Wiktionary:Tea room

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

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

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Oldest tagged RFTs

December 2021

wrapping paperEdit

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

To me, "wrapping paper" is so strongly associated with presents that I would hardly use it in any other context. Apparently there is something called "butchers' paper" or "butcher paper", though I have personally never heard of this. Could be a US term? Mihia (talk) 11:52, 3 December 2021 (UTC)
In my experience, butchers, delicatessens etc. will use a kind of plastic-lined paper wrap, or a plastic bag inside paper - which I would just call "paper", not "wrapping paper" (unless I was getting the butcher to gift wrap the meat as a present!). "Butchers' paper", which we have in Australia, is not used by butchers as far as I know, having been superseded by plastic bags. As our entry says, it is restricted to arts and crafts, and apparently is also used by removalists. This, that and the other (talk) 12:06, 3 December 2021 (UTC)
Here we see “grease-proof wrapping paper” as a synonym of “imitation parchment paper”, which I think is not meant for wrapping greasy presents but the same material now commonly referred to as just “parchment paper”. Regarding the other question, sure you can have "meat parcels".[1][2][3]  --Lambiam 13:01, 3 December 2021 (UTC)
Where wrapping things is concerned, there is also brown paper. Mihia (talk) 14:46, 3 December 2021 (UTC)
I have certainly used the kind of Butterbrotpapier my piece was wrapped with to copy comics. Indeed I would have guessed that this is called parchment, as it's also known as Pergamentpapier, here in .de
However, I was hoping for something more medieval? Fish is wrapped in newspaper these days, so I guess you'd just call it the paper, eh. ApisAzuli (talk) 03:39, 4 December 2021 (UTC) Also Backpapier if heat resistant for baking. Packpapier can be ordered straight from Deutsche Post. ApisAzuli (talk) 04:31, 4 December 2021 (UTC)
Late reply: Thanks for the answers. My intention was indeed to find a good translation for German "Packpapier". I suppose "brown paper" and "butcher paper" are quite good, but the German word is broader, that's why asked the butcher question. Indeed I meant the kind of plastic-lined paper that they use. Anyway, I've created the entry. 11:31, 6 January 2022 (UTC)

whatever (3)Edit

Interjection sense:

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

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

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

Incorrect audio file at (Mandarin)Edit

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

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


Particle sense:

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

I assume "objects" should read "objects to". Anyone familiar with this use? The usex is hard (for me) to understand. The exact intention of "what" in the quotations is not clear without more context. At [4] it says that this sense of "what" is "Used at the end of sentences for emphasis, to indicate that a statement is obvious, etc.", which on the face of it seems to bear little relation to our definition (also it says "Origin uncertain; perh. < Eng. what", so apparently it may not even be the same word). There is quite a detailed discussion at [5]; piecing all this together, it seems to me that the definition should more helpfully read along the lines of "Used at the end of a sentence to emphasise the truth or obviousness of what one has said despite another's denial or objection." However, I still cannot understand how this fits our existing usex. Any ideas on any of this? Mihia (talk) 18:51, 3 December 2021 (UTC)

One way of looking at it is as a generalized tag question, especially consistent with the punctuation in usex 3.
Is this anything but a specialization of the following "Interjection" sense:
(Britain, colloquial, dated) Clipping of what do you say?
  • 1991 May 12, "Kidnapped!" Jeeves and Wooster, Series 2, Episode 5:
    Chuffy: WHAT? No, no, no, no, no. My casa is your casa, what?
    It’s a nice day, what?
I certainly don't get that the non-gloss definition is unambiguously supported by all three of the cites, possibly by any of the cites. DCDuring (talk) 19:24, 3 December 2021 (UTC)
Indeed, at [6] they aim to trace this Singlish use back to BrE. For me, the dated BrE sense that you mention would always need a comma and a question mark or exclamation mark, but I suppose writers cannot be relied upon to punctuate correctly. It would be useful to know how the Singlish examples are spoken. That BrE usage also does not include a sense of "despite another's denial or objection", which seems to be important in the Singlish usage, as far as I can tell. By the way, I have just noticed that, by coincidence, the Singlish sense has very recently been altered by @MiltonLibraryAssistant and originally read "Used sentence-finally to object an underlying assumption held by the interlocutor". It seems to me that the original equally misses the underlined point of "Used at the end of a sentence to emphasise the truth or obviousness of what one has said despite another's denial or objection", assuming of course that this point is a correct part of the definition, which I can't be sure of from personal knowledge. Mihia (talk) 20:52, 3 December 2021 (UTC)
Er... this is just incorrect English. Are we to insert entries for the French spoken by English people now too? 21:27, 3 December 2021 (UTC)
This is how people in certain strata of Singaporean society speak English. It's quite analogous to how the people in mediaeval England spoke Old French. See Law French, Anglo-Norman language and Dieu et mon droit, among others. Chuck Entz (talk) 21:54, 3 December 2021 (UTC)
SCE / Singlish isn't broken English, in the same way Multicultural London English isn't. SCE has its own rules governing syntax and has been the subject of many linguistic papers. Linguistics isn't prescriptive. SCE is a creole language that's also an informal register of English spoken in Singapore. Many people are fluent in both English and Singlish. MiltonLibraryAssistant (talk) 06:07, 4 December 2021 (UTC)
I know people do exist who have spoken Singlish since birth, but it is not a valid form of the language, simply because they are not English people, but foreigners who have adopted the language and then incorrectly learnt it and passed it on. I disagree with nothing you said in your reply - which suggest we are talking at cross purposes, or that you are engaging in non sequiturs. 05:07, 5 December 2021 (UTC)
@Sgconlaw, who is from that part of the world. Chuck Entz (talk) 21:54, 3 December 2021 (UTC)
I can confirm it is used in Singlish, and always at the end of a statement. It seems different from the (rather dated) use of the word in English as shown in the examples above, as it is pronounced with a sort of low tone with the vowel extended (like “whaaat”) and, as the current definition indicates, when the speaker is attempting to refute or express doubt about a statement by someone else. Beyond that, I’m not sure what I can add as I don’t have training in linguistics. — SGconlaw (talk) 00:01, 4 December 2021 (UTC)
@Sgconlaw I'm a little unclear about how to interpret the definition: is it used after repeating a statement one disagrees with to show one's disagreement, or is used after a statement of one's own, to show that one's statement is a rebuttal of what has been said?
As for its origin, it reminds me of particles I've seen in Mandarin Chinese, such as (ma), which turns the preceding sentence into a question. Chuck Entz (talk)
(Edit conflict) @Sgconlaw: Can you explain exactly what the present examples are supposed to mean? The usex, You asked for it what! — But you totally asked for it!, is not easily comprehensible to me. I don't understand with what purpose these things are being said and by whom. And again, what about e.g. "Most things come from Europe what". Would this be in a context where someone else had denied that most things come from Europe, but the speaker is insisting that this is true? Or is the speaker him/herself denying that most things come from Europe? Mihia (talk) 01:02, 4 December 2021 (UTC)
@Mihia Sinkie and original editor here. To clarify, sentence-final what in SCE has been described as an "objection particle", used to mark a statement that refutes/contradicts an assumption held by the other speaker. It absolutely depends on context — if I'm talking to someone and they're suggesting that there aren't any libraries nearby, I might say "The National Library is a five-minute walk from here what." in an attempt to falsify the notion that there aren't any libraries nearby. It's not easy to distill the meaning of what without an adjacency pair. I'll edit the usage examples, hopefully it's clearer that way. MiltonLibraryAssistant (talk) 03:42, 4 December 2021 (UTC)
I don't think your given definition "Used at the end of a sentence to emphasise the truth or obviousness of what one has said despite another's denial or objection" fits. Sentence-final what expresses the objection of the speaker, not the interlocutor, and it doesn't stress obviousness — in practice, that role is fulfilled by lor (Sense 2) and mah (Sense 1). "A Dictionary of Singlish" tends to oversimplify things, so I won't look into their definitions. Here's a dialogue example given by the aforementioned Brill paper:
Context: Discussion of a student who is going overseas for one month and will be missing classes.
—X: He’ll never pass the third year.
—Y: It’s only for one month what.
Here speaker Y challenges the notion that said student is doomed to fail, highlighting the relatively short duration of his travel. Speaker Y does not expect that fact to be obvious, and speaker X isn't denying or objecting to anything. The particle what marks objection, so it's for the most part semantically equivalent to sentence-initial but. MiltonLibraryAssistant (talk) 05:29, 4 December 2021 (UTC)
@Mihia The only thing I deem correct in "Used at the end of a sentence to emphasise the truth or obviousness of what one has said despite another's denial or objection" is "Used at the end of a sentence to emphasise the truth [...] of what one has said". MiltonLibraryAssistant (talk) 06:18, 4 December 2021 (UTC)
  1. (Singlish) Emphasizes the truth of an assertion made to refute a false assumption held by the listener.
    —Too bad there aren't any libraries nearby.
    —The National Library is a five-minute walk from here what.
Is this definition clearer now? @Sgconlaw feel free to edit if you think it's too convoluted. Ciao ciao. MiltonLibraryAssistant (talk) 08:55, 4 December 2021 (UTC)
This seems to be equivalent to Beriner *wa*, which can be construed of as discourse particle. de.WT oppines that it is short from wahr (true), equivalent to gell , and offers this example: „Schönes Wetter heute, wa?“ „Draußen, wa?“ ("nice weather today, ey?", "Outside, ey?"). ApisAzuli (talk) 03:57, 4 December 2021 (UTC)
@Mihia: I think one of the comments above captures part of the sense of the word fairly well: “Used at the end of a sentence to emphasise the truth or obviousness of what one has said […]”. However, I’m not sure it always has to be in response to “another's denial or objection”. For example, if A says “My daughter did quite well in her exams,” B might remark “She’s always been smart, what.” @Chuck Entz: I suppose a linguist would call it a discourse particle, like lah, mah, and the ma in Mandarin that you mentioned. — SGconlaw (talk) 04:51, 4 December 2021 (UTC)
@Sgconlaw: @MiltonLibraryAssistant: Thanks very much for your comments and assistance. It all looks good to me now: the definition along with the usex now fully understandable. Mihia (talk) 11:25, 4 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Does this deserve a separate etymology to include the influence of the rhyming Chinese particle? DCDuring (talk) 16:23, 4 December 2021 (UTC)
    @DCDuring Although its usage is fairly interchangeable with mah / Cantonese (maa3), we don't know for sure if there exists any correlation between the two. This Brill paper attempts to reconstruct the historical development of BrE what into the objection particle in question. So it's likely that it's derived from BrE and later syntactically influenced by the grammar of Cantonese/Min Nan. Tentatively speaking, I don't think this warrants a separate etymology. MiltonLibraryAssistant (talk) 05:05, 5 December 2021 (UTC)
    I read the Brill paper and don't doubt the derivation from English. But the grammar of its usage is not part of the Englishes of UK, US, Canada, Australia/NZ, Ireland, etc. (I'm not so sure about India, Philippines etc.) The distinct grammatical feature is not well conveyed to a speaker of any of these Englishes by either a gloss or a non-gloss definition, as witnessed by this discussion. I think we need to make it very clear that this term used in this way is borrowing its grammar from a non-English source. A distinct etymology would help highlight this highly significant difference. DCDuring (talk) 21:35, 13 December 2021 (UTC)

Mistranslation (Tagalog anomalya)Edit

Discussion moved from Wiktionary:Information_desk/2021/December.

