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Wiktionary:Information desk/Archive 2008/July-December

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July 2008

Sorting parts of speech...

What section should be displayed first, second, third - noun, verb, adjective? Any standard? If not, could you post back you version of this list sorted best, just like your opinion? TestPilottalk to me! 06:15, 4 July 2008 (UTC)

There is no single standard. Assuming that the various sections all have the same etymology, some people prefer that they be listed alphabetically, while others prefer to list the most commonly intended part of speech first. Both approaches have their uses, IMHO, and I have used either one depending on the particular entry. --EncycloPetey 06:26, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
I beg to differ: I believe we do have a single standardi, and it's to alphabetize them. (Personally I'd prefer an approachj that emphasized either commonness or logical progression, but attempts to move to onej have always been abortive.) —RuakhTALK 14:28, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
Huh? You first say that we have a single standard, but then say that efforts to move to a single standard have been abortive. Those two statements are contradictory; either we are consistently doing one thing or we aren't doing so. Any look around at common English words (with more than one POS section) will reveal that there is no consistency in the way we've been doing this. --EncycloPetey 15:46, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
No, you misunderstand me. I've added linguist-style subscripts to clarify. —RuakhTALK 13:34, 5 July 2008 (UTC)
My turn to go Huh? Alpha order for POS has been the standard for at least 3 years. See (e.g.) Wiktionary:Beer parlour archive/July 06#Order for words as English, Portuguese, Spanish and others. (In which Connel and Ncik concur ;-) WT:POS also says this explicitly. The fact that we have a number of non-conforming entries means nothing more than the number of entries that don't conform in other ways. The majority are in alpha order. Robert Ullmann 16:06, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
Pleae note that WT:POS is a think tank for ideas (it says so explicitly). It also says, "it is not a set of rigid rules. You may experiment with deviations, but other editors may find those deviations unacceptable, and revert those changes. They have just as much right to do that as you have to make them," right at the outset. That page was started to address issues pertaining to POS, but has never become policy. And in the BP discussion you've linked to, Widsith describes how he orders POS (by etymological origin), whereupon Connel says "didn't we decide?" It does not demonstrate that any standard was ever agreed upon. --EncycloPetey 18:06, 5 July 2008 (UTC)
Well, in the past I've had the impression that you and Connel were the main defenders of alphabetical order (I got this impression from discussions like last July's "Order of parts of speech"), so if my impression was wrong (or is now obsolete), I definitely think we should re-evaluate the question. :-)   —RuakhTALK 20:01, 5 July 2008 (UTC)
I do tend to prefer it for the sake of the bots and for consitency, but it isn't always ideal for FL users. There definitely are cases where alphabetical order is far from ideal. I agree that this issue ought to be examined, at least so that we can have some community agreement on what options are acceptable, which are preferred, and under what circumstances (if any) those standards may be inappropriate. --EncycloPetey 20:25, 5 July 2008 (UTC)
The list Testpilot provided also shows some surviving inconsistency in headings actually used in entries (eg, Transitive verb, Verb transitive; Proper noun, Proper Noun). I've been trying to clean these up in cases where I believe I understand what's appropriate, especially English, but such fundamental inconsistencies make other efforts more apparently complicated. Can't we get these cleaned up? DCDuring TALK 17:04, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
AF hunts them down and either fixes them or tags them if it can't figure out what it was supposed to be. There are many, many fewer than there used to be! See User:Robert Ullmann/L3 for an analysis of all L3 headers similar to TestPilot's list, with links to exceptions, noting that the "invalid" cases range from quasi-standard POS headers ("Classifier") to level errors to typos. Robert Ullmann 17:47, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, thanks to User:Robert Ullmann/L3 I cleared/cleaned up my list already. I was not aware of existing such a nice page before. Really helpful one. Should be mentioned on ELE somewhere. TestPilottalk to me! 05:10, 5 July 2008 (UTC)
To DCDuring, my original list might contain somewhat outdated entries that no longer survived and not in current English Wiktionary. Like script was started a long ago...Years... TestPilottalk to me! 05:19, 5 July 2008 (UTC)

Hmm...Even if this is alphabetical sort, aren't that universally considered that Etymology is on the first place and Pronunciation on the second one? TestPilottalk to me! 08:05, 5 July 2008 (UTC)

For most simple cases yes, but there are dviations when there is a single pronunciation but more than one etymology. That is beyond the subject of discussion for this thread, however. --EncycloPetey 18:07, 5 July 2008 (UTC)
Ahh, ok. Thanx for explanation! TestPilottalk to me! 00:08, 6 July 2008 (UTC)


i whant to know what a "la grdttecenie de lourdes j al prie pour vous" means —This comment was unsigned.

I assume the spelling is not what you've typed, perhaps something more like "la grottecenie de Lourdes, j'ai prie pour vous". My French is atrocious, but "I have prayed for you (at the grotto in Lourdes ?)" might give a clue. DCDuring TALK 20:08, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

It took me some time to understand it, but I now think the actual sentence was without a doubt: À la grotte bénie de Lourdes, j’ai prié pour vous (At the blessed grotto in Lourdes, I have prayed for you). Lmaltier 20:06, 5 August 2008 (UTC)

What did Yankee Doodle origonally mean?

I have often wondered the original meaning of the phrase Yankee Doodle. Does anyone have any information or direction to seek information? 03:36, 11 July 2008 (UTC)

Try W:Yankee Doodle entry at wikipedia, it has some about the origin of the song that might help. RJFJR 14:53, 11 July 2008 (UTC)

Mark Twain

The writer Mark Twain took his name from the cry on the river boats when they were using a weighted line to check the depth of the river. It means something about the second mark on the rope is at the water line so there are two fathoms of depth, I think. Does anyone know any more details? RJFJR 14:55, 11 July 2008 (UTC)

See w:Mark Twain#Pen names. DCDuring TALK 15:55, 11 July 2008 (UTC)

Visual Dictionary

How about adding collection of pictures that can be used by dictionaries? Creating a Visual Dictionary. —This comment was unsigned.

A wonderful idea. We're starting in that direction by inserting material from WikiCommons. At each entry that needs a picture please insert {{rfdrawing}} if a drawing is needed (easier to show specific details) or {{rfphoto}} (more "realism"). DCDuring TALK 18:36, 12 July 2008 (UTC)
You can see pages like whirligig and equus that show examples of pages with illustrations that are loaded on Commons. --EncycloPetey 23:22, 15 July 2008 (UTC)

Posting New Content to Wikipedia

I would like to post definition to Wikipedia, but dont know how. There is a lot going on on the website and I cannot figure out how to upload the definition.

Are ordinary people like myself allowed to upload expressions and words, if they are not currently on the website?

Please show me the process.

Wikipedia is a separate project, and they generally do not want definitions there, as they are an encyclopedia. If you want to add a definition here on Wiktionary, then you can look at a simple example like bloat (the pronunciation is not required to add a new entry), or a more fully filled out example like listen. Yes, anyone can add definitions, and our style guide is at WT:ELE, though that guide can be a bit daunting for a newcomer. --EncycloPetey 23:21, 15 July 2008 (UTC)


Which is cheaper in terms of server usage: {{context|idiom|foo|bar}} or {{idiom|foo|bar}}?—msh210 17:51, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

The latter, but only by a small amount. Robert Ullmann 08:55, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

Essentially the same question (hence no new section) but perhaps on a larger scale, for declension templates: Is it true or is it false that the approach for Greek, with an independent template for each declension patters, is only marginally cheaper than the approach for (most) Latin nouns, where sev·er·al templates for different patterns merely collect the parameters for one main template? -- Gauss 16:35, 7 August 2008 (UTC)

Yes. And it is useful to have the structure (layout, colours, etc) in one (or fewer) places. One or two "extra" calls that occur once in an entry is no problem at all. Think about what it would take to change the Greek colour scheme ... would have been better to use some common layout templates? Robert Ullmann 15:34, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. In fact, it is not long ago that all Greek templates needed to have links like Accusative changed to lowercase. That partly motivated this question. -- Gauss 15:54, 10 August 2008 (UTC)


Where can I find a complete list of references? For example....

  • {{R:American Heritage 2000....
  • {{
  • {{R:WordNet 2003....
  • {{R:Webster 1828....
  • {{R:Webster 1913....
  • {{R:Century 1911....

See, these 6 are the only references I have at present. Please provide complete list? Thanks in advance. --Gabeedman 08:08, 19 July 2008 (UTC)

Nevermind, I found it here: --Gabeedman 08:33, 19 July 2008 (UTC)

Yeah, Category:Reference templates and Special:PrefixIndex/Template:R: are both quite useful for that. —RuakhTALK 15:12, 19 July 2008 (UTC)


Hello everybody. Is this article normal, with these links to commercial web sites ? --Szyx 08:44, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

They should be converted to proper quotation form, with dates and the title of the sources. Ought to be cut down a bit too; we don't think we need all that. Doesn't smell like spam though. Robert Ullmann 08:52, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
Moved to citations page for now. Still need formatting. I'm not sure whether they are valid cites from an attestation perspective, though they certainly illustrate meaning and are not spammy. DCDuring TALK 21:42, 25 July 2008 (UTC)

Request for Comment

I am writing to bring to the community's attention a block I received yesterday from User:EncycloPetey and a couple of issues that arrive from it.

I was blocked for the following two edits: [1], [2]; I had removed the information based on my knowledge of the etymologies involved and the user who had made them - the same information had been previously removed from Wikipedia as false, compare [3], and the user has been often blocked there for consistently introducing similar inaccuracies.

The block came before I had had any contact with any editor on this site; there was no welcome, warning or advice. Only five minutes later did I receive a message on my talkpage from EncycloPetey which did not even state that I was blocked, but called me "a danger to our site".

Shortly after, User:Gauss restored my versions: [4] ("Knepflerle was quite right in requesting sources for this claimed relation") [5] (""Scandinavian" is not a language, and there are more quite questionable contributions by") He also left a message on my talkpage saying my edits were justified - the block was still not lifted.

As blocked users here cannot even edit their own talkpage, I emailed User:SemperBlotto, User:Thryduulf and EncycloPetey to explain the context of my edits. The only response I received was from EncycloPetey who claimed his block was entirely justified in the context of WT:AGF; I disagree with this interpretation of the policy.

This episode has raised the following questions about Wiktionary for me:

  1. Is there any particular reason blocked editors cannot edit their own talkpage, assuming the edits aren't just simple vandalism? Misunderstandings can happen, but there is no way for editors to explain their actions when blocked.
  2. Given the talkpage block, is it really a good idea to have blocking without warning or prior discussion when the edits aren't simple vandalism?
  3. Is this interpretation of WT:AGF common or consensus here?
  4. SemperBlotto removed content by this editor with rollback and no edit summary [6] [7] [8], and rightly does not get blocked. Stephen G. Brown rightly removed content from this same user here [9]. EncycloPetey correctly removed content by this editor with rollback and no rationale [10] and rightly does not get blocked. Gauss removes content by the same editor as "suspicious" [11] and correctly does not get blocked. I remove content by this editor, claiming it is unsourced, and get blocked without warning [12].
    1. Why is removing content as unsourced blockable and removing it wordlessly not?
    2. Is this inconsistent treatment down to my being new and therefore automatically high-risk? If so, is it really worth this level of suspicion at the risk of alienating possibly useful contributors straight away?
    3. Is the threshold of reasoning to remove information that much higher than adding it?

I would appreciate any feedback to these questions, both for my personal interest, and also perhaps for the benefit of future new users so that they are forewarned and can act to avoid such treatment. Knepflerle 11:20, 25 July 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for your articulate presentation of your view of the situation. Your questions are good ones and worthy of answers. I have not investigated the matters and cannot provide answers. Generally, I think many of the long-standing contributors believe that completely open wiki-ness can lead to overwhelming amounts of vandalism that are very difficult to patrol and catch. It has led to a great amount of hostile focus on new contributors and on patrolling changes. Furthermore, we have many undocumented practices and very little by way of useful help or structure for new would-be contributors. It is easy to view it as defensiveness and paranoia. Personally I attempt to limit my most aggressive patrolling to anonymous users.
I personally would be interested in the thoughts of an articulate new contributor such as you on all aspects of your initial experiences with Wiktionary. DCDuring TALK 13:16, 25 July 2008 (UTC)
It doesn't seem to be a question of AGFing or not, or of what AGF means; rather, I think EncycloPetey hit the nail on the head in his second comment on your talk-page: he doesn't consider a one-day block to be a big deal, while you do. Personally, I agree with you: I think any sort of block is a big deal. —RuakhTALK 13:50, 25 July 2008 (UTC)
I agree that short blocks (hours) are not that big a deal - except to the person involved. Why one is blocked is usually obvious only to the blocker and to fellow patrollers. There are cases of 24+ hour blocks of newbies simply for wrong edits. But complaining about a short block is quickly assessed as trolling, earning an infinite block. In addition we don't seem to differentiate enough between registered users and anons. (I know that it is easy to register, as do most users who again sometimes earn infinite blocks for sock-puppetry when they register under a different name from same IP address.) DCDuring TALK 14:20, 25 July 2008 (UTC)

Thanks very much for your comments so far. As I began contributing to wiktionary for a single, specific purpose and as an experienced Wikipedia user, my initial experiences may not be typical but still relevant I suppose. As to whether blocks are a big deal; well, I could see this being held against me on other projects (tools such as luxo easily display blocks from all wikimedia projects) - the block rationale of "removing content" unjustly and incompletely reflects the situation, and I have no way of having that changed or explained.

