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

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Oldest tagged RFTs


July 2017

tentorium plurlization

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

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

hot glue gun

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

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

evolutionary stable strategy

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Finger mix-up

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

select for - select against

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


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

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


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

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

Latin: luo

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


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

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

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

Serbo-Croatian krst and krstjanin

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

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

chocolate bar vs. bar of chocolate

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

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

some or -some?

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

metroprolol vs metoprolol

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

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

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


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

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

s'en être

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

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

puppy dog eyes

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


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


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

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


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

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

preferably and preferentially

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

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

Abstract senses of guard

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

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

live free or die

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

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


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

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

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

English mental

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

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


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

thrift for thrift shop?

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

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


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

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


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

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

scream blue murder

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

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

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

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

translations for translingual entries

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

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

half gyp, whole gyp

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


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

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


Because of this revision.

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

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


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

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

Bastard capitalization

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

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

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

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

Thank you for your patience.

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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

Homer's nodding

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

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

kanji (different meaning)

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

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

The meaning of the word ལྟམ (ltam) in Tibetan

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

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

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

Reformatting, cleanup, and expansion of trasgo

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

Should foreign PPs be treated as PPs in English?

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

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

general education

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

Divisions to clean up

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


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

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

Βλάχος in Greek

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

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

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

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

zincirleme ad tamlaması

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

get one up on someone

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

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


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

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

rather used at the end of a clause

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

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


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

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

business before pleasure, head over heels, time after time

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

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

بيت لحم

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

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

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

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

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

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

to mount

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

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


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

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

to channel

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

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

objectivity#Noun, sense 3: unclear definition

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

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

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

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

my favorite part was the end

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

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

Etymology of 尉犁 (Yùlí)

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

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

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

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

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

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

noun + ed e.g. legged

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

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


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

gorge vs. ravine

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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


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

August 2017

Latin zephirum and cifra

A couple of questions:

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

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

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

IPA on Arabic أَزَلِيّ and صُوفِيّ

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

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

English toxic

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

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

English youngling

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

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

English physical examination

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

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

English intussusception

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

Arabic إدْحِيّة, أُدْحُوّة, أُدْحِيّة

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Proto-Slavic *dorgъ

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

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

Sanskrit borrowings in Urdu.

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

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

Trafficking, trafficker, trafficked but NOT traffick

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

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

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

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

Arabic أَرْضِيّ شَوْكِيّ‏ (ʾarḍiyy šawkiyy‏)

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

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

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

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

English absence

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

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

A few more pronunciation problems

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

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


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


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

Past participle of Portuguese verb abrir

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

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

Imperative of Portuguese verb ouvir

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

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

English: use of collect

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

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

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

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

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

Plurals of words with -ness

Hi, I'm pretty new here.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

should be:

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

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

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

assortment / assortiment

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

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

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

About the examples in susu#Javanese

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

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

nudge nudge wink wink

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

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


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

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

Etymology of tsar

This doesn't add up:

English etymology on tsar:

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

Swedish etymology on tsar:

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

Russian etymology on царь (carʹ):

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

Gothic etymology on 𐌺𐌰𐌹𐍃𐌰𐍂 (kaisar):

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

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

From Proto-Slavic *cěsarjь, from Latin Caesar.

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

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

Pikachu and Pokémon

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

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

nudge nudge wink wink sense

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

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

box set and boxed set

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Request for verification of a publishing date

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

Can mortem be used on its own as a noun?

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

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

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


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

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

Arabic اللّٰه (allāh)

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

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

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

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

diggety and diggity

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

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

if I had a nickel for every time

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

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

chin up

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

Missing item in English List of Words by Suffixes

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

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


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

Remove hot word template from Kondo?

