Wiktionary:Tea room

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

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

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

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

Oldest tagged RFTs


July 2015


My Chinese-English dictionary thinks this is a word in English as well. Any ideas? ---> Tooironic (talk) 03:35, 1 July 2015 (UTC)

There seems to be a nestor that means something close to "nester", used as a coordinate of squatter, farmer, and miner, as opposing the open-range cattlemen in the American West of the late 19th century. A Nestor (sometimes nestor) is an old, and possibly wise, man, like w:Nestor (mythology) in Homer, whose advice may or may not be good.
Other dictionaries sometimes define it as "patriarch" or "leader", but perhaps "elder" is better. DCDuring TALK 04:01, 1 July 2015 (UTC)
We have Nestor. The OED says it is not always capitalised. SemperBlotto (talk) 06:56, 1 July 2015 (UTC)
What does it give as the Chinese translation? That should help us figure it out. --WikiTiki89 13:53, 1 July 2015 (UTC)
My Chinese dictionary translates nestor as 鼻祖... ---> Tooironic (talk) 15:16, 1 July 2015 (UTC)

to let

I tried my best here, but I'm sure I stuffed something up. Anyone care to take a look? ---> Tooironic (talk) 11:19, 1 July 2015 (UTC)

  • Looks OK to me (added Italian translation, don't know any other). SemperBlotto (talk) 15:18, 1 July 2015 (UTC)


What is that musical-note stuff in the pronunciation section? If it has some kind of meaning, it ought to be better explained, and it probably ought not to be on the IPA line (unless it really is some kind of new IPA-recommended notation). This, that and the other (talk) 15:00, 1 July 2015 (UTC)

Not that I know of. I removed it. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:17, 1 July 2015 (UTC)
I'd guess it was supposed to indicate a gradually falling pitch. Equinox 19:19, 1 July 2015 (UTC)
See User talk:Strabismus#ouch. Chuck Entz (talk) 01:29, 2 July 2015 (UTC)


For anyone interested in words derived from fictional languages, I've created an English entry for silflay, with four citations from sources independent of Watership Down and which don't even mention the book. I believe it thus meets WT:CFI. If anyone knows of more cites, feel free to add them. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:59, 1 July 2015 (UTC)

to do with

We call this a preposition. Some of the fuller expressions that use it redirect to it and appear in usage examples.

The two problems I have with it are:

  1. it fails in the subsense definitions to fully cover use with forms of be.
  2. the sense definition is not substitutable in uses with forms of have, thus confusing translators and language learners, IMO.

AFAICT, it is not possible to have a single substitutable definition that covers both uses with have and uses with be.

I am having trouble finding references that cover this in a way that corresponds to our preposition treatment (which I don't object to, but am not committed to), so I'd like the thoughts of others. DCDuring TALK 15:06, 2 July 2015 (UTC)

  • Hmm. Doesn't "this is to do with learning English" and "this has to do with learning English" mean the same thing? SemperBlotto (talk) 15:17, 2 July 2015 (UTC)
    Yes, but although in "This is '(relevant|related) to' learning English" "relevant|related to" is substitutable, in "This has '(relevant|related) to' learning English" it is not. "Relevance to" or "association with" would be substitutable with have. Although neither reads like a definition of a preposition, they seem otherwise satisfactory to me. DCDuring TALK 16:06, 2 July 2015 (UTC)
We could:
  1. have two definitions, one for use with have, another for use with be
  2. have two entries, one for have to do with, another for be to do with
  3. decide substitutability is not necessary in this case.
I favor option 1 and would be happy to explain why if asked. DCDuring TALK 16:01, 2 July 2015 (UTC)


Probably shouldn't have "niggerize" as the definition, but I'm not sure what else I would place there. Also, needs real citations. —ObsequiousNewt (εἴρηκα|πεποίηκα) 03:59, 3 July 2015 (UTC)

Changed def to "To convert to the black race or culture." This is, of course, long-time abuser PaM. I say nothing about the attestability but I agree that we don't want "nigger" in definitions if we can reasonably avoid it. Equinox 05:18, 3 July 2015 (UTC)

one-year-old, 1-year-old

These, and many other terms starting with a different number, seem to be well attested in English. They have unhyphenated, single-word translations in Italian (see Category:Italian words suffixed with -enne) and possibly other languages. We have a definition of the suffix (-year-old), but not (unlike with other suffixes) the actual words. Is their any objection to their inclusion? SemperBlotto (talk) 07:00, 3 July 2015 (UTC)

New Hart's Rules has some helpful guidelines, stating that "hyphenation often depends on the word's or phrase's role and its position in a sentence." (2005 edn, p. 52) This leads to approved usages such as "They had a one-year-old daughter" and "Their daughter was one year old". The rule in English is that compound modifiers following a noun do not need hyphens. —This unsigned comment was added by Bjenks (talkcontribs) at 21:17, July 4, 2015.

is that the time

Would appreciate some help writing the definition here. It's hard to word. BTW, any idea why it doesn't appear in the category "English questions" - just like at is that so.... ---> Tooironic (talk) 02:32, 4 July 2015 (UTC)

Why not just an RfD? It doesn't seem like a good entry for even a phrasebook? DCDuring TALK 04:24, 4 July 2015 (UTC)
Isn't it idiomatic though? ---> Tooironic (talk) 12:21, 4 July 2015 (UTC)
I suppose it is as idiomatic as "[I've got|Don't you have] work/school tomorrow.", "Look at the time.", "<Yawn>", "I've got to walk the dog.", "I've got a long drive.", "The sitter has to be home by eleven." DCDuring TALK 14:10, 4 July 2015 (UTC)

piazza, pizer

  1. Is British use of piazza to mean "covered gallery" dated or still current?
  2. Does piazza mean anything else in Britain, besides what it means everywhere ("public square, especially if Italian")? WP says "In Britain, piazza now generally refers to a paved open pedestrian space, without grass or planting, often in front of a significant building or shops." Is this distinct from sense 1 of our entry piazza, "public square"?
  3. Can anyone provide additional information (from DARE, other references, or personal experience) on where in the US piazza and pizer are used to mean "porch"? Dictionary.com says piazza is used in the Inland South, and I found a reference that pizer is used in eastern North Carolina and Appalachian Autauga county in Alabama, two rather disparate places.

I've expanded the entries with as much information as I could find. - -sche (discuss) 03:39, 4 July 2015 (UTC)

I don't know when I will get to it, but I've inserted {{DARE needed}} on the talk page for the entries. Only five pages now carry the template. DCDuring TALK 04:28, 4 July 2015 (UTC)

American Icelandic

See kar, etymology 2. What is "American Icelandic"? (Icelandic spoken by Icelandic Americans?) - -sche (discuss) 06:30, 4 July 2015 (UTC)

That's how I would interpret it. According to the U.S. Census, as of 2010 there were 5170 ± 849 people in the United States who spoke Icelandic at home. I guess this entry would have us believe that some portion of them says kar instead of bíll for 'car', which seems plausible enough. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 07:02, 4 July 2015 (UTC)

quicumque vult, Athanasian wench, etc

Notwithstanding Jerome Charles Potts's bizarre appeal to the sublime authority of Google, there is no doubt at all that quicunque is the correct spelling. If Latin Wikipedia was adopted as a supporting source, JCP clearly failed to make this search and make a careful examination of the results. Is it not damning that such a facile error could be perpetuated for nine years in a purported work of reference? Yet, on his user page, JCP candidly informs us "Rule of the game : i keep from consulting dictionaries". Is this perhaps symptomatic of a new-world "US Latin" to parallel more familiar US improvements of the English language? Bjenks (talk) 00:56, 5 July 2015 (UTC)

Lewis & Short give "quīcumque (or -cunque )", so quicumque must have been more common in Classical Latin. Ecclesiastical scholarship virtually universally has quicunque vult as the first two words of the Athanasian creed.
Apparently quicunque vult/quicumque vult are synonyms for Athanasian wench, a sense we lack at quicumque vult. Some sources for the slang term "correct" it to quicumque vult. I suppose one should check for the relative frequencies of the two forms in print in the slang sense, but that seems like a long run for a short slide. So one is an alternative form of the other in that sense, provided both meet RfV (WT:ATTEST). DCDuring TALK 03:44, 5 July 2015 (UTC)
In English works that use either Latin word, Ngram Viewer suggests quicunque was the considerably more common form until about 1910, when quicumque just barely overtook it. The story is similar with q. vult, and in German texts, where, however, quicumque overtook quicunque about a decade earlier (in 1900). - -sche (discuss) 04:19, 5 July 2015 (UTC)
Hmm. Taking the start of modern English back to 1550, I tried this search which reveals that quicumque first appears in the early 18th century. I would speculate that the misspelling derives from the appearance of the slang term and its rendering by a writer or writers with no Latin. I understand that the age's foremost slang lexicographer Francis Grose "received a classical education", and his Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue (3rd edn, London 1796) uses quicunque in the definition of "Athanasian wench". Next time I'm near a decent library, I'll look up what justification those Americans Lewis and Short give for their contrary interpretation. Bjenks (talk) 02:22, 6 July 2015 (UTC)
I've moved quicumque vult to quicunque vult per the evidence that the latter form is more common in Church Latin. I've left quicumque where it is (per Lewis and Short), but created quicunque pointing to it. - -sche (discuss) 03:12, 6 July 2015 (UTC)
Pinging Latin editors User:JohnC5 and User:I'm so meta even this acronym and User:Metaknowledge. Which form, of quicumque and quicunque, should be lemmatized? - -sche (discuss) 03:14, 6 July 2015 (UTC)
@-sche: It doesn't matter very much. Quīcumque reflects the word's etymology (quī + (cum + -que)), whereas quīcunque probably reflects the more "natural", assimilated pronunciation: The consonantal cluster -mq- only occurs in compounds (contrast -nq-, thrice as common) and is frequently subject to assimilation (see, for example, the variation in the accusative singular and genitive plural forms of uterque). Insofar as a speaker or writer is aware that quicũque is a three-word compound, quīcumque makes most sense; insofar as this is not at the forefront of his mind, quīcunque makes most sense. As for Lewis & Short's choice of lemma, the note at the beginning of the “Orthographical Index” in (the edition I have of) A Latin Dictionary reads “A list of the principal words which are variously spelled in MSS. and editions. From Brambach’s ‘Aids to Latin Orthography.’ (In most cases the form approved by Brambach is that preferred by recent editors; but there are still several words on which high authorities differ from him or from one another. For particulars, see the Lexicon.)”, and in that index's central column I read the pithy prescription “cumque, not cunque.” I don't know the reason for that choice (be it Brambach’s or Lewis & Short’s), but they supposedly choose the forms that predominate in the best manuscripts, codices, and editions (however they determine which are best). I note that, besides Lewis & Short, Gaffiot and the Oxford Latin Dictionary also both lemmatise quīcumque; in the absence of any authority that lemmatises quīcunque, I am happy to follow those three lemmings. — I.S.M.E.T.A. 16:33, 6 July 2015 (UTC)
What a good analysis! In view of that, and especially the Cicero citations made patently available in Gaffiot, I humbly withdraw my earlier comments and acknowledge that I was misled by the 17th century English occurrences. Bjenks (talk) 15:47, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
@Bjenks: I am still somewhat unclear as to why the current etymology of Athanasian wench even mentions quicu(m/n)que vult in the first place. The two lemmata appear to have no etymological beaning on one another. —JohnC5 15:58, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
It's explaining that the reason a woman who has sex with "whoever wants to" is called an "Athanasian wench" is that the first words of the Athanasian creed are "whoever wants to". I think it's an important explanation; without it one would be left to wonder why a word for something Christian was being used for someone of un-Christian behaviour (irony, perhaps?). - -sche (discuss) 17:50, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
Right, but it could do that in English: "From the first words of the Athanasian Creed, 'whoever wants'." —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 18:08, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
Yeah, there is no reason to give the Latin. --WikiTiki89 18:10, 7 July 2015 (UTC)

reductionist pronunciations are still here

A discussion last September established both anecdotally and through scholarly sources that pronouncing cull, cole, etc as /kl̩/ is not (as it is currently labelled) a GenAm or general US phenomenon. However, quite a few such pronunciations are still given in entries. These need to be removed (or given an appropriate label, but the problem we ran into in September is that it's not clear what that label should be; "reductionist pronunciation used by only a handful of people in miscellaneous not-obviously-connected parts of the US" isn't a great label). The entries can be located by searching a database dump for English entries which contain after a consonant. - -sche (discuss) 05:11, 5 July 2015 (UTC)

I agree they should be removed, and I do remove them wherever I see them, but what should not be removed are cases where /l̩/ is found after a consonant in an unstressed syllable, e.g. battle, bottle, etc. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 05:19, 5 July 2015 (UTC)
I've just removed all the ones I could find except the one in told; it's labelled "Pacific Northwest" and IIRC we did find sholarly evidence that "the 'bull'-'bowl' merger (/ʊ, o, ʌ/ before /l/)" (to /l̩/?) was present in the Pacific Northwest, even though the speaker who added the pronunciations was not from that region. - -sche (discuss) 06:24, 5 July 2015 (UTC)
Yes, we found scholarly evidence of a bull/bowl/hull merger in the Pacific Northwest, but it did not say that they merged to /l̩/, and I find that extraordinarily unlikely. They probably merge to /ʊ/, but that's just a guess. The citation is Squizzero, R. (2009). Bulls and bowls in china shops: A perceptual experiment investigating pre-lateral vowels in Seattle English. Undergraduate thesis, University of Washington. I'm trying to think if I know anyone who could put me in touch with someone who's read that or has access to it. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 18:29, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
Given that the user didn't speak Pacific Northwest dialect, and only use the label because it's we'd found which seemed to corroborate the pronunciation he wanted to add, I've removed it. - -sche (discuss) 19:02, 23 July 2015 (UTC)


I came across a phrase "tenderloin districts". This word is only in the dictionary as a cut of meat. An alternative definition should be added. It seems to be referring to US city districts of a dubious nature.

"Clustered in tenderloin districts in virtually every metropolitan area, peep show “movie machines” can also be found in suburban porn shops and the truck-stop adult markets that skirt highways throughout rural North America."


QuentinUK (talk) 09:37, 5 July 2015 (UTC)

From Webster's Third New International Dictionary:

[so called fr. its making possible a luxurious diet for a corrupt policeman]: a district of a city largely devoted to vice and other forms of lawbreaking that encourage political or police corrupions ⟨the dives and shady ~s of the underworld —H.E. Barnes & N.K. Teeters⟩

Aɴɢʀ (talk) 12:24, 5 July 2015 (UTC)
According to the Online Etymology Dictionary: "The slang meaning 'police district noted for vice' appeared first 1887 in New York, on the notion of the neighborhood of the chief theaters, restaurants, etc., being the "juiciest cut" for graft and blackmail." DCDuring TALK 13:05, 5 July 2015 (UTC)
I took a stab at a definition. Feel free to improve it as slightly or as comprehensively as you deem necessary. - -sche (discuss) 03:03, 6 July 2015 (UTC)
Looks good. See also Tenderloin and Combat Zone. DCDuring TALK 18:46, 6 July 2015 (UTC)

fōrmō v fōrma v μορφή etymology claims

fōrmō seems very confident of its etymology, claiming “From fōrma (“form”), ultimately from Ancient Greek μορφή (morphḗ).”

But fōrma is less sure of itself, claiming “Perhaps from Ancient Greek μόρφα (mórpha, ‘bodily form, build’), from μορφή (morphḗ, ‘shape, fashion, appearance, outward form, contour, figure’), via Etruscan.”

While μορφή is uncertain, denying its only claim, “Unknown. Many attempts have been made to connect it with Latin forma, but the proposed relationship is problematic.”

What's the best way to unify these? Josephholsten (talk) 21:56, 5 July 2015 (UTC)


The definition for memoir only includes autobiography and neglects to mention that it can also be a biography written by someone intimate with the subject. I personally have read many memoirs written by one person about a friend, and they are labeled as such. Merriam-Webster, Oxford English, Random House, and Collins English dictionaries mention both autobiographical and biographical meanings. As it could be seen as a significant change, I wanted to bring it up here first. Also, the limited definition has been making its way through various wiki projects which has hampered efforts to correct it so I'm trying to clear it up. I appreciate any help. Thanks, Hazmat2 (talk) 02:51, 6 July 2015 (UTC)

After realizing that this is a change I should make, I went ahead and made the change based on the definitions from the four dictionaries cited. It may require clean-up to meet Wiktionary standards though. Hazmat2 (talk) 03:55, 6 July 2015 (UTC)


Can anyone confirm the use of 馬達 to mean "policewoman" in Hong Kong (etymology 2, Chinese)? Justinrleung (talk) 07:44, 7 July 2015 (UTC)

(Pinging @Octahedron80 who added this definition) —suzukaze (tc) 08:48, 7 July 2015 (UTC)

Chinese characters that are only used in compounds

What should the definition/part of speech be for characters that are only used in compounds? Examples:

    • All three of the references in the Chinese section first start off their definitions with "(~䁂)" (in other words, they define 睌䁂)

suzukaze (tc) 08:45, 7 July 2015 (UTC)

English has something like this: fossilized morphemes that no longer have any independant meaning, but are found in compounds. The linguistic term is w:cranberry morpheme, named after the cran- in cranberry. A pet peeve of mine is how we tend to treat these as prefixes or suffixes in English. Of course, Chinese orthography is based on morphemes, so it's not possible to ignore them like we do in English.
I'm not really sure what to do with these, but there are an awful lot of them on the Chinese character pages- figuring out how to deal with this would get rid of almost all of the {{rfdef}}s in those pages, so it's worth the effort. Chuck Entz (talk)
suzukaze (I love your name!) and Chuck Entz, here are my ideas in a couple formats. These are influenced by my 2 years of college Japanese, the caveats being that that was a while ago and I have no experience with Chinese.
Combination-only character, used only in combination, idiom-only, used only in idioms, legacy character used only in set phrases, literary character, obsolete or archaic with the following exceptions, archaism, word containing outdated character, single-use character, legacy usage, throwback, aphorism, historical word fragment, historical text fragment, obsolete reading except in certain phrases, rarely used character, rarely used reading, rarely used combination, special character, uncommon, rare...
Okay, I'm repeating myself, so that's my brainstorm! I hope something in there gives you a useful idea. --Geekdiva (talk) 07:30, 13 July 2015 (UTC)
Even if we define a character as {{non-gloss definition|used in compounds, what should the part-of-speech be? It's hard to say that it should be "verb" or "noun" or "proper noun" because they are not stand-alone. —suzukaze (tc) 00:13, 16 July 2015 (UTC)
We already have a template for this, {{only used in}}. But I have no idea about the part of speech, it has been an issue with existing entries using that template too. —CodeCat 00:30, 16 July 2015 (UTC)
Would it be suitable to use Category:Chinese syllables? —suzukaze (tc) 23:57, 18 July 2015 (UTC)
Since they're called cranberry morphemes, we could use ===Morpheme=== as a header. We already have a category for them, too. —CodeCat 00:35, 19 July 2015 (UTC)
@Atitarev, Wyang, Bumm13: Thoughts? —suzukaze (tc) 01:03, 24 July 2015 (UTC)
@Atitarev, Wyang, Bumm13 (trying again:I get the feeling that it failed)—suzukaze (tc) 04:45, 28 July 2015 (UTC)
ping 病吗? Chuck Entz (talk) 05:14, 28 July 2015 (UTC)
For single characters we already use ===Definitions===, which suits them fine because single characters usually have very generic senses and PoS is hardly relevant. If characters are only used in a limited number of compounds, like , which is only used in 咖啡 (kāfēi) for pronunciation "gā" and 咖喱 (gālí) for pronunciation "gā", plus derivatives, we can use {{only used in}}, as CodeCat suggested but otherwise define as "a phonetic component" (if it's a phonetic component, used in, e.g. loanwords) or "a component meaning ...". We can leave the |cat= section empty, if nothing suitable can be found or choose the part of speech, which is suitable for the translation, e.g. 绿, 綠#Pronunciation_2 is only a rare compound, I made it adj. PoS for non-inflected languages like Chinese, are artificial, anyway, you need to understand this concept in a Chinese sentence, not when looking at words in isolation, let alone single hanzi. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 10:19, 3 August 2015 (UTC)

Asian carp

This term has become the object of legislation in the state of Minnesota. Fortunately, Equinox added it a few weeks ago, but a year after the legislation was signed changing the name for official purposes in Minnesota to invasive carp. I request that others hasten to add any such terms at first news of such public interest, so that we can include them while they are still topical. DCDuring TALK 19:00, 7 July 2015 (UTC)

Is there any online source that pays close and timely attention to such things? DCDuring TALK 19:08, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
WordSpy? Equinox 19:09, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
That looks like a site worth watching, but I think I am interested in euphemisms. I'd say political correctness, but I'm really interested in all euphemistic tendencies, not just those of the leftish. A search for "euphemism + watch" got a few sites. For example, fact witness means what witness once may have meant. But that isn't really a euphemism, it's just a differentiation required due to the prominence of other types of witness. Zwicky blog has some. "Protologism watch" gets more. I'm going to try Gmail alerts for neologism and euphemism and add filters until they are useful. DCDuring TALK 21:48, 7 July 2015 (UTC)

put off

I am trying to add the sense of put off as it is used in the example "I'm too busy to see Mr Smith today. I'll have to put him off." However, another editor has removed this, believing that it is the same as the existing sense "To delay (a task, event, etc.)". I disagree that it is the same (I am not insisting that my definition cannot be improved, however). Collins dictionary [1] and Macmillan Dictionary [2] and M-W Dictionary [3] all agree with me that it is a different sense. Please can some other people take a look. Also, while you are looking at this, you may as well also look at https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Wiktionary:Feedback#put_off. Thanks. 21:49, 7 July 2015 (UTC)

Obviously the senses are related, but we often have separate definitions when the objects of a verb are different in kind, as a person (in your definition), rather than an event as in "To delay (a task, event etc.). The acceptable synonyms are different, for example, postpone is a synonym for the "event, task" definition, but one cannot "postpone a person". In the example you offer, though, it is easy to read Mr. Smith and, therefore, him as meaning "appointment with Mr. Smith", an example of metonymy.
OTOH, the definition that you offered is much too wordy and is not "substitutable", that is, you could not insert it into a sentence where put off is used. Furthermore, "communication" is not the essence of the matter. For example, locking the door and turning out the lights is how I "put off" trick-or-treaters at Halloween. It is not communication in the usual sense.
A wordy, but substitutable definition might be "To frustrate (someone) in achieving a goal that required one's participation, as by delay or evasion.". DCDuring TALK 23:17, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
Your Halloween example is sense #4. The sense I am talking about always involves communication (though I'm not necessarily saying this word has to be used in the definition). You (or someone) has to tell Mr Smith not to come. That is how you "put him off". Perhaps people are not so familiar with this sense, but I assure you that it exists. 00:05, 8 July 2015 (UTC)
Not if I don't say "put someone off from something". Please direct me to one of the dictionaries at put off at OneLook Dictionary Search (or other online dictionary of your choice) that makes putting off a type of communication. DCDuring TALK 00:23, 8 July 2015 (UTC)


Is there a better way to define this than "brownie points from Allah", which I think belongs in WT:BJAODN? - -sche (discuss) 03:47, 8 July 2015 (UTC)

Observation: the plural in -s looks very rare indeed. I suspect this word might already be plural, since it comes from Arabic and ends in -t. Equinox 03:54, 8 July 2015 (UTC)
Another observation: I've never seen PAM make fun of Islam before- I wonder if it's unintentional? PAM is definitely clueless enough to make that kind of mistake. As for the plural: you're right- see حَسَنَات ‎(ḥasanāt). Chuck Entz (talk) 04:36, 8 July 2015 (UTC)
PAM just wrote "points from Allah"; it was Zeggazo who added the word "brownie". —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 16:55, 8 July 2015 (UTC)
I think those two usernames were the same person. Equinox 17:38, 8 July 2015 (UTC)
Yes, Zeggazo was one of PAM's main alias accounts. They started out as PAM, then got a rename to North Atlanticist Usonian, then switched to Zeggazo. I think they sincerely believed that changing their account would cover their tracks, but their edits are just too obviously theirs: nobody else would ever think to create the kind of entries they do, or make the same kinds of errors in judgment (but I'm repeating myself...). Chuck Entz (talk) 00:54, 9 July 2015 (UTC)
Judging from the entry at حَسَنَة ‎(ḥasana), it looks to me like hasanat refers to the good deeds themselves, not the credit one gets for them. Chuck Entz (talk) 04:47, 8 July 2015 (UTC)

Category:Quotation templates using both date and year

What is the purpose of this category? It is also wrongly named - the members of the category are not templates. SemperBlotto (talk) 15:38, 8 July 2015 (UTC)

It's a maintenance category for entries with one of the quote templates having values for both date and for year, which makes the year value redundant- not something I would lose sleep over. Chuck Entz (talk) 05:36, 28 July 2015 (UTC)


Is there a worthwhile difference between sense 1 and sense 2? Could I just merge sense 2 into sense 1 by expanding sense 1's label to "dated or dialectal" or "dated or eye dialect"? - -sche (discuss) 01:07, 9 July 2015 (UTC)

I can't find a dictionary that has drempt as a spelling, but a few that have it as a representation of the pronunciation (RP and US). The OED may have it.
I would have hoped that pronunciation spelling was the right term for this, as it would seem to be from AHD and RHU definitions: "A spelling that is supposed to represent a pronunciation more closely than a traditional spelling, as lite for light, or wanna for want to." But our definition insists "Spelling intended to represent a pronunciation not corresponding to a standard spelling", which seems to be an attempt to follow w:Pronunciation respelling. DCDuring TALK 02:01, 9 July 2015 (UTC)
The "dated" label on sense 1 implies that it used to be a standard spelling but isn't anymore. (Sort of like shew.) I doubt that's true; the very citation we use for "drempt" also uses "undreamt" just a few words before. To be eye dialect, it would have to be used to suggest a lack of education on the part of the person using it, which might be the case in the 1935 quote (since it also has "they was chokin'" to suggest nonstandard usage), but does not seem to be the case in the 1939 quote. I don't think we need to have separate senses for 1 and 2. We could just call it a {{nonstandard spelling of}} and have done with it. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 13:25, 9 July 2015 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Done. - -sche (discuss) 02:29, 14 July 2015 (UTC)

egg roll

Is this what the second sense is describing? —suzukaze (tc) 04:46, 9 July 2015 (UTC)

Yes, it should be. Justinrleung (talk) 07:38, 10 July 2015 (UTC)
According to w:Biscuit roll, this second sense is a literal translation of the Chinese 蛋卷 ("egg roll"), so it should probably have its own etymology. Pengo (talk) 06:40, 12 July 2015 (UTC)


Is the sexual intercourse sense of tap exclusive to American English? ---> Tooironic (talk) 10:35, 9 July 2015 (UTC)

I never heard of it, though I could see a metaphorical sense derivation. DCDuring TALK 02:39, 14 July 2015 (UTC)


Definitions 1 & 2 (as of this writing) are mathematically and logically equivalent so far as I can see, and in my judgment should be merged. —This unsigned comment was added by (talk).

Your merger seems reasonable. I can't make head or tail of the third def (the new #2): "The angle of seeing of the astronomical unit."? Keith the Koala (talk) 08:45, 10 July 2015 (UTC)

Regarding welsh verbal nouns

Verbal noun such as eisiau, shouldn't they have their own category?

Eisiau is a special case since it doesn't behave like other verbal nouns. For most verbs, we treat the verbal noun as the lemma, meaning they're all in Category:Welsh verbs. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:59, 10 July 2015 (UTC)



  • I think this term can also refer to a Chinese herb, 白芨. 16:33, 2 May 2014 (UTC)

suzukaze (tc) 03:58, 10 July 2015 (UTC)

Yes, it can, but I've always known it as bai ji. I created an entry for bai ji and added a second etymology with an alternative form section for baiji. Chuck Entz (talk) 07:46, 10 July 2015 (UTC)


The definition of the interjection is currently "Yes, of course." When anyone I know says it, they don't mean "of course," they mean it as a weak yes. If I asked someone if I should put something in such and such a place, and they responded "Sure!" I would understand from that that they hadn't intended to put it there, whereas if they responded "Yes!" I would understand that they likely had. If they responded "Of course!" I would understand that they thought it obvious. I'm not sure how to reword the definition, or if "sure" can mean "of course" regionally.

I'd also like to know how one would express it in French, as that is what I wanted to find out when I looked it up (the current translation, "bien sûr" means "for sure" which is not the same thing). Andrew Sheedy (talk) 19:16, 10 July 2015 (UTC)

It depends on the intonation when you say it. We can have the weak yes as a separate sense. --WikiTiki89 19:32, 10 July 2015 (UTC)
The meaning of almost any word can be said to be different based on the intonation. I don't think we are helping any normal user when we get into explaining such things at the expense of brevity.
I agree with Andrew's entire substantive discussion and believe the "of course" part of the misnamed "Interjection" definition is probably wrong, ie, could not be attested. I would prefer to see "Yes" as an additional sense under the Adverb header and the Interjection section removed. DCDuring TALK 20:25, 10 July 2015 (UTC)
I have replaced the definition with what I believe is a more accurate one, but I think it still needs work. Currently, the definition looks like this:
1. (Discuss(+) this sense) Yes. (Expresses noncommittal agreement or consent.)
I'll leave it to others to remove the tag if they think I've defined it well enough. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 00:43, 15 July 2015 (UTC)
Looks good to me, except that is a stretch to call it an interjection. DCDuring TALK 13:42, 15 July 2015 (UTC)
Upon further reflection, and a look at the definition for the English word on the French Wiktionary, I decided that the original sense exists. I agree that it's a stretch to call it an interjection, but Wiktionnaire does, so I haven't made any changes to the header. Currently, the definitions are:
1. Yes. (Expresses noncommittal agreement or consent.)
"Do you want me to put this in the garage?" "Sure, go ahead."
2. (Discuss(+) this sense) Yes; of course.
"Could you tell me where the washrooms are?" "Sure, they're in the corner over there."
I think I'll leave the entry as it is now. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 22:00, 15 July 2015 (UTC)


Isn't there another kind of book that we call "almanac" that we don't list here? ---> Tooironic (talk) 01:57, 11 July 2015 (UTC)

There's definitely what's specifically called a "farmer's almanac", which has a lot to do with when to plant things, etc. That's the only sort of almanac I've been exposed to, actually. Either the definition is too specific, or one is missing. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 02:28, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
I've added a second definition. SemperBlotto (talk) 03:46, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
Thanks, that's the sense I meant. ---> Tooironic (talk) 00:27, 13 July 2015 (UTC)

Albanian term or terms for sworn virgins not on Wiktionary, & terms from Balkan languages

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albanian_sworn_virgins begins:

"Albanian sworn virgins (Albanian: burrnesha or virgjinesha) are women who take a vow of chastity and wear male clothing in order to live as men in the patriarchal northern Albanian society."

I think the word "or" being in italics is an error that implies the entire phrase is the Albanian term. I think both burrnesha and virgjinesha are separate words that can both be translated "sworn virgins." However, neither word was on en.Wiktionary and I'm running out of energy to look elsewhere for proof.

Sorry all I can do is point this out, but my real-life limitations are getting in the way of doing this myself. Thanks in advance if you can work on this, here and/or WP! — Geekdiva (talk) 16:42, 11 July 2015 (UTC)

There are other synonyms in the WP article's introduction that might not be on Wiktionary yet. See below.

Thanks! — Geekdiva (talk) 02:05, 12 July 2015 (UTC)

I've deleted the italics from the word "or" in the Wikipedia article. Equinox 02:07, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
Thanks! So you had verification that that was correct? Everything I had found so far could have been referring back to the Wikipedia article itself, and so wasn't a good enough source. That's the reason I didn't make the correction myself and one of two reasons why I brought the question here, the other reason being, "Here are some words that maybe should be in Wiktionary!" — Geekdiva (talk) 02:12, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
I found one of the two terms being used being on its own in a Google Books search. Also, or doesn't seem to be an Albanian word. Equinox 02:16, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
Nice! Thank you very much. As for adding the words to Wiktionary, I'll leave doing or discussing it to others. — Geekdiva (talk) 02:34, 12 July 2015 (UTC)


Sense: rood screen (etym 2)
The accented (and currently uncited) form jubé is referred to as the primary form. Is it, and how do we know? — Pingkudimmi 13:01, 12 July 2015 (UTC)


(is this the right discussion room?) It appear that this user doesn't know what they're doing in regards to Japanese; could someone please check the definitions of 接觸感應#Japanese/接触感応#Japanese and 感應#Japanese/感応#Japanese? —suzukaze (tc) 00:37, 13 July 2015 (UTC)

As I explained on your talk page, you've only scratched the surface: I would guess that three quarters of his thousands of edits have been reverted or deleted, and all the rest have required varying amounts of time-consuming salvage work. I block him on sight most of the time, but he just switches to a new IP. The blocks do slow him down, though. I left a message on Eirikr's talk page, but he's pretty busy in the real world and may not get to it for a while.
For future reference: if you see an IP making questionable edits, go to their contributions page and click "Geolocate". If it says Sky Broadband or Easynet in the UK, you can undo just about anything they've added with a clear conscience. Chuck Entz (talk) 07:14, 13 July 2015 (UTC)
Take a look at my latest comment on Special:AbuseFilter 40. - -sche (discuss) 16:45, 13 July 2015 (UTC)


Could a Japanese-speaking editor please check the translation given in the Japanese entry? In Chinese this is accurately translated as "movable type". Thanks ---> Tooironic (talk) 07:19, 13 July 2015 (UTC)

Done. — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 00:01, 15 July 2015 (UTC)
Many thanks. ---> Tooironic (talk) 11:50, 15 July 2015 (UTC)

Old French entries and Template:oblique singular of

Old French uses the oblique singular form as the lemma form, so any uses of this are probably errors. Could someone with the necessary knowledge check all transclusions of this template? —CodeCat 01:38, 14 July 2015 (UTC)

@Renard Migrant, can you take a look? It's only a dozen entries. The problem in the entries I looked at is that the entry with "-s" and the entry without it disagree with each other on whether the nominative singular or plural is the nominative form which has an "-s", and likewise whether the oblique singular or plural is the form which has the "-s". - -sche (discuss) 02:26, 14 July 2015 (UTC)


can i do a page of a Suprapubic Catheter, and put some inages of a suprapubic catheter on the page The images will be of my own suprapubic catheter, I call my self Catheter2 I will talk about this too. —This unsigned comment was added by Catheter2 (talkcontribs).

suprapubic + catheter is the obvious meaning of those two words together, and does not need its own entry. You can upload an image to Wikimedia. Equinox 17:06, 14 July 2015 (UTC)

judgement/judgment possible alternate etymology

I would like to suggest that the etymology of judgement/judgment could also be judge + -ment and judg + -ment respectively. It seems to fit okay with the definitions of judge/judg and -ment.

blur (computing)

In the context of computing, an in particular HTML, "blur" refers to the opposite of "focus" i.e. to focus an input field (currently definition 7 on https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/focus). Since this definition for "focus" appears on its page I feel the definition for "blur" should also be on its page. e.g. the input field was blurred. 14:39, 16 July 2015 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done Equinox 19:43, 16 July 2015 (UTC)

Partikel, Pluraletantum, Singularetantum

"Partikel n. = particle (linguistics)" and the plural forms "Pluraletanta" and "Singularetanta" are attestable.
E.g. a few google book results for "das Partikel" in linguistics:

  • "sowohl wie um einzelne Wörter wie das Partikel (Adverb oder Präposition) mhd. umbe handelt"
  • "und in beiden Fällen unterstreicht das Partikel "nun" nicht nur den Imperativ, sondern führt als Adverb"
  • "Das Partikel chik zeigt an [...] Auch hier verliert das Partikel chik seinen auslautenden Konsonanten"
  • by a non-German: "[Title:] Am Rande der Grammatik (das Partikel und Postfix god in serbischen und kroatischen Grammatiken)"
  • "Die Verklammerung der Verse ist hier besonders eng. Die wenigen Fälle, in denen das Partikel ausgefallen ist [...] Die Partikel fallen bisweilen aus [...] Die Partikel fallen bisweilen aus [...] Die Partikel SCHON, NOCH, DANN [...]"


  1. Does "das Partikel" also have the plural "die Partikeln"?
  2. Should there be some note that those forms are sometimes prescribed and labeled incorrect?


  • Pons' "Die große Grammatik Deutsch" states: "Auch in der Physik gibt es den Fachausdruck Partikel, aber es gibt zwei Möglichkeiten: Man kann wie beim Grammatikbegriff im Singular die Partikel sagen; häufiger ist aber das Partikel (Neutrum)" - i.e. "Partikel = particle (physics)" can also be feminine. Is this true? Or is the statement good enough to include it anyway? (E.g. one could add a usage note and state "According to Pons ...".)

- 18:14&18:17, 16 July 2015 (UTC)

This is how the Duden splits it:
  1. Die Partikel ~ die Partikeln: linguistic particle
  2. Das/die Partikel ~ die Partikel: particle of matter
Perhaps the “neuterness” (neutrality?) of the second lemma is being analogized to the first? —JohnC5 18:24, 16 July 2015 (UTC)
  • I knew how duden splitted it, but duden is prescriptive and incomplete (well, that's no surprise), so it many cases duden is quite useless. Thanks anyway.
  • There could also be other reasons why Partikel (linguistics) is used as a neuter, though in a way these reasons might be related:
    • By analogy with Partikel (physics) - which might be more common (in movies etc.)
    • By analogy with the German translation "Teilchen"
    • By analogy with other words ending with -(k)el - well, that should be rather unlikely in this case
  • A few quotes for the physics terms:
    • "Die Partikel hat ein Bewegungsmoment" (Strömgren, Lehrbuch der Astronomie, originally 1933). In the book there are equations and fractions, so is this quotable, i.e. does Wiki-nearly-Latex work here?
    • "wobei sich die Partikel auf einer Hyperbelbahn [um die zentrale Ladung] herumbewegt"
    • "so ist die Partikel selbst, in der per definitionem kein Vakuum ist, absolut dicht"
But: If neuter gender is non-standard in linguistics, then isn't it very likely that the feminine gender is non-standard in physics - any mentioned by grammarians by analogy with their Partikel?
  • Regarding the plural of das Partikel:
    • In linguistic books it is: "in der Physik auch das Partikel (Plural: die Partikel oder die Partikeln; ‚Elementarteilchen')", "In der Physik gibt es den Begriff das Partikel und bildet den Plural die Partikel oder die Partikeln"
    • "elektrostatischen Einheiten, welche das Partikel unter Zugrundelegung [...] da ja auch die Partikeln" (snippet and here just a doubtful google quote, but indeed the book uses both forms)
    • "die auf das Partikel wirkende Zentrifugalkraft [...] Die auf die Partikeln wirkende Zentrifugalkraft" (snippet and here just a doubtful google quote, but indeed the book uses both forms)
- 01:55, 20 July 2015 (UTC)

Pluto's Moon Nix's formal secondary designation.

Nix is one of Pluto's 5 know moons and one of the 4 smaller ones. It was discovered in 2005 along with Hydra. Physically it is the third moon out from Pluto, with Styx and Charon being nearer. Moons are often given designations as PLANET'NUMBER'. For example The Moon or Earth I. For a while these numbers meant the position of the satellite in orbit. Eventually though in the late 19th and early 20th centuries more and more moon's were being discovered and it was becoming a pain to change the number. So they were fixed. The thing I'm wondering is what is Nix's secondary designation. Wikipedia lists it as Pluto II, while Wiktionary lists it as Pluto III. The first would be correct at time of discovery, the second is it's current position in the system with the discovery of Styx between it and Charon. Unless they started approving shifts in the numerology again it should be still the former. Does anyone know the correct answer? Because either way. The two sites are contradicting each other.


Are we missing the sense used in archaeology, e.g. Daxi culture, Dadiwan culture, etc.? This sense is countable, and as far as I can tell, refers to a particular society unearthed by archaeologists. ---> Tooironic (talk) 01:17, 17 July 2015 (UTC)

[ ] in IPA

I would like a definition of how [ ] is used in IPA to add to the entry [ ], please. --Daniel Carrero (talk) 18:22, 17 July 2015 (UTC)

Yes check.svg DoneAɴɢʀ (talk) 19:22, 17 July 2015 (UTC)

escalera, straight

The third definition for the Spanish word escalera ("straight", with a context of "poker") does not have a corresponding English definition. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 20:31, 17 July 2015 (UTC)

That was hard to understand. Are you saying our entry straight is missing the poker sense? If so, you're right, though that sense does have a translation table. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 20:37, 17 July 2015 (UTC)
Found it! It was accidentally buried in a citation for the previous sense. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 20:40, 17 July 2015 (UTC)
Sorry, that's what I meant. Thanks for fixing it. It looks like the entry for straight has a lot of things categorized as subsenses that aren't true subsenses. Should that be cleaned up, or is there a reason to have it like that? Andrew Sheedy (talk) 01:10, 18 July 2015 (UTC)

pelagus#Latin & pelagi & pelagorum

Either pelagus#Latin is incorrect/incomplete, or pelagi & pelagorum are (partly) made up. - 14:25, 18 July 2015 (UTC)


If chuse = choose, is "chused" really the past tense of chuse? —suzukaze (tc) 23:42, 18 July 2015 (UTC)

Seems so: [4]. Equinox 01:51, 19 July 2015 (UTC)


Has anyone else heard the pronunciation /ˈeˌniwiːz/? I'm from the Pacific Northwest and at first I thought it was just a quirk of my little sister but then I heard a public speaker say it this way a while back. (I don't say it this way.) —suzukaze (tc) 04:22, 19 July 2015 (UTC)

rear its (ugly) head

Anyone want to try for a good definition entry? - And what would be the best headword form? "rear its ugly head" or "rear its head"? -- ALGRIF talk 11:25, 19 July 2015 (UTC)

I'd say it should be "rear its head", as "ugly" isn't essential to the meaning, and could theoretically be replaced with another adjective. A usage note should indicate that it is frequently used with that adjective, however. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 17:02, 19 July 2015 (UTC)


I have sometimes seen nether-man used in Victorian-era literature as a euphemism for the penis or man's private area. This definition is missing from the entry.

For example, "You Paterfamilias, being a man of pure and cleanly life, will bathe, but you will bathe under the eye of the police, bathe with your nether-man hidden from the vulgar gaze by what the French call calecons, bathe in batches, the men in one batch and the woman in the other."


Or, "Be not seduced by the example of surgeons into party-colored raiment, neither invest your ancles, like Mr. Brodie, in web gaiters, nor your nether man, like Mr. Guthrie, in white trousers."


wer#German - inflection?

1. was usually is considered to be an inflected form of wer - like "die" and "das" are inflected forms of "der". But grammarians resp. grammar books use two "ways" of putting it.

