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

WT:TR redirects here. For Translation requests, see Wiktionary:Translation requests. For guidelines on translations, see Wiktionary:Translations
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.

For questions about the technical operation of Wiktionary use the Beer parlour. For questions about specific content, you're in the right place.

Tea room archives edit

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Oldest tagged RFTs


February 2017

µm, µg, etc. (U+00B5) → μm, μg, etc. (U+03BC)

Currently the pages with μ (U+03BC, Greek small letter mu) are redirected to the pages with µ (U+00B5, micro sign). However, the latter is a legacy character for backward compatibility and we should use rather the Greek mu. I would like to switch the real pages and the redirects. I did so on French Wiktionary in 2013. — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 03:13, 2 February 2017 (UTC)

I never realized that. I thought the micro sign was intended for use as the SI prefix. I certainly didn't know it's deprecated, especially since it's available as AltGr+m on my German keyboard. But reading the link you provided convinced me, so I have no objection to your switching the direction of the redirect. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 15:06, 2 February 2017 (UTC)
Since there are dozens of pages to rename, I have to wait for an answer for my problem. — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 15:53, 5 February 2017 (UTC)

Yes, last I heard, even the Unicode Consortium recommends using the letter mu to represent "micro" instead of the micro sign. However, I still think the micro sign is useful, since it allows a string search to specifically find the letter mu as used in units, as opposed to other scientific uses such as a variable, the symbol for a muon, etc. (e.g. a mu can be a muon or a micron, but a micro sign can only be a micron). Since Wiktionary should be as comprehensive as possible, I would recommend following the Unicode recommendation to use the letter mu for units inside pages, but still leave the micro sign for page names as synonyms, especially since that is how the units were previously coded (even though they are visually identical on most fonts). Entries using the micro sign can simply be labeled as "former encoding for," or something like that. Nicole Sharp (talk) 10:47, 7 February 2017 (UTC)

I will keep them as redirects. The difference between μ (U+03BC) and µ (U+00B5) is only in encoding and negligible for human eyes. — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 12:39, 7 February 2017 (UTC)
I support using the Greek mu in all these entries and keeping redirects wih the legacy character micro. I was already thinking of doing that, but I focused on doing other redirects and left that for later.
In Wiktionary:Beer parlour/2016/October#Proposal: Redirect many single-character entries, I had suggested redirecting the µ (micro) itself to μ (mu). I did that today, if that's OK. --Daniel Carrero (talk) 12:53, 7 February 2017 (UTC)

✓ Done. — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 13:26, 7 February 2017 (UTC)

I thought about it too but I was too busy. Good job. --Octahedron80 (talk) 13:29, 17 February 2017 (UTC)


@Tooironic, Wyang, the definitions needs some labels (childish, colloquial, etc.). — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 02:31, 3 February 2017 (UTC)

User:Tooironic has added some. I think the senses "egg", "fruit", "spherical object" and "very" may be dialectal. Wyang (talk) 05:15, 3 February 2017 (UTC)
@Tooironic, Wyang: thanks for your input! Hanyu Fangyan Da Cidian only mentions "boy's testicles" (SW Mandarin: Dafang), "fruit" (Jin: N. Shaanxi) and "very" (Jin), but are these just used in these regions? — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 05:46, 3 February 2017 (UTC)
My feelings are: "boy's testicles" (colloquial: pan-Mandarin, Jin, and potentially others; often childish), "egg" (dialectal or childish), "fruit" (dialectal), "spherical object" (dialectal) and "very" (dialectal). Wyang (talk) 05:48, 3 February 2017 (UTC)
@Wyang: I've made some changes accordingly. — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 06:19, 3 February 2017 (UTC)

fear and loathing

Def and usex are very politically charged. Is it accurate? Can it be toned down a bit? Equinox 07:01, 3 February 2017 (UTC)

The usage example indicates that the definition is wrong. The first question is whether fear and loathing is not SoP or more like milk and honey. What does it collocate with? Eg, NP in "fear and loathing of [NP]". From that we might be able to sort out meanings to determine if any of them are not SoP. The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing is the only OneLook reference that has the term (FoLDIS has copiers.). It has a similarly tendentious definition, but in IT. DCDuring TALK 12:06, 3 February 2017 (UTC)

final illness

I created this but User:SemperBlotto deleted it. The reason given was just nah. I assume the actual reason is sum of parts. However, I would argue the phrase isn't simply sum of parts–suppose Bob has a cold, from which he completely recovers, and then two weeks later he is murdered. That cold was the last illness he had in his life, but few people would call that cold his final illness. final illness means the illness which kills you, which might not actually be the last illness of your life if you die from non-illness related causes (such as murder, accidents, natural disaster, war, etc). Yet, since one of the senses of final is "last", a person (especially a non-native English speaker) might think "final illness" just means "last illness in ones life" not specifically "illness from which one dies". Given this, the term isn't simply sum of parts, therefore I think it should be included. 10:19, 3 February 2017 (UTC)

Not found in any medical dictionary and all usages that I can find (in a short search) were sum of parts. We do now have terminal illness that has the same meaning, but has lots more usage (and a Wikipedia entry as well). SemperBlotto (talk) 12:55, 3 February 2017 (UTC)
That’s a reasonable objection. I have restored it. @SemperBlotto: Please go to Wiktionary:Requests for deletion to delete it. — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 15:33, 3 February 2017 (UTC)
terminal illness and final illness are used in different ways. When a historian talks about the death of a historical figure due to illness, they will usually say "Mozart's final illness" not "Mozart's terminal illness". That is because "final illness" is more non-medical (such as historical or literary) terminology than medical terminology. Compare Google searches of "Mozart's final illness" to "Mozart's terminal illness", you'll find the first phrase is significantly more popular, and also the results for the second phrase tend to skew in a more medical direction. "Terminal illness" also (often) implies an illness that contemporary medicine cannot cure (or at least its attempts to cure it are very hit and miss), e.g. many forms of cancer, whereas in history many "final illnesses" would be things which would not be considered a "terminal illness" today. Historically many people's final illness was syphilis, but it seems strange to contemporary ears to call that a "terminal illness" since today it is quite easily treatable and very rarely fatal. The term "terminal illness" is often (but not exclusively) used in ways which focus on the type of illness a person has–a common cold is not a terminal illness but certain aggressive cancers are–while you can talk about a particular person's terminal illness, you also often talk about particular medical conditions as terminal illnesses without reference to any particular person suffering them–whereas the term "final illness" is used in ways which focus on the person whose illness it is, even when (as in many historical cases) the specific medical condition they had is unknown or can only be guessed at–i.e. one can talk about a specific medical condition (without reference to any person who has it) as a "terminal illness", but to call such a condition a "final illness" sounds very odd. 21:10, 3 February 2017 (UTC)
I think this should be deleted as SoP even though the two words could theoretically have another meaning. Context and common sense are probably sufficient. Even our classic textbook example of "brown leaf" could mean something else (the brown old page of an ancient book). Equinox 21:16, 3 February 2017 (UTC)
Appealing to "common sense" is a poor argument because what is common sense to a fluent speaker of English may be confusing or unclear to someone with less fluency who simply doesn't know the "common sense" which fluent speakers possess. I don't think "brown leaf" is a good counterexample, because using "brown leaf" to talk about a brown page of a book is not a usage which anyone would say is wrong or particularly confusing; whereas, saying "Bob's final illness" when talking about the chronologically last illness of Bob's life when he died from non-illness related causes is something which very many people would consider at least confusing or even just downright wrong. There is nothing wrong with the sentence "The brown leaves of the book were faded". There is something wrong with the sentence "Bob's final illness lasted six weeks" if Bob was murdered 6 months later. The first sentence doesn't deceive or confuse, the second sentence does, for it implies the illness killed him even though it didn't. ("Bob's last illness lasted six weeks" isn't necessarily as confusing because "last illness" doesn't have as strong an implication of death as "final illness" does–I might say "Bob's last illness took him a long time to recover from" and there's nothing wrong with that sentence but "Bob's final illness took him a long time to recover from" sounds potentially contradictory since "final" implies no recovery.) Where some of the plausible SOP readings are actually ruled out by common usage, the phrase isn't purely SOP any more. 01:13, 4 February 2017 (UTC)

trait#English - Different uses of the two pronunciations?

My impression in Australia is that the pronunciation /treɪt/ is the usual pronunciation, and the pronunciation /treɪ/ is typically only reserved for genetic or other academic uses. For example, one speaks of “sickle cell trait /treɪ/” and “thalassaemia trait /treɪ/”, never /treɪt/ (saying this in this situation may cause others to wince.). Wyang (talk) 13:02, 3 February 2017 (UTC)

I don't think I've ever heard /tɹeɪ/ in en-US at all; I'm pretty sure /tɹeɪt/ is the only pronunciation in all uses. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 14:28, 3 February 2017 (UTC)
Ditto. I would wince only at hearing it pronounced sans t Leasnam (talk) 15:09, 3 February 2017 (UTC)
What is the fact base or methodology we use to determine or confirm the existence and relative frequency of pronunciations? DCDuring TALK 15:45, 3 February 2017 (UTC)
Well, apparently some dictionaries show the other pronunciation without the t as secondary. Leasnam (talk) 16:09, 3 February 2017 (UTC)
So, is it a pronunciation used by French-trained doctors? DCDuring TALK 16:17, 3 February 2017 (UTC)
I note that some OneLook dictionaries have the silent-t pronunciation as UK. Medical dictionaries usually don't have pronunciations. DCDuring TALK 16:25, 3 February 2017 (UTC)
Yes UK Leasnam (talk) 16:28, 3 February 2017 (UTC)
John C. Wells in the Longman Pronunciation Dictionary gives both options for UK English but gives preference to /tɹeɪ/. He says nothing about the two pronunciations being used in different contexts. For US English he lists only /tɹeɪt/. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 21:18, 3 February 2017 (UTC)

mute h

This definition seems too narrow. I'm sure the term is also used to refer to unpronounced h'es in Spanish, etc. And what about English? What do you call the "h" in hour or honour? Kolmiel (talk) 15:24, 3 February 2017 (UTC) Hmm, I was a bit overhasty (again). I wasn't aware of the term silent h. However, I've also found "mute h" as a synonym, for example referring to English. I'd create that entry and make a link, but the problem is that any letter can be silent or mute. Kolmiel (talk) 15:30, 3 February 2017 (UTC)

The difference between French and English is that the "h" in hour is silent while the "h" in house is actually pronounced. But French phonology distinguishes between mute h and aspirated h by their behavior, even though both of them are in fact silent: le héros is pronounced /lə e.ʁo/, not */lə he.ʁo/. So mute h in this sense is something English and Spanish don't have, because English just has ordinary silent h’s opposed to pronounced h’s, and in Spanish there's no different behavior between two different kinds of silent h. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 15:45, 3 February 2017 (UTC)
I would say that the more familiar English term is silent h, with mute h being used more when referring to the traditionally silent h in languages like French (mute h always makes me think of French), but that may not be universally true. Leasnam (talk) 20:30, 3 February 2017 (UTC)

live in, live out

Where are these used? They sound unnatural to me (an American English speaker). DTLHS (talk) 21:05, 3 February 2017 (UTC)

Not in Canada... Andrew Sheedy (talk) 21:50, 3 February 2017 (UTC)
The terms are used with reference to household servants, domestic help, nannies, etc. A "live in nanny" vs. a "live out nanny". Or cook, gardner, maid, butler, cleaner, chauffeur, whatever. Once you understand the context (I didn't at first since the entries really don't make the context clear) the terms don't sound unnatural at all. 01:22, 4 February 2017 (UTC)
That's not how the entries present the terms. They are defined as verbs. We have live-in which matches the adjectival sense you describe. DTLHS (talk) 01:28, 4 February 2017 (UTC)
Imagine three nannies talking. The first nanny asks the other two, "Do you live in or out?" The second responds "I live in". The third says "I live out". To read "live in"/"live out" as verb phrases seems a very natural reading of such a conversation. (The stuff about "My commute is two minutes" in the example for live in is stupid though, since if you have a two minute commute you don't reside at your place of employment – e.g. maybe you bought an apartment across the street from your employer's offices, so you only have a two minute walk to get to work in the morning, but you don't actually live in your employer's offices.) 01:55, 4 February 2017 (UTC)
Some dictionaries restrict these to the UK, but others do not. In the US live in seems common enough to me, but not live out. DCDuring TALK 15:52, 4 February 2017 (UTC)
(Incidentally, live out probably needs another sense. Can't you live out a dream, or a fantasy?) Equinox 06:42, 4 February 2017 (UTC)
I agree. More importantly, some idiom/phrasal-verb dictionaries do too. DCDuring TALK 15:52, 4 February 2017 (UTC)


I've heard in Urban Dictionary it's also "cigarettes niggers smoke", so should that be another definition here?

If it can be cited, that is, if three durably archived usages can be found (see WT:CFI). -Lücht (talk) 01:18, 4 February 2017 (UTC)
Added with three citations. I defined it "as an inferior cigarette" (the term is used e.g. to complain about menthols); not sure whether it really has anything to do with black people's smoking preferences; def may need tweaking. Equinox 06:48, 4 February 2017 (UTC)
In my long-lost youth "Kool" was a brand of menthol cigarette that was reportedly popular among American blacks. More recently in the US, there have been brands of cigarettes whose popularity was principally due to their low prices relative to the traditional brands like Marlboro. DCDuring TALK 16:09, 4 February 2017 (UTC)
I found a blog post discussing this: [1]. Equinox 20:39, 15 February 2017 (UTC)

"1/100th" when discussing currency subunits

Many of our currency entries describe a unit as "1/100th" of another. This always looks wrong to me. It's 1/100, or one hundredth, but not one slash hundredth. You wouldn't write "1/3rd", would you? Do others agree these should be changed? Equinox 19:05, 4 February 2017 (UTC)

Seems a bit weird yeah, I'd change it if I saw it. — Kleio (t · c) 19:06, 4 February 2017 (UTC)

Yes, this is an error. The correct way to write such a measurement is either as 0.01 or 1/100. A hundredth (one hundredth) can be written as "a 100th" but not "1/100th," since 1/0.01 = 100. Nicole Sharp (talk) 10:35, 7 February 2017 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done Got rid of all "1/100th". There are probably still a few instances of other numbers than 100... Equinox 15:40, 7 February 2017 (UTC)

It is rare and dated but attested: [2]. — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 05:06, 10 February 2017 (UTC)


I can't seem to source the 1990 George Bush citation (from a speech), which actually just seems to be Bush mispronouncing "family values". Did he really mean farmly as defined? If not this should be removed. Equinox 22:43, 4 February 2017 (UTC)

Given that he followed it immediately with "family", the implication is that he either used it as a one-off pun (he got a laugh) or it was a slip of the tongue. As for the second quote, "farmly" is immediately followed by "farm", which would be rather awkward if it was intended to be used with the challenged sense. It looks more like a typo for family influenced by the similarity to the following word. As for the third quote: it's in a poem, and modern poets are well known for bending vocabulary into unnatural shapes for artistic reasons. I don't think any of them really supports a word with any existence independent from the specific circumstances of each instance, and three times nothing is still nothing. Chuck Entz (talk) 01:57, 5 February 2017 (UTC)
2 additional cites with clear "farm"-related meaning. Leasnam (talk) 17:40, 6 February 2017 (UTC)
  • I mean, the cites are pretty awful (including an odd poem that may not support this sense, one that seems to be a very clear mistake, one making fun of a half-educated Japanese immigrant's English, and what appears to be a classic Bushism). That said, under the normal interpretation of CFI, these would indeed pass if RFV'ed. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 06:55, 7 February 2017 (UTC)

Confusion about cloud ear, Jew's ear, 雲耳 and 木耳

After reading the descriptions and seeing pictures of Auricularia polytricha and Auricularia auricula-judae, if cloud ear is the same thing as 雲耳, then cloud ear should be Auricularia auricula-judae (or Jew's ear), the softer of the two, instead of Auricularia polytricha, the harder, crisper one, contrary to how Wikipedia names these. The Wikipedia article named cloud ear fungus says the Chinese name is 雲耳, but this is not supported on the Chinese Wikipedia or by any sources. — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 04:29, 5 February 2017 (UTC)

This calls Auricularia auricula-judae "cloud ear mushroom". — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 04:35, 5 February 2017 (UTC)

fiddle about, fiddle around

I thought these terms suggested unskilled mechanical fixing activity, e.g. fiddling around inside the back of a TV set to try to make it work. The given definitions (from the same IP) suggest they just mean idling, lazing around. Is that right? Equinox 19:14, 5 February 2017 (UTC)

Doesn't seem right to me (or at least it isn't a definition I was aware of). The sense you mention is the only one that is familiar to me. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 19:58, 5 February 2017 (UTC)
I now see that the same IP initially defined "ferret out" as "to fatten by feeding"!! Their entire contributions merit sceptical investigation. Equinox 20:05, 5 February 2017 (UTC)
Fiddle about strikes me as the UK version of US fiddle around. What our definition lacks IMO is the notion that the "fiddler" is engaged in a pointless, valueless activity, the sole result of which is the waste of time. DCDuring TALK 23:10, 5 February 2017 (UTC)

I think it can go either way. E.g. "Quit fiddling around with that TV!" would mean that the person is wasting their time with an unproductive or detrimental activity (in the opinion of the person speaking). However, "I spent the afternoon fiddling around with the TV to improve its color balance" would mean a productive activity. Whether fiddling around is productive activity or not obviously depends on context. I think that "fiddling around" specifically just implies a mechanical or repetitive activity (by analogy of instrument-playing), and not so much as whether that activity is productive. Though in most cases, it is used either in a pejorative (for nonproductive activities) or tongue-in-cheek (for productive activities) context. Nicole Sharp (talk) 10:26, 7 February 2017 (UTC)

invasive carp

I'm intrigued about this being glossed as a euphemism. It sounds worse than "Asian carp", doesn't it? What's the story? Equinox 20:34, 5 February 2017 (UTC)

See Talk:Asian carp. DCDuring (who created invasive carp) seems to classify it as euphemistic. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 22:15, 5 February 2017 (UTC)
What has happened is that certain laws and regulations seem to use invasive carps where the carps in question are more usually called Asian carps. I believe that this is done not as a euphemism for the fish but for Asian-descended voters, whom some considered to be offended or potentially offended by the association of their continent of ancestry with these invasive species, against which extensive control efforts were or are to be undertaken (revocation of visas?). The invasive Asian carps are bighead carp, silver carp, black carp, and grass carp.
Does anyone know of a better term than euphemism, which term seems to actually fit this situation by our definition. DCDuring TALK 23:05, 5 February 2017 (UTC)
That makes more sense to me now, although perhaps the entry could benefit from an explanatory usage note? Andrew Sheedy (talk) 23:44, 5 February 2017 (UTC)
Or a citation or two. DCDuring TALK 11:39, 6 February 2017 (UTC)
Politically correct? — Ungoliant (falai) 17:58, 6 February 2017 (UTC)
I was trying to avoid that label by using something more generic, less political, but that may not be possible. DCDuring TALK 00:59, 7 February 2017 (UTC)

Ensemblist is not a word

Why are there entries for words that don't exist? Ensemblist is not a word. Using Soloist as an example is not valid. So why is this entry on the Wiktionary?

