Talk:Wookiee

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RFD passedEdit

This entry has been discussed at Wiktionary:Requests for deletion. The conclusion was keep. See full discussion at Wiktionary:Requests for deletion/Archives/2006/07#Wookiee.

RFV discussionEdit

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The following discussion has been moved from Wiktionary:Requests for verification.

Please do not re-nominate for verification without comprehensive reasons for doing so.


This one should be easy. Here's a starter:

  • 2009, Janet Evanovich, Plum Spooky‎, p. 98:
    I backed it out to the dirt road, and the door to the double-wide opened and a big guy, more Wookiee than human being, filled the doorway.

Cheers! bd2412 T 01:52, 2 September 2009 (UTC)

This should wrap it up:

  • 2007, Lisa Lawrence, Strip Poker‎, p. 231:
    I'm not supposed to have these kinds of tools, and you should go blame Steve, a tall, bearded shoe-repair and key- cutting guy who looks like a Wookiee and who taught me this stuff at his shop in Stanmore.
  • 1989, Gene DeWeese, Black Suits from Outer Space, p. 107:
    So I pretty much repeated what Kathy and I'd told Hostetler, only I said the thing looked more like a Wookiee than a bear, and by that time Dad was home, and he wanted to hear about it.
  • 1985, Stephen King, Peter Straub, The Talisman‎, p. 341:
    What's this guy trying to disappear behind you, a Wookiee?

Cheers more! bd2412 T 02:49, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

We haven't been accepting similes, I don't think. If so, 2009, 2007, and 1989 wouldn't qualify. If not, I've been rejecting many citations unnecessarily. DCDuring TALK 23:40, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
I've added the 1985 and 2009 quotes as well as another attributive use I found to the entry. --EncycloPetey 05:22, 7 September 2009 (UTC)
The 1989 quote is not a simile. "Joe looks like a Wookiee" is a simile because it is suggesting that Joe, a human being, has some Wookiee-like characteristics (large and hairy, most likely). A "thing" (i.e. a beast briefly glimpsed in the woods) said to look like a Wookiee or a bear probably does in fact look like a Wookiee, and it is no more a simile to say that it looks like a Wookiee than to say that it looks like a bear. bd2412 T 05:53, 7 September 2009 (UTC)
DCD, why wouldn't we accept similies? This isn't a proper noun. --EncycloPetey 01:49, 9 September 2009 (UTC)

RFV passed; thanks for the cites, BD2412 and EP. (I agree that this seems to fall under the category of "terms originating in fictional universes", and not the category of "names of persons or places from fictional universes". Logically I do see how it patterns with the latter, but I'm going with the letter of the CFI on this one.) —RuakhTALK 13:15, 22 February 2010 (UTC)

