Wiktionary:Tea room: difference between revisions

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

Revision as of 21:37, 5 July 2012

Wiktionary > Discussion rooms > Tea room

Wiktionary > Discussion rooms > Tea room

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

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

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July 2017

tentorium plurlization

I found some use of the plural form tentorii. Would this be considered nonstandard? DTLHS (talk) 00:01, 1 July 2017 (UTC)

I think so. It is easy enough to see how the mistake might occur: misconstruction and imitation of incisurae tentorii. DCDuring (talk) 23:47, 1 July 2017 (UTC)

hot glue gun

This needs more of a definition than just "a form of glue gun". What kind? How is it distinguished? Equinox 23:09, 1 July 2017 (UTC)

I don't know of cold glue guns, though they may exist. DCDuring (talk) 23:29, 1 July 2017 (UTC)
I could find images of various glue guns that are not hot glue guns and have so modified [[glue gun]] and [[hot glue gun]]. DCDuring (talk) 23:39, 1 July 2017 (UTC)
I don't think either is SoP. DCDuring (talk) 23:40, 1 July 2017 (UTC)

evolutionary stable strategy

I wouldn't call that a "misspelling", but I don't know how I would call it. --Barytonesis (talk) 13:16, 2 July 2017 (UTC)

Just as "SoP/Encyclopedic" as the other spelling? Or: "Poor grammar"? "Use of unattested/proscribed adverb evolutionary"? DCDuring (talk) 13:32, 2 July 2017 (UTC)
Basically a typo, similar to how you can sometimes miss out an entire word if you're distracted. I see virtually no value in such entries. Equinox 13:34, 2 July 2017 (UTC)
Usually I'd agree with you, but I suspect many people really don't think of it as a mistake at all. [1] --Barytonesis (talk) 13:39, 2 July 2017 (UTC)
When I page through, I see 66 Google Books results for "evolutionary stable strategy". Nearly half (30) also use "evolutionarily stable strategy", which is strong evidence the nonstandard spelling is a typo in those works. Some of the works that don't also use "-il-" may only use the term once, making it hard to judge if it's intentional or not. But Ngram data suggest this ratio is true over all the texts Google has seen: "evolutionary stable strategy" is used once for every two times "evolutionarily stable strategy" is used, and numbers in a Google Scholar search of journal articles are similar, meaning it's a very common (mis)spelling, certainly inclusion-worthy.
I'd guess it's caused by the ease of the typo in the long word, and the fact that it can be parsed as grammatical, as "evolutionaryadj, stableadj strategy" or with a misunderstanding of the meaning as "(evolutionaryadj stablenoun)"attributive" phrase strategy". Maybe some spell-checker programs even recognize "evolutionary" but not the far less common word "evolutionarily", and prompt people to change "evolutionarily" to "evolutionary". Compare how "evolutionary successful" is used about 1/4 as often as "evolutionarily successful"! - -sche (discuss) 15:49, 2 July 2017 (UTC)
As for what to call it: I think it's OK to call it a "misspelling", but another possibility is to use Template:misconstruction of. - -sche (discuss) 15:54, 2 July 2017 (UTC)

Arabic ڭ‎ (ng) differing in medial position in historical texts.

So I am basically looking at Kashgari's transciriptions in the original Arabic script and I noticed that his ng is perfectly what you expect at the end of a word (ڭْ) but the expected shape in medial position is not similar and there are no three dots or anything like that as in ـڭـ‎. Rather I see there is a middle dot at the right hand side of medial Kaph (ـکـ). Is there a way so that I can create this original form using some Unicode letters? It is like there is no ج and I must create it from ح but I can not find this dot. --Anylai (talk) 18:15, 2 July 2017 (UTC)

Side note: I noticed he sometimes has it as نْكْ in the final position, unification of نْ and كْ --Anylai (talk) 18:29, 2 July 2017 (UTC)
I came to realise that it is no different than realization of نْكْ at medial position, it is just his hand writing that confused me. the middle dot I saw apparantly belongs to ن. So medial -ng- in Kashgari is ـنــ‍ك‍ـْـ --Anylai (talk) 19:45, 2 July 2017 (UTC)


"he defines something which he calls inclusive fitness, which is an absolute swine to calculate". We're missing a sense. Could I say "a bitch to calculate"? --Barytonesis (talk) 20:27, 2 July 2017 (UTC)

Yes. Added. Equinox 00:04, 3 July 2017 (UTC)

Finger mix-up

See leech-finger and its large list of synonyms (and related back-linking synonyms on further pages), and the change I just made to medical finger. I think the creator of these entries had the fourth and third finger mixed up, and thus got the medical/physician/etc. finger synonyms and definitions wrong in most places, but it's actually making my head spin now so I've stopped trying to fix them all... Equinox 00:04, 3 July 2017 (UTC)

Looks like "fourth" here refers to fingers, exclusive of the thumb, which isn't a true finger (?). So the index finger would be the first finger, right ? Fourth finger is the pinkie. Leasnam (talk) 02:00, 3 July 2017 (UTC)


At homogenous, it says that in General American it is "often pronounced as homogeneous, with some dictionaries listing only this pronunciation". Now, I understand that there is a confusion between "homogenous" and "homogeneous", but putting that aside, given that the word "homogenous" is used, do Americans really often pronounce it as "homogeneous"? That seems unlikely to me, and I can't find the supposed dictionary evidence. Mihia (talk) 11:31, 3 July 2017 (UTC)

As no one has recognised this as being correct, I have deleted it. Mihia (talk) 22:32, 6 July 2017 (UTC)


I don't really understand this, so I'm seeking other opinions rather than making changes unilaterally.

At homogeneous, under the heading "Alternative forms", it says:

Is this the "wrong way round"? Shouldn't the "Alternative forms" section be presented as alternative forms of the headword, not words that the headword is an alternative form of?

Beyond that, this note, and also the sense "(proscribed) Alternative form of homogenous", appear to be saying that the biological sense of homogenous (the only sense that is said to be correct at homogenous) is commonly (or reasonably commonly) incorrectly written as "homogeneous". Is that actually true? Or is this all a big muddle, and what is actually meant is that the word "homogeneous" is often incorrectly written as "homogenous"? Mihia (talk) 20:07, 3 July 2017 (UTC)

  • I have simplified the section. I don't believe that either of the two forms are proscribed - it's just a transpondian thing. SemperBlotto (talk) 04:59, 4 July 2017 (UTC)
    • @SemperBlotto: in U.S. English at least, homogenous is proscribed when it means homogeneous. The opposite situation almost never applies, since it's so rare for someone to actually use homogenous correctly; though I can imagine that a correct usage of homogenous may occasionally be altered to homogeneous by hypercorrection. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 15:06, 4 July 2017 (UTC)
      • Yes, it's not hard to find opinions that "homogenous" for "homogeneous" is incorrect, or traditionally considered incorrect, but I have not yet seen any other suggestions that it is an AmE/BrE issue. My feeling also is that the opposite situation almost never applies, so I suggest that the sense "(proscribed) Alternative form of homogenous" probably is a mix-up, as I suggested it might be, and should be deleted. Also, I think there ideally should be a way of showing in the "Alternative forms" section that "homogenous" as an alternative form is considered incorrect by some. Mihia (talk) 20:28, 4 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Why not just put something under Usage notes or See also? DCDuring (talk) 03:49, 5 July 2017 (UTC)
  • As no one has recognised it as being correct, and it seems wrong, I have deleted the sense "(proscribed) Alternative form of homogenous". I have also cross-referenced the usage note at homogenous. Mihia (talk) 22:21, 6 July 2017 (UTC).

select for - select against

"With this mode of natural selection, intermediate forms are selected against". Should we have an entry for that? --Barytonesis (talk) 12:51, 4 July 2017 (UTC)


I wonder if there's an English equivalent for Finnish aikamiespoika (unmarried man who lives with his parents). --Hekaheka (talk) 21:41, 4 July 2017 (UTC)

The closest I can think of is basement-dweller, although it is decidedly pejorative; not sure about the Finnish term (its literal translation appears to be "man-boy"): if it is pejorative too (which I strongly suspect), you should add a qualifier. In Japan, there's also the term Parasite single. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 01:04, 5 July 2017 (UTC)
There's man child in English, which may share some of the negative connotations of basement-dweller, but that also doesn't say anything about living with parents. I don't think there's an English word with the requested meaning. Equinox 15:55, 5 July 2017 (UTC)
In medicine especially, you can call such a person a “failure to launch” (unisex), colloquially. Wyang (talk) 12:24, 8 July 2017 (UTC)


This nonstandard past and past participle appears to be found mainly in specific technical contexts – literal and metaphorical binders (as in folders or ring binders), and coding. Maybe this should be mentioned at both bind and binded. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 00:52, 5 July 2017 (UTC)

I think binded is mostly used in contexts where the author is not a native speaker. That would include many technical fields. But it is not limited to non-native speakers, nor to technical contexts. Garner's Modern American Usage (both 2009 and 2016) proscribe it. DCDuring (talk) 04:34, 5 July 2017 (UTC)

Latin: luo

The entry for Latin "luo" <https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/luo#Latin> says the word is active only. It appears, however, in passive voice ("luitur") in classical Latin. E.g. in Seneca's Epistulae Morales XLVII. This is also verifiable from Perseus or Logeion.


  1. (Britain, education) A class or year of students (often preceded by an ordinal number to specify the year, as in sixth form).
  2. (Britain) Grade (level of pre-collegiate education).

What is the difference between these two senses? Mihia (talk) 22:46, 6 July 2017 (UTC)

  • As no one has proposed any difference, I have merged them. Mihia (talk) 20:48, 16 July 2017 (UTC)

Serbo-Croatian krst and krstjanin

Sorry in advance for meddling with Slavic: Shouldn't the accusative of krst be unchanged because it's inanimate? And is krstjanin really a derivation from the former or isn't it another borrowing from Greek? (Maybe adapted to -janin, if this suffix is native?) Kolmiel (talk) 19:20, 7 July 2017 (UTC)

I've searched "krst" and "krsta" with a couple of transitive verbs and seemingly I was right. My knowledge of Serbo-Croatian is limited, but I was bold and changed the declension. Kolmiel (talk) 16:28, 11 July 2017 (UTC)
@Kolmiel Yes, you are indeed right. As for krstjanin, Serbocroatian regularly borrows Greek χ as h, not k, unless the word goes through Latin first, hence e.g. Krist from Latin vs. Hrist from Greek. However, it’s almost certainly neither from Latin nor Greek but from Old Church Slavonic крьстиꙗнинъ (krĭstijaninŭ). — Vorziblix (talk · contribs) 14:49, 25 July 2017 (UTC)
But don't forget that Proto-Slavic *krьstъ itself is ultimately derived from Greek. --WikiTiki89 15:01, 25 July 2017 (UTC)
Interesting that SC borrowed /x/ as h, but Proto-Slavic used k. —CodeCat 15:56, 25 July 2017 (UTC)
Perhaps the spirantization of chi wasn’t yet complete when PSl borrowed the word? AFAIK Armenian transcriptions of Greek continued to render chi as aspirated k until almost the end of the first millennium, so maybe some speakers still pronounced it that way. But things would have to have changed by the time of OCS, since OCS borrowed the same word as христъ (xristŭ). My bet would be instead that *krьstъ came from Greek indirectly, through some other language, given that most PSl borrowings from Greek seem to be mediated by either Romance or Germanic. — Vorziblix (talk · contribs) 17:02, 25 July 2017 (UTC)
Yes, Vasmer says *krьstъ came through Old High German. I'm not sure what the evidence for that is, but it seems more or less reasonable. --WikiTiki89 17:24, 25 July 2017 (UTC)
And OHG got it from Latin, I assume? It too had /x/ after all... —CodeCat 17:39, 25 July 2017 (UTC)
Of course; I didn’t mean to imply anything beyond the immediate borrowing. — Vorziblix (talk · contribs) 17:02, 25 July 2017 (UTC)
I wasn't necessarily addressing that to you, just pointing it out. --WikiTiki89 17:24, 25 July 2017 (UTC)
My question concerning krstjanin was not so much the path of borrowing, but whether the -janin part is really a native Slavic formation independent of Ancient Greek Χριστιανός (Khristianós) and Latin Christianus. Kolmiel (talk) 23:38, 25 July 2017 (UTC)
It is indeed native, or at the very least nativized. Crom daba (talk) 14:45, 1 August 2017 (UTC)

chocolate bar vs. bar of chocolate

Our entries insist that these are two different things. New to me. Is the distinction real? Is it universal? Equinox 16:24, 8 July 2017 (UTC)

A chocolate bar is usually some form of bar of chocolate, but they're not mutually inclusive. bar of chocolate is more generic and literal, as in a "an hunk of chocolate shaped into a bar" (compare brick of chocolate). The other is synonymous with chocolate candy bar. Leasnam (talk) 17:59, 8 July 2017 (UTC)
Chocolate bar is similarly "literal". Consider: chocolate drop, chocolate kiss, chocolate bark, chocolate brownie, chocolate soda. Coconut bar, nougat bar, etc are similar for the other part of the collocation. DCDuring (talk) 20:44, 8 July 2017 (UTC)
I wonder too if chocolate bar is a blend of "chocolate" and "candy bar" in the way a cheeseburger is a blend of "cheese" and "hamburger" Leasnam (talk) 01:57, 9 July 2017 (UTC)
Britain doesn't use the word "candy" so I doubt it. Equinox 01:58, 9 July 2017 (UTC)
I created bar of chocolate. I think I'm right with the def, but is there a difference between UK and US defs? I don't know. DonnanZ (talk) 18:08, 8 July 2017 (UTC)
I'd have assumed they are the same thing. I wonder in what context a difference is maintained. It would be nice if there were is essential that there be citations to support this kind of distinction. DCDuring (talk) 20:00, 8 July 2017 (UTC)
Any ideas for search strategies? I suppose we could pick popular brands of e.g. creme-filled bar and see if people call them "bar of chocolate" in books etc... Equinox 20:06, 8 July 2017 (UTC)
I guess starting with the two in Google N-Grams would enable us to see some collocations. We could use some of those collocations and anything suggested by them in the more complete Google corpora to find specific support for the distinction. DCDuring (talk) 20:24, 8 July 2017 (UTC)
BTW, at OneLook only Collins, WordNet, and Vocabulary.com find chocolate bar inclusion-worthy (other apparent entries are copies, redirects, or failed-search pages). No OneLook reference finds bar of chocolate inclusion-worthy. DCDuring (talk) 20:31, 8 July 2017 (UTC)
  • (UK) To me there is no difference between "chocolate bar" and "bar of chocolate" (except that the latter feels faintly more idiomatic). The "candy bar" sense does not exist here: a chocolate bar is always made from chocolate. Mihia (talk) 20:57, 16 July 2017 (UTC)
    I absolutely want citations proving that in Canada, something can be called a "chocolate bar" without containing any chocolate. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 21:12, 16 July 2017 (UTC)
    I wonder whether white chocolate bars qualify and can be found in Canada. DCDuring (talk) 23:31, 16 July 2017 (UTC)
    As a Canadian, I would call a bar of white chocolate either a chocolate bar or a white chocolate bar. But I also think of white chocolate as a form of chocolate...just not "real" chocolate, so I don't think it's evidence that "chocolate bar" can mean a candy bar of some other sort. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 01:00, 17 July 2017 (UTC)
    I think you are right. I remember it as tasting somewhat chocolaty, not all that much different from milk chocolate. I expect that others would agree, so it doesn't qualify. DCDuring (talk) 01:35, 17 July 2017 (UTC)
My conclusion from the above is that nobody is aware of the chocbar/bar-of-choc distinction and we should remove it from the entries. Will anyone be upset if I do? Equinox 01:15, 23 July 2017 (UTC)
Not I. DCDuring (talk) 11:51, 23 July 2017 (UTC)

some or -some?

"I've been working here for 30-some years."

What does this sentence mean? Does it mean "I've been working here for about 30 years." or "I've been working here for 30-something years."?

And does this sense belong at some or -some? PseudoSkull (talk) 19:06, 8 July 2017 (UTC)

it means 30-something. I think it's a shortening of 30-some(thing) Leasnam (talk) 19:59, 8 July 2017 (UTC)
30-some years is almost the same as and, I think, lexicographically analogous to 30-odd years. Semantically a possible difference is that 30-odd might be "30 +/- [1-5]" whereas 30-some might be "30 + [0-9]". Lexicographically some in these expressions seems to me to be just a postpositioning of some#Determiner ("A considerable quantity or number of"), as in "I've been working here for some 30 years." DCDuring (talk) 20:19, 8 July 2017 (UTC)
Doesn't "I've been working here for some 30 years" mean "I've been working here for about 30 years" though ? It could be anywhere from 29-31 years, but 30-some could not be used if it had actually been 29. Leasnam (talk) 22:48, 8 July 2017 (UTC)
I don't think so, but it would take {many) citations to determine the answer.
I think someone might be able to say "I worked there for some 35 years.", it doesn't seem to work postpositively. But that seems to me to be determined by euphony. I doubt that "some" and "odd" are used much with numbers that are not round (unless they small (single digit)?). DCDuring (talk) 02:54, 9 July 2017 (UTC)
But that would seem to confirm Leasnam's interpretation: "some 35 years" works because it means "circa 35 years", whereas "35-some years" doesn't work because the postpositioned "some" replaces the last digit. Kolmiel (talk) 16:18, 11 July 2017 (UTC)


Most such words seem to be an existing -ize verb plus agentive -er. We don't have e.g. -izable or -izing. Equinox 22:44, 8 July 2017 (UTC)

Should we have them? I mean that's just an addition to the current suffix by another suffix. PseudoSkull (talk) 23:24, 8 July 2017 (UTC)
de.Wikt had a similar discussion some time about about the verbal suffix -ieren, which (it was ultimately decided) is coverable by entries for -ier(-) and -en. Somewhat related in Talk:-icity, where however there is a change in pronunciation ("-icity" is not pronounced the way "-ic /ɪk/ + ity" would be). I suppose we could try to find examples of "-izers" than lack corresponding "-ize" verbs. If we decide not to have an entry for this, it should at least be a {{no entry}} that directs people to "-ize" and "-er", IMO. Among "lemmings", oxforddictionaries.com has an entry for "-izer". - -sche (discuss) 00:13, 13 July 2017 (UTC)


At fishing, we have an adjective which looks to me like an attributive noun. Not saying that there may or may not be a true adjective for fishing (e.g. a fishing man), but that would be derived from the present participle. Leasnam (talk) 23:42, 8 July 2017 (UTC)

The only usage example for the supposed adjectival sense, namely "Ivor had acquired more than a mile of fishing rights with the house", is certainly an example of an attributive noun, not an adjective. I personally feel that routine adjectival use of present participles as in "fishing man = a man who is fishing" is a regular feature of English that does not merit a separate PoS entry. In other cases, where the participle is a "strong" adjective, a separate entry may be desirable. Mihia (talk) 01:06, 9 July 2017 (UTC)
We do have e.g. fishing cat, which is a cat that fishes, not a cat used in fishing. I don't feel such adj entries add much either, but the OED does include them. Equinox 01:53, 9 July 2017 (UTC)
As far as I understand it, fishing cat is a species of cat, not merely a cat that fishes. Mihia (talk) 02:44, 9 July 2017 (UTC)
Yes, but you can see how it was formed. It's more a living creature than a living standard IYSWIM. Equinox 02:46, 9 July 2017 (UTC)
I thought we had the same discussion about garden but I can't find it. Anyway I agree with you. Equinox 01:15, 9 July 2017 (UTC)
I can at least imagine that someone might say "[it is a] very garden [thing, plant, etc]", whether or not they actually do (a matter for RFV?), but it doesn't seem at all possible to use fishing adjectivally. "The rights were very fishing"? "That pole is more fishing than this one"? It seems like an error; many people mistakenly assume that anything that modifies a noun (the way "fishing" modifies "rights" in "fishing rights") must be an adjective. - -sche (discuss) 01:41, 9 July 2017 (UTC)
One can even view fishing rights as a compound noun, as if it were fishing-rights or fishingrights (cf. driving school, driving permit, fishing pole, etc.). Leasnam (talk) 01:48, 9 July 2017 (UTC)

metroprolol vs metoprolol

There are pages for both metroprolol and metoprolol. However, I am quite sure both are the same medication and that metroprolol is a misspelling of metoprolol. In my job, I often see this medication, and it is always spelled without the initial r. The page for metroprolol cites this NIH article, which shows the word spelled metroprolol throughout, but a quick Google search shows that metroprolol is a common misspelling of metoprolol, which is a generic form of a medication known as Lopressor. For example, see [2].

Should these pages be merged into one, or should we just have a note on the metroprolol page that it is a common misspelling of metoprolol? I did an IPA transcription on metroprolol not noticing that initial r and was trying to add audio, which didn't work because I used the usual spelling in my audio filename (en-us-metoprolol.ogg). Given the existence of a scholarly article using the misspelled version, I would lean toward just adding a note vs merging the pages. If I do this, where should I put the note? Thanks! BirdHopper (talk) 16:08, 9 July 2017 (UTC)

Converted to misspelling. DTLHS (talk) 16:11, 9 July 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for that quick response. I see now that I could have just gone to Help:Misspellings. Noted for future edits. BirdHopper (talk) 16:24, 9 July 2017 (UTC)
Sorry; my screw-up. This is one of the rare cases where I think a misspelling entry might be justified; it is very common. Equinox 01:13, 23 July 2017 (UTC)


platyfish Definition says any member of the genus Xiphophorus, but this would also include swordtails. Are swordtails therefore platyfish? (I'm in doubt about this...) Leasnam (talk) 01:34, 10 July 2017 (UTC)

w:Xiphophorus makes it look as if platyfish and swordtail constitute two disjoint sets of species of the genus. I'll check Fishbase and WoRMS for the vernacular names they have to confirm WP. DCDuring (talk) 04:01, 10 July 2017 (UTC)
There are two main types of platies (among a few other rare varieties): regular/common platies (Xiphophorus maculatus) and variatus platies (Xiphophorus variatus), neither of which has a sword-like projection on the lower tailfin. I believe the definition would be correct if it mentioned this detail Leasnam (talk) 04:16, 10 July 2017 (UTC)

s'en être

This verb is a very special case where it's only conjugated in the past historic and used in place of the past historic for s'en aller. I don't quite know the best way to represent this in the article. Should this be in the usage notes? And how do I create a conjugation chart for a defective verb? 2WR1 (talk) 01:45, 10 July 2017 (UTC)

It's not used in place of the past historic of s'en aller ("il s'en alla" is correct); it's a literary variant of it. But otherwise you're right, we should add this somewhere. --Barytonesis (talk) 21:41, 10 July 2017 (UTC)

puppy dog eyes

The definition is along the lines of naiveté, credulity, and lack of sophistication. That may be perfectly correct. I just want to allude to my interpretation of the analogous German Hundeblick. If this notion existed in the English term as well, it should probably be added. Kolmiel (talk) 01:15, 11 July 2017 (UTC)


Could the examples of usage of a rather rare and pretty word not reference a boil? I am imagining the sensitive individual who first learns of this word forever associating it with that.