  • a) by gender: m./f. wer, n. was
  • b) by (something like) animacy: animate/persons wer, inanimte/things was

(Something like "Wen hast Du geschlagen?" - "Ich schlug das Kind" might be more common, but might also be construcio ad sensum like "Das Mädchen ... sie".)
2. [de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johannes_Kromayer_(Theologe)] mentions dativ plural "wenen". Does/Did this form exists?

  • On the one hand:
    • "wenen" is formed in a logical way compared with der and the form denen.
    • older language sometimes seems to be strange compared with current forms.
  • On the other hand:
    • Sometimes grammarians make up forms.
    • It's quite common that one doesn't know whether the answer is in singular or plural, so the question should simply be like "Wem gabst Du es?" and the answer like "Ich gab es dem Mann[e]" (sg.) oder "Ich gab es den Männern" (pl.), instead of "Wem gabst Du es?" - "Ich gab es dem Mann[e] (sg.) and "Wenen gabst Du es?" - "Ich gab es den Männern" (pl.).
    • Nom. and acc. pl. "wie" doesn't make sense, as the word does exist and means (and should have meant) something different. So it's unlikely that there was a plural.

- 01:01, 20 July 2015 (UTC)

These forms are certainly not part of standard German, and also not of general colloquial German. They may very well exist dialectally. -- It's however not useful to consider "was" an inflected form of "wer", because "was" is completely indeclinable. It doesn't change to "wem" in the dative. Actually, it doesn't really have a dative, but if one needs to use it in the dative case it will be in the form "was", not "wem". Kolmiel (talk) 23:57, 29 July 2015 (UTC)


Is sense 3 really pronounced the same way as sense 1? And is breakfast as opposed to break-fast really the most common spelling of it? Other dictionaries (Merriam-Webster, Cambridge, Oxford Dictionaries, Dictionary.com, the American Heritage Dictionary, Collins, Century) don't even have sense 3, and so don't give any insight into how it might be spelled or pronounced. Incidentally, Collins has a sense we lack: "(in the Caribbean) a midday meal". - -sche (discuss) 17:10, 20 July 2015 (UTC)

In a Jewish context (usually referring to the meal the night after Yom Kippur), I have seen all three spellings (breakfast, break-fast, and break fast) and heard both pronunciations (/ˈbɹɛkfəst/ and /ˈbɹeɪkˌfæst/). It is often perceived more as a pun than a "real word". --WikiTiki89 17:23, 20 July 2015 (UTC)
But break-fast and /ˈbɹeɪkˌfæst/ are probably more common. --WikiTiki89 17:36, 20 July 2015 (UTC)
I checked Google Books for "Kippur break-fast(s)" and "break-fast(s) after Yom" with no space, space, and hyphen, and the data bear that out: 16 books used the unspaced form, 22 used the hyphenated form, 21 used the spaced form. Now the question is: is break-fast more common than breakfast by enough of a margin that it's best to move sense 3, or is it better to have all the senses in one entry? - -sche (discuss) 17:41, 20 July 2015 (UTC)
Meh, left where it is wit a usage note. - -sche (discuss) 20:26, 26 July 2015 (UTC)

Polish phrase?

What does "alesmy pochlali" mean? (I might not have it quite right.) I think it's Polish. Equinox 17:15, 20 July 2015 (UTC)

Based on the hits it gets on Google, the language it's found in is certainly Polish, but I can't tell what it means... maybe it's an example of a preved-like phenomenon? Sometimes it gains a diacritic or additional words, e.g. "aleśmy wczoraj pochlali". Any idea, @Tweenk, Kephir? - -sche (discuss) 06:03, 27 July 2015 (UTC)
Should be "aleśmy pochlali". Basically it is a brag about alcohol intake. :)
This is an example of moving verb suffixes (I don't know the precise name in linguistics). The standard form of this phrase would be "ale pochlaliśmy", which roughly means "oh, how we drank". However, the 1st person plural suffix -śmy can move to different words before the verb or merge with the emphatic suffix -że to form a standalone word, giving rise to alternative forms: "ale żeśmy pochlali" and "aleśmy pochlali". The verb is pochlać, which is po- ‎(iterative prefix) + chlać ‎(colloquial: to drink alcohol). ale is a conjunction that normally means "but", but when used in front of the sentence can also expresses emphasis. Example: "To piwo jest dobre" = "This beer is good", "Ale to piwo jest dobre!" - can be either a retort "But this beer is good!", or an emphasised statement "This beer is so good!" - the meaning would be determined by sentence intonation. In the latter case, the intonation would be rising and drop on "dobre", in the second the intonation would be emphasized at "Ale". --Tweenk (talk) 09:35, 28 July 2015 (UTC)

hot as in "in a hot minute", "for a hot second"

What else does this sense of hot collocate with? DCDuring TALK 01:26, 21 July 2015 (UTC)

I can find examples of "for a hot moment", the plurals with "a few" (google books:"for a few hot moments"), and (not on Google Books but on the web) "for a hot while". - -sche (discuss) 07:12, 21 July 2015 (UTC)

Most etymologies

I see that cat has six etymologies, which seems like a lot but I bet there are words with more. Anyone know which word on Wiktionary has the most separate etymologies from within one language? WurdSnatcher (talk) 14:57, 22 July 2015 (UTC)

- 13 etymologies. --Daniel Carrero (talk) 15:06, 22 July 2015 (UTC)
Interesting, thanks! WurdSnatcher (talk)
You might be interested in -sche's Hall of Fame. —ObsequiousNewt (εἴρηκα|πεποίηκα) 15:28, 22 July 2015 (UTC)

Latin nouns derived from verbs

I recently found a situation where I was researching "assectator" and "initiator" as names, and found that Wiktionary only lists them in their verb forms instead of their (almost certainly later, derived) noun forms. For assectator, a noun form is listed here: http://latinlexicon.org/definition.php?p1=2004943 and here: http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/morph?l=assectator&la=la For initiator it is listed here: http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/morph?l=initiator&la=la

I would edit these things myself, but I don't want to startle any editors by doing it unannounced. Rogerburks (talk) 16:33, 22 July 2015 (UTC)


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


This entry seems to be missing the sense used when referring to manga (not translated; original untouched scans) / anime (no translation/subtitles). I am not entirely certain but I think that it can be used as a noun ("Dragon Ball raws") and as an adjective ("raw manga scans") —suzukaze (tc) 01:09, 24 July 2015 (UTC)

What's wrong with definition 2, "Not treated or processed (of materials, products etc.); in a natural state, unrefined, unprocessed"? DTLHS (talk) 04:26, 24 July 2015 (UTC)
That definition could apply but to me it doesn't feel quite specific enough... —suzukaze (tc) 01:52, 26 July 2015 (UTC)

older English in affor

Several of the citations in affor use such old English that I can only partially understand them.

  • What does "vytin" mean? (For that matter, what does "hagbuttares" mean?)
  • What does the "The counsall ordanis the... bairnis nor he doid affor tyme" citation translate to in modern English?
  • What does "affor" mean in "buryed in Seynt Trinite kyrke in Hull, affor the Sacrament, of the north syd of the yle"? "Before"?

- -sche (discuss) 20:40, 26 July 2015 (UTC)

The quotes using "hagbuttares ... vytin" and "counsall ordains" are in Scots, not English. In fact, most of the quotes appear to be in either Middle English or Scots and are thus inappropriate for an English entry. In "affor the Sacrament" I think it means "before" in the sense of "in front of", but maybe it means "opposite"/"across from" since the Sacrament is usually kept on the south side of the chancel. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 20:59, 26 July 2015 (UTC)
Oh, and the 1987 quote is totally wrong; it's clearly a nonstandard form of afford. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 21:00, 26 July 2015 (UTC)
P.S. "hagbuttares" are hagbutters and "vytin" is within. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 21:06, 26 July 2015 (UTC)
P.P.S. I can't figure out exactly what the quote about the schoolmaster means. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 21:13, 26 July 2015 (UTC)

Two edit conflicts later...

  • Hagbutters on horseback came to this town of Stirling where all the nobility was assembled, entered within the town before any within knew of them.
  • The council ordains ["orders"] the school master to provide a doctor ["master, educated man"] to teach the school and the same honest man that his bairns to give the doctor his meet about ["that the school master give his own children to the doctor to be taught"], and ordains the master to wait himself better on the bairns ["to pay better attention to the children"] than he did before, and he will answer to them thereupon.
  • If it pleases God, may my body be buried in Saint Trinity church in Hull, before the Sacrament ["Alter", I believe], in the north side of the isle --Catsidhe (verba, facta) 21:16, 26 July 2015 (UTC)
    • I'm pretty sure it's the north side of the aisle, not the north side of the isle. (Holy Trinity Church in Hull isn't on an island, and it's in the south part of town.) As for "ilk honest man that hes bairnis to gif the said doctur his meit about", I think it means "every honest man that has children to give that doctor his meat", i.e. everyone who has children has to pay for the teacher's food, but I'm not sure. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 21:29, 26 July 2015 (UTC)
      • "Isle" vs "Aisle"... completely correct. In my defence, I was in a rush, and not just because I was hoping to actually post something this time.
      • If it's Scots, then it's more likely ilk as in "of that ilk", and ... it would take someone more familiar with period Scots to make that bit clear. My interpretation is that the School Master was getting a dressing down, and being ordered to hire a competent teacher, and to send his own children to his own school, instead of being a kind of educational slumlord. --Catsidhe (verba, facta) 21:35, 26 July 2015 (UTC)
        • According to the Dictionary of the Scots Language, ilk can mean "the same", but it can also mean "each, every", and to judge from the quotes in those two entries, when it means "the same" it's always preceded by something like "the", "this", "that", but when it stands alone it means "each, every". —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 21:38, 26 July 2015 (UTC)
          • I've looked up the dates for those quotes: they're 16C. The one for burial in Hull is from a collection of Wills from York. So probably not (quite) Scots, that one. The one about the School Master seems to be a saga: the next week's council minutes state: The maist part of the counsaill ordainis the scuill master to gait ane doictur in all haist to tech vnder him, vnder the pane of deprevascioun of him of his office; and that the said master taik na hear waigis fra the landwart bairnis nor he dois fra the tovnes, onle it be of benevolence. "the majority of the Council orders the School Master to get a Doctor in all haste to teach under him, under the pain of deprivation of office; and that the said Master take no more wages from the country children nor from the town's, except if it's charity." They seem to have been quite upset with the School Master and his recalcitrance. --Catsidhe (verba, facta) 00:35, 27 July 2015 (UTC)
@Angr, re the quotations being Middle English and Scots: yep. (It used to be worse; the quotations used to be presented as if they were all not only English but also uses of a verb! See the edit history and RFV on the talk page.) Thanks for figuring out what "vytin" meant! It was driving me nuts.
@Catsidhe you get the 'edit conflict' screen with the two edit windows where you can just copy what you previously wrote and paste it in after whatever comment caused you the edit conflict, right? I ask because previously in the BP or GP (I forget which) it came up that someone had never scrolled to the bottom of that screen to see their text, and thought they had to always retype their comments after edit conflicts.
- -sche (discuss) 22:11, 26 July 2015 (UTC)
(I am aware of that. I published my comment, got a conflict, extracted my comments from the bottom window and refactored them to make sense again out of their original (interleaved) context, published, and got another edit conflict. The third time worked. --Catsidhe (verba, facta) 22:11, 26 July 2015 (UTC))
Re "Sacrament", which question you appear to have withdrawn: my understanding is that the Sacrament is the communion wafers and wine after transubstantiation, but that these are always kept at the altar, either while being transubstantiated and used, or else in a tabernacle in preparation for being used later, or elsewhere -- and that tabernacle is stored at the altar. So to be before the Sacrament means "before the Altar", in practice. I'm not a Christian, so I could be wrong. --Catsidhe (verba, facta) 22:17, 26 July 2015 (UTC)
Aha, thanks for the information; that matches what I found, which led me to withdraw my question and just update sacrament to note the use of the word "sacrament" to refer to the wafers. - -sche (discuss) 22:34, 26 July 2015 (UTC)
As a lifelong practicing Episcopalian/Anglican, I must say I have never ever ever heard the altar referred to as the Sacrament. I'm starting to wonder if by "affor the Sacrament" he meant there should be a Eucharist service after his burial, but that seems like an odd thing to stipulate too. Maybe Sacrament has meanings in Yorkshire dialect that I'm unaware of; that wouldn't surprise me. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 14:36, 27 July 2015 (UTC)
I wondered about that myself. His will does go on to specify other elements of the funeral, so perhaps that is indeed what he meant: "...north syd of the yle, and to [be] rong for wt the gret bell; havyng Messe and Dirige with all the prests and freris in Hull, they havyng for ther sallaris accordynge to ther dewtye." And he was a former mayor (father of Thomas Dalton (MP), who was also buried in the church), so the church might have been inclined to accommodate him. - -sche (discuss) 17:42, 27 July 2015 (UTC)

blime o riley

"blime o' riley" is the phrase I used as a boy in Bristol, England, in the 1950s. I sometimes heard middle-class people use "blimey O'rieley" but they always struck me as trying to seem lower than they were socially, but getting it wrong. That my phrase seems to have disappeared, at least in writing, suggests that the middle class have won. They got the phrase wrong in the 1950s, the media were controlled by the middle-class, and then, because they were computer literate, the middle-class petrified the meaning for the rest of time. this seems to be an unusual case of "folk etymology." The omnipresent phrase "blimey" seems to have been assumed to be related to "blime." No matter what, I still cringe when I hear the phrase "blimey O'Reilly" know it is an affectation. arryengrove —This unsigned comment was added by (talk).

  • Speaking as a fellow Bristolian, I believe that the term blime is just Bristolian for blimey. An alternative form of it, and more often heard, is blige. Of course, you are much more likely to hear Spanish spoken in Bristol these days than Bristolian. SemperBlotto (talk) 10:05, 28 July 2015 (UTC)


I think this is a typo or tongue slip of arthralgia. It is well attested, but almost all Google Books hits (that aren’t scannos) use anthralgia once or twice and arthralgia much more often elsewhere. — Ungoliant (falai) 01:50, 28 July 2015 (UTC)

Anthroconidia may have the same problem. — Ungoliant (falai) 02:13, 28 July 2015 (UTC)
When works which use a nonstandard spelling x also use the standard spelling y, that is IMO the clearest possible indication that x is a misspelling or typo (short of addenda to or subsequent edition of the works outright specifying that x was a mistype). Anthralgia is not even a common misspelling; arthralgia is a thousand times more common. I would delete anthralgia. Anthroconidia is so much rarer than arthroconidia that it doesn't even appear in ngrams; I would delete it, too. - -sche (discuss) 07:43, 28 July 2015 (UTC)
Discussion moved to WT:RFD.


The entry for klauen (colloquial German for ‘steal’) says that its syntactical construction is identical to that of stehlen (the standard word for ‘steal’), for which the person something is stolen from is given in the dative: Er hat mir ein Buch gestohlen means ‘He stole a book from me.’ In the Die Toten Hosen song ‘Bonnie und Clyde’, however (lyrics here), the dative is used with klauen to indicate the people for whom the object was stolen: Komm, wir klauen uns ein Auto / ich fahr' dich damit rum (Come on, we'll steal ourselves a car / I'll use it to drive you around). Is colloquial usage of the dative with klauen inconsistent, or is the entry we have simply wrong? Esszet (talk) 19:23, 28 July 2015 (UTC)

The use of dative can mean both 'from someone' or 'for someone' although the latter is colloquial. In formal language or to make it more clear 'klauen für jemanden(acusative)' is used. Matthias Buchmeier (talk) 14:35, 29 July 2015 (UTC)

Good observation. Now. The "for someone" sense is logical when the dative is reflexive, which is the case in your example. I'll add that to stehlen. The statement of "klauen" having the same construction as "stehlen" remains valid. Kolmiel (talk) 00:00, 30 July 2015 (UTC)

August 2015

Meaning of 'docket' in administrative agencies of the executive branch

The Wiktionary entry 'docket' explains meaning of 'docket' in law, more precisely as used by courts in the judicial branch. This is covered even by the Wikipedia article w:Docket_(court). However, it appears that the meaning of 'docket' in administrative agencies (e.g. NTSB or FAA) of the executive branch is different. This meaning is not covered by the Wiktionary entry, nor by the Wikipedia article(s). I raised the issue in the Wikipedia talk page w:Talk:Docket_(court) but was advised that the Wikipedia article is only about 'docket' as used by courts in the judicial branch and was also told that Wikipedia is not a dictionary. So, I'm here! :) Please, read the replies in w:Talk:Docket_(court) discussion, it gives a good insight into the issue, a lot better than I could ever provide myself. I'm not a native English speaker, let alone familiar with US law concepts, I cannot resolve the issue myself. --Sivullinen (talk) 21:17, 1 August 2015 (UTC)

Spanish Voseo present subjunctive for e→ie

The English and Spanish Wiktionary seem to have a different idea on how to conjugate e→ie verbs for vos in the present subjunctive. For example, this and this (created according to template). Which standard should be used? Codeofdusk (talk) 05:48, 2 August 2015 (UTC)

If nobody knows here, I would try asking on the Spanish wiktionary (on whatever page is equivalent to this one). 02:46, 3 August 2015 (UTC)
I always learned that voseo terms were NEVER EVER irregular, apart from sos and andá. --A230rjfowe (talk) 21:59, 6 August 2015 (UTC)

Tell & Tally cognates?

According to the page for English tell, it lists English tally as a cognate. However, their etymologies seem inconsistent with them being cognates.

Namely, Latin dolus ‎(guile, deceit, fraud) is given in the etymology of tale, compared to Latin talea ‎(a cutting, rod, stick) listed in the etymology of tally.

Is it a coincidence that tell and tally sound similar?

Tally shouldn't be listed as a cognate IMHO. A tally-mark is a notch made on a tally (--a stick used to keep count by marking it with notches), so the similarity is purely coincidental. To keep tally is to observe/handle the marking of the stick, i.e. to keep count... Leasnam (talk) 16:42, 3 August 2015 (UTC)

‘àla’ – alternative form or misspelling?

Hi, does anyone know whether ‘àla’ is considered an alternative form or misspelling of ‘à la’? P.s.: ‘ala’ is considered an alternative form according to its entry. —James Haigh (talk) 2015-08-04T21:07:50Z

I personally object to labelling things "misspellings". Misspellings always imply a particular standard of judgement, such as an official spelling. But not everyone always follows such standards, and it's not up to us to decide whether they are right or wrong in doing so. So I think "alternative form" is more appropriate. —CodeCat 21:16, 4 August 2015 (UTC)
It's easy. If the author would agree that something is a misspelling if it were pointed out to him, then it is a misspelling. --WikiTiki89 22:39, 4 August 2015 (UTC)
So it's just peer pressure? —CodeCat 22:54, 4 August 2015 (UTC)
No, no pressure, merely asking yes or no. It's like typos: if I type "the wmoen" for "the women" and it's raised, I'll agree yes it was an error. If "the" is raised, I'll stand firm: that's how to spell "the". Equinox 22:57, 4 August 2015 (UTC)
But with something like àla vs à la it's much less clear. Some people would disagree with àla, while for others it's the normal way of writing it. However, most people who are not confident with their spelling will change it whenever someone else tells them they're spelling it wrong, regardless of whether a majority actually does spell it differently. That's what I mean by peer pressure. It's a question of "not knowing any better" and who gets to decide what better is. —CodeCat 23:08, 4 August 2015 (UTC)
It's more like "Are you sure you spelled this word right?" Then they go check their own favorite sources or whatever and tell you. You're not pressuring them into anything. --WikiTiki89 23:13, 4 August 2015 (UTC)


Looking around on Google Groups for citations of the "for the win" sense, I also find a lot of uses of 4TW in sexual contexts, sometimes by itself ("Shemale Kimber Will Show You A Good Time 4TW"), sometimes extended ("Tiana- Real Catholic School Teen Slut q'`4Tw", "Jackie- Twisted Taboo is her Specialty JU'4TW", "Sloan- Playful Slut Can be Your Mommy 4Tw;YU", "Libby- Domination Temptress Bitch +4tw[F"). Any idea what it means? - -sche (discuss) 23:42, 4 August 2015 (UTC)

Some Usenet posters would append alphanumeric gibberish to their subject lines, to get around any killfiles that had blocked the message by subject previously. I think that's all you're seeing; it doesn't appear in the message bodies. Equinox 23:46, 4 August 2015 (UTC)
Aha, that's probably it. - -sche (discuss) 00:47, 5 August 2015 (UTC)
So we should add this sense: # Phrase used on Usenet to get around killfiles. You know I'm kidding. --WikiTiki89 00:57, 5 August 2015 (UTC)
TW can also mean transwoman (that's a sense we should probably have) which might explain the first one and might be citeable in the same way that m4w, m4m would be (another type of entry we should have?). As Equinox says, the rest are probably random strings - I tried a few other random three-character strings ("p7z", "2L4") and got similar results. There's just so much spam on Usenet that any of the 46,656 random three character strings gets dozens of hits. Smurrayinchester (talk) 13:17, 6 August 2015 (UTC)


One of the examples in this Latvian term, skatīties tuvu, means something like "to look at nearby things", "to look at something near", indicating that attention is concentrated within a field of vision with rather small radius (hence the use of tuvu "near"). I wasn't sure about how to translate this into English: "to look near" sounds bad to me, and "to have a close look" seems to mean (I think...) something slightly different. Perhaps one of the resident native speakers of English could give me a hand? @Neitrāls vārds:, maybe you can help? --Pereru (talk) 02:28, 5 August 2015 (UTC)

Not an en-N speaker, but how about "to look in the immediate vicinity." It also seems that one can "un-idiomaticize" the en words by tacking on -by ~ to look close by, to look nearby (kind of like it is right now.) Also, at least when a perfective prefix is added, it mirrors the en idiomatic sense – apskatīt tuvu ~ examine closely, look closely. Neitrāls vārds (talk) 06:28, 5 August 2015 (UTC)
Someday I'll need to find a good explanation for the use of those perfective markers in Latvian, @Neitrāls vārds:. Maybe there is a good description somewhere that you know? They certainly aren't used the way the Russian perfective prefixes are, i.e. almost as part of a grammatical paradigm. They're more like English aspectual markers (the 'up' in 'to drink up' or 'to eat up', for example), right? And they also add non-aspectual information, so that apskatīties' still has a little of "around" to its ap- -- or doesn't it? I'm really far from understanding these things well... --Pereru (talk) 02:05, 6 August 2015 (UTC)
I think they should be similar to the Slavic system, the only "real" difference are the split forms that were copied from Finnics (piesiet : siet klāt, aizsiet : siet ciet) where the split form allows "de-perfectivizing", at the same time communicating the spatial information (there's a bit of discussion on this by Marta Rudzīte in here), whether or not you can make the split form is my private test to determine whether a pref. is purely perfective or spatial/qualitative as well. This probably allowed lv to avoid creating a "frequentative tense" as Lithuanian did (which somewhat resembles the Russian imperfectives, e.g., privjazyvat')
Curiously, while the split forms are imperfective in lv, words like ära in et (jarā in liv) "away" are called something like perfectivity adverbs (perfektiivsusadverb), this is conjecture, but they may be viewed as some type of an intensifier maybe, because Finnics already mark perfectivity on the object.
Back to apskatīt, in my test I cannot make a split form from it *skatīt apkārt doesn't really work) which would suggest it being a "plain perfectivization". The English constructs are similar in some ways, but then the best transl. for "drink up!" would be dzer ārā! (or maybe dzer laukā!) Which raises the question of their true nature, because the concept of "drink up!" is very perfective...? Neitrāls vārds (talk) 12:29, 6 August 2015 (UTC)
I would have thought "to look around", which suggests you aren't moving your own body, but are studying everything in your vicinity. Equinox 23:36, 5 August 2015 (UTC)
Thanks! I think I'll settle for a combination of your suggestions, like "to look around nearby" -- would you agree this is OK in English? --Pereru (talk) 02:05, 6 August 2015 (UTC)

Danish verbs ending in -ere; pronunciation?

There are a number of Danish verbs ending in -ere; a few of them are fingere, præsentere, introducere, fundere and citere. Wiktionary semi-consistently indicates that the penultimate syllable is long, which seems wrong to me. Stødt and stressed, yes, but not elongated. Am I mistaken?
Also, would it make sense to create a category of these words? Perhaps a subcategory of Category:Danish terms derived from Latin?__Gamren (talk) 16:03, 5 August 2015 (UTC)

Der var fejl på introducere samt citere. Jeg har rettet dem nu. De to andre transskriptioner er korrekte - [ɐ] er et udtryk for /rə/, og så står man tilbage med en vokal (der indgår i stavelseskernen) med stød: Denne vokal er dermed lang. Der er en længere forklaring bagved (samt visse særsituationer). Note hertil: DDO har lavet en simplificering mht. vokallængde og stød (f.eks. [5]), den korrekte repræsentation i IPA er [ˈɡ̊ʁoːˀ]. Vedr. kategori, du tænkte vel ikke på Category:Danish words suffixed with -ere? Den fremkaldes i etymologisektionen af koden {{suffix|[ORDETS ROD]|ere}}, du kan følge duellere som eksempel. Vh. --ContraVentum (talk) 21:14, 5 August 2015 (UTC)
Hvis du siger det, er det nok korrekt, selv om jeg ikke selv kan høre nogen forskel i længde på de tre stavelser i citere. Kan du anbefale nogen "længere forklaring"?__Gamren (talk) 15:53, 15 August 2015 (UTC)


This word seems to be almost always spelt as marshmallow-like. Is there a reason? My Pocket Oxford Dictionary states that -like should be considered as appendable to all nouns (all such words virtually exist in English), but doesn't discuss the spelling issue. Lmaltier (talk) 19:42, 5 August 2015 (UTC)

The longer a noun is, the less likely (somehow) it is that you can add -like without a hyphen. I can see some unhyphenated uses in Google Books, but they might be rare. Equinox 23:32, 5 August 2015 (UTC)
I think it's not just how long the noun is, but how natural vs nonce-like the noun is, with concessions in favour of hyphenating even natural, non-nonce-y constructions if they would otherwise be unclear. For example, "an L-like shape" (plenty of things are L-like, but "Llike" would be unclear), "a marshmallow-like pillow" (it's not common to talk about things being similar to marshmallows). Longer "(-)like" terms tend to be nonce-y. Our entries tend to avoid hyphens, but that is often not representative of usage; for example, "asparagus-like" is more common than what we have an entry for, "asparaguslike" (I will move the entry now). - -sche (discuss) 19:54, 6 August 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for your insight. It could be compared to italics: when a word is not found in dictionaries, it's more likely to be italicized. Here, it's more likely to be written with a hyphen. Lmaltier (talk) 05:35, 8 August 2015 (UTC)

Request pronunciation

Can we get a pronunciation guide for Blunger?https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/blunger Westley Turner (talk) 19:23, 6 August 2015 (UTC)


Is this really nonstandard? If so, why? — Ungoliant (falai) 03:10, 7 August 2015 (UTC)

It feels nonstandard or at least weird (nonce-y?) to me. In my experience, the standard term in British English is "flatmate", which dwarfs it by a couple orders of magnitude in Ngrams, and the standard term in American English is "roommate", which dwarfs both "flatmate" and "apartmentmate". Even on the raw web it gets only a couple thousand hits, compared to the 700 million which "apartment" gets, and a lot of the Google Image search results for the singular and plural are Asians (possibly non-native speakers). Changing the label to "rare" and adding a usage note that "the usual term is..." (we apparently have many such notes already) might also work, though. - -sche (discuss) 04:14, 7 August 2015 (UTC)
I've never heard or seen this word. Terms I've used myself are roommate and suitemate. Terms I've heard but not used (or not used very much) are roomie, housemate, living mate, flatmate, and bedmate. In my experience, roommate is used both for people who share a bedroom or for those who share an apartment but not a bedroom, while suitemate is used to emphasize the fact that these people do not share a bedroom. --WikiTiki89 15:46, 7 August 2015 (UTC)
It's not a word I'd ever use. My usage and what I hear is along the same lines as what Wikitiki89 relates. I like -sche's Usage note wording. It might be worth a template. DCDuring TALK 17:23, 7 August 2015 (UTC)
To move things along I've made changes to the entry that might be sufficient, but the Usage notes approach might be better. DCDuring TALK 17:46, 7 August 2015 (UTC)
"Rare" is definitely a better tag than "nonstandard". I may have used this term once or twice myself as an American "back-translation" of flatmate to emphasize that he and I had separate bedrooms, but usually I would say roommate (or flatmate when conversing with British/Irish friends). —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 11:23, 8 August 2015 (UTC)
The problem with rare is that it is not obvious when the term means absolutely rare, like hapax legomena, or relatively rare, as in this case. Sadly, merely adding relatively to the label/context, requires that users understand that we would mean relative to synonyms or alternative forms. Which of the two needs to be clear and the forms and synonyms need to, at least, be present in the entry, which they often are not. A usage note seems essential. Perhaps one could be templatized (and use subst:?) to speed the creation of such notes.
Also, when this problem arises in polysemic entries, a usage note is often not clearly connected with a specific sense and may not even be noticed by a user. For such case we could use {{lb}} or {{cx}} (possibly with anchor) to direct users to the Usage notes or a specific appropriate usage note. DCDuring TALK 12:03, 8 August 2015 (UTC)


Should the translations be moved to pathological? The only problem I can foresee is splitting into the various translation headings under pathological. Donnanz (talk) 16:10, 7 August 2015 (UTC)

I don't think so. Sense 2, the second medical sense at pathological seems clearly to be a synonym of pathologic, but the other senses don't seem so to me. I don't know whether pathologic or pathological is is more common in that use. I also wonder whether there is a US/RoW, NA/RoW, or other difference in alternation in different varieties of English. DCDuring TALK 17:35, 7 August 2015 (UTC)
I don't mind either way. Pathologic is not used in British English, only pathological, and the entry is now suitably labelled to reflect this. Donnanz (talk) 17:48, 7 August 2015 (UTC)
Except that now it says pathologic is American English, but actually it isn't used in American English either. It should probably be labeled "rare" or "obsolete" or something else to show that it isn't really used (much). —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 10:42, 8 August 2015 (UTC)
Agree; I think it was BrE (and perhaps AmE too) but is simply dated. Equinox 10:55, 8 August 2015 (UTC)
Hmm, I may have started something - I was referring to this [6] and this [7]. Donnanz (talk) 11:27, 8 August 2015 (UTC)
This Google Books search (with preview) shows abundant 21st Century use. The usage context may be (medicine) or similar. DCDuring TALK 12:10, 8 August 2015 (UTC)

Gheg Albanian categories

We currently have two categores for Gheg:

Is that really a good idea? Is there a difference between the Gheg Albanian language and the Gheg dialect of Albanian? Or should the {{label|sq|Gheg}} senses be broken out and made into separate aln entries? —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 11:20, 8 August 2015 (UTC)

Previous (long, inconclusive) discussion: Wiktionary:Beer parlour/2011/October#Gheg_Albanian. - -sche (discuss) 04:59, 9 August 2015 (UTC)


Don't you guys think that a definition this long like this should belong in an encyclopedia? I don't know if I'm just being too critical, but I had to notice this. It seems way too explanatory for a dictionary IMO. Should we shorten it? NativeCat drop by and say Hi! 04:41, 10 August 2015 (UTC)

I think this is one of the few cases where Wiktionary should approach encyclopedic levels of explanation (since it's directly about language use) but it's absolutely incorrect to have that information in the definition. I've moved it to the usage notes and added examples to make it a bit clearer. Smurrayinchester (talk) 08:11, 10 August 2015 (UTC)

Error in the word OMNIS

The alternative m/f plural form (omnis, Kennedy 73) is not given. Sorry I can't edit it, but it looks too hard, and maybe other -is adjs are affected.

All adjectives using {{la-decl-3rd-2E}} are affected by this: the older masculine/feminine nominative/accusative plural ending -īs is not given. I'm not sure if all two-ending third-declension adjectives are attested with the -īs form though. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:05, 11 August 2015 (UTC)
It should be only the accusative plural. The nominative plural was -ēs already in Proto-Italic. —CodeCat 19:16, 11 August 2015 (UTC)


I'd like to have an article written about me. Is it ever appropriate to ask someone else to do this here?

No, we don't do biographies. See WT:CFI. Equinox 18:51, 12 August 2015 (UTC)


Is -um really an acceptable alternative for -ium for non-pure neuter i-stems in the genitive plural? My Latin professor didn't say anything about it, and if it isn't found in Classical Latin, it should be marked accordingly. Esszet (talk) 17:47, 13 August 2015 (UTC)

Spelling of heterochroma iridium

Wikipedia's page is at "-chromia" and not "-chroma". Is this a mistake at Wiktionary? —suzukaze (tc) 02:09, 14 August 2015 (UTC)

Wow, this is an old error; someone pointed out the same thing on the talk page ten years ago, but no one followed up. Yes, judging from the total absence of Google Books and Scholar hits for "-chroma" via the many hits for "-chromia", I'll move the page. - -sche (discuss) 02:18, 14 August 2015 (UTC)


Would anyone agree that it's an adjective too? [8]. Donnanz (talk) 16:18, 14 August 2015 (UTC)

"Very high-rise neighborhood/pants"? "this one is more high-rise than that one"? "that building/those pants is/are high-rise"? Even if found in such usage, IMO it isn't dictionary-worthy, but it would be includable under current CFI. DCDuring TALK 16:39, 14 August 2015 (UTC)
A "high-rise apartment block" seems OK to me. SemperBlotto (talk) 16:44, 14 August 2015 (UTC)
It's certainly OK as usage, but it falls short of being evidence of true adjectivity. After virtually any noun can be used attributively. Similarly with noun phrases. Is the sentence "I lived for a time in a red-brick house." evidence that red-brick is an adjective? DCDuring TALK 19:15, 14 August 2015 (UTC)
Did the adjectival "high-rise block", etc. precede the noun "high-rise"? Equinox 19:17, 14 August 2015 (UTC)
Several hits where if it was only a noun, "were high-rises" would be expected instead of "was high-rise":
  • 1997, Eleanor Smith Morris, British Town Planning and Urban Design: Principles and Policies, Addison-Wesley Longman
    It is difficult to remember that families were thrilled to move out of their damp, 'unfit for habitation' houses in London's East End into new housing, no matter that it was high-rise.
  • 2004, Richard Turkington, Ronald van Kempen, F. Wassenberg, High-rise Housing in Europe: Current Trends and Future Prospects (ISBN 9789040724831)
    Between 1962 and 1965, 14% of new housing was high-rise, of which two-thirds was 5-6 storey [...]
  • 2006, Barbara Miller Lane, Housing and Dwelling: Perspectives on Modern Domestic Architecture, Routledge (ISBN 9781134279272), page 365
    During the 1950s and 1960s most conventional public housing built in large cities was high-rise.
And some comparatives/intensifiers:
  • 2007, Ultra high performance concrete: (UHPC) ; 10 years of research and development at the University of Kassel, kassel university press GmbH (ISBN 9783899583472), page 193
    In addition coarse grained UHPC with artificial or natural high strength aggregates were developed e.g. for highly loaded columns and for extremely high-rise buildings (Schmidt et al. 2003).
  • 2008, Stephen Graham, Cities, War, and Terrorism: Towards an Urban Geopolitics, John Wiley & Sons (ISBN 9780470753026), page 271
    That pattern, preexisting the attack on this particular citadel, will be strongly accentuated, but in less high-rise, less representative, less ''signature'' fashion, and more heavily barricaded and secured even than before.
  • 2013, Max Steuer, The Scientific Study of Society, Springer Science & Business Media (ISBN 9781475767919), page 299
    The latter is more high rise, and reads much like a troubled English estate.
  • 2014 March/April, Alexander Bakhlanov, quoted in "Pollution has more than one solution", ITS Magazine
    Take two theoretical megacities with roughly the same number of inhabitants where one is very high rise and compact while the other is relatively low rise and spread over a much wider area.
Adjectival use seems to begin in the late 1950s (according to Google Books) - the earliest noun use I can find is in a 1962 issue of LIFE (where it's used attributively, but then glossed as a noun). —This unsigned comment was added by Smurrayinchester (talkcontribs) at 06:00, 17 August 2015 (UTC).
The unsigned research above is quite impressive, who wrote it? Donnanz (talk) 18:44, 20 August 2015 (UTC)


This word (with two "l"s) (the condition of being monophyllous) doesn't seem to exist. With a single "l" it has a different meaning. I am trying to translate the French noun monophyllie without success. Any ideas? SemperBlotto (talk) 16:06, 16 August 2015 (UTC)

Easy solution: monophylly actually does exist, is easily citeable, and I've therefore created it. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 16:21, 16 August 2015 (UTC)
Thanks. I wonder why I couldn't see it. SemperBlotto (talk) 06:36, 17 August 2015 (UTC)


Cookie (used here for Swedish and Icelandic) is not a really helpful translation for anything, since it means different things on different sides of the pond. What does it mean exactly for these languages?--Prosfilaes (talk) 21:25, 16 August 2015 (UTC)

I have added a Wikipedia link to the Swedish entry. In a photo what looks like a cookie is described as en småkaka. Donnanz (talk) 09:56, 17 August 2015 (UTC)


It seems we are missing a big sense here: the one in He did not share his parents' values.. Unless this falls under one of the senses we already have in some way that I don't see. --WikiTiki89 11:17, 18 August 2015 (UTC)

I believe you're right. The verb senses have something similar (as a verb), but not the noun. Leasnam (talk) 18:35, 18 August 2015 (UTC)
I took a stab at it Leasnam (talk) 19:02, 18 August 2015 (UTC)


The translation says "cellar (enclosed underground space)" and the relevant definition at cellar "An enclosed underground space, often under a building; used for storage or shelter." Now in Czech blocks of flats, especially of the concrete panel type, to each flat usually belongs a storage space also called a "sklep", even when it is (which is quite often) on the ground floor, rather than underground. (They commonly look like this.) Would you call these "cellar" in English too? I ask because I don't know whether the English or the Czech headword are imprecise. --Droigheann (talk) 23:28, 18 August 2015 (UTC)

I think a cellar has to be at least partly underground. Perhaps "storage space (such as a cellar or closet)" is a better translation? - -sche (discuss) 02:06, 19 August 2015 (UTC)
Thanks, I put a usage note to sklep. --Droigheann (talk) 01:05, 22 August 2015 (UTC)

Your Man


Is this definition for the Hiberno-English term 'your man/woman' sufficient?

I'm only second generation Irish but I feel this expression covers something lacking in Standard English.

It's not a simple case of he/him, she/her. I feel like it's a bit like the 'distant' pronoun in Korean's three-way distinction. Someone far from both the speaker and the listener; often someone they haven't met. The best example would be a celebrity or a politician.

As I say, I'm second generation so this is the gist I get from my cousins and other relatives. Maybe someone who lives in Ireland could verify this? 01:45, 19 August 2015 (UTC)

  • I would have connected this with the informal English use of "your friend/pal/man/guy/gal/girlfriend" in referring to someone who is substantively or conversationally associated with the hearer. Sometimes the point is to imply a relationship of substance when there isn't one or the relationship is distant: "Your gal Clinton seems to be having some email problems." If the Irish use is different, it would seem worth recording, though the citations don't make the distinctive sense unambiguously clear. DCDuring TALK 05:30, 19 August 2015 (UTC)
    • The Irish use (which I've heard but don't use myself) is quite different. There's no suggestion that the listener has any relationship with the person being referred to at all. I was once on top of a cliff in County Donegal with a local, and we were looking down at the beach where there was someone walking. The fellow next to me said, "Look at your man down there [doing something remarkable]". Or an Irish friend of mine was telling a story of one time when she was in a pub, and she said "...and your man behind the bar said...", when I wasn't even present at the time. It really just means "that guy/the guy". —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 06:33, 19 August 2015 (UTC)
      • An interdialect false friend, then. DCDuring TALK 13:50, 19 August 2015 (UTC)
        • I wouldn't say it's a different enough meaning to call it a false friend. --WikiTiki89 13:58, 19 August 2015 (UTC)
          • A misleading friend then. DCDuring TALK 14:26, 19 August 2015 (UTC)
            • Would it have misled you in those situations? --WikiTiki89 14:48, 19 August 2015 (UTC)
              • Yes. I wouldn't have even noticed it otherwise. In my idiolect, it only occurs in partisan political banter, in which there is an element of guilt by association that the usage invokes, as "Your gal Clinton seems to be having some email problems.". I would read/hear any usage as parallel to that, especially with regards to the "guilt by association". DCDuring TALK 16:02, 19 August 2015 (UTC)
                • The first time I heard it I did think, "Why is he my man? What does he have to do with me?" but after hearing it a few times I realized it was just a figure of speech that meant "that guy". —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 16:21, 19 August 2015 (UTC)
One of the citations of messages touches on this:
  • A South African woman, just married to an Irishman and newly arrived in this country, was shocked when her husband told her, "I just saw yer man in the shop when I was getting the messages (groceries)." "My what?" "Yer man. […]" "I swear to you, Michael," she said tearfully, "I haven't been unfaithful."
Incidentally, that book also mentions an Irish sense of inside:
  • "Inside" is a room you're not in at the time. If you are in the kitchen, "inside" is the sitting room (living room). If you are in the sitting room, "inside" is the kitchen.
- -sche (discuss) 17:30, 19 August 2015 (UTC)


I think Wiktionary has been genericized into wiktionary based on my reading of usage included in the (new) entry. DCDuring TALK 13:48, 19 August 2015 (UTC)

At least some of those quotes look like they are referring to a wiktionary as one language Wiktionary (e.g. en.wikt; definition 3 of Wiktionary#Proper_noun). Can't tell if all are doing that though. Pengo (talk) 12:30, 22 August 2015 (UTC)

Multiple POS sections vs. multiple headwords

Many words can be of the same POS in different ways, ex. ultrahard can be countable and uncountable. Some of such articles have multiple POS headers, like ultrahard, and some others only have multiple headwords. Should there be multiple POS headers (like two Adjective headers in this case) ? I think multiple headword template should suffice. Yurivict (talk) 20:46, 19 August 2015 (UTC)

Our current policy is to have multiple POS sections (of the same POS). --WikiTiki89 21:23, 19 August 2015 (UTC)
Is it? I don't think so. Certainly for nouns that are countable in some senses and uncountable in others, our policy is to have only one POS header, with ~ on the headword line ({{en-noun|~}}) and the senses labelled "countable" and "uncountable". Only in cases where where e.g. foobarem is both the dative singular of foobaro and the accusative plural of foobare have I seen multiple headers (in Latvian adjective entries in particular), and that's because we're dealing with two different lemmas' inflected forms. In the case of ultrahard, it seems we need to modify {{en-adj}} to take ~. - -sche (discuss) 22:12, 19 August 2015 (UTC)
I guess what I meant is that our policy is to have two POS sections rather than two headword lines in one POS section. If you can fit in in one headword line, that doesn't apply. --WikiTiki89 02:04, 20 August 2015 (UTC)
Aha, true. - -sche (discuss) 18:54, 20 August 2015 (UTC)


This is labelled as an archaic form of two different words, which is a lemma-level definition (archaic form = archaic lemma). But the entry is also categorised as a noun plural form. If so, then what is it the singular of? That should be the definition, and the current definitions should be moved to the singular entry. —CodeCat 21:03, 19 August 2015 (UTC)

It seems to me that both senses are just the plural of the archaic/obsolete Sofee, which may or may not be attestable. --WikiTiki89 21:25, 19 August 2015 (UTC)

en-verb template doesn't do a good job validating input, and isn't well documented

When I change the template for the word 'abide' to {{en-verb|aaa|bbb|ing}}, the verbal forms it produces are abides, aaabbbing, aaabbbed. Where does the concatenation aaabbb come from? Documentation doesn't mention that arguments #1 and #2 are ever combined. It shouldn't even allow ing or es or s as the last argument after two forms were defined, because allowing them has no meaning, and is pretty much invalid.