Of course it's a word: [3]. Equinox 00:30, 6 February 2017 (UTC)

About njeri

The current article is lacking two things:

  1. A translation of the usage example;
  2. A different section (maybe with alternate etymology) for the pronominal use, which at present is only mentioned in a quotation in the references.

So I wonder:

  1. Is it correct that "atë njeri e njihja" means "I knew that man"?
  2. Does the pronoun "njeri | anyone" share the etymology of the noun "njeri | man" or is it distinguished from it not only "semantically and grammatically" (quoting the reference) but etymologically as well? And in the latter case, where is the pronoun from?
  3. Could someone add these things to [the article]?
  4. Is the TR the right place to bring up such issues (of articles lacking info) or is there a more appropriate place for this?

MGorrone (talk) 15:05, 6 February 2017 (UTC)

This is one place to discuss it. Usually the best place to discuss language-specific details is the talk page to the "About" page for the language (in this case, Wiktionary:About Albanian), but I don't see much activity there, and the talk page is a redlink. Albanian isn't very widely studied by non-Albanians, and it has a sad history of heavy-handed interference by various parties for various political reasons, so we get a lot of Albanian editors with agendas working on etymologies and not a lot of basic dictionary work. Chuck Entz (talk) 03:27, 7 February 2017 (UTC)


In English this is also pronounced PREEM-ee-er, right? ---> Tooironic (talk) 04:33, 7 February 2017 (UTC)

I agree. Here in Canada, I've only heard /ˈpɹimjɚ/. — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 06:10, 7 February 2017 (UTC)
Not in the UK. SemperBlotto (talk) 06:12, 7 February 2017 (UTC)
As far as I'm aware, it's only /pɹiˈmɪɚ/ in the U.S. —Stephen (Talk) 09:05, 7 February 2017 (UTC)

Pronunciation of presentation

Is the pronunciation of presentation as /ˌpɹizənˈteɪʃən/ actually used in the UK? — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 08:12, 7 February 2017 (UTC)

I've heard it used in at least one British movie/TV show. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 23:17, 7 February 2017 (UTC)


Looks like we need a new entry for predicate in the sense of criminal predicate. And here's a quote: "Those require a criminal predicate, or reasonable suspicion. New York TimesJan 25, 2017" --Espoo (talk) 09:09, 7 February 2017 (UTC)


I have been using the word "artifice" as a verb for years, in the sense of "to make artificial (from something natural)," e.g. "to artifice a mine from a mountain," or "to artifice trees into paper." However, I can't seem to find any citations for this. Have I been using this word incorrectly all this time? It does have a nice poetic ring to it. Nicole Sharp (talk) 09:58, 7 February 2017 (UTC)

  • It does seem a little odd, but the OED has the verb sense "trans. To make or shape by artifice; to apply artifice to; to construct, contrive. Now chiefly of immaterial things." (with citations from 1652 to 1995) SemperBlotto (talk) 10:15, 7 February 2017 (UTC)
    • Oxford University Press OxfordDictionaries.com came up on a Google Search for "artificing," but it still only lists "artifice" as a noun. If you have any citations or usages, see if you can add them here on Wiktionary, since they don't come up for me on Google. Nicole Sharp (talk) 10:56, 7 February 2017 (UTC)
By the way, shouldn't there be an uncountable sense? DTLHS (talk) 16:06, 7 February 2017 (UTC)
There are lots of uses of artificed that seem to be adjectival and of artificing that seem to be nominal, though some could also be interpreted as verbal. I found three uses that seem to me to be clearly verbal. They are in the entry, but I have not provided a definition. DCDuring TALK 16:29, 7 February 2017 (UTC)

take over

I wonder why every single sense has been labelled "idiomatic". DonnanZ (talk) 12:58, 7 February 2017 (UTC)

Because none of them can be deduced from the definitions of "take" and "over". A example of a non-idiomatic use would be "I took the horse over the bridge". Siuenti (talk) 13:58, 7 February 2017 (UTC)
Hmm, yeah, but I still wouldn't class it at being idiomatic, implying an idiom, even though there's a different sense. Saying "company X took over company Y" is the same as "company X took company Y over". It's just a phrasal verb that can be split, nothing remotely idiomatic about it. DonnanZ (talk) 15:10, 7 February 2017 (UTC)
Lexicographic idiomaticity is principally in the semantics, not the grammar, at least as we consider it. DCDuring TALK 15:53, 7 February 2017 (UTC)
I question the value of labelling every idiomatic sense as such, though. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 23:16, 7 February 2017 (UTC)
I've inserted {{&lit}} which, arguably, obviates the need for all those "idiomatic" labels (which I did not remove). DCDuring TALK 00:08, 8 February 2017 (UTC)
They're removed now, the note "used other than as an idiom" is enough to indicate an "idiomatic" phrase. It is still recorded as an idiom after the labels are removed, so the labels are / were actually superfluous. DonnanZ (talk) 10:22, 8 February 2017 (UTC)

"help" meaning "do for"

I've met some African speakers who use the word "help" in the sense of "do for", e.g. "I'll help you wash the car" would mean "I'll wash the car for you". I'd like to add something to "help" to point out this is non-standard in most varieties of English, but I'm not sure how to proceed. (Chinese people also do this [4]) Siuenti (talk) 14:03, 7 February 2017 (UTC)


Daniel C added two curious senses, with idiosyncratic cites that might not reflect normal usage: (i) a person, regardless of their gender, who is perceived as conforming to female stereotypes; (ii) a man who does not have a healthy penis. To me this is deliberate playing with language rather than mainstream dictionary senses. Imagine a woman saying: "My father was never home, so, growing up, I had to be the father in our house." Equinox 21:09, 7 February 2017 (UTC)

To me, these senses are OK. We have the sense "A person who plays the role of a father in some way." at father. If we found the sentence "My father was never home, so, growing up, I had to be the father in our house." in a book, I'd support using it as a quote for that sense. --Daniel Carrero (talk) 19:52, 8 February 2017 (UTC)
Wow, that sense of "father" really surprises me! I mean, it's like having a sense at "spaceman" for "a child playing at being a spaceman" (as in "this time you be the spaceman and I'll be the alien"), or at "teapot" for "a small model of a teapot belonging to a doll's house". I feel the same about "catgirl" defining a cosplayer, as I once mentioned before. Sometimes one just refers to something as X because it is a simulacrum of X, even though you know it's not a real X. Equinox 20:56, 15 February 2017 (UTC)
Quite. --Droigheann (talk) 23:33, 15 February 2017 (UTC)
Or Shirley Temple at teapot... Chuck Entz (talk) 03:49, 16 February 2017 (UTC)
@Equinox: Allright. I removed the 2 senses from girl. I only left the quotations there, if that's OK. --Daniel Carrero (talk) 13:23, 16 February 2017 (UTC)

heel of a hand

We don't seem to have this either under heel or as a separate entry. Could someone who's - unlike me - quite certain which part of the hand it refers to add it? --Droigheann (talk) 00:03, 8 February 2017 (UTC)

I'm familiar with the term...for the area of the palm nearest the wrist Leasnam (talk) 02:58, 8 February 2017 (UTC)
Yeah, I'd say add it under heel. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 05:29, 8 February 2017 (UTC)
Added by DCDuring - special thanks for finding a picture which made it crystal clear! --Droigheann (talk) 17:28, 8 February 2017 (UTC)


The entry shows the stress on the third syllable, which jibes with most usage I've encountered ... but I've occasionally heard the adverb stressed on the antepenult: AmE /ɪndɨfəˈtɨɡəbli/. Can anyone confirm whether that's considered a standard variant, or a solecism? If the former, can anyone attest a similar pronunciation of the adjective (e.g., /ɪndɨfəˈtiɡəbəɫ/)? —This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 14:41, 8 February 2017 (UTC).

It's obviously stressed on the penultimate, because it rhymes with Clark Gable. —CodeCat 15:31, 8 February 2017 (UTC)
I can't tell if CodeCat is joking or not, but I've certainly never heard either the adjective or the adverb stressed on any syllable other than fæt. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 16:47, 8 February 2017 (UTC)
I wasn't aware of the existence of what seems to be the standard pronunciation.... I'm only familiar with /ˌɪndəfəˈtiɡəbəl/ and /ˌɪndəfəˈtiɡəbli/. It's possible my pronunciation is idiosyncratic though, and I've never actually heard the word (although that seems unlikely). Andrew Sheedy (talk) 09:59, 14 February 2017 (UTC)


Noun sense 2, the plural form should be following, or there should only be a singular form.

For the sense defined as “Something to be mentioned immediately later”, I believe that it is incorrect to use the form followings, even when referring to several things. For example:

The following are common words:

  • list,
  • item.

However, when referring to several things after this fashion, I do not know if we actually use the plural of following—although with an identical spelling—or if the word in this sense has no plural and we actually use the singular form here too. Either way, the definition for this sense should belong to a different section. --Anareth (talk) 17:06, 8 February 2017 (UTC)

I added a note "singular only". I think this is worth mentioning, for one thing because "the followings" is an error sometimes made by non-native speakers. I also took the liberty of adjusting the heading of this thread. Mihia (talk) 10:31, 13 February 2017 (UTC)
Ooops, sorry, I need to revisit this as, of course, we can say "the following are ..." as well as "the following is ...". I have just reverted my edit for now, as I have to go and have no time to look at it now. Mihia (talk) 10:36, 13 February 2017 (UTC)
I had another go. Please anyone change it if you prefer different wording. Mihia (talk) 18:23, 13 February 2017 (UTC)

Calques and translations

Where is the line drawn between translations, translations that feature word order that is identical to the source word/phrase, and calques? Like Red Square, which currently claims to be a calque. —suzukaze (tc) 23:06, 8 February 2017 (UTC)

A calque is a translation, specifically a loan-translation. That means that it's translated, but then this translation becomes part of the language's idiom rather than being a one-off. —CodeCat 00:07, 9 February 2017 (UTC)


-tastic, is this really a suffix ? If so, then is -tel a suffix (motel, boatel, floatel, etc.) ? Leasnam (talk) 17:26, 9 February 2017 (UTC)

Same for -tacular, -riffic, -licious Leasnam (talk) 17:29, 9 February 2017 (UTC)
FWIW, the OED calls -tastic a "combining form" and defines/describes it "Forming adjectives designating someone or something perceived as excellent or remarkable as regards that which is denoted by the prefixed word. Cf. POPTASTIC adj. In early use freq. punningly used to create a word phonetically similar to fantastic." [5] They also have a "combining form" -riffic [6] but none of the others. --Droigheann (talk) 03:02, 10 February 2017 (UTC)
  • It's officially recognised on Oxford Online as an informal combining form, "Forming adjectives denoting someone or something regarded as an extremely good example of their particular type" in words such as poptastic and funtastic.
  • As for -tel, I think this is just a blend based on hotel, and not a suffix as such. DonnanZ (talk) 18:22, 10 February 2017 (UTC)
Welll, my point is: isn't poptastic just a blend of pop/popular and fantastic in the same way that boatel is a blend of boat and hotel ? A combining form is a suffix, is it ? ok, I see it now. Thanks Leasnam (talk) 21:22, 10 February 2017 (UTC)
I think it depends on how old and well-established it is. The first few words in -athon would have been regarded as blends, but now it's easy to use that on new words without particularly thinking about the root word marathon. Equinox 21:38, 10 February 2017 (UTC)

in places

Meaning only in some places and not everywhere. It may be worth an entry: I have just found a translation for this, e.g. "... that in places has led to the establishment of grass cover". DonnanZ (talk) 18:06, 10 February 2017 (UTC)

Spatial equivalent of at times — though there are other similar versions like in spots. Equinox 20:51, 10 February 2017 (UTC)
It's not to be confused with in place either. Anyway, I have created an entry for in places; I have classified it as an adverb for now, but someone will surely reclassify it. DonnanZ (talk) 10:52, 11 February 2017 (UTC)

Confused by first definition of agency

The first definition of 'agency' reads: "The capacity, condition, or state of acting or of exerting power..."

This expands to:

   1. The capacity power, or
   2. The condition power, or 
   3. The state of acting power, or
   4. The state of exerting power

The last one is the only one that I understand. Maybe an additional 'of' or other preposition or word went missing. Are the following meanings what are intended for the first three?

   1. The capacity also called power, i.e. 'agency' is a synonym of 'power'
   2. The condition of power, i.e. the state of being in power, or the effects of being in power
   3. The state of acting while in power, i.e. availing oneself of one's power, i.e. the state of enacting one's power
         or the state of acting (pretending to be) powerful

—This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 21:20, 10 February 2017 (UTC).

EDIT: Oops, now I see that it may have meant

   1. "The capacity, condition, or state of acting, or the capacity, condition, or state of exerting power..."

—This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 21:26, 10 February 2017 (UTC).

It can be read in still other ways too. Thanks for bringing the lack of clarity to the attention of the community. DCDuring TALK 23:43, 10 February 2017 (UTC)


Are there really four distinct senses of ety 1? Mihia (talk) 05:22, 11 February 2017 (UTC)

I've encountered all four of those. Equinox 13:33, 11 February 2017 (UTC)
So how is #1 different to #2? #1 definition is "hey", and, as far as I can see, "Oi! Stop that!" means "Hey! Stop that!". Mihia (talk) 14:28, 11 February 2017 (UTC)
Those two could probably be merged. Equinox 14:30, 11 February 2017 (UTC)
I agree; I have merged them. Mihia (talk) 21:49, 13 February 2017 (UTC)

definition of subdural

Hello, the definition for subdural seems wrong:

The definition for 'subdural' is: "(anatomy) located beneath the dura mater and above the meninges"

When I clicked on 'dura mater' it said: "(anatomy) The tough and inflexible outermost of the three layers of the meninges "

And the definition for meninges was: "(anatomy) The three membranes that envelop the brain and spinal cord."

These three definitions obviously aren't self consistent. It seems more like the definition for subdural ought to be " located between the dura mater and the arachnoid mater" or perhaps, since 'arachnoid mater is a pretty obscure word: "located between the dura mater and the next most inward layer of the meninges"

But, I'm no expert, I'm just basing that suggestion on what makes sense from the three definitions above.

DlronW (talk) 21:21, 11 February 2017 (UTC)

Thanks, subdural has been modified accordingly. Wyang (talk) 21:54, 11 February 2017 (UTC)

Pronunciation of Olomouc

Is there an established English pronunciation of the city of Olomouc? Can the one given in the entry be verified in some reliable sources? --Jan Kameníček (talk) 23:47, 11 February 2017 (UTC)

Not listed in either the 4th edition (1937) or 14th edition (1977) of the Daniel Jones "English Pronouncing Dictionary", so I would tend to doubt that there's any conventional English pronunciation which is very widely known... AnonMoos (talk) 19:48, 26 February 2017 (UTC)


haze says that hase is an alt form. Is that real? If so, does it need marking as archaic or obsolete? Equinox 12:31, 12 February 2017 (UTC)

It's obsolete (of course).
    • 1721, Bailey:
      "A Hase, a thick Fog or Rime."
I've added a label Leasnam (talk) 17:16, 13 February 2017 (UTC)


A relative newbie, Mr. Yazar, just added this as a preposition, but the leading hyphen makes me doubt this analysis. @Strombones, Hekaheka, Hyark, Puisque, Tropylium and anyone else who knows Estonian: what is this really? A preposition? A postposition? A suffix? A case ending? —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 14:50, 12 February 2017 (UTC)

I'd call it a clitic. Compare -kin and -kaan in Finnish. —CodeCat 16:03, 12 February 2017 (UTC)
It's a case ending for the comitative. Strombones (talk) 21:27, 12 February 2017 (UTC)
We usually call case endings suffixes, don't we? Do we have entries for other Estonian case endings? —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 21:33, 12 February 2017 (UTC)
Should be a case ending, yes. Category:Estonian inflectional suffixes only has a few members so far though. --Tropylium (talk) 21:50, 12 February 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for your help, everyone. I've changed the POS to suffix, and CAT:Estonian inflectional suffixes now has one more member. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 08:46, 13 February 2017 (UTC)
Hi, sorry I missed this. Yeah, I haven't taken a full course in Estonian, but I would say it is the comitative case ending (tema sõidab autoga "he/she drives a car", lit. "he/she drives with/using a car"). (CodeCat, -gi/-ki is the clitic cognate with -kin and -kaan. :) -- Puisque (talk) 16:12, 14 February 2017 (UTC)
I also agree that -ga is the suffix for the comitative case. ¦ hyark digyik 20:34, 14 February 2017 (UTC)


Two questions:

  • Why is this reconstructed with a laryngeal? Derksen, who is quite laryngeal-happy, reconstucts *smey- without a laryngeal and specifically says the acute tone in Balto-Slavic is an innovation. Sanskrit smita would seem to preclude a laryngeal. The long ī in Latin and Germanic can in both cases come from -ei-.
  • Why the s-mobile? The only languages without the initial -s- are Latin and Greek, and both are known to have dropped initial -s- in *sm-. Furthermore, Homeric φιλομμειδής (philommeidḗs, smiling gladly) seems to specifically indicate a former -s-.

I think this should be moved to Reconstruction:Proto-Indo-European/smey-. Benwing2 (talk) 20:38, 12 February 2017 (UTC)

@CodeCat Benwing2 (talk) 20:38, 12 February 2017 (UTC)
LIV has indeed just *smey-. No need to assume s-mobile or a laryngeal, as far as I can see. --Tropylium (talk) 21:52, 12 February 2017 (UTC)


The audio file is not working for me, is it working for anyone else? ---> Tooironic (talk) 03:48, 13 February 2017 (UTC)

Not working for me either. It probably needs to be recorded again. — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 03:54, 13 February 2017 (UTC)
I fiddled with the audio and it should work now. —suzukaze (tc) 06:20, 14 February 2017 (UTC)
Many thanks, it's working for me now. ---> Tooironic (talk) 16:17, 14 February 2017 (UTC)
It's not working for me though, just a little phut is heard. I have found many audio files don't work properly; I would like to export them to Norwegian, but I won't do this with broken audio files. DonnanZ (talk) 10:29, 17 February 2017 (UTC)

Reverting edit about "Spock" gesture

@Equinox, Chuck Entz. This was discussed here a bit: User talk:Equinox#Spock.

I'd like to revert diff. I believe the word "Spock" meaning basically "a gesture in rock paper scissors" is a common noun, not a proper noun. In this sense, we are not talking about the fictional character named Spock. I believe all words for gestures are common nouns, including RPS handshapes (rock, paper, scissors), and other handshapes such as shaka, hang loose, thumbs up, corna (no English section), facepalm, fig (sense missing).