At least in Finnish and German there's a word for a "person with profound knowledge of their field, but relatively ignorant and unappreciative of other fields of knowledge and art" (fakki-idiootti and Fachidiot respectively). Is there a corresponding English word? A geek seems to come close, but is it associated with computers only? Can one be a law geek? --Hekaheka (talk) 06:58, 12 July 2017 (UTC)

Perhaps monomath, monomaniac, one-trick pony. In Japanese, there is 専門バカ. Wyang (talk) 07:01, 12 July 2017 (UTC)
As Google Books attests, you can certainly be a law geek (or a geek of any specialised subject; anyone remember the old Internet "geek codes"?), but I don't think that necessarily implies you are ignorant of other things, merely that you have a somewhat obsessive focus on law. Equinox 01:12, 23 July 2017 (UTC)


Where is the usual stress for this word? I've heard it pronounced in Australia as in-TERN-ship. ---> Tooironic (talk) 13:09, 12 July 2017 (UTC)

In the US it's on the first syllable (IN-tern-ship) Leasnam (talk) 16:38, 12 July 2017 (UTC)
Ditto in UK. SemperBlotto (talk) 05:22, 13 July 2017 (UTC)
Which pronunciation are you dittoing? DTLHS (talk) 05:28, 13 July 2017 (UTC)

preferably and preferentially

What's the difference in usage? --Barytonesis (talk) 18:04, 12 July 2017 (UTC)

If our entry doesn't explain it, it seems like a question for Google or Garner's Modern American Usage or a functional equivalent for other flavors of English. DCDuring (talk) 21:41, 12 July 2017 (UTC)

Abstract senses of guard

We have an entry for being on one's guard, though there is no corresponding sense in guard to fit this use. I don't think on one's guard is strictly idiomatic, because similar uses of guard occur in phrases like "dropping one's guard", "keeping your guard up", and more distantly, "standing guard". (This last case is different as guard acts as an adverb and seems a bit less flexible; "posting guard" is also possible, though that may instead be an uncountable reference to members of a squadron.) The desired sense seems to be "a defensive or vigilant state" (or "defensively; vigilantly" in the adverb use). Do we have cause for the addition of this sense? Also, what do you think about the addition of entries for phrases such as keep one's guard up, let one's guard down, raise one's guard, and drop one's guard? Rriegs (talk) 23:09, 12 July 2017 (UTC)

Also, I just noticed on guard and on one's guard are near identical, and in fact on guard essentially serves the adverb sense in standing guard (though of course with different wording; "standing on guard" should also be acceptable). Regardless, I think we still need to add a sense to guard. Rriegs (talk) 23:14, 12 July 2017 (UTC)
Indeed. As to definitions of guard, MWOnline has:
2 a : a defensive state or attitude "asked him out when his guard was down"
b : a defensive position (as in boxing)
3 a : the act or duty of protecting or defending
b : the state of being protected : protection
We don't have our own versions of those senses, three being abstract states of general applicability. DCDuring (talk) 21:34, 13 July 2017 (UTC)

live free or die

"New Hampshire's state motto" is not a definition. Equinox 01:06, 13 July 2017 (UTC)

Well, being denotatively SoP, it could be formatted as a non-gloss definition. Connotatively, it is evocative of revolutions or wars of liberation. DCDuring (talk) 21:25, 13 July 2017 (UTC)
Are mottos really within our scope? There are so many thousands of them, and to me, they seem more like encyclopedic content than worthy of a dictionary entry. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 15:53, 15 July 2017 (UTC)
Wikipedia does seem to have such content, just as they often have etymologies, pronunciations, translations, synonyms, etc. In this case they have a fairly credible article. The translation-target rationale would seem to apply. I think some such mottos are indistinguishable from proverbs. DCDuring (talk) 17:33, 15 July 2017 (UTC)


I note that sense 7 ("used before a body part as an alternative to the possessive pronoun") can indeed apply to any (physical?) part of something, rather than just body parts. For example, "a stone hit her car on the windshield", or "my teacher corrected our papers in the margins". I note, however, that this entire sense may in fact be a special case of sense 6 ("used to indicate a certain example of which is most usually of concern"): "a stone hit him in the head" has "his head" as the reference that is "most usually of concern". That being said, I'm not sure I completely understand sense 6, given it's awkward wording.

Also, which sense applies to uses such as "she's in the hospital", "we went to the park", or "I'll take the train"? These of course could refer to a specific hospital, park, or train, though I don't feel the sentences would typically be interpreted that way. In particular, in UK English, the first is equivalent to "she's in hospital", elevating hospital (and by extension, US English's the hospital) to signify something more like the concept of being at a hospital, rather than any specific hospital. Other words in this category (in either US or UK English) are work, school, and home (the later being even further optimized into an adverb in uses like "he went home"), though none of these involve the (anymore?). I don't think this is sense 6, as no certain example can be identified, nor do I think it's sense 4 ("introducing a singular term to be taken generically") because that would imply reference to, e.g., all hospitals. Is there need for an additional sense, to the effect of "used to indicate a generic example, especially of a kind of location or establishment"? Rriegs (talk) 20:00, 13 July 2017 (UTC)

I made minimal changes to sense 6, which IMO, address the awkwardness complaint. Does it help?
The US "in the hospital" example does seem synonymous with UK "in hospital". I think that hospital in the UK case means "the state of being hospitalized" rather than a corresponding concept. I wonder whether US "in the hospital" is derived from most speakers in the US only having had practical access to a single community hospital. I can't think at the moment of another comparable example of such use of "the". DCDuring (talk) 21:07, 13 July 2017 (UTC)
There are a number of cases of "the [noun]" and "[noun]" being mutually substitutable. Words like Fall, Spring, earth (fall to earth, fall to the earth) come to mind. DCDuring (talk) 21:23, 13 July 2017 (UTC)
A couple other comparable uses that come to mind are "go to the doctor", "at the library", "to the police station", etc. In my experience, all of those can be used regardless of how many of those things there are nearby. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 15:51, 15 July 2017 (UTC)
Good examples. Thanks. They remind of still more: "the bank", "the post office", "the park", "the beach", "the store", etc. In all of these cases there is or was some local uniqueness that has pretty much disappeared in many urban and suburban contexts. But is this really a new sense of the or a bleaching or generalization of sense 6? It seems to me that "the library" means "THE library appropriate for the context". Similarly for the others. That is, it seems to be a more general kind of deixis than supports the wording of our definitions. If the context makes the specific referent unclear, one could ask "Which one?", which question itself supports some kind of uniqueness in the intended referent. This is really just like the deixis of pronouns, which can be ambiguous in specific instances. DCDuring (talk) 17:24, 15 July 2017 (UTC)

English mental

Should this be split into two etymologies? Wyang (talk) 08:01, 15 July 2017 (UTC)

One for the mind and one for the chin? Yes. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 08:20, 15 July 2017 (UTC)
Yes, one for the mind and one for the chin. Wyang (talk) 11:14, 15 July 2017 (UTC)
Before this post sinks into the depths of Wiktionary... I've gone ahead and split the etymology. Wyang (talk) 01:11, 16 July 2017 (UTC)


At soup, is there any difference between Etymology 1 and Etymology 4 ? If not, I suggest we remove Etym 4 Leasnam (talk) 16:14, 15 July 2017 (UTC)

thrift for thrift shop?

[3] Is this common usage in some dialect? DTLHS (talk) 17:48, 15 July 2017 (UTC)

I think it's just short for thrift shop/store/sale/etc., left off due to either laziness or for the sake of being concise (?) Leasnam (talk) 19:49, 25 July 2017 (UTC)
Does this support that sense? Equinox 20:00, 25 July 2017 (UTC)
  • 2004, Los Angeles Magazine (volume 49, number 2, page 88)
    I love the American Cancer Society Discovery shops because they are good matches between thrifts and resales.
update. I was at the beach this weekend and I saw a shop called "<something> Thrift" and I immediately remembered this thread. I can't withcall the name, and it is so new that it's not in Google Maps yet (--the location is in Maps, but it was a closed shop till very recently and it still shows as a vacant building). I'm having someone get the name for me (it was like "Sunset Thrift", "Coastal Thrift", "Topsail thrift", etc.), but apparently it is used this way. Leasnam (talk) 16:08, 31 July 2017 (UTC)
It was Bayside Thrift Leasnam (talk) 16:41, 31 July 2017 (UTC)


I'm not sure if this is the right place to post this, but an IP user,, has been adding a bunch of translations of Muslim and removing other translations, for instance those that are derived from Muhammad: diff. For example, he or she removed German Mohammedaner and Russian магомета́нский (magometánskij). I don't know what the motivation for this is: maybe this person is a Muslim and is censoring Muhammad's name because it's too holy to be used in a word referring to a member of the religion. Or maybe it's because these would be better as translations of Mohammedan. In any case, what should be done here? — Eru·tuon 22:41, 15 July 2017 (UTC)

I can't speak for the Russian, but the German word is certainly better as a translation of Mohammedan than of Muslim. Just like Mohammedan, German Mohammedaner is very old-fashioned and might even be vaguely offensive if used nowadays. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 13:43, 16 July 2017 (UTC)
It's old-fashioned in German, but not very old-fashioned. It was in normal use until, I guess, ~1980. So as as other dated terms are found in translation sections, this one should as well, probably with a note (dated). Kolmiel (talk) 22:01, 17 July 2017 (UTC)
In some other languages, it may still today be in normal use. I don't know; but if so, these terms must definitely be put back on. (Descriptivism!) Kolmiel (talk) 22:05, 17 July 2017 (UTC)
As to the censoring, it's not because the name is too holy. It's because Muslims believe that the teaching of all prophets was the same and contained all the main tenets of faith from the beginning on (differences existing only in the specifics of law and ritual). Therefore they tend to disapprove of the word "Muhammedan", which implies the idea, unacceptable to them, that Islam is a form of monotheism specific to Muhammad. Kolmiel (talk) 22:01, 17 July 2017 (UTC)
Done. The person who deleted it doesn't seem to have had much knowledge of German. They deleted the dated "Mohammedaner" but left the much more archaic "Muselmane" and even the now clearly derogatory "Muselmann". I've deleted the latter, provided "Muselmane" with the label "archaic" and "Mohammedaner" with "dated". Kolmiel (talk) 20:17, 19 July 2017 (UTC)


Why just surgically remove? I've heard people talk about amputation from some sick serial killers for instance, with the general meaning of cutting parts off of people's bodies. "The serial killer had a pattern of amputating the bodies of his victims postmortem." PseudoSkull (talk) 19:53, 16 July 2017 (UTC)

Generally a serial killer will cut the parts of the body off, in a surgical fashion. Getting blown off with explosives generally seems to be different from amputation, though there are some Google books hits that use "amputate" to include parts blown off by explosions.--Prosfilaes (talk) 18:42, 17 July 2017 (UTC)

scream blue murder

I had never heard this phrase before. (I thought it was a mistake for "bloody murder".) Is it mainly a UK thing? — Eru·tuon 20:04, 16 July 2017 (UTC)

Could be. I am from the UK and it is a familiar expression to me. Mihia (talk) 20:44, 16 July 2017 (UTC)
It probably is British, I've heard it used, and probably used it myself. It was WOTD actually. I'm not sure the def is complete though - from Oxford: "to make cries of terror or alarm; to make a noisy and extravagant protest or outcry; to raise a commotion". DonnanZ (talk) 21:29, 16 July 2017 (UTC)
Why isn't this just a redirect to [[blue murder]]? One can yell/cry/holler/shout/kick up/swear/threaten/squall/squeal/roar blue/bloody murder as well. (all from first 6 pages of bgc results) DCDuring (talk) 21:47, 16 July 2017 (UTC)
In my experience the most common verb used here is scream. So why is there an entry for scream bloody murder and not for the variants? DonnanZ (talk) 22:42, 16 July 2017 (UTC)
Because it is more common, obviously, and therefore more likely to have been heard by someone who is unaware of blue murder as the core of the expression, never having happened to have heard it with another verb. And because it is less work or more fun to add an entry for a term that is not part of one's idiolect than to work on entries for common words that need it. There are lots of instances of a [Verb1] + [NP] collocation being more common than [Verb2] + [NP] where [Verb1] and [Verb2] are somewhat similar. DCDuring (talk) 23:25, 16 July 2017 (UTC)
It is most definitely British - but now very dated. I haven't heard it in years. (but always with "scream" rather than any other cry) SemperBlotto (talk) 04:56, 17 July 2017 (UTC)
I by no means hear it every day, but it doesn't strike me as dated. Mihia (talk) 01:37, 18 July 2017 (UTC)

English roseola meaning “German measles” (definition #3)?

I don't think it's modern usage at least. Should it be reworded as an obsolete sense of "any disease with a red rash, such as scarlet fever, measles and rubella."? Wyang (talk) 11:45, 17 July 2017 (UTC)

translations for translingual entries

Do we add translations for translingual entries e.g. at Prunus spinulosa? I couldn't remember. ---> Tooironic (talk) 23:53, 17 July 2017 (UTC)

I think there is acceptance, though a common practice is to use {{trans-see}}, to a translation table at an English vernacular name. As commonly used vernacular names are very often ambiguous, this practice seems somewhat undesirable. DCDuring (talk) 04:40, 18 July 2017 (UTC)
Indeed, there was overwhelming acceptance shown in the 9-1 vote favoring them (Wiktionary:Votes/pl-2016-01/Translations of taxonomic names}. DCDuring (talk) 04:46, 18 July 2017 (UTC)
Wiktionary:Entry_layout#Translations: Translations should be given in English entries, and also in Translingual entries for taxonomic names. --Hekaheka (talk) 01:07, 28 July 2017 (UTC)

half gyp, whole gyp

What's the difference? Anyone know? Equinox 01:05, 18 July 2017 (UTC)


What is the difference in usage between definition 1 and 2? And which definition should I have put my usage example under (it's currently the second one under definition 2)? Andrew Sheedy (talk) 02:39, 18 July 2017 (UTC)

The usage example for sense 1 should be under 2, I think. It may be better to merge both senses. Female Jehovah's Witnesses are known as sisters, e.g. Sister Smith, but I'm not sure whether it's a formal title.
What is missing is the nursing sense, a sister in charge of other nurses. My mother was known as Sister Raymond (her maiden name) before she married. DonnanZ (talk) 08:02, 18 July 2017 (UTC)
Actually, I think the usage examples may be transposed, a sister in a religious order, like a nun, is more likely to use a Christian name than a surname. DonnanZ (talk) 08:20, 18 July 2017 (UTC)
This entry is in a poor state, as is Brother. IMO senses 1 and 2 should be merged in both entries. Sense 3 does a terrible job of covering the word as used in its usex, while a general sense used among comrades in many types of movement is missing ("Sister Huerta led us on the path to unionization", etc). Use of nurses, like Donnanz mentions, also needs to be covered somewhere... maybe "religious" and "fraternal" (sororal!) use should be split? I have boldly edited the entries along the lines I suggested, but use of nurses still needs to be added. - -sche (discuss) 18:04, 18 July 2017 (UTC)


Because of this revision.

That doesn't fit together. "unterschreiben" indeed has the participle "unterschrieben". But as for a possible WT:RFVN/WT:RFD for "untergeschrieben": A German word "untergeschrieben" does exist as in "untergeschriebenes Iota" (= iota subscript). "untergeschrieben" could be an adjective (unter + participle or participial adjective geschrieben), another verb (with participle "untergeschrieben"), or it could be an old participle form of "unterschrieben". - 02:49, 18 July 2017 (UTC)

The underlying verb is a rare and possibly defective únterschreiben ("to write below", first syllable stress). The infinitive, particularly the extended infinitive unterzuschreiben, doesn't sound all that strange to me. For example: "Wenn man das Iota in einer Handschrift hinzufügen wollte, war man gezwungen, es unterzuschreiben." This use is attestable on google books. I don't know if conjugated forms are attestable; they are difficult to search for at any rate. But in my opinion, the two existing forms would be enough to create the verb with a note that conjugated forms are very rare. Kolmiel (talk) 04:10, 18 July 2017 (UTC)
Done. Kolmiel (talk) 17:49, 19 July 2017 (UTC)


𪜈 is the only katakana digraph registered in CJK Unified Ideographs Extension. I’m not sure how to change it to a proper entry. The other digraphs and are correctly registered in respective blocks in Unicode, and categorized as symbols here in Wiktionary. Isn’t it better to treat them in the same manner? — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 13:21, 18 July 2017 (UTC)

@TAKASUGI Shinji: Maybe we could treat it as a katakana digraph and have a usage note that says that it was mistakenly included in Unicode as a kanji. —suzukaze (tc) 09:01, 19 July 2017 (UTC)

Bastard capitalization

i don't use Wiktionary very often, so please forgive this question: Is capitalization the only reason (and/or sufficient reason) for bastard and Bastard to have separate pages?

i wasn't sure if i should ask the question here, or at Talk:bastard (Talk:Bastard was previously deleted).

As a curiosity, when i use the "Search in the archives of Tea room" box to search for "bastard", would it find any occurrences of "Bastard"? Here is my first page of search results copied and pasted; should i have added this question to an existing thread, or is this new discussion better?

   Wiktionary:Tea room/2007/October (section pommy bastard)
   no parallel terms I can think of such as British bastard, yanky bastard, kiwi bastard, aussie bastard, etc. It's pretty subtle though and I wouldn't want
   62 KB (9,237 words) - 11:25, 2 June 2017
   Wiktionary:Tea room/2012/December (section bastard#Noun)
   for "she is a real bastard", "she is a complete bastard" and "she is such a bastard". There are plenty of hits for "she is a bastard" but they seem only
   80 KB (10,503 words) - 11:01, 2 June 2017
   Wiktionary:Tea room/2008/September (section bastard)
   somewhere. RJFJR 13:58, 2 September 2008 (UTC) The definition for the word "bastard" says "born to unmarried parents". Does this mean that birth rather than
   133 KB (17,512 words) - 11:27, 2 June 2017
   Wiktionary:Tea room/2017/January
   the entry itself here says literally 'son of a prostitute'. However, a bastard is not necessarily a son of a prostitute, but rather a female who had sex
   108 KB (15,050 words) - 04:27, 28 June 2017
   Wiktionary:Tea room/2010/March
   something where something can be from some set of terms like "freak", "bastard", "monster", "ass", "shrew", etc? It all might be somewhat useful for,
   59 KB (8,335 words) - 11:08, 2 June 2017
   Wiktionary:Tea room/2009/December
   to merit an entry. DCDuring TALK 23:54, 14 December 2009 (UTC) Re: bastard#Interjection. Isn't this just the noun used as a vocative? Like cunt, bitch
   138 KB (19,656 words) - 11:09, 2 June 2017
   Wiktionary:Tea room/2010/December
   of Wiktionary - or any dictionary. But no one seems to object to pommy bastard as an entry, which I "advocated" as a joke. Is the use of the term "poor"
   52 KB (7,286 words) - 11:06, 2 June 2017
   Wiktionary:Tea room/2011/October
   can also be inverted: "If ever there was/were a person to be called a bastard, it would be him." This may make one consider it more a literal, though
   88 KB (12,968 words) - 11:04, 2 June 2017

Thank you for your patience.