Additionally, documentation is vague to possibly wrong at some places, for example {{en-verb|t|y|ing}} (changed the -ie to -y) - what does this mean? What is t, why would this mean that ie is affected?

Also, placing another en-verb in the same section just appends another inflection description. Code should prevent duplicates.

Could somebody please verify and fix the code and documentation? Should I file WikiMedia bugs for such things? Yurivict (talk) 23:30, 19 August 2015 (UTC)

Wikimedia bugs are not for locally created templates, JS, CSS, or modules.
The examples are what I find helpful. With respect to the use of {{en-verb}} for headword tie#Verb, the t is the unchanging part of the written forms, the y only being applied to the ing-form. So for retie the inflection line is {{en-verb|ret|y|ing}}. The template (actually the underlying module it invokes) uses the headword to construct the other forms by addition of s or d.
Validating input is not normal practice here, however desirable it might be. We are forced to be happy with semi-intelligible error messages if an error is discovered. It is considered better to have conspicuous failure that virtually forces the contributor to correct an omitted or out-of-order parameter, but not usually other faulty input. DCDuring TALK 00:02, 20 August 2015 (UTC)
{{en-verb|t|y|ing}} in tie#Verb is a very fuzzy use with an overly-complex template logic. Should just type them explicitly in such non-standard cases. It appears that |t| can only be used with verbs beginning with 't', otherwise forms that come back are wrong. Yurivict (talk) 01:05, 20 August 2015 (UTC)
It's just a typing shortcut, for Christ's sake. DCDuring TALK 03:37, 20 August 2015 (UTC)
What verbs is that syntax returning the wrong forms for? If, as a test, I put {{en-verb|r|y|ing}} on rie, it displays the forms I'd expect (at least in "preview"). - -sche (discuss) 06:31, 20 August 2015 (UTC)

man child

Sense 3, this looks like an adjective Leasnam (talk) 00:51, 20 August 2015 (UTC)


I don't know what to make of this. There's citations, but no definition. —CodeCat 16:19, 20 August 2015 (UTC)

google books:"un chiaux" shows that the expected singular is attested, so I've added it. But in the past, we've declined to include alternative letter-case forms of words where the case difference doesn't have semantic significance and isn't maintained in the modern era (e.g. we don't have Rights even though a lot of older documents capitalize rights in that way), so I'm tempted to RFD this. - -sche (discuss) 18:49, 20 August 2015 (UTC)

freedom of speech

Someone has asked for etymology, but I don't think it's really necessary; can't you just click on freedom and speech? Or is there more behind the request? Donnanz (talk) 18:36, 20 August 2015 (UTC)

They might want to know first/early uses of the phrases and the meaning at the time(s), especially in some historically important documents. It would be easy to get too encyclopedic in such an effort. Scholar pore over the words of Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence, constitutions, declarations on human rights etc. and write books on original meaning etc. DCDuring TALK 18:47, 20 August 2015 (UTC)
I notice User:-sche has crept in and added some. Cheers. Donnanz (talk) 19:03, 20 August 2015 (UTC)
Yeah, I figure the requester must have wanted to know when the phrase originated. The answer seems to be 'a long time ago, in a language far far away'. - -sche (discuss) 19:05, 20 August 2015 (UTC)

do, did, d'

From the pron section of do: "(UK, some speakers, used only when 'do' is unstressed and the next word starts with /j/) IPA(key): /d͡ʒ/". This isn't limited to the UK; US speakers also do this. What about Canada, Ireland, Australia, NZ? Is it just a general phenomenon? Examples: jew wanna = do you want to, jeet = did you eat. The latter highlights that did is also reduced in this way. - -sche (discuss) 19:30, 21 August 2015 (UTC)

The assimilation of /dj/ to /dʒ/ across word boundaries is completely normal and predictable, so I would say that the real change here is reducing /duːj/ to /dj/. There's several intermediate stages too, such as [dɨj] or [dɨː]. —CodeCat 19:36, 21 August 2015 (UTC)
In my idiolect, "do you" is never reduced to /dj-/. The only reduction that happens is "do" is completely dropped: "do you want to" > "you wanna" (/juːˈwɒ̃.nuː/ or /jəˈwɒ̃.nə/) and "where do you want to go" > "where you wanna go". However, with "did you", the "did" is never dropped and is never reduced to [dj-] either. Whenever it is reduced, it is always to /dʒ(j)-/: "did you eat" > "d'you eat" (/dʒ(j)uːˈwiːʔ/) and "where did you want go" > "where'd you wanna go" (/ˈweɹdʒ(j)ə-/ or /ˈweɹdʒ(j)uː-/). --WikiTiki89 20:00, 21 August 2015 (UTC)
On second though, that's not true, "where'd you wanna go" can still sometimes be pronounced with /-dj-/ rather than /-dʒ(j)-/, but then it can easily be confused with "where do you wanna go". --WikiTiki89 20:08, 21 August 2015 (UTC)
In my speech it sounds OK to say "jew wanna eat?" (do you want to eat?) but "where jew wanna go" is not possible (except with the meaning "where did you want to go?"). Benwing2 (talk) 06:19, 22 August 2015 (UTC)

Please verify real (currency)

There are two Noun sections there, one says that this is the older currency with plurals reis/réis/reals, and another one is for modern Brazilian currency with plurals reais/reals. Are plurals really supposed to be different when the base form is the same in English? Articles linked to reis/réis don't correspond to currency at all. Could someone with the knowledge of this subject correct? Yurivict (talk) 10:41, 22 August 2015 (UTC)

make it rain: should we re-create it?

I noticed that this article has been deleted in 2010 with the reason: fatuous entry. I would like to say that while that act indeed can be considered fatuous (for ex. I myself would never do it), this term is certainly familiar to the vast categories of people: students, comedy club goers, strip club goers, among others. Wiktionary (alike wikipedia) isn't in a position of making judgements on the subject matters (no-POV policy). It only should make determinations on the validity of particular words or idioms, and their familiarity to the speakers. And this is certainly an identifiable idiom. Hence, I propose to re-create this entry. Opinions? Yurivict (talk) 21:29, 22 August 2015 (UTC)

The deleted content was: "To click your heels together and be on stage 4.-Mike C. To toss money generously at stage 4.-Alex F." Equinox 21:48, 22 August 2015 (UTC)
I am familiar with make it rain "to bring work or prosperity to an enterprise, as by selling of inventing." which looks like it is attestable. It is probably a backformation from rainmaker, but that is from a agricultural metaphorical sense of make + it + rain.
There seems to be a contemporary AAVE sense which is something like "to cause a substantial amount of paper money to fall on a crowd or audience".
The AAVE sense also has some association with the idea of achieving sufficient financial success to afford such an extravagance. DCDuring TALK 22:23, 22 August 2015 (UTC)
Yes, I meant these two: 1. "to bring prosperity to enterprise" 2. "to throw bills around" I first assumed it was declared fatuous because of the second meaning. Yurivict (talk) 22:46, 22 August 2015 (UTC)
Sometimes entries for includable terms are so bad that we should start over. This looks to me like one of those cases. I would not undelete the fatuous entry. A new entry should have attestation, especially as no OneLook reference has an entry for make it rain, though many have the "bring prosperity" sense in their entries for rainmaker. DCDuring TALK 22:55, 22 August 2015 (UTC)
I am not proposing to un-delete an entry. I am proposing to re-write it in a good way. It obviously has valid meanings. Also googling images for it brings whole lot of pictures corresponding to meaning#2. Google image results for make it rain. Yurivict (talk) 23:02, 22 August 2015 (UTC)
You seem to be reading too much into the deletion. Note that the entry was not formatted (no Language, no PoS, no inflection line) and had only the two silly definitions.
There has never been anything preventing you from replacing it with good content. If it were to turn out bad, but in good faith, it might be RfDed, RfVed, RfCed, or rewritten, because this is a wiki. DCDuring TALK 23:43, 22 August 2015 (UTC)
I think our first definition is overly specific. It should just be "to make a lot of money" or something like that. And it should probably come after the (slightly more) literal sense of throwing paper money in the air. --WikiTiki89 01:40, 23 August 2015 (UTC)

Modern Greek noun χάος (uncountable )

In the entry it appears as countable. I believe it is uncountable.SoSivr (talk) 23:42, 23 August 2015 (UTC)


"(Britain, nonstandard) Form of a used in many British regional accents before some words beginning with a pronounced h". This isn't just a UK phenomenon; in fact, I thought someone said in a previous discussion that "an historic(al)" with a pronounced 'h' was more common in the US than the UK. - -sche (discuss) 08:16, 24 August 2015 (UTC)

Not sure about the UK, but in the US, if you write "an historical", then you don't pronounced the "h". If you pronounce the "h", then you write "a historical". You never have "an" with a consonantal "h". --WikiTiki89 12:27, 24 August 2015 (UTC)
I've heard it, but not in regular speech. I vaguely remember the phrase "This is an historic occasion" being uttered in a very formal speech. I think it may be the sort of elevated, hypercorrect pronunciation associated with upper-class education of a certain era. As for the entry: there shouldn't be two senses: the only difference is in the environment for the variant, not the variant itself. I'm sure those who say "an historic" don't think of it as any different than saying "an apple". Chuck Entz (talk) 13:25, 24 August 2015 (UTC)
@Chuck Entz: Just to clarify, you heard the "h" pronounced in that speech? --WikiTiki89 13:30, 24 August 2015 (UTC)
Absolutely. You don't hear that kind of thing much, anymore- the emphasis is on being folksy and in touch with the average person. Chuck Entz (talk) 13:56, 24 August 2015 (UTC)
Ok (but how does that make you more in touch with the average person?). --WikiTiki89 14:08, 24 August 2015 (UTC)
Yeah, to expand on my original comment, I have heard "an historic(al) (occasion|event)" with a pronounced /h/ in the US. It's an affectation. Grammarist, in the process of deprecating it, notes usage in some reputable printed media, which highlights the need for an to note its use in print (where one could argue it's impossible to know if the /h/ is intended to be pronounced) as well as in speech (where it precedes pronounced /h/). Relatedly, the usage notes say the use of an before a silent h is "optional", but I don't think that's the case — who says /ə ɝb/ for a herb? - -sche (discuss) 16:44, 24 August 2015 (UTC)
I don't think that article is very trustworthy. It claims "As far as we know, there are no modern English dialects in which the h in historic is silent (please correct us if we’re wrong)", which I'm pretty sure is wrong. I'm sure you'll find plenty of people in New York who still don't pronounce the h in historic. The thing about the an being optional before silent h is totally wrong and we should remove it. --WikiTiki89 17:15, 24 August 2015 (UTC)
Actually, come to think of it, a + [vowel] is attestable in representations of nonstandard/dialectal speech (and presumably also in nonstandard/dialectal speech itself), e.g. the line "Well, ain't this a innerestin sitchation?" in Moira Young's Blood Red Road (2011, ISBN 1407131583), but it's a stretch to think that's what the note was intended to acknowledge. what do you think of these changes? - -sche (discuss) 18:12, 24 August 2015 (UTC)
It's a good start, but I would mention that in writing, such usage of an before h occurs only in places where certain dialects used to, or still do, drop the /h/ sound (specifically this occurs when the vowel after h is unstressed). --WikiTiki89 18:27, 24 August 2015 (UTC)
C. Edward Good's Grammar Book for You and I-- Oops, Me!, page 84, says:
[If the] beginning h is weakly pronounced (historic, habitual), you may use an, especially in British English. an historic occasion (hisTORic) an habitual offender (haBITual).
Fowler's Dictionary of Modern English Usage (2015, ISBN 0199661359), page 2, says:
Before words beginning with h [...] the standard modern approach is to use a (never an) together with an aspirated h [...], but not to demur if others use an with minimal or nil aspiration given to the following h (an historic /әn (h)ɪs'tɒrɪk/, an horrific /әn (h)ɒ'rɪfɪk/, etc.).
It goes on to note that Wells (third edition, 2008) shows that 6% of British speakers use an historic, and even more writers do.
- -sche (discuss) 16:52, 24 August 2015 (UTC)

What is the standard on which articles should exist?

Some strange articles can be found in wiktionary. Here is one example: 2.4 children. I see why this is the wikipedia entry, but why this is in the wiktionary? Wikipdia article names shouldn't generally be added to wiktionary, unless these are very stable terms in English.

Someone also adds a lot of Chinese dish names, like doufuhua. These aren't English words either. Maybe there should be the special category, like "English (Transliterated Foreign Dish Names)" or something like this? Yurivict (talk) 08:52, 24 August 2015 (UTC)

Yes, Wiktionary has nontraditional entries like your examples. I think you'd find that they would meet WT:RFV and WT:RFD if challenged. But I think there is value to normal Wiktionary users in both of the entries you cite as examples, so these policies have not led to a bad result.
doufuhua To some extent contributors are all too eager to show that words from their languages have arguably become part of English. Particularly in the case of words from languages with non-Roman scripts there is a good case for having them as many cannot read the non-Roman scripts. Such an entry could well be called a "pronunciation spelling" redirecting users to the corresponding Wiktionary article in the non-Roman script and to the most relevant WP article. In all cases they can be RfVed, though quick Google Books and OneLook checks may show that our attestation standard would easily be met. If they otherwise meet WT:CFI on what grounds would you exclude them. Or how would you have CFI amended?
2.4 children could easily be encountered in English text. It has meaning beyond the meanings of its components. There is also little point in compelling readers who encounter the term to search for a WP article when we can provide something simple that enables them to get on with their reading and provide a good WP link for them to boot.
For those of us who are accustomed to traditional print dictionaries and a less globally integrated world it takes some getting used to. DCDuring TALK 10:57, 24 August 2015 (UTC)
Doufuhua would have to be used in running English text, conveying meaning. Being of foreign origin is not a criterion for exclusion. Message is a French word, after all. Renard Migrant (talk) 16:44, 24 August 2015 (UTC)
Where's the line between doufuhua and spaghetti? It is very common to adopt a dish by transliterating the foreign name; if you ask a native English speaker "what's that?" and they say "doufuhua", then that's probably the English name for it. In this case, I'm a little concerned about the spelling, as it doesn't look like this spelling can be cited.--Prosfilaes (talk) 23:04, 24 August 2015 (UTC)
  • To answer your fundamental questions: the rules are at Wiktionary:Criteria for inclusion. In a nutshell: the term should have been actually used, its meaning should not be deducible from its parts, and in most cases we don't include names of specific people or companies. 2.4 children passes all of these rules (since it doesn't literally two-and-two-fifths of a child, thank goodness). Smurrayinchester (talk) 06:38, 26 August 2015 (UTC)

‘él’ and ‘ella’ as subjective ‘it’ in Spanish

In Spanish, are ‘él’ and ‘ella’ ever used as subject pronouns to refer to non-personal masculine and feminine antecedents, respectively, the way ‘il‘ and ‘elle’ are used in French and ‘er’ and ‘sie’ are used in German? I know that the word that would normally be translated as a subjective ‘it’ into English is generally left out in Spanish (e.g. Está aquíIt's here), but I'm guessing there are times when you would want to say it explicitly, and since French, German, and (I'm guessing) most other European languages use masculine and feminine third-person singular pronouns as subjects to refer to non-personal masculine and feminine antecedents, respectively, I assumed that Spanish did so as well. I was unable to verify that online, however (this is the closest thing I found, and even the RAE has them listed as simply personal pronouns), and so I came here to find out how, if at all, subjective ‘it’ is explicitly expressed in Spanish. Are ‘él’ and ‘ella’ used, or is it something else? I'm guessing whatever rule there is for the singular also applies to the plural, by the way. Esszet (talk) 15:03, 24 August 2015 (UTC)

Although it rarely occurs, él and ella may be used as subjective or objective ‘it’ (él, ella, a él, a ella, de él, de ella). Ella es una universidad divertida. —Stephen (Talk) 22:16, 27 August 2015 (UTC)

-ion and related suffixes

I have been thinking of putting -tion, -sion, and -ation words in the -ion category, because of their identical functions and other similarity. -ion, -tion and -ation have identical etymologies as well, not sure about -sion (the -sion entries are strewn over). The separate categories should be kept; maybe linking the other categories to the -ion category should do?


fuse > fusion; act > action; explode > explosion; accuse > accusation; realize > realization; tessellate > tessellation; continue > continuation; conclude -> conclusion; ...

I don't know how to deal with them exactly. And -sion needs cleanup (look at the garbage at the bottom!) and a category. Hillcrest98 (talk) 16:37, 24 August 2015 (UTC)

I've sort of cleaned it up. But Category:English words suffixed with -sion doesn't contain any entries, and I can't name any either. Fusion, vision, conclusion (and so on) are all borrowed from Latin or from French (almost all of those are borrowed rather than inherited into French too). Renard Migrant (talk) 16:52, 25 August 2015 (UTC)
Underexpression and overexpression might be examples though. Underexpression is currently listed as from underexpress +‎ -ion which is I suppose better than saying underexpress +‎ -sion then that the third -s- gets dropped. Renard Migrant (talk) 16:54, 25 August 2015 (UTC)
Making the entire -tion category (et al) a subcategory of the -ion category (while still also leaving it in the categories it's in now) sounds OK. (Changing -tion words to categorize into the -ion category would not be good IMO.) - -sche (discuss) 15:05, 26 August 2015 (UTC)


User:Eirikr asks "Does this verb also have a sense of "to make a noise" or "to cry out"?". Moving the question here, rather than making entry requiring {{attention}}. I don't know a good answer to the question. Naver dictionaries give this, the third one is funny:

  1. cry, weep, howl, bawl, wail
  2. cry, chirp
  3. 기타 (gita, “guitar”)

--Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 00:39, 25 August 2015 (UTC)

빽빽 울다 ‎(ppaekppaek ulda) means "cheep, peep, chirp". --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 00:42, 25 August 2015 (UTC)
The obvious question about senses 1 and 3: does it gently weep? Chuck Entz (talk) 02:27, 25 August 2015 (UTC)
@Chuck Entz Yes, the same question was in my head :) Still love this song. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 03:52, 25 August 2015 (UTC)

road game

I have never heard of a road game, is it an American term, and the equivalent of away game? Donnanz (talk) 15:03, 25 August 2015 (UTC)

Yes, see w:Road (sports). The term perhaps made more sense in the early days, when teams would commonly go on tours of the country in a big road trip. Smurrayinchester (talk) 15:47, 25 August 2015 (UTC)
Ah, there's more to it than I thought. I have added that link to the entry. Cheers. Donnanz (talk) 17:00, 25 August 2015 (UTC)
I can't help thinking these would be best covered by road and away as game is just one of the possible nouns you can use, such as away win, away match, road win(s) ("leading the league in road wins"). But keep on the road as not easily derived from the sum of its parts (even if you have the sense at road). Renard Migrant (talk) 16:45, 25 August 2015 (UTC)
I entered some missing derived terms. That should help. Donnanz (talk) 17:15, 25 August 2015 (UTC)
@Renard Migrant IMO, road game itself is not easily derived. Nor home game. Also, let's take the time to note that road game and several related entries have been RfD. Purplebackpack89 23:08, 27 August 2015 (UTC)


* {{a|[[w:English phonology|Anglicized]]}} {{IPA|/koˈsɑ/|lang=en}}

English doesn't even have /o/ so that's not Anglicized. Renard Migrant (talk) 16:43, 25 August 2015 (UTC)

Should be /əʊ/, of course. (I think some accents do have /o/, BTW.) Equinox 16:44, 25 August 2015 (UTC)
Yeah, presumably /o/ was just shorthand for /oʊ/ in English, like /r/ for /ɹ/. I've expanded the pronunciation section. - -sche (discuss) 17:49, 25 August 2015 (UTC)
You seemed to have left out what I would find to be the most natural pronunciation: /ˈkoʊ.sə/. Also, since when do we allow "native" (i.e. foreign) pronunciations in English entries? --WikiTiki89 17:57, 25 August 2015 (UTC)
Oh, I only fixed the /o/ and didn't notice the /a/; the dictionaries have the schwa you're familiar with. - -sche (discuss) 18:51, 25 August 2015 (UTC)

Swedish -na

The Swedish entry currently has two definitions for this suffix under one etymology: one that forms the definite plural of many nouns, and one that forms verbs. The given etymology seems appropriate for the second definition, but it's not appropriate for the first definition. I think the two should be split up into separate etymology entries, even if one of the etymologies is not known. The Old Norse morphology article offers some ideas on the etymologies of all the definite endings, but I lack a Swedish-specific source. Eishiya (talk) 19:18, 25 August 2015 (UTC)

  • It is true that -na forms definite noun endings, but only for common nouns. Neuter nouns usually end in -en for the definite plural. On the other hand, I'm not sure about the verb ending. You can always check a few entries in Swedish Wiktionary (or on this site). Donnanz (talk) 21:17, 25 August 2015 (UTC)
I found this [9] on the Swedish site, but no etymology given I'm afraid. Donnanz (talk) 21:34, 25 August 2015 (UTC)

North Carolina

Can anyone verify the pronunciation /kaɪɹəˈlaɪnə/ (specifically the /kaɪ-/)? It sounds unlikely to me. --WikiTiki89 20:23, 25 August 2015 (UTC)

It was added by EP seven years ago. I'd say it's simply a mistake, possibly because the vowel which is used (the AIR / CARE / SQUARE vowel) is so hard to notate — perhaps EP thought /aɪɹ/ = air. You can hear three North Carolinians pronounce the state's name (albeit in a very formal setting) here, at 0:06, 2:55 and 3:30. - -sche (discuss) 21:01, 25 August 2015 (UTC)
That was my thought too, but I thought I'd ask just to make sure. --WikiTiki89 21:04, 25 August 2015 (UTC)
Never heard it pronounced that way, if that helps Leasnam (talk) 09:26, 26 August 2015 (UTC)
Southern accents can do some amazing things to vowels, but making both long a and long i into the same diphthong isn't one of them. If anything, I would expect the accented vowel to be pretty much a monophthong. Chuck Entz (talk) 13:36, 26 August 2015 (UTC)
Has anyone ever heard the pronunciation IPA(key): /nɔːθ kæəˈlaːnə/? I swear it exists, including the /r/ dropped intervocalically. Benwing2 (talk) 09:19, 27 August 2015 (UTC)
I don't know if I've ever heard it in the wild, but I have heard that some nonrhotic Southern accents drop intervocalic /r/ as well as coda /r/. John Harris once told of his surprise at hearing his surname pronounced /ˈhæ.ɪs/ by a Southerner. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 10:46, 27 August 2015 (UTC)
Maybe not in this particular word, but I have heard that in other words. --WikiTiki89 12:48, 27 August 2015 (UTC)
I can find eye dialect which suggests it in white speech:
  • 1941 September 8, Robert Coughlan, "Our Bob" Reynolds, the marrying senator from North Carolina "don't hate nobody," including the Germans:
    [I]n his thickest mountain drawl [...] Reynolds would [...] imitate Senator Morrison[: ...] "Now ah want to ask you folks. Don't you all want a Senator who's satisfied just with good ol' No'th Ca'olina hen's eggs, that cost 26¢ a dozen?" The folks uproariously and overwhelmingly did. They gave Our Bob the nomination by a plurality of 100,000 votes, []
And Labov has heard it in black speech:
  • William Labov, Dialect Diversity in America: The Politics of Language Change (2012, ISBN 0813933269):
    R-pronunciation among African Americans
    Furthermore, /r/ is often dropped between two vowels, as in Flo'ida, Ca'olina, inte'ested.
- -sche (discuss) 17:25, 27 August 2015 (UTC)

Latin noun modules

There are currently two modules for the declension of Latin nouns: Module:la-utilities and Module:la-noun. The former covers first and second declension nouns, and the latter covers third declension nouns (fourth and fifth declension nouns aren't covered by any module at the moment). It would obviously make sense to merge them and add support for fourth and fifth declension nouns, but there are two problems with that: there are differences in formatting between the two modules, and Module:la-noun cannot automatically detect on the basis of the word itself at the moment which pattern to use. Resolving the differences in formatting should be simple: just decide which one is better (I prefer that of Module:la-noun; it appears to be much easier to read and edit) and merge the two modules with that formatting. As for the automatic detection of appropriate declension patterns for, I realize that that would be much more difficult for third declension nouns; maybe a |type= parameter can be created to specify the appropriate pattern so that we wouldn't have to use a separate template for each pattern? Anyone else have any different opinions on this? Esszet (talk) 22:55, 25 August 2015 (UTC)

They definitely should be merged. But where are the declension functions in Module:la-utilities even being used? It looks like most nouns are still using the old non-module templates. I think it's a good idea to have a single template {{la-decl-noun}} or similar rather than a bunch of templates. It might make sense to have the type parameter be one of the numbered params for typing convenience, and omittable whenever the autodetection code works. You could have the first param be the nom sg with macrons, the 2nd param the decl type when it can't be inferred, and the 3rd param the gen sg when it can't be inferred. Further parameters can be named, e.g. |loc=1 for nouns with a locative and overrides to allow any individual case form to be manually specified. So e.g.
  • {{la-decl-noun|saxum}} (inferrable as 2nd neuter)
  • {{la-decl-noun|vōx}} (inferrable as 3rd non-neuter with genitive vōcis)
  • {{la-decl-noun|rēx||rēgis}} (inferrable as 3rd non-neuter, non-inferrable genitive given)
  • {{la-decl-noun|rūs|3n|rūris|loc=1}} (need to specify 3rd neuter, with genitive rūris, with a locative)
  • {{la-decl-noun|sēnsus|4}} (need to specify 4th decl non-neuter)

Benwing2 (talk) 09:16, 27 August 2015 (UTC)

I was completely shocked to find out that Template:la-decl-first, which (I think) is one of only two templates that make use of Module:la-utilities, is not used in any entries at all (see here) and that Template:la-decl-second, which is the other one, is used in a grand total of one entry (vesper, see here), and that's because I added it to it a few days ago. It might be best to merge all Latin noun declension templates into one comprehensive one, but before we do that, we need to have one big Latin noun declension module that covers all five declensions. Anyone have any objections to the proposed merger? Esszet (talk) 17:37, 27 August 2015 (UTC)

{{form of}} template adds ".23English" to links. Is this a bug?

I added such clause {{alternative form of|cattle prod#Verb|cattle prod (as verb)|lang=en}} to the cattle-prod article. However, section "#Verb" is mistranslated into non-existent "#Verb.23English", and doesn't work. Is this a bug, or I am doing something wrong? Yurivict (talk) 22:36, 26 August 2015 (UTC)

Most templates with a language parameter don’t allow section linking, because they link to the language section automatically. — Ungoliant (falai) 22:43, 26 August 2015 (UTC)
By default 'form of' only links to language section, which in this case isn't sufficient. I wonder if there is the URL link that would link to language section first, and then to POS. Also, it shouldn't produce that ".23English". If this is done by Lua code, it should have complained instead of outputting the wrong string. Yurivict (talk) 22:58, 26 August 2015 (UTC)
The problem with section linking is that the position number of sections is very fickle. For example you could have the noun form FOOs link to FOO#Noun, but if someone adds a translingual section with a noun section, or even another English noun section, the link will take users to the wrong section. Links to a language section may not always be the most precise, but they are always correct. — Ungoliant (falai) 23:07, 26 August 2015 (UTC)

Celebrity nicknames

Are terms like R-Pattz, J-Lo, K-Stew WT-worthy? All words in all languages, I guess, right? --A230rjfowe (talk) 20:08, 27 August 2015 (UTC)

As long as they meet CFI, I'd say they belong on Wiktionary. Having these entries would definitely be helpful. --Tweenk (talk) 12:52, 28 August 2015 (UTC)


In the "usage notes", it says that the word whoop-de-do is often used sarcastically. However, as far as I know, it is *always* used sarcastically. Maybe in the past it had a different connotation. Shouldn't it be noted right up front that it is always used sarcastically? As it stands, the given definition comes across as a joke. —This unsigned comment was added by ‎ (talkcontribs).

Maybe the usage notes themselves are sarcastic. --Catsidhe (verba, facta) 01:30, 28 August 2015 (UTC)

Etymology for arabic days of the week

Considering that the pages for the English days all have their etymology, shouldn't the Arabic ones also have them? Especially since they are rather simple for the most part; Saturday is literally called "the first" (الأَحَد) and they go on till Thursday being "the fifth" (الخَمِيس), then Friday is the congregation/gathering and Saturday is the rest (fully these should all be "day of ..." but that would only be when preceded by يوم, literally meaning day, as in يوم الأحد -> first day). I'm not very familiar with editing on this site, so I'd appreciate it if someone could put these in for me. 07:09, 28 August 2015 (UTC)

You can go ahead and add them if you want. --WikiTiki89 14:30, 28 August 2015 (UTC)

Mis-statement or incomplete statement of fact. "Accusative" English, adjective, 2nd sense

Mis-statement or incomplete statement of fact. "Accusative", English adjective, 2nd sense. First sentence reads: 2. (grammar) Applied to the case (as the fourth case of Latin, Lithuanian and Greek nouns) which expresses the immediate object on which the action or influence of a transitive verb has its limited influence. I suggest it should read: 2. (grammar) Applied to the case (as the fourth case of Latin, Lithuanian and Greek nouns) which expresses the anticipation of an immediate object on which the action or influence of a transitive verb has its limited influence.


Is this Italian word ever used as a noun to mean "noun", similar to sostantivo ‎(substantive”, “noun)? — I.S.M.E.T.A. 09:42, 29 August 2015 (UTC)

I don't think so. One dictionary has a noun sense - meaning something like "essence" (that which is essential). But I can't see a grammatical noun anywhere - that is sostantivo. SemperBlotto (talk) 20:41, 29 August 2015 (UTC)
@SemperBlotto: Thanks. In that case, I'm stumped. Would you mind translating the Italian citation I've added to Citations:triale tantum, please? — I.S.M.E.T.A. 16:22, 1 September 2015 (UTC)
I'm about to cook my dinner, but will try later. But at a glance it looks like "sostanziale" is being used as an adjective in front of a Latin term in italics. SemperBlotto (talk) 16:37, 1 September 2015 (UTC)
I've had a go - it sounds a bit stilted but gets the message across. SemperBlotto (talk) 20:19, 1 September 2015 (UTC)


Is there a succinct English equivalent for this word? —suzukaze (tc) 02:49, 30 August 2015 (UTC)

AFAIK, no. I just added the Mandarin equivalent 罰站. ---> Tooironic (talk) 09:56, 30 August 2015 (UTC)

it's not you, it's me

'It also implies that the reason for relationship termination is something vague, based on emotions and feelings, rather than something that the other person has said or done' and 'The reason why I want to end our relationship is unspecified' don't seem correct - please help to improve them. Kaixinguo~enwiktionary (talk) 09:50, 30 August 2015 (UTC)
P.S. Should it even be kept? Kaixinguo~enwiktionary (talk) 09:55, 30 August 2015 (UTC)

I'm sure it can be an excuse to sidle out of a relationship without giving a proper reason, but that's not what it means: literally, it's stating that the other person's behaviour etc. isn't the cause of the breakup. Equinox 12:14, 30 August 2015 (UTC)
The expression is certainly a set phrase in the US. I think the definition (misformatted as a non-gloss definition) is not correct. IMO, the essence of this expression is its use. Ie, it needs a proper non-gloss definition. Though it may have been and may still be most commonly used in conversations about romantic relationships, it is of wider application in relationships (eg, friendships) and not exclusively in termination of romantic relationships. It would be interesting to determine in which film or popular novel this was first used. DCDuring TALK 13:07, 30 August 2015 (UTC)
I agree, but I can't write the definition; I have only made a few edits to English, ever. I am going to delete 'It also implies that the reason for relationship termination is something vague, based on emotions and feelings, rather than something that the other person has said or done' if no-one has any objections. I deleted the reference to Seinfeld because I am sure that it was a popular expression before then. I think it was an expression that was used and that passed into use on TV and so on rather than the other way round. Kaixinguo~enwiktionary (talk) 14:01, 30 August 2015 (UTC)
Also, rather than implying 'that the reason for relationship termination is something vague, based on emotions and feelings, rather than something that the other person has said or done', I think it can imply the opposite. If I said 'DCDuring, it's not you, it's me', I might be implying that everything was down to DCDuring. Kaixinguo~enwiktionary (talk) 14:06, 30 August 2015 (UTC)
It also has the function of trying to make the dumpee feel less bad, without any real adverse consequence to the dumper, and cutting off the possibility of a defensive response by the dumpee. DCDuring TALK 14:30, 30 August 2015 (UTC)


Is this pejorative? Kaixinguo~enwiktionary (talk) 11:01, 30 August 2015 (UTC)

The times I've seen or heard it used were pertaining to rather unflattering aspects of Jewish characteristics (e.g. Bob Saggett is beginning to look rather Jewy now that he's getting older.), but I wouldn't say it's pejorative. More like: adhering to or typical of Jewish stereotypes (i.e. stereotypically Jewish). Leasnam (talk) 13:06, 30 August 2015 (UTC)

false cognate

May require RFA or demotion, e.g. to (rare), of the current 1st sense. In a recent discussion on Wikipedia we've run into difficulties in locating sources that use this specific term to talk about words that might be plausibly cognates but aren't. (Mentions as a part of a definition are easy enough to find; actual uses, not so much.)

There also seem to be indications for a 3rd sense entirely: a word that sounds or looks similar to a word in another language, while meaning something different altogether. See e.g. this paper (e.g. red#English : red#Turkish), this guide on Spanish education (e.g. pie#English : pie#Spanish), or this StackExchange answer.--Tropylium (talk) 14:52, 30 August 2015 (UTC)

Even our own usage over at Category:False cognates and false friends appears to follow the 3rd more than the 1st. --Tropylium (talk) 00:05, 31 August 2015 (UTC)
Sense 1 covers things like Mbabaram "dog" (synonymous with, but unrelated to, English "dog") and many languages' words for "ma" and "pa". Sense 3 is a subset of sense 1, referring only to apparent relatives which are not only not related but also not of a similar meaning. Is the requirement that terms have dissimilar meanings really part of the definition of "false cognate", i.e. would you really say that Mbabaram "dog" and English "dog" are not false cognates, because they mean the same thing, whereas you would say English "dog" and Swedish "dog" ("died") were false cognates? That seems improbable, because it seems like you would only discuss the false cognancy of two words if there were a reason (like synonymy) that someone might consider them cognates, and there's no reason I can see that anyone would ever suspect English "dog" and Swedish "dog" ("died"), or English "pie" and Spanish "pie", of being cognates in the first place. - -sche (discuss) 00:25, 31 August 2015 (UTC)
As Florian Blaschke wrote on WP: "A definition of "false cognate" that does not even require a similarity in meaning would be ridiculously broad. Words that sound similar but mean something totally different are ubiquitous and therefore completely uninteresting." - -sche (discuss) 00:33, 31 August 2015 (UTC)

double take

Two questions about the current definition,"A take#Noun, commonly used as a comical reaction to a surprising sight, in which someone casually sees something, briefly stops looking at it, realizes what it is, and snaps attention back to it with an expression of surprise or disbelief."

(1) Wouldn't reaction be better than take, where the appropriate sense comes after as many as 6 definitions for different things?
(2) Is it necessary to emphasize it can be (intentionally) comical, especially as the first example sentence is "Smith passes the car and does a double take as he realizes it is on fire." ? --Droigheann (talk) 23:53, 30 August 2015 (UTC)
  1. The word reaction occurs just six words later in the definition, so a simple substitution wouldn't be good style. How would you rewrite the whole definition?
  2. It is certainly usually comedic. The usage example is just made up and may not reflect actual usage. DCDuring TALK 00:33, 31 August 2015 (UTC)
I agree that take in the acting sense is not a very good word to use in a definition as it is not at all common in general use. DCDuring TALK 00:38, 31 August 2015 (UTC)
  1. You are right about "reaction", I overlooked that. What about "An abrupt movement, ..."?
  2. It is? I thought it was more like when you genuinely start and look again because your brain has finally processed what it had seen. But if that is the case shouldn't we at least change the order of the two example sentences? --Droigheann (talk) 00:35, 1 September 2015 (UTC)
I'm not sure that either of the usage examples reflect real usage. In writing, I find the term mostly in stage direction, apparently in comedy. In speech it may be sometimes used in narration/dramatization of a story. Real citations would qualify us to depart from the standard definitions. In the absence of citations I will defer to your judgment, which may be right. DCDuring TALK 00:50, 1 September 2015 (UTC)
I don't know. Most of the dictionaries you linked to at the entry don't mention its being mostly comedic and/or theatrical; BNC search [10] and the two relevant WR threads [11][12] don't seem to support this claim either; OTOH nobody here seems to oppose it, so not being en-N myself I'll just think of this debate as inconclusive and won't meddle with the entry (save for having substituted "abrupt movement" for "take"). --Droigheann (talk) 01:48, 2 September 2015 (UTC)
I respect professional lexicographers, but I'm not always sure that they are basing their definitions on much evidence. Being able to use Google Books as a corpus is a new development, newer than some of their print editions. And researching a word like take is particularly difficult. Searches at google books for "a double take", "do|does|doing|did|done a double take" etc. might generate some relevant hits. DCDuring TALK 03:08, 2 September 2015 (UTC)
I was too focused on take. I reduced the "comic" to an example. DCDuring TALK 03:19, 2 September 2015 (UTC)


<<(countable, Canada, US) A math course.>> Is the word "math" used to mean math course? It is apparently definition three. Is it used in this sense? 2602:306:3653:8A10:7553:A374:560B:1B1A 20:22, 31 August 2015 (UTC)

Yes, students use it this way; I've added one quotation from a book. It's comparable to a waitress saying "table three ordered two waters" (two servings of water). - -sche (discuss) 20:41, 31 August 2015 (UTC)
It seems problematic in exactly the way your comparison points out; anything can be used that way. "I need two Germans to graduate." "I need two calculuses to graduate." "Table three ordered two pies" (two slices of pie). There's the argument what the possible is much broader here then the citable, but it is a fairly general form in English.--Prosfilaes (talk) 08:03, 1 September 2015 (UTC)
I don't think "pies" is often used to mean "slices of pie". If I heard two pies, I'd think two whole pies, not slices of a pie. 2602:306:3653:8A10:A8F5:5D80:541F:88EE 00:48, 4 September 2015 (UTC)
Seems plausible to me. Similar case: if a restaurant sells cheesecake as a dessert, a waiter asking the kitchen for "two cheesecakes" would surely mean two portions, not two whole cakes. Equinox 00:50, 4 September 2015 (UTC)
Math majors/students/questions/degrees/certifications/books/papers/homework assignments/tests/problems/exams could all be referred to as maths in the appropriate context. I suppose this kind of elision is more likely with a shortened word like math rather than mathematics. DCDuring TALK 04:17, 4 September 2015 (UTC)


Why does the Latin word have two possible declensions? Are they entirely interchangeable? Equally common? A usage note would be helpful here. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 00:21, 1 September 2015 (UTC)

Because it was used in both cases, that is: with genetive -eris and genetive -eri. Although from what L&S say, it was in practice an irregular mix of both: "(in class. prose mostly acc. vesperum [2 decl], and abl. vespere [3 decl], or adverb. vesperi; the plur. not used)".
Or: it's of both 2nd and 3rd declensions, and don't bother to use either exclusively, because the Classical authors didn't. --Catsidhe (verba, facta) 00:37, 1 September 2015 (UTC)
I have cleaned up the entry and added a usage note based on L&S, after corroborating with the corpus. One issue I have is that I'm not sure how to characterise the "adverbial" forms (described in the Declension section), or whether they should have 'Adverb' L3 sections. Perhaps the Latin cabal has thoughts? @I'm so meta even this acronym, JohnC5, Angr. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 01:09, 1 September 2015 (UTC)
I could see an argument for vespere, vesperī being declared adverbs of their own right as opposed to idiomatic uses of a particular case, but L&S, OLD, and Gaffiot do not break them out into their own lemmata. On the other hand, someone has made domi and humī into adverbs (but not domō, domum, or rūrī). I'm fine with adding a few extra idiomatic adverbs, but it would be nice to have a policy to help us decide when a funny use of a case breaks free into adverbiality.
Personally, I would prefer if we were called the Coniūrātiō Latīnōrum. ObsequiousNewt and I are already in the Fraktur Cabal.JohnC5 01:53, 1 September 2015 (UTC)

September 2015


out-and-out is missing a definition relating to breeding. This was a new find for me this evening, as I was wondering about how it got its "thorough" meaning. In a Google books search I could find farmers using "out-and-out horse" and "out-and-out work". In poultry books, "out-and-out breeding" means to rotate in genetically different roosters each year (cf poultry "in-breeding", inbreed). I'm guessing that such thorough mongrelizing is the basis for the "thorough" meaning of "out-and-out" which, confusingly, seems to have an opposite meaning in thoroughbred. - 09:32, 1 September 2015 (UTC)

on the daily

What is "on the daily", when used as a (chiefly AAVE) synonym for just "daily"? For instance:

  • 1996, The Fugees, "How Many Mics?"
  • How many mics do we rip on the daily?
  • 2005, Black Eyed Peas, "My Humps"
  • I drive these brothers crazy, I do it on the daily
  • 2012, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, "Same Love"
  • "Man, that's gay" gets dropped on the daily

Is this a special construction of on, a special definition of daily or an idiomatic phrase? As an argument against the last suggestion, I can also cite "on the weekly" and "on the monthly":

and "on the yearly", "on the hourly" get occasional hits:

Smurrayinchester (talk) 11:39, 1 September 2015 (UTC)

I'd call them all idiomatic, since it's only in this phrase that "the daily" (etc.) is used to mean "a daily basis" (etc.). —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 12:27, 1 September 2015 (UTC)
To me they seem like syntactic constructions with the following formula to transform the expressions into mainstream English: "on the Xly" ⇒ "(on) every X", where every is probably often hyperbolic. I don't know how to add a definition to on that would help. This seems meant for Collocation space, but we could also have an entry for on the that had two "definitions": {{&lit|on|the}} and a non-gloss AAVE entry. That would need redirects from and usage examples of all of the collocations in the usage instances above and possibly more. DCDuring TALK 14:01, 1 September 2015 (UTC)


I had a little shock when I read that attached to someone meant “in a romantic or sexual relationship”. Because I thought I might have used it terribly wrong on many an occasion. But now Google has given me 7 million quotes for “attached to his mother”, which don’t seem to speak of incest. So I suppose the word can indeed mean “fond of, devoted to” as I thought it did.Kolmiel (talk) 04:33, 4 September 2015 (UTC)

Added. Equinox 04:35, 4 September 2015 (UTC)
I think that's the more common sense. DCDuring TALK 11:20, 4 September 2015 (UTC)

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

Translations of the week
3 number

Collaboration of the week
1 why
3 since

quote unquote
real McCoy
aggravated assault
score a brace
open sunshine
show a clean pair of heels
include me out
see mui
li hing mui
stand pat
sit on the fence
vive la différence
make love, not war
toss around
of all
look who's talking
naked as the day one was born
serve someone right
western world
me, myself and I
in bed
spoken for
a lot
last night
seeing is believing
at a stand
Bos grunniens grunniens
Ahle Hadith
waltz Matilda
rotary dial
four foot
better place
give over
snow leopard
far point
as good as
tomayto, tomahto
contrary to
how's that for
pecker mill
a rolling stone gathers no moss
with a vengeance
same old same old
sumti tcita

olla podrida

enough to choke a horse
nothing to it
TV land
full speed ahead
how much
Dún Laoghaire
back to nature
higher than a kite
positive sense
lexical warfare
va banque
tomate de colgar

November 2007

biphasic note

I extracted this from biphasic. Is it music or acoustics or ?. DCDuring 19:55, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

--I think biphasic always can't be treated as music.It can be taken as acoustics. This approach is also supported by physics. --Etymologist 14:18, 8 November 2007 (UTC)


Just searching for the heck of it, it looks like mooses was at one time used as plural of moose. [13] the 4th entry down shows usage in John/Abigail Adams' letter(s). Should this be listed as rare, dated, archaic? I am unsure. sewnmouthsecret 21:17, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

What language are you referring to?—msh210 21:37, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
English, apparently; see <http://books.google.com/books?id=wkgMY68hQ2oC&pg=PA272&dq=mooses>. —RuakhTALK 21:55, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
I thought John Adams would have given it away. :) Anyway, English. sewnmouthsecret 23:44, 1 November 2007 (UTC)


The question I have here is what labels should be applied to the figurative definitions of the word "impact". Currently the noun is labelled "colloquial" and the verb "nonstandard"; in my opinion neither term is accurate. At best the usage should be described as "disputed".

