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.

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January 2016

this is why we can't have nice things

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

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

dead skin

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

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

PLK at the start of a German postal address

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

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

Peases (горох)

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

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


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

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

Devanagari ष़

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

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

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

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


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

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

New taxlink template

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

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

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


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

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

Ic vs. Iċ

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

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

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

About egalitarianism and the alternative form égalitarianism

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

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


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

For the medical definition:

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

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

Question about myrrhine-myrrhic relation

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

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

eyalet - etymology

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

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


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

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

Latin 4th declension neuter noun "veru"

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

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

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

abime vs. abîme as lemma

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

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

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


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

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


Our entry has

Abature (plural abatures)

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

What does "usually plural only" mean?

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

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

one or more

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

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


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

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

sein#German in mir ist....

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

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

child prodigy vs. wunderkind

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

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


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

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

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

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

друг на друга, друг с другом, etc.

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

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


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

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

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

precision instrument

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

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

no spring chicken

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

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


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

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

Uncountable car

Sense 11 is:

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

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

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

Indonesian bom

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

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

cur is archaic?

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

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

balme and/or barma

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

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

Missing sense at 決まる?

I think a sense is missing at 決まる

  1. to look good in (clothes)

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

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

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

sit on the fence

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

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

assume the mantle

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

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

PERSON1: Why does Batman look so different?

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

PERSON1: What?!

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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


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

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


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

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

God does not play dice with the universe

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

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


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

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

web site vs website

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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

plug-in (noun)

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

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


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

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

Very Old Slang

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

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

salu-salo (Tagalog)

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

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


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

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

Making changes

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

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

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


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

AXE, to ask.---Saxon, acsian

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

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

Category for attendees/alumni of a university

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

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


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

Like in this Amazon page: [18]

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

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

boots on the ground

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

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

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

Translation of potecă

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

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


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

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

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

You can probably find more.

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

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


Discussion moved to WT:RFV.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Some modern biking slang that should maybe be documented?

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

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

an all, and all

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

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

tenpercenters - Jewish origin

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

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

Can anyone check the Spanish entry for van?

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

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

Should Suggilate be spelled with two Ls (Suggillate)?

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

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

Japanese "verb conjugation"

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

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


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

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


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

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

"esforzar" spanish conjugation

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

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

"never!" (interjection)

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

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

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

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

on the town

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

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

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

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

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

Latin verb "lacio"

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


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

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

February 2016

law of one

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

index word?

Nouveau Dictionnaire Larousse page.JPG

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

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


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

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

woodwind player

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

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

Infiniverse neologism?

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

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

spot on

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

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

"carrot" as an example of pronunciation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


I came across this paragraph in Treasure Island:

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

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

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

warp, cast

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

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

Unusual pronunciations


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

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


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

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


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

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

kaufen vs. käufen

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

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

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

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

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

by the way

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

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

lesser mortal

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

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

male-only disease

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

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


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

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

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

Translations of the week
1 heart
2 price
3 sail

Collaboration of the week
1 paste
2 point
3 public

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

olla podrida

enough to choke a horse
full speed ahead
how much
Dún Laoghaire
back to nature
higher than a kite
positive sense
va banque
tomate de colgar
red book
punch list

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. [31] the 4th entry down shows usage in John/Abigail Adams' letter(s). Should this be listed as rare, dated, archaic? I am unsure. sewnmouthsecret 21:17, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

due course

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

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

loyal to a fault

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

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

Clinton uses the word "speeded"

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

hoi palloi

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

cinematography question

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

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


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


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

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


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

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


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

quote from "liquid oxygen" article:

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

les dim up

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

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

let freedom ring

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

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


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

Looks great! One minor thing, the English word varna is not a cognate - it hasn't descended from Sanskrit in the same way but was borrowed wholesale into the language. You need to say something like compare English varna. Widsith 10:38, 11 November 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for the warning! Gawd. I was under the impression that any two words with a common ancestor could be considered cognates. D'oh! Am I right in assuming that the compare English varna goes under the Etymology header?
Another thing that I should probably draw attention to is the Pronounciations. AFAIK, the major dictionaries do not give IPA pronounciations. Kamus Dewan only goes as far as using an é to differentiate Lua error in Module:parameters at line 176: The parameter "lang" is required. from Lua error in Module:parameters at line 176: The parameter "lang" is required.. So the pronounciations that I have given are both based on what comes out of my own mouth. Does this fall under original research? (Actually, I should put this question in the Talk Page. I've already got one lengthy postscript in there.) Nestum82 19:19, 11 November 2007 (UTC)
Please, feel free to give your own pronunciations. Heck, we have a guideline or policy page somewhere that tells people they can write things like "KON-takt" if they don't know any formal transcription system. So, home-rolled IPA is really A-OK. :-) —RuakhTALK 22:44, 11 November 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for all the pointers. I've finally gotten round to tacking the entry on to warna.
Ruakh: Now that you mention it, it does say that more or less in the ELE. Can't believe I forgot about that. Nestum82 17:37, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

the hungarian christian name : Ibolya

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


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


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

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


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

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

Responsible to or responsible for?

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

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

comparative of polite

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

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

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

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

How much is it

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

set versus put

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

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

help yourself

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"What a bitter sweet irony of it"

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

comparative of negative terms

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

In that example atop is a preposition, not an adverb. The adverb more is modifying the adverbial phrase atop him. The original question applies to adverbial situations like "Clicking on this option will place the window further atop." I can't imagine "more atop" being used this way. --EncycloPetey 04:38, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
I think I see the error of my ways about the comparative form of the adverb. My question now is for a good example of the adverbial use.
  • "He placed it atop." doesn't seem right, except in very unusual circumstances. Perhaps: "She placed hers next to the pillow; he placed his atop {hers or the pillow]." DCDuring 16:36, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
No, I would call that a preposition still, with an understood implied object because of the parallelism. A better example might be "The scout went atop to look along the cliffs." The adverbial use will sound strange because it's not common in modern English. --EncycloPetey 18:46, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
Adverbially it's almost archaic now. In older books, you will regularly see sentences along the lines of, "The castle was black and forbidding, with a tattered flag flying atop." It used to be written as two words which is making it hard for me to find good results on b.google. Widsith 13:33, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
Does it merit an indicator of its not-current usage? What is the canonical format for such an indicator? "dated"? "archaic"? "obsolete"? DCDuring 14:41, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
Maybe Lua error in Module:parameters at line 176: 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.[32] 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 [33] to the Interjection. But I'm not sure how to do it. - Algrif 12:05, 24 November 2007 (UTC)

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


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

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

help me ...

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

Pice, is it a coin or a currency?

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


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

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

against time

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

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

the world is your oyster

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

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

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

does this make you reconize the simplcity of actions


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

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


I think we're missing a sense:

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

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

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

power processor

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

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

just as well

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

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

Acca Dacca

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

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

Mobile Directory Number

What is it?

Contraction 'ns

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

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

epilogue 3rd sense

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

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

December 2007

Double contractions

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

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


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

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


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

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

яблочко от яблоньки недалеко падает

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

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


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

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

Serbian translation change

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

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

Basic word list ALMOST done

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

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

X of Xes

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

man up

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

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

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

  • Also I should note the team-sports, macro-economics/staffing, and procedural-military uses:
    (Am. football, basketball, etc.; rare) Man up! -- "Get on your man!" (Each of you, guard the opponent to whom you were assigned and stay on him vigorously.)
    (of personnel - industrial, etc.) to man up -- to staff adequately; to staff up; to successfully fill all needed labor positions.
    -...it will become even more difficult to man up industrial occupations to which outmoded conceptions of status...[34]
    -To man up the last batch of capital goods produced, entrepreneurs are scraping up the remnants of the reserve of unemployed labour...[35]
    -...it will be impossible to find the labour to man up all the available capital equipment for productive use. [36]
    (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. [37] [38]
  • 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: [39] 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 110: 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)