-- 17:14, 18 July 2017 (UTC)

I believe the search form is case-insensitive. Yes, they're separate entries because German nouns (as far as I know) are always capitalized. The capitalization policies were fleshed out I think pre-2006. —Aryaman (मुझसे बात करो) 22:32, 18 July 2017 (UTC)
In this particular case the meanings are the same. A better example is polish and Polish. SemperBlotto (talk) 05:04, 19 July 2017 (UTC)


Could a Japanese-speaking editor check the Japanese definition? It seems wildly different to the Chinese meaning. ---> Tooironic (talk) 11:30, 19 July 2017 (UTC)

@Tooironic: It seems to be right. See [4], which says that it is Myrica rubra. —suzukaze (tc) 11:45, 19 July 2017 (UTC)
OK. Thank you. ---> Tooironic (talk) 11:46, 19 July 2017 (UTC)


Plural of "kanji". I have seen it used, but I always thought it was bad English. Any opinions? Mihia (talk) 22:01, 19 July 2017 (UTC)

It's a rare plural form; that means that someone is going to object to it as bad English. IMO, English words that don't come from Middle English should pluralize regularly, with -s or the appropriate variant of that. But it is more popular to carry over the pluralization of the original, at least for the null plurals of Japanese.--Prosfilaes (talk) 18:43, 20 July 2017 (UTC)
How do you feel about "a kanji" meaning "a kanji character"? (I know that the "ji" means "character", so by that token it should be OK, yet in English I feel that "a kanji" is somehow substandard.) Mihia (talk) 00:23, 21 July 2017 (UTC)
It seems well-attested.--Prosfilaes (talk) 18:45, 22 July 2017 (UTC)
Well, "alot" is also well-attested ... but, joking apart, some of the attestations for "a kanji" do seem somewhat reputable, so perhaps it's only me who feels that it is substandard. Mihia (talk) 00:00, 25 July 2017 (UTC)


yearling: an anom added an adjective header citing [[5]]...is it really an adjective ? I thought such uses were attributive cases. Leasnam (talk) 03:20, 20 July 2017 (UTC)

Several dictionaries give it as an adjective, Century in particular cites: A yearling heifer and As yearling brides provide lace caps, and work rich clothes for the expected darling. I'm having trouble finding solid usage examples as an adjective though... Leasnam (talk) 03:31, 20 July 2017 (UTC)
I find lots of yearling males, yearling females, yearling ewes, yearling rainbow trout, etc. and an odd This very yearling ram of mine goes back three generations on his dam's side to sheep bred here on this farm, ...--this last one looks to me like (This)+(very =adj)+(yearling+ram =noun) Leasnam (talk) 03:39, 20 July 2017 (UTC)
The OED has it as an adjective, but says it is attributive use of the noun. The problem with the anon's input was that it wasn't formatted and was added in the wrong place. I'll add it in the correct format. SemperBlotto (talk) 04:37, 20 July 2017 (UTC)
To me, "adjective" and "attributive use of the noun" seem mutually exclusive. Mihia (talk) 00:24, 21 July 2017 (UTC)
  1. The adjective definition ("adj. def.") is not substitutable.
  2. As shown the adj. def. is obviously semantically identical to a noun definition.
  3. AFAIK, it won't be possible to attest instances of any use of yearling that are comparable, gradable, used as a predicate adjective, or used attributively in a sense not used by the noun.
  4. We have a practice (polcy???) of eliminating the adjective PoS section for a word that is a noun and doesn't have those kinds of use, even though it is attestably used attributively. In principle, ANY English noun can be used attributively, which is why we don't bother to duplicate the noun definitions with definitions that differ from the noun only by rewording as if it were a true adjective, or by rewording that makes it superficially appear that the adjective use is a novel sense.
  5. Other dictionaries have different practices. It would be nice to know whether they had explicit policies about the matter. For example, do they included an adjective PoS because users want/need it, on relative frequency grounds, or on some other basis. WordNet might use translation target arguments.
In the end, the general question is a policy matter (BP), but whether a particular term should have an adjective PoS is and RfV matter. Whether the wording of an adjective definition is sufficiently distinct from the noun definitions is an RfD matter. DCDuring (talk) 02:24, 21 July 2017 (UTC)
Unless anyone can present any convincing true-adjective usage examples, I vote that the adjective sense should be deleted. Mihia (talk) 23:32, 21 July 2017 (UTC)
Yes, as far as I've seen we don't provide separate adjectives for attributively-used nouns; compare shade as in "a shade plant". I also note that when I check the Middle English Dictionary, they only have it as a noun... if it had formerly been clearly adjectival, and survived in modern English in places like "yearling lamb" where either an adjective or a noun fits, then one could've made an argument based on that that it was still an adjective. I haven't found any use of the form "the lamb is yearling", either... only cases where it seems to be a noun modifying another noun. - -sche (discuss) 16:21, 22 July 2017 (UTC)

Homer's nodding

Could someone help me clean up Homer nods, even Homer nods and even Jove nods? We should not be duplicating all of this considering they are all alternative forms of the same expression. Thanks. ---> Tooironic (talk) 00:05, 21 July 2017 (UTC)

I'll try what I can--Sigehelmus (talk) 23:47, 21 July 2017 (UTC)

kanji (different meaning)

What does this use of kanji refer to? Alternative spelling of an entry we already have? DTLHS (talk) 00:30, 21 July 2017 (UTC)

  • If it's not found in other contexts, I would argue that this is a Mongolian term used in English text. It is first introduced in italics, and loosely defined, and only then used without italics, clearly indicating that the author did not expect his English-speaking readers to be familiar with the term. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 16:52, 24 July 2017 (UTC)
PS: Reading further through that text, it appears that -jis may be a suffix indicating an office or job title. It is also unclear if the final -s is inherent to the terms, or if this is the author appending the normal English plural suffix. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 16:55, 24 July 2017 (UTC)

The meaning of the word ལྟམ (ltam) in Tibetan

In the dictionary this word is defined as the honorific version of the verb to be born (intransitive) or to give birth to a child (causative). I've searched through various other Tibetan dictionaries on the internet and even in the STEDT, and apparently the word ལྟམ (ltam) has another meaning apart from the ones suggested in the translation. It seems to related with the words ཐམ་པ (tham pa) and གཏམ་པ (gtam pa) (Benedict, 1972). The former is an adjective which means full or complete, while the latter is verb with a similar causative meaning to fill up. It ultimately derives from the PST root *l-(t/d)jam.

Do you think that this other meaning should be added in the page for the word ལྟམ (ltam)? Is this a case of homophony? Does some of you have additional information about this word? — Sorjam (talk) 20:26, 21 July 2017 (UTC)

Pinging @Wyang as our only active editor whose Babel box lists knowledge of Tibetan. In general, if the senses you mention are attested i.e. actually used, they should be added, but I don't know if they have the same etymology or not. - -sche (discuss) 16:10, 22 July 2017 (UTC)
@Sorjam Yes, absolutely. I will add it. Wyang (talk) 23:56, 22 July 2017 (UTC)

Reformatting, cleanup, and expansion of trasgo

I don't know where to start on this one, but all I'll say is that trasgo has both a Spanish and Portuguese definition that to my research are extremely similar if not the same, but I'm still not 100% certain and it's missing a lot of info concerning all definitions and synonyms and the like, as well as formatting. Can someone help please? I never really fleshed out an article here before but I tried a fair amount.--Sigehelmus (talk) 23:46, 21 July 2017 (UTC)

Should foreign PPs be treated as PPs in English?

Stuff like à trois or in extremis. Prepositional phrase, or not? Equinox 00:05, 22 July 2017 (UTC)

It's complicated. I think there may be some cases such as in extremis where the foreign words are close enough to English ones that English speakers may see the parts as words that mean something. They may not know the exact meanings, nor would they know what case extremis is in, nor how that would affect the meaning of in, but they probably can guess that in is a preposition and extremis is a noun. In other cases, they wouldn't know the difference between the parts of voilà and à la- just how they're used as a whole in context. I think that alternate/nonstandard forms such as wallah for voilà and pronunciations such as /ˈboʊnəˌfaɪd/ for bona fide may show that the whole has lost all connection to the parts, but it's not always that easy to figure out. Chuck Entz (talk) 00:47, 22 July 2017 (UTC)
What else could they be?
  • Adjectives (as currently in à trois)? Doesn't seem to be a good choice.
  • Prepositional phrases (as currently in in extremis)? Might be somewhat incorrect, misleading or unprecise as the preposition isn't English.
  • Just phrases? Seems to be the better choice (IMHO). Maybe the etymology section could somehow state that it is a (non-idiomatic) prepositional phrase in the source language. 16:47, 31 July 2017 (UTC)

general education

The current def ("Education in a number of important subjects, taught in schools") seems somewhat SoP and is also possibly wrong. Other sources say that general education is non-academic, character-forming stuff like culture and citizenship. (When I was at school, this is probably what they called PSE: personal/social education.) Equinox 11:49, 22 July 2017 (UTC)

Divisions to clean up

Anyone who's bored or feels like some botting might like to clean up these Divisions [6]. The capitalisation within the link needs fixing, i.e. division, not (German noun) Division. I was going to recommend the same for Districts [7], but we seem to have an English generic District (of questionable value: see Talk:New). Equinox 12:18, 22 July 2017 (UTC)


There are currently two subsenses, for "the Eurozone" and "the European Union", but the usexes for each contain context that makes clear what block of countries is meant by "[the] bloc", and one can speak similarly of many (all?) other blocs, e.g. "The Secretary General of NATO announced the bloc's position", "ASEAN states agree bloc should take hard line". So should the subsenses be folded into the general sense i.e. removed? - -sche (discuss) 16:06, 22 July 2017 (UTC)

I think so. Bloc is either explicitly qualified (eg, Eastern bloc) or contextually determined. DCDuring (talk) 18:17, 22 July 2017 (UTC)

Βλάχος in Greek

Just wanted to note that the first entry on this page for Ancient Greek should technically be Byzantine Greek (by the time interaction with Slavs and the Old Church Slavonic language happened, it was well past the ancient/classical Greek era. Or I guess it would have been a transition between Koine and Medieval Greek). I'd change it myself but I don't know how that would affect the rest of the entry, with the inflection template still modeled on the ancient/classical forms; I'd imagine there'd be some inconsistencies. Word dewd544 (talk) 18:30, 22 July 2017 (UTC)

I tagged it as Byzantine Greek and removed the dual (which AFAIK was no longer in use by Koine, let alone Byzantine). Are there any other differences in the inflection? —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:10, 22 July 2017 (UTC)

The Japanese section gives a definition plus readings, but then the usage note says "This character is not used in Japanese", which is a bit bizarre. Category:Japanese terms spelled with 你 includes only one entry: 你好, which is said to be "rare" and "usually in the Chinese context", so I'm not sure whether it is fully considered a Japanese word. Anyway, the current presentation is peculiar, but I'm not sure how it should be fixed. Mihia (talk) 21:02, 22 July 2017 (UTC)

The usage note was in need of some expansion, which I've since added. I also updated the Japanese 你好 entry to clarify. An argument could be made that this is not a Japanese term, but rather a Chinese term that is sometimes used by Japanese speakers to sound deliberately Chinese-ish, much like English speakers might say guten Tag to fellow English speakers to deliberately impart a certain German-ness to the conversation.
There are various kanji characters that are included in Japanese character dictionaries for sake of completeness, even though the characters themselves are never -- or hardly ever -- used in modern Japanese, and might only appear either in historical works, or in renderings of non-Japanese text. The in 你好 is one such instance. Japanese readers may encounter this character often enough, given its use in the ubiquitous Chinese greeting 你好. In fact, 你好 is included in both the Daijirin and Daijisen monolingual Japanese dictionaries (such as here at dictionary aggregator Kotobank) -- and these entries basically state that this is Chinese for こんにちは (konnichi wa, hello, good day).
On a separate note, one important distinction to make is "character" and "word". is certainly a character, but it is not a word in Japanese. Likewise, is a character, but not a word on its own.
Have a look at the Japanese entry and see if that answers your concerns. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 17:43, 24 July 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for looking at this. Mihia (talk) 20:03, 24 July 2017 (UTC)

zincirleme ad tamlaması

Anyone competent to change the "penis size" fun to something less ridiculous? Equinox 01:08, 23 July 2017 (UTC)

get one up on someone

I have just made get one up on someone. My first impression was "surely this phrase already would have an entry in WT", followed by "I must've made a calamitous spelling mistake or something". Looking at one up and one-up and onupmanship, still I was shocked not to see any note of this entry. Anyway, I put some spoilers for last week's Game of Thrones in a few entries. And hopefully I can annoy some people by tricking them into reading entries featuring spoilers for the next episodes of GOT. I assume that at least half of us watch the show. -WF

I am not sure whether the lemma should be "get one up on someone" in full. We can use "get one up" without the "on someone" part, and also "be one up (on someone)" without the "get" part. I wonder if the relevant meaning should be added to one up instead. Mihia (talk) 19:36, 23 July 2017 (UTC)
I'm not actually sure that I've heard "get one up" without the "on X". Is it common? Equinox 22:12, 23 July 2017 (UTC)
It seems somewhat familiar to me, though I doubt it would qualify as "common". A search like this throws up some, but you have to page through a lot of irrelevant stuff. Some examples:
  • WePay wants to get one-up in the mobile payments race with its new iOS app for small businesses [8]
  • He tends to view dealing with others through a kind of "win-lose" lens, seeking to get "one up" whenever possible. [9]
  • “It’s exciting, you’d love to get one up and say you coached against one of the greats of all time,” he said. [10]
Also, some people seem to say "get one up over someone" rather than "on". I wonder whether this might be just confusion with "get one over" though. Mihia (talk) 19:37, 24 July 2017 (UTC)


I find the etymology to be inadequate. How exactly did the verbal suffix emerge in Old English? Was it a dialectal variant of -aþ? — (((Romanophile))) (contributions) 07:07, 24 July 2017 (UTC)

It was not a dialectal variant of . It is actually the same verbal ending as the second person singular indicative (i.e. -s, -st), as in thou singst, which was originally lacking the final t. It was due to levelling of the verb inflections due to Scandinavian settlers taking up English (rather, Old English), with the pattern of levelling being carried over from Old Norse. Leasnam (talk) 18:17, 24 July 2017 (UTC)

rather used at the end of a clause

An example. Does this fit with any existing sense? How should it be defined? DTLHS (talk) 01:04, 25 July 2017 (UTC)

I think it fits with sense 5, although that definition might need to be expanded slightly to fit that usage perfectly. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 01:12, 25 July 2017 (UTC)


Is the nominative singular really with short -es? I thought such nouns normally had identical singular and plural forms. Also, the genitive seems wrong, and the second reference doesn't actually contain "martes". —CodeCat 12:30, 25 July 2017 (UTC)

Fixed the genitive and removed the second reference. Lewis & Short doesn't mark the -es as long, but then it doesn't for nūbēs either, so it could be wrong. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 13:06, 25 July 2017 (UTC)
Checked the OLD, but the word isn't even listed there! —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 18:38, 25 July 2017 (UTC)
Is this word Mediaeval Latin ? Maybe a label is needed. Leasnam (talk) 19:44, 25 July 2017 (UTC)
Used in De re metallica (1556). DTLHS (talk) 19:48, 25 July 2017 (UTC)
Is this the earliest record of it ? Leasnam (talk) 00:24, 26 July 2017 (UTC)
Lewis & Short have it because of a possible use in Martial, but they mark it "dubious" and list some alternative readings. Its absence in the OLD suggests to me that modern scholars have probably accepted one of the alternative readings as the accurate one. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 05:51, 26 July 2017 (UTC)
Wow. Did the Romans really not have a word for martens? —CodeCat 11:55, 27 July 2017 (UTC)

business before pleasure, head over heels, time after time

Is there a classification by which to categorize idioms phrased as a "thing preposition thing" like business before pleasure, head over heels, and time after time? I am thinking of something like Category:English coordinated pairs, containing phrases like bait and switch, law and order, and wheel and deal. bd2412 T 20:35, 25 July 2017 (UTC)

Why is Category:English coordinated pairs not appropriate for these? Equinox 20:37, 25 July 2017 (UTC)
Strictly speaking, I don't know that it is inappropriate, but virtually all of the terms presently in that category are "foo and bar", not "foo preposition bar". The former suggests things that merely go together, while the latter suggests a specific relationship between the things. bd2412 T 21:20, 25 July 2017 (UTC)
Prepositions aren't coordinators like and, or, and/or (and ,?).
The examples aren't quite the same. The first is an elliptical form of a proverbial-type expression, like age before beauty.
The latter two seem to be adverbial, following a common pattern like the phrases using other prepositions: cheek by jowl/cheek to jowl, head-to-head, north by northwest, hat in hand, side by side. All of them seem like ellipses of absolutes, eg, heading north by northwest, walking side by side. Category:English elliptical absolutes doesn't seem to me to be a category that would be recognized, let alone used, by anyone, but it's the closest I can think of. DCDuring (talk) 02:55, 26 July 2017 (UTC)
My interest is in putting all the things that share a common grammatical feature together, however it is titled. bd2412 T 22:16, 26 July 2017 (UTC)
You could always do it with a user page. DCDuring (talk) 22:45, 26 July 2017 (UTC)
Yes, but the point is to organize things that may be of lexical interest to the general reader. bd2412 T 13:12, 27 July 2017 (UTC)
How is a "general reader" supposed to access the category when there is no obvious name? I have no evidence that anyone cares about this. Would it help us with entry maintenance in some way? DCDuring (talk) 16:44, 27 July 2017 (UTC)
Is Category:English coordinated pairs an "obvious" name to the general reader? If there is utility to categorizing that body of phrases, why would there not be equal utility to categorizing a similarly related body of phrases? bd2412 T 19:48, 27 July 2017 (UTC)

بيت لحم

Hi, could sb. please add the declension of بيت لحم, a compound term. Thanks in advance. --Backinstadiums (talk) 10:06, 26 July 2017 (UTC)

@Backinstadiums I'm not sure why the 2nd part looks indefinite as in a phrase "the book of a man" كِتَابُ رَجُلٍ (kitābu rajulin). In the definite, the fully vocalised form with ʾiʿrāb should then be بَيْتُ اللَّحْمِ (baytu l-laḥmi). But this must be a borrowing, the full term is then declinable as بَيْتَ لَحْمُ (bayta laḥmu) where "bayta" is indeclinable but "laḥmu" is declined as a diptote. I left it in the indefinite state for now - it's too late here. @Wikitiki89, Benwing2, Erutuon, Kolmiel, feel free fix as appropriate, if you know how. I'll get back to it, if nobody does. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 14:00, 26 July 2017 (UTC)
@Atitarev: The Wikipedia article (as well as the Online Etymology Dictionary) indicate the word comes from the name of a god, Lahamu or Lahmu. Given that this name is spelled with in the article, I guess the Arabic is folk-etymologized: it should be something like *بيت لخم, with the other consonant that corresponds to Hebrew ח. (Maybe the Hebrew was affected the same way, but the consonant isn't evidence, as historical *ḥ and *ḫ merged in Hebrew anyway.) So, there's no definite article because it was a name. Not sure how to add this information to the etymology. — Eru·tuon 02:58, 27 July 2017 (UTC)
Well if Arabic got it from Hebrew via Aramaic, then that explains the consonant in Arabic. An an interesting point though, is that the Septuagint has Βηθλεεμ (Bēthleem) [11], Βαιθλεεμ (Baithleem) [12], and Βαιθλαεμ (Baithlaem) [13] (and Βαιθμαν (Baithman) [14]), when it often distinguishes the earlier *ḫ, which still quasi-existed in Hebrew at the time, with χ (kh). --WikiTiki89 16:19, 27 July 2017 (UTC)
Ahh, so that's evidence it had the reflex of *ḥ rather than *ḫ, at least at the time of the Septuagint. Maybe then the second element of the word had already been reanalyzed or folk-etymologized or censored by the Hebrews (the name of a god → a word for food), transforming *ḫ to *ḥ, before it got to Arabic. (My statement about the phonemes merging wasn't accurate for earlier periods of Hebrew.) But I'm speculating. — Eru·tuon 20:40, 27 July 2017 (UTC)
It's not conclusive evidence, because there are other names where you would expect *ḫ, but the Septuagint does not have χ (kh). Then there is also the separate matter of whether the vowels in לֶחֶם/לָחֶם (léḥem/lā́ḥem), as opposed to the would-be expected לַחַם/לָחַם (láḥam/lā́ḥam), say anything about the nature of the consonant in previous stages of Hebrew. In other words, one might speculate based on the vowels that the ח () in לֶחֶם (léḥem, bread) was not originally a pharyngeal and so it must have been *ḫ, but on the other hand we know that the Arabic cognate has rather than . So who knows. --WikiTiki89 20:56, 27 July 2017 (UTC)

Oddly enough, In ‘Arabic: An Essential Grammar by Faruk Abu-Chacra’ pag. 153 both terms appear with فتحة, unlike the terms before/after it (Por Said, New York, etc.). --Backinstadiums (talk) 14:06, 26 July 2017 (UTC)

The final "-a" must be a typo in that book. I "vote: for this declension, since I don't have a source ready (diptote, the first part "bayta" indeclinable):
The audio in the entry matches this in the pausal form, Hans Wehr also suggests a romanisation "baytalaḥm" for the alternative term written without a space - بيتلحم. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 14:13, 26 July 2017 (UTC)
So what's the verdict? Is it بَيْتَ لَحْمُ (bayta laḥmu) or بَيْتَ لَحْمَ (bayta laḥma) in the nominative? --WikiTiki89 14:27, 26 July 2017 (UTC)
I now lean towards بَيْتَ لَحْمُ (bayta laḥmu) but I'll wait and see if there are other opinions or sources. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 14:29, 26 July 2017 (UTC)
If it wasn't clear, I have already voted for this declension above with a table. I think Backinstadium's book has a typo. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 14:31, 26 July 2017 (UTC)
Sorry, when I asked that I had misread your table above as having a nominative بَيْتَ لَحْمَ (bayta laḥma), which confused me. --WikiTiki89 14:38, 26 July 2017 (UTC)
It would appear to be either a diptote bayta laḥmu or an invariable bayta laḥma. The information in the grammar is inconsistent, but there's no way to decide whether they mistakenly put the final -a, or whether they mistakenly called it diptote. I'd not put a declension table at all until we find additional information that confirms the one or the other. Kolmiel (talk) 14:32, 26 July 2017 (UTC)
I think we can keep the diptote declension for now until we find evidence against it, as it makes more sense and goes along with the fact that it can be spelled as one word بيتلحم. --WikiTiki89 14:38, 26 July 2017 (UTC)
Yeah... I think many an Arabic philologist would be hard-pressed to decline this word, and it might not just be because they don't know but because no one really knows. But if we must decide, then I agree that bayta laḥmu is more likely. Kolmiel (talk) 14:41, 26 July 2017 (UTC)

I've also found بيت لحمٍ --Backinstadiums (talk) 14:51, 26 July 2017 (UTC)

Yes, that's what I had suspected. The readings bayta laḥmu, baytu laḥmin, baytu laḥma, etc., probably all occur. Maybe the first is the most accepted. The source for it seems more reliable.... provided that we've interpreted it correctly. Kolmiel (talk) 15:48, 26 July 2017 (UTC)
I've made some small changes. Feel free to improve. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 07:03, 27 July 2017 (UTC)

to mount

Am I just stupid or does this definition for "to mount" actually make sense: "to deploy (cannon) for use in or around it"? --Hekaheka (talk) 08:33, 27 July 2017 (UTC)

If I am reading it correctly, it says to me: to set up a cannon for use, either "in it" or "(round) about it". I think we could just change it to "deploy a cannon for use" and be okay. Leasnam (talk) 11:53, 27 July 2017 (UTC)
I thought that would be the case. --Hekaheka (talk) 12:02, 27 July 2017 (UTC)
I'm always interested in the source of erroneous or questionable definitions. I think this came from a usage example in Webster 1913: A fort or ship is said to mount cannon, when it has them arranged for use in or about it. DCDuring (talk) 12:56, 27 July 2017 (UTC)
Ahh...Leasnam (talk) 13:14, 27 July 2017 (UTC)


