Wiktionary:Tea room

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Tea house party in Japan (not tea ceremony)-J. M. W. Silver.jpg

A place to ask for help on finding quotations, etymologies, or other information about particular words. The Tea room is named to accompany the Beer parlour.

For questions about the general Wiktionary policies, use the Beer parlour; for technical questions, use the Grease pit. For questions about specific content, you're in the right place.

Tea room archives edit

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Oldest tagged RFTs

November 2021

there but for the grace of God go IEdit

Are the three separate senses really justified? Equinox 13:43, 1 November 2021 (UTC)

Well, for a start, the 2nd meaning isn't a meaning of this phrase. #1 and #3 are. 20:37, 1 November 2021 (UTC)
I thought it was about sinfulness rather than misfortune. It may be that different people interpret the proverb in their own ways. Soap 14:40, 4 November 2021 (UTC)
I only know this in sense 1. But does this saying really reflect a religious conviction? Or can also less religiously inspired people say this, just like an exasperated atheist may exclaim, for the love of God! The statements of senses 2 and 3 are more or less a logical implication of sense 1, but I don’t think anyone will utter the saying other than while witnessing the wretchedness of others (which may be ultimately self-inflicted and deserved; “misfortune” suggests bad luck).  --Lambiam 23:29, 7 November 2021 (UTC)
The expression is no longer essentially relgious, as Lambian suggests, though it once was. MWOnline has good wording for the modern, non-religious sense, but we ought to have the more religious sense as well, IMO. DCDuring (talk) 20:04, 8 November 2021 (UTC)
I don't think senses 2 and 3 (as currently defined) exist separately from 1, unless anyone has examples. I agree with Lambiam that it's not always religious. I don't know that religious vs nonreligious use should be separate senses; they would overlap quite a bit: "A recognition that others' misfortune could be one's own, if it weren't for the blessing of the Divine." (the current sense 1) vs ~"A recognition that others' misfortune could be one's own, if it weren't for chance, fortune or fate". - -sche (discuss) 01:39, 9 November 2021 (UTC)

Russian words with stressed -ияEdit

This could be a category or tag of its own. Most such words do not have stress on the ending. Compare эпидЕмия with пандемИя. I can't work out why, unless maybe пандемия was borrowed from French pandémie, and not directly from Greek? Most words with stressed Ия seem to be scientific, but индустрИя аллергИя and терапИя would be the most commonly needed of these words. The words like this, with stress on the ending, that I have found are: лобэктомия эйфория буржуазия тирания дистония пандемия стихия шизофрения тахикардия гиподинамия индустрия терапия стрептодермия (and all words in дермия) энцефалопАтИя (two stress patterns possible in this word) мессия фармация лоботомия (and all medical words in -мия,but not физионОмия) аллергия хирургия ксенофилия (and all words in филия)

Turkish gibberish / saçmaEdit

saçma sense 1. is indeclinable. See its synonym saçmalık for the inflected forms. Given table is for second sense, thus for the lead shot.

Shouldn't we specify that the inflection table applies only to lead shot? Or drop a (indeclinable) note next to gibberish, which comes to same thing in different terms. Flāvidus (talk) 00:49, 2 November 2021 (UTC)

Is it indeclinable or is it used like an interjection in contexts where any noun would appear in nominative form? Vox Sciurorum (talk) 12:10, 2 November 2021 (UTC)
Thanks for asking. We can make it declinable with some suffixed morphemes = saçmalık which can be further inflected.
Otherwise,saçma like gibberish is a noun, an adjective, and an interjection + a verb too.
Declinable noun + Verb is when, like as any language that use linear sequence of distinct morphemes with additional morphemes.
Flāvidus (talk) 22:04, 2 November 2021 (UTC)
I think saçmalık is a synonym of sense 2 of saçma. In general, -ma/-me verbal nouns are declinable; see the example sentence Okuldan sonra eczaneye gitmeyi unuttum given there. I don’t know why saçma should be an exception – it is easy to find uses of parayı saçmayı, the definitive accusative of parayı saçma (as in, “[if you love] lavishly spending money”).[1][2][3] Using it as a one-word interjection would be somewhat unusual. The homograph saçma, with stress on the first syllable, is the second person singular negative imperative of saçmak – “don’t scatter/splurge”. This can, of course, be used as a one-word sentence, but has a quite different meaning.  --Lambiam 23:11, 7 November 2021 (UTC)

PWGmc *wilgijā vs. *wiligijāEdit

I just created *wilgijā, before realising that I had already created Proto-Germanic *wiligjǭ, now moved to Proto-West Germanic *wiligijā. I have some issue with the form of *wiligijā though: there should not be a -ijā ending, since the preceding syllable is short. It should either be *wiligjā, or better yet, *wilgijā as I've just created. Most of the descendants agree with *wilgijā (e.g. OSX wilgia, GMH wilge, DUM wilge, STQ Wüülge; only OE has wilige. I have an alternative form on the page at *wilgijā to account for this outlier.

I propose that I delete the new page I created at *wilgijā and in turn move *wiligijā to *wilgijā.

Thoughts/objections? Leasnam (talk) 04:39, 3 November 2021 (UTC)

Aren't two short syllables (within the same morpheme) equivalent to one long for the purposes of Siever's law?--Urszag (talk) 07:13, 3 November 2021 (UTC)
In Proto-Germanic yes (cf *hamiþiją), but I'm not sure about Proto-West Germanic. Leasnam (talk) 15:32, 3 November 2021 (UTC)

Bolted onEdit

I've just been responding to a question at Stack Exchange ELL about the idiom "bolted on", and have been surprised not to find this here (or in Lexico, Dictionary.com, or the OED). We have bolt-on, as a noun, but while similar, I don't believe the meaning is the same. Given that I haven't found it in any dictionaries it might be problematic, but the question I was answering quoted a use. --ColinFine (talk) 21:44, 3 November 2021 (UTC)

It's a different part of speech. Bolted on is an adjectival phrase and means affixed, or fixed on afterwards. A bolt-on is a noun that means "something bolted on". 10:39, 4 November 2021 (UTC)
Bolted on doesn't look like an idiom to me. It looks like the past participle form of bolt#Verb + on#Adverb. DCDuring (talk) 14:18, 4 November 2021 (UTC)
In addition to the literal sense, it has an often derogatory figurative sense like bolt-on, describing something that was not part of a design but added later without fitting into the original scheme. I've seen fake breasts called bolt-ons. Vox Sciurorum (talk) 14:23, 4 November 2021 (UTC)
Yes, bolted on tits certainly feels idiomatic, unless the plastic surgery involved literally bolts into the bone, as it pertains to obviously unnatural big'uns in the adult entertainment industry, not inconspicious enhancements. The rhyme with bold should not be missed. I agree with DCD that it is mostly SoP, because bolt connotes a sense of crudeness and the onwards sense follows rather naturally. Nevertheless, bolt-on sets precedent. That it is not * bolt-on'ed, because the adverb on is transparent in the participle phrase, might imply something about wordhood, too.
We also have screwed up, blown up (missing blown off, regional blowed up, blowed off; compare by the way German abblasen (to cancel, call off), conceivably from horn signals) maxed out as misspelling (gosh!) of maxed-out (without max out or max-out), and surely more.
I wonder if German angeflanscht relates, cf. Flansch from MHG vlansch (or vlans ʼmouthʼ [4]) with v possibly indicating Low German v < b, IMHO, and the adduced cognate flennen all the same comparable to bleat, see also einen Flunsch ziehen 😣, indeed Norddeutsch but already seen in OHG flannēn ("den Mund verziehen’ (um 1000)" [5]). Nevertheless see also bucca, bouche, of uncertain origin; bottle, butticula (ultimately of uncertain origin), Flasche (with Nl. flas, OE flasce, flaxe and ON flaska to IE *plek̑-; similar to Gebinde) and basket, fascis etc. (uncertain, of chiefly european extraction, possibly substratal).
Whereas bolt is said to be from *bʰeld-, I wouldn't split hairs over this (cp. Macedonian vlakno "single piece of hair", Lithuanian plaukai "single piece", plaukas, Northern Kurdish pirç, por, Italian capello, cf. hair#translations, cp. Frisur, PGem *frisaz of unknown origin; I' m saying strands of hemp fiber are used to affix piping, to the point that cannabis and canal need compared) for the present purpose. Compare perhaps Blei, lead (Celtic loan like basket), plumbum; Fr. pleure, Ger. Plörre; Ger. Fütze, En. puddle; DWDS above gives late MHG vlansch ‘Zipfelʼ, too, see therefore synonymous Fitzelchen "little bit, snippet". The construction of sewere (*exaquaria) is similar to Abfluss (drain; cf. fall for *Hpo- prefix).
Whereas plumbum instead suggests AGr. μόλυβδος, the respective pages disagree be it substratal or akin to murky (see [[https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Wiktionary:Etymology_scriptorium/2021/May#is_it_merk%CA%B7_or_merg%CA%B7?%7C recently in the ES arguing for a substrate), my first thought when it comes to smelting goes to pouringlead agrees. Deriving bolt from this is almost trivial.
In sum, however, there are too many complications to be really sure, and the comparison of bolzen to holzen [6] does not improve this. On second thought, cp. eine menge Holz for der Hütte haben (to have big'uns, a lot of holt in front of the hut), forget the chirurgical precision unless somebody can confirm that fixtures are actually necessary, and suppose it started from bolster in a sense of stuffed braziers (viz. holder "suspender"). Edited with additional glosses. ApisAzuli (talk) 10:40, 7 November 2021 (UTC) Although I am very much affraid that the conclusion is hazardous, I recall that bolster and Polster may be comparable [7] (@Wakuran). Regardless of semantics, one may then compare Pfeil to bolt. I've once again went balistic, but it won't have any impact. Sorry. I will have to stop now. ApisAzuli (talk) 12:10, 7 November 2021 (UTC)


Should usex be created as a Wiktionary jargon? It has even found its way into the dictionary proper: [8]. ·~ dictátor·mundꟾ 18:18, 4 November 2021 (UTC)

I've replaced it in those entries with "usage example". Equinox 22:01, 6 November 2021 (UTC)
@Equinox: By the way, regarding my original asking, is the term entry-worthy? ·~ dictátor·mundꟾ 12:10, 7 November 2021 (UTC)
Our internal use of the term is irrelevant. You should do your own research to find if it has usage outside of Wiktionary. DTLHS (talk) 17:26, 7 November 2021 (UTC)
In my opinion no. We aren't here to document our own slang not used outside Wiktionary. Equinox 21:05, 7 November 2021 (UTC)


Does English have any umbrella terms for clothing worn on the upper (shirts, jackets, bras) and lower (trousers, skirts, loincloths) body, respectively? Like "footwear" as an umbrella term for shoes and socks and such, or like "underwear" versus "outerwear". The "-wear" pattern isn't the point, though, it's just the only one that came to mind.

- 14:43, 5 November 2021 (UTC)

Upper garments can be referred to as tops, and lower garments as bottoms. Top doesn't include bras though. It normally only includes those garments which are seen on the outside. I suppose you could craft the words topwear and bottomwear for these as well (?), and they appear to exist in daily use Leasnam (talk) 15:50, 5 November 2021 (UTC)
I've created them. Please have a look and correct if I may have missed anything...I'm a bit on the fly at the moment Leasnam (talk) 16:51, 5 November 2021 (UTC)
Are you sure that "bottomwear" typically includes footwear? My intuition is that it doesn't, just as "topwear" typically doesn't include things like hats and gloves, but that the primary meaning is closer to "leg-wear" and "torso-wear", respectively. Neither is really part of my lexicon, though, so I have limited confidence in my intuition on this occasion.
- 18:55, 5 November 2021 (UTC)
I am not! And I had thought the exact same thing, also drawing the analogy to topwear and hats...I'd have to review some uses to ensure. In some situations, though, I can potentially, conceivably see footwear being included...maybe Leasnam (talk) 00:09, 6 November 2021 (UTC)
Then we're in full agreement. My suggestion would be to give the narrower meaning as the first sense, and the wider "anything worn above/below the waist" one as the second, in each case.
- (OP) 2A02:560:4289:7C00:86F:ED6B:93B7:BA62 09:42, 6 November 2021 (UTC)
I've removed the socks and shoes from the definition. Leasnam (talk) 23:49, 7 November 2021 (UTC)
Thanks! I'd hoped it was just a case of my drawing a blank. The two parts of a bikini are often named "bikini top" and "bikini bottoms(*)", I think, so it seems strange for "top" to exclude bras, as you say. May have to do with underwear versus beachwear. Or may be a slightly different usage, in which anything that has distinct top and bottom parts gets more leeway in applying the terms than is the case for single-piece garments.
(*) My impression is that "bottoms" is more common than "bottom" generally, likely due to the "pair of trousers" concept being inherited by anything that's vaguely trouser-y.
- 18:46, 5 November 2021 (UTC)


Attributive noun/adjective ("kitchen-table issues"). Entry-worthy ? Leasnam (talk) 16:39, 5 November 2021 (UTC)

so they had saidEdit

Past participle of so they say. I doubt this actually has the same idiomatic force. Equinox 21:56, 6 November 2021 (UTC)

The Corpus of Historical American English reports the following
  • "Her daughter Margaret, and any visitors, evacuees, or servants who might be with them at the time, had always come along in dressing gowns to sit with her lest she should be frightened.... At least so they had said...." (1948, Naked and the Dead, Norman Mailer)
The Internet Archive records a number of uses (see this search for more)
  • "There will be a nice pension." So they had said, but since that day his step had been less sprightly, [] ([9])
  • Out of 23 kids, only 12 had made it throgh No TV Week without watching (or so they had said). ([10])
  • Tales of the human world had been passed on by old dwarfs who had known Greenweed personally (or so they had said) [] ([11])
It certainly seems much less common. I also see so they have said, which we don't have recorded at the entry. I'm not sure how it would be added to the inflection line. —The Editor's Apprentice (talk) 06:12, 8 November 2021 (UTC)
The issue of when to use the pluperfect is complex and there are sentences where you can have either the preterite or the pluperfect. The examples given here are all attested in the corpus, but I would say that each of these sentences could be rewritten with "so they said" and would become more idiomatic as a result. 18:09, 8 November 2021 (UTC)
@The Editor's Apprentice: Your examples are literally "this is what those specific people said". That's not the same as "so they say", which means "people say it proverbially" without referring to any specific people. Equinox 05:59, 13 November 2021 (UTC)
As proverbs are considered 'timeless' truths, it is not natural to use anything other than the present tense for them. I believe that careful reading of usages in other tenses will show auch usage to be (virtually?) always literal. DCDuring (talk) 17:18, 13 November 2021 (UTC)
Okay, its pretty clear that I forgot what made the original phrase idiomatic and that all the examples I gave are literal, except maybe the one about the pension. I guess it's just one of those flubs. Let me come back in a bit and see if I can actually find any idiomatic usage. —The Editor's Apprentice (talk)
@Equinox: The only other possible idiomatic use that I find is "He thought of Nathan Dayber, dying—so they had said." ([12]). I can't find a third, if it does exist I would say the construction is exceeding rare. I feel okay deleting the entry, but, as always, I can't help but think there is a third out there. —The Editor's Apprentice (talk) 00:36, 24 November 2021 (UTC)
And then you ask yourself: what purpose does the entry serve? Is it me proving to myself that I can, I CAN, find three citations? Or is it there to help people use a dictionary, perhaps foreign learners, who will naively trust you? Equinox 05:13, 27 November 2021 (UTC)
salty comment, Equinox Notusbutthem (talk) 14:17, 27 November 2021 (UTC)
If three uses could be found, having an entry for so they had said would serve the purpose of recording "all [terms] in all languages", no matter how rare, and showing the diversity and full extent of language. The East Anglian term gimble comes to mind for me. I would be surprised if more than a handful of people are helped by the presence of that entry rather than its absence. Finding three citations for the term was very difficult. And yet, I think it has earned its place in the dictionary. Readers, including those learning English, having a great deal of trust in the contents of reference works (dictionaries or otherwise) is a real problem that requires careful consideration on our part as editors. I think the best thing that we can do when writing this dictionary to minimize misunderstanding is to be precise. This might show up as noting how uncertain we are about etymologies or, more relevantly to our discussion, marking senses as rare or very rare when appropriate. Take care. —The Editor's Apprentice (talk) 00:10, 28 November 2021 (UTC) (edited)


According to my Latin dictionary, ecclesiastical pronunciation of Latin vowels is generally the same as in Classical Latin although the different values of the vowels are frequently not "rigidly adhered to". It nevertheless seems hard to believe that ecclesiastical pronunciation would not be careful to pronounce "anus" differently from "ānus" even if it doesn't normally distinguish carefully between long and short vowels. And even if that pronunciation difference of Classical Latin is not strictly adhered to with these words, it seems even more unlikely that ecclesiastical pronunciation would make a special effort to rigidly adhere to pronouncing "anus" as [ˈäːnus] to make it sound like "ānus" as our entry claims.--Espoo (talk) 17:25, 7 November 2021 (UTC)

Saying that vowel length is not distinguished "rigidly" or "carefully" in Ecclesiastical Latin isn't an accurate way of putting it. Vowel length simply isn't distinguished at all, any more than in modern Italian: that is, phonetic differences in vowel length are completely predictable based only on the position of stress and location of consonants in a word, not based on the original vowel length contrasts of ancient Latin. Since phonemic vowel length contrast does not exist in the sound system of Italian, contrastive vowel length is not available as a means of disambiguating words that are minimal pairs in Classical Latin (such as liber/līber and anus/ānus). Pairs like these are simply homophones (and usually would be homographs too, since users of an "Ecclesiastical" pronunciation would be unlikely to spell words with macrons). The presence of phonetic length in a form like "anus" isn't due to any special effort; Italians produce a long vowel automatically in any stressed non-final syllable that doesn't end in a consonant.--Urszag (talk) 23:41, 7 November 2021 (UTC)
I am confident that ecclesiastical Latin pronunciation follows religiously that of classical Latin. DCDuring (talk) 17:19, 13 November 2021 (UTC)
I don't understand what you mean by this. The phrase "ecclesiastical Latin pronunciation" does not refer to any single rigidly defined entity, but most people use it to refer to pronunciation used in Rome or by people outside of Rome trying to imitate (what they think) Roman Latin sounds like. For example, the pronunciation used by Pope Francis in this video from 2013. This form of Latin is definitely not the same as the reconstruction per scholarly consensus of "classical Latin". Are you disputing the scholarly reconstruction of classical Latin, disputing that the form of Latin called "ecclesiastical Latin" used by speakers like Pope Francis lacks contrastive vowel length, or obscurely indicating something else?--Urszag (talk) 18:05, 14 November 2021 (UTC)
Thanks for the explanation. --Espoo (talk) 23:31, 15 November 2021 (UTC)
Since it's trivially possible to substitute eg. avia, especially where it remained in use while there is — unsurprisingly — not a single reflex of anūs as far our entry is concerned, the given answer is unnacceptable from a descriptive standpoint, not to mention that (butt)hole is a-priori unlikely to occur in any ecclesiastical text.
Even for classical Latin the -us ending should come perhaps unexpected when avia (as well as AGr. annis, perhaps) shows feminine ending, Lithuanian anyta, Old Prussian ane, and Albanian ane probably don't reflect *-o- either, and it's anyones best guess what declension pattern it would have ended up with despite vocative āne. Although, the further etymology of either word is a sketch at best at the moment. ApisAzuli (talk) 11:22, 21 November 2021 (UTC)

Pronunciation of Russian ра́диоEdit

I see that we render ра́дио (rádio) in IPA as [ˈradʲɪo], but I only hear [ˈradʲo] both at ра́дио (rádio) and in all the samples at https://forvo.com/word/радио/#ru . Am I hearing too little, is the transcription based on other principles or should this be amended? PJTraill (talk) 17:37, 7 November 2021 (UTC)

The transcription is fine. Your perception is due to the fact a close, front vowel follows a palatalised sound. Though I do not know why Russian IPAs are given as a narrow transcription. ·~ dictátor·mundꟾ 20:02, 7 November 2021 (UTC)
It sounds like that, but if native speakers say they are saying [ˈradʲɪo], then I accept their listening comprehension is better. Another example is видео, which often seems like видьо 18:12, 8 November 2021 (UTC)

run expressEdit

In the following sentence:

The 2 runs express from 96 St to Chambers St.

What parts of speech are run and express? I have two possible analyses:

  1. run is an intransitive verb, and express is an adverb.
  2. run is a copulative verb, and express is an adjective.