This was pointed out in the discussion linked above: "The hand gesture is named after Spock, but it isn't a direct reference to him, any more than an axel is a direct reference to w:Axel Paulsen." --Daniel Carrero (talk) 04:53, 13 February 2017 (UTC)

But that's a countable common noun: "an axel, two axels". In the finger game, you don't call "a Spock"! It's just the name Spock, a proper noun. More like Old Kent Road in the board game Monopoly. Equinox 18:55, 13 February 2017 (UTC)


Please add this word: "Pedophocracy". I'm not a word smith. I don't know Latin or how this word came to be. I wrote an article about it here with lots of references for you if needs be: infogalactic.com/info/Pedophocracy Full disclosure: I was banned from Wikipedia for a year. I'm a truther. I don't believe everything the government or corporate media tells me. Nor do I believe much of the independent media. I believe in letting people know all sides if possible and that nothing should be censored, hiding not only the truth, but the crimes and criminals. Nuf said. Though I'm not happy with the anti-"fringe" fascists at Wikipedia, I've only got good things to say about Wiktionary and Wikiquotes, and most Wikipedians for that matter. Thank you in advance. ~ JasonCarswell (talk) 16:39, 13 February 2017 (UTC)

It can be added if you can find three independent sources (not your own website) using the word and meeting WT:CFI. Looking on Google Books and Scholar it looks like D McGowan is the only one to use it and therefore it should not be added. DTLHS (talk) 17:32, 13 February 2017 (UTC)
Good to know. Thanks for the prompt response. McGowan coined it some time ago, but it seems to be catching on. Is Wiktionary like Wikipedia when it comes to "fringe" sources? For example, I learned about it from independent journalists who have used it recently, likely due to the Pizzagate stuff. FYI, InfoGalactic is not my site (terrible name) - it is an encyclopedia forked from Wikipedia intending to grow in ways WP refuses to. Because I just finished that article including living persons, it was moved back under my user page until legal can go through it, whatever that means. ~ JasonCarswell (talk) 17:45, 13 February 2017 (UTC)
We don't care about fringe sources, just that they are durably archived and demonstrating usage (in practice this usually means we rely on Google Books and Google Scholar). DTLHS (talk) 17:49, 13 February 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for this info, though I'm a little confused and I'm sorry to bother you again. Many independent news and other sites use the term, (pages and pages easily found: https://www.google.ca/search?q=Pedophocracy) and many are well archived on their sites as well as the Internet Archive Wayback Machine. Does this count? Also, if "pedo" means child and "cracy" means rulers, what does "pho" mean besides tasty soup? ~ JasonCarswell (talk) 06:02, 14 February 2017 (UTC)
It sounds like the word is formed by adding -cracy to a clipping of pedophile (with the interfix -o-). I disapprove of the way the word is formed; I would prefer pedophilocracy, but I guess people find that to be too long. Anyway, this means that the -pho- part has nothing to do with soup; it's just the first digraph in the morpheme -phile plus the linking vowel -o-. — Eru·tuon 06:26, 14 February 2017 (UTC)
Duh. I feel embarrassed I didn't see that. Thanks. The longer version is better, more clear, and less confusing. The shorter one might be confused with a ruler of feet. Or a ruler in feet. Not inches. ~ JasonCarswell (talk) 09:30, 14 February 2017 (UTC)
Also, in addition to being less clear and accurate, why this shortened version of this "new" word is bad, if you actually say it aloud, not that it comes up often in conversations, it sounds kind of like "pedo-fuck-crazy" which is tragically like putting a clown nose on a very very serious subject. I wish this word wasn't invented in the short version and I wish we didn't need any word like it at all. For whatever it's worth the new InfoGalactic article has passed legal and has been released, edited, for better or worse: https://infogalactic.com/info/Pedophocracy ~ JasonCarswell (talk) 15:26, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
That doesn't look like a durably archived source, and it still doesn't look like the word has been used by multiple, independent sources, in other words, by people who have nothing to do with the coiner of the term. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 15:58, 23 February 2017 (UTC)

Yet another word formed from Classical elements by people who know nothing or almost nothing about either Greek or Latin (others are "thealogy", "homophobia", "noctcaelador" etc etc). You'd think those who are not experts would be able to face up to the fact and ask those who are experts for help. As far back as the 1920s, some were complaining that the "o" should be omitted from "psychoanalysis" to be strictly correct, but that seems minor now... AnonMoos (talk) 20:02, 26 February 2017 (UTC)

Nothing wrong with mixing roots. What do you call a television? Equinox 20:05, 26 February 2017 (UTC)
Television mixes Greek and Latin (another bugbear of early 20th-century classical purists which seems almost trivial now), but it doesn't show conspicuous faults in word formation (as thealogy and noctcaelador do), or an intended meaning strongly divergent from the meaning indicated by the roots (as homophobia does). AnonMoos (talk) 20:35, 26 February 2017 (UTC)


I've seen this specifically refer to two alternating lights at a railway crossing. Should this be added? —CodeCat 18:55, 13 February 2017 (UTC)

I would say so, yes. I've found several cites supporting this usage Leasnam (talk) 19:14, 13 February 2017 (UTC)
I don't think two alternating flashing lights were used originally, just one light suspended on a pendulum-like device which swung from side to side, hence the name wigwag. DonnanZ (talk) 10:22, 17 February 2017 (UTC)
No, it's obviously an extension of usage, much like using torch for the electrical variant. But we don't even have a sense for the mechanical wigwag, let alone the electric one. The current definition is overly broad. —CodeCat 19:02, 17 February 2017 (UTC)
Or electromechanical? DonnanZ (talk) 20:50, 17 February 2017 (UTC)
I have added a nice image, maybe they are still used in the USA. DonnanZ (talk) 11:35, 17 February 2017 (UTC)


Why do we have a reconstruction for this when it's very obviously attested? —CodeCat 01:49, 14 February 2017 (UTC)

I assume some of the conjugated forms are unattested. DTLHS (talk) 01:55, 14 February 2017 (UTC)
It's a reconstruction for Vulgar Latin, so many of the forms are probably unattested. Do we have a ruling on this? Reconstructing a word which is attested in a language for a poorly attested dialect of that same language? At least I think the argument shouldn't be that it would be allowed if the infinitive happened to be something other than amare but this way it's not. Kolmiel (talk) 04:41, 14 February 2017 (UTC)
If we needed it, it should be at Reconstruction:Latin/amo, since we use the 1st person singular present active indicative as the lemma for Vulgar Latin just as for Classical. But IMO we don't need a reconstruction page for an attested lemma just to show its unattested inflected forms. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 22:03, 14 February 2017 (UTC)
While we're on the subject, it may be interesting to have those Vulgar Latin inflections somewhere on the main entries where applicable? — Kleio (t · c) 22:29, 14 February 2017 (UTC)
I agree with Angr. — Ungoliant (falai) 22:33, 14 February 2017 (UTC)
Well, I also agree, kinda, but having the inflections is nice, while putting them on the main entry -- I don't know. Kolmiel (talk) 02:19, 16 February 2017 (UTC)
Why not create an appendix with Vulgar Latin inflections (compare with the appendices in Category:Latin appendices)? Then one could conjugate Vulgar Latin amo by knowing that it stayed in the first conjugation and then one wouldn't need Reconstruction:Latin/amo. - 01:13, 21 February 2017 (UTC)

ying-yang, yin-yang

ying-yang means 1. anus and 2. penis; while yin-yang means vulva. That seems odd. Can't both forms mean all three things, in slang? Equinox 22:39, 14 February 2017 (UTC)

Why??? This is a sacred Chinese concept. This needs to be explained in the etymology (of one or both entries). Wyang (talk) 08:43, 15 February 2017 (UTC)
There aren't that many slang senses under yin-yang on Google Books or Google Groups. Maybe they should all go to ying-yang, which could be just a reduplication. Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 15:50, 22 March 2017 (UTC)

Category:English terms spelled with ’

What's the correct response to this strange category? I noticed it when someone changed Dollo's law to use the curly apostrophe (I prefer the plain one, and it prevents this category happening!). Equinox 19:55, 15 February 2017 (UTC)

The pages should be moved. DTLHS (talk) 20:25, 15 February 2017 (UTC)

suck off

Is it always until the ejaculation? I think I've read some instances where it was not the case. --Barytonesis (talk) 01:57, 16 February 2017 (UTC)

I've added "usually" to it Leasnam (talk) 03:14, 16 February 2017 (UTC)
What do citations say? UseNet and Google Books (fiction) would be the sources.
It seems like suck + off to me. DCDuring TALK 13:16, 16 February 2017 (UTC)
Could it also be a blend of suck and get off, with the off added alluding to the latter ? Leasnam (talk) 18:11, 17 February 2017 (UTC)
I strongly suspect that off has the same meaning ("achieving orgasm") in combination with any of several verbs. See WT:RFV#suck off for other problems with the definition. DCDuring TALK 18:31, 17 February 2017 (UTC)
Same could be asked about pull off and jerk off (though we don't currently define them as reaching orgasm). Equinox 18:41, 17 February 2017 (UTC)


Calling this term 'rare' is a bit of a stretch I think. I have heard native speakers use it from time to time. Any thoughts? ---> Tooironic (talk) 02:43, 16 February 2017 (UTC)

You have? I've only heard Germans use it as a mistranslation of Adaption. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 08:40, 16 February 2017 (UTC)
OED labels it "now nonstandard" and comments that "despite the long history of adaption in English, adaptation is now the preferred form". (Their quotations range from 1615 to 2007).[7] --Droigheann (talk) 21:15, 16 February 2017 (UTC)
In light of that, I have changed the label to "proscribed". ---> Tooironic (talk) 03:07, 17 February 2017 (UTC)

tautology and pleonasm

I wanted to edit these because they sound very negative. Of course, according to our present "capitalistic" stylistic norms we should say everything as fast and simply as possible. But tautology and pleonasm are rhetoric figures, not defects as such. Depending on the language and age they may be regarded as signs of great eloquence. And even now they are used for emphasis etc. — Now the problem that I have is that I might do this wrong because the German use might be different from the English. German wikipedia describes Tautologie and Pleonasmus as synonymic per se, with different not generally accepted attempts at distinguishing them (e.g. that there's a tendency to use Tautologie when the two are of the same part of speech as in "fright and fear"). English wikipedia's Tautology_(rhetoric), however, is a very different and somewhat strange entry. Thanks for your input! Kolmiel (talk) 04:04, 16 February 2017 (UTC)

I can't think of an example off the top of my head where it makes a difference (if there is one), but my impression is that a tautology is a repetition of either the whole term or just the meaning, while a pleonasm is unnecessary extra verbiage, whether it's a repetition or not. Chuck Entz (talk) 04:16, 16 February 2017 (UTC)
Yes, that sounds very similar to what my mother's old Advanced Learner's English dictionary says. Kolmiel (talk) 04:29, 16 February 2017 (UTC)
That would make tautology a hyponym of pleonasm. DCDuring TALK 13:39, 16 February 2017 (UTC)
FWIW, Oxford perceives tautology as negative, "a fault of style" [8][9], while being kinder to pleonasm, "a fault of style, or a rhetorical figure used for emphasis or clarity" [10][11]. Then again, the entries may have been dealt with by different editors. --Droigheann (talk) 21:51, 16 February 2017 (UTC)


In Act 1, Scene 2 of King Lear, Edgar asks Edmund, "How long have you been a sectary astronomical?" Does "sectary" mean "believer" here? If so, we are missing that sense on Wiktionary at the moment. ---> Tooironic (talk) 04:26, 16 February 2017 (UTC)

  • I think that means "member of a sect". SemperBlotto (talk) 07:52, 16 February 2017 (UTC)


Does this never mean "to plot against; to scheme" in Japanese as it does in Chinese? If so, this would appear to be a false friend. ---> Tooironic (talk) 04:37, 16 February 2017 (UTC)

  • @Tooironic: According to the monolingual JA resources I've consulted, in Japanese, this only ever means "to calculate in one's head, without using tools or writing anything down". ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 19:12, 17 February 2017 (UTC)

tax return

I seem to have seen Americans using this to mean the amount that is refunded if you have overpaid. To me it refers only to the form that you fill in, does anyone else have any thoughts on this? Kaixinguo~enwiktionary (talk) 21:28, 16 February 2017 (UTC)

It isn't supposed to mean the amount that's refunded; that's tax refund in American English (at least). I wouldn't be surprised if some people get confused because of the similarity in sound and because of the ambiguity of the word return, though; nor would I be surprised if such confusion is occasionally found in permanently archived sources. But I would still call it an error. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 22:29, 16 February 2017 (UTC)
Looking at Twitter, though, most of the recent tweets using 'tax return' are from Americans using it to mean the refund: https://twitter.com/search?f=tweets&vertical=default&q=%22tax%20return%22&src=typd There's even memes about spending your tax return, which was what confused me at first. Kaixinguo~enwiktionary (talk) 22:41, 16 February 2017 (UTC)
Yeah, a lot of people misuse the term. Though I noticed that it wasn't only Americans, since some people were talking about their tax "returns" (i.e. refunds) in pounds sterling. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 09:47, 17 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Maybe it should be cross-linked to a new entry for tax refund, or a note added saying a tax return is not to be confused with a tax refund, which is the return to a taxpayer of overpaid tax. DonnanZ (talk) 11:00, 17 February 2017 (UTC)

classical conditioning

What sense of classical is invoked in this term? ---> Tooironic (talk) 03:17, 17 February 2017 (UTC)

Probably it was just the type studied earliest by academics and understood somewhat before the other types... AnonMoos (talk)


Nootropic should be added to the derived forms of -tropic, which (going by a peek at one word that is) is apparently done with a confix template in the etymology. But there is no entry for the other half noo-, and the only other word I can think of beginning with that is noosphere. I have exhausted my small knowledge of templates. Should we do it anyway? --Hiztegilari (talk) 14:54, 17 February 2017 (UTC)

noocracy! I suppose we'd best create noo-. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 01:16, 20 February 2017 (UTC)


The current entry for "ooch" seems to be a French usage. But there is a good English usage of the term and it should be added to the wictionary:

Ooch -- move in small steps

http://www.dictionary.com/browse/ooch http://www.thepalife.com/ooch/ http://andyburkhardt.com/2014/02/17/ooching-cultivating-an-attitude-of-experimentation/

See ooch at OneLook Dictionary Search. It is a redirect to scrunch in a single dictionary of American slang. We need citations, which IMO may include usage examples from DARE. DCDuring TALK 17:08, 19 February 2017 (UTC)

Thanks, I did look at DARE and did find a couple of usages of "ooch." It looks like a contraction of the word scooch, so maybe the action to take (if any) is to add "ooch" as an Alternative form.

As for usage examples, there are actually quite a few, listed below, and a usage in the rule book for the America's Cup, which may date as far back as 1851 [1]

42.2 Prohibited Actions

Without limiting the application of rule 42.1, these actions are prohibited:

(a) pumping: repeated fanning of any sail either by pulling in and releasing the sail or by vertical or athwartship body movement;

(b) rocking: repeated rolling of the boat, induced by

(1) body movement,

(2) repeated adjustment of the sails or centreboard, or

(3) steering;

(c) ooching: sudden forward body movement, stopped abruptly;

(d) sculling: repeated movement of the helm that is either forceful or that propels the boat forward or prevents her from moving astern;

(e) repeated tacks or gybes unrelated to changes in the wind or to tactical considerations.

When your economy is kind of ooching along, it's important to let people have more of their own money.[2]

To echo UM ‘73, my career was chosen such that I would never get away with ooching towards a solution with woulda, shoulda, coulda. [3]

What he needed to do, he realized, was OOCH! To "ooch" is to construct small experiments to test one’s hypothesis. [4]

Ooching is the opposite of jumping in headfirst into something. Ooching is conducting “small experiments to test one’s hypothesis.” [5]


It's also used as a pronoun, but we have no entry.

As a determiner: Several people got on the train.
As a pronoun: Several of those waiting got on that train.
DonnanZ (talk) 20:27, 17 February 2017 (UTC)
We would not have to include a pronoun L3 header if we could count on our users to know what a determiner is and that (almost?) all of them can be used in "fused head" or pronominal constructions. I don't know whether the duplication of definitions in Determiner and Pronoun L3 sections is more or less confusing than eliminating the Pronoun L2. Some modern UK dictionaries do a pretty good job of handling this question, eg, Collins, Longmans DCE, probably Oxford and Cambridge advanced learners, etc. DCDuring TALK 00:20, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
Clearly, having the header "Determiner and Pronoun" is totally lame. --Quadcont (talk) 11:17, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Hmm, OK, I have made a combined L2 header [12], and added {{en-pron}}. Will that be OK in an odd situation like this? Usage examples can be added, of course. DonnanZ (talk) 11:20, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
I'm not sure that I'd do it that way, but we should get reactions from others. This should probably go to WT:BP (or WT:AEN). DCDuring TALK 16:52, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
As you wish. DonnanZ (talk) 18:51, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
I take it this should also mean changes to many, few, either and probably others. What about those like some where there is only a partial overlap? --Droigheann (talk) 00:45, 19 February 2017 (UTC)
The broader the reach of the changes, the more we need some kind of broader consensus. Someone is going to have to wade into the contemporary distinction between pronoun, adjective, and determiner both in function and as word classes. They should also remain aware of the incompleteness of acceptance of "determiner" as a word class rather than "pronoun" or "adjective" among many humans. As an indication, MWOnline, AHD, and RHU (all "US") do not include "determiner" among the word classes of several. One US dictionary even has several as a noun not a pronoun. In contrast most UK dictionaries do.
Some "UK" dictionaries have determiner and pronoun as word class labels for all almost all definitions of several (excepting true adjective usage as in "the several states"). Others distinguish by individual definition. One includes "quantifier" as a word class.
Hardly any dictionaries dispense with word class labels entirely, so we need to address the question to be taken seriously as a dictionary, IMO.
And, of course, older reference grammars, older dictionaries and older editions (pre 1980?) did not have "determiner" as a word class.
Do WP's articles cover the lack of historical consensus very well? Can we rely on them to even show what the contemporary consensus among grammarians is? Should we rely on a single reference grammar, eg, Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (CGEL) or also consider learner's grammars and older reference grammars (Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language, Houtsma, even Jespersen)? CGEL distinguishes its more controversial positions from more settled matters. Is that reliable enough for us? Can we stretch the Usage notes header to include the mostly academic question of word class membership? DCDuring TALK 17:04, 19 February 2017 (UTC)


One of the synonyms gives the sense "unbound". However, none of the actual senses in the entry is "unbound". Which sense does this synonym belong to? —CodeCat 20:55, 17 February 2017 (UTC)


Similar to the German entry above, here it's also not very clear which senses the synonyms belong to, as the given senses do not appear listed. Moreover, the translations also give senses which do not actually exist in the entry. At the very least, I would suggest moving many of the translations to a more accurate synonym, e.g. put the translations meaning "member of Felidae" at felid. —CodeCat 21:04, 17 February 2017 (UTC)


There's a sense label for "sex" here but there's no such sense listed in the entry. —CodeCat 23:01, 17 February 2017 (UTC)

aesthetics and massage

What does aesthetics mean in the context of "massage and aesthetics" or "body work and aesthetics"? (google these phrases to find uses). DTLHS (talk) 23:52, 17 February 2017 (UTC)

It means they offer the services of an aesthetician (= beautician). Equinox 00:26, 18 February 2017 (UTC)

Forcouth: English?

There is currently no citation for "forcouth" in the English language, but only in Middle English (dating from 1200). Should this entry be relabelled as a Middle English word, or is there a citation of it in Modern English (post-1500)? Dylanvt (talk) 04:33, 18 February 2017 (UTC)

Definitely only Middle English. DTLHS (talk) 04:34, 18 February 2017 (UTC)

nolle prosequi, nolle prosequis

Both nolle and prosequi are Latin infinitives, and the 'nolle prosequi' entry is OK.