[40] & [41] say bulu = feather. [42] says rambut = hair (head/facial/body). Here are some others thrown in for good measure. [43] & [44] say botak = bald. [45] says tanduk = horn. [46] & [47] say kuku = claw (nail). [48] & [49] say kulit = hide (skin, leather). [50] says gigi = tooth. A Rambutan is a "hairy" fruit. I can't find my Indo dictionary & I'm not a native speaker so I can't explain why it's different from Malaysian. --Thecurran 06:32, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

Security Clearance

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

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


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

just in case

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

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

what is a free verse

help what is a free verse!?

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


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

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


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

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


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

Synonym for bathroom attendant?

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

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


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

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


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

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

posh git

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

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

Tibeaten word

Dzogchen should be added.

meaning: the natural great perfection

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

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

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

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

Which is correct?

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


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

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

common misuse of the word "at"

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

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


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

Panda10 21:42, 28 December 2007 (UTC)

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


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

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


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

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

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

manoeuvre and maneuver

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

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


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

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


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

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

RuakhTALK 17:57, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

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

Reading Roman numerals

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

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

Lombard rate

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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


Are these two senses really distinct?

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

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

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

January 2008

how do u use the word naive in a sentence?

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

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

right as rain

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

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


What does the word pickle mean?

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

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

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

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


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

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

Assembly language

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

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


Macbeth Act II, Scene I

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

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

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

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

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

Tour de force

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


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

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

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


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

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


The first definition at convention is

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

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

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


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

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


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

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


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

It's close, and possible correct. Dutch g is a guttural gargling sound. Dutch has gone through several spelling reforms designed to restructure spelling to match pronunciation, so each letter (or letter cluster) usually represents a particular sound. If the Dutch phonology page on Wikipedia is accurate, then the Dutch word gun should be pronounced Lua error in Module:parameters at line 176: The parameter "lang" is required., which isn't far off what appears in the page now. The notes in the 'pedia article suggest that Lua error in Module:parameters at line 176: The parameter "lang" is required. would be correct for the dialect of Amsterdam, which is ever closer. --EncycloPetey 03:41, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
Gerard recorded his pronunciation and uploaded it to commons:, (now linked) if that helps. --Connel MacKenzie 18:20, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes, it does. I've adjusted the page to Lua error in Module:parameters at line 176: The parameter "lang" is required. accordingly. --EncycloPetey 02:58, 9 January 2008 (UTC)


To beat a dead horse...

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

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

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

You could have knocked me down with a feather

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

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


From User talk:SemperBlotto:

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

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

End of quotation from User talk:SemperBlotto.