I guess part of the problem is that I'm not sure what these terms mean other than that they're intended to be negative. According to the Merriam Webster's Concise Dictionary of English Usage (p 406), the figurative verb usgae first appeared in literary contexts such as Christopher Morley and the Times Literary Supplement. Although it later became associated with politics, the usage is very widespread. Google News returns 200,000+ hits for the term, and the majority of them are the figurative use. The label "colloquial" thus seems wrong to me, and I don't see how something that is used that widely in the copy-edited prose of newspapers can be considered "nonstandard". No print dictionary I looked at gave any special label to the figurative senses, although they attached usage notes discussing the controversy.

The usage notes are generally in favor of the usage; the Random House says "Although recent, the new uses are entirely standard and most likely to occur in formal speech and writing."

—This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 23:46, 1 November 2007 (UTC).

Agreed. —RuakhTALK 23:59, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
I couldn't quite follow this. What has been proposed? What has been agreed?
  • Is the noun sense "A significant or strong influence. An effect. (Disputed)" to remain "Disputed" or to be considered standard?
  • Is the verb sense "(nonstandard) To influence; to affect; to have an impact on" to remain "nonstandard" or become "Disputed"?
  • What is the appropriate placement and capitalization for these indicators?
I interpret "nonstandard" to be more strongly negative about a usage, suggested some kind of consensus among relevant experts and "disputed" as meaning lack of such consensus. I had the general impression that the figurative usage of the verb "impact" was more negatively viewed than the figurative noun usage. Is that impression correct? If it is, I would have thought that the noun sense has become standard, but could be considered "disputed", but that the verb sense might remain in "dispute", but can no longer be viewed as nonstandard. DCDuring 01:35, 2 November 2007 (UTC)
I'm agreeing that this word is neither colloquial nor nonstandard. (Some contributors — none of our regulars, I don't think, but mostly anons who drop in once and make a few tweaks — appear to think that "colloquial" means "this is technically wrong, but it's so common that I guess it's O.K. in colloquial speech". They are mistaken. Also, some contributors appear to think that "nonstandard" means "I don't like this usage" or perhaps "widely used and widely reviled"; this is an iffier point, but I'd say that they're mistaken as well.) {{proscribed}} might be O.K., though. —RuakhTALK 16:15, 2 November 2007 (UTC)
I have inserted "proscribed" for the verb use of "impact" and removed "colloquial" from the "effect" sense of the noun, based on the above. DCDuring 18:37, 2 November 2007 (UTC)


Another hot button topic, but the labels and usage note on the "irregardless" page seem out of sync with the quotations. There are five quotations given, spanning 130 years. Three are academic publications from university presses, and one was written by a judge in a court opinion. Given those citations, labels like "nonstandard", "illiteracy", "usually inappropriate in formal contexts" and "jocular" seem odd. I think what probably needs to be done is to expand the quotations list to show more informal uses of the term, and perhaps expand the usage note as well, but I'm not completely sure how this should be done. —This comment was unsigned.

That's because the labels and usage note were written by "anti" editors, and the quotations were added by "pro" editors. Personally, I think the usage note is actually quite fine; it looks like an accurate description of the word's status. The labels should probably be replaced with {{proscribed}}, which is our catch-all "this exists, but not everyone's happy about it" label (c/o Rodasmith). —RuakhTALK 16:09, 2 November 2007 (UTC)
Inserted proscribed, left in mainly US and jocular. DCDuring 18:54, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

I think we've dealt with this one pretty well, on balance. Widsith 11:56, 4 November 2007 (UTC)

due course

I am not sure that due course is or was an idiom. It might have just been SoP until the last two or three centuries. "In due course" would seem to be an idiom, especially if "due course" alone is not. I have 4 usage examples, but am not happy with my third attempt to define it. DCDuring 23:27, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

I would put the entry as in due course with label Category:English prepositional phrases Algrif 14:00, 5 November 2007 (UTC)

loyal to a fault

what does it mean?
loyal to a fault
—This comment was unsigned.

It means “so loyal that it could be considered a fault”; perhaps the person being described is loyal even when the object of his loyalty is shown not to deserve it. —RuakhTALK 22:06, 3 November 2007 (UTC)

Clinton uses the word "speeded"

Clinton used the word "speeded" when talking about how the campaign "will be" in the next couple of months. Isn't "speeded" a pst tense form of the word "speed?" —This comment was unsigned.

Yes, past tense and past participle. American adults only use it for speed's transitive sense ("We speeded it up", "It was speeded up"), and even then it's only questionably standard; our entry suggests that the British might use it more freely. —RuakhTALK 21:56, 3 November 2007 (UTC)
Definitely not in my experience. It’s sped that’s used in all cases (bar by the ridiculed ineducated).  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 00:14, 4 November 2007 (UTC)
Oh, come to think of it, “he was speeded to his destination” is standard…  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 00:16, 4 November 2007 (UTC)
Hmmm.... Seems that sped is used when the subject is acting intransitively ("The car sped up", "He sped home"), but that speeded is often used when the subject is acting transitively on another object ("We speeded up the process"), and regularly used when the subject is passive ("He was speeded to his destination"). Not, of course, that use is universally divided for transitive/intransitive (as Dorem. points out). --EncycloPetey 14:15, 4 November 2007 (UTC)


60+ cites of "Halachas" as plural on b.g.c. Don't know how to do transliteration to compare the transliterated Hebrew plural, DCDuring 01:52, 4 November 2007 (UTC)

I don’t know what you mean when you talk of transliteration. Note these other statistics:
  1. 654 Google Book Search hits for halachot;
  2. 642 GBS hits for halachoth; and,
  3. 407 GBS hits for halachos.
The plural forms already given are far more common than halachas.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 23:14, 4 November 2007 (UTC)
Good guess!!! That's what I wanted to know. DCDuring 23:17, 4 November 2007 (UTC)
Ruakh would be the one to ask really, but I’ve noticed that this class of Hebrew words have singular forms ending in -a and/or -ah and plural forms ending in -ot and/or -oth — whence your -os -terminal form came is unknown to me. BTW, are you sure that the ‘+s’ plural can be considered standard?  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 02:25, 5 November 2007 (UTC)
I'd say that -oth, -ot, -os, and -s are all acceptable. (-os reflects the Ashkenazim's traditional pronunciation, something like /ɔs/ or /əs/, which many still use, and which is also — no coincidence — the Yiddish pronunciation. Indeed, this word — like many en:Hebrew derivations — can equally be considered an en:Yiddish derivation.) —RuakhTALK 03:02, 5 November 2007 (UTC)

Caps?—msh210 21:04, 6 November 2007 (UTC)


Shouldn't the entry be capitalized as Cheerios? That is how it seems to appear in the hundreds of fiction b.g.c. hits. DCDuring 21:23, 4 November 2007 (UTC)

I moved it. A bot had moved it in 2005, presumably without checking usage frequency. Can it be protected from bot capitalization changes, if the capitalization is agreed as appropriate ? DCDuring 18:05, 5 November 2007 (UTC)
Thanks. And, not to worry: that was a single-run bot. (Previously Wiktionary was like Wikipedia, in that article titles automatically started with capital letters. When this was changed to allow lowercase entry titles, that bot moved all existing entries to their lowercase forms.) —RuakhTALK 18:51, 5 November 2007 (UTC)
Since it was all visible, I didn't think I'd attract too much hostility. Visible one-entry boldness shouldn't be bad for Wiktionary. DCDuring 20:51, 5 November 2007 (UTC)

I've added the New Zealand definition (a cocktail sausage), with a reference. Just to confuse New Zealanders, the cereal was introduced there in 2006 03:26, 5 February 2008 (UTC)


1st sense is the town (proper noun); 2nd sense is the wine variety, now shown as a noun and uses "en-noun" The only visible difference in the entry is the display of the (red) plural. Of course, the putatively unique town called "Bardolino" might turn out not to be unique or a philosopher wishing to use Bardolino to illustrate the problems of the concept of uniqueness might wonder how to make its plural. But seriously, folks, isn't Bardolino in the wine sense a proper noun? Many proper names have plural forms. (Is that "Clancys" or "Clancies"?) Why mess up PoS to show plurals? DCDuring 23:12, 5 November 2007 (UTC)

The names of wines are a parennial problem. SemperBlotto could tell tyou about his many researches, and others here have done investigating as well. They do not function as proper nouns, so you can say "I tasted three different Chardonnays.". Oddly some wine names are occasionally capitalized, but this does not seem to be consistent. So, I would say the wine name is not a proper noun and a plural is possible.
As for the town name, it is a proper noun. Yes, it's true that many English proper nouns can be used in a plural form in unusual circumstances, those are usually statements where the referent is not to a specific entity, so it isn't really being used as a proper noun. If you talk about "All the Parises of the world." then you are not referring to a specific location, so you are not using Paris as a proper noun. This is possible for most proper nouns in English, but is a highly unusual construction, and not a normal part of the grammar of proper nouns as proper nouns. --EncycloPetey 00:12, 6 November 2007 (UTC)
When I taught, I needed to keep track of how many Johns and Sergeis I had in the class to make sure that I didn't call on one for something and get an answer from the other. In Wikipedia, DAB pages are often about multiple instances of things with the same proper names. It doesn't seem all that exceptional to me. It is an old exercise in US geography to name all the states that have Springfields. When doing Wiktionary work, I have to check both my Websters (Merriam-Websters (Collegiate and 3rd unabridged)) and both of my Fowlers. And let's not get started on my library, e.g., with a couple of Principles of Psychologys and Getting Things Dones. DCDuring 00:54, 6 November 2007 (UTC)
Can I rely on Wiktionary's definition of "proper noun"? "The name of a particular person, place, organization or other individual entity; it is normally written with an initial capital letter". If so, the entry for "Smith" is wrong because it says "Smith" is a proper noun, but refers to not to a specific Smith, but to all members the class of all persons with the name Smith. In any event, "Smith" case has parallels to the case situation of "Bardolino", the wine. It doesn't seem like there is a clear bright line between a proper noun, defined as (possibly non-unique) identifiers of unique individuals, and "capitalized-nouns-which-are-not-proper-nouns". DCDuring 01:13, 6 November 2007 (UTC)
Please wait for me to finish the Appendix on English Proper nouns. You can see the very crude draft here, but it needs lots of work before it's complete. I may work on it over Thanksgiving or Christmas holiday. I don't want to have to rewrite all of this each time the question arises, which it has been doing with some regularity of late.
Smith is a proper noun because it usually is used in a way that refers to a particular person named "Smith". When someone says "Have you seen Smith?" they are not referring to all members of the class of persons with the name Smith. The part of speech is dependent on usage, not on abstractions. Yes, the line between common and proper noun is fuzzy as times. Suffice it to say the best discussions of what makes a noun "proper" are by Locke and John Stuart Mill, and they were more concerned with the underlying concept the specifics and practicalities. --EncycloPetey 02:33, 6 November 2007 (UTC)
I will certainly wait for you with bated breath, but unfortunately I'm like a dog with a bone with a subject like this.
It seems as if you are saying that the words we lable in Wiktionary as "proper nouns" are not, in fact, in and of themselves "proper nouns". E.g., "Milton" does not uniquely identify any unique person, but is used principally to identify persons, whom we specifically treat as unique. By this emerging definition of proper noun, the Properness of a noun is ultimately connected to instances of use. Is "Wiktionary properness" ("WikP") something with quantitative empirical criteria? Probably not. It is more likely that we will be identifying and formalizing the social conventions that say that require that every Tom, Dick and Harry, pets, human assemblages, and places of human importance be granted eligibility for proper nouns, whereas IP addresses; street addresses; non-pet animals, trees, and rocks (except very big ones) are not. Planets, stars, comets, galaxies yes? Certain periods of time. Trademarks. There would seem to be at least two kinds of proper names in Wiktionary:
  • Type 1: names that, practically speaking, uniquely identify in the speech of some group of humans unique objects deemed worthy of having a proper name: the "Foreign Minister", "Jimbo Wales", the Pentagon, Sol, Sadie Hawkins' Day, "Spot", Halley's Comet.
  • Type 2: words nearly exclusively used to constitute names of the first type. Sadie, Jimbo, Hawkins, Wales; but not day, spot, comet, pentagon, foreign, minister. This would boil down to given names and surnames (and corresponding entities in other naming systems).
Type 1 might not warrant including plurals. But Type 2 would. That they are used in multiple instances to make up names would certainly require the ability to make plural forms of "Henry", "Clancy", "Jimbo", "Hawkins". DCDuring 03:53, 6 November 2007 (UTC)
The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language makes a big to do about this distinction, in a way that most sane people never bother with and which we don't worry about here on Wiktionary. They call individual proper elements "proper nouns" and the labels (either of one word or more) that name a specific item "proper names". But we don't make that distinction here. --EncycloPetey 05:44, 6 November 2007 (UTC)
I have put up another version of the page that treats "Bardolino" as if it were a proper name like a trademark, many of which have plurals. This requires using "en-noun" under the "Proper noun" heading, manually inserting the "English proper nouns" category, and labelling the senses as countable and countable, as appropriate. It seems barbaric in appearance and likely to complicate bot design and operations. Another approach would have two "Proper noun" headers, one with "en-noun", the other with "en-proper". Also, we could deem all trademarks and trademark-like names to be nouns, not proper nouns. Or we could allow the proper name template to have plurals, defaulting to non-plural, of course, and not displaying "uncountable". DCDuring 04:16, 6 November 2007 (UTC)
Actually, {{en-proper noun}} will work for that as well; it accepts plural and uncountable markers. However, did you notice that the page we're discussing is marked Italian? It should have an Italian inflectional template, category, and should follow Italian plural forms. --EncycloPetey 05:41, 6 November 2007 (UTC)
Sorry. I hadn't noticed, probably because it didn't have all the usual accoutrements of a non-English entry. And thank you for the info on the options of the proper noun template. DCDuring 15:40, 6 November 2007 (UTC)
I have split this into English and Italian sections - the Italian plural is shown in the De Mauro dictionary. I am concerned that it uses lowercase though (may just be their typographical convention). I take the English plural to mean either different versions of the wine, or more than one glass of it. SemperBlotto 08:28, 6 November 2007 (UTC)
I have read a little and realize more about the issues having to do with proper nouns. I would hazard a guess that many would-be contributors to Wiktionary are as uninformed as I was about the true def. of proper noun and with the same misplaced confidence in their ignorance. There are many Beer Parlor issues in this. DCDuring 15:52, 6 November 2007 (UTC)
Indeed. The various proper noun discussions we had last summer were the impetus behind my researching and drafting the (forthcoming) Appendix on English proper nouns. --EncycloPetey 03:36, 7 November 2007 (UTC)

hoi palloi

Is this an alternative spelling of the far more common hoi polloi (GBS: hoi polloi–hoi palloi = 835:11), or is it just a fairly uncommon (but just about verifiable) misspelling? As what (if anything) is it listed in other dictionaries?  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 13:18, 6 November 2007 (UTC)

As far as I know, this is primarily a typo/misspelling and not a valid spelling. It certainly doesn't make sense as a transliteration from Greek. I've not seen it listed in any other dictionary. --EncycloPetey 03:33, 7 November 2007 (UTC)
OK. Shall we list it as a {{rare}} {{misspelling of|hoi polloi}} or just delete it?  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 03:37, 7 November 2007 (UTC)
(If we do the former, we’ll have to do something clever with the template to omit the “common” part of it.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 03:39, 7 November 2007 (UTC))


Here's a neat word I recently ran into. countercounterpoint. It has three hits at bgc, all from the same document it looks like. And 22 hits at usenet. So it could scrape past requirements for inclusion. I dunno though, I don't think it's very common in practice. Who here has heard/used this interesting word in their everyday lives? It's a cool word and whether or not we include it today, I'll definitely keep an eye on it since it could be useful. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Language Lover (talkcontribs) 22:41, 6 November 2007 (UTC)

I would try "counter-counterpoint". There are a few Google Books hits. DCDuring 00:33, 7 November 2007 (UTC)

If you don’t think it’ll satisfy the CFI, you can add all the citations you can find to Citations:countercounterpoint; if more are found in future, an entry with a definition can then be created.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 00:08, 7 November 2007 (UTC)
BTW, wiktionary has "counter-" (with the hyphen, as prefix) and "counterpoint". DCDuring 17:07, 10 November 2007 (UTC)

"Rebrebate" is it a word an if so, what does it mean?

"reprebate" is a word that i've heard a few times used to describe someones character. Was wondering what the true meaning of it is. Or is it just a slang word? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 23:35, 6 November 2007 (UTC)

rebrobate or reprobate ? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by DCDuring (talkcontribs) 23:43, 6 November 2007 (UTC)

--The actual word used much for describing character is reprobate not reprebate. Usually people use this word for the person who is of no worth,generally.--Etymologist 13:52, 8 November 2007 (UTC)

Rebrobate is another old term, used in Christian religious contexts, apparently with about the same meaning as reprobate, appeared in print while reprobate was also in use. "Rebrebate" could easily have been a scanno for rebrobate. DCDuring 15:39, 8 November 2007 (UTC)

cinematography question

What do you call the mark placed on a film near the end of a reel that flashes on the screen to tell the projectionist to switch reels? In Italian it is segnalatore di passaggio. SemperBlotto 14:31, 7 November 2007 (UTC)

A cue mark. —RuakhTALK 20:21, 7 November 2007 (UTC)
Thanks. SemperBlotto 22:32, 7 November 2007 (UTC)
According to the movie "Fight Club it is know in the film industry as a "cigarette burn", which may have some currency if you wanted to look into it. - TheDaveRoss 22:02, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
And according to en:wp's article on cue marks, the term "cigarette burn" was invented for said movie. \Mike 22:32, 14 November 2007 (UTC)


It looks like a bit of bot gone astray on a template. I tried to fix it but was unsuccessful. Makearney 22:12, 7 November 2007 (UTC)


Would dinna be classed as Scots or English? --Keene 01:15, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

It's marked as "Geordie", which is regarded as a dialect of English. However, it might also exist in Scots. --EncycloPetey 03:30, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
Sadly for lexicographers, the dialect boundary does not equate to the border between England and Scotland. Many (most?) Scots words are also found in Northern English dialects, especially Geordie which has held on to a lot of unqiue bits of vocab etc. Widsith 07:53, 9 November 2007 (UTC)


There are other past and past participles of "climb" in dialectical use, but it's hard to know which ones should be included and with what comments. A google search brings up hits for clim, clom, clum, clombed, clumbed, clambed, clomb, clumb, clamb, and climb. I don't know which of these are misspellings, or get enough hits to count as "real" uses. Any comments?

I don't know about the others, but I understand that the ordinary past tense used to be clomb. RSvK 14:16, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
Are they all from modern w:English? Post c. 1500, I think. Middle English is also fine, but sep L2 header. I think that they all could be in Usage notes for "climb" until the research is done. The search engine would find them at least once they were indexed. Normal CFI applies, but the "well-known work" rule might help speed things up. DCDuring TALK 17:34, 25 January 2008 (UTC)


what does "boiloff" mean? (in "liquid oxygen" article)

quote from "liquid oxygen" article:

"LOX was also used in some early ICBMs, although more modern ICBMs do not use LOX because its cryogenic properties and need for regular replenishment to replace BOILOFF make it harder to maintain and launch quickly."

boiloff = boil off = evaporation DCDuring 10:10, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

found it it's in "vacuum flask" article quote:

"the leakage of heat into the extremely cold interior of the bottle results in a slow "boiling-off" of the liquid"

Thanks for asking. Missing word. DCDuring 10:18, 9 November 2007 (UTC)


"You-know-who" has singular the same as plural. The entry gives two senses, one for the singular, one for the plural, that formerly were almost exactly parallel and are now exactly parallel, with pari passu adjustments for number. I found that I felt compelled to read both carefully to understand why two senses were being given. Is it really necessary to have two senses, either to:

  • draw the reader's attention to the identical spelling of singular and plural or
  • simplify the wording of the definition? DCDuring 15:48, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
No. Widsith 15:49, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
Shouldn't it be "You-know-whom"? Alan162 19:41, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
We're not prescriptive. I'm sure you could find grammarians who could make an argument for the appropriateness of this form. It is used in all kinds of writings (except perhaps the most formal ones). A search of Google books shows it is a common usage, much more than "you-know-whom".
If we were talking about the collocated words "you know who" and "you know whom", it would depend on how they were being used in a sentence. The "who"/"whom" might be taking its case from its role in a following clause.
  • "Do you know who that was?"
  • "Do you know whom you were talking to?"
Because English speakers have so little need for case distinctions, the "you-know-who" phrase seems to have simply taken the most common form and used the whole as a noun that has no case ending. DCDuring TALK 21:09, 24 January 2008 (UTC)


The two senses seem identical to me, and I was going to merge them but they appear to have different translations in Kurdish. Am I missing something? Widsith 09:31, 10 November 2007 (UTC)

No idea about Kurdish, but there are two definitions that need to be entered more clearly. 1) unbendable applied to a thing 2) inflexible applied to a person. Translators will just have to sort it out later. Algrif 13:36, 10 November 2007 (UTC)
I took a stab at 3 senses for the adjective. I also noted that there are RfVs for two verb senses, which I began to verify, but noted no discussion heading. I'm not sure that all three senses don't come down to "cheated of money". There may also missing senses: one relating to "breaking an appointment or similar social obligation" and another like "stonewall", but of broader application than just with respect to answering a question. Another possible sense is something like punch or, more specificly, cold cock. DCDuring 15:28, 10 November 2007 (UTC)
Nice. I added another adj sense. There is also "stiff drink" which seems to be an idiomatic collocation of its own. Widsith 15:31, 10 November 2007 (UTC)
Doh! Forgot that sense. Not much of a drinker, myself. DCDuring 17:03, 10 November 2007 (UTC)
And I've added "stiff muscles". - Algrif 16:36, 24 November 2007 (UTC)

les dim up

French speakers! Came across this one in a book recently . . . was completely new to me. I think I worked out the meaning OK.. But is there any other word for these, or would you just use this proprietary name, which is what it seems to be? Widsith 19:17, 10 November 2007 (UTC)

I'm not a "French speaker" any more than you are — and I'm not even good with the English terms for such things — but searching Google for explicit explanations of what they are (trying things like "dim up ce" and so on), it seems that there's no other general name for these; rather, people use "les dim up" as a generic name, and when pressed to explain it use full sentences. Personally, I think autocollant ‎(sticker) would have been cleverer (collant being “tights”), but what can you do? :-P   Incidentally, it might be worth linking to w:fr:Dim (lingerie), which is a fr.wiki article on the company that introduced them. —RuakhTALK 21:40, 10 November 2007 (UTC)
OK, well I'm still pleased - I always wondered how to say this in French. Not that I get the chance very often, but it's nice to think one'll be prepared. Widsith 21:43, 10 November 2007 (UTC)

let freedom ring

As what PoS should a phrase like this be presented. It IS a phrase, but it is a verbal phrase, following the inflection of let. "Freedom" is not inflected. What is the role of the Phrasebook in this? My own preference would be to present it as a Verb, use the idiom template, categorize it as a verb, but NOT have all of the inflections appear. That means NOT using the en-verb template. I can't find a policy on this. Has it been discussed? DCDuring 23:31, 10 November 2007 (UTC)

Personally, I think {{en-verb}} should have a nolinks=1 parameter or something; the inflections would then still appear, but they wouldn't be links. We can use it for idioms like this, where links wouldn't be helpful because the linked pages should just be redirects to the main entry. —RuakhTALK 00:28, 11 November 2007 (UTC)
You're saying they should appear without the inflected forms having links, but presumable with "inf=let freedom ring". Why couldn't those links be automatic? DCDuring 01:40, 11 November 2007 (UTC)
I'm sorry, I don't understand your question. :-/ —RuakhTALK 01:53, 11 November 2007 (UTC)
I don't know that inflected forms of this have any currency, though. Isn't this more of a fixed, set-phrase? --Connel MacKenzie 01:12, 11 November 2007 (UTC)
This phrase may become passe, apearing only in historical works by conservative writers harkening back to the old days when Reagan "let freedom ring" (past), if they can't talk about how some future Repubican president is "letting freedom ring" can (present participle). Whether it is worth displaying them is a separate question, but they can be readily exemplified and perhaps verified (at least if you don't make me find three for each form). DCDuring 01:40, 11 November 2007 (UTC)
Hmm, good point … properly speaking, I guess it's actually a full clause, in the imperative mood but not intended as a true imperative; it has the same structure as "let's talk" or "let me ask around", where you're not really instructing the listener to "let" something. (I think this sort of meaning is properly called "jussive" or something like that, though I've also heard it described as a "third-person imperative".) I don't know what part of speech that would be under our system; an idiom or interjection, I guess. That said, google books:"(lets OR letting) freedom ring" gets 21 hits, and google books:"(have OR having) let freedom ring" gets seven, so the entry might warrant a genuine verb sense that formed by extension. Regardless, my suggestion about {{en-verb}} was not intended just for this entry, but for many other such. I mean, does "given up" really need its own entry just because we have give up? —RuakhTALK 01:53, 11 November 2007 (UTC)
I would fully support that intiative. As you know, I add a lot of phrasal verbs and idiomatic verbal phrases. At the moment I am obliged to put the individual words in brackets and add category:English verbs at the end. Not very satisfactory. nolinks=1 would be a great solution. As for the original question; I would opt for Phrase: let freedom ring. Any future searcher checking for letting freedom ring would, as a normal course, search the infinitive phrase anyway. Algrif 14:16, 11 November 2007 (UTC)
The recommendation to make the PoS = "Phrase" leaves the user to wonder whether the phrase is inflected as well as how. I've changed my mind about NOT having the inflections appear. I still don't like all the red links and having to type all of the inflected forms in. DCDuring 19:25, 12 November 2007 (UTC)
Besides having all those (long) red-links, there is another problem with that technique: you might end up inventing unused variations. --Connel MacKenzie 20:04, 13 November 2007 (UTC) you also would be giving undue weight to some very rare forms. --Connel MacKenzie 20:06, 13 November 2007 (UTC)
Not at all. If each separate word is bracketted, it links directly to the base page showing all the inflections. A long phrase or idiom or proverb (whatever you prefer) would only bracket the important words. That's what I was taught when I started working here, anyway. And it still makes good sense to me IMHO ;-) Algrif 12:28, 13 November 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure how you got that impression - that is the Wikipedia convention (AFAIK,) but on Wiktionary, all the component words are supposed to be wikified. --Connel MacKenzie 20:03, 13 November 2007 (UTC)
No prob. I just checked damned if you do and damned if you don't and see that all the words are wikified even though repeated. I understood that words like conjunctions and prepositions didn't need to be wikified in long phrases. There are many entries that do not follow this convention. I'll change them whenever I see them. Algrif 13:53, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
There is a problem with highlighting each component and expecting the phrasal inflection to be inferrable from that. To wit, only one word in a phrase like "let freedom ring" can be inflected while retaining the meaning given. "Freedom" can't be plural and "ring" isn't inflected either (although for a more grammatical reason). I think we are trying to get more out of the wikilinks than they can unambiguously communicate. DCDuring 15:15, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
letting freedoms ring gets 8 google hits... all to the same source. But it can be found with both let and freedom inflected.
Connel's points above are over-riding "all those (long) red-links" and "inventing unused variations." It is why I asked for guidance on this when I started. Firstly, someone looking the phrase up might well need to know what a component word means. Secondly, they might need to know how to inflect it, even if it is only to "inventing unused variation" for creative purposes. Algrif 15:45, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
I got 2 blog hits for "let freedoms ring", too. We will always have creative extension of the language, but a dictionary is not primarily a guide for poets and bloggers trying to attract hits. WT documents the standard language; they play around with it. What I would think we would want is to point users to the main inflection explcitly and allow the wikilinks to be a kind of first-cut etymology and analysis tool, which supports creative writing and other uses. DCDuring 16:05, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
Right - the convention on en.wikt is to send people to the component word pages for inflections. That practice doesn't jive well with other conventions that advocate duplication. It also is not followed (probably 20% of the time - presumably with good reason, for individual exceptions) all of the time. While I agree it is better to not list out inflections of set-phrases, some idioms might require proper inflection. I think that was the original question about this term - which I still do not know how to answer. Comparative web-hits show the standard form to have an overwhelming lead - perhaps it should just be left alone? --Connel MacKenzie 07:24, 16 November 2007 (UTC)
I knew I had it somewhere. From your good self on my talk page, I quote: Please don't use full inflection for verb phrases. For all multi-word entries, the component terms only are supposed to have inflection. Please take a look at how I split jack it in from jack in. Thanks for your neat contributions! --Connel MacKenzie 17:35, 17 July 2007 (UTC) -- ;-) -- Algrif 15:53, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
So, not too bad to keep specific inflection for this one because "freedom" is rarely inflected. If it were never inflected, it might be a more clear-cut case.
To summarize the more general case, to avoid unrewarding proliferation of phrasal entries, the idea would be to refer the user to the component words for inflection, by making sure that we were using the "inf=", "pos=", and "sg=" template options. Exceptions would be allowed where there was a good reason, such as not all possible inflections being legitimate (or to allow a link to a particularly common participle form ?). This is not a policy or a guideline, but might eventually become one. Is that a good summary? DCDuring 16:27, 19 November 2007 (UTC)


Hi. I joined Wiktionary about a month back with the intention of beefing up the Malay vocabulary here. At the time, colour was one of the Translations of the Week, so I thought that I would start there. I have finally managed to put together an article for User:Nestum82/warna at my User Page, and I was wondering if I could get some feedback before appending it to warna. Nestum82 10:21, 11 November 2007 (UTC)

Looks great! One minor thing, the English word varna is not a cognate - it hasn't descended from Sanskrit in the same way but was borrowed wholesale into the language. You need to say something like compare English varna. Widsith 10:38, 11 November 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for the warning! Gawd. I was under the impression that any two words with a common ancestor could be considered cognates. D'oh! Am I right in assuming that the compare English varna goes under the Etymology header?
Another thing that I should probably draw attention to is the Pronounciations. AFAIK, the major dictionaries do not give IPA pronounciations. Kamus Dewan only goes as far as using an é to differentiate Lua error in Module:parameters at line 127: The parameter "lang" is required. from Lua error in Module:parameters at line 127: The parameter "lang" is required.. So the pronounciations that I have given are both based on what comes out of my own mouth. Does this fall under original research? (Actually, I should put this question in the Talk Page. I've already got one lengthy postscript in there.) Nestum82 19:19, 11 November 2007 (UTC)
Please, feel free to give your own pronunciations. Heck, we have a guideline or policy page somewhere that tells people they can write things like "KON-takt" if they don't know any formal transcription system. So, home-rolled IPA is really A-OK. :-) —RuakhTALK 22:44, 11 November 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for all the pointers. I've finally gotten round to tacking the entry on to warna.
Ruakh: Now that you mention it, it does say that more or less in the ELE. Can't believe I forgot about that. Nestum82 17:37, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

the hungarian christian name : Ibolya

I think this means Violet in english. Would anybody be able to confirm that ? thanks


Well yes and no. There is a Hungarian word ibolya that does mean violet (both the flower and the color), and there is a Hungarian masculine feminine name Ibolya that apparently derives from the name of the flower. However, it would be misleading to say that the feminine name means "violet", just as it would be misleading to say that the English girl's name Heather means "a low growing plant in the Ericaceae". They both share a spelling and an etymological origin, but not a current meaning. --EncycloPetey 04:00, 12 November 2007 (UTC)
Ibolya is definitely a feminine given name. But Viola and Violetta are also Hungarian names, so you cannot talk about translations, rather about variants of a theme.--Makaokalani 11:01, 13 November 2007 (UTC)
I have rechecked my book on Hungarian names; thanks for the correction. --EncycloPetey 17:14, 13 November 2007 (UTC)


I have a feeling the current definitions don’t accurately cover the usage found in this hilarious comic: http://xkcd.com/341/. Could a native speaker add a definition, and maybe the quote? H. (talk) 16:00, 12 November 2007 (UTC)

It seems to me that it is a usage of the "defeat" sense, "You just got defeated pretty thoroughly, maybe you should sit down" might be a rephrasing. - TheDaveRoss 21:44, 14 November 2007 (UTC)


Looking in Template:fr-conj-er, I've noticed the "surcomposed past" been put in. Do other publications call it the surcomposed past? In French it's known as the passé fr:surcomposé, and is rarely used. As a holder of a degree in French, I've been made aware of it, but the teachers generally told me never to use it, as it's a kind of dialectic thing. Is it worth it being included in Template:fr-conj-er? Or is it too obscure? I suppose there's no harm in having it. Still, an entry for surcomposed could be needed. --Haunted wigwam 12:33, 13 November 2007 (UTC) (Yes, is blatantly Wonderfool, am leaving this account after this comment)

(1) I don't think there is a standard English name for it; Google Books suggests that most English texts just stick to the French name, but I don't think we can consider surcomposé to be a real loanword into English. (2) I don't think the surcomposé is a "dialectic" thing; my impression is that it's just an odd blend of literary French (where a distinction is drawn between the passé antérieur and the plus-que-parfait) and non-literary French (where the passé simple is systematically replaced with the passé composé). In true literary French you'd say « dès qu'il eut fait […] », and in normal French you'd say « dès qu'il avait fait […] », but in surcomposé-accepting French you'd say « dès qu'il a eu fait […] » (all meaning "once he'd done […]"). —RuakhTALK 17:56, 13 November 2007 (UTC)
My Collins-Robert French Dictionary translates surcomposé as "double-compound", though I don't know whether anyone uses that in grammatical contexts. --EncycloPetey 18:42, 13 November 2007 (UTC)
I hadn't heard that before, but searching b.g.c., it looks like that is indeed the most popular name (at least of those I knew to look for). —RuakhTALK 19:44, 13 November 2007 (UTC)
I have to say, I've lived in France and in Morocco, and I don't think I've ever seen the surcomposé used in real life! Widsith 09:19, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

Responsible to or responsible for?

I run into what I believe to be the misuse of the word responsible fairly frequently when reviewing Standard Operating Procedures. Each SOP has a section that specifies who is accountable for performing the procedure. I frequently see something like "The Manager of Customer Service is responsible to initiate customer complaint..." and it doesn't seem right. Is this correct? Should this not be "... is responsible for initiating customer..."? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by MTLer (talkcontribs) 15:04, 13 November 2007 (UTC)

You are correct. One is responsible for carrying out a duty. I often hear responsible to used in the same sense as accountable to and answerable to.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 15:13, 13 November 2007 (UTC)
While "is responsible to initiate" is stilted, I'd not say it's wrong. Parse it as "is responsible" + "to initiate" (not as ... + "responsible to" + ...), and it has in the end the same meaning as "is responsible for initiating". As I say, though, it is stilted.—msh210 15:38, 13 November 2007 (UTC)
As usual, there is no Academy of English. But normal usage is: Responsible for a duty / department / etc.; and responsible to the head of dept. or similar person or dept above you (although you can be responsible to your clients, etc, also). Algrif 15:44, 13 November 2007 (UTC)
If we talk about the standard English ,then "responsible for" is the correct use,if we look for the preposition usage.In various countries where English is taught as subject, usage of responsible with 'to' is usually considered as common error or gramatically wrong.However, I think this flexibility to use 'responsible to' instead of 'responsibility for' is making its place in nowadays English speakers.--Etymologist 17:45, 13 November 2007 (UTC)
'responsible to + gerund' seems to find frequent use in non-American newspapers, judging from Google News. —This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 00:23, 14 November 2007 (UTC).

comparative of polite

Is the comparative of polite politer or more polite, (or both)? RJFJR 21:27, 13 November 2007 (UTC)

Google Books supports both, with some preference for the latter. I, however, am less tolerant: "politer" sounds incredibly wrong to me. :-P   —RuakhTALK 22:08, 13 November 2007 (UTC)
Sums up my opinion rather well. Currently polite lists 'more polite' but I find politer in my paper dictionary. I'm going to change it, but it sounds like it needs a usage note on how it sounds wrong to some people. Any suggestions on wording? RJFJR 02:47, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
What my experience tells as i have gone through many English writings ,both forms are supported.In daily use i've seen people talking as ,"She should say this in politer way."So i think you need not to change it.Rather politer and superlative degree being politest sounds better than 'more polite' and 'most polite'.But what standard English suggests ,i am bit doubtful about it ,not really ,but to some extent.--Etymologist 13:08, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
Politer and politest both both [sic] sound and look wrong to me (the comparative form more so than the superlative form); however, since they both exist, they ought to be listed, with a usage note added to the entry fo polite and links pointing thither added to the entries for politer and politest.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 14:26, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
As a native speaker of American English (midwest), I see nothing wrong with politer or politest; I use both myself. —This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 23:45, 14 November 2007 (UTC).
RJFJR, FYI: the {en-adj} template handles this case, see entry. I concur in thinking "more polite" and "most polite" look and sound much more familiar than "politer" and "politest", which both look odd ;-) Robert Ullmann 14:44, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
Thanx. I've also updated bitter - Algrif 13:50, 30 November 2007 (UTC)

I read in grammars for foreign students of English that the use of -er in comparative adjectives is only valid in monosyllabic words, with the exception of those ending in -y, which form with -ier.

You won't go wrong the positive part of the rule. You can always make a good comparative with a polysyllabic adjective with "more". The prohibititive part of the recommendation would keep you from saying "yellower", for example. DCDuring TALK 23:56, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

How much is it

I was thinking this should be moved to how much is it, due to caps. If anyone disagrees, please let me know; if I don't hear otherwise I will go ahead and move it. sewnmouthsecret 21:54, 13 November 2007 (UTC)

set versus put

Possibly stupid question (I blame my non-nativity), but: when you place something somewhere, is there any difference between "setting" it there, and "putting" it there? \Mike 11:02, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

None whatsoever. You can put, put it down, place, set, set it down, there. As you wish. Algrif 13:43, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
Although. To my ear set seems of a slightly more formal register. There is also often a connotation of placing something more deliberately in a specific place, which is more obvious in phrases like "the diamond was set in precious stones" or something like that. I think put is slightly more neutral, slightly more casual. Widsith 13:51, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
Yes, i strongly agree with 'widsith' explanation.To put,just mean to just put something orderly or un-arranged but when we talk about ,'setting it',this reflects a sense of arrangement or order.And secondly,not think your questions stupid,just ask and remove your ambiguity related to any word.--Etymologist 14:48, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
Definitely not stupid. Answering these questions forces native speakers to be explicit about rules they may well have no conscious awareness of. Sometimes when we try to state the rules that we actually follow flawlessly, we make mistakes in trying to articulate them. I certainly use "set" only in contexts where the "putting" is supposed to be more careful in relationship to other objects. In more abstract applications, compare "putting that behind you" to "setting that aside for the moment". Perhaps the second is more specific, setting something aside for use in a short time, rather than forgetting it entirely. DCDuring 15:31, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for the help - most dictionaries I've seen (English that is) simply explain "set" (in this sense) with "put" (more or less) and vice versa. And then I compare to Swedish which uses three different verbs for that notion, and they are only rarely interchangeable... :P (Yes, I had hoped there were some minor difference I could benefit from when trying to define the words lägga, sätta and ställa, respectively, a bit more clearly - in how they differ). \Mike 19:51, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
  • The word "lay" physically means placing or setting a longish object on a flat surface or in a containing space. Is that like lägga?
  • To "stand" something physically means to place or set an object in an upright or erect position. Is that like ställa?
Sometimes the physical meanings provide a good place to start. I don't know that I've gotten the English exactly right, but you can check me. DCDuring 20:26, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
Yes, the physical orientation constitutes a very good first approximation :) But then there is sätta (literally, to put in a sitting position) which confuses things, sometimes synonymous with "lägga", sometimes with "ställa" and sometimes the only option. Hmm...., I think I was too concentrated on which nouns to use with which verb, there... I think it should be possible to get something decent out of it (at least I think I've managed to include most variations of lägga by now). But thanks for your help! :) \Mike 21:04, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
Hmm, no, it is never(?) quite synonymous with lägga, at least.... just need to make a fine cut to separate them ;) \M

help yourself

Should this be listed under help#Verb, meaning 1? It seems to me to be slightly different- but I can't pinpoint why. Conrad.Irwin 22:12, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

I also find that reflexives(?) like this give me pause, even though the definitions do seem to include them. It's even worse that it is easy to focus on the imperative form. Unfortunately the WT solution would probably be "help oneself", which would not be likely to be found by an ordinary user groping for help. DCDuring 22:26, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
I think help oneself would be a correct entry. But also help yourself as a phrase book entry. Algrif 11:37, 16 November 2007 (UTC)

What I meant to ask was, is this a correct usage of the first meaning of help - or is it completely different? Conrad.Irwin 16:52, 16 November 2007 (UTC)

The first entry is really in the sense God helps those who help themselves. I think help yourself to some food is not the sense nº1. IMHO. Algrif 20:25, 16 November 2007 (UTC)


"Incomparable" is shown in our entry as having no comparative form.

