity of the verb "to be"—that it can be either habitual or episodic—than anything idiomatic about the phrase "in school". A similar ambiguity is found in "He's working", which can mean either "He's at work right now" or "He has a job". —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 07:06, 13 February 2016 (UTC)
That's common with -ing forms e.g. "She got a driver's license and is now driving.". However "he's in church" always means he's there right now, never means that he goes to church. Same with "he's in class". 2602:306:3653:8920:558D:3E52:6937:8C37 16:42, 13 February 2016 (UTC)


Lucid and accurate definition.


Did you try Google Books?

Building blocks: tri- ‎(three) +‎ chili- ‎(thousand) +‎ -cosm ‎(universe), apparently to be read as "1,0003 universes".

From On Being Buddha: the classical doctrine of buddhahood, by Paul J. Griffiths, 1994:

  • trichiliocosm ([script needed] ‎(trisahasramahasahasralokadhatu)), a cosmic system consisting of one thousand million four-continent worlds (caturdvlpaloka), or planets, with all their attendant heavens, hells, and living beings. [] .roughly equivalent to a galaxy in western cosmology.
What it means spiritually in Buddhism is for those above my pay grade. DCDuring TALK 13:15, 13 February 2016 (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?"[32]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 [33].— 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 [34] (judical) and on google books [35] (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 [36]. 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: [37]. 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 [38]. 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? [39] 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 ([[40])] 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[41] 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[42] 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 [43], and a dictionary entry [44]). 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 [45] 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 [46] 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

[47] 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:parameters at line 176: The parameter "lang" is required. or Lua error in Module:parameters at line 176: 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. [48]
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. [49]
Although performances improved considerably, Boro still finished the season well adrift at the bottom of Division Two [50]
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#Adjective. 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 [[51]]. 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)
[52]​—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#Pronoun. 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#Adverb for this. We have an intensifier sense that doesn't seem to me to capture this. I think there are a significant number