How do I tell which one is correct? -- King of ♥ 01:10, 8 November 2021 (UTC)

The first analysis is correct (I think!): the 2 (a train) runs (intransitive). How does it run? It runs express. Equinox 15:26, 8 November 2021 (UTC)
Or as short for,
The 2 runs an express service ... ,
just like you can say that someone “runs the night shift”. But an elliptic adverbial, for
The 2 runs as an express service ... ,
appears the most plausible analysis.  --Lambiam 16:09, 8 November 2021 (UTC)

Phrasing of the usage note for German "Mensch"Edit

@Matthias Buchmeier, -sche, Atitarev: A week or so ago the usage notes and other details for entry of German * were changed to be less "subjective and heavy-handed". The entry for Mensch also has a usage note concerning gender neutrality in German. It specifically states "The feminine die Menschin is very rare in actual use. It is mostly found as a mockery of alleged gender-neutral language." The "alleged gender-neutral language" part of the usage note seems like it might be "subjective and heavy-handed" in a similar way. What are y'all's thoughts? Is there a better or more accurate way the usage note could be written? As a side note, the three of y'all were pinged in particular because you are listed first under the German heading of Template:wgping. —The Editor's Apprentice (talk) 05:42, 8 November 2021 (UTC)

I have never heard of Menschin. It sounds funny to me and is certainly meant humorously as also stated by its Duden page. Matthias Buchmeier (talk) 14:57, 8 November 2021 (UTC)
Just leave out the word “alleged”. The aim is to make fun of gender-neutral language. Germans had no problem with Bundeskanzlerin, but I’m not so sure they’ll be equally open to accepting Bundespräsidentin.  --Lambiam 16:16, 8 November 2021 (UTC)
There is a Jewish use of Mensch in Ashkenazi communities in the US. "He's a real Mensch", a great guy etc. Is this Yiddish? If so, we don't have a Yiddish entry for Mensch... 18:14, 8 November 2021 (UTC)
Off topic, but see mensch and מענטש(mentsh). Yiddish entries use the Hebrew script. ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 20:05, 8 November 2021 (UTC)

Pronunciation of Edit

In English the reduced Planck's constant, , is pronounced like the name of the letter h with "bar" added. How is it pronounced in other languages? Should we represent this somehow in Wiktionary? Perhaps we can conjure up a multilingual pronunciation table. Vox Sciurorum (talk) 13:18, 8 November 2021 (UTC)

No need to add the pronunciation for every language— just state the names the symbol is called in different languages. ·~ dictátor·mundꟾ 14:04, 8 November 2021 (UTC)
Like “h quer” for German. But where/how should this info be added to the entry?  --Lambiam 16:24, 8 November 2021 (UTC)
I added a Usage notes section in which to provide the needed info. ·~ dictátor·mundꟾ 13:11, 9 November 2021 (UTC)
I have created the German entry, but am not sure if my intuition is correct that it never inflects. I have indicated it as such to avoid the automatic inflection in the template that I could not confirm right now, which would by estimate matter only in typography, if you have a box full of type-letters. ApisAzuli (talk) 10:44, 12 November 2021 (UTC)
I might be inclined to pronounce die Verwendung des ℏ in der Formel as if it was spelled out like die Verwendung des h-quers in der Formel, but not adding the genitive s is fine as well.  --Lambiam 22:22, 12 November 2021 (UTC)

Bosporus versus BosphorusEdit

w:en:Bosporus starts out with a lengthy note:

The spelling Bosporus is listed first or exclusively in all major British and American dictionaries (e.g. Oxford Online Dictionaries, Collins, Longman, Merriam-Webster, American Heritage, and Random House) as well as the Encyclopædia Britannica and the Columbia Encyclopedia. The American Heritage Dictionary's online version has only this spelling and its search function does not even find anything for the spelling Bosphorus. The Columbia Encyclopedia specifies that the pronunciation of the alternative spelling ph is also /p/, but dictionaries also list the pronunciation /f/.

Is there any reason we use Bosphorus as our preferred form?--Prosfilaes (talk) 01:24, 9 November 2021 (UTC)

Huh, it's remarkable that some dictionaries don't even mention -ph-, since -ph- is about 1.5x more common (for the last century, and historically even more lopsidedly predominant; -p- has never been the usual spelling AFAICT, apart from brief spells in the 1630s and 1970s which may just be statistical noise). That's why the entry was relocated to -ph- in 2007, I see, which was the right move IMO. Perhaps the other dictionaries' decision to lemmatize -p- is to guide against the pronunciation with /f/? But even the English word's immediate etymon, Latin Bosphorus, if I search for Latin-specific inflected forms in is more -um or -o, seems to be commonly -ph- too, and Latin Bosforus and other languages' terms (Armenian Բոսֆոր (Bosfor), etc) suggests the now-common pronunciation with /f/ is also of long standing. - -sche (discuss) 02:13, 9 November 2021 (UTC)
Apparently the "p" spelling is the etymologically correct one (see Ancient Greek Βόσπορος (Bósporos), a sort of semantic doublet for Oxford). You have to wonder where the "ph" came from- perhaps the influence of phosphorus? Chuck Entz (talk) 04:59, 9 November 2021 (UTC)
The Greek entry says βοός + πόρος is a folk etymology; I almost wonder whether φ or /f/ could've been present in whatever original form was folk-etymologized, and/or present as a variant in Greek. Otherwise, I suppose the pronunciation with /f/ spread to so many other languages from Latin and its descendants? (To the etymology room...!) As for this entry, I think -ph- (as the more common form) is the right lemma (right?), but we clearly need a usage note about those other dictionaries prescribing the form with /p/, and why. - -sche (discuss) 16:16, 9 November 2021 (UTC)

aereus#Latin missing an entry/etymology for āereus meaning "aerial"Edit

aerius#Latin ("aerial") lists āereus as an alternative form (and it seems that other dictionaries do too: https://logeion.uchicago.edu/aerius ). But there's no mention of āereus or "aerial" under aereus#Latin, only of aereus meaning "brazen" (which to be clear is a correct word & meaning AFAIK). —⁠This unsigned comment was added by RW Dutton (talkcontribs) at 21:26, 9 November 2021 (UTC).

freemason, Freemason, freemasonry, FreemasonryEdit

I believe the lower case variants should just be simple {{alternative case form of}} stubs, right? Fytcha (talk) 15:50, 10 November 2021 (UTC)

Not necessarily. The uppercase words are a proprialization of their lowercase equivalents, and both ‘variants’ have different senses. But in case there is any sense common to either entries, the entries could be reformatted to have different etymologies, as in Free State. ·~ dictátor·mundꟾ 15:48, 20 November 2021 (UTC)


As @Kristian-Clausal has pointed out on the talk page, a couple of the senses are rather cryptic. The page has basically been this way since it was created 15 years ago:

  1. worm (a feeling)
  2. worm (a person)

The sense referring to "a person" is at least decipherable as "A contemptible or devious being", but there isn't now and wasn't in 2006 any sense on the page for worm that can be substituted. The closest I can see is "An internal tormentor; something that gnaws or afflicts one’s mind with remorse", which isn't quite the same as "a feeling".

Would someone who knows Russian clear this up? Chuck Entz (talk) 15:58, 10 November 2021 (UTC)

ru.wiktionary sense 4 defines it as "nonentity", with the cited example sentence:
Я царь — я раб — я червь — я бог!
I am a king - I am a slave - I am a worm - I am a god!
Sense 5 on that page defines it as the persistence or agony of a feeling with the cited example sentence:
Гнетёт нас тягота бесцельности существования и точит червь тоски.
The burden of the aimlessness of existence weighs on us and [the worm of ennui stings? not sure how to translate]. 16:10, 10 November 2021 (UTC)
точит червь тоски - the pain/pangs of the heartache wear(s) you down? 18:06, 10 November 2021 (UTC)
I've added the sense of 'gnawing feeling' to the entry, which is the closest fit I can think of in English. Nicodene (talk) 20:48, 13 November 2021 (UTC)

wrist rest vs wrist padEdit

Hi. Are wrist rest and wrist pad synonyms? --Vivaelcelta (talk) 18:47, 11 November 2021 (UTC)

Well, a pad has to be padded. If a wrist rest were unpadded, it wouldn't be a wrist pad. But I suppose most wrist rests are padded. 02:20, 12 November 2021 (UTC)
Ahhh okey. Thanks. --Vivaelcelta (talk) 18:12, 12 November 2021 (UTC)--Vivaelcelta (talk) 18:12, 12 November 2021 (UTC)

camping gas vs campstoveEdit

Hi. Are camping gas and campstove synonyms? --Vivaelcelta (talk) 22:37, 11 November 2021 (UTC)

No. A stove is a portable device on which to cook. Gas is the fuel that goes in the stove. 02:21, 12 November 2021 (UTC)
Ahh. Okey. Thank you. I have done this edit to avoid confusion. Then "camping gas" is another false friend with Spanish. Because in Spanish "camping gas" is the "campstove" xd. --Vivaelcelta (talk) 18:15, 12 November 2021 (UTC)

Are 𛀁 and 𛀀 actually "retrospective inventions"?Edit

Currently, the usage notes for 𛀁 (hiragana ye), also referred to by the usage notes for 𛀀 (archaic katakana e), say, in part:

  • 𛀁 and 𛀀 are retrospective inventions. They were not actually used in the ancient Japanese literature (which uses man'yōgana instead) and thus are not included in the historical kana orthography.

From what I've read, though, these two kana were actually used in very early kana writing (prior to the e / ye merger); when ye and e merged into what became known as e (although it was, for centuries, actually pronounced ye; this being, indirectly, why the common name of Japan's unit of currency uses a syllable that does not exist in modern Japanese), the syllable kept the original e hiragana (), while the original e katakana (𛀀) was displaced by the old ye katakana (𛄡; this evolved over time to the modern form, , as its upper rail slowly changed from tilted to horizontal), and the original ye hiragana (𛀁) and e katakana (𛀀) fell out of use (except for the former's use as a hentaigana for e). Example of a source that outright states that 𛀀 was used in period writing, and implies that 𛀁 also was (my emphasis added):

"...The character U+1B000 KATAKANA LETTER ARCHAIC E is an obsolete form of U+30A8 KATAKANA LETTER E, which has not been used in Japanese orthography for about one thousand years. [implying that it WAS used before that] In its pre-10th century use, this character represented the syllable 'e', and U+30A8 KATAKANA LETTER E represented the syllable 'ye'. [outright stating that 𛀀 was used for e in ye olden days, and that エ (presumably referring to 𛄡, the old tilted-top version of same) was used for ye] The character U+1B001 HIRAGANA LETTER ARCHAIC YE was originally encoded to represent a long-obsolete syllable that would have come between U+3086 HIRAGANA LETTER YU and U+3088 HIRAGANA LETTER YO. This syllable merged with 'e', which is now represented by U+3048 HIRAGANA LETTER E." [implying that one or both of e / ye was formerly represented by something else, presumably 𛀁 for ye]

On the next page, Figure 18-10, showing the state of the kana for e and ye (with e having え as its hiragana and 𛀀 as its katakana, and ye having 𛀁 as its hiragana and エ as its katakana), is titled "Japanese Historic Kana for e and ye", all but outright declaring that both the archaic kana shown (𛀁 and 𛀀) were actually used in actual writing prior to the e / ye merger.

(Finally, although this is admittedly OR, if the Meiji-era linguists were inventing ye kana out of whole cloth, why would they have displaced エ/𛄡 from e over to ye for pre-merger Japanese and come up with a different katakana for pre-merger e, rather than simply keeping エ/𛄡 at e for Japanese both old and new and inventing a new katakana for ye?) Whoop whoop pull up Bitching BettyAverted crashes 06:35, 12 November 2021 (UTC)

@Whoop whoop pull up: A few points here to address.
  • Re: retrospective inventions, simplifying the historical twists and turns somewhat, the hiragana character 𛀁 is an historical hentaigana ("alternate-form character") for modern standard , and the katakana character 𛀀 is an historical hentaigana for modern standard . Our entries need updating.
  • Re: the sounds they represent, if the Sanseido publishing house is to be believed, we can see in their historical hiragana chart and historical katakana chart when these glyphs arose -- 𛀁 as hiragana from 1120, after the yee merger, and also as katakana from 828, before the merger, when this glyph (or something close to it) was used to represent ye in contrast with 𛀀 to represent e.
  • Re: the old katakana 𛄡, that actually appears to be a Meiji-era innovation. There is a Meiji-era elementary school textbook kana table, showing for the e kana here in the vowel column, and showing tilted-top 𛄡 for the ye kana [here in the "y-" column. The modern glyph did not evolve from 𛄡 at all -- with the parallel top and bottom is listed in the Sanseido katakana table as first appearing for ye in 800, and then for e in 1016. This makes sense considering that the kata in katakana referred to the practice of using a piece of a kanji, and that was commonly used phonetically for ye, and later for merged e.
I hope this answers your questions. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 01:49, 16 November 2021 (UTC)
@Eirikr So was 𛄡 derived directly from man'yōgana, or was it an adaptation of ? (Also, you might have to walk me through the tables in the provided outlinks, seeing as I neither speak nor read Japanese [oh the irony!]). Whoop whoop pull up Bitching Betty ⚧️ Averted crashes 00:35, 17 November 2021 (UTC)

Template:Lb - new labelsEdit

Could someone please add these labels to the template {{lb|en|xyz}} (soon please):

Thanks! 11:53, 12 November 2021 (UTC)

"All" vs. "All the"Edit

There is a difference in meaning between the two that we don't seem to cover. For example when the song says "All the leaves are brown," it means "All leaves which I can see are brown," or "All leaves in this area are brown." In contrast, "All leaves are brown" is a categorical statement: "All leaves that exist anywhere are brown." Similarly, my paper dictionary (American Heritage) gives the example "All the windows are open," which means something like "All windows in this house/building are open." Again, this is different from "All windows are open." I'm thinking a new definition should be added under Adjective. The AHD uses Adjective to describe a half-dozen meanings and it looks like we place most of them under Determiner, but it's hard to see how "all" can be a determiner when it's followed by "the". --RDBury (talk) 14:40, 12 November 2021 (UTC)

The function is not in the use of all but rather the definite article the - compare for instance: the leaves are brown vs. leaves are brown; the windows are open vs. windows are open. All is merely placed on the outside of this. It's just SoP. Leasnam (talk) 14:59, 12 November 2021 (UTC)
I don’t think the difference is that pronounced. As we arrived at the house, I noticed all windows were open. Your tree is not doing well; it has been infested by beetles and all leaves have fallen off. It is understood that these are not all windows or leaves in the universe.  --Lambiam 22:41, 12 November 2021 (UTC)
I'd find those examples mildly ungrammatical and the "the" necessary in those sentences, at least in my idiolect.--Prosfilaes (talk) 23:49, 12 November 2021 (UTC)
@Lambiam: I agree that it's not a huge difference, but I think there is a difference and (echoing @Prosfilaes) your examples do sound rather odd to my ears. The additional context makes the "the's" unnecessary for the meaning, but that doesn't mean you can eliminate them without making the sentences sound clipped. --RDBury (talk) 11:04, 13 November 2021 (UTC)
@Leasnam: I see your point but I'm still unclear on what part of speech "all" is playing in the examples. English does not usually allow consecutive determiners, so if "all" is a determiner then sentences with "all the", "all my", "all this" are ungrammatical. (In contrast, "every the" is ungrammatical so the case for "every" being a determiner is relatively strong.) But adjectives normally follow a determiner so if "all" is an adjective then the above combinations are still ungrammatical. Also, "all" does not seem to work with arbitrary subjects, so adverb does not seem right either. The best that I can come with is that it's an adjective in the sense that it modifies a noun, but exceptional in that it precedes a determiner. --RDBury (talk) 11:39, 13 November 2021 (UTC)
It is unique, but it has an historical precedent - even in Old English we find constructs like eall se þēodsċype ("all the population") and eall þā ēagan ("all the eyes") used, where, eall should be inflected/declined, but it's not. However, in the majority of cases in Old English, eall is inflected as in tō eallum þām rīċe ("to all the realm") and for eallum þām þingum ("for all the things"), but the first two examples show a weakening or breaking down of this tendency. To me (just my impression), it seems like a noun, as if it were an ellipsis of all of (compare also "some of", "many of", etc.) but again, it makes no sense because the determiner and noun following are not in the genitive case as would be expected (i.e. eall þæs þēodsċypes ("all of the population"), eall þāra ēagena ("all of the eyes")) so it is a mystery to me how the uninflected use of eall came about, but it seems to be derived from the adjectival uses, and so inevitably ends up in our current usage today. So yes, it is a special case of the adjective unique to all. Leasnam (talk) 12:28, 13 November 2021 (UTC)
This issue came about because I'm trying to make sense of the difference between English "all" and German all in reference to a question at German Stack Exchange. As is often the case, the usage of cognates can be very different even if the meanings are similar. But according to the usage note under the German entry for all, German also has a "bare" form which precedes determiners. Perhaps this "pre-determiner" (per Mihia) use of "all" dates back to Proto-Germanic or earlier. --RDBury (talk) 23:05, 13 November 2021 (UTC)
Words such as "all" in "all the ~" are called "pre-determiners", I think. Other examples that I cribbed from Google search are "both" and "half". Mihia (talk) 18:52, 13 November 2021 (UTC)
Yes, "both" and "half" do seem to behave similarly. The usage note under both is close to what I'd like to see, though I think the jargon could be toned down. --RDBury (talk) 22:11, 13 November 2021 (UTC)

negroid, mongoloid, caucasoidEdit

I believe these terms are still used regularly today in the field of forensics, specifically hair analysis, which would make it a separate sense from the dated, offensive anthropology sense, right? The terms were at least heavily used by forensic scientists in the 2000s and before. Passage from the FBI, a public domain source (2000):

"A human hair can be associated with a particular racial group based on established models for each group. Forensic examiners differentiate between hairs of Caucasoid (European ancestry), Mongoloid (Asian ancestry), and Negroid (African ancestry) origin, all of which exhibit microscopic characteristics that distinguish one racial group from another. Head hairs are generally considered best for determining race, although hairs from other body areas can be useful. Racial determination from the microscopic examination of head hairs from infants, however, can be difficult, and hairs from individuals of mixed racial ancestry may possess microscopic characteristics attributed to more than one racial group.

The identification of race is most useful as an investigative tool, but it can also be an associative tool when an individual’s hairs exhibit unusual racial characteristics." PseudoSkull (talk) 03:46, 13 November 2021 (UTC)

I just took a peek at the first two entries and I'm a bit surprised that the anthropological sense is also labelled "offensive". The terms are not used as they once were, but I wouldn't call them "dated" either. I find the Usage note at mongoloid goes a bit far in saying "old racial (and racist) theories" - it's overly wokeist. Leasnam (talk) 11:47, 13 November 2021 (UTC)
These words are NOT offensive. The fact that tiny campaign groups might claim they are does not make it so, unless actually being black was agreed to be a negative thing. If you agreed that being black was a negative and undesirable, then saying someone had Negroid features would be pejorative. But why is being black a negative. There are far too many woke campaign posts in the Tea Room. 17:04, 13 November 2021 (UTC)
That makes no sense; by that logic, there's no such thing as an offensive term for a racial or cultural group.
But welcome to reality. Any term related to or sounding similar to nigger or negro are going to frequently found offensive; e.g. w:Controversies about the word niggardly. Your dismissal of "tiny campaign groups" just ignores reality; would you like to provide a citation for it? As for "woke campaign posts", this poll found roughly a third of Americans identified as woke, a third don't know what it means, and only a quarter actively don't identify as woke. As that makes woke American English a sociolect with more speakers than all but 15 languages in the world, I believe it will continue to be of some importance from a descriptive perspective to describe it.--Prosfilaes (talk) 22:10, 13 November 2021 (UTC)
What percentage of Americans find the word Negroid offensive? You haven't given the figure. Find it and reply. 10:59, 15 November 2021 (UTC)
A usage note may be appropriate. It's one of those words where one's political views tend to shape the way one views the word. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 16:13, 15 November 2021 (UTC)

Apostrophe in Neapolitan lemmataEdit

Neapolitan terms that show apheresis in regard to their Latin etyma are often written with apostrophe at the beginning. Is this a reflexion of the actual pronunciation (glottal stop?), an inveterate spelling convention or merely based on the preferences of the wiktionary-editors? To me it looks as if the distribution of the apostrophe seems rather dependent on the form of the respective Italian cognates; so there is Neapolitan 'mmiria (because of Italian invidia?) and 'nfiétto (cp. infetto; and there are inconsistencies, too, as in mmece), but scurdarse, not *'scurdarse, because of Italian scordare (both ultimately from Latin excors); so this would feed into the questionable notion that Neapolitan is a dialect of Italian. --Akletos (talk) 10:45, 13 November 2021 (UTC)

It's like the apologetic apostrophe used for Scots. There is a great deal of inconsistency, as you noted– ⟨'mmece⟩ is also attested. Nicodene (talk) 21:06, 13 November 2021 (UTC)


3. (transitive) To occupy or entertain (someone) in order to let time pass.

Anyone know this in modern use? Should it be labelled "obsolete" or "rare" or "now rare" or something else? Mihia (talk) 17:53, 13 November 2021 (UTC)

In modern use only in while away, I think. Vox Sciurorum (talk) 18:28, 13 November 2021 (UTC)
Maybe you mean the verb overall, but just to be clear, the use in "while away" is a different sense, sense #1. That one has a time- or time-period-related word as an object, while this one has a person as an object. Mihia (talk) 18:36, 13 November 2021 (UTC)
I don't see any evidence for definitions 2 or 3, either in my paper dictionary or in the other on-line dictionaries I checked. In seems "while away" is either a phrasal verb or an idiom, but "while" as a verb without "away" seems possible though nonstandard/dated. I vote delete 2 and 3, keep 1 as is. The synonyms listed are nonsense imo; a synonym of "while away" is "pass" (def. 3.2). --RDBury (talk) 07:16, 14 November 2021 (UTC)
Well, (3) has a quote, and enough others that seem to fit can be found by searching for e.g. "whiled him" (though some hits seem to be variant spellings, or misspellings, of "wile"). I feel reasonably confident that (3) exists or existed. (2) should be sent to RFV. The value of the synonyms "idle, laze, lounge" at (1) is debatable IMO. I did consider deleting them. Thing is, we say that "while" is now only used with "away", and on that basis "laze/lounge/idle" can indeed replace "while", e.g. in the "while away the hours" usex. Mihia (talk) 10:07, 14 November 2021 (UTC)
I did miss the quote (I often ignore them), but it seems to me that it could be an alternate spelling of "wile" used there. Instead of "whiled him" I tried variations such as "whiled us" and "whiling him". I still didn't see much convincing evidence of "while" meaning "occupy", and I did find several examples where it's obviously "wile" spelled as "while". For example "How could you know that you were whiling him from another?" (Godey's Magazine vol. 45, p. 57). "While" is used as a verb in w:The Kerry Recruit though the meaning is not clear from context. There is also a quote ("The night grows chill How deep are now the regrets for opportunities wasted; how cold the passions which once whiled us on." from Bentley's Miscellany (Vol. 27, p. 45). Again it uses "while" with "on", which may be some kind of prepositional verb with "while" replacing "wile". Is there an actual dictionary from the period, OED or similar, which gives this definition; to me that would be "best evidence". --RDBury (talk) 23:50, 14 November 2021 (UTC)
Looking again at this, you may be right. The examples may all be errors for "wile", or at least not 100% conclusive evidence of the "occupy or entertain" sense. I'll send it to RFV. Mihia (talk) 22:13, 15 November 2021 (UTC)


It's not clear what is "proscribed". It was my impression that a) in's is preferred over ins, as I remember reading comments on the German Stackexchange to that effect, but the usage note makes it clear that it should parse as one word, which agrees with me intuitively and because it patterns with im b) the difference is in spelling only, and that ins is nevertheless deemed a contraction and avoided in formal writing. Yet, ins is not so labeled as proscribed.