This is a Pronunciation question I've been churning for quite a while now. In looking at the English pronunciation of haystack, we show the IPA pronunciation as /ˈheɪˌstæk/. My question revolves around the use of æ for the English sound...It's shown as a "short" vowel, but in actuality, for many speakers (US especially) it's pronounced "long" as /ˈheɪˌstæːk/. In American English, I can't think of a single word that uses a true short vowel /æ/. Has anyone else ever noticed this before ? Leasnam (talk) 13:12, 27 July 2017 (UTC)

Well, it's short compared to the vowel in stag, due to regular vowel lengthening before "voiced" stops. Chuck Entz (talk) 13:31, 27 July 2017 (UTC)
stag almost sounds like a diphthong to me: /ˈstæːɘɡ/ or /ˈstæːɪ̯ɡ/ Leasnam (talk) 16:01, 27 July 2017 (UTC)
In fact, length is not longer an issue in English phonemes. --Backinstadiums (talk) 14:11, 27 July 2017 (UTC)
@Backinstadiums, but we should represent the pronunciation correctly. If we say "/'stæːk/" we should show /'stæːk/, right ? /ˈstæk/ to me approximates more like how some Germans might pronounce Stäck (--just the vowel). I'm concerned, because I add a lot of pronunciations for Old Enlgish, and Old English bæþ (/ˈbæθ/) doesn't sound at all like Modern English bath. Modern bath would come closer to OE bǣþ (/ˈbæːθ/ or /ˈbæːɘθ/) Leasnam (talk) 16:09, 27 July 2017 (UTC) Leasnam (talk) 16:01, 27 July 2017 (UTC)
@Leasnam: What accent of English do you speak with? For me Modern English bath and Old English bæþ sound basically identical. As for stack, it's true that open vowels tend to be longer than close vowels, so stack has a longer vowel than stick, but as Chuck Entz points out, it has a shorter (and more monophthongal) vowel than stag. But at the phonemic level, there's no reason to consider the vowel of stack long, because there's no short vowel it contrasts with, nor is there any reason to consider the vowel of stag phonemically a diphthong, because there's no monophthong it contrasts with. At the phonemic level, they're both just /æ/. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 18:23, 27 July 2017 (UTC)
I don't think Old English bæþ was pronounced like Modern English bath. I think it sounded more like what we would hear as [beθ] in Gernal American, but with the vowel very short. Maybe something like a Northern England bath, from Lancashire or Merseyside. Leasnam (talk) 18:31, 27 July 2017 (UTC)
Of course we have no way of knowing the precise phonetics of the Old English, but whether or not modern English bath sounds like it depends a lot on what variety of English you speak. Someone from Northern England says [baθ], London says [bɑːθ] (or [bɑːf]), someone from Sydney [bɐːθ], someone from Boston (with the now recessive traditional Boston accent) says [baːθ], someone from New York says [beə̯θ], someone from Alabama says [bæɪ̯ə̯θ], and I say [bæθ]. Which one of these does the Old English (presumably) not sound like? —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 18:42, 27 July 2017 (UTC)
If your [bæθ] is anything like the clip at bath for US pronunciation, then that how I pronounce it. Incidentally, that is not how I imagine (give or take) how the Old English sounded. I imagine that an OE speaker hearing the US pronunciation would write that as bǣþ [bæːθ]. Their bæþ would sound much shorter. Leasnam (talk) 18:51, 27 July 2017 (UTC)
The audio clip at bath is more diphthongal than my pronunciation; more like an Old English *beaþ. Since vowel length was phonemic in Old English, I suspect their short vowels were shorter but also that their long vowels were longer, so an OE speaker might feel like our /æ/ (at least before a voiceless consonant) is somewhere between his /æ/ and his /æː/. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:22, 27 July 2017 (UTC)
@Angr Where (if you don't mind me asking :) is your accent/dialect located ? Leasnam (talk) 21:28, 27 July 2017 (UTC)
My accent is a very regionally neutral General American. My parents both grew up in Los Angeles, so I have definite West Coast influences (cot-caught merger, for example, though not consistently: Don and dawn are homophones for me, but stocking and stalking are different). From the ages of 2 to 9 (L1 acquisition window) I lived in Rochester, NY, but I don't think I have any significant Inland North/Northern Cities Vowel Shift influences, at least none that I'm aware of. From the age of 9 to adulthood I lived in Austin, TX, but I don't have a canonical Texas accent (as Austin is a cosmopolitan university town, probably more than half of my peer group were from someplace else, so there was no particular pressure to develop a Texas accent); the Texas influence on my speech is more lexical than phonological. And for the past 20 years I've lived in Germany, where most of my English-speaking friends have been British, so that has also had a "leveling" influence on my speech, as I don't want to say anything that my German friends won't understand or that my British friends will snicker at. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 08:28, 28 July 2017 (UTC)
The issue of actual phonetic vowel length in English is very complicated, and varies very widely by region. Let's stick with phonemic length. --WikiTiki89 16:58, 27 July 2017 (UTC)
Also, the fact that English is a stress-timed language makes vowel length an even trickier issue. --WikiTiki89 21:38, 27 July 2017 (UTC)
(edit conflict) You're not distinguishing between phonology (phonemes) and phonetics (phones). The transcriptions between slashes // are phonemic, while transcriptions between square brackets [] are phonetic. I think you're talking about phonetics, unless you've done some phonological analysis. So you should be writing [ˈstæːk], not /ˈstæːk/.
The question is, does the long [æː] correspond to a phoneme /æː/ or not? Stack might be phonetically [ˈstæːk] but phonemically /ˈstæk/, as the the length of the vowel might not be phonemic. Does the long [æː] contrast with a short [æ] in a way that is not predictable from the phonological environment? (For instance, is there a word with a long vowel, [ˈstæːk], that has a different meaning from a word with a short vowel, [ˈstæk]?) Then it's phonemic. That's the most obvious way to establish the long vowel as a phoneme. (It can be used to establish the Finnish ää vs. ä contrast as phonemic.)
I'm not aware of there being such a contrast in American English, but there are quite a few subtle differences between American dialects, and maybe there's one that makes the contrast. (You say that there's not a word in which the vowel is short; that suggests there isn't a contrast.) Maybe there are other ways to determine that a vowel is phonemically long, but that's the easiest one.
German has a vowel length contrast, we don't. So if Germans use their phonology when reading the transcription /ˈstæk/, and interpret the vowel as phonetically short, they're misunderstanding how American English phonology works. Sometimes vowels transcribed as short in phonemic transcriptions are pronounced long, or are diphthongized. — Eru·tuon 17:07, 27 July 2017 (UTC)
@Erutuon So when I use æ in Old English, it represents a different sound than when I use æ for Modern English ? Leasnam (talk) 17:16, 27 July 2017 (UTC)
@Leasnam: Yes, if you mean Old English phoneme /æ/ and American English phoneme /æ/. Because Old English /æ/ contrasts in the feature of length with the long vowel /æː/ (and contrasts in other features with the diphthongs /æɑ æɑː/, and with the other Old English phonemes), it's a different entity from American English /æ/, which is not involved in the same contrasts in the American English phonological system. A phoneme is defined by what it contrasts with and by the features that the language's phonology uses to distinguish the phoneme from others. So phonemes in different languages that are represented with the same symbol are not necessarily the same entities. (Perhaps they never are, since no phonological system is completely identical.) — Eru·tuon 17:35, 27 July 2017 (UTC)
Excellent. Thanks!
Since it's been mentioned several times in this discussion: Standard German has phonemic [corrected] vowel length only for /a/ and /ɛ/. Nevertheless we use /ː/ for all long vowels. And I think that makes sense, too. Because otherwise one might think that /i/ is as short as /ɛ/ when it's actually as long as /ɛː/. — And then the question is why we use /ː/ for English transcriptions at all? (We don't in GA, but we do in RP.) Kolmiel (talk) 04:57, 28 July 2017 (UTC)
I think German vowel length is phonemic for vowels other than /a/ and /ɛ/, even though there aren't other short–long pairs with the same place of articulation (/ɔ oː/ for instance, differ in quality). The criterion above, that there be a minimal pair distinguished only by vowel length (not quality), is not the only way to establish vowel length as phonemic. But I'm not sure what criteria are used for the German vowels that don't form exact short–long pairs, aside from the fact that the (stressed) long vowels are pretty noticeably long, as you say.
RP and Australian have phonemic vowel length, General American apparently doesn't. Australian has the pairs /ɪ ɪː, e eː, ɐ ɐː/ (hit here, dress square, strut palm) and maybe /ʊ oː, æ æː/ (foot thought, trap glad). A surprising number of closely corresponding short and long vowels.
RP's more complicated; nowadays it has long vowels that were formerly (and are still usually transcribed as) centering diphthongs, as well as diphthongs that were formerly (and are still usually transcribed as) long vowels. But, as in Australian, kit and near, dress and square are basically short–long pairs. Wikipedia transcribes them as /kɪt hɪər drɛs skwɛər/, but (ignoring the rhoticity) using a strong diphthong sounds pretty old-fashioned; it should be /hɪt hɪː drɛs skwɛː/, as given by Geoff Lindsey.
So, both RP and Australian have clear short–long pairs; General American doesn't. — Eru·tuon 06:18, 28 July 2017 (UTC)
If you define phonemic vowel length in such a way that length can be phonemic even without there being a short vowel of the same quality, then that's a different definition. Maybe GA could be said to have phonemic vowel length as well by that definition, whatever it may be.
I've seen the interpretation by Geoff Lindsey before, and I agree that it's much more realistic. (Except for /ʌ/ maybe, which I don't hear as [ə], but still as [ɐ].) But the point is that the traditional transcription of RP requires length marks just as little as GA, so why use it in one and not in the other? Kolmiel (talk) 07:30, 28 July 2017 (UTC)
For one thing, using length marks in RP facilities cross-dialect comparison. The vowel in RP heart /hɑːt/ is significantly longer than the vowel in GenAm hot /hɑt/, so if we're listing both varieties it would misleading to imply they're homophones. (The Longman Pronunciation Dictionary does exactly this, but by marking them both long: it claims that both RP heart and GenAm hot are /hɑːt/, much to my annoyance. I think there are other British dictionaries that want to show American pronunciation that do the same thing.) —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 11:03, 28 July 2017 (UTC)
That's a terrible reason. The the word Bob is pronounced significantly longer in GenAm than in RP, so then why don't we put a length mark in GenAm? --WikiTiki89 15:24, 28 July 2017 (UTC)
I've often seen /i/, /u/ used instead of /iː/, /uː/ for GA. Take the entry use. Etymology 1, the noun, has /juːs/ for both accents, while etymology 2, the verb, has /juːz/ for RP and /juz/ for GA. If I'm not totally wrong, all of these are the same phoneme everywhere. So this facilitates nothing, but only makes a mess. Kolmiel (talk) 14:57, 28 July 2017 (UTC)
For fleece, goose, and thought I usually use /iː/, /uː/, and /ɔː/ for a bidialectal pronunciation when nothing else is different (so I would not have separate RP and GA lines for the verb use), but if there are other differences in a word with one of those two vowels (e.g. beater, where you need separate lines because of the -er), I use /iː/, /uː/, /ɔː/ in RP and /i/, /u/, /ɔ/ in GA. Maybe that isn't entirely logical, but it makes things easier to read. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 15:07, 28 July 2017 (UTC)
@Kolmiel: Regarding your earlier comment: length marks cannot be removed just because the phonemic symbols would still be distinct without them. That's a mechanical question of which symbols to use; the actual question is whether the phonological system as understood by its speakers includes vowel length. Anyway, older RP had a couple of short–long pairs that were almost at the same place of articulation: /ɪ iː, e eɪ, ʊ uː, ɒ ɑː/ (modern /ɪ ɪi, ɛ ɛi, ɵ ɵu, ɔ ɑː/). So even using the criterion I mentioned above, it wouldn't make that much sense removing vowel length. Perhaps there are other criteria.
There are other considerations: some of the phonemes derived partially from former diphthongs. Diphthongs generally become long vowels. For instance, /ɔː ɑː/ from former /ɔə ɑə/ in force, start. That was a fairly recent change, as I think the diphthongal pronunciation was used at the beginning of the 20th century. It would be odd for vowel length to suddenly vanish after this monophthongization. And of course, Middle English had vowel length, but that doesn't really have bearing on RP specifically. — Eru·tuon 16:40, 28 July 2017 (UTC)
I don't necessarily want to remove length marks. That's not the point. I simply don't understand — that's what I've been trying to say all along: Why do we use length marks in RP, but not in GA, when there is absolutely no difference between the two regarding this matter. (Length marks could be removed in both. Keeping them does make a lot of sense in both.) Kolmiel (talk) 18:26, 28 July 2017 (UTC)
PS: You said: "Length marks cannot be removed just because the phonemic symbols would still be distinct without them." But yes, that's exactly what we do with GA. (Isn't it?) Kolmiel (talk) 18:29, 28 July 2017 (UTC)
And I've forgotten exactly how the test was formulated, but supposedly, the reason for not using length marks for GA is that the erstwhile long vowels aren't consistently much longer or aren't consistently much longer than the erstwhile short ones, when they are recorded and their length measured. Vowel length is determined more by pre-fortis clipping. I can't remember where I read this, perhaps in a quote from Wells. Anyway, I think GA more than either old or new RP has distinct vowel qualities that do not overlap. — Eru·tuon 18:50, 28 July 2017 (UTC)
@Erutuon: I addressed that point below. --WikiTiki89 19:53, 28 July 2017 (UTC)
Let's take the examples of bit, bid, beat, bead, bitter, bidder, beater, beader in my idiolect. Here's the breakdown of the vowel lengths of the /ɪ/ and /i(ː)/ vowels in my realization of these words (or as far as I can tell, so don't take this as scientific research):
  • Ultra-short: bit
  • Short: bid, beat, bitter, bidder, beater*
  • Mid-length: beater*, beader
  • Long: bead
* beater can be either short or mid-length
As you can see, the environment alone (in these examples, the two environmental factors are the voicing of the following consonant and the presence or absence of a second syllable) cannot determine the length of the vowel. Therefore, the length distribution among these environment factors must be an inherent property of each vowel. Now this length distribution property may actually be more complicated than simply "long" and "short", because I'm not sure that all other vowels will exactly match the pattern of either /ɪ/ or /i(ː)/ (although perhaps they will, it's hard to tell without going through each one). And furthermore, not all the vowels will match according to their "traditional" length; i.e. /æ/ and /ɒ/ might match up more with /i(ː)/ than with /ɪ/. But still I think that until all these things and their dialectal distributions even within the US are well-understood, we're better off keeping the traditional length distinctions for American English. --WikiTiki89 15:55, 28 July 2017 (UTC)
You might find ShipOrSheep useful. -- ALGRIF talk 07:48, 30 July 2017 (UTC)

to channel

I'm British and I read today in Politico that Scaramucci "channelled Priebus as he spoke".[15] (In the last few months US politics has become my favourite on-line entertainment). I could think of various plausible meanings for "channelled" and one was confirmed by Wiktionary: "assume personality of other person". I'm pretty elderly but have never come across this usage and neither have two British teenagers I asked. I did not dare put {{lb|en|North America|informal}} because I do not know its regional usage and Wiktionary is too highfalutin (Wikt is wrong to say this is limited to the US but in Britain it can merely mean "stylish") for me to feel comfortable. Can anyone help? Is there a known origin for this? To me it seems a curious, and possibly recent, usage. Thincat (talk) 17:05, 28 July 2017 (UTC)

I think it comes from the idea from Eastern philosophy of "channeling energy", i.e. opening a channel within yourself to let some sort of external energy pass through you so you can make use of it. This later was extended to things other than spiritual energy, such as wisdom and personality. --WikiTiki89 17:08, 28 July 2017 (UTC)
I think our entry lacks definitions or even usage examples that show the transition in meaning. I could recommend looking in the OED until we improve our entry. DCDuring (talk) 19:50, 28 July 2017 (UTC)
Referring to channel at OneLook Dictionary Search I find that MWOnline refers to channeler, which it defines as "a person who conveys thoughts or energy from a source believed to be outside the person's body or conscious mind; specifically: one who speaks for nonphysical beings or spirits", indicating first known use in 1987. DCDuring (talk) 19:54, 28 July 2017 (UTC)
Our definitions at channel#Verb, channeler, and channeling don't provide sufficient semantic content or even reference to external content to be very helpful to someone seeking to find what these words mean. DCDuring (talk) 19:57, 28 July 2017 (UTC)
I agree that the sense "assume the personality of another person" derives from a sense that we're missing, the New Age sense of channeling spirits. I can't find any earlier usage on Google Books than 1987 either. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 20:46, 28 July 2017 (UTC)
The OED's earliest quote for the New Age sense is from 1977. — Eru·tuon 20:52, 28 July 2017 (UTC)
There is an earlier intermediate/transitional sense as shown in this indirect citation of a 1959 scholarly article:
  • 1986, Ronald L. Baker, Jokelore: Humorous Folktales from Indiana, page xvii:
    In 1959 Dorson viewed folklore as "the oral traditions channeled across the centuries through human mouths.
In a popular book of 1983 the spiritualist sense appears, though not with an individual person or spirit or....
There was an earlier (1972) work co-authored by Jane Roberts (1949-1989) and Seth (spirit) that may have used channel in the spiritualist sense. See Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg Seth Material on Wikipedia.Wikipedia . That work spawned an enormous literature. For a larger context see Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg Mediumship#Channeling on Wikipedia.Wikipedia .
The 1987 date must be with a given person/spirit as object of the verb. Usage now is well outside the spiritualist context, at least in the US. DCDuring (talk) 22:51, 28 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Thank you for all those replies. I expect it is commonplace to the regulars here but for me it is fascinating how a word can be used metaphorically and the new meaning can become established, and on and on. So what was at one time a reed (κάννα#Ancient_Greek beside a channel) can now be an impersonation. Meanwhile, although my original source has been channelled to another place, I'll stick with US "fake news" since British politics are so dismal. Thincat (talk) 13:51, 1 August 2017 (UTC)
    I don't think impersonate is quite right. I have revised the channel#Verb. HTH. DCDuring (talk) 04:26, 7 August 2017 (UTC)

objectivity#Noun, sense 3: unclear definition

I do not even understand the sentence grammatically. Here it is:

3. That which one understands, often, as intellectually, of all and everything, of what is sensed as felt, thereof

--Anareth (talk) 17:28, 29 July 2017 (UTC)

The grammar works if you take "as" to mean "for example" (common in Webster 1913's definitions; rather pedantic in modern English). But yes it's an unhelpful mess. Equinox 17:33, 29 July 2017 (UTC)

my favorite part was the end

A sarcastic phrase that means someone didn't like a video or book. Does this merit an entry? Does it have a lot of variants? I would say it isn't SOP, but others may disagree? PseudoSkull (talk) 18:59, 29 July 2017 (UTC)

Reminds me of the common YouTube quip of saying that one's favourite part was from 00:01 to 25:34 (or whatever the entire length of the video is). Equinox 19:06, 29 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Seems pretty transparent to me. Sarcasm usually doesn't make something idiomatic, since almost any utterance can be sarcastic. ---> Tooironic (talk) 00:53, 30 July 2017 (UTC)
I agree. This is not dictionary material in my view. Mihia (talk) 02:07, 31 July 2017 (UTC)

Etymology of 尉犁 (Yùlí)

This is the name of a state in the Western Regions during the period 2nd c. BCE – 2nd c. CE, and is now the name of a county in Xinjiang, where the previous state was.

This word was discussed in the article On the Place Name Yuli and Rouran (《尉犁地名和柔然源流考》) by Li Shuhui (李树辉).

The name Yuli is said to come from Turkic (J)yrægir (“one who is stationed; one who stays”), the name of a Turkic clan, and derived from yræ- (verb form yryk, “to be stationed in”) + -gir (adjectival suffix). Both (J)yrægir and yryk are said to have been recorded in the ancient dictionary Dīwān Lughāt al-Turk (“Compendium of the languages of the Turks”), however I could not seem to find these words in the Chinese and Arabic versions of the book, and I could not find an index for the book to help me locate these words.

I'm wondering if anyone familiar with Turkic/Arabic/Arabic script is able to help out with finding the original Arabic-script form of this name, or the description of the Turkic clan in the book or elsewhere, or related words in Turkic languages. Pinging @Anylai, Crom daba, ZxxZxxZ, Vahagn Petrosyan.

