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Again, welcome! Mglovesfun (talk) 10:15, 1 October 2010 (UTC)


I've made just a few changes. I must stress these are good entries, but don't link to Ancient Greek words in the Latin script, use something like ''exo'' or {{term||exo}} instead of {{term|exo}}, which doesn't link to Ancient Greek, but rather to Spanish. Thanks, Mglovesfun (talk) 10:15, 1 October 2010 (UTC)


Yes it's nonstandard, but it's a word. See also Category:Nonstandard. Thanks. Mglovesfun (talk) 11:37, 12 October 2010 (UTC)


FYI, this is how quotations and usage notes should be formatted. —RuakhTALK 15:52, 3 September 2012 (UTC)

Much thanks. I'll try to contribute often enough not to forget that I have the info right here! Usually I use the wizard for new words, but this time when I went to look up the word, I saw the appeal for a quote and could not resist! Of course I got myself into a slough, but I consoled myself with the thought that someone would help! And voila! Merci beaucoup! Go well, JonRichfield (talk) 16:48, 3 September 2012 (UTC)


Thanks for the citations. I have amended your contribution to use an earlier edition of Blackstone, the second or third published in 1767. With revisions it is hard to tell whether or not the word was inserted by the reviser.

The Burrill citation is a mention, not a use. (See use-mention distinction.) Further, as is it does not even contain the word.

Many of the requests for quotations from an author should not be honored as such. The stem from Webster 1913, from which many entries here are derived. Webster's often included references to other dictionaries for words that they had no citations for. At best they are references to be shown as footnotes to the definition. A use followed by a definition or gloss is a good citation, sometimes better than a use alone. HTH. DCDuring TALK 13:46, 10 March 2015 (UTC)