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

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

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

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

@Austronesier Another good find, on rather counterintuitive usages (from the perspective of a speaker of English in places where it's the majority first language) of certain terms in non-native national varieties of English spoken as a second language (such as Philippine English and Indian English). @Mar vin kaiser To be honest, I have strong feelings against such usages due to the misunderstandings they might cause to native English speakers, but we should still list them in a descriptive dictionary. -- TagaSanPedroAko (talk) 10:48, 3 December 2021 (UTC)
@Austronesier And yes, we can move this to the Tea Room. After all, I'm new to this discussion rooms. TagaSanPedroAko (talk) 11:08, 3 December 2021 (UTC)
So am I, so I'd better ask: @Chuck Entz is it good practice to simply copypaste a long discussion to the Tea Room, or is it possible to mark it as copied/moved in some way? –Austronesier (talk) 13:03, 3 December 2021 (UTC)
@Austronesier I always replace everything but the header with {{movedto}} and start a new topic in the destination page with {{movedfrom}} as the first line, followed by everything that was removed from the original location.Chuck Entz (talk) 20:29, 3 December 2021 (UTC)
The meaning of Ancient Greek ἀνωμαλία (anōmalía), the etymon of anomaly/anomalia/anomalya, is “irregularity, unevenness”. While unrelated to anomia, I can imagine that a tinge of a sense of lawlessness has wafted over, but in any case, its use in the Philippine context seems like a euphemism for signs of corruption. I bet that similar uses of English anomaly as a euphemism can be found elsewhere.  --Lambiam 13:16, 3 December 2021 (UTC)
@Lambiam: I can second to that, we can list "anomaly" as a PhE synonym for "irregularity" in the context of corruption (e.g. on reports on irregularities in the procurement process for things the government purchased) but how it can be euphemistic? I would rather think of its PhE usage as an influence from the Tagalog (i.e. anomalya), but the reverse is not impossible (i.e. the common Tagalog definition of anomalya being semantically borrowed, considering the original Spanish doesn't have the aforementioned sense). And in regard to its usage outside of PhE, it's good we should find quotes since its usage within the Philippines might have carried on from its previous usage elsewhere in the English-speaking world, within the same definition of "irregularity" as in cases of corruption. -TagaSanPedroAko (talk) 17:15, 3 December 2021 (UTC)
Here are three uses in Spanish of the collocation una anomalía en la contabilidad: [7], [8], [9]. This corresponds to English accounting irregularity, which is normally understood as something arising from an intent to deceive or defraud. However, it is not uncommon to refer also in English to such an intentional irregularity as an “anomaly”. But in English an anomaly can also refer to an (unintentional) mistake; see for example these uses: [10], [11], [12]. Tax agencies use anomaly detection algorithms to discover fraud, but these will equally flag non-malicious tax returns that happen to fall outside the regular pattern.  --Lambiam 19:41, 3 December 2021 (UTC)
Since "irregularity" falls into the semantic range of the Spanish source word, and also into that of the English equivalent, it doesn't look that anomalous anymore... –Austronesier (talk) 21:20, 3 December 2021 (UTC)
@Lambiam, Austronesier: In what English senses does the provided Spanish usage fall under? Irregularity as like what happens with government purchases marred with corruption allegations (the usage of "anomaly" as commonly used in the Philippines but is otherwise dated elsewhere)? Or the conventional English sense of "deviation from a norm" (as like with temperature or magnetic anomalies)? Also, the next question is on the usage of "anomalous" as in an "anomalous transaction". We may be finished with Tagalog "anomalya" in the sense of violation of rules being equivalent to "anomaly" in its rather dated sense, but we still need to determine if "maanomalya" (as in "maanomalyang transaksyon", which I encounter a lot in news about government procurement scandals) can be equivalent to "anomalous" as well.-TagaSanPedroAko (talk) 00:00, 4 December 2021 (UTC)
To add to my reply, I find instances of "anomalous purchase" and also “anomalous transaction" in some English Wikipedia articles, mostly exclusively within Philippines-related articles especially in political contexts. Those phrases basically translate to Tagalog "maanomalyang pagbili" and "maanomalyang transaksiyon" respectively; I'm not sure how would native English speakers would translate them, with consideration to context. We can't cite the WP articles, but I think those phrases should also appear in major Philippine newspapers published in English. There is certainly a Philippines-specific usage of "anomalous" as illustrated above, basically a more-or-less literal translation of the Tagalog in its common usage. -TagaSanPedroAko (talk) 00:21, 4 December 2021 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I cannot read Tagalog (or Cebuano) and cannot comment on the range of meanings in English-language Philippine newspapers without detailed study. Outside the Philippine context, the collocation “anomalous transaction” is mainly used in the context of AI-driven anomaly detection to combat money laundering.[13][14][15] A detected anomaly can be a false positive. The collocation “anomalous purchase” is also found.[16] As used there, it is equivalent to “suspicious” in the sense of “raising suspicion (of a violation)” – but suspicion does not imply any rule has actually been violated. Just like a newspaper will not write “the thief” but “the alleged thief” if the suspect has not (yet) been found guilty, they will refer to a purchase as “anomalous” rather than “illegal” if it has not (yet) been ruled criminal. In this case the newspaper is quoting the US Office of Congressional Ethics, which will likewise hedge the wording in their reports.  --Lambiam 09:53, 4 December 2021 (UTC)

what (2)Edit

Adverb sense:

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

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

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


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

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

what (3)Edit

Pronoun senses:

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

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

I think the difference is that #3 is universal, e.g. "I will do all things I can to help you." But #2 just restricts to a condition: "He knows the things that he wants." There is a difference between "He knows the things that he wants" and "He knows all things that he wants". If you take this distinction literally then most of the examples are actually ambiguous and it's only context and common usage that put some under one definition and some under the other. My thinking is we have to keep in mind people whose native language is not English, and whose native language has different words for the different meanings. Having a single definition where they have different concepts in mind would be confusing for them. --RDBury (talk) 07:43, 5 December 2021 (UTC)
Right, there are cases of broader and narrower inclusion, and some sentences, such as the "friends" example, can take substitutions along the lines of either "the thing(s) that" or "anything that", depending on how wide a meaning is intended. Can we say that "whatever"/"anything that" cannot be substituted into "What is amazing is his boundless energy" simply because this is at the extreme "narrower" end of the spectrum? Or is there some other factor that makes this a separate species of usage? If the former, is there a case at the other end of the spectrum where "the thing(s) that" cannot be substituted? Mihia (talk) 18:37, 5 December 2021 (UTC)
In sense 3 you can substitute all (that) or (all) that which. “I’ll do what I can to help you” = “I’ll do all I can to help you”. What is mine is thine” = “That which is mine is thine”.  --Lambiam 12:01, 5 December 2021 (UTC)
However, similar substitutions into sense 2 examples are also possible. Mihia (talk) 18:39, 5 December 2021 (UTC)
  • I guess it's not very surprising, but a parallel phenomenon arises with the determiner senses. For example, taking (a) "I know what colour I am going to use" and (b) "What money I earn is soon spent", we can see that generic "the ... that" would fit in both sentences, whereas "any ... that"/"whatever" will fit only (b) and is impossible in (a). Again, I can't find any example the other way round, where "any ... that"/"whatever" fits but "the ... that" is impossible. Mihia (talk) 22:07, 7 December 2021 (UTC)

"fake news"Edit

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

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

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

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

I seems to mean an edition of a work of which many textual variants exist, in which for each passage with variant readings only the most important ones are presented, presumably selected based on a critical examination of the variants as most likely representative of the “true” original.[17] —⁠This unsigned comment was added by Lambiam (talkcontribs) at 12:33, 5 December 2021 (UTC).

on speaking terms, speaking termsEdit

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

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

chabudwellian or ChabudwellianEdit

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

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


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

Sounds like your reasoning to change the definition is pretty solid. I would say be bold and do it! —The Editor's Apprentice (talk) 05:27, 8 December 2021 (UTC)


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

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

what, whatever: "relative determiner"Edit

Our determiner sense of what exemplified by (a) "Write down what thoughts come into your mind" is labelled "relative", while the corresponding sense at whatever, (b) "Write down whatever thoughts come into your mind" presently is not. Presumably these should be labelled the same. According to CGEL according to [18], "The only relative determinative found outside the fused construction is which"; example given at the forum: "I was told my work was unsatisfactory, at which point I submitted my resignation". The uses in (a) and (b) are not "fused", so then according to this they should not be "relative". However, according to [19], "Relative determiners typically function as determiners in noun phrases that introduce relative clauses, as in we can use whatever/whichever edition you want", which is a non-fused case, and indeed the same as (a) and (b). This information is also sourced to CGEL. The use of "which" in the "at which point" example seems grammatically different from the uses of "what" and "whatever" in (a) and (b) and in the "whatever edition" example. Are they all relative determiners or not? And if (a) and (b) are not "relative" determiners then what beasts are they? Certainly they contain an embedded sense of a relative pronoun, so seem to be more than plain determiners. Any opinions anyone? Mihia (talk) 12:07, 6 December 2021 (UTC)

Pronunciation of "iff"Edit

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

Sure, I've heard it too. Let's add the pron. Notusbutthem (talk) 21:23, 6 December 2021 (UTC)
If you add it, though, make sure you add a note/qualifier saying that it is uncommon. Because English doesn't have phonemic gemination, it's unlikely that many people use that pronunciation (I've certainly not heard it, though I'm not often in a context where I would hear it). Andrew Sheedy (talk) 03:50, 20 December 2021 (UTC)

ear lobeEdit

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

  • What I meant to say was "we could do with another definition here" Notusbutthem (talk) 11:43, 8 December 2021 (UTC)

cleave in the sense of "cling"Edit

In addition to the sense "cut" for cleave, we also have the sense "cling" under a second etymology section. I don't think that I have ever heard the term used with this sense in conversation and have only recently happened upon it in a academic context, where one author even surrounded the term in scare quotes. The latest quote that we currently have under the "cling" sense is from 1887. This all leads me to wonder if the "cling" sense is dated, archaic, or literary. —The Editor's Apprentice (talk) 05:12, 8 December 2021 (UTC)