Duden Rechtschreibregeln § D14 [13] confirms the preference for ins, to my surprise, but only says usually ("üblicherweise", but they also spell üblicher Weise in one word as if to avoid the capital question, so what do they know, eh), which is not really proscriptive. The rule is an exception for rendering of oral speech in writing ("wenn Wörter der gesprochenen Sprache mit Auslassungen schriftlich wiedergegeben werden") — that's tendentially proscriptive, albeit carefully worded.

Google's ngram viewer [14] is utterly unhelpful as so often, indicating 0% for "in's" despite offering relevant search results; the results depend of course on the topic, so the results for in das lead with formal textbooks.

I am otherwise not familiar with corpus analysis, style guides and my personal observation of 'Ottografie' is questionable at best. It is quite possible that I misremember the exchange in that I would argue for in's and against said notion of common practice, as I still am, before accepting it, as I am spelling ins. This is saying that I would very much appreciate if our pages were a little clearer on the matter.

Not to last, I do like to believe that "in + das" is a purely synchronical interpretation, though I do not know since when, and suspect contamination over into etc. p. p. ApisAzuli (talk) 07:18, 14 November 2021 (UTC)

For an Ngram view, try this.  --Lambiam 18:13, 14 November 2021 (UTC)
I usually find the DWDS usage database more useful than Ngram, compare for example ins, in das and in's. (In fact it would be nice to have a similar free corpus available for English.)
I think what's being proscribed is the apostrophe, so ins and in das are both allowed, and in fact quite common, but in's is non-standard at best. In general, preposition+article contractions don't use apostrophes, but apostrophes are often used when imitating spoken language in print. But given that in's isn't hard to find in published text, I'd say "proscribed" is a bit strong. There is a question and some good answers on the difference between ins and in das at German SE. I didn't see anything about ins being frowned upon in formal registers, and it's certainly common enough on German Wikipedia which has about as formal a register as there is. It does say that you'd use in das when you want to stress das. English contractions work similarly, for example "Do not eat any cake until after dinner," stressing the "not". Of course there are always self-appointed language police that will tell you what is and is not allowed no matter what is used in actual practice; it's best to think twice before taking such prescriptive advice. German, unlike English, does have a semi-official organization (the w:Council for German Orthography) that publishes rules for spelling, but I don't know if it weighs in on this. --RDBury (talk) 22:45, 14 November 2021 (UTC)
There's absolutely nothing unclear or wrong in our entry on in's. It clearly says this spelling is a proscribed variant of ins. And it's such a rare, silly, simultaneously hypercorrect and pseudo-highbrow, and outdated spelling that it's not even mentioned as an outdated alternative in the German Wiktionary. It's as silly as a'm or i'm would be instead of am and im. This nonsense spelling apparently arose because of widespread 's in contractions of es as in wie geht's etc. Apparently Duden says "üblicherweise" (for which üblicher Weise has always been a common misspelling before and after the spelling reform, and this nonsense and an even sillier etymology is in our entry!) because it doesn't occur with any other cases of the articles der/die/das except accusative of das, and only in uneducated, pseudo-highbrow usage with in's. --Espoo (talk) 02:38, 15 November 2021 (UTC)
And yes, https://www.rechtschreibrat.com/regeln-und-woerterverzeichnis/ has only ins in its list of correct spellings and doesn't even mention in's. The different organizations rechtschreibrat.com and duden.de describe the same spelling norms; they only differ in their choice of some preferred spellings in cases where the norms allow alternatives. And most of the cases of in's on the German Wikipedia are old quotes, but there are some pseudo-highbrow editors that have managed to use it... --Espoo (talk) 02:58, 15 November 2021 (UTC)
As lexicographers, we shouldn't shame people for being not adhering to orthographic standards. Motives are irrelevant, only prevalence counts. "in's" rarely appears in print (because even the most basic spell-checking software flags it), but I have occasionally seen it in informal writing. Maybe people think that it is a contraction of "in das" (historically it is, synchronically not; "Morgen gehe ich in das Kino" obviously means something different from "Morgen gehe ich ins Kino", regardless of the level of formality), and that's what makes them use the apostrophe. What might add to the confusion is the fact that the apostrophe in colloquial contractions like auf'm (=auf dem) and aus'm (=aus dem) is accepted by Duden. People do write "in's", but I think it is on par with lack of capitalization of nouns, or things like Ressigeur (yes, I have created such an entry!). So "proscribed" is quite right if we allow the use of this term taken from the parallel universe of prescriptivists (I'd prefer "occasional non-standard"). –Austronesier (talk) 10:50, 15 November 2021 (UTC)
As a German native speaker, you know that the most common and important reason almost all German-speaking people use dictionaries is to see if their use of a word conforms to the spelling, grammar, and usage recommendations proclaimed by the originally private (Duden) and nowadays also public international organizations that are in fact rules on these matters for schools and public officials and therefore considered rules for everyone by almost everyone. That doesn't mean users will necessarily follow these recommendations that basically everyone thinks are rules, but they would be very upset and would use Wiktionary much less if we didn't say when a spelling etc. is proscribed by these rules. If anybody doesn't know what "proscribed" means or thinks this means we're trying to make them feel ashamed, they just have to click that usage label to see that it means "Some authorities or commentators recommend or warn against the listed usage", which is actually too English-oriented and could be expressed in more absolute terms for German. We can and should of course provide a more modern and scientific dictionary than Duden. This includes pointing out that some, many, or most people no longer or never followed a certain recommendation (e.g. the pronunciation of Libyen), but we should clearly say if the Duden hasn't yet updated some recommendation and therefore the usage we record is still proscribed by the Duden. People want to make an informed decision to not follow or to follow offical recommendations because they're considered "rules" by almost everyone, including employers and others evaluating job and other applications, even if many or most don't follow a certain "rule" outside of formal settings. --Espoo (talk) 18:23, 15 November 2021 (UTC)
I have no time for this. No, I don't subscribe to the Duden, and I reject the notion that the Duden is more than a descriptive work. It is heavily biased describing their own preferences, in which they have good reasons in some parts but entirely arbitrary and often criticized ones in other parts. Anyway, if you read D14 closely, there is no *proscription*. Quite the opposite, it legitimize the apostrophe for contractions and merely observe that ins is nevertheless üblich (which may better be translated as varying on account of the etymology implying movement, viz. üben "turnen, trainieren", not to metion I' d compare erweisen otherwise, not sure anyways).
The recommendation by the Rechtschreibrat can be understood to be refering to formal writing, IMHO, but this does not square with my reading of the legalese [https://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/stgb/) and my own speech practice where in das is used near to exclusion if "ins" is available. ApisAzuli (talk) 12:28, 16 November 2021 (UTC)
As descriptive lexicographers, we should indeed mark terms as "proscribed" if the language community treats terms as such. This is not about shaming -- this is about describing how the term is used and perceived by the average user of that language. From what little I've seen of the stats linked earlier in this thread, in's is vanishingly rare, and arguably proscribed per the references mentioned. A quick bit of googling at google:"deutsch" "rechtschreibung" "in's" turns up other sites describing usage like in's as „Idiotenapostroph“ or „Deppenapostroph“. The DE WP article on de:w:Apostroph specifically calls out in's, as a contraction of in das, as "falsch" in a section about fehlerhafte Verwendung (mistaken usage). If we do not let users know that this in's usage might be regarded as non-standard at best, and worthy of ridicule at worst, we are not being sufficiently descriptive in our entry. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 01:29, 18 November 2021 (UTC)
@Eirikr: A Deppenapostroph would rather be genitive 's where it can be justified by typographic considerations to set a trademark appart, for example. The similarly named Deppenbindestrich, which I use liberally to accomodate Aus-Länder is legitimate according to Duden as well. A few ney sayers does not make it proscribed per se. You cannot at the same time label it proscribed (by Grammar-Nazi's) and not-proscribed (by the oh-so-ffici-al rules). And youbare still missing that my question reflects on more facets than the spelling. 2A00:20:6055:DA7B:1981:F908:A377:FAB5 09:30, 18 November 2021 (UTC)
Let's set aside the non-germane distinctions between „Idiotenapostroph“ and „Deppenapostroph“.
My focus is Japanese, and my German is not as strong. I'm only aware of the meaning- and syntax-based stricture that in + das cannot be contracted if das is a relative pronoun as opposed to an article. You appear to be suggesting some nuance in the meaning that we do not indicate anywhere. If there's more to German in's than just the contraction of in + das, then that should be added to our entry.
(If that's @ApizAzuli, please preview and confirm your session status before saving an edit. It's confusing to have an anon show up in the middle of a thread like this.)
‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 17:22, 22 November 2021 (UTC)

die Kirche im Dorf lassenEdit

Translated as "keep one's cool" (i.e. stay calm, don't lose your temper?). I have heard that the meaning is more like "don't exaggerate, don't get carried away" (perhaps when telling a story for instance?). Is that also possible? Equinox 00:23, 15 November 2021 (UTC)

Just FYI: the IP who added that in March is consistent with the "Missing informations!" vandal, who is known for making stuff up. Of course, that range covers a lot of IPs in that part of France, so that's not conclusive.
At any rate, the literal translation: "leave the church in the village" certainly seems like it should mean to not pile on extra embellishment. Chuck Entz (talk) 00:46, 15 November 2021 (UTC)
Yes, i fixed it. --Espoo (talk) 01:06, 15 November 2021 (UTC)
It can be used quite literally to tell militant atheists to stay cool, FYI. Although this may be an embellishment on my part, I find the given etymology at least questionable w.r.t. to the church as building or rather an institution represented by the community. It simply means to remain faithful or rather humble ("my humble little town", the Simpsons, with Sideshow Bob's typical elevated register is in fact where I learned the word). ApisAzuli (talk) 16:55, 16 November 2021 (UTC)

tête de mortEdit

The phonemic transcription is /tɛt də mɔʁ/. What would be the phonetic transcription? I have a hard time analyzing what I hear in the sound file and what i myself do. Is the t slightly voiced or the d slightly devoiced? --Espoo (talk) 00:33, 15 November 2021 (UTC)

In French, /t/ is not aspirated, so to an English speaker, it doesn't sound quite like /t/. I can't listen to the sound file, so I can't speak to the specifics there. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 16:15, 15 November 2021 (UTC)
I wasn't able to find a source with phonetic transcription. I have the feeling that there is some assimilation between the voicedness of the t and the d, specifically because there's no schwa and because there's no aspiration as there is after the second t when tête is alone or before a vowel. I feel that the two sounds are almost pronounced as a long i.e. geminated t. --Espoo (talk) 19:06, 15 November 2021 (UTC)
Now that I'm able to listen to it I realize you're talking about the second /t/, which wasn't clear before. I'm not sure exactly what's going on, but to me it sounds like the /d/ is very slightly devoiced and the /t/ is slightly voiced. It doesn't sound quite like gemination, because to my ears it sounds like the quality of the sound changes ever so slightly, such that the /t/ and the /d/ aren't merely merged into one sound. But it's possible that I'm just having trouble dissociating what I hear from the spelling. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 02:01, 16 November 2021 (UTC)
There are a couple of factors that complicate things: English speakers tend to not release syllable-final stops, and instead use lengthening of the preceding vowel to mark "voicing". That means we have a hard time hearing whether a syllable-final stop is voiced or voiceless. Also, our "dental" stops are really alveolar, so real dental stops are perceived to be more like "th". The frication is more obvious in the voiceless "th" as in "thin", so a dental stop is perceived as more like the voiced "th" as in "the". As an English-French bilingual, you may not have that problem- but it's also possible that there might be some interference between your French and English "ears". I don't know all that much about German phonology, but there are probably similar factors at work for German speakers (I do know that German use of aspiration is somewhat like that of English). Chuck Entz (talk) 06:31, 16 November 2021 (UTC)
I can't guarantee that there are subtleties I'm not picking up, but my ears are fairly well trained to hear the difference between aspiration and non-aspiration, regardless of vowel length, since I speak a variety of French that at least borders on having phonemic vowel length. I have trouble hearing the difference between dental and alveolar stops, but I use the former when speaking French and the latter when speaking English, so I'm at least familiar with that difference. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 23:42, 16 November 2021 (UTC)
I hear a prolonged oral closure (with no accompanying glottal closure) with a sharp voice offset at the beginning and a negative voice onset before release. Or rather, that's what I produce when trying to imitate it. So its like [tː] that is released as [d] (or [t̪] and [d̪] but actually not fully dental): the voicing starts somewhere in the middle of the closure. You could transcribe is simply as [td] or more precisely as [t̚d]. In German, /-t/ + /d-/ can be pronounced in the same manner (unless you release and aspirate the t before the d in slow careful speech), but for many speakers it will be rather plain [tː] without voicing nor aspiration. I think most English speakers have simultaneous glottal closure in such clusters. –Austronesier (talk) 07:18, 16 November 2021 (UTC)
I agree that there's no glottal closure. My ear isn't good enough to agree or disagree with the rest of your assessment. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 23:42, 16 November 2021 (UTC)
@Andrew Sheedy: Well, the common wisdom in phonology is that analysis should be done in a program like Praat. Hence I still and in conservative dialects. Even Parisian French, like any metrolect, cannot afford a unique narrow transcription taken from any random recording as if anyone sounded the same. Taking the evening news reader with special training on the other hand you could skip the recording and ask the trainer for prescriptions, ideally, but it would be questionable if that's worthwhile for a descriptive dictionary.
I have not listened, but wonder if there is a ultra short vowel as there is in Non, je ne regrette rien (as sung by Edith Piaf), at least historically, although the environemt _r is a different matter. Actually, given English I regret to (have to) inform you and German ich bedauere Ihnen mitteilen zu müssen I can't unhear de rien (as such in the same song even). I'd have a whole lot of working out to do about the previous topics on English participles and gerund nouns before I could muster an argument about it, whatever maybe related to French. ApisAzuli (talk) 18:18, 17 November 2021 (UTC)

Art history sense of master or MasterEdit

I think we are missing an art history sense of either master or Master (I don't know which). Notnames of anonymous authors are very often prefixed as "Master of (insert work or specialization here)". I'm not sure how Wiktionary should deal with this... Any ideas? (Is Master of as an entry a possible solution?) PseudoSkull (talk) 02:36, 15 November 2021 (UTC)

I'd put it at master or possibly Master, based on relative frequency, with {{lb|en|with of, usually capitalized}} and a couple of usage examples. That brings in the connotations of some of the other definitions. DCDuring (talk) 16:01, 16 November 2021 (UTC)
I can find enough citations of lowercase master that, if the sense isn't put at master, it should at least have an {{altcaps}} line there, IMO. It's hard to say whether it should be capitalized or not; so many instances are capitalized only because they're part of a title that stands in for a name (but the same could be said for many other senses we list at Master). Incidentally, one of the cites is about a carpenter, so the definition of "art" here may deserve a parenthetical to clarify that it's not necessarily just painting/sculpture, unless that one's a one-off...? Another cite is a sentence about a written work, but it's not clear whether that's the same sense; especially when lowercase, many instances of the same collocations that turn up this sense ("unknown master(s) of", "unnamed master(s) of") bleed into other senses of master. - -sche (discuss) 19:31, 16 November 2021 (UTC)

Wear pronounciationEdit

I am a little confused with all the different pronunciations of wear because in my North Central American dialect, I don't think I pronounce it in any of the General American pronunciations. The page shows [wɛɚ], [wɛɹ] and I think I pronounce it as [weɚ] and there doesn't look like there isn't any presence of [e] in any of the pronunciations, so it is confusing. I don't know if this is important, but I do not seem to pronounce it [wɛɚ]. SanctaSofya (talk) 17:02, 16 November 2021 (UTC)

Yeahhh, this is an issue with a lot of words that have Mary/marry/merry (/square, air, etc) vowels. marry actually does a decent job, in that it does mention /ˈmeɹi/ as a GenAm (merged) pronunciation, but then Mary doesn't (even though the merged pronunciations of the two are, by definition, the same), and merry fails to note the merger at all in the IPA, only mentioning it in the audio. The whole set of words could use some cleanup. - -sche (discuss) 19:02, 16 November 2021 (UTC)

one's heart bleedsEdit

I added one's heart bleeds, but just looking at it again I'm not actually sure whether this is where/how the expression should be listed. Do we have any policies or precedents relevant to this? Note that while "my heart bleeds for ~" is possibly the most common pattern, other pronouns and other tenses are used, and "for" is not mandatory (e.g. "his heart bled at the thought of anything happening to his little village where he had spent so many years of his life"). Mihia (talk) 17:44, 16 November 2021 (UTC)

I think the metaphor is possible in all persons, numbers, and tenses. It was and is used, especially in religious writings, to indicate sympathy for some observed suffering. The sarcastic usage seems to me just a normal rhetorical development in reaction to the overblown metaphor. Generally, we don't highlight such sarcastic usage.
I do think that the metaphor does not strictly follow from the component terms, however obvious it might seem. DCDuring (talk) 20:27, 16 November 2021 (UTC)
Almost anything can be said sarcastically, but above a certain level I think it is worth mentioning as an aid to dictionary users. In everyday conversational use, "my heart bleeds for ~" is in my experience usually or in fact almost always sarcastic, though this may not be so much the case in literature. While I try to avoid usage notes where a label can do, as my feeling is that usage notes are not generally read or even noticed, perhaps in this case a usage note would provide more room to explain to readers that e.g. "my heart bleeds for you" in everyday situations is likely to come over as sarcastic. Anyway, my main question above is what the lemma form and/or heading line should be, as this is not a fixed phrase but is inflectable. A similar issue arose at they say, where a past-tense form was added to the heading and then removed on the basis that it was "not nearly as common" and also "shouldn't be in a 'phrase' header". Nevertheless, "they said" does exist in the defined sense, and should IMO be mentioned somehow as possible (as long as we have the entry at all), just like "one's heart bled", or however we choose to present it. Mihia (talk) 22:48, 16 November 2021 (UTC)
The fact remains that a Google Books search for "heart(s) (bleed) for" yields very little sarcastic usage and ample evidence of straight-faced usage, virtually always in the metaphorical sense, which I hold is not recoverable from the meanings of heart and bleed. Much of the usage is contemporary. DCDuring (talk) 01:52, 17 November 2021 (UTC)
* heart* bleed* at OneLook Dictionary Search shows that a few dictionaries have similar entries, some of which mention sarcastic usage. MWOnline uses redirects from some inflected forms. DCDuring (talk) 02:14, 17 November 2021 (UTC)
Regarding how to mention the inflected forms, it seems like the easiest thing would be just mentioning them on the headword line, although I can see why that comes across as weird/wrong to some people, and I know with some parts of speech (e.g. adverbs like subaudi, subaudite) such things get mentioned differently. - -sche (discuss) 02:57, 17 November 2021 (UTC)
Of course it can be derived from heart as a figure of speech, and there are a number of other body parts that can figuratively bleed as well, my brain for example, or my fingers. "Hurt" is obviously more common. This is a no brainer, RfD or speedy. ApisAzuli (talk) 18:34, 17 November 2021 (UTC)
@ApisAzuli From which definitions (existing or new) of the component terms would you derive the meaning of the expression? DCDuring (talk) 19:19, 17 November 2021 (UTC)
heart "emotion" is already there. bleed is trickier. I have already suggested "hurt" in place of a definition so your question appears rather rhethorical and my German is maybe blending in again. "fingers bleed" can be found in a literal sense (guitar players) which is difficult to distinguish from exaggeration in writing. To write until my fingers bleed is also idiomatic. I have never heard of the same said of the brain, but claims of stroke are common enough in fora on sight of broken English and infelicitous arguing. "bis die Ohren bluten" (ears) is not unheared of either.
However seeing the etymology and related terms (bless), am I misinterpreting the phrase? The further etymology is uncertain, however, and OE as the only witness for *blōdisōn (> bless) might betray ġ /j/, if it could be related to Blutvergießen, conceivably with -ver- a kin to swear, cp. Blutschwur, modulo -s- for some undetermined reason, sv. gush. I need to stop joshin' around, now. 2A00:20:6055:DA7B:1981:F908:A377:FAB5 06:17, 18 November 2021 (UTC)
I disagree that the exact meaning of "one's heart bleeds" can be confidently understood from the individual meanings of "heart" and "bleed" (obviously, otherwise I would not have added the entry). Mihia (talk) 13:15, 18 November 2021 (UTC)
I see that M-W fudge their definition: "one's heart bleeds for" defined as "to feel great sadness ...", which clearly is illogical. More generally, the problem as I see it is not just what to do with the verb parts that we standardly list, but that the listing should logically incorporate the verb base form, indicating that any "tense" or periphrastic construction is possible (in principle that is, allowing for idiomatic considerations), e.g. "My heart used to bleed for ~" or whatever. Trouble is, I cannot think of a viable way to incorporate the base form in a lemma. Mihia (talk) 11:09, 18 November 2021 (UTC)
Some of the other dictionaries that, more or less, cover this use what looks like a non-gloss definition. That gives a lot more freedom as the definition does not need to be substitutable in its wording. DCDuring (talk) 18:43, 18 November 2021 (UTC)
A non-gloss definition is all very well, but, as far as I can see, it doesn't in itself solve the problem in the heading line that the verb can (in principle) take any form and is not limited to "bleeds". Mihia (talk) 20:03, 18 November 2021 (UTC)
Surrounded by enough redirects and augmented by enough usage examples, any headword line would do. DCDuring (talk) 21:35, 18 November 2021 (UTC)
Well, OK, we will have to disagree about that. Mihia (talk) 22:02, 18 November 2021 (UTC)
Reitterating my argument I suggest this should be under bleed, under a separate etymology if possibly necessary. ApisAzuli (talk) 02:23, 22 November 2021 (UTC)
I do not agree. "(one's) heart bleeds" is an idiomatic combination that is not sensibly explained by a definition of "heart" and a definition of "bleed". Mihia (talk) 10:08, 24 November 2021 (UTC)
  1. (figuratively, of the heart) Expresses that someone has great sympathy or sadness for another's plight or suffering
His heart bled for his beloved home country.
My heart bleeds for Leeds Utd.
I don't see the Problem, as it fits right after the example for 9. "He was a devoted Vikings fan: he bled purple." Do we need separate definitions for each possible color now? Might as well say "* He bled heart" grasling heart as a substance. At least this seems to be a bloody likely etymology for cruor besides cor and credo, also krwawić (to bleed; to turn red) vel sim. As said, I think the etymology should be decisive. @Mihia ApisAzuli (talk) 15:32, 28 November 2021 (UTC)
While the way in which the expression originated from its components can readily be imagined, in modern idiomatic usage I do not interpret "bleeds" in "one's heart bleeds" as meaning "expresses sympathy", with the heart, even a metaphorical one, being the thing that does this action. This is too literal -- oddly so, in fact. Mihia (talk) 19:24, 28 November 2021 (UTC)

do it up brownEdit

I was surprised to not find the phrase "do it up brown" in Wiktionary. Although it's fairly dated, you can still see it used on occasion[15] and it's common enough in slang and idiom dictionaries. The meaning is "to do something thoroughly or well" and it sometimes has the subtext of thoroughly beating or swindling someone. The etymology comes from cooking meat until it is brown, i.e. well done. Although I'm not sure if the entry should be "do it up brown" or "do [something] up brown", as you can also find related phrases like "do this up brown", "do him up brown", "do everything up brown", etc. Nosferattus (talk) 03:41, 17 November 2021 (UTC)