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

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

"Rectus Femoris" Pluralization (Latin)


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

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

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

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

different kind of animal / different kind of beast

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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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

currymuncher, curry muncher

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

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

About the genitive "Sapphonis"

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

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

lay on

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

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

Imperative of Portuguese verb ter

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

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

English lever arm

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

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

hard disc

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

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

bottom man

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

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

I say go for it. It's getting into collocation territory, but I think it's just non-SOP enough that it qualifies under our current CFI. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 16:22, 18 August 2017 (UTC)


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

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

English hernia and -cele

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

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

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

one word about specific ceramic in Baltic languages

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

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

About radical indexes and language links from Chinese Wiktionary

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

@MGorrone: could you please elaborate a bit on the 'KANGXI RADICAL SPEECH'? --Backinstadiums (talk) 06:27, 16 August 2017 (UTC)
@Backinstadiums: That is the name of the character . (Compare , which is the corresponding unified ideograph.) For the meaning of "radical", see Kangxi radical. — Eru·tuon 05:22, 18 August 2017 (UTC)
@Erutuon: How can I see the chracter ⾔ using chrome? --Backinstadiums (talk) 16:19, 18 August 2017 (UTC)
@Backinstadiums: It shows up fine for me, but I've downloaded and use Noto Serif CJK SC, a Google font, which contains all the Kangxi radicals. — Eru·tuon 17:16, 18 August 2017 (UTC)
1. I don't know about other editors, but I support using KANGXI RADICALs, as God intended.
2. As for the broken interlanguage links, I predict Unicode normalization is messing something up. (@Lea Lacroix (WMDE)) —suzukaze (tc) 04:31, 18 August 2017 (UTC)
It does make sense to use the radical characters, as opposed to not using them anywhere. But switching over might take a lot of work: I think all the Chinese sortkey data modules that I just created don't use Kangxi radical characters! — Eru·tuon 04:52, 18 August 2017 (UTC)
I already made the relevant change to the script I used to generate the data back in July :p (I'm not sure I would actually support its use in sortkeys though, since the MediaWiki software uses Unicode order and the simplified forms of KANGXI RADICALS are in the preceding block...) —suzukaze (tc) 07:56, 18 August 2017 (UTC)
I guess this is another language for which a customized sort order would be useful. — Eru·tuon 08:04, 18 August 2017 (UTC)


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

There are accents of American English where /æŋ/ always surfaces as [eɪŋ], see w:/æ/ tensing#Additional /æ/ tensing before /ɡ/ and /ŋ/. I'm a little reluctant to assign this to the phoneme /eɪ/ myself, though. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 13:16, 15 August 2017 (UTC)
User:Gilgamesh~enwiktionary seems to have added similar things to a number of words with -ang(-). See rang and sang, to start with. Chuck Entz (talk) 14:06, 15 August 2017 (UTC)
I think if the [eɪŋ] variants were to be listed, (a) they should be phonetic, not phonemic, and (b) they need a more specific label than US. — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 14:09, 15 August 2017 (UTC)
For the record, that's the Canadian pronunciation as well—in the West, anyway, so the pronunciations should be labelled accordingly. I don't think it's a phonetic difference, as "ang" is always pronounced [eɪŋ] here (or at least I can't think of any counter examples, aside from those which would apply everywhere). I suspect the [eɪŋ] pronunciation is used in the Midwest US, as that region of the States has the closest accent to that of western Canada. I can't speak for the rest of Canada, as my experience with the East has mainly been with the French speaking areas.... Andrew Sheedy (talk) 16:19, 18 August 2017 (UTC)

About Latin levis, etymology 2

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

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

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


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

Personally I have never heard it said as "earl". I doubt I would even understand it. Mihia (talk) 21:37, 17 August 2017 (UTC)
@Hippietrail, are you sure that it can also be pronounced as "earl"? Do you have any video/audio recordings of it being read as "earl" to back this up? — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 22:28, 17 August 2017 (UTC)
Yes I've heard it many times. I always notice it as it annoys me. I'll keep my ears open for specific examples that I can give references to now that I know others are unfamiliar with this pronunciation. — hippietrail (talk) 00:13, 19 August 2017 (UTC)