Ever heard of cleavage?  :)
There's also the auto-antonym hew, which similarly has paired senses of both "separate" and "stick together".
I think the core dynamic for both cleave and hew is the idea of something that is divided but also fitting together closely. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 06:14, 8 December 2021 (UTC)
"cleave" in the sense of "cling" is certainly not in common conversational use, but IMO it is not archaic or dated, nor does it need scare quotes. The word can be found in modern written usage, e.g. "Free oxygen atoms are highly reactive and will cleave to virtually anything" is an example that I readily found. (Incidentally, on a separate point, there is a plant called cleavers which I always thought was so named from "cleave" because it has prickly parts that stick to fur/clothing. We don't mention this in our ety, though some other dictionaries do say that the words are related.) Mihia (talk) 15:09, 8 December 2021 (UTC)
It seems to be only used in scientific terminology as non-archaic. All the other usage I see is evoking biblical language. There's a passage from the King James version that's very well known from marriage ceremonies (Genesis 2:24, quoted in Matthew 19:5 "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh."), so it shows up secondarily in discussions of marriage and married life. Chuck Entz (talk) 15:58, 8 December 2021 (UTC)
I don't think it's only scientific or Biblical allusions. I did find a sprinkling in other academic writing, fiction or general writing, such as "Batman comics largely cleave to the logic of institutionalized normalcy", "The air dark, the night still not ready to cleave to another day", "His voice, it was like a drug. The kind that instantly soothed, made you want to cleave to it, curl up against it", "Ivy, euonymus, and climbing hydrangeas cleave to walls by adhesive discs". However, I agree that the word is not common. Mihia (talk) 18:32, 8 December 2021 (UTC)
I have marked the sense as "uncommon" and added a more recent quotation from a Christian religious context. Thanks to everyone for their input. —The Editor's Apprentice (talk) 03:41, 10 December 2021 (UTC)

clip someone's wings, clip the wings ofEdit

I have added a quote and reference to the current entry that are for clip the wings of. The question is, should this be a separate entry, or a redirect, or even a move of the entry? DonnanZ (talk) 10:27, 8 December 2021 (UTC)

I had a browse through entries containing "someone's" in the title and found at least two such verbs with a quotation containing the "the [...] of" alternative: stick in someone's craw, raise someone's hackles. I reckon this is precedent enough for your "clip the wings of" quotation to stay on clip someone's wings, with clip the wings of redirecting to this. Voltaigne (talk) 01:56, 9 December 2021 (UTC)
Yes, I know there are oodles of those. I decided to create a new entry anyway, treated as a synonym, as the bird sense wasn't covered - birds are animate but not people - and nor are organisations and inanimate things like cities (debatable, I suppose). DonnanZ (talk) 12:02, 9 December 2021 (UTC)

what a puzzleEdit

"the ... that" is substitutable for "what" in e.g. "You know what nonsense he talks" with roughly the same meaning, perhaps just a little less emphasis. This usage of "what" blends into the exclamatory use "What nonsense he talks!" ~ "The nonsense that he talks!"

Seemingly similar usage also exists with the indefinite article, e.g. "You know what a liar he is" / "What a liar he is!", but now "the ... that" is not substitutable. Instead something like "how great/notable/notorious/etc." would be needed (though it may be debatable whether this changes the sense of "a").

Especially in cases of difficult words such as "what", I am normally a big fan of discriminating senses on the basis of unique substitutable definitions. However, in this case it seems perverse that "You know what a liar he is" and "You know what nonsense he talks" should be different senses of "what". So what is the solution? Or is "what a" even a distinct idiomatic determiner worthy of its own entry? Mihia (talk) 14:40, 8 December 2021 (UTC)

It occurs to me in fact that "what a" is not unique: "what some" does exist, e.g. "what some lovely weather we're having", and even "what the" may not be impossible, e.g. "what the perfect end to a day". Mihia (talk) 17:43, 10 December 2021 (UTC)

successful - two additional sensesEdit

Would it be a good idea to add two additional senses? as in "a successful artist" and "a successful suicide attempt". Neither of these seem to denote "resulting in success". ---> Tooironic (talk) 02:24, 9 December 2021 (UTC)

IMO "a successful suicide attempt" is logically the same sense as e.g. "a successful project"; even though the first outcome may seem disastrous, it is what was desired. I see "a successful artist", and "a successful person" generally, as probably meriting a different sense, but e.g. "successful team", "successful company" would also have to be considered. Mihia (talk) 19:34, 10 December 2021 (UTC)

love the sound of one's own voiceEdit

Is this entry-worthy or self-explanatory. My vote is to create an entry for it. --RDBury (talk) 02:53, 9 December 2021 (UTC)

Seems idiomatic and entry worthy to me. I wonder how it compares in commonality to love the sound of one's voice, that is without the "own". Take care. —The Editor's Apprentice (talk) 03:48, 10 December 2021 (UTC)
To me this doesn't seem uniquely idiomatic as a phrase, but more like one of a variety of possible ways to express an idea, albeit some of these perhaps much less common. "like" can also be used, and examples of "adore" can be found too. "like/love to hear one's own voice" also exists, as does "like/love to listen to one's own voice". Mihia (talk) 17:56, 10 December 2021 (UTC)
@Mihia: It is an issue that there are many variations possible. "He likes to hear himself talk. He's in love with the sound of of his own voice." So it fails what I consider to be one of the criteria for an idiom, that rephrasing destroys the meaning. E.g. "stuck pail with foot" does not mean "kicked the bucket". I think it does meet other criteria though. For Wiktionary the most relevant is that the literal meaning is different from the intended meaning. Interpreted literally it could be said about a singer who enjoys listening to recordings of himself performing. But that same singer might be somewhat shy and introverted, the opposite of someone who "loves the sound of his own voice". Variations of the phrase also seem to be repeated with the same intended meaning. So to me, the issue in terms of criteria for inclusion is whether it's self-explanatory. In other words, if it's translated literally to another language would it have the intended meaning to people who don't speak English? --RDBury (talk) 07:47, 11 December 2021 (UTC)

"as useful/useless as"Edit

We have useful as a chocolate teapot, useful as tits on a bull, and as much use as a chocolate fireguard. This seems to be the tip of the iceberg though. I've found/heard:

  • tits on a tomcat/rooster
  • a snowshoe at the Equator
  • spats in a nudist colony
  • a flat spare tire
  • a fifth wheel under a chassis
  • a locomotive which has no steam
  • a blind mule in the bottom of a sinkhole
  • a chandelier in a cow shed
  • an outboard motor on the Queen Mary
  • a lighthouse without a light
  • translating the complete works of Shakespeare into cuneiform
  • the nipples on a man's chest
  • an ashtray on a motorbike

It seems the "as useful as [something which obviously has no use]" paradigm is limited only by human creativity and the more amusing versions are spread and passed around like memes. My impression is these things are especially popular in Australia. There are more complex versions as well:

  • as useful to (someone) as a thousand legs would be to a bulldog
  • as useful to (someone) as a pair of bathing drawers to a conger eel

I'm not convinced that any of these individually are idioms according to the sum-of-parts criterion for inclusion. That the pattern exists seems worth recognizing, but I don't know what the lemma would be, or even if it's possible to create one. Perhaps an explanation in Appendix:English similes would work. Perhaps it would work better in Wikipedia as w:List of English-language similes for uselessness; there is already a w:List of English-language euphemisms for death. I don't really have and good ideas here, just an observation that expressions like this should be listed somewhere. --RDBury (talk) 04:25, 9 December 2021 (UTC)

They could be considered snowclones and put in the existing snowclones appendix, e.g. at Appendix:Snowclones/as useful as X and/or Appendix:Snowclones/as useless as X, a la Appendix:Snowclones/X weather for ducks; attested formulations could then redirect there, a la good weather for ducks. Since these are specifically similes, I think it'd make sense to have them as subpages of Appendix:English similes, functioning the same way as the snowclone subpages. - -sche (discuss) 06:19, 13 December 2021 (UTC)
I don't think they are snowclones. "Chocolate teapot" etc. are very specific and colourful phrases, not just plain everyday words slotted into a template (and "as useful as X" is not striking enough to be a snowclone template either). One approach to avoid separate "useful/useless" entries would be to create entries for the thing alone (e.g. chocolate teapot) and define it as e.g. "something proverbially useless"; compare hen's tooth or wigwam for a goose's bridle. Equinox 15:48, 13 December 2021 (UTC)
I agree with your thinking. Also chocolate poker could be created and included in the list of things proverbially useless. Overlordnat1 (talk) 16:26, 6 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Do I detect a fan of Mr. Goodliffe?

Need help for Creating Wiktionary:Requested entries (Santali)Edit

Hi everyone, i hope everyone is good. I'm a Wikipedia editor and just came around Wikitionary for adding Santali language words to English Wikitionary, i haven't edited Wikitionary for long, and haven't edited much. I fear that anything shouldn't go wrong, though I have read all the guidelines. I have few questions in my mind, Q1-Can I create new Santali words entry directly or only should request in requested entries (By creating Requested entries (Santali) and add words only there) and someone else would later add them to English Wikitionary with proof? Q2-I have read Wiktionary:Criteria for inclusion can i add words directly to English Wikitionary? Q3- Is it necessary to have own language Wikitionary to be add word in English Wikitionary, as Santali Wikitionary is still in Incubator? Thanks Rocky 734 (talk) 14:12, 9 December 2021 (UTC)

We do not have many Santali editors, so you are welcome to add any missing entries, requested or not. You do not need anyone’s permission; you can start creating them straightaway here at the English Wiktionary. You can use existing entries, such as ᱮᱝᱜᱚ (eṅgô), as a model. It will be appreciated if you can add illustrative example sentences, both for entries that you add and existing entries.  --Lambiam 22:58, 10 December 2021 (UTC)

synonyms for bronanzaEdit

There are multiple synonymous Finnish words that describe a group of drunks or any group one does heavy drinking with. I recently created entries for juopporemmi, juoppokööri and ryyppyporukka, but the best English equivalent I could muster was 'bronanza'. Certainly there must be something that better captures the gist. Brittletheories (talk) 17:33, 9 December 2021 (UTC)

Yes, you should find a better translation, I've never heard of a "bronanza". DTLHS (talk) 17:39, 9 December 2021 (UTC)
To me, it seems English simply hasn't got much vocabulary for describing culture around alcohol abuse. I assume my ignorance mostly follows from the fact that my exposure to English has almost exclusively come from higher registers, so while I'm familiar with juopporemmi, I have not stumbled across an English equivalent. My post really wasn't asking if I needed a better word – it was asking English natives, such as yourself, to share a better translation (though that was only implied and never explicit).
Brittletheories (talk) 21:34, 9 December 2021 (UTC)
"Drinking buddies" perhaps? (Assuming this refers to a group of friends, not a group of drunk strangers.) 18:18, 9 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Colloquially, informally, I've heard brew crew and drinking buddies (again, speaking of friends or at least friendly acquaintances, not a group of strangers). Of slightly different meanings, I've also heard barflies and pubcrawlers. But I'm not much of a drinker myself, so my own exposure to such vocabulary has been filtered via media. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 22:29, 9 December 2021 (UTC)
Thank you. Those are a little closer to what I'm looking for (though not quite the thing). I'll update the pages. Brittletheories (talk) 12:18, 10 December 2021 (UTC)


Greetings from Brittany,
Does someone know the precise meaning (if any) of inclined unto in the following sentence from Le Morte Dartur Thomas Malory, Book 1, Chapter 15 (Caxton 1485 edition, leaf 29r., vs. Canterbury Classics →ISBN) ?

for I see yonder a kynge one of the most worshipfullest men & one of the best knyȝtes of the world ben enclyned vnto his felauship.
for I see yonder a king, one of the most worshipfullest men and one of the best knights of the world, is inclined unto his fellowship.