  • Oscar Wilde, Collected Works of Oscar Wilde (1997), page 1096
    I know of nothing in all drama more incomparable from the point of view of art, nothing more suggestive in its subtlety of observation, than Shakespeare's […].

Was Oscar Wilde jesting or are we wrong? DCDuring 23:54, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

On the face of it I see no reason why there can't be gradations of comparability... Widsith 09:31, 15 November 2007 (UTC)
Our editors seem to suffer from lapses of imagination with respect to countability for nouns and comparability for adjectives and adverbs. I understand how easy it is to succumb to it, but it leaves a lot of cleanup. DCDuring 10:13, 15 November 2007 (UTC)
The editors do not suffer from lapses of imagination; we are describing the norm in the inflection lines rather than the exceptions (which are many in English). Please apologize for this personal attack. --EncycloPetey 04:02, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
It is perhaps not so much lack of imagination, but a long-cherished superstition within prescriptive grammar of the "absolute adjectives" that cannot be compared. It is a long-settled issue in linguistics that a form like "more incomparable" means "being closer to incomparable" or "having more of the quality of incomparable", but the prescriptionists continue to claim this is somehow imprecise, unclear, or illiterate. —This comment was unsigned.
Not simply superstition, but an understanding of what the words mean. The word incomparable means "not comparable"; it can't be compared. The word not is a binary operator. It isn't logically feasible to say that something is "more not comparable" or "most not comparable", just as it isn't logically feasible to say that something is "more dead", "more frozen", or "more omnipotent". Each of the base terms is binary, without gradations. That doesn't mean that such forms aren't used by people, just that they do not make logical sense. --EncycloPetey 03:58, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
One could argue that that's a superstitious application of logical formalisms to an informal and illogical language. Two things can be roughly comparable — apples and oranges, say — or fairly incomparable — oranges and toothbrushes, say. But oranges and love are even more incomparable than these, because you can't even apply market prices to compare them. Technically, any two things can be compared, and when we say "incomparable", we do not in fact mean that comparison is simply impossible. Likewise, "more omnipotent" can be meaningful in discussing solutions to the Omnipotence paradox. That said, I agree with you that it's not a big deal to label an adjective absolute if its comparative and superlative forms are rare and nonce-y. —RuakhTALK 04:32, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
I have taken to checking for the actual occurences of instances of use of comparable forms before changing indications of non-comparability. That's what lead me to the Oscar Wilde quote above. Given his notorious wit, I wanted to check whether I had not gotten a joke he was playing on his readers. I doubt if anyone will use a comparable form of something when it doesn't make sense because we say that an adjective is comparable in one of its senses. The trouble with the incomparability marker is that it applies to all senses (including those added after the non-comparability marker is added) and all contexts. It also seems much more proscriptive than Wiktionary philosophically seems to be. DCDuring 23:50, 28 November 2007 (UTC)
Listing an exotic example is one thing, intentionally misleading readers is quite another. Anyhow, for the sense you added, how could something in a literal sense be "more not comparable" anyway? I've been bold, as this was apparently lost in the shuffle. The discussion edits had left it in a terrible state. --Connel MacKenzie 08:22, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

It is clear that Wilde's usage, as well as other instances of "more incomparable" and "most incomparable" are using the word simply in a sense of "great to an extent of having no equal". It is a word that grew beyond its roots, and in this sense is no longer a meaningful prefix+root word combination. Discussions of actual "comparisons" (oranges and toothbrushes) is quite erroneous to this sense. It's an adjective borne out of the notion of being matchless, peerless, unrivaled — but is an independent, self-sustaining description, like "magnificent". It connotates comparison, but does not refer directly to it. Casting off any active (verb) sense of comparison, the new, independent, etymologically created word is pronounced in-COMP-arable. For the senses you've been discussing, the better term is "not comparable".
That said, I think listing the comparative and superlative at incomparable is excessive. The truth is that the word lacks a comparative form, thus the necessary use of the word more. Listing such is wholly unnecessary and cluttered. -- Thisis0 21:57, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

Would that not apply to all adjectives which form their comparatives with "more"? -- Visviva 12:17, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
Not to those for which the "more, most" comparative is common. That bears mention. But to those where the potential comparative is rare, awkward, nonce-y, controversial, and confusing -- it should be left out of the headword space, at least. -- Thisis0 16:58, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Some quick-and-dirty comparisons on b.g.c. suggest that "incomparable" (238.3) is a great deal less comparable than ordinary adjectives like "outstanding" (75.0), but more comparable than really incomparable adjectives like "impossible" (326.76). The numbers are the number of hits for the headword per hit for "more headword than." Not sure where we intend to draw the line here, and of course we all know that Google's hit counts are fiendishly unreliable, so further research is needed. It would be interesting to learn if any real corpus linguists have developed a workable algorithm to evaluate comparability. (probably not... it doesn't strike me as the sort of question a real corpus linguist would be interested in, unfortunately.) -- Visviva 12:17, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

With the heat of the words exchanged and the lack of non-literary uses shown, it would seem "more incomparable" is somewhat of a nonce term that nonetheless is readily interpreted as "less comparable". "coldness" is not a strictly physical quantity like "heat", yet we find it just as tangible. I think most people would feel the Pyramids of Giza are "more priceless" than an early Picasso sketch and that cycling instructions for fish are more worthless than an 8-track casette player. In mathematics, even infinities/infinitesimals come in different degrees. "-less" is normally such a binary form, but "more priceless" is readily interpreted as "more valuable (worth more)" and "more worthless" is readily interpreted as "less valuable (worth less)". Technically, such terms aren't very logical but they still carry information with intrinsic value. I see no reason, however to list any of these terms , including "more incredible" (which we do have) in definitions because they have much more capacity to confuse than to help. Comparative and superlative forms are usually just there to guide users if or how "-er" & "-est" should be applied in normal use. That's a big reason why we don't include "believabler" or "incredibler".

BTW, if you cross the right pond/continent, I'm sure you'll find different pronunciations for "incomparable" and we should reflect that. --Thecurran 07:25, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

"What a bitter sweet irony of it"

What does it really mean?How many meanings it carries,both in negative and positive sense?Anyone??--Etymologist 18:00, 15 November 2007 (UTC)

comparative of negative terms

When forming the comparative of a negative term (a word formed from a prefix such as un- in- a- etc) it seems to me that while I could put more before the negative I'm more likely to put less before the positive form. e.g. for inappropriate it sounds better to use less appropriate than more inappropriate. Does this seem like a general rule? Should anything be noted in the entry for negative terms? RJFJR 02:44, 16 November 2007 (UTC)

Seems to me to be a good example of a Usage notes entry. - Algrif 11:33, 16 November 2007 (UTC)
But less appropriate doesn't mean the same thing as more inappropriate. At a black-tie event, a shirt with button cuffs is less appropriate than cufflinks, but still appropriate, not inappropriate. Jeans would be more inappropriate than a business suit, both are inappropriate. Robert Ullmann 11:43, 16 November 2007 (UTC)
Very good point, and good examples. Hmmmm... - Algrif 20:17, 16 November 2007 (UTC)


We have an entry for the trademark Fathometer and not for fathometer. I haven't counted, but there seem to be more uses of the uncapitalized generic form. How should this be presented? I would argue for both entries cross-referenced, but a redirect from one to the other with both trademark and generic uses could work. If the latter which one is the redirect? DCDuring 15:49, 16 November 2007 (UTC)

We do not use redirects. Use two entries, like Apple. DAVilla 06:41, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
I propose that at Fathometer the gloss only reads "A trade mark". We do not know what else Fathometer produces or especially what it will produce, therefore it is not necessary to say anything about what is possibly being produced under the brand. A separate entry fathometer then explains what the gadget is about. I do not know whether fathometers are called fathometers because of Fathometer or vice versa. Without further research I would not write anything about the relationship in the etymology -section. In fact, I did these changes already. Hekaheka 21:12, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
Actually we should just delete the trade mark just as at least for the time being is the solution with Bobcat, which is being discussed somewhat further below. Hekaheka 21:18, 30 December 2007 (UTC)


The adverb was listed as not having a comparative form. I found two quotes that seem to illustrate otherwise, but are otherwise interpretable. Any thoughts. DCDuring 19:26, 16 November 2007 (UTC)

Try searching using further and furthest atop. You'll find stacks of quotes. Algrif 20:15, 16 November 2007 (UTC)
Does "further" count as making a "real" comparative form. In my mind, only "more" could make a comparative. Are there other such words that make "real" comparatives. DCDuring 21:40, 16 November 2007 (UTC)
And younger is then not a "real" comparative? Better? \Mike 21:47, 16 November 2007 (UTC)
I meant that I thought that "more" was the only full word that could make a comparative.
I was interested in whether there was a comparative form (and a superlative one as well) for the adverb "atop". I found two quotes for "more atop". The suggestion of "further atop" raised the question in my mind as to what the meaning of "comparative" form really was. Is "more" the only adverb that makes a "real" comparative form for those adjectives and adverbs that don't form the comparative "morphologically", like by adding "-er", as "young" does? "Further atop" (surprisingly, no real hits for "farther atop") and "more atop" seem to mean about the same thing.
"Farther" and "further" seem to work like "more" for many adverbs that have to do with spatial relationships, possibly figurative ones. "Farther" "up/down"; "in/out"; "over/under"; "ahead/behind"; "on", "across", "back", "east", etc.; "left/right"; "forward/backward"; "away/anear"; "above/below"; "overhead", "beneath", "alee", "abaft", "afore". DCDuring 22:26, 16 November 2007 (UTC)
Further' does seem to be preferred to farther for comparative forms. No idea why, tho. A tangential aside... I've often thought it might be good to appendix all adj / adv that can take further as comparative. You missed a few. upstairs, downstairs, uphill, downhill, ahead, around, round, and I'm certain there are more. Algrif 16:19, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

There are other words besides more than can be used to form the comparative, especially less. Comparatives can either increase or decrease the relative degree in the comparison. However, I'm not convinced that further atop is an extension of the pattern. This looks to me like a case of the adverb further modifying the adverb atop, just as you could say further in, further on, or further out. I can't find this addressed in the books I have on English grammar. --EncycloPetey 03:49, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

I remain very uncertain about this: "She rested more atop him."

"More" would seem to be modifying the prepositional phrase "atop him". Therefore "atop" is, in fact, not comparable. This leaves me needing some kind of good usage example or quote for the adverbial usage of "atop", which is actually what got me started on all this. DCDuring 04:06, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

In that example atop is a preposition, not an adverb. The adverb more is modifying the adverbial phrase atop him. The original question applies to adverbial situations like "Clicking on this option will place the window further atop." I can't imagine "more atop" being used this way. --EncycloPetey 04:38, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
I think I see the error of my ways about the comparative form of the adverb. My question now is for a good example of the adverbial use.
  • "He placed it atop." doesn't seem right, except in very unusual circumstances. Perhaps: "She placed hers next to the pillow; he placed his atop {hers or the pillow]." DCDuring 16:36, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
No, I would call that a preposition still, with an understood implied object because of the parallelism. A better example might be "The scout went atop to look along the cliffs." The adverbial use will sound strange because it's not common in modern English. --EncycloPetey 18:46, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
Adverbially it's almost archaic now. In older books, you will regularly see sentences along the lines of, "The castle was black and forbidding, with a tattered flag flying atop." It used to be written as two words which is making it hard for me to find good results on b.google. Widsith 13:33, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
Does it merit an indicator of its not-current usage? What is the canonical format for such an indicator? "dated"? "archaic"? "obsolete"? DCDuring 14:41, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
Maybe (literary or archaic)...? Widsith 16:10, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

I've added a couple of cites and the context tags. Widsith 17:29, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

I feel much better now. -- And the entry is vastly better. DCDuring 17:56, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

word of faith

The phrase "word of faith" is fairly common in Christian writings and is apparently SoP, non-idiomatic. There is a "Word of Faith" movement, not an organization, for which the phrase has a particular meaning, which most users of the phrase "word of faith" may not be aware of, would not accept, and might strongly disagree with. The entry, though uncapitalized, is about "Word of Faith" as a belief, presumably of those in the "Word of Faith" movement.

  • Should the entry be capitalized?
  • How should the meanings separate from those of the movement be handled?
  • Should the context be "religion" or "Word of Faith"?
  • Does it belong in Wiktionary?
Although there might well be a BP discussion in this, the concrete case might provide a more focussed discussion, if anyone is interested. DCDuring 00:04, 17 November 2007 (UTC)


does anybody know the correct spelling of a soup called(pilmanie) and its possible origin? 15:21 17 November 2007 (UTC)

  • This morning I walked down the street to see what I could see, and happened upon an Uzbekistani restaurant, where I had breakfast.
Couldn't read a single thing on the menu, because it was written in Russian. So I just told the guy to bring me something he thought I'd like.
It was terrific. Something called Pelmani, which included beef dumpling soup, some sort of egg and ham salad, plus bread and yogurt with an interesting tang. An excellent choice next time you stay at the Diplomat Hotel in Dubai.[14] DCDuring 22:33, 17 November 2007 (UTC)
Best spelling for finding more would probably be pelmeni. DCDuring 22:46, 17 November 2007 (UTC)

What is a beehive fireplace?

What is a beehive fireplace?

See picture here.
A traditional beehive is kind of dome shaped (as in beehive hairdo, etc). A beehive fireplace is a masonry or stone dome enclosure over the fire forming a sort of oven. RJFJR 04:29, 18 November 2007 (UTC)


The entry claims to have a citation supporting "more unmade" as the comparative, but I think this is parsed incorrectly. I believe the quote is not "(more unmade) and remade" but rather "more (unmade and remade)". That is, I think more is being used in its adverbial sense to modify an adjective phrase rather than in its analytical sense to form the comparative. --EncycloPetey 04:08, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

By George, I think you're right. I added a couple of other quotes that seem to support the comparative/superlatives, but I may have misread them too. Please take a look. DCDuring 13:22, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
All but the 1984 quote, which is comparing aunmade versus made, and not forming a comparative of unmade. I'd argue that the original quote from the page and the 1984 one should be removed. --EncycloPetey 15:39, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
I've implemented your suggestions. Formation of plurals and comparatives is way more complicated than I had realized. -- And I still have trouble slowing down enough to parse things correctly. DCDuring 16:20, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

New word or another language

I'm really struggling to find any meaning for the word "Absolom". Is this a new word created by the masters of Hollywood or A word in another minor language they've found and used. —This unsigned comment was added by Pagey (talkcontribs).

See Wikipedia: w:Absalom. Mike Dillon 03:40, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

Random addendum: Robertson Davies used to use his own coinage absalonism to describe habitual rebellion against one's father. Widsith 12:10, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

get down with the kids

Should this instead be at get down with or possibly even get down?—msh210 21:49, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

"get down" doesn't cover it. There's another idiom (AAVE?) down with, I think, too, possibly related. DCDuring 22:53, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
We may need additional sense(s) of down to provide the building block(s) for these phrases. DCDuring 22:59, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
Plenty of examples of get down with + other noun groups being used as a phrasal verb in Google and bgc. This seems to be quite new, as it is not a dictionary entry that I can find (yet), but there appears to be durability. So I vote for get down with as the entry. Algrif 12:57, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
If you want an entry for it, I'm down with it. DCDuring 12:45, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
If you're happy with my entry at get down with, which seems to have at least two citeable meanings, then that makes get down with the kids SoP. - Algrif 12:55, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
I'm down[=OK] with the entry, but I wish I could think of a good search to capture some quotes using "get down" not in the senses given there, but more like the sense in get down with. Can it be used with any other prepositions? My homeys don't talk like that and the people who do wouldn't talk that way in front of me. DCDuring 14:57, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure I understand your Q, but perhaps you want get down among ? - Algrif 16:22, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
What I'm trying to say is that I'm not happy that the two senses in "get down" really capture one or more ways the phrase is used. To get it right I would need to look at a few examples. I can't think how to do a good search that doesn't yield thousands of hits I don't want. If "with" is not the only additional preposition the phrase is used with, then there is a good case for adding an additional sense to "get down". But "get down" without another preposition also may have another sense, for which the one-preposition-at-a-time strategy that you imply would be ineffective. DCDuring 16:44, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
Ah! I thought so. I misunderstood your Q.
I don't do anything sophisticated. Just search and wade through the results. I often find that newspaper searches help to support and clarify gbc searches. Using this method, I came out with the 2 definitions given. There might be more, but I haven't come across any yet.
The definitions at get down with do not coincide with any definition of get down nor get down + with. So I believe get down with is a clear phrasal verb with clear definitions. If you find any more, please feel free to add (It's Wiki policy, after all ;-)) - Algrif 17:35, 24 November 2007 (UTC)


I was just wondering how best to enter Spanish suffix -illo -illa meaning little. As in mercado - mercadillo, mentira - mentirilla, etc. Is there a specific format for this? Algrif 15:57, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

You could use -ito as an example. It looks pretty solid. Mike Dillon 16:03, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
Thanks. I'm onto it now. Algrif 16:06, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

template:irregular plural of

Template:irregular plural of is a "form-of" template that puts "Irregular plural form of [foo]" on the definition line and adds the page to Category:English irregular plurals. While I think that the category is great, I think the definition line should just say "Plural form of", for the following reason. Someone who doesn't know what "irregular plural" means might well think that "Irregular plural form of" means "Uncommon plural form of" (i.e., that there is another, more common, plural). What think you all?—msh210 19:29, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

Another option is to have "irregular" link to Appendix:Glossary, where it can be explained in detail. If that's not enough, maybe a tooltip could offer a brief explanation. Rod (A. Smith) 19:59, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
Ideally, we'd have an Appendix:English nouns with a section on regular and irregular plurals, and the template would like to that. --EncycloPetey 20:34, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
I like any presentation that is kind to an ordinary user, while remaining accurate. The word "irregular" at the beginning of a definition line has the potential to confuse (especially native speakers). If it would be valuable for some users to know that a given plural is irregular without having to look at the categories, perhaps the definition line could read "plural form (irr.) of". To prevent the ordinary user from wasting too much time "irr." could be wiki-linked to a helpful section of a page that explained what "irregular" meant in this context. Putting a wiki-linked "irregular" at the beginning of the line may lead to many users hitting a link that won't tell them anything they want to know. DCDuring 20:51, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
That sounds good.—msh210 17:41, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

I agree with msh210; that message just seems pointless. Anyone who knows English will know, given a plural noun and its corresponding lemma, whether they'd consider it irregular; I don't see the benefit in imposing our definition of "irregular" into our definitions of all irregular plurals. (Obviously we need our own definition of "irregular" for the sake of categorization, but I don't see that it's useful for much more than that.) —RuakhTALK 01:11, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

I admit that the current entry for women seems unenlightening for readers who don't already know the plural of woman. Of course, this ties into the lack of consensus we have regarding whether to show such inflection details in the headword/inflection line or in definition lines. In any event, this conversation probably belongs at WT:BP, right? Rod (A. Smith) 01:36, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

I agree with both Msh210 and Ruakh: The category is useful, the preset definition is unhelpfully misleading.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 02:38, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

I also agree. When you see women defined as "irregular plural of woman", the immediate reaction is to think "So what the hell is the regular plural?" Widsith 12:06, 24 November 2007 (UTC)

Shall we change the definition to be identical with the one provided {{plural of}}, but retaining the auto-catting?  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 12:32, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
  • I see a few problems:
    1. Most dictionaries don't include entries for regular "form of"s but do for irregulars. So while they typically don't use the word "irregular" in their definitions they make these terms stand out by their mere inclusion. Wiktionary now has no way to make these stand out yet they are very much more important than regular "form of" entries.
    2. Categories are useful but they apply to an entire page and thus do not stand out on a page such as men which has nine entries and sixteen categories.
    3. The argument about confusing words in definitions is a bit of a red herring considering we have more confusing words such as infinitive, tense, participle, and uncountable in very many "form of" definitions.
  • Why not treat irregularity in a consistent manner as with other "attributes" of words such as countability, transitivity, archaic, obsolete, pejorative, etc:
    1. (irregular) Plural of man.

Hippietrail 00:58, 28 November 2007 (UTC)

That still (to me at least) implies that there exists a valid regular version. Widsith 14:38, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
Me, too.—msh210 20:35, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
And what about when dictionaries list regular plural forms? –The COED, if my memory serves me correctly, explicitly lists prospectuses as the plural form of prospectus.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 20:21, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

To enfishen?

Do we have a word in English for the French empoissonner, meaning to populate or stock with fish? enfish, fishify, enfishen, or just "add fish to"? There should be a word for it, like when fisherman overfish and there's not much fish left in the sea so they need to wait a while until the sea become more enfished? --Rural Legend 14:22, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

I don't think there's a word for it, or if there is most people ignore it in favour of saying "replenish fish stocks" or something. You could always coin an English word empoisson or impescate... Widsith 14:32, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
Indeed, the next time I write a novel I shall talk about how fisherman need to reimpescate the oceans after the depescation. Hell, I'll name character after you too. --Rural Legend 15:10, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
Great, I'll keep an eye out for The Sockpuppet Years. Widsith 15:14, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
No precise word, but restock is the word typically used and the context usually makes a modifier unnecessary. DCDuring 15:16, 21 November 2007 (UTC)


cup's English etymology section says it comes from Old English, earlier from Latin, earlier from Hebrew, earlier from PIE. Since when does Hebrew derive from PIE, or Latin from Hebrew (unless, for the latter, it's a loan, in which case it should say so)?—msh210 20:45, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

I've commented out that bit for now. It appears to be random weirdness. Widsith 10:14, 22 November 2007 (UTC)


Meaning 3 appears to me to be a specific instance of meaning 2. Can I just delete meaning 3? What's the protocol? - dougher 23:20, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

To be cautious: insert rfd-sense template (which I just did). But that sense def. is so bad that probably no-one would have minded it you would have deleted it. DCDuring 00:16, 22 November 2007 (UTC)


Can someone add a correct {{en-verb}} inflection for zinc#Verb, it seems that it has a couple of possible inflections - zinckig/zincing/zincked/zinced...I'd coin a new past tenses for zinc at zanc and zunc if I could. --Rural Legend 11:05, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

I thought the verb was galvanize - Algrif 17:12, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
Less-used synonym. DCDuring 17:25, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
Which is less used? The word we know how to inflect correctly: to galvanize, or the word which does not seem to have any clear inflection: to zinc (??) BTW, I do not have zinc as a verb in any of my dictionaries, but then I don't have that many, I'm afraid. - Algrif 17:43, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
My MW3 gives the "ck" inflections (not zanc amd zunc) as well as the "c" ones. I have never seen of read "zinc" as a verb, though I don't doubt that it is in usage. I don't like the look of the "ck" spellings, but they do avoid the pronunciation confusion of the "c" versions. Let me look up the en-verb template to see how to do it. DCDuring 18:50, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
Thinking about how we treat this problem with other metals.. The most common procedure is to add -plate to the metal noun. Some few metals have special verbs, such as zinc - galvanise, and gold - guild. Some make verbs directly, such as to lead, and to tin. Silver and chrome seem to be used as verbs at times also, but -plate is preferred. I think it will be difficult (but not impossible tho) to find anything verifyable for zinc as a verb. Zinc-plate and galvanise are by far and away the most obvious solutions. Good luck in finding verificatons for the inflections. - Algrif 13:02, 23 November 2007 (UTC) I just noticed. That should read gild! .. Doh.. Algrif 17:15, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
The only one I wasn't able to find on Google Books was zincs. --Ptcamn 19:31, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
Which makes me wonder whether the -ed forms are simply adjectival, and the -ing forms nouns or adjectives, in the examples you have found. Handle with care !! - Algrif 17:23, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

street market

I am considering adding this item, but is it a SoP? Reasons in favour of the entry would include the fact that souq, mercadillo, and mercatino all mean street market. Opinions? - Algrif 17:24, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

Wouldn't we want to make this a matter of policy? If it works under existing policy, then it's in. If it doesn't, then it might be an opportunity to review the policy for the newbies like me. I remember that in a recent discussion the translation-from-a-single-word rationale was said not to be policy.
This looks SoP and is not in MW3. But maybe there is more to it. Does a street market necessarily involve closing a street to some classes of traffic, for example? In NY area, we have "farmers' markets" (fresh produce and other food products, not necessarily farmers, sometimes held in parking areas or other public spaces), "street fairs" (more than a market, closes the street), "sidewalk sales" (store-owners allowed to partially obstruct the sidewalk in front of their store), "street vendors", (licensed or unlicensed merchant without premises, selling from sidewalk). We have a few special-purpose buildings for "markets", both wholesale, retail, and mixed, as well as arcades; in these, the mechants can have stores or stalls. We also have "flea markets", typically weekend-only markets for all sorts of goods. Not too many folks from here would think of the phrase "steet market" when looking for meaning. DCDuring 17:52, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

To me it's a set phrase. I totally think it deserves an entry. Widsith 07:58, 23 November 2007 (UTC)

It does seem to be more of a UK thing than US, judging from DCDuring's comment. But I'm leaning more towards a real entry, because both the above comments made me realise that in UK a street market can be found in a car park or other non-street location. The meaning is a temporary market not located in a fixed market building. (More or less!). If I can justify this meaning with cites, then I will enter it. Any help in finding quotes would be appreciated. - Algrif 12:51, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
If someone here said "street market" we would have some expectations about what it was, but I would argue that here it is fundamentally SoP.
There are abundant quotations in travel, geography, history, and sociology. I'm not sure how to find the ones that illustrate the 'setness' of the phrase. Here's an interesting cite from a history book:
  • 1956-2000, H. P. R. Finberg, Joan Thirsk, Edith H. Whetham, Stuart Piggott, H. E. Hallam, Edward Miller, G. E. Mingay, E. J. T. Collins, The agrarian history of England and Wales, page 992
    It was not the custom of London consumers to walk any distance for their food, or any other goods. As a result of this and the inability of the London County Council to establish a single authority to regulate existng markets and establish properly regulated new ones when the need arose, the irregular street market set up in densely populated districts was a feature of the capital. In 1891 there were 112, all unauthorised, and containing 5,292 stalls, of which 65 percent were set aside for the sale of perishable commodities.
There's lots more in this mammoth multi-volume source about markets elsewhere in England and Wales. DCDuring 14:25, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
OK Great. Thanks. I've put another couple of good quotes and entered it with a 'pedia link. - Algrif 16:49, 23 November 2007 (UTC)

how do i create my avatar?

Tea room i am at a loss i can't seem to do anything,how can i start to have fun, i need to make a avatar to chat

eye dialect

This definition bothers me a bit because of the put-down of the speakers of the dialects transliterated this way. I am not saying that the definition is not often accurate. I am saying that not all transliterations of dialect are done to mock the speaker. AAVE is arguably a species of eye dialect that has some effective PR agents and lobbyists. I had wanted to add entries for some New York area eye-dialect (dey, dem, dose, dese, dat for starters, but all of Damon Runyon and Finley Peter Dunne [and others] awaits) and was bothered by the implication of the definition that such entries were not appropriate. Are they? Is it only the usual CFI standards that apply? DCDuring 12:33, 23 November 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for the definition rewrite. I would guess that Wiktionary would want to have as many eye-dialect entries as possible, especially cited. It is a kind of documentation of popular English that is not readily available by other means and fits with the need of users reading dialog in dialect. DCDuring 00:37, 24 November 2007 (UTC)

Whoever is rewriting this, you may wish also to rewrite Category:Eye dialect and Appendix:Glossary#E.—msh210 17:14, 26 November 2007 (UTC)


Can anyone tell me the meaning of this name. The tribe that it can from was around Preg Oklahoma. I was named after a girl that went to school there.

Thank you


in one's stockinged feet is listed as an adverb; I was hoping to place stockingfeet as a term of its own, but am unsure what part of speech it would be or how best to define it. It appears in L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, among many other books at b.g.c. Any ideas? sewnmouthsecret 15:48, 23 November 2007 (UTC)

Well, it's a noun. Though I usually see it as two words, or hyphenated. Widsith 15:52, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
I was thinking it was a noun, but in trying to define it, I keep thinking stockinged feet, which is an adjective. b.g.c. has many print cites with it as one word. sewnmouthsecret 16:08, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
No, "stockinged feet" is a compound noun too – a noun phrase if you like, but no one likes that term here. And the singular stocking-foot seems to exist also, by the way. Widsith 16:53, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
We do have stockinged, the past participle of the verb "stocking", which is used as an adjective in both phrases: "in one's stockinged feet" and "stockinged feet". The entire first phrase is adverbial. Both "one's stockinged feet" and "stockinged feet" are noun phrases. At least, I think that's all correct. DCDuring 17:01, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
"Stocking-foot" doesn't seem to usually refer to a foot with a stocking in it. A "stocking-foot wader" is a wader that has a stocking-like foot, which is worn inside socks (for abrasion protection) and an oversized shoe. It contrasts with a "boot-foot wader" which makes direct contact with the rocks and grit of a stream. A "stocking-foot" also seems to refer to the foot part of a stocking. It makes me think that one reason that the somewhat awkward "stockinged feet" has survived is to differentiate "stocking-feet" from "stockinged feet". We could try to preserve the distinction by marking stockingfeet in the sense of "stockinged feet" in some way as a common misspelling (or something) or just note distinct senses. DCDuring 17:17, 23 November 2007 (UTC)
Yeah, I think it's the other way round. stocking-foot is the part of a stocking that goes round the foot, ie the bottom bit. "In your stocking-feet" was just a way of saying that you had no shoes on over them (first attested 1802), but as the term got less common, people started hearing it as "stockinged feet" (first attested 1862). Widsith 16:38, 24 November 2007 (UTC)


I was wanting to add the well known quote from A Christmas Carol from Wikiquotes [15] to the Interjection. But I'm not sure how to do it. - Algrif 12:05, 24 November 2007 (UTC)

What I mean is, is there a special template or approved format to link to wikiquotes? - Algrif 16:19, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
What I need to know is nothing difficult. w: takes a link to wikipedia. s: takes a link to wikisource. What is the way to link to wikiquotes, please? Thanks. - Algrif 12:59, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
Ah, gotcha. q:Charles_Dickens#A_Christmas_Carol. Widsith 13:49, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
Many thanx. My fault for not being clear in the first place! ;-) - Algrif 17:19, 29 November 2007 (UTC)


I've been trying to find the meaning of Bobcat that i found in a leadership book, but it seems like it's nowhere to find. The book speaks about a landscaping company and how they run their business. As I quote here, it says, "Their equipment - including trucks, trailers, and 'Bobcat'". Can someone help me here, please? —This unsigned comment was added by (talk).

Seems like they're a digging-machinery company. See w:Bobcat Company. Widsith 12:13, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
It's a good example of the trademaker's craft. Common word, play on bob- as in "bobbed" and "Cat", short for "Caterpillar", now being defended against genericization of the term bobcat, sense 2. DCDuring 14:32, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
Oh, yea. They make small-scale earth-moving equipment, often used by contractors who need to work in small spaces around existing structures. DCDuring 15:29, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
I added cat as the commonly used abbreviation or both Bobcat and Caterpillar tractors. —This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 21:35, 3 February 2008 (UTC).

help me ...

There's this sentence that says: "The new President imposed much-needed organization and order on the fledgling company." Can somebody help me to re-phrase it, please?

Pice, is it a coin or a currency?

I notice the word pice has a definition of "A small copper coin of the East Indies, worth less than a cent". But is this correct, as I thought pice or more correctly paisa is a currency rather than an actual coin. Obviously it can be both like cent, but I'm also sure that pice is plural, which makes it unlikely that it means a particular coin. Help appreciated.--Dmol 23:09, 24 November 2007 (UTC)


How should the slang/dialect/illiterate(?) inflection of the verb "know" and the results of the inflection be presented? It certainly seems like a complete separate inflection of the same infinitive lemma: I/you/he/we/they knows, knowing (knowin'???), knowed, knowed. This kind of thing must have been discussed before. DCDuring 15:25, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

Knowed seems to handled adequately. I willhave done something similar for knows. How is it to be handled on the page for know? DCDuring 15:34, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
I did something ,if fine,it's good,otherwise it will be removed.--Etymologist 18:08, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

against time

Is this an idiom? It can be used adjectivally and adverbially. It is part of set phrases like a "race against time". DCDuring 16:57, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

It is a prepositional phrase. It just needs to have Category:English prepositional phrases added. - Algrif 17:47, 25 November 2007 (UTC) p.s. Not sure about it being an adjective though?? Algrif 17:49, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
It is used with nouns describing actions, usually vigorous actions. I often find the semantics renders the grammatical structure invisible to me. Somehow against didn't look like a preposition for a while. DCDuring 18:01, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

the world is your oyster

This doesn't conform with our other entry names. Standard would be world be one's oyster or the world be one's oyster, but those are terrible. Not sure what to do about this. Maybe just leave it where it is. In any event, there should be redirects from the world is his oyster, world is my oyster, the world was her oyster, etc., I suppose.—msh210 17:21, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

Sadly enough, world be one's oyster is correct. DAVilla 08:20, 28 November 2007 (UTC)
Fortunately we can salt the entry with examples that have all the most common phrases in actual use so that the search button will find it for the user. DCDuring 23:13, 28 November 2007 (UTC)

you hear it. you thuoght it, you have done it / see

does this make you reconize the simplcity of actions


If it was up to me, I would move this to Category:cinematography and update all the entries to use a proper context tag. Does anyone agree or disagree? SemperBlotto 10:07, 27 November 2007 (UTC)

Yes. I agree. Widsith 10:22, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
Capitalized.—msh210 23:22, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
No. SemperBlotto 10:57, 28 November 2007 (UTC)
Aren't all the topic categories' names capitalized? (I'm referring to the first letter only, of course.)—msh210 05:38, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
Disagree Yes, all categories on Wiktionary have their first letter capitalized, though I'm unsure whether the software requires it and some templates we use require this. However, "cinematography" is too narrow a term to cover the category. Filmology exists as a word because cinematography refers to the art of making motion pictures, specifically to aspects of lighting and camera choices. It does not cover other aspects of filmmaking. If another name must be used, I would choose Category:Filmmaking. --EncycloPetey 01:51, 4 December 2007 (UTC)


I think we're missing a sense:

    • 1981, P. L. Travers, Mary Poppins, revised edition, chapter 10,
      Jane and Michael watched the dance, the Hamarynd secret and still between them.

I'm not sure what secret means here. (Note that the Hamarynd was not hiding or, as far as I can tell, obscured from sight.)—msh210 21:43, 27 November 2007 (UTC)

What's a Hamarynd? Is it physical? MW3 has some 9 adj. senses for secret, all them involving hiding, stealth, mystery in one way or another. DCDuring 22:54, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
In the book the Hamarynd seemed to be some kind of snake-god. Physical, yes: having the form of a snake.—msh210 23:21, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
So, a smart snake, then. There's a sense of secret: secretive. By being/holding itself still, the snake seems to be playing an active role. A divine or magical snake may not be all that physical. I doubt if we can do much better than guess at a more precise meaning other than the emotional content of something esoteric and powerful shared by Jane and Michael. DCDuring 00:12, 28 November 2007 (UTC)
Hm, okay. Thanks.—msh210 05:39, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

power processor

I want to ask what is the difference between power processors and micro processors.

One possibility is that "power processor" refers to w:IBM POWER, a particular architecture of microprocessors developed by IBM. Another possibility is that is slang of jargon for a microprocessor that is considered particularly powerful (as opposed to a small and simple processor that is intended more to be cheap than powerful). Can you put the question in conhtext? RJFJR 14:24, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

just as well

I'm struggling to make a good entry for this phrase. I think just as well or perhaps be just as well, as in It's just as well you came when you did! and similar expressions. In Spanish it would translate as menos mal (if that helps at all). But how to define it well? Any input, ideas, etc would be most appreciated. - Algrif 13:20, 28 November 2007 (UTC)

I think I would drop the "be" because the SoP adverbial phrase "just as well" ("He did it just as well as she did.") serves as the virtual etymology of the more idiomatic-seeming other ways of using the phrase. "Just as well" can be used as an expression of agreement. "They took her driver's license away." "Just as well." for: "Just as well they did." for: "It is just as well that they did." DCDuring 15:28, 28 November 2007 (UTC)
The second sense in the entry for as well nearly captures the meaning for the "as well" part, I think. "might as well", "may as well" are other collocations that come to mind. We should consider adding a sense to "as well" in the course of the "just as well" effort. DCDuring 15:44, 28 November 2007 (UTC)
There are a number of nuances which I find hard to define and categorise in all these phrases. I agree that they probably should be melded in some way to avoid having a whole heap of minor entries which are hard to find. As usual, I tend to put myself in the position of a hypothetical English L2 speaker trying to understand a paragraph which includes one of the above phrases. How would he find it? What should be in the entry so that he can understand it. I'm finding this phrase surprisingly difficult to pin down. Sense 2 in as well is just about OK for the phrase might as well, but gets nowhere near the positive/negative idea of fortunate + or else contained in the exchange I did my homework - It's just as well! or I have a spanner in the car. - It's just as well! and so on. - Algrif 12:45, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

Acca Dacca

Can anyone help verify and date this nickname? I can only find one example in Google Books, but there's a number of news hits, all of which are from the 21st century. Would anyone be able to find some attestations from the 70s or 80s? --Ptcamn 22:46, 28 November 2007 (UTC)

It just looks like the name of an Australian-based AC/DC tribute band, as you must have suspected. DCDuring 23:09, 28 November 2007 (UTC)
So does this rock band deserve a dictionary entry? --EncycloPetey 01:46, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
We don't have the band sense for AC/DC. Until we do, I can't see the point of having an entry for a mere w:tribute band. Nor would I care if w:AC/DC never made Wiktionary. I am aware of them, but not really familiar with them or their work. There are other proper name efforts I would much rather engage in. Sorry I couldn't be more help. DCDuring 02:02, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
RfD'd. bd2412 T 02:10, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
It was (and is) a nickname for the original band before the tribute band took it as its name. --Ptcamn 16:26, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
Even so, not dictionary material. bd2412 T 16:50, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
Why not? --Ptcamn 22:04, 8 December 2007 (UTC)
It could be if it is used to describe AC/DC electrical devices. I'd be surprised if it weren't in at least limited actual usage in Oz, though I couldn't find any cites. DCDuring 17:49, 7 December 2007 (UTC)

Mobile Directory Number

What is it?

