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

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

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Tea room archives edit

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


September 2019

soaked to the skinEdit

I think this is SOP: soaked + to the skin (compare wet to the skin, drenched to the skin). Same for soaked to the bone. Canonicalization (talk) 10:03, 1 September 2019 (UTC)

It's idiomatic, as already labelled. DonnanZ (talk) 14:13, 1 September 2019 (UTC)
Maybe. There aren't that many things you can "be" to the skin. For example you can't be burned to the skin or frozen to the skin, even though those would make equal sense (I think the point is that something has reached your skin through any number of layers of clothing). It seems to be tied to wetness. Equinox 00:01, 2 September 2019 (UTC)
@Equinox: Indeed, which is why I wasn't totally convinced by what I wrote. The question stands, though: are we better off with one entry (to the skin) and three redirects (wet..., drenched..., soaked...) to it, or with three full-fledged entries? Canonicalization (talk) 09:16, 2 September 2019 (UTC)
It was created by Wonderfool, which normally means it should not be totally believed. --Mélange a trois (talk) 00:05, 2 September 2019 (UTC)
It is believable. DonnanZ (talk) 08:31, 2 September 2019 (UTC)
We could skip a step by moving this to RfD, whatever the resolution turns out to be. It would mean we wouldn't address the matter again for at least a couple of years. DCDuring (talk) 15:09, 2 September 2019 (UTC)
I agree with your RFD of soaked to the bone, but I would like to keep this one. DonnanZ (talk) 16:20, 2 September 2019 (UTC)

of beauty, thing of beautyEdit

Is one of those entry-worthy? Canonicalization (talk) 11:04, 1 September 2019 (UTC)

No, but thing of beauty might me usex-worthy at [[beauty]] or, less likely, [[thing]]. DCDuring (talk) 13:53, 1 September 2019 (UTC)

Ancient pronunciation of θυία (thuía)Edit

(Notifying ; errors): The ancient pronunciation is listed as /tʰy̌ː.aː/, which appears wrong; what happened to the stressed ί? Benwing2 (talk) 17:40, 1 September 2019 (UTC)

@JohnC5, Erutuon, Atelaes Benwing2 (talk) 17:41, 1 September 2019 (UTC)
The accent indicates tone, not stress. Also, an accent mark on a diphthong is always written above the second vowel of the diphthong, so it is an acute accent on υι. A diphthong /yi̯/ typically merged into a monophthong /yː/ in the early Classical period; see Ancient Greek phonology#Diphthongs.  --Lambiam 17:15, 3 September 2019 (UTC)
According to the article /yi/ remained before vowels, so θυία (thuía) should be /tʰyǐ.aː/. — Eru·tuon 18:28, 3 September 2019 (UTC)

Latin adjectives in -inus of unknown length; how many have -īnus vs. -ĭnus?Edit

(Notifying Fay Freak, Brutal Russian, JohnC5, Lambiam): I've been going through the Latin adjectives in Wiktionary with short -inus. Many of them are correct; it appears that -ĭnus is generally correct for adjectives of this sort derived from Greek, and sometimes for native Latin adjectives. But more often, -īnus occurs in native Latin adjectives. The following adjectives can't be found in Gaffiot:

The following should also be mentioned:

  • āerinus: "(relational) air; sky-colored" (NOTE: appears in Gaffiot with the vowel length of i unmarked)
  • strūthiocamēlinus: unknown (Gaffiot has -īnus, LS has -inus; from Greek so should have -inus?)
  • thȳinus: unknown (Gaffiot has thyinus with short y, LS has long y; Greek has long y so should have long y?)

I assume that most of the above adjectives that have a relational sense (which is the majority) were formed in Medieval Latin or New Latin. Is it reasonable to assume they have -īnus? This matters at least for the Medieval Latin ones in that it affects the pronunciation. Benwing2 (talk) 18:04, 1 September 2019 (UTC)

Several of these look very much like terms used as specific epithets. If they have only been used in taxonomic names under at least the more recent editions of the taxonomic naming codes, the question is moot, because such markings are not part of taxonomic Latin. Further, we have banned pronunciation from Translingual entries. DCDuring (talk) 02:06, 2 September 2019 (UTC)

hookshot (not to be confused with hook shot)Edit

Does "hookshot", as a reference to a hypothetical grappling-hook like "gun" meet our criteria for inclusion? I'm curious. I've seen it used to refer to things outside of the The Legend of Zelda series in recent years. Tharthan (talk) 01:52, 2 September 2019 (UTC)

BUMP. Tharthan (talk) 01:10, 24 September 2019 (UTC)
BUMP. Tharthan (talk) 02:16, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
@Tharthan I don't think it can pass WT:Fiction right now based on BGC and Issuu. It is often used expansively by gamers, but the majority of those uses are in non-durable sources. This is the best attestion I could find, whether this one passes WT:Fiction is a bit arguable as "hookshot" is the name used in the game. ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 07:37, 8 October 2019 (UTC)

仰 (Japanese)Edit

In the entry for 仰 (仰), the Japanese definition #6 is "rever". Should this be "revere"? Other definitions of 仰 (in Japanese and also Chinese) include "raise the head to look" (literal) -> "look up to" (figurative) -> "admire", "respect" and "depend". Revere seems to be consistent with the other definitions while rever does not; at first I didn't even think rever was an English word.

I've seen the same error in an online J-E dictionary, which had the same definitions for the character as wikitionary verbatim.

Obviously a (copied?) typo. Both Nelson’s The Modern Reader's Japanese-English Character Dictionary and Kenkyusha’s New Pocket Japanese-English Dictionary (entry aogu) have “revere”.   Fixed.  --Lambiam 19:23, 2 September 2019 (UTC)
I like the idea of having a "rever", however. If you get two or more of them, they go backwards. <...badum.../> ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 21:20, 17 September 2019 (UTC)

Latin -izō: long or short i?Edit

(Notifying Fay Freak, Brutal Russian, JohnC5, Lambiam): @Urszag Lewis and Short writes long -īzō while Gaffiot leaves the length of i unmarked. I believe L+S is wrong here; the original Greek has short iota, and Romance inherited forms like Spanish -ear, Italian -eggiare, French -oyer, etc. consistently indicate a short i. Comments? Benwing2 (talk) 18:46, 2 September 2019 (UTC)

Gaffiot even marks the i of apolactizo explicitly as short. Likewise for hymnizo. On the other hand, he marks it long for christianizo and tympanizo.  --Lambiam 19:11, 2 September 2019 (UTC)
@Lambiam In Gaffiot 2016, the two short marks remain but the long marks are replaced with unmarked. Benwing2 (talk) 19:18, 2 September 2019 (UTC)
Short, the /z/ itself is double. Brutal Russian (talk) 19:19, 2 September 2019 (UTC)
That fits with the variant -isso we see in Ramminger.  --Lambiam 19:26, 2 September 2019 (UTC)
Yes, this must be the reason for the transcription in the L&S entry. L&S has no dedicated way of representing syllable weight, so the macron is used on various kinds of heavy syllables, even when the vowel is "short by nature". Compare the L&S entries for horizon and Amazon (I guess our entry for Amazon also shows a long vowel, but as far as I know there is no reason to suppose that), as well as trapezita, where the epsilon in Greek τραπεζίτης makes the short quality of the vowel itself clear.--Urszag (talk) 10:08, 3 September 2019 (UTC)

IPA for cs.surrealismusEdit

IPA: [ˈsɪrɛalɪzmʊs]. Needed reparation. --Kusurija (talk) 09:52, 3 September 2019 (UTC)

@Dan Polansky, Jan.Kamenicek, Jan Růžička – It looks like not only surrealismus, but many or even most of the Czech nouns on -ismus show a pronunciation with [-ɪzmus]: aforismus, agnosticismus, aktivismus, alkoholismus, ... Additionally, there are many other discrepancies with the pronunciations given in the Czech Wiktionary. Although I hardly know anything about Czech pronunciation, I am more inclined to trust the Czech Wiktionary in this respect. If native Czech speakers who also understand IPA can confirm this, perhaps a bot could copy the IPA from over there to here in a major operation.  --Lambiam 16:06, 3 September 2019 (UTC)
Surrealismus repaired. As for the others, they seem OK. Czech Wiktionary uses [ʊ] instead of [u], here it was established the other way, see Wiktionary:About Czech#Pronunciation, for other sources see w:Talk:Czech_phonology#u/ʊ. Ad Czech Wiktionary: as far as I know, the issue was raised there at least twice cs:Wikislovník:Pod lípou/Archiv-2008-1#[ʊ] ve výslovnosti and cs:Wikislovník:Pod lípou/Archiv-2011-1#IPA a české u, but did not bring the change despite the fact that no relevant sources supporting ʊ were given (maybe there were some more discussions on this topic later too, but I did not find them). --Jan Kameníček (talk) 17:52, 3 September 2019 (UTC)


The third sense of the adjective Dutch ("Substitute, inferior, ersatz, or thrifty") has a tag "now possibly offensive". Surely that's a little much. Apart from the IP who moaned about it on a couple of talk pages, I don't think many people would stop to think about it, let alone consider it offensive. ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 09:56, 3 September 2019 (UTC)

I asked my Dutch wife, but drew a haughty silence.  --Lambiam 16:51, 3 September 2019 (UTC)
It's a little much to suggest that using an ethnicity as a derogatory adjective is possibly offensive? It seems quite realistic to me.--Prosfilaes (talk) 17:56, 3 September 2019 (UTC)
The problem with that sentiment, while useful in avoiding fisticuffs, is that it is entirely conjectural. I would like to see actual evidence of normal usage of these terms being seen as offensive; I have never seen or heard anyone in the wild object to those idioms and I suppose it is not even on the radar of most people, nor have I ever seen it described as offensive by a reliable source. ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 10:15, 4 September 2019 (UTC)
The Japanese have a rather different idea of a ダッチワイフ (Datchi waifu).  --Lambiam 10:55, 4 September 2019 (UTC)

Anyway, many of the derogatory meanings associated with "Dutch" in old American slang originally referred to Germans... AnonMoos (talk) 21:33, 11 September 2019 (UTC)

part of speech confusion: minusEdit

Adjectives and adverbs are not normally distinguishable in German, so i can understand that part of speech labeling in German entries in this dictionary can contradict each other or even be wrong (f.ex. weg).

But i was very surprised to see that even professionally edited German and English dictionaries consider the same mathematical word "17 minus 11" a different part of speech. I was even more surprised to see that even English dictionaries can't agree on what part of speech that is. Most consider it a preposition, some a conjunction, and German dictionaries an adverb. --Espoo (talk) 06:59, 4 September 2019 (UTC)

Until 2 years ago we had an English conjunction PoS section for minus. Collins has a conjunction definition for minus, but the other OneLook I've looked at do not.
However, I don't think it is right to omit a conjunction for plus. It is used to mean and, linking clauses, phrases, and words. Plus, it may be used adverbially, as arguably, in this sentence. DCDuring (talk) 11:45, 4 September 2019 (UTC)


Reading about 19th Century China in English I came across the word "gongsuo". It is related to huiguan 会馆. Their meanings include guild or trade association, but also expat social groups. Sources contradict each other on details, like which word has which meaning. The specific context I first saw the word was in a paragraph about Chinese opposition to imported Western machinery. Like European guilds resisted mechanization, so did the Chinese gongsuo.

What word did Chinese people use in the 19th Century for "gongsuo"? The second definition of gongsi 公司 is related. It has different romanizations, though. Closer in pronunciation but farther in meaning are gongsuo 公所 "government office" and gongzuo 工作 "to work".

Vox Sciurorum (talk) 10:20, 4 September 2019 (UTC)

@Vox Sciurorum: The word in question is indeed 公所 (gōngsuǒ), which is currently missing definitions. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 19:42, 28 September 2019 (UTC)

False conjugations in SpanishEdit

As I have begun to study Spanish more seriously, I I have come across several seemingly wrong conjugations of Spanish additives here on the English Wiktionary, myself being more "at home" on sv.wiktionary. I didn't keep track, but now it has been a few times that adjectives anding in -il have been given a conjugation template to create made up entries such as reptila for the adjective "reptil". These conjugated forms have in turn their own entries, even having automated pronunciation help. It should be looked into, maybe someone more active on en.wikt could change these articles and maybe more importantly make sure no false conjugation entries are left. the correct template, I assume, should be |{{es-adj|pl=infantiles}}}} for infantil, and so on. Svenji (talk) 19:58, 4 September 2019 (UTC)

@Svenji: I created these forms 10 years ago before I really spoke Spanish; sometimes the inflection was incorrect and I didn't realize it, and when the entries were changed no one corrected the forms. I am currently expanding and correcting every Spanish entry in multiple ways, so I appreciate your help in removing these sections or marking pages for speedy deletion (if there's only a Spanish section). Ultimateria (talk) 04:24, 9 September 2019 (UTC)
@Ultimateria: Ah, I see. No worries :) That's kind of similar to my case on sv.wikt. - I'm currently studying Spanish and learning by doing. I will keep an eye on here too then. By the way, since I don't have admin functions on the English wiktionary, is it correct to use the template:delete? Svenji (talk) 12:55, 9 September 2019 (UTC)
@Svenji: It is if there's only one language section. Also it's more correct for deleting inflections than for lemmas; those have to be nominated for deletion. Ultimateria (talk) 02:29, 10 September 2019 (UTC)


Defined as "a boomer used to bind or tighten chain." Could we... not define the word as itself? Because I don't know what this means. Side note, I came to the entry because I saw a tweet which seemed to use it to refer to a thunderstorm, i.e. a meaning along the lines of "that which or one who booms". - -sche (discuss) 22:00, 4 September 2019 (UTC)

I can find definitions such a "a device used to tighten chains" or "a chain-tightener". The term is in relationship of synonymy or coordination with load binder, chain binder. There are apparently ratchet load binders and lever load binders. One can find pictures at Google Images. I haven't looked at Commons. DCDuring (talk) 00:40, 5 September 2019 (UTC)
Commons had no clear pictures of the devices. They seem to be a bit like a come-along. DCDuring (talk) 00:48, 5 September 2019 (UTC)
I can't remember when or where, but I vaguely remember someone referring to thunderstorms as "thunder boomers"- I would guess in a weather report. It sounds like the kind of casual style that some on-air people affect when they try to lighten up some mundane topic for a mass audience. Chuck Entz (talk) 03:17, 5 September 2019 (UTC)

Units X per YEdit

User:Graeme Bartlett created a number of "X per Y" unit entries: mg/m³, kWh/m², mg/m², µmol/l, kg/m², µg/day, mAhg−1. I tried to dissuade here: User_talk:Graeme_Bartlett#Units_X_per_Y_e.g._kg/m. I think we should probably delete them (sums of parts, obvious limitless set, and mis-entered as English when they are mostly translingual) but more input would be good. Equinox 12:25, 5 September 2019 (UTC)

Well I am very happy to change to translingual for most of these. I have stopped making them (until there is a more positive opinion on their creation). My idea is that I would only add those combinations that are actually in use, not unlimited combinations. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 12:40, 5 September 2019 (UTC)
Also I created ft³/s, mg/l, µg/ml, g/cm³ and µg/dL a few months ago. Also m/s exists and this also has a Unicode point ㎧ Graeme Bartlett (talk) 12:53, 5 September 2019 (UTC)
A lot of awful things have Unicode code points, often for backward compatibility with how square roots were denoted in Chinese or whatever. Yech. Equinox 13:49, 5 September 2019 (UTC)
"Only make those that are in use" is reminiscent of the decision a while ago to remove theoretically acceptable SI units that don't have actual use, like yoctowatt. However, the problem here is that the meaning of X/Y is straightforwardly derivable from X and Y. They are sum of parts. If we keep these, why not keep "2 km/hr", "3 km/hr", "4 km/hr", "5 km/hr" as a set of speeds, since they are all attestable? Equinox 12:49, 5 September 2019 (UTC)
Well those are all separated by spaces and as you say are clearly sum of parts, and should not be here. Some with distinct meaning could be included such as 45 RPM for records or 10 nm used to describe semiconductor manufacture. But that is a strawman argument, as the symbols I am adding do not have space separation. The symbols are very similar to the compound SI units without /. Many could be written using an inverse unit, but they are not done that way, eg m/s could be mHz but that is not used that way Graeme Bartlett (talk) 22:51, 5 September 2019 (UTC)
There's no reason to treat "/" as different from " per " as to sum of parts. Punctuation is a word separator just like spaces.--Prosfilaes (talk) 21:36, 6 September 2019 (UTC)

many's plural "manies"?Edit

User:Backinstadiums raised this at Talk:many. I'm not so interested in his/her point about "the many" being a noun (since any adjective can do this: the rich, the healthy, the ugly), but we have a plural "manies"! Is that really a word? I can't imagine how it would be used. And I created mainest so I'm pretty imaginative about sick forms. Equinox 12:39, 5 September 2019 (UTC)

It seems incredibly rare and nonstandard, perhaps mostly used by non-native speakers now. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 12:32, 6 September 2019 (UTC)
What usage differentiates the Noun PoS section from the Pronoun PoS at [[many]]? "The many" can't be it because that is a structure that all adjectives are permitted syntactically with only semantic limitations.
If we were to follow CGEL (2002) and use the fused-head analysis, we might not have either Noun or Pronoun PoS sections. Many doesn't seem at all like a noun to me. I think that the manies is a mistake. If it were to become attestable in any of the regional Englishes (India, Singapore, South Africa, Caribbean, etc), we would have to recast the entry a bit, but I don't think there is such attestation. DCDuring (talk) 14:13, 6 September 2019 (UTC)
"manies" is not a word that I know or have ever knowingly encountered. If it is mentioned then it surely needs some kind of health warning.* More generally, this is another entry where the distinction between (i) determiner with implied noun, (ii) noun, and (iii) pronoun needs further examination. In some other entries, as I recall, I think a view may have been taken that a noun can take an article but a pronoun cannot, but even this does not stand up here where "Democracy must balance the rights of the few against the will of the many" is given as an example of pronoun usage. Mihia (talk) 23:22, 9 September 2019 (UTC) * I see it has a health warning at "manies" but not at "many".

florysh and florysheEdit

These are obsolete forms of flourish. Look at the floryshe entry. It has two noun senses: one is the obsolete flourish, and the other is a martial-arts thing. I don't feel totally convinced that sense 2 is anything more than a flourish (the definition describes a series of flourishes, but that could easily be the creator's overenthusiasm). Anyone know any more? Equinox 16:50, 5 September 2019 (UTC)

Audio vs. IPA at belongEdit

Is it me, or does the audio sound more open than an /ɔ/, as if it were /ɒ/, despite being marked as US which, according to the above IPA, should have /ɔ/?

MGorrone (talk) 17:39, 5 September 2019 (UTC)

If I am remembering rightly, the user who recorded and uploaded that audio file is Californian, and the Californian dialect unfortunately has the cot-caught merger. So it is hardly surprising to hear any realisation of /ɔ/ by such a speaker (that is not a simple /ɑ/) would not actually be a true /ɔ/.
Perhaps someone else, who has a more /ɔ/-like /ɔ/ (so to speak) might wish to upload an audio file for that word. I don't have the cot-caught merger, but my own /ɔ/ ranges from [ɒː]~[ɔə] depending upon the surrounding environment, so I probably would not be the best person to upload an audio file for that word. Tharthan (talk) 19:42, 5 September 2019 (UTC)

Isekiri or Itsekiri?Edit

Discussion moved to WT:Beer parlour/2019/September#Isekiri or Itsekiri?.

small shot, great shotEdit

I assume that these are idiomatic sums of parts, like hail-shot and swan-shot. Somewhat hard to search alone but if you search them together the uses seem to have some technical restrictions, or they are set categories of ammunition, and dictionaries also list them with definitions, as if this is needed. It must also be compound terms and not adjective + noun because the stress is on the beginning, as can be seen by a hyphen being written. I am not creating them because I don’t know the definitions. Maybe somebody wants to create them. Fay Freak (talk) 16:59, 7 September 2019 (UTC)

"(countable, uncountable) a projectile or group of projectiles for a weapon, smaller/larger than typical."? Possibly small shot refers to multiple projectiles in a single charge and great shot to a single projectile in a charge. I suspect they are only used for cannon charges. DCDuring (talk) 21:51, 7 September 2019 (UTC)

tariff barrier, non-tariff barrierEdit

I wonder if anyone wants to tackle these two. Cambridge has an entry for non-tariff barrier, but not for tariff barrier, which seems to be a barrier to trade imposed through customs duties. Any bright ideas? There is an entry for nontariff which is not very enlightening. (ah, the quote mentions nontariff barriers, a different spelling). DonnanZ (talk) 18:22, 7 September 2019 (UTC)

I fixed nontariff, I think, and created non-tariff. DonnanZ (talk) 19:04, 7 September 2019 (UTC)

I found something, I should be able to create entries now. DonnanZ (talk) 19:39, 7 September 2019 (UTC)

With by economics BS I'd have thought that the terms referred to barriers (to international trade) of the tariff and non-tariff varieties. The Collins definition seems to be an encyclopedic entry of the short-attention span variety. DCDuring (talk) 21:49, 7 September 2019 (UTC)
Wow. To be fair, I didn't know what they were before I started investigating. DonnanZ (talk) 22:55, 7 September 2019 (UTC)

just as wellEdit

Does "Encarta® 2009" offer a variant of just as well without just?

suitable, proper, or appropriate in the circumstances It is as well that you apologized to her.

Secondly, the current wording of the definition of just as well doesn't cover either the Encarta's or the Collins's examples

preferable or advisable: it would be just as well if you paid me now

--Backinstadiums (talk) 14:25, 8 September 2019 (UTC)


Was there any reasoning behind creating the suffix form of lingual? It was created a long time ago, on 10 September 2004. DonnanZ (talk) 19:24, 8 September 2019 (UTC)

Seems a bit hefty for a suffix... Equinox 23:54, 8 September 2019 (UTC)
Probably not too much. Analysing derivatives as prefix + lingual works just as well, and as far as I can tell lingual typically receives primary stress. ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 07:51, 9 September 2019 (UTC)
OK, sent to RFD. DonnanZ (talk) 09:01, 12 September 2019 (UTC)
Discussion moved to Wiktionary:Requests_for_deletion/English#-lingual.

bas-relief and bas relief for English and FrenchEdit

For this word in both english and French for some reason the main entry is on the hyphen-less page bas relief, having looked on different dictionaries for both languages, the overwhelmingly more common spelling of this word is with the hyphen as bas-relief yet those entries are listed as secondary 'alternative forms' for both languages. Also, I can't really find much evidence in dictionaries for the hyphen-less forms at all. At the very least I think the main entries should be moved to the hyphened page, but if these hyphen-less spellings are so rare they should be marked as rare. I also found the a page for the English spelling basrelief that wasn't linked from bas relief, I can't find much evidence of that either, but I added it to alternative forms anyway.