It seems to mean "coming towards", but there might be a more precise meaning, e.g. "coming to rescue" in the context. Many thanks! • Alan Dipode (talk) 18:13, 9 December 2021 (UTC)

Could "inclined unto his fellowship" mean "considering joining his fellowship"? Mihia (talk) 18:46, 9 December 2021 (UTC)
Maybe, in a more general sense than that of a battleground, though: here, two knights of King Bors' are being taken aback by King Lot's ost; then King Bors comes to rescue his knights — King Lot sees him coming and utters the above-mentioned, where "a king" is Bors and the knights "his fellowship". Could is inclined unto mean "is turning toward", physically ? That's how I inderstand it, but I'm not sure; can't find any source for "enclyne (unto)" = "torn (toward)" or the equivalent in Modern English, nor do I find "encline unto" anywhere else!. • Alan Dipode (talk) 20:41, 9 December 2021 (UTC)
▶ I suspected something religious there... Bingo! Deus in adiutorium meum intende, Domine ad adiuvandum me festina, i.e. "Incline unto my aid, O God; O Lord, make haste to help me" is what a monk must say before each psalm, according to the Benedictine rule/18. So, incline unto would mean "come", that's all. I hope somebody will be kind enough to add this to the article (sorry, I'm not used to contributing to the English Wiktionary). Thanks to the community, Alan Dipode (talk) 21:54, 9 December 2021 (UTC)


Words in siculish are accepted on wiktionary?-- 21:03, 9 December 2021 (UTC)

IMO yes, provided the term can be attested according to our criteria for inclusion, which means that we need uses of the term in a text in Sicilian; mentions in lists of Siculish words are not sufficient. The language code should then be scn for Sicilian, and the definition should be labelled as being {{lb|scn|{{w|Siculish}}}}.  --Lambiam 20:33, 10 December 2021 (UTC)
@Lambiam ok thanks!-- 00:43, 11 December 2021 (UTC)
For exemple in a book of w:en:Leonardo Sciascia the word in siculish storo means "store".-- 00:48, 11 December 2021 (UTC)
@Lambiam PS here's a source: source.-- 01:00, 11 December 2021 (UTC)
Can you add a quotation to storo/storu with the quote from the Sciascia book? 01:08, 11 December 2021 (UTC)
I don't know how to do it... 16:51, 11 December 2021 (UTC)
Sicilian is not a well documented language, so only one use is sufficient. Also, Siculish words used in otherwise English text could be added as English words if they have three uses (not mentions). 20:44, 10 December 2021 (UTC)
Please qualify that second statement -- use of a non-English term in running text that is otherwise English is not itself enough to justify creating an English entry for a given term. Consider the overall context -- is this appearance of the term possibly an example of code-switching? Was the term introduced earlier in the same text as an explicitly non-English term? In such cases, the mere appearance of the term in English does not serve as evidence of "English-ness". ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 01:17, 11 December 2021 (UTC)
@Eirikr It's code-swtiching and this term is also used in this store in Messina, U Storu Du Piscistoccu. 17:03, 11 December 2021 (UTC)

Quoting foreign words in English textsEdit

Esme Shepherd (talk) 21:35, 9 December 2021 (UTC) 'épris' has not been absorbed into the English language, so I entered an English quote using it (from 1837) in the French section. I was uncertain about this but now know it was wrong and it has been redacted. However, can the quote be included in a new English section for that word (giving its meaning of course)? If it had been the word 'éclat', for example, this would have been no problem, but is it the case that foreign words used in English texts cannot be quoted if they have not been assimilated?

It can be hard to determine. Looking for unitalicized uses is good, such as [20]. DTLHS (talk) 22:03, 9 December 2021 (UTC)

That is a translation that could, I suppose, in modern English, have been rendered as 'sweet on'. I am satisfied that the ruling is correct and I was in error. I only raised it because I had not seen the matter anywhere as a policy statement. My author used many French phrases because she was fluent in that language and, as you point out, they are always in italics. Only some of these have been absorbed into English, such as for instance 'au fait'. Esme Shepherd (talk) 09:54, 10 December 2021 (UTC)

rip off: 2nd and 3rd translation boxesEdit

The third translation box reads "to charge an exorbitant or unfair rate". Given that we have that sense covered, does rip off really have an additional separate sense of "to steal, cheat or swindle" that is not related to charging unfair rates? Fytcha (talk) 13:54, 10 December 2021 (UTC)

No, I don't think so. The two senses were merged here (back in 2015) but their respective translation boxes weren't. A railway company may be said to be ripping off its passengers when it charges £7 for a cheese and pickle sandwich in the buffet car, but it is not literally stealing from, cheating or swindling them (hyperbole aside). Conversely, I can't think of a case when one would use rip off / rip-off to denote a theft or swindle that doesn't involve exorbitant or unfair charges, or unauthorized copying (sense 3). Voltaigne (talk) 16:02, 10 December 2021 (UTC)
Strictly speaking, an example not involving unfair charges could be a dealer sees a valuable antique in your home and persuades you to sell it for a fraction of the true value. I think in that case it could be said that you were "ripped off" by the dealer? Mihia (talk) 17:49, 10 December 2021 (UTC)
Good point. Maybe the definition could be tweaked to something like: "to disadvantage the other party to a transaction using exorbitant or unfair pricing". Voltaigne (talk) 19:04, 11 December 2021 (UTC)
@Voltaigne, Mihia: If it's fine with you, I'll change the second sense accordingly and remove the second translation box entirely. Fytcha (talk) 18:31, 14 December 2021 (UTC)
Personally I would try to retain at least one of those words such as "swindle" in the definition, though I don't feel tremendously strongly. Mihia (talk) 20:49, 14 December 2021 (UTC)


Conjunction sense:

  1. In whatever way or manner.
    she offered to help however she could

Anyone agree that this is a conjunction? Mihia (talk) 21:52, 10 December 2021 (UTC)