We have do someone brown. Equinox 03:32, 18 November 2021 (UTC)
Does something include someone in a headword? Or do we need two entries? DCDuring (talk) 18:35, 18 November 2021 (UTC)
I went ahead and created an entry for "do it up brown". Feel free to move or modify. Nosferattus (talk) 00:24, 23 November 2021 (UTC)

Parts of speech: English or language-specific?Edit

Hello, there! Grammatical classification of a non-English word seems confusing to me as a new-comer. Should I classify a word according to English classification or should I follow the specific language's classification? Can anybody clarify it? For example: is somewhat synonymous to English Hey; can be classified as interjection according to English grammar whether it is an অব্যয় (obboy; that remains unchanged) according to Bengali grammar. Meghmollar2017 (talk) 11:04, 17 November 2021 (UTC)

avyaya / অব্যয় is per Sanskrit grammar, but we use the more universal part of speech— hence interjection. ·~ dictátor·mundꟾ 15:51, 17 November 2021 (UTC)
This seems to be an important issue in general. As a frequent editor of German entries I've found the lack of German specific word categories somewhat frustrating. For example there is no category for dative verbs, which is an important type of verb in German. One issue is that there may not be a consensus on how the word should be classified, even among grammars written in the language in question. There is also something to be said for using grammatical terms that are familiar to English speakers; people who look up foreign words here are very likely learners of the language, and using foreign grammatical jargon will be more confusing than helpful for them. I'm thinking use English classification when it makes sense, so "noun" rather than Substantiv for German nouns. But use language specific terminology when necessary, with a preference for descriptive English over than foreign jargon. RDBury (talk) 12:24, 19 November 2021 (UTC)
@RDBury: This is a technical limitation that could be overcome: We could theoretically use a template like {{Dativverb}} in the heading which would render as 'Verb' unless one opts in for more detailed and localized parts of speech. I would probably not agree to do this for Dativverben, however, I agree that Wiktionary currently isn't well equipped when it comes to documenting the semantic relationships between a verb and its arguments. Many editors currently seem to resort to just stating this information in plain text in the usage notes (see yardım etmek) or in non-standard labels, others just flat out don't document it (see zuschauen). It's not just the arguments (in a strict sense) of a verb, neither do we document prepositional phrases that often serve as semantic arguments for a verb (i.e. the fact that mitmachen usually takes a bei phrase). This is even inconsistently documented in English entries (see the non-standard label in take part and the complete lack of documentation in look down).
This topic is related to the topic I've brought up here about language-specific terms for registers. Fytcha (talk) 12:55, 19 November 2021 (UTC)
I've used the non-standard label "with dative object" for dative verbs. This works well enough for the individual entry, but it doesn't form a category and so you can't get an automatically generated list of dative verbs like you can with, say, reflexive verbs as in Category:German reflexive verbs. Prepositional verbs can be handled with labels as well. for example retten is labelled "often with vor (from) + dative". Neither rescue and save have such a label btw. The label for "look down" is actually incorrect; it's marked transitive but "She looks down her own father" does not have the intended meaning. I don't really feel the need for categories of prepositional verbs, but non-standard labels do lead to inconsistency. Ideally, a consistent labeling system would guarantee the labels are concise and understandable. But at this point many verbs have no labels at all, so progress before perfection. RDBury (talk) 13:42, 19 November 2021 (UTC)
I don't think rescue and save warrant such a label because from is not the only preposition commonly used with them (eg, for). Usage examples are helpful to show common usage structures that are not overwhelmingly frequent. DCDuring (talk) 13:59, 19 November 2021 (UTC)
@DCDuring: Why not document all prepositions, ordered by frequency and with corresponding labeling like (archaic)? Fytcha (talk) 14:26, 19 November 2021 (UTC)
Because we can find almost any preposition used after almost any verb. And, for English phrasal verbs, we already have Category:English phrasal verbs with 52 subcategories for various particles. In English phrasal verbs are those whose meaning is not immediately obvious from the meanings or the verb and the following particle. DCDuring (talk) 15:28, 19 November 2021 (UTC)

"distancia de seguridad" in SpanishEdit

I've noticed that the phrase distancia de seguridad is used as a Spanish equivalent to "social distancing" in Spanish-speaking countries. It literally means "a safe distance." According to sources, it's used in two contexts:

I'm not entirely sure about the usage, though, or how much these usages overlap. Can someone help me create an entry? Qzekrom (talk) 18:41, 17 November 2021 (UTC)

ecky thumpEdit

This silly bit of 1970s comedy nonsense was entered in all seriousness as Northern English dialect. I've sorted that out, but I am very sceptical about the supposed definition. Do the citations show any meaning at all? Equinox 03:32, 18 November 2021 (UTC)

(Unrelated to the question of meaning)

In The Goodies, they might have claimed this was Lancastrian dialect, but there is more evidence for it being a Yorkshire expression that no one alive uses any more. 09:31, 18 November 2021 (UTC)
Can you show any evidence that it wasn't made up for the Goodies episode in the 1970s? Equinox 10:33, 18 November 2021 (UTC)
FWIW, someone at a forum here says "Certainly it predates The Goodies by many years: it was around in Cheshire when I was a kid, 50–60 years ago." I guess if we're unsure we could say "Popularised by ..." rather than "Introduced by ...". Mihia (talk) 11:30, 18 November 2021 (UTC)
I always thought that "ecky thump" was mainly (or originally) a noun, referring to some kind of physical violence, e.g. (randomly Googled) "You try an' stop us and we'll let you 'ave some Ecky Thump!!". Though most references do seem to be for the exclamation of surprise, so maybe I'm wrong, and maybe the "physical violence" usage is some later invention? Mihia (talk) 11:23, 18 November 2021 (UTC)


What's the point of this page? It has two words, neither of which is actually English. It is also referenced from Rhymes:English/ɛtɪk. Equinox 10:32, 18 November 2021 (UTC)

RFD-ed. ·~ dictátor·mundꟾ 16:57, 18 November 2021 (UTC)

sticky endEdit

Presently a redirect to come to a sticky end, but I plan to move the main content to sticky end since the latter phrase exists generally (e.g. "it was a sticky end for/to ~", or whatever). However, I am slightly puzzled by the existing definition at come to a sticky end: "To die unpleasantly due to one's actions". I don't see why it needs to be "due to one's actions". Does anyone else think that this is an essential part of the meaning? Mihia (talk) 18:12, 18 November 2021 (UTC)

I agree that "due to one's actions" is not a part of the meaning. It's not as clear to me that "come to a" is independent. The phrase is clearly influenced by come to an end, and it breaks if you replace "sticky end" with a synonymous term, say "to come to an unpleasant death". I'm thinking the main content should be in "sticky end", but a usage note should be be included to the effect that it's often used in "come to a sticky end" and link to "come to an end" as a related term. --RDBury (talk) 11:38, 19 November 2021 (UTC)
The idioms dictionaries at come to a sticky end at OneLook Dictionary Search mostly include something like "due to one's own action" in their definitions. It would obviously help if we did our lexicographic duty and had citations to inform our opinions about usage outside our own idiolects. DCDuring (talk) 16:33, 19 November 2021 (UTC)
I suppose it does depend somewhat on how directly one's actions are supposed to have caused one's death or demise. "due to one's actions" can be understood to imply highly reckless or dangerous behaviour (which of course will in some cases apply), while at the opposite end of the spectrum, in an extremely broad sense, I suppose almost anything that befalls one is in some way due to one's own actions, versus e.g. staying in bed all day and doing nothing at all. Nevertheless, it is fairly easy to find examples where the victim can hardly be held responsible, such as "Soap fans saw Sian Reese Williams come a sticky end on Emmerdale when her character was run off the road and then suffocated by serial killer Cameron Murray". Mihia (talk) 18:33, 19 November 2021 (UTC)
That's what one gets for quitting a TV serial, not to mention burning down a factory, running over a sheep, deceiving her stepmother, and having an affair with a married man. Karma? DCDuring (talk) 19:02, 19 November 2021 (UTC)
Hmm, well, actually I know nothing about this soap, so if she's actually a bad person who got what she deserved than I guess it was not a great example! It did occur to me, though, that one would hardly say of a plane crash that entirely innocent passengers "came to a sticky end", or it would seem very unfeeling anyway, so perhaps there is some element of "deserves it" or "it's only your own fault" after all? Mihia (talk) 19:20, 19 November 2021 (UTC)
I tried to cover it with the word "especially" ... Mihia (talk) 19:40, 19 November 2021 (UTC)
Everything I wrote about her was from the pedia article about the character. Especially is a great word for definition writing. DCDuring (talk) 20:22, 19 November 2021 (UTC)

Is бо́льше really a comparative of a comparative?Edit

Under бо́льше (bólʹše) I read that it is an adverb which is the comparative of two adjectives, namely большо́й (bolʹšój) and бо́льший (bólʹšij), of which the latter is already said to be a comparative. It seems to me that (a) бо́льше must be an adjective, and (b) if it really is in some sense the comparative of a comparative, there should be usage notes to explain it. Could someone more knowledgable than I am perhaps fix this up? PJTraill (talk) 19:54, 18 November 2021 (UTC)

@PJTraill (a) is intentional, because these comparatives are formally adverbs, share the same form when used as comparatives of adjectives and adverbs, and AFAIK cannot be used in attributive position when modifying an noun. (b) is likely a mistake. Benwing2 (talk) 03:52, 23 November 2021 (UTC)

Example at (German) erwerbenEdit

The entry erwerben was recently expanded and the example I added in May was removed by @Fay Freak. I admit the example I used was somewhat generic, so the addition new examples is an improvement for the most part. But the English version of the example for meaning 2 seems confusing at best. I'm hoping that someone with better knowledge of German than mine will take a look at the entry and correct the English; I'm not really sure what it's meant to say. --RDBury (talk) 12:54, 19 November 2021 (UTC)

@RDBury: There is no problem with understanding German per se, but the legal system of Germany has to be understood. For one, there is no ownership of houses in the German Civil Code, only ownership of the land it is built on (additionally there is Sondereigentum of flats grafted upon this system later). Then, through the obligatory contract you do not acquire any in rem right either, i.e. if you buy something you do not become the owner (which is completely the opposite in other countries), but you need a separate agreement which also in principle has legal effect independently of the contract which created the obligation to transfer the ownership, e.g. if the sales contract is void because of being e.g. contra bonos mores (§ 134 BGB) then generally this will not affect the ownership transfer (which is nowhere else this extreme). I don’t know which meaning of “purchase” you glossed it with but certainly the meaning it does not have in the FRG is “to buy”, but the acquisition of on an in rem right in the manner described by the lex rei sitae (the numerus clausus of the Sachenrecht) or an obligation by way of cession, and it is also correct to apply this word to Besitz (possession), the mere factual control as opposed to ownership being the utter legal control. Therefore we write distinctions that seem unnecessary and confusing to outlanders but are actually necessary to confound not; that is really the reader’s problem of not knowing the relevant (legal) facts to which a term is applied, at some point too encyclopedic to be rendered in that detail.
Of course since legal language is rooted in colloquial language the general use as in the examples with Doktortitel and Computerkenntnisse is also used there, but at some point it becomes solecistic, as in your example. You may say that jurist use is different from “general use”, that there are two sets of usage that do not wholly intersect, but this opposition is now reflected or hinted at in the glosses of this Wiktionary entry: One sense with two variants, divided by jurist precision and layman trope. Fay Freak (talk) 16:01, 19 November 2021 (UTC)
@Fay Freak: I personally like the definition structure at dwds more: Have an overarching first sense of "to have something come into one's ownership" and then split that up into the respective sub-senses. We do sometimes use ## on Wiktionary; it's not unprecedented. Our current structure is a bit confusing (and also overlapping: senses 2 and 3 do overlap; something that is generally best avoided). Fytcha (talk) 16:52, 19 November 2021 (UTC)
How can you even translate DWDS's “Besitz” as “ownership”? Now I am unsure about the definition of “ownership” in English legal parlance—if I read w:de:Property law (England und Wales) there seems to lack logical distinction in Common Law—, but clearly the German word equals possession. DWDS’s definition is not correct anyway. It would not even be replaceable, as in the 854 I BGB example it would be “Besitz in den Besitz bringen” neither can be Besitz an Rechten and hardly Unterhalt as in DWDS. I’d rather define “In seine Gewalt bekommen”, or “in seine Macht bekommen” Macht and Gewalt being either tatsächliche or rechtliche. Fay Freak (talk) 17:05, 19 November 2021 (UTC)
But "Besitz in den Besitz bringen" is grammatical, just not very meaningful because of the inherently ambiguous signification.
All as well, how could you translate Besitz as "possession", how could you even?!? Isn't it obviously a calcified translation as per vom Teufel besessen ~ possessed by the devil? An actual cognate should be beisitzen, cp. Besatzung. I am surprised,by the way, that besetzen "to squat" seems to shine through in one particular paragraph (I'd need to take a second look, something about liabilities). ApisAzuli (talk) 20:27, 30 November 2021 (UTC)

Legend of the White Snake (白蛇傳)Edit

I just noticed that the entry 白蛇傳 has a pinyin transcription Báishéchuán.

I am certain that it should be Báishézhuàn, so I corrected it by copying the pinyin from #Pronunciation_2. However, I failed understand how the pronunciation template works. I will be grateful if someone could review my edit, pass it if it was correct, or correct it if it was wrong.

Also, I am worried that this might not be a single case, it might be good to look through sililar words and see if there is the same error elsewhere. -- Ant1597 (talk) 20:08, 19 November 2021 (UTC)

Arabic "muharrir"Edit

Can someone who knows more about Arabic check this entry? It also has participle senses, مُحَرِّر‎(muḥarrir, active) and مُحَرَّر‎(muḥarrar, passive), but I don't know how to incorporate those correctly. Also, I think moharrir might be a duplicate of mohurrer, even though the meaning is slightly broader. 09:09, 20 November 2021 (UTC)

Just use {{ar-adj-sound}} for the head and {{ar-decl-adj}} with |pl=sp for the declension table, while {{active participle of}} and {{passive participle of}} in the definition lines. Fay Freak (talk) 16:01, 20 November 2021 (UTC)
I have tried to do this, let me know if I messed up. 19:11, 20 November 2021 (UTC)


Anyone know anything about country music? Our definition of countrypolitan:

  1. Synonym of Nashville sound
  2. A subgenre of country music produced in the late 1960s and early 1970s, containing elements of popular music, including string sections and background vocals.

Sources I have found say that countrypolitan was an even smoother development or outgrowth of the Nashville sound, or that "the Nashville sound morphed into countrypolitan". It sounds either as if Nashville sound and countrypolitan are two different things, or possibly that countrypolitan equals or is a subset of later Nashville sound. Either way, I don't see the explanation for two senses. Any ideas? Mihia (talk) 11:01, 20 November 2021 (UTC)

I suspect the creator (despite writing two sense lines) was just trying to include everything in one entry, so they said "synonym of X" and then repeated the definition of X. Equinox 11:07, 20 November 2021 (UTC)
It's not quite a repetition, e.g. the dates are different and the list of types of instrumentation is slightly different. Mihia (talk) 11:10, 20 November 2021 (UTC)

'he' as a pronoun (vs noun) in games of tagEdit

We have, under he#Pronoun, "(personal, Australia) In children's chasing games, the player who must chase and catch others." We also have, under he#Noun, "The player attempting to catch the others in this game [of tag]." Are these distinct, do Australians use he as a pronoun to refer to the player who chases, in a way distinguishable from general use of the pronoun he? "Betty tagged Anna, and then he tagged me!"? At it, we have a tag-related sense only under the noun, not the pronoun. - -sche (discuss) 21:08, 20 November 2021 (UTC)

I doubt they are distinct. My guess is that they were added by different people, one who thought the word was a noun, the other who thought it was a special use of the pronoun. Mihia (talk) 11:53, 21 November 2021 (UTC)
In my youth that person was called it. Is that a potential microaggression to be substituted for by he? I doubt that we could find use (vs. mention) even if there is such a proposed use. DCDuring (talk) 15:38, 21 November 2021 (UTC)
Me too. I personally only know "it". I don't think I have ever heard "he". If it is Australian, that could explain it of course. Mihia (talk) 18:06, 21 November 2021 (UTC)


We have a sense "Sex appeal, especially that which goes beyond beauty." Our adjective sense is much broader, and clearly also exists as a noun: an it#Adjective ('most fashionable') girl is a girl who has it#Noun, but also a song can have it and become a hit while another song seems similar but just doesn't have it, etc. I would define it along the lines of "je ne sais quoi, a desirable quality". My question is, should the "sex appeal" sense be broadened, or do people feel it's really that specific and the "desirable quality" sense is a separate sense? - -sche (discuss) 01:45, 21 November 2021 (UTC)