It depends whether anyone here feels enough people are being dissuaded by heavy-handed tactics to make changes, but I would suggest letting blocked contributors edit their talk pages to explain their behaviour. This should be easy to implement as it is present on other projects, and for me is the obvious reverse application of WT:AGF - the admin has blocked you because they genuinely believe you should be (even if incorrect), but they should you enough good faith to let you show that your edits were well-meant and that you will correct any mistakes you have made.

I would also suggest making warning prior to blocking strongly advised - there are very few cases were an admin can't wait just one more article or talkpage edit after a warning to explain the situation. In cases of simple vandalism, sure, block immediately and keep the talkpage locked - it's the only way to get the job done reasonably; but assuming a bit more good faith of your editors in non-vandalism cases may lead to more quality editors.

In my case, the block was not removed even when my motivations and intentions were clear - this behaviour makes blocks punitive of editors rather than protective of the project articles; I think it should be crystal-clear in your blocking policy if this is to be the case.

It does appear from this small sample of two comments that this sort of administrative behaviour is common on wiktionary but perhaps not supported by consensus; wikis are consensus-based projects and it may be worth formalising a consensus on whether your primary intention of administrator action is primarily protective of articles or punitive to editors, and how far you're going to balance that with not driving good contributors away mistakenly.

Thanks once more for your comments; further input will be very welcome. Knepflerle 16:25, 25 July 2008 (UTC)

(For the record, both earlier commentators are also administrators. I'm not.) I agree with the assessment that it is rather easy to find onself blocked on WT. I'm not judging if that's good or bad, I take it as a fact.
As for this particular case, an administrator sees an anonymous user making several contributions. Then comes another user, fresh from registration (which is rightly perceived as almost anonymous), and reverts those contributions. Assuming WT:AFC, the one to be blamed for doing something wrong is necessarily the second — compare with rear-end collisions. Here, the crappy nature of several/some/many edits by was not obvious enough to make a difference. I am mildly bewildered as to why you were not unblocked when the IP earned their (3-day) block four hours later but that's a matter for admins.
If it is technically possible to allow blocked users use their talk page that might be a good idea, except if the reason for blocking is intimidation/harassment. -- Gauss 16:54, 25 July 2008 (UTC)
Clarifying why I brought up a comparison with rear-ends; WP sums it up quite nicely: For purposes of insurance and policing, the driver of the car that rear-ends the other car is almost always considered to be at fault due to not being within stopping distance or lack of attention. I've never found that fair but it's standard jurisdiction and, besides, in many cases the question of fault is hard to decide afterwards. -- Gauss 18:46, 25 July 2008 (UTC)
Not blocking the talk page seems particularly good if making comments on administrator talk pages is deemed to warrant infinite blocks. The talk page would at least allow the blockee to vent and an interested person to conveniently and semi-publicly discuss the matter with the blockee. The blocker has the option of viewing and participating in the conversation. It would be extremely useful for such pages to be monitored separately from other pages. It would be a great opportunity for providing specific "help" for a specific user.
We have also had discussions about user behavior in which the subject of "warnings" has come up. Do we have a specific "warning" notice? Such could be posted on user talk pages for the benefit of others having contact with the user. Warnings ought to have some specific explanation, preferably with links to problem edits and some expiration, BTW. All of this would make it easier to monitor user behavior so that we could let new users make mistakes without driving them away.
Either that or we should drop all pretense to being a completely open Wiki and have people take exams to see whether they qualify to be contributors and at what level. Or we could force all input from new users (unregistered only or all non-admins?) into structured entry forms. Maybe we could allow users to edit principal namespace directly only if they are senior admins, limiting others to talk, appendix, citations, etc. Perhaps we could learn something from the practices of the guilds. DCDuring TALK 17:18, 25 July 2008 (UTC)
We should only have the option to allow discussion on talk pages if we have the option of disabling that. Yesterday, I had to issue a block for a newly registered user whose first two edits were death threats against another user, which is not all that uncommon here. Allowing such intinidation-only accounts a forum in which to continue their harassment would not be beneficial. I would be interested in hearing from some of the other admons who patrol regularly. --EncycloPetey 17:20, 25 July 2008 (UTC)
I had assumed only that the default would be edits-on-own-talk-page-allowed and that patrolers would have the option of stronger measures when warranted. DCDuring TALK 19:58, 25 July 2008 (UTC)
Either way, as long as the choice for either option is possible. However, see below where Bequw indicates that this feature may not even be an option for us. --EncycloPetey 20:35, 25 July 2008 (UTC)
  • While I feel that other admins seem harsher than me, I am also aware that they tend to be the ones who patrol more than I do. Whether this should be characterised as experience or cynicism is a matter of interpretation. I think in cases like this though, where the suspected vandalism was neither offensive nor even all that obvious, a query on the user's talk page is a better first response than a block. To be fair to EP he doesn't exactly slip up very much though. Widsith 17:30, 25 July 2008 (UTC)
I agree - in cases of simple vandalism, intimidation or threats, locking the talk page should definitely be an option (this is also the case on other projects). In other cases, I maintain that engaging or warning the user first will make a block unnecessary in many cases - and there's nothing to lose by trying explanation and discourse first. You've still got the block button if they don't get the message after you've tried explaining.
I don't quite understand Gauss' rationale on rear-end collisions - as I explained, my edits were no different to those that any other reasonable editor on here was making. But slip-up or not, I've got that unqualified mark on my record. Knepflerle 17:34, 25 July 2008 (UTC)
My experience has been that the majority of issued warnings are pointless. We have four major kinds of new contributors that I've come across (spreaking broadly and imprecisely): (1) Anons who are testing what a wiki is - I usually just revert test edits, and don't bother with a notice because these editors make the one edit and then vanish. (2) Anons/Reg users who have decided to entertain themselves with vandalism or insertion of slander or the like - for these I may issue a block or not, depending on the harmfulness of the edit, whether they made just the one edit, whether they are travelling in packs and attacking the same entries, etc. Again, some of these folks edit just once, then never make antoher edit, while others make numerous edits. (3) Anon/Reg users who are conributing content. (4) Anon/Reg users who are making questionable edits. That last category is the rarest and hardest to judge because AGF is about assuming intentions, not sanity or competence. Some of these users are pushing a particular POV, and in the past some members of the community have viewed this as yet another kind of vandalism. We've had discussions, and a number of persistent such anon contributors particularly when it comes to issues of etymology. Warning these users is usually pointless, and they will continue anyway, and may switch to a new IP.
In this particular instance, I had to contend with two new editors editing the same pages. An anon was adding content, possibly of a dubious nature (some of it certainly was, but mostly in languages where I am not expert). Another editor (Knepflerle), newly registered, then proceded to undo all of the anon's contributions. This is what Gauss is referring to. Targetting one anon's contributions as one's (nearly) first edits on Wiktionary could look like wikistalking. Certainly in a situation where the content might be good, and assuming AGF on the part of the anon, the removal of that content without an attempt at discussion with either the anon or with the community in a discussion forum looks bad for the second user.
As to the length of the block, I gave the minimum standard for such behavior in accordance with community approved blocking policy. We give out blocks of less than 24 hours rarely; I reserve them for IPs under situations where it's more likely they will go away soon and so that I don't lock out an IP. For registered users, 1 day is the standard minimum. Our bocking policy is harsher than Wikipedia's, to be sure, but results from having a very different kind of wiki, where structure is critically important and where we typically have only one to three admins patrolling edits in any given hour. We do not want to spend all out time tracking warnings, particularly in light of the experience that they usually are ignored. That doesn't mean we don't issue warnings, just that they aren't usually heeded. --EncycloPetey 17:57, 25 July 2008 (UTC)
I did not receive a warning, to heed or otherwise.
in all Wikimedia projects, including this one, “assume good faith” means, “give the benefit of the doubt regarding a contributor’s intentions when it is reasonable to do so.”.
Consider using user’s talk page or the appropriate page in the Wiktionary:Community Portal to explain yourself, and give others the opportunity to do the same. Doing so can avoid misunderstandings and prevent problems from escalating.
WT:AGF is crystal-clear that you should engage in dialogue first. You should change the policy or change the practice. Rembember there is no chance for dialogue after the block Knepflerle 18:19, 25 July 2008 (UTC)
Overall a block was given that will show up unqualified on my Wikimedia record, for absolutely no benefit to this project. Rather than spending time trying to post-rationalise a block that was at best borderline and at worst highly dubious, this discussion should focus on how to deal with such new editors, blocks and talkpages in the future given the issues and comments raised. Knepflerle 18:51, 25 July 2008 (UTC)
As far as I know WT:AGF is not really referred to by anyone (except possibly when we get yet another complaint from a Wikimedian who feels unfairly treated ;), it is certainly not being actively maintained as the last edits to it or its talk page were in October last year so maybe we should give it a quick revamp. To be brutally honest, the only thing that is wasting time about this affair is your insistance that we need to discuss it. As far as I am concerned, we don't. When patrolling recent changes you see good edits, bad edits, and non-constructive edits. Good edits pass without comment, bad edits are instantly blocked, and non-constructive edits are warned. The difficulty is deciding between the three, it is easy to make a mistake particularly if there is a spree of bad edits. I don't see why a simple mistake is such a big issue. A commonly cited statistic in these debates is the admins/entries ratio, on Wikipedia they have 1500 articles per admin, it is entirely conceivable that each of these entries will be visited to rectify earlier vandalism. On Wiktionary, there are over 10000 entries per admin - it is impossible to keep this under control in any other way than watching recent changes. This, to me, implies that recent changes patrolling must be done quickly (at the expense of the occasional misjudgement) to ensure that all pages remain in reasonable condition.
I think things are fine as they are, (though maybe it'd be nice to have Wiktionary:Please change your blocking policy to keep the quarterly repition of this thread off the main discussion pages). Thre was someone from Wikipedia organising some warning templates for us, see Wiktionary:Warnings, but as warning templates are generally ignored, I doubt they'll be overly used. Having a blocked user able to edit is silly - they will either apologise or complain, neither of which achieves anything except making us waste time reading it. Sorry to sound a bit snipy, but please get to know Wiktionary before you try and change it. Conrad.Irwin 19:34, 25 July 2008 (UTC)
Snipy is the problem. Above I asked "is it really worth this level of suspicion at the risk of alienating possibly useful contributors straight away?"; the answer seems to be yes - fair enough (the irony of the simultaneous complaint of low admin/entries ratio above is not lost on me, however). If you want to avoid repeating this discussion, give uninitiated editors a link to this discussion - it summarises the community position fairly well. I have learnt everything I need to know from it. Best, Knepflerle 22:24, 25 July 2008 (UTC)
I have not looked at the links you've posted above, Knepflerle, nor at other history or logs, so can speak only generally rather than to your situation specifically. It is easy to block, the block expires soon, and with the number of bad edits and the number of admins, it is bound to happen that an admin will be quicker on the draw than he ought. It's not ideal, but imo it's not the biggest deal if (and only if) the block is short and is accompanied by an explanation for the block (even if the blocked user disagrees with the explanation). I heartily support allowing blocked users to edit their talkpages if (and only if) it's configurable by the blocking admin per block (or configurable by an admin per talkpage).—msh210 17:40, 25 July 2008 (UTC)
A problem with this is that Wiktionary will never get very many new admins without being a bit more welcoming, helping and training newcomers. The ratio of admins to entries will only get worse. Maybe we have gotten to the point of having to exclude new would-be contributors from making contributions in mainspace before other wikis. Maybe being a true wiki is just useful during the early stages of developing content and we have already passed that stage. Maybe strategizing about how Wiktionary will evolve is something to be left to full-time professionals at WMF. Maybe we should leave questions of how newcomers should be treated to WMF, too. DCDuring TALK 19:58, 25 July 2008 (UTC)
Harkening back the references about the ability to edit one's own talk page while a block is in place. Connell always said that that was custom Wikipedia software not available to here. So unless it's been change, it's not an option here. --Bequw¢τ 20:17, 25 July 2008 (UTC)
If it runs there, I'd be surprised if it couldn't run here if we ask nicely. If there are technical reasons why we shouldn't run it, it would be nice to have an idea what they were. Maybe we'd have to agree that we want it and have a vote like the one for the keywords extension. DCDuring TALK 20:56, 25 July 2008 (UTC)


What is that word meaning 'someone who eats everything in sight' e.g. 'you are such a gannit'.? I don't find any results under 'gannit', but I might have misheard it. It might be UK-only, and from Lancashire. Thx for any help. Pistachio 17:59, 25 July 2008 (UTC)

The reference is to the the sea-bird with the big mouth, the gannet. Knepflerle 18:23, 25 July 2008 (UTC)
Wikipedia: "The gannet's supposed capacity for eating large quantities of fish has led to "gannet" becoming a disapproving description of somebody who eats excessively, similar to "glutton"." Knepflerle 18:24, 25 July 2008 (UTC)

Customizing Edit Tools

Encyclopetey (bless his little pea-pickin') mentioned that there was a way to customize my edit tools so that I could do entry extremely easily. I've tried to figure out how to customize my anything, and the instructions are crystal clear except about where you put the darn thing! I've been learning this as I go along so there are patches missing. How do you customize your edit tools and where do you put the customizations? Amina (sack36) 01:02, 27 July 2008 (UTC)

Another problem just popped up. I tried to edit my monobook at User:sack36/monobook.js and it said I didn't have permission because it contained another person's information. What is happening there and how do I fix it? Amina (sack36) 03:33, 27 July 2008 (UTC)

Try it with the second 'S' capital.—msh210 06:46, 27 July 2008 (UTC)
Go to Special:MyPage/monobook.js. Add the text importScript('User:Conrad.Irwin/edittools.js');. The go to Special:MyPage/edittools and insert <p id="Section_Name"><charinsert>l i s t of c h a r a c t e r s</charinsert></p>. Then use ctrl+shift+refresh to purge your browser's cache, and you should see a new Section in the drop down list of edittools. Hope this helps, if not bug me morely. Conrad.Irwin 21:16, 31 July 2008 (UTC)
I tried this but could not get it to work. My edittools were not affected in any way as far as I can tell. —Stephen 21:20, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
Are you selecting the correct sub-menu when you edit? If everything is set up correctly on the technical side, then when you edit a page, you'll have an option to select "Default" the way you would normally select "IPA" or "Russian". Anything set up in your /edittools will be listed there under "Default". If you have tried that, then there may be a technical problem that Conrad will have to help with. --EncycloPetey 00:54, 5 August 2008 (UTC)
Nope, I get the usual 39 choices, but none say "Default". —Stephen 01:50, 5 August 2008 (UTC)
Oh, I see it now, but it isn’t called "Default"’s under "Section Name". —Stephen 01:57, 5 August 2008 (UTC)
I tried this and got nothing. No changes anywhere on my screen. No "Section Name" nothing called "edittools" nothing that drops down. Amina (sack36) 04:10, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
Try changing <p id="Section_Name"> to <p id="Default"> on User:Sack36/edittools. Nadando 04:12, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
Cool. Finally got the dropdown, saw the info as such. Doesn't do anything for me, but it was a cool exercise in wiki commands. Amina (sack36) 04:27, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

August 2008

british social graces

recnetly seen numerous pic of teenage british girls sticking their tounge out. what type of sociological significance does this have (were's it coming from) if any. —This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 20:36, 4 August 2008.