'prosequis', however, does not exist in Latin. It is at best an informal English plural. It is, therefore, wrong to say that 'nolle prosequis' is a 3rd person singular.

They are English entries, and as English entries they can be correct even if for a Latin entry it would be incorrect and nonsense. -Slœtel (talk) 10:38, 18 February 2017 (UTC)


Is the entry correct?
The mentioned book contains for example: "כוזרי [?] Liber Cosri" (title page), "Liberum Cosri", "Cosri pars prima" (p.1, followed by Semitic characters), "[number] Cosri"; "Regem Cosareorum" (title page), "Regem Cosar" (p.6), "nomen viri Cosroes" (p.6), "Regem terrae Cosar" (p.6), "[...] [5.] Socii, h.e. sapientis cujusdam Doctoris Judaici, qui agebat apud Regem [6.] Cosar, qui annis abhinc quadringentis amplexus est Religionem nostram [...]".
I would guess that Cosri could be a proper noun and a book title, known in English as Kuzari (w:en:Kuzari) - which is already present at Cosri. The German wikipedia (de:w:Jehuda ha-Levi) writes: "Der Titel „Kusari“ bezieht sich auf den gleichnamigen König der Chasaren", i.e. "The title 'Kusari' refers to the king of the Khazars with the same name". So even if "Cosri" appears without "Liber" or "pars", it could have another meaning than Khazars.
As the entry Cosar explicitly mentions the title page as a source for the meaning and as the title page only contains "כוזרי [?] Liber Cosri", "Regem Cosareorum" and "Cosareorum Historia" (it's "Cosareorum", not "Cosrōrum" as in the entry) (or did I miss something?) the entry would be unsourced. -Slœtel (talk) 10:34, 18 February 2017 (UTC)

For a better comprehension of the Latin text I compared it with an English translation of the original text found at wikisource. As the English translation is a translation of the original text and not a translation of the Latin text, it does not translate the Latin annotations of course.
"Regem Cosar" = "King of the Khazars", "Religione Cosaritica" = "Khazar religion", "populus Cosariticus" (precided by "multus") = "Khazars", "Rex Cosar" = "King of Khazar", "[number] Cosri = "[number] Al Khazari" and "the Khazari" etc., "Posthaec ergo dixit Cosri in corde suo" = "After this the Khazari said to himself", "tibi" = " to thee, a Prince of the Khazars", "Sabaeis, Indis, Cosareis (Persis)" = "peoples of Sind, India, and Khazar", "Rex Cosar" = "O King of the Khazars"
So it should be:
  • Cosri = 1. Kuzari (book title), 2. Al Khazari, the Khazari
  • Cosar (indecl.; pl. in meaning, but could also be a collective singular) = Khazars (pl.)
  • Cosarei (-orum, m.) = Khazars (people of Khazar), hence: *Cosareus (-i, m.) = Khazar
  • Cosariticus (-a, -um) = Khazar -
It seems like no singular Khazar occurs in the English text, so the Latin text could miss it too. Latin "Cosroes" in "Ego puto esse nomen viri Cosroes, quod Perficorum Regum olim fuit." in an annotation would miss a translation, but should be a name of a man ("nomen viri").
-Slœtel (talk) 13:12, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
@JohnC5. As for the etymology:
On the Latin title page is written "כוזרי" which without adding unwritten vowels should be kvzry or kuzri in an English transcription. This should be the origin of Cosri. A vocalised Hewbrew spelling and a proper English transcription could however be "כּוּזָרִי" and "kuzari" (from Khazar#Translations, cp. English Kuzari). Compared with the text from here English [number] Al Khazari: should be ":אמר הכוזרי [number]" [number] 'mr hkvzry: which could mean "[number] The Kuzari said:" (cp. אמר, ה). As Latin has no article it's omitted and like in the English translation said is omitted too, so only Cosri remains. Thus the Latin origin for both meanings should be an unvocalised כוזרי.
"King of the Khazars" could be "מלך הכוזרים" mlk hkvzrym in the Hewbrew text (cp. מלך). So Cosar could come from a vocalised כּוּזָרִים without the im (cp. ־ים).
So how about "From an unvocalised {{etyl|he|la}} {{m|he|כוזרי}}" and "From a vocalised {{etyl|he|la}} {{m|he|כּוּזָרִים|tr=kuzarim}} without ''im''"? -Slœtel (talk) 22:50, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
I think you're making this more complicated than it needs to be. Hebrew is normally written without vowels, but it always has vowels. The entry at Hebrew כּוּזָרִים (kuzarim) gives the singular as Hebrew כּוּזָרִי (kuzari) . The -i at the end is an adjectival ending that's often used with places and nationalities (think of Israeli from Hebrew יִשְׂרְאֵלִי (yisr'elí)), but such adjectives can be used as nouns, as well. As for Hebrew כּוּזָרִים (kuzarim), it's simply the plural, so "כּוּזָרִים without the im" is just the singular, Hebrew כּוּזָרִי (kuzari). As for whether to include the vowels or not: the links module generates a link to the correct lemma whether you supply vowels or not, so either way is fine inside most templates. It would be best IMO to write it with the vowels, as I have. There's no entry yet for the singular, so it's a redlink, but if there were an entry, it would link to it correctly. Chuck Entz (talk) 03:43, 22 February 2017 (UTC)

Diacritics in Middle English

Randomly browsing the Wiktionary, I bumped into this page. I saw the Middle English part, and I was wondering: what are the dot below and the breve below denoting in those Middle English words? E.g., in what is "hẹ̄rest" different from "hērest"? Or "ẹ̮̄rde" from "ērde"? Or "hē̱rd" from "hērd"?

MGorrone (talk) 10:43, 18 February 2017 (UTC)

Those were added by User:Doremítzwr, who is no longer active here. User:Doremítzwr had a special love, or obsession, with diacritics. I believe that he added the macron to indicate a long vowel. To that, he added a dot below (ẹ̄) for an open vowel (bate, pate, late), or a breve below (ē̮) for a closed vowel (bet, pet, let). To my knowledge, Middle English was not written with these things. At the moment, I'm at a loss to explain ẹ̮̄ and ē̱ . —Stephen (Talk) 16:10, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
It would be helpful to indicate the distinction somehow. In Proto-Romance or Vulgar Latin transcription, I think the underdot (, ) is sometimes used for the close-mid vowel and the hook below (ę, ǫ) for the open-mid vowel. Middle English has the same distinction in long vowels, so it would be nice to mark this somehow. I wonder if there is an existing convention for how to mark it. — Eru·tuon 21:22, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
Scholars could use diacritics, even if Middle English was originally written without them. But different scholars could use different diacritics. Wiktionary:About Middle English#Diacritical marks mentions that dictionary editors used different diacritics to indicate "length and stress of vowel sounds". Maybe some dictionary editors or some grammar authors also used other diacritics.
Germans use phoentic transcriptions with diacritics to mark close- and openness, and besides systems in the late 19th and early 20th century which could be individual systems used by single authours there is en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teuthonista . But Teuthonista is intended to be used for German dialects and could likely be insufficient for Middle English. - 00:50, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
This information is best shown in the =Pronunciation= section. Ƿidsiþ 16:16, 21 February 2017 (UTC)

Stephen G. Brown -- in some forms of Middle English, there was an [ɛː] long vowel and an [eː] long vowel which were phonemically distinct. The former often became "ea" in modern English spelling and the latter "ee". Eventually they ended up mostly merging in modern standard English pronunciation (with a few sporadic exceptions). Using ē̮ for [ɛː] and ẹ̄ for [e:] was a philological practice common in early 20th century scholarship, where you could mark up the spellings in a medieval manuscript to indicate the probable medieval pronunciation, rather than producing a separate phonetic transcription... AnonMoos (talk) 20:22, 26 February 2017 (UTC)

Comments in the 'discussion' sections in entries of Arabic in https://en.wiktionary.org/

Hi community, I've been added comments on some entries for arabic terms on the 'discussion' tab. Obviously, and I am terrible sorry for it, I've learned of the 'tea room' a bit too late, so I'd like to know whether somebody can check my history and automatically transfer them all on the 'Tea room' so that those entries can be discussed and improved. Thank you so much in advance. --Backinstadiums (talk) 14:16, 18 February 2017 (UTC)

@Backinstadiums: You can check your own history at Special:MyContributions. You can select "Talk" from the dropdown menu labeled "Namespace:" to see only your contributions to entry talk pages. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 14:49, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
@Angr: May I post them all in one single post in the 'tea room' --Backinstadiums (talk) 14:51, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
@Backinstadiums: You may, but you might be more likely to get good responses if you don't overwhelm us with a bunch of questions at once. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 15:29, 18 February 2017 (UTC)

Sanskrit words in "bahuvrihi"

Hello, could someone familiar with Sanskrit kindly check if I indicated the two Sanskrit words in the 1825 quotation in bahuvrihi correctly? Much obliged. — SMUconlaw (talk) 17:08, 18 February 2017 (UTC)

Look good to me. —Stephen (Talk) 17:38, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
Great! Thanks. — SMUconlaw (talk) 17:53, 18 February 2017 (UTC)


Sense 1 is given as "dated", but no indication is given of a "more modern" term. Is it really dated as stated? DonnanZ (talk) 21:53, 18 February 2017 (UTC)

It is not dated in BrE. As far as I can guess from Google results, it is not dated in AmE either. I don't know where the idea that it is dated comes from. Mihia (talk) 18:26, 19 February 2017 (UTC)
My impression too. I'll probably end up removing the label, but I'll give it a few more days. DonnanZ (talk) 18:42, 19 February 2017 (UTC)
Webster 1828 has: "One that studies natural history and philosophy or physics; one that is versed in natural history or philosophy. It is more generally applied to one that is versed in natural history."
I think the underlined portion is dated, but not our definition. DCDuring TALK 23:02, 19 February 2017 (UTC)
I have attempted a new def to cover the dated part; criticism/improvement is welcome. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 01:14, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
There is yet another (current) sense relating to art and literature: "a person who practises naturalism in art or literature" (Oxford); "a person who writes, paints, etc. in the style of naturalism" (Cambridge). DonnanZ (talk) 09:46, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
We have that ism at naturalism. We could replace our current second def. with "One who adheres to or practices naturalism." That would include even more usages (even future ones) without requiring more definitions. DCDuring TALK 13:17, 20 February 2017 (UTC)

mob cap

It's labelled "chiefly historical". Is this true and if so, what are the similar modern head coverings prevalent (not only) in food production usually called? The term should be there as a synonym because clearly people do use mob cap [13]. --Droigheann (talk) 00:52, 19 February 2017 (UTC)

This supplier, at least, still refers to them as "mob caps". Mihia (talk) 18:32, 19 February 2017 (UTC)
The Wikipedia article is worth a read, it mentions both historical and modern senses. The original mob cap wasn't meant to be disposable, unlike the modern mob cap. I think the entry could be amended accordingly. DonnanZ (talk) 22:18, 19 February 2017 (UTC)
I have added the modern sense, and left the "mainly historical" label in, it may still be possible to buy the historical type. DonnanZ (talk) 22:31, 19 February 2017 (UTC)
Note that there's also a modern sense that may or may not meet CFI. DTLHS (talk) 22:35, 19 February 2017 (UTC)


We are missing, aren't we, the reading and sense of rev-EN-yoo (sometimes spelt revènue)? E.g. in King Lear, et al. ---> Tooironic (talk) 09:00, 19 February 2017 (UTC)

have been in the wars

The form "be in the wars" is also used, but I'm not sure how to handle it. Should the entry be made at in the wars? Mihia (talk) 04:49, 20 February 2017 (UTC)

  • Yes. I've added it. Some paper dictionaries have "be in the wars" but I think such forms are SoP. SemperBlotto (talk) 07:10, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
Thanks ... Do we need both in the wars and have been in the wars? While I feel that "in the wars" can't mean exactly the same in both, I wonder if it would nevertheless be clearer to treat everything under one entry. Mihia (talk) 20:33, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
The OneLook lemmings speak with three weak voices: there is is one dictionary for each of in the wars, be in the wars, and have been in the wars. Though I have not yet investigated, I feel that one could say was in the wars in the sense in question, but not use the present tense or any infinite form. One could say in response to "How did he get all banged up?", "In the wars". One common expression is that one "like one was in the wars". That makes me think that the core idea is that a metaphorical war (some arduous struggle) is the cause of some injury. Perhaps we should just have the metaphorical "definition" of in the wars and redirect everything else to it. DCDuring TALK 20:53, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
That is my feeling too, but I also feel an uncertainty about "have been in the wars" meaning damaged/injured (now) and "be in the wars" also meaning damaged/injured (now). Mihia (talk) 21:42, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
Yes, that's the fatal flaw of the in the wars entry as it now stands. How can it be an adjective if it's used with a past participle to describe present condition? If it were an adjective, you could say "that hat is in the wars", or "it will be in the wars when I get through with it".
It's also more complicated than what we've discussed so far: I can find usage for "been through a few wars", "been through the wars", "been in a few wars", "been in the wars", "been through a war", even "been through war". There's also similar usage for "through the mangle/wringer/ringer". It all points to "war" as something metaphorically difficult or horrible that leaves its marks on anyone/anything that goes through it or has been in it. The only commonality is a verbal expression in the past perfect indicating being or experiencing + a preposition indicating location or movement inside + a noun phrase including war. This seems like a metaphor that's given rise to a few set phrases, but is still live in its own right. Chuck Entz (talk) 23:00, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
I'm not sure that there is a "fatal flaw" the in the wars entry as it now stands. People do say things like "He's in the wars", for example, to talk about present condition, which matches that definition. I just think the different interpretations (present condition versus past experience) make it a little more difficult to reconcile both uses under one heading, in terms of the actual wording and presentation used (which is where I came in). Mihia (talk) 23:18, 20 February 2017 (UTC)


This was (and maybe still is) a generic nickname for a Twitter user who is also a leader (used for Barack Obama and Kevin Rudd). Since July 2016 it has increasingly become a personal nickname for Donald Trump. The generic sense maybe a little hard to cite under CFI and the personal nickname would have to be a hot word. Worth adding? Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 14:26, 20 February 2017 (UTC)

If attestable by three durably archived cites (WT:CFI), it should be worth adding as "all words of all languages" (WT:Main Page). If not attestable by durable arcived cites, one could at least add it to Appendix:List of protologisms/Q–Z. - 01:06, 21 February 2017 (UTC)

looking for a word

How would you describe countries like BRIC that are surpassing the economic development of other countries? Surpassing development? Is surpassive an attestable word? (I'm trying to translate 趕超發展.) ---> Tooironic (talk) 15:56, 20 February 2017 (UTC)

Can you use faster here? Faster-growing, faster-developing. DonnanZ (talk) 16:22, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
outpacing, surpassing? It's a bit out of date, though, only India and China are outgrowing the rest of the world now. Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 16:11, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
Seems like this would be best translated by rephrasing – there isn't a good adjective that does this job in English, AFAIK. Ƿidsiþ 16:13, 21 February 2017 (UTC)

German genitive of Olmütz

I created the entry Olmütz and the template {{de-proper noun}} has automatically created its genitive. However, it seems that this word has never been used in genitive, at least I failed to find such an example. If it is true, what can I do so that the template did not form the genitive? I found there only possibilities of adding alternative forms, but not how to turn it off. --Jan Kameníček (talk) 18:59, 20 February 2017 (UTC)

The expected genitive is Olmütz' (with an apostrophe) before a noun, e.g. in Olmütz' engen Gassen. In other contexts the genitive is probably identical to the nominative, e.g. die Häuser des alten Olmütz or wegen Olmütz. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:16, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
Thanks! --Jan Kameníček (talk) 19:18, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
@Angr: There are three expected genitives: Olmütz' <thing>, Olmützens <thing>, <thing> des Olmütz. But an expectation does not attest a genitive.
Genitive in - but with article does exist: "Ruhm des alten Olmütz", "Bauwerk des alten Olmütz", "Mauern des alten Olmütz" (post 1945).
Genitive in -ens does exist: "von der Belagerung Olmützens", "sich Olmützens zu bemachtigen", "hatte Olmützens Bischof Bruno" (Der Spiegel, so post 1945).
Genitive in -' I did not find as google ignores the apostroph and as e.g. "Olmütz' Bischof" or "Olmütz' Belagerung" did bring up unfitting results.
"wegen Olmütz" alone does not attest a gentive as wegen is also used with dative and already occurs with dative in the 19th century. Only if the author uses wegen with genitive elsewhere, one can assume that he uses it with genitive in "wegen Olmütz" too. Anyhow, two texts I arbitrarily picked used it with genitive.
@Jan Kameníček: You could use {{head|de|proper noun|g=n}} which does not create a genitive form. One could also replace {{de-proper noun|n}} by {{de-proper noun|n|?}} to indicate that the genitive is unknown, but it would be better if the template wouldn't link and maybe wouldn't show the question mark similar to {{en-noun|?}}.
- 00:32, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
I see. Thanks for explanation and for fixing it. --Jan Kameníček (talk) 10:51, 21 February 2017 (UTC)


Judging by the definition "gutter (duct for water)", one would think this refers to a gutter in a street, but it looks to me like it refers specifically to a rain gutter or eavestrough in a roof. If I read the entry at TLFI correctly, it also has a number of other senses that mostly don't overlap with those of English gutter. I had two years of college French three decades ago, so I don't feel comfortable fixing this myself. Chuck Entz (talk) 20:06, 20 February 2017 (UTC)

Indeed, I wouldn't use it to refer to a street gutter; that would be a caniveau. --Barytonesis (talk) 09:41, 21 February 2017 (UTC)


Is Guianan OK? --Quadcont (talk) 21:24, 20 February 2017 (UTC)

See WT:ATTEST and Guianan at OneLook Dictionary Search. DCDuring TALK 00:38, 21 February 2017 (UTC)


What does that mean? --Barytonesis (talk) 13:44, 21 February 2017 (UTC)

In modern slang, HIV positive. There may be older meanings. DTLHS (talk) 15:08, 21 February 2017 (UTC)

roof over one's head

How should we configure the plural form here? roofs over one's head? roofs over their head? ---> Tooironic (talk) 08:12, 22 February 2017 (UTC)

  • Whichever one(s) you can find usages of. SemperBlotto (talk) 09:35, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
Just to complicate things, my preferred plural is rooves. DonnanZ (talk) 10:23, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
To simplify things Google ngram shows rooves to be about 1/400th as common as roofs. Roooves over our|your|their heads cannot be found at all at Google n-gram, whereas the roofs forms can. DCDuring TALK 17:04, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
OK, but I prefer to be in the minority. And I'm not surprised you can't find "Roooves over our|your|their heads." See [14] DonnanZ (talk) 00:17, 2 March 2017 (UTC)


This word does not exist in Bashkir. How do I have it deleted? Borovi4ok (talk) 10:49, 22 February 2017 (UTC)