I think it's specific enough. When you tell a person who is recently divorced and trying to get back out in the dating scene that they've "still got it" as an encouragement, I believe it's specifically relating to "appeal to the opposite or desired (if samesex) gender" Leasnam (talk) 02:22, 21 November 2021 (UTC)
On the other hand, if you were talking to someone who was worried that they were washed up as a performer, you'd say "see, you've still got it- they loved you!". Chuck Entz (talk) 02:31, 21 November 2021 (UTC)
Yes, and wouldn't that be a separate sense of it ? Leasnam (talk) 06:47, 21 November 2021 (UTC)
As far as I understand it, "a girl who has it", sex appeal, emphasis on "it", or special marking of "it" in print (quotes, capital, italics), is a distinct usage, different altogether from "a girl who has it", or someone who has "still got it", any desirable quality relevant to the context, spoken emphasis on "has"/"got". The "sex appeal" sense is dated/obsolescent, as far as I know. I am not really familiar with a usage like "that song has it", je ne sais quoi, emphasis on "it", though of course "that song has it", emphasis on "has", is routine. If "that song has it" is in fact possible, I don't know whether it would be a broadening of the "sex appeal" sense or a separate sense. I question whether there is any true adjective sense of "it". Mihia (talk) 11:08, 21 November 2021 (UTC)
Yes, those two "it"s feel different to me too. Equinox 14:18, 21 November 2021 (UTC)
If we reinterpret the ===Adjective=== cites as attributive nouns (and if there aren't unambiguously noun cites), then they're examples of how a girl or a song etc can have non-sex-appeal it, since one is about a girl who just turned 13 where it is ~"the quality of being popular / en vogue" and the other is an "it bag" (one can equally find "it song": [16], [17], [18]). - -sche (discuss) 16:50, 21 November 2021 (UTC)
Also, for the specific definition, "Sex appeal, especially that which goes beyond beauty" does not seem ideal to me. It seems to be written on the basis that sex appeal can be based only on beauty, whereas the two are in fact quite different things. Perhaps "especially that which goes beyond physical appearance" is what is meant. Mihia (talk) 11:47, 21 November 2021 (UTC)
I suspect the wording with "beauty" was based on the Kipling cite saying "'tisn't beauty"; I agree your wording is better. - -sche (discuss) 16:50, 21 November 2021 (UTC)
I see that the "sex appeal" sense has been moved from noun to pronoun, and the definition of "it" as in "After all these years, she still has it" is now a separate sense "A desirable quality [...]". I'm not sure I agree with these. In my opinion, "it" in "she still has it" does not intrinsically mean "a desirable quality", but just has this as its unstated referent, just as "it" in "getting it" refers to sex rather than actually meaning "sex". Therefore I think that both of these should be treated somehow under "implied/unstated referent", but perhaps as dedicated subsenses if necessary. On the other hand, "It" in the example "she had It" (sex appeal) in my opinion actually does in itself mean "sex appeal" (even if its origin is in reference), so has a valid claim to be a noun. Mihia (talk) 22:11, 23 November 2021 (UTC)
Hmm, but the full text of the "she had It" (sex appeal) citation is "And she had It. It, hell; she had Those.", using another pronoun with an implied reference... I'm not sure how this could be considered less of a 'pronoun with implied reference' than the "still got it?"-"never lost it!" (desirable/fashionable quality) cites, which also occur in 'attributive noun'-type ways (the "it boy band", "it dress" etc uses we currently have as an adjective, although truly adjective citations like "a very it bag" seem uncommon and non-durable). - -sche (discuss) 03:53, 26 November 2021 (UTC)
The "Those" example is a play on words. "Those" does not actually exist in the relevant meaning as a demonstrative plural of "It". The author is humorously using it as if it did, while at the same time (presumably) making a reference to breasts. That's how I read it anyway. I think it's quite funny. Mihia (talk) 09:56, 26 November 2021 (UTC)
It seems to me also (or maybe I mentioned this somewhere before) that stress pattern can help distinguish whether "it" is a noun or pronoun. In expressions such as "she still has it", referring to desirable quality/ability, "has" is stressed while "it" is unstressed, whereas if "it" is replaced by a true noun, such as "ability", the situation is reversed. Similarly for e.g. "getting it", as in "getting sex". While I have rarely heard the "sex appeal" sense actually spoken, it seems to me that in the example "she had It" (sex appeal), the word "It" would be stressed, like a noun. (However, there are also situations where pronoun "it" can be stressed because of special emphasis, e.g. "I'm looking in the attic for an old book I lost years ago. Oh there it is. That's it!"). Mihia (talk) 12:47, 4 December 2021 (UTC)

Edit request for BhaktEdit

In the 'Derived terms' section of the page bhakt, Ram bhakt is used to say that either he is a worshipper of Rama or a fervent supporter of Hindutva. This seems to be vandalism and not true as Ram (Avatar of Vishnu, a god in the Hinduism sect) and Bhakt (Worshipper) is just a term to coronate the religious group of people and has no links with politics or Hindutva whatsoever. No link or source was provided either. Request to remove the line 'a fervent supporter of Hindutva' in the definition of the term Ram Bhakt.

--Tobasco1 (talk) 13:06, 21 November 2021 (UTC)

it (2)Edit

Noun sense:

(euphemistic) Sexual intercourse or other sexual activity.
I caught them doing it.
Are you getting it regularly?

Listed as a noun, but to me this seems like a pronoun with a certain implied referent, in fact similar to e.g. "she's still got it" discussed above. Anyone agree/disagree? Mihia (talk) 18:00, 21 November 2021 (UTC)

You are certainly correct but I'd vote to leave in this definition anyway. If the dictionary is meant to serve English learners as well as native speakers, then it has to allow for cases where people aren't familiar with English euphemisms. --RDBury (talk) 21:27, 21 November 2021 (UTC)
Yes, I propose to retain the definition but move it, mutatis mutandis, to the "pronoun" section. I'm not sure whether the "it" of e.g. "she still has it" needs mentioning at it or not. I have just added an entry at have it, "To possess some desirable quality or ability"; I'm trying to think how generic is this "it". I suppose "lose it" is also possible, but then if we start listing all "implied referent" possibilities at "it", it could get too much. Mihia (talk) 22:03, 21 November 2021 (UTC)
Could also overlap the sense "The impersonal pronoun, used without referent in various short idioms." Mihia (talk) 23:08, 21 November 2021 (UTC)

Number of syllables in Italian diphthongs in -oi, -ai, etc.Edit

(Notifying GianWiki, Metaknowledge, SemperBlotto, Ultimateria, Jberkel, Imetsia, Sartma, Koavf): How many syllables are in the following words?

  1. annoi, abbai: 2 or 3? (as in tu annoi, tu abbai, from annoiare, abbaiare)
  2. annoino, abbaino: 3 or 4? (as in che loro annoino, che loro abbaino, from annoiare, abbaiare)
  3. crei: 1 or 2? (as in tu crei, from creare
  4. creino: 2 or 3? (as in che loro creino, from creare)
  5. delinei: 3 or 4? (as in tu delinei, from delineare)
  6. delineino: 4 or 5? (as in che loro delineino, from delineare)
  7. continui: 3 or 4? or both? (as in tu continui, from continuare)
  8. continuino: 4 or 5? or both? (as in che loro continuino, from continuare)
  9. delineino: 4 or 5? (as in che loro delineino, from delineare)
  10. bei: 1 or 2? (as in i bei giorni, from bello)
  11. corridoi: 3 or 4? (from corridoio)
  12. vespai: 2 or 3? (from vespaio)

Thanks! Benwing2 (talk) 22:33, 21 November 2021 (UTC)

the biggest number in all of the words. Sartma (talk) 00:36, 22 November 2021 (UTC)
@Benwing2 Actually, I'm not so sure anymore. Re-reading the list, the <ui> in continui and continuino feels more like a diphthong, so for 7. and 8. I might go for 3 and 4 syllables. If your question was about Italian syllabification rules, I think all those officially count as diphthongs, so you'd be looking at the smallest numbers. From a phonetic point of view, I'm not sure you can say that those are diphthongs, at least not in the way you realise diphthongs in, say, English or German. The diphthong in English like is /ai/, while the one in abbai is /a:i/, with a first long vowel. The same is true for all the accented diphthongs in your list. Sartma (talk) 12:13, 2 December 2021 (UTC)
Grazie for asking me but just so you know, I'm okay at Spanish, kind of okay at Portuguese, and not very okay at Italian, Romanian, French, and Catalan. I work with several Italians, tho so I can sometimes ask a question of a native. Feel free to ping me but just letting you know that if I don't respond, I'm not ignoring you, just ignorant. —Justin (koavf)TCM 04:31, 22 November 2021 (UTC)
Tough question. As I understood it, determining whether vowel sequences are diphthongs or not seems to be mostly a matter of interpretation. I tend to follow the syllabification rules, thereby (for example) dividing annoi into an·noi /anˈnɔi̯/. — GianWiki (talk) 16:32, 22 November 2021 (UTC)

box office, booking office and ticket officeEdit

Hi. Are box office, booking office and ticket office synonyms? That is, do box office, booking office and ticket office mean "A place where tickets are sold in a theatre, cinema and railway station and bus station"? Or box office is only for cinema and theater and booking office and ticket office are for travel in railway and bus station? --Vivaelcelta (talk) 00:08, 22 November 2021 (UTC)

In my experience of UK usage, "box office" is only for cinema and theatre (or similar entertainment venue). The term is more often used in reference to popularity or ticket sales (e.g. "did well at the box office") than about a literal office or booth. I have never heard "box office" used in reference to a railway station or bus station. "booking office" and "ticket office" could be for any kind of event or for travel tickets. Mihia (talk) 17:43, 22 November 2021 (UTC)
The etymology says the "box" part comes from "box seat", and you don't see box seats in buses and trains. Of course you don't see box seats a lot in movies and theater any more either, but I suppose once something has a name it sticks even when the original reason for it disappears. In my experience it's not really an office either, more like a kiosk or just a counter. --RDBury (talk) 22:50, 22 November 2021 (UTC)


It used to be under the non-standard part of speech "Marker" which I've changed to "Particle", though it could also be a preposition from the looks of it. It would be good if someone with knowledge in Malay could have a look. --Fytcha (talk) 13:55, 24 November 2021 (UTC)

By way of comparison, this seems awfully close to one usage of English some, as in constructions like someone or something. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 20:43, 24 November 2021 (UTC)

billion with a "b"Edit

Should we have an entry for this? I started an entry for this and someone deleted it. This expression is commonly used to emphasize the largeness of a billion versus a million, or that billion is meant rather than million. "That's billion with a "b"!" 17:51, 24 November 2021 (UTC)

I don't see a reason for an entry. This is colocation, but otherwise the literal meaning is the same as the actual meaning. A similar construction could be used anywhere to avoid confusion of one word with a similar sounding word. For example "He has a pet rat, that's "rat" with an "r". --RDBury (talk) 05:39, 25 November 2021 (UTC)
If it's only used to avoid confusion with "million", I agree. However, if it is used "to emphasize the largeness of a billion versus a million" then it possibly has more merit, IMO. However, I'm not clear whether this definitely is a specific set expression for "billion", or just a instance of a general pattern (similar to e.g. "... with a capital B"). Mihia (talk) 09:35, 25 November 2021 (UTC)

The end of a loaf of breadEdit

A post on the FaceBook page called ‘That ain’t right’ was only posted 2 days ago and already has over 600,000 comments about what the end of a loaf of bread should be called. I’ve added a definition at crust as that’s the term I use (along with ‘end piece/bit’) and it’s said by the majority of people in England, Australia and New Zealand and about half of Canada. Ireland, Scotland, America and the other half of Canada tend to prefer heel. There are also many other terms that we don’t have though, which appear in FaceBook, Twitter, Reddit and TikTok chats such as outsider (Scotland), nobby (Southern England and occasionally Australia), ender (Wales), butt (U.S - regional?) and occasionally bum, foot and jokey terms like duck bread (only fit to feed the ducks with) and ho(e)/whore/slut/slag (the part of the bread that no one wants but everyone touches - funny but completely untrue). What do we think about including some of these terms? Overlordnat1 (talk) 01:46, 25 November 2021 (UTC)

I'm curious if anyone mentioned something like schinte /ˈʃɪntə/? I've asked around before, and this might be some odd family-specific term. Likely derived from German Schnitte (slice), but referring specifically to the slice from the end of a loaf, a slice that is mostly crust. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 05:11, 25 November 2021 (UTC)
I've heard of "heel" (but probably never had to use it). I wouldn't rely on "crust" for this because bread has a crust all over the outside. Every slice has a crust as a border. If someone talked about "eating the crust" I would perhaps think they had one middle slice of bread and were eating the outside part (as with pizza slices). Equinox 06:11, 25 November 2021 (UTC)
I have also heard heel, but don't see it as part of my everyday vocabulary. I might just call it the end, but I don't think there is anything special with that usage. —The Editor's Apprentice (talk) 07:37, 25 November 2021 (UTC)
FWIW, I would call it the "crust", but if there was likely to be confusion with the crust around a slice taken from the middle of the loaf, I would call it the "end crust". Mihia (talk) 09:55, 25 November 2021 (UTC)
I’d do something similar and call it the end, ‘end bit’ or ‘end piece’ if any possibility of confusion arose, or if I were talking about a baguette (I’m not sure why I make this distinction, perhaps it instinctively seems wrong to say ‘crust’ in this case as baguettes are very crusty along their sides as well as at their ends?). As far as ‘schinte’ is concerned, one internet poster used the Norwegian skalk because it was what his family says, so borrowings from German and other languages may be more common than many realise. Overlordnat1 (talk) 11:37, 25 November 2021 (UTC)
As a slice of bread, I call the end of a loaf the crust. DonnanZ (talk) 12:54, 25 November 2021 (UTC)
I'd only call it a heel, as in our definition 8 at heel#Noun. In my idiolect it has to be a crusted slice to be a true heel and is generally limited to only such slices that are less appealing than the rest of the loaf, therefor remaining after the rest has been taken. DCDuring (talk) 18:24, 26 November 2021 (UTC)
I don't see why we wouldn't include all the attestable ones. We could include the unattestable ones on the corresponding talk pages, too. DCDuring (talk) 18:32, 26 November 2021 (UTC)
I reserve doubt about schinte being akin to Schnitte. 1. I'd rather argue for assybilitation of Kanten just because that's what I say. The /ʃ/ is warranted eg. by assybilation in Slavic and regional German forms of chance, cp. plain Nl. kans. The vowel could be explained by contamination, whereas metathesis would be rather unmotivated. 2. scindo doesn't require metathesis for example, but then it would be also cognate to Schunt (trash) and apparently shite, so a sense of left-over should be a remote possibility. 3. Speculating about an emphatic adjective, schön' Kanten, as though nice and soft, I also have to remark upon scones for delicious crumbly bakery, nice spongy hard tack, you know, biscuit. 4. Instead of Schnitt- I guess one might call it Abschnitt. I see no evidence that something like Schinken was underlying (cp. bacon, backside) but have to me tion it for good measure as well, in case the velar would elide elsewhere to appear like Cockney t-glottalized. This turns out to be an interesting, er, anfle, as we have PGem. *skinkô "thigh; shank" besides shin < *skinō "*skinō "plate; rim; piece; (anatomy) shinbone" and Georgian კანჭი (ḳanč̣i) for both shin and shank (meat from that part of the leg). We don't translate Schinken as bacon (gess that would be Räucherschinken, ie. smoked) and a cognate dialectal English skink (a shin of beef) is adduced. A shin? Does it mean slice after all, as sliced bacon would suggest? Not to mention that actual Speck is cute from the skin and best cooked until crusty. ApisAzuli (talk) 18:29, 28 November 2021 (UTC)


I added an adverb for this, only to discover afterwards that the sense is included as an adjective. The postpositive adjective was queried before in Talk:whatever; I think that 'adverb' is correct however. How do we tackle this? DonnanZ (talk) 12:27, 25 November 2021 (UTC)

The alleged adjective sense reads:
(dated, postpositive) At all, absolutely, whatsoever.
There is no point whatever in going on with this discussion.
To me, despite what some dictionaries say, the usage seen in this example is adverbial not adjectival. Even the definition is adverbial in nature. Also, this sense is not dated, at least not in British English. The same PoS issue exists at whatsoever. Mihia (talk) 19:00, 25 November 2021 (UTC)
The two quotes included for the so-called adjective are in the same vein as the usex, using a negative: "no one whatever is satisfied", and "no fear whatever showing in her dark eyes". DonnanZ (talk) 20:11, 25 November 2021 (UTC)
Right. "whatever" does not seem to describe a property of the preceding noun, or tell us what type, as a postpositive adjective should. I would say, even though "no whatever" is not valid in English, that "whatever" probably logically modifies the negation, expressing the absolute way in which the negation applies.Mihia (talk) 21:13, 25 November 2021 (UTC)
Just noting that whatsoever can be used identically, so if we decide this usage is not an adjective, that entry would also need to be changed. Some other -soever and -ever words are missing(?) an analogous sense, like wherever ("no place except the lake to wash in, and no place wherever to shave in"), wheresoever. - -sche (discuss) 04:05, 26 November 2021 (UTC)
  • A small fly in the ointment presently is the inclusion in the "adverb" definition of "of any kind", which is apparently adjectival, alongside "at all", which is apparently adverbial, and moreover that both phrases seem to be substitutable in e.g. "no point whatsoever". Can we say that "of any kind" is wrong-PoS definition that coincidentally creates the right meaning? Mihia (talk) 09:47, 26 November 2021 (UTC)
I borrowed that from Lexico, who have a usex "they received no help whatever" which could be altered to "no help of any kind", I suppose. But I can remove it if necessary. Anyway, Lexico and Cambridge both list the adverb, as does Collins, but Collins also includes a couple of adjectives, one in American English, and indulges in some mixed messaging in British English, an adverb used for emphasis "there is no evidence whatever" and postpositive adjective (absolutely, whatsoever) "I saw no point whatever in continuing". To me they are the same, bearing in mind that the adverbs absolutely or whatsoever (or "at all") could be substituted in the latter case, but "I saw no point of any kind in continuing" doesn't fit. DonnanZ (talk) 10:47, 26 November 2021 (UTC)
To me, "I saw no point of any kind in continuing" seems acceptable, yet "of any kind" as an adverbial definition seems wrong, despite Lexico. The only way out of this murky conundrum that I can come up with at the moment is to treat "of any kind" as modifying "point"; in other words "no point of any kind" = "no [of-any-kind point]" ~ "no possible point", but treat "whatever" and "at all" as (effectively) modifying "no", i.e. "no point at all" = "[at all no] point", even though the latter obviously is not natural English, and noting also that an "of-any-kind point", though of course also unnatural, can be conceived to make sense, while an "at-all point" or a "whatever point" (in the relevant sense) seems not to. Mihia (talk) 12:56, 26 November 2021 (UTC)
In any case, I have listed the adjective sense at RFD. Mihia (talk) 13:10, 26 November 2021 (UTC)
Two small notes:
  • reading the example as adverbial, ever [in] going on feels like the optimal reading to me, if the verbiage is consistent. There is no point in ever going on with this. The word order is perplexing to me, however. In the same way I have opted to use however like as always.
  • This would leave "what" unexplained. I lied, this is not a small note. I have noticed that instances of German wie, sowie are conjunctive, not unlike and, and therefore compatible with PIE *-kʷe, cf. -que. I have not figured out an example in postposition, an explanation for the Latin postposition not either. Why, I'd still argue that English's sentence adverbial why can be read in this manner as well. The -t- could in this view be akin to the the in nonetheless, cp. Ger. desto, nichtsdestotrotz, if I'm correct that *de, *so ~ to and / or case inflection got at times confused beyond recognition. As said, this would be huge topic.
Hope this helps. ApisAzuli (talk) 20:48, 26 November 2021 (UTC)


1. (not comparable, of a person or animal) Unable to see, due to physiological or neurological factors.
2. (not comparable, of an eye) Unable to be used to see, due to physiological or neurological factors.

are these distinct? I mean, I can also say "his left eye is unable to see" (not just "his left eye is unable to be used to see"), and conversely "her left eye can see" (not just "...is able to be used to see"), etc. I don't think it's a meaningful distinction, is it...? - -sche (discuss) 04:13, 26 November 2021 (UTC)

I think one sense with two cites/examples (eye and person) would be perfectly adequate. Equinox 06:38, 26 November 2021 (UTC)


Noticing we have "blind" ("without filling") as an adverb made me think about the similar sense at "dry", as in "dry fire a bow" / "a dry release" (without an arrow on the string), "dry heat a pot" (empty), etc, which I added as an adjective a few years ago. "A dry release" is surely an adjective, but is "dry fire a bow" properly an adverb? - -sche (discuss) 04:41, 26 November 2021 (UTC)

dry fire is a verb. Can one "fire a bow dry"? Equinox 06:39, 26 November 2021 (UTC)
Ah, I hadn't thought of that. I can't find many citations of either dry fire a bow or fire a bow dry, so it's hard for me to judge how common the latter is (relatively speaking), but I can find at least a few examples online ("fire the bow dry", "fire a bow dry"). When I added it, I must've figured it was a sense of dry because you can dry [verb] other verbs, e.g. dry heating an empty pot or dry humping someone, and there are corresponding nouns (dry fire a bow? : that's a dry release, dry humped someone? : that's a dry hump, etc). - -sche (discuss) 22:19, 26 November 2021 (UTC)

whatever (2)Edit

Determiner sense #2:

(relative) Anything that.
Whatever reasons you have for doing this are unimportant to me.
  • 1992, Rudolf M[athias] Schuster, The Hepaticae and Anthocerotae of North America: East of the Hundredth Meridian, volume V, New York, N.Y.: Columbia University Press, →ISBN, page viii:
    Whatever utility the work may have outside of its stated boundaries will be largely because of such a nonprovincial approach.