Thanks in advance, Wyang (talk) 00:24, 30 July 2017 (UTC)

Looking at Clauson, a better translation of yra- seems to be "to be distant", and yryk is "distant, far" as in Turkish ırak. The original Arabic is يِراقْ (yıraq) (Kashgari even gives a verse using the word, we can use it as usage example). Unfortunately I wasn't able to find the name of the tribe neither in Clauson nor in Atalay's index. Maybe there's a separate index nominum, but I can't find it. Crom daba (talk) 02:25, 30 July 2017 (UTC)
There is an Oghuz clan which sounds close. Kashgari introduces them as اُرَكِرْ (Üregir), يُرَكِرْ (Yüregir), the 15th clan of the Oghuz. But unsure how that was to be realised in Ancient Chinese records. --Anylai (talk) 18:15, 30 July 2017 (UTC)

noun + ed e.g. legged

Just a query really. Is there a linguistic name for this kind of word formation / transformation? Noun + "ed" as if the noun were a verb in past participle form making an adjective? For example legged leg (noun) +‎ -ed giving rise to long-legged, hairy-legged, etc as adjectives. Or haired giving rise to long-haired, raven-haired, etc. Or brimmed meaning having a brim. brim (noun) +‎ -ed giving rise to wide-brimmed, leather brimmed, etc. Any takers? What is the technical terminology for this word formation, please? -- ALGRIF talk 08:01, 30 July 2017 (UTC)

It's only like the past participle by coincidence. It's actually an entirely separate suffix going back to PIE, see Proto-Indo-European *-eh₂tos. —CodeCat 10:28, 30 July 2017 (UTC)


Wonderfool entry for "a cocky man". The word seems quite rare, and it's hard to tell what it means. Might be an insult from cock (penis), etc. Anyone familiar with the word? Equinox 12:14, 30 July 2017 (UTC)

gorge vs. ravine

These two are synonyms right? I wanted to merge the translation tables, but many of the languages seem to have completely different words given on these pages. How do we deal with this? Crom daba (talk) 15:52, 30 July 2017 (UTC)

  • Hmm. Is a ravine always formed by a river, but a gorge may be formed by other means? I forget. SemperBlotto (talk) 05:52, 31 July 2017 (UTC)
Chambers rather entertainingly defines gorge as "a deep narrow valley" and ravine as "a deep, narrow gorge". Equinox 06:10, 31 July 2017 (UTC)
and how does it define canyon? SemperBlotto (talk) 06:15, 31 July 2017 (UTC)
AFAIK, canyons and gorges are distinguished from valleys and ravines by the rockiness of their walls, which therefore also tend to be steeper. Canyons and valley are generally wider than gorges and ravines. The US uses all of these in toponyms. The land features called canyons in the US are also in the southwest where Spanish toponyms are common. Ravines are also more western, but of French derivation. DCDuring (talk) 12:22, 31 July 2017 (UTC)
They are all formed by water, though they could be dry currently. Other terms for similar, more modest features are gully and gulch. DCDuring (talk) 12:26, 31 July 2017 (UTC)
"A deep gorge or ravine"! Ha. Equinox 14:39, 1 August 2017 (UTC)
Grand Canyon of the east
the gorge
A Google search for "canyon "New York"|"New England"" found some places that where asserted to be the "Grand Canyon of the East" or "little Grand Canyon" and a recently created underwater park: "Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument". The place most commonly so named is described as follows:
Letchworth State Park, renowned as the "Grand Canyon of the East," is one of the most scenically magnificent areas in the eastern U.S. The Genesee River roars through the gorge over three major waterfalls between cliffs--as high as 600 feet in some places--surrounded by lush forests."
In Colorado two features called Royal Gorge and Black Canyon of the Gunnison differ only modestly in their shapes, so treating these terms as synonyms seems justified. I think there is a modest tendency toward associating walls that are more nearly vertical from top to bottom, through harder rock, with gorge and walls carved though softer sedimentary rock, that are much less vertical at their base due to large volumes of fallen rock, with canyon. DCDuring (talk) 15:46, 1 August 2017 (UTC)


I have a book that uses this word with the sense of artificiality or vapidity. Does this fit into one of our current definitions?

  • 1989, H. T. Willetts (translator), Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (author), August 1914, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, ISBN 0-374-51999-4, page 163:
    This had given him the strength to leave cadet school at seventeen and volunteer for active service, reach the rank of second lieutenant no later than his hothouse-bred contemporaries, begin his military studies in the General Staff Academy itself, and, still only twenty-five, graduate not only with top marks but with promotion out of turn for special excellence in military science.
  • 1989, H. T. Willetts (translator), Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (author), August 1914, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, ISBN 0-374-51999-4, page 182:
    In 1906 and 1907 defeat was not yet total, society was still on the boil, spinning around the rim of the maelstrom. Lenin had sat in Kuokkala, waiting in vain for the second wave. But from 1908, when the reactionary rabble had tightened its grip on the whole of Russia, the underground had shriveled to nothing, the workers had swarmed like ants out of their holes and into legal bodies—trade unions and insurance associations—and the decline of the underground had sapped the vitality of the emigration too, reduced it to a hothouse existence. Back there was the Duma, a legal press—and every émigré was eager to publish there.

Germyb (talk) 18:02, 30 July 2017 (UTC)

Good catch. Definition 2 seems slightly off the mark. I'm not sure whether we need to reword it or have a definition closer to my understanding of the most common use of the term, which definitely refers to an artificial environment favorable to the growth of something that would not prosper as well or survive in a more natural environment. DCDuring (talk) 19:42, 30 July 2017 (UTC)
In the common attributive use it is somewhat comparable to test tube or laboratory, but applicable to something that has achieved some kind of maturity, DCDuring (talk) 19:45, 30 July 2017 (UTC)


Our "intransitive" definition seems to be reflexive, and it seems like maybe we could collapse the two definitions into one. Am I missing any subtle distinctions? Germyb (talk) 01:57, 31 July 2017 (UTC)

On a completely unrelated note, I have never in my life seen or heard of this word before. It sure is an odd-looking one. PseudoSkull (talk) 06:31, 31 July 2017 (UTC)
Maybe your English teacher missed off on it... Leasnam (talk) 15:46, 31 July 2017 (UTC)
I'd definitely change "intransitive" to "reflexive". I'm inclined to keep the regular transitive and reflexive senses separate, if only because the reflexive is so much more common. I have heard this word before, but it's rare and kind of old-fashioned; when I have heard it, it's almost always been reflexive. I've definitely heard of people bestirring themselves, but I don't know if I've ever heard of anyone bestirring someone else. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 09:39, 31 July 2017 (UTC)
I see that Citations:bestir has a couple of examples of transitive use from Pilgrim's Progress, which I've never read. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 09:42, 31 July 2017 (UTC)
Most other dictionaries don't bother with a reflexive label, but have reflexive use in the usage examples. I don't know of any that have intransitive senses, but I don't have home access to the OED. DCDuring (talk) 12:31, 31 July 2017 (UTC)
@Angr: I think the two examples in Citations:bestir are actually reflexive: i.e., him and them are used in place of himself and themselves. — Eru·tuon 16:45, 31 July 2017 (UTC)
I think you're right. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 18:53, 31 July 2017 (UTC)


The Latin section of the ita (so, yes, thus) page lists the etymology as having possibly derived from Proto-Indo-European *éy (the (just named, anaphoric)) and *só (this, that). Could this derivation possibly be precisely (zero-grade form of *éy) +‎ *th₂h₁ (zero-grade form of *téh₂(e)h₁, instrumental of *só)? —This unsigned comment was added by 2601:80:C202:9166:0:0:0:42A3 (talk) at 04:12, 1 August 2017 (UTC).

August 2017

Latin zephirum and cifra

A couple of questions:

  1. Can a straightforward borrowing be said to be “coined” (zephirum)?
  2. Why is it zephirum (consonant and vowel)?
  3. Is the pronunciation at cifra#Latin correct / temporally appropriate?

Wyang (talk) 11:57, 1 August 2017 (UTC)

  1. Not really. I have changed "coined" to "used".
  2. Due to analogy with zephyrus.
  3. No. I have added ecclesiastical IPA to the template, but I don't know if it's currently possible to prevent the classical IPA from appearing.
Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 13:35, 1 August 2017 (UTC)
@Metaknowledge Thanks! #2 sounds very interesting. Perhaps the etymology at zephirum could be expanded to explain such association. Wyang (talk) 13:39, 1 August 2017 (UTC)
I don't think there's anything semantic going on, just the tendency of (postclassical) Latin to adapt words so that they look like they fit in with Latin's set of used syllables. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 13:43, 1 August 2017 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Your first two questions sort of answer each other: if it was a straightforward borrowing, why is it "zephirum" instead of cifra? As for the second question: I don't know the details of medieval Arabic pronunciation, but modern Standard Arabic ص () is unlike anything in the Latin consonant inventory, an s sound made emphatic through pharyngealization/tensing of the area around the back of the tongue (I'm a bit fuzzy on the exact physiological details). Again, I don't know the exact details of medieval Italian pronunciation of Latin, but I believe modern Italian pronunciation of Latin z is an affricate not all that different from Mandarin/Pinyin z or c. I would guess that z was the closest match in the phoneme inventory of a medieval Italian to the sound he would have heard from Arabic speakers of the time. I would also note that modern ص () is a very strong sound that influences neighboring vowels, so the first vowel of صفر is lower, further back and more schwa-like than the same sound in other environments. As for your last question, the answer is obviously "no", since the word didn't exist in classical Latin. Chuck Entz (talk) 13:41, 1 August 2017 (UTC)
Thanks both. I think the Classical pronunciation should be suppressed in this case. @kc kennylau Could you please help? Wyang (talk) 21:25, 1 August 2017 (UTC)
@Wyang: Done. --kc_kennylau (talk) 03:07, 2 August 2017 (UTC)

IPA on Arabic أَزَلِيّ and صُوفِيّ

Are these pronounced identically to the hypothetical *أَزَلِي (ʾazalī) and *صُوفِي (ṣūfī), in Modern Standard Arabic and/or Classical Arabic? In other words, are مالِيّ (māliyy, financial) and مالِي (mālī, my property) entirely homophonic in MSA? Wyang (talk) 12:58, 1 August 2017 (UTC)

@Wyang. In the formal Arabic, especially in Quranic recitations, the shadda (gemination) is clearly pronounced but the less formal it gets, the less obvious the difference is. You will hear even from native Arabs that the pronunciation is identical but because it's not always the case and depends on the level of formality and the position in a sentence, we romanise nisba endings as "-iyy"" but informally as "-ī". MSA doesn't always follow classical pronuncations, so simplified endings and lack of ʾiʿrāb occurs all the time and not just in pausa.
Besides, -iyy ending is the pausal pronunciation, as you can see in the inflections of أَزَلِيّ (ʾazaliyy). --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 13:39, 1 August 2017 (UTC)
Thanks Anatoli. Does this imply that these pairs of words could be minimal pairs when pronounced in a formal manner? (in relation to the output of {{ar-IPA}} - dual pronunciations?) Wyang (talk) 21:25, 1 August 2017 (UTC)
@Wyang Yes, Frank. عَرَبِيّ (ʿarabiyy) is an example of a nisba and حَبِيبِي (ḥabībī) is an example of an enclitic pronoun "my" - ـِي (). They both have pronunciation sections. The difference in pronunciation is /-ijː/ vs /-iː/, in transliteration: -iyy vs . The nisba ending -iyy is a formal version without any ʾiʿrāb (case) endings. You may find nisba handling a little bit confusing, since the headword transliteration is "ʿarabiyy" but the declension table has ʿarabiyy with ʾiʿrāb endings attached, e.g. "ʿarabiyyun" (masculine, nominative, indefinite) and "ʿarabī" marked as "informal" --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 07:08, 2 August 2017 (UTC)
Thanks Anatoli. It seems transcribing the IPA of these entries as /-i(j)ː/ may be better; same with the output of {{ar-IPA}}. Wyang (talk) 07:14, 2 August 2017 (UTC)
@Wyang I think showing the canonical pronunciation is better and besides, it's a phonemic transcription. There are too many nuances in Arabic, including shortening of long vowels and lack of good resources on pronunciation. (That's why dictionaries, including Wiktionary often skip the final sukūn - lack of vowel in the headwords). If a shadda is written, as in عَرَبِيّ (ʿarabiyy), then it has a value, otherwise, it's the colloquial form عَرَبِي (ʿarabī) - without the shadda. To show the colloquial pronunciation it would suffice to use the spellings without the shadda - {{ar-IPA|عَرَبِي}}. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 07:37, 2 August 2017 (UTC)
@Atitarev Ok, I have converted the two entries to use {{ar-IPA}}, which presently gives a /-ijː/ output. The specifics of the notation can be further discussed, and implemented automatically via the module. Wyang (talk) 10:25, 2 August 2017 (UTC)

English toxic

This has an additional meaning in English, e.g. google:"the+child+looks+toxic". Wyang (talk) 13:36, 1 August 2017 (UTC)

I've added it. Feel free to improve on the definition. Wyang (talk) 22:20, 1 August 2017 (UTC)

English youngling

As with yearling, is this really an adjective ? Leasnam (talk) 21:09, 1 August 2017 (UTC)

  • No. Its adjectival usage is just attributive use of the noun. Don't know what to do about the translations in this sort of instance. SemperBlotto (talk) 05:21, 2 August 2017 (UTC)

English physical examination

I think there should be two senses for this: one referring to an examination with the aim of diagnosis (i.e. when patients present to hospitals), and one referring to an examination to see whether one is in a good health state. The translations should be checked and split too - the names are often different for these two senses in other languages. Wyang (talk) 21:32, 1 August 2017 (UTC)

Having different translations does not mean they need to be separate senses in English. List both translations. The question is whether they are separate senses in the mind of an English speaker. --WikiTiki89 21:37, 1 August 2017 (UTC)
The current definition (“the examination of the patient's body with the use of such methods as inspection, palpation, percussion and auscultation”) is for the first sense. A “physical examination” in the second sense entails a distinct set of procedures from the first, typically including a medical history + a brief “physical exam” (in the first sense, i.e. inspection +/- palpation/percussion/auscultation/specific tests) + most importantly laboratory tests and scans. Wyang (talk) 22:14, 1 August 2017 (UTC)

English intussusception

I think the intestinal and vascular definitions of intussusception should be listed separately. Intussusceptive angiogenesis (pictures available on Google Images) has a different mechanism from the one described in definition #2 of the entry. Wyang (talk) 23:20, 1 August 2017 (UTC)

Arabic إدْحِيّة, أُدْحُوّة, أُدْحِيّة

Masculine or feminine? (Entry says masculine.) Wyang (talk) 07:15, 2 August 2017 (UTC)

I am pretty sure they are feminine and there's no shadda, at least in the referenced أُدْحِيَة (ʾudḥiya) (HW). Can't verify the related terms. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 12:40, 2 August 2017 (UTC)
Thanks! I think Lisan al-Arab (page 1338) was what the creator used. All five words are recorded with a shadda on yāʾ or wāw. Wyang (talk) 13:01, 2 August 2017 (UTC)
Hans Wehr proved to be much more reliable and it shows no shadda. However, if أُدْحِيّ (ʾudḥiyy) is originally an adjective, formed with a nisba, then أُدْحِيّة (ʾudḥiyya) would be its feminine form. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 13:08, 2 August 2017 (UTC)
@Wikitiki89, Erutuon, Stephen G. Brown, Kolmiel, Benwing2 Any thoughts? --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 13:22, 2 August 2017 (UTC)
Pity, no reply. It's sometimes hard to establish what is correct in Arabic. The definition of "correct" is blurred, if there are no defined standards and very few resources on pronunciation. Lisan al-Arab shouldn't be discarded. What should we do? --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 07:09, 3 August 2017 (UTC)
I don't have any insights, but how about showing both vocalizations and adding a usage note explaining which is given by which reference? — Eru·tuon 07:23, 3 August 2017 (UTC)
@Erutuon, Wyang, I'm having trouble finding the shadda myself on the page provided but could find more examples in [16]. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 07:45, 3 August 2017 (UTC)
@Atitarev It's in the middle of page 1338 - I highlighted it here. Wyang (talk) 07:52, 3 August 2017 (UTC)
Thanks. And here (Arabic-Persian) all or most of the forms are listed (marked مُرَادِف (murādif, synonym)) without the shadda. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 08:16, 3 August 2017 (UTC)

What is the origin of the tāʾ marbūṭa in Arabic خَلِيفَة?

Wyang (talk) 07:28, 2 August 2017 (UTC)

I don't know. tāʾ marbūṭa is a noun forming suffix (one of the senses is singularity) but since caliphs are usually men, then it's a masculine. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 13:10, 2 August 2017 (UTC)
I haven't studied the matter, but at university I was taught that it was a regular ت initially which became "corrupted" overtime (something that has happened with other letters, as you probably know, in Arabic calligraphy as in other related scripts, but curiously the final ת that marks, among other things, fem. gender in Hebrew has not changed) --- Now, the thing is that in Egyptian the phonetic equivalent of "t", and also marker of fem. gender, is used in a manner much like the tā marbūṭa and even resembles it, but I don't know if that's more than chance. In any event, is easy to see how a scribe with space-constraints made a ة out of a ت Gfarnab (talkcontribs)
Sorry, next time I will read your query UNTIL THE END before I attempt to answer it: re the in Khalifa I know at least than in the oldest Islamic mss. no diacritic marks existed, so ة and ه were one and the same and 'twas the scope of the reader to distinguish upon context which of the two corresponded. Thus, "his successor" and the modern word "Khaleefa" were indistinguishable. (Facts hitherto; now my theory is that) someone must have misinterpreted "his successor" for a noun without a suffixed pronoun and started the whole shebang, but I have no documental proof to this extent Gfarnab (talkcontribs)
That doesn't sound plausible, since the feminine ending and the masculine singular possessive pronoun are still pronounced differently. And most average people didn't read or write. --WikiTiki89 15:15, 7 August 2017 (UTC)
I think it was probably originally an abstract noun referring to the position itself and then later came to refer to the person in that position (or something of the sort). --WikiTiki89 15:13, 7 August 2017 (UTC)


"The man was charged with the abduction of the 6-year old girl with the intent to defile her." Does this really mean "to make her dirty"? What is the real meaning of "defile" in that sentence? PseudoSkull (talk) 02:26, 3 August 2017 (UTC)

I know it links to impure which gives the definition of "Not virgin" but I think the whole sex act thing should really be specified and explained better in that entry, perhaps with a separate definition? PseudoSkull (talk) 02:34, 3 August 2017 (UTC)
Perhaps. I think it's more along the lines of soil, deflower ("to stain, tarnish, mar"), but yeah, a separate sense is probably justified Leasnam (talk) 14:26, 3 August 2017 (UTC)
I've added it. Leasnam (talk) 14:30, 3 August 2017 (UTC)

The other sense "make impure or dirty" is not particularly accurate either. It suggests that the word could be used to describe getting dirt on yourself or mixing dirt with water. But if I heard "he defiled the water", I'd assume that implied the water was somehow sacred, or that urination or defecation was involved (along with some facetiousness on the part of the speaker), not simply that someone mixed a little dirt into water. Defile usually implies something sacred losing its sacredness, and it's most often used (non-ironically) in religious contexts. — Eru·tuon 17:54, 3 August 2017 (UTC)

@User:Erutuon I replaced that definition with a new definition specifically about something considered sacred. I heard the word "defile" used on Forensic Files originally in the second sense, and I don't think they were referring to someone's virginity in a religious context, but rather an etho-legal context. I wonder if my new first definition really is optimized either, so someone may want to check it. PseudoSkull (talk) 19:07, 3 August 2017 (UTC)
The original definition was not inaccurate. Defile can still be used to mean "make unclean". I've added it back. Leasnam (talk) 12:25, 4 August 2017 (UTC)

Proto-Slavic *dorgъ

Did this also mean “dear (lovable; precious)”? (e.g. Romanian drag, dragoste) Wyang (talk) 02:53, 3 August 2017 (UTC)

Yes, of course. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 07:05, 3 August 2017 (UTC)

Sanskrit borrowings in Urdu.

I see a lot of Urdu words listed here which are supposed to be the equivalents of words in literary Hindi & which are borrowed from Sanskrit. If possible, someone could check whether these following Urdu words are attested (they are all literary Hindi words btw):

It should be noted that for most of these words the top result is Wiktionary itself. آرمبھ actually has no hits on Google Books, the rest may be rare or obsolete terms, and I think پریم is easily attestable as a name. —Aryaman (मुझसे बात करो) 10:01, 3 August 2017 (UTC)

Trafficking, trafficker, trafficked but NOT traffick

There is no such word as traffick. Never mind some entry in Wiktionary or its use by Al Jazeeera (http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2017/07/escaping-clutches-sex-trafficking-thailand-170730071208339.html) I suggest checking with Oxford, Cambridge or Merriam-Webster. Please consider removing false and misleading material from the Wiktionary website

You should post your concerns to WT:RFV instead. That is the place for discussing the existence of terms. —CodeCat 17:42, 3 August 2017 (UTC)
I'm not finding any instances of traffick without -ing, -ed, or -er at the Al Jazeera cite linked anyway. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 17:49, 3 August 2017 (UTC)
Nor of traffic. --WikiTiki89 18:16, 3 August 2017 (UTC)
At b.g.c I'm only finding it as an archaic spelling (up to the 18th century) and in book titles, where it appears to be being used for artistic effect. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 17:53, 3 August 2017 (UTC)
It seems extremely common to me. I have no idea why authors are using "traffick" instead of traffic when referring to illegal goods. DTLHS (talk) 18:27, 3 August 2017 (UTC)
@DTLHS: Can you give some examples of where you've seen it? --WikiTiki89 18:31, 3 August 2017 (UTC)
In the entry. DTLHS (talk) 18:31, 3 August 2017 (UTC)
I suppose that it's a backformation from the verb form trafficking. DTLHS (talk) 18:43, 3 August 2017 (UTC)
I'm inclined to call it a {{misspelling of}} rather than an {{alternative spelling of}}. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:08, 3 August 2017 (UTC)
Note Equinox's comment on the talk page. Is he right? Never mind, it looks like someone added that info to the entry already... Andrew Sheedy (talk) 19:21, 3 August 2017 (UTC)

Requesting verification of kun reading: まさ-る, まさ-に for 多

The only online source I can find for these readings of is kanjidic and enamdic. It may be nanori because まさる appears as a reading for 多 in enamdic. 馬太阿房 (talk) 18:21, 3 August 2017 (UTC)

Arabic أَرْضِيّ شَوْكِيّ‏ (ʾarḍiyy šawkiyy‏)

How should this be declined? (Please also check this entry, thanks!) Wyang (talk) 02:27, 4 August 2017 (UTC)