  • Make an entry in RFD (Requests for Deletion). DonnanZ (talk) 11:38, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
    • Better yet, make an entry in WT:RFV (Requests for Verification). Sometimes, people assert that a given word "does not exist" in a certain language, but it turns out that the word is used in that language, but isn't standard or is looked down by language purists, or that sort of thing. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 13:36, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
      • Thanks guys. Put it for deletion.
      • Yes, I'm pretty sure it does not exist in Bashkir. Its exact cognate exists in Kazakh though.Borovi4ok (talk) 16:58, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
If it's a Kazakh spelling can it just have a change of language? It still needs double-checking though. DonnanZ (talk) 21:37, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
Kazakh doesn't use the letter ҙ (ð). iceberg in Kazakh is айсберг (aysberg), көшпе мұз (köşpe muz) or мұзтау (muztaw). The last one is a Bashkir cognate. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 00:39, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
OK, it's been marked as RFD but not listed there, would someone like the honour of adding it there? DonnanZ (talk) 18:32, 24 February 2017 (UTC)
Did so. Borovi4ok (talk) 08:13, 27 February 2017 (UTC)


I just noticed that we have get ahold of and get ahold of oneself. Is this truly a use of ahold and not merely a hold ? Leasnam (talk) 20:14, 22 February 2017 (UTC)

The noun sense at ahold smells a bit fishy to me. Doesn't it stem from confusion/error, like alot? (Perhaps, for example, get a hold has been confused with get ahead.) Is it in other dictionaries? I think ahold's noun might benefit from more usage notes and a separate ety section. Equinox 16:50, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
OED has it as an adverb and says:
2. So as to hold on to someone or something; with a firm hold or grip. Chiefly with of. Cf. aholt adv.
Chiefly regional, and in representations of colloq., and nonstandard speech. Some examples may represent instances of the indefinite article with hold n.1 2. Cf. to catch, get, lay, lose, seize, hold at hold n.1 2a.
  • 1850 Graham's Mag. Aug. 119/2 The good sailor who had caught ahold of her when she was fallin', told her to cheer up.
  • 1879 Scribner's Monthly May 17/1 With one bee a-hold of your collar..and another a-hold of each arm.
  • 1887 W. Morris tr. Homer Odyssey x. 264 He caught ahold upon me.
  • 1905 Southwestern Rep. 88 491/1, I had one hand ahold of the car.
  • 1925 E. Hemingway In our Time (1926) v. 79 Nick dropped his wrist. ‘Listen,’ Ad Francis said. ‘Take ahold again.’
  • 1994 J. McNaught Perfect 238 He grabbed ahold of the branches of the fallen aspen.
--Droigheann (talk) 19:33, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
  • I think it may have been construed as a- (in) + hold (a grasp or grip). AFICT a-#Etymology 2 has been a productive prefix until fairly recently. Words like abed and amidst are examples, but see Category:English words prefixed with a-, among which are more. It is hard for me to see how any other reading of "I had one hand ahold of the car." is possible. DCDuring TALK 15:39, 24 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Collins dictionary [15] gives "get ahold of" as an example for both noun and adverb. Personally I find it hard to see the supposed noun sense as anything other than an error for "a hold". Mihia (talk) 19:05, 28 February 2017 (UTC)

right as variant of completely

I don't know etymology of it. d1g (talk) 10:41, 24 February 2017 (UTC)

I'm not sure exactly what you mean. An appropriate definition ("veritable") appears as def. 6 of the adjective under Etymology 1. Are you saying that you don't get the connection between that definition and the others? DCDuring TALK 15:19, 24 February 2017 (UTC)
I meant this one:
"windows right to the floor" - all the way
окна до самого пола (или: окна у самого пола) d1g (talk) 19:14, 24 February 2017 (UTC)
Etymology two, adverb, "Immediately, directly.". DTLHS (talk) 19:22, 24 February 2017 (UTC)
Are you sure? My understanding that it is ADVdef4 from MW, not 6a or 6b d1g (talk) 19:36, 24 February 2017 (UTC)
It seems that many speakers simply say "floor to ceiling", without any adverb. I don't understand if MW is wrong or right. d1g (talk) 19:45, 24 February 2017 (UTC)
Sorry about missing that the adverb was in question, not the adjective. I like MWOnline's adverb definition 6a for right to the floor. I don't think that "immediately, directly" is accurate for this purpose. 6a "In a complete manner" (ie, "completely") is semantically related, but distinct, and covers some other usage for which the other definitions are not substitutable. DCDuring TALK 22:27, 24 February 2017 (UTC)

is it OK to add redirects for phrases?

If you lookup the phrase "by that token" in English Wikipedia, you won't find anything. I was thinking I would add a redirect to the page "token" but I'm not sure if this would be a good edit. Any thoughts, or could you redirect me to a relevant policy? Proxyma (talk) 18:25, 24 February 2017 (UTC)

  • It is normally OK if the meaning is obvious. In this case though I don't think it is - so I have added by that token. SemperBlotto (talk) 05:04, 25 February 2017 (UTC)
    • SemperBlotto I merged that entry with "by the same token" using a redirect. Can you take a look to ensure I setup the alternative form correctly? Proxyma (talk) 20:27, 5 March 2017 (UTC)


The Conjugation table at onwæcnan displays a preterite of onwōc, which is identical to the past forms of onwacan, a strong verb. According to Bosworth & Toller, the past for onwæcnan should be weak (e.g. Ðá hí onwæcnedun) Leasnam (talk) 19:04, 26 February 2017 (UTC)

nm, Fixed. Leasnam (talk) 19:13, 26 February 2017 (UTC)

Edits of User:

This user has been editing a lot of Old English entries, in particular pronunciations. Many of the edits are fine, but not all of them are. For example, they removed the phonetic transcription of sagu, and put an invalid phoneme in scafan. I don't know what to think of the edit to prætt. @Leasnam, can you have a closer look? —CodeCat 19:52, 26 February 2017 (UTC)

Serbo-Croatian сврбјети

Can someone who knows Serbo-Croatian help with the tone? The entry says свр̀бјети but Derksen says свр́бјети. Normally I would check the Hrvatski jezični portal, but the entry for this word has the r garbled. Derksen sometimes gets his Serbo-Croatian tones wrong but I've also seen mistakes in Wiktionary. Derksen quotes Chakavian forms with both long and short r, so they are of no help. Benwing2 (talk) 21:57, 26 February 2017 (UTC)

@Ivan Štambuk, Zabadu Benwing2 (talk) 21:58, 26 February 2017 (UTC)
Garbled r is р̀, HJP uses some encoding of their own. You can also check Vuk (Karadžić)'s dictionary wherefrom most works get their accents anyways, which has свр́бјети.
As a native speaker I think I have свр́бети, although my accents and especially the short rising accent is instable. You should add both accents in any case.
Crom daba (talk) 23:04, 28 February 2017 (UTC)


We want the etymology category Category:en:Backformations, right? --Quadcont (talk) 10:04, 27 February 2017 (UTC)

@Quadcont: It's at CAT:English back-formations. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 10:56, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
go raibh maith agat. --Quadcont (talk) 11:01, 27 February 2017 (UTC)

dāh -> daoch ?!

Why exactly does dāh redirect to daoch when dāh is an Old English word whose entry is under dah? Shouldn't dāh redirect to dah (maybe dah#Old_English) instead?

MGorrone (talk) 10:09, 27 February 2017 (UTC)

The redirect is there because the page daoch used to be at dāh, and the redirect was kept when the page was moved. In fact, dāh shouldn't redirect anywhere (that's not how we used redirects here), so I'll just delete it now instead. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 10:55, 27 February 2017 (UTC)

get up to

Is this British English, as the OED claims? ---> Tooironic (talk) 15:43, 27 February 2017 (UTC)

Not exclusively British English, at any rate; Americans certainly use it in the senses illustrated by the usexes too. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 16:07, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
It's used all the time in Canada as well. Maybe it was originally exclusive to Britain, but not anymore. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 23:27, 28 February 2017 (UTC)


In Dutch, its cognate verdaan is a past participle. Is this true of German as well? —CodeCat 20:00, 27 February 2017 (UTC)

@CodeCat: Yes, it's also the past participle of vertun. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 15:29, 28 February 2017 (UTC)


deadwrong, one word. Isn't this just dead (adverb sense 2) +‎ wrong ? Leasnam (talk) 23:02, 28 February 2017 (UTC)

I've RfVed it. Under WT:COALMINE the main entry would be at [[dead wrong]], if this is attestable. DCDuring TALK 23:10, 28 February 2017 (UTC)
Some collocations using dead (adverb) are: dead certain, dead last, dead quiet, dead honest, dead still, dead asleep, dead tired, dead fast, dead slow, dead on, dead earnest, dead honest. But dead is collocated with relatively few adjectives and the ones it collocates with are not entirely predictable semantically (or otherwise) IMO. DCDuring TALK 23:32, 28 February 2017 (UTC)


I recently deleted a string of number including 143 pursuant to established consensus on inclusion of numbers. However, I seem to recall from my youth that 143 was at some point used as shorthand for "I love you" (based on the 1, 4, and 3 representing the number of letters for each word in the phrase). There appear to be a smattering of sources for this proposition, e.g., 2011, Dr. Brian Snow, Santa Claus and Little Sister: “I love you. Love always, Your wishful daughter, Lupe. P.S. 143” I put Lupe's heart down and wiped my eyes. I learned from the girls that “143” meant “I love you” from the old military days when messages had to be quick and cheap on Western Union. Does this ring a bell for anyone else? bd2412 T 02:50, 1 March 2017 (UTC)

I have seen 143 used for I love you over the past several years. —Stephen (Talk) 18:09, 1 March 2017 (UTC)


Is it accurate that this was originally leetspeak? Andrew Sheedy (talk) 03:17, 1 March 2017 (UTC)

Whatever you want to call it, it originated as a frequent typo in textual computer communications which was later elevated into a thing of its own, like "teh", "pron" etc. AnonMoos (talk) 16:40, 1 March 2017 (UTC)
Although the typo pwn has surely occurred many times since the typewriter was invented, the slang verb pwn was first deliberately used and popularized in leetspeak. —Stephen (Talk) 18:07, 1 March 2017 (UTC)

March 2017


Verb sense 7.1:

(transitive) To follow or proceed according to (a course or path).  
Let's go this way for a while.‎
She was going that way anyway, so she offered to show him where it was.

I disagree that these examples demonstrate transitivity. "this way" and "that way" are surely adverbial. There is also a quotation, "I wish that you would go this path up to its end", which seems less clear to me in terms of transitivity, but "go this path" is not a kind of usage that I ever hear. Opinions please. Mihia (talk) 04:14, 1 March 2017 (UTC)

It certainly doesn't feel transitive to me in those cases, but you can also say "Let's go one way, and if it takes too long, we'll go a different way coming back." Are "one way" and "a different way" adverbial in those cases? Or is "go" actually transitive when used that way? I'll leave it to the experts to decide. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 04:29, 1 March 2017 (UTC)
Aren't go viral, go medieval, go Hollywood, go home all examples of adverbial usage with this sense of go? DCDuring TALK 08:37, 1 March 2017 (UTC)
Go in this case can basically mean "walk" or "travel", and you can definitely say "I wish that you would go walk this path up to its end" and it be clearly transitive. It is certainly not something you hear here in the States. It sounds UK dialectal to me Leasnam (talk) 14:49, 1 March 2017 (UTC)
Passivizing doesn't seem to work: *This way was gone by many people sounds bad. Inasmuch as that's a test of transitivity, the verb isn't transitive. — Eru·tuon 21:04, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
BTW, as one might expect, this use of go has a parallel temporal usage: The meeting went three hours. I didn't see the corresponding temporal definition. DCDuring TALK 02:43, 20 March 2017 (UTC)

knob job

Someone create that please. --2A02:2788:1004:11D6:948A:FE27:DF2A:F6D0 19:03, 2 March 2017 (UTC)

  • Personally, I haven't got a clue what a knob job is. There's not much point in creating an entry without a definition. DonnanZ (talk) 09:49, 3 March 2017 (UTC)
    My two guesses are "(slang) reconstructive breast surgery" and, possibly, "(slang) Effort to a penis to cause an orgasm" . DCDuring TALK 13:00, 3 March 2017 (UTC)
    Confirmation of def 2: google books:"good knob job", but it seems to specifically mean "blow job". I can't find confirmation for my def 1 guess. DCDuring TALK 13:12, 3 March 2017 (UTC)


The English entry should apparently be deleted. I couldn't find any evidence of use in English in the 1940s or later except in explanations of the term and concept as being Finnish, never used in an English sentence as a loanword. --Espoo (talk) 22:10, 3 March 2017 (UTC)

Move to WT:RFV. —CodeCat 22:16, 3 March 2017 (UTC)


It's not archaic as far as I know. DonnanZ (talk) 00:34, 4 March 2017 (UTC)

  • Looks like the archaic label showed up in this edit by Widsith back in April 2008. Subsequent restructuring of the entry divorced the label from its originally appropriate context. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 00:49, 4 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Why do we have two different senses? I can't for the life of me understand the difference between them. "Excrement" just means "waste matter", AFAIK. The OED also only lists this one sense. ---> Tooironic (talk) 07:28, 4 March 2017 (UTC)
    I've always understood it to apply only to solid (fecal) waste. Note that the example for the first definition is clearly referring to mucus, which is not nowadays thought of as excrement, at least in my experience. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 07:34, 4 March 2017 (UTC)
Oh, it was after midnight and my brain had ceased functioning. I was beginning to think humans don't produce excrement (solid waste), only animals. I think I'll add "human" to the current sense 2, and reverse the order of the senses. DonnanZ (talk) 09:19, 4 March 2017 (UTC)

sexually mature

I think it's entry-worthy, being able to reproduce. There's a couple of translations lurking in the system, and I know of more. DonnanZ (talk) 11:17, 4 March 2017 (UTC)


Where's the stress placed? — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 00:00, 5 March 2017 (UTC)

On the penultimate. —Stephen (Talk) 09:45, 5 March 2017 (UTC)

pollus and polus

To confirm my correct knowledge of the vulgar meaning of Spanish "polla", I loaded the page. I read it all, and saw "pollus" in Latin. The article for "pollus" says it is an adjective, an alternate form of "polus", and gives the inflection. Trouble is, the article for "polus" only gives it as a second-declension noun, meaning "pole". So either we have something missing in "polus", or "pollus" is an unrelated word. In any case, what does "pollus" mean? And while we're at it, is "pollus" maybe a noun too, meaning "chicken" (cfr. pollo in Italian and Spanish), perhaps with "polla" as a feminine form for "hen"?

MGorrone (talk) 17:34, 5 March 2017 (UTC)

It would help if you'd give links to the pages you're talking about; it makes it easier to follow your comment. The Latin word from which Spanish pollo (chicken) is derived is pullus (chick, young animal), with a "u". Lewis and Short don't list a corresponding feminine noun pulla, but I wouldn't be surprised if it existed at least in Late Latin. The Latin word polus (pole) has nothing to do with it. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 18:29, 5 March 2017 (UTC)
The whole issue of Spanish polla is beside the point- that's just how MGorrone stumbled upon the pollus entry. Special:WhatLinksHere/pollus consists solely of the inflected-form entries created by SemperBlottoBot from the entry, and now Requests for verification (I just posted an rfv) and this page. Chuck Entz (talk) 01:11, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
@Angr and @ChuckEntz to add to this matter, Glosbe (pollus and polus) gives "pollus" as "small, little" and "polus" as both "pole" and "little", and has "pollulum" = "polulum" = "a little". Latin-dictionary also gives "pollus" = "small", and has [v separate entries] for "polus, pola, polum" = "small" and "polus, poli" = "pole". "polla" is not really entirely baside the point: I also conjectured "pollo" and "polla" might stem from "pollus" and "polla" respectively, which @Angr stated to be an incorrect conjecture. That is where the conjecture that "pollus" might mean "chicken" stemmed from. MGorrone (talk) 09:17, 12 March 2017 (UTC)

air cell

The word "contraption" seems to be misused in this definition. What word did the writer mean, though? Perhaps compaction? Equinox 01:43, 6 March 2017 (UTC)

contraction? DTLHS (talk) 01:58, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Contraction sounds better. I think it can be found in a hard-boiled egg. DonnanZ (talk) 12:10, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
The definition seems to cover an instance of the use of air + cell, ie SoP. Other dictionaries do not have such a definition, but do have at least two distinct definitions that don't seem SoP to me. DCDuring TALK 14:03, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
Please see my proposed version of the entry. DCDuring TALK 14:15, 6 March 2017 (UTC)

chinese literal word-by-word translation

HI, I think it would improve chinese entries (for example 他把刀放在桌子上) to add the literal word-by-word translation with some grammatical anotation, as can be seen in the wikipedia page for Chinese grammar:

他tā 把bǎ 盘子pánzi 打dǎ 破pò 了le。 [他把盤子打破了。]

he OBJ-plate hit-break-PF.

He hit/dropped the plate, and it broke.

(double-verb where the second verb, "break", is a suffix to the first, and indicates what happens to the object as a result of the action.)

Thanks in advance. --Backinstadiums (talk) 11:33, 6 March 2017 (UTC)

It would be interesting but
  1. not all of us are master grammarians,
  2. Chinese parts-of-speech can be really ambiguous, and
  3. no other language at Wiktionary does this at the moment: there is no framework.
Also potentially of note is that unlike most other languages on Wiktionary, usage examples automatically link to all the words featured.
suzukaze (tc) 11:36, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
Yeah, I agree with Suzukaze. It's definitely interesting, but it's absolutely unpractical in the long run. Wiktionary is meant to be a dictionary, not a linguistics textbook. — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 22:08, 6 March 2017 (UTC)

German Arzt and Doktor

My German friend told me there is a difference between Arzt and Doktor (doctor) in the sense of “(medical) doctor”, in that an Arzt does not hold a postgraduate research degree, whereas a Doktor always does. In other words, someone is an Arzt when he/she has received their license to practice medicine, and the title Doktor is awarded only if someone has completed the research component on top of this. An Arzt is addressed as “Herr”, and a Doktor, “Herr Doktor”. I'm not sure whether this is true, and if so, how this may be clarified in our entries. Wyang (talk) 11:43, 7 March 2017 (UTC)

It is true. My GP told me not to call her Frau Doktor because she doesn't have a doctorate. However, holding a doctorate doesn't preclude you from being an Arzt, so it's more accurate to say an Arzt does not necessarily hold a postgraduate degree, not that an Arzt does not hold a postgraduate degree. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 14:50, 7 March 2017 (UTC)
Thanks! Wyang (talk) 06:35, 8 March 2017 (UTC)


Why did this fail our verification process? The OED has it. ---> Tooironic (talk) 14:16, 7 March 2017 (UTC)

  • I think it is because some people don't approve of our mission statement (all words in all languages). SemperBlotto (talk) 18:44, 7 March 2017 (UTC)
    It is foolish to pretend commercial brands are exactly the same as other types of word. Equinox 19:09, 7 March 2017 (UTC)


I think we're missing a couple of definitions maybe: earplugs for listening to mobile phones, also for listening to iPods etc. (those which can't be called headphones), not to mention those for hearing aids. These aren't ear protection devices. DonnanZ (talk) 20:18, 7 March 2017 (UTC)

They would be "earphones", wouldn't they? I have never heard them called "earplugs". Mihia (talk) 04:26, 9 March 2017 (UTC)
I have on a number of occasions. I'd call it nonstandard, but that usage definitely exists. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 06:12, 9 March 2017 (UTC)
I was coming to that conclusion. So could sense 2 "(non-standard) an earphone" be added? DonnanZ (talk) 10:46, 9 March 2017 (UTC)

Icelandic man#Etymology 3

“Borrowing from Hebrew מן ‎(mān, “manna”), perhaps via , appearing in Guðbrandur Þorláksson’s 1584 Bible translation.”