I'm not sure a dictionary is the best place to ask sociological questions. However, the gesture perhaps denotes rebelliousness, defiance or just youthful vigour. Or perhaps to expose a tongue stud. Jonathan Webley 09:23, 5 August 2008 (UTC)

gullible alternate spelling???

Hi there. I am currently having an argument with a friend over whether "gullable" is a legitimate alternate spelling for gullible. I think that's rubbish, but he seems pretty adamant. Is he right, or am I just a little too gullible? ;) From Adam.

According to Merriam-Webster, it is a recognized variant of gullible. I can't attest for how common its use is, however.--TBC 00:50, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
Oh great. I just lost $20.

Downloading Wiktionary words

Hi guys

I remember ages ago someone very helpfully pointed me towards a place where I could download all the English words in English Wiktionary in plain-text format, one per line (just the headwords, not the definitions). Is there an updated version of this file somewhere? I found the page at but it doesn't seem to be what I'm looking for. Matt 20:04, 12 August 2008 (UTC).

look for the one called "all titles in ns0"
(Bit late now, but) I think I pointed you at and "Definitions sorted.csv" Conrad.Irwin 18:26, 13 September 2008 (UTC)


Is there an example page somewhere of "How to enter a citation"? If there is, it's not easy to find! If there is not, it would be most helpful to have a sample to follow.

  • One of these days I'm going to add some citations to citation (I think someone else already suggested that) - so much to do, so little time! SemperBlotto 09:32, 20 August 2008 (UTC)


When I first discovered Wiktionary, I was delighted to start to enter words and edit others' entries. I made some formatting errors. My entry was erased, and it was suggested that I should go to the "SANDBOX". I find the name SANDBOX demeaning. It implies that users are being dismissed from the serious adult world, and told (as if they were interfering children) to "go play somewhere else". What it does not take into account is that users have various kinds of ignorance or naivete. Some people are naive about grammatical terms and structures. Others are naive about English, if it is not their first language. Others may be naive about computer use and jargon. (And, yes, there may be people who just want to play, and not ever enter or edit a word.) Can you Wiktionarians find a more neutral or inviting term for the place where people can learn and practice?

There's now a redirect in place from Wiktionary:Test area.—msh210 21:02, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
Sandbox is also jargon among computer science people to mean an area in which actions can not cause damage. RJFJR 13:29, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

Translations vs. interwiki?

Hi— Can someone explain the difference between the foreign language translations I see on some words' articles, and the interwiki links some articles have? Do these have the same function? Wiktionary:Translation doesn't say anything about interwiki links, but if there is another information page explaining this, feel free to tell me to RTFM. Thanks! —johndburger 14:43, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

A translation shows you how a word is written in a given language, often along other grammatical information such as gender. An interwiki takes you to the English word described and defined in a foreign language. For example, sugar has a Russian translation that gives you сахар (sákhar), masculine gender. The interwiki takes you to ru:sugar in the Russian Wiktionary, which is defined and described in Russian. —Stephen 17:00, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
Aha, ok. On Wikipedia, interwiki links point to the corresponding concept in the other wikipedia. Here, sensibly, it seems the interwiki points to that same word as used in the other language, which may or may not have anything to do with the same concept(s).
I'm trying to harvest bilingual word and phrase pairs from a recent Wiktionary database dump for research on machine translation. I may be able to glean something from the interwiki links, but it seems like the most straightforward thing to do is look for certain patterns in the Translations section of each page. Thanks for your help! —johndburger 13:15, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
That’s not quite it. An interwiki link here points to the same word in the same language, but explained in a foreign language. Not just the same concept, but the very same word. ru:sugar takes you to sugar in Russian Wiktionary, but it’s the English word sugar, described and defined in Russian for Russian readeres. On Russian Wiktionary, ru:сахар contains an interwiki to English en:сахар, where the Russian word сахар is defined for English speakers. Interwikis link identical words, not concepts or translations. —Stephen 10:01, 26 August 2008 (UTC)
Of course, in practice there can be big differences in the languages for which an homograph is defined and in the coverage, for example, es:sugar is for a Portuguese (Portlish?) verb, and fr:string has a Frisian definition, while the en: has Dutch. For a starker difference, compare -dar and ku:-dar. Circeus 13:20, 26 August 2008 (UTC)

adverse posession

Is there anyone who can elaborate?

See adverse possession. —Stephen 16:52, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

Cannot create an nonexistent account

I'd like some steward or bureaucrat to assist me in moving (creating) an account that the system doesn't provide because the name is under use at other Wikimedia's pages. A bunch of them are mine....

Please, leave me a message at my talk page

--Mochi77 16:44, 22 August 2008 (UTC)

OK. Solved. I just need to login.

Wanting information

I just want the information about what certain letters mean, like LOL, or LMFHO. a list of them please.

Sandra Storm

You can look up each word, or look in Category:English acronyms or Category:Internet slang. --EncycloPetey 22:15, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

Culinary French

I seem to remember seeing in a cook book a note for a word in 'culinary French' that meant "Garnished with peas and diced carrots" but I can't find it now. Does anyone know this word? RJFJR 18:26, 30 August 2008 (UTC)

September 2008

Request modification on protected templates

Hello everybody. Sorry if this is no the good location for that. There is no interwiki to en: from fr:Wiktionnaire:Demandes aux administrateurs... ;-)

Could you add interwikis to template:t+ and template:t- ? This would help people who navigate from one language to another. See fr:modèle:trad and fr:modèle:trad- for the list of interwikis. (French templates have the interwiki to en:, but probably the protection prevents bots to update the templates here)

Thanks in advance. --Szyx 15:37, 1 September 2008 (UTC)

Each edit to a template as widely transcluded as these adds numerous jobs to the job queue, so our prqactiec is not to edit it for such things as adding interwiki links. (Question for all: If we for some reason need to edit it, would we add the interwikis while we're at it?)—msh210 16:19, 2 September 2008 (UTC)
No. Our preferred practice is to add interwikis to the discussion page of templates, rather than to the templates themselves. --EncycloPetey 16:41, 2 September 2008 (UTC)
Sorry, I am not familiar with your preferred practice. Now, I know. Thank you for the answer. --Szyx 03:35, 3 September 2008 (UTC)

New Meta Logo - Image:Wikimedia_Community_Logo.svg

Hi, Can someone update the meta logo on the main page per m:Meta:Babel/Wiki_logo. The new logo is Image:Wikimedia_Community_Logo.svg. Thanks 15:38, 6 September 2008 (UTC)

Done. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 18:48, 6 September 2008 (UTC)
Awww... I liked the old one that looked like a bug. --EncycloPetey 18:53, 6 September 2008 (UTC)
From what I understand, that's still the WMF logo, it's just that Meta's getting its own separate logo now. —RuakhTALK 00:38, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

trying to get to the game

i don't know how 2 play

You are at a dictionary website. --EncycloPetey 23:44, 7 September 2008 (UTC)


How can I check all contributions I've made on all wikipedias/wiktionarys/etc?--Chris Wattson 18:13, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

See Special:Contributions on each, there are tools somewhere that will let you see both at the same time, but I'm not sure where. Conrad.Irwin 18:17, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

Using Wiktionary entries in a third-party application

Looking for the best way to use wiktionary entries in a 3rd party application. Looked at dumps, and how others have done it, and they all have issues obtaining the information, including scraping from the action render style URL. Would appreciate information on a uniform method of using wiktionary dictionary entries, and methods others have used successfully.

Itd be awesome if there was a way to make it XDXF format, and have a Forms based page for everday users to create entries with. Why? The wrongly entered definitions are part of the problem with extracting data, because they don't conform to variables set, each person having entered data in a method they think looks good.

a strict XML based layout such as XDXF would prevent it, or help at least.

—This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 18:51, 13 September 2008 (UTC).

It is possible to extract a lot of the information from Wiktionary as it is, though I agree more work needs doing. I feel the first step is to create an input form for those who are learning wiki-syntax, this will lead to fewer glaring errors. The problem is that forms are much slower than editing plain wikitext (once you know what you are doing) and so forcing the experienced users to use them would lead to frustration and a definite slow-down in proceedings. (Assuming of course it is even possible to put the information into a structured format - something that I've tried a few times, and not managed satisfactorily) Conrad.Irwin 20:16, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

I agree with not forcing all users to use the forms, just that it's an option for those unfamiliar with wiki, and it being the option available that will help prevent bad entries. Any ideas for extracting data, please post or site with info, thanks.

—This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 01:02, 14 September 2008 (UTC).

Scree etymology

Hello, I saw a gap and fixed it at scree, adding the etymology. It's old norse - I think I should have added lang=xxxx to the template so the redlink doesn't think skritha is an english word - what's the code for Old Norse for the land template? Cheers. --Mcginnly 16:20, 18 September 2008 (UTC)

No matter, someone's fixed it. --Mcginnly 16:21, 18 September 2008 (UTC)

attempt to create definition

have twice created definition (including saving page and reloading page on browser) and went back and edited it several times (fixing minor typos). some 10 minutes later (each time), i come back from other screens and find "page does not exist"? can't figure out what i'm doing wrong. although it's my first attempt with wiktionary, i've done quite a bit of stuff on wikipedia so i'm not completely green in the wiki area.

i created "break the buck"



1. when the $1-per-share price of a money-market mutual fund dips below $1."

(with the various codes, etc.)

i know the creation worked since i edited it? is this phrase "break the buck" not allowed?

i nosed through the deletion pages ( and didn't see the phrase. couldn't find (perhaps it doesn't exist?) page detailing excised definitions (i.e., ones that once existed and have been deleted).

thanks for guiding through my initial attempt with wiktionary.-- 15:11, 19 September 2008 (UTC)

Take a look at it now. One problem is that you defined it incorrectly — it’s a verb but you defined it as a noun of sorts; also, we don’t use “idiom” as a POS header. I can’t make any more comments on your entry because I’m not an administrator, so I can’t access the deletion logues. It would help also if you created an account — it makes you easier to recognise and communicate with; also consider that anonymous users tend to be mistrusted somewhat…
Welcome to Wiktionary, BTW.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 15:29, 19 September 2008 (UTC)
Yes. The entry didn't meet our minimum standards. We now have a good entry. SemperBlotto 15:31, 19 September 2008 (UTC)
Thanks!   :-)    (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 20:56, 19 September 2008 (UTC)

wow. you flushed that baby out quickly! much more than i would have (or probably even thought to have). i used idiom (vs. verb) following the style of "break the ice" (as it is currently presented on wiktionary. i had initially tried as a verb, but when done, the system insisted on populating a plural as "break the bucks" and i couldn't find a way to edit it to "breaks the buck."

thanks for the welcome. operating in a virtual cookie-less and no referrer-logging browser environment (by choice), i live a non-registered existence pretty much everywhere on the internet so i guess wiktionary can remain somewhat dubious of me. thanks for the quick fix and the welcome!-- 15:41, 19 September 2008 (UTC)

Regarding break the ice: Yes, many entries have yet to be standardised to the structure and context præscribed by WT:ELE, but new entries and revisions to old ones must always conform to (or at least approach), rather than depart from that standard. You’ll get the hang of using templates with time; the English Wiktionary has a steep learning curve.
It’s a shame you won’t register, but as long as you have a stable IP address, things should be fine. To increase the credibility of your entries, make sure they conform to our policies and that they are well-referenced and cited. I look forward to seeing more of your work on here, and to see it improve with time. Post a message on my talk page if you need any help.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 20:56, 19 September 2008 (UTC)

About "contractions"

A somewhat weird question, perhaps, but here we go: In en:wiktionary, one makes a difference between the notions of "initialisms"/"abbreviations" and "contractions". I have tried to read up on what really is the difference between the latter and the two earlier, but find wikipedia's definitions quite similar: an abbreviation is "a shortened form of a word or phrase" while a contraction is a "shortening of a word, syllable, or word group by omission of internal letters". Based on these definitions, it would make each contraction a abbreviation, but not the other way around (e.g the very abbreviation "e.g."). But on the other hand, it wouldn't make the word " 'bout " a contraction either, as it doesn't drop an *internal* letter, but an initial. Further, our definition of "contraction" requires the presence of an apostrophe, which isn't present in the likewise as contraction categorized "betcha" or "cannot".