So I'd like to move the main entries to bas-relief, but I'd like anyone else's input on this if they have any, thanks! Please ping me with replies. 2WR1 (talk) 20:12, 8 September 2019 (UTC)

@2WR1: It may be due to bas relief being created first, on 27 July 2006; bas-relief followed later on 12 January 2007. Oxford (at least) agrees with you. DonnanZ (talk) 20:27, 8 September 2019 (UTC)
@Donnanz: that would make sense, but still it seems weird because the unhyphenated version seems so much rarer. I just want to make sure it's okay for me to move the main entries to the hyphenated page. I think it makes the most sense for the main entry to be on the most common spelling. I only found this in the first place because I was trying to look the word up and got an 'alternative form' redirect. 2WR1 (talk) 20:43, 8 September 2019 (UTC)
@2WR1: Virtually all references for bas-relief in OneLook, now added to the entry, are spelt bas-relief, only one wasn't. Wikipedia can't be blamed either, bas-relief is used there. What does puzzle me is why an image showing high relief is used at bas relief. An obvious error. DonnanZ (talk) 21:27, 8 September 2019 (UTC)
@Donnanz: I noticed that too! Thought it was very odd 2WR1 (talk) 22:19, 9 September 2019 (UTC)
@2WR1: Hopefully it won't be too difficult to find a more suitable image. DonnanZ (talk) 23:58, 9 September 2019 (UTC)
@Donnanz: Ya, I'm not familiar with how to do that, but if you know how or know someone who knows how, I think it should probably be changed. 2WR1 (talk) 01:29, 10 September 2019 (UTC)
I took care of it. All you have to do is find an appropriate image at Wikimedia Commons (I just searched for "bas-relief" and looked through a few pages of images), and replace the file name in the entry after [[File: with the file name of the file you found in Commons. No special privileges or procedures required. Chuck Entz (talk) 02:43, 10 September 2019 (UTC)
I like that one, well done. You saved me a job. DonnanZ (talk) 09:17, 10 September 2019 (UTC)
@2WR1 It doesn't make any difference in this case, but our Criteria for inclusion are based on usage, not authoritative references. It doesn't matter how common something is in dictionaries, if it isn't used by people to communicate with each other, it doesn't exist by our standards. Chuck Entz (talk) 21:48, 8 September 2019 (UTC)
I think the entries should be swapped around to reflect correct usage. If 2WR1 wants to do that I won't stand in his way. There is still the question of the French entries, I suspect bas-relief is the correct form. DonnanZ (talk) 22:24, 8 September 2019 (UTC)
Well, I did say that it doesn't make any difference in this case. From skimming through the Google Books search results, I got the impression that the hyphenated spelling is more common. Chuck Entz (talk) 22:44, 8 September 2019 (UTC)
There is also basrelief presumably even rarer. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 04:04, 9 September 2019 (UTC)
Ngram Viewer favours bas-relief, but it may be clouded by French results. DonnanZ (talk) 09:03, 9 September 2019 (UTC)
Cleansed of French bas-relief is still favoured. For comparison, French-only, not too dissimilar.  --Lambiam 16:36, 9 September 2019 (UTC)
Thanks for all the feedback, I just wanted to run that by other people before changing it myself. I understand that if the other forms are attested they should definitely be kept, but I just think the main entry should be with the most common spelling. And that these rarer spellings should be marked as "rare" if whatever criteria for that are met. Thanks! 2WR1 (talk) 22:22, 9 September 2019 (UTC)

human beingEdit

After reverting an edit having to do with the translations, I looked at the definitions. It seems to me that something is missing. Our main definition says:

  1. A person; a large sapient, bipedal primate, with notably less hair than others of that order, of the species Homo sapiens.

The first part strikes me as fundamentally different from the remainder. The first part has a definite metaphysical dimension, while the rest is strictly biological/taxonomic in nature. While it's true that the two coexist in all human beings we know of, they represent different aspects of what it means to be a human being. After all, if you say "I demand to be treated as a human being", that's not the same as saying ""I demand to be treated as a large sapient, bipedal primate, of the species Homo sapiens." Rather, it depends on the concept that we're sentient, having our own personalities and feelings, and having a certain intrinsic value as a fellow being that isn't assigned to, say, furniture or electronic devices. Any suggestions on how to better deal with this contradiction? Chuck Entz (talk) 22:39, 8 September 2019 (UTC)

"I demand to be treated as a human being" doesn't really mean "I demand to be treated as Homo sapiens rather than Felis domesticus or Opuntia ficus-indica" (stop watering me!). It implies that you want to be treated in the way that human beings are typically (supposed to be) treated. I am not convinced that the subtlety of this is stored in the phrase "human being". Equinox 23:57, 8 September 2019 (UTC)
I do think the definition is somewhat problematic as is. It places greater emphasis on the taxonomic definition, whereas that is entirely secondary in the conception of many people. In the Aristotelian philosophical tradition and in Christianity, for instance, emphasis would be on the intellectual/spiritual aspects of the human being, not the physical appearance. I doubt the amount of hair humans have is at all relevant to most people's use of "human being". I think in defining it this way, we are failing to capture the lexical sense of the word and are instead substituting a taxomic description of the entity for the definition of a word Andrew Sheedy (talk) 00:34, 9 September 2019 (UTC)
Philosophers can haver about the spiritual aspects of the human being, but we don't identify something as a human being because they have a soul; we identify something as having a soul because they're a human being. I've seen a Christian publication get actively offended at someone discussing the fact an adult chimpanzee compares well intellectually with a toddler and suggesting that might imply rights, some sort of personhood. I wouldn't oppose adding a clause about "the most intelligent of that order".--Prosfilaes (talk) 20:42, 9 September 2019 (UTC)
From a practical standpoint, yes. But my point is that our definition places undue emphasis on the taxonomic description of Homo sapiens, whereas that is not what most people have in mind when they use the term in question. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 21:27, 9 September 2019 (UTC)
That's pretty typical with dictionaries. Humans are prototype based or have a vague understanding of what something is. A zebra is a black-and-white horse or a zebra is something that looks like this. I'd say that most people have in mind themselves when they say "human being", their family, their neighbors. To get tangled up in philosophy would be a mistake; we should identify what a human being is, which Homo sapiens does.--Prosfilaes (talk) 22:33, 9 September 2019 (UTC)
That's a fair point, but my point is that in many people's minds, Homo sapiens is less successful at capturing what a human being is than more philosophical definitions. The taxonomic definition is arguably a very superficial description that in fact completely fails to identify what makes a human being a human being. But we may have to agree to disagree for the sake of keeping the definition straight-forward and clear. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 01:15, 10 September 2019 (UTC)
As we have [[Homo sapiens]] as a taxonomic entry, whatever its shortcomings, it seems to me that this definition, having a wikilink to that article, is free to cover other aspects of humanity. Isn't this usually used to emphasize the benign, ethical, deserving-of-sympathy aspects of humanity as opposed to the malign, selfish, deserving-of-caution aspects. I am fairly sure that attestation would prove the term to be used in that one-sided way. DCDuring (talk) 02:26, 10 September 2019 (UTC)
I like this quote:
When we call someone a human being we do not mean that he or she is the bearer of such an intrinsic property. Rather, we mean that he or she looks like a human being, behaves like a human being and thinks and feels like a human being (or as we think a human being should look, behave, and think and feel). We might also mean that he or she has been born by a human being.
If we are going to look to philosophers, we should probably look to ordinary-language philosophers. DCDuring (talk) 02:47, 10 September 2019 (UTC)
Is this not a straightforward SoP of the form Adj + Noun, “a being that is human”? Compare “a super-human being”, “an alien being”, “a supernatural being”, “a transcendent being”, “a miserable being”, “a wretched being”, “a worthless being”.  --Lambiam 03:08, 9 September 2019 (UTC)
Deletion was discussed before: Talk:human_being. Equinox 11:57, 9 September 2019 (UTC)
Since that discussion we are more likely to also consider the lemmings, eg human being at OneLook Dictionary Search. DCDuring (talk) 15:30, 9 September 2019 (UTC)
No way should this be deleted as SoP, IMO. Mihia (talk) 21:03, 10 September 2019 (UTC)
I disagree with it on the grounds that "person", as person says, is not synonymous with "human being" in any scenario where there's other sapient creatures running around.--Prosfilaes (talk) 20:42, 9 September 2019 (UTC)
I agree with some of the opinions above that the present definition places too much emphasis on technical and taxonomic details. Mihia (talk) 21:01, 10 September 2019 (UTC)

白吉馍 vs. 肉夹馍Edit

白吉饃 is defined as a synonym of 肉夾饃 (ròujiāmó, Chinese hamburger). A native Chinese speaker tells me the first refers to the bun and the second to the sandwich as a whole. Can somebody confirm and correct? Vox Sciurorum (talk) 23:12, 9 September 2019 (UTC)

That is right. I have made the necessary changes. Thank you for finding this. ---> Tooironic (talk) 13:11, 10 September 2019 (UTC)

real estateEdit

The OED claims this is chiefly North American. Do we agree? I know at least in my home country Australia it is commonly used. ---> Tooironic (talk) 10:24, 10 September 2019 (UTC)

  • It is certainly almost never used in the UK (where the word realtor in unknown). SemperBlotto (talk) 10:27, 10 September 2019 (UTC)
  • I haven't thought about it before in a UK context, we do use the term estate agent. DonnanZ (talk) 12:09, 10 September 2019 (UTC)
  • In the UK the term property is used (as a mass noun) for real estate. “So what do you do for a living? Oh, I buy and sell property, that’s what I do.” It is a countable noun when referring to a specific piece of real estate. I don’t know about the usage in other English-speaking countries.  --Lambiam 15:08, 10 September 2019 (UTC)
Not usual in UK. Equinox 21:48, 11 September 2019 (UTC)
In Australia it would be an uncountable noun, and also used for real estate agent with no hyphen. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 06:57, 17 September 2019 (UTC)

butten (ital)Edit

»The tuscany cowboys who tend the region's oxen and horses. ... for most of the year, the butten ride with the herds on the Maremma's grasslands, ... « [6]
Entry need / wanted? -- 20:03, 10 September 2019 (UTC)

That says butteri. DTLHS (talk) 20:07, 10 September 2019 (UTC)
Right: butten ↔ buttero [7]. Let me please find butten in wiktionary. 20:18, 10 September 2019 (UTC)

Merk, merki, mærke – plant nameEdit

There is a certain Germanic plant name of which I have created the German Merk, exposing etymology and cognates. I post here to raise attention in the editors of the other Germanic languages which I hardly read or create in but have cognates; they appear currently to be @So9q for Danish, @Donnanz for Norwegian, @Krun for Old Norse or Icelandic, @Fringilla for Swedish.

I forewarn that the word is often omitted from dictionaries – which is why Wiktionary can stand out by having the word – and is exquisitely annoying to search because of its homonymy to several words very common in the Germanic languages; it also does not have the same semantic range in every language, the taxons have to be checked for each. It might also be a diverting task to English editors because in English it is that third etymology of march, allegedly meaning “smallage” (@Leasnam?).

It may be that a Proto-Germanic word can be created, to get rid of the cognate listing, I don’t know. Fay Freak (talk) 21:36, 10 September 2019 (UTC)

merke in Norwegian has Old Norse etymology, but it doesn't relate to the plant, one species is called stor vasskjeks. DonnanZ (talk) 23:38, 10 September 2019 (UTC)
It’s exactly of the same form, merki in Old Norse, like the one which means “mark”, and “märke” in Swedish just like the word for “mark”, and in Danish “mærke”. I saw the Danish and Swedish at least used in several botanical treatises, where I have been told that the Norwegian is written merke. Admittedly (because of homography making search hard) I wasn’t even sure of having found uses in Norwegian, however various sources list a Norwegian term, which should be merke. I was taking care that it follows modern spelling rules – other spellings have been used in the 19th century and hence reference works in English still mention Norwegian, Danish and Swedish terms as if the spelling has never been standardized; it might however have died out in Norwegian, excluded from the language during its detachment from Danish, while not in Danish and Swedish. One must see, as a speaker of the languages, what one can search: words related to botany, and various genus names. Fay Freak (talk) 00:20, 11 September 2019 (UTC)
For example this is such a hit from 1960, apparently a Norwegian botanist, listing Norwegian merke. Fay Freak (talk) 00:25, 11 September 2019 (UTC)
I can find references to skarntyde and giftkjeks Conium maculatum poison hemlock [8], [9], [10], [11]. DonnanZ (talk) 09:05, 11 September 2019 (UTC)
Sium latifolium at Germplasm Resources Information Network (great water parsnip) has vattenmärke (Swedish). DCDuring (talk) 01:11, 11 September 2019 (UTC)
Sium latifolium at Encyclopedia of Life has Bredbladet Mærke (Danish). (EOL may not be accessible via Chrome and, especially Firefox because of certificate problems.) DCDuring (talk) 01:30, 11 September 2019 (UTC)
Since some species of Sium are native to and common in northern Europe, the terms may well turn out to have very old associations with the plant. DCDuring (talk) 01:36, 11 September 2019 (UTC)
FWIW, S. latifolium is thought to have been introduced (not native) into Norway. DCDuring (talk) 01:48, 11 September 2019 (UTC)
I can't see anything relating to a plant for mærke in DDO, bredbladet means broad-leafed or broad-leaved. DonnanZ (talk) 08:28, 11 September 2019 (UTC)
Funny. I mentioned in the beginning that the word is often omitted in dictionaries; and special meanings for plants are often missed. But the Danish is one of the easier-to-find ones: Here with “Sium; the word might also be used for other genera. Fay Freak (talk) 14:18, 11 September 2019 (UTC)


While we are at it, while I have searched for a quote, I found in a rhyme with Merk the term Melde. With the help of Pfeifer I could add the etymology, encountering more terms, homonymous in most languages and all lacking in Wiktionary, including an English dialectal one; see the Dictionary of the Scots Language linked at the German for more info. Swedish: One finds more with the plural mållor than with målla. One page. Etc. Fay Freak (talk) 02:19, 11 September 2019 (UTC)


How print dictionaries treat this pair seems to have changed over the past twenty years. Until well into the 2000s the usual practice seems to have been to include werkeloos as a variant of werkloos, without any distinction in meaning. More recent dictionaries tend to have a semantic distinction similar to ours, but also have werkeloos as an informal variant of werkloos. But this too is not satisfactory, because werkloos can also mean "idle", for instance in werkloos toezien (werkeloos toezien), so werkloos should also be an alternative form of werkeloos. Furthermore a usage note at werkloos currently reads: "The word is sometimes confused with werkeloos, which means "having nothing to do, doing nothing"." This sense at werkeloos has also been labelled nonstandard. I think this is unacceptably prescriptive for what is essentially a variant with an epenthetic schwa, especially because the semantic split between the forms seems to be a rather recent development. ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 08:55, 11 September 2019 (UTC)

Words like belangeloos and goddeloos show that there is no basis for the belief that the -e- indicates that the first component is a verb stem. In fact, the only words on -eloos that I managed to find in which the first component is unambiguously a verb stem are duldeloos and reddeloos. There is an article in Onze Taal that gives a more detailed view of the situation. We can point out in the usage notes that there has been a recent development in which some speakers started to pair up the different spellings with different senses, and that some even proscribe mixing these up (for example, the book Vraagbaak Nederlands). Here is an example from 1770 in which werkeloos clearly means “lacking employment”, so any suggestion that this is a recent “confusion” (like stated here) is false.  --Lambiam 17:32, 11 September 2019 (UTC)


Our entry backronym gives as an example: “MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving)”. I find it hard to believe this is not simply a plain acronym.  --Lambiam 16:42, 11 September 2019 (UTC)

I don't think any of the first four examples in the backronym example box are right.   backronym on Wikipedia.Wikipedia has some examples. We can probably find some in deleted folk etymologies if we could conveniently search deleted content. There might be some on talk pages. DCDuring (talk) 17:28, 11 September 2019 (UTC)
Lambiam -- It's not a backronym, but the name of the group was contrived to give an acronym whose pronunciation suggests anger... AnonMoos (talk) 21:38, 11 September 2019 (UTC)


I'm not sure about the given definition, "anything that wigwags". It seems to be a person in a particular role: one source in Google Books defines it as "a lookout". Equinox 21:47, 11 September 2019 (UTC)


Is this a legitimate suffix? Most or all of Category:English words suffixed with -logist seems that it should be -ist on an existing -logy. Equinox 15:30, 12 September 2019 (UTC)

Oxford has it. DonnanZ (talk) 18:25, 12 September 2019 (UTC)


definition: "(regional) In order that, to enable."

usex: Come here till I speak to you

What definition wording would be substitutable in the usex? DCDuring (talk) 18:17, 12 September 2019 (UTC)

Come here so I can speak to you? Come here so that I may speak to you? DTLHS (talk) 18:19, 12 September 2019 (UTC)
I was hoping for something that didn't force the addition of an auxiliary (can, may) and didn't force I to move and/or be replaced by me.
Current definition yields:
Come here in order that I speak to you.
Come here to enable I speak to you.
Presumably your definition would be "so (one) can/may; so that (one) can/might".
I'm not used to seeing dummy words, like one, in definition lines. DCDuring (talk) 19:24, 12 September 2019 (UTC)
I could make the existing definition: "in order that (one) may/can"
The alternative "to enable (one) to" requires a use to replace the I in the usex and replace it with me. It's hard enough to get a user to properly interpret "(one)". DCDuring (talk) 19:29, 12 September 2019 (UTC)
It's desirable that the definition be substitutable for the defined term, but not mandatory. I think this is a case where we probably can't achieve it with any sort of natural phrasing, and usexes/citations might do a better job. Equinox 00:26, 13 September 2019 (UTC)
Perhaps not but a language learner might be tempted to treat the definitions as substitutible. I'm not even sure I understand the meaning of till in the definition in question, so I would have a hard time coming up with a non-gloss definition, which I think at least would prevent learners from trying a substitution. Maybe we should RfV it to get some evidence of actual usage. DCDuring (talk) 01:31, 13 September 2019 (UTC)
The Beckett usage seems like a subordinating conjunction (as well as the usex), not a preposition. DCDuring (talk) 01:35, 13 September 2019 (UTC)
In case it helps: this is a meaning I'm very familiar with, and I would interpret it as "so that". It's not something I would use and I suppose I'd see it as Irish. Equinox 02:16, 13 September 2019 (UTC)
Verbose and not natural, but grammatically substitutable: “so that it is possible that” or, slightly shorter, “to make it possible that”.  --Lambiam 20:52, 15 September 2019 (UTC)
Thanks. It may be a bit verbose, but much less so than a usage note. DCDuring (talk) 22:08, 15 September 2019 (UTC)

Adjectives in compound predicatesEdit

(Notifying Fay Freak, JohnC5, Benwing2, Lambiam): How do we handle things like jūstum est aliquid facere, jūcundum vidētur, nōn quīn Latīnum esset 'pecāttō' dīcere, sed quia...? Do they go under the adjective's lemma with a lablled special sense, as a substantive, or even an adverb? Brutal Russian (talk) 18:59, 12 September 2019 (UTC)

In jūstum est aliquid facere, jūstum can also be analyzed as the subject complement to the subject aliquid facere. It is a somewhat general feature of Latin that the neuter forms of an adjective can be used as a noun for an abstract concept (most often in the plural, “that which is ...”). I think we should only list these neuter forms (other than as an inflected form of the adjective) if they acquired a somewhat specialized (and attested) meaning, and then we should present this under a noun and/or adverb heading, as applicable. I see that we have bonum as a noun, and vērum both as a noun and as an adverb. We can also look at what other dictionaries do. We do not give a noun sense for honestum, even though both Lewis & Short and Gaffiot list the noun sense “honesty”, so that appears to be an omission.  --Lambiam 05:58, 13 September 2019 (UTC)

Stroke count of Edit

The translingual section indicates "8 strokes in traditional Chinese, Japanese and Korean, 7 strokes in mainland China." This character is 7 strokes in Japanese, not 8. See and

If I understand the Han char template correctly, the parameters "|sn=8|snm++=7" should be "|sn=8|snmj+=7". The simplified grass radical is usually three strokes in Japanese, so there may be other characters with this radical that are similarly impacted. -- 00:45, 13 September 2019 (UTC)

  • Surely the whole concept of indicating different stroke numbers per language is a bit silly? I can't speak for Japanese and Korean, but throughout Chinese history 草字頭 has been written in 楷書 with both broken and unbroken . While it's probably true that the majority of mainland Chinese write it unbroken, a good proportion still write it broken, so it's not exactly a hard fast rule. ---> Tooironic (talk) 01:12, 14 September 2019 (UTC)


We are unlikely to find attestations for this word because it is spurious: the OED (1989) says it is an error for goetic, and its only citations are from other dictionaries and glossaries. Webster (1913) listed the word, but it is not in Merriam-Webster. This "word" should be indicated as being erroneous. — Paul G (talk) 06:34, 13 September 2019 (UTC)

  • Online OED says "Origin: A variant or alteration of another lexical item. Etymons: English geotic , goetic adj.