w:Conjunctive adverb has conjunctive adverb, adverbial conjunction, or subordinating adverb as synonymous, but they are defined as "an adverb that connects two clauses by converting the clause it introduces into an adverbial modifier of the verb in the main clause." DCDuring (talk) 22:11, 10 December 2021 (UTC)
I don't see the examples on that page as comparable. That would be the case e.g. "She offered to help; however, her offer was refused", which is quite different from "She offered to help however she could". Mihia (talk)
Your case is even more adverbial IMHO. DCDuring (talk) 02:32, 11 December 2021 (UTC)
I agree. I can't think of anywhere to go with this except adverb. It does slightly "concern" me, though, that this "however" does also seem to have some kind of linking or "relative" function. If we look at e.g. "However did you do it?" then yes, I did it this way, I did it that way, so "however" is asking for an adverb, fine. In "She offered to help however she could", yes, she could (help) in this way, or by doing this, or by doing that, so again "however" is asking for an adverb, but "She offered to help she could (help) by doing this/that" does not make sense or does not join properly. The word "however" apparently also links the two parts in a way that a plain adverb cannot, or not that I can see right now anyway. I suppose this is beyond the granularity of our PoS possibilities, but I wonder if there might be a label ... a this or that kind of adverb. There is a "relative adverb", of course, but I have only ever heard this applied to cases such as e.g. "the place where I work" or "the reason why I asked", which is different altogether, and per above "conjunctive adverb" seems to be different too. Mihia (talk) 12:32, 11 December 2021 (UTC)
It's also interesting to compare with "whatever":
a) she offered to help however she could
b) she offered to give whatever she could
The relevant definition for (b) "whatever" is "Anything that; all that", classified as a "fused relative pronoun", relative pronoun for "that", and "fused" since it also incorporates the modified word, "anything", "all", etc. (I am not 100% happy about this because to me the "main" pronoun is not "that" but "anything/all", other suggestions welcome.) My feeling is that there ought to be a parallel definition for (a) "however" that makes explicit some kind of relative word. There is "in any way that", but I feel this is slightly "cheating" since although "in any way" as a whole is adverbial, "that" seems to apply to the noun "way". I wonder whether "in any way in which" would be better. Hmmm. Mihia (talk) 13:47, 11 December 2021 (UTC)
Another thing to consider:
c) Wear your hair however you want.
d) Wear your hair as you want.
If we are to say that (c) "however" is an adverb not a conjunction, then either (d) "as" also needs to be an adverb not a conjunction, or it needs to be explained why "as" and "however" are different PoS. Mihia (talk) 19:29, 11 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Other dictionaries are all over the place with this. Although it seems another awkward fusion of different parts of speech, the sense overall seems more adverb than conjunction, and, as mentioned above, even less of a conjunction than the "nevertheless" sense, which we list as an adverb. Therefore I have moved it to adverb. This also entails changing some definitions, otherwise definitions for one adverb sense would be equally substitutable into examples for another adverb sense, and also entails changing/moving the usage notes, which no longer make sense as written. Anyone definitely thinks this is wrong, please ping me here. Mihia (talk) 12:48, 13 December 2021 (UTC)
    I really wouldn't rely on semantics to determine word class.
    A label "(conjunctive)" would help a user understand. Categories such as Category:English conjunctive adverbs and Category:English adverbial conjunctions would help us standardize the treatment of such terms.
    I suppose the underlying phenomenon is that the clause conjoined by however is adverbial with respect to the main clause. I'm not sure how to characterize its role in the subordinate clause. (Compare: He did whatever he wanted. in which the subordinate clause in nominal with respect to the main clause and whatever is also nominal, I think, with respect to the subordinate clause.) DCDuring (talk) 15:49, 13 December 2021 (UTC)
This "however" appears to behave unlike any other known "conjunctive adverb" so I am very reluctant to label it "conjunctive". For example, conjunctive adverbs can normally follow the main clause after a semicolon and/or full stop. This one can do neither. Also they are often moveable, which this one is not. I mentioned the parallel with "whatever" above. Yes, the cases are very similar. "whatever" decomposes as "the thing(s) that"/"anything that"/etc., i.e. noun + relative word, while "however" decomposes into "in any way that", i.e. adverb + relative word. I think given the PoS we have available, "adverb" is probably the best we can do, but if additionally there was a label to show what kind of adverb, that might help. I don't know whether there is. For the reasons already mentioned above, neither "relative" nor "conjunctive" seems to do. Mihia (talk) 18:22, 13 December 2021 (UTC)
By the way, also, either I don't properly understand what you mean by "wouldn't rely on semantics to determine word class" or I disagree. If we didn't consider semantics, but looked only at the syntax of the sentence, surely we would readily conclude that "however" in "she offered to help however she could (help)" is a conjunction, as it joins two clauses. This simplistic analysis, which does not look at the semantic way in which the clauses are connected, yields, in my opinion, and you seem to agree, the wrong answer. Mihia (talk) 21:00, 13 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Thinking about this some more, it really is a total can of worms.
e) She helped however [= in any way in which] she could.
f) She helped when [= at any time at which] she could.
g) She did what [= all/anything that] she could.
h) She always helped, however [= regardless of the way in which] she felt.
I just don't see that we can call "when" in (f) an adverb, so if "however" in (e) is an adverb, what is the difference? Unless this can be explained, I think we may need to put (e) back to conjunction. But again, if "however" in (e) is a conjunction, why isn't "what" in (g) a conjunction? Is it because "however she could" is adverbial but "what she could" is nounal? Is it because "however she could" is an adjunct while "what she could" is grammatically essential? And what about (h)? This sense was always listed as an adverb (I mean, before I changed anything). How is (h) less of a conjunction than (e)? Mihia (talk) 12:59, 14 December 2021 (UTC)
To me that seems easy: it introduces a temporal clause and has no role in the subordinate role that makes one think of it otherwise. All of these seem to have a dual role in many of their uses. DCDuring (talk) 13:48, 14 December 2021 (UTC)
I assume you are addressing here the question of whether/why (f) "when" is different from (e) "however"? I don't understand why temporal versus manner should matter as far as this PoS question is concerned. At what time did she help? When she could. In what manner did she help? However she could. What is the difference? Mihia (talk) 17:56, 14 December 2021 (UTC)
I was just being specific about the type of adverbial. Sometimes they (and locatives) behave like nominals. DCDuring (talk) 21:59, 14 December 2021 (UTC)
(e) and {f) introduce adverbial subordinate clauses. (g) introduces a nominal subordinate clause. If one substitutes that which for what one can see that as a nominal in the main clause and which as a (conjunctive) nominal in the subordinate clause. (h) the subordinate clause seems to function semantically as an adjective, a predicate for she. One cannot say that it modifies the verb helped. However does seem adverbial in its function within the subordinate clause.
If all of these must fit into the same word class, then their subordinating conjunctive function seems to force us to choose "conjunction" with several of them being adverbial conjunctions in some uses. They also should all be in Category:English subordinating conjunctions in the usages you have referred to, but they are not. DCDuring (talk) 16:56, 14 December 2021 (UTC)
  • After all that, I've put the "she offered to help however she could" sense back to conjunction, since I cannot see a PoS-relevant way to distinguish this use from the corresponding use of words such as "when", and others. Ho-hum. Mihia (talk) 10:06, 15 December 2021 (UTC)
    I've spent similarly extravagant amounts of time on many such matters. In my case I view it is part of my syntacto-lexicographic homework, not having had any formal education in either modern syntax or lexicography. DCDuring (talk) 14:54, 15 December 2021 (UTC)
It's not just us. Other, "professional" dictionaries are all over the place with what is an adverb and what is a conjunction. They are inconsistent with each other and even sometimes internally inconsistent with themselves. Ideally we need some kind of rule/test to distinguish these. Mihia (talk) 22:46, 15 December 2021 (UTC)
I'll bet that all of the wh- terms, with or without -soever or -ever have some usage that is clearly that of a subordinating conjunction, though this is probably an obsolete category for modern grammars. You may be amused to know that CGEL (2002) calls many of these prepositions! DCDuring (talk) 00:37, 16 December 2021 (UTC)
Hm, I vote we don't call them prepositions. To me, conjunctions should link clauses that are "sufficiently separable or standalone". For example, in "I like her because she is kind", (a) I like her, and (b) she is kind, and (b) is the reason for (a), so fine, "because" is a conjunction. On the other hand, in "You can dress however you want", (c) You can dress, and (d) You want (to dress), it just doesn't seem to work in the same way, so to me it doesn't really feel like a conjunction, or not so much. Unfortunately, I cannot at the moment see how to make a clear definition that would put words like this "however" on the "adverb" side of the line, and yet avoid making adverbs of words that "everyone" would traditionally see as conjunctions. Mihia (talk) 13:48, 16 December 2021 (UTC)
CGEL (2002) likes "prepositions". They call many adverbs "intransitive prepositions". I find it useful to think of that way, but I wouldn't want to impose it either on normal Wiktionary users or even on our contributors, who are more accepting of such departure from traditional categories. There are a number of words that fit in both the conjunction and preposition categories with virtually identical semantics, eg, after, before, while (with gerunds). CGEL (1985) spends some pages distinguishing prepositions from other "subordinators". But they point out that all the wh- words fall into multiple word classes, though the definitions they have in each word class have a great deal of overlap. DCDuring (talk) 16:12, 16 December 2021 (UTC)


The English pronunciation of Jenna seems to violate English phonotactic rules quite massively. I've always thought it's pronounced /ˈdʒɛnə/. Does anyone here know better? Mölli-Möllerö (talk) 09:45, 11 December 2021 (UTC)

I assume when you say "The English pronunciation of Jenna" you mean the pronunciation listed in the article, i.e. /d͡ʒen.nə/. If it's the "n.n" you are referring to, yes, it looks weird to me, as if you would say the "nn" in "Jenna" like in "ten notes", which I can't imagine anyone would. Mihia (talk) 12:53, 11 December 2021 (UTC)
Forrest Gump would ;) Leasnam (talk) 20:28, 11 December 2021 (UTC)
Ha-ha, yes! Mihia (talk)
Yeah, that's what I was referring to. It's pronounced /ˈdʒɛnə/ in this source, so I've edited the article accordingly. Mölli-Möllerö (talk) 16:41, 11 December 2021 (UTC)

heraldry termEdit

What's the yellow half-cross thing (not the cross...) called in this shield? There's a Spanish adjective cintrado to describe it, and the assumed adjectives belty or bannery of half-crossy don't exist. Notusbutthem (talk) 13:35, 11 December 2021 (UTC)

The blue-and-gold thing looks very much like an orb with a cross on top, which is apparently called a globus cruciger. I don't know if that helps at all. Mihia (talk) 18:38, 11 December 2021 (UTC)
@Mihia I think what Notusbutthem is referring to is the gold area that is contained within the blue circle. —The Editor's Apprentice (talk) 04:56, 12 December 2021 (UTC)
Sure, I understand that, but I didn't know whether Notusbutthem was aware that the blue-and-gold thing was an orb. The gold parts within the blue circle are (apparently) the bands around the orb, which may help in finding out what these are called, if indeed they have any special name. Mihia (talk) 21:10, 12 December 2021 (UTC)
The horizontal band is the orb azure being "banded or", and my impression is that the vertical half-band is a stylistic variation covered under "banded". For example, the Marquises of Mun bear the Imperial orb: "Azure, an orb argent, banded, and surmounted by the cross or", which Google Images shows as an orb with ┴-shaped banding. Crwflags.com uses "garnished", as in 1, 2, 3, but this may be idiosyncratic; I can also find references to orbs which are both banded and garnished, so it's not clear to me that "garnished" alone necessarily means "having a ┴ shaped covering of a specified colour" as opposed to meaning "having some kind of ornamentation" with the specifics left up to the artist, as a great many other things can also be "garnished", e.g. sea lions(!). Orbs can also be depicted with half-bands going up the sides, in addition to or instead of bands going up the centre, all based on another angle of viewing actual royal orbs. My impression is that all of this is covered under "banded", like different representations of eagles are all blazoned "eagles".
We're missing a heraldic definition at "crossed", btw, as in google books:"banded and crossed or". - -sche (discuss) 05:50, 13 December 2021 (UTC)

Spelling of the raspberry soundEdit

It appears that, in English, there is no standard spelling of the raspberry sound. (See here [[21]] for several attempted spellings.) Do any other languages have a standard spelling for this sound? 2602:252:D14:F900:292C:FFA:493B:4381 04:35, 12 December 2021 (UTC)

We have pff Br00pVain (talk) 15:18, 12 December 2021 (UTC)
"Pff"? Are you sure about that? 2601:18A:C500:C00:FC9C:78B7:BC6A:C7B0 03:40, 13 December 2021 (UTC)
It does list raspberry (aka Bronx cheer) under def. 3. It seems unlikely to me though, and the audio clip certainly does not sound like any Bronx cheer I've heard. This video (apparently taken from a sound effects album) has several in case someone needs to compare. Do any other languages even have a name for the sound? RDBury (talk) 04:51, 13 December 2021 (UTC)
Apparently, yes, some other languages do have a name for this sound. Look under raspberry, etymology 2, translations. 2601:18A:C500:C00:FC9C:78B7:BC6A:C7B0 21:18, 13 December 2021 (UTC)
Previously asked on StackExchange: [22]. Equinox 21:26, 13 December 2021 (UTC)

Figurative or idiomatic use of "dance in tune"Edit

Does the phrase dance in tune appears to be used to sometimes mean "act in coordination, act to the aid of (someone)" such as in "He said while the Pakistani narrative was getting popular in Kashmir, the opposition leaders had started to blame the armed forces dancing in tune with the enemy."[23] We have a figurative definition of in tune as "In an understanding relationship", but it seems dance might also be being used figuratively. Overall, is dance in tune really idiomatic and entry worthy? —The Editor's Apprentice (talk) 04:50, 12 December 2021 (UTC)