So I know of the typical examples - "Dr" is an abbreviation, but "coulda" is a contraction (at least according to its present categorzation). How does this follow from the definitions?

Thanks, \Mike 16:53, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

I always thought contractions had to have an apostrophe, and in the back of my mind questioned entries such as shoulda, coulda, etc. as being contractions. sewnmouthsecret 03:51, 24 October 2008 (UTC)
I define them thus:
  • An initialism is a string of letters formed from the initials of the phrase to which it refers. Initialisms are usually written in all-capitals and sometimes with a period after each letter. E.g., “as far as I know” → “AFAIKorA.F.A.I.K.”. Acronyms are closely related, being initialisms that can be pronounced (more or less) as normal words; to clarify by example: “AFAIK” is an initialism, “NATO” (from “North-Atlantic Treaty Organisation”) is an acronym, and ASAP is an initialism when pronounced as [ˌeɪˌɛsˌeɪˈpi], but an acronym when it is pronounced as /ˈei.sæp/. Acronyms are sometimes formed from more than just a phrase’s initial letters; for example, “quango” derives from “Quasi-Autonomous Non-Governmental Organisation”. Lastly, many an acronym is pronounced as a part-word, part–chain-of-letters (such as the image format “JPEG”: /ˈʤei.pɛg/ obsolete or nonstandard characters (ʤ), invalid IPA characters (ʤg), replace ʤ with d͡ʒ, g with ɡ); however, these are still acronyms.
  • An abbreviation is a word or phrase which is made briefer by omitting the ending(s) of its constituent word(s); they are often foreign phrases. Examples include: e.g. (from exempli gratia), i.e. (from id est), etc. or &c. (both from et cætera), viz. (vi. (from Latin vide- (see)) + z (a letter used in Latin as an abbreviation of licet (~it is permitted))), op. cit. (from opere citato), n.b. (from nota bene), and so on; as you can see, the distinction between abbreviations and initialisms can be a little blurry.
  • A contraction is often one word (with fewer syllables than the combination of its constituent words) formed from the fusion of a common word (such as a pronoun) with a very-commonly coöccurring word; usually, the coöccurring word behaves as a clitic. (E.g., the enclitics n’t (=not), ’ve (=have), ’s (=is, has), and ’d (=had, could, should, would) and the proclitic ‛t (=it)). Sometimes there is no apostrophe and sometimes initial reduced vowels of words are omitted to shorten syllabically a word.
Clear as mud?  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 18:39, 24 October 2008 (UTC)
I'm not sure a contraction has to have fewer syllables, since couldn't is considered a contraction, but seems to have as many syllables (2) as could not. —RuakhTALK 15:10, 25 October 2008 (UTC)

"in other languages" link

I'm having a bit of trouble with the "in other languages" link that we attach to each page. I don't really know where to find whether or not an article exists in a particular language, other than by looking through other Wiktionaries, which is getting a bit annoying. Sometimes, articles in different languages even have different "in other languages" lists. I was wondering if there was a way to automate this process.

Thanks in advance.

--Locutus 22:33, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

These links are known as interwikis, and Interwicket does most of the maintenance on these. Each Wiktionary has a different population of bots doing interwikis, and so there are different delays for each Wiktionary, but generally, they are all in the process of getting to the same place. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 22:39, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

Vandal sockpuppet accounts

User:Silussa, User:Shami-Amourae, and User:Wilarue are all Grawp sockpuppets -- someone please block. Email me if you want a further explanation. Thanks, NawlinWiki 17:16, 22 September 2008 (UTC) (admin, English Wikipedia)

Blocked. —Stephen 18:05, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

Anonymous account change semi-urgent

Hi, someone has been on my computer found out about my username here and I don't want them to be able to see my account. Is there anyway to change the name or anything? Or maybe I will make a new account. Pistachio (unsigned)

You can go to WT:CHU, but you'd need to log in to make the request. If you are totally unable to, contact one of the Bureaucrats (normally Dvortygirl deals with name changes) or email the OTRS (the email address at the top Contact us). Conrad.Irwin 21:03, 26 September 2008 (UTC)
cheers mate, everyone remember to lock your computer when you are away from it :'( I might give it a go or I might make a new account, anyone can tell it's me from the edits. Pistachio
Does this person have your password? (Do you still have it?) If I understand correctly, all they know is the user name, and you don't want them to watch what you are doing, knowing the alias? You could log in and email Dvortygirl (so it doesn't show on CHU). The name reassignment will still get logged, but it takes a bit of knowledge to find that. Otherwise, just pick a new name I suppose? Robert Ullmann 16:29, 27 September 2008 (UTC)

Cancelling username

Within my Wiki beginnings I created the usernames User:Duncan MacCall for Wikipedia and User:Duncan for Wiktionary. Having found out, later on, about unified login I began only using the former for both of course. Can I now "cancel" the latter so that I'm not unnecessarily blocking it in case somebody else wanted to use it as his own? I tried entering a "blank" password instead of the one I had used but it didn't work. Duncan MacCall 23:14, 26 September 2008 (UTC)

I imagine the account could be moved to something, but I don't believe the software currently allows for a deletion. However, if we, as a community, decided to allow an ad hoc deletion of usernames, we could create a deletion designation (i.e. dead usernames are moved to usernamedelxxx or something). This might be a topic worth bringing up at the GP or BP, as we currently have no policy dealing with it, as far as I know. It might be a worthwhile policy to create. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 23:29, 26 September 2008 (UTC)
It's possible for a username to be "usurped". If someone ever wants the username "Duncan" and cares enough about it, they can create an account with a different name, then ask a bureaucrat to rename it for them. (The existing Duncan account would then get renamed to something computer-y looking, I don't remember what exactly.) —RuakhTALK 01:17, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
That's all right with me; in general I just wonder how the bureaucrat knows the original user no longer cares about it, but I imagine he may conclude so from how long time elapsed since it was last used for logging in. Duncan MacCall 01:31, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
I suppose if you wanted to really make sure it was up for usurpation, note it on the userpage. "This account was originally created by now User:Duncan McCall, but is now abandonded. If you want it, post a note at WT:CHU." -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 01:57, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
Done. - Duncan MacCall 04:20, 27 September 2008 (UTC)

Why both IPA rhymes and IPA full pronunciations?

Many entries have both IPA phonetic alphabet pronunciations and rhymes in the same alphabet. Why? The link to the rhymes could be conveyed by bracketing the relevant IPA characters in the pronunciation, couldn't it? DCDuring TALK 12:11, 28 September 2008 (UTC)

Hmm. In many cases, perhaps. However, rhymes use parenthetic ‘r’s — <(r)> invalid IPA characters (<>), whereas the full pronunciatory transcriptions use <ɹ> invalid IPA characters (<>) for UK pronunciations and <ɻ> invalid IPA characters (<>) for US pronunciations; also, rhymes don’t mark stress or vowel length (AFAIK). Such an idea could be instituted using “piped links”; e.g.: {{IPA|/ˈf[[ubɑ(r)|uːbɑː]]/}}.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 14:57, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
Why are they different? Do they have to be? DCDuring TALK 16:49, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
TBH, I can’t answer that confidently. However, it is necessary for rhymes not to carry stress — they are monosyllables (or sometimes disyllables) which don’t have stress, or, if they do, it isn’t the same as that of the full word.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 20:10, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
I would think that the vast majority of those folks who know how to read IPA would get what you say about stress. DCDuring TALK 20:33, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
Yes, but the problem, I assume, is that stress marks would cause otherwise identical rhymes to be categorised differently, thus defeating the object of the rhymes system.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 20:36, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
No, the link can't be made that way. First, because the IPA pronunciation includes syllable breaks, secondary stress, and vowel length markers which are not used in the Rhymes pagenames, and second because the location of the primary stress determines the rhyme pattern, not simply the sequence of characters. Additionally, all the English Rhymes pages are keyed to the UK pronunciation, not the US or Australian, etc., and because the Rhymes pagenames often include parenthetical (r), which is not correct for the IPA by our current standards. --EncycloPetey 21:18, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
This would seem solvable with a template (or bot): the link would have the stress mark removed. It would seem as if there is some need for cleanup in the Rhymes area if it has an idiosyncratic system. Resolving it might make the Rhymes section more useful for non-UK IPA readers. In any event, I have been working to do various things to reduce above the fold space consumption. It is annoying that the bot-entered IPA rhymes take one full line (or more), when relatively few folks can make use of them and they repeat information already presented. How do users use rhymes anyway. Our major competitors don't seem to spend resources on them, leaving it to specialist dictionaries. DCDuring TALK 21:28, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
WT:ELE specifies that rhymes and homophones should be placed on a separate line. I agree. "Rhymes" is a link to other words, not information about the current entry. Putting the two kinds of information together on one line does not make sense. --EncycloPetey 21:40, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

Words used by Britons (tribes)

Has anyone researched the possible words of the original tribes of Britons? English possibly stems from the Engels of lowland Germany.

Are words like 'cat' 'dog' 'back' 'must' 'hill' true British words? Or are no 'British' words extant? Aileen66 03:58, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

Closely related to Modern Welsh and Cornish. See w:British language (Celtic). The word cat is Germanic, dog has an unknown origin, back is Germanic, must is Germanic, and hill is Germanic. There are, however, some words of Celtic origin in English, such as the "cam" in Cambridge, bin, Briton, Kent, Thames, Manchester, gull, etc. —Stephen 18:30, 4 October 2008 (UTC)
Any of the "ough" words are celtic as well. eg. thought, through, dough. You can also expect most of the word for cooked food (eg. mutton, veal, beef) are Saxon (French) while the food source (eg. sheep, lamb, cow) are are Proto-german. Amina (sack36) 00:46, 5 October 2008 (UTC)
No, this is quite untrue. thought, through, dough, sheep, lamb and cow are all Germanic words inherited from Old English. mutton, veal and beef are indeed from early forms of French but this is NOT the same as "Saxon" (which means Germanic)! None of these words are Celtic. Ƿidsiþ 08:19, 5 October 2008 (UTC)
Well sun of a gun! So they are. My apologies. Amina (sack36) 14:50, 5 October 2008 (UTC)

October 2008


How do you pronounce the french word, ragout? I've cooked this dish many times, but am unsure of how to correct say it. —This unsigned comment was added by J. munro-duncan (talkcontribs) at 16:17, 4 October 2008 (UTC).

  • rag-oo - but I don't know how to use phonetic characters. SemperBlotto 16:40, 4 October 2008 (UTC)
Pronunciation using the IPA symbols is on the word's page now. Duncan MacCall 21:52, 4 October 2008 (UTC)

About customising wiktionary

Is there any way to filter entries, so that you only get to see the languages you are interested in, instead of a zillon definitions of a word, or translations to languages you didn't even know existed? I see that you have managed to find a way to restrict the random word to a specific language, so how would filtering be possible? - no:Bruker:Troskyldigheten 12:16, 5 October 2008

As of right now, no, sorry. —RuakhTALK 12:34, 5 October 2008 (UTC)
But there might be something in the future? - no:Bruker:Troskyldigheten 12:38, 5 October 2008 (UTC)
We've discussed it before, and you're not the only person wanting it, so I think it's likely we'll eventually do something … but don't hold your breath. :-/   —RuakhTALK 13:22, 5 October 2008 (UTC)
It is within the realm of technical possibility. Among CSS, Java/Javascript, and PHP there are means to do it, but lots of issues. As a wise man once said: "We are faced with insurmountable opportunity". Do you want to help? DCDuring TALK 13:36, 5 October 2008 (UTC)
Sure, I would. Though my computer language skills are limited to html and some CSS. no:Bruker:Troskyldigheten 16:21, 5 October 2008 (UTC)

making iodine

i've heard that iodine can be made by mixing potassium iodides and copper sulfate? Is this true? How is it done?

Page Move Request

Hi, I noticed that the page frá Bandarikjunum has a missing acute accent over the first "i" (see the Icelandic Wiktionary's entry on Bandaríkin, specifically the dative case) . Could someone please move the page to frá Bandaríkjunum? 02:44, 10 October 2008 (UTC)

Done, thanks. —RuakhTALK 18:47, 11 October 2008 (UTC)

Sevastopol / Sebastopol

I recently heard the above word pronounced "Seb ass TOE pull" - rather than the more familiar "seb ASS tah pull." Can you tell me which one is preferred? DaisyTurtle

Either is okay, although "Sev ass TOE pull" is more common. In Ukrainian, Russian and Greek, the accent falls on the TOE. —Stephen 20:23, 10 October 2008 (UTC)

Category for childish words

I propose that Category:Children should really be Category:Childish and Template:childish should link to it. As of now, the category for children mixes a topic and a usage context, which is a bad idea. Wipe 09:24, 12 October 2008 (UTC)

I’ll boldly make the changes. Wipe 13:02, 23 October 2008 (UTC)

It definitely makes more sense like this. A minor detail, though: does dodo belong there, being childish only in Dutch, not in English? Possibly it does, but in that case shouldn't the page be subdivided for particular languages? (After all it would be more easily done now while it's still small and almost exclusively English). --Duncan MacCall 17:54, 23 October 2008 (UTC)
If the lang=nl parameter is added (as it should be), it will generate Category:nl:Childish. But this is not what we want, it isn't a topic cat. The primary cat should be (something like) Category:English childish words, the context template should use poscat=childish words, and lang=nl will then put dodo in Category:Dutch childish words. Robert Ullmann 18:30, 23 October 2008 (UTC)

Use of "only" in sentence construction.. help requested

I'm trying to write an article for my friend's automotive website, and am slightly confused as to how to use the word only in sentence construction properly.