Etymology: Probably originally a misapprehension of geotic, variant of (or error for) goetic adj. (compare e.g. quot. 1727 at goetic n. 2), but taken by Johnson (in quot. 1755) in the sense ‘of or belonging to the earth’ by association with geo- comb. form, and hence used contextually. Compare the etymological note at geodetic n. and adj." SemperBlotto (talk) 06:38, 13 September 2019 (UTC)

Who goes spouting about our inability to find attestations when it took me less than a minute to find enough on Google Books? Anyway, I modified the definition and expanded the etymology per the OED. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 19:58, 28 September 2019 (UTC)

sature = saturate, or a special chemical meaningEdit

In spite of being nowhere mentioned, it seems to be a word, from the 18th to 21th century, reminiscent of a separate borrowing from French saturer. Or all erroneous? Fay Freak (talk) 09:17, 14 September 2019 (UTC)

It is used as an infinitive here. I think of this as a back formation rather than a borrowing from French.  --Lambiam 11:42, 14 September 2019 (UTC)
As the author of the book is French, it is on the contrary actually very likely on loan from saturer. The authors of the publications of the Google search for satured above also appear not to be native English speakers.  --Lambiam 16:55, 15 September 2019 (UTC)

sum ubiEdit

(Notifying Fay Freak, JohnC5, Benwing2, Lambiam): This is attempting to be the lemma form of the impersonal est ubi which doesn't occur in any other form by substituting est for its lemma form that it never occurs with in practice, with the resulting meaning having nothing to do with the original ("I'm at a place where"). In addition, the provided meaning is patently incorrect, being but a contextual rendering that in English happens to allow the same interpretation. The Latin phrase is a special case of the normal combination of est and a relative pronoun - equivalent to English "there are some", "there is a time when" which are unlikely to be seen as meriting a lemma of their own by any native English speaker who understands its syntax. Therefore I ascribe the Latin one's being listed as such to someone not understanding how the English translation mathes to the Latin words and concluding that it's some sort of a special and opaque idiom. I don't really know what to do with it, but I don't think it can be left in the current state. Brutal Russian (talk) 18:32, 15 September 2019 (UTC)

@Brutal Russian If it can be conjugated through the full range of tenses, the answer is to (a) move it to est ubi, and (b) modify the conjugation and headword tables to have the .impers modifier, like this:
This produces:
est ubi (present infinitive esse ubi, perfect active fuit ubi, future participle futūrus ubi); irregular conjugation, irregular, impersonal, no passive, no supine stem except in the future active participle
I'll fix the duplication of the word irregular. I don't know if a future participle exists; if not we can make it go away through overrides.
Benwing2 (talk) 19:02, 15 September 2019 (UTC)
I think no impersonal verb has a future participle.  --Lambiam 20:33, 15 September 2019 (UTC)
But any verb can have the Future Infinitive like Pliny's cum puderet vivos, tamquam puditurum esset extinctos - which, by the way, regularly has no copula in the Present and is a verbal form all of its own in the more conservative language, with there having been no Future Active Participle at all originally. It is the same problem as with listing the Passive Participle in the Masculine, which leads to problems, e.g. the same pudeō having the PPP puditus all of a sudden, all but one forms of which are completely fictiotious. Why would we not instead list participles in the Neuter, the canonical participle form that every verb necessarily has? The existing fictitious lemmas could then be renamed and the forms deleted. Brutal Russian (talk) 21:21, 15 September 2019 (UTC)

Do gerundives exist for Latin deponent verbs?Edit

(Notifying Fay Freak, Brutal Russian, JohnC5, Lambiam): Do gerundives in general exist for Latin deponent verbs? We list them, e.g. for ēnītor we list ēnītendus, but if they exist, what sort of meaning do they have? On the analogy of perfect participles, it should be active, but we already have a future active participle. Is it like an active participle of necessity (who/which must strive, who/which must struggle, who/which must give birth, etc.)? What does ēnītendus sum mean? Benwing2 (talk) 18:58, 15 September 2019 (UTC)

Ēnītendus sum means “I should be brought forth”, that is, like the gerundives of all verbs it has a passive meaning (which can only be applied to verbs with a transitive sense, deponent or not). Not to be confused with ēnitendus with a short i, from ēniteō.  --Lambiam 19:37, 15 September 2019 (UTC)
Even intransitive verbs would have to have the Gerundive, albeit only in the N.Sg., if we continue to go with the current layout where there's no Nom. Gerund, but there are expressions like mihi abeundum est. It's a good occasion to repeat my suggestion here, that is to make separate Gerund and Gerundive cells and strike out the Future Passive Participle, maybe making a note saying "The Gerundive is used in this function in Late and Medieval Latin". Pinkster 2015 p.301 treats the issue of whether Nom. (as above) and non-prepositional Acc. (of the type Caesar maturandum sibi existimavit) Gerunds exist and seems to remain ambivalent on the former, while opining against the latter and regarding it as an Impers. Gerundive. For our table-making purposes, however, I think adopting the full number of cases for both parts of speech is preferrable, thus treating the Gerund as a full-fledged verbal noun like those in -iō (Quid tibi tactio hunc fuit? "What did you touch him for?’"), even if one ultimatly developed verbally and the other way more nominally, so to say. With this approach we won't have to list Gerundives for intransitive verbs. The Nom. Gerund cell still probably needs to have some reference to the Infinitive, that being the default verbal noun in most constructions. Brutal Russian (talk) 20:47, 15 September 2019 (UTC)

("attention":) questions / comments recently added to a "Talk:" pageEdit

When I edited^H^H created [the "Talk:" page] "wikt:Talk:brutish", I was shown some 'advice' that said (something like):

  Talk pages of individual entries are not usually monitored by editors, and messages posted here may not be noticed or responded to. You may want to post your message to the Tea room or Information desk instead.

I concluded that this might be a good place to draw attention to the questions / comments recently added there.

[So...] "Note" that:

A new section -- called "How many syllables are there in the word brutish?" -- has recently been added to [the "Talk:" page] "Talk:brutish".

and ... you might want to read that ... and/or respond. --Mike Schwartz (talk) 19:03, 15 September 2019 (UTC)

I have replaced the diphthong /ʊu/ in the pronunciation – which counted for two syllables – by /uː/.  --Lambiam 19:52, 15 September 2019 (UTC)

Way toEdit

I was looking to see how Wiktionary would define way to today, and I saw it listed only as a misspelling of way too. Usually, when I read/hear it, it's placed at the beginning of a statement expressing disapproval of something someone's done, as in "Way to ruin my birthday. Brian!"

What part of speech would you consider the more common, non-error use of "way to" to be? Khemehekis (talk) 00:51, 16 September 2019 (UTC)

way (US, As the head of an interjectory clause) Acknowledges that a task has been done well (, chiefly in expressions of sarcastic congratulation???).
to introduces an infinitive.
IOW, I don't think it merits an entry, as users are expected to be able to look up the meanings of words used in SoP terms, combine the meanings, and select from the possibly numerous combinations of meanings. DCDuring (talk) 02:10, 16 September 2019 (UTC)
I checked out the entry at way (def. number 8). Is this ever used without to after it? If not, it's not something SoP, it's something that should be at way to instead of at way. Khemehekis (talk) 04:33, 16 September 2019 (UTC)
It's followed by an infinitive, which happens to always start with "to". That's also true of all kinds of verbs such as want, need, plan, intend, opt, like, love, hate, try, fail, presume, etc. It wouldn't be good practice to make an entry with "to" for every phrase that always takes an infinitive. Chuck Entz (talk) 06:08, 16 September 2019 (UTC)
Shouldn’t we mention at the entry that it is always followed by an infinitive clause?  --Lambiam 11:45, 16 September 2019 (UTC)
Yes. And we should revise all the wording, starting with "As the head of an interjectory clause". A normal user might remember what a clause it, but I doubt that head and interjectory are understood with confidence. Who are we writing definitions for? People who don't need them? Or just university-educated learners of English as a second (or nth) language? The qualifying phrase "chiefly in expressions of sarcastic congratulation" suggests that the contributor of the definition lives in a world where sarcasm doesn't lead to unpleasantness and sincere congratulations are rare. DCDuring (talk) 13:36, 16 September 2019 (UTC)
How about: "(US, followed by to-infinitive) Used to express congratulations." ?
The possibility of sarcasm is possible in many utterances. We could add ", sometimes sarcastically" if we have a consensus that sarcastic use is sufficiently common. DCDuring (talk) 13:44, 16 September 2019 (UTC)
Any words that do that that aren't verbs? Classifying way in this sense as an interjection (and then saying it's dollowed by an infinitive) seems dodgy to me. Khemehekis (talk) 09:29, 26 September 2019 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Hard to say. It's an ellipsis of "That is the way to...", so it's really a sentence that's complete except for the partial infinitive construction used to fill in the blank. I would analyze your example as "1a(2a(That)2a+2b(is)2b+2c(the 3(way+4(to ruin my birthday)4)3)2c)1a + 1b(Brian)1b". It looks more like a snowclone than a part of speech. Chuck Entz (talk) 02:17, 16 September 2019 (UTC)
I would have guessed it to be an ellipsis of "What a way to...", as in "What a way to ruin my birthday, Brian!" Leasnam (talk) 04:01, 16 September 2019 (UTC)
That doesn't work as well when it's straight rather than sarcastic: "You did it. Way to go!" Chuck Entz (talk) 06:08, 16 September 2019 (UTC)


The English entry for this word has the following definition:

3. Ability to employ the English language correctly or idiomatically.
 My coworkers have pretty good English for non-native speakers.

Should we really have this definition? I don’t really feel this is a separate sense, but rather a use of the sense “the English language”. There is an idiom to have [LANGUAGE], but this can be any language, and the idiom isn’t specific to the word English. Rather, “to have the ability to speak and/or understand (a language)” should be listed among the senses of have. – Krun (talk) 21:30, 16 September 2019 (UTC)

Just to note that there is already a related entry at have:
16. (dated outside Ireland) To be able to speak a language.
I have no German.
So, while "my co-workers have English" is dated (apart from Ireland, if that label is correct), "my co-workers have pretty good English" is not. I'm not sure how this should be best represented. Mihia (talk) 00:44, 17 September 2019 (UTC)
In general, any language name can be used in the sense of the ability to speak that language, in and outside Ireland: “Your Japanese is pretty good for an American.” So I think this does not deserve a separate sense at language-name entries. I don’t know anything about the spatial or temporal distribution of have being used in the sense seen in “to have (pretty good) [LANGUAGE]”.  --Lambiam 10:16, 17 September 2019 (UTC)
Yes, sorry, I agree that any language name can be used, and that the questioned definition at English is unnecessary, but I was going off at a slight tangent to wonder about the definition at have. At least in the UK, "He has English", for instance, is dated, and I think risks not even be understood by younger speakers, whereas "He has very good English" seems much less so, so I was wondering if and how the definition at have should be amended to reflect this. Mihia (talk) 21:52, 18 September 2019 (UTC)
IMO the sense is a misunderstanding, and "English" refers to the language produced, and not to the abstract ability. "They have good English" = "their English is good" = "the English (they speak) is good English". Equinox 12:31, 17 September 2019 (UTC)
It seems to me that all our English definitions of languages fall short of covering actual usage. (Other dictionaries have the same problem.):
  1. Don't we need a definition of English, or at least appropriate labeling and revised wording, for uncountable usages like "They don't speak much English there." "They have learned little English."?
  2. For mathematics we have as sense 2 (of 2) "A person's ability to count, calculate, and use different systems of mathematics at differing levels." This seems comparable to "Command of English" in usage like "His English has improved." The other definitions of English as noun, common or proper, don't clearly cover this.
If we lay this deficiency off to the ability of language users to recognize metonomy in context, then we could eliminate many definitions in many entries, eg, our second definition of mathematics. DCDuring (talk) 13:39, 17 September 2019 (UTC)
I for one think we do not need that second definition, like we also do not need an additional definition for the noun singing such as “a person's ability to use the voice to produce musical sounds at differing levels”, although one can say, “her singing greatly improved after she took singing lessons”. Same for painting, sleight of hand, summersault, and so on. In all languages that I know, the same term is used for the name of a language and as a collective noun for referring to utterances in that language. It would be interesting if this is a semantic universal. I am rather confident that the metonomy of saying “[X] has improved” meaning “the quality of [X] has improved” is indeed a universal.  --Lambiam 14:44, 17 September 2019 (UTC)

Colour sensesEdit

Don't know if anyone has noticed this and if I'm the only one who's bothered by it, but Special:Contributions/ has added colour definitions to random nouns. I'm not necessarily saying that these kinds of definitions should be excluded, but honestly, can't you use most nouns when trying to convey a colour? The list is starting to get pretty long – just look at their edits. I can almost picture shit brown ("A dark brownish colour, like that of shit, also called shit brown"), piss yellow ("A light yellowish colour, like that of piss, also called piss yellow") and mucus green ("A slimy greenish colour, like that of mucus, also called mucus green") making an entrance any day now. --Robbie SWE (talk) 10:24, 17 September 2019 (UTC)

Some of these verge on the absurd, like manatee! That might be a quirky name for a paint but I can't imagine serious everyday usage. Equinox 12:33, 17 September 2019 (UTC)
I remember hearing of a colour called "Karitane kack", referring to the stuff babies leave in their nappies, probably best described as a mustard colour. Karitane is a place in NZ, and Karitane hospitals used to care for sick babies and their mothers. But there is no such word as kack. DonnanZ (talk) 13:49, 17 September 2019 (UTC)
No wonder I can't find it, it's spelt cack. DonnanZ (talk) 14:10, 17 September 2019 (UTC)
A Canadian ex once referring to a pair of my trousers as "cacky pants" (she meant khaki) made me laugh. Equinox 14:16, 17 September 2019 (UTC)
Blame interior decorators, the paint industry, Crayola, etc. They use names of things for colors all the time. I don't see how we can tell from usage in ordinary running text what specific color is being referred to. We would probably have to accept one or, preferably, more authorities to support a specific color. Color patches on a computer screen are not reliable, so ostensive definitions would not be definitve. MWOnline has simple definitions of colors, that are merely suggestive, eg avocado "a light yellowish green". DCDuring (talk) 16:48, 17 September 2019 (UTC)
Why not just RfV these? At the very least the color patches won't be supportable. I doubt that most of the purported color names have any supportable definition to be found in the sources we use for attestation. We could start by challenging wine-dark. DCDuring (talk) 17:01, 17 September 2019 (UTC)
Specificity is not an RFVable criteria. They are used, therefore they will pass. DTLHS (talk) 17:08, 17 September 2019 (UTC)
But in reference to what color? It's one thing to attest to the use of a spelling, it's quite another to attest to each of multiple meanings, especially detailed or specific ones. If our RfV process means anything at all with respect to definitions, we need some identifiable semantic content to the attestation. If the usage is vague, then our definition needs to be similarly vague. DCDuring (talk) 17:19, 17 September 2019 (UTC)
You found another limit of “verification by use”. Remember, RfV is for the existence of terms; some details must come from elsewhere, often naturally occur only in mentions. If you have a measure in the pre-metrical era, you won’t find a use telling you how many meters or grams it is, one gets it from lists, and there are special studies on such, say “Islamic measures and coins of the Middle Ages”; sometimes one also finds a vessel and metes it in actual reality to find out the meaning of the term for a unit of measure. This goes for words used in the 21st century too. We should count ourselves lucky that an artsy man imparts us detailled understanding of colours, this gives Wiktionary a great advantage in comparison to other dictionaries. Fay Freak (talk) 17:19, 17 September 2019 (UTC)
RfV is for disputing the existence of terms or senses.  --Lambiam 22:34, 17 September 2019 (UTC)
But here sense is a breviloquence of “term in a certain sense”; or the existence is stressed, not the content of the sense. By encoding senses in signs not always the whole sense is conveyed and everyday signs are open-ended. Sorites paradox, semantic holism. Fay Freak (talk) 14:20, 20 September 2019 (UTC)
As a colour name, “manatee” is apparently not necessarily the dark grayish-blue colour promised in the definition – this scarf is more of an olive-greenish grey. That makes inclusion pointless.  --Lambiam 12:22, 19 September 2019 (UTC)
According to this logic inclusion of “God” is pointless because there is no fixed common meaning (which is by the way the conclusive reason why it is correct that there is no God, but most do not know that). Fay Freak (talk) 14:20, 20 September 2019 (UTC)

The anon who keeps adding these senses also changes their mind constantly when it comes to what nuance they're describing (see this). These contributions have to be some kind of vandalism – I reverted some of their more dubious contributions, but I'm not sure if I'm supposed to add the rest to RFV. --Robbie SWE (talk) 14:06, 20 September 2019 (UTC)

This leads me to the view that rather a range should be specified, which is possible nowadays with CSS (to have transitions of colors). Fay Freak (talk) 14:20, 20 September 2019 (UTC)

you never know what you've got till it's goneEdit

We define you never know what you've got till it's gone as "Good friends, family and acquaintances shouldn't be taken for granted". But why only people? Couldn't it also apply to wealth, health, etc.? Compare the broader definition at you never miss the water till the well runs dry (which I just created; that's how I noticed this). Equinox 13:11, 17 September 2019 (UTC)

Furthermore putting "shouldn't" in the definition suggests that it is an admonition, but it could just be an observation. Equinox 13:12, 17 September 2019 (UTC)
Right. You could pave Paradise and put up a parking lot and it's Paradise you'd have taken for granted. DCDuring (talk) 13:43, 17 September 2019 (UTC)
  Done Changed. Equinox 12:31, 19 September 2019 (UTC)

Is this really the most common wording of this proverb? DCDuring (talk) 13:45, 17 September 2019 (UTC)

In decreasing order of popularity (according to the reported number of ghits):
  • 71,100: You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone"
  • 70,200: You don’t know what you have until it’s gone"
  • 60,200: You never know what you have until it’s gone"
  • 45,600: You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone"
  • 31,100: You never know what you’ve got till it’s gone"
  • 24,600: You don’t know what you have till it’s gone"
  • 22,500: You never know what you’ve got until it’s gone"
  • 12,800: You never know what you have till it’s gone"
  • 11,600: You don’t appreciate what you have until it’s gone"
  • 4,650: You never appreciate what you have till it’s gone"
  • 1,500: You don’t know what you have got until it’s gone"
  • 827: You don’t appreciate what you’ve got until it’s gone"
  • 98: You never appreciate what you have until it’s gone"
  • 92: Some people don’t know what they have until it’s gone"
  • 74: You don’t know what you have got till it’s gone"
  • 70: You don’t appreciate what you have till it’s gone"
  • 49: You don’t appreciate what you’ve got till it’s gone"
  • 49: You never appreciate what you’ve got until it’s gone"
  • 29: Some people don’t appreciate what they have until it’s gone"
  • 28: You don’t know what you’ve till it’s gone"
  • 26: You don’t know what you’ve until it’s gone"
  • 22: You never know what you have got until it’s gone"
  • 20: Some people don’t know what they’ve got until it’s gone"
  • 16: You never appreciate what you’ve got till it’s gone"
  • 16: Some people don’t know what they have till it’s gone"
  • 14: You never know what you have got till it’s gone"
  • 9: Some people never appreciate what they have until it’s gone"
  • 9: Some people never know what they have until it’s gone"
  • 8: You never know what you’ve till it’s gone"
  • 6: Some people don’t know what they’ve got till it’s gone"
  • 6: You never know what you’ve until it’s gone"
  • 4: Some people don’t know what they’ve until it’s gone"
  • 3: Some people don’t appreciate what they’ve got until it’s gone"
  • 3: You don’t appreciate what you have got until it’s gone"
  • 2: Some people don’t know what they have got until it’s gone"
  • 2: You never appreciate what you’ve until it’s gone"
  • 1: Some people don’t appreciate what they have till it’s gone"
  • 1: Some people never know what they’ve got until it’s gone"
  • 1: You don’t appreciate what you have got till it’s gone"
  • 1: You never appreciate what you have got until it’s gone"
 --Lambiam 22:12, 17 September 2019 (UTC)

Kenning the formEdit

I wanted to give the following quotation, but I can scarcely understand whether the specific words are actually kith and kin or kith and kine:

    • late 14th C., John Gower, Confessio Amantis, Book V[12]:
      First she made hym the flees to wynne:
      And after that from kith and kynne,
      With great treasore with hym she stale:

So what does everybody think hereof? Thanks! —Lbdñk (talk) 19:57, 17 September 2019 (UTC)

This concordance to Piers Plowman gives kynne as an alternative spelling of Middle English kyn meaning “kin”. No cows were harmed in this investigation.  --Lambiam 22:30, 17 September 2019 (UTC)
@Lambian, don't you mean "kine" ;) Leasnam (talk) 21:07, 18 September 2019 (UTC)


As this is pretty SoP, I find the label "nonstandard" a bit odd. One can say "frightened of water", "fear of water", (potentially) "water-fearing" etc., but "waterfright" is somehow nonstandard?