@DCDuring thank you, but some of your remarks and changes are confusing. By all means use earlier citations if you have the material, which I happen not to. As I did supply the references to the editions that I cited, and did not claim to be citing anything that had been used in earlier editions, it hardly mattered whether the cited edition either was the earliest, (Blackstone produced several himself, remember) or whether the cited material appeared in the earlier editions. It even could be argued that in an authoritative work it is better to cite the most recent if it supports the material in question. But this is hardly relevant as long as the resultant citation is appropriate, so please feel welcome to use the earliest appropriate editions available.
What did nonplus me was why you put quoted material into a reference. A slip surely? And a citation in direct connection with the word in question does not strictly need the particular word. However, if you insist, I could extend the cited material slightly to include the actual word. Furthermore, the use-mention distinction is slippery and depends on context. When one is citing what appeared in a traditional and authoritative dictionary, an explanatory mention is a use.
Could you please clarify what you meant to convey by mentioning Webster's? I never cited him in this connection, partly because in a technical topic (such as legal matters) a technical and topic-specific authority is preferable to a general dictionary. I would not go to Webster's for say a thermodynamic or metabolic definition, and in spite of his legal connections, not particularly in law. You lost me there. JonRichfield (talk) 15:24, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
@DCDuring perhaps you would find it helpful to consider the use-mention example of "Cheese is derived from a word in Old English" and note that a slight difference could change it to a simultaneous use and mention: 'The word cheese derives its form and meaning from the Old English "kāsi".' JonRichfield (talk) 15:33, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
The date of a citation is supposed to indicate when a term was in use by an author, editor, or translator. Using a late edition that has been revised muddies the waters about the date of use. That is why I Googled the quote to find early, unrevised editions so that it was clear that the user of the word was Blackstone and that the date of publication was about the same as the date of use.
Both usage examples and citations are suppose to be uses of the headword. Burrill's was a definition that did not even include the word mesne. Even with mesne included, it would be a mention. A use with a mention would have been "The mesne (that is, the intermediate lord) paid 20 pence annually for that land". Sometimes we include mentions such as this in References or External links. The only alternative is deletion as it does not meet the requirement of showing use. What you offer as a use of cheese is not a use, but a mention: it is about the word, not the food.
I mention Webster's only so that you understand the process by which the requests for quotations are generated and understand that many of the requests produced by {{rfquote}} cannot properly be fulfilled because the reference only contains a mention, not a quote that is usable in Wiktionary as a citation appearing either inline or on the citations page. DCDuring TALK 16:56, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
@DCDuring Your criteria are not cogent. You said: The date of a citation is supposed to indicate when a term was in use by an author, editor, or translator. That has nothing to do with the date of publication of the "first edition" (itself an ambiguous term, if you consider all the types of editions one can get. Compare for example the editions of novels, which typically involve minor corrections or changes of format, textbooks that can change with user demand or scientific progress, dictionaries, and commentaries. I am sure you could extend that list without my assistance.) In the case in point, Blackstone wrote several editions in his own lifetime, and his successors wrote others variously based on his monumental products. Just as his followers did to various degrees, Blackstone did not idly change his text or terminology, but maintained living documentation of a necessarily traditional but constantly developing subject. Most of the text and most of the sense and use remained intact, and in the sense of terms like mesne, hardly changed at all. That was precisely why he remained a standard authority for so long. It is just as valid to cite and date a nineteenth century edition as an eighteenth century one, and I bet you couldn't find a material difference between the two, nor demonstrate that the significance had changed in the interval. The very page numbers of the editions that Burrill and I had consulted hadn't changed! But don't let me inhibit you if you wish to prove me wrong on that point. I don't know which definition you have in mind, but in context it didn't matter a scrap whether the word was included or not; what did you think the reader would think the text referred to? You say that you mention Webster's only so that (I) understand the process by which the requests for quotations are generated ..., but while I appreciate the intention, you have not demonstrated your line of thought, and in particular the validity of the claim that whatever can be interpreted as mention must count as a mention, whether it is useful to the reader or not. If one can find a perfect example that no one could create any objection to and that everyone can learn from,that is very nice, but until then, a useful quote trumps no quote every time. Don't you think? And you still haven't explained why you put quotes into references. Please do so. JonRichfield (talk) 19:30, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
Right. The last edition is usually the least desirable for providing citations. The Blackstone edition I picked is apparently the second or third edition (or is that printing?) published by Clarendon, which is within a year of the earliest edition attributed to Blackstone. The link I provided takes you to the page where the citation appears so one can get all the specifics. ::That I didn't find a difference is hardly the point. I had to do work in order to be sure that the word was one that Blackstone used in a passage that was written as Blackstone wrote it.
See WT:CFI#Conveying meaning for a statement of policy on excluding mentions in citations. One thing that makes a dictionary useful is that there is a certain level of consistency across entries. WT:CFI and WT:ELE are our basic tools for achieving that.
I agree that the Burrill definition is simply a way of buttressing the definition and will only confuse users. Accordingly, I have deleted it and found the 1628 original use of mesne in Co. Litt.. DCDuring TALK 20:50, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
To say that "The last edition is usually the least desirable for providing citations" is a hopeless overgeneralisation for reasons that I have mentioned. In this case getting the first edition or nearly so, is harmless, though barely relevant, but the point of the citation is not that he personally wrote it, but that it was the apposite and accurate content of an authoritative, notable, and relevant source. In some contexts the latest edition, sometimes even the latest edition of a derivative series, not only is acceptable, but the most desirable, including in a dictionary of this nature. In other cases one wants both, and for excellent reasons. It depends on the purpose, which in this case, happened to be indifferent. JonRichfield (talk) 06:32, 11 March 2015 (UTC)


The definition is too encyclopedic. The Malagasy mongoose probably warrants a separate definition. A good dictionary definition should not consist of more than one sentence or more than 15-20 words, IMO, especially if good images (in this case) or usage examples are available. DCDuring (talk) 15:58, 29 June 2019 (UTC)

@DCDuring Well OK, but the wording was influenced by the previous version (which also mentioned the Malagasy mongoose). Let me have another go and I'll change it to a multiple entry, because "Malagasy mongoose" also justifies a headword instead of being lumped in with the Herpestidae. At the same time, what will Joe Public look for? Check out the status in another half-hour or so. JonRichfield (talk) 16:12, 29 June 2019 (UTC)
I meant that the Malagasy mongoose warrants a separate definition line at mongoose. I agree that relatively few are going to ever be looking up Malagasy mongoose, though that kind of consideration doesn't slow us down. DCDuring (talk) 16:23, 29 June 2019 (UTC)
@DCDuring We are on the same page there. Try me again in a while JonRichfield (talk) 16:35, 29 June 2019 (UTC)

Community Insights SurveyEdit

RMaung (WMF) 14:31, 9 September 2019 (UTC)

Related termsEdit

Hi. "Related terms" are those that have an etymological connection, like way and via. If the relationship is only in terms of topic, use "See also" or possibly "Coordinate terms" (for members of same set, e.g. guitar and piano). Equinox 15:11, 9 September 2019 (UTC)

@Equinox Thank you, and for the change. JonRichfield (talk) 18:49, 9 September 2019 (UTC)
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