I think it would just be declined as if it were a noun–adjective phrase. Also, fascinating word! First phono-semantic matching that I've heard of in Arabic. — Eru·tuon 02:33, 4 August 2017 (UTC)
Thank you, @Erutuon! Wyang (talk) 02:35, 4 August 2017 (UTC)
On the other hand, the current construct-state الْأَرْضِي الشَّوْكِي‏ (al-ʾarḍī š-šawkī‏) and definite أَرْضِي ... الشَّوْكِي‏ (ʾarḍī ... aš-šawkī‏) both look odd... it would be good to have some confirmation. — Eru·tuon 03:45, 4 August 2017 (UTC)
The definite form appears to be الأرضي شوكي. I'm unsure how this could be generated in {{ar-decl-noun}}, though. Wyang (talk) 04:55, 4 August 2017 (UTC)
If that's the case, then the whole term should be inflected as a whole word. A recent case is بَيْتَ لَحْم‏. Then the declension should be simply like this:
H. Wehr only lists the word under أَرْضِ (ʾarḍi). I guess there is no shadda on أَرْضِي. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 05:08, 4 August 2017 (UTC)
@Erutuon, Wyang: Guys, it's invariable. There is no evidence of an alif after any of the components for the term. There are only a few hits with no space "أرضيشوكي" but they still make the case stronger. Furthermore, there are no shadda and the colloquial pronunciation is أَرْضِي شَوْكِي (ʾarḍī šōkī). --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 08:31, 4 August 2017 (UTC)
@Atitarev Should the head/pronunciation be أَرْضِيّ شَوْكِيّ (ʾarḍiyy šawkiyy) or أَرْضِي شَوْكِي (ʾarḍī šawkī)? Steingass has the former, and the former is definitely the etymological spelling. I suspect the pronunciation in Wehr is an attempt to transcribe the dialectal pronunciation, not really MSA. The regional nature of the word may mean it is rarely inflected in MSA, but I feel it may be declinable. The form أَرْضِيٌّ شَوْكِيٌّ (ʾarḍiyyun šawkiyyun) is recorded in Almaany, and the definite forms الأرضي شوكي, الأرضي الشوكي are amply attested online (the first can also be heard in this video from the UAE). Perhaps the following is how an Arabic speaker would decline it in MSA:
Indefinite Colloquial أَرْضِي شَوْكِي (ʾarḍī šawkī)
Nominative أَرْضِيٌّ شَوْكِيٌّ (ʾarḍiyyun šawkiyyun)
Accusative أَرْضِيًّا شَوْكِيًّا‏ (ʾarḍiyyan šawkiyyan‏)
Genitive أَرْضِيٍّ شَوْكِيٍّ (ʾarḍiyyin šawkiyyin)
Definite Colloquial الْأَرْضِي شَوْكِي (al-ʾarḍī šawkī)
Nominative الْأَرْضِيُّ الْشَوْكِيُّ‏ (al-ʾarḍiyyu l-šawkiyyu‏) الْأَرْضِيُّ شَوْكِيُّ‏ (al-ʾarḍiyyu šawkiyyu‏)
Accusative الْأَرْضِيَّ الْشَوْكِيَّ‏ (al-ʾarḍiyya l-šawkiyya‏) الْأَرْضِيَّ شَوْكِيَّ‏ (al-ʾarḍiyya šawkiyya‏)
Genitive الْأَرْضِيِّ الْشَوْكِيِّ‏ (al-ʾarḍiyyi l-šawkiyyi‏) الْأَرْضِيِّ شَوْكِيِّ‏ (al-ʾarḍiyyi šawkiyyi‏)
Wyang (talk) 10:39, 4 August 2017 (UTC)
@Wyang You're good with your resources, mate! The reason I decided against this was that I couldn't find a single hit with the accusative أَرْضِيًّا شَوْكِيًّا‏ (ʾarḍiyyan šawkiyyan‏), which doesn't look good but I admit I didn't check further, e.g. الأرضي الشوكي, which is against my suggestion but الأرضي شوكي only proves that the term may be considered a single noun (with the declinable final part) - a definite phrase like the English "the good book" would be "the book the good". Perhaps it can be both? Good work on a new language! --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 11:46, 4 August 2017 (UTC)
Thanks Anatoli! Let's see if others have more input on this. I'll also see if I can get the chance to ask some native Levantine Arabic speakers about the declension in the next few days. Wyang (talk) 11:59, 4 August 2017 (UTC)
@Wyang Sorry for mucking around. Since there are eight hits in Google for "أرضيا شوكيا". That may be enough. I have restored Erutuon's version. I have also asked about this term on an Arabic forum. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 14:32, 4 August 2017 (UTC)
@Wyang My question has been answered. See rayloom's reply. It seems we are both right. The term can be treated as a compound and word and as one word. He also rejected the idea of a fatḥa inbetween. MSA accepts the dialectal pronunciation (we need to make it work both with "ʾarḍiyy šawkiyy" or "ʾarḍī šōkī"). Please note that on this forum they often simplify the formal nisba endings, displaying -iyy as "ī" or even "i". @Benwing2, Wikitiki89, Erutuon, Kolmiel, Backinstadiums I could use some assistance in making the templates work for both paradigms (compound and single word) and two types of transliteration. If I do it myself, I'll have to put multiple tables. The invariable paradigm should never be discarded completely either, especially for loanwords. Pretty sure it's perceived as such, even if it's double-borrowed. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 01:55, 5 August 2017 (UTC)
@Atitarev So there is indeed no correct way of declination :/ I think using multiple tables is the best solution at the moment. It seems we will need a policy on how to handle dialectal/colloquial Arabic pronunciations. Wyang (talk) 13:15, 5 August 2017 (UTC)
According to this dictionary only the second term would be declined, and there is evidence of other compounds following the same pattern (حَبْلُ شَوكِيّ, عَمُود شَوكِيّ). I hope it helps. User:Gfarnab
[Evidence 1]
[Evidence 2]

@Benwing2, Wikitiki89, Erutuon, Kolmiel, Backinstadiums Hello all. The inflection has now been verified by native speakers. Could someone please join the inflection into one table? The diptote declension is more common. There is a small problemm with the triptote part. The disjointed construct forms like "ʾarḍī ... aš-šawkī" should be disabled, please. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 10:43, 9 August 2017 (UTC)

I disabled the disjointed construct forms for now. Attention is still needed on merging the declension tables. Wyang (talk) 10:50, 9 August 2017 (UTC)

English absence

This is pronounced /ˈæb.sɒns/ or /æb.ˈsɒns/ (if I transcribe them correctly) when used for the medical sense (e.g. “absence seizure”). Please check if the IPA is correct and help add it to the entry, thanks. Wyang (talk) 07:35, 4 August 2017 (UTC)

I've added the General American version of that transcription to the entry. — Eru·tuon 02:09, 5 August 2017 (UTC)

A few more pronunciation problems

  • umbilicus: Also pronounced /ˌʌmbɪˈlʌɪkəs/.
  • cervical: In Australia, /səˈvaɪ.kəl/ refers to the neck, /ˈsɜ.vɪ.kəl/ refers to the cervix.
  • duodenum: Also pronounced with the accent on o, only in the US it seems.
  • skeletal: Predominantly pronounced with accent on first e in the US, but British pronunciation could be both skelétal and skéletal, with the former appearing to be more common.
  • centimetre: Also pronounced /ˈsɒnt-/ (chiefly by healthcare professionals, it seems).
  • facet: Also pronounced fuh-sét, e.g. “facet joint”.
  • raphe: Predominantly pronounced /ræˈfeɪ/ in Australia, e.g. “raphe nucleus”.
  • angina: The two pronunciations are regional in distribution. /ˈæn.dʒɪ.nə/ is more common in US, but almost unheard of in Australia.
  • oestrogen: Pronounced /ˈiːstɹədʒən/ in Australia.
  • peroneal: The current pronunciation is missing a primary stress. Also /ˌpəˈɹəʊniːəl/ to differentiate from perineal.
  • melena: Pronounced differently in the US (mélena) and UK (meléna).
  • transference: Pronounced differently in the US and UK.

Please check the IPA as above. Wyang (talk) 08:10, 4 August 2017 (UTC)


@ street, Noun sense #8. These are definitions for an adjective. Usex is for a noun. Leasnam (talk) 14:57, 4 August 2017 (UTC)


Are the two definitions different? And is it just a synonym of phylogenetic; can we merge the info into the entry of the more common one? Ultimateria (talk) 15:00, 4 August 2017 (UTC)

Past participle of Portuguese verb abrir

The conjugation table for "abrir" lists "abrido/os/a/as" as the participle forms of the verb. However, I am just learning that "aberto/os/a/as" are actually the correct participle forms. According to Collins dictionary, "aberto/os/a/as" are not Portuguese words at all. If this is verified to be the case, be sure also to remove the "abrido/os/a/as" entries that point back to "abrir". unsigned comment by User:LelandSun 00:10, 5 August 2017‎ (UTC)

@Daniel Carrero. —Stephen (Talk) 22:43, 5 August 2017 (UTC)
@LelandSun, Stephen G. Brown: I believe this is Yes check.svg done.
  1. I fixed the conjugation table located at abrir#Portuguese (by editing this data module: Module:pt-conj/data/-ir).
  2. I deleted the entries abrido, abrida, abridos, abridas.
  3. I moved the participle senses from these deleted entries to aberto, aberta, abertos, abertas.
--Daniel Carrero (talk) 06:51, 12 August 2017 (UTC)

Imperative of Portuguese verb ouvir

The conjugation table for Portuguese verb "ouvir" lists "ouça" and "ouçais" as its affirmative imperative forms for the second person singular (tu) and plural (vós), respectively. However, according to http://www.conjuga-me.net/en/verbo-ouvir, they should instead be "ouve" and "ouvi", which would make more sense. Would someone confirm this and make the necessary corrections? unsigned comment by User:LelandSun 00:31, 5 August 2017‎ (UTC)

@Daniel Carrero. —Stephen (Talk) 22:39, 5 August 2017 (UTC)
You're right, fixed now. Thanks! – Jberkel (talk) 09:13, 12 August 2017 (UTC)

English: use of collect

Collect had a sense like "gather" -- "I collect it is now rare" would mean you infer so, similar to gather in the phrase "I gather you're new here."

I just added a usage from Jane Austen. I think the other two are wrong -- the Mantel one sounds to me like a mistake by Mantel, trying to sound of-the-period, and I think she misused it -- the loudness would make it hard to "make out" or "discern," not difficult to infer what was being said; and I don't think collect ever had such a sense. If it did, I think it is under the wrong head on Wiktionary page.

The other example is taken from Johnson's dictionary, and he lists it as a different sense, meaning to infer (and come to a mistaken conclusion in the case at hand) from leading clues deliberately set out is how I would paraphrase his definition.

I left the two other examples alone but especially Mantel's I think is just that author's mistake (if it turns out she's quoting a real diary, I'm wrong, obviously, but I'm pretty sure it's her creation from google search HastyBeekeeper (talk) 01:59, 5 August 2017 (UTC)

Should be glossed archaic? Equinox 10:23, 5 August 2017 (UTC)
I searched 21st century books at Google for "collect|collects|collecting|collected that" to catch instances in which collect is followed by a that-clause, because that seemed like the only reasonable way to get a reasonably high yield of the relatively uncommon sense we are considering. I found two instances of usage, but they were both in works originally published 150 years or more ago. In contrast, I found 18 uses of [gather] that, about half of which were in works written after 1999.
"Archaic" seems to understate the case. I'm inclined to label it "obsolete", especially since the Mantel example seems wrong. DCDuring (talk) 14:24, 5 August 2017 (UTC)

Plurals of words with -ness

Hi, I'm pretty new here.

Words with -ness suffixes are listed here as having plurals nesses.

In my use of English and in the material I have read, etc it seems to me that this is generally not the case. For example, I can't imagine a sentence with the word fixednesses nor calmnesses. (An exception to this that I can think of is kindnesses where the word essentially replaces something like gift).

Anyway, I was wondering if somebody could point me to the general methods of verification or text corpora that might be used to decide whether a word like fixednesses exists or not.—This unsigned comment was added by BuddyJay (talkcontribs).

Searching Google Books finds phrases like "the five fixednesses" and "the metaphysical fixednesses of the very learned doctors". It is rare, as stated in entry. Equinox 12:18, 5 August 2017 (UTC)
Ok! So is searching something like Google Books a good method for researching topics like this? Are there others you could tell me about quickly? BuddyJay (talk) 12:21, 5 August 2017 (UTC)
Other sources that we use as evidence for attestation are Google News, Google Scholar, and Usenet (included in Google Groups [One needs to check whether the group is part of Usenet or just a Google group]). We tend to use only these for other purposes as well. These sources are "durably archived" and also tend to exclude many kinds of errors which would be extremely tedious to include in a dictionary. DCDuring (talk) 22:16, 5 August 2017 (UTC)
All I can say is that anyone who is familiar with the term "corpora" should know how to go searching. The problem is that some of the classic corpora (e.g. BNC) are outdated and pre-date the Internet, and many others are very specific and don't help you in tracking general usage. Equinox 00:33, 7 August 2017 (UTC)


Tagged but not listed, with the comment “Verify that it is "fourth declension". In several books it's 3rd declension (kind of irregular, but it's coming from Greek).” - -sche (discuss) 08:51, 23 July 2015 (UTC)

Lewis and Shorts: "ēcho, ūs, f., = ἠχώ"
Georges: "ēchō, ūs, Akk. ōn, Abl. ō. f."
So the declension seems to be doubtful (ablative ēchō, or also ēchō besides ēchū). :-Rdm571 (talk) 13:35, 24 October 2015 (UTC)

I'm resurrecting this discussion because I feel the situation still isn't resolved.

At present Appendix:Latin_third_declension insists: ‘While these words usually belong to the third declension, some English-speaking grammarians (incorrectly) put them to the fourth declension.’ (emphasis mine)

However, Appendix:Latin_fourth_declension lists echo as an example, with endings -o -us -o -o -o.

echo itself says it's 4th declension, but with endings -o -us -ui -um -u -o / -us -uum -ibus -us -ibus -us.

The works quoted by L&S at first glance just use the form ‘echo’. Ovid seems to stick with the nominative.

All inflected forms I could find were post-classical, either -us, -um or apparent forms of echo, echonis. I couldn't find -ui, -u, -uum or -ibus at all, although they might exist. Maybe I didn't look hard enough or maybe they aren't on the internet yet.

I found a (post-classical) document using ‘echon’, but in the nominative. And I've also found ‘echo’ in the accusative.

Anyway, Wiktionary is contradicting itself and I'd like to see this fixed, but I'm uncertain how to approach this. Any ideas?


@Angr I'm struggling with the declension here. Apparently this silly noun declines in all three genders and I'm 98% sure I got my declension tables wrong this time. Anti-Gamz Dust (There's Hillcrest!) 19:32, 5 August 2017 (UTC)

I'm pretty sure the æ becomes a in the plural of the a-stem declension. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 21:02, 5 August 2017 (UTC)
I was thinking that was the case. Thanks for confirming! Anti-Gamz Dust (There's Hillcrest!) 22:40, 5 August 2017 (UTC)


This entry looks very funny. Mlle is a French entry that links Mdlle as an alternative form, but when I clicked it, it was an English entry, not a French one, without the dlle in superscript. Also, the entry links to a French term in the definition, even though the entry has an English header. What the hell? PseudoSkull (talk) 23:42, 5 August 2017 (UTC)

Both the entries and the links between them were added by WF, who probably wasn't paying attention to what language he was working in. Chuck Entz (talk) 00:32, 6 August 2017 (UTC)
Just changed Mdlle to French. It might occur in English too, I dunno. Equinox 00:34, 6 August 2017 (UTC)


All five quotations under hundred#Numeral look grammatically incorrect to me, as they each have two articles. For example:

"That has really soared over the past a hundred years or so."

should be:

"That has really soared over the past hundred years or so." or "That has really soared over the past one hundred years or so."

Anybody agree? Auximines (talk) 00:26, 6 August 2017 (UTC)

Wow, yes. I'd accept it as informal but it does feel wrong. Maybe a US thing? Equinox 00:30, 6 August 2017 (UTC)
Seems nonstandard to me, too. These are all transcriptions- I wonder if anyone actually said it that way. Chuck Entz (talk) 00:50, 6 August 2017 (UTC)
I checked the Merriam-Webster one, and she did actually say that, though you could easily miss the "a" if you weren't listening for it. I don't remember ever hearing this construction before, but maybe I did and just filtered it out.Chuck Entz (talk) 01:08, 6 August 2017 (UTC)
I've heard it a few times before, but mostly from less educated people, so I would call it nonstandard. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 01:53, 6 August 2017 (UTC)
I interpret all of these as illustrations of a (one), as suggested above. The citations seem totally unbalanced, so I assume they were inserted in connection with some debate over numerals, but I have not followed these discussions and could not divine any unexpressed intentions of participants. Moving the current citations to the citations page and adding citations or usage examples illustrative of the range of more normal usage. DCDuring (talk) 03:24, 6 August 2017 (UTC)
I'd certainly say something like that. Not speaking formally or usually in writing, but in my idiolect "the past hundred years" is wrong, even if I recognize it as correct standard English; it has to be "the past one hundred years", or "the past a hundred years" in speech.--Prosfilaes (talk) 09:36, 7 August 2017 (UTC)
In my idiolect "The past hundred years" and "the past one hundred years" seem fine, but "the past a hundred years" seems almost as wrong as "the first a hundred years", which seems very wrong, having three determinatives. DCDuring (talk) 20:31, 7 August 2017 (UTC)
My idiolect is like DCDuring's. It's pretty simple "the year" and "the one year", but not "the a year". Likewise "the past year" and "the past one year", but not "the past a year", and likewise "the hundred years" and "the one hundred years", but not "the a hundred years", and likewise finally "the past hundred years" and "the past one hundred years", but not "the past a hundred years". --WikiTiki89 21:13, 7 August 2017 (UTC)
The problem with "the past hundred" is that "hundred" needs a, um, quantifier(?) before it; "A hundred guys died." and "One hundred guys died." are okay, but not "Hundred guys died." That's what makes "hundred" different here. It seems the grammar generalized differently in my idiolect than yours. I'm not arguing that "the past a hundred" is correct in standard English, but it don't think it's all that rare in spoken English.--Prosfilaes (talk) 23:49, 7 August 2017 (UTC)
@Prosfilaes: Take a closer look at the third of my four example sets. In other words, take away the word "past" and see if you still agree with what you just said. --WikiTiki89 02:25, 8 August 2017 (UTC)

assortment / assortiment

In Dutch an assortiment can also mean "everything a store has to offer". For example the question "Heeft u ook donuts?" (Do you also have donuts?) could be answered with "Sorry, die zitten niet in ons assortiment.". (sorry, those are not something we offer)

Is this sense also valid in English? W3ird N3rd (talk) 11:25, 6 August 2017 (UTC)

No, you can't say that in English. Auximines (talk) 14:59, 6 August 2017 (UTC)
@Auximines Thanks. I've added the sense to the Dutch page. (otherwise I would have added it to the English page which the Dutch page was referring to) Does a synonym exist? I'm thinking "current offerings" or "available in this store", but is there a single-word equivalent and/or more common way to describe that? W3ird N3rd (talk) 08:14, 7 August 2017 (UTC)
The closest thing I can think of is range. A company could say that a certain product is or is not in its range (or range of products), but it would sound a little strange at a supermarket. The supermarket employee would more likely say "Sorry, we don't carry those." —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 08:40, 7 August 2017 (UTC)

About the examples in susu#Javanese

I just stumbled on susu, and noticed that the Javanese usage examples have the sentences in Javanese reported twice with different indentations, as if there were a transliteration process going on, except there is none. What is going on there?

MGorrone (talk) 14:17, 6 August 2017 (UTC)

nudge nudge wink wink

Hi, all. @BadenBrit recently updated the stress pattern at nudge nudge wink wink: see [17] and the talk page comment. Do people really stress the second and fourth word though? Comments welcome. — SGconlaw (talk) 14:32, 6 August 2017 (UTC)

I would say that's correct. Auximines (talk) 15:04, 6 August 2017 (UTC)
@Sgconlaw: I think it's weird too. If I had to, I'd put primary stress on the 1st and 3rd instead. — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 17:24, 6 August 2017 (UTC)
Stressing the 1st and 3rd words seems weird to me. I always stress the 2nd and 4th. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 18:43, 7 August 2017 (UTC)
I stress them all equally, and insert a pause between "nudge" and "wink" (and thus would probably punctuate it as "nudge-nudge, wink-wink"). --WikiTiki89 18:58, 7 August 2017 (UTC)


Is there a tutorial about how to create content for the Wikitionary? I don't have a specific question.

Best Regards, Bfpage (talk) 16:31, 6 August 2017 (UTC)
@Bfpsge: Wiktionary:Welcome, newcomers.Jonteemil (talk) 00:01, 7 August 2017 (UTC)

Etymology of tsar

This doesn't add up:

English etymology on tsar:

Borrowing from Russian царь (carʹ), from Old East Slavic цьсарь (cĭsarĭ), from Old Church Slavonic цѣсарь (cěsarĭ), from Gothic 𐌺𐌰𐌹𐍃𐌰𐍂 (kaisar), from Byzantine Greek Καῖσαρ (Kaîsar), ultimately from Latin Caesar.

Swedish etymology on tsar:

From Russian царь (carʹ), from Old East Slavic цьсарь (cĭsarĭ), from Old Church Slavonic цѣсарь (cěsarĭ), from Gothic 𐌺𐌰𐌹𐍃𐌰𐍂 (kaisar, emperor), from Latin Caesar.

Russian etymology on царь (carʹ):

From Old East Slavic цьсарь (cĭsarĭ), from цѣсарь (cěsarĭ), from Proto-Slavic *cěsarjь, ultimately from Latin Caesar.

Gothic etymology on 𐌺𐌰𐌹𐍃𐌰𐍂 (kaisar):

Borrowing from Koine Greek Καῖσαρ (Kaîsar), from Latin Caesar, or a direct borrowing from the Latin.

Old Church Slavonic etymology on цѣсарь (cěsarĭ) / ⱌⱑⱄⰰⱃⱐ (cěsarĭ):

From Proto-Slavic *cěsarjь, from Latin Caesar.

It's quite inconsistent. Please fix!Jonteemil (talk) 23:59, 6 August 2017 (UTC) ps. I changed all the etymology templates to cognates so all the catigorization wouldn't be active.