I find myself scratching my head here. Tharthan (talk) 20:25, 17 September 2019 (UTC)

Suffering from headitch? Google Books Ngram Viewer.  --Lambiam 22:43, 17 September 2019 (UTC)
1. The two words run together are not natural; neither would "spiderfright" be standard. 2. Usually a "fright" is one individual scare; a general lifetime feeling is a "fear" or "phobia". Equinox 01:09, 18 September 2019 (UTC)
@Equinox: Then... explain stagefright, nightfright, and snake-fright (which I imagine could be theoretically written "snakefright"). Tharthan (talk) 01:27, 18 September 2019 (UTC)
stagefright, as well as stage-fright, are both used much less commonly than stage fright [[13]]. Whether that makes them "non-standard" or not, I cannot say Leasnam (talk) 21:04, 18 September 2019 (UTC)
"Stage fright" certainly supports your point. But otherwise a "fright" is just a single instance, not a long-term phobia. I don't think "nightfright" or "snakefright" are words that normal human beings would use; they are probably restricted to weird Anglo-Saxonists. Equinox 02:47, 22 September 2019 (UTC)
I agree with you when it comes to "snakefright". I can see nightfright, though, if only because of the rhyme. We might want to look more into that one. I'll open an RfV for it.
Regarding your comment about Anglish stuff, I would note that there have been many supporters of some form of a more (for lack of a better term, and by analogy with the common phrasing used to describe this concept in other Germanic languages) "High English" option for speakers to use who wish to use it. And even in much more recent times, Orwell wasn't exactly opposed to it, now was he? You can hardly call him some odd nobody.
But, anyway, do you think that we might want to consider having an " (Anglish) " descriptor tag or something of that sort to indicate terms that are purely Anglish in usage? That would alleviate any concern that unwitting users might think that they are somehow usual, everyday terms. We wouldn't need to remove the "(nonstandard)" tag from such words, if previously present, of course. Tharthan (talk) 03:39, 22 September 2019 (UTC)
I would say a resounding no. What constitutes "anglish" ? bookshelf, is that Anglish ? earbud, is that Anglish ? how about skyscraper ? waterfright and nightfright are legitimate English words, produced organically through the natural speech of human beings who are not Anglo-Saxonists. Let me tell you, just because some might assume a word is "anglish" and cry Anglish when they see it does not make it so. Don't let that get to you. An Anglish term is one that only Anglish speakers would use, and is a conscious attempt to replace or oust a non-English word (think "uncleftish"...<=see? red link). We generally do not harbour anglish terms here. On the other hand, compounding is an inherent word-generating energy in the English language, always has been; always will be. Compounding does not in any way signify "Anglish", nor should it in our minds (we've either been taught wrong, or we've been drinking bad Koolaid...). The trend in English today is for short, straight-forward, no-nonsense language. That includes words like nightfright and nightfear, etc. Not everyone wants to say "nyctophobia" all the time (ugh- yeah we know what it means, but God can we get another way to express it !); no one is trying to replace nyctophobia with nightfright, etc., and I rather like "nightfright" as a synonym. Haven't used it myself yet, but I'll consider it. So, no, we don't need an Anglish label because we already have non-standard, which works just fine. Leasnam (talk) 06:21, 22 September 2019 (UTC)
Plus, think of the slew of Anglish terms that would be flooding in were we to create a label--it'd be like ringing the dinner bell for all Anglishers to "Come and get it !". Just prob not a good idea ;) Leasnam (talk) 06:29, 22 September 2019 (UTC)
We are certainly pretty much kindred souls when it comes to this subject, as you know. My suggestion was merely for terms that fit the description of Anglish that you said: terms that are only used by those who are active "Anglishers". But if you think that "(non-standard)" is sufficient, then that's fine with me as well. I would say, however: what real harm would there be if terms that meet our attestation requirements (but the durably-archived sources are by Anglish-enthusiasts) were added to Wiktionary? Sounds harmless to me. But the concern that we would need to mass-delete unfit entries is a fair enough point, I suppose. Tharthan (talk) 18:09, 22 September 2019 (UTC)
Well, maybe have a peek at waterstuff etymology 2 as an example. It simply has nonstandard as a label. If it said Anglish what would that do ? I think it would be a little too gratuitous if you ask me. Leasnam (talk) 19:46, 22 September 2019 (UTC)
The following suggest that already in the 19th century waterfright was considered an originally Anglo-Saxon word that had been lost from the English lexicon: [14], [15], [16].  --Lambiam 21:06, 18 September 2019 (UTC)
Whether it has become very rare or not is a different question from whether it is nonstandard or not. Again, if stagefright/stage-fright/stage fright, nightfright, and snake-fright are not nonstandard, then how on Earth could "waterfright" be? Is it not more likely to be rare, very rare, or poetic?
Perhaps this ought to be challenged through an RfV. We don't have three citations for it right now. Tharthan (talk) 21:15, 18 September 2019 (UTC)
I've just added four five, all 20-21 c. Leasnam (talk) 21:49, 18 September 2019 (UTC)
Thanks, Leasnam. I would question the William Ellery Leonard quotation, though. It seems as if it may be describing a personal "scare" (as in "Tylenol scare" scare), rather than an enduring phobia. Tharthan (talk) 01:47, 19 September 2019 (UTC)
Right. We may want to consider moving the 1927 and 2018 cites to a separate sense line. Leasnam (talk) 02:15, 19 September 2019 (UTC)
We should call this a 19th century coinage (or revival- is there anything in Middle English?) DTLHS (talk) 21:19, 18 September 2019 (UTC)
@Tharthan, if I'm not mistaken (please Equinox correct me if I am), but I believe the non-standard labelling refers to the "running together" of the two words as one, e.g.waterfright vs. water fright; not actually the term itself. Am I correct in thinking that ? Leasnam (talk) 21:26, 18 September 2019 (UTC)
As a phrase, "water fright" hardly exists either. Mihia (talk) 22:03, 18 September 2019 (UTC)
I don't think it's commonly used with space or without. Equinox 11:05, 19 September 2019 (UTC)
Also, in light of Leasnam's discoveries regarding fairly normal attestations of "snake-fright" and "nightfright" (look at those attestations for sense 1!), have you (@Equinox) changed your mind about "-fright" having a sense that goes beyond a "single scare". Tharthan (talk) 18:14, 22 September 2019 (UTC)


It appears this character is likely a variant form of , more sources needed. Dingo1234555 (talk) 20:44, 17 September 2019 (UTC)


The page nõukogude (Estonian for 'Soviet') is asking for a user to provide its genitive and partitive for the adjective. I only know a little Estonian, but to my understanding the word is always in this form, as its syntactically a genitive plural of a noun. To support my claim, here are a couple of examples of the word appearing unchanged even though if it were declinable, you'd expect it to have a case ending: contains:

  • "aastal Bessaraabia piirkonda Rumeenialt Nõukogude Liidule" (not e.g. "Nõukogudele Liidule") contains:

  • "Nõukogude ajast" instead of "Nõukogudest ajast" (from Soviet time)
  • "Nõukogude süsteemis" instead of "Nõukogudes süsteemis" (in Soviet system)

and others.

My suggestion basically would be to remove the adjective section entirely and add some kind of a note to the noun section that this form is used as a "Soviet" modifier. I don't consider my Estonian to be good enough that I'd be willing to make this change myself though, but I still wanted to inform you of my thoughts on the matter. Mölli-Möllerö (talk) 09:45, 18 September 2019 (UTC)

Pinging @Andres, Strombones.  --Lambiam 12:06, 18 September 2019 (UTC)
Fixed it. See also eesti and rootsi for the same phenomenon.Strombones (talk) 12:37, 18 September 2019 (UTC)
All of them are usually treated as adjectives without inflection by the grammarians. nõukogude and Nõukogude have different meanings. nõukogude is not 'pertaining to the Soviet Union' as the article states but 'pertaining to the political system or the way of life characteristic to the Soviet state and society', Nõukogude is 'pertaining to the Soviet Union or the Soviet Russia (before December 1922)'. eesti and Eesti (genitive), rootsi and Rootsi also have different meanings, though sometimes both are possible. Of course, those adjectives descend from noun inflections. Andres (talk) 13:20, 18 September 2019 (UTC)


I suspect the "translation" should be a separate Portuguese entry. DonnanZ (talk) 11:05, 19 September 2019 (UTC)

The usual pretext for such a separate entry is that it is needed to house the Portuguese pronunciation. DCDuring (talk) 11:33, 19 September 2019 (UTC)
"Taking photographs from the air" doesn't match up to virtual private network though. DonnanZ (talk) 11:54, 19 September 2019 (UTC)
The last edit of the editor before adding this Portuguese translation was adding Portuguese to the translations at aerial photography, so this is a typical copy-and-paste error.  --Lambiam 21:15, 20 September 2019 (UTC)
I don't see how VPN can be an abbreviation of aerofotografia or "taking photographs from the air". Can we just delete the translations section? DonnanZ (talk) 19:21, 21 September 2019 (UTC)
The abbreviation is used in Portuguese, though, borrowed from English ([17], [18], [19]).  --Lambiam 17:54, 22 September 2019 (UTC)
Oh, I see, thanks for sorting that out. DonnanZ (talk) 09:05, 23 September 2019 (UTC)

Appendix:Glossary of collective nouns by collective term: "colony"Edit

We have "colony" listed here for rabbits, rats, seals, and several other animals. Should it be there? A colony is not a generic collection, but a group living together in a social way. Equinox 13:07, 19 September 2019 (UTC)

Perhaps illustrating your point, there is leper colony, nudist colony, penal colony; bird colony is a red link. DonnanZ (talk) 13:48, 19 September 2019 (UTC)
I think that whole list needs review and possible pruning. Mihia (talk) 16:25, 19 September 2019 (UTC)
Yes, I noticed this one because colony had the same misleading noun sense (I've removed it), but the appendix really is garbage. "Anthology of poems", "anthology of prose": these are not collective nouns for any number of poems/prose found together, but are rather specific "containers" that poems/prose might be arranged in. Maybe I am growing "a trellis of raspberries" but that certainly doesn't make t~ a collective noun for r~. Equinox 14:26, 21 September 2019 (UTC)
How about "a pondful of algae"? DonnanZ (talk) 19:26, 21 September 2019 (UTC)
How about "a pile of crap (e.g. this list)"? Mihia (talk) 19:35, 21 September 2019 (UTC)
What's the worst that could happen to me if I unilaterally deleted it? Vote on my talk page. Just kidding, NEVER write on my fucking talk page. Equinox 20:25, 21 September 2019 (UTC)
If you did that you could be turned into a "knot of toads", or even an "intrusion of cockroaches". Mihia (talk) 21:03, 21 September 2019 (UTC)
Right, it is full of garbage. Mostly they are made-up terms not used in real life or daft entries such as "pile of books" or "set of golf clubs". Mihia (talk) 19:35, 21 September 2019 (UTC)
Yeah, "a holiness of donuts"? I know ring and jam doughnuts (where the jam is inserted) have holes in them, but... It seems to be a favourite place for IPs to add things, and a target for vandalism (i.e. rubbish). DonnanZ (talk) 11:54, 22 September 2019 (UTC)
It may be a good idea to exclude IPs from editing it. DonnanZ (talk) 12:00, 22 September 2019 (UTC)
We should apply the same CFI as for regular entries. Here is one for parliament of rooks, for which more attestations are not hard to find. But we should exclude things like bouquet of flowers, in which the head noun already means “collection of [the second part]”, or bunch of grapes, in which the head noun can be used for countless things that come in bunches. There is also Appendix:Glossary of collective nouns by subject. Half the items or more are puerile jokes (“moxie of doxies”, “lechery of priests”, “buttload of proctologists”). What is a practical approach to cleaning up this mess of mishaps (other than discarding all and starting over)?  --Lambiam 17:45, 22 September 2019 (UTC)
Discarding all and starting over again is very tempting, it certainly needs a heavy cull. Attesting them all is a daunting task though, any volunteers? DonnanZ (talk) 19:30, 22 September 2019 (UTC)
At least one book has "a holiness of donuts", but I'm still tempted to delete it. DonnanZ (talk) 23:24, 23 September 2019 (UTC)


Verb senses:

5. (auxiliary verb, taking a past participle) Used in forming the perfect aspect and the past perfect aspect.
I have already eaten today.
I had already eaten.
14. Used as interrogative auxiliary verb with a following pronoun to form tag questions. (For further discussion, see "Usage notes" below.)
We haven't eaten dinner yet, have we?
Your wife hasn't been reading that nonsense, has she?

Are these actually separate senses? Mihia (talk) 17:33, 19 September 2019 (UTC)

Someone might not know about tag questions and the ellipsis involved, so perhaps the semantics aren't obvious. You would think that, if we have such definitions at all, we should have a similar definition for all the modals, auxiliaries etc that can form tag questions, wouldn't you? DCDuring (talk) 18:47, 19 September 2019 (UTC)
OK, well what I have done for now is just move the two definitions together, and try to make some connection in the definitions. The situation is also slightly complicated by the fact that tag "have" is also (much less commonly) a main verb, as illustrated by the third usage example, so I have tried to reflect that too in the definition. Mihia (talk) 19:31, 19 September 2019 (UTC)
Grouping the more grammatical functions seems essential. DCDuring (talk) 12:02, 20 September 2019 (UTC)
We don't have any mention of tag questions at the entry for do, do we?
We should have comparable treatment at should, shouldn't we?
I could continue, but the point is that the content on tag questions in general in the usage note belongs in an appendix with at most a short note (or just a usage label) referencing that appendix in all of the lemmas (forms?) that are used in tag questions. DCDuring (talk) 12:12, 20 September 2019 (UTC)
I think you are probably right. Mihia (talk) 17:54, 20 September 2019 (UTC)

have (2)Edit

Verb senses:

2. (transitive) To be related in some way to (with the object identifying the relationship).
I have two sisters.
I have a lot of work to do.
4. (transitive) To be scheduled to attend or participate in.
What class do you have right now? I have English.
Fred won't be able to come to the party; he has a meeting that day.

Leaving aside for a moment the fact that definition 2 seems unsatisfactorily vague, is there actually any important difference between the meanings of "have" in "I have a lot of work to do" and "he has a meeting that day"? Mihia (talk) 17:39, 19 September 2019 (UTC)

Def. 4 seems like a subsense of def. 2, as do a few of the others.
  • More power to you for taking on such a word. I hope you have convenient access to the OED. DCDuring (talk) 19:02, 19 September 2019 (UTC)
Well, I have hijacked original sense 2 so as to reflect the first usage example only, and moved the second usage example. If anyone has any clearer idea of what sense 2 was supposed to be referring to, please be my guest in making the necessary further changes. Mihia (talk) 01:02, 22 September 2019 (UTC)
My conjecture is that it was supposed to capture usage not captured in the definitions not of the possession sense (narrowly construed), nor of the auxiliary senses, but following the pattern of the last (legal) definition, def. 4, and some others. It is a characteristic of "light" verb senses (eg, of verbs like do, make, take, get) that they convey little meaning in themselves, but make predicates that derive most of their semantic content from an object or perhaps other complement. DCDuring (talk) 00:56, 23 September 2019 (UTC)
Hmmm. I have dredged back through the long history of this, and the first appearance of this definition was as:
(transitive) To be related in some way to (with the object identifying the relationship).
I have two sisters.
The dog down the street has a lax owner.
Looking at the original examples, my feeling now is that it was probably a miswritten attempt at the present sense 2 that later had the second example changed to an irrelevant one (I have a lot of work to do), possibly due to a misunderstanding, or just random attrition. Mihia (talk) 13:40, 23 September 2019 (UTC)
Have/take a look at Appendix:Collocations of do, have, make, and take. Also w:Light verb. I'll take a look at how other dictionaries "define" light verbs. DCDuring (talk) 22:18, 23 September 2019 (UTC)
Collins COBUILD clearly has the light verb concept in mind in these definitions, but most dictionaries have more traditional definitions. DCDuring (talk) 22:37, 23 September 2019 (UTC)

state of beingnessEdit

"The quality of state of being". This definition sounds rather abstruse. 17:53, 20 September 2019 (UTC)

We define beingness as “the state or quality of being being”, so I expect state of beingness to mean “state of the state or quality of being being”. At least, that is what the expectational expecting of my expectancy is expectingly expecting.  --Lambiam 21:03, 20 September 2019 (UTC)
I would more cynically posit that somebody went through a big list of Xness words and defined them all as "quality of X". This definition doesn't make sense to me. Equinox 21:28, 20 September 2019 (UTC)
I don't understand the definition either. Mihia (talk) 22:57, 20 September 2019 (UTC)
Reminds me of trying to read Heidegger: »In the being of this being it is related to its being. As the being of this being, it is entrusted to its own being. It is being about which this being is concerned…« — Vorziblix (talk · contribs) 16:06, 23 September 2019 (UTC)
It seems to be used in New Age contexts FWIW. DTLHS (talk) 21:26, 20 September 2019 (UTC)
@Equinox, DTLHS: That explains why it doesn't make any sense. Tharthan (talk) 05:44, 21 September 2019 (UTC)
New-Agey people seem obsessed with existing "in the moment" or "in the now" or being "centred", "present", etc. So it quite possibly just means state of being in their jargon, with -ness added to make it sound special. RFV it maybe. Equinox 11:59, 21 September 2019 (UTC)
O, the unbearable lightness of beingness!  --Lambiam 00:56, 22 September 2019 (UTC)

ba, verb, to kissEdit

Chaucer: "Com neer, my spouse, lat me ba thy cheke!" Should we move this to Middle English? Equinox 14:18, 21 September 2019 (UTC)

Yes, until such time that any modern citations can be found. Leasnam (talk) 17:12, 21 September 2019 (UTC)
Moved. Leasnam (talk) 17:29, 21 September 2019 (UTC)

being above somethingEdit

Should there be a page be above in the sense of being the bigger man? Or should that be be above something? Alexis Jazz (talk) 19:32, 21 September 2019 (UTC)

I don't really think so. This sense should be at above, if not already. There is already an entry that may fit the bill, even if these definitions do not all seem totally watertight:
10. Too proud to stoop to; averse to; disinclined; too honorable to give.
Mihia (talk) 21:00, 21 September 2019 (UTC)
@Mihia But isn't that sense of above always connected to a form of be? Can it exist without that? Alexis Jazz (talk) 02:07, 22 September 2019 (UTC)
I thought myself above that sort of thing. He felt above such quotidian matters. Etc. DCDuring (talk) 02:58, 22 September 2019 (UTC)
Thanks. All those examples have a form of be that is omitted and the sentences would flow a bit better if it wasn't omitted, but indeed, it's possible. Alexis Jazz (talk) 12:29, 26 September 2019 (UTC)
Alternative sentences with forms of be that convey the same idea seem long-winded or worse to me. I think that it might be that many copulative verbs or copulative senses of verbs can occupy the be slot. DCDuring (talk) 15:44, 26 September 2019 (UTC)
Indeed. An example where, unless I am overlooking something, it seems hard to find any paraphrase at all with "be" might be e.g. "He remained above that sort of thing". Mihia (talk) 22:05, 26 September 2019 (UTC)
I think it is more than copulas, unless one has a very broad definition of copulas. Other verbs that accept adjective complements can accept above in the sense under discussiion. Act is one. DCDuring (talk) 22:15, 26 September 2019 (UTC)

etymology reference and usage of apudEdit

The etymology of this character contains a reference to "(Schuessler 2007, apud Pulleyblank 1989)". The page for apud defines it like so:

  1. Used in scholarly works to cite a reference at second hand
    Jones apud Smith means that the original source is Jones, but that the author is relying on Smith for that reference.

Substituting the aforementioned reference into the "formula" given produces, "Schuessler 2007 apud Pulleyblank 1989 means that the original source is Schuessler 2007, but that the author is relying on Pulleyblank 1989 for that reference." Which seems to suggest the patent absurdity that Pulleyblank in 1989 referenced a paper written 18 years in the future. Is the etymology reference reversed, is the definition for apud reversed, or am I completely misunderstanding something? 00:39, 22 September 2019 (UTC)

I do not think it has necessarily such a specific meaning as in our definition. A better definition may be “(at least,) according to”, indicating a source for a statement just made. It is a form of hedging. Used in ways like (Petrus 56, apud Paulus 56), involving two authors next to the present author, I think it means that, at least according to Paulus, the statement is found in the writings of Petrus, something the present author was unable to verify themselves. The diction is used so seldomly between two authors that I could not verify that the actual use mirrors this. Used the other way around (as in the questioned etymology reference) it seems a contorted way of expressing the intention.  --Lambiam 12:50, 22 September 2019 (UTC)


2. (dated) a vehicle used to convey or transport those who are sick or injured
3. (rare, nonstandard) ambulance

Erm... isn't an ambulance a vehicle used to transport those who are sick or injured? So couldn't one use sense 2 to communicate sense 3? Tharthan (talk) 01:10, 22 September 2019 (UTC)

I remember making this entry. If memory serves, sick-wagon was used before modern ambulances, and could be anything from a stretcher to a goat-cart. So it was not an ambulance in the way we think of it today. But it can also be used as a modern ambulance. So the answer is no. Leasnam (talk) 05:32, 22 September 2019 (UTC)


I'd like to know what meaning applies in to no end "without success, or without achieving useful results".