The phrase sounds familiar to me, but I'd like to see a few more instances, ones that don't involve actual dancing, before I'm convinced that it's not a one-off. --RDBury (talk) 04:26, 13 December 2021 (UTC)
Sure thing: "Pavel spoke about how the rulers still danced in tune with the corporates, and by no mean should the people place blind faith." [24], "Dancing in tune with my new motto for fall, I’ve been aiming to practice the art of simplicity dressing." [25], "If one wants to be, the personality will dance in tune to the wish." [26], "Results in episodic patterns of disease outbreaks as they dance in tune with climate variability". [27] Some of these seem to have more the meaning "mirror the movement of", which may be indistinct or non-idiomatic. —The Editor's Apprentice (talk) 05:06, 13 December 2021 (UTC)
The idiom appears to be, dance in tune with, or (more rarely but common enough) dance in tune to. The common figurative meaning seems to be, “To act in accordance with (aims, plans, needs or wishes)”.  --Lambiam 08:45, 13 December 2021 (UTC)
Isn't the idiom either in tune, as several good dictionaries have, and/or in tune with, as two good idiom dictionaries have it? See in tune at OneLook Dictionary Search and in tune with at OneLook Dictionary Search. Another related idiom is dance to someone's tune. Less common are dance to another tune and dance to a different tune. The general construction is dance to [any NP headed by tune(s)], which would include dance to a new tune, dance to a different tune, dance to the same tune, dance to any other tune, etc.. DCDuring (talk) 16:20, 13 December 2021 (UTC)


In the film Diarios de motocicleta (2004), the protagonists call each other mial a few times, e.g. Vos estás loco, mial. I haven't been able to find this word anywhere. Argentinean Spanish colloquialism? – Jberkel 10:51, 12 December 2021 (UTC)

It's just the nickname of Alberto in the film (and IRL???). Like calling you Berky... Br00pVain (talk) 15:20, 12 December 2021 (UTC)
Ok, but in the Spanish subtitles it is written in lowercase, so I assumed it was something else. –Jberkel 19:51, 12 December 2021 (UTC)

generalize: senses 2 and 4 identical?Edit

From reading the sense definition, it seems to me that they describe the same thing. I can't think of any situation where 2 fits but not 4 or vice-versa. Sense 4 was added here by @Equinox. Fytcha (talk) 12:49, 12 December 2021 (UTC)

The example in sense 4 looks like an case of induction to me, so it doesn't match sense 4, but rather sense 2. And we generalize first before we deduce (i.e. apply a general rule to a special case), so IMO sense 4 is actually out of place. ‑Austronesier (talk) 21:09, 12 December 2021 (UTC)
And the example in sense 2 does not look like inductive inference to me. It’s all a bit of a mess. Aside: we define induction in the logic sense as an act of inducing, whereas to induce in the logic sense is defined as “to infer by induction”. So induction is then “an act of inference by induction”.  --Lambiam 22:18, 12 December 2021 (UTC)

maskee: how to include this?Edit

Hobson-Jobson (1903) says:

This is a term in Chinese "pigeon," meaning 'never mind,' 'n'importe,' which is constantly in the mouths of Europeans in China. It is supposed that it may be the corruption or ellipsis of a Portuguese expression, but nothing satisfactory has been suggested. Mr. Skeat writes: "Surely this is simply Port. mas que, probably imported direct through Macao, in the sense of 'although, even, in spite of,' like French malgre.

Possible citations (but what language is it, really?):

  • 1879, Thomas W. Knox, Adventures of Two Youths in a Journey to Japan and China
    T'hat nightee teem he come chop-chop / One young man walkee, no can stop; / Maskee snow, maskee ice; / He cally flag wit'h chop so nice []
  • 1897, Julian Ralph, Alone in China, and Other Stories (page 60)
    It is “Maskee, maskee,” all the time in China. If a stone bridge has tumbled down, and a great part of the population is put a couple of miles out of its path during year after year, maskee.

Equinox 15:44, 13 December 2021 (UTC)

At the moment, Chinese Pidgin English is still a separate language, so I guess it could be argued the first cite is CPE (for which one cite would be enough). If we were to merge CPE into English then they would both be English. Here is another cite of the pidgin-related sense and several cites of a masking-related sense, btw. - -sche (discuss) 21:32, 13 December 2021 (UTC)
Could Europeans have misheard this and it was mei guan xi all along? 10:36, 15 December 2021 (UTC)

still and allEdit

  1. Despite the preceding.
Typical example from Lexico: ‘A wonderful, fabulous, magnificent game, to be sure, but, still and all, a game.’

Anyone know this expression? Does it need any kind of label? I have never heard of it. Ngrams "but still and all" (chosen to try to eliminate other ways in which "still and all" could occur) doesn't indicate that it is old-fashioned, and shows, as of the present, little difference between BrE and AmE frequency. Just a bit surprised, that's all. Mihia (talk) 17:55, 13 December 2021 (UTC)

I think I've heard it. Equinox 21:40, 13 December 2021 (UTC)
I ought to know by now, but just remind me whereabouts in the world you are? Mihia (talk) 21:44, 13 December 2021 (UTC)
SE England. Equinox 21:45, 13 December 2021 (UTC)
OK, thanks, it could just be me then. Mihia (talk) 21:47, 13 December 2021 (UTC)
I can't recall hearing it before, but it's transparent enough that I could immediately guess what it was conveying (~"[but] still"), so I'm not sure I'd remember if I had heard it; "and all" gets added to lots of stuff. The "and all" makes it sound a bit informal to me, as far as labels that could be added. Searching Twitter finds no shortage of uses (e.g. this about a medieval woman named Diet Coke i.e. Dot Cook, or this), so it doesn't seem to be dated, nor regionally restricted: here's someone from Dungog, Australia, and an African-American from Louisiana. But yeah, it's not actually familiar to me. - -sche (discuss) 22:08, 13 December 2021 (UTC)


I found and added a quote for this word, but the sense used doesn't seem to tie in with the definition taken from Webster 1913. In this case it seems to be an act of presiding, not a presidency as we know it. Webb, mentioned in the quote, was Francis Webb, a railway engineer in charge at Crewe railway workshops, and never a president. DonnanZ (talk) 21:45, 13 December 2021 (UTC)

I also find that presidence can be a misspelling of precedence. DonnanZ (talk) 11:34, 14 December 2021 (UTC)

classical physics: really two senses?Edit

After reading the definitions of the two senses multiple times now, I still can't quite make sense of the difference. Both senses seem to denote subsets of the whole corpus of physics, but what is their symmetric difference exactly? Fytcha (talk) 18:29, 14 December 2021 (UTC)

Could be that (1) is an era-based distinction while (2) is a subject-matter-based distinction? So, e.g. advancements in thermodynamics post early 20th Century would be "classical physics" in sense 2 but not in sense 1? Mihia (talk) 18:46, 14 December 2021 (UTC)

going at itEdit

Permalink to referenced version: [28].

Does this really need two etymologies and three definitions? I am tempted to delete everything except "Third-person singular simple present indicative form of go at it". Anyone see a reason why I shouldn't? Mihia (talk) 18:39, 14 December 2021 (UTC)

Sorry, I copied "Third-person singular simple present indicative form of go at it" without even reading it properly, but clearly that is the wrong verb part, just a braino I assume. I'll correct that. Mihia (talk) 11:43, 15 December 2021 (UTC)
Not I. DCDuring (talk) 21:56, 14 December 2021 (UTC)

when, howEdit

how conjunction: I remember how I solved this puzzle.
when adverb: I don't know when they arrived.

Any reason why these should be different PoS? Mihia (talk) 11:36, 15 December 2021 (UTC)


where conjunction: I've forgotten where I was in this book
where adverb: He asked where I grew up.

What is the difference? Mihia (talk) 11:03, 16 December 2021 (UTC)

I can't detect any differences. Perhaps the rationale for the duplication is just that the words play multiple functional roles, one as the linking words between the main and subordinate clause; others inherited from the subordinate clause, as adverbial (manner, temporal, or locative) or as nominal object of the transitive verb in the main clause. DCDuring (talk) 18:23, 16 December 2021 (UTC)
Personally I am doubtful that there is any Wiktionary-wide rationale. More likely, I would say, different people have added similar senses to different PoS over time, either because of an individual preference or even randomly. I am not at all keen on listing apparently the exact same type of usage under two different PoS. Do you (or anyone) have a preference for where these should be? Mihia (talk) 19:39, 16 December 2021 (UTC)
The examples given are all adverbs. 08:28, 17 December 2021 (UTC)
I agree that we should classify these as adverbs. This time, also, I can't think of a "slippery slope" whereby we could follow a sequence of apparently PoS-indistinguishable cases and end up classifying words that are "obviously" conjunctions as adverbs. So far, anyway. Mihia (talk) 13:41, 17 December 2021 (UTC)
As usual with these kinds of words, other dictionaries are all over the shop. E.g. Macmillan has "I don’t know how the system works" as adverb, AH has "forgot how it was done" as conjunction, Lexico does not have any conjunction senses at all for "how", while Collins lists "I asked him when he'd be back to pick me up" as conjunction in one section, and "ask him when he's due" as adverb in another. Mihia (talk) 13:53, 17 December 2021 (UTC)
We have that kind of duplication in entries for some English determiners. CGEL (2002) eliminates some of that by saying apparent noun/pronoun use is a fused-head use of the determiner. But adjective, pronoun, and noun senses appear in determiner entries and seem to me to have duplicate senses. I like the idea of conjunction sections being obligatory, perhaps defined with a non-gloss definition. But then any adverb, noun, pronoun, or preposition section will duplicate any gloss definition under the conjunction PoS. With this approach the usage examples with subordinate clauses should all appear under the conjunction PoS. It isn't a modern approach, but I think it communicates better to normal users and many of the rest of us. DCDuring (talk) 17:46, 17 December 2021 (UTC)
Duplication over different PoS of the same word in different roles or capacities, as in e.g. determiner with explicit object versus no/implied object, is one thing, but duplication of the same word in apparently the exact same role, as is apparently the case with "where", is another. However, on your last statement, I am starting to have second thoughts about my earlier agreement that we should list these as adverbs. Mihia (talk) 17:57, 17 December 2021 (UTC)
(edit conflict) It is slightly troublesome, though, that while the most salient meaning is IMO adverbial, there is, as DCD says, a multiple function, also incorporating a conjunctive element. For example, "I remember how I solved the puzzle", I solved it this way, I solved it that way, so, yes, "how" is standing for an adverb, but also "I remember that I solved it some way". I wonder whether we should try to recognise this. It's unfortunate that, AFAIK, "conjunctive adverb" is only used for a different type of word altogether, otherwise "conjunctive" would seem ideal. Can we coopt "conjunctive" for a different purpose here? Can we put these kinds of problem words under a multi-PoS heading? Any other solution? Mihia (talk) 17:48, 17 December 2021 (UTC)
We could have usage notes explaining what functions the clauses introduced/subordinated by the conjunctions serve with regard to the main clause. In the case of how the subordinate clause can be at least nominal (as shown by your "that" substitution) and adverbial. Instead of usage notes we could incorporate the grammar of the clauses with respect to the main clause into non-gloss definitions of the conjunction. DCDuring (talk) 17:57, 17 December 2021 (UTC)
The pure "that" meaning, example "She told me how her father was a doctor", is presently a separate conjunction sense. As far as I can see, this has to be a conjunction, as it has no (or little) adverbial quality, which, as in fact occurred to me earlier, may make the treatment of "She told me how she solved the puzzle" as not a conjunction feel somewhat contradictory. I think for now I will put the latter usage back as a conjunction pending further input or further bright ideas. I am not personally a big fan of usage notes (in a separate section), as I think these are often not read or even noticed. For notes of manageable size, I much prefer to put them on the definition line. Mihia (talk) 18:07, 17 December 2021 (UTC)
Outstanding issues: The conjunction definition for the "I remember how I solved this puzzle"-type usage is presently "The manner or way that" (this is the original definition, i.e. not changed by me). However, this is equally substitutable into "How the stock market interprets events has real consequences", which is presently an adverbial example. I also somewhat dislike the word "that" in the definition. I would like to change it to "the manner or way in which", but then this would additionally be substitutable into "She showed him how to do it", another presently adverbial example. Ideally one wants definitions that are not substitutable into examples for other senses, either by changing the definitions or moving the examples. Mihia (talk) 19:58, 17 December 2021 (UTC)

draught animal and beast of burdenEdit

Is the former perfectly synonymous with the first sense of the latter? If so, the first section of the latter ought to be moved to the entry of the former. I would have already done this but, looking through the translations, the overlap doesn't seem as strong as one might expect from perfect synonyms. As such, I figured it might be best to ask: is there a distinction I'm not aware of or are the translations different by coincidence? brittletheories (talk) 13:03, 15 December 2021 (UTC)