This is what I want to try and say:

  • The Subaru Legacy is offered in just a sedan form but in Japan and New Zealand it comes in sedan and wagon bodystyles.
  • For 2009, the Hyundai Elantra is available with a 2.0-litre engine in XD, GLS and Elite trim levels.

This is my current sentence:

  • The Subaru Legacy is sold as a sedan only here, but in Japan and New Zealand it is offered in both sedan and wagon bodystyles.
  • The Hyundai Elantra is offered with a 2.0-litre engine only, in hatchback and sedan bodystyles, in XD, GLS and Elite trim levels.

I am trying to imply that the Subaru is offered in saloon bodystyle - no other is available, and for the Hyundai - that it comes with a 2.0 engine, and no other.

Please can someone refresh my memory on how to use the word only properly in sentences?

All advice is much appreciated. --Naxram 11:21, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

I rarely find that word-specific rules help. English is too varied and fluid.
Taken as a whole, your sentences seem to be unambiguous, which is the second objective, after truthfulness. But in the first sentence there is an ambiguity in the first clause that is resolved only in the second. Placed where it is "only" could indicate that the sedan is not available anywhere except "here". You could eliminate "only" and say that in NZ and Japan it is "also" available as a hatchback.
In the second sentence, the only is basically unnecessary. Resolving the problem by moving "only" to before "with" would work, but eliminating it entirely would also work. DCDuring TALK 11:47, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Thanks for that. I'm not trying to be word-specific, but have forgotten the sentence construction of the word only! Naxram 12:05, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
It is always good to place "only" close to the word or idea you wish to modify. So I would recommend " only sold as a sedan here,...", or " sold only as a sedan here,..." -- ALGRIF talk 16:09, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

Citations tab

What is the citations tab for? 03:26, 20 October 2008 (UTC)

It's for quotations — especially durably archived quotations that use a word, since a major purpose is to demonstrate that a word meets our criteria for inclusion, but other sorts of quotations (non–durably-archived ones, and ones that only mention a word) may be included as well if there's a reason to. —RuakhTALK 13:15, 20 October 2008 (UTC)
Hey, I just thought! Now we have the citations tab, we can durably archive on our own. The durably archived criteria isn't really necessary? Conrad.Irwin 13:21, 20 October 2008 (UTC)
I don't fully understand the reason for that criterion, but I don't think the citations tab really changes the situation very much; even without the citations tab, the snippets that we quoted in an entry were "durably archived" by us, and even with the citations tab, copyright law limits our ability to extend these snippets in most cases. (TBH, I think that criterion was originally intended as a sort of respectability criterion, and then it got subverted when Usenet cites got accepted as durably archived; but it may have some independent value, if it correlates somewhat with the "it's likely that someone would run across it" for future values of "someone".) —RuakhTALK 14:57, 20 October 2008 (UTC)
I always thought that the "durably archived" criterion was intended to facilitate the authentication of the citations, to help prevent fraudulent attestation. PoV pushers, boosters, and vandals all might be tempted to provide false attestation. Having our own copy of a fraudulent citation (or reference) would, of course, not be of much help in that regard. DCDuring TALK 15:18, 20 October 2008 (UTC)
See citations:hydrogen as an example. SemperBlotto 15:52, 25 October 2008 (UTC)

Seismic wave form

in the science field, what is a 9 letter word for a type of wave that causes particles in rocks to move at right angles to the direction of that wave? (unsigned question)

Probably "secondary". See S-wave -- ALGRIF talk 08:22, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
There's other alternatives, too, but the question was for 9 letters :-) -- ALGRIF talk 14:55, 26 October 2008 (UTC)

Pronounce words audibly from your website?

--Vid2vid2 20:33, 22 October 2008 (UTC) wrote: "Hi, do users have the ability to hear audibly a word they look up? Perhaps this is or could be a wikimedia project! Please comment back to my SandBox." --//PETER//SanDiego//

Yes, we have many audio recordings of words. Users with a player that can handle .ogg files can play them back. --EncycloPetey 08:17, 4 November 2008 (UTC)


I know anno domini means "in-year of-lord", i.e. "in the year of the lord"; how would one say "in the year of their lord", please?—msh210 20:10, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

I believe it would be "annō suī Dominī", but our definitions at [[suus]] and [[sui]] don't support me, so perhaps I am wrong. —RuakhTALK 20:27, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
Thanks, Ruakh. Anyone else know with more certainty?—msh210 20:12, 30 October 2008 (UTC)

Our Latin pronoun entries are not in good shape right now. I haven't tried to clean them up much because there are aspects of Latin pronoun usage I don't feel very comfortable with yet. Ruakh's guess is what I would guess as well, but as I say, I have lingering uncertainties about the proper use of Latin pronouns. --EncycloPetey 08:24, 4 November 2008 (UTC)

Well, I asked Ryan Platte by e-mail, and he was kind enough to reply (more than once). He says that if "their" refers back to the subject of the sentence, you'd say "anno domini sui", which he translated as "in the year of their own lord". But if (as I had intended) "they" are merely some people, or means "some people", you'd say "anno domini eorum". Many thanks to him (not that he's reading this, I imagine).—msh210 20:10, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

Singular and plural

Hi there. I've been told that Wiktionary doesn't do redirects, so how does one handle singulars and plurals? For example, the חג שמח page links to its translation of Happy holiday, which doesn't exist, while Happy Holidays does exist — though with more of an emphasis on the winter solstice holidays than on holidays on general. Thanks! Elipongo 00:52, 28 October 2008 (UTC)

I think the translation for the Hebrew expression is just too literal. Assuming the Hebrew expression is an expression invoked to wish someone a happy holiday, a better translation would probably be "# [[Happy Holidays]]", perhaps with a usage note explaining that the Hebrew phrase is singular. Rod (A. Smith) 02:32, 28 October 2008 (UTC)
But as Elipongo says, khag sameakh is a generic "happy holiday", whatever holiday it might be (well, setting aside subtleties about the extent to which khag and "holiday" are equivalent), whereas in my experience "happy holidays" is nearly always a less-Christian-sounding way of saying roughly "merry Christmas and happy New Year's". I think the right approach here might be {{non-gloss definition|A greeting used on holidays.}}, with "happy holiday" in the etymology and a usage note describing the subtleties I alluded to. —RuakhTALK 15:03, 28 October 2008 (UTC)
For most English nouns we have an entry for both the singlular and plural with the plural saying just that it is the plural of a link to the singular. RJFJR 14:05, 28 October 2008 (UTC)

November 2008

correct spelling for the word oppertroies

looking for the correct spelling for the word oppertroies. The word is used for a room where they clean tool in the back room of an dental office, not the tool cleaning machine name just the room name.

Thanks Ed

I think you mean operatory, operatories. —Stephen 02:30, 2 November 2008 (UTC)

Are names of elements English or Translingual?

Are names of elements and similar items conforming to IUPAC or similar scientific naming standards English or Translingual? Do they get Translation tables? See uranium, hydrogen, protium (H isotope). A word like iron would certainly also have non-scientific meanings in English. DCDuring TALK 00:08, 4 November 2008 (UTC)

Most of the English element names are English. There are some English names (like tin, copper, and mercury) that are English only, and others (like neon and oxygen) that are used in other languages, but often in a different spelling. Only the less-frequently encountered ones (like uranium) are used in a large number of other languages, and I'm not sure I'd even call that one truly Translingual. There are many common languages that use a different name for uranium; in Spanish, for example, the name is uranio. What makes you think any of these are Translingual? --EncycloPetey 08:14, 4 November 2008 (UTC)
I only suspected it based on: New Latin etymology; use by international scientific community; potential for standardisation via scientific bodies. I suppose that the existence of symbols eliminates the need for full-name standardisation. DCDuring TALK 12:06, 4 November 2008 (UTC)

Missing etymologies for common words

I have recently noticed that the etymologies for some very common words (e.g. condolence, which must come from con- + dolor) are not on their pages here. Being somewhat new to editing, I didn't want to just add them in, especially because I wouldn't know how to format it. But is there a specific reason for this, or is it just an oversight? Luosiji 02:21, 6 November 2008 (UTC)

It's just an oversight. Etymologies are only present where editors have had the time, knowledge and inclination to add them. So please do add any etymologies of which you are aware. See also templates {{etyl}}, {{term}}, {{blend}}, {{prefix}} and {{suffix}}, which can be of considerable help in formatting.
However, with regard to condolence, IMO it is much more likely to be from Latin condolentia, perhaps via French; dolor is probably a cousin of some kind. -- Visviva 02:42, 6 November 2008 (UTC)
I think you're probably right about the Latin, but I would guess that the word condolentia itself came from the preposition con and some Latin relative of dolor. I'll look into it further, and I may end up totally wrong (it was only an example).Luosiji 03:07, 6 November 2008 (UTC)
I just checked the OED, which says it comes from the verb condole, which comes from the Christian Latin condolere, which was formed from con- + dolere. So it looks like we were both right. We should probably discuss this further at Talk:condolence, if at all.
Please note that the OED, like many English dictionaries, traces etymologies from Latin verbs to the present active infinitive form. However, the vast majority of Latin dictionaries do not use that form as the headword, and neither does Wiktionary. If you give an etymology that mentions a Latin root, you want to use the first principal part (first-person singular present active indicative), since this will be the primary entry form for a Latin verb. If you don't know how to do this, you can add what information you are able to the etymology, then tag the entry with {{attention|la}}. --EncycloPetey 08:12, 6 November 2008 (UTC)
Should dolere be moved to doleō then? Luosiji 14:07, 6 November 2008 (UTC)
Sort of. Firstly because that is an old entry that needs to be edited to current standards; secondly because there should still be an entry for the infinitive. See amo and amare as examples. Note that the macron should not be part of the page name; it should appear only on the inflection line and in inflection tables. I've corrected the entry for dolere and created the entry for doleo. --EncycloPetey 23:38, 7 November 2008 (UTC)


Luv the way you edit obamanomics..........obviously free speech is not allowed in this forum.

Au contraire. We encourage the entry of words of all kinds that meet WT:CFI. We try to discourage opinion- and value-laden definitions of essentially neutral terms. Feel free to provide information about instances where this is not the case, in your opinion, so that the entries can be reviewed. DCDuring TALK 16:41, 7 November 2008 (UTC)
Despite your concern, Obama's middle name is not required for accuracy, just as George Washington, Washington Irving, and Irving Berlin are seldom given with their middle names. Neither does the Wikipedia article name include his middle name, so it isn't necessary for linking either. There is no reason to include his middle name as part of a dictionary entry. --EncycloPetey 05:32, 13 November 2008 (UTC)

Help dealing with geographical terms at Simple.wikt

We have had an anonymous editor or a number of them adding many geographical terms to the simple English wiktionary. Most of these terms are related to India and Pakistan and my sense is that not a small few are biased, and some have been clearly encyclopedic. Despite attempts to contact the editor(s), we have received no response. I'm really unqualified to judge the appropriateness of these articles, and there seems to be nobody else there who can do it (there's hardly anybody else there at all.) I would appreciate somebody with some expertise popping by from time to time to have a look at these if possible. --Brett 14:46, 8 November 2008 (UTC)

A brief survey of the edits makes me think that the content is more or less accurate (I didn't see anything too controversial, but again, did not look at everything). However, the entries often appear to be more like small encyclopedia entries, as opposed to dictionary entries (admittedly, the difference is subtle, especially with proper noun entries). While you are far more qualified to judge the appropriate measures on your project, if such a thing were happening here, I would try to clean up the entries made so far, advise the editor of what they're doing wrong and what needs to change, and institute progressively longer blocks if no change in behaviour was made. I am unwilling to allow editors free reign if they're not willing to adjust to our format. However, as a smaller project, and thus one more in need of content in general, perhaps more leeway is called for. Good luck to you. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 06:33, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
Thank you, Atelaes.--Brett 11:04, 14 November 2008 (UTC)


How do I put a lock on a page? —This unsigned comment was added by Carms015 (talkcontribs) at 3:46, 13 November 2008.

Locks are typically referred to as protection on wikis. Only admins can protect pages, and so you're best route is to drop a note on an admin's talk page (admins can be looked up on WT:A) explaining what page you'd like protected and why. Additionally, you can spend a year or so doing a lot of good work here and get promoted to admin and do it yourself. The former option is generally faster. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 05:04, 13 November 2008 (UTC)

wikiontary databse

can we donwload wikiontary database.if it possible thne form where downlad? —This comment was unsigned.

See <>. —RuakhTALK 12:03, 13 November 2008 (UTC)

Feedback for the word: "shiny".