Secondly, at end of appears in "'ge' sound at end of 'mortgage'" or "'it ' at end of sentence"

What about no end to, here --Backinstadiums (talk) 09:16, 22 September 2019 (UTC)

"to no end" is definition #5 and/or #6 at end: "Result", "A purpose, goal, or aim". My feeling initially was that "to no end" was sufficiently idiomatic to merit its own entry, and we do have e.g. to no avail, but I wonder now whether there may be too many variants: "to not much end", "to little purpose", etc.
"at end of" in your examples is a minor variant or shortening of "at the end of", with "end" having a normal or obvious meaning.
"no end to" is given as an example for definition #2 at end. Mihia (talk) 11:58, 22 September 2019 (UTC)

Red o in IPA for Dutch TheoEdit

The Dutch pronunciation for Theo, /ˈteːjo/, ends with a red o. Possibly this is because an unadorned o is not supposed to exist in Dutch. The IPA key has no o, only variants of o with part cut out or dots or a slash added. Vox Sciurorum (talk) 16:47, 22 September 2019 (UTC)

@Vox Sciurorum Yes, what is often written as /o/ in older Dutch IPA transcriptions on this site should usually be /oː/ (of which [o] can be an unstressed allophone). It could also be used for another vowel, but I strongly doubt anybody has transcribed that here. ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 07:11, 23 September 2019 (UTC)

pronunciation of the'eEdit

what's the pronunciation of the'e? --Backinstadiums (talk) 17:40, 22 September 2019 (UTC)

/ˈðeɪ.ə/, I believe. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 21:24, 22 September 2019 (UTC)
That wouldn't be "Eye dialect spelling of there" --Backinstadiums (talk) 10:36, 23 September 2019 (UTC)
Perhaps /ðɛə/, of which it would be ire dialect spelling.  --Lambiam 11:51, 23 September 2019 (UTC)
@Lambiam: "ire"? --Backinstadiums (talk) 13:50, 23 September 2019 (UTC)
/ˈaɪə ˌdaɪəˌlɛkt/.  --Lambiam 22:13, 23 September 2019 (UTC)
@Lambiam: what meaning of ire are you referring to? --Backinstadiums (talk) 00:00, 24 September 2019 (UTC)
It was a little joke, since the spelling “eye dialect” could have been eye dialect spelling for “ire dialect” in non-rhotic English dialects such as whe’e “the’e” represents “there”. Conversely, Apalachian with its epenthetic /ɹ/s could be called a “dire lect”.  --Lambiam 01:39, 24 September 2019 (UTC)
Why not? Mihia (talk) 14:17, 23 September 2019 (UTC)

Meaning of Latin gambaEdit

The etymology section of gambit states that it derives ‘..., from Latin gamba (calf)’. (The sense development is left unexplained.) I assume that “calf” is meant to be the anatomical calf (back of the lower leg), not a young cow. Italian gamba has the term derived (why not inherited?) from Late Latin gamba – why “Late”? The PIE etymon *kamp- (crooked) suggests a joint. L&S defines it as “hoof”, and our entry concurs. But Gaffiot gives jarret, meaning hough, or, for a digitigrade like a horse, its hock. At Du Cange we find it is the part of the leg between the knee and the foot, which would be the shank – given as the second sense at Italian gamba. So what did Latin gamba really mean? Which part of mammalian anatomy is implied?  --Lambiam 09:11, 23 September 2019 (UTC)

Turkish okuma and other forms related to okumakEdit

Do these really have /c/ rather than /k/? The general (and as far as I know, exceptionless) rule is that /c/ exists before back vowels only in loanwords from Persian or Arabic. Turkish wiktionary has the same transcription, but they were added by the same user. I think it's a mistake, but I don't know for sure. 09:54, 23 September 2019 (UTC)

I also think it is a mistake. In Turkish words of Turkish origin, palatalization of /k/ to /c/ only occurs next to front vowels (/e/, /i/, /ø/, /y/). See Turkish phonology. In oku-, a pure-Turkish root, the k is surrounded by back vowels. You can hear okuma pronounced here. Compare with the pronunciation of bükülme.  --Lambiam 12:11, 23 September 2019 (UTC)


It occurs to me that this can mean two different things. One, "The Itchy & Scratchy Show is a fictional TV show" meaning, this TV show occurs within another fictional work. Two, "The Simpsons is a fictional TV show" meaning, this TV show contains content that is made up. Is this worth making in our entry? DTLHS (talk) 14:35, 23 September 2019 (UTC)

  • I've been bold and added a second sense. SemperBlotto (talk) 14:39, 23 September 2019 (UTC)
@SemperBlotto I don't think either sense covers "The Simpsons is a fictional TV show". Substituting the first def gives "The Simpsons is an invented TV show" (i.e., it doesn't exist as a TV show in real life), and substituting the second gives "The Simpsons is a TV show that appears in a work of fiction." Andrew Sheedy (talk) 15:03, 23 September 2019 (UTC)
Most other dictionaries have a definition of the "characteristic of, relating to, etc" variety. I take it this is intended to allow for substitutibility without requiring a proliferation of definitions that are not significantly different. DCDuring (talk) 18:00, 23 September 2019 (UTC)
Is "The Simpsons is a fictional TV show" correct? It does not sound right to me. Mihia (talk) 19:35, 23 September 2019 (UTC)
It also sounds strange to me, but it is easily attested. DTLHS (talk) 20:21, 23 September 2019 (UTC)
Maybe the idea is contrast with "reality TV".
What seems a bit better to me would be fiction TV show, like fiction backlist etc, (but not very often fiction book without a modifier before fiction).
In rhetoric it seems like an instance of hypallage. One can say that The Simpsons is fictional without raising too many eyebrows and one can say that The Simpsons is a TV show without raising any. It is economical to say "The Simpsons is a fictional TV show." Few would even notice the awkwardness/potential for misinterpretation, let alone fail to understand the intent. DCDuring (talk) 21:41, 23 September 2019 (UTC)
Then I must be one of the few! Mihia (talk) 21:53, 23 September 2019 (UTC)
We are all unusual in our ability to detect linguistic oddities. I'm sure you got the intent. DCDuring (talk) 22:13, 23 September 2019 (UTC)
I may be able to guess the intent only because I already know that The Simpsons exists as a TV show in the real world. If I read "XYZ is a fictional TV show" for some XYZ I have never heard of, I would probably assume it meant that XYZ does not exist in the real world. See also [20]. Mihia (talk) 22:39, 23 September 2019 (UTC)
You've got to be somewhat well-read (you know, books and all that) to make that reading, at least have experienced one of Shakespeare's plays within a play. (See w:Story within a story.) DCDuring (talk) 01:34, 24 September 2019 (UTC)
Or have seen The Hunger Games or The Truman Show, whose eponyms are fictional reality shows.  --Lambiam 02:01, 24 September 2019 (UTC)


The definition here excludes rivers flowing into other rivers (or lakes). — surjection?〉 15:51, 23 September 2019 (UTC)

In English there is no distinction between a river that ends in a desert (e.g. Colorado River), flows into another river, or ends at a lake or sea. I've updated the definition. Leasnam (talk) 16:33, 23 September 2019 (UTC)

electronic cigaretteEdit

Shouldn't the pronunciation given in this entry (/ɪˌlɛkˈtʃɹɑːnɪk ˈsɪɡɚˌɛt/) be tagged with a lect-label and stand in square brackets? --Akletos (talk) 17:59, 23 September 2019 (UTC)

Farerkiego and related formsEdit

A lot of these do not seem to be actual words and the ones that do have actual usages seem to come from the lemma farerka f (female Faroe Islander) which is more often capitalised.

Feedback? İʟᴀᴡᴀ–Kᴀᴛᴀᴋᴀ (talk) (edits) 00:41, 24 September 2019 (UTC)

Just delete them, or mark them for deletion. DTLHS (talk) 01:49, 24 September 2019 (UTC)
They were created by WF's bot, so doubly subject to being deleted on sight, which I have just done. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 17:59, 28 September 2019 (UTC)

key figure(s)Edit

Experience has taught me to be cautious in entering SoP terms, but in this case "key figure" has two meanings:

  1. A person who plays a key role [itself SoP] in something.
    She is a key figure in ...
  2. (often plural) An important figure in an analysis, such as a financial analysis.

Is it entry-worthy? I came across the 2nd sense when creating nøkkeltall. Sense 1 is nøkkelfigur. DonnanZ (talk) 12:56, 24 September 2019 (UTC)

Many combinations of words are highly polysemic. Football book could mean a book (to be read) about American (or other) football or the gambling record for any of those sports. DCDuring (talk) 13:49, 24 September 2019 (UTC)
I would say not. Key just means important. "These figures are key to the analysis", etc. Equinox 13:55, 24 September 2019 (UTC)
I support the inclusion of SoP terms where it is likely to be significantly difficult for people to understand which senses of the component words are intended. However, I don't think this applies sufficiently to "key figure" in normal contexts. Mihia (talk) 22:00, 26 September 2019 (UTC)


The stock exchange / stock market senses are missing, if anybody wants to tackle them. DonnanZ (talk) 13:59, 24 September 2019 (UTC)

That is just a use of one of the existing senses of the term. DCDuring (talk) 14:32, 24 September 2019 (UTC)
Two senses are given here. DonnanZ (talk) 14:54, 24 September 2019 (UTC)
I see. I am not familiar with that narrow formal sense. I have only heard the same thing called a listing. DCDuring (talk) 16:38, 24 September 2019 (UTC)


Are the transitive senses "to decrease size or volume by concentration" and "to make more close, compact, or dense" synonymous? Also, I came to the entry looking for a transitive chemistry sense, but I only see it in a trans-table header. Ultimateria (talk) 17:07, 24 September 2019 (UTC)

As currently defined and exemplified I do not see the difference. They can be combined into “to concentrate toward the essence by making more close, compact, or dense, thereby decreasing size or volume”. I can imagine making a distinction between the more physical subsense, such as thickening a watery fluid by evaporating some of its water content, and the figurative subsense, as when whittling a text down to summary form. But that can also be covered by the usexes.  --Lambiam 06:46, 25 September 2019 (UTC)
I have merged the senses and used your wording. I'm considering the chemical (liquid) senses separate, following the lead of other dictionaries. Ultimateria (talk) 01:32, 2 October 2019 (UTC)

Excuse meEdit

What do definition editing options do? WikiWarrior9919 (talk) 13:05, 25 September 2019 (UTC)

They are effectively undocumented, and earlier discussions that might shed light on the issue have been buried under the dust of history – at least, while I could find mentions of the discussions, the discussions themselves remained elusive. What I could figure out is that enabling this (under Preferences → Editing gadgets → Enable definition editing options) adds two “side boxes” to the editing window with widgets (buttons and such) encapsulating typical sequences of edit operations that tend to occur and recur when creating definitions, making this less tedious.  --Lambiam 14:36, 25 September 2019 (UTC)

Latin: listing infinitives in module:la-verbEdit

(Notifying Fay Freak, JohnC5, Benwing2, Lambiam): I've mentioned here that it's the Infinitive that is the more common and less marked form in comparison to the Past and Future Participle, and unsurprisingly this holds true for every other single Infinitive form - they're the unmarked verbal forms par excellence. I have no special objections to the lemma form being 1P.Sg. on this website - tradition and all, besides too much work to transition from - but I don't think there should be many objections to transitioning the Module:la-verb template to listing the Pf. Inf. fuisse, puditum esse and Fut.Inf. futūrum esse in place of the current 1P.Sg.Pf. and the Fut.Part. Besides being more intuitive and avoiding fake forms, they look better next to the Present Infinitive already listed there. What think you? Oh, and as I also mention in the same edit, the standard Fut.Inf. has no esse, so maybe it should simply be futūrum, or with esse bracketed. Brutal Russian (talk) 08:36, 26 September 2019 (UTC)

(Notifying Fay Freak, Brutal Russian, JohnC5, Lambiam): I personally agree with the idea of using the infinitive as the lemma; it after all has more info in it than the 1sg. pres. But given the behavior of other dictionaries I think we should stick with the 1sg as the lemma, and for similar reasons with the 1sg. pf. and supine. However I'm fine with listing all the participles under the neuter singular instead of masculine singular. Benwing2 (talk) 14:21, 26 September 2019 (UTC)
Well, the 1Sg. in the present is how at least half the world seems to be searching for and citing their Latin forms, and this is covered by it being the lemma form on Wiktionary. But searching for the 1Sg.Perfect here won't be any different from searching for Pf.Infinitive - I'm just proposing that in the headword entry of each lemma, every tense be cited in the logically and intuitively coherent Infinitive - (present infinitive esse, perfect infinitive fuisse, future infinitive futūrum) - whereas now they're cited in an unattractive and at times erroneous mix of (present infinitive esse, perfect active fuī, future participle futūrus). I don't expect this change to pose any problem even for those who're used to finding the Perfect stem in the 1Sg. - it's as simple a conversion as cutting away the -sse.
Oh, by the way... It's also a good opportunity to suggest again implementing the normal v-less Perfect stem (amāsse) as automatic and (preferrably) default, instead of the current ubiquotous literary/pedantic variant that is amāvisse - not attested at all for this particular verb in the classical language. Brutal Russian (talk) 15:14, 26 September 2019 (UTC)

pronunciation of lit'rallyEdit

What pronunciation does lit'rally represent? --Backinstadiums (talk) 09:55, 26 September 2019 (UTC)

I’d think /ˈlɪtɹəli/, nachrally.  --Lambiam 11:01, 26 September 2019 (UTC)
Logically it seems to indicate the dropping of the schwa. However, if I were to read this in a modern British text I might assume it meant a pronunciation with a glottal stop /ˈlɪʔɹəli/, since the use of eye dialect normally marks out a nonstandard pronunciation and the dropping of the schwa is very widespread. Ajmint (talk) 11:15, 26 September 2019 (UTC)
In the original sense, as coined by George P. Krapp, and reflected in sense 1 of our entry, eye dialect does not mark nonstandard pronunciation. That is why it is called eye dialect”: it just looks like it is dialect. See Eye dialect at Wikipedia. If the spelling reflects a truly nonstandard pronunciation (as with “thar”), we should not call it eye dialect.  --Lambiam 16:17, 26 September 2019 (UTC)
This has come up before. At one time, sense 1 of eye dialect was the only sense. It was then pointed out that many of our supposed "eye dialect" entries were actually not "eye dialect" by that definition, because they represented nonstandard pronunciations. Then the second sense, "Nonstandard spelling which indicates nonstandard pronunciation", appeared, apparently justifying those entries. It would be good to have an agreed policy on this. Mihia (talk) 21:49, 26 September 2019 (UTC)
Polysemy in [[eye dialect]] is fine. But it is not fine that we use the term in our definition lines in two ways with different implications for users. I don't think the term "eye dialect" can be used in definitions. But what substitutes would anyone suggest for use on the 2,000 pages that use {{eye dialect of}}? DCDuring (talk) 04:41, 27 September 2019 (UTC)
Just to complicate things further, we also have {{pronunciation spelling}}, which also seems to be used for a mixture of wonky spellings of standard pronunciations (e.g. educashun) as well as spelling indicating nonstandard pronunciations (e.g. fink for "think"). I don't know on what basis "pronunciation spelling" is used rather than "eye dialect". What I tend to do if I create "type 2" entries is add a label essentially saying "representing X kind of speech/pronunciation" (which, at its most general, could be "representing nonstandard pronunciation"). One I remember, for example, is "oi" for "I", which I labelled "representing rural dialect pronunciation". One downside is that these are not automatically categorised as anything, as they would be with one of the specific templates. Mihia (talk) 10:50, 27 September 2019 (UTC)
I think {{eye dialect of}} should be used for spellings that reflect standard pronunciations, {{pronunciation spelling of}} should be used for all other cases, with further information including in a label (e.g. {{lb|en|depicting|_|Geordie|Scottish English}}). Andrew Sheedy (talk) 21:03, 27 September 2019 (UTC)
If the term eye dialect does genuinely have the two meanings as defined at our entry, then I think it is confusing for us to suppose that it has only one of these for the purposes of our labelling. Plus, I think that "eye dialect" is a term that many people will not know, so they are likely to click on the label to find out, and that presently takes them to our dual definition. I also think it is by no means obvious that the term "pronunciation spelling" should exclude spellings reflecting standard pronunciation, such as educashun. Personally, I would naturally think that that was a "pronunciation spelling". Mihia (talk) 22:39, 27 September 2019 (UTC)
There are a couple of issues here: first of all, "eye dialect" is a technical term that has a specific meaning when used by linguists. Since we're trying to follow the lead of linguists, we should stick to that meaning in our technical terminology.
The more difficult matter is what to use instead. The available terminology is based on the premise that standard speech varieties represented by standard orthography are invisibly normal and only deviation from those standards merits attention to characteristics such as pronunciation. Thus, "pronunciation spelling" tends to be used only when the pronunciation is different from the standard, "dialectal spelling" tends to be used only for dialects that are different from the standard, and eye dialect uses this underlying premise to imply deviation that isn't there by using nonstandard orthography on standard speech.
We need a term for using overt representation of pronunciation to imply things about the person quoted, whether the speech represented is standard or not and whether the speech variation is what would be traditionally considered a matter of dialect, or of age, or of gender, or of social class, or of any number of other things. Chuck Entz (talk) 01:59, 28 September 2019 (UTC)

Instead of a term, I'd use a brief explanation of the meaning intended --Backinstadiums (talk) 14:39, 29 September 2019 (UTC)

Length of vowel in Latin «coffea»: is it coffēa or coffĕa?Edit

The current entry for coffea has a short vowel, but Smith & Hall's English-Latin Dictionary says it's long: What is it then? Slayergames444 (talk) 14:50, 26 September 2019 (UTC)

Conceivably it's both, but short "e" is more Latin, because vōcālis ante vōcālem corripitur. The variant with /o/, however, seems to be suggested for the plant, not the product. Brutal Russian (talk) 15:48, 26 September 2019 (UTC)
I can't read the Scribd article, as I don't have a subscription. Could you copy-paste it here, or summarize it? Слейерtalk 20:34, 26 September 2019 (UTC)
@Slayergames444: You don't have to have a subscription, you just need to click Download and upload any document - even random-generated gibberish - and you'll get any of their documents in return (the larger the file, the more downloads until it asks for more gibberish). If for some reason it didn't assign a temporary account to your session so you can upload, just create one. It's a very useful website for learners of Latin. Brutal Russian (talk) 05:42, 27 September 2019 (UTC)

Latin rhētorica: neuter plural, feminine singular, or both?Edit

The entry for Latin rhetorica gives it as n pl with genitive rhētoricōrum. While this is possible, in L&S I have also found rhētorica, f:ētŏrĭca

So, which is it? Neuter plural, feminine singular, or both?

As L&S says, rhētorica [ars] is the science of rhetoric, and rhētorica [verba] is rhetoric itself, a type of language. Brutal Russian (talk) 15:52, 26 September 2019 (UTC)


Can anyone versed in physics tell me if this word is used in that field? If so, what does it mean? Thank you. ---> Tooironic (talk) 03:27, 27 September 2019 (UTC)

  • I think I have seen it used (to mean "false") but it is difficult to search for. SemperBlotto (talk) 05:40, 27 September 2019 (UTC)
  • You can find plenty uses here, both in physics and in other sciences. I think it does not have a technical meaning but simply means “false, not genuine”, as in false positive. A reason for scholars to prefer this term may be that “false” and “not genuine” may elicit an unintended connotation of foul play and counterfeiting, whereas observed results can be spurious because they are artifacts occasioned by the limitations of an experimental set up.  --Lambiam 19:38, 27 September 2019 (UTC)
  • The reason I ask is because in Chinese spurious in this context is expressed as 亂真, which does not mean 'false', at least not literally. This makes me think that perhaps we should have a separate sense at spurious. ---> Tooironic (talk) 23:50, 27 September 2019 (UTC)
As far as I am aware, the English word "spurious" means the same in physics as in any other context. It is not precisely synonymous with "false", however (e.g. per Lambiam). How would you explain 亂真 in English, and how it differs from "false" (other than by using the word "spurious")? Mihia (talk) 17:21, 28 September 2019 (UTC)
You can see by the definition at 亂真 that the term does not literally mean "false". But I know little of physics so I can't speak to its technical usage. ---> Tooironic (talk) 08:58, 30 September 2019 (UTC)
Do you have any examples of its use or proposed use in a physics context? DCDuring (talk) 17:08, 30 September 2019 (UTC)
There is actually a physics/electronics term "spurious emission/radiation" which refers to electromagnetic emission outside the expected/desired frequency range. I see that Collins Dictionary thinks this is worth a separate entry [21]. Certainly, our "false, not authentic, not genuine" definition does not seem to cover it. On the other hand, I wonder whether broadly the same "accidentally generated" sense exists in other contexts too. I think we are missing a sense at spurious anyway, but whether we need to split out an additional physics-only sense I'm not sure. Perhaps the "spurious emission/radiation" usage could be a usage example of the broader "accidentally generated" sense. Mihia (talk) 19:34, 30 September 2019 (UTC)
In my mind it is tightly connected to the sense of noise, in the second and third definitions. Like, you're trying to measure something, but since no system can be perfectly isolated, part of your result is due to some other things, which you might not even know exists. That's where noise comes from. Experiments are designed to minimize noise, so its magnitude is on average lower than the magnitude of whatever you are really interested in. But since noise is essentially random, sometimes its magnitude jumps up and becomes a spurious event.
But there's another layer here, one which I feel the "false, not authentic, not genuine" definition does great disservice to: many, if not most, of the greatest discoveries in physics came from someone looking at one or several spurious events and asking the right questions about what was really going on. There's a great quote in the Wikipedia article on White dwarfs:

I was visiting my friend and generous benefactor, Prof. Edward C. Pickering. With characteristic kindness, he had volunteered to have the spectra observed for all the stars—including comparison stars—which had been observed in the observations for stellar parallax which Hinks and I made at Cambridge, and I discussed. This piece of apparently routine work proved very fruitful—it led to the discovery that all the stars of very faint absolute magnitude were of spectral class M. In conversation on this subject (as I recall it), I asked Pickering about certain other faint stars, not on my list, mentioning in particular 40 Eridani B. Characteristically, he sent a note to the Observatory office and before long the answer came (I think from Mrs Fleming) that the spectrum of this star was A. I knew enough about it, even in these paleozoic days, to realize at once that there was an extreme inconsistency between what we would then have called "possible" values of the surface brightness and density. I must have shown that I was not only puzzled but crestfallen, at this exception to what looked like a very pretty rule of stellar characteristics; but Pickering smiled upon me, and said: "It is just these exceptions that lead to an advance in our knowledge" [emphasis added], and so the white dwarfs entered the realm of study!

In short, I would define it's usage in physics as "exceptional". 04:21, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
The statistical collocation spurious correlation is about ten times more common than either spurious emission or spurious radiation, but it seems to me to share the same sense of spurious. It seems to usually refer to some defect in one's measurement or statistical method that creates a misleading result. It is often a good idea to analyze the departure of actual from expected values to determine any non-random cause, but finding something interesting in the error is relatively rare. DCDuring (talk) 04:52, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
I don't think that "spurious emission/radiation" arises from defective measurement or analysis. I think it is real, and actually exists, though it is unwanted. If "spurious correlation" is used to mean that a mathematical correlation exists, but this does not reflect a "real-world" correlation, then it could be broadly the same sense. If "spurious correlation" is used to mean that no correlation exists at all, but the supposed correlation is a result of faulty statistical analysis, then this is IMO existing sense 1 ("false, not authentic, not genuine"). I see that a new physics-specific definition, "Resulting from a random process that gives the impression of a real relationship" has been added. I don't personally feel very enthusiastic about this definition. Mihia (talk) 17:33, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
I have spent two fun-filled hours looking through various sources including general and statistical dictionaries and statistics and econometrics books and determined that spurious correlation is not as well-defined as spurious radiation is.
It was originally coined in reference to spurious correlation of ratios and is often used to refer to correlations caused by any data transformations or their absence and to confounding variables, but also to "nonsense" and "illusory" correlations, ie, those without valid causal interpretation. In all cases the calculated correlation is mathematically "real". I had hoped such use would shed light on the physics use of spurious, but I don't think it does.
Synonyms for senses of spurious include: bastard (literal and figurative), false, forged, and deceitful/deceiving. This would make for three or more distinct definitions. In addition there is use in several fields of biology referring to parts of an organism that resemble parts that have a certain function but do not themselves so function, eg, an alula.
I agree that none of these readily fit spurious radiation/emission. I haven't found other collocations in physics that show meaning distinct from the meanings of the synonyms mentioned above. DCDuring (talk) 20:18, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
I think we are probably missing one or more senses, but I remain unpersuaded that there is any sense that is entirely specific to physics. Mihia (talk) 23:43, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
I think spurious radiation merits an entry. Lemmings agree. DCDuring (talk) 03:34, 3 October 2019 (UTC)
(outdent) I have added a new sense:
Extraneous; stray; not relevant or wanted.
I tried to concentrate on the matter in hand, but spurious thoughts kept intruding.
Spurious emissions from the wireless mast were causing nearby electrical equipment to go haywire.
I am going to send the existing physics-specific sense to RFV. Mihia (talk) 18:28, 3 October 2019 (UTC)


The first two senses seem to overlap a lot: "The class of literature comprising poems" and "Composition in verse or language exhibiting conscious attention to patterns." Is one supposed to be countable? Because it seems like they're both just "poems as a field". Ultimateria (talk) 15:53, 27 September 2019 (UTC)

The distinction is lost on me. A well-chosen example might have helped to clarify the issue. I see that our entry prose makes no such sense distinction (but notice that the second sense – dull and commonplace language – may be evoked more by the adjective “plodding” in the usex than by the noun “prose“). There is also a circularity: poetry = the class of literature comprising poems; poems = pieces of writing in the tradition of poetry. Ergo, poetry = the class of literature comprising pieces of writing in the tradition of poetry. Who could have guessed?  --Lambiam 19:51, 27 September 2019 (UTC)
My guess is that the distinction is supposed to be along the lines of e.g. "drama: The class of literature comprising plays" / "drama: A composition, normally in prose, telling a story and intended to be represented by actors impersonating the characters and speaking the dialogue". However, because "poetry" is uncountable in both senses, the distinction becomes less clear. BTW, sense 3 at poetry, "A poet's literary production", seems to also add to the overlap. Mihia (talk) 17:38, 28 September 2019 (UTC)
I have merged the first two senses, but "a poet's literary production" seems very dubious to me as a standalone definition. Ultimateria (talk) 00:41, 13 October 2019 (UTC)

'literary language' and 'standard language'Edit

Hello. Should the pages literary language and standard language include only a restricted set of meanings, presumably the most common established senses? A user has been heavily policing the page and reverting any edits that attempt to insert additional senses, without providing any sort of explanation initially.