A draught animal pulls things, while a beast of burden also carries things on its back. Chuck Entz (talk) 13:31, 15 December 2021 (UTC)
Same kind of animal often does both, but I don't think that, say, camels are commonly used as draught animals, nor oxen as beasts of burden. Thus neither synonyms, hypernyms, nor hyponyms of each other. Merely coordinate terms (See WT:ELE and WT:NYMS). DCDuring (talk) 16:23, 15 December 2021 (UTC)
My memory may be faulty, but I think I saw a camel pumping water in India years ago, pulling a beam around in a circle. But they are not usually draught animals. DonnanZ (talk) 00:28, 16 December 2021 (UTC)
Some other references, especially thesauruses, consider these to be synonyms. I treasure the distinction. DCDuring (talk) 15:12, 16 December 2021 (UTC)
+. Some translations are thus inexact or sloppy, but so perhaps usage is, while it is also true that language users treasure a distinction. Fay Freak (talk) 05:37, 19 December 2021 (UTC)
In this case the distinction may not be worth ignoring the near-synonymy. The denotations of the component words are probably enough to lead most(?) users to maintain the distinction. If the translations differ in some languages, so be it. DCDuring (talk) 16:31, 19 December 2021 (UTC)

English wholesomeEdit

Is there another definition of wholesome that's not listed here? Because I notice that college kids these days use the word "wholesome" in a slangy sort of way. Seems they're basically using it in the way that people used to say awesome (sense 2). (You don't hear many people saying "That's awesome!" anymore. Now they say "That's wholesome!") 14:03, 15 December 2021 (UTC)

Can you give an example that cannot be explained by any of our 5 definitions? I've heard "wholesome meme", but it is sense 5 (inoffensive, decent), and does not mean "awesome". Equinox 14:05, 15 December 2021 (UTC)
Well maybe I jumped the gun on equating it with "awesome". I'll need to pay closer attention the next time I hear it. But I have noticed an influx in its use within the past 2 years or so. (See here too: https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=all&q=wholesome ) Before fall semester 2019 I personally rarely heard anyone use it. But now I see/hear people throwing it around all the time. 19:09, 15 December 2021 (UTC)
Yes, it is one of those words that have caught on in some online communities, like comfy. Equinox 19:12, 15 December 2021 (UTC)
Like Equinox, I don't think it means "awesome", though our current definitions might need a little tweaking in order to capture the meaning better. If I had to explain it to someone, I would say ~"(healthy and) morally or mentally uplifting/nourishing", which is in line with the general / usual sense of wholesome in other dictionaries, and our senses 2 and/or 5. Urban Dictionary (yes...) says things like "express[ing] love and affection, instead of usual lewd or negative [things]", "considerate, sweet, compassionate, thoughtful", "pure, sweet". Maybe we need to rephrase sense 5 to be a bit stronger than just "inoffensive, decent" and to incorporate "sweet". - -sche (discuss) 21:37, 15 December 2021 (UTC)
I think "awesome" is a wholesome circumscription. It is perhaps not wholy synonymous, but only because the usage constrains certain factors on what may be considered ossum. The original meaning of "wholesome" is however bleached in this ussage so it approaches awesome in the infinite degree. ApisAzuli (talk) 06:12, 20 December 2021 (UTC)

CC-BY-SA, etc.Edit

Two questions:

  • Should this be English or Translingual?
  • Should it be CC BY-SA with a space or CC-BY-SA with a hyphen? If both forms are valid, which should be the main title? The license explanation pages at creativecommons.org use spaces. 23:24, 15 December 2021 (UTC)

We already have CC. I hardly know why we should include entries for their individual licence codes at all (!) but maybe it should just be BY-SA, etc. if we do. Equinox 23:31, 15 December 2021 (UTC)

coppare "to cut" (pasta, dough)Edit

(Notifying GianWiki, Metaknowledge, SemperBlotto, Ultimateria, Jberkel, Imetsia, Sartma): What is the pronunciation when root-stressed, e.g. io coppo, lui coppa? Is this verb derived from coppa (bowl)? In that case per DiPI it would be io còppo or alternatively io cóppo. BTW this verb is not in any dictionary I can find but it's common on Reverso: [29] Is this dialectal? Benwing2 (talk) 04:33, 16 December 2021 (UTC)

Copulative standEdit

The verb stand in the sentence “I stand corrected” can perhaps be analyzed as copulative. We have a separate entry for the idiom to stand corrected, and I wondered if one of the senses given for stand might make this a sum-of-parts. Six of these, senses 1.1, 1.3, 2.3, 2.4, 2.5 and 5, are labelled (copulative). The usage examples and quotations are:

1.1 Here I stand, wondering what to do next.
1.1 Then came a maid with hand-bag and shawls, and after her a tall young lady. She stood for a moment holding her skirt above the grimy steps, […], and the light of the reflector fell full upon her.
1.1 At one time a "standard test" for carriage riding was to stand a pencil on end on the compartment floor, or to measure how long it was possible to stand on one leg without touching the corridor walls; [...].
1.3 Do not leave your car standing in the road.
1.3 The star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.
1.3 The slightest effort made the patient cough. He would stand leaning on a stick and holding a hand to his side, and when the paroxysm had passed it left him shaking.
1.3 Turning back, then, toward the basement staircase, she began to grope her way through blinding darkness, but had taken only a few uncertain steps when, of a sudden, she stopped short and for a little stood like a stricken thing, quite motionless save that she quaked to her very marrow in the grasp of a great and enervating fear.
2.3 readers by whose judgment I would stand or fall
2.4 The king granted the Jews […] to gather themselves together, and to stand for their life.
2.4 the standing pattern of their imitation
2.5 sacrifices […] which stood only in meats and drinks
2.5 Accomplish what your signs foreshow; / I stand resigned, and am prepared to go.
2.5 Thou seest how it stands with me […] , and that I may not tarry.
5 My mind on its own centre stands unmov'd.
5 The ruin'd wall / Stands when its wind-worn battlements are gone.

In my opinion, most are not copulative at all. In the middle quotation at 2.5, “I stand resigned” is reminiscent of “I stand corrected” and looks copulative. In the verse line at 5, a fuller quotation reads “My mind on its own centre stands unmov'd, / And Stable as the Fabrick of the World, / Propt on it self”. I am inclined to read this as “My mind, unmoved and stable as ever, stands [i.e., has not fallen]”, but if stands unmov'd is seen as belonging together, a better fit than sense 5, “To remain without ruin or injury”, is IMO 2.5, “To be in some particular state”. Am I overlooking something? If no one comes to their defence, I shall strike the other five labels.  --Lambiam 16:44, 16 December 2021 (UTC)

I think some of these have copulative uses although the present examples may not illustrate it. For example, I would call 1.1 "stand erect", 1.3 "stand fixed" and 2.3 "stand firm" copulative. However, to me, the present label "intransitive, copulative" can suggest that these definitions are for a copulative use only, so the presentation doesn't seem ideal. Mihia (talk) 18:32, 16 December 2021 (UTC)
Just to try to further clarify what I mean here. Clearly many of the examples given for "copulative" senses are not copulative. However, copulative uses may also exist for senses defined in essentially these ways. The confusion is really whether the label "copulative" is supposed to denote a specific sense for copulative use, which it can seem to, or whether, as I assume is probably the intention(?), one definition is supposed to serve for both copulative and non-copulative use. Mihia (talk) 23:17, 16 December 2021 (UTC)
If there are cases where we want to handle copulative and non-copulative use together under one sense, the label should at least be weakened from "copulative" (which is confusing/misleading/incorrect) to "sometimes copulative". - -sche (discuss) 05:00, 18 December 2021 (UTC)
I agree that most are not at all copulative. The examples for 2.5 may be, but only the second seems unambiguously so. The other 2.5 cases, where stand is not followed by an adjective or past participle, seem to be for other senses.
There seem to be real limits on the copulative uses of stand. I can only think of the copulative uses being followed by past participles, perhaps present participles, and adjectives derives from them. Many "copulative" uses seem to be limited by the non-copulative senses of stand. Clauses like "the overhead door stood open" can be found, but not "the overhead door stood closed". "Hatch [stand] open" is much more common than "hatch [stand] closed". DCDuring (talk) 19:07, 16 December 2021 (UTC)
This is more complicated than I am prepared to handle right now. For future reference, let me note that the verb play also has uses that seem copulative, but likewise with limited applicability: play nice, play possum, play the fool, play coy, play dumb, play hard to get – but not (in the same sense) play happy or play professorial.  --Lambiam 16:55, 26 December 2021 (UTC)

PWGmc suffix *-nassī (gender)Edit

The gender of this suffix (*-nassī) shows that it is masculine. However, prior existing terms in Category 'Proto-West Germanic words suffixed with *-nassī' (e.g. *galīkanassī, *stillinassī) show a gender of neuter. I've just added a third, *īdalnassī, following suit with the other 2 neuters. Can anyone explain why the suffix is masculine, and the terms are neuter? Also, shouldn't this suffix and the terms all be feminine, as in all the descendants ? Was there a universal switch from neuter to feminine due to a misanalysed plural or something ? Leasnam (talk) 16:52, 16 December 2021 (UTC)

Also making me wonder why it's not feminine is that our etymology says the final element is feminine (*-į̄ f, *-ī f), in addition to the descendants. Don Ringe, Ann Taylor, The Development of Old English (2014), page 131, says: "A related suffix *-nVssī is reconstructable for PWGmc; though the vowel of its first syllable varies from dialect to dialect, its stem vowel is likely to have been *-ī in the nom. sg., given that it is inflected as a fem. jō-stem in OE [...], as an īn-stem (less often as a jō-stem) in OS [...], and as a ja-stem in OHG [...]. It does not seem possible to reconstruct the pre-PWGmc development of this suffix in detail, though its etymology descent from PGmc *-assu- by a process similar to what happened in Gothic is clear enough." One obvious way of side-stepping the issue would be to just not display a gender... - -sche (discuss) 23:56, 20 December 2021 (UTC)
Thank you ! I've updated the gender of the suffix and also the nouns that use it. I've also changed the declension to use the PWGmc descendant of PGmc *-į̄. But I've also added alternative forms to the page, to include other feminine declensions (fem -jō) and neuter (-ją). Leasnam (talk) 17:38, 22 December 2021 (UTC)

"ecumenism" and "ecumenist" as used by some E. Orthodox and T. OrthodoxEdit

Some w:Eastern Orthodox and w:True Orthodox use the words "ecumenism" and "ecumenist" not to refer to ecumenism, but to a heresy. From what I get, they describe this heresy as being either the w:branch theory, or the w:Church invisible, or w:religious indifference, or saying that "the baptism and eucharist of heretics is effectual for salvation", or all of those.