Contraction 'ns

Can anyone tell me what the contraction 'ns means (or could mean) in Southern American English? I came across this in utterance "That'ns cut!" but for the love of God I cannot figure out what it could mean, exactly. -- 14:10, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

Being from London I'm just guessing, but I would interpret it as "that one is cut", whatever that may mean. Widsith 14:14, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
Sounds right to me. I would have expected it to be written "that un's cut" with un's being a slurred pronounciation of one's, the contraction for one is. RJFJR 14:17, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
You'ns got that right or 'most right. I wonder how to write double contractions: "that'n's"? Or is that spelling the possessive singular? Wiktionary ought to have uns and either 'ns or -'ns or something to capture this. What should it be? DCDuring 16:10, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

epilogue 3rd sense

The current third sense of epilogue is 3 A brief oration or script at the end of a literary piece; an afterword. Is oration the correct term to describe something in a literary piece? I think of oration as something spoken while a piece of literature as soemthing read. RJFJR 14:27, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

It looks to me as if all the senses given in epilogue were intended to include both orally delivered pieces and those in writing. Maybe the phrase "literary piece" should be replaced with "oral or written work" or "work". "Literary" seems to exclude oral performances, even of written works. In any event, it can mislead people as it does in the def. under discussion, I think. DCDuring 16:24, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

December 2007

Double contractions

Just to keep this separate from that'un's above, although closely related.
It seems to be unconfirmed policy, or something like that, to avoid double contractions. I wonder if this can be clarified? What exactly is wrong with can't've, that'll've, and other doubles that an Eng L2 might come across in a text? - Algrif 10:40, 30 November 2007 (UTC)

If in print, I don't see any problem with double contractions. See 'tisn't, 'twasn't, 'tweren't, I'd've, it'sn't, shouldn't've, and wouldn't've. Why would they be avoided if in use, no matter how much people may dislike them? I'm sure there are many more. sewnmouthsecret 04:53, 2 December 2007 (UTC)
Are there any more of these that could be added to Category:English double contractions?  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 14:19, 2 December 2007 (UTC)
Of course there are. You don't even have fo'c'sle yet! Robert Ullmann 14:33, 2 December 2007 (UTC)
Now added. Feel free to add any others you can think of to the category.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 17:05, 2 December 2007 (UTC)
'Tisn't hard to find them. Make a game of it. The young'uns'll find plenty that we old'uns've already forgotten. The real question is whether they deserve the be entered here if they are eye-dialect. You for'em or 'gin'em? Gotta go now. Be back in an hour if my car'll get me there'n'back. If mine won't, maybe my neighbor's'll do the trick. DCDuring 17:13, 2 December 2007 (UTC)
If they’re attested, they should be listed. BTW, most of the examples you gave are not double contractions, being instead for ‛em (minus the space), ‛gin ‛em (ditto), there ‛n’ back (same again), and neighbo(u)r’s’ll (where the ’s is not a contraction, but rather the English possessive enclitic).  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 18:05, 2 December 2007 (UTC)
Well, I'm just an impatient amateur. Thanks for the feedback. DCDuring 18:40, 2 December 2007 (UTC)
Hmmm... why are you using the opening quotation mark instead of an apostrophe? DAVilla 11:38, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
I’m not — «  » is the leading apostrophe, whereas «  » is the opening quotation mark — both are distinct from «  », the apostrophe-cum-closing quotation mark.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 16:00, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
What about triple contractions? fo'c's'le Cynewulf 00:56, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
Hmm… Thinking about it, I’m not sure that fo’c’sle and fo’c’s’le count as double contractions, being as they’re both single words, simply split in two/three places. All the others listed in Category:English double contractions contain contractions of two words as clitics (it‛t; notn’t; would or should’d; have’ve; is’s; and, will or shall’ll).  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 15:16, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
Depends how you define "contraction". If "contraction" means that the "'" indicates missing letter(s), then fo’c’sle is a double contraction of forecastle. Algrif 11:50, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
I defined a double contraction in Category:English double contractions; whereatop is written “Double contractions are those words which contain two contractional clitics, such as n’t and ’ve. Both contractions are marked with apostrophes.” — under that definition, fo’c’sle is a contraction, but not a double contraction.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 13:52, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
Where d'you get that definition from? fo'c'sle is contracted twice - it's a double contraction. The OED defines the relevant sense of contraction as shortening "by omitting or combining some elements". fo'c'le is shortened in this way twice. The amount of actual words involved is not relevant (or how do you view o'clock which cuts an entire word out of "of the clock"?). PS, I'm pretty sure whereatop isn't a word, but if it is I suspect you're the first person in 200 years to try and get away with it! Widsith 14:25, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
Yeah, I did some checking: both hereatop and whereatop are vanishingly rare (though I did find one person who’s used whereatop — not two centuries ago, but only last year), whereas, bizarrely enough, thereatop is rather common (in patents no less). BTW, I should be genuinely interested to hear on what grounds you state whether something is or is not a word…  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 22:32, 8 December 2007 (UTC)
I think that if fo'c'sle is neither a single nor a double contraction, then what is it? A multiple contraction? But that would be pointless hair-splitting IMHO. I've put bo's'n in catagory double contraction, and I think fo'c'sle and fo'c's'le should be there also. - Algrif 10:32, 8 December 2007 (UTC)
The OED’s pertinent definition of contraction doesn’t actually conflict with the one I gave — it says nowhere that the “omitt[ed] or combin[ed] … elements” must be adjacent. However, perhaps that really would be hair-splitting. I’m unsure what to call o’clock — perhaps it is indeed a double contraction. To twist the “rules” a bit — bo’s’n could be viewed as “boatbo’* ” + “swains’n* ”, whilst fo’c’sle and fo’c’s’le could be viewed as “forefo’* ” + “castlec’sle* or c’s’le* ”. Otherwise, we’d need Category:English triple contractions just for fo’c’s’le (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 22:58, 8 December 2007 (UTC)
I'm trying to think of any more examples of o' = of the apart from o'clock and jack o'lantern. Also, are there any other examples where the apostrophe indicates the loss of an entire word? - Algrif 12:41, 9 December 2007 (UTC)


I am looking for information on the word tohubohu. I was told that it means chaos. If there is any info out there in the great wide web, please send it out. tohubohu sounds like something sad or crying;I know that it is more than what it sounds like, I find myself thinking about what it could mean.

boohoo sounds more like some one is crying or sad... and thus one is easily mislead into thinking that tohubohu could mean that aswell... but it is not, it comes from Hebrew tohu wa-bhohu, from tohu (formlessness) and bhohu (emptiness), so a formless emptiness. Reference: New York Times Letter to the Editor March 26, 1995 --BigBadBen 21:17, 1 December 2007 (UTC)
For what it's worth, the Hebrew is תהו ובהו ‎(tohu vavohu), from the second verse in Genesis. It means "תהו ‎(tohu) and בהו ‎(bohu)", but what those are beats me. If I recall correctly, major classical Bible commentators differ about them.—msh210 20:22, 6 December 2007 (UTC)


I have often wondered about how one should pronounce the word "Shinola", which was as though carved in stone when the famous slang/colloquial phrase appeared and spread.))) Not for use in my speech, personally, but just for knowing, because eventually I have to read it aloud from books. Is the shoe-polish named [ʃɪ`nəʊlə]? [`ʃɪnələ]? [ʃaɪ`nəʊlə]? Eate 15:16, 30 November 2007 (UTC)

I don't know the notation, but first syllable rhymes with "shine", accent is on second syllable, as I've heard it. The commercial logic of the rhyme with "shine" would make me willing to bet a lot of money at long odds that that part of the pronunciation was encouraged by the manufacturer as well. I'm not as sure about the accent. DCDuring 15:24, 30 November 2007 (UTC)
Aha...So it is probably "Shy-NO-la". The analogy with the slang word "payola", which I know to bear stress on the second syllable, encourages me to think that the stress falls indeed on the second one. The slang suffix "-ola" is generally stressed in words that include it. Thanks. Eate 16:20, 30 November 2007 (UTC)

яблочко от яблоньки недалеко падает

Is currently categorised as English idioms and English proverbs. Can s/o who knows change to the correct cats, please? - Algrif 16:16, 30 November 2007 (UTC)

It's now in Category:Russian idioms and Category:Russian proverbs. To change the {{idiom}} template, you had to add |lang=ru : {{idiom|lang=ru}}. — Beobach972 00:09, 1 December 2007 (UTC)


Anyone know where the conversation for this went? This should be listed as an alternative spelling, not a misspelling, right? --Connel MacKenzie 00:30, 1 December 2007 (UTC)

I think of it as a Freudian misspelling. It reflects the deep-seated hostility of many of those forced to encumber themselves with such "monkey suits". MW3 doesn't include this spelling. DCDuring 00:54, 1 December 2007 (UTC)
Well, I do recall it being discussed previously, but I can't seem to find which spelling variant it was WT:TR listed under. --Connel MacKenzie 06:00, 2 December 2007 (UTC)
Wiktionary:Tea room/Archive 2006#cumberbund Robert Ullmann 07:37, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
Thank you. Rats. I didn't realize that conversation died out before it began. (I wasn't asking what the OED says...I was asking for confirmation of the American pronunciation that I've always used. Do other Americans share that experience, or have I simply mispronounced (and misheard it) all my life?) --Connel MacKenzie 15:59, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
Totally common mispronunciation and misspelling. I just answered someone last month in "real life" who was wondering which was which. But indeed, completely an outright mispronunciation and misspelling. An older actual spelling variant in use was kummerbund. The commonness of cumberbund, i believe, is influenced phonetically by Cumberland and cumbersome (by phonetics, not Freudian hostility, DC) :) -- Thisis0 19:23, 8 December 2007 (UTC)
Not having seen the word in writing often (ever?), I didn't have strong expectatons about its spelling. "Cumberbund" didn't strike me as obviously wrong when I saw it. Because (1) I associate formal dress with England, (2) the English have the habit of not pronouncing certain consonants and syllables, and (3) I was not aware of the Asian etymology, I might have writen "cumberbund" if asked. DCDuring 20:04, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

Serbian translation change

An anon recently changed the Serbian translation of thither from Lua error in Module:links/templates at line 61: The language code "sr" is not valid. to Lua error in Module:links/templates at line 61: The language code "sr" is not valid.. Though Serbian can be written in both the Cyrillic script and the Latin script, these two translations are not transliterations of each other. Is this correction, vandalism, POV-pushing, or what?  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 16:33, 3 December 2007 (UTC)

The same user has made many similar edits to other pages, including blanking some pages. Ivan and Dijan ought to have a look at the contributions form this user. --EncycloPetey 01:43, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

Basic word list ALMOST done

The basic word list of 18,000 words is all but done. There are less than 100 words left, all beginning with 'N' (in fact, they all begin 'non'.) If we all grab a couple of words we can have this DONE. The remaining few words are at Wiktionary:Requested_articles:English/DictList/N. RJFJR 02:25, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

Precisely sixty-five remain.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 15:22, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
They have all now been added. The last word on the list to be added was nonstriking.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 17:31, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
Done. I probably missed the point of nonredeemable and some other law-related words, and there's an atomic physics sense of nonsecular I can't figure out (which may just belong on secular), so I'd appreciate additional viewpoints here. Cynewulf 17:31, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
Well done everyone. As for nonsecular, it seems to be used as non-secular more often, and I can't get a handle on the mathematical meaning (nothing in Mathworld). SemperBlotto 17:52, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
Secular in econometrics always refers to longer-term, usually non-cyclical phenomena, contrary to the RfVd sense of secular as meaning short-term. I'd be amazed if any of the sciences used the word too differently, although what constitutes longer term is always relative to the context, which, in physics, could be femtoseconds. DCDuring 18:05, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
The OED has (in a long entry) the following - 7. In scientific use, of processes of change: Having a period of enormous length; continuing through long ages. a. Astr. Chiefly of changes in the orbits or the periods of revolution of the planets, as in secular acceleration, equation, inequality, variation. The terms secular acceleration, secular variation were formerly also used (with reference to the sense ‘century’ of L. sæculum) for the amount of change per 100 years; similarly secular precession (see quot. 1812). secular equation is also used more widely to designate any equation of the form |aij-bij| = 0 (i,j = 1,2, . . ., n), in which the left-hand side is a determinant and which arises in quantum mechanics. SemperBlotto 18:11, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
Now that the basic list is complete - maybe it would be a good idea to rebuild Index:English. Kipmaster automated this well over a year ago, but is too busy in the real world to repeat the process. SemperBlotto 18:15, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
Well, he resurfaced on IRC this week... --Connel MacKenzie 15:56, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

X of Xes

What's the proper place, if any, to note this pattern in English? as in "Lord of lords", "code of codes", "lie of lies", etc. DAVilla 11:28, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

I don't know - but there is a similar (just as troublesome) pattern - as in "cricketer's cricketer", "editor's editor", "pianist's pianist" - i.e. a professional admired by his peers. SemperBlotto 11:31, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
Are these a form of reduplication? (And should we have entries for food food, car car, and house house?) DAVilla 11:49, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
Which of those have sufficient use (e.g. b.g.c.) to merit entries? --Connel MacKenzie 16:03, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
Also man's man, and gentleman's gentleman, which don't quite fit that pattern. (of professional admired by peers) Robert Ullmann 12:11, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
What about reduplication across part of speech? I think of the forms "X y an X" or "X y no Xes". "[F]ind me a find, catch me a catch" from Fiddler on the Roof. "Joke us no jokes". "Riddle me a riddle, riddler." It doesn't seem to work at the WT entry level. WP? DCDuring 16:41, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
I made a theme entry on this at Wikiquote:X me no X's quite a while ago. If a list of quotes containing such themes can be generated with proper citation, it can go there. Cheers! bd2412 T 16:58, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
Cool. Well, name me a name. Construct me a construct. Are there names for these constructions? The "X me no Xes" construction is referred to in Pinker (2007), The Stuff of Thought. DCDuring 17:48, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
The word you are looking for is snowclone. bd2412 T 16:40, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
I think having pattern entries is unwarranted. If you are trying to describe reduplication then link reduplication. If you'd like to make an entry for Lord of Lords then make that entry - the list is not infinite. --Connel MacKenzie 16:02, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
There could be a nice appendix, though. Perhaps only if there were good specific terms (Sorry, BD, not snowclone) for the constructs so that someone might actually find them. Maybe it is more for Wikipedia? DCDuring 19:15, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
Not forgetting tautological phrases such as folks are folks, life is life, sure as eggs is eggs, and any other that might warrant an entry. - Algrif 10:38, 8 December 2007 (UTC)


S.v. working, adjective, we have the following definitions, inter alia:

  1. That suffices but requires additional work.
    a working copy of the script
  2. Enough to allow one to use something.
    a working knowledge of computers

The first of these is not how I understand the phrase "working copy of the script" (or "working script"). I have always understood that phrase to mean "a copy of the script that we will accept for the sake of [something: [[for the sake of argument|argument], peacemaking, whatever] (even though it's not ideal)". That is, the stress on "requires additional work", which seems to relate this definition to the headword, seems misplaced: working means, the way I understand it, "that works (suffices) well enough to be used". (Whether I'm right or the current entry is, the same sense of working is found in "working hypothesis" and "working definition".) What think you all?—msh210 17:22, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

Also, if I'm right, then is the second sense I quoted to be merged with the first? They both seem to mean "sufficient to be used".—msh210 17:22, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

I wouldn't combine senses.
  • One sense (2) seems to mean that further efforts are not required, that the knowledge or the voting margin is enough for practical purposes, for some other project, or perhaps that the means are sufficient to accomplish ends.
  • The other sense (1) seems to suggest that the prototype or draft is sufficient in some aspect(s) to allow further work on other aspect(s) of the same project.
This vocabulary of work has never struck me as having been very well done in dictionaries. So I'm not so sure that you will find very precise help from other dictionaries. I looked at MW3. They have 2 senses.
  • Is there a third sense, that just means functional, or is that the same as sense 1 or is that the present participle of the verb (which needs no definition)? DCDuring 19:53, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
That (your reason not to combine) seems eminently reasonable to me. Since you asked, there are other senses, yes, including the one you mention; I didn't quote them all. My main question, incidentally, which you did not really address, was whether the first sense I quoted needs rewriting, though.—msh210 20:14, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
I think it does. I think it refers to a thing which maintains its identity but itself needs successive and/or parallel work. The thing being worked in is an "end". That does not come across. The other sense implies that the thing does not itself need work, it functions well enough to be used as a tool, a "means". DCDuring 20:43, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
Neither do I see any definition like working temperature, working speed etc. - Algrif 10:44, 8 December 2007 (UTC)


I was researcing a requested new entry "ablings" and came upon the following:

The New English - Page 15 by T[homas] L[aurence] Kington Oliphant - English language - 1886 There is the curious Scotch adverb ablings, aiblins (fortasse) ; compounded of able to be, and the adverbial ending ling.

I do not know my way around these parts and would offer this for others to complete. DCDuring 20:30, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

I know that as a Scot - Google finds "aiblins" in Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary.-- 12:59, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

man up

Can you guys help me comprehend all the senses of man up. It has a verb sense, as in... "A lot of people are expecting me to provide for them, I'd better man up". And I have a vague notion it has an interjection sense in sports ("Man up!") or something. Looking at b.g.c. it's difficult to research. A little easier to research "manning up" but that confuses me more because it seems to have LOTS of distinct unrelated meanings. Language Lover 09:05, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

Sounds more like an oblique figurative use, not a set phrase, to me. --Connel MacKenzie 19:13, 7 December 2007 (UTC)

It is a set phrase, attributive verb use of the word "man", as in "doing the things a good man is traditionally expected to do". In use since at least the 50's, often in military circles. Search BGC "have to man up" for some examples. Used with influence from "own up" and "buck up" (for the want of a stronger emphatic) in situations such as this: one who impregnates a girl out of wedlock will be told to "man up" and marry the girl or otherwise provide for her; one can "man up" and finally confront his abusive coach or employer; one can "man up" and quit crying about a particular tragedy. To "be a man about it". I'll try to find some good cites for the entry. -- Thisis0 00:38, 8 December 2007 (UTC)

  • Also I should note the team-sports, macro-economics/staffing, and procedural-military uses:
    (Am. football, basketball, etc.; rare) Man up! -- "Get on your man!" (Each of you, guard the opponent to whom you were assigned and stay on him vigorously.)
    (of personnel - industrial, etc.) to man up -- to staff adequately; to staff up; to successfully fill all needed labor positions.
    -...it will become even more difficult to man up industrial occupations to which outmoded conceptions of status...[16]
    -To man up the last batch of capital goods produced, entrepreneurs are scraping up the remnants of the reserve of unemployed labour...[17]
    -...it will be impossible to find the labour to man up all the available capital equipment for productive use. [18]
    (of military personnel in a unit) to man up -- to assemble, each person manning (attending to) his station, prepared for departure of an aircraft, ship, etc. [19] [20]
  • It is now my opinion that other uses arose from the military-assembling use. The sports use is rare, and most players would more readily recognize "Get on your man!". If a player is told to Man up! on the field, in context it may be, for example, a hunched-over out-of-breath player being told to "buck up", "stay in the game", "be a man" -- precisely the first sense we discussed. Further, the staffing use has become outdated, while politically correct society no longer favors referring to "manpower", "manning" a position, etc. -- Thisis0 18:34, 8 December 2007 (UTC)


“A big row or argument.” –That is how I interpreted this word when it was used in the episode of Heroes I recently watched. I’m unfamiliar with this term, so I’d like some confirmation or correction. The quotation can be read in the entry, and the original programme can be watched here.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 20:09, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

While we’re discussing this, the verb throw down could also use a little attention. The definition seems incompatible with the use in the phrase throw down the gauntlet (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 20:13, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

Does the verb throw down look a bit better now? - Algrif 17:48, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
I've only said it/heard it as an invitation/threat to fight, e.g. "Yo, I'll throw down, right now!" but I assume that form is not hyphenated. The literal definition really doesn't help much. The idiomatic sense is of dropping whatever you are doing/holding, to engage violently (no holds barred.) I've never heard it said so mildly/sweetly, as in that TV show. So anyhow, yes, I can confirm that I've heard/used that meaning, but don't have any idea what other confirmation you're looking for. --Connel MacKenzie 19:08, 7 December 2007 (UTC)

Defining it as "A big row or argument" has certain problems. First, Americans don't usually say "row", plus that's a awfully nice sideline commentary for what a "throw-down", "throw down", or "throwdown" implies. I believe the modern term did evolve from the idiom throw down the gauntlet, and implies that an unrestricted violent clash is possible, with one's honor at stake. Because of the fear in such a "you don't know how far I'm willing to take this" animalistic clash, the usage of the term doesn't always necessarily result in such actual violence, but is often an effective form of puffing the mane or fanning the tail feathers. The Heroes use was in hyperbole to this violent possibility -- not saying "Well, we'll discuss this when I get back," but rather, "Even though I'm forced to leave right now, when I can address this, you should know I view your transgression with ultimate seriousness, and you should sit here and be anxious for my return when I will visit my wrath upon you." -- Thisis0 20:30, 7 December 2007 (UTC)

Can anyone identify this word?

The word is in some song lyrics which go like this: "Hold up, hold up, check my linguistics, let me break it down to you ______________" It sounds like "abalistic" but that doesn't seem to be a word.

You can hear the lyrics in question starting at 0:48 at this video: [21] Language Lover 02:30, 7 December 2007 (UTC)

I would have guessed cannabalistic or catabolistic, but lyrics.com says it's "Afrolistic". [tumbleweed moment] --EncycloPetey 02:55, 7 December 2007 (UTC)

From the artist's own lyric page, it's "afrolistic". (You might have to click on "Give Me All Your Love"; their HTML is buggy). There is at least one other rap artist who goes by "Afrolistic", and Run-D.M.C. once used the word in their 1990 song Party Time. The Run-D.M.C. sense (adjective) seems to be something like "psychedelically funky and hip-hop infused", but the unrelated Afrolistic Barber Shop may be combining "Afro" with "holistic" -- (only a guess). I can't really get A.K.-S.W.I.F.T.'s adverb use (Let me break it down to you afrolistically?), though lyrics.com seems to think it's more of an interjection. If I were forced to analyze, I would say the most encompassing definition would be "in a black way" or "reflecting the self-celebrated aspects of black art, worldview, and lifestyle". -- Thisis0 21:01, 7 December 2007 (UTC)

That makes sense, it's an interesting word and I appreciate your analysis. I've found that some rappers are incredibly brilliant linguists, their command of practical English is sublime. Language Lover 21:47, 7 December 2007 (UTC)

it's on the tip of my toungue

what's the word for a period of time where you work. I really need to know. —This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 22:37, 7 December 2007.

In some types of occupations, shift (or the dialectical variant trick, as in I'm tired lately because I'm working third trick.) describes the period of time when someone works in a particular position. Is that the word you seek? Rod (A. Smith) 22:52, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
Possibly tenure?  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 23:47, 7 December 2007 (UTC)

catachresis + -phobia = ?

I need a word meaning “fear of the misuse of words”; I assume that the word and suffix linked in the title would do the trick. If so, how would they combine? The COED states that the adjectival form is catachrestic, and that the noun derives from Latin, from (Ancient?) Greek katakhrēsis, from Lua error in Module:parameters at line 85: The parameter "4" is not used by this template. — if any of that helps. I can’t figure it out — maybe catachresophobia, or catachrestophobia, or catachretophobia perhaps?  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 00:16, 8 December 2007 (UTC)

further as comparative

Following from part of the discussion above in atop: the question was never resolved of whether further and furthest can be classified equally as more / most and less / least to form comparative and superlatives of certain adjectives and adverbs with a particularly spacial frame of reference. For instance there is quite a long list in the section above at atop.
My personal point of view is that an adverb such as upstairs is a better entry stating a comparative form as further upstairs than stating (not comparable), particularly as this is plainly not true. Comments invited. - Algrif 16:32, 8 December 2007 (UTC)

U-usage notes. Def'nally u-u-usage notes. -- Thisis0 17:22, 8 December 2007 (UTC)
Can the en-adv template be forced to display "See Usage notes." without messing up anything else? DCDuring 18:00, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
If this is needed in only a scant few (read: one) entries, why mess with templates? Just write it in. -- Thisis0 19:40, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
One reason would be in order to allow it to show up inside the parentheses that are generated by the template. Mike Dillon 20:22, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
It's not just a single entry. This applies to dozens of adverbs derived from (or related to) prepositions of place, incuding afield, along, apart, away, down, in, left, out, right, up... So it would be very useful to be able to set the template to show further/furthest instead of more/most. --EncycloPetey 21:47, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
Ok, I'm sold. I get it now. How do we do it? -- Thisis0 21:55, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
I've modified the template entry at upstairs. If everyone agrees, perhaps we could draw up a list and I'll go through them modifying them as appropriate similarly. - Algrif 13:26, 12 December 2007 (UTC)
I think it would be nice to have a parameter option akin to the "|er" that would do this. Is that an easy adjustment to the template, or a difficult adjustment to the template? In any case, that format doesn't match the norm, which would put further and furthest in bold as part of the form. --EncycloPetey 15:00, 12 December 2007 (UTC)


Please see Citations:katus. Anyone know what this word means? Or are the quotations simply of someone’s name and a scanno, respectively?  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 17:43, 8 December 2007 (UTC)

I don't know about the second, but the first appears to be a surname, since the same source has: "Mr. Katus was duly qualified, and entered on the discharge of his duties as a judge or inspector of election, and continued so to act until the poll closed." --EncycloPetey 21:52, 9 December 2007 (UTC)

Noun or adjective

I stumbled upon a Wikipedia category, the name of which doesn't sound quite right in my ears. Category:Municipal owned companies of Norway. Shouldn't it be municipality here? __meco 21:53, 8 December 2007 (UTC)

Either that, "municipal-owned", or municipally. --EncycloPetey 22:23, 8 December 2007 (UTC)

plural proper nouns

Names can be pluralised, right? It is clear they can because saying "there are three Davids in my class, two Samanthas, a couple of Simpsons and five Joneses." If that's the case all entries in Category:Given names should take the template {{en-proper noun|s|-}} or {{en-proper noun|s|-}}. Firstly; this is grammatically correct, right? Secondly; could a bot, like our Cheatbot, be adapted to auto-add entries such as {{plural of|Simpson}}, {{plural of|David}}? I'm beginning to appreciate 'bot work a lot more. --Keene 16:20, 9 December 2007 (UTC)

No, proper nouns cannot be made plural. A proper noun in its "plural" form is no longer a proper noun (in most cases, that is; Alps is an exception). So, a proper noun changes its part of speech to a common noun when it's pluralized. We're not at all equipped to handle or explain this phenomenon on Wiktionary, and we certainly should not go around adding plural forms to all the proper nouns. Please wait for me to finish Appendix:English proper nouns so that I don't have to give all this explanation over and over. (This is, I think, the fifth or sixth time this issue has come up this year.) I would rather we simply link all English proper nouns to the Appendix when it's completed. --EncycloPetey 16:43, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
I was unaware of previous discussions on this subject. Could you point them out? As for plurals, I'm aware they become common nouns in the pluralised form, but it would make sense to link e.g. Simpsons from Simpson. As for this proper nouns appendix, what do you have in mind for it. Maybe I'll help out with the appendix. --Keene 16:56, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
Having a proper noun linked to a common noun, and vice versa doesn't make sense in the usual ways that we handle it. Every user will think it's a mistake and try to "fix" it unless we come up with an alternative way to handle it. I'd point you to the discussions, but they've occurred over several months under several names in multiple locations. I haven't tried to keep track of all of them, though I do know that one concerned the word multiverse, so you might follow the "what links here" to find a very metaphysical (and lengthy) conversation on what constitutes a proper noun. As I say, I don't recall where the others are located. They involved the days of the week, names of games, wines, awards, and I forget what else.
While I would like help with the Appendix, it's not feasible yet to coordinate that. I have several pages of notes in tiny cramped handwriting which have not yet been entered. What I do have typed is in an incomplete draft of just the introductory material, not the evidence and patern description. My aim is to make a go at finishing the first draft over my Christmas holiday, so if you check back around the end of December, I might be ready to have the second mind and pair of eyes help with the missing information and necessary polishing. --EncycloPetey 17:12, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
Just so you know; I've added Potteries as another real plural proper noun. - Algrif 14:23, 10 December 2007 (UTC)


I have entered hmph as an interjection, which seems OK. G.b.c. has revealed usage of "hmphs" as noun and as verb. I would expect "hmphing" and "hmphed". "ah" and "ahem", as well as other onomatopoietic [sp?] entries would have the same usage. Should these be accepted as entries if attestable? If these are all accepted, what should be done with variants with repetitions of the constituent letters: "hmmph", "aaaahhhh", etc. Keep the basic ones and put everything else in usage notes for the related entry? DCDuring 16:37, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

See ah and aah, which actually aren't synonymous. --EncycloPetey 17:12, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

Guilty as charged

can anyone help me with the meaning of "Guilty as charged", please? —This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 02:48, 12 December 2007 (UTC).

See guilty and charge verb sense 3 (To formally accuse of a crime.) . as often means exactly equal. So the whole phrase means guilty of the exact crime one was accused of. Ciao - Algrif 13:13, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

דבר / לדבר / מדבר

At first glace דבר means "thing", לדבר means "to speak", and מדבר means "desert".

At a closer look מדבר can also be the masculine singular present of "to speak".

How about מדבר as "of/from the thing" and לדבר as "to/for the thing"? — Hippietrail 03:29, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

דבר is davar, "thing", and is one way of spelling diber, "he spoke", the third-person, masc., sing., past tense of "speak", which Ruakh will tell you is the lemma form.
לדבר is l'daber, "to speak", infinitive form of that same verb. Yes, it's also ladavar, "to the thing", which is davar plus prefixes. I suppose it can also be l'davar, "to a thing", again davar plus a prefix.
מדבר is m'daber, "he speaks/is speaking", the masc., sing., present tense of that same verb again. It's also (seemingly unrelatedly) midbar, "desert", noun, barren area. And I suppose it can also be midavar, "from a thing", again davar plus a prefix.
But "from the thing" would have to be mehadavar, מהדבר.
There's an old paal-construction verb davar, "speak", too, though, which would open uo possibilities for other meanings of all three words.
And in Talmudic Aramaic, at least, דבר is a way of writing di bar, "who/that the son of" (as in John, di bar William ihu,, "John, who is the son of William,"), or "that the son of" (as in kevan di bar William ihu, "because he is the son of William"). (The Hebrew counterpart incidentally is sheben, שבן.) But Aramaic, of course, is a whole other story.
I hope that this helps.—msh210 05:53, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
I might just add that it's not at all unusual (though I have no stats) to find homographs in Hebrew when one ignores vowels.—msh210 06:01, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
I think you're splitting hairs about מהדבר ‎(meihaddavar, from the thing), since מדבר ‎(middavár, from (a) thing) and מדבר ‎(midd'vár, from (a/the) thing of) both exist. —RuakhTALK 05:36, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
I don't know what you mean. All I said was that מהדבר was a word, and that it's the way to say "from the thing".—msh210 03:19, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
He was making a point about identically spelled words/phrases; you're right that he slightly mistranslated one of said phrases, but that didn't really diminish his point at all. —RuakhTALK 06:19, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
I might also add some forms I left out. Ruakh mentioned d'var, "thing of", which is also spelled דבר, but with yet different vowelization; it, too can take the prefixes that make it לדבר or מדבר. And in Aramaic, the same word di bar can also mean "that outside" or "that besides"; the Hebrew counterpart is שחוץ.msh210 03:19, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
Oh, and another: dever, "plague" and "plague of", each of which also can become לדבר or מדבר.—msh210 19:57, 17 December 2007 (UTC)
This is a thorny issue. From a syntactic standpoint, לדבר ‎(laddavár, to the thing) is really two words in traditional Hebrew, and perhaps two-and-a-half in ordinary modern Hebrew. The French Wiktionary does attempt to include such compounds (and does a bad job of it, but don't tell it I said so), but I don't know if we should. One of the most annoying things about looking up Hebrew words in a paper dictionary is trying to figure out what letter the lemma starts with; we aim to avoid this issue by including pages for non-lemmata (and as y'all know by now, I advocate having non-lemma pages link to lemmata so that our readers can actually learn something instead of being completely dependent on the crumbs we give them), but if we don't include these clitic compounds, we haven't completely solved the problem (though granted, it's a lot easier for a Wiktionary reader to try both the with- and without-clitic versions to see which is right than it would be for a paper-dictionary reader). On the other hand, are we really going to include a separate entry for each series of words where all but the last is a one-letter word? Would the phrase ושמהפה ‎(v'shemmeihappéh, and that from the mouth) get an entry? I think that for now we should bar such entries (except in the case of idioms and fixed expressions, obviously, just as we'd do if the phrases were written with spaces as in English), but perhaps we should revisit this question once we have decent coverage of actual words. (That said, things like הפה ‎(happéh, the mouth) are probably worth allowing even now, since while in one sense they're sum-of-parts, in another sense they're words in their own right, at least in traditional Hebrew.) —RuakhTALK 05:36, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
What do you mean by being two (or 2.5) words syntactically?—msh210 03:19, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
I mean just that: syntactically, it's the preposition ל- ‎(l'-, to, for) plus the nominal הדבר ‎(haddavár, the thing). (The .5 thing is because it's kind of debatable whether ה- ‎(ha-, the) is syntactically a word or an affix in Modern Hebrew. In colloquial Hebrew it's very word-y, e.g. in always going at the beginning of the noun phrase or adjective phrase it's attached to, but formal Hebrew still obeys the traditional rule that mandates e.g. בית הספר ‎(beit hasséfer, the school), so it seems to be a bit blurry, depending on register and whatnot.) —RuakhTALK 06:19, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
I must disagree with barring entries such as ושמהפה for now. (As most people can't read that, let me explain that it consists of the two-letter word meaning mouth, preceded by four one-letter prefixes.) I think such entries, while clearly far from being a priority, are words, and, as we seek to include all words in all languages, should be included if someone has the (admittedly odd) urge to add them. Certainly we should not delete them. (But I know I differ with Ruakh on this. He, for example, has taken Tbot-created Hebrew infinitive verb entries, moved them to the lemma form, rewritten them, and deleted the redirect. I would never do that. I might or might not add the lemma form, but would not delete the infinitive. It is a word, after all.) What do you all think?—msh210 19:55, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
I disagree with your explanation: in Modern Hebrew it's a two-letter word "mouth", preceded by four clitics — one-letter words, really — two conjunctions, a preposition, and the definite article. (In older forms of Hebrew, I guess it's a three-letter word "the mouth" and three clitics.) Hence, until we expand our mandate to "all strings of characters in all languages", I don't think it warrants inclusion. ;-)   (To see that it's not a word, consider Template:Hebr "and that out from his mouth came a lie", which is Template:Hebr): the five words, though written together without spaces, don't even form a constituent in the larger structure of the sentence.) I certainly agree with you that to-infinitives should have some sort of entry, but the redirects are bad, because they're essentially redlinks, but aren't instantly recognizable as such. —RuakhTALK 20:27, 24 December 2007 (UTC)
Maybe a linguist would consider each of those one-letter prefixes "words", but your typical person looking up a Hebrew word in the English Wiktionary will consider a word to end with whitespace. (Or a hyphen, perhaps, but whatever.) That's why we need these entries. Here's an experiment you can try at home: open a fairly simple Hebrew book (say, a book for little kids), and ask your favorite seven-year-old who can read Hebrew — or, for that matter, your favorite thirty-year-old who can read Hebrew and has never read any linguistics — to count the number of words on a given page.—msh210 06:02, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

Subjunctive after estimate (verb)?

Does estimate take a subjunctive in the subordinate clause? Would it be "I estimate that the target arrive ..." or "I estimate that the target arrives ..."? I know that the latter is allowed since subjunctives are optional in English, but would the former be valid usage? --MathiasRav 17:50, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

Opinion verbs, such as think, reckon, guess, suppose, etc, including estimate, normally take a modal such as will, might, could, etc. No hard and fast rules (as usual in English) but the suggested subjunctive form above sounds odd to me. I don't remember using it or seeing it. (Which doesn't mean it can't be found, of course.) - Algrif 18:56, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

Stroke count for


Reference page: http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%E5%BE%A1

By my understanding, the stroke count for this word (at least in Japanese) is 12, not 11 as listed on Wiktionary.

Does anyone else agree?

Character: 御

Kind regards, Kevin —This unsigned comment was added by Kevinarpe (talkcontribs).

Indeed, fixed. The different stroke count was not in the Unihan database 4 years ago, and still is not! Robert Ullmann 03:40, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

that is to say

I was about to add this phrase, but I'm not sure of the POS. Is it an adverb? - Algrif 15:19, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

By analogy: "namely" is deemed an adverb. The phrase functions almost identically, like for example, that is, to wit. We're better off to have it entered and get it corrected. Isn't this adverb month? DCDuring 16:18, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

Thanks. That was my reasoning exactly for asking if adverb was a correct assessment. Perhaps you might be able to improve the basic entry I've made. - Algrif 17:05, 13 December 2007 (UTC)
Looks good. A usage example is always nice, even when it seems trivial. Maybe I'll put in a basic usage note. DCDuring 18:04, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

A name used to sign documents?

What is the word to describe the special name that certain dignitaries use to sign documents instead of their actual name? e.g. The Bishop of Durham signs as Dunelm (or Dunelmensis). nom de plume or pen name don't seem right. SemperBlotto 23:13, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

"Latin signature" would seem to do fine, that's what these usually are. Robert Ullmann 10:43, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

phonoaudiologist or phonotherapist

As a matter of fact, I just want to know whether people have seen or heard one of the above written words or, if not, they have the proper word to define the matter.

Perhaps "speech language pathologist" is what you are looking for?

Similes and idioms

Could similes be categorised as idioms? I've just made the category Category:Similes and wondered if it should be asubcategory of Category:Idioms. I assume so, because e.g. blind as a bat doesn't mean blind as a bat. Also, lpease take a look at Template:simile, which should probably be tweaked. --Keene 13:56, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

I've often thought about adding this cat. My personal thought is that it should be a sub of Category:Idioms. I'm all for using this database in as many constructive ways as possible. I think this is a useful addition. - Algrif 11:26, 27 December 2007 (UTC)


I would like to see how you spell erica in Greek

Έρικα —SaltmarshTalk 09:59, 23 December 2007 (UTC)

Indonesian translations of hair

I was doing the Translations of the Week when I noticed that the Indonesian translations for hair looked a bit off. In Malay, rambut refers to hair from the human head; whereas bulu is from anywhere else on the human body, as well as animals, plants and anything else. The Indonesian translations seem to be in reverse.

I've learnt from experience that I'm not qualified to meddle in Indonesian affairs, so could somebody take a look at this? Nestum82 18:50, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

[22] & [23] say bulu = feather. [24] says rambut = hair (head/facial/body). Here are some others thrown in for good measure. [25] & [26] say botak = bald. [27] says tanduk = horn. [28] & [29] say kuku = claw (nail). [30] & [31] say kulit = hide (skin, leather). [32] says gigi = tooth. A Rambutan is a "hairy" fruit. I can't find my Indo dictionary & I'm not a native speaker so I can't explain why it's different from Malaysian. --Thecurran 06:32, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

Security Clearance

The initials SAR stand for what in reference to a secret security clearance?

Special Access Required; e.g. the information is compartmented, and only available if someone is "read into" a SAP (Special Access Program), it is more specific than levels 5-6-7 etc. (this is all in reference to the U.S. DoD). Robert Ullmann 10:12, 23 December 2007 (UTC)


I defined it as "The reflexive pronoun for God." but this could be tweaked. Any suggestions? --Keene 10:49, 17 December 2007 (UTC)

just in case

See talk:just in case. --Connel MacKenzie 20:11, 17 December 2007 (UTC)

Comments posted. --EncycloPetey 01:56, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

what is a free verse

help what is a free verse!?

See free verse and w:Free verse. --EncycloPetey 01:48, 18 December 2007 (UTC)


How is this a plural (plus Oaxacan says that it is not countable...)? Nadando 02:31, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

My template-substitution emulator had a bug. I've added code to skip {{en-adj|-}} (which replaced {{en-adj|-|-}} some time ago.) --Connel MacKenzie 04:01, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
Note that the heading ===Noun===, (not the result of the template substitution,) seems to have caused the bot confusion. --Connel MacKenzie 04:06, 18 December 2007 (UTC)


I'd never heard of this, and would have put it down to slang or ignorance if I'd seen it somewhere. But there are plenty of reputable-looking b.google hits, so is this acceptable in the States or should we mark it as {{slang}} or what? It's not in any of my dictionaries either... Widsith 18:39, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

Judging by the nature of the g.b.c. hits it can't be slang. It has too wide a range of usage to be jargon. It's not informal, looking at the kind of hits. I don't think it's very common in spoken English in the US. It's also not in MW3, a good source for US usage. If it means someting different from equate (and it might), it might just be a not-too-common word with increasing usage. Equate may imply a more exact correspondence of multiple attributes, where equivalate implies some kind of single all-encompassing dimension of value on which things are equal despite lack of equality on various attributes. Are there other single words that have this meaning. The first cite I found was art historian/critic Bernard Berenson in 1954, but I wasn't looking that hard. DCDuring 15:32, 23 December 2007 (UTC)
It's in MW Online. We might want to think through the five senses we have and see whether they all would pass RfV. DCDuring 15:41, 23 December 2007 (UTC)


Kurundu is a sinhalese ( main language of the sri lankans)term for cinnamon

Synonym for bathroom attendant?

The guys who hang out in the restrooms at fancy restaurants and country clubs with hand towels and the like, is there another word or name for that profession? Even tho we don't yet have an entry for it, Wikipedia has it .- TheDaveRoss 00:04, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

Standard name in the US is restroom attendant. "bathroom" (usually) isn't standard, unless it is an athletics club. Is amusing to watch tourists from the US ask in a restaurant "where is the bathroom"? (you want to take a bath?) They are afraid apparently of the word "toilet". (and "napkin" is even funnier! You want WHAT?!) Oh, and I really like "bog troll". Robert Ullmann 14:16, 21 December 2007 (UTC)
Are you saying that "bathroom" isn't standard in the US? That's news to me. In my experience, the room is called a "bathroom" (and "restroom" is slightly more polite). The "toilet" is the thing you do your business on; I've never heard an American call the room a "toilet", unless it's a portable toilet (more commonly called a portapotty). Mike Dillon 21:16, 24 December 2007 (UTC)
From England: standard term would be cloakroom attendant, both bathroom~ and restroom~ would be rarities here. —SaltmarshTalk 10:05, 23 December 2007 (UTC)
Not "loo lurker"? Pity! LeadSongDog 23:41, 30 January 2008 (UTC)


I would like to merge the two definitions. Although Collins (2005) seeks to differentiate quay as parallel to water's edge (cf pier), others (SOED, Webster, Chambers) do not. —SaltmarshTalk 10:10, 23 December 2007 (UTC)

Go ahead, this is (yet another) case of user CORNELIUSSEON adding in a definition from a US military text, entirely ignoring the fact that the definition is already there. Look at the last version < CORNELIUSSEON's edits. Robert Ullmann 10:16, 23 December 2007 (UTC)
done —SaltmarshTalk 11:45, 23 December 2007 (UTC)


This entry seems to need at the very least a sense that does not require intent on an entity's part. As it is, it is guilty of POV: animism. The application of the a word derived from the idea of intent to futurity is possibly an indication of our animist past. In any event, I couldn't find simple futurity without actor and intent. Perhaps I'm missing something. The entry looks like it could stand a look in general. It is too basic a word for me to trust myself to do it properly. DCDuring 12:30, 23 December 2007 (UTC)

It's on my "to do" list. The modal verb form is in fact much more complex than the entry currently given. Also I'm dubious about the willing entry nº2. Is that really from the verb root? We are lacking such items as "moment of decision", "promise", "future event that is beyond one's control", and much more besides. I'll (promise) get a round tuit soon. - Algrif 21:41, 23 December 2007 (UTC)

posh git

I read the term Posh Git in a book. What does it mean? —This comment was unsigned.

Did you consider looking at the definitions for posh and git? SemperBlotto 15:05, 24 December 2007 (UTC)

Tibeaten word

Dzogchen should be added.

meaning: the natural great perfection

Entitled. Most dictionaries, including this one, define "entitled" as the past tense of "entitle," which means "to own, demand or receive something," or, alternatively, "to give a title to."

Titled is defined as the past tense of the word "title," which has a definition of "the name of a book, movie, etc."

I do not think the word "entitled" is synonymous with the word "titled." Yet most speakers and writers seem to use them as if they are synonymous.

For example, I think the sentence, "Mark Twain is the author of a book entitled 'Tom Sawyer,'" is more correctly, "Mark Twain is the author of a book titled 'Tom Sawyer.'"

Which is correct?

entitle also means to give a title to a book, film, play, etc.. I shall add that definition now. Thanks for pointing out the omission. - Algrif 11:13, 27 December 2007 (UTC)


Marked {{US|UK}}. Is that correct? Not elsewhere?—msh210 22:50, 27 December 2007 (UTC)

  • I have never even heard it in the UK - bullshit (or just bull) is quite common. SemperBlotto 23:01, 27 December 2007 (UTC)
  • I've heard it in the UK, but mainly from Americans. Maybe change to {{mostly|US}} --Keene 19:52, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

common misuse of the word "at"

Can someone describe the technical reason why use of the preposition at is incorrect and redundant in a sentence such as "where is he at?" I find that more and more Americans are using this syntax, which sounds so very wrong. Thank you. Diane

I thought that using a preposition at the end of a sentence was incorrect, but when I tried to find that rule in a book on English grammar, I just couldn't. My English teacher, however, did say that it's incorrect to say "Where is he at", but I don't remember if she gave the reason. — [ ric ] opiaterein — 16:39, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
There are no technical reasons why any particular usage is "wrong". Language is continually evolving and any syntactical structure is valid if it communicates what the user means to say. Specifically, Wiktionary is supposed to be descriptive rather than prescriptive, so this may not be the place to ask. SemperBlotto 16:44, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
This is the kind of error up with which I will not put. - To quote Churchill. There is no rule as such. In fact nearly all preposition containing quetions in English place the preposition at the end. E.g. Where are you going to? rather than To where are you going? The Churchill quote was really about breaking up phrasal verbs incorrectly. Personally, I see no problem at all with "where is he at?" - Algrif 16:49, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
IMHO, it depends on whom you are talking with or writing for. "Where is he at?" is not a part of high-class, "educated" English. It would often be disadvantageous to say in class at school, in many job interviews, in court, and in writing. One very useful thing to learn is how to communicate in the way appropriate to the situation you are in. Because there are many habitual elements of speech, it can be risky to establish a habit of using "Where is he at?" if you hope to operate in the world where people look down on such a trun of phrase. Some people are very good at switching in and out of such different styles of speech. DCDuring 17:09, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
Diane's point is not that the preposition is stranded, but that it's redundant. Since He is where? is more proper than *He is at where?, the preposition in *Where is he at? is unnecessary, leaving Where is he? as the proper form of the question. We should probably add a usage note to at or where to explain that the commonly used collocation *where ... at is inappropriate in contexts requiring proper English. Rod (A. Smith) 18:04, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
Sorry. I assumed this was a standard US usage. In UK it would be an informal question, not about physical position, rather something like What is he thinking about?. As DCDuring points out, certainly not to be used in a formal situation. - Algrif 18:21, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
Interesting. The "what are you thinking" sense was common in the 60s and 70s in the US, has certianly declined, and may be "dated" here now. Knowing that makes me feel old: that's where I'm at. DCDuring 22:23, 29 December 2007 (UTC)
In the U.S. also, "where is he at?" can be metaphorical, like in "where is he at in the process?" or "where is he at in the book?". The "what is he thinking about?" sense is news to me, but I'm only 23, so given DCDuring's comment, I guess it just predates me. :-) —RuakhTALK 00:26, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure it's redundant, per se, since "where" doesn't always imply "at". In modern-day English, "where" can mean "[at] where" ("where is he?"), "[to] where" ("where is he going?"), or neither ("where is he from?"), and for speakers without the "where … at" and "where … to" constructions, it's entirely up to context to distinguish. I'll grant that context is usually sufficient, but there are plenty of constructions where it's so-called "proper English" that objects to context-based determination (e.g. mandating "Are you new here?" instead of "You new here?"); we can hardly pretend that the rules of "proper English" are determined by logic. I do think we should have a usage note, but I think it should be more neutral than what you describe, essentially saying that many speakers have one or both of these constructions, but that many others find them objectionable, considering the prepositions redundant or unnecessary. —RuakhTALK 00:26, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
In slang, "Where's he?" allows for a vague answer: "He gone.". "Where he at?" is more insistent on a specific location. DCDuring 01:19, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
In traditional Newfoundland English usage we find the delightful phrase "Stay where yer to, I'll where yer at" LeadSongDog 23:44, 30 January 2008 (UTC)


  1. Are the two senses really different?
  2. The last example contains "they" not "them". Does this example belong here?

Panda10 21:42, 28 December 2007 (UTC)

I would say (1) yes (2) no. --EncycloPetey 23:52, 28 December 2007 (UTC)


Do we prefer Galápagos or Galapagos? Wikipedia likes Galápagos, others dicitonaire prefer the latter to the former.