I protest. Wookies is the proper name of an ethnic group in Star Wars; a name applied to persons. A people, fictional or not, is a specific entity, so this should be treated as such. Michael Z. 2010-03-06 19:00 z
No, I don't think so, though I have to preface my comment by admitting that I'm not totally sure what you're trying to say. This discussion is about the singular noun Wookiee (note: 2 e's), not the plural noun Wookies, and all of our citations are for the former. I'm sure that Wookies (or Wookiees) is used in reference to the entire people; but that's not its primary sense, nor its only sense. It's not a proper name. It's just a normal use of a plural common noun. It's like how humans can refer to all humans, or tables to all tables; these are not proper names denoting these classes, but rather, plural common nouns denoting members of these classes. I would be the very first to object to a definition of Wookies as “a fictional race of tall, hairy bipeds [] ”, but not because of lack of attributive use. —RuakhTALK 20:13, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
[Oops, I mistyped Lucas's orthography in Wookiees – does iee for /i/ occur in English?]
Hm, I see your point, but, in our out of Star Wars, the singular, capitalized Wookiee and collective Wookiees don't stand alone. We capitalize ethnonyms because they have special status. In the plural form, the common plural nouns Wookiees, Scots, or Dutch are often indistinguishable from the identical proper ethnonyms (our classification of ethnonymic nouns and proper nouns in entries needs some cleanup). How can we include the noun Wookiee/Wookies, and presumably the adjective (as in “Wookie face” and “Wookie mane,” in a cited work),[1] but omit the indistinguishable proper noun Wookies? (Especially when our definition refers to Star Wars and the planet Kashyyyk, while our CFI only allow the use of citations which omit such fictional facts.)
We are artificially tearing these cognates apart across their (real or reconstructed?) etymological boundaries. The only way to reconcile this is to include or disqualify the whole group of words by the most conservative criterion. Michael Z. 2010-03-06 23:17 z
Browsing americancorpus.org and Google Books, it looks like Wookies might be the only attestable plural, according to our CFI. Michael Z. 2010-03-06 23:28 z
I don't think there is a proper noun "Wookies". "Scots" and "Dutch" are both proper nouns in their use as language names, but not in their use as ethnonyms. —RuakhTALK 23:43, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
Aren't all names of peoples or nations proper nouns: the Scots, the Dutch, the Chinese, the English, the Americans, the Jews, the Roma, the Slovenians, the Cree, the French Canadians, etc? Also broader groups, like the Nordics, Asians, First Nations, Europeans, Whites, Hispanics, Blacks, African-Americans, Aboriginals, Aborigines, the Catholics, the Muslims etc. (Apologies for any non-politically correct usage, above.) I'm surprised how few of these entries have proper-noun sections. Michael Z. 2010-03-07 00:27 z
Nope; I'm not sure about First Nations, but aside from that one, those are mostly plural common nouns, with a few adjectives mixed in. (Regarding the latter, see Brett's comment in this discussion from last June.) They're often called "proper nouns" and "proper adjectives" because they're capitalized, just as computer in "computer program" is often called an "adjective" because it's modifying a noun; but that's not the technical terminology, just a sort of popular confusion of it. (I try not to be prescriptivist, but I think I can say that for our purposes, those usages are "wrong".) —RuakhTALK 05:04, 7 March 2010 (UTC)
Dictionaries seem to take a different view than the CGEL, by classifying these as nouns. But I can't find a single current native-speaker or learner's dictionary that labels proper nouns at all. (So why do we do so when there is no reference to support our classifying individual terms this way? This is problematic: our ethnic-group noun entries are very inconsistent and I can see no way to straighten this out.)
English, for example, doesn't seem to be a plural common noun, but a collective noun. It seems to me that when we refer to the English, the referent is different from that of many English. From some dictionaries:
The OED has a sense: “English B n. I. 1. With pl. concord, and freq. with the. English (occas. British) people, soldiers (etc.) considered collectively.” Random House: “–noun 3. the people of England collectively, esp. as distinguished from the Scots, Welsh, and Irish.” AHD: “n. (used with a pl. verb) The people of England.” Merriam–Webster: “2English noun [...] 2 plural in construction : the people of England.” Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English: “En·glish 2 the English [plural] people from England.” The Online Etymology Dictionary even glosses the two proper-noun senses together: “English (1) "people or speech of Englash,"”
OED’s wording in French makes the distinction between the nation and individuals clear: French B. absol. and n. 2. a. the French (pl.): the French people. Also (rarely) without article = French persons. Formerly with inflexion as n., pl. Frenches. The article the in the French people makes it clearly a singular specific reference, as opposed to the common-noun sense of persons. But some other entries do not show this distinction at all. Michael Z. 2010-03-08 00:16 z
Well, fortunately for this discussion, it doesn't depend on how we handle words like English and French. We're talking about the common noun Wookiee, which patterns very differently; it behaves like American or Jew. There's no *"the Wookiee were attacking". —RuakhTALK 03:32, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
French and English are plurals, like Americans or Wookiees. It doesn't seem to matter whether the collective ends in s or not – the plural name when applied to a nation is a proper noun. OED, e.g., freely combines and interchanges the names used for individuals and for nations in their definitions, and doesn't seem to care whether the collective/proper noun ends in s or not:
  • Czech, n. and a. The native name of the Bohemian people; Bohemian; the language of this people. [quotations include instances of the Czechs]
  • Dutch n. 3. the Dutch (pl.) a. The Germans. Obs. b. The people of Holland and the Netherlands; formerly called also Low Dutch.
  • Spaniard n. 1. A native of Spain; a member of the Spanish people. Sometimes (with the) in collective sing. = the Spanish nation or people. [quotations include instances of the Spaniards]
The plural of the name of a people is both collective common noun referring to some number of persons, and, usually used with the, a collective proper noun referring to the people. (Incidentally, this should guide how we organize our entries for such nouns.) Wookiees falls under both the fictional universes and specific entities/names of persons rules. Michael Z. 2010-03-08 19:02 z
If you want to exclude Wookiees, fine; that seems weird to me, and I don't really accept your reasoning, but it doesn't seem to relate to this discussion, so I don't want to argue about it here. (I'm trying to make this page smaller, not bigger!) But why would you apply the attributive-use standard to the singular count noun Wookiee? —RuakhTALK 20:22, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
My point is that the common and proper senses are inseparable (the reason for, as you pointed out, the unusual application of proper noun and proper adjective). It is wrong, and potentially misinformative, to include the one and omit the other. Hence, the applicable inclusion criteria should all be considered. Michael Z. 2010-03-08 20:39 z
Fortunately or otherwise, I don't have the authority to change the CFI unilaterally. Whether or not it makes sense to include the common noun Wookiee without including a putative proper noun Wookiees, I can't say; but as far as I can see, the CFI give no basis for excluding the former. (So far as I know, no one has ever claimed that the CFI are self-consistent.) —RuakhTALK 21:14, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
I've re-struck. If you still object, please de-strike. —RuakhTALK 22:01, 17 March 2010 (UTC)


Last modified on 13 January 2014, at 01:05