Clearly "anything that" is not substitutable into either example. "anything that" would be substitutable into e.g. "I'll do whatever I can", which is presently listed separately as a relative pronoun sense. I am doubtful whether the two examples above are even fully correct English. What do you think? Mihia (talk) 18:41, 26 November 2021 (UTC)

The examples seem like fine English to me, but the definition is poor, as you say. Maybe the definition should just be "Any"? I think it's correct to consider "I'll do whatever I can" a separate use, and it seems consistent with how we treat other similar words (whichever, whoever, etc) to consider it a pronoun. - -sche (discuss) 22:29, 26 November 2021 (UTC)
Merriam-Webster and Dictionary.com have this (and a similar usage) an adjective, albeit with similarly deficient/unsubstitutable definitions: MW has "any...that, all...that", with the usex "whatever terms could be obtained", and "no matter what" with the example "in whatever hands"; Dictionary.com has "in any amount, to any extent", "no matter what", as well as "being who or who it may be" (that last one with the usex "whatever the reason, he refuses to go"; do we cover this sense somewhere?). I don't know that "any" and "no matter what" should be separate senses, though, especially sense "no matter what" is not substitutable, whereas all of those dictionaries' examples of the "no matter what" sense can have "any" substituted into them ("in any hands"); the connotations (~dismissiveness of options) might be something to cover in a usage note. - -sche (discuss) 22:43, 26 November 2021 (UTC)
Looking again, I suppose you're right. For some reason those examples looked slightly off to me. Anyway, as far as the definition is concerned, I did wonder whether "any" is exactly the same type of word. For example:
1) Any doubts I had were quickly dispelled.
2) Any doubts that I had were quickly dispelled.
3) Whatever doubts I had were quickly dispelled.
4) Whatever doubts that I had were quickly dispelled.
I'm at the point now where the more I'm looking at these kinds of sentences, the less sure I am about what is actually correct English and what isn't. Does (4) work for you? Mihia (talk) 09:42, 27 November 2021 (UTC)
(4) does sound odd/wrong to me, although I can find some examples. But as long as "any" can be substituted into any use of whatever, it could work as a definition, couldn't it, even if the reverse is not true? (Do definitions have to be bijective?) Or should we resort to a non-gloss definition of some kind? - -sche (discuss) 19:44, 27 November 2021 (UTC)
I think definitions need not be "two-way", but the fact that "that" seems to work with "any" but not "whatever" is a puzzle and did make me wonder whether "any" is truly an equivalent word or just happens coincidentally to produce the same meaning through some different grammatical process. Anyway, since the present definition is clearly wrong, I have changed it to "Any; of no matter what type or kind." Anyone please make further changes you see fit. Some definitions at any may need reviewing too. Mihia (talk) 21:45, 27 November 2021 (UTC)

Presently two determiner definitions:

  1. No matter what; for any.
    Whatever choice you make, there will be consequences.
  2. Any; of no matter what type or kind.
    Whatever doubts I had were quickly dispelled.

In general, the sentence "X doubts that I had were quickly dispelled" seems to work with a range of determiners, such as "The/those/other/both" etc. but not with "whatever" (at least, it seems odd), yet if "that" is removed "whatever" works OK. Not only this, but there is also something funny about sense #1, exemplified by "Whatever choice you make, there will be consequences". Here, other determiners cannot be substituted for "whatever". At least, I cannot think of any (except "whatsoever"). The fact that other determiners cannot be substituted in the example for sense #1, and that the full (with "that") case for sense #2 works with other determiners but not with "whatever", makes me suspicious about whether these are determiners at all. But what else could they be? It is a puzzle. Mihia (talk) 10:51, 29 November 2021 (UTC)

Merriam-Webster and Dictionary.com consider it an adjective; would that be a 'tidier' analysis? (I'm not sure.) You can substitute adjectives into the second sentence, grammar-wise (the meaning changes of course), but not the first. (Lexico has this use of whatever lumped together with several other rather disparate uses, under the adverb(!) definition "no matter what happens", which does not strike me as a compelling analysis.) - -sche (discuss) 01:34, 1 December 2021 (UTC)
I think that whatever here is a strengthening of the determiner what. Compare
3′)  What doubts you may harbour will be quickly dispelled.
4′) What doubts that you may harbour will be quickly dispelled.
The assignment of “parts of speech” is often a crude imposition on much subtler (and not always firm) distinctions in the grammatical sense of actual speakers.  --Lambiam 13:20, 1 December 2021 (UTC)
Your point about "what" is interesting, as it applies to #2. "what" isn't substitutable into #1, however. I think there definitely is something funny about #1. I can't see it as an ordinary determiner. I note that "Regardless of which choice you make, there will be consequences" seems very similar, and that we (and others) treat "regardless of" as a preposition. It almost seems from this as if this "whatever" is a fusion of preposition + determiner, which funnily enough would also match the definition "for any", and apparently also the definition "no matter what". Mihia (talk) 13:08, 2 December 2021 (UTC)
As far as #2 above is concerned, it now seems to me that the true situation is (or was) obscured by the relative pronoun being anyway optional in the case "Any doubts I had were quickly dispelled". If we look at the example "Write down whatever thoughts come into your mind" and compare it with e.g. "Write down any thoughts that come into your mind", where "that" is mandatory, it becomes clear, I think, that the sense of the relative pronoun is incorporated within "whatever" (and similarly with the corresponding sense of "what"), hence adding another "that" to the "whatever" sentences feels wrong. I am not sure of the best way to express this in a definition. For now I have defined it as "any ... that", but if anyone sees a better way then please go ahead. Mihia (talk) 22:11, 4 December 2021 (UTC)
There are more puzzles in the "pronoun" section too.
1. Regardless of what thing.
Whatever he does, he will still lose the game.
3. Anything that.
I’ll do whatever I can.
Pronoun sense #1 is a kind of pronounised version of determiner sense #1, above, and somewhat analogously appears to be a fusion of different parts of speech. Certainly, pronouns/nouns generally cannot be substituted into the usage example. Pronoun sense #3 seems to also be a fusion of some kind, a pronoun + relative pronoun all in one word. Mihia (talk) 21:07, 2 December 2021 (UTC)
We often have pronoun PoS sections with definitions that overlap those in corresponding determiner PoS sections. Some other dictionaries (Longmans, Collins, Cambridge) have similar overlapping definitions under pronoun and determiner PoSes. Sometimes there is a good justification for the different PoSes; sometimes it seems more like redundancy. CGEL (2002) uses the "fused head" approach, which reduces redundancy.
CGEL lists whatever as a "basic determiner" among a group of four "interrogative and relative determiners", a group also including which, what, and whichever and the "archaic" whatsoever and whichsoever. "But", they also state, "as with interrogatives, what and whatever in head function are pronouns", that is, not determiners.
Other propositions in CGEL about whatever include:
"The negative orientation of any can be reinforced by the polarity-sensitive at all or whatever: We hadn't made any progress at all / whatever.
"The determinatives in -ever are found only in the exhaustive conditional construction: [Whichever / Whatever present you buy for him,] he won't be satisfied.
What(so)ever is an NPI, with the meaning "at all", only when functioning as an emphatic postmodifier in NP structure following any or no: There is no justification whatsoever for his behavior.; Have you any idea whatever of its value?
Whatever is included in a list of determinatives as exemplifying the criterion that discriminates adjectives from determiners that "The clearest members of the determinative category cannot combine with the articles."
The following are offered as examples of whatever as a pronoun: Whatever in the report was written by Harry was simple ignored and Whatever they have that has a Paris label is bound to fetch a higher price.
Whatever is included in the list of "relative words used in the fused construction".
CGEL has more to say about the words ending in -ever which may help in structuring and wording our definitions (whether gloss or non-gloss), labels, and usage examples. It would probably be good to consult CGEL while working on these entries (as well as those for other function words). One also needs a good night sleep before tackling them, which disqualifies me at the moment. DCDuring (talk) 17:14, 3 December 2021 (UTC)
@DCDuring: I have started using an "as pronoun" labelling for the "fused head" case where I don't have an inclination to create a separate "pronoun" section. See sufficient for a recent example. I am not proposing to do this at whatever, however, or at least not unless everybody advocates it. Mihia (talk) 13:49, 5 December 2021 (UTC)
"(As a nominal)" would be more to my taste, but I don't now have the mental energy to tackle creating alternative versions of the entries for the common English determiners that can be used in "fused head" constructions. For function words, the modern comprehensive grammar, at least the two CGELs, especially CGEL (2002), are essential. These references can help us create coherent entries that capture the usage subtleties that differentiate one determiner from its near synonyms or, rather, those with overlapping definitions. DCDuring (talk) 17:49, 5 December 2021 (UTC)
You quote "The negative orientation of any can be reinforced by the polarity-sensitive at all or whatever: We hadn't made any progress at all / whatever."; this is the case where we have been debating the PoS of "whatever", whether adverbial or adjectival. Do they offer any opinion relevant to this question?
You quote "The determinatives in -ever are found only in the exhaustive conditional construction: [Whichever / Whatever present you buy for him,] he won't be satisfied." This is the case we presently define as "regardless of which", where there is a doubt in my mind as to how this can be a plain determiner, given the apparent fused preposition ("regardless of"); and then there is also the corresponding pronoun case e.g. "Whatever he does, he will still lose the game", where again the substitutable definition "regardless of which thing" seems to include a fused preposition.
I have labelled the case corresponding to "Whatever they have that has a Paris label is bound to fetch a higher price" as a "fused relative pronoun", equal to "anything that". This seems to be a terminology that a number of people use. Mihia (talk) 13:49, 5 December 2021 (UTC)
I would never rely on semantics to determine PoS. DCDuring (talk) 17:49, 5 December 2021 (UTC)
I don't understand what you mean by that. Which part of what I said or referred to is "relying on semantics to determine PoS", and what would you do instead? Mihia (talk) 18:47, 5 December 2021 (UTC)

eald fæderEdit

I have a slight issue with this entry...it seems to be combining the Old English phrase eald fæder (lit. "old father") being used to convey the meaning of "grandfather/forefather" and an earlier derived term ealdfæder of the same basic meaning from Proto-West Germanic *aldfader (forefather) (compare Old Frisian aldfader, Old Saxon aldfadar, Old High German altfater). Otherwise eald father just literally means "old father" and not "grandfather". The basic difference is that eald fæder is declined as two separate words (adj + noun; e.g. ealdan fæder, mīn yldra fæder, etc.) where the other is clearly a compound (the declensions on each tab have it correctly) - indeed, we're directed at eald fæder to view the declensions individually (as 2 separate words). However, the phrase eald + fæder is not used so much more frequently than the compound ealdfæder - they're about equal in that regard, so there is no overwhelming need to show eald fæder separately, and specifically as the main entry at that.

Also, ealdefæder, with a slightly different etymology, appears to be taken from the phrase (mīn) ealda fæder "my old father/my grandfather" (cf. Old Frisian aldafader) - so it's a compounding of the declined weak adjective + noun (?). Not a biggie, but it does set it apart as distinct.

Eald fæder and ealdfæder should be merged at ealdfæder with the appropriate declension table, and should note in the etymology and a Usage note that it possibly comes partially from the individually inflected phrase eald + fæder; and ealdefæder should continue to be a redirect as an alternative form, yet with its own distinct etymology section. Ideally, ealdefæder should stand as its own entry and be a synonym.

Same applies to Old English eald mōdor. —⁠This unsigned comment was added by Leasnam (talkcontribs) at 23:58, 27 November 2021‎.

Sorry, yes, this comment was added by myself :] Leasnam (talk) 02:03, 28 November 2021 (UTC)
@Leasnam: Sorry if it come off as a bit toxic, it wasn't meant that way. :) Upon reading your comment and wondering who wrote it, I went to the history page and the completionist within me thought I might as well just add your name here. Fytcha (talk) 02:08, 28 November 2021 (UTC)
"toxic"? no - not at all. I appreciate you signing it for me. I can't believe I missed off on that. Too much turkey makes me woozy :) Leasnam (talk) 03:27, 28 November 2021 (UTC)
@Fytcha Just to complete the circle on the nitpicking: the ping and the signature have to be in the same edit in the same place. If you forget to sign your ping or you forget to include the ping, adding either the signature or the ping in a later edit will fail to generate a notification. If you're going to fix your ping after the fact, the best thing to do is also include a plain wikilink to the other party's user page in your edit summary (templates don't work in edit summaries), as in "User:Fytcha: fixing my ping". Fixing a ping in the wikitext without doing that makes it look like you pinged correctly and they just ignored it. Chuck Entz (talk) 04:41, 28 November 2021 (UTC)
@Chuck Entz: Thank you, I wasn't aware that pings are dependent on the signature. Fytcha (talk) 15:59, 28 November 2021 (UTC)
I have fallen foul of this too. While of course association with a signature is needed to tell the recipient who pinged them, I do wonder why a ping that cannot be so associated cannot be sent anyway, without this information. Mihia (talk) 20:05, 28 November 2021 (UTC)
Discussion has veered a little down a side road...pinging @Hundwine, as the creator of the entry Leasnam (talk) 10:19, 29 November 2021 (UTC)

sleight of handEdit

In what way is leger de main the etymology of sleight of hand? If it is supposed to be a translation of legerdemain it does not appear to be an accurate one since léger means "light" and sleight means "cunning". SpinningSpark 12:34, 28 November 2021 (UTC)

That occurred to me when reading this entry too. I suppose ‘léger de main’ could have been translated as ‘sleight of hand’ in the days before spelling was standardised by people who meant ‘slight of hand’, only for the spelling to change from ‘sleight’ to ‘slight’ (for the ‘insignificant/imperceptible’ rather than ‘cunning’ sense of the word) in all other circumstances but remain fixed as ‘sleight’ only for this phrase? The fact that magic tricks are both cunning and imperceptible to all but the most alert and initiated may have contributed to the confusion. On the other hand, how do we know that this didn’t originate as an English phrase with ‘sleight’ meaning ‘cunning’, unrelated to the similar-looking French phrase? Overlordnat1 (talk)|
Timewise, the Old French and Middle English phrases seem to be concurrent. In English however, the older is sleght of his hond (c1400: Achilles..Slough hym full slawthly with sleght of his hond.) which hints at the possibility that it was not a set phrase. Later we find English sleghte of hande (c1460: Let now se who dos the best with any slegthe of hande.). Leasnam (talk) 15:03, 28 November 2021 (UTC)
Middle English also has sliþe of love craft "sleight of love-craft", slegytis of werre "sleight of war", sliþe of witte "sleight of wit", sleyte of drede "sleight of dread", sleihte of werkmanschipe "sleight of workmanship", etc. So sleight of hand doesn't stick out as anything special, except that it is the only one that seems to have survived. Leasnam (talk) 00:29, 29 November 2021 (UTC)
Does that mean you think that sleight of hand is an English phrase unrelated etymologically to the French phrase léger de main (or the English legerdemain) despite it having a similar form and meaning? Overlordnat1 (talk) 12:38, 30 November 2021 (UTC)
I don't see a need to try and explain the English phrase by referring to the French one. Leasnam (talk) 23:26, 1 December 2021 (UTC)
Only just noticed your improvement to the entry and interesting linked article, so I see what you mean now. Overlordnat1 (talk) 00:48, 2 December 2021 (UTC)
Compare etwas abschlagen / ausschlagen. ApisAzuli (talk) 21:11, 30 November 2021 (UTC)

-ola (Latin)Edit

I see in the Latin entry for -ola that it is a dimunutive suffix. Does it indicate certain dimunitive traits such as size, cuteness, etc., or is it a general diminutive? MisterSpellerMan (talk) 15:26, 28 November 2021 (UTC)

These certain diminutive traits you mention are general diminutive traits. Fay Freak (talk) 16:05, 28 November 2021 (UTC)
If you look through Category:Latin words suffixed with -olus (Latin -ola is just the feminine form of -olus), you'll see that most of them refer to something smaller than the unprefixed thing: a malleolus is a small malleus (hammer), filiola is a young daughter (filia). I'm not sure what's going on with bestiola- the two senses seem redundant). I would also note that w:Diminutive gives the example of Romulus Augustus, who was derisively referred to as "Romulus Augustulus" to emphasize his insignificance as an emperor- though he was also a minor during his entire (very brief) reign. I haven't read enough Latin to say whether the diminutive is sometimes used to show affection, if that's what you mean by "a general diminutive". Chuck Entz (talk) 16:30, 28 November 2021 (UTC)

accouterment and accoutrementEdit

Right now the entries for both these forms give “accouterment” as the normal American form, with “accoutrement” as the “Commonwealth” variant.

Under “Further reading,” the article “accoutrement” links to the Merriam-Webster article, which gives “accoutrement” as the usual form and “accouterment” as a variation. In fact looking up “accouterment” brings up the page “accoutrement” on the Merriam-Webster site.

A quick Google search finds:

accouterment: “About 725,000 results”

accoutrement: “About 14,000,000 results”

Since more than half the native English speakers in the world live in the United States, this suggests that “accoutrement” is the normal American form, and “accouterment” a fairly rare variant. I’d suggest rearranging and rewriting the entries that way. But my research here has been superficial, as you can see, so I’d be interested in hearing other opinions.

(As a side note, I came to the entry because the Hunspell dictionary for American English didn’t recognize “accoutrements” and suggested “accouterments,” and—as a native speaker of American English—I thought that was odd.) --Cbaile19 (talk) 01:27, 29 November 2021 (UTC)

I've never seen accouterment. Had I run across it, I would most likely have thought it was a spelling mistake or typo. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 03:00, 29 November 2021 (UTC)
Likewise, and my American pronunciation is /ǝˌkutrǝˈmɑnt/ or similar. Benwing2 (talk) 05:49, 30 November 2021 (UTC)
My (paper) Americal Heritage Dictionary says "accouterment or accoutrement". But I, too, have only seen accoutrement and heard it pronounced that way. (I'm pretty sure a French n at the end is strictly British.) Perhaps the 'er' spelling is dated or some failed attempt at spelling reform. Pronunciation has been known to change over time as well. My spellchecker fails both versions without an s at the end, but likes them both as plurals. --RDBury (talk) 06:01, 30 November 2021 (UTC)
Google Ngrams Viewer suggests that in US English the form accouterment has been more common than suggested by the ghit numbers above, up to one third of the uses. It is easily found in contemporary news sources,[19] in particular in the plural.  --Lambiam 20:37, 30 November 2021 (UTC)
Google hit counts don't mean much and NGrams is a better measure, though I wouldn't trust either completely. In any case, the issue is which version is "normal" and which is "variant", and the fact that even when restricted to American English the counts still favor the re version supports that it should be considered the "normal" one. It appears that most of the results from NGrams are for the military meaning; perhaps the frequencies change when it's referring to clothing accessories. The er version is barely visible in the British English corpus btw. There are varieties of English other than British and American, and it's a bit frustrating that NGrams doesn't seem to cover them. --RDBury (talk) 23:17, 1 December 2021 (UTC)
I absolutely agree with your first statement. Large Google hit counts are apparently large random numbers whose meaning no one can explain. Whether the relative size of these large random numbers is reliably significant is unproven. Mihia (talk) 23:22, 4 December 2021 (UTC)

US usage of agree in Appendix:English catenative verbsEdit

The entry for "agree" in the English catenative verbs appendix page, says "In (US) usage, agree is intransitive only. Where to immediately follows, it functions as a preposition...". As a speaker of American English this doesn't seem correct, and the example "He agreed to work on Saturday" does not sound odd to me at all. I think if "to" was a preposition here then it would be "He agreed to working on Saturday," which does seem a bit odd but not ungrammatical. I know that on the British Isles it's common to use "agree" as a transitive verb: "they agreed a price" or "they agreed the conditions" (from our entry), and that's not a feature of American English. But I think "agree" as a catenative verb (i.e. verb+"to"+another verb) is fine in American English. I'm asking because I watch so much British and Australian TV that I no longer trust my American ear, and so I wanted to have a second opinion before changing the appendix. I'm thinking just remove the entire note, since "agree" is just as catenative in American English as it is in British English. The other differences between British and American "agree" are covered in the main entry. --RDBury (talk) 06:54, 30 November 2021 (UTC)

I can't reference the American ear but note that your example, agree to work, can have the preposition if reading work (on sundays) as noun phrase. ApisAzuli (talk) 22:18, 2 December 2021 (UTC)
I think that this possibility can be eliminated altogether by considering "agree to + word that can only be a verb, not a noun". Mihia (talk) 22:35, 2 December 2021 (UTC)
@ApisAzuli The example is somewhat ambiguous and should probably be replaced. Something like "He agreed to meet on Saturday." I don't see any objections so I'll go ahead and remove the note, and make up another example while I'm at it. RDBury (talk) 08:32, 5 December 2021 (UTC)
I only tried point out potential for confusion but in response to @mihia I have to remark that English can verb nouns like that. More over, isn't the head in this example "Saturday" and meet on adverbial of sorts, or at least a bare infinitive? Inasmuch as you would expect simplification of * agreed to to meet, besides admit to, Ger. zu-stimmen, etc., I find your interpretation arbitrary. ApisAzuli (talk) 12:25, 5 December 2021 (UTC)

Pali aghosaEdit

Note that this conversation is in English, not Wiktionarian.

@Inqilābī asks whether the Pali grammatical term aghosa (voiceless) is a calque or simply a loan of Sanskrit अघोष (aghoṣa). Pali has ghosa (sound, voice) of a common, inherited origin with Sanskrit घोष (ghoṣa, sound, voice). Early Pali grammatical analysis appears to be adapted from Sanskrit grammatical analysis. Sanskrit has a contrasting pair of adjectives घोष, अघोष (ghoṣa, aghoṣa), which Pali has borrowed as ghosa, aghosa, distinguished by the privative prefix a- (not; without).

As I believe it is natural for Pali to preserve the manner of derivation of Sanskrit अघोष (aghoṣa) from Sanskrit घोष (ghoṣa), I believe the Pali word aghosa (voiceless) echoes the derivation internally and so aghosa is a calque and is not just a mechanical borrowing. --RichardW57 (talk) 22:28, 30 November 2021 (UTC)

P.S. Please don't ask questions in change comments like this. Please raise the question in the Tea Room yourself.