I would prefer the accent for Spanish, but without for English. Wikipedia tends to preserve original language spelling of proper nouns, whenever possible. --EncycloPetey 20:23, 29 December 2007 (UTC)


Can anyone add any history of the word mought. A past tense of may perhaps, or just archaic might? --Keene 02:10, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

It seems to be an archaic or dialectical form of might:
  • 1883 - Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island, part I chapter 1
    What you mought call me? You mought call me captain. Oh, I see what you're at--there"; and he threw down three or four gold pieces on the threshold.
  • 1917 - Edgar Rice Burroughs, The Oakdale Affair, chapter VI
    Then he scratched his head and looked admiringly at the youth. "What mought yer name be?" he asked.
--EncycloPetey 02:57, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
I suspect this is eye-dialect rather than archaic. Then again, it could be both. You can still hear this in the north-west UK. - Algrif 13:47, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

It's a past-tense of may (which also makes it a form of might). Interestingly the OED tags it as "now only US dialect". Widsith 19:36, 1 January 2008 (UTC)

manoeuvre and maneuver

There is an instruction in manoeuvre that if you edit this page, add the same modifications to maneuver to keep the two in sync. Can we just point one to the other without duplicating the work? Panda10 03:08, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

Not really, no. There is an ongoing debate about how best to handle this, but must editors here agree that we can't simply redirect one to the other, and there are many reasons for this, including the fact that usage of one spelling may be regional, the quotes will be different, etc. --EncycloPetey 03:32, 30 December 2007 (UTC)


Citations in this entry point to a different page. Is this a current standard? Panda10 13:59, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

It is, as I understand it, a possible placement of citations. It seems to be almost essential in some of the really long pages where citing multiple senses could really make the page hard to use. I suppose that in some cases the only available citations for RfV don't provide very good usage examples, too. In this particular case, I would argue for bringing the citations back to the main page because the above considerations don't apply. DCDuring 14:24, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
To add to what DCDuring has said: see Wiktionary:Quotations#Subpages. —RuakhTALK 15:45, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
We have recently voted for a new namespace Citations:, and the plan is to shift to a new system of citations placement. This changeover has stalled, but the general idea is that all citations should appear on the related citations subpage, with selected examples remaining on the main entry. However, there should always be a Quotations section header on the main entry, and not just a link as on the brusque page. See parrot for an example that is well-formatted under the old way of doing things. The only change that will need to happen is shifting the Citations page into the new namespace (which needs to happen to all such pages). --EncycloPetey 16:28, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
Thanks. I noticed you added the Quotations section. Another thing: it seems that the brusque/Citations page cannot be edited. If I compare it to parrot/Citations, there should be another edit button for the subsection. Panda10 17:00, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
I don't have that problem. Could it be something in your preferences, or caching? DCDuring 17:43, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
Not sure. I have not really changed the default preferences. When I click the edit link that is on the same level as the head word "Citations of brusque", I get this: "No such section. You tried to edit a section that doesn't exist. Since there is no section 1, there's no place to save your edit. Return to Template:Citation". Panda10 17:53, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
Yeah, we need to fix that. (It's a consequence of putting the header in a template: the edit-link tries to edit the template, and finds the template doesn't actually have sections.) —RuakhTALK 17:59, 30 December 2007 (UTC)


I don't really see a difference between the first two senses at apparent; at least, I can't imagine a use of apparent in the first sense that's not also in the second sense.

Also, I just added a usage note; input/corrections/tweaks/whatnot would be nice, if anyone has any. :-)

RuakhTALK 17:57, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

The first sense is "physically or tangibly visible", the second sense is "figuratively apparent, perceivable by the mind". A motive can be "apparent" in the second sense without being physically seen by the eye. --EncycloPetey 19:18, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
O.K., I think I see what you're saying, thanks. But then, the Milton quote seems to be mis-sorted, as it's the mind that perceives the moon to be queen. (I don't think Milton is trying to say, "Oh yeah, and the moon? A queen. And not invisible. Imagine that!") I'm not sure it's actually worth separating the two senses. —RuakhTALK 19:41, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
The Milton quote is iffy. He could mean that the moon is currently visible (sense 1) or is obvious ruler (sense 2). It's always worthwhile to sort a literal sense from a figurative one, sense those will often have different synonyms or translations, and will mean different things to English learners. --EncycloPetey 19:47, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
Perhaps I should RFV sense 1? If we can find any quotes that clearly belong to sense 1 and not sense 2, perhaps those quotes will make the situation more clear. —RuakhTALK 20:37, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
I've added a quote from the Encyclopaedia Brittanica for sense 1. - Algrif 13:40, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
Sorry, but that's actually a cite for sense 3. :-/ —RuakhTALK 14:54, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
How about something like It became more apparent to everyone that he was crying. ? - Algrif 12:46, 8 January 2008 (UTC)

Reading Roman numerals

How does one read Roman numerals? As for example Henry VIII - is he Henry the Eighth or Henry Eight? Is the rule always the same or does it depend? It would be nice, if someone found the time to write a usage note about this e.g. in the article Roman numeral. Hekaheka 21:44, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

No, there isn't a standard way to read them, because sometimes they stand for a cardinal number like 2007 (A.D. MMVII) or 17 (page xvii), and other times they represent an ordinal number like eighth (Henry VIII) or second (John Paul II). --EncycloPetey 21:58, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
Compare primus versus unum. LeadSongDog 23:48, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

Lombard rate

There are 165 g.b.c. hits for Lombard rates in the plural. I have been instructed that this is a proper noun and that there are no plurals. How should I interpret that mass of evidence? "The Lombard rate" is the single rate that is quoted at any one point in time, but authors compare them. DCDuring 23:02, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

Can you give examples of its use in the plural? The definition will need to be changed if this is not a proper noun, because the current definition is suitable only for a proper noun. --EncycloPetey 23:05, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
I have changed the def. to reflect its being a generic term for the rate charged on loans to banks backed by approved collateral. The German rate might deserve special mention because of its influence. I find it hard to swallow that any such rates deserve to be deemed proper nouns. They may be capitalized by convention, but they are discussed in the plural regularly, esp. by economists and financial writers. The capital L in Lombard is only attributable to the historical importance of an Italian banking family in the Renaissance, just as the capital F in Fed funds rate is atributable the US Federal Reserve Bank. One thing I thought I had learned here is the weak connection between something being capitalized and being used as a proper noun. I will pursue what other references say about the term in current financial practice. DCDuring 23:39, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
Did some research and edited the article accordingly adding specific reference to Bundesbank and noting that the rate has been discontinued after introduction of euro and Bundesbank becoming a branch of the European Central Bank. I did not (at least yet) have the energy to find out the names of corresponding central bank rates in UK and US. The existence of plural seems evident to me. Other languages do not capitalize Lombard as it seems to be derived from the Italian province of Lombardia and not from a single banking family. Hekaheka 06:15, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
I haven't checked, but surely one can compare the Lombard rates between different months or years, etc. - Algrif 14:07, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
Ah, but there you're comparing temporally, and all bets are off that a plural implies anything. You can talk about all the Vaticans through the ages, but that doesn't mean Vatican isn't a proper noun. The existence of a possible plural form doesn't tell you whether or not a noun is proper; though the lack or rarity can be a tantalizing hint. --EncycloPetey 17:03, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
Yes, of course. "Lombard rates" yields almost 4000 Google hits, relevant-looking stuff. Hekaheka 14:37, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
That's what some of the books on g.b.c. do. They also mention broad trends that involved multiple central banks all raising their Lombard rates. To me it seems obvious that such a thing would be countable, even if there were only one rate at a particular point in time.
I'm also not sure that the singular Bundesbank Lombard rate ever could have been characterized as a proper noun, even if it might have been entirely capitalized in a Bundesbank press release. But the question of plurals of proper names is only a matter of degree. I also think it would be useful if Wiktionary could inform people how to pluralize names {Cathys or Cathies?, Marys or Maries?). As with ordinary noun plurals, it is really only important where the plural can be irregular. DCDuring 14:51, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
I think that is best handled through an Appendix (already in progress), since the "plural" of a proper noun (1) is relatively rare, and (2) isn't itself a proper noun. --EncycloPetey 17:05, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
I'm stil not too clear about these assertions. If I make a Google map search for London, USA I get 9 Londons. Should this read "9 londons" then? - Algrif 14:10, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
I'm not sure I understand your question, but you could say that "I searched on Google and found nine Londons." This does not mean that "Londons" should be given as the "plural" on the London entry. Especially since London is a proper noun, but in the sentence above "Londons" is a plural common noun. Proper nouns typically do not have plurals that are proper nouns, and the plural form is typically rare as well. The reason for suggestion an Appendix, then, is to avoid having this kind of confusion on every single entry page for a proper noun, with constant questions from people who've found a "plural" proper noun and can't quite figure it out. Making proper nouns "plural" is a general phenomenon in English, but a relatively rare and grammatically odd phenomenon. --EncycloPetey 16:11, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes, EP. You understood me correctly. OK, so this is a grammatical nomenclature problem. In that case, I'm all for the appendix if it will help to avoid confusion on main entry pages. - Algrif 13:26, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

FYI: Lombard rate is just another name for a "short-term lending rate applied by a central bank to other financial institutions". Some central banks have used it, and the best known of them was the Bundesbank. Other central banks have chosen to use other names. Currently at least the Swiss and Czech still use the term Lombard rate. IMHO, in this context Lombard is like "French" in "French kiss". French kiss is not a proper noun and there are French kisses, aren't there? Hekaheka 17:02, 9 January 2008 (UTC) PS. I just noticed that french kiss is not capitalized in Wiktionary although in many other dictionaries it is. Maybe we should decapitalize lombard? Hekaheka 17:07, 9 January 2008 (UTC)


Etymology 2 reads: "Intentionally incorrect". I was not aware of intention being part of etymology. Beneath are:

  1. Noun: "fault", as in "sorry, my bad." This seems to me to be a simple use of an adj as a noun within the same general sense as the basic adjective "bad".
  2. Adj: "slang; fantastic", i.e., very good. The conversion of the meaning of a word to its opposite in slang isn't all that unusual, is it? Is there a name for this phenomenon?

The noun seems to belong in Etymology 1. I would have thought that the slang adj does too. Is there anything marker used for that kind of reversal of sense? DCDuring 12:19, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

It's fun when you see an etymology and instantly know which editor wrote it. :-)   I think "Intentionally incorrect" could be part of an etymology — e.g. at O.K. — but I don't know if it applies here. (The editor did not supply any evidence or references for his claim.) Even if these are in fact "[originally] intentionally incorrect" usages, though, I think they warrant separate etymology sections, as they're clearly separate incorrections. —RuakhTALK 16:35, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
Because our format for "Etymology 2" (and 3...) puts potentially common senses so far down the page, I wish we would avoid separating them unless absolutely necessary. These senses could clearly be worked in under the first Etymology, and if needed, an extra couple words added to accomodate any new information. Similar reconstituting needs to happen at cracker and font (etym. 3), among others. -- Thisis0 14:34, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
So the idea would be reflect the "branching" from the original ety of "bad" as a separate ety, presumably referring to the original unknown ety of "bad". Is there a name for the reversal of meaning from "bad" (std., bad) to "bad" (slang, very good)? It certainly isn't irony. It seems to reflect a deliberate attempt to create a way of communicating that doesn't allow members of the white and/or adult culture to understand. This can't be the only instance of it. Is there a name for the use of an adjective as a noun? That would seem also seem a fairly likely occurence. DCDuring 17:49, 31 December 2007 (UTC)


This entry contains a Hungarian section which is not correct. The word is written with small case in Hungarian (arab). I would like to start a new entry for that. I discovered this when I tried to add the new hu-adj and hu-noun templates to Arab, but that immediately displayed the words with a capital. --Panda10 16:42, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

  • Try it again under arab (was an old redirect). SemperBlotto 16:45, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
I have just created arab for the Hungarian entry. It did not exist before even after your change. How can I delete the Hungarian section from Arab? Also, maybe a redirect should be added to arab pointing to Arab. I've seen that in other entries. I don't think I can add redirects. --Panda10 16:54, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
We just add the {{see}} template to the top of the page, and list it in the translations. The Hungarian section of Arab should simply de deleted with an edit summary of "content moved to arab". --EncycloPetey 16:59, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
Done it already. SemperBlotto 17:08, 31 December 2007 (UTC)


Are these two senses really distinct?

  1. Having the power of seeing or understanding clearly; quick-sighted; sharp-sighted.
  2. (figuratively) Of acute discernment; keen; mentally perceptive.

I can't perceive any real difference betwen them. --EncycloPetey 21:12, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

Perhaps "or understanding" was a late addition to the 1st sense. If so, it might have once been sense 1 relating to vision, sense to relating to figurative vision or understanding. That would be a nice way of expressing a possible drift in meaning from literal to figurative meaning, though that might have already happened in Old French or in Latin. DCDuring 22:38, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
Yup, 2.3 years old edit made just that change. I will correct it. DCDuring 23:36, 31 December 2007 (UTC)
Thanks. --EncycloPetey 17:02, 1 January 2008 (UTC)

January 2008

how do u use the word naive in a sentence?

do any of ya'll noe how to use the word naive in a sentence? -- unsigned

Here's where a combination of Google and Wikisource can help out. Click on this link for lots of non-copyrighted example sentences. -- A-cai 10:23, 1 January 2008 (UTC)

right as rain

This phrase functions as an adjective and an adverb. It did not show any comparative or superlative. The phrase "righter than rain" would appear to be functionally equivalent to the missing comparative and has 19 raw g.b.c. hits. Should it be presented as such in the inflection line? I do not think that there is a superlative. This phenomenon would, I think, characterize almost all adjectival phrases that are similes. A scan of the cat list for similes and quick g.b.c. check suggests that such forms occur in the wild. DCDuring 16:46, 1 January 2008 (UTC)

No superlative that I can find, and the comparative is so utterly rare, it might be better to refer it to a Usage notes section. Certainly a comment about the rarity of the comparative is worthwhile, at a minimum. I'd be curious to see this used as an adverb, since I can't think of an example sentence. Do you have a quotation? --EncycloPetey 17:02, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
Off the top of my head, I remember something like: "Next morning, he came right as rain."
I have found that many comparatives and superlatives and plurals are not common, but attestable. 19 g.b.c hits is a lot more than many of our entries get. If rarity were a criterion, then we should alter the en-adj template to facilitate the suppression of superlatives, which seem to be quite rate for many adjectives.
User:Keene suggested presentation under "Related terms" on the grounds that it is not a true comparative form. The rule for transforming the phrase into the phrase that functions as comparative is certainly more elaborate than adding merely -er or more, but broadly applicable. What makes a functional comparative form a "true" comparative form? DCDuring 17:35, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
I hear it in things like:
You've been under the weather lately, but now you look right as rain.
I'm righter than rain! I just won the contest! I'm rich!
Or somesuch... Regards, —Celestianpower háblame 17:43, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
I don't think "righter than rain" is a comparative of "right as rain", since *"John and Mary were both right as rain, but John was righter than rain than Mary" does not strike me as even remotely plausible. And google:"righter than rain than" seems to agree with me. —RuakhTALK 00:42, 3 January 2008 (UTC)
Well, if you put it that way, sure. I don't even need Google to see the error of my ways. I neglected the fairly obvious need to compare to something to have a valid comparative. I often get confused with phrases. Which is an instance of why the Phrase header is best replaced with something that clarifies! Thanks for the tea. DCDuring 00:52, 3 January 2008 (UTC)


What does the word pickle mean?

Did you look at the page for pickle? --EncycloPetey 20:09, 1 January 2008 (UTC)

Relationship of Declunus/declunus to Delancey/DeLancey/Delancy/DeLancy

I in wonder and ofcourse some research of this topic words and or names are Declunus a God and a Goddess Decluna my wonder is the Language of it ,could it be in relation to DeLancey, as sometimes letters are silent in such would be perhaps the c in declunus in variant portions of time and literature and when as far back as the period of the fourth king or rular of roman peoples this is in the time of the 3rd or fourth hundred B.C. the sound of the u is manufactured as is today though sounding differently as the first u perhaps is different from the second u, i shall continue at another time Thank You,2:44 p.m. David George DeLancey 2:37 P.M. E.S.T. 1-2-2008 Happy New Year.

I don't think we have entries for the proper names or Celtic deities, though we probably should. Perhaps we have something at Declan. DCDuring 20:24, 2 January 2008 (UTC)


Several nonce words formed by analogy with trilogy have their own entries at Wiktionary (like duology and tetralogy). The problem with nonology is that an incorrect number-suffix has been used. Unlike these other entries, this suffix has a Latin rather than a Greek origin. If the word with the form and meaning desired by the author existed, it would be something like ennealogy. As far as I can tell "nonology" is a figment of someone's imagination - certainly I can find no precedent from Google or Google Books - but I'm not really sure what happens in such situations. -- 21:03, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

Usually the procedure is to bring up at WT:RFV for discussion any entry you think has none of what you call precedent.—msh210 23:39, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

Assembly language

Should this be moved to Assembly Language?—msh210 23:39, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

I think it is assembly language except when it refers to the assembly language of a specific processor in which case it might be (e.g.) 8086 Assembly Language (however, since assembly langauges are NOT unique to each processor but rather to each assembler it might not even be capitalized in that case). RJFJR 13:40, 4 January 2008 (UTC)


Macbeth Act II, Scene I

Now o'er the one half-world Nature seems dead, and wicked dreams abuse The curtain'd sleep; witchcraft celebrates Pale Hecate's offerings; and wither'd Murther, Alarum'd by his sentinel, the wolf, Whose howl's his watch, thus with his stealthy pace, With Tarquin's ravishing strides, towards his design Moves like a ghost.

Is that a use of alarum as a verb? RJFJR 01:09, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

Yeah. Alarum is just an old spelling of alarm (as a noun or a verb), which has stayed around for some reason as a deliberate archaism. Widsith 22:46, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes, it certainly is. Robert Ullmann 22:50, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

Should the noun be marked archaic or something and the verb added with templates for archaic and maybe also rare? RJFJR 19:08, 5 January 2008 (UTC)

That sounds perfectly reasonable. --Thecurran 02:00, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

Tour de force

It is strange and interesting how foreign expressions may have different meanings in different languages by which they have been adopted. "Tour de force" is a French expression meaning "feat of strength", and in English it means more or less the same as in French. It is a positive connotation of something if it is a tour de force (it manifests strength, brilliancy etc.). However in Italian "tour de force" means something very different: a tour de force is an endeavour (a job, a travel, a visit, a walk for Christmas' shopping...) which proves or is expected to prove particularly stressful, because it involves doing many things or one difficult thing in a short amount of time. Something of the French meaning is preserved: it takes strength to accomplish such a thing. But the implication is that, were it possible, a tour de force is something to be avoided. Nor is there anything necessarily admirable in a tour de force, as when (e.g.) a tour de force is made necessary by our failure to schedule appropriately. Nor, again, is a tour de force necessarily coronated by success. It is to be wondered about how the Italian meaning came to be what it is. I also wonder whether my understanding is only partial, and other Italians actually give the expression a meaning similar to the French or the English one.


I ran across this word, I think it some type of disease because the references I found included disease vectors from Golden Hamsters (1986) and a news article about a 2 year old boy being treated for "jungle borne leishminiasis."

Thanks! —This unsigned comment was added by (talk).

You probably mean leishmaniasis. Widsith 22:39, 4 January 2008 (UTC)


Is this the same as a kill file? Or is it a verb? SemperBlotto 22:54, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

It seems to be a noun, and yes, it seems to be the same as a kill file. —RuakhTALK 03:48, 5 January 2008 (UTC)
Our definition for kill file reads "A file in which individual users of newsgroups can ignore postings by certain other users, or that match certain criteria". Huh? I can ignore postings in a file? So this obviously needs a touch-up. But I'm not sure what to change it to. I would have changed it to something like "A file containing data about e-mail senders and/or Usenet posters, used with a filtering program to prevent a user from seeing those senders' and posters' messages". But now I'm not sure, since you say it's the same as killfilter, which I would have guessed (not familiar with it) means "A filtering program used in conjunction with a kill file to prevent a user from seeing certain senders' e-mail messages and/or Usenet posts". But you say that the two nouns mean the same thing: which meaning do they have, then?—msh210 17:31, 8 January 2008 (UTC)


The first definition at convention is

  1. The gerund (verbal noun) of to convene; a meeting or a gathering.

Should this be split into two senses or otherwise clarified? RJFJR 14:54, 5 January 2008 (UTC)

Yes. That first portion should be placed in the etymology, the definition could certainly be written more clearly. --EncycloPetey 15:51, 5 January 2008 (UTC)


The second sense of the Adjective section contains this example: “Tater” is short for “potato”. Is "short" in this sentence really an adjective? --Panda10 12:54, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

If you take the position of looking at the individual words as separate, then yes. The word short would be a predicable adjective (one that occurs in the predicate, after the verb, but modifies the subject). On the other hand, you could argue that be short for is a compound verb. --EncycloPetey 15:23, 6 January 2008 (UTC)


I am thinking of adding military police, mounted police, and riot police. Question is... would they be considered to be SoP's? I would be interested to hear opinions before adding them. - Algrif 15:03, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

Mounted police is certainly O.K. I'd also say military police is probably O.K., since if you didn't know what it meant you might assume it referred to a group that doubled as both military and police in some respect (e.g., soldiers acting as peace-keepers or something). I'm really not sure about riot police; to me it seems quite straightforward, but perhaps not? —RuakhTALK 15:18, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
They seem idiomatic to me, both on simple introspection and because they are more than SoP, describing certain dedicated kinds of officers rather than attributes of a police officer at a particular moment.
  • Military police are not just police who happen to be in the military; the conscripts who handle traffic and crowd control in Korea, for instance, are definitely not military police.
  • If a riot breaks out unexpectedly, the police on the scene will not become riot police; instead they will probably call in the riot police.
  • A police officer who commandeers a horse in order to catch a criminal does not become a member of the mounted police by so doing, although he will soon wish that he had been trained as one.
Anyway that's how I see it... but I could also see each of these leading to yet another pitched battle on RfD. I'm afraid we haven't found the magic pill for that yet. -- Visviva 15:22, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
Sound reasoning. Unlike traffic police, who would be just any old policeman assigned to traffic duty. I think I'll add them and put your comments into the talk pages. Thanks - Algrif 16:17, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
They would certainly belong. We already have Water Police and I'm sure there are others.--Dmol 16:35, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes, and shore patrol which is clearly not SoP. Robert Ullmann 17:11, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
Should these be capitalised, as Water Police is. I had listed it as a proper noun, being the name of that department, but others seem to be in lower case. --Dmol 18:57, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
No. Lower case. I've moved the capped page to water police. - Algrif 19:02, 6 January 2008 (UTC)


Is the Dutch pronunciation correct? IPA is given as /xyn/ --Keene 18:29, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

It's close, and possible correct. Dutch g is a guttural gargling sound. Dutch has gone through several spelling reforms designed to restructure spelling to match pronunciation, so each letter (or letter cluster) usually represents a particular sound. If the Dutch phonology page on Wikipedia is accurate, then the Dutch word gun should be pronounced Lua error in Module:parameters at line 127: The parameter "lang" is required., which isn't far off what appears in the page now. The notes in the 'pedia article suggest that Lua error in Module:parameters at line 127: The parameter "lang" is required. would be correct for the dialect of Amsterdam, which is ever closer. --EncycloPetey 03:41, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
Gerard recorded his pronunciation and uploaded it to commons:, (now linked) if that helps. --Connel MacKenzie 18:20, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes, it does. I've adjusted the page to Lua error in Module:parameters at line 127: The parameter "lang" is required. accordingly. --EncycloPetey 02:58, 9 January 2008 (UTC)


To beat a dead horse...

This form is pretty universally proscribed in deference to dissociate, right? But it clearly meets our CFI. What's the best way (in the current atmosphere) of indicating this?

--Connel MacKenzie 17:17, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

If this is used for all senses of dissociate, and proscribed for all of them, then I'd say to use # {{proscribed}} {{form of|Form|dissociate}} or # {{misspelling of|dissociate}}.—msh210 17:53, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
It's not proscribed at all, just less common. Widsith 09:54, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
The OED has disassociate as a synonym of dissociate, without even a frown! dbfirs 00:42, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
MW3 has a weak implied negative take on disassociate. At "disassociate" they offer "dissociate" as a synonym, but don't have the much longer entry for "dissociate" return the favor. They also offer fewer relatives for "disassociate" than for "dissociate". All this without any explicit proscription. DCDuring 01:12, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

You could have knocked me down with a feather

Yes. Another one of those entries. What is the general opinion:-

  1. Interjection, with the sentence as written?
  2. Phrase, with the sentence as written?
  3. Verb, with knock one down with a feather? (Yuk!!) - Algrif 12:25, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
Sum of parts meaning exactly what it says (using exaggeration, of course, but so what?). Don't create. That said, if it is to be created, then: It can't be under knock one down with a feather, as only common use (that I know of) concerns the ability to knock, the act of knocking. Yet be able to knock someone down with a feather also seems (very) wrong. (I hate to criticize suggestions without offering one, but I haven't got one, assuming this deserves some entry.)—msh210 21:05, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
"... assuming this deserves some entry" - I know what you mean, however the problem is that you only find it as an idiomatic way of saying, I was overwhelmingly surprised. If someone who does not know that comes across it, it would be difficult to guess from the parts. Context might not always be very helpful. What happens in most examples is that it appears as a kind of interjection. So when he told me he was getting married, well, you could have knocked me down with a feather. - Algrif 13:11, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
Very well.—msh210 17:09, 9 January 2008 (UTC)


From User talk:SemperBlotto:

You wrote: to bake eggs in their shells. Are you sure? A quick web search seems to disagree (although Web pages disagree with one another also). Perhaps there's more than one definition?—msh210 17:56, 8 January 2008 (UTC)

  • Ah - The American Heritage Dictionary says "To cook (unshelled eggs) by baking until set.". Perhaps we disagree on what unshelled means: I take it to mean "not shelled", but perhaps they mean "with the shells removed"! The OED says "To poach (eggs) in cream instead of water". Feel free to modify/correct as you see fit (especially if you are American). SemperBlotto 18:03, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
    • I am American but have never seen shirred eggs, nor heard the word. I only know it from books and and from Googling it in connection with the instant discussion. Any objection if I copy-paste this discussion to the TR?—msh210 18:12, 8 January 2008 (UTC)

End of quotation from User talk:SemperBlotto.

        • By "unshelled eggs", the AHD means eggs removed from the shells. Synonyms include baked eggs and eggs en cocotte. They are similar to poached eggs. You pour the eggs into ramekins and bake at about 350°F for 8 to 10 minutes. —Stephen 00:15, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
          But you forget, then you put them on spinach, and cover with Mornay sauce. (The very first serious dish I was taught to cook. ;-) Can sometimes mean poached. Robert Ullmann 12:51, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

Just an aside: the OED gives both of these meanings of "unshelled" (as the past tense and past participle of the verb "to unshell", meaning "to remove the shell(s) from", and as an adjective meaning "not shelled"). Such words are called "auto-antonyms" (or "Janus words", or "contronyms", among other names) and Wikipedia has an article on them and a list of such words. — Paul G 21:16, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

I've added "unshelled" to Wikipedia's list. — Paul G 21:26, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

German prost, Swedish prosit

The etymologies in both articles are worded in a say that makes it look like two Latin words were borrowed individually into each language where a new word was then created. It seems much more likely that there was already a Latin phrase which was borrowed as a unit. — Hippietrail 02:14, 9 January 2008 (UTC)


Just about the only Latin I know is through reading etymologies in dictionaries, so I'm not up on when the various cases need to be used. I know that the nominative is used for the subject and the accusative for the object, but does this apply when the verb is "to be"? In Modern Greek it is not — the subject and object are both in the nominative when the verb is "to be", so I am wondering whether the same is true of Latin.

Specifically, I want to know how to translate the phrase "God is good" into Latin for a project I'm working on — is it "Deus est bonum" or "Deus est bonus"? Further, I believe that word order is not important in Latin because subject and object can be deduced from their declensions, but if the cases are the same, how can this be done, and does this mean that the word order must be restricted to subject, verb, object when the verb is "to be"? I ask because I would really like to be able to put "est" at the end of the sentence.

Incidentally, all of these phrases appear on the web, with "Deus est bonum" getting the most Google hits, so I would imagine that "Deus bonum est" is OK.

Thanks for any help. — Paul G 20:51, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

The sentence is grammatically correct for Latin, as you have guessed. The issue here is not whether you should use the nominative or accusative (nominative is correct), but whether you are using deus as a masculine or neuter noun. The sentence Deus bonum est. is using a neuter subject. If you are referring to the Christian deity, you want Deus bonus est. to have a masculine subject. --EncycloPetey 02:12, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for that, EncycloPetey. I am referring to the Christian deity ("God") rather than any old deity ("god"), so masculine it is. — 18:15, 11 January 2008 (UTC)


As what PoS is "worth" being used in an expression like "more worth having"? DCDuring 01:31, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Probably adjective, but Ican't be certain from the incomplete example you've given. --EncycloPetey 02:08, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
I'm guessing he means something like "Friendshipi is more worth having ___i than money [is]", i.e. roughly "If forced to choose, I'd rather have friendship than money." I agree that it's an adjective, but it's an interesting one in that it takes a directly construed nominal as an obligatory complement (as in "worth + nominal"); I can't think of any other English adjectives that do that. —RuakhTALK 02:58, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
Didn't mean to be so ter. yes to above. Maybe I can think of another similar word. I was interested to correctly putting in PoS for its comparability. 15-20% of adjs. deemed comparable have proven not to be. end of. DCDuring 03:15, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
According to dictionary.com, it is a preposition, "having" being a verbal noun (or gerund, if you prefer). "Worth" is not comparable; that is, you can't put "more" in front of it, so "Friendship is more worth having than money" is not grammatically correct. You need to rephrase your sentence as either "Having friendship is worth more than having money" or "It is worth more to have friendship than to have money." — Paul G 18:30, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
Hm, I hadn't read the usage notes at worth. If it is an adjective, then it should be comparable as described, but this gives the difficulties Ruakh has identified. Should we be saying it as a preposition after all? — Paul G 18:28, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
I am aware that the bard is no authority on grammar, but:
  • The Winter's Tale, Page 157, 1887 ed.
    Fore your Queen died, she was more worth such gazes / Than what you look on now.
Other authors using the construction include Lord Chesterfield, Fielding, Walpole, Browning, Chesterton, Barrie, Emerson, Pound, Sherwood Anderson. I think we need to find the grammar that justifies this widespread use in many well-known works.
Fowler spends 2.5 columns on this, mostly on the need for exactly one "object", including: "The important fact is that the adjective worth requires what is most easily described as an object." He explicit mentions the non-incorrectness of using the construction with a gerund, but prefers the infinitive. DCDuring 19:11, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
I can't see any reason to believe it is functioning as a preposition in any of the examples above, in part because there is no other preposition that I can find to replace it yet retain a grammatical sentence. My Webster's says that worth is a noun, adjective, and auxiliary verb. I'm not sure, but this could be an auxiliary verb usage (which actually has a separate etymology for the noun/adjective). --EncycloPetey 01:53, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
Here is something old interesting in support of the notion of worth as a preposition. Also MW3 calls it a preposition and labels both of worth's adjectival senses as archaic. The Internet Grammar includes "worth" in its class of "marginal prepositions" with "minus", "granted", and a few other words derived from verbs. I have not net found any authority that deals with the awkward fact of fairly common usage of the comparative "more worth [present participle] than ....".
Judging from all this, I can see that I am unlikely to come up with any other word that is quite like "worth".
EP: I see what you mean about the auxilary verb, but it doesn't seem to have the "value" meaning and still doesn't explain the comparative. "More" doesn't seem to modify the participle, it seems to modify "worth". "worth [present participle]" seems to form an adjective without obvious restrictions on the nature of the participle. Any verb that reflects anything that consumes time or resources can be more or less "worthy". DCDuring 04:46, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
The OED is unequivocal: as well as being a noun and a verb, "worth" is an adjective, not a preposition. The OED's lexicographers know their stuff, so I think we are safe to go with their view. — Paul G 09:56, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
I finally found the CGEL coverage of this issue. It's in a footnote on page 1407. Apparently, they too find no other words that function as worth does in this capacity. This is in the section on extraposition, and has the examples:
  • In discussing the future it is also worth considering the impact on Antarctica...
  • It was stupid telling my parents.
  • It was stupid to tell my parents.
The point they make is that worth is the only word in English that requires use of the gerund/participial in this construction, while other words may take an infinitive instead. The portion following worth (or stupid in the example above) is a clause/phrase functioning as the subject of the sentence. Extraposition places the subject in a somewhat unusual location, but it is still the subject of the sentence. --EncycloPetey 17:30, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
This unique construction is worth analysing without including complications like the use of "it", as in the cases CGEL provides. In the immediately preceding sentence, for example, the participle does not seem to be the subject. I'd love to find a comment on the comparative uses, too! I think someone has written an article about characterizing worthy as a preposition, but I couldn't suss out their conclusion from reading the one teaser page I had access to. DCDuring 18:16, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
Not the subject? Depends on how you read it. In the sentence: "This unique construction is worth analysing", I see analysing as the subject participle, with an object of "this unique contruction", then a predicate linking verb and adjective. Extraposition puts the elements in a non-standard order. That's not the only way this could be interpreted (as you have noted another way yourself), but that's the way I would personally interpret the grammar. In any case, "worth" is uniquely weird. --EncycloPetey 02:04, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
How do you finish the analysis, then? "Analysing this unique construction is worth[X]" "Worth" still wants something. Possibilities include: "-y", "-while", " the effort", " the time", etc.. From the discussions here, I am under the impression that the old grammarian's ploy of saying that there is something "understood", but omitted, is no longer considered to be playing fair or modern or post-modern or .... Conceptually or metaphorically, the idea of worth implies a kind of balancing of labor and/or time against the value gained by the costly activity reflected in the verb. But the grammar shouldn't be so dependent on the semantic content, should it? DCDuring 02:24, 18 January 2008 (UTC)


This can have casted as a past. I figure that some meanings use cast as past, others use casted and I assume others can use either as past. How best to show this? --Keene 12:14, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

I would tend to favor usage notes, although marking individual definitions is also an option. From a cursory look at b.g.c., disregarding a handful of transparent errors, casted seems to be used only where a physical cast is involved -- i.e. in medicine, metallurgy, and construction. These seem like they ought to be etymologically separate from the "throw" meanings, in which case there would be no problem, but apparently that is not the case.
BTW, note that casted is also an adjective from caste. -- Visviva 14:53, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
I think you need:
  1. an indication on each sense line that can use the "casted" form for the past and past participle
  2. the variants in the inflection line and
  3. an explanation of anything else in the usage note.
I don't know that I have ever seen a really attractive example of how to do this and can't even remember any particular example of anything similar being done other than pluralization, which doesn't usually need (or, rather, get) the usage note. It would be a little easier if we had groupings and hierarchies of senses. DCDuring 15:25, 12 January 2008 (UTC)


Noun. "The fallen". There are two senses that I am not familiar with, but don't seem too much of a stretch semantically, but do grammatically:

  1. "the Devil". I could successfully imagine "the fallen one", but not "the fallen" for this.
  2. "an evil spirit". I can imagine this as referring to all of the evil spirits who have fallen, but not one at a time.
I think that the fallen is really "plurale tantum", but these senses have stopped me. I have added two senses for casualties, which might be combinable. DCDuring 21:01, 12 January 2008 (UTC)


I extended this a bit, but I am unsure of my wording, please someone have a look at it. H. (talk) 17:03, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

Not bad, IMHO. I'm less happy with the pre-existing college athlete sense, because it happens in professional sports too and may generalize to settings beyond sports and entertainment. Using Google Books to find the range of uses can be fun. DCDuring 17:42, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
Walk-on has an adjective sense too - he had a walk-on part in the movie.. --Keene 14:29, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
This reminds me of a recent part-of-speech discussion where editors were trying to determine whether these "borrowed" and "attributive use" words really became the part of speech they appeared to function as. "A walk-on part" may seem adjectival, but it really just creates a noun phrase. Try adding another adjective and you'll see what I mean. "A memorable walk-on part." You can't say "A walk-on memorable part," nor can you say "His part was both memorable and walk-on." This word is linked inseperably as part of a noun phrase. Take a lesson from German language. They would make one word out of it: "Hiz memorabl valkonpart." Final thought - my trusty old encyclopedia dictionary defines walk-on n. A performer having a very small part; also, the part. -- It seems they understand this is somehow a noun sense. (side note: See how "encyclopedia" in "trusty old encyclopedia dictionary" seems like an adjective? In this similar case, it may be easier to see how it is indeed not an adjective.) However, determining how to properly label this common type of language effectively is surely one of our current wikt-enigmas. -- Thisis0 19:05, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
I think I agree with you. I am loath to create an adj PoS just to cover noun-as-adjective usage. My personal rule has been to enter the Adjective PoS if the adjectival use can be made comparative.
It doesn't have to be able to be made comparative - we have loads of uncomparable adjectives. Here walk-on behaves just like dairy. There are noun and adjectival meanings. --Keene 19:30, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes, just like dairy. The phrases "dairy plant", "dairy products", and "dairy cow" have no real adjectives. "Large dairy plant", "tainted dairy products", and "black-and-white dairy cow", however, do. Just try flipping any of those words; they do not function the same. Dairy, like so many others, is listed here with adjective (and sometimes adverb) senses because that's currently the best way to make sense out of this usage. A better way is what is up for debate. -- Thisis0 20:42, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
I just find that adjectival meanings for entries that also have related noun PoS very often seem to me to be derived from the noun senses. I can slice noun senses very finely, but have trouble seeing adjective senses DCDuring 19:55, 15 January 2008 (UTC).
As to the word-sequence argument, however, I am not sure that I would agree with you. We can say "pretty, red rose" much more easily than "red, pretty rose". [OK, you might say, red could be a noun.] We can say "tall, leafless tree" more easily than "leafless, tall tree" or "interesting, technical book" more easily than "technical, interesting book". That doesn't make "leafless" or "technical" nouns. DCDuring 19:23, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
You have to slow down a bit. You are arguing a preference for word order, while I am giving examples of words that seem to function as adjectives, but are not. Though a writer may have a clear preference, there is no impossibility with "leafless, tall tree" or "red, pretty rose". Red does not become part of a noun phrase in "pretty, red rose" like it does in "delicious red wine", "loud red alert", "tasty red beans and rice", and "several red blood cells". Those are examples where 'red' joins the noun phrase and is inseperably linked. Try flipping any of those; you'll see. As far as "technical", it could be either depending on context. Remains adjective: "It's an interesting, technical book." further example, adjective Becomes part of noun phrase: "That was the most interesting technical book I've ever read." further example, noun phrase -- Thisis0 20:42, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
I was only addressing one clause in one sentence: your argument from word order about "memorable walk-on part" being preferred to "walk-on memorable part". You provided only two tests for the characterization of a noun-noun collocation as making a unit noun phrase. I don't buy this first as conclusive. As to the second, I have heard it used either humorously to good effect or clumsily to bad. Accordingly, the second would be the test I would run on my "ear". My analytical skills in this area aren't very good, so my "ear", research, and reference are what I need to rely on. It seems to me that you are also relying on a further analysis that seems to depend a great deal on the possible semantics of a subset of the meanings of walk-on. I am more interested in whether there are simple, reliable, arguement-stopping tests that do not depend as much on the semantics. If not, then we will have to have more tea-room discussions about specific words. DCDuring 22:40, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
I understand your desire for a proper "test" or definition. When I demonstrated an inseparable word order, it wasn't meant as an "ear test" -- judging by it "sounding right" -- but rather, it's a simple demonstration of how these particular words cannot be separated from the noun like adjectives. What they truly are, instead of adjectives, are noun adjuncts, forming part of a compound noun. From Wikipedia: "While the notion of compound has been very important, clear definitions that work even within one language (much less across languages) have not been articulated. The study of compounds in English, for example, often includes expressions that are written as two words. This lack of precision and agreement has hampered the cross-linguistic study of compounds and even a good study within English." As you see, the issue needs some exposure, which I hoped to garner here by addressing it when it came up. Since it's obviously a confusing issue even for linguists, don't be frustrated as you try and grasp the subtleties.
What's funny is that walk-on is already attributive use of a verb to form a noun. And then, that precarious noun is being used as a noun adjunct in phrases like "walk-on part" or "walk-on role", dipping into what seems like adjective territory. Oh, English! All I wish to demonstrate right now is that in a case like "walk-on part", "dairy cow", "car park", or "chicken soup" these are noun adjuncts and don't work like other adjectives you could apply. -- Thisis0 23:33, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
At a practical level concerning WT entries, anything that could be done to reduce the number of pointless adjective PoS sections for nouns would be nice. Some kind of simple notation that simply mentioned that a noun could be and was used as an adjective and allowed a location for corresponding usage examples would be nice. For me the adj inflection line is warranted only if the comparative is possible. A separate adj. PoS section is certainly warranted if there is any new meaning for the adj. not present in the noun. OTOH, I have also noted that sometimes it is hard to quickly and clearly derive an adjectival sense corresponding to a noun sense. Anyway, thanks for the education. DCDuring 00:27, 16 January 2008 (UTC)


I am confused by this word. What PoS is it in all its various uses? I have entered it as an adverb. It apparently does not appear in many dictionaries despite its fairly frequent use (much in bodice-rippers, potboilers, and ripping yarns). It is very often used in questions where "Why ever" could be substituted. DCDuring 19:47, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

Yeah, it's an adverb. I had always thought it should be two words; it's in the OED though, with the earliest quote being from 1891. Widsith 09:20, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. OED support always makes me feel more comfortable. Someone online had said they didn't have it. End of. DCDuring 12:58, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

hot wind



There's more that could be added to this entry - "Simple past of can" is the only definition we have - there are nuances of politeness here (i.e. "could you help me out" v. "can you help me out"), and there's no mention of its purpose as an auxiliary verb. An etymology too, maybe. s--Keene 14:20, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

Moving to Talk:could. --Keene 14:33, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
(Note to self---must et my finger out and finish that appendix modal verbs that you started some while back.) OK I'll (will=promise) see what I can do in the short term. Yes. All the need to be pulled together into one big, but succinct usage appendix. My backburner project. -- Algrif 13:30, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

word usage

The butterflies loiter around the flower. Is loiter the right word? —This unsigned comment was added by (talk).