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

  • Alt-Left means different things to different people, so we will have to wait to find quotes and usage of the term. IQ125 (talk) 18:46, 16 August 2017 (UTC)
Short for alternative left, it's an imagined alternative to conventional American left-wing and Democratic ideologies. The alt-left is an imaginary militant group of left-wing ideologs who are rabidly opposed to white nationalism and white supremacy, and supportive of multiculturalism and egalitarianism by race and gender. Anyone who physically or verbally attacks a member of the alt-right, or punches or injures any member of the alt-right even in self-defense, is called alt-left. —Stephen (Talk) 19:43, 16 August 2017 (UTC)
  • AFAICT none of the citations are from Usenet or printed sources. We need a single definition that therefore spans the political spectrum of user as much as possible. That would serve to neutralize the entry and discussion to the extent warranted. The first citation (Usenet, not neutral politically in the use) I've found is from 8/30/2016, so this will soon not be a hotword. DCDuring (talk) 20:40, 16 August 2017 (UTC)
The actual usage citations I've seen so far (See Citations:alt-left.) are much less vituperative and tendentious than our "definitions", which are not definitions so much as the evaluative predicates applied by those represented in the "citations" provided.
It is clear that alt-left was first used in explicit contrast to alt-right. DCDuring (talk) 21:44, 16 August 2017 (UTC)
Actually, the term was first used in explicit similarity with alt-right. During 2016 it was used by Clintonites to suggest that the Bernie bros, the Greens.the BLMers, and so on, were to be thought of in the same boat as the alt-right, i.e., too extreme. All so clever until Trump used the term. See [19] for a history of the term and much much better citations. 22:13, 17 August 2017 (UTC)
If there are 2016 citations of alt-left by Clintonians, I couldn't find them in the 2017 article and those it linked to. It would be nice to find them, even in Twitter land. DCDuring (talk) 12:46, 18 August 2017 (UTC)
A commentator disagreed with the article, and says Fox News and WND used the term first. He might be correct, I found this August 2016 article in World Net Daily [20], claiming to be coining the term.
Certainly the March 2017 Vanity Fair [21] article needs to be cited. 14:26, 18 August 2017 (UTC)
Citations need to be from print publications or on Usenet. A reference to the article can be a footnote in Etymology. Almost everything in the Atlantic article is a mention not a use. Any definition provided in the article without actual use is something we want to include. DCDuring (talk) 14:40, 18 August 2017 (UTC)
What Atlantic article? I cited Vanity Fair, a print publication. The VF usages are mostly use, not mention, naming anti-Clinton liberals who seem to be unnaturally chummy with Trump. 15:19, 18 August 2017 (UTC)
why exactly does it have a pejorative meaning (and related term also used as an insult) while alt-right has none? This might not be Wikipedia but doesn't it also have a responsibility to be neutral, or is this site suddenly a mouthpiece for fascist propaganda...? —This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 07:05, 19 August 2017 (UTC).
I don't know if the definitions are correct, but note that the fact that two terms look like antonyms doesn't enforce the idea that they have to have comparably opposite meanings. Equinox 09:29, 19 August 2017 (UTC)


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

hemisymptoms (symptoms on one side of the body)