I think the full chain should go like this:
Borrowing from Russian царь (carʹ), from Old East Slavic цьсарь (cĭsarĭ), from Proto-Slavic *cьsarjь, shortened form of *cěsarjь, from a Germanic language (possibly Gothic 𐌺𐌰𐌹𐍃𐌰𐍂 (kaisar)), ultimately from Latin Caesar (possibly via Byzantine Greek Καῖσαρ (Kaîsar)).
but I’m not sure about the Latin -> Gothic pathway (does Gothic 𐌺𐌰𐌹𐍃𐌰𐍂 (kaisar) not come via Proto-Germanic *kaisaraz?). — Vorziblix (talk · contribs) 10:12, 7 August 2017 (UTC)
@Vorziblix: It does accoeding to *kaisaraz but bot according to 𐌺𐌰𐌹𐍃𐌰𐍂 (kaisar) itself. Since it's a Germanic language you can suggest that the Germanic derivation is more logic but I don't know. Everything isn't logic in this world.Jonteemil (talk) 23:20, 9 August 2017 (UTC)

Pikachu and Pokémon

I believe we should have both as entries if we're going to have one and not the other. How did Pikachu warrant an entry and not Pokémon? Pokémon is an EXTREMELY, TREMENDOUSLY popular series of anime, manga, toys, cards, video games, fictional creatures, and all sorts of stuff. I think the sense "A single fictional creature in the franchise (...)" needs to exist, as it is pretty clear that it is way attested. Of course I don't support having every individual creature, but if we're gonna have Pikachu, we better damn have Pokémon. PseudoSkull (talk) 05:09, 7 August 2017 (UTC) I'd say Pokémon is more attested than a lot of words that border around WT:FICTION that we have here. PseudoSkull (talk) 05:10, 7 August 2017 (UTC)

Pokemon: "Informal form of Pokémon.". pokémon: "Spanish for Pokémon." (Spanish? what'd I miss?) This is just silly. Just search for "pokemon-like craze" and you probably get enough hits already. "pokemon-like craze" doesn't refer to the Pokémon universe, does it? And since we have quaffle shouldn't we also have Pokéball? W3ird N3rd (talk) 09:29, 7 August 2017 (UTC)
@PseudoSkull It was started as an "only in Wikipedia" article and evolved (https://en.wiktionary.org/w/index.php?title=Pok%C3%A9mon&diff=26674715&oldid=18523708) until it looked like it does now with the template complaining about not meeting CFI. No proper definition for it ever existed here. I'd say just create it, finding out-of-universe sources if anyone really wants them won't be that hard. I would also be happy to if you don't feel up to it right now. W3ird N3rd (talk) 12:17, 7 August 2017 (UTC)
@PseudoSkull There you go, I've added three out-of-universe examples from books to Citations:Pokémon. Now you gotta catch 'm all create that entry! W3ird N3rd (talk) 14:35, 7 August 2017 (UTC)
@PseudoSkull If these citations are no good, please let me know. (and tell me why so I can learn) If you don't feel like creating this entry, let me know. If you're still working on it, let me know. We even have an entry for Pokémon Goer so if we can't have Pokémon that's just.. I wouldn't mind creating it myself, but feel like I would be "stealing" it from you. W3ird N3rd (talk) 19:36, 8 August 2017 (UTC)
I'll get around to it. If you want to create the entry so it gets done earlier, go ahead. There is no "stealing" from anyone here. PseudoSkull (talk) 00:22, 9 August 2017 (UTC)

nudge nudge wink wink sense

I looked at it because of the discussion above here, but I think there's a sense missing. It currently says: "(idiomatic, humorous, also attributive) A phrase used to hint that the speaker is euphemistically referring to something else.". I'm not sure this would cover use like Hey, if you wanna have a "white Christmas" I know a guy you know, nudge nudge wink wink (in reference to narcotic use). It feels like the definition mentioned by wisegirl at https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100219100609AAYLnSB isn't covered either: It's a gesture that accompanies an innuendo. Example: Your dad says, "I just got a $5,000 bonus at work. I wonder what I should do with it." and you say, "You could buy a new car for your favorite child, wink wink nudge nudge.". But I could be wrong. W3ird N3rd (talk) 08:59, 7 August 2017 (UTC)

The first example you give fits the definition perfectly. However, I don't think the second fits with the idea that the speaker is euphemistically referring to something else, as the name of the "favorite child" is in no way offensive or vulgar, although perhaps it could be considered blunt (see our entry for euphemism).... Andrew Sheedy (talk) 18:32, 7 August 2017 (UTC)
I think you're right. In both cases it's replacing something that would be considered (more) blunt. I was overthinking this, the definition covers it just fine. W3ird N3rd (talk) 23:18, 7 August 2017 (UTC)

box set and boxed set

I have always assumed that box set originated as a corruption/mispronunciation/mishearing of boxed set, as box set literally means just a set of boxes. Is it worth adding this to the etymology? Auximines (talk) 11:19, 7 August 2017 (UTC)

Gee, I always assumed it was an instance of attributive use of a noun in a term that was a synonym of boxed set. I don't think these are the only examples of such pairs. DCDuring (talk) 12:17, 7 August 2017 (UTC)
You might be interested to know that boxset is a valid Dutch word (borrowed) and so are verzamelbox (collect box, from verzameling/collection) and verzamelset ("collect set".. which seems strange now that I think about it) I think of it as a shortened version of "box, containing set". Boxed can't be translated to Dutch, we can only say "packed in a box". Dutch for box is doos, but verzameldoos will usually not be used in this sense. A verzameldoos would be more likely to be a box that for example old pictures or toys have been collected in. A setdoos just plain doesn't exist and a doosset might be a collection of boxes but would never refer to a boxset. One more thing: we haven't borrowed box as a synonym for doos, but we do refer to a playpen as a "box". This probably doesn't answer your question, but it shows how confusing this can get. W3ird N3rd (talk) 12:49, 7 August 2017 (UTC)

Just found this relevant article in The Spectator. Auximines (talk) 20:22, 7 August 2017 (UTC)

I've always parsed it more like "book collection". Equinox 18:26, 9 August 2017 (UTC)
If a "book collection" is a "collection of books", then parsing "box set" that way would make it a "set of boxes". I've never heard "box set" before, so to me it was natural that "boxed set" is the correct form, until I just thought about it and realized that "box set" can also make sense as "a set in a box", just like "house party" is a "party in a house". --WikiTiki89 18:32, 9 August 2017 (UTC)
And box set is perfectly valid in both forms, just like house party. W3ird N3rd (talk) 21:20, 9 August 2017 (UTC)
You mean like a party of houses? --WikiTiki89 21:21, 9 August 2017 (UTC)
I think I meant house party as in either a party with house music or a party in a house (like a housewarming party), but now I'm not sure anymore! I like the idea of dancing houses though! W3ird N3rd (talk) 21:35, 9 August 2017 (UTC)
Ok, so you were saying they were similar in that they both have multiple interpretations, rather than that the other interpretations are equivalent. Got it. Anyway, what I meant by house party is simply that the house is used to host a party, as opposed to an apartment party, dorm party, block party, beach party, etc. --WikiTiki89 21:42, 9 August 2017 (UTC)
I think my comparison wasn't entirely correct in hindsight. A "house" has many meanings. "There will be no house music in this house, anyone who disagrees can find themselves another house to live in by which I don't mean the guest house, and unless your contract with that publishing house comes through I doubt that's going to happen!" is using five separate meanings of "house". A few more would be in "Damn, if only House didn't serve our guests so many drinks on the house I could just watch House or check out what the house is debating today, I just wish I was in the house of God right now.". W3ird N3rd (talk) 22:18, 9 August 2017 (UTC)

Concerning the extra click inflicted on those who search for Chinese terms with Simplified characters

I don't know if this is the right place for this question. Anyway, am I the only one who is incredibly annoyed at how, quite some time ago, all Simplified Chinese entries were emptied and left with merely a link to the corresponding Traditional entries? Why was this done? And couldn't a redirect be made when the article is simply a pseudo-redirect, like e.g. 世间? I mean really, why do I have to be annoyed every time I look up a Chinese word because I have to click an extra time on a link in a totally useless "article"? Wouldn't it be better to make a redirect to the traditional entry instead, with the usage note on Traditional/Simplified moved over there? I mean, the best thing would be what the situation was before these pseudo-redirects appeared, i.e. duplicated info on both the simplified and traditional article, but a change was made, and I assume there was a reason, perhaps memory shortage, so…

MGorrone (talk) 16:42, 7 August 2017 (UTC)

The reason was primarily to reduce the duplication. It presents additional work for our already overworked force of editors to keep them in sync and to create both entries each time. Maybe the simplified entries could be turned into true redirects. Are there any other languages that use simplified that would make this not work? —CodeCat 17:55, 7 August 2017 (UTC)
@Wyang: Any thoughts about turning them into hard redirects? --WikiTiki89 18:03, 7 August 2017 (UTC)
I know next to nothing about Chinese, but aren't some simplified characters used for more than one traditional character? Andrew Sheedy (talk) 18:27, 7 August 2017 (UTC)
I did a quick search. Of the 41,299 articles in Category:Chinese simplified forms, 36,807 appear to be simple “soft redirects”, and 4,492 had other stuff on the page, either other languages or additional etymologies. Converting them into hard redirects cannot be done on this proportion of the simplified forms. Part of the rationale for leaving the simplified forms as soft directs was to prepare them for the time when the infrastructure allows for automatic generation of simplified content to display on the simplified pages, using the code on the traditional pages (using css +/- js). Wyang (talk) 21:21, 7 August 2017 (UTC)
Which other languages are those? —CodeCat 13:37, 8 August 2017 (UTC)
Probably Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Zhuang, etc. —Aryaman (मुझसे बात करो) 00:00, 13 August 2017 (UTC)
What about a JS gadget that automatically sends users to the traditional Chinese entry, for users uninterested in Japanese and such? —suzukaze (tc) 21:24, 7 August 2017 (UTC)
@Suzukaze-c: what would happen to the additional info displayed in those 4,492 entries that @Wyang mentioned? I'd prefer to delete the redirect completely. --Backinstadiums (talk) 13:17, 8 August 2017 (UTC)
Perhaps https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Help:CirrusSearch can help out; should I ask? --Backinstadiums (talk) 20:18, 8 August 2017 (UTC)
@Backinstadiums: It is completely possible that users may not care about the additional info, especially when interested solely in Chinese (for users uninterested in Japanese and such). —suzukaze (tc) 23:52, 10 August 2017 (UTC)
  • The simple answer is we do not currently have the technology to allow for an automatic redirect to the main entry. Things are then complicated when hanzi is used for other languages like Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese. ---> Tooironic (talk) 23:23, 8 August 2017 (UTC)
@Tooironic At least it should be the traditional Hanzi the ones that redirect to the official simplified ones --Backinstadiums (talk) 07:08, 9 August 2017 (UTC)
Official? —CodeCat 17:58, 9 August 2017 (UTC)
@CodeCat: I meant
Simplified Chinese characters (简化字; jiǎnhuàzì)are standardized Chinese characters prescribed in the Table of General Standard Chinese Characters for use in mainland China. Along with traditional Chinese characters, it is one of the two standard character sets of the contemporary Chinese written language. The government of the People's Republic of China in mainland China has promoted them for use in printing since the 1950s and 1960s in an attempt to increase literacy.[2] They are officially used in the People's Republic of China and Singapore.

--Backinstadiums (talk) 21:32, 9 August 2017 (UTC)

@Backinstadiums et al. The decision to use traditional Chinese characters as the main form was a joint decision of Chinese editors (including non-natives). It's not a political decision. Everybody knows where simplified and traditional characters are used. It's based on feasibility. Mostly, a technical decision. It would make much more sense when you know that e.g. converting traditional to simplified Chinese is 100 times easier than the other way around. You will also see that traditional entries consistently provide simplified forms as well - in synonyms, related terms, alternative forms, etc. Most importantly, in usage examples. You will hardly find an electronic or paper dictionary, which can simultaneously provide both traditional and simplified forms in all articles. Dictionaries, such as Pleco or Wenlin allow options in settings but they either make errors in conversions or make users make a conversion decision (Wenlin). There is no information loss in Wiktionary, only extra clicks. Hopefully, a technical solution is found to include all the contents from traditional entries in simplified entries as well. Hard redirects is definitely not an option. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 12:07, 14 August 2017 (UTC)
The problem with that option is that the Traditional Chinese entries often have Japanese, Korean, or Vietnamese on the same page, so they cannot be made into redirects. The page can only be redirected when there is no content other than the Chinese section. — Eru·tuon 21:40, 9 August 2017 (UTC)

How can we decide the best way to proceed then? This issue is a serious drawback for users' usability --Backinstadiums (talk) 14:53, 10 August 2017 (UTC)

In the past, I'd suggested transclusion as a means of resolving this kind of issue, where one headword has two variant spellings, but all the other content is essentially shared. At the time, the idea was shot down, partially (if memory serves) for technical reasons. I don't know if our infrastructure has developed to where that might be a viable option. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 20:35, 11 August 2017 (UTC)

Where should I ask whether @Eirikr's 'transclusion' implementation is feasible? --Backinstadiums (talk) 12:46, 12 August 2017 (UTC)

What a lot of stuff that happened here! Would it be possible to turn the 36.807 simple soft redirects with nothing else on the page into hard redirects, and going back to duplicate status for the other 4.492 that have other stuff on the page? This way the duplication is still significantly reduced, and no extra clicks are required for any entry. MGorrone (talk) 20:29, 12 August 2017 (UTC)

@MGorrone: Could you please break down those 4492 according to HSK levels? That would show the QUALITATIVE importance of those characters --Backinstadiums (talk) 21:25, 12 August 2017 (UTC)

Request for verification of a publishing date

Here is a use of the term "duck press", supposedly from 1890. There's a copyright date on one of the title pages. However, "pressed duck" doesn't seem to have been invented that early (see citations on page). This is also the only the use of "duck press" from the 19th century. What's the deal here? DTLHS (talk) 22:42, 7 August 2017 (UTC)

Can mortem be used on its own as a noun?

2017 August 1, “Man dies after voting in Kisumu”, in Daily Nation[18]:
The body of the 64-year-old man was moved to Ahero Sub-County Hospital mortuary awaiting mortem.

DTLHS (talk) 17:41, 8 August 2017 (UTC)

How are post-mortem and ante-mortem spelled anyway? Oxford says "post-mortem" and "ante-mortem" while Merriam-Webster says "postmortem" and "antemortem". And we say "post mortem" and don't have an entry for "ante mortem" yet have had an entry for antemortem since 2008 but no alternative spelling entries at ante mortem and ante-mortem. W3ird N3rd (talk) 18:28, 8 August 2017 (UTC)
That's determinable on Google n-grams. DCDuring (talk) 19:56, 8 August 2017 (UTC)
https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=post-mortem%2C+post+mortem%2C+postmortem&year_start=1950&year_end=2017&corpus=15&smoothing=3&share=&direct_url=t1%3B%2Cpost%20-%20mortem%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2Cpost%20mortem%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2Cpostmortem%3B%2Cc0 I'm still not quite sure. Seems like our spelling is the least common. It's more clear for antemortem: https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=ante-mortem%2Cante+mortem%2Cantemortem&year_start=1950&year_end=2008&corpus=15&smoothing=3&share=&direct_url=t1%3B%2Cante%20-%20mortem%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2Cante%20mortem%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2Cantemortem%3B%2Cc0 as antemortem just peaked. I'll do some things. W3ird N3rd (talk) 23:22, 8 August 2017 (UTC)
@DTLHS I think mortem can't be used on it's own as a noun in English. But mortem has no English definition, so that's fine. Searching for "awaiting mortem" brings up exactly the line you quoted, "for mortem" seems to provide no sensible results and neither does "the mortem". I'm pretty sure what they meant to say was "man was moved to mortuary awaiting postmortem", but this is no common error. You can contact them, looks like they are from Africa. Which would explain any odd errors. If you drop them a line they may actually correct it. W3ird N3rd (talk) 16:58, 9 August 2017 (UTC)
It's also possible that mortem on its own is a word of African English, or just Kenyan English, but not of British or American English. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 20:09, 9 August 2017 (UTC)


Are terms like lightweight, drinking game and finger really appropriate for this category? Perhaps the cat should just be called "drinking alcohol"? Equinox 23:34, 8 August 2017 (UTC)

"Alcohol consumption"? W3ird N3rd (talk) 23:50, 8 August 2017 (UTC)
I remember WF making, heavily populating, and getting minorly pissed off about the deletion of, Category:en:Boozing. We could recreate it, IMHO. --WF on Holiday (talk) 12:36, 9 August 2017 (UTC)
boozing: The act of drinking heavily. booze: (slang, uncountable) Any alcoholic beverage.
So I would still vote for alcohol consumption. Unless you are suggesting to have a separate category for heavy drinking, which I still wouldn't call boozing as that is or borders on slang. It might actually be called just that - "Heavy drinking". That could also include terms like drinking game. Someone who participates in a drinking game may not suffer from alcoholism, but does participate in heavy drinking. W3ird N3rd (talk) 16:47, 9 August 2017 (UTC)
There's Category:en:Drinking. I think we should merge it into that. Equinox 18:27, 9 August 2017 (UTC)
We should also rename it. The most common meaning of drinking is still that of any kind of drink, not just alcoholic. —CodeCat 18:29, 9 August 2017 (UTC)

Arabic اللّٰه (allāh)

I think a bit more explanation on this term would be beneficial. Specifically,

  1. What is the origin of the /ɫ/ (and the usage etc.) and why is it not found in other words with similar phonological shapes?
  2. How did الْإِلٰه (al-ʾilāh) evolve into the current “three l's form” (effectively), with a shadda on the second lām?

Thanks. Wyang (talk) 03:09, 9 August 2017 (UTC)

Regarding the /l/ vs. /lˁ/, some dialects of Arabic have a regular distinction between /l/ and /lˁ/ and between /r/ and /rˁ/ that arose in certain phonological environments and later became quasi-phonemic. I suspect that this phenomenon spread into Quranic reading traditions and then somehow into Standard Arabic specifically for this one word, which is a very significant and important word in Islamic culture. Regarding the elision of إِ (ʾi), this seems to have once been a regular phenomenon whose scope only included a limited set of words, the only other of which I know is الْأُنَاس (al-ʾunās) > النَّاس (an-nās) (from which نَاس (nās) is a back-formation). Note that there are not "three l's", but rather only two: the first is from the definite article, and the second from the original word. As an orthographic convention to show that they are pronounced as a single geminate consonant, the first ل is unpointed, indicating that it should be ignored, while the second one has a shadda, indicating a geminate pronunciation. This is perfectly regular and applies to any nominal that starts with a coronal consonant (e.g. اللُّغَة (al-luḡa), النُّور (an-nūr), etc.). --WikiTiki89 16:19, 9 August 2017 (UTC)
Great answer. Thank you! Wyang (talk) 23:14, 9 August 2017 (UTC)
Feel free to incorporate parts of that into the etymology. But note that when I say "I suspect", that is my own speculation and I have no sources to back that up. --WikiTiki89 15:57, 10 August 2017 (UTC)

diggety and diggity

PS claims they're particles, which looks like a reasonable guess at POS. I disagree with "particle", however. It's probably a noun, you know. -WF

Yes, noun Leasnam (talk) 20:13, 9 August 2017 (UTC)

if I had a nickel for every time

Possibly a set phrase. Possibly a snowclone - I tried my first snowclone page at Appendix:Snowclones/if I had an X for every time I Y, which probably is substandard. --WF on Holiday (talk) 15:28, 9 August 2017 (UTC)

Probably a snowclone, as "nickel" can be replaced with just about any unit of currency (usually "dollar"), and the phrase is virtually always followed by "...X verbed Y, I'd [be rich, have a million dollars, etc.]." Andrew Sheedy (talk) 17:45, 9 August 2017 (UTC)
There are also variations like "If I had a nickel for every time that happened.. I'd now have a quarter. But you get my point.". W3ird N3rd (talk) 21:44, 9 August 2017 (UTC)

chin up

Sure, it's a phrase - but may also be a verb. " I chinned up to the window I'd looked in earlier, and tried to shove it open, but it was locked tight", "I then suggested he try chinning up the leg of the slide.". --WF on Holiday (talk) 15:39, 9 August 2017 (UTC)

Missing item in English List of Words by Suffixes

I don't know where exactly to request this, but the list of words by suffixes (super cool) is missing "-ifact", as in artifact and ventifact.

Is there anyone here who knows the quick way to request or add that?


"artifact" was not formed by suffixation. You need to provide evidence that this is actually a productive suffix in English. DTLHS (talk) 17:44, 9 August 2017 (UTC)
-ifact might be a candidate for a category of words by ending or whatever word we chose if we decided to create such categories (see Wiktionary:Beer parlour/2017/August § Category name: "words pseudosuffixed with" or "words ending in" for more on this), but, as DTLHS says, it's not a suffix. — Eru·tuon 17:53, 9 August 2017 (UTC)

Remove hot word template from Kondo?

There are now citations spanning 2015 to 2017 for Kondo. Should the hot word template be removed now? Talk to SageGreenRider 17:40, 9 August 2017 (UTC)

Yes, it shouldn't need a discussion. --WikiTiki89 17:58, 9 August 2017 (UTC)
Right. DCDuring (talk) 00:50, 10 August 2017 (UTC)

"Rectus Femoris" Pluralization (Latin)


My knowledge of Latin is very limited, so I'm not the most knowledgable about things such as grammatical rules regarding the genitive case. Would the plural of "rectus femoris" (a muscle of the thigh) be "recti femoris" or "recti femorum"?

Many thanks! Taurvaethor (talk) 14:55, 10 August 2017 (UTC)

Postscript: This is my first tea room post so I apologize if I'm missing any conventions with it.