Hi, I ended up on the definition of the word: "Shiny", because I wanted to see if the series "Firefly" and the movie "Serenity" would be mentioned... Well, some of the main characters there used the word "shiny" like we would use "great", both sincerely and sarcastically... -Just wanted to mention that, because I think it's cool.

Also I would like to mention another word from the same show and movie, and that's the word: "Gorramn". -If it's Googled you will find a good definition of it in the Urban Dictionary.


(P.s. I LOVE everything Wiki-related and would donate if I had the money!!! -Thank you for everything!!!)


Hey i'm a poet and i write lots of poems and wiktionary has been a big help with the ryhmes and all but (idk if this is a question)... i looked for the word wound and it didnt have a ryhme section does this mean that wound doesnt have a ryhme or that its ryhme i not yet found?

thank you

—This comment was unsigned.

It just means no one had added the link yet. I've done so now. —RuakhTALK 18:35, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

binary noun

What is it. See [[-s]]: 2nd sense redlink. DCDuring TALK 19:41, 16 November 2008 (UTC)

A noun that only exists in the plural form, and not the singular form. Like dust, or water. See Wikipedia:Plurale tantum. Kortaggio 00:31, 20 November 2008 (UTC)
No, those are mass nouns, not examples of plurale tantum. Examples of binary nouns are scissors, pants, and glasses. One clue that you have a binary noun is that you can say "a pair of ..." to refer to the same object, so that "scissors" and "a pair of scissors" mean the same thing. --EncycloPetey 06:57, 20 November 2008 (UTC)
Petey, a mass noun has, on the contrary, no plural (most of the time, anyway) because it cannot be counted. As binary noun clearly states, what Kortaggio is describe is the more general case of plurale tantum, of which binary nouns are a particular type. Circeus 23:20, 21 November 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, he knows. (He was replying Kortaggio's examples of pluralia tantum, not to his definition of them.) —RuakhTALK 16:53, 22 November 2008 (UTC)

Plant Producer

In plants can anyone help me find the defenition of a PRODUCER.

Did you try looking up the word producer? --EncycloPetey 03:31, 21 November 2008 (UTC)

Translation of the word "Asamba" into English

Could anyone between Alaska and Bunia, Congo please tell me the English definition for the word "Asamba"? Upon my search, I did find the word in a sentence which appears to be a bible verse, Misala 1:8. I am upon the assumption that it is Revelation 1:8, but the many bible versions and my ignorance of African-French dialects have led me into brick walls. I thank anyone that can enlighten me on this word.

This is the verse: Kasi bino az ua makasi Molimo Bipura akuma na likob na bino, nasima bino asamba Kala na Ngai. Many years of wondering and much gratitude for the slightest help.

THANK-YOU!! Baclarke

"Kasi bino azua makasi sika Molimo Bipuru akuma na likolo na bino, nasima bino asamba kula na Ngai" is in the first part of Acts 1, in Bangala; asamba is apparently a verb form of kusamba, to wash, bathe. I think this is Acts 1:5 in most English versions, referring to baptism. Robert Ullmann 16:42, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
One additional note: in kiKongo (s/w DRC, a long way from that area), "kusamba" means to pray, and "asamba" is a form as with most Bantu languages. Depending on where you originally found the word in the Congo, this might be what you are looking for? Robert Ullmann 16:52, 27 November 2008 (UTC)

Old East Lower Franconian

I think the current policy is rather vague on this one. It doesn't make clear what to do with extinct languages. Though I know that extinct languages might be included (because of all Anglo-Saxon, Middle English, Old... entrees) I don't know what to do with Old East Lower Franconian. If this one is allowed, it would make etymology for Limburgish a lot easier. --Ooswesthoesbes 12:29, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

Couldn't find a link on en.wp: w:nl:Oud-Oostnederfrankisch --Ooswesthoesbes 12:31, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
I think the English name would be Old East Low Franconian. —Stephen 13:30, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
Ow. I came near :) --Ooswesthoesbes 13:35, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
Robinson ("Old English and its Closest Relatives") notes that Old East Low Franconian is sometimes lumped together with several other dialects and collectively termed Old High German. --EncycloPetey 19:23, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
Sometimes, but many people don't agree. --Ooswesthoesbes 16:47, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
True. The historical relationships between Germanic languages are some of the best researched (along with Romance languages), but the nomenclature applied to the various languages and dialects is terribly muddled and is inconsistent between authors. --EncycloPetey 21:45, 8 December 2008 (UTC)

Many of your definitions are WRONG.

I don't know where you get your definitions but I'm finding that about a third of them are either lacking the precise meaning or just completely wrong when compared to my Webster's dictionary. Does Wikipedia have the same error rate as this site? I don't think I will be visiting any of your websites from now on, too bad you were my homepage.

Too bad. Webster's is not always right either. Can you give some examples rather than simply walking away? This is a cooperative project, after all. -- ALGRIF talk 15:54, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
You do realize that Wiktionary has been around for less than five years, and that we are a multilingual dictionary? How long has Webster's been revising their definitions? Yes, we are still lacking, but for just five years worth of work, I'd say we've done remarkably well. When the OED project had been running for just five years, not a single volume had yet been published. Also, please note that there is a difference between "incomplete" and "erroneous". You don't seem to have made that distinction in your comment, as you have noted that information is missing, then refer to this as an "error rate". As Algrif has noted, Wiktionary is a cooperative project, and visitors are encouraged to contribute towards improvement of the content. Such updates are immediate. As a result, we include many English words that Webster's does not (such as gameboard), and we even have some words and definitions lacking from the OED. When you add to that our coverage of other languages (Italian, Spanish, Russian, Greek, Mandarin, etc.), our interconnectivity with Wikipedia articles, sound files, and other features, you'll find that we have much to offer that simply isn't available from Webster's. --EncycloPetey 16:29, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
We would need at least a few examples to give you a constructive response. Robert Ullmann 17:03, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
Your attitude is messed up. Wiktionary is providing you a free service, for nothing in return. If you want to "walk away", that's your loss. We're not gonna cry over it. On the contrary, it saves the bandwidth for other people who actually appreciate our work. -- 19:13, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

December 2008

Broken entry: ajar

When trying to get the definition of the word ajar, instead I get some gibberish file. Tried to do the straight seach and tried to go through the listings, same results.

—This comment was unsigned.
  • It looks OK to me. SemperBlotto 22:25, 3 December 2008 (UTC)

Template help

I would like to ask for some assistance with the {{RQ:Nippo Jisho}} template. There are at least two issues. Using ケンケン as an example:

  1. Needs a space before between Jisho and (page
  2. It somehow ruins the alignment of the following quotation beginning with #:.

Any assistance would be appreciated. Regards, Bendono 12:25, 5 December 2008 (UTC)

Both issues have been corrected. For (1), I added a space before the "if" brackets. To correct (2), I moved the "noinclude" to the same line as the displayed content. The template technically included a carriage return before, which is what ruined the use of # for the next line. --EncycloPetey 18:10, 5 December 2008 (UTC)
Thanks a lot for both the fixes and explanations. Bendono 22:42, 5 December 2008 (UTC)

Need Information

I'm trying to look up some information for a report on Placement Agency.. Can someone help me.. —This unsigned comment was added by (talk).

Probably. This is a dictionary. It can tell you what a placement is and what an agency is. Hope that helps. If not, don't ask a dictionary. -- Gauss 20:21, 8 December 2008 (UTC)
It's a company that serves as agents of those seeking to be placed. The placement may be of a household worker in a household or of a potential adoptive child in a home. (Other uses may also be possible, but those are the two that spring to mind.) If you're seeking anything beyond the meaning (or other dictionary information like the etymology), I recommend you ask at Wikipedia, an encyclopedia, instead of at Wiktionary, this site, a dictionary.—msh210 20:30, 8 December 2008 (UTC)

goat's breath

1) When I try to enter this expression, the apostrophe was automatically changed to "&" and the subsequent characters/words were omitted. How is it entered correctly? (It is cited at 'goat as a "Derived term".) 2) Now that the Wiktionary system has goat& instead of goat's breath, the system won't allow me to redo, thereby retaining goat& in cyberspace. How may it be deleted? Wayne Roberson, Austin, Texas 16:03, 9 December 2008 (UTC)

It doesn't show up in your contribs, so it probably just vanished into the ether. What does this phrase mean? Googling "goat's breath" is not very informative. -- Visviva 16:27, 9 December 2008 (UTC)
This is a known MW software bug. One can't use some characters in the title with automatic preload. (The buttons on the "no-go-match" page.) You can certainly move the page if created wrongly. To create the page plant a link somewhere like this: goat's breath and follow it. Robert Ullmann 11:55, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
Oh, btw, it is a plant. Let me google a bit .... yes, but it is "goat's beard": Aruncus dioicus, or the Salsifies. Robert Ullmann 12:03, 10 December 2008 (UTC)

Bank holiday

Where should I raise this type of issue? Through lack of knowledge, I raise it here. Bank Holiday and bank holiday should be merged in some way. I suspect the capitalised version is the non-standard one, maybe taken from usage in calendars. The lower case version has a plural entry, and translations. Pingku 19:21, 12 December 2008 (UTC)

The capital version could be changed to use the {{alternative form of}} template, instead of being a full separate entry. It isn't a regional variant. --EncycloPetey 19:24, 12 December 2008 (UTC)
Done, thanks. Pingku 19:42, 12 December 2008 (UTC)

the word Beer

Could someone advise if the word beer can be pluralized? i.e. I had a few beer. or I had a few beers.

Thank you...

—This unsigned comment was added by Keyne (talkcontribs) at 00:59, 13 December 2008 (UTC).

A few beers. —RuakhTALK 01:56, 13 December 2008 (UTC)
And we have three beers on tap. - Pingku 17:34, 13 December 2008 (UTC)

Varieties of French

Hello, is there a template to indicate when a sense of a word is specific to European French? To Canadian French?

Also, I've noticed that Torontonian and a number of other proper nouns are identified as "Canadian English." What is the logic behind this? How do people in other countries refer to Torontonians, if not by that word? The entry for New Yorker, correctly in my view, doesn't consider the word to be American English.

"people from Toronto". The term Torontonian is a localism, in Toronto and (some part of) Canada. "New Yorker", on the other hand, is known and used all over the world. Just the way it is. Compare Scouser, a localism for "person from Liverpool", but which I've heard in Nairobi from a Brit (who assumed correctly that I would understand it ;-), Liverpudlian, jocular but more well known, and "person from Liverpool" which is what most of the world would use.
To answer the direct question: {{Canada|lang=fr}} or {{Canadian French}} Robert Ullmann 12:40, 17 December 2008 (UTC)
That's a bit subjective. google news:Torontonian mostly pulls up Canadian hits, but it pulls up a few not (one Israeli, one U.K.), and the same is true of google news:"Toronto man". In this case I think we're better off without the sense label. —RuakhTALK 14:42, 17 December 2008 (UTC)
But what's striking about that is where it's not used -- like, for example, Detroit or Buffalo. To me, the UK and Israeli uses, like others in Archives, seem like affected pseudo-localisms (rather as if they had referred to a person from Ohio as a Buckeye). Even if that is not correct, the geographic distribution this term is, at the very least, peculiar. -- Visviva 06:40, 19 December 2008 (UTC)
I don't know why one would expect the word Torontonian to be unknown outside Canada. Toronto has more than double the population of the number two city in Britain. Same goes for Montrealer. And yet people don't feel any compunction, say, in using Glaswegian in North America. And no, Buckeye is not an appropriate comparison; Ohioan would be. Torontonian is not a nickname. 12:57, 21 December 2008 (UTC)
I don't think it's appropriate to have the label. "Scouser" may be British English, but "Liverpudlian" is not. "Liverpudlian" is the word I would use, and I'm not British. I don't think the analogy is correct.
You've said how to mark senses specific to Canadian French. What about senses specific to European French? (This would be similar to a label for North American English.) These words may either be common to France, Belgium and Switzerland, but not used in Canada, or, as is frequently the case, may be known to be used in France but not in Canada, and have unknown status in Belgium and Switzerland. 02:52, 18 December 2008 (UTC)
I made {{European French}} (AKA {{Europe}}) for that. An FWIW, the adjective for Toronto in French is torontois. Although in many cases they can little little known outside a certain geographic regions, French city adjectives are far more regular and common than English ones, so they are almost never considered to be geographically restricted (the only exception I can think of is if they would refer to different homonymous cities across the Atlantic). Circeus 07:02, 19 December 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. I knew the word torontois. A new French dictionary produced by the University of Sherbrooke will be coming out soon. A preliminary version will be online in January. It will identify the most common words and meanings specific to European French with an appropriate label, something dictionaries produced in Europe fail to do. That will be a reliable source for systematically labelling European words. By the way, thanks for teaching me the acronym FWIW. 12:49, 21 December 2008 (UTC)

Linking words to the fi: Music words category

Dear All,

At present I am learning Finnish and using Wiktionary heavily to build my vocabulary especially with musical terms. I note that the fi: Music category only has a few words. Other words such as tauko which appear under the english word for 'rest' do not appear under this very useful category. If anyone can navigate me to the right section on how to do this I will happily start linking words as I find them and start populating fi: Music. Thanks!--Satish 00:25, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

If the word already has an entry, and has the correct definition, you can add {{music|lang=fi}} to the beginning of the definition just after the "#" symbol. In the case of tauko, we don't have the musical sense yet, so you would need to add a definition like this:
# {{music|lang=fi}} [[rest]]
Hope that helps. -- Visviva 07:01, 19 December 2008 (UTC)

Thanks! Will try this soon... --Satish 02:09, 21 December 2008 (UTC)

Lambent - Please HELP !!!