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

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

political compass

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

pronunciation of scallop

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

Broad and slender "a". The former has the "a" in "farther", and in some accents approaches "skolləp". The latter is the "a" in "hat". Australian English features both pronunciations, depending on you grew up. (Melbourne typically says /ˈskæləp/, Adelaide says /ˈskaləp/, for example.) --Catsidhe (verba, facta) 21:40, 17 August 2017 (UTC)
That isn't what the key seems to say. There, the vowel in "farther" is shown as ɑː, ɑ, ɒ, ɐː or ä, depending on region, but a appears only as a synomym of æ, as far as I can see. Is the key incorrect? Or maybe I am misunderstanding it somehow? Mihia (talk) 22:06, 17 August 2017 (UTC)
No, I think that's right. /a/ is also used for modern RP short a (slender a) by Geoff Lindsey. I'm not aware of any dialect in which scallop would be pronounced with broad a (skahluhp), though in Scotland they would probably use the undifferentiated central a. — Eru·tuon 22:11, 17 August 2017 (UTC)
(Edit conflict) I'm guessing that the original editor used /a/ (which isn't an IPA letter) instead of /ɑ/ (which is, but is an allograph in other contexts), and didn't notice. @Erutuon, I just told you a dialect which uses broad "a". I speak it. --Catsidhe (verba, facta) 22:16, 17 August 2017 (UTC)
Right, but I thought broad a referred to the sound of father, identical to start in non-rhotic dialects, a long vowel in dialects with phonemic length, and not just a less front pronunciation of the vowel of cat. Do you mean that scallop is pronounced as if spelled scarlop in Adelaide, with a long vowel? — Eru·tuon 23:41, 17 August 2017 (UTC)
No, the "ar" is long in "farther", I was just talking about the quality, not the length. I just meant that Adelaide tends toward the "rhymes with dollop" end, rather than the "rhymes with ballot" end of the /o-æ/ spectrum. I didn't want to use "father", partially because I didn't trust that there's not a slender-er pronunciation but mainly because I hadn't had any coffee yet. --Catsidhe (verba, facta) 00:26, 18 August 2017 (UTC)
Ah, okay. We're just using different definitions of "broad a" then. To explain what I meant a different way, I don't know of a dialect in which cat and father have different vowels, and scallop has the vowel of father. — Eru·tuon 01:02, 18 August 2017 (UTC)
And I do, because I speak it. --Catsidhe (verba, facta) 02:28, 18 August 2017 (UTC)
Gah. I mean, the two having the same phoneme. You said scallop doesn't have a long vowel like farther does, and as I gather Australian English distinguishes short and long versions of the vowel quality [a], scallop has a different phoneme from farther (= father). — Eru·tuon 03:03, 18 August 2017 (UTC)
I'm trying to leave vowel length out of it and stick to the place of articulation. There's a lot of overlap between [a] and [ɑ] in practice. There's not just the regional broad/slender "a" variants — such that the "a" in "Newcastle" is spoken broadly by its inhabitants, and the "a" in "Castlemaine" is spoken narrowly by its inhabitants — but also social variants, from thick Strine through to the higher-register Cultivated. "Scallop" is a weird word in Australian, not only in pronunciation, but also in that the meaning can be different. One of the Australian shibboleths is whether a "scallop" is made of potato or not. (In some parts, when you go to a fish and chip shop and order a scallop, you get an item of seafood, in others, you will get a potato cake; battered and deep fried in either case.) So canonically, one of the main intra-variations is between [ɐː] and [æ], but "scallop" can vary further out than that, even, towards [ɑ] (approaching the English pronunciation indicated by the variant spelling scollop). My own pronunciation varies between /skɐləp/ and /skɑləp/ depending. Am I making sense?
And that's not even taking into account the "salary-celery" merger. --Catsidhe (verba, facta) 03:32, 18 August 2017 (UTC)
The key also says that "RP /æ/ is sometimes transcribed /a/, for example in dictionaries of the Oxford University Press". If anyone is confident that /ˈskɑləp/ was meant and not /ˈskaləp/, then maybe it can be changed. However, currently the article says that this pronunciation is "UK and Ireland" (other pronunciations are also given for UK). While I am not sure about Ireland, I can't recall ever hearing anyone in the UK saying "scallop" with the vowel of "father", so I am still a bit dubious. Mihia (talk) 23:06, 17 August 2017 (UTC)
However, at http://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/american/scallop they have an audio clip for both /ˈskɑləp/ and /ˈskæləp/, and I can hear essentially no difference in the quality of the vowel, so I don't really know what's going on ... Mihia (talk) 11:27, 18 August 2017 (UTC)


Verb definition:

(transitive) to make or cook scallops

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


Just made a Spanish entry for amigx, which is a "feminist word" of some kind. Sadly, I know little about gender neutrality or feminism, and am surely missing out on something here... if I were a paid editor, I'd use my money to interview the Mexican feminist who wrote her entire thesis without the letter "o" to get an insight into the whole thing. --WF on Holiday (talk) 22:25, 17 August 2017 (UTC)

Pronunciation? DCDuring (talk) 14:08, 18 August 2017 (UTC)
Brazilian leftist fanatics do the same thing (amigo/amiga is replaced with amigx, amig@ or amigue; the same can applied to any word with an identifiable gender desinence). These forms (except -e) don’t really have an established pronunciation since they are usually used only in writing, but this is what I know from my personal experience:
Amigue-style words are pronounced according to the usual rules of Portuguese phonotactics. Amig@-style words are pronounced like amigue-style or with a dropped vowel (amig). Amigx style words are pronounced like amigue-style, with a dropped vowel or with /ʃ/. — Ungoliant (falai) 14:20, 18 August 2017 (UTC)
Worth a note to that effect under Pronunciation? DCDuring (talk) 14:23, 18 August 2017 (UTC)
I think so, but at -x et al. rather than individual entries. In any case, I’ll wait for someone who is more familiar with this practice to either do it themself or at least confirm that my personal experience represents general usage. — Ungoliant (falai) 14:40, 18 August 2017 (UTC)

all#English: pronoun (suggestion for a new section, in which some definitions could fit better)

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, all can be a pronoun. In the determiner section of the Wiktionary article, I believe the senses 3 (“Everyone”) and 4 (“Everything”) correspond to the usage as a pronoun, not as a determiner. However, the Churchill quote for sense 4 (“all this”) seems to be yet a different kind of usage, which is also mentioned in the Cambridge Dictionary page mentioned above. --Anareth (talk) 12:58, 18 August 2017 (UTC)

All is fine.

English: "stew" meaning harlot

On the page for stew, there is a request for Sir A. Weldon use as prostitute. Slang and Its Analogs has the sought info, p. 360, 3rd entry, right column -- but the note under the headword (bottom p 359) it says the usage "may be an effect of ignorance or affectation" -- so I don't know how to mark the sense in wiktionary. HastyBeekeeper (talk) 03:13, 19 August 2017 (UTC)

You should try to find the original text ("The court and character of king James", 1651). There are several publishings on Google Books but all from the 19th century, so this may be a corruption of some other word. DTLHS (talk) 03:18, 19 August 2017 (UTC)

bear sign - doughnuts, or bear scat

I came across "bear sign" in a novel today; it meant droppings. Seems like it was widely used as slang for doughnuts - Here's a collection of examples. Does an expression like this merit an entry of its own in wiktionary? And if it's convenient, can someone tell me where I find guidance for questions like this? HastyBeekeeper (talk) 03:22, 19 August 2017 (UTC)

It seems includable: [22], [23], [24]. DTLHS (talk) 03:25, 19 August 2017 (UTC)
And you can read Wiktionary:Criteria_for_inclusion#Attestation. DTLHS (talk) 03:30, 19 August 2017 (UTC)

indoors = in a building, not into a building

No citations at Citations:indoors answer the question at this page: Talk:indoors. --NoToleranceForIntolerance (talk) 07:28, 19 August 2017 (UTC)

equivalent for the 3rd person singular of gots

For the dialectal form gots, what would be its 3rd person singular? --Backinstadiums (talk) 07:50, 19 August 2017 (UTC)

Also gots. The examples in the entry are both in the 1st person, but I've met people who use gots only in the 3rd person singular: I got, you got, he gots. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 08:47, 19 August 2017 (UTC)


The usage notes try to draw a clear distinction between this and assholehood! Can they possibly be accurate? Equinox 09:37, 19 August 2017 (UTC)

The mention of Northern English is strange too, since in the UK we say "arse", not "ass". Equinox 09:37, 19 August 2017 (UTC)
It seems unlikely that there is any consistent distinction. If there is (in some dialects or older stages of English) a difference between -hood and -dom, that should be mentioned in usage notes for those suffixes. - -sche (discuss) 10:46, 20 August 2017 (UTC)

change font for iphone 5s

please change font style now


Both желание and пожелание are glossed "wish, desire". Any difference in usage?