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

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

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

German prost, Swedish prosit

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

hot wind



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

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

word usage

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

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

mixed countable/uncountable

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

Is the quote still on the page? Which one is it? Can you direct me to a copy so we could get more context? DCDuring 04:37, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
Assuming it was the uncited quote, I tried Google books to search for it and failed to find it. DCDuring 04:39, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
Thank you for taking a look DCDuring. Yes, the quote is still on the screwed page, and it is most definitely fully cited on that page. Here it is, repeated, for your reference: "merchants are in no part of the world so screwed as in England. In Turkey, they have more encouragement." Richard Chambers (merchant), 1641. (Taylor, Hannis, The Origin and Growth of the English Constitution, part II, Houghton Mifflin:Boston, 1898, quoted in
Ekelund, Robert B., Jr. and Hébert, Robert F. (1997) A history of economic theory and method, 4th edition, page 58)"
I have the Ekelund and Hébert book on my bookshelf for work I do in Economic History. A somewhat longer quotation, for context, would be: "The episode in question involves Charles I and his battle with Parliament over customs duties. King Charles claimed an "ancient right" to customs, but Parliament ultimately seized the exclusive power to set these duties in 1641. While Parliamenet was dissolved, the King reasserted his claim of absolute authority to levy taxes. However, merchant importers refused, in their own interests, to pay customs to the king, obeying instead Parliament's decree to refuse to pay any dutires not authorized by itself. The King retaliated by seizing the merchants' goods, whereupon several of them resisted and were brought befroe the Privy Council. Merchant Richard Chambers brazenly declared that 'merchants are in no part of the world so screwed as in England. In Turkey, they have more encouragement' (Taylor, Hannis, Origin and Growth of the English Constitution, p. 274)." (In other words, the Ekelund and Hébert book (1997) quotes secondary material from Taylor (1898) which quotes the record of the merchant Chambers' speech before the Privy Council (1641).
I do not know if I have correctly referenced all of this in the Wiktionary entry according to the proper Wiktionary style. I do believe that the 1641 very early usage of this word is, in fact, quite useful to Wiktionary entry, which is why I took the time to add it in two years ago. Cheers, N2e 17:13, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
Let's not woory about the details of format too much. Your citation is a good one. It seems to reflect the sense of "putting pressure on somoeone", {"putting the (thumb-)screws to or on someone"), in this case with the Crown (screwer) doing the screwing of the merchants (screwees). I'll bet that the expression is put in the passive without the screwer being named because to accuse the Crown directly would have been an "impoliteness" that risked the further wrath of the King and his Privy Council. As a result we have an expression that reads just like our use of "screwed" as an adjective, which use requires no particular "screwer" be identified. I like the quote because it illustrates the transition of past participle and passive forms of verbs to adjectives, a fairly frequent occurence, it seems. I am a rank amateur at this, but perhaps one of the true mavens will take a look also.
I don't know when screw got the meaning of copulation. But I don't think it is derived metaphorically from this sense of screw. In any event screwed now carries the sense of "fucked", which makes it hard to use in formal settings and usually gets titters in an undergraduate class.
I'll have to see whether the Privy Council proceedings are now available on-line for the direct quote. If not yours will be fine. Wikitionarians like the sources available on-line because they can readily get more context and can verify. Thanks. DCDuring 18:16, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
I don't know when "screw" came to mean "copulate", but I'm pretty sure swive (related to "swivel") had a copulation sense a long time ago. We currently only have that sense, but I think the original meaning was something like "turn" or "rotate", similar to "screw". Mike Dillon 03:17, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
Screw=copulate goes back to at least the 18th century where it appears in some early slang dictionaries. swive has always meant copulate in Middle and modern English, though the OE source swīfan only seems to have meant "move quickly, progress". Widsith 17:30, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
As for the vulgarity - I personally would just tag this slang. It's not quite vulgar by my standards. --Keene 17:35, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the opinion on the 'vulgar' tag, Keene. That was my original question. It appears that several folks have edited the article now, and someone has removed the 'vulgar' tag from this one particular sense of the word. Furthermore, since several wordsmiths have looked it over, I will assume the 1641 quotation is now in appropriately handled as far as placemet, format, heading title, etc. N2e 19:18, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
I don't believe that the quote supports the particular use of screwed in the modern sense, even though it reads as if it did. I would defer to the judgment of those with who have more familiarity with Early Modern English than I. DCDuring 19:28, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
On Australian public television in 2006/07, an ad not limited to late night asked if you were being screwed by your mortgage/real estate agent and was accompanied by an image of a screwdriver in action, with a human body replacing the screw. That kind of mainstream usage that I've also heard from politicians makes me believe that it is not universally vulgar. :) --Thecurran 01:04, 21 January 2008 (UTC)


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

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

Need help with Cherokee translation

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

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

Broken Skin

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

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


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

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


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

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


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


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

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

social work

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

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


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



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


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

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


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

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

msh210 22:15, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

As opposed for example to the state or quality of being doing, or doingness; also the state or quality of being nothing, or nothingness. Did this word exist in English before the first translations interpretations of Hegel, I wonder. -- Visviva 15:44, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
By all appearances, it did not. [51] 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," ([52], 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)