The terms are used in at least two clearly distinct ways. First, 'literary language' can refer to a language that has established some sort of literary tradition. In this sense, English can be called a literary language. In the other meaning, 'literary language' refers to the specific form of a language that is used in literary writing, i.e. a literary 'dialect'. The term 'standard language' works in a similar way, which can be somewhat verified at Wikipedia. 19:56, 27 September 2019 (UTC)

hay / haber (Can we add an example for this sense?)Edit

Someone please double-check my Spanish here?

The second Spanish definition of haber says,

to hold; to possess(Can we add an example for this sense?)

The end credits of Toy Story 3 have the song "You've Got a Friend in Me" in Spanish. My Spanish classes are long past, but my ears hear [usted] "hay un amigo en mi." Will that work for the haber page?

Also, if hay is a form of the Spanish verb haber, and the Spanish verb haber has 5 definitions, should Wiktionary's hay#Spanish entry also have 5 definitions? Right now hay uno.

iGracias! 08:26, 29 September 2019 (UTC) (blooper reel: i linked to iGracias!)

As seen here. At the moment our entry hay has only the definition “1. (impersonal) Present indicative form of haber, there is, there are”. Shouldn’t it include “2. Formal second-person singular (usted) present indicative form of haber.” and “3. Third-person singular (él, ella, also used with usted?) present indicative form of haber.”? Or are these from a separate etymology (not from Old Spanish ha i (it has there)? Should it perhaps be “Alternative form of ha”?  --Lambiam 21:38, 29 September 2019 (UTC)

Blackburn - what can be done about iffy audio?Edit

Most of the time I only hear "Black", occasionally "Blackburn" emerges. I'm sure this isn't the only one like this. DonnanZ (talk) 13:29, 29 September 2019 (UTC)

It is a problem plaguing many .ogg audios (see e.g. Wiktionary:Information desk/2019/June#Cambridge). The problem appears not to be in the file itself (listen here) but in the media player or the Javascript library used by Wikimedia determining an incorrect length. There is a phabricator bug report from 3 September 2018, but I don’t see much action.  --Lambiam 21:56, 29 September 2019 (UTC)
Hmm, this one was added in 2009, diff. I haven't noticed any problems with more recent recordings, I will have to recheck a few. DonnanZ (talk) 22:13, 29 September 2019 (UTC)
Cambridge was replaced by Wonderfool in reponse to an RFAP (he has some uses) diff. It sounds OK now, so an RFAP for Blackburn may be the way forward. The recordings for Thursday are fine, by the way, and one dates back to 2005. No rhyme nor reason regarding age of the recording. DonnanZ (talk) 22:45, 29 September 2019 (UTC)
Ironically, the audio for rhyme or reason works fine. DonnanZ (talk) 12:40, 30 September 2019 (UTC)
There may be a problem with the source of the original at Cambridge - DerbethBot, same as for Blackburn, diff. DonnanZ (talk) 23:15, 29 September 2019 (UTC)
I don’t think the identity of the editor adding the link has a lingering effect on the result.  --Lambiam 01:15, 30 September 2019 (UTC)
I agree that it may be pure coincidence. I found another broken audio link at Manchester, with a different contributor. DonnanZ (talk) 09:44, 30 September 2019 (UTC)
Actually it was DerbethBot at Manchester, taken from the "The Voice of Hassocks", that fooled me (diff). DonnanZ (talk) 13:15, 30 September 2019 (UTC)
I have aired this topic in the Grease pit as well. DonnanZ (talk) 11:38, 30 September 2019 (UTC)

R as an abbreviation for ThursdayEdit

Can anyone explain why "R" is an abbreviation for Thursday? I get that "T" has already been used (for "Tuesday") but why not "H"? John Cross (talk) 16:49, 29 September 2019 (UTC)

Perhaps because 'h' is not pronounced, whereas 'r' is. DCDuring (talk) 21:45, 29 September 2019 (UTC)
It should be pronounced θ (th), so you should discern the H. I have never come across R for Thursday, but there quotations at R#Abbreviation, all relating to (US?) universities. DonnanZ (talk) 22:32, 29 September 2019 (UTC)
We also have “U” as an abbreviation for Sunday, a meaning I’d not have guessed in a week’s time.  --Lambiam 01:09, 30 September 2019 (UTC)
I use 'R', 'Sa', and 'Su' for ad-hoc personal-use calendars. I wouldn't expect others to understand 'R', except in that sort of context, where an explanation would seem condescending. DCDuring (talk) 14:04, 30 September 2019 (UTC)
I remember my university using 'R' and 'U' in that way on class schedules. bd2412 T 13:39, 1 October 2019 (UTC)

fast food as a synonym of junk foodEdit

Is "fast food" really a synonym of "junk food" like its second sense states? I don't consider cooked foods such as cheeseburgers to be junk foods; in my mind junk food comes vacuum-sealed. You find it at a gas station, not at Burger King. Maybe one of our citation hunters can find the term used that way though. Ultimateria (talk) 07:24, 30 September 2019 (UTC)

In my experience it can be, yes, though not all fast food is junk food. I think quite a few people in fact do consider the kind of fare that you get at e.g. Burger King to be "junk food" (perhaps not entirely fairly). There is no reason why junk food needs to be vacuum-sealed, as far as I am aware. Mihia (talk) 10:25, 30 September 2019 (UTC)
Can microwaveable meals be classed as fast food? DonnanZ (talk) 11:50, 30 September 2019 (UTC)
If the 'meal' is microwaved in a commercial establishment, yes, in my idiolect. DCDuring (talk) 14:23, 30 September 2019 (UTC)
I meant at home, e.g. a curry bought as frozen food. I think the convenience factor has to be considered. DonnanZ (talk) 16:32, 30 September 2019 (UTC)
I consider fast food to necessarily come from a restaurant. Ultimateria (talk) 05:42, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
This weekend I learned that in my sister's idiolect processed food included the microwaved breakfast sandwich (croissant, egg, sausage patty, cheese slice) that I eat a few times a week. I thought that the term was reserved for food that was chemically transformed in some way more dramatic than the milk-to-cheese, flour-to-croissant, etc conversions.
Obviously, fast food highlights the convenience and junk food asserts poor overall nutritional value. Since fast food isn't always fast and "healthy" food can be fast (ie, a street vendor's fruit), these terms are far from SoP. To a large extent, the application of the terms reflects one's lifestyle/ideology. The two terms have a lot of overlap, but are not full synonyms. However, very few 'synonyms' have identical coverage. Clearly the word synonym in our entries is sensu lato. DCDuring (talk) 14:23, 30 September 2019 (UTC)
Two web pages:
  1. an essay on the differences (and commonalities) by the team at FoodToLive, a food supplier;
  2. a bunch of opinions by random people on the differences, somewhat illustrative of the range of interpretations.
This is a really good question that we should take seriously. All I can say from my own personal experience is that "fast food" is prepared quickly and easily (and usually is something you take from a commercial place like McDonald's; would not describe something you cook at home) whereas "junk food" is something that is bad for you because of high levels of salt, sugar, etc. A lot of fast food is junk food but that doesn't seem to indicate a definition any more than "a lot of mammals are squirrels". Equinox 05:22, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
I see many commenters mentioning the overlap, which I agree with. I should have directly asked: can we remove sense 2 of fast food? "A type of food that is quickly made, but of low nutritional value; junk food." Ultimateria (talk) 05:42, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
You could just RFV it. I know there is a risk with these "multiple similar meaning" terms that we will lose a real distinction because nobody bothers to support it; contrariwise, if the meaning is at all prominent anywhere then it will probably get re-added with proof, eventually... Equinox 06:03, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
RfV it. I suspect unambiguous quotes in support of definition 2 will be forthcoming. DCDuring (talk) 13:30, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
Okay, I've tagged and listed at RFV. Ultimateria (talk) 01:10, 2 October 2019 (UTC)

October 2019


The two references cited pertain to neither of the two definitions given. While I do not have access to a print American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, an online version of the fifth edition mentions only the Latin abbreviations "anno Hebraico" and "anno Hegirae", and the ordinary, interjective definition of ah. The link reference does not preserve the capitalization, so it returns the entry for "ah"; if a search for "Ah" is forced by using quotation marks, no relevant results are returned.

So does anyone have solid references for either of these definitions? The second in particular seems questionable. For one, I'm skeptical that it has achieved sufficient English penetration for inclusion in an English dictionary as a borrowed word. (For comparison, AHD does have an entry for Japanese "-san", which is more formal but is otherwise analogous). Secondly, since Chinese does not have upper and lower case, it cannot be said that the capitalization of "Ah" is intrinsic to it, the way it is for, say, GmbH, which has an entry for.

This also impacts the entry for , which links to English Ah as a descendant. 02:20, 1 October 2019 (UTC)

holy fool, blessed foolEdit

See Foolishness for Christ. Worth entries? Canonicalization (talk) 07:15, 1 October 2019 (UTC)

IMO, no. DCDuring (talk) 13:38, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
I would say definitely yes (for holy fool, at least. I’ve never heard blessed fool). It’s used as a term of art in Eastern Orthodox Christianity with a particular meaning that IMO doesn’t straightforwardly follow from holy and fool; some discussion here and here etc. The term as used in Western Christianity might be more SOP-ish. — Vorziblix (talk · contribs) 21:04, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
Definitely yes to holy fool for Eastern Christianity. I'm not aware of any non-SOP uses in Western Christianity. I'm not familiar with the use of blessed fool outside of old-fashioned exclamations. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 00:11, 2 October 2019 (UTC)


[22] Equinox 11:29, 1 October 2019 (UTC)

Is there a word for doing this off-line? DCDuring (talk) 13:42, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
You don't need a word for it offline because you aren't summoning 10,00 Twitter harpies to beat a poor innocent. But yeah, I think self-pity worked. Equinox 16:05, 1 October 2019 (UTC)

Query about ashiyu#English and its RFV -- broader implications for including anything and everything as "English"?Edit

It seems that @Donnanz struck out the RFV for ashiyu#English, and @Kiwima apparently interpreted this as meaning that the entry had survived RFV, as indicated now at Talk:ashiyu#RFV_discussion:_April–May_2018.

The entry does have citations -- I'm not contesting its existence. However, no one addressed my argument that none of these citations show unambiguous usage of the term ashiyu as English. They all treat the word as a non-English Japanese term. See also the related earlier Tea Room thread Wiktionary:Tea_room/2018/April#ashiyu, wherein the English entry's creator, Donnanz, also stated "It's pretty obvious that it's not an English word". If it's not an English word, I continue to hold that we shouldn't have it listed under an ==English== header.

If we follow Donnanz's additional contention there that "the mere fact [a word] is recorded in English script should be enough", we wind up describing pretty much anything and everything as "English" as soon as it's mentioned in any English text. This strikes me as an unuseful approach.

Curious about other editors' positions on this matter. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 19:32, 1 October 2019 (UTC)

  • English is an omnivorous language. It readily absorbs words from other languages, from camel to kimono, so it does not take great scrutiny to assume that a word has been so absorbed. bd2412 T 19:50, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
Talk:APP 🙃 —Suzukaze-c 19:50, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
My feeling is that you're not going to get any satisfying answer to this question, and we're better off defining rules such as "italicized uses do not count", or do count, even if they seem arbitrary. DTLHS (talk) 19:54, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
It was the oldest RFV remaining, and hadn't been commented on since 3 May 2018. Sometimes you have to take the bull by the horns. DonnanZ (talk) 19:57, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
I had trouble the other day deciding whether Bryde is an English surname, and ended up creating an English entry by default, although I suspect it is of Danish origin. DonnanZ (talk) 20:04, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
My feeling is that ashiyu is in that funny middle ground between a transliteration of Japanese and full adoption as an English word. Languages are constantly evolving, and it is rare that a borrowing goes straight from "foreign" to "English" in a clear-cut step. I am comfortable either with calling it English or with calling it a transliteration of Japanese. As for the broader question, I suppose we are best off with a simple rule such as "italicized uses do not count". Kiwima (talk) 20:43, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
In previous RFVs, I've searched Usenet to avoid arguments about italicization, but as Google Groups has gone downhill perhaps that will no longer be a issue. Since italics are not just used for foreign words, it's not enough just to say that "italicized uses do not count".
I do agree that English, unlike some other languages, aren't at all exclusive of words from other languages, and there's no bright line between a transliteration and an adoption.--Prosfilaes (talk) 04:40, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
There are some hints on distinguishing code-switching from borrowing in the essay Code-switching, but indeed, as stated there, there cannot be a hard and fast criterion for making the distinction. (Disclosure: I myself added that statement to the essay.)  --Lambiam 11:04, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
Delete, not integrated to the English lexicon. Canonicalization (talk) 18:32, 14 October 2019 (UTC)

moisture resistanceEdit

While I have noted that "moisture-resistant" is included in Wiktionary lists as an adjective, there seems to be no "moisture resistance" as a noun form/phrase. The connection is surely crystal clear, so perhaps you/we can agree on adding it to the Wiktionary collection?

Scott MacStravic

By the way, it happens that "resistance" and "increasest" are anagrams of eachother!

There are so many things a fabric can have resistance to: abrasion resistance, pilling resistance, flame resistance, UV resistance, stain resistance.[23] Rubber crumbs can improve the cracking resistance of concrete.[24] Building materials vary in fire resistance.[25] Therefore I think moisture resistance is a SOP.  --Lambiam 10:57, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
The anagram is already there, God knows why we include them, I am far from enthusiastic about them. DonnanZ (talk) 12:09, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
You don't think dictionaries should help crossword solvers? Maybe you consider it cheating. SpinningSpark 10:08, 13 October 2019 (UTC)

Gender of Ukrainian сільEdit

The gender for сіль is given as masculine inanimate, while the Wikipedia page listed is titled uk:Кухонна сіль, implying a feminine gender. The feminine gender is also consistent with Russian соль, Serbo-Croatian sol/so, Polish sól, Czech sůl and Slovak soľ (but not Belarusian соль if that is correct). Can somebody verify this? If Ukrainian сіль is indeed feminine, as the Wikipedia page implies, then one might also need to change the entire declension table. OosakaNoOusama (talk) 06:29, 2 October 2019 (UTC)

It is feminine according to the Ukrainian Wiktionary. In this book iodized salt is called “йодована сіль”. Disclaimer: uk-0.  --Lambiam 10:34, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
An IP had some fun with our entry. Reverted. Canonicalization (talk) 19:37, 3 October 2019 (UTC)

pronunciation of suffixesEdit

Is the pron. of -ose (/ous/) different from -ous (/əs/)? Can we add it? Sobreira ►〓 (parlez) 12:49, 2 October 2019 (UTC)

I would say it is indeed different, and sometimes stressed, as in verbose. Leasnam (talk) 20:36, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
I've added IPA to -ose. Ultimateria (talk) 18:28, 3 October 2019 (UTC)


I was about to add an eye-dialect entry for "poifect" (meaning "perfect"), labelling it as New York. However when researching citations I came across this book about language of the New Orleans area, so I need advice from those more familiar with US accents and dialects than I am about how widespread this is, and what a suitable label for it would be. Thryduulf (talk) 10:01, 3 October 2019 (UTC)

Well, there’s that oft-quoted description of New Orleans yat dialect: “There is a New Orleans city accent… associated with downtown New Orleans, particularly with the German and Irish Third Ward, that is hard to distinguish from the accent of Hoboken, Jersey City, and Astoria, Long Island, where the Al Smith inflection, extinct in Manhattan, has taken refuge. The reason, as you might expect, is that the same stocks that brought the accent to Manhattan imposed it on New Orleans…” I don’t think this phenomenon is much more widespread than NYC and parts of NOLA, though. A straightforward label to use might be Coil–curl merger. — Vorziblix (talk · contribs) 15:53, 3 October 2019 (UTC)
This strongly suggests that the section Coil–curl merger on Wikipedia ought to be modified, as it currently states that ”[t]his merger did not however exist in the South”, and made to mention its presence in New Orleans English. There is already a reference in the other direction.  --Lambiam 13:00, 5 October 2019 (UTC)

the day after (day after?), the day before (day before?)Edit

Those are the adverbial indirect-speech equivalents of the direct-speech adverbs tomorrow and yesterday. I'd like to have entries for them, preferably with the article, to gather translations. Thoughts? Canonicalization (talk) 20:40, 3 October 2019 (UTC)

an aspect in railway signallingEdit

I'm not sure which sense this relates to in aspect. A signal aspect is what colour it's showing - red, green or amber. I have just added a quote to sense 2 in the hope that is the right one, maybe it should be sense 3 instead, both senses currently have {{rfex|en}} added to them. DonnanZ (talk) 14:15, 4 October 2019 (UTC)

Using aspect at OneLook Dictionary Search I found the following definition: "Of railway signals, what the engineer sees when viewing the blades or lights in their relative positions or colors." McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. DCDuring (talk) 18:49, 4 October 2019 (UTC)
Such a definition is arguably a specialized subsense of a definition like "Appearance to the eye or the mind; look; view." I'm not sure any of our current definitions cover this very well. DCDuring (talk) 18:49, 4 October 2019 (UTC)
w:Gloassary of rail transport terms uses aspect in the relevant sense, but does not define it.
There are various railway/railroad glossaries online, some covering slang. DCDuring (talk) 18:56, 4 October 2019 (UTC)
Yes, I think you are right. This sense (of aspect) is used in both Am. and Br. Eng. I created a new sense rather than a subsense (you can always change it), found another Wikipedia glossary which lists it (added to References), and found other glossaries. One mentioned -
"Change of aspect - NFF
An unintended change of aspect (the colour shown - red, yellow, green) by the signalling system, :which when tested, could not be found to be faulty. (No Fault Found.)
(Signalling systems are designed to 'fail safe' with any change always being to a more restrictive :aspect, e.g. yellow to red.)"
DonnanZ (talk) 21:46, 4 October 2019 (UTC)
Was the same or a different term used for the position of an unilluminated (19th century) semaphore? DCDuring (talk) 22:52, 4 October 2019 (UTC)
Probably the same, I can't remember the term being used for semaphore signals, I would need to plough through old rail books and magazines stored in my loft. The semaphores, although unlit in daytime, were lit at night, with the light from the lamp shining through a coloured spectacle at the inner end of the signal arm, the colour shown depended on the position of the arm. DonnanZ (talk) 23:08, 4 October 2019 (UTC)
Were the 19th century models lit? How? DCDuring (talk) 04:14, 5 October 2019 (UTC)
Is indication a synonym of aspect? DCDuring (talk) 04:23, 5 October 2019 (UTC)
I believe oil lamps were used for lighting semaphore signals into the 20th century. An old practice was using fogmen at signals during thick fogs to place detonators on the track to warn drivers.
Indication would appear to be a synonym of aspect in this sense. DonnanZ (talk) 09:32, 5 October 2019 (UTC)
I added this signal sense to spectacle too. We're getting there gradually. DonnanZ (talk) 11:16, 5 October 2019 (UTC)
I think subsenses are a good way to make sense of the derivation of specialized definitions like this. DCDuring (talk) 18:03, 5 October 2019 (UTC)

聂 zhèEdit

Why does show up in zhè? --Backinstadiums (talk) 18:27, 4 October 2019 (UTC)

Another definition for service pipe?Edit

I just added a quote which doesn't match the given sense. In this case, an unfinished new underground station, a service pipe would appear to be any pipe that carries water, or effluents, waste water etc. Any ideas? DonnanZ (talk) 22:55, 4 October 2019 (UTC)

Your example appears to be using a definition of service particular to the utility industry that we are missing: "the supplying or supplier of utilities or commodities, as water, electricity, or gas, required or demanded by the public.", from (def #2). Another more specific meaning which I do not have a citation for and may be misremembering is a kind of underground conduit which bundles unrelated utilities within a shared outer jacket. 06:21, 5 October 2019 (UTC)
OK, I have added a second sense with {{rfdef}} (maybe not quite the right template) for now. DonnanZ (talk) 10:33, 5 October 2019 (UTC)

watered: adjectiveEdit

According to the Cambridge Grammar of the English Language, page 78,

In the same fashion as *The boss seemed considered guilty of bias is agrammatical (incidentally, but what about the following phrase structure? The boss seemed to be considered guilty of bias which should be synonymous in meaning to It seemed that the boss was considered guilty...)