If you mean Russian, then желание is something inside me, пожелание is an expression of a желание in words, especially if I express good wishes for someone. Andres (talk) 06:45, 20 August 2017 (UTC)

red pill

I've seen this as a verb too (specifically in the context of Laci Green): They redpilled (red-pilled, red pilled) him, he was redpilled, his redpilling etc. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 18:15, 19 August 2017 (UTC)

BTW, we're also missing some usage notes. This seems to be associated only with becoming a right-winger or MRA etc. Nobody encourages people to take the "red pill" and become a vegan, feminist, or eco-warrior. Equinox 18:36, 19 August 2017 (UTC)
Good point, I missed that. This sense is mostly associated with antifeminism and the manosphere, Gamergate and the alt-right (cf. the subreddit). The supposed illusion here is the humanist, egalitarian notion that all human beings are inherently of equal worth and deserve equal rights, that women are not inferior to men, people of colour not inferior to whites, and other minorities not inferior to the respective majorities; and the alleged reality is that instead there is a (not even secretive) "vast left-wing conspiracy" to keep men, whites, etc. down (basically the inverse of the patriarchy/kyriarchy recognised by feminists). See RationalWiki. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 23:07, 19 August 2017 (UTC)
The verb may be restricted to that context, and the noun may now be restricted mostly to that context, but the citations seem to show that it previously had broader use. Probably two separate senses are appropriate. The verb is also intransitive ("I'm redpilling"). - -sche (discuss) 10:49, 20 August 2017 (UTC)

case study

As it stands, the translation tables suggest two different senses, presumably countable and uncountable uses. But this seems unlikely - one does not say "do case study", does one? ---> Tooironic (talk) 02:14, 20 August 2017 (UTC)

Is κάθετος Greek for 'backslash'?

In backslash, κάθετος is added as one of Greek translations. Is this right? Andres (talk) 06:40, 20 August 2017 (UTC)

I think it should be ανάστροφη κάθετος (reverse verticle). See here for some examples. —Stephen (Talk) 14:05, 20 August 2017 (UTC)

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

Translations of the week
1 magic
2 say

Collaboration of the week
2 B4
3 C4

vive la différence
toss around
in bed
a rolling stone gathers no moss
sumti tcita
Shih Tzu


if I had a nickel for every time
chin up
lay on


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. [25] 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. - [The]DaveRoss 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 IPA(No language code specified.): /e/ from IPA(No language code specified.): /ɘ/. 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. - [The]DaveRoss 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 Lua error in Module:labels/templates at line 29: The parameter "lang" is required....? 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.[26] 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 [27] 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 56: The language code "sr" is not valid. to Lua error in Module:links/templates at line 56: 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...[28]
    -To man up the last batch of capital goods produced, entrepreneurs are scraping up the remnants of the reserve of unemployed labour...[29]
    -...it will be impossible to find the labour to man up all the available capital equipment for productive use. [30]
    (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. [31] [32]
  • 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: [33] 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 103: 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)

[34] & [35] say bulu = feather. [36] says rambut = hair (head/facial/body). Here are some others thrown in for good measure. [37] & [38] say botak = bald. [39] says tanduk = horn. [40] & [41] say kuku = claw (nail). [42] & [43] say kulit = hide (skin, leather). [44] 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 .- [The]DaveRoss 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 IPA(No language code specified.): ɣʏn, which isn't far off what appears in the page now. The notes in the 'pedia article suggest that IPA(No language code specified.): xʏn 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 IPA(No language code specified.): ɣʏn 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
Template:cite book)"
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. [45] 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," ([46], 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)