Perhaps via? @Krun (diff). Wyang (talk) 23:39, 7 March 2017 (UTC)

Fixed. Thanks. Wyang (talk) 06:34, 8 March 2017 (UTC)

The word "end" meaning the beginning.

The word end seems to invariably mean a distant point in time or similar, but I wonder about it being used to indicate the current location, eg, "The phone line problem is at our end", or "The council will repair the road from our end". Sense 1 does not seem to cover it, and I think it needs more than a usage note. --Dmol (talk) 04:15, 8 March 2017 (UTC)

  • I've tried to improve the definition. SemperBlotto (talk) 06:10, 8 March 2017 (UTC)
I still see "terminal" in the two examples above. Of a phoneline, the beginning is at the switching station, and the two customers are each at their own respective ends. Same for end of a road: depends on what is considered the start of the road. Leasnam (talk) 00:23, 9 March 2017 (UTC)
The two ends of a cable etc. are the points where it terminates (in space): I think sense 1 covers it okay...? Equinox 00:54, 9 March 2017 (UTC)


Is there anybody who still pronounces the w? — (((Romanophile))) (contributions) 05:07, 8 March 2017 (UTC)

I do ;) Leasnam (talk) 00:25, 9 March 2017 (UTC)
Really?? Or are you kidding? I have never heard the "w" pronounced in "two", though I have heard it in the dialect "twa". Mihia (talk) 04:23, 9 March 2017 (UTC)
I think he might be referencing his affinity for Old/Middle English... Andrew Sheedy (talk) 06:14, 9 March 2017 (UTC)
Possibly, or he could be the last descendant of English colonists on some obscure islet. — (((Romanophile))) (contributions) 08:26, 9 March 2017 (UTC)
Well, does Treasure Island count as an obscure islet? —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 21:41, 13 March 2017 (UTC)

Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese

Both of these should really only have one sense each, and one translation table too. Anyone want to take a stab? ---> Tooironic (talk) 05:27, 8 March 2017 (UTC)


What does this mean in Japanese? ---> Tooironic (talk) 09:31, 8 March 2017 (UTC)

I suspect this is 大君 in Japanese (太 and 大 can both be pronounced tai in Japanese). – Krun (talk) 10:35, 8 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Yes, this is an alternative spelling. means “large; great”, whereas literally means “fat”, with connotations of “well-off”. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 23:21, 8 March 2017 (UTC)
PS: I should have clarified, this is an unusual alternative spelling. This isn't listed in dictionaries. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 23:23, 8 March 2017 (UTC)


Does it make sense to list various religions as hyponyms? DTLHS (talk) 02:23, 9 March 2017 (UTC)

No, it was added by a known bad editor (now blocked). I have removed a lot of fluff from the entry. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 02:57, 9 March 2017 (UTC)


Is Oxford correct in claiming that lumber means two different things in British and American English respectively? ---> Tooironic (talk) 08:52, 9 March 2017 (UTC)

Well, what does it say? As an American, I'm only familiar with our sense 1 of the noun. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 13:06, 9 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Assuming this is the noun that is meant. From Oxford Online:
  • 1 British: Articles of furniture or other household items that are no longer useful and inconveniently take up storage space.
[as modifier] ‘a lumber room’
  • 2 North American: Timber sawn into rough planks or otherwise partly prepared.
‘he sat at a makeshift desk of unfinished lumber’
  • Another sense which is Scottish:
Scottish informal: A person regarded as a prospective sexual partner.
‘they end the evening in a disco where they wait for a lumber’
The use of lumber meaning a pawnbroker's shop is obsolete.
DonnanZ (talk) 13:43, 9 March 2017 (UTC)
Well, this North American would only use the sense marked "North American" above. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 13:46, 9 March 2017 (UTC)
Me, too. Never heard the others AFAICR. DCDuring TALK 19:03, 9 March 2017 (UTC)
Now labelled accordingly. DonnanZ (talk) 09:55, 10 March 2017 (UTC)

looking for a term

"Over the past ten years, people — especially young people — have become aware of the need to change their eating habits." What is "especially young people" called in English? I mean the grammatical term for it. In Chinese it is a 插入語. ---> Tooironic (talk) 11:04, 10 March 2017 (UTC)

  • I don't think there is one, bearing in mind that "especially" is an adverb. Young people can also be referred to as adolescents and juveniles, but "young people" is a broader term. DonnanZ (talk) 18:48, 10 March 2017 (UTC)
    The relationship between "people" and "especially young people" is called apposition. See w:Apposition. I think the shortest term applicable to "especially young people" relative to "people" is appositive phrase. DCDuring TALK 18:56, 10 March 2017 (UTC)
    I disagree. Because of the word "especially" this is not quite an appositive. I think this is a compound subject, with the adverb "especially" serving as a conjunction (otherwise, how could an adverb be modifying a noun?). You could just as easily say "people — and especially young people — have become aware...". If this were an appositive, you wouldn't be able to add the word "and" without changing the meaning. --WikiTiki89 20:29, 10 March 2017 (UTC)
    Properly speaking, especially would be modifying not the noun people in young people, but the whole noun phrase young people. So the rule does not apply. However, it is a meaning of especially that I am not sure how to define exactly. It's some special type of adverb, or perhaps it would be called a focus particle (looking at the definition in especially). — Eru·tuon 01:01, 11 March 2017 (UTC)
  • I would call it a parenthetical phrase. Mihia (talk) 21:37, 10 March 2017 (UTC)
    Yes, it is a parenthetical phrase. —Stephen (Talk) 23:03, 10 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Thanks everyone. ---> Tooironic (talk) 07:36, 11 March 2017 (UTC)
    Which relationship does 插入語 refer to, parenthesis or the narrower apposition? Is the usage context grammar — or rhetoric? DCDuring TALK 13:08, 11 March 2017 (UTC)
    AFAIK, the former, on both accounts. But admittedly most of this is over my head. ---> Tooironic (talk) 01:30, 12 March 2017 (UTC)

Latin nouns ending in eus (Greek εύς)

Common nouns:

Proper nouns:

In Greek these words belong to the third declension. In Latin they have forms of Greek's third declension and of Latin's second declension.
Using ~ here to split it up like Orph~e͡us, Orph~eī etc.

Nom. ~e͡us [-εύς], rarely ~eus (i.e. ~ĕŭs)
Gen. ~eī, (Gram.) in poetry also ~e͡i ~eos [att. -έως, ion. -έος, ep. -ῆος & sometimes -έος]
Dat. ~eō ~ei, (Gram.) ~e͡i, ~ī [att. -εῖ, ep. -ῆϊ & sometimes -εῖ]
Acc. ~eum ~ea, rarely -ēa [att. -έᾱ, in drama rarely -έᾰ, ion. -έᾰ, ep. -ῆα & sometimes -έᾰ]
Voc. ~e͡u [-εῦ]
Abl. ~eō
Nom. *~eī ~īs (but depending on edition) [att. -ῆς & later -εῖς, ion. -έες]
Gen. *~eōrum ~eon [?] [att. & ion. -έων, ep. -ήων]
Acc. ~eas/~eās [?] [att. -έᾱς, ion. -έᾰς, ep. -ῆας]


  • Greek forms are from H. W. Smyth's grammar (nominative, genitive -έως, accusatives), LSJ (nominative, genitive -έως and ionic and epic genitive) and another grammar. Appendix:Ancient Greek dialectal declension#ευ-stems mentions some more forms.
  • Forms marked with (Gram.) were mentioned in grammars, but not in dictionaries.
  • nom. sg.: Dictionaries have ~eus with a mentioning of syllables or ~e͡us with a ͡  . Gaffiot has ~eūs but that's very likely an improper form of ~e͡us. Sometimes the ~eus could be unmarked in dictionaries, e.g. digitalized L&S just has "dēmogrammăteus" which could have a monoyllabic ~e͡us or di(s)syllabic ~eus.
    Dictionaries rarely mention nom. ~eus (i.e. ~ĕŭs) like Phălērĕŭs, e.g. in L&S: "Phălēreus (mostly trisyl.) [...] Scanned as a quadrisyllable: Demetrius, qui dictus est Phalereus, Phaedr. 5, 1, 1."
    In wiktionary one can't link like {{l|la|Orphe͡us}} (Orphe͡us) which is also the reason why ͡   was omitted in the examples above, though {{l|la|Orpheus|Orphe͡us}} works.
  • gen. sg.: Dictionaries often have ~eos, very rarely ~eōs. ~eos could have short vowels, or the vowel length could be unknown which was marked improperly. Sometimes the genitive is mentioned later in dictionary entries without marked vowel lengths.
    L&S and Gaffiot using breve sometimes have ~ĕos which would mean it's not ~ēos (Greek epic -ῆος).
    Grammars have ~eos and some mark it with two breves as ~ĕŏs.
  • dat. & abl. sg. in Latin form: Orpheo and Peleo are mentioned in dictionaries.
  • dat. sg. in Greek form: Dat. ~ī is said to occur in Persi ("Cic. Tusc. 5, 40, 118. Liv. 42, 25, 2. 42, 49, 7. 42, 52, 3. 43, 7, 9. 43, 8, 6. 45, 19, 5. Sens. cons. Marc. 13, 3") and in Orphi (Macrob. Sat. 5, 17, 19 in some manuscripts) besides Orphei (Verg. Ecl. 5, 57 in some manuscripts). The Latin Library has "Persei" in these places of Livius, and "Persi" in Cicero. L&S mentions Orphei too, and it has Persi (s.v. Perses, not s.v. Perseus), but not Orphi. Other dictionaries have ~ëi (with misplaced trema?) for Nēre͡us.
  • acc. sg.: Dictionaries often have ~ea which could have short vowels, or the vowel length could be unknown which was marked improperly. Sometimes the accusative is mentioned later in dictionary entries without marked vowel lengths.
    L&S using breve has Orphĕă and Orphēā, but also unmarked Capanea and Pelea. Acc. Orphēā is an error in L&S as that's the fem. abl. sg. of the adj. Orphēus in Ovid. Met. 10. 3 belonging to voce.
    In case of Īlione͡us dictionaries mention the acc. Īlionēa (source: Vergil).
    Grammars have ~ea (rarely ~ēa), sometimes marked with two breves as ~ĕă.
  • nom. pl. and acc. pl.: Dictionaries mention Phinei with acc. Phineas, but do not mark the vowel lengths of it. Maybe only the accusative is attested, so the nominative mentioned in some dictionaries could be *Phinei or more properly *Phīneī.
    The source for the acc. is Mart. 9, 25, 10 (or 9, 26, 10 in digitalized L&S which could be an OCR error).
    Some books mark the a with breve, but some others with macron.
    Another word with acc. pl. could be Sinōpe͡us of which some dictionaries mention acc. pl. Sinopeas.
    For Mylase͡us dictionaries mention the nom. pl. Mylasīs = Μυλασεῖς in Cicero, but it might depend on edition as some editions might have it in Greek letters. There might also be Alabandīs belonging to *Alabande͡us from Ἀλαβανδεύς. In Cicero it is: "[...] ut tibi nolim molestus esse. Mylasis/Mylaseis/Μυλασεῖς (Mylasii) et Alabandis/Alabandeis/Ἀλαβανδεῖς (Alabandenses) pecuniam Cluvio debent [...]" (Cicero's Epistulae ad familiares 13, 56, 1). The words depend on edition. Mylasii and Alabandenses do occur in a text from 1554. Another edition comments those forms with "e correctione non necessaria". And Mylasii could rather be Mylaseī, Mylasēnī or Mylasēnsēs anyway.
  • gen. pl.: strōmateus has stromateon. The o clearly should be long, the e most likely should be short.


  • How should the diphthong in nom. and voc. be marked, by ͡   or by a counting of syllables? Or should it be unmarked and just be "eu̯" in the "Pronunciation" section?
  • What's the correct vowel length of the Greek forms? Well, maybe sometimes it's simply unknown...


  • Of the above mentioned proper nouns once only Enīpeus had a Latin entry here in wiktionary. In wiktionary it was mentioned as a normal second delension noun with voc. Enīpee. But even L&S has "Ĕnīpeus (trisyl.)" and later "voc. Enīpeu". Some dictionaries do also mention gen. ~eos or acc. ~ea (short or improperly marked), but without reference, so maybe it's unattested for classical Latin.

- 14:14, 10 March 2017 (UTC) till 14:43, 17 March 2017 (UTC)

"flunk" vs. "bocciare"

There appears to be an inconsistency between the article about Italian "bocciare", which says it means "to fail, flunk (someone)" and thus suggests the subject would be the teacher, and the translation at "flunk", which list "bocciare" as "fail" and not "deny a passing grade". I am Italian, and I never heard "bocciare" used as "He flunked math", but only as "The teacher flunked him". In fact, the sentence "He flunked math" is one I'd translate to a passive "È stato bocciato in matematica" or a pseudo-impersonal "L'han bocciato in matematica" (lit. "they flunked him in math"), and "segare" (given translation of "deny a passing grade") is, to my ears, a more colloquial and vulgar synonym of "bocciare". This says that the usage of "bocciare" as "flunk (an exam)" «appartiene o all'italiano adoperato in determinate aree geografiche o, in altri casi, a un livello popolare, forse anche trascurato, di uso della lingua» (belongs either to the Italian used in some geographical areas or, in other cases, to a popular, maybe even sloppy, of language usage». So maybe "bocciare" should be a translation of the other sense, and of this sense but marked as "regional" or the likes? Also, "trombare" as "flunk"… never heard. And I'd expect it to be an even more vulgar synonym of "segare", "bocciare", as "The teacher flunked him" = "La prof l'ha bocciato/segato/trombato". The last one feels pretty weird to my ears, and would sound like the teacher actually had intercourse with him if a complement like "all'esame", "at the exam", were not present. "Fottuto" might be less weird but still very uncommon, and it would probably be taken as the teacher either actively trying to flunk the student (e.g. by asking him about stuff not covered in the class nor in the material the student studied on -- yeah, that can happen) or involuntarily making an extremely unlucky choice of questions (e.g. asking the only thing the student didn't know that well), much like "fregato" would. Also, "cannare" is another synonym of "segare" in the above sense". Do you guys agree to this? What should we do about those translations?

MGorrone (talk) 14:56, 10 March 2017 (UTC)

surviving cohabitant

If one of a cohabitant (unmarried) couple dies, which word should be used of the survivor? I'd guess widow or widower won't do. --Hekaheka (talk) 23:00, 10 March 2017 (UTC)

Yes, "surviving cohabitant" vs. "deceased cohabitant". —Stephen (Talk) 23:06, 10 March 2017 (UTC)
I have seen "unmarried widow". Equinox 23:07, 10 March 2017 (UTC)
I'd have difficulty parsing "unmarried widow" as it seems to be either a tautology or a contradiction in terms, or possibly both simultaneously. Personally, I would probably describe such a person as "surviving boyfriend/girlfriend". —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 00:24, 11 March 2017 (UTC)
It's not that unusual for an adjective to cancel out one of the usual assumed attributes of the noun... Equinox 13:23, 11 March 2017 (UTC)
Nevertheless, I'd have difficulty understanding it. If I heard someone described as an "unmarried widow", my first thought would be that she hadn't remarried since the death of her husband. I wouldn't understand it to mean that her previous life partner, whom she wasn't married to, had died. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 15:19, 11 March 2017 (UTC)
I don't regard myself as an "unmarried widower", I still wear my wedding ring. A "surviving partner" may be an option where a cohabiting couple were unmarried. DonnanZ (talk) 13:18, 11 March 2017 (UTC)
"Surviving partner" gets 90 times as many hits in a basic Google search as "surviving cohabitant". It would seem to me that that's the way to go. Thank you again for your contributions. In Finnish we have avioliitto (marriage, literallly married union or union in marriage) and avoliitto (unmarried partnership, literally open union). Many words with "avio-" may be changed to refer to cohabitation by changing "avio-" to "avo-", e.g. aviopuoliso (spouse) becomes avopuoliso (cohabitant). I still have one related term to which I would like to find the English equivalent. In similar manner as above, avioero (divorce) becomes avoero (separation of an unmarried couple), but what would it be in English? --Hekaheka (talk) 20:38, 11 March 2017 (UTC)
One has to be careful with the term "surviving partner" though, it could also refer to a surviving business partner. "Separation of an unmarried couple" - just that I suppose, they can't be divorced as such. But married couples can also separate without being divorced. DonnanZ (talk) 20:51, 11 March 2017 (UTC)
The separation of an unmarried couple is simply called a breakup. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 21:44, 11 March 2017 (UTC)

lemon soda, lemonade

I assume that lemon soda is a synonym of lemonade (sense 2). DonnanZ (talk) 13:05, 11 March 2017 (UTC)

given to

I don't think it's right to call this an adjective. Equinox 21:17, 11 March 2017 (UTC)

  • Looking at given (adjective sense 5) there is a similar example. Also mentioned here [16] (scroll down a bit). DonnanZ (talk) 22:04, 11 March 2017 (UTC)
    Not only those, but also our entry for give has:
    14 (reflexive) To devote or apply (oneself).
    The soldiers give themselves to plunder.
    That boy is given to fits of bad temper.
    (The "reflexive" seems confusing or even wrong with respect to the second usage example.)
    But given to at OneLook Dictionary Search shows that some dictionaries include given to as an entry, including MWOnline and a couple of idiom dictionaries. None of them give it a PoS. We may be well advised to punt and call it a "Phrase". DCDuring TALK 22:09, 11 March 2017 (UTC)
  • If this is changed then I guess prone to should be also. I originally created given to, and I believe I just copied the PoS from "prone to". I seem to recall that I had doubts about it at the time but I guess I took "prone to" to be the authority. Mihia (talk) 23:12, 11 March 2017 (UTC)
We list bound to as a Phrase. But I can't help seeing all of these merely as SoP Adj + Preposition :\ Leasnam (talk) 02:09, 15 March 2017 (UTC)
It should depend on whether there is "sufficient" semantic departure of the phrase from the current definitions of the components or of the grammar (eg, complements) from expected behavior. If this is too hard, we could rely on lemmings. Other dictionaries don't include bound to, except as a phony entry (not even a redirect). One idiom dictionary includes bound to do (something). One includes prone to.
IMO, just one lemming with a real entry is sufficient reason for inclusion. DCDuring TALK 11:57, 15 March 2017 (UTC)


Noun sense 1:

The act or result of overturning something; an upset.
a bad turnover in a carriage

I believe in putting most frequent / most important / most fundamental meanings first, but I have never heard of this meaning. I suggest it should have a label and/or be moved down the list, but what label? Is it archaic? Rare? Has anyone else heard of it? Mihia (talk) 23:07, 11 March 2017 (UTC)

It's from Webster 1913. It's dated. Today we'd talk about a crash, etc. but cars don't fall over like carriages did. Equinox 23:10, 11 March 2017 (UTC)
OK, I have demoted that entry. Mihia (talk) 00:48, 12 March 2017 (UTC)

cailín (irish)

Good evening-

Are you sure cailín is masculine ?