∗The plants were very/too watered by the gardener is aggrammatical because watered here is a verb, not an adjective; but is the following aggrammatical too? The plants were very/too watered --Backinstadiums (talk) 09:44, 5 October 2019 (UTC)

Yes. Equinox 09:44, 5 October 2019 (UTC)
@Equinox: BTW, what about The boss seemed to be considered guilty of bias?is synonymous in meaning to It seemed that the boss was considered guilty...? --Backinstadiums (talk) 09:46, 5 October 2019 (UTC)
"Very/too watered" is wrong but "well watered" (as in our example) is fine. "Seemed to be considered" sounds too convoluted to be used in reality. Equinox 09:48, 5 October 2019 (UTC)

Category:English rhyming compoundsEdit

Is this intended for literally any compound that rhymes, or only for ones formed in a sort of reduplicative way? Someone just added it to redhead, which strikes me as (probably?) not having been formed for the sake of rhyme; that rhyme might be coincidental. Another example would be blackjack (not currently in the category). Equinox 09:51, 5 October 2019 (UTC)

@Equinox: it makes sense if considering the existence of red-haired, though it does not refer to an individual (at least not currently in Wiktionary's entries) --Backinstadiums (talk) 09:57, 5 October 2019 (UTC)
"Is this intended for literally any compound that rhymes": that's not what I had in mind, no. Canonicalization (talk) 16:00, 5 October 2019 (UTC)
@Equinox: That said, I feel the colloquial sense of bedhead ("the condition of having unkempt hair, generally as a result of having just woken up from sleep") and some senses of deadhead (for example the 10th: "zombie") are intentional coinages. I'm not sure all those senses belong in a single etymology section. Canonicalization (talk) 15:54, 8 October 2019 (UTC)

verbs that belong to both auxiliary and lexical classes: BEEdit

According to the Cambridge Grammar of the English Language, page 92, the auxiliary verbs of English are:

[modals]: can, may, will, shall, must, ought, need, dare
[non-modals]: be, have, do, %use
Need, dare, have, do, and use are dually categorised: they belong to both auxiliary and lexical verb classes.

Why isn't the verb BE included with those that belong to both auxiliary and lexical classes? --Backinstadiums (talk) 09:31, 6 October 2019 (UTC)

Batman is a grammatical particle?!Edit

"An intensifier for interjections created with the adjective holy. Holy guacamole Batman!" I don't believe this is best classified as a "particle". It's more like Sherlock in "no shit Sherlock": just the proper noun having a certain pop-culture-determined use. Equinox 16:56, 6 October 2019 (UTC)

In this clip Robin says “Holy understatements Batman!” (at 0:48). There the proper noun is clearly used as a vocative. Other uses of the snowclone “Holy [noun phrase] Batman” are entirely analogous.  --Lambiam 21:51, 6 October 2019 (UTC)
Yeah at the time I was not paying attention to Robin's actual use of the vocative. Fix at will. mellohi! (僕の乖離) 09:16, 7 October 2019 (UTC)
  Done as best I could. Equinox 17:24, 20 October 2019 (UTC)

aspect of ShivaEdit

What is an aspect of a Hindu deity? I've been hearing about it in a documentary about religions, and I can't find it in other dictionaries, and it doesn't seem like simply "any specific feature, part, or element of something". Is it used to describe deities in other religions? Ultimateria (talk) 17:04, 6 October 2019 (UTC)

Here are some Christian writings discussing the “aspects of God”: [26], [27], [28].  --Lambiam 21:42, 6 October 2019 (UTC)
Those are nothing more than SOP uses. @Ultimateria, can you provide some examples so it's clearer what the context is? Andrew Sheedy (talk) 00:09, 8 October 2019 (UTC)
"Therefore, the linga exhibits the Ardhanrishwara (half male and female) form of God. [] As one looks at the linga, the concave area on the left represents the female aspect, Parvati. The center portion in front of the linga has the shape of Ganesha. The right side is convex and reflects the male aspect, Shiva." [29] Right now, my guess at a definition is "the personified manifestation of a characteristic of a Hindu deity". The personification I think sets it apart from these Christian quotes. Ultimateria (talk) 03:30, 8 October 2019 (UTC)
I would agree with you on that. I think it's a distinct sense. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 21:52, 8 October 2019 (UTC)
I’d definitely take out the ‘Hindu’ specification from the def; this is also used of Greek, Egyptian, Roman, Slavic, and other deities. — Vorziblix (talk · contribs) 15:37, 9 October 2019 (UTC)
Thank you for clarifying that. I've added the sense as "religion, mythology: The personified manifestation of a deity that represents one or more of its characteristics or functions." Ultimateria (talk) 15:58, 9 October 2019 (UTC)

oughten: contraction oughtn'tEdit

does contraction apply to oughten? --Backinstadiums (talk) 11:34, 7 October 2019 (UTC)

No, a contraction is where you took specific letters out of the middle, e.g. the ll from shalln't -> shan't. Equinox 11:42, 7 October 2019 (UTC)
@Equinox: then what should its entry state instead? --Backinstadiums (talk) 12:00, 7 October 2019 (UTC)
It would seem to be a pronunciation spelling. DCDuring (talk) 01:07, 10 October 2019 (UTC)


Is it possible that sense two is actually a derivative of the Latinate "gust" (sense two of "gust"), rather than being related to sense 1? Perhaps it is even from "gusto"? Tharthan (talk) 20:03, 7 October 2019 (UTC)

I doubt "impassioned" is the right definition anyway. It's a gusty sigh; sighs are exhalations; so it would seem to be something like a gust of wind, i.e. a strongly exhaled sigh. If it does mean "impassioned" then could we have a "gusty kiss" etc.? I'd think not. Equinox 21:33, 7 October 2019 (UTC)
Collins English Dictionary defines the figurative sense as “given to sudden outbursts, as of emotion or temperament”. Surely this derives from the suddenness of wind gusts. The “gusty sigh” is probably a more literal metaphor.  --Lambiam 19:28, 8 October 2019 (UTC)


The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language, page 1611, reads

Usedn't is the only form where the suffix is added to a preterite with the ·ed suffix, and it has a variant irregular spelling usen’t

--Backinstadiums (talk) 20:32, 7 October 2019 (UTC)


Intercity should mean inter- + city, and is so defined here. A discussion on Wikipedia, and a quick Google Books search reveals that it almost exclusively means something more limited, that it usually is a contrast between commuter rail or municipal bus systems and transport systems that serve major hubs with high-speed, minimal stop connections. Should we delete (or RfV) the basic meaning? I can find but one clear cite for it, in State-Space Search: Algorithms, Complexity, Extensions, and Applications, but the more limited meaning is hard to clearly establish as separate, unless you can find something talking about a Las Vegas-North Las Vegas bus route as "intercity".--Prosfilaes (talk) 07:33, 9 October 2019 (UTC)

It's helpful to quote the meaning you are talking about, so future editors looking at the archived post will understand. Are you saying that this word does not usually mean "adj. that connects cities with other cities"? (BTW, I wonder if it's broader, just "between cities", e.g. an intercity comparison in statistics.) Equinox 08:46, 9 October 2019 (UTC)
Except for that one cite in State-Space Search, I saw no cites on Google Books that weren't about transport, and I looked at all of them that were showing text. There is a distinction between commuter rail that connects, e.g. Providence, Rhode Island and Boston, Massachusetts and intercity rail that connects Boston with Portland, Maine; Portland, Maine is a minor city, whereas Providence is a metropolis, but the Portland-Boston route is run by high-speed train that makes few stops, compared to Boston-Providence, that makes every little stop on the way.--Prosfilaes (talk) 23:05, 9 October 2019 (UTC)
Listed in Oxford as an adjective with the basic definition "existing or travelling between cities". There's more, I added a reference to English intercity. DonnanZ (talk) 18:23, 9 October 2019 (UTC)
That Lexico/Oxford also has the definition of "Denoting express passenger rail services in the UK." I'm saying it's more than the UK, and probably more than just rail. Note that even among the example sentences at Oxford, there's only one non-transport usage, and there's clear examples of the definition I'm pointing at: ‘Outside the Paris area, transport authorities said that 40% of regional services were running as well as 60% of high-speed intercity lines.’ That's contrasting regional services (which are presumably between cities) with high-speed intercity services.--Prosfilaes (talk) 00:32, 10 October 2019 (UTC)
The collocation intercity comparison finds hundreds of raw Google Books hits. Other collocations with hits include intercity agreement, intercity commission, intercity gap, intercity development. Little of this usage had anything to do with transportation. DCDuring (talk) 00:52, 10 October 2019 (UTC)
Google Books is getting pretty bad about biasing the results towards what it thinks you want, then. The results need to be interpreted more carefully then I was.--Prosfilaes (talk) 02:32, 10 October 2019 (UTC)

Plural form of HansardEdit

Currently wikt says it's Hansards, but as I just checked, neither Oxford nor Cambridge dict recognises this. It seems Hansard might be a mass noun.--Roy17 (talk) 11:48, 9 October 2019 (UTC)

I tried googling "old Hansards" and got quite a few results. Apparently the House of Commons and House of Lords have separate Hansards, according to Wikipedia. And the word Hansard is also used in other Commonwealth parliaments. So I guess it can be countable, and Oxford doesn't call it a mass noun. DonnanZ (talk) 18:39, 9 October 2019 (UTC)
Does the world have too much Hansard? We have Donnanz's word that there is evidence that Hansard is countable. Do we have any evidence of uncountable usage? DCDuring (talk) 01:00, 10 October 2019 (UTC)

A software patch - which sense of patch?Edit

I have a quote for this, but looking at patch#Noun I can't decide where to put it, possibly sense 3, not knowing how permanent one is, or sense 12, a patch file. Or is it a sense that deserves its own entry? DonnanZ (talk) 18:08, 9 October 2019 (UTC)

I found Patch (computing) which helps. It's obviously a fix for a programming bug, so I added the quote to sense 12. It's the wording "patch file" that confused me, perhaps that should be clarified. DonnanZ (talk) 19:15, 9 October 2019 (UTC)
Historically, patches all came in the form of discrete files. It wasn't until the last decade or two that you got updaters that downloaded data and made changes without the details of files coming into play. I'd say it's stepping further away from the core idea of a patch (of a new thing applied to an old thing to repair a problem (in the most core sense, a physical hole) in the original) but it's a logical progression of meaning.--Prosfilaes (talk) 02:24, 10 October 2019 (UTC)
So if the wording of sense 12 was reversed, to say "Changes made to a computer program that fix a programming bug; historically (from?) a patch file" which has its own entry which can be referred to anyway so there's probably no need to add any more, would that fix the "bug" in this entry? DonnanZ (talk) 10:16, 10 October 2019 (UTC)
Not all patches fix bugs. They might add features or deal with compatibility, etc. Equinox 12:43, 10 October 2019 (UTC)
Oh, that adds a new complexity. How should that be explained in a nutshell? DonnanZ (talk) 13:36, 10 October 2019 (UTC)
We could say that it changes the behaviour of the software. Bug fixes are sort of implied since that's naturally the sort of change that would be desirable. Equinox 14:56, 10 October 2019 (UTC)
@Equinox: You have far more knowledge than I, so I will leave any necessary change in the wording to you. DonnanZ (talk) 15:30, 10 October 2019 (UTC)
I think, however, that "patch" normally implies that some sort of incorrect working is being remedied? I don't think I have heard of a "patch" being used to introduce brand new features. Mihia (talk) 21:02, 10 October 2019 (UTC)
I wouldn't say so. Try googling for the phrase "patch to add support". Equinox 11:11, 11 October 2019 (UTC)
Every change to the Linux kernel is passed around as a patch file before being added to the main release. In open source projects, especially more old school ones, a lot of changes, for whatever purpose, get introduced as a patch file on a mailing list.--Prosfilaes (talk) 16:39, 11 October 2019 (UTC)
OK, fair enough, thanks. Mihia (talk) 22:18, 11 October 2019 (UTC)
I have tweaked the entry to remove the unnecessary mention of a "patch program", per Prosfilaes' comments above. I have seen these too: e.g. when a fan modifies the levels of Super Mario or whatever, and they can't distribute the whole patched game for copyright reasons, they just distribute a sort of changeset and there are special programs to apply the changes to your own copy of the original game. But that's by no means the most common type of patching nor the oldest, and adding "patch program" into a definition of "patch" itself is circular. Equinox 11:42, 11 October 2019 (UTC)
Depending on what you're counting, that might be the most common type of patching. Most patches out there require a patch program to apply, but the patches that don't are way more common and used by way more people. We might want to note the original form of patching where holes in paper tape were physically covered, but as this doesn't have a separate etymology, there's no obvious place for that.--Prosfilaes (talk) 16:39, 11 October 2019 (UTC)

Norwegian skiEdit

According to it's pronounced /skiː/ not /ʃiː/. Is that a regional difference? According to German dictionaries, the German loanword is counterintuitively pronounced /ʃiː/ because that's the Norwegian pronunciation. --Espoo (talk) 13:56, 10 October 2019 (UTC)

Listening to the audio on Lexin for ski it does sound like ʃi (or English she). On the other hand ski in Den Danske Ordbog is given as sgi. DonnanZ (talk) 15:22, 10 October 2019 (UTC)
Just realized that i misunderstood and that it's showing the English word. --Espoo (talk) 14:09, 11 October 2019 (UTC)
I wouldn't use a Danish pronunciation as even indicative, let alone evidence, of Norwegian pronunciation. Don't let the similar orthography fool you. Remember that in Swedish, mission and nation don't even rhyme.__Gamren (talk) 20:57, 11 October 2019 (UTC)

point the finger of blame (finger of blame?), point the finger of suspicion (finger of suspicion?)Edit

Entry-worthy? Merriam-Webster and Collins seem to think so. Canonicalization (talk) 18:13, 10 October 2019 (UTC)

No, these are SOP names of gestures and not idioms by themselves. What is idiomatic are the gestures themselves. Fay Freak (talk) 19:41, 10 October 2019 (UTC)
Yes, in some form. The expression point the finger at means "to blame, accuse", as in:
High profile policy makers, including former Foreign Minister Alexander Downer and then Shadow Foreign Affairs Minister Kevin Rudd, were quick to point the finger at Australia's intelligence community and its alleged shortcomings [] .
The versions with an "of" phrase seem unnecessary usually. They may disambiguate, as between blame and suspicion. DCDuring (talk) 19:59, 10 October 2019 (UTC)
Besides blame and suspicion one can find other nouns after of, such as:
  1. scorn, guilt, condemnation, shame, accusation, fault, wrath, derision, responsibility, retribution, terror and fear, criticism, failure, outrage, odium and disappointment, denunciation, reproach, doubt, disdain
  2. pathology, racism, treason, terrorism
  3. truth, taste, justice, change.
These would seem to support an entry for point the finger of with multiple definitions: 1., "direct"; 2., "direct an accusation of"; and, 3., "direct a negative assessment by a standard of"). I'm not satisfied with the wording of any of these. DCDuring (talk) 20:25, 10 October 2019 (UTC)

Scrupulous - self-referential scrupulousness finds scruplesEdit

In entry scrupulous the second adjective example sentence does not match with the second definition, when one goes and checks the mentioned words scruples or compunctions. Rather the example seems to match the first adjective definition.

And in fact, the definitions at scruple mention hesitation and reluctance rather a lot, when scruples can also be a motivation to do things a particular way - the 'right' way. Strange that a definition that might mean to say "hesitation to do the wrong thing" does not also somehow include a "direction to do the right thing".

Could someone reexamine scrupulous and kin? I'm just surprised that nothing matches the looked-for meaning as seen at "having scruples, or moral or ethical standards; having or showing a strict regard for what one considers right; principled:" Or M-W "having moral integrity : acting in strict regard for what is considered right or proper". And another "characterized by extreme care and great effort". It's just weird how Wikt misses all that. Shenme (talk) 07:21, 11 October 2019 (UTC)

If you look at the etymology, from a word meaning "small sharp or pointed stone; [...etc.] uneasiness of mind, anxiety, doubt, trouble" then the existing definitions IMO seem reasonable. Pure moral imperative is not really a scruple; a scruple is when you feel the doubt or anxiety that makes you want to do a different thing than what is proposed or imagined. Equinox 16:11, 13 October 2019 (UTC)

Danish rhymesEdit

I asked here because I was unsure if any danish IPA experts are present here. --So9q (talk) 17:32, 11 October 2019 (UTC)

As Kbb2 insinuates, the way Danish vowels are typically transcribed phonetically does not conform to the way IPA is "supposed" to be used. This deviation is done to avoid diacritics and to make it so that no character represents multiple phones. I made and have been using this, also here on the English Wiktionary, but a sustainable solution is to either make an Appendix detailing our standard or to resolve to follow English Wikipedia. What do you think? There's value in inter-project consistency, but an encyclopedia is primarily oriented towards people with no prior knowledge, while dictionary entries necessarily assume some basic familiarity with the language.__Gamren (talk) 20:43, 11 October 2019 (UTC)

biggest kid in the playgroundEdit

This sounds idiomatic, but I'm not sure how common it is, not that that would make any difference to some contributors. I have added a quote containing this to kid Etym 1 noun sense 6. DonnanZ (talk) 19:10, 11 October 2019 (UTC)

My feeling is that this is just one of a number of possible "biggest kid in/on ..." phrases, and probably isn't specifically idiomatic enough to warrant an entry. Mihia (talk) 22:22, 11 October 2019 (UTC)
As a side note, my idiolect would have "on the playground", and Google Ngrams would have that as slightly more common.--Prosfilaes (talk) 04:33, 12 October 2019 (UTC)
In or on, whatever. My source, a magazine I bought, definitely has "in the playground", which sounds fine to me. British English? DonnanZ (talk) 07:05, 12 October 2019 (UTC)


I came across this sentence in Little Women (1868):

"Well, that's cool," said Laurie to himself, "to have a picnic and never ask me!"

I don't find any definition under our article cool that seems to correspond to this usage. Can someone elucidate? (Please ping me.) Eric Kvaalen (talk) 18:59, 12 October 2019 (UTC)

I think it's the sense "calmly audacious". Equinox 19:07, 12 October 2019 (UTC)
Or from cool in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911, this somewhat different and more expansive definition: "Quietly impudent, defiant, or selfish; deliberately presuming: said of persons and acts." DCDuring (talk) 02:50, 13 October 2019 (UTC)
Thanks, I think that Century definition must be it. I will add it. Eric Kvaalen (talk) 06:59, 13 October 2019 (UTC)

search resultEdit

does this term warrant an entry ? Leasnam (talk) 20:50, 12 October 2019 (UTC)

Why would it? DCDuring (talk) 02:40, 13 October 2019 (UTC)
Well, I'm thinking that to non-native English speakers it may not be readily understood as "the result of arguments returned by a search engine query" might be misunderstood as "an outcome of any type of search (e.g. a search for a lost child, etc.)" (?). I'm thinking of the sense specific to the former. Just wondering... Leasnam (talk) 02:58, 13 October 2019 (UTC)
Also, the pronunciation can be slightly different between the two, with the first being /ˈsɝt͡ʃɹɪˌzʌlt/ and the latter /ˌsɝt͡ʃ ɹɪˈzʌlt/. Still SoP ? Leasnam (talk) 03:19, 13 October 2019 (UTC)
It could be the result of any kind of search. What are the chances that it would not be reasonably obvious what kind of search and result were involved from the immediate context? DCDuring (talk) 04:20, 13 October 2019 (UTC)
I suppose it could be ascertained from context. Perhaps it might be useful as a translation hub, but I am not advocating for that at this time ;) Ok, I'm good. Thank you ! :) Leasnam (talk) 04:28, 13 October 2019 (UTC)
My current personal opinion is that "search result" maybe should have an entry, as a translation hub if for no other reason. In Finnish it's just one word, hakutulos, and the Finnish Wiktionary even has an entry for that ( even though entries like kahvinjuonti 'coffee drinking' are banned from fi-wiktionary. Another reason why I'd support creation of "search result" is that, if I remember correctly, the Finnish version of Windows XP used "etsinnän tulos" for search result in a hard-drive search. Mölli-Möllerö (talk) 09:40, 13 October 2019 (UTC)

Tiger tailEdit

There's a red linked plural Tiger tails, but (at least to my knowledge) no one refers to the ice cream flavour that I started this entry on in that way. Is there any way to remove this non-existent plural form in the entry? Clovermoss (talk) 03:20, 13 October 2019 (UTC)

Plural fixed. Is there a reason why the entry title is capitalised ? Why not tiger tail ? Leasnam (talk) 03:42, 13 October 2019 (UTC)
If you'll notice, we don't have entries for maple walnut, chocolate ripple, and black licorice...these are ice-cream flavours... Leasnam (talk) 03:47, 13 October 2019 (UTC)
Because I'm new here and automatically followed Wikipedia's article title conventions. I understand things are different here, and read the guide that was part of the welcome message, but I'm probably going to have to look at it again to make sure I don't make another mistake like that. Also, are you implying that the other ice cream flavours should have an entry or that this entry on tiger tail shouldn't be included because these other ice cream flavours don't have entries? Clovermoss (talk) 03:52, 13 October 2019 (UTC)
I've opened a discussion here [[30]] for the moment. It doesn't mean that I'm trying to destroy your work, I'm just seeking clarification as well. Please feel free to add your input and comments there :) Leasnam (talk) 04:00, 13 October 2019 (UTC)


Not long ago I met a Mexican Spanish speaker who told me that the Mexicans pronounce mid word tl's in the same syllable and Spaniards/non-Mexicans in different syllables. When she pronounced Atlántico in her own accent, she devoiced the /l/ [aˈt̪l̥ãn̪t̪iko], when imitating a Spaniard/non-Mexican Spanish speaker she didn't (though she herself didn't seem to be aware of this devoicing - so for her, the difference was in the syllable boundary and for me it was in the (de)voicing of the /l/). Since, as far as I know, Mexican Spanish does have word-initial /tl/ while other Spanish dialects don't, I'm wondering why the stress mark in the pronunciation guide at Atlántico has been placed before the "t" instead of before the "l" (suggesting that the /t/ and the /l/ are in the same syllable) without saying that the pronunciation is or is not Mexican. Mölli-Möllerö (talk) 09:27, 13 October 2019 (UTC)

The reason may have been that this pronunciation was added by an editor born in Aguascalientes City in Mexico. They may have been unaware of a different pronunciation. The Spanish Wiktionary gives both syllabifications without further regional label.  --Lambiam 13:44, 13 October 2019 (UTC)


Would it be imprudent of me to suggest moving sense 8 and sense 9 so that those senses are directly below sense 3 or sense 4, considering the obvious original derivation? Tharthan (talk) 17:47, 13 October 2019 (UTC)

X it isEdit

Discussed in this thread. Entry-worthy? Canonicalization (talk) 20:17, 13 October 2019 (UTC)