I'd use recti femoris as each rectus muscle is associated with a single thigh. If you said recti femorum it might sound like each muscle was associated with both thighs. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 16:03, 10 August 2017 (UTC)
@Angr: Mightn't one think that recti femoris means that both muscles are associated with the same single thigh? (PS: That was definitely the only time in my life I've used the word mightn't.) --WikiTiki89 18:14, 10 August 2017 (UTC)

different kind of animal / different kind of beast

Something completely different from what we have seen before. Can equally apply to living and inanimate things. Are these idioms or should I just add a sense to animal and beast? Definitions #4 and #5 of beast are roughly describing this, but it doesn't feel complete. W3ird N3rd (talk) 18:09, 10 August 2017 (UTC)

Simple figurative use of animal/beast; might make a good usage example for some current or new sense at beast. DCDuring (talk) 07:43, 11 August 2017 (UTC)
I don't know, how do you tell the difference? Because I can't think of any other way to use it.
  • "a new kind of animal" odd
  • "a different breed of animal" questionable
  • "a different type of animal" nope
  • "a different style of animal" stop painting my dog
  • "an altered kind of animal" doubt it
  • "an improved kind of animal" wtf
  • "a different species of animal" unlikely
  • "a changed kind of animal" what many husbands promise to become but will never be
This doesn't seem to work outside of the combination. If it's just figurative use, shouldn't it be able to work in at least one other combination? The only thing that can be changed is animal. You can say "a different kind of magazine", that's valid. And "a new kind of magazine" or "a different style of magazine" seem okay. But for animal in this figurative sense this appears to be fixed to different and kind. W3ird N3rd (talk) 08:34, 11 August 2017 (UTC)
You can't attest a negative. See citations at beast, sense 8, for attestation of beast in various collocations in the same sense as different kind of animal, which may not even even be more common than entirely/altogether different beast/animal. IMO, it is more productive to look at common collocations, such as those under discussion here, as a possible indication of missing senses of component terms than as possible entries in themselves. DCDuring (talk) 17:32, 11 August 2017 (UTC)
You are right. I can't attest a negative, but it can help to try: often I'd stumble upon a positive. In this case, beast can indeed work in other collocations and I think to a slighty lesser degree so can animal. I think different kind of animal is a very (maybe most) common collocation for this sense, but you've proven it's not the only one. The alternatives (when used with animal) feel a little odd to me, but that's not relevant. Thanks for adding the sense! W3ird N3rd (talk) 19:51, 11 August 2017 (UTC)
I'll try to add cites for the sense at animal. DCDuring (talk) 20:04, 11 August 2017 (UTC)
  • MWOnline has an entry for different animal. They rarely (never?) have SoP entries, so they may have researched uses of animal to find other adjectives that collocate with it and come up dry. DCDuring (talk) 21:29, 11 August 2017 (UTC)
Hadn't thought of that, different animal works indeed and different kind of animal is just a longer version or alternative form of that. I can't think of another adjective that works with this sense of animal. Anything you would expect to work doesn't: altered animal, improved animal, adjusted animal, modified animal, tweaked animal. May a kind of animal we haven't seen before but even that doesn't feel too natural and still implies different. W3ird N3rd (talk) 22:33, 11 August 2017 (UTC)


"Did you hear? Pat won the lottery!" "Wow, that's wild!"
Are we missing a sense to cover this? Dictionary.com has "amazing or incredible" with an example sentence about someone getting kicked out of a club (suggesting it can be used of either negative or positive things). - -sche (discuss) 01:12, 11 August 2017 (UTC)

Yes, it's a sense we are missing, IMO. DCDuring (talk) 07:51, 11 August 2017 (UTC)
Pat won the lottery! W3ird N3rd (talk) 08:42, 11 August 2017 (UTC)


I see several cites on Google Books that do not (clearly, at least) support the definition, including one that explicitly refers to different-sex parents:

  • 2017, Meghan Jakobsen, Alle regnbuens farver: - fra Georgia til Sjælland, Art People (ISBN 9788771806427)
    En familiefar med fast arbejde på Ford-fabrikken. Og han bliver også altid budt pænt velkommen. Det er først, når naboerne har set hans lille regnbuefamilie – mørkebrune mor og hendes mælkechokoladefarvede børn – at man beder dem forsvinde.

I suspect it has at least three definitions. For example, in this one, it seems to be a fish thing. sv.wikt also has the word.__Gamren (talk) 13:35, 12 August 2017 (UTC)


Could a Japanese language editor check the reading here? I read that it should be チャヨウ (chayō). ---> Tooironic (talk) 14:02, 12 August 2017 (UTC)

Both readings exist. I have expanded on the entry. Wyang (talk) 14:14, 12 August 2017 (UTC)
Excellent. Many thanks. ---> Tooironic (talk) 14:40, 12 August 2017 (UTC)

currymuncher, curry muncher

Interesting difference in gloss and definition between these two, isn't there? Equinox 19:27, 12 August 2017 (UTC)

The term doesn't seem to be restricted to New Zealand(?), so I removed that part of the label. Other than that, I just combined the definitions, and made the form that seemed less common an "alt form of". - -sche (discuss) 05:05, 15 August 2017 (UTC)

About the genitive "Sapphonis"

Consulting Bergk's edition of Sappho, I have seem various instances of this genitive "Sapphonis" (e.g. «Sapphonis esse videtur») in the critical notes. This struck me as odd because I'd always known Sappho as a Greek name which as such was declined in Latin as in Greek. Tonight I opened the Sappho entry here, and I found confirmation of my knowledge, and no trace of the genitive Sapphonis. So I ws wondering: is it a very late genitive of Sappho, or is there a whole other version of the name giving this genitive? And if the former, shouldn't we mention it in Sappho? And if the latter, do we have an entry covering that version?

MGorrone (talk) 20:20, 12 August 2017 (UTC)

lay on

One of our example sentences is "He layed on compliments." Other senses use "laid on" in their examples. Are both past tenses used, and is there differentiation between different senses?

Probably someone's oversight; I have changed it to "laid". You can find "layed on" but it's probably archaic. Equinox 14:38, 13 August 2017 (UTC)

Imperative of Portuguese verb ter

The conjugation table for Portuguese verb "ter" lists "tenhas" as the second person singular (tu) affirmative imperative, identical to the corresponding negative imperative, while http://www.conjuga-me.net/en/verbo-ter says this should instead be "tem".

@Daniel CarreroΜετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 03:56, 15 August 2017 (UTC)

English lever arm

Is the current definition correct? Wyang (talk) 02:40, 13 August 2017 (UTC)

  • It is a bit simplistic. The term is most often defined as the perpendicular distance between the axis of rotation and the line of action of a force. SemperBlotto (talk) 05:05, 14 August 2017 (UTC)
    I think the perpendicular distance concept is entirely different from the current definition. If that is the case, then either the current definition is wrong or both definitions exist. Wyang (talk) 04:16, 15 August 2017 (UTC)

hard disc

This is given as an alternative form of "hard disk", but do we have any citations for this? British English uses the American spelling "disk" in the computing sense, with the exception of "compact disc" and "optical disc". I suspect someone might just have assumed that "disk" and "disc" are interchangeable in this sense. — Paul G (talk) 06:49, 14 August 2017 (UTC)

Not always true; I remember e.g. the ZX Spectrum +3 manual used "disc" for the rectangular 3" floppies. Equinox 11:36, 14 August 2017 (UTC)
There are numerous examples of its use here. Mihia (talk) 19:36, 17 August 2017 (UTC)

bottom man

In circus, acrobatics, and physical culture, "one who physically supports a formation of acrobats".

This a part of a group of terms: human pyramid, understander, under-stander. It seems to be the hardest to justify as it can be viewed as completely transparent in its normal context of use, to wit, discussion of acrobatic performances in vaudeville, circuses, etc. Should we have an entry for it? DCDuring (talk) 10:55, 14 August 2017 (UTC)


Does this really have a circumflex accent, or is it supposed to be an overbar marking a scribal abbreviation? — Vorziblix (talk · contribs) 02:05, 15 August 2017 (UTC)

I assume the latter, as User:יבריב doesn't seem to know what he's doing. @Angr, JohnC5? —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 03:56, 15 August 2017 (UTC)
I assume the latter too, but I know nothing whatever about Greek scribal abbreviations. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 08:20, 15 August 2017 (UTC)
I'm in the same boat: all my paleography is Latin. This page, however, seems to show that overbars and tilde like abbreviation marks were used. —JohnC5 14:05, 15 August 2017 (UTC)
You know, just because I'm not a native English speaker doesn't mean I don't even try to research the things I'm putting up on the english wiktionary. I understand I may have made mistakes in the past, but you don't think with a language barrier I'd try extra hard to make sure what I'm doing is correct? יבריב (talk) 15:13, 15 August 2017 (UTC)
@יבריב: Your ability in English has nothing to do with it. Can you produce any evidence to show that this actually should have a circumflex? —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 17:01, 15 August 2017 (UTC)
source 1, source 2, source 3, for starters. Note the affirmation that Χαναάν first enters recorded history in the writings of Hecataeus, as the abbreviated Χνᾶ יבריב (talk) 18:06, 15 August 2017 (UTC)

English hernia and -cele

“Hernia” has a much narrowed definition (compared to our current definition) in modern literature. ICD-10 defines “hernia” only as these entities, and w:Category:Hernias reflects this definition and current usage. Thus the entries hernia and -cele should be amended; entities like meningomyelocele and hydrocele are not usually perceived as hernias.

(Note this is different from English herniate or herniation.)

Wyang (talk) 04:27, 15 August 2017 (UTC)

one word about specific ceramic in Baltic languages

1 I'm not sure if we can written sources for them.

Wikidata ID is Q4329074. d1g (talk) 06:19, 15 August 2017 (UTC)

About radical indexes and language links from Chinese Wiktionary

I opened a character entry in the Chinese Wiktionary, then opened [the Chinese Wiktionary index for radical ⾔], then clicked on the language link for English, and that index does not exist. I'm sorry? What? Turns out Chinese Wiktionary uses KANGXI RADICAL SPEECH, whereas our index uses CJK UNIFIED IDEOGRAPH 8A00. What should we do to fix this issue? Fix the links on w:zh, adopt KANGXI RADICALs for our indexes, or make w:zh adopt CJK UNIFIED? Interestingly enough, the Chinese link on our index works fine. MGorrone (talk) 10:19, 15 August 2017 (UTC)

@MGorrone: could you please elaborate a bit on the 'KANGXI RADICAL SPEECH'? --Backinstadiums (talk) 06:27, 16 August 2017 (UTC)


RFV-pronunciation: /ˈmeɪŋɡoʊ/. — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 12:54, 15 August 2017 (UTC)

There are accents of American English where /æŋ/ always surfaces as [eɪŋ], see w:/æ/ tensing#Additional /æ/ tensing before /ɡ/ and /ŋ/. I'm a little reluctant to assign this to the phoneme /eɪ/ myself, though. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 13:16, 15 August 2017 (UTC)
User:Gilgamesh~enwiktionary seems to have added similar things to a number of words with -ang(-). See rang and sang, to start with. Chuck Entz (talk) 14:06, 15 August 2017 (UTC)
I think if the [eɪŋ] variants were to be listed, (a) they should be phonetic, not phonemic, and (b) they need a more specific label than US. — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 14:09, 15 August 2017 (UTC)

About Latin levis, etymology 2

Etymology 2 of levis#Latin says it comes from Greek λεῖος, "smooth", and then goes back to PIE. If that is so, how did the "v" get placed in? Why don't we have *lēus instead of lĕvis? Was there a dialect form with a digamma from which lĕvis comes, or is this Greek etymon total bogus?

MGorrone (talk) 14:10, 15 August 2017 (UTC)

I think it's bogus. The Greek is probably a cognate, but not an etymon. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 14:34, 15 August 2017 (UTC)


How commonly is it read as an acronym? I've only heard it read as an initialism. — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 14:25, 16 August 2017 (UTC)

Personally I have never heard it said as "earl". I doubt I would even understand it. Mihia (talk) 21:37, 17 August 2017 (UTC)
@Hippietrail, are you sure that it can also be pronounced as "earl"? Do you have any video/audio recordings of it being read as "earl" to back this up? — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 22:28, 17 August 2017 (UTC)


This word is in the news (and receiving commensurate edits) a lot lately since American president Donald Trump used the term in a press conference earlier this week. The definition already at alt-left (meaning essentially "hypocritical left") didn't necessarily seem to fit Trump's use of the word as an antonym to alt-right. Therefore, I created a definition which reads A section of the political spectrum that is left-wing while being vehemently anti-racist, antifascist and politically correct. I have also tagged the sense I added as a hot sense, and moved any quotes relating to Trump's use of the word to that sense. Thoughts? Purplebackpack89 17:38, 16 August 2017 (UTC)

  • Alt-Left means different things to different people, so we will have to wait to find quotes and usage of the term. IQ125 (talk) 18:46, 16 August 2017 (UTC)
Short for alternative left, it's an imagined alternative to conventional American left-wing and Democratic ideologies. The alt-left is an imaginary militant group of left-wing ideologs who are rabidly opposed to white nationalism and white supremacy, and supportive of multiculturalism and egalitarianism by race and gender. Anyone who physically or verbally attacks a member of the alt-right, or punches or injures any member of the alt-right even in self-defense, is called alt-left. —Stephen (Talk) 19:43, 16 August 2017 (UTC)
  • AFAICT none of the citations are from Usenet or printed sources. We need a single definition that therefore spans the political spectrum of user as much as possible. That would serve to neutralize the entry and discussion to the extent warranted. The first citation (Usenet, not neutral politically in the use) I've found is from 8/30/2016, so this will soon not be a hotword. DCDuring (talk) 20:40, 16 August 2017 (UTC)
The actual usage citations I've seen so far (See Citations:alt-left.) are much less vituperative and tendentious than our "definitions", which are not definitions so much as the evaluative predicates applied by those represented in the "citations" provided.
It is clear that alt-left was first used in explicit contrast to alt-right. DCDuring (talk) 21:44, 16 August 2017 (UTC)
Actually, the term was first used in explicit similarity with alt-right. During 2016 it was used by Clintonites to suggest that the Bernie bros, the Greens.the BLMers, and so on, were to be thought of in the same boat as the alt-right, i.e., too extreme. All so clever until Trump used the term. See [19] for a history of the term and much much better citations. 22:13, 17 August 2017 (UTC)


This is an adjective, but the definition is for a noun. —CodeCat 19:36, 16 August 2017 (UTC)

hemisymptoms (symptoms on one side of the body)

Singular unattested. How should this be formatted as an English noun? Wyang (talk) 00:42, 17 August 2017 (UTC)

I would just make an entry at hemisymptom and make a note that only the plural is attested. DTLHS (talk) 00:51, 17 August 2017 (UTC)
Ah okay thanks. I've created the entry. Wyang (talk) 02:50, 17 August 2017 (UTC)

political compass

Wikipedia uses this as a common noun in the first sentence and title, but mostly uses it as a proper noun elsewhere. If this is actually a common noun referring to "the invention made by "The Political Compass Project" or whatever then it may merit an entry perhaps? PseudoSkull (talk) 02:22, 17 August 2017 (UTC)

pronunciation of scallop

What is the difference between the pronunciation /ˈskaləp/ and the pronunciation /ˈskæləp/? I can't work it out from https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Appendix:English_pronunciation. Mihia (talk) 21:26, 17 August 2017 (UTC)

Broad and slender "a". The former has the "a" in "farther", and in some accents approaches "skolləp". The latter is the "a" in "hat". Australian English features both pronunciations, depending on you grew up. (Melbourne typically says /ˈskæləp/, Adelaide says /ˈskaləp/, for example.) --Catsidhe (verba, facta) 21:40, 17 August 2017 (UTC)
That isn't what the key seems to say. There, the vowel in "farther" is shown as ɑː, ɑ, ɒ, ɐː or ä, depending on region, but a appears only as a synomym of æ, as far as I can see. Is the key incorrect? Or maybe I am misunderstanding it somehow? Mihia (talk) 22:06, 17 August 2017 (UTC)
No, I think that's right. /a/ is also used for modern RP short a (slender a) by Geoff Lindsey. I'm not aware of any dialect in which scallop would be pronounced with broad a (skahluhp), though in Scotland they would probably use the undifferentiated central a. — Eru·tuon 22:11, 17 August 2017 (UTC)
(Edit conflict) I'm guessing that the original editor used /a/ (which isn't an IPA letter) instead of /ɑ/ (which is, but is an allograph in other contexts), and didn't notice. @Erutuon, I just told you a dialect which uses broad "a". I speak it. --Catsidhe (verba, facta) 22:16, 17 August 2017 (UTC)
Right, but I thought broad a referred to the sound of father, identical to start in non-rhotic dialects, a long vowel in dialects with phonemic length, and not just a less front pronunciation of the vowel of cat. Do you mean that scallop is pronounced as if spelled scarlop in Adelaide, with a long vowel? — Eru·tuon 23:41, 17 August 2017 (UTC)
No, the "ar" is long in "farther", I was just talking about the quality, not the length. I just meant that Adelaide tends toward the "rhymes with dollop" end, rather than the "rhymes with ballot" end of the /o-æ/ spectrum. I didn't want to use "father", partially because I didn't trust that there's not a slender-er pronunciation but mainly because I hadn't had any coffee yet. --Catsidhe (verba, facta) 00:26, 18 August 2017 (UTC)
Ah, okay. We're just using different definitions of "broad a" then. To explain what I meant a different way, I don't know of a dialect in which cat and father have different vowels, and scallop has the vowel of father. — Eru·tuon 01:02, 18 August 2017 (UTC)
And I do, because I speak it. --Catsidhe (verba, facta) 02:28, 18 August 2017 (UTC)
Gah. I mean, the two having the same phoneme. You said scallop doesn't have a long vowel like farther does, and as I gather Australian English distinguishes short and long versions of the vowel quality [a], scallop has a different phoneme from farther (= father). — Eru·tuon 03:03, 18 August 2017 (UTC)
I'm trying to leave vowel length out of it and stick to the place of articulation. There's a lot of overlap between [a] and [ɑ] in practice. There's not just the regional broad/slender "a" variants — such that the "a" in "Newcastle" is spoken broadly by its inhabitants, and the "a" in "Castlemaine" is spoken narrowly by its inhabitants — but also social variants, from thick Strine through to the higher-register Cultivated. "Scallop" is a weird word in Australian, not only in pronunciation, but also in that the meaning can be different. One of the Australian shibboleths is whether a "scallop" is made of potato or not. (In some parts, when you go to a fish and chip shop and order a scallop, you get an item of seafood, in others, you will get a potato cake; battered and deep fried in either case.) So canonically, one of the main intra-variations is between [ɐː] and [æ], but "scallop" can vary further out than that, even, towards [ɑ] (approaching the English pronunciation indicated by the variant spelling scollop). My own pronunciation varies between /skɐləp/ and /skɑləp/ depending. Am I making sense?
And that's not even taking into account the "salary-celery" merger. --Catsidhe (verba, facta) 03:32, 18 August 2017 (UTC)
The key also says that "RP /æ/ is sometimes transcribed /a/, for example in dictionaries of the Oxford University Press". If anyone is confident that /ˈskɑləp/ was meant and not /ˈskaləp/, then maybe it can be changed. However, currently the article says that this pronunciation is "UK and Ireland" (other pronunciations are also given for UK). While I am not sure about Ireland, I can't recall ever hearing anyone in the UK saying "scallop" with the vowel of "father", so I am still a bit dubious. Mihia (talk) 23:06, 17 August 2017 (UTC)


Verb definition:

(transitive) to make or cook scallops

To start with, the definition seems to be that of an intransitive verb, but even supposing it should say "to make or cook (scallops)", how would it be used? "I'm scalloping these scallops"? And how do you "make" scallops, given that we are apparently talking about the shellfish (rather than the decorative feature, which is the previous definition, "To cut in the shape of a crescent"). Can anyone make sense of this definition? Mihia (talk) 21:32, 17 August 2017 (UTC)


Just made a Spanish entry for amigx, which is a "feminist word" of some kind. Sadly, I know little about gender neutrality or feminism, and am surely missing out on something here... if I were a paid editor, I'd use my money to interview the Mexican feminist who wrote her entire thesis without the letter "o" to get an insight into the whole thing. --WF on Holiday (talk) 22:25, 17 August 2017 (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?"[21]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 [22].— 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 [23] (judical) and on google books [24] (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 [25]. 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: [26]. 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 [27]. 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? [28] 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 ([[29])] 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[30] 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[31] 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 [32], and a dictionary entry [33]). 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 [34] 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 [35] 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

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

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

great-aunt, grandaunt / great-uncle, granduncle

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

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

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

I'd never seen "grandaunt" before today. It is glossed as US-only. Equinox 16:34, 14 April 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I am definitely a great uncle (here in the UK), not a granduncle (which I have never heard of). SemperBlotto (talk) 16:37, 14 April 2012 (UTC)
I’ve never heard of "grandaunt" or "granduncle" before today, either, and I’m in the U.S. Where do they use those? —Stephen (Talk) 16:46, 14 April 2012 (UTC)
I've seldom referred to such relations using any terminology at all, but when I have, it's usually been using the grand- forms. I don't recall when or where I learned the terms. I grew up in the DC area, and my parents were from upstate New York and Minnesota, FWIW. When referring to such relations one generation further back, I've used the terms "great grandaunt" / "great granduncle", by analogy from "great grandparents". -- Eiríkr ÚtlendiTala við mig 18:11, 14 April 2012 (UTC)
I'm with Stephen. I grew up in the States, and I only ever used or heard great-aunt and great-uncle. I don't mind "grandaunt" and "granduncle" being labeled "U.S." as long as "great-aunt" and "great-uncle" aren't labeled "U.K.". —Angr 19:15, 14 April 2012 (UTC)
I don't see a need for soft redirects. None of the pages has very much content. The only content that seems to be problematically duplicated is the translations, and those can be merged by using {{trans-see}}. (By the way, like Stephen and Angr, I'm an American who's only ever used and heard great-aunt and great-uncle. The fact that grandaunt and granduncle are tagged (US) should not be taken to imply that all Americans are familiar with them.) —RuakhTALK 19:18, 14 April 2012 (UTC)
Symbol comment vote.svg My research (Talk:grandaunt) suggests that "grand-aunt" / "grand aunt" was used throughout the English-speaking realm in the 1800s, even in the UK — indeed, it's used in Jude the Obscure. It may always have been much rarer than "great aunt", though. It seems it's only still in use (post-1980) by some Americans and non-native speakers. Perhaps we should tag it Lua error in Module:labels/templates at line 29: The parameter "lang" is required. or Lua error in Module:labels/templates at line 29: 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. [37]
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. [38]
Although performances improved considerably, Boro still finished the season well adrift at the bottom of Division Two [39]
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 [[40]]. 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)
[41]​—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