A few days ago in the daily email I am so sure that the definition for Lambent was clever / witty without effort (or with luck). However when I look this up on your website it is clever / witty without unkindness. I was so sure of this that I took a bet with somebody and now stand to lose a small fortune ........ are you able to assist. I am not sure how to look up previous newsletters sent. Or am I just losing my marbles ?

Thanks so much Daphne

A year ago it did say "without effort" for approximately nine days. Since December 17, 2007 (just over a year ago), it has read "without unkindness". I don’t know anything about any newsletters. —Stephen 08:49, 18 December 2008 (UTC)
It was Word of the Day on 16 December, 2008. The American Heritage Dictionary has something like the sense we had then. DCDuring TALK 10:33, 18 December 2008 (UTC)
(note that DCDuring intended to say "16 December 2007" so it read "without effort ..." when it was WOTD) Robert Ullmann 16:29, 25 December 2008 (UTC)
Oops. Yup. Thanks. DCDuring TALK 16:37, 25 December 2008 (UTC)

The December 16th entry looked like this last year, and was updated 15 Dec at 03:11 UTC to this year's word. Something was reading ahead? Don't know what might be sending emails, but it sent you last year's word ... Robert Ullmann 16:41, 25 December 2008 (UTC)

Derived terms

Is a portmanteau word like stagflation a "Derived term" of stagnation and inflation? That is, does "blending" create morphological derivatives? DCDuring TALK 15:14, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

Yes. "Derived terms" is sum-of-parts for our purposes; any term which is derived from the headword should be welcome in that section. To exclude portmanteaus would be needlessly theological, and would probably require excluding phrases as well. -- Visviva 07:42, 19 December 2008 (UTC)

Vernacular definitions of terms

I wish to improve the definitions of geodesic, but haven't been able to find guidance appropriate to the situation. The situation is as follows. The definition currently provided is strictly incorrect, but widely used and even in Webster's, namely 1.(mathematics) the shortest line between two points on a specific surface. Without getting into the mathematics (see the Wikipedia entry for that), the reality is that the shortest line will be a geodesic, but not all geodesics are shortest. They are locally length minimising but not globally. Given that the term is so widely used in the sense described, both definitions are now clearly correct for vernacular English. How should this be reflected in the formatting and text of the descriptions provided? —This unsigned comment was added by (talk).

If there are two widely used senses of geodesic and specific authorities recommend against using one, it's permissible to add both definitions, prefixing the faulty one with {{proscribed}}. Then add a ====Usage notes==== section (just above ====Translations====) where the proscribing authorities are quoted. Does that make sense? Rod (A. Smith) 05:47, 19 December 2008 (UTC)

Yes that makes sense, but I'm still not sure about just what is the best way to proceed. I have the feeling that proscription is a bit too extreme in this case. The alternative of just listing the alternative definitions with explanation in the Usage section is probably more appropriate. I've looked through the various usage templates to see if there is something which could be used to tag the existing definition, but don't see an obvious term. It seems to me that although the word has a clear definition, the (strictly incorrect) common usage has become so widespread, and for so long, that it is now an alternate and acceptable word in many situations. I think what I'm looking for is a tag which identifies a word as being "commonly used for something, and evolved from a similar term due to a long-standing error in understanding the original meaning." The hypercorrect tag looked interesting, but it seems to be specifically about errors in applying language rules. Colloquial and informal don't seem to suit either. Is there a word for the process of meaning evolution without the original meaning being archaic? —This unsigned comment was added by (talk).

If no authorities actively proscribe the common sense, you can forgo the {{proscribed}} tag, but still add the technically correct definition and explain briefly in ====Usage notes====, as you say. Also, I might note in ===Etymology=== which definition the term originally had. (Also, remember to sign your posts on talk pages with ~~~~.) Rod (A. Smith) 17:23, 19 December 2008 (UTC)

Sorry for lack of signing, I hadn't created an account. I think I've finally found the right term, namely misnomer. Examples such as tinfoil sometimes being a misnomer for aluminium foil seem to me to be analogous. Might this not be a useful usage template? Kurvenbau 21:48, 19 December 2008 (UTC)

It might be a useful template, but somehow, "misnomer" reads to me as even more of a proscription than "proscribed". That is, when I read "proscribed", I read "this entry is proscribed by someone" and not "we proscribe this entry", but when I read "misnomer", I think "this is an incorrect use of the word". I may be over-analyzing it, though, and maybe other editors' feedback would change my perspective. Rod (A. Smith) 01:29, 24 December 2008 (UTC)
I have the same misgivings; "proscribed" can be supported by a quote from any usage guide, while "misnomer" suggests that the word has a true meaning, which is a very difficult statement to support. -- Visviva 05:09, 25 December 2008 (UTC)
I have seen the words "loosely" and "strictly" used to mark such distinctions, didn't find them objectionable, and sometimes found them helpful. In the case of geodesic, is the deinition true for all convex shapes? (The proof or disproof is left as an exercise for the reader.) DCDuring TALK 16:15, 25 December 2008 (UTC)

Re: misnomer v proscribe. I am a bit surprised because the Wiktionary entries for each term don't seem to reflect this.
proscribe is defined as:

1. To forbid or prohibit.
2. To denounce.
3. To banish or exclude.

and misnomer as:

1. A use of a term asserted to be misleading.
2. A term asserted to be widely used incorrectly.
3. A term whose sense in common usage conflicts with a technical sense.

Geodesic would be a misnomer on the basis of the third case, but none of the proscribe cases apply. Looking through the Wikipedia entry for misnomer, common usage of geodesic seems most akin to examples in the Difference between common and technical meanings section. As it states there tear gas is not a gas. Despite being a type 3 misnomer, tear gas is not only acceptable, but indeed the correct word for everyday use. Although geodesic has an absolutely clear (curvature based) mathematical definition, the usage outwith the mathematical community is more lax. There is no alternative single word which means shortest line so one would find it difficult to argue that someone using geodesic for this meaning should use a different word.

I don't quite understand the question about convex shapes. Geodesics are defined with respect to surfaces of any curvature. Kurvenbau 02:50, 30 December 2008 (UTC)

Hmm, the indirection in the definition of misnomer is a bit confusing. My understanding of misnomer would yield the following definitions:
  1. A term used in a misleading way.
  2. A term widely used incorrectly.
  3. A term whose sense in common usage conflicts with a technical sense.
Maybe I'm wrong, though, and "That's a misnomer" really means, "(regardless of what I think) some people assert that usage to be misleading or incorrect." Anyway, my post above wasn't meant to suggest that {{proscribed}} actually fits in this situation, because I don't know of any authority who proscribes geodesic in the sense in question. I was just trying to say that {{proscribed}} implies a third party's warning, but a hypothetical *{{misnomer}} template would suggest to me (based on my understanding of misnomer) that Wiktionary authors assert the common usage to be misleading or incorrect. I would probably tag the original sense as {{context|technical}} and tagging the other {{context|common}} or {{context|popular}}. Then, in the usage notes, explain how the common sense differs from the technical sense. Rod (A. Smith) 04:54, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
I agree with you about senses #1 and #2, but I'm not sure about sense #3; I think that misnomer is essentially a prescriptivist term, and all of our "definitions" of it are attempts at descriptivist translations, so to speak. Specifically, I think that someone might describe the ordinary use of "bug" (which doesn't match taxonomists' definition) as a "misnomer", not just because its sense in common usage conflicts with a technical sense, but because they consider its sense in common usage to be "wrong" (and its technical use to be "right"). That is, I think our translation #3 is just a special case of the sense covered by our translation #2. —RuakhTALK 05:51, 30 December 2008 (UTC)

New Entry in Ancient Greek Verbs

I have added a page entitled ἀγγέλο into the Ancient Greek verbs category. I have sorted it into the alpha (α) category, but cannot get it to list alphabetically within that alpha list. Can anyone help me? The word should come immediately after αγγαρευω. Furthermore, I just realized that I spelled the entries title incorrectly. I should have used an omega (ω) rather than an omicron (ο). Can I rename the page? 00:44, 20 December 2008 (UTC)

Better? —Stephen 03:32, 20 December 2008 (UTC)

Thanks! One more thing, however. Even though there is no entry for it, the word is still listed on the Ancient Greek verbs category page.

Done. The template {{grc-verb}} has an automatic categorization and sorting feature. The fact that the manual categorization (i.e. [[Category:Ancient Greek verbs|αγγελλω]]) was setup properly was nullified by the inflection template. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 06:45, 20 December 2008 (UTC)
Note a "manual" cat with a sort key that occurs after the template will replace the sort key in the template. In this case the template does what is wanted so it isn't needed. (This is one reason why we want all the manual cats at end-of-language section, so they will act as intended.) Just noting that, entry is fine now. Robert Ullmann 13:07, 20 December 2008 (UTC)

ergative verb

Of what value is the label "ergative verb", especially to a non-grammarian? Is it not merely inferred from the grammar of the intransitive and transitive uses of each verb, rather than something one can infer from any inherent characteristic (say, semantics) of the verb? DCDuring TALK 20:40, 22 December 2008 (UTC)

Some editors have objected to "splittism", a perceived tendency to split one sense across multiple sense lines; this label would theoretically let us minimize that tendency, by uniting transitive and intransitive senses. (I mean, we can unite those senses even without such a label — and I've definitely done that myself, as in defining "-ify" verbs using locutions like "to become, or cause to become, ____" and then not including the label because I forgot it existed — but it's probably a good idea to use the label in such cases, because it gives us the opportunity to provide a helpful link.) —RuakhTALK 08:45, 23 December 2008 (UTC)
That says it was deemed convenient for the contributor and for the linguist. Based on experience I expect that there was little consideration and no evidence about usability. At what level is the concept "ergative" taught? I also would suspect that anti-splittism makes life even more difficult for translators in most languages. DCDuring TALK 11:55, 23 December 2008 (UTC)
Re: "That says it was deemed convenient for the contributor and for the linguist.": I disagree. I think that for a contributor, it's more convenient to write them as two senses; you just copy and paste, and modify the right part. When you unite senses, you have to find a way to coordinate the different parts while keeping everything clear. (As evidence, I point to all the newbies who add duplicate senses rather than extending or improving existing ones.) And I really don't know what's "convenient" for a linguist — it probably depends what the linguist is trying to accomplish — but I can't for the life of me imagine that anyone here has deemed it so, or made that their consideration. On the contrary, the argument has been that large numbers of near-duplicate senses are hard for readers to slog through to find what they're looking for. Whether this argument is valid, I can't say. And yes, as you suggest, one major counter-argument is that it makes life harder for translators. (But of course, English often doesn't draw distinctions that other languages do. In general, I think the question should be whether two senses are the same English sense, so far as we can tell, regardless of how other languages view them. With ergative verbs, I think it depends on the verb; -ify is an ergative-verb suffix meaning "to become, or cause to become, ___", and I think it makes sense to accept that fact when defining words that end in it. On the other hand, more basic verbs, like cook, behave in complicated ways — "I cooked yesterday" and "the pasta is cooking on the stove" are both acceptable intransitive uses — and should probably be split.) —RuakhTALK 21:02, 23 December 2008 (UTC)
I can see a point to the anti-split argument and have sometimes defined less common senses (technical, scientific, sports) in long entries that way. I have yet to find "ergative" used in any other dictionary. It is not defined in Longman's DCE. I just don't see the validity from the point of view of non-linguist users of using the word "ergative" as: 1., a visible category; 2., a context, or, 3., as an object of discussion in a usage note. I would be intrigued to find its frequency in any of the major corpera. DCDuring TALK 21:39, 23 December 2008 (UTC)
(1) As a non-native user, I find "explaining both in one definition" (eg the OALD for "break": to be damaged and separated into two or more parts, as a result of force; to damage something in this way) preferable to "separate definitions labelled intransitive an intransitive" (eg ours for "break": To end up in two or more pieces that can't easily be reassembled. and, six definitions later, To cause to end up in two or more pieces.), and both much preferable to "just using the ergative label", which I find more confusing than helpful (convinced as I am that 99 users out of 100 have then first to look up the word ergative itself). The first feels more coherent and thus more easily understood even if there are no in-between defs, though not overly so. (2) As a translator, I don't find too much of a difference between having sometimes to put two translations into one table and, alternatively, having sometimes to leave a table without a translation (or making a translation which would just be a passive voice or a reflexive verb in the given language, and thus most probably either linking red or leading to the same page anyway). --Duncan 22:15, 23 December 2008 (UTC)
"Ergative" has two hits on the BNC and zero on COCA, for whatever that's worth. If we were to combine the two corpora, which would be a completely invalid thing to do, that would come out to about 1 occurrence per 200 million words of running text. -- Visviva 02:34, 25 December 2008 (UTC)
It's primariy useful for foreign language verbs, where such verbs might require marking. Just like we'd mark that "ouvrir" is only transitive, the intransitive open is rendered by a reflexive in French, an "ergative" mark becomes necessary in languages where the split is not transitive/intransitive but ergative/absolutive. Circeus 04:55, 25 December 2008 (UTC)
But native speakers only find it useful twice in perhaps more than 20 million sentences, based on the two corpera. To me this would join "bitransitive" among the words not useful for users and probably discouraging potential contributors. I would think we could well use contributors from other trades besides language professions so that we could incorporate their jargon (woodworking, brewing, textiles, taxi-drivers, automechanics) into Wiktionary and not limit ourselves to an above-average and possibly toxic dose of language and computing jargon. DCDuring TALK 14:54, 25 December 2008 (UTC)