--ArséniureDeGallium (talk) 21:31, 12 March 2017 (UTC)

@ArséniureDeGallium: Yes! Similarly to German Mädchen, the gender of the word for "girl" is determined by its suffix (in this case, -ín), not by its meaning. Nevertheless, pronouns referring back to cailín are feminine. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 21:36, 12 March 2017 (UTC)
Other cases where grammatical gender doesn't match natural gender in Irish are gasóg f (boy scout) and stail f (stallion). —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 21:40, 12 March 2017 (UTC)
@Aɴɢʀ - thank you very much --ArséniureDeGallium (talk) 22:12, 12 March 2017 (UTC)

Upcoming changes

There are a lot of small changes happening in the next couple of weeks, and I wanted to give you all a quick heads-up about them. Please share this information with other people/languages/projects that will be interested:

  • There's a change to how columns in reference lists are handled, at the request of the German Wikipedia. This change will improve accessibility by automatically formatting long lists of <ref>s into columns, based on each reader's screen width.
    • What you need to do: Nothing visible is happening now. I'm not sure how much this will affect the Wikitionaries. If your project uses the normal <references /> tag (or doesn't really use refs at all), then file a Phabricator task or just tell me, and I'll get your wiki on the list for the next config change. If your project uses a "reflist" template to create columns (but not if it only adds a section heading), then please consider deprecating it, or update the template to work with the new feature.
  • The label on the "Save changes" button will change on most projects tomorrow (Wednesday) to say "Publish page". This has been discussed for years, is supported by user research, and is meant to be clearer for new contributors. (Most of us who have been editing for years don't even look at the button any more, and we all already know that all of our changes can be seen by anyone on the internet, so this doesn't really affect us.)
    • If you have questions or encounter problems (e.g., a bad translation, problems fixing the documentation, etc.), then please tell me as soon as possible.
    • When we split "Save page" into "Save page" and "Save changes" last August, a couple of communities wondered whether a local label would be possible. (For example, someone at the English Wikipedia asked if different namespaces could have different labels [answer: not technically possible], and the Chinese Wikipedia has some extra language on their "Save page" button [about the importance of previewing, I think].) Whether the Legal team can agree to a change may depend upon the language/country involved, so please ask me first if you have any questions.
  • As part of the ongoing, years-long user-interface standardization project, the color and shape of the "Save changes" (or now "Publish page"), "Show preview" and "Show changes" buttons on some desktop wikitext editors will change. The buttons will be bigger and easier to find, and the "Save" button will be bright blue. (phab:T111088) Unfortunately, it is not technically possible to completely override this change and restore the appearance of the old buttons for either your account or an entire site.
  • Do you remember last April, when nobody could edit for about 30 minutes twice, because of some work that Technical Ops was doing on the servers? The same kind of planned maintenance is happening again. It's currently scheduled for Wednesday, April 19th and Wednesday, May 3rd. The time of day is unknown, but it will probably afternoon in Europe and morning in North America. This will be announced repeatedly, but please mark your calendars now.

That's everything on my mind at the moment, but I may have forgotten something. If you have questions (about this or any other WMF work), then please {{ping}} me, and I'll see what I can find out for you. Thanks, Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 19:36, 13 March 2017 (UTC)

@Whatamidoing (WMF): Thanks for the update. For future reference, when technical mass updates are left at the English Wiktionary, they should be added to Wiktionary:Grease Pit. Also, to the extent we use inline references (which is infrequent), we use <references />, so I suppose en.wikt should be put on that list. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 21:39, 13 March 2017 (UTC)
Thanks! Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 00:25, 14 March 2017 (UTC)
The config changes should be happening in the next few minutes. Please ping me if there are any problems (or comment at the Phabricator task, if it's urgent). Thanks, Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 23:50, 20 March 2017 (UTC)


What is "special steel"? Is it a particular alloy? DTLHS (talk) 16:09, 14 March 2017 (UTC)

  • I believe that it means any of various steels made for a specialized use - typically by adding small amounts of other metals, or by physically working it in a special way. SemperBlotto (talk) 16:16, 14 March 2017 (UTC)
    I think the more common English equivalent is specialty steel, which AFAICT includes any sufficiently "engineered" or customized steel. DCDuring TALK 12:23, 15 March 2017 (UTC)
I think it might deserve to be deleted. I don't know if there's an idiomatic sense in metallurgy, but otherwise it simply means "kind of steel adapted specially for a particular use". I can make the same kind of compound with most any noun: Spezialschuh (specialized shoe), Spezialseil (specialized rope), Spezialziegel (specialized brick), etc. Kolmiel (talk) 18:11, 16 March 2017 (UTC)
@Kolmiel: We have traditionally interpreted SOP only to apply to terms consisting of multiple words, so all the German compounds would not be deleted even if unidiomatic. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 20:33, 17 March 2017 (UTC)
I know that's the case for English and other languages in which closed compounds are a reasonably restricted class. I thought there was a different policy for languages like German and Dutch. In fact, the difference between English open compounds and German closed compounds is purely orthographic. So it would seem quite inconsistent to treat them differently. Kolmiel (talk) 21:47, 17 March 2017 (UTC)
And then I can make additional SOP compounds with the SOP compound, e.g. Spezialstahlhersteller ("specialized steal producer"), Spezialschuhhandel ("specialized shoe business"), both of which are very attestable and could probably even meet our standards for inclusion. It would be a bottomless pit. Kolmiel (talk) 21:59, 17 March 2017 (UTC)


It seems redundant to have all of these three senses:

  1. (more rarely) Resembling or characteristic of an adult male (as opposed to a boy).
  2. (Caribbean, Guyana) Impertinent; precocious; assertive.
  3. (African American Vernacular) precocious

Of the two citations under the Caribbean sense, "for all his mannish ways, he’s still just a little tyke" could just as easily be using the "characteristic of an adult male" sense. I suggest moving it, possibly removing "precocious" from the Caribbean sense (on the grounds that Caribbean use of the word to mean "characteristic of an adult male" is just use of that sense), and merging the AAVE sense into the "adult male" sense or into the Caribbean sense. - -sche (discuss) 05:42, 15 March 2017 (UTC)

The Caribbean sense is sourced and supported by a citation, so we should keep it. I wish we had a source or citation for the AAVE label.
Also, most OneLook references are more focused on subtle distinctions in meaning (which we combine in definition 1) according to whether the noun modified is a woman or a thing, eg, article of clothing, manner of communicating. We at least need usage examples for the two noun types. DCDuring TALK 12:11, 15 March 2017 (UTC)


Isn't the sense "high in price, expensive" dated? --Barytonesis (talk) 17:01, 15 March 2017 (UTC)

In North America, I think so, yes, but I've heard British speakers use it in that sense. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:16, 15 March 2017 (UTC)
Maybe? Maybe not? "He paid dearly for that decision" is doesn't feel dated to me. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:15, 15 March 2017 (UTC)
In my experience (UK), yes, a bit dated. (Figurative "dearly" may be different.) Equinox 19:19, 15 March 2017 (UTC)
There's also the expression "dear price" (to pay dearly = to pay a dear price). --WikiTiki89 21:47, 15 March 2017 (UTC)
It seems normal to me (but I am getting on a bit). SemperBlotto (talk) 07:15, 16 March 2017 (UTC)


Aren't the senses 5 ("to consist of a certain text") and 6 ("Of text, etc., to be interpreted or read in a particular way.") almost identical? --Barytonesis (talk) 17:07, 15 March 2017 (UTC)

I don't think they're exactly the same, although they are similar. It's the difference between saying "The first part of my post reads 'I don't think they're exactly the same'" and "The first part of my post reads that I disagree with you." Then again, the difference might just be the quotation marks... Andrew Sheedy (talk) 03:02, 16 March 2017 (UTC)
"That sentence doesn't read very well" suits #6 but not #5. Equinox 03:07, 16 March 2017 (UTC)
That's a much better example, thank you. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 03:16, 16 March 2017 (UTC)
I think #5 is just a special case of #6. We should merge them. --WikiTiki89 20:59, 16 March 2017 (UTC)
I think Equinox's example is a good case for keeping them separate. Perhaps they should be made subdefinitions of a more general definition? Andrew Sheedy (talk) 23:07, 16 March 2017 (UTC)


Lithuanian apparently has the same word for both "mother" and "wife". How does that work? How do people not get it all mixed up? 20:02, 16 March 2017 (UTC)

It's solved by not using the word motė much at all. You normally use motina for "mother" and pati for "wife" (there's also žmona for wife, but I'm not sure if it's used much in normal speech). —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 03:02, 17 March 2017 (UTC)
In English, some family men use "mum" for both their wife and mother. Not perfectly the same thing maybe, but close. Kolmiel (talk) 13:37, 17 March 2017 (UTC)

Wiktionary Etymologies interface

Etymologists may be aware of a grant building an etymology GUI, etytree, drawing on Wiktionary etyms. The grant is up for renewal and they are looking for feedback/support as announced on the mailing list. - Amgine/ t·e 20:22, 16 March 2017 (UTC)

regrets only

Is this really a noun? Isn't this more of an interjection? PseudoSkull (talk) 23:21, 16 March 2017 (UTC)

What exactly is the emotion expressed? DCDuring TALK 10:59, 17 March 2017 (UTC)
I'd call it a phrase. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 09:06, 18 March 2017 (UTC)

Chemical compound names.

Robert Ullmann's missing redlinks list is well populated with names of chemical compounds like barium sulfate, potassium ferrocyanide, and calcium polyphosphate. Do we intend to create these? If so, can we have a bot make them? bd2412 T 00:35, 17 March 2017 (UTC)

We desperately need a policy on chemical names and especially formulae; this may be a good excuse to draft one that can justify semiautomated creation, should such creation be found to have consensus. Do you remember where previous discussion on this topic happened? —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 02:59, 17 March 2017 (UTC)
I recall discussing abbreviations before, but not spelled out formula names. I will search later. bd2412 T 17:11, 18 March 2017 (UTC)
Okay, I found Talk:lithium fluoride#Discussion moved from RfD, where it appears that we decided in 2005 (although not without dissent) that names of chemicals should be included. bd2412 T 20:01, 18 March 2017 (UTC)
We should have a new discussion if the old one was more than a decade ago, especially if mass creation of new articles is being proposed... - -sche (discuss) 22:02, 18 March 2017 (UTC)
Isn't that what this is? On the merits question, I think that it would be worth having these entries. We already have many (nitrogen pentoxide, carbon diselenide, sulfer trioxide, along with more widely known names like carbon monoxide and hydrogen peroxide) and so long as a particular chemical name is attested per CFI, I see no good basis for exclusion. bd2412 T 20:01, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
If we did have blanket inclusion, I would like to see some language that prohibited people from bot creating the millions of potential entries. DTLHS (talk) 20:12, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
Agreed. When I look up chemical compounds in the dictionary, I hope to see a bit more information than the surface analysis, such as what it looks like, is used for, etc., and maybe a picture (essentially a highly condensed encyclopedia entry). That would be missing in bot created entries. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 20:17, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
Are there millions, though? Actual names of chemical compounds are far less in number than mere chemical formulae. They tend to spell out the relationship between only two or three different elements. bd2412 T 20:20, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
Yes there are millions. Think about how many ways there are to arrange three different elements. DTLHS (talk) 20:24, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
That is precisely my point - it doesn't matter how many ways there are to arrange three different elements, because a dozen different arrangements of the same element, while having a dozen different formulae, will all have the same name as a chemical compound. There are about 130 chemical elements, not all of which are capable of forming compounds at all (some because they are inert, others because they are too large to create stable bonds). If we generously suppose that there are a hundred elements that can form bonds, and were to count the few dozen elements with which each of these is able to bond (because their atomic structures correspond), we would have a few thousand. Note that more complex molecules, if they are attested at all, are usually given shorter, often single word names, like sucrose or iron pyrite. bd2412 T 20:46, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
So you're not actually advocating for inclusion of all chemical compound names. DTLHS (talk) 20:50, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
Per my original post, I am advocating for the inclusion of the chemical compound names on Robert Ullmann's list of missing red links. bd2412 T 21:17, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
I don't know about a bot, but the lemming principle seems to have found considerable support, and barium sulfate is in M-W[17], while calcium polyphosphate isn't there and is not in OneLook. This could give us something to start with, although it is not really based on a lexicographical principle but rather on us being an inclusion copycat. --Dan Polansky (talk) 16:34, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
I would rather that we have a principle of inclusion or exclusion of chemical names, and apply it uniformly to all attested names. bd2412 T 20:02, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
I agree with Andrew that these are not very useful unless they describe the chemical's use and characteristics in some way. Just auto-generating chemical formulae from the names (if that's even possible) seems like having those number entries for 109, 110, 111, etc. Equinox 21:22, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
How about the notion of exclusion based on absence of substantive definition, in this case some reason why one would be interested in the substance. "If you don't have anything nice [sense 4] to say about the term, don't say anything at all." (I am still struggling to provide such "nice" definitions for many taxonomic names.) DCDuring TALK 01:50, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
To start with, any entry with no meaning that can't be derived from the name should be deletable as SOP. Chuck Entz (talk) 03:08, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
By that reasoning, we could easily delete at least a third of the existing entries in Category:en:Inorganic compounds. bd2412 T 03:40, 20 March 2017 (UTC)

Whether we decide to include these or not (or include some subset of them), I have gathered all of Robert Ullmann's "missing" chemical compound names at User:Robert Ullmann/Missing/chemical compounds. There are about 185, and also about two dozen chemical formulae that appear in that form in the bluelinked entries. bd2412 T 02:38, 22 March 2017 (UTC)


Is this really a prefix? I always intepreted it as a compounding form of Haupt. @-sche, Kolmiel, KornΜετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 00:49, 18 March 2017 (UTC)

I agree; not a prefix. The forms in question are compounds of Haupt. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 09:04, 18 March 2017 (UTC)
What Angr says. Korn [kʰũːɘ̃n] (talk) 11:00, 18 March 2017 (UTC)
I always wonder about this. I sort of agree that it's not a prefix, but if this is so, neither are vor-, herum-, über-, etc., in my opinion. Or do I miss the difference? (At least, melde- and wegwerf- should also go, probably also küchen- although I created that myself.) Kolmiel (talk) 11:53, 18 March 2017 (UTC)
I think the separable prefixes aren't true prefixes either, but the inseparable ones are, so ˈüberˌsetzen (to pass over) is a compound, while ˌüberˈsetzen (to translate) has a prefix. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 12:41, 18 March 2017 (UTC)
Okay... What makes you think that one is a prefix and the other isn't? I mean, everything that isn't a word in its own right, like zer-, that's obviously a prefix; but otherwise I don't know how we distinguish them. Kolmiel (talk) 18:07, 18 March 2017 (UTC)
The stress pattern: "pass over" has the stress pattern of a compound word; "translate" doesn't. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 18:17, 18 March 2017 (UTC)
To take a Dutch equivalent doorlopen, the stress pattern of the separable verb is indistinguishable from that of door lopen, as two separate words. In the forms where the two parts separate, they're completely indistinguishable, even in writing. They are also conceptually equivalent, and I find myself occasionally hesitating, for certain combinations of verbs and adverbs, whether to separate the two with a space or not. —CodeCat 18:25, 18 March 2017 (UTC)
This problem also exists in German, albeit to a lesser extent than in Dutch because they don't let us separate our pronominal adverbs in writing. — @Angr: But what is the "stress pattern of a compound"? Compounds aren't necessarily stressed on the first component. Take ˌsüßˈsauer for an example. Kolmiel (talk) 20:46, 18 March 2017 (UTC)
Hmm, good point. I was just remembering when I first moved to Germany I referred to Norway as Norˈwegen; the person I was talking to corrected my pronunciation to ˈNorwegen, saying, "Even though it's a place name, it still has the stress pattern of a compound". The other example that occurs to me is that the place in southeastern Niedersachsen is ˌSalzˈgitter, but a literal grid or grille made of salt would be a ˈSalzˌgitter. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 21:09, 18 March 2017 (UTC)
Yes :) Well, the vast majority of compounds are definitely stressed on the first component, but exceptions exist. In longer compounds it can also vary. For example, most people including myself say ˈBlaubeerˌpfannˌkuchen, but my mother who's from Westphalia says ˌBlaubeerˈpfannˌkuchen. Kolmiel (talk) 21:23, 19 March 2017 (UTC)


Why is this in Category:English words affected by confusion? Because some people use "incredulous" to mean incredible? Well, do they also use "incredible" to mean "incredulous" in a way that is not standard? If not, the category seems unnecessary. And more generally, it seems that whenever the category is included, a usage note should explain what the confusion is! - -sche (discuss) 22:05, 18 March 2017 (UTC)


Why all the -i- reflexes in Romance? Is there a variant lacrīma attested anywhere? KarikaSlayer (talk) 23:32, 19 March 2017 (UTC)

It's puzzling to me. If they had developed from *lacrīma, then they would have accent on the penult, not the antepenult. But if they developed from lacrima, they would be expected to have e rather than i. Perhaps the word preserved its vowel by analogy with the Latin form. — Eru·tuon 03:40, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
A lot of the words, except for the ones in French and Romansh and maybe some of small languages, seem to be borrowings rather than inherited terms. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 11:58, 20 March 2017 (UTC)

'perfume' as a word and the pronunciatioon of 'alas'

As a non-specialist, non-native user I have to questions: 1) Shouldn't perfume be given a separate pronunciation as a verb? According to some educatory pages, it is stressed on the final syllable. 2) What about the word 'alas'? Wiktionary gives the pronunciation /əˈlæs/, but the rhyme -ɑːs.

1) You are correct. I have added North American pronunciations with that distinction.
2) I have never heard "alas" pronounced /əˈlɑːs/, and looking at the history of the rhyme page for "-ɑːs", I see that "alas" was added once and then removed. I think a link to the rhyme page is automatically added to the main entry when someone submits a new rhyme, so it must have just been mistakenly left on the main page all this time. I will take the liberty of removing it until someone can attest that it is in fact a valid pronunciation. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 01:25, 22 March 2017 (UTC)


I don't know what this guy did, but it seems to be messing with {{grc-IPA}} in the entry, because omicron is not transcribed. --Barytonesis (talk) 20:02, 20 March 2017 (UTC)

Same thing for Κλεoφῶν (Kleophôn). --Barytonesis (talk) 20:04, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
@Barytonesis: They had the Latin letters K and o instead of kappa and omicron. The correct entries, Κλέαρχος (Kléarkhos) and Κλεοφῶν‎ (Kleophôn‎) already existed. —JohnC5 20:30, 20 March 2017 (UTC)

declare war

This term can be used figuratively, right? ---> Tooironic (talk) 11:36, 22 March 2017 (UTC)

Any term can be used figuratively. --WikiTiki89 12:33, 22 March 2017 (UTC)
Don't we include figurative uses on Wiktionary? ---> Tooironic (talk) 01:53, 23 March 2017 (UTC)
Only if it has become lexicalized. --WikiTiki89 02:08, 23 March 2017 (UTC)

round prices

1854, Brillat-Savarin, The Physiology of Taste: Or, Transcendental Gastronomy[18], page 108:
Young girls often acquired a very sufficient dowry, and towns-folk who wished to eat them had to pay round prices for them.