December 2021

wrapping paperEdit

The definition restricts it to parcels or presents. What do you call the paper that, for example, a butcher uses to wrap the meat he sells? Or would that count as a parcel? (When I read "parcel", I thought of mail and delivery.) 11:12, 2 December 2021 (UTC)

To me, "wrapping paper" is so strongly associated with presents that I would hardly use it in any other context. Apparently there is something called "butchers' paper" or "butcher paper", though I have personally never heard of this. Could be a US term? Mihia (talk) 11:52, 3 December 2021 (UTC)
In my experience, butchers, delicatessens etc. will use a kind of plastic-lined paper wrap, or a plastic bag inside paper - which I would just call "paper", not "wrapping paper" (unless I was getting the butcher to gift wrap the meat as a present!). "Butchers' paper", which we have in Australia, is not used by butchers as far as I know, having been superseded by plastic bags. As our entry says, it is restricted to arts and crafts, and apparently is also used by removalists. This, that and the other (talk) 12:06, 3 December 2021 (UTC)
Here we see “grease-proof wrapping paper” as a synonym of “imitation parchment paper”, which I think is not meant for wrapping greasy presents but the same material now commonly referred to as just “parchment paper”. Regarding the other question, sure you can have "meat parcels".[20][21][22]  --Lambiam 13:01, 3 December 2021 (UTC)
Where wrapping things is concerned, there is also brown paper. Mihia (talk) 14:46, 3 December 2021 (UTC)
I have certainly used the kind of Butterbrotpapier my piece was wrapped with to copy comics. Indeed I would have guessed that this is called parchment, as it's also known as Pergamentpapier, here in .de
However, I was hoping for something more medieval? Fish is wrapped in newspaper these days, so I guess you'd just call it the paper, eh. ApisAzuli (talk) 03:39, 4 December 2021 (UTC) Also Backpapier if heat resistant for baking. Packpapier can be ordered straight from Deutsche Post. ApisAzuli (talk) 04:31, 4 December 2021 (UTC)

whatever (3)Edit

Interjection sense:

  1. (colloquial, dismissive) A holophrastic expression used discourteously to indicate that the speaker does not consider the matter worthy of further discussion.
    Go brush your teeth. – Whatever!
Usage notes: Tone of voice is particularly important here in playing up or playing down the dismissive quality of the word.

Is this usage note correct? Is there a tone of voice in which "whatever" can be said with this meaning but with the dismissiveness played down? I can't visualise it. Mihia (talk) 11:47, 3 December 2021 (UTC)

Erm, pitch accent surely plays a role, but we don't usually record this for English. ApisAzuli (talk) 03:48, 4 December 2021 (UTC)
I associate this with the valley girl accent, basically a meme from Clueless. (See the last few seconds in this clip.) Going from slang restricted to a relatively narrow subculture, to a meme, to slang in a somewhat broader subculture, it's hard to tell how much of this definition is defining the word and how much is trying to explain the meme. I thinking the definition should just give the meaning as if said in a neutral, not sarcastic, not annoyed, not discourteous tone of voice (if possible); people are generally able to interpret a tone of voice without a dictionary. --RDBury (talk) 08:17, 5 December 2021 (UTC)
@RDBury: To me, the whole raison d'être of the present definition is that the expression is dismissive. This is the only type of usage that I know. What would be the "neutral" definition? Just an acknowledgement like "OK"? Does such a neutral sense definitely exist, with the dismissive sense being a sarcastic/annoyed variation? I have never been aware of this. It would make the usage note more understandable, though would certainly require the definition to be amended. Mihia (talk) 14:54, 5 December 2021 (UTC)
@Mihia: You're right, it's hard to imagine it being used neutrally. Perhaps:
What does the hammer have to do with the price of beans in Chine?
'Tea'. It's 'What's that got to do with the price of tea in Chine?'
Whatever. What does the hammer have do with it?
I suspect the "definition" is really, at least partly, an explanation of the meme. Does this expression even have an independent meaning? It does but the question should at least be asked before trying to formulate a definition. The actual meaning is probably something along the lines of meaning 3 of anyway, perhaps "Used to indicate a desire to change the subject." MW online has "sometimes used interjectionally to suggest the unimportance of an issue or decision between alternatives". The Wikipedia entry says the expression actually dates back to the 1960's, long before the meme. The emotional content of the expression, "dismissive", "bored", "discourteous", can be moved to the usage note.
Actually, I don't agree with the usage note; the tone of voice isn't more important here than anywhere else, it's just that the expression nearly always has an emotional component which is conveyed by tone of voice. But tone of voice always conveys emotion that might not be conveyed by words. So I'd replace the usage comment with something like "Often used dismissively and regarded as rude or discourteous. Can be use to end an argument without conceding the point, implying the issue is not worth discussing or a general sense of apathy toward the subject." It's not like there is a shortage of Gifs from which one can glean emotional context; just Google "whatever meme".
I'd also suggest including the relevant quote from Clueless, but I now realize that it has a somewhat different meaning there. It's used to say that the previous point ("It was his 50th birthday") is irrelevant to the current argument. Perhaps another quote would be useful here. --RDBury (talk) 07:07, 6 December 2021 (UTC)
As someone who grew up in Encino, just north of Valley girl territory, I can attest that it predated even the Frank Zappa song that made Valley girls famous. It means "It doesn't matter, because I don't really care", and can be used even when talking out loud to oneself: "I wonder which I'm supposed to take... whatever. I'll just pick one." It runs the full gamut from this low-key "It's not worth thinking about it" to the stereotypical dismissive outburst: "It doesn't matter what you say, I don't care and I don't want to hear any more about it!" Chuck Entz (talk) 08:06, 6 December 2021 (UTC)
  • I made some changes based on the comments. Please make any further changes you think are necessary. Mihia (talk) 17:40, 6 December 2021 (UTC)

Incorrect audio file at (Mandarin)Edit

From our feedback page: "The voice clip for this character is incorrect. This character should be pronounced in the first tone "zhī" (pronounced like 知) instead of in the third tone "zhĭ" (pronounced like 紙) Fkang05 (talk) 05:44, 1 December 2021 (UTC)". I checked and the audio file is indeed wrong. However, I have no idea how the {{zh-pron}} template works. Can someone fix this? — SGconlaw (talk) 12:07, 3 December 2021 (UTC)

I'm not impressed by either the zhī(at ) or the zhĭ (at ) audio files. To my admittedly non-native ear both sound like a two-syllable monotone, with just enough intonation so you can tell them apart. @Justinrleung would know how to deal wth this. Chuck Entz (talk) 08:51, 6 December 2021 (UTC)


Particle sense:

  1. (Singlish) Objects a false assumption held by the interlocutor.
    You asked for it what!But you totally asked for it!
    • 1978, L. C. Cheong, Youth in the Army, page 142:
      Most things come from Europe what.
    • 2007, yansimon52, soc.culture.singapore, Usenet:
      [] they can't be the same what?

I assume "objects" should read "objects to". Anyone familiar with this use? The usex is hard (for me) to understand. The exact intention of "what" in the quotations is not clear without more context. At [23] it says that this sense of "what" is "Used at the end of sentences for emphasis, to indicate that a statement is obvious, etc.", which on the face of it seems to bear little relation to our definition (also it says "Origin uncertain; perh. < Eng. what", so apparently it may not even be the same word). There is quite a detailed discussion at [24]; piecing all this together, it seems to me that the definition should more helpfully read along the lines of "Used at the end of a sentence to emphasise the truth or obviousness of what one has said despite another's denial or objection." However, I still cannot understand how this fits our existing usex. Any ideas on any of this? Mihia (talk) 18:51, 3 December 2021 (UTC)

One way of looking at it is as a generalized tag question, especially consistent with the punctuation in usex 3.
Is this anything but a specialization of the following "Interjection" sense:
(Britain, colloquial, dated) Clipping of what do you say?
  • 1991 May 12, "Kidnapped!" Jeeves and Wooster, Series 2, Episode 5:
    Chuffy: WHAT? No, no, no, no, no. My casa is your casa, what?
    It’s a nice day, what?
I certainly don't get that the non-gloss definition is unambiguously supported by all three of the cites, possibly by any of the cites. DCDuring (talk) 19:24, 3 December 2021 (UTC)
Indeed, at [25] they aim to trace this Singlish use back to BrE. For me, the dated BrE sense that you mention would always need a comma and a question mark or exclamation mark, but I suppose writers cannot be relied upon to punctuate correctly. It would be useful to know how the Singlish examples are spoken. That BrE usage also does not include a sense of "despite another's denial or objection", which seems to be important in the Singlish usage, as far as I can tell. By the way, I have just noticed that, by coincidence, the Singlish sense has very recently been altered by @MiltonLibraryAssistant and originally read "Used sentence-finally to object an underlying assumption held by the interlocutor". It seems to me that the original equally misses the underlined point of "Used at the end of a sentence to emphasise the truth or obviousness of what one has said despite another's denial or objection", assuming of course that this point is a correct part of the definition, which I can't be sure of from personal knowledge. Mihia (talk) 20:52, 3 December 2021 (UTC)
Er... this is just incorrect English. Are we to insert entries for the French spoken by English people now too? 21:27, 3 December 2021 (UTC)
This is how people in certain strata of Singaporean society speak English. It's quite analogous to how the people in mediaeval England spoke Old French. See Law French, Anglo-Norman language and Dieu et mon droit, among others. Chuck Entz (talk) 21:54, 3 December 2021 (UTC)
SCE / Singlish isn't broken English, in the same way Multicultural London English isn't. SCE has its own rules governing syntax and has been the subject of many linguistic papers. Linguistics isn't prescriptive. SCE is a creole language that's also an informal register of English spoken in Singapore. Many people are fluent in both English and Singlish. MiltonLibraryAssistant (talk) 06:07, 4 December 2021 (UTC)
I know people do exist who have spoken Singlish since birth, but it is not a valid form of the language, simply because they are not English people, but foreigners who have adopted the language and then incorrectly learnt it and passed it on. I disagree with nothing you said in your reply - which suggest we are talking at cross purposes, or that you are engaging in non sequiturs. 05:07, 5 December 2021 (UTC)
@Sgconlaw, who is from that part of the world. Chuck Entz (talk) 21:54, 3 December 2021 (UTC)
I can confirm it is used in Singlish, and always at the end of a statement. It seems different from the (rather dated) use of the word in English as shown in the examples above, as it is pronounced with a sort of low tone with the vowel extended (like “whaaat”) and, as the current definition indicates, when the speaker is attempting to refute or express doubt about a statement by someone else. Beyond that, I’m not sure what I can add as I don’t have training in linguistics. — SGconlaw (talk) 00:01, 4 December 2021 (UTC)
@Sgconlaw I'm a little unclear about how to interpret the definition: is it used after repeating a statement one disagrees with to show one's disagreement, or is used after a statement of one's own, to show that one's statement is a rebuttal of what has been said?
As for its origin, it reminds me of particles I've seen in Mandarin Chinese, such as (ma), which turns the preceding sentence into a question. Chuck Entz (talk)
(Edit conflict) @Sgconlaw: Can you explain exactly what the present examples are supposed to mean? The usex, You asked for it what! — But you totally asked for it!, is not easily comprehensible to me. I don't understand with what purpose these things are being said and by whom. And again, what about e.g. "Most things come from Europe what". Would this be in a context where someone else had denied that most things come from Europe, but the speaker is insisting that this is true? Or is the speaker him/herself denying that most things come from Europe? Mihia (talk) 01:02, 4 December 2021 (UTC)
@Mihia Sinkie and original editor here. To clarify, sentence-final what in SCE has been described as an "objection particle", used to mark a statement that refutes/contradicts an assumption held by the other speaker. It absolutely depends on context — if I'm talking to someone and they're suggesting that there aren't any libraries nearby, I might say "The National Library is a five-minute walk from here what." in an attempt to falsify the notion that there aren't any libraries nearby. It's not easy to distill the meaning of what without an adjacency pair. I'll edit the usage examples, hopefully it's clearer that way. MiltonLibraryAssistant (talk) 03:42, 4 December 2021 (UTC)
I don't think your given definition "Used at the end of a sentence to emphasise the truth or obviousness of what one has said despite another's denial or objection" fits. Sentence-final what expresses the objection of the speaker, not the interlocutor, and it doesn't stress obviousness — in practice, that role is fulfilled by lor (Sense 2) and mah (Sense 1). "A Dictionary of Singlish" tends to oversimplify things, so I won't look into their definitions. Here's a dialogue example given by the aforementioned Brill paper:
Context: Discussion of a student who is going overseas for one month and will be missing classes.
—X: He’ll never pass the third year.
—Y: It’s only for one month what.
Here speaker Y challenges the notion that said student is doomed to fail, highlighting the relatively short duration of his travel. Speaker Y does not expect that fact to be obvious, and speaker X isn't denying or objecting to anything. The particle what marks objection, so it's for the most part semantically equivalent to sentence-initial but. MiltonLibraryAssistant (talk) 05:29, 4 December 2021 (UTC)
@Mihia The only thing I deem correct in "Used at the end of a sentence to emphasise the truth or obviousness of what one has said despite another's denial or objection" is "Used at the end of a sentence to emphasise the truth [...] of what one has said". MiltonLibraryAssistant (talk) 06:18, 4 December 2021 (UTC)
  1. (Singlish) Emphasizes the truth of an assertion made to refute a false assumption held by the listener.
    —Too bad there aren't any libraries nearby.
    —The National Library is a five-minute walk from here what.
Is this definition clearer now? @Sgconlaw feel free to edit if you think it's too convoluted. Ciao ciao. MiltonLibraryAssistant (talk) 08:55, 4 December 2021 (UTC)
This seems to be equivalent to Beriner *wa*, which can be construed of as discourse particle. de.WT oppines that it is short from wahr (true), equivalent to gell , and offers this example: „Schönes Wetter heute, wa?“ „Draußen, wa?“ ("nice weather today, ey?", "Outside, ey?"). ApisAzuli (talk) 03:57, 4 December 2021 (UTC)
@Mihia: I think one of the comments above captures part of the sense of the word fairly well: “Used at the end of a sentence to emphasise the truth or obviousness of what one has said […]”. However, I’m not sure it always has to be in response to “another's denial or objection”. For example, if A says “My daughter did quite well in her exams,” B might remark “She’s always been smart, what.” @Chuck Entz: I suppose a linguist would call it a discourse particle, like lah, mah, and the ma in Mandarin that you mentioned. — SGconlaw (talk) 04:51, 4 December 2021 (UTC)
@Sgconlaw: @MiltonLibraryAssistant: Thanks very much for your comments and assistance. It all looks good to me now: the definition along with the usex now fully understandable. Mihia (talk) 11:25, 4 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Does this deserve a separate etymology to include the influence of the rhyming Chinese particle? DCDuring (talk) 16:23, 4 December 2021 (UTC)
    @DCDuring Although its usage is fairly interchangeable with mah / Cantonese (maa3), we don't know for sure if there exists any correlation between the two. This Brill paper attempts to reconstruct the historical development of BrE what into the objection particle in question. So it's likely that it's derived from BrE and later syntactically influenced by the grammar of Cantonese/Min Nan. Tentatively speaking, I don't think this warrants a separate etymology. MiltonLibraryAssistant (talk) 05:05, 5 December 2021 (UTC)

Mistranslation (Tagalog anomalya)Edit

Discussion moved from Wiktionary:Information_desk/2021/December.

I commonly encounter the word anomalya in news reports related to government irregularities in the Philippines, and I’m noticing it's commonly but erroneously translated to “anomaly” in English (so is maanomalya (full of irregularities; in violation of rules), which is also erroneously translated into “anomalous” in the same context, e.g. in the translation of maanomalyang transaksiyon on a report on alleged corruption in some government deal). Is this some sort of mistranslation due to lingustic interference (usually from the Spanish) due to close resemblance? It's not just a problem with that word, but also for several Spanish (or even Romance) loanwords in Tagalog that are cognates or share meaning[s] with the English.-TagaSanPedroAko (talk) 23:46, 2 December 2021 (UTC)

@Mar vin kaiser? The mistranslation may be a good note to add. "Anomalya" (in the sense of an irregularity/violation of rules), for me, has been commonly mistranslated into “anomaly” (so is “maanomalya” to “anomalous”), for both news or even those in the seats of power. “Anomaly” did appear in the latest speech by Duterte, and it sounds out of place in the context of politics. --TagaSanPedroAko (talk) 00:48, 3 December 2021 (UTC)
@TagaSanPedroAko: Why would it be a mistranslation when the primary definition of the word anomalya is "anomaly"? --Mar vin kaiser (talk) 01:07, 3 December 2021 (UTC)
@Mar vin kaiser: Yes, “anomaly” is the main definition, but so far, it's most commonly used in the sense of “irregularity” such as in cases of corruption. If you are to translate this phrase, “mga anomalya sa pagbili ng bagong kagamitan”, I would say “anomaly” is not the best translation of “anomalya” in that usage if the multiple English definitions are to be considered, but it's quite a common error. Same can be said for the example of maanomalyang transaksyon, so why our English-language newspapers and media often say of “anomalous transaction” when reporting about some government transactions being investigated due to corruption or violations of rules or laws. The case of “maanomalya” appears to relate with how “anomalya” is being translated incorrectly, as it's a derived term. - TagaSanPedroAko (talk) 01:22, 3 December 2021 (UTC)
@TagaSanPedroAko: Firstly, if ever there's an issue here, it would be on the side on Philippine English, not Tagalog, so there's nothing wrong with the current Tagalog entry in Wiktionary. Secondly, I don't think there's anything wrong with the transaction, if ever, the meaning of "anomaly" has changed already in Philippine English, but I don't even think that's the case. Could you explain the difference between an "anomaly" and an "irregularity"? --Mar vin kaiser (talk) 01:26, 3 December 2021 (UTC)
@Mar vin kaiser: I can say ”anomaly” as a translation of “anomalya” used in a report about corruption is not even legit PhE, but a poor translation due to the word's similarity with English “anomaly”. In other words, it's a case of false friends or a translation of a similar-looking word that did not account for polysemy. In regard to “anomaly”, conventional English usage is on deviations from a rule, usually within scientific contexts (e.g. meteorology, geophysics) but within the context of politics, “irregularity” is a better fit. -TagaSanPedroAko (talk) 01:37, 3 December 2021 (UTC)
On the original Spanish (anomalía), its translation is “anomaly”, but seems to used in the same contexts as English. The mentioned sense of “irregularity” is more of a Filipino innovation (or an extension). -TagaSanPedroAko (talk) 01:42, 3 December 2021 (UTC)
@TagaSanPedroAko: Well, if you look at the English entry of anomaly, it does have the definition of "irregularity", albeit dated. Furthermore, even mistakes, used often enough, becomes correct, since that's how descriptive linguistics works, so we don't get to judge if it's legit or not. If it's used, and used regularly, then it's part of the language, in this case Philippine English. I don't really see the issue here. --Mar vin kaiser (talk) 10:05, 3 December 2021 (UTC)
@Mar vin kaiser I haven't seen that sense, but that's a good find. That said, we should still retain the sense of "irregularity" for the Tagalog entry, "anomaly" being already listed there. Maybe consider creating the entry for "maanomalya" in the sense of "in violation of rules/full of irregularities", ignoring the poor mistranslation "anomalous"? TagaSanPedroAko (talk) 10:17, 3 December 2021 (UTC)
@TagaSanPedroAko: Wiktionary isn't for translations, but for definitions. So I don't know why you keep talking about translations. --Mar vin kaiser (talk) 10:20, 3 December 2021 (UTC)
@Mar vin kaiser You might have forgotten how non-English entries are written here. They're generally translations. We'll use definitions (gloss or non-gloss) for non-English terms with no precise translations, but otherwise, they're translations. -TagaSanPedroAko (talk) 10:26, 3 December 2021 (UTC)
@TagaSanPedroAko: Ok, this may be just semantics. The translation is the definition, so if one word suffices to express the meaning of the word, then that's the definition. Since a dictionary defines, not translates. But anyway, "anomalya" means "anomaly", "maanomalya" means "anomalous", of course that doesn't mean that they don't have other definitions. I'm already OK with the current Tagalog entry of anomalya, so I don't understand what you wanna change. --Mar vin kaiser (talk) 10:32, 3 December 2021 (UTC)
@Mar vin kaiser I don't intend to change for anomalya, but I'm asking for what best definition line can be used if we'll create an entry for "maanomalya". Unless usages outside the context of reports on corruption can be found, I don't think it exists in the conventional English definition of "anomalous", so I side with using the definition "in violation of rules". TagaSanPedroAko (talk) 10:38, 3 December 2021 (UTC)

@TagaSanPedroAko, Mar vin kaiser I have looked up anomalia, anomalya in Fr Leo English's dictionary, and he gives the following sample clause with translation: May mga anomalia sa pámahalaán ngayón "There are some anomalies in the government now". The fact that English used this example for illustration is enlightening about its usage, which is not wrong, but probably(?) not the first choice for English-speakers outside of the Philippines in this context, whereas in the Philippines, it is the default choice, it seems. This is reminiscent of bifurcation in South Asian English, which is generally used for administrative splits even when a small part breaks off from a much larger entity. Not incorrect, but an unusual choice of word for most non-South Asians not familiar with that usage.