Displaying only languages I am interested in

Is there a way to specify the languages I am interested in and excluding all others from appearing on the dictionary pages? 14:38, 24 December 2008 (UTC)

Not currently, no. The idea has been discussed before, but we have no way to implement it right now. --EncycloPetey 01:58, 25 December 2008 (UTC)

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! Where do you all talk about non-Wiktionary stuff? --AZard 13:57, 25 December 2008 (UTC)

Merry Christmas! (Still Christmas for 1 more minute here in Korea.) Why would we want to talk about non-Wiktionary stuff? That's just crazy talk... ;-) -- Visviva 14:59, 25 December 2008 (UTC)
On the wikt, we pretty much stick to business (unlike, say, the 'pedia at times). You might like to hang out in the IRC channel. Lots of interesting discussions. (Which I can't get to now because I have a network problem with it again. :-( channel is #wiktionary on (think it's .org ...) Robert Ullmann 15:03, 25 December 2008 (UTC)
I do have a present for you, Hobbes has some good advice about waiting for dinner. (hat tip to Pandagon) Robert Ullmann 15:42, 25 December 2008 (UTC)
all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy (and Jill a dull gal). lol. That proverb has a Wiktionary entry. --AZard 16:57, 25 December 2008 (UTC)
We sneak some personal stuff in from time to time. DCDuring Holiday Greetings! 17:05, 25 December 2008 (UTC)
That would be out in the real world. SemperBlotto 17:08, 25 December 2008 (UTC)

proofreading marks

Do the semi-standardised manually created proofreading marks have name? DCDuring Holiday Greetings! 13:29, 27 December 2008 (UTC)

Would one name be the word for the instruction to the typesetter, typist, or keyboarder? DCDuring Holiday Greetings! 16:03, 27 December 2008 (UTC)
I don't think I've ever heard them called anything but proofreader's marks or proofreading marks. -- Visviva 16:19, 27 December 2008 (UTC)
Via w:Proofreading (which has red-linking proof correction marks) and w:ISO 5776 I got to ISO 5776:1983, where they're called Symbols for text correction, but haven't seen anything one-word on the way, though it seems strange that there wouldn't be something less formal. --Duncan 16:45, 27 December 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. I'm a fan of graphics-text combinations. I have found that many common small graphics are in use, but have no common name. I was hoping that was not true for these and for some of the common comics graphics elements, such as the contents of maledicta balloons. ISO may be a source, but I'm not eager to spend to find out. DCDuring Holiday Greetings! 17:21, 27 December 2008 (UTC)
Images of the marks would increase the visual interest of some entries that otherwise would not readily have an associated image (eg, "delete", "insert", "stet"). DCDuring Holiday Greetings! 18:36, 27 December 2008 (UTC)

Proper capitalization and punctuation

I started adding some entries and realized that some definitions are capitalized at the beginning and with a period at the end (even if its just one word), while others are not. Is there a preference for one or the other? Gold Mouse 06:23, 28 December 2008 (UTC)

There is no firm policy. Specifically:
1. I think there is general consensus that most definitions should start with a capital letter, with a possible exception for one-word glosses of foreign-language terms.
2. I myself have come to favor not ending definitions with a period, unless there is a particular reason to do so (e.g. the definition contains multiple elements which have to be separated by periods). They are not sentences, and we already use line breaks to provide the typographic separation for which printed dictionaries have to use the period. However, I converted to non-periodism fairly recently, and it's my impression that we non-periodists are still in the minority here. -- Visviva 07:04, 28 December 2008 (UTC)
There is indeed no set policy, but my practice is always to start a defn with a capital and to end it with a period. One is in good company to do so; the online OED does the same. -- WikiPedant 07:13, 28 December 2008 (UTC)
Oddly, WikiPedant, it was your own citing of the Chicago Manual of Style in re image captions (at WT:BP#Formatting captions of pictures) that persuaded me to become a non-periodist. Funny how that works... I do think that we ought to apply the same principles to sentence fragments throughout the entry, whether they be in etymologies, captions, definitions or elsewhere ... whatever those principles may be. -- Visviva 08:00, 28 December 2008 (UTC)
Here's the set policy (from WT:ELE): "Each definition may be treated as a sentence: beginning with a capital letter and ending with a full stop." Note it says may. If it is a sentence, it makes sense to have the capital and full stop; but most phrases, fragments, and single words that are not sentences don't need them. And "Turtle." looks very odd, I prefer "turtle" if that is the single word definition. (e.g. at tortue) Robert Ullmann 08:31, 28 December 2008 (UTC)
Agree with Robert. While my views have changed over time (and so I have previously capitalized and placed a period after single word defs), I generally prefer both only when information needs to be broken up into sentence like structures (which are not always genuine sentences). When we're dealing with single word glosses, even a series of them, I think that lower-case and no periods is preferable. One reason for this is that it differentiates between noun and proper noun senses (not always, but sometimes). -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 15:47, 28 December 2008 (UTC)

Thank you all, this answers my question somewhat. For now I think I'll stick to capitalizing and ending with a period everything that's not one word. I agree "Turtle". does look a bit odd. I'll see what happens with time. It seems to me that my views on the matter can change. Gold Mouse 17:36, 28 December 2008 (UTC)

There is a fundamental difference between definitions and translations, but a lot of people get confused by the difference, or don’t see it at all. Personally, I don’t much care about how definitions are styled, although all of my English language dictionaries, such as the Random House, put capitals only where they are orthographically required, as in the names of the months. I’m concerned with translations, and I have only ever seen a single bilingual dictionary that capitalizes the first word of its translations (that being Larousse French-English), with the result that it is exceedingly difficult to figure out which French words actually have to be capitalized and which do not. Sentence-case capitals in translations is a horrible idea, but a lot of translations are receiving them simply because the English definitions have so many of them. Not only that, other Wiktionaries take their cue from the English Wiktionary and capitalize their own definitions and translations. And since Wikipedia automatically capitalizes the first word of every entry, and since many Wikipedia writers simply do not care about capitalization issues, it has become so difficult to determine which words in which languages must be capitalized and which do not take capitals. The best thing we could do is follow the format of the big American dictionaries and put capitals ONLY where they are required orthographically. But if not that, then at least translations should not be treated like definitions in this regard. —Stephen 21:17, 28 December 2008 (UTC)

Forcing the display of the Fraktur script

Note this German text, which explicitly distinguishes the Latin phrase (Dii ex machina) it uses from the surrounding German text by writing the former in Antiqua (AFAICT) whilst the latter is written in Fraktur, as was standard for German at the time (1820) and up until the mid-20th Century. This is an intended distinction that one cannot replicate in a citation unless one can “force” the display of the intended text in Fraktur. Is there any way that this can be done?  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 17:12, 28 December 2008 (UTC)
Here’s another example of that orthographic distinction, this time with dii ex machina decapitalised.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 17:56, 28 December 2008 (UTC)

Is this the same as putting in italics? RJFJR 18:57, 28 December 2008 (UTC)
I suppose it serves the same purpose of clearly marking a foreign phrase, but this method seems more akin to the way in which Japanese uses katakana.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 19:08, 28 December 2008 (UTC)
Fraktur was the standard German script up to the end of WW II. It is a form of the Roman alphabet, but more like black letter than anything else. It wasn’t used as italics, it was used for all German text. And yes, there is a way to do this. You would just set up a template like {{Arabic fonts}} with an appropriate name, such as Fraktur fonts, and another such as {{Arab}} which calls the Fraktur template (see an older version of {{Arab}} to see how this is done. Then you would surround your Fraktur text with {{Frak}}. You would need to put the common Fraktur font names in the template, as well as the usual Roman fonts which most of us currently use. Then you would see Fraktur as long as you have installed a Fraktur font. —Stephen 21:27, 28 December 2008 (UTC)
The point is that their use of non-Fraktur face is like our use of italics. Personally, given the high variability in support for various fonts, I think we're better off using ''…'' than trying to replicate the actual fonts used in a source, but I understand the appeal of the latter approach. —RuakhTALK 02:02, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
I don't know... The Fraktur script is awfully distinctive; most of the time when people pick up a book I'm reading in Fraktur, they ask if I'm studying Russian. ;-) I'm surprised that it doesn't have its own set of codepoints, given how larded down Unicode is with far less tenable distinctions. I guess I would favor Stephen's solution, though it would be ideal if it could somehow default from {{Frak}} to italics, or rather from non-{{Frak}} to italics (not sure how that could work). -- Visviva 03:05, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
Note here that if you want to use a script template, the code is Latf, e.g. template {{Latf}}, not {{Frak}}. It being a script and not a separate set of characters, it is, of course, defined as a script code, not a Unicode block. Some characters unique to Fraktur (math symbols) do have their own Unicode codepoints. (And there is also a block for Fraktur characters on plane 1, i.e. in UCS/UTF-8 (which is what we use, not "Unicode" ;-)) Robert Ullmann 09:53, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
Okay, if you go to Dieter Steffmann and download and install the first Fraktur font on the page, which is Humboldt Fraktur Regular, then you should see this text in Fraktur:
Aber — wenn von Wei¢agungen auf den Heiland im A. T. no< ferner die Rede \ehn \oll, i¬ es mögli<, daß wir die typi\<e An\i<t der alten Zeit überhaupt fallen la¢en können? Kann wohl etwas lä<erli<er, wenig£ens unnatürli<er \ehn, als ein vier bis fünf Stellen des A. T. für wei¢agend zu halten, die, wahre Dii ex machina, in die pro\ai\<e, bedeutungslo\e Reihe der reinvergangenen alten Zeit, aller Analogie entgegen, \i< einge\<li<en haben \ollen? Keinen Unparteii\<en wird der Einwand ungläubiger Theologen: wenn es Typen geben \olle, \o mü£e ihre Ab\i<t von den Zeitgeno¢en \<on erkannt worden \ehn, \onderli< beunruhigen können. Denn was kann den uner\<öpi<en Weltgei£ hindern, um eine Harmonie zu begründen, die nur \einem Auge \i< ganz enthüllt, da und dort den Dingen Bedeutung zu geben, die dem men\<li<en Ver£ande im Augenbli>e verborgen bleibt, und in Hieroglyphen zu \<reiben, wovon wir nur den klein£en Theil en‡i¤ern können, der größte Theil er£ mit der Zeit zur Klarheit gelangt? —Stephen 08:47, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
Thanks, Stephen. This works on my Mac as well. --EncycloPetey 19:16, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
Just curious, am I supposed to seeing seemingly randomly placed backslashes and other characters mingled in with the words? 50 Xylophone Players talk 01:39, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
No, if you install the Fraktur font, the backslashes and other characters becomes ligatures, which are required in this typestyle. The backslash, for example, is the so-called long s. —Stephen 03:36, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
Thanks, Stephen. It's kind of a short term dream of mine to have fonts to display all kinds of scripts. By the way do you know where I could fonts to display Khmer and Old Church Slavonic in Glagolitic script? 50 Xylophone Players talk 11:47, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
That looks like a custom font from the wild and woolly DOS days. A backslash is a backslash ( \ ) and the long s is a long s ( ſ, and in Latf: ſ ). If a font doesn't support appropriate characters in the Unicode range, then please don't specify it in our templates and style sheets.
For OCS Cyrillic (and, incidentally, Glagolitic), see Appendix:Old Cyrillic alphabet and its talk page. Michael Z. 2009-03-31 21:32 z


Why was it removed...? Surely this is the one place where this word could have found a home.

There never was an entry for this word. --EncycloPetey 11:03, 30 December 2008 (UTC)


What does it mean what USP is added after the name of a drug? E.g., "Lidocaine HCl Injection, USP 2%" or "Clarithromycin Tablets, USP". And (separate question) what does "USP/mg" mean? The answers to these two questions likely belong in the entry, either as usage notes or possibly as senses.—msh210 20:49, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

USP = w:United States Pharmacopeia. —Stephen 20:56, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
Well, thanks, but we already have that sense, and the WP article doesn't explain what "Clarithromycin Tablets, USP" or "USP/mg" means.—msh210 20:59, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
It seems to mean that the manufacturer used USP-specified tests to make sure that the specified ingredients were within the USP-specified ranges for the item. The testing methods and tolerances are specified in ingredient-specific "monographs". I wonder whether we might have to go to the USDA labeling standards to find out more about your specific context. DCDuring Holiday Greetings! 21:24, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
I believe "Clarithromycin Tablets, USP" means "USP grade"; and that "USP/mg" means USP units per mg. —Stephen 21:27, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
Should we have [[USP unit]] then? Or [[USP grade]]? Or have them as usage notes s.v. USP? I suspect that the place most laymen see the term USP is on drug labels, and our current entry gives no indication what it means there.—msh210 21:39, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
You could have USP unit, but not USP grade. USP unit is a standard term, but USP grade is just explanatory. —Stephen 21:54, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
Good idea! 21 CFR section 101.36(d)(3) (if I'm reading the unindented numbering correctly) says about dietary supplements: "Representations that the source ingredient conforms to an official compendium may be included either in the nutrition label or in the ingredient list (e.g., 'Calcium (as calcium carbonate USP)')." So I guess that makes USP an postpositive adjective, as used on labels.—msh210 21:39, 31 December 2008 (UTC)