No, this is a grammar issue, not a lexical issue. Equinox 22:18, 13 October 2019 (UTC)
All right, no entry it is! Canonicalization (talk) 18:34, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
Is it that simple? Putting a term in front of the subject can be analyzed as a form of topicalization, but except for Yoda-speak (“Clouded this boy's future is”) it is rare to do that with a complement. Also, semantically the uses of the pattern “X it is” do not fit the topic-and-comment function of topicalization. The theme (topic) is not “X”, but “it” (viz. the definitive choice made), and “is X” is the rheme (comment about the topic). Compare “it’s a boy!” (from the pre-gender-reveal era). Also, this way of announcing something as definitive, marking the end of the debate, is (as far as I see) exclusive to this specific pattern. You don’t announce the choice of the next site of the Olympic Games as “Nairobi the Committee has chosen.”  --Lambiam 18:50, 14 October 2019 (UTC)

pool boyEdit

I'm sure I have read this in American English; someone who cleans your swimming pool? DonnanZ (talk) 12:05, 14 October 2019 (UTC)

Perhaps you have read this NYT article, in which the term is taken or surmised to mean a (male) “pool attendant”. As the “white-uniformed male attendants brought fresh towels and positioned umbrellas for tips”, I doubt that in this case these were also tasked with cleaning the pool. On the other hand, the character Ethan Sinclair from Devious Maids is described as “a hunky pool boy”, and he is indeed supposed to clean the pool. So I guess the sense is “a boy (sense 5) who has a set of (low-level) functions associated with a pool” – regardless of what the function is. That is somewhat similar to terms like “office boy”, where it is not easy to delineate the task package.  --Lambiam 16:53, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
I've heard "pool man" and "pool guy" as well for the person who takes care of swimming pools. I'm not so sure this this is a set term. It seems like it's just a term for a person, modified by whatever it is they're associated with. Someone who mows lawns is a "lawn boy/girl/man/woman/person". I'm sure someone who maintains whatsits would be "the whatsit guy". Chuck Entz (talk) 17:55, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
See also pizza girl, pizza boy, pizza man, pizza woman, pizza lady... DTLHS (talk) 18:37, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
... pizza rat. See also call boy, pull-up boy, sea boy, water boy.  --Lambiam
I'm thinking of pools at private homes, where the owners are wealthy enough to have their pool cleaned. Perhaps a summertime job for teenagers. DonnanZ (talk) 18:58, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
Yes, some people have pools and some pools are cleaned by "pool boys". What are you getting at specifically? DTLHS (talk) 19:03, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
Trying to figure out whether to apply for a job as pool boy?  --Lambiam 19:07, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
LOL, at 71 I'm too old for that: I'm not sure whether it's worth an entry, but I don't know enough to make one. DonnanZ (talk) 20:32, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
Pool boy is also stereotypically used to mean "anyone who looks like a pool boy" i.e. a very attractive, physically fit young male (regardless of their actual profession), especially one who is "kept" around specifically for their looks (etc.) and given the nominal job of "tending the pool" as a cover. yeah...very informative right ? Don't ask... ;) (I actually heard a female friend using this term about another friend's husband saying that "she had gotten herself a pool boy"...they didn't have a pool at the time, and he was cutting the grass shirtless) Not sure this same application applies to pool man and pool guy as well, but I don't recall ever hearing those used in exactly the same way (but that doesn't necessarily mean they're not) Leasnam (talk) 20:58, 14 October 2019 (UTC)
If there are three acceptable attestations using the term as a synonym of hunk, it is definitely includable.  --Lambiam 12:52, 17 October 2019 (UTC)
No great enthusiasm has been shown for this, hunk or no hunk. DonnanZ (talk) 08:40, 19 October 2019 (UTC)

give someone the armEdit

What does this mean? Presumably a rude gesture. Seen in the Godfather II script:

Pentangeli walks out of the restaurant; there's a little tension between the bodyguards of the two factions.
ROSATO (O.S.) Hey, Five-Angels...
He gives him the arm.
Frankie's face turns red, like he wants to have it out here and now; but Willy Cicci calms his down, and they all make their move out.

Equinox 17:05, 15 October 2019 (UTC)

Bras d'honneur? Someone could probably find the scene to know for sure. DTLHS (talk) 17:15, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
I've seen it (and performed it) but never heard it named. DCDuring (talk) 17:33, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
Yes, it must be: that page says that "the arm" is the US term for this. So perhaps I should just add it at arm? Equinox 18:10, 16 October 2019 (UTC)
  Done I created give someone the arm; I haven't bothered at arm, as I don't know if it's used in other forms. Equinox 23:42, 16 October 2019 (UTC)

Equinox, I know that the French, in France, like to lift their right arm fast, with: their ellbow half bent AND a fist (of their right hand), and stopping this movement with their other (that is: left) flat hand at their upper right arm, often making a loud noise. As far as I know it can mean one of two different things: "I don't care!" ("Ca. m'en fou!") or something similar to lifting the middle finger. Steue (talk) 19:07, 16 October 2019 (UTC)

Equinox, I have seen a forearm lifted horizontally: before/in front of the breast and close to the breast, as a very respectfull greeting, done by civilians / non-military persons, who are not expected or allowed to greet in the typical millitary way that is: with the hand at the head. Steue (talk) 20:54, 16 October 2019 (UTC)

whole wide worldEdit

We certainly need an entry for this. Tho perhaps in the whole wide world. --Vealhurl (talk) 06:43, 16 October 2019 (UTC)

  Done. I bet some people think this is what the Internet's WWW stands for. Equinox 23:40, 16 October 2019 (UTC)
Once again, Eq, you are awesome --Vealhurl (talk) 10:53, 18 October 2019 (UTC)--Vealhurl (talk) 10:53, 18 October 2019 (UTC)


I searched for this term and, finally, found something via a search engine (MetaGer).
Here, in wictionary, I found something only after reading a loooong! list of possible definitions and translations into other languages.
What I would have expected was:
General meaning: 'little hills'
Special meanings:
'inhabitants of the hills'
'little breasts'.
And only then a link to 'Translations into other languages.
I don't know (and , honestly, here, as well as in the wikipedia, it takes so much time, to find out how things are done correctly) how to suggest an article like what I described above, therefore I 'm trying to suggest it here. I hope someone helpful moves this into the right place. Steue (talk) 18:53, 16 October 2019 (UTC)

Do you have three (durably archived) attestations for any of these senses? If they are plural forms, are they pluralia tantum? If not, what is their singular form?  --Lambiam 12:48, 17 October 2019 (UTC)


The 2010 citation is pure gibberish as far as I can see. Does it make sense to anyone? There are some mentally ill people who self-publish books that then turn up on Google Books, and sometimes I have seen obvious word salad. IMO we should not cite these. Citations are meant to demonstrate meaning, not mere syntax divorced from meaning. Equinox 20:09, 16 October 2019 (UTC)

Can you decipher the 2000 cite? DCDuring (talk) 00:50, 17 October 2019 (UTC)
It reads very pretentiously but I believe the sense is probably correct: "dreams foreslay as they foresee the future", i.e. they both predict it and "kill it in advance" (prevent it from happening?). Equinox 01:00, 17 October 2019 (UTC)
A couple of examples of the "word salad" authors who turn up a lot in my searches:
1. "Hymie Hitler" (also under many other pseudonyms): I cite his Beasts of Prey: "...Norma Sheareresque Doughnut King had been a Ptolemy-esque, Hubblesque, Stalinesque, Lewis-esque, Lawrence-esque, millionairesque, billionairesque, and superior cure of wops and kikes' quasi-absolute puppets, who were less popular than the wereleech, weresandflea, werefluke, or wereflea..."
2. John O'Loughlin (also to be found talking and blogging about himself on YouTube and various other places): this person has perfected the art of "sounding like a sociology paper" but he is not a recognised academic and none of his books seem to contain a shred of sense: e.g. "Conversely, if it is punishing for a female to be at cross-purposes with her gender actuality of soma preceding and predominating over psyche in what amounts, under sensibly male hegemonic pressures, to a psychic emphasis towards which the counter-devolutionary binding of soma is modestly acquiescent, like Antimother to Antidaughter in either of the female Elemental contexts, it is not - gender-bender exceptions notwithstanding - graceful."
Equinox 01:08, 17 October 2019 (UTC)
Here is a capsule review of Goodby’s Illenium. Experimental poetry oscillating between mise-en-page lacunae and lines lost sagging or folding into blankness is probably not the most felicitous source for usexes.  --Lambiam 02:08, 17 October 2019 (UTC)
I mean, we also cite a lot of Finnegans Wake, and it’s hardly more enlightening. — Vorziblix (talk · contribs) 16:04, 17 October 2019 (UTC)

hillies delicious??Edit

I searched for 'hillies' and one of the results is entitled: 'delicious'. But what is said to be delicious, in this result, is the 'houses'. So, as I understand it, from / in this result, 'delicious' is NOT a meaning of 'hilly'. So, I think: this one result should not be entitled 'delicious'.
Steue (talk) 20:44, 16 October 2019 (UTC)

The word “hilly” occurs on the page with page title “delicious”, so the Google search results may include that page. But the Google search result is only entitled “delicious” because that is the page title of the page on which the term occurs. That is how Google search works in general; it has nothing to do specifically with Wiktionary. If you search for “bad voice” using Google, Google will show the page entitled “cuckoo” as one of the search results, for no other reason than that the term appears somewhere on that page.  --Lambiam 23:34, 16 October 2019 (UTC)

search results page, no discussion page?Edit

I searched for 'hillies' and the result page was titeled 'Special page'. But I could not find a link to a discussion page for this page. Is there none? I think: these search result pages should have a discussion page too. Steue (talk) 21:08, 16 October 2019 (UTC)

“Special page” is not the page title but merely an indication that this is not a normal page. There are many kinds of special pages; see Special:SpecialPages (itself a special page). Unlike normal “subject” pages, a special page has no associated discussion page.  --Lambiam 23:08, 16 October 2019 (UTC)


In the 'Wikipedia' there is the option to edit a word in italics. But if I do this here, in the Wictionary, this does not work. I wish it would. Steue (talk) 21:12, 16 October 2019 (UTC)

If you enclose a segment of text between a pair of repeated single quote signs, like ''qwerty uiop'', it will appear in italics, like qwerty uiop. If you use three single quotes signs instead of two, as in '''qwerty uiop''', you get bold text, thus: qwerty uiop. And if you combine these, like '''''qwerty uiop''''', you get the combined effect: qwerty uiop.  --Lambiam 22:57, 16 October 2019 (UTC)

take no notice ofEdit

is take no notice of justified? --Backinstadiums (talk) 16:38, 18 October 2019 (UTC)

If it is, then so is take notice of. But is it? The term “idiomatic” has two distinct meanings, which is confusing because it is not always clear which one is meant. An idiom is a phrase that is commonly used to express a meaning that may not be clear from the individual words forming the phrase. For example “not to turn a hair” does not mean you are not twirling your locks around your finger; an ESL learner may not understand the expression without looking it up. Thus it is an “idiomatic expression”. This is the meaning used in the Idiomaticity criterion for inclusion and in the “NISOP” argument for deletion. The other meaning is “expressed in the way a native speaker would say it”. Often it is used in a negative form, as in “his English was not idiomatic”. If a native German speaker attempts to answer the question “Who is there?” by a word-by-word translation of the German answer “Ich bin es!” and says, ”I am it!”, they may be understood, but their English is not idiomatic. Their next attempt, ”It is I!”, does not quite cut it either.
The entry “take no notice of” is labelled as “(idiomatic)”, which is defined in our Glossary in a broad way, encompassing both of these senses. Now the use of the verb “take” in this phrase is idiomatic in the sense of “that is how you say it” – you don’t say that someone *“collected no notice” of an issue, even though this will likely be understood. But the meaning is clear from the individual words – for notice sense 1 – and so this is IMO a NISOP.  --Lambiam 14:43, 19 October 2019 (UTC)
@Lambiam: I meant you can say, according to Google books, both "hadn't taken (any) notice of" or "didn't take (any) notice of". We already have take notice, so why then not add pay no attention to besides pay attention? --Backinstadiums (talk) 16:56, 19 October 2019 (UTC)

early nightEdit

I've just come across the idomatic to have an early night, which I think should be added. --Backinstadiums (talk) 16:49, 19 October 2019 (UTC)

Oxford has early night. One can have an early night for various reasons, feeling romantic is one of them. DonnanZ (talk) 17:01, 19 October 2019 (UTC)
"We are having a late Fall this year. I wonder if we will have an early Spring."
IOW, don't early and late carry the meaning involved in a variety of collocations? DCDuring (talk) 18:39, 19 October 2019 (UTC)
What we may be missing is the appropriate sense of night, as used in "Let's call it a night." I think the meaning is something like "the end of the activities of an evening or night". DCDuring (talk) 18:46, 19 October 2019 (UTC)
My understanding of "let's call it a night" is "that's enough to make a full/complete night, so we can stop now": I don't see night as meaning "end of night". Equinox 19:35, 19 October 2019 (UTC)
I can see that, but it doesn't have to be a "full/complete", ie, positive, night. It could just as well be after something unsatisfactory or unpromising. DCDuring (talk) 19:42, 19 October 2019 (UTC)
"My hands are cold: let's just call that a snowman and go home"? :) Equinox 19:47, 19 October 2019 (UTC)
What do you make of "Alex planned on an early night", "Nancy decided to have dinner in her room and get an early night", and "After a late night with Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of the Speckled Band, he dares not sleep with his back to the wall"? All seem to focus on the termination.
Both early and late put on the noun they modify in the frame of an event (possibly extended, like a season, for which the combined term means "onset of"). Among the words collocating with late night are the verbs have, get, be, do, make, mean, anticipate, plan, etc. and prepositions like after, despite, of, from, etc. IOW, I don't think that the core meaning resides in call. Alternatively, we could simply ignore call it a (late|early) night and focus on the other collocations. DCDuring (talk) 20:12, 19 October 2019 (UTC)
In that case, night in "early night" means an early onset but in "late night" means an early conclusion? That seems odd. Both of them could be explained by a single definition like "the time one goes to bed". Equinox 20:16, 19 October 2019 (UTC)
Fine. I accept that definition. DCDuring (talk) 22:36, 19 October 2019 (UTC)

Rendering of â in Template:fr-IPAEdit

(Notifying Canonicalization): @Fay Freak I did a lot of hacking on {{fr-IPA}} to make it work for most entries. One thing I think needs thinking about is the handling of â. Currently, â is rendered as /ɑ/, and a without circumflex is rendered as /a/. But the pages on Wikipedia that discuss French and Quebecois French phonology make it clear that there are many exceptions in both directions, even excluding the more-or-less "predictable" ones where a precedes written s. Furthermore, the distinction between the two is lost in standard (i.e. Parisian) French, and dialects such as Quebecois, Swiss French and Belgian French that still make a difference between the two also have several other differences (e.g. between e and ê) that we don't reflect in {{fr-IPA}}. On top of this, the pronunciation that's rendered in verb entries such as aimer reflects â in literary tenses as /a/, as do the direct invocations of {{IPA}} in various non-lemma forms such as aimâmes (many of which were bot-generated). For these reasons, I suggest we change {{fr-IPA}} to render â as /a/, possibly with a parameter such as |acflex=1 to restore the old behavior. Thoughts? Benwing2 (talk) 20:54, 19 October 2019 (UTC)

BTW an example of a bot-created entry with a direct invocation of {{IPA}} is désaimâmes, created by User:Dawnraybot. Benwing2 (talk) 20:57, 19 October 2019 (UTC)
Oh yeah, I asked myself whether {{fr-IPA}} depicts any real pronunciation. Why not give multiple pronunciations for any such cases reflecting ideal regiolects (and perhaps chronolects?), like given with {{fa-pronunciation}}? Fay Freak (talk) 21:16, 19 October 2019 (UTC)
@Fay Freak Unfortunately I don't know enough about Quebecois phonology to do it justice. But I'm thinking another thing we could do is render both /.../ and [...] variants, since the conventional phonemic representation of French doesn't very well represent the way that certain sounds are actually pronounced, esp. the nasal vowels but also /ɔ/, vowel lengthening before voiced fricatives, etc. Benwing2 (talk) 21:07, 20 October 2019 (UTC)

yes to deathEdit

I don't think yes to death deserves an entry: we have sum-of-parts yes + to death --Backinstadiums (talk) 11:29, 20 October 2019 (UTC)

Definition may also be an issue: "To agree with someone, often sarcastically". This doesn't imply (sarcastic) fervour or repetition and would (incorrectly?) cover even a sarcastic nod. Equinox 11:42, 20 October 2019 (UTC)
@Equinox: accepting it is a big issue: how often then for pragmatics to sanction a new entry? --Backinstadiums (talk) 13:32, 20 October 2019 (UTC)
My mother never used the expression sarcastically, not did she think that I was being sarcastic when I yessed her. Insincere, certainly, but not sarcastic. It does seem SoP. DCDuring (talk) 23:41, 20 October 2019 (UTC)

per seEdit

Ignoring the specialist legal sense #4, we have three senses here: #1. "necessarily"; #2. "in and of itself; by itself; without consideration of extraneous factors"; #3. "(chiefly in negative polarity environments) As such; as one would expect from the name". No usage example is given for #1. Could it not be merged with #3? What is the difference supposed to be? Equinox 17:23, 20 October 2019 (UTC)

I have the impression #1 and #2 can be merged with the definition “in and of itself; intrinsically”. As I see it used, the definition “as such” for sense 3 is fine, but the part “as one would expect from the name” (which name?) is not helpful. Examples of this sense: “Meghan Markle is not a fan of dieting per se”; “a high P/E ratio is not a good or a bad thing per se”; “the Democrats’ actions are not about Trump per se”. In some cases you can substitute “not intrinsically” for “not per se” and in some you can use “not necessarily”, but neither works in all cases.
As to the law sense, I think the usex is misguided and misleading. If there is a per se law for DUI, it will state that it is a crime per se (in and of itself) if you are caught driving with a BAC of 0.08 or higher, or whatever the legal limit is. You cannot use the defence that you were actually quite sober; true or not, it is irrelevant. You can try the defence that the testing equipment malfunctioned. So while the law makes drunk driving illegal, it is not the “drunk driving” that is illegal per se. The better solution is probably to have instead an entry per se law.  --Lambiam 23:18, 20 October 2019 (UTC)

Finnish kärväs actual definition?Edit

The etymology entry for kärpänen says "equivalent to dialectal kärväs (“fly egg”) +‎ -inen.", but the entry for kärväs only gives "a wooden rack with many branches used to dry grain" as a definition and has no etymology. I tried using google translate with Finnish > English but it translated kärväs to bitter, with no mention of either fly eggs or wooden racks?

Could any Finnish speakers please clarify, I'm at a total loss here!

The mistranslation “bitter” probably comes from the Google translate software mapping an unknown term to the closest known match: karvas. A Google image search for “kärväs” shows plenty of upright sticks with many short side branches, schematically or loaded with drying hay (not grain!). If the word is also a dialectal, non-standard form, it may be difficult to find attestations. It is strange that Proto-Finnic *kärpähinen is said to be equivalent to dialectal kärväs +‎ -inen, since that suffix forms adjectives from nouns, so the meaning would be something like “fly-eggish”; what strange convolutions could turn that into a noun meaning “fly”?

"wouldn't go astray"Edit

"A faster shutter speed wouldn't go astray". "A pinch of salt wouldn't go astray". "A bit of research wouldn't go astray before commenting." How would we define this common usage of "go astray"? ---> Tooironic (talk) 03:39, 21 October 2019 (UTC)

I think X wouldn’t go astray in these examples means the same as it wouldn‘t hurt to [have|do] X. (BTW, we do not have an entry for the common idiom it wouldn‘t hurt.) It is hard to define just go astray, but this sense of wouldn‘t go astray can be defined as “Would be helpful”.  --Lambiam 05:00, 21 October 2019 (UTC)
Thanks. I have added a bit more to the entry, but more work is needed. ---> Tooironic (talk) 09:19, 21 October 2019 (UTC)
I'm not familiar with this. I thought the phrase was "wouldn't go amiss". Equinox 10:18, 21 October 2019 (UTC)
I thought the more common collocation was "wouldn't go wrong". In any event you couldn't come up wrong improving the definitions and usage examples of astray, wrong, and amiss. DCDuring (talk) 10:44, 21 October 2019 (UTC)
We have this sense at go amiss. It is the only sense given now, which is wrong: the meaning of a sentence like “We must find out what went amiss in order to avoid such mishaps in the future” is not “We must find out what was unhelpful or inappropriate in order to avoid such mishaps in the future”. As far as I see, the idiom exists in a variety of synonymic versions, but the part “will not go”/“won’t go” or “would not go”/“wouldn’t go” is obligatory, which is not clear from the current treatments.  --Lambiam 12:48, 21 October 2019 (UTC)

Who knows Albanian? (re User:IMIPER's recent contributions)Edit

User:IMIPER added some junky declension tables to a number of Albanian proper nouns, e.g. Dritan, Drit, Shkurt, Afërdit, Dit, Lindit, Driton. I am trying to convert them to proper invocations of the normal Albanian declension templates such as {{sq-noun-m}}, {{sq-noun-f}}. A page like Drit has both a masculine and feminine inflection table (the latter properly belongs on the page of the feminine equivalent Dritë), and I was able to convert the masculine table to {{sq-noun-m|ë}} (although without the vocative), but the feminine table has indef gen/dat/abl sg "Drita", which {{sq-noun-f}} doesn't support (it wants the form to be "Drite" instead). Is this an exceptional noun that isn't supported by the template, or a mistake by User:IMIPER? Should we just delete the junky tables entirely? @Chuck Entz as you've dealt somewhat with this user. Benwing2 (talk) 01:25, 22 October 2019 (UTC)

They must be master of their craftEdit

The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language , page 185, reads

there are none of the modern aids to navigation on board so the skipper and his mate must needs be master of their craft. 

Why is there not plural agreemen masters? --Backinstadiums (talk) 11:01, 22 October 2019 (UTC)

Either their craft is a joint one or each is master of a different craft. DCDuring (talk) 11:17, 22 October 2019 (UTC)
BTW, I'm faintly sceptical about our four separate adjective senses at master! Equinox 14:10, 22 October 2019 (UTC)

Water can/may still get inEdit

The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language , page 184, reads

May is virtually excluded instead of can in water can still get in, partly by the likelihood of it being interpreted epistemically rather than dynamically.

Do native speakers, mainly of AmE and BrE, keep this in mind when speaking? --Backinstadiums (talk) 15:53, 22 October 2019 (UTC)

out of sorts: 1. Irritable or unwellEdit

Why do irritable and unwell appear in the same meaning of out of sorts? --Backinstadiums (talk) 17:12, 22 October 2019 (UTC)