As for maanomalya, I agree that we should check if the word is ever used to mean "anomalous" in its conventional sense. And as for the usage of "anomalous" in Philippine English as equivalent to maanomalya, we shouldn't consider this a mistranslation if it has become common usage in PhE. By the way, maybe better move this to the Tea Room? –Austronesier (talk) 10:40, 3 December 2021 (UTC)

@Austronesier Another good find, on rather counterintuitive usages (from the perspective of a speaker of English in places where it's the majority first language) of certain terms in non-native national varieties of English spoken as a second language (such as Philippine English and Indian English). @Mar vin kaiser To be honest, I have strong feelings against such usages due to the misunderstandings they might cause to native English speakers, but we should still list them in a descriptive dictionary. -- TagaSanPedroAko (talk) 10:48, 3 December 2021 (UTC)
@Austronesier And yes, we can move this to the Tea Room. After all, I'm new to this discussion rooms. TagaSanPedroAko (talk) 11:08, 3 December 2021 (UTC)
So am I, so I'd better ask: @Chuck Entz is it good practice to simply copypaste a long discussion to the Tea Room, or is it possible to mark it as copied/moved in some way? –Austronesier (talk) 13:03, 3 December 2021 (UTC)
@Austronesier I always replace everything but the header with {{movedto}} and start a new topic in the destination page with {{movedfrom}} as the first line, followed by everything that was removed from the original location.Chuck Entz (talk) 20:29, 3 December 2021 (UTC)
The meaning of Ancient Greek ἀνωμαλία (anōmalía), the etymon of anomaly/anomalia/anomalya, is “irregularity, unevenness”. While unrelated to anomia, I can imagine that a tinge of a sense of lawlessness has wafted over, but in any case, its use in the Philippine context seems like a euphemism for signs of corruption. I bet that similar uses of English anomaly as a euphemism can be found elsewhere.  --Lambiam 13:16, 3 December 2021 (UTC)
@Lambiam: I can second to that, we can list "anomaly" as a PhE synonym for "irregularity" in the context of corruption (e.g. on reports on irregularities in the procurement process for things the government purchased) but how it can be euphemistic? I would rather think of its PhE usage as an influence from the Tagalog (i.e. anomalya), but the reverse is not impossible (i.e. the common Tagalog definition of anomalya being semantically borrowed, considering the original Spanish doesn't have the aforementioned sense). And in regard to its usage outside of PhE, it's good we should find quotes since its usage within the Philippines might have carried on from its previous usage elsewhere in the English-speaking world, within the same definition of "irregularity" as in cases of corruption. -TagaSanPedroAko (talk) 17:15, 3 December 2021 (UTC)
Here are three uses in Spanish of the collocation una anomalía en la contabilidad: [26], [27], [28]. This corresponds to English accounting irregularity, which is normally understood as something arising from an intent to deceive or defraud. However, it is not uncommon to refer also in English to such an intentional irregularity as an “anomaly”. But in English an anomaly can also refer to an (unintentional) mistake; see for example these uses: [29], [30], [31]. Tax agencies use anomaly detection algorithms to discover fraud, but these will equally flag non-malicious tax returns that happen to fall outside the regular pattern.  --Lambiam 19:41, 3 December 2021 (UTC)
Since "irregularity" falls into the semantic range of the Spanish source word, and also into that of the English equivalent, it doesn't look that anomalous anymore... –Austronesier (talk) 21:20, 3 December 2021 (UTC)
@Lambiam, Austronesier: In what English senses does the provided Spanish usage fall under? Irregularity as like what happens with government purchases marred with corruption allegations (the usage of "anomaly" as commonly used in the Philippines but is otherwise dated elsewhere)? Or the conventional English sense of "deviation from a norm" (as like with temperature or magnetic anomalies)? Also, the next question is on the usage of "anomalous" as in an "anomalous transaction". We may be finished with Tagalog "anomalya" in the sense of violation of rules being equivalent to "anomaly" in its rather dated sense, but we still need to determine if "maanomalya" (as in "maanomalyang transaksyon", which I encounter a lot in news about government procurement scandals) can be equivalent to "anomalous" as well.-TagaSanPedroAko (talk) 00:00, 4 December 2021 (UTC)
To add to my reply, I find instances of "anomalous purchase" and also “anomalous transaction" in some English Wikipedia articles, mostly exclusively within Philippines-related articles especially in political contexts. Those phrases basically translate to Tagalog "maanomalyang pagbili" and "maanomalyang transaksiyon" respectively; I'm not sure how would native English speakers would translate them, with consideration to context. We can't cite the WP articles, but I think those phrases should also appear in major Philippine newspapers published in English. There is certainly a Philippines-specific usage of "anomalous" as illustrated above, basically a more-or-less literal translation of the Tagalog in its common usage. -TagaSanPedroAko (talk) 00:21, 4 December 2021 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I cannot read Tagalog (or Cebuano) and cannot comment on the range of meanings in English-language Philippine newspapers without detailed study. Outside the Philippine context, the collocation “anomalous transaction” is mainly used in the context of AI-driven anomaly detection to combat money laundering.[32][33][34] A detected anomaly can be a false positive. The collocation “anomalous purchase” is also found.[35] As used there, it is equivalent to “suspicious” in the sense of “raising suspicion (of a violation)” – but suspicion does not imply any rule has actually been violated. Just like a newspaper will not write “the thief” but “the alleged thief” if the suspect has not (yet) been found guilty, they will refer to a purchase as “anomalous” rather than “illegal” if it has not (yet) been ruled criminal. In this case the newspaper is quoting the US Office of Congressional Ethics, which will likewise hedge the wording in their reports.  --Lambiam 09:53, 4 December 2021 (UTC)

what (2)Edit

Adverb sense:

  1. (usually followed by "with," but also sometimes "would" or "might," especially in finance) In some manner or degree; in part; partly. See also what with
    What with singing and joking, the time passed quickly.
    The market will calculate these higher risks in their funding costs what might result in higher lending rates.
    This leads to an uncertain situation for creditors what would negatively affect the willingness to provide credit.

I have a bunch of doubts about this entry, but let me start with the second and third usexes. Does anyone recognise these as correct English? Can anyone provide a substitutable definition? To me, "what" in these sentences looks like a non-standard relative pronoun (let's say in this context a fairly ghastly error for "that"/"which"), which is a sense covered elsewhere in the article, but I guess I could be wrong. Is there definitely some separate accepted/acceptable finance-specific usage going on here? Mihia (talk) 22:19, 3 December 2021 (UTC)

I suppose the relative pronoun is chiefly BrE, after reading a ton of Terry Pratchett, in particular Corp. Nobb's voice, and that the financial sense is in this view chiefly AmE as a hold over from London finance. As ESL outside finance I don't recognise "what would" as idiom; "what with" certainly, but I am not sure it warrants a definition here at what if redundant with what with. I suppose on a whim that it is unrelated to with, rather wither, as for German wieder, wiederum et al. though this is a stretch as I don't know it collocated with was (a literal translation of the idiom might be vonwegen, a pro pos, I reckon). ApisAzuli (talk) 04:28, 4 December 2021 (UTC)
It is true that "what" is used as a relative pronoun in BrE, but it is low-register conversational usage -- "bad English", if you like. In BrE it seems totally out of place in these sentences (the second and third usexes). I can't definitely say about AmE, though I'd be slightly surprised. The meaning of "what" in "what with" seems hard to extract. I am not convinced that the present definition does this successfully. As you say, if the meaning is inextricable from the idiom "what with", it may not even warrant an entry at "what". I am 99% sure that "with" in this idiom is by derivation the ordinary word "with" and not some other ety, especially since "with" works in a similar sense even without "what". Mihia (talk) 10:07, 4 December 2021 (UTC)
The second and third usexes both seem ungrammatical to me (in standard English, either side of the Pond). I did not find a Google hit for this. The first does not belong, being a use of what with.  --Lambiam 10:26, 4 December 2021 (UTC)
Searching for "what would negatively affect", I found three seemingly similar uses:
  • "More accurate results can be possibly achieved by using regional indexes published for more narrowly defined markets; yet, it is also possible that these are based on smaller data sets, what would negatively affect their accuracy."
  • "Therefore, the weight of that word may be underestimated what would negatively affect the accuracy of classification."
  • "Would this technological improvement fail, the new armed forces will never be successful, what would negatively affect the efficiency and the credibility of the Swiss military organisation."
The authors' names are not native English names, though obviously this does not prove that they are not native or native-level English speakers. The third example above also has a strange/archaic use of "would". Could all this just be down to non-native error? Mihia (talk) 11:16, 4 December 2021 (UTC)
The senses in these quotes are clearly that of the (nonrestrictive) which.  --Lambiam 17:00, 4 December 2021 (UTC)
I would be quite surprised if the second and third examples were standard financial jargon; they seem like instances of the non-finance-specific dialectal/nonstandard use of what for ~that/which what ;) we already have as pronoun sense 3. (E.g., from Google Books, "Well, all the men what was there, they was setting around, and they put me on post immediately.") - -sche (discuss) 14:40, 4 December 2021 (UTC)
  • I sent the wretched thing to RFD. Mihia (talk) 15:23, 4 December 2021 (UTC)


Definition has A finding of carriages, carts, etc., for the transportation of goods or produce - WTF is a finding of carriages? Surely there must be a mistake there in Webster's dictionary. Notusbutthem (talk) 13:17, 4 December 2021 (UTC)

"A finding of" is out-dated way of saying "sourcing". Wording could be modernised if you feel up to it. -- ALGRIF talk 20:59, 5 December 2021 (UTC)

what (3)Edit

Pronoun senses:

2. (fused relative) That which; those that; the thing(s) that.
He knows what he wants.
What is amazing is his boundless energy.
Keep up with what your friends are doing.
3. (fused relative) Anything that; whatever.
I will do what I can to help you.
What is mine is yours.

This is a puzzle to me. Sense #3 "whatever" cannot be substituted into #2 "What is amazing is his boundless energy", yet it can be substituted into #2 "Keep up with what your friends are doing" with hardly any difference in meaning, maybe just a small nuance. Sense #2 "that which" is substitutable into #3 "I will do what I can to help you" and #3 "What is mine is yours" with hardly a difference in meaning that I can detect (only difference in register/formality). Are there any examples of sense #3 where definitions #2 are not substitutable? What is the best way to arrange these senses and examples? Any ideas? Mihia (talk) 18:56, 4 December 2021 (UTC)

I think the difference is that #3 is universal, e.g. "I will do all things I can to help you." But #2 just restricts to a condition: "He knows the things that he wants." There is a difference between "He knows the things that he wants" and "He knows all things that he wants". If you take this distinction literally then most of the examples are actually ambiguous and it's only context and common usage that put some under one definition and some under the other. My thinking is we have to keep in mind people whose native language is not English, and whose native language has different words for the different meanings. Having a single definition where they have different concepts in mind would be confusing for them. --RDBury (talk) 07:43, 5 December 2021 (UTC)
Right, there are cases of broader and narrower inclusion, and some sentences, such as the "friends" example, can take substitutions along the lines of either "the thing(s) that" or "anything that", depending on how wide a meaning is intended. Can we say that "whatever"/"anything that" cannot be substituted into "What is amazing is his boundless energy" simply because this is at the extreme "narrower" end of the spectrum? Or is there some other factor that makes this a separate species of usage? If the former, is there a case at the other end of the spectrum where "the thing(s) that" cannot be substituted? Mihia (talk) 18:37, 5 December 2021 (UTC)
In sense 3 you can substitute all (that) or (all) that which. “I’ll do what I can to help you” = “I’ll do all I can to help you”. What is mine is thine” = “That which is mine is thine”.  --Lambiam 12:01, 5 December 2021 (UTC)
However, similar substitutions into sense 2 examples are also possible. Mihia (talk) 18:39, 5 December 2021 (UTC)

"fake news"Edit

Isn't this missing the definition for the way that Donald Trump and Mark Meadows, etc are using it? Undesirable information declared to be false when actually true? -- 01:11, 5 December 2021 (UTC)

That is a political point of view, not a definition. Much of what was claimed by Trump to be fake news was actually false, e.g the Russiagate stuff. Obviously, there are also Trumpian narratives that are declared by the other side to be fake news too, including narratives around the result of the last election. Fundamentally, fake news must mean "provably mendacious narratives in the media". Then, if either side wishes to allege the other side's point of view is fake news, then that forms part of political debate - not the definition of the phrase. 05:04, 5 December 2021 (UTC)
Trumpian viewpoint of the size of the crowd at his inaugural being the largest of all, and that statements to the contrary are fake news, is one of the ones I'm talking about. It is provably false that the crowds were the largest, and that the statement that the crowds were smaller being "fake news" is strictly a falsified statement, since the news is true, and the viewpoint stating it is fake news is viewing it as undesirous and simply declaring it fake. And also various statements pointing to the direct reading of the text of various laws and the constitution itself being fake news because the black letter of the law is undesirous. -- 16:28, 5 December 2021 (UTC)
By undesirous did you mean undesirable? Our definition of undesirous is "not desirous", with desirous defined as "[f]eeling desire; eagerly wishing; eager to obtain". (Un)desirous in this definition applies to a person feeling a(n) (un)desire. (Un)desirable applies to an object of (un)desire. DCDuring (talk) 18:36, 5 December 2021 (UTC)
Definition 1 includes "deliberately created to misinform". That would seem to exclude many misleading (and even false) news stories that result from cognitive biases of the creators, editors, gatekeepers, etc. Some uses of fake news seem to include that kind of thing, as when a given story is deemed to "not fit the narrative".
We need at most two definitions with wording that is inclusive of the wide variety of meanings. I don't think we should have Trumpian and anti-Trumpian definitions. In some ways I think that fake news is SoP and belongs in usage examples at fake#Adjective and possibly as a redirect to fake#Adjective. DCDuring (talk) 17:34, 5 December 2021 (UTC)
Maybe citations would help show whether there's a separate sense here, but for example, suppose someone said some negative but true story was not just "fake news" but also "a lie" and "totally false": I don't think that would cause "lie" to mean "true information which is undesirable", or cause "false" to mean "true but undesirable", it's just an extralexical phenomenon that sometimes people incorrectly or dishonestly call things lies, or conversely call other things true, or real, or 100% beef when it's actually adulterated with fillers, etc, etc... sometimes people use words to be dishonest or otherwise wrong, and that doesn't normally change the dictionary definitions of the words. It's possible Trump's phrase has been picked up by opponents, and if they do (jocularly/sarcastically/mockingly/etc) use it to mean "true but undesirable information" regularly enough, that'd do more to establish that as a meaning than Trump's own usage, I would think. - -sche (discuss) 17:30, 5 December 2021 (UTC)
I agree. Clearly pretty much any description can be used deliberately dishonestly, unknowingly incorrectly, in good faith but disagreed with or disputed by others, etc. This does not by itself mean that we need separate definitions. As one person might say that a story is fake news when it is actually true, so another might say that the watch they are selling is a "genuine Rolex" when it is not. We don't need another sense of "genuine" to cover this. Something more or stronger than this ordinary phenomenon that is applicable to almost anything would be needed to justify a second sense of "fake news". Mihia (talk) 17:49, 5 December 2021 (UTC)
@-sche, Mihia Is "deliberately" essential to the definition? I'd think "often deliberately" allows us to include a broader class of uses without more definitions. Obviously citations (with lots of context included or linked to) would help. DCDuring (talk) 18:07, 5 December 2021 (UTC)
If a news story from a usually reliable/trusted source is non-deliberately incorrect e.g. owing to genuine misunderstanding of facts, I wouldn't personally call that "fake news", but I suppose someone with an agenda to discredit that source, or media in general, might. On the other hand, if a source is known to regularly put out deliberately misleading stories, but one time makes a non-deliberate error, publishing something in the same vein that they genuinely believe is true but happens to be false, probably I would lump that in with the "fake news". Additionally, if someone has delusional beliefs, e.g. in conspiracy theories, they might genuinely believe things that others can see are nonsense. Those kinds of stories I would also call "fake news", even though strictly speaking the disinformation is non-deliberate since the writer genuinely believes it. Mihia (talk) 12:30, 6 December 2021 (UTC)
A problem arises with mass delusions, especially if held my majorities, either of society as a whole or of an influential group. If we are to avoid becoming prescriptive, we need to neutralize what we can. It is obvious that fake news is disparaging from the denotations of fake. Getting into why some speakers label a given news item or publication as fake news seems to me to go beyond the function of a dictionary. I would like our definitions to be more like the one we have at Bigfoot, with the appropriate label(s) and/or usage note(s). DCDuring (talk) 15:25, 6 December 2021 (UTC)
My personal opinion is that Trump's usage of the term was a deliberate strategy to neutralize something that was damaging him politically by making it meaningless. There's really not much content to it beyond a vague insult against the news media. Chuck Entz (talk) 15:54, 6 December 2021 (UTC)
Exactly. It's as if it were fake + news. DCDuring (talk) 18:09, 6 December 2021 (UTC)

In need of help for "manual edition" ("édition manuelle")Edit

I often find myself stumbling upon the expression "manual edition" (French equivalent: "édition manuelle") when I read about textual critical edition, e.g. here. However, I cannot find what this expression means. My guess is that it is an edition which can be read without having the need to put it on the table, with the idea the book can be held in your hand to read. However - again, I guess -, the expression may designate an edition which does not contain a w:critical apparatus, or contains a critical apparatus which is minimal, or contains a critical apparatus which is reduced compared to a normal, previous edition of the same work.
I am at my wit's end with trying to find the meaning of this expression. If you have any information, feel free to share them. Veverve (talk) 10:44, 5 December 2021 (UTC)

I seems to mean an edition of a work of which many textual variants exist, in which for each passage with variant readings only the most important ones are presented, presumably selected based on a critical examination of the variants as most likely representative of the “true” original.[36] —⁠This unsigned comment was added by Lambiam (talkcontribs) at 12:33, 5 December 2021 (UTC).

on speaking terms, speaking termsEdit

I'm afraid I've barely even heard these phrases being used to refer to someone "being acquainted". I've usually heard it used in the negative to refer to some people who've been in an argument. For example: "Him and his brother were no longer on speaking terms because of the dispute." Clearly they know each other well, but the current state of their relationship doesn't allow for communication, it means. Is this a separate sense or is the first sense just wrong? PseudoSkull (talk) 19:24, 5 December 2021 (UTC)

I am of the opinion that there are 2 definitions here. My first thought when I saw the query was about the idea of being a bit more than a simple acquaintance. Usex could be "I wonder if you could help me get to know Lord Somesuch, as you seem to be 'on speaking terms' with him?" -- ALGRIF talk 20:52, 5 December 2021 (UTC)
I think that the present "social acquaintanceship" sense of "on speaking terms" does exist, but the "not in a state of hostility" sense may be more common/familiar. I agree with Algrif that we probably need two senses. Mihia (talk) 22:47, 5 December 2021 (UTC)
Here is a use for the social sense, which is rather dated, stemming from a time in which social status was much more clearly and strictly stratified, and in which you needed someone to introduce you (and in the process identify the social status of the parties) before you could engage in a conversation.  --Lambiam 07:26, 6 December 2021 (UTC)

chabudwellian or ChabudwellianEdit

Hi. Anyone interested in having a bash at this one? There are some quotes going back at least 2 years. It would be helpful if you have some knowledge of Chinese, as it is a Chino-Anglo portmanteau. I don't feel I can do it justice. -- ALGRIF talk 20:47, 5 December 2021 (UTC)

There aren't that many unique Web hits and most of them are discussing the term and its meaning, not "using" it. Equinox 22:34, 5 December 2021 (UTC)
I didn't see any Google hits that aren't mentioning it as a recent coinage and explaining it as a way of making their point: 差不多 (chàbuduō) means "almost" (literally "lacks not much"), but can have the implication of "close enough", and is combined with "Orwellian". In other words, it's used to describe the Chinese security state as a half-baked version of 1984. In English-language media, there's no need to actually use the term- just mentioning the fact of its existence and explaining it says plenty about the Chinese government and simultaneously shows off one's knowledge of Chinese (even though the Chinese is so basic I remembered it from Beginning Mandarin 45 years ago). For that reason, I suspect that this won't cross the use/mention threshold any time soon. Chuck Entz (talk) 01:07, 6 December 2021 (UTC)


An Old English term strangely defined as meaning ‘the Church of England’, which, to my knowledge, didn’t exist until long after Old English times. Or is the term ‘Church of England’ used for the pre-Reformation church in England as well? Even if it is, wouldn’t it be preferable to phrase this some other way to avoid confusion/the appearance of anachronism? The cited sources define Angelcirice as ‘the church in England’ instead, which strikes me as more sensible. — Vorziblix (talk · contribs) 05:55, 6 December 2021 (UTC)


Lots of semi-crappy quotes here, many from non-durably archived places. If anyone fancies wading through these... Notusbutthem (talk) 11:49, 6 December 2021 (UTC)

blinkenlights plural (which existed years prior) has a couple of better ones. Equinox 11:51, 6 December 2021 (UTC)

what, whatever: "relative determiner"Edit

Our determiner sense of what exemplified by (a) "Write down what thoughts come into your mind" is labelled "relative", while the corresponding sense at whatever, (b) "Write down whatever thoughts come into your mind" presently is not. Presumably these should be labelled the same. According to CGEL according to [37], "The only relative determinative found outside the fused construction is which"; example given at the forum: "I was told my work was unsatisfactory, at which point I submitted my resignation". The uses in (a) and (b) are not "fused", so then according to this they should not be "relative". However, according to [38], "Relative determiners typically function as determiners in noun phrases that introduce relative clauses, as in we can use whatever/whichever edition you want", which is a non-fused case, and indeed the same as (a) and (b). This information is also sourced to CGEL. The use of "which" in the "at which point" example seems grammatically different from the uses of "what" and "whatever" in (a) and (b) and in the "whatever edition" example. Are they all relative determiners or not? And if (a) and (b) are not "relative" determiners then what beasts are they? Certainly they contain an embedded sense of a relative pronoun, so seem to be more than plain determiners. Any opinions anyone? Mihia (talk) 12:07, 6 December 2021 (UTC)

Pronunciation of "iff"Edit

The pronunciation section for iff just says “read as ‘if and only if’”, but I’ve sometimes heard this word pronounced on its own as /ɪfː/, usually in contexts where it’s being read aloud to someone who can see the text, like in a lecture when the word is being written on the board. Has anyone else heard this?

Sure, I've heard it too. Let's add the pron. Notusbutthem (talk) 21:23, 6 December 2021 (UTC)

ear lobeEdit

I want to just say "the chickeny equivalent of the human thang", but couldn't bring myself to do so. Notusbutthem (talk) 21:22, 6 December 2021 (UTC)