Does this use of "round" fit into one of our existing definitions? I'm not sure what it means. DTLHS (talk) 23:42, 22 March 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?"[20]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 [21].— 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 [22] (judical) and on google books [23] (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 [24]. 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: [25]. 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 [26]. 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? [27] 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 ([[28])] 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[29] 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[30] 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 [31], and a dictionary entry [32]). 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 [33] 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 [34] 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

[35] 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. [36]
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. [37]
Although performances improved considerably, Boro still finished the season well adrift at the bottom of Division Two [38]
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 [[39]]. 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)
[40]​—msh210 (talk) 23:24, 13 May 2012 (UTC)
An excellent recommendation, but how many websites implement everlasting links? Certainly not the BBC, or government in the UK. They all seem to assume that they can redesign their websites without redirecting old links. Dbfirs 08:17, 15 May 2012 (UTC)


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

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


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

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


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

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



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

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

Hold one's...

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

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


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

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


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

may well

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

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

enemy combatant

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

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

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

  1. too narrow;
  2. US-centric;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

"Vem" (Czech)

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


One of our adverb senses is:

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

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

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

RuakhTALK 20:34, 18 May 2012 (UTC)

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


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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

I would say it is a noun, albeit one in an unusual case that merits a usage note. It is similar to de facto and a good deal of other examples, where the second word is a noun in the language it was borrowed from, and would function thus in English if it had been borrowed independently of the phrase. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 03:37, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
The tricky part is that "in" is found in all three languages, so it's tempting to assume that it's English or Dutch.It's neither- it's Italian, and can only be independent of the phrase in that language. The phrase was borrowed as a whole, and can only function grammatically in English or Dutch as a whole.
The best example I can think of to show how this works is bona fide. I know it's a Latin phrase with two words of two syllables each, but If I were to pronounce it that way to someone who doesn't know Latin, they wouldn't recognize it. Instead, I have to pronounce it as if it were the past tense of the imaginary verb "*bonify". The two halves have completely lost any function or meaning outside of the phrase. in petto hasn't had enough time or usage to be absorbed that completely, and the "in" probably confuses things, but it shouldn't be that long before no one realizes that it's not just another way of spelling "impetto" or that it didn't always rhyme with "meadow". Chuck Entz (talk) 06:47, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
So then what part of speech do 'bona' and 'fide' have in that phrase? How should we list them in Wiktionary? —CodeCat 11:57, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
The same POS as the "ov" in "over"- none. It doesn't really function as a separate grammatical unit in English. I suppose there might be a soft redirect for those who aren't aware of this, but not a POS header. I think we're headed into the same territory as the "What is sum of parts?" discussion, in that these are separated by spaces like words, but really aren't words in any practical sense. By the way, there's also the term bona fides, which we treat as uncountable, but which looks like a plurale tantum to me. Chuck Entz (talk) 12:55, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
I've removed the part of speech header and the headword line. It looks quite strange to me now... —CodeCat 13:52, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
I've added the Dutch and English words sub the Italian entry for petto as descendants. I think we can (indeed, should) remove the Dutch and English entries forpetto.—This unsigned comment was added by msh210 (talkcontribs).
But why should we? It's quite likely that someone who sees the phrase will not realise it's idiomatic (and this is a sensible assumption) and will look up its constituent parts. They will find 'in' but they will not find 'petto', nor 'bona' nor 'fide'. It's kind of the opposite of SoPness. —CodeCat 19:49, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
What about having {{see also|in petto}} at the top of the page? Hopefully anyone who finds petto while trying to decipher in petto will see it and go to the correct page. Smurrayinchester (talk) 05:53, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
Because they'll find the foreign-language entry. The English phrase can link to the individual foreign words in its Etymology section. But I suppose you're right that the English section should exist as an {{only in}} or {{only used in}} or the like.​—msh210 (talk) 21:51, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
{{only used in}}? Circeus (talk) 19:14, 27 May 2012 (UTC)

Ancient Greek declension template request

Hi, could someone please add the right template from Category:Ancient_Greek_declension_convenience_templates to γραφή? This is so that people can see what the plural etc. is at a glance. Thank you. It Is Me Here t / c 19:43, 23 May 2012 (UTC)

I added the right declension template, but it isn't in Category:Ancient Greek declension convenience templates. It's in Category:Ancient Greek 1st declension templates. —Angr 22:10, 23 May 2012 (UTC)

tomato juice

Second definition reads: "(standard of identity) A fodd obtained from the unfermented liquid extracted from mature tomatoes of the red or reddish varieties of Lycopersicum esculentum P. Mill, strained free from peel, seeds, and other coarse or hard substances, containing finely divided insoluble solids from the flesh of the tomato." A fodd? A food? What is this? ---> Tooironic (talk) 00:54, 24 May 2012 (UTC)

Clearly, it must be an acronym, standing for "fresh or diluted drink", and rhyming with Todd. Either that, or it's a typo. —RuakhTALK 01:08, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
Why not check the source:
§ 156.145
Tomato juice.
(a) Identity— (1) Definition. Tomato juice is the food intended for direct consumption, obtained from the unfermented liquid extracted from mature tomatoes of the red or reddish varieties of Lycopersicum esculentum P. Mill, with or without scalding followed by draining. In the extraction of such liquid, heat may be applied by any method which does not add water thereto. Such juice is strained free from peel, seeds, and other coarse or hard substances, but contains finely divided insoluble solids from the flesh of the tomato in accordance with current good manufacturing practice. Such juice may be homogenized, may be seasoned with salt, and may be acidified with any safe and suitable organic acid. The juice may have been concentrated and later reconstituted with water and/or tomato juice to a tomato soluble solids content of not less than 5.0 percent by weight as determined by the method prescribed in § 156.3(b). The food is preserved by heat sterilization (canning), refrigeration, or freezing. When sealed in a container to be held at ambient temperatures, it is so processed by heat, before or after sealing, as to prevent spoilage.
--Hekaheka (talk) 07:09, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
Typos aside, the second definition is really just a restatement of the first in very lengthy legalese. I've taken this up at RFD, which seems like the proper place for it. Chuck Entz (talk) 08:44, 30 May 2012 (UTC)

Category:English synonyms

Err... is this something we really want? "English synonyms" could contain an almost infinite number of words. ---> Tooironic (talk) 10:05, 24 May 2012 (UTC)

Doesn't even make sense, something isn't a synonym on its own, something is a synonym of something else. FWIW there was a similar French Wiktionary category fr:Catégorie:Synonymes en français which was deleted as it offered nothing useful to readers, and was more or less redundant to fr:Catégorie:français, that is to say that category which lists all French words. Mglovesfun (talk) 10:22, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
PS can we move this straight to WT:RFDO with your permission Tooironic, please? Mglovesfun (talk) 10:23, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
Yes please. And then delete it and all its associated templates etc. SemperBlotto (talk) 10:42, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
I second that. ---> Tooironic (talk) 22:37, 27 May 2012 (UTC)
Comment. It looks like this category isn't for all English terms that have synonyms, but rather, just for terms that we actually define as {{synonym of|…}}. In that respect it's like Category:English alternative forms. —RuakhTALK 11:10, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
Then in that case it's extremely badly named and defined - it explicitly says "This category is for all English synonyms", which it clearly isn't. Does it serve any purpose that simply checking template:synonym of's transclusions doesn't? Smurrayinchester (talk) 12:37, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
Isn't there a faster-reached limit on the number of transclusions that can be examined? Circeus (talk) 19:11, 27 May 2012 (UTC)

Symbol, Prefix, or Abbreviation?

In music, intervals are abbreviated by either a +, M, P, m, or d before a number, for example, P5. Would the bolded characters above be considered symbols, prefixes, or abbreviations? Celloplayer115 21:41, 24 May 2012 (UTC)

I'd say + (standing for augmented) is a symbol and M, P, m, and d are abbreviations (of major, perfect, minor, and diminished respectively). Incidentally, the entry [[perfect]] is lacking the relevant musical definition. —Angr 22:21, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
I just added one for perfect, but the [[minor]] one did not have a definition regarding intervals, and the [[augmented]] definition was inaccurate before I made changes to them. Celloplayer115 00:20, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
I must say I'm not thrilled with the definition of [[minor]] relating to scales: "Of a musical scale in which some notes are sounded flat." Does that mean a B-flat major scale is minor, since it contains B-flat and E-flat? Or a major scale played on an instrument that's out of tune, or sung by someone who's off-key? —Angr 00:27, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
Either way, the definition would not be accurate. Celloplayer115 00:43, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
That was Angr's point. —RuakhTALK 14:00, 25 May 2012 (UTC)

Capital cities as symbols of national government

I've been starting to add definitions like this one, for Tbilisi: "(by extension) The government of Georgia", fully cited. Are these in fact independent of the first sense, that of the city itself? Are they just examples of common figurative language instead of real meanings? Or are they different enough to merit inclusion? --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 13:36, 25 May 2012 (UTC)

It seems common to use the name of the place housing some kind of institution instead of the name of the institution itself. In Britain, 'Downing Street' refers to the office of the prime minister, 'Stormont' refers to the Northern Ireland parliament, in the Netherlands 'Den Haag' refers to the Dutch government. I suppose even 'The White House' when used to refer to the office of the US president is like this. —CodeCat 13:40, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
It goes back a ways: pharaoh literally meant "big house" Chuck Entz (talk) 14:07, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
  • I feel strongly that metonymy and synecdoche are not separate senses, but, that said, it is quite difficult to know how a dictionary should treat them. It's not just capital cities but buildings (Matignon = the French prime minister), streets ("Downing Street refused to comment"), and general districts (Hollywood = the US film industry). I don't think the way you've done it looks that bad, but I worry slightly that it opens the door for any kind of metonymy to be given a new sense-line, when this is a actually a very normal and productive aspect of the way English works, and can be applied to all kinds of words. Ƿidsiþ 13:43, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
    Well, that is a problem. Where exactly do we draw the line? (As a semi-related note: only a few streets, buildings, etc are citeable but tons of capital cities as minor as Tbilisi certainly are, even in English.) --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 13:49, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
    (Edit conflict) I don't see the problem with noting metonymies. For someone not necessarily familiar with cultural context, "Brussels issued new laws regulating Harley Street, overriding previous regulations from Whitehall, which led to a furious response from Fleet Street" isn't clear even if you know that Whitehall is "a wide street [that] houses several government offices" and Fleet Street is "A street in Westminster that runs from Ludgate Hill to the Strand, formerly the centre of English journalism." Noting specifically that Whitehall is a metonym of the British Civil Service or that Brussels is a metonym for the European Union doesn't harm the project and potentially helps our users a lot. I'm not sure it's quite as productive as you say it is - a term has to be very widely known to work as a metonym. Smurrayinchester (talk) 14:04, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
I think it should be noted whenever they can be cited. Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV 15:54, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
I don't see the reason to include these. Anyone who sees the definition "the government of Georgia" under the meaning of Tbilisi will understand the connection. For Whitehall, the definition can be changed from "; it houses several government offices" to ", where a large number of national government offices are located." --BB12 (talk) 23:16, 27 May 2012 (UTC)
But it's the definition "the government of Georgia" that's under discussion here. Another example is Foggy Bottom, metonymic for the U.S. Department of State. —Angr 17:47, 30 May 2012 (UTC)

It can get more local. See Broadway (for the government of Manitoba). Michael Z. 2012-06-27 03:45 z


I am sure this has been covered before, but I can't find anything and based on what it is I am looking for, there won't be an easy way to find an earlier discussion. But under the definition of 'a', it is missing this definition and I am not sure how to word it, or even if it is warranted. "used before plural nouns like few, many couple, great many, etc." It is in my copy of American Heritage Dictionary, and WNCD, Thanks Speednat (talk) 19:18, 25 May 2012 (UTC

Second thing on a: The definition that from the 3rd etymology and the 2nd definition of that etymology, or in other words "In the process of; in the act of; into; to" is repeated under a-, which is how I believe it is more readily used. In fact the Dylan song is hyphenated and all my dictionaries show it with the hyphen. So I believe that the non-hyphenated entry should either be removed or point towards the hyphenated entry. Speednat (talk) 20:02, 25 May 2012 (UTC)


Usage note is debatable --Maria.Sion (talk) 14:56, 26 May 2012 (UTC)

Certainly American English uses a hyphen after a double ll. Something may be "ball-like" or "pill-like", but not *"balllike" or *"pilllike". Maybe even after a single l; I think I'd be more likely to write "gel-like" than "gellike". —Angr 16:00, 26 May 2012 (UTC)
I've edited the usage note to say "sometimes" for American usage. If you think it should say "often" instead, then please edit it. Certainly the note should not imply that the hyphen is always omitted in America (or always inserted in Britain). Dbfirs 16:19, 26 May 2012 (UTC)
-like Is not the only suffix/suffixoid subject to this kind of variation. Look at -pants, for example (not to mention the longstanding variation in english compounds in general). Circeus (talk) 19:08, 27 May 2012 (UTC)


I think this word Snuggie should be included here, perhaps with a kind of copyright notice, as this may be trademarked--Maria.Sion (talk) 23:11, 27 May 2012 (UTC)

I don't think we need to make trademark notices, do we? But I'm pretty sure the second meaning of snuggie, currently undefined, is the same thing as Snuggie. —Angr 10:36, 28 May 2012 (UTC)

dole out

Definitions here are crappy--Maria.Sion (talk) 09:32, 28 May 2012 (UTC)

Isn't meaning 3, currently undefined, simply definition 1 "distribute"? —Angr 10:37, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
I have moved the cite to sense 1, deleted the rfdef, and added "in small amounts" to the first sense. Also added {{en-verb}}, replacing {{head}} (Why would anyone use {{head}} for something in English?)
Can anyone guess which sense of generate is meant in definition 2? I have RfVed that sense.
Are there other problems? DCDuring TALK 12:51, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
I might use {{head}} for something in English, simply because I don't edit English that much and am not sure what headword-line templates are available for it. —Angr 13:52, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
I was cranky. I normally used {{infl}} for languages I don't know and now use {{head}}. In English every true PoS has a good template of the form {{en-PoS}}. On inspection, this instance of {{head}} is the result of a mass replacement of {{infl}} by {{head}}. DCDuring TALK 14:46, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
I think some people prefer to use {{head}} for multiword idioms where only the syntactic head shows inflection; for example, it's not clear that [[walk a mile in someone's shoes]], if it existed, would benefit from fully listing out the inflected forms "walks a mile in someone's shoes", "walking a mile in someone's shoes", in "walked a mile in someone's shoes" (especially since these would be self-links: someone who clicked on them would find themself at the same entry they were already on). —RuakhTALK 15:31, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
When I'm cranky, I'm often wrong. That's what I do myself. I even used to use infl/head for phrasal verbs with irregularly conjugating verb heads. DCDuring TALK 15:43, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
This is yet another of WF's entries (original and current version). Although most of his entries are good enogh, his attempts at defining English terms are crappy (to use his own term). SemperBlotto (talk) 13:59, 28 May 2012 (UTC)


I added this several years ago as an alt spell of xiphioid (swordfish). I'm not sure about it now. G.Books seems to suggest that it's something akin to ziphiid (whale), i.e. still fishy but not a swordfish. Anyone know for sure? Equinox 01:32, 29 May 2012 (UTC)

I've just spent some time examining google books:"ziphioid" and google books:"ziphioids" and so on, and found that:
  • It's obsolete, or at least archaic. The Google Ngram Viewer's graph shows it more or less dead by 1920.
  • It's chiefly found in the phrase "ziphioid whale(s)", meaning "beaked whale(s)", i.e. "ziphiid(s)". (I'm quite confident of this identification; a few of the cites list four genera of ziphioid whales, namely Mesoplodon, Berardius, Ziphius, and either Hyperoodon or Hyperoödon. w:Beaked whale lists a few other genera in addition to these four, but all of those other ones are either (1) extinct or (2) not described until after 1920.)
  • It's often used as a noun meaning "beaked whale".
  • It's often used in phrases such as "ziphioid genera" (meaning, in that case, "genera of beaked whales"); I'm not sure if that's best viewed as an adjective or as an attributive noun ("ziphioid genera" = "genera of ziphioids").
RuakhTALK 15:31, 29 May 2012 (UTC)

Definitely whales. I've changed to be an alt-form of ziphiid, both as a noun and an adjective. I haven't given it any context labels about obsoleteness or the like because it seems familiar enough to me, but given the Ngram data, I'd welcome something along those lines. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 01:02, 30 May 2012 (UTC)

come on home

Just created this entry. Not sure if it's idiomatic. Doesn't seem to be 100% intuitive to a non-native speaker. ---> Tooironic (talk) 12:40, 30 May 2012 (UTC)

Oh, come on! That can't be right. ;-)
I think we lack the right sense of come on#Verb. It is an informal or colloquial sense as in "He came on over to visit.", "The dog was coming on back before he called him". It might be related to the idiomatic sentence "Come on!".
Perhaps the particle on is just there for prosodic reasons. DCDuring TALK 13:14, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
Not just for prosodic reasons- it definitely has a semantic dimension, if only to change the tone or register. Chuck Entz (talk) 14:26, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
How would you characterize what on adds? It certainly softens an imperative.
Other adverbs that follow come on are in/out, here/there, down/up, by, around, behind,. Prepositional phrases don't seem impossible, but few seem acceptable. "Come on to Times Square." seems implausible to me, though not "Come on up/down/over to Times Square." DCDuring TALK 17:26, 30 May 2012 (UTC)

June 2012


What the best way of dealing with verbs that have identical infinitive forms, but different conjugations? German has quite a few verbs which have both separable and inseparable forms; umgehen for example conjugates as "Ich umgehe" when it means "I bypass" but "Ich gehe um" for "I deal with". übersetzen ("translate" in the inseparable form, "ferry" in the seperable) and umfahren ("drive around and avoid" in the inseparable, "crash into and knock over" in the separable) are the same. At the moment, umgehen simply has two verb headings (which perhaps makes most sense, but isn't very clear), übersetzen divides them by etymologies (which seems wrong to me - both are über- + setzen, it's only the grammar that differs) and umfahren divides them by pronunciation (which kind of makes sense - the stress is different on a separable verb). The German Wiktionary has separate headings of Verb, trennbar and Verb, untrennbar for these cases, but I'm not sure whether this is a system that would work well in the English Wiktionary. Smurrayinchester (talk) 15:08, 1 June 2012 (UTC)

Using two verb headings is good and clear enough, IMO. Übersetzen could also be divided by pronunciation. Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV 15:48, 1 June 2012 (UTC)
  1. I suspect that [[übersetzen]] has two ===Etymology=== headers to get around the (since deleted) strong language prohibiting use of multiple ===Pronunciation=== headers, as discussed at Wiktionary:Grease_pit#Handling_sense-specific_pronunciations_under_a_single_etyl. The general consensus was that multiple ===Pronunciation=== headers is preferable instead of multiple ===Etymology=== headers for situations like [[umfahren]] or [[übersetzen]], where the etymologies for the different pronunciations are identical.
  2. The [[umfahren]] entry is exceedingly sparse in detail. This might suffice for someone already fluent in German, but for learners, it's impossible to tell what's going on. The [[übersetzen]] entry at least has conjugation tables, which shows the prefix as separable or inseparable.
Some suggestions for clarifying German verbs:
  • How hard would it be to add "separable" / "inseparable" to the German verb header template? That seems like the kind of information that would go on the POS header line.
  • Could we add a link to Appendix:German verbs to the header of the conjugation table template, as we have for some other languages? See the verb conjugation table headers