Not wrong, but a bit peculiar. Loiter implies wasting time, being lazy....and because of the legal phrase loiter with intent, it has slightly antisocial overtones. Widsith 10:06, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
There is also the term "loiter time" used by the military, meaning the time that an aircraft can remain close to a ground target but allowing fuel for the return trip. This is closer to the quote above.--Dmol 17:11, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
I'm not sure it isn't the first sense that is meant in the quote. Unlike a bee that would be interpreted as busy (making honey, etc), people perceive butterflies as just lazing about. RJFJR 17:17, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

mixed countable/uncountable

Sense 2 of tolerance is countable (e.g. "tolerances stack"). How do we format this? RJFJR 16:43, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

  • See latest version - feel free to correct any other senses that are countable. SemperBlotto 16:52, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
Thank you. I'll use that format when it comes up in the future now that I've seen it. RJFJR 17:15, 16 January 2008 (UTC)


craftsman is defined as "a male craftsperson". While that may be a modern use I believe that historically it could be used non-genderly (what ever the term is for applying to either gender). Even if craftsperson is now preferred by the politically correct, shouldn't we include a note that historically it could be used as a synonym for craftsperson? RJFJR 17:14, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

It certainly needs some kind of note. But can we make the note substantive? I wonder how long the use of the term craftsman to cover all practicioners of a craft was operative. Was that just a brief transition as women left the home and entered some of the crafts, but before they exercised their influence to change some language use? With the amount of attention devoted to women's studies these days, there ought to be some relevant reearch. DCDuring 18:02, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
I just defined a toymaker as a "craftsman who makes toys". (Note term craftsmanship, meaning quality, is still used). I'm not sure where to get the information on historical trends. RJFJR 19:06, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
b.g.c. searches for "woman craftsman", "she was a craftsman", and so on, all pull up relevant hits, over quite a wide date range; so, I think our current definition is simply wrong. Further, "craftsman" gets many more hits than "craftsperson", so I think we should define the latter in terms of the former, not the other way 'round. —RuakhTALK 00:13, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
How have similar words borne out on WT:BP? My mum was among the first female professional firefighters in the US and there the word, "firefighter", came into common acceptance quite quickly & I saw it in children's books in the 80's. The same kind of books from the UK still showed fireman, postman, & policeman this century though. I don't think I've even heard policeman or fireman from an Australian. I'm not gonna harp on about how much PC is too much or too little but for words that are undergoing transition like Secretaries' Day -> Administrative Professionals' Day or Nigra -> Negro -> Colored -> Black -> African-American, there must be some way to show that both are accepted but one is more/less common and one is on the ascent/descent, right? B} --Thecurran 01:20, 21 January 2008 (UTC)


Hi, I would appreciate some serious wordsmiths taking a look at the entry screwed. Quite some time ago, I added a quotation that shows 1641 usage of the word by an English merchant, using the word in its sense of "in a lot of trouble" or "beset with unfortunate circumstances that seem difficult or impossible to overcome; in imminent danger." I'm not much of a wordsmith myself so I don't believe I added anything to the definitions, just the example of usage.

This sense has recently been labeled "vulgar/slang" and I am not sure that is correct. Clearly their is a common usage today that is vulgar, and I don't know if slang is also true but maybe so; not for me to say. But I don't really think that the use of the term in the 1641 quotation was either.

So my question is: is this sense of the word labelled properly? Should another sense (or two) be added? Thanks. N2e 04:05, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

Is the quote still on the page? Which one is it? Can you direct me to a copy so we could get more context? DCDuring 04:37, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
Assuming it was the uncited quote, I tried Google books to search for it and failed to find it. DCDuring 04:39, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
Thank you for taking a look DCDuring. Yes, the quote is still on the screwed page, and it is most definitely fully cited on that page. Here it is, repeated, for your reference: "merchants are in no part of the world so screwed as in England. In Turkey, they have more encouragement." Richard Chambers (merchant), 1641. (Taylor, Hannis, The Origin and Growth of the English Constitution, part II, Houghton Mifflin:Boston, 1898, quoted in
1997, Ekelund, Robert B., Jr. and Hébert, Robert F., A history of economic theory and method, page 58: )"
I have the Ekelund and Hébert book on my bookshelf for work I do in Economic History. A somewhat longer quotation, for context, would be: "The episode in question involves Charles I and his battle with Parliament over customs duties. King Charles claimed an "ancient right" to customs, but Parliament ultimately seized the exclusive power to set these duties in 1641. While Parliamenet was dissolved, the King reasserted his claim of absolute authority to levy taxes. However, merchant importers refused, in their own interests, to pay customs to the king, obeying instead Parliament's decree to refuse to pay any dutires not authorized by itself. The King retaliated by seizing the merchants' goods, whereupon several of them resisted and were brought befroe the Privy Council. Merchant Richard Chambers brazenly declared that 'merchants are in no part of the world so screwed as in England. In Turkey, they have more encouragement' (Taylor, Hannis, Origin and Growth of the English Constitution, p. 274)." (In other words, the Ekelund and Hébert book (1997) quotes secondary material from Taylor (1898) which quotes the record of the merchant Chambers' speech before the Privy Council (1641).
I do not know if I have correctly referenced all of this in the Wiktionary entry according to the proper Wiktionary style. I do believe that the 1641 very early usage of this word is, in fact, quite useful to Wiktionary entry, which is why I took the time to add it in two years ago. Cheers, N2e 17:13, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
Let's not woory about the details of format too much. Your citation is a good one. It seems to reflect the sense of "putting pressure on somoeone", {"putting the (thumb-)screws to or on someone"), in this case with the Crown (screwer) doing the screwing of the merchants (screwees). I'll bet that the expression is put in the passive without the screwer being named because to accuse the Crown directly would have been an "impoliteness" that risked the further wrath of the King and his Privy Council. As a result we have an expression that reads just like our use of "screwed" as an adjective, which use requires no particular "screwer" be identified. I like the quote because it illustrates the transition of past participle and passive forms of verbs to adjectives, a fairly frequent occurence, it seems. I am a rank amateur at this, but perhaps one of the true mavens will take a look also.
I don't know when screw got the meaning of copulation. But I don't think it is derived metaphorically from this sense of screw. In any event screwed now carries the sense of "fucked", which makes it hard to use in formal settings and usually gets titters in an undergraduate class.
I'll have to see whether the Privy Council proceedings are now available on-line for the direct quote. If not yours will be fine. Wikitionarians like the sources available on-line because they can readily get more context and can verify. Thanks. DCDuring 18:16, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
I don't know when "screw" came to mean "copulate", but I'm pretty sure swive (related to "swivel") had a copulation sense a long time ago. We currently only have that sense, but I think the original meaning was something like "turn" or "rotate", similar to "screw". Mike Dillon 03:17, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
Screw=copulate goes back to at least the 18th century where it appears in some early slang dictionaries. swive has always meant copulate in Middle and modern English, though the OE source swīfan only seems to have meant "move quickly, progress". Widsith 17:30, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
As for the vulgarity - I personally would just tag this slang. It's not quite vulgar by my standards. --Keene 17:35, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the opinion on the 'vulgar' tag, Keene. That was my original question. It appears that several folks have edited the article now, and someone has removed the 'vulgar' tag from this one particular sense of the word. Furthermore, since several wordsmiths have looked it over, I will assume the 1641 quotation is now in appropriately handled as far as placemet, format, heading title, etc. N2e 19:18, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
I don't believe that the quote supports the particular use of screwed in the modern sense, even though it reads as if it did. I would defer to the judgment of those with who have more familiarity with Early Modern English than I. DCDuring 19:28, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
On Australian public television in 2006/07, an ad not limited to late night asked if you were being screwed by your mortgage/real estate agent and was accompanied by an image of a screwdriver in action, with a human body replacing the screw. That kind of mainstream usage that I've also heard from politicians makes me believe that it is not universally vulgar. :) --Thecurran 01:04, 21 January 2008 (UTC)


Is there a word (which I'm possibly misspelling) exemplative, an adjective meaning that it makes a good example? RJFJR 21:09, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

600+ raw g.b.c. hits, but not in MW3. It looks like it means what you say. Seems often used in ref. to moral examples. DCDuring 22:37, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
Try, "exemplary". It's definitely a word and it has the right connotation. :) --Thecurran 00:54, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

Need help with Cherokee translation

Need some help we have a black stallion that we want to name black warrior in Cherokee hope you can help wado tee tee —This unsigned comment was added by Hawkstt (talkcontribs) at 23:31, 20 January 2008 (UTC).

gv-na-ge-i a-ya-wis-gi (the "v" is a vowel that is pronounced "uh", as in "but"). —Stephen 00:05, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

Broken Skin

What is this a euphemism for; open wounds, healing wounds, freshly healed wounds, scratches, abrasions, grazes, rashes, hives, itches, eczema, bedsores, heat rashes, hives, inflamed skin, scar tissue, acne, pock marks, keloid scarring, swollen skin, puffy skin, boils, corns, warts, cold sore, leprosied skin, herpetic skin, splinters, or something else? I usually see it on bathroom products in the phrase, "Do not apply to broken skin." and I find it too ambiguous. :) --Thecurran 00:51, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

I'll bet it applies to most of the things you say, but a dictionary is not a substitute for medical advice from a professional. A break in the protective membrane seems to be what they are referring to, which would exclude inflammed skin, scar tissue, swellings, rashes. But many conditions could lead to dry skin and cracking which might lead to a break in the skin or a crevice in which, say, an acidic compound could do damage, given enough time. DCDuring 01:02, 21 January 2008 (UTC)


Can somone, pls, put this in WT:GL#S or SoP? You guys aren't using the one I know and use in Australia, "Standard of Practice". I'm sure I'm not the only one confused here. I'm glad that, "PoS", made it on to PoS, because the Aussie, "POS", means, "point of sale", as in ePos like so many "e-"s or EFTPOS, which means, "electronic funds tranfer [at] POS", and is spoken in every store with any card payment facilities and even most that don't ("Sorry, no EftPOS/EFTPOS"). --Thecurran 01:45, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

Sum of Parts - comes up in discussions of idiomaticity of phrases. DCDuring 02:06, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. --Thecurran 07:27, 21 January 2008 (UTC)


Is this a typo of b.g.c or a new term for WT:GL? --Thecurran 01:54, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

I think I did it. It was supposed to be for Google books. mea culpa. my bad. DCDuring 02:05, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
I think it's a blend of "GBS" ("Google Book Search") and "b.g.c" ("books dot google dot com"). —RuakhTALK 02:09, 21 January 2008 (UTC)


Is sense 2 really translingual? If so, is there a decent way to indicate that it's informal in English, but not necessarily in other languages? Also, is there a decent way to include English-specific derived terms (such as +ve)? —RuakhTALK 02:03, 21 January 2008 (UTC)


I am curious as to how to use word "hostage", only in singular or in plural too in such prases as "to hold smb (as a)hostage, to take smb hostage? in Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary there are given examples: "Three children were taken hostage during the bank robbery"; "He was held hostage for almost a year". According to these examples, should i conclude that "hostage" can be used only in singular in this (I suppose, fixed expressions)? what does it depend on? Thank you.

I could say: "I took the hostages hostage". It is as if I were saying "I took the hostages into the state of being hostage." or "I took the hostages as hostage." The noun hostage is being used in two senses, one referring to the individual hostages, which can have a plural, another referring to the state of "hostage", which would very rarely be plural (only in some kind of rarified discussion of distinct types of being a hostage}. DCDuring 02:12, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
I agree with DCDuring, except that I think it's actually an adjective in those examples. (Compare Template:bgc, Template:bgc, etc.) I don't know why we don't list an adjective sense in our entry. —RuakhTALK 02:16, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
MW3 says that the "state of a person given or kept as pledge against performance of an agreement, demand or treaty" sense is "obsolete". But the obsolete sense is pretty close the word's meaning in the "keep/give/hold/take hostage" constructions. DCDuring 02:40, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
I would interpret it as a compound verb take hostage, as separate from the noun hostage which is wholly countable. I don't recognise it as an adjective at all, in any of Ruakh's examples - though "hostage children" is attributive. Widsith 18:05, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
I think take hostage merits an entry. It is a nice way to interpret it current usage, whereever it came from. DCDuring TALK 14:53, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

social work

can someone explain the difference between direct vs indirect social work prcatices ?

to me a direct approach means that you are physically managing a situation. The indirect approach, requires a more administrative or clerical effort. —This unsigned comment was added by (talk).


could someone help find the meaning/translation of the word pantavila/pantavilo: a russian woman calls me this whenever we have friction in our relationship; and, she refuses to give me the real meaning/translation, instead, she tells me to look it up!



  • And it's not old English. It was written only a few decades ago.--Dmol 17:47, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Thank you soo much and please excuse the all caps. Yes it is , desiderata , and it was a gift that my father had given to my mother and she gave to me, many years ago. I never knew where it came from as far as the author, but the message is very profound. Thank you!!!


I've added Webster 1913's definition, but there seems to be another: Some academic journals' papers have the word "Oblatum" on them (in the headmatter), followed by a date. (Here's an example, but it's some 800 KB. The word appears just above the abstract on the first page.) Any idea what this is?—msh210 19:05, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

Could it mean "submitted"? The publication date could be well after the date an article was completed. The springerlink protects the text of the article you suggested as an example so I can't tell whether my notion is consistent with the facts of even that article. I would expect that the date after "oblatum" would always be prior to the publication date, but rarely by more than two years, probably varying by discipline. DCDuring TALK 22:43, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
I didn't realize it wasn't accessible. The article reads:
Oblatum 20-III-2002 & 30-IX-2002
Published online: 18 December 2002
So you may well be right about its being "submitted", but I really don't know. I suspected it might mean "received", which is not the same thing. (Note that math articles, at least — though I suspect the same is true in other disciplines — get resubmitted after the referee's recommendations are taken care of. (The paper linked to above is a math paper.))—msh210 23:01, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
I should have mentioned that oblatum is past participle of Latin offrere ‎(to offer). An oblate is someone who has offered/dedicated their life to God. The only real possibilities for a publication were "dedicated" or "submitted". DCDuring TALK 23:42, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
Oh, well, then, you (or someone else who knows enough Latin) can add that L2 section, and we have a winner for the other English sense, I think. Thanks.—msh210 05:57, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
The etymologies for oblate and oblatum, referring to a flattened sphere can't be the same as for the sense having to do with offering, submission. Could they come from ob "in front" and the root verb ferro meaning carry in the sense of "pregnant"? DCDuring TALK 12:42, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
I think there is some confusion here. Classical Latin oblatus is a form of the verb offero (offer) and is the source of the English oblation. But English oblate (in the sense of a flattened sphere) doesn't seem to come from this word. The OED gives it as a medieval or modern Latin coinage from ob- + lātus ‎(broad, wide), an hence "spread(ing) out, widening out", which makes much more sense anyway. I see that this has already been corrected in the entry. --EncycloPetey 00:32, 28 January 2008 (UTC)


lap#Etymology_3: to slurp up (a liquid) as a dog. And slurp is defined as: to eat/drink (something) noisily. Is this what lap means? I thought it meant to lick something (and hence, usually, eat it). Consider

    • 2000, Robert B. Parker, Hugger Mugger, chapter 1,
      "I was at Claiborne Farms once and actually met Secretariat," I said. "He gave me a large lap."
      He smiled a painted smile. Horse people, I have noticed, are not inclined to think of horses in terms of how, or even if, they kiss.

msh210 22:15, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

I would have defined it the way the entry reads, pretty much. Connected to liquids, ice cream, and, perhaps, pate and kibble. I wouldn't have gone for "lick" as a sense, although the meaning of contact from the animal's tongue in the quote is consistent with my understanding of the word. But, then, I have a dog. DCDuring TALK 22:31, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
My understanding agrees with the entry. I remember a Bible stories book I had as a kid describing a battle before which, among other things, H' instructed the men to drink water from a river, and only a small portion of the men did so by lapping up water like dogs instead of by cupping their hands and bringing water to their mouths. It definitely used the word lap. —RuakhTALK 02:42, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
But that can mean lick, no?—msh210 17:20, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
I think maybe the reason it seems confusing is because it's always used with up, which could make you think that in itself it just means "lick" - because you could equally say "lick up water" or whatever. But the primary sense of lap, with or without "up", always had the sense of getting liquid into your mouth by use of your tongue. Widsith 09:50, 25 January 2008 (UTC)


I'm a little surprised that this one hasn't seen more controversy; perhaps the alternate pronunciation is regional?

I've never heard this pronounced the way the audio file currently on it, sounds. For some reason, when I saw this as a Word-of-the-day, I was shocked that we could have such a grotesque misspelling of laxsidaysical on our main page. (Then I looked it up. Ouch.) While lacksidaisical gets enough b.g.c. hits to probably merit an entry, that particular pronunciation-spelling lacks the lax prefix that I was convinced was etymologically related, somehow.

Anyone able to identify what regions the "lac" + sibilant + "idaisical" pronunciation is specific to? Furthermore, do we want the alternate spelling entered as an entry? If so, how should it be listed/described? Is the connotation with lax completely ephemeral, or is there a reference about it that I didn't find? Thanks in advance,

--Connel MacKenzie 06:03, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

It's just a mistake – a common one – based on assimilation with lax, and is not limited to any one region. This is what we call an eggcorn. Perhaps laxadaisical warrants a {{misspelling of}} entry, it's certainly common enough. Widsith 09:14, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
Thank you. Yes, I did see "Common Errors in English Usage" come up on one of my searches. What I'm talking about here seems to be original research, so I hesitate to add anything about it to actual entries. Sorry if it seems like I'm suggesting new entries: I'm really not, I'd just like to satisfy my curiosity. My earlier point, is that that particular assimilation with lax has forced the proscribed pronunciation to be primary in some regions (at least where I grew up.) So my questions grow now: why is the variation proscribed? The assimilation itself is reasonable. Being descriptive do we assert only the prescribed variant, or should there be mention of the proscribed pronunciation (and if so, what description fits?) Also, is it only assimilation with lax, as I thought at first, or borne from the natural elision of the full-stopping "K-uh" transformed into a "zih" sound? About the eggcorn assertion: are you saying the "lacsidasical" pronunciation is common in the UK too? The more I look at the variants that are out there, the more my curiosity about this grows. --Connel MacKenzie 17:32, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
It's proscribed just because in prescriptive terms it's simply "wrong" and is not a real word found in any printed dictionaries. As a descriptive site though we should definitely have it - yes it's common in the UK as well. But I think a "common misspelling" entry is more appropriate than a "alternative spelling" only because if you use this in an essay or job application you wouldn't last long! Widsith 09:48, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
I must admit I had never heard it any other way than "laxidaisical." It wasn't until Connel put it in the Tea Room that I noticed there was no x or ks, etc. How odd. Seems to me that it might be worthwhile to provide an alternative pronunciation within the current spelling. Atelaes 09:53, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
I've always heard [ks] said but seen <ck> written. However, Template:bgc does get a number of uses on b.g.c., as do various other spellings that attempt to reflect the [ks]. —RuakhTALK 13:20, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
For what it's worth, I've heard both, but more often /k/ alone, which is what I say, too. I've only ever (as far as I recall) seen <ck>.—msh210 17:18, 24 January 2008 (UTC)


The state or quality of being being? What's that meant to mean?--Keene 15:41, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

As opposed for example to the state or quality of being doing, or doingness; also the state or quality of being nothing, or nothingness. Did this word exist in English before the first translations interpretations of Hegel, I wonder. -- Visviva 15:44, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
By all appearances, it did not. [33] It would seem that we have Stirling's Secret of Hegel to thank for this. (although it might have cropped up independently in translations of Rosmini's work.) This is basically a translation of Seiendheit, I believe (not to be confused with Seiendsein, or "being-a-being"). In the Hegelian system this has a particular significance related to the emergence of being-there from the interaction of being and not-being; not sure how best to express that in a definition though. -- Visviva 15:54, 24 January 2008 (UTC)


wingspan is listed as uncountable. Is it sometimes countable as wingspans? RJFJR 17:00, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

I'd think so, e.g. "I was comparing the wingspans of the two planes" sounds right to me --Keene 17:02, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
Adding {{context|usually in singular}} seems reasonable. --Connel MacKenzie 17:35, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

Any Surfers out there who know surf jargon?

{{}}Hello I wish to add a word to the wiktionary: bitchen. It is a surf term meaning really neat, groovey, outtasite etc. It is the ultimate in desireable............

I think it's spelled bitchin', which we should have, agreed. We do have bitching, note.—msh210 21:06, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
We have a few surfing terms and wouldn't mind a few more. Put in any suggestions here (for now) and in Requested entries. DCDuring TALK 21:17, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
Even better, put what you know into Appendix:Glossary_of_surfing_terms. There are some 200-300 terms in there. Most of them are already in the main dictionary and most (not all) of what we have is in there. Bitchin/bitchen/bitchin's/bitching isn't in there because it is not, strictly speaking, about surfing and is used by a larger subculture. DCDuring TALK 15:28, 26 January 2008 (UTC)


See the talk page.—msh210 21:21, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

Now fixed.—msh210 17:23, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

In contrast to / By contrast

Can someone explain the difference in usage between 'by contrast' and 'in contrast'. In past I have used 'In contrast, we assumed ... ' or 'In contrast to our assumption...' (not necessarily to mean the same thing). A search of Wiktionary past archives only turns up the expression 'by contrast' once.

What is heat resistance certificate of copper busbar ?

what is heat resistance certificate of copper busbar ? —This unsigned comment was added by (talk).

You'd probably have better luck at Wikipedia with such a question, for example here. This is a dictionary. Atelaes 08:34, 26 January 2008 (UTC)


Is it possible to create an entry at "Ka" (without using the <sub>a</sub> formatting, that is)? This is a scientific symbol used to denote an acid dissociation constant, and should have an entry if that is technically possible. Cheers! bd2412 T 08:57, 27 January 2008 (UTC)

You could use the Unicode character for subscript-a, viz. . (does that display correctly in your browser? mine neither.) But an entry at Ka with an appropriate note might be more suitable (and searchable). -- Visviva 10:32, 27 January 2008 (UTC)
Hmmm. Searchability is a good point. I'll do that. bd2412 T 10:34, 27 January 2008 (UTC)
We do have the entry Ka with that sense. It is typeable, searchable and simple;.however, it might deserve a usage note about often being Ka. RJFJR 14:55, 27 January 2008 (UTC)
Actually, I just checked and it's at Ka but the headword beneath the part of speech is written as Ka. Might still warrant a note saying this since it can be overlooked (I did). RJFJR 14:57, 27 January 2008 (UTC)
That's because bd2412 just created it. :-)   I've now added the usage note. —RuakhTALK 16:48, 27 January 2008 (UTC)
Of interest may be T2.—msh210 17:11, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
Thanks, but I'm not a Schwarzenegger fan. DAVilla 01:22, 30 January 2008 (UTC)


I would very much like to discuss this word. On the page, I have written the various forms which have come up as translations in dictionaries on GoogleBooks. But they are still translations to be checked - I don't know if this word has died in any of those languages. To what extent is this exactly the same as block and tackle? I'm also confused because interwikis on wikipedia take you to all sorts of different pages, obviously a lot of languages express this machine in different ways. If anybody has any information or can check the translations, that would be appreciated. Harris Morgan 00:17, 28 January 2008 (UTC).


Todays' word is skedaddle. I didn't knot that one. However, I think I have heard an American-English word, or interjection rather, which has a similar sound. I tried to google skiddlydoo but got just a handful of hits. Google suggested I try skullydoo instead. Are there any Americans who can tell me what my word is? __meco 10:26, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

Possibly w:23 skidoo? -- Visviva 14:26, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
Or w:skidamarink?—msh210 17:09, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
I think we are in the general ballpark, but I hope we can get a bit closer still. __meco 19:29, 28 January 2008 (UTC)


The only definition given (English noun) is: "A belief in the importance of the power of the state over an individual, used to describe more extreme views." I'm okay with the first part of the definition, but am unsure about the correctness of the last part. As I see the word used in the social science literature (principally economics and sociology), I don't find it implying extreme views. In other words, I think it definitely has a use in vernacular English today of implying only "A belief in the importance of the power of the state over an individual." -- with no sense of the extreme-ness of the view. N2e 19:17, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

Maybe put the "extreme views" bit under "Usage notes" with "sometimes used to ..." I would have trouble proving such usage, but I've heard it. Putting an "-ism" on something is a little like putting "scare quotes" around it. DCDuring TALK 19:40, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
On a side note, shouldn't Category:English nouns ending in -ism be at Category:English nouns ending in "-ism" for the sake of consistency? bd2412 T 19:49, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

Hmm, I have always called this étatisme. Widsith 15:12, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

Okay, I edited the page along the lines of the discussion above, and added a comment to the talk page. Feel free to look it over, modify, and/or remove the rft if appropriate. I don't know what the culture is for leaving the rft on a word for a certain amount of time, or not. N2e 14:39, 2 February 2008 (UTC)

information search

Looking for information and location of BUSCHOLT GERMANY

Try an atlas or maps website. Maybe a Gazetteer. You are currently on a dictionary website, which is not a good place to look for this information. --EncycloPetey 02:01, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

E. & O. E

E. & O. E? I'm looking for the terminology "E. & O. E." mention in International Commercial Invoices. I tried looking for it but could not find anything helpful. Can anyone help me get to the right source of information. —This unsigned comment was added by Shootingstar77 (talkcontribs).

If you could add a bit of context, it may help. Atelaes 05:54, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
  • It means "exceptions (or errors) and omissions excluded (or excepted)" and is normally written E&OE. SemperBlotto 12:03, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

be successful

I'm hesitating about making this entry. Reasons for: translation is difficult. In Spanish it would be a verb form tener exito or dar resultado. Other languages the same? OTOH it would be just SoP in English, wouldn't it? Comments please. -- Algrif 11:50, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

Isn't "to be successful" just the same as "to succeed"? I would translate the Italian riuscire as either just as well. SemperBlotto 12:01, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
Doesn't "be successful" refer more to a durable state than succeed does? It does seem very SoP to me in English, but many distinctions elude me. What are you trying to capture by entering it? DCDuring TALK 12:18, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
It's possibly more than SoP because by default it means more than having success in a particular area, it means having success in life. But then, succeed can mean that too, so I'm not really supporting its creation.
Looking at translations isn't going to tell you whether an expression is idiomatic though. Tener exito is also SoP, just like tener calor, which failed an RFD. There's the same problem with tener hambre = be hungry. Could this be handled with usage notes on both the English and the Spanish side? DAVilla 00:58, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
That's why I brought it here first. OK I think usage notes is probably the best way to go with this one. Thanks. -- Algrif 12:34, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

Proper nouns following articles

Is there a word that describes proper nouns that follow articles, e.g. the United Kingdom (I live in the United Kingdom v. I live in United Kingdom); United Arab Emirates; Golden Gate Bridge; Soviet Union; White House. Forgive me if this discussion's arisen before. --Keene 17:35, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

United Kingdon and United Arab Emirates and Soviet Union take the because they are plural or collective. Every proper noun that's plural or collective does so; another is Netherlands. Certain other proper nouns do, too, such as Ukraine (dated), Congo (dated), Sudan (dated), all oceans, and many (all?) rivers. This topic comes up periodically on the Usenet newsgroup alt.usage.english, which you can search at Google Groups; here's one sample thread on this topic and here's another post (whose thread you might also wish to check out).—msh210 18:33, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
I should note that as a general rule, AUE is a good resource for questions on English usage. It's populated by users of English, not (for the most part) linguists, though some have some training. Google Groups makes its archives accessible.—msh210 18:30, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
Don't most nouns require an article? I play "a" cello or "the" cello, not so much "I play cello". I mean, you can say it, but it's less literate. bd2412 T 21:14, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
Sure, but that's not true for proper nouns. While on my boat, Secretariat, on Lake Superior, I spoke to John about going to New York to see Gracie Mansion.msh210 22:33, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
I believe the Cambridge Grammar of the English Language calls these “weak” proper nouns (as opposed to “strong” proper nouns, which can stand alone), but I don't know if that's widespread usage. If you want to be fancy, I suppose you could describe them as “arthrous”. :-) —RuakhTALK 00:31, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

walk into

I'm a teacher of English (but not native speaker) and I can't solve this question: Two people collide in the street and we say: "Tom walked into that teenager". Or we could say "That teenager walked into Tom", but is it possible for both to walk into one another? What verb should we use instead? : Bumped into? Ran into? Thanks —This comment was unsigned.

I would say "Tom and the teenager bumped into each other." However, this could mean "met" rather than "collided". SemperBlotto 22:50, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
"Walk into" = collide; "bumped into" and "ran into" imply accidental meeting. Ignore the impossible geometry. We could actually say "Jack and Jill walked into each other", implying that the collision was not Jack's fault more than Jill's. DCDuring TALK 22:56, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

Is this a phrasal verb? DAVilla 00:47, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

Yes, it is. Added. -- Algrif 12:44, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

Dutch courage pejorative

Following the comment at Talk:Dutch courage, can this be pejorative - I had always assumed not, but then again there are those who can find anything derogatory. Conrad.Irwin 00:45, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

Almost any of the ethnic/racial/religious/gender/sex-pref/hair-color/nationalisty/disability-based labels of supposed behavior or attibutes could be viewed as insulting and are sometimes intended that way. Maybe we need boilerplate language for Usage notes that could be modified to suit individual entries. I think the term "pejorative" means that the sense labelled is insulting to the person addressed or described. If so, that tag doesn't do the job. DCDuring TALK 03:04, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
Created {{offensive to}} and took it for a test drive in Dutch courage#Usage notes. Improvements welcome. -- Visviva 07:24, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
It's a good idea, but I wonder what proportion of "offensive-to" terms fall into the "may be considered" category instead of the "is sometimes considered" or "is often considered" or "is usually considered" or "used to be considered" categories? "May be considered" is probably a good default, but maybe it would be nice to support other values? —RuakhTALK 13:07, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
You're saying add another parameter that takes value of (-,sometimes (default), often, usually, formerly) and generates a smooth sentence. DCDuring TALK 14:56, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. I had more elaborate thoughts in mind, but what you've done is better for entries. Perhaps it would be nice if we had a link to some WP article or WT entry or appendix on the subject of offensive language, that helps folks intellectualize the perceived insult, understand WT's descriptiveness, see that it might be jocularly intended, etc. Actually, I doubt that an ordinary WT entry is good enough. I think it needs a paragraph (or more). I'll search later. Does anyone know of such material? DCDuring TALK 13:18, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
If this is even necessary, which I'm hesitant to agree with, might I suggest a simpler form than the present? Anything more than the following could be written out afterwards:
{{offensive to}} {{offensive to|}} {{offensive to|-}}
This term may be considered offensive.
{{offensive to|...}}
This term is considered offensive to ....
An additional option of offendee= is not a parameter that would see use elsewhere, so is somewhat superfluous. DAVilla 16:08, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
Well, the "offendee" parameter can certainly be dropped (I can't think of any reason this would need to take advantage of MediaWiki's differences in handling numbered vs. named params, I've just gotten in the habit of allowing for both). But I think the primary application of this is to words which may specifically be considered offensive to someone other than the person actually described or addressed; more ordinary cases are already handled by {{pejorative}}, {{vulgar}}, et al. Because of this I don't see much use for a version which does not specify the offendee in some way. -- Visviva 17:09, 31 January 2008 (UTC)



What is the possessive form of "Mother-in-Law?"

Is it "Mother's-in-Law" or "Mother-in-Law's?" —This unsigned comment was added by FolkExplorer (talkcontribs) at 19:42, 29 January 2008.

The latter: mother-in-law's. Atelaes 01:44, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
English nouns don't really have possessive forms; instead, we just tack -'s onto the end of the phrases they head. —RuakhTALK 01:55, 30 January 2008 (UTC)


On this page: http://linguistlist.org/issues/18/18-3770.html, the word ‘resolve’ is used as a noun. Could someone please add the noun sense, with the appropriate quote? H. (talk) 10:52, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

Good catch. I added "# Determination, will power." RJFJR 12:06, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

February 2008

Roman a clef

How is this phrase pronounced? It appears to be a style employed by Hugo, among others. Are there well known examples of this style in English writings? —This unsigned comment was added by Kare (talkcontribs) at 03:17, 1 February 2008 (UTC).

In French, it's spelled roman à clef and pronounced /rɔmɑ̃ a kle/ (that's an IPA representation of the pronunciation); I've never heard it in English, but I'd assume it's pronounced roughly "roe-MAHN ah CLAY". As for your second question, you've come to the wrong place: this is a dictionary. You might fare better at our sister project Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. —RuakhTALK 11:55, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

right of way

Template:bgc disagrees with our current definition for sense #1, but I don't know quite how to phrase it properly. —RuakhTALK 12:34, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

It should say something like "the right of one user of a road, path etc. to temporarily halt the passage of another during his own use of it". (It's used on golf courses as well as the public highway) SemperBlotto 12:39, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

Do the air and marine worlds use this term this way also? Does the word "priority" help? DCDuring TALK 14:34, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
They do; I added an illustrative cite for this. Think the definition is a bit clearer now, but still not quite ideal. -- Visviva 16:02, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
If perhaps not ideal, certainly excellent. DCDuring TALK 16:21, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Since we're having tea here anyway, does anyone have thoughts on whether the sense "land on which a right of way exists" is meaningfully distinct from the sense "area cleared and modified for passage, such as for a railway or canal"? For example, when we read that two people "crept along the subway right-of-way with their weapons drawn," ([34], self-published but never mind that) does this really mean that they crept "along the area on which a subway right of way had been designated"? Or is the roadway/railway/canalway sense distinct? I keep disagreeing with myself on this one, need an outside opinion. :-) -- Visviva 17:05, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
Your case involves action in the world outside conference rooms and courtrooms, which warrants a sense. The physical and legal senses overlap, but are distinct, even in the properties referred to. From my knowledge of railroad history, there are numerous cases of "rights-of-way" being obtained (legal sense) (including by outright purchase, option, easement, and all the other means of devise that lawyers have devised) without there being any physical modification or use of it for an actual railroad. In any event there is a transition period and the courts sometimes don't care about the physical modification bit. I wonder whether the two legal senses should be combined into one that includes implicitly all possible means of acquiring sufficient rights. Finally, "The [old] right of way was completely overgrown before the County built the bikepath." illustrates that there may be no remaining "clearance", no remaining legal right of way and still the word could be used, though I wouldn't think we need a sense for that. DCDuring TALK 17:36, 1 February 2008 (UTC)


What are these things called in English? Referrring to the strips of material hanging by the window. shutters?--Keene 13:34, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

In the U.S., blinds or window blinds, or more specifically, vertical blinds or track blinds. Dunno about usage elsewhere. —RuakhTALK 13:47, 1 February 2008 (UTC)


apheticism - what does it mean? I first ran across it in the article for twit: 'Originally twite, an apheticism of atwite.' When I googled it, there were a few other Wiki pages where it had been used, but I can't find a definition anywhere. I also tried my Oxford Dictionary, but no luck. I would guess it means something like 'a gradual corruption of a word', but does anyone know more? Thanks. —This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 13:51, 1 February 2008 (UTC).

Presumably it's an erroneous or rare variant of aphesis. —RuakhTALK 14:26, 1 February 2008 (UTC)


ecdysiast (today's WOTD) is currently defined as "An erotic dancer who removes their clothes as a form of entertainment; a stripper. " The problem is that "An...who" is singular but "their" is plural. Should "their" be changed to "his or her" (or is there a better way of recasting this sentence?) RJFJR 13:52, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

See their (pronoun, sense 2). Is used in singular for a person of unknown gender. Yes it sounds a bit odd, but is standard usage. Robert Ullmann 14:35, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
Interesting. It's certainly acceptable at many levels of discourse to the extent of barely being noticed. WT's own English seems to me to migrate toward a style that is sometimes almost formal, sometimes academic, or more often comparable to the "better" newspapers and the newsweeklies like Time. What would they do? (hard to research on Google, though) The desire to be brief and avoid diverting people's attention from what they are looking for would argue (weakly) against "his or her". Perhaps we can think of an alternative working in our copious free time. DCDuring TALK 14:56, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
I didn't really like "his or her" but felt we should aspire to ecellence in grammar as well as vocabulary. How about "An erotic dancer who undresses as a form of entertainment; a stripper." That avoids the whole problem (but undresses may introduce slight differences of meaning). RJFJR 17:52, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
Agree that "their" is awful and should be shot on sight; not all usages that merit inclusion are suitable to be followed. I also agree that "his or her" is not ideal, but don't see any alternative... "undresses" by itself leaves the reader in doubt as to who is being undressed. -- Visviva 15:10, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps surpisingly, The Chicago Manual of Style appears to be silent on this issue. --EncycloPetey 05:23, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps we could put the definition under ecdysiasts and make ecdysiast "singular form of ecdysiasts". &;)) DCDuring TALK 16:52, 2 February 2008 (UTC)


Do we have a word for "to remove pips from a fruit"? depip/unpip maybe? --Keene 14:10, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

For a stone fruit: pit (verb). For others: seed (verb) remove seeds from; a sense we don't have but should. Robert Ullmann 14:29, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
The second sense is deseed according to the OED. SemperBlotto 17:10, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

go, get or come out of tune

Hello, I am a french contributor to the french Wiktionary. I rod in your page out of tune : the violin go out of tune .... I know one can say also to get ... or to come and I would like to know if there is a best practice. A first check on internet did not really help me making up my mind. Could anybody tell me if one form is better than the other ? Thanks in advance, Eric Rogliano

I would always say "it goes out of tune" - Though, possibly things can also "become out of tune". Hope that helps Conrad.Irwin 19:25, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
The actual quote he was citing was "Violins go out of tune" (They go out of tune). RJFJR 20:59, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

"The violin is getting/going out of tune" seem OK. "The violin is out of tune". "The violin is coming out of tune" doesn't sound right at all. "The violin is becoming out of tune" also seems OK, but somehow doesn't seem as good, though I can't say why. DCDuring TALK 04:49, 3 February 2008 (UTC)

Nonstandard "i"?

Can anyone post a nonstandard "i"? See User Talk:Language Lover/nonstandard digits to see what I mean. Language Lover 04:31, 3 February 2008 (UTC)

There are some nonstandard "i" characters in the math-related Unicode blocks, but they all have very specific font-requirements and they're in the extended Unicode range (SMP) and have very limited font support. This search finds a lot of them, mostly in the "Mathematical Alphanumeric Symbols" block. Mike Dillon 03:37, 4 February 2008 (UTC)
Here's another search for the same.msh210 17:45, 4 February 2008 (UTC)


Does the word aphetize exist, at the level necessary for Wiktionary inclusion? I came to the annoying conclusion that it does not, based on b.g.c. hits; however, aphetized certainly does. It appears that it may have an OED entry, however. What would be the optimal way for us to cover this sort of lexicographical singularity? Or are the necessary citations lurking out there somewhere? -- Visviva 08:05, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

No help yet with the cites, but MW3 also has an entry for "aphetize". DCDuring TALK 12:22, 4 February 2008 (UTC)
One cite is available on b.g.c. for "aphetise". DCDuring TALK 12:30, 4 February 2008 (UTC)
All I can see is a dictionary of anagrams and something in German. -- Visviva 01:28, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
Sorry, thought I saw something more menaingful. My mind must have played a trick on me. wishful thinking DCDuring TALK 01:46, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
The OED does have an entry for aphetize, but its quotations both use the -ed form (one in an ordinary eventive passive construction, and one as a modifier for a following noun, either as a reduced resultative passive, or as a participial adjective). —RuakhTALK 00:26, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
Hmm... well, this is annoying. I mean, this isn't a defective verb in the usual sense; someone could come along and use "aphetizing" in a sentence tomorrow and no one would think twice about it. But because it is so infrequently used, only one form is actually attested. On top of this, it seems that story of this term's entry into the OED might be interesting fodder for a "Dictionary notes" section. So are we better off compromising our principles by having an entry at aphetize (and aphetise), or compromising our comprehensiveness by having none? It's a pity Goedel wasn't a lexicographer... -- Visviva 14:50, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
I had a related experience with spectacled. The problem also seems to come up more in the heavily inflected historical languages where there are plenty of unattested forms including the ones usually considered the lemma forms. To a lesser extent the problem even comes up in English for rare plurals, rare comparatives, and, especially, rare superlatives. I would argue for formalizing weaker attestation for inflected forms. Unattested lemma forms are a little tougher, but if past and present participles are attested in English, you would think that should make it much easier to buy off on the infinitive and 3rd p sing. Also, you would think that alternative spellings (UK and US; hyphenated, spaced, and unspaced; u.c. and l.c.) would provide evidence about inflected forms. Unfortunately, none of the generalized rule easings I have in mind would help "aphetize/ise" because there seems to be no use of the infinitive or 3rd p singular or present participle in the convenient media accepted for attestation. That makes it seem more like "spectacled". DCDuring TALK 15:23, 5 February 2008 (UTC)


give me a word which means a person is interested in a particular field —This unsigned comment was added by Sahaana (talkcontribs).

    • example: "He’s a history buff." (note, I'd take it to imply an ameteur in the field of interest) RJFJR 16:41, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

past of belay

Is the past of belay belaid or belayed? RJFJR 04:30, 5 February 2008 (UTC)

"belayed" "rope" gets 10 times the hits of "belaid" "rope" on b.g.c. DCDuring TALK 11:22, 5 February 2008 (UTC)