  • "Those who attack the Church of Christ by teaching that Christ's Church is divided into so-called 'branches' which differ in doctrine and way of life, or that the Church does not exist visibly, but will be formed in the future when all 'branches' or sects or denominations, and even religions will be united into one body; and who do not distinguish the priesthood and mysteries of the Church from those of the heretics, but say that the baptism and eucharist of heretics is effectual for salvation; therefore, to those who knowingly have communion with these aforementioned heretics or who advocate, disseminate, or defend their new heresy of Ecumenism under the pretext of brotherly love or the supposed unification of separated Christians, Anathema!" (source)
  • Numerous examples here
  • This Reddit discussion
  • Here ecumenism is defined as "the endeavor to unify divided Christians throughout the world [...] on the basis of an erroneous and heretical ecclesiology." (The True Orthodox Church and the Heresy of Ecumenism: Dogmatic and Canonical Issues, p. 2)
  • "ecumenists strive for by trying to bring all religions into communion with one another, but also to 'be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgement.' This means that we must think and believe the same way. Ecumenism attempts to join everyone together into one body, while their minds, their beliefs, and their practices remain dissimilar and contradictory. [...] There are, in essence, two levels of ecumenism. In the extreme case, the highest level of ecumenism even encompasses non-Christian faiths. Christians, Jews, Moslems, Hindus, American Indians…they all unite in worship." (source)
  • this phenomenon is discussed by an academic in this article

So my question is: should the way some E. Orthodox use those two words ("ecumenism" and "ecumenist") added to their Wiktionary entries? And if so, how would you phrase this definition? Veverve (talk) 20:41, 16 December 2021 (UTC)

Our definition of ecumenical movement is too particular and narrow, which reflects on the definition of ecumenism. For a broader view, see the article Ecumenism at Wikipedia. While the Church of Rome originally rejected ecumenism, it changed course under Pope John XXIII; although not a member of the World Council of Churches, it maintains a good working relationship. I think the uses quoted above do not represent a different sense, but are the usual (modern) sense approached from a different frame of mind than that of the proponents of ecumenism. If one holds that the doctrine of one’s own Christian church is the one and only true teaching of the Holy Faith, and that all other churches that call themselves “Christian” are heretical abominations, then the very idea that it is good to promote Christian “unity” with such heretics will appear to one as heresy. See also the section Ecumenism#Opposition from some Eastern Orthodox Christians on Wikipedia.  --Lambiam 08:03, 17 December 2021 (UTC)

bareass - part of speechEdit

I think bareass is missing an adjective and/or adverb sense, e.g. "he was standing there bareass/ bareass naked" General Vicinity (talk) 03:35, 18 December 2021 (UTC)

English can use just about any noun attributively in a way that makes it easy to mistake for an adjective (a forest fire isn't a fire that's forest). That might be the case here, but -ass is often used in slang as a sort of intensifier, so this might be just a stronger form of bare- which is indeed an adjective. Chuck Entz (talk) 06:01, 18 December 2021 (UTC)
Relevant entry presently reads:
2. (emphatic or vulgar) Naked.
He walked in bareass naked.
The result when the definition is substituted into the example does not seem ideal. Mihia (talk) 18:52, 19 December 2021 (UTC)

Treccani and "pinzillacchera"Edit

Hi everyone,

it would be nice if anyone could double check this:


--Gennaro Prota (talk) 14:34, 18 December 2021 (UTC)

federal yellowEdit


  1. a shade of yellow used in US government vehicles and schoolbuses in which the mind notices and processes the quickest.

It looks like the creator of the entry got lost at "in which" and never found their way back. This IP has joined a Montreal IP in taking subjects and creating entries for every single possible permutation of terminology, not leaving a micron of a gap in the semantic field uncovered. Usually that just means a lot of mediocre and borderline content, but there are enough cases like this and and a steady stream of rfv fodder like tofu-dreg project that make me want to spike the gears on their conveyor belt and wake them up. </rant>

It wouldn't be that hard to toss the word salad and make English out of this, but I'm not sure if they have the right idea. There are at least a couple of different versions out there: Wikipedia calls it safety yellow, and says it was chosen because it " was the best color to be noticed by the human brain". School bus yellow says "the yellow-orange color was selected because black lettering on it was most legible in semi-darkness, and because it was conspicuous at a distance and unusual enough to become associated with school buses and groups of children en route." I've seen statements elsewhere that the yellow color of many taxicabs was chosen because it was noticeable at a distance.

I also wonder if making this the main entry rather than, say, safety yellow was a good idea, since we're an international dictionary. Chuck Entz (talk) 05:16, 19 December 2021 (UTC)

After a few quick searches, I believe that the main entry should be vivid yellow (image searches of it do not by distribution, albeit by extent, of colour coverage completely match the other two terms by reason that many of its uses are SOP). Fay Freak (talk) 05:34, 19 December 2021 (UTC)
I'm not sure what the reasoning is for your derogatory comments regarding my contributions. The color "federal yellow" was originally entered into the Wiktionary "Appendix of colors" (https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Appendix:Colors) many moons ago. Upon checking the history of the appendix page, "federal yellow" was included as far back as 2017. I simply added the entry as a contribution, along with many other entries that I've diligently contributed, simply to expand and enrich Wiktionary. 2602:306:CEC2:A3A0:4D7D:7D8E:F746:1782 08:06, 19 December 2021 (UTC)
Sorry! Mostly me being grumpy. There are some legitimate issues to be discussed, but I don't have time at the moment. In the meanwhile, I left our welcome template at User talk:2602:306:CEC2:A3A0:4D7D:7D8E:F746:1782 with information about our policies and practices. Chuck Entz (talk) 16:48, 19 December 2021 (UTC)
Safety yellow has been more common than federal yellow per Google N-grams since the 1940s. Also see   safety yellow on Wikipedia.Wikipedia .
Vivid yellow is used, among other ways, to refer to a color of diamonds, which never have the same color as school buses. Many uses of vivid yellow are clearly SoP (eg, almost all uses of "a vivid yellow" and usage like "brilliant, vivid yellow"}.
"Federal yellow" currently often occurs in "Federal Yellow Book", but appeared in many government documents in the US. It is sometimes called highway yellow. I wonder whether the increased use of reflective lettering in signage has led to less use of these color words.
In any event, I think that a "dated" label might be appropriate for federal yellow and, possibly for highway yellow.
I also conclude that the main entry should be at safety yellow. DCDuring (talk) 16:58, 19 December 2021 (UTC)


Put it wherever works.

Any views on the PoS of "wherever" in this sentence? An existing conjunction sense, "In or to any place (that)", example "You can sit wherever you like", is substitutable, but I feel this may be more coincidence than a true indicator that the function of "wherever" is the same in both those sentences. Or in fact is "Put it wherever works" strictly correct grammar in English, or is it just a loose shortening of something else? Any ideas? Mihia (talk) 18:35, 19 December 2021 (UTC)

Another one:

He's back from wherever he's been hiding.

Any opinions on PoS? If "what" in "He knows what [=the thing that] he wants" is a "fused relative pronoun" [30], i.e. incorporating relative pronoun "that" plus its antecedent "the thing", then "wherever" in "He's back from wherever [= the place in/at which] he's been hiding" ought to be a fused relative adverb? Mihia (talk) 11:11, 20 December 2021 (UTC)

Yeah, the first one sounds nearly ungrammatical to me. Emmendating to "wherever that" does not obtain. Rather, following the second example, I'd accept put it wherever it works, although this may not obtain because "it works" has a very different primary meaning; hence the perceived reduction. In the example, I'd argue, there is a zero-pronoun, and -ever a parasitic pronoun filling that slot.
The conjunction is still a conjunction, if I did understand the difference between conj. where² and adv. where³ correctly. I'm afraid I don't really do, though I concede that from wherever is similar to adv. where⁴, of where. In addition, I am rather worried about the verb, and I would prefer an underspecified spelling, wherever work's. Arguably, the putative pronoun refers to the receptical (the space, which is indefinite) or the agent (the recipient of the message and their mental space, I put it where it works best for me) more than the patient (as said, it works would not obtain), so why does it appear to be in 3rd person?
In particular, the huge difference to German is messing with my head. We do have informal syntagma with wo like das beste wo gibt (the.Det best.Nom where.? give.3rdSg - the best there ever was, the best-one who ...), which looks similar to if possible, basicly. Indeed, my first assumption was that works feels like 'appropriate', remove it when appropriate, (PS: My second thought was about infinitives and prepositions with to) and this might go deep into theoretical historical syntax about to-infinitives, zu-participles, self reflexives, etc. I would like to argue that 3rdP -s can be reminiscent of *swa in instances, cp. Danish Kom af sted "Now get going, En. so (eg. the adverb, I feel so much better now, cp. informal "I feels much better", which can be reasonably cited as idiomatic[31]). ApisAzuli (talk) 10:26, 26 December 2021 (UTC)
The joke being that substandard wo gibt has to be correct wo's gibt, which is usually emmendated to wo es gibt, standard es gibt "there is", but see the collocation in wheresoever, also wieso, etc. This is pattently weird, I know, as always. ApisAzuli (talk) 10:29, 26 December 2021 (UTC)

Homographs of "fait" are not homophonesEdit

Could you help me with IPA transcriptions to fix a page? In the page fait under the French section, the article correctly details that fait has two primary uses:

  • It is a noun meaning, "fact"
  • It is the past participle of, "faire" (to do) (hence "fait" in this sense means "done") and also the 3rd person singular in the present tense of faire.

Despite the spelling being the same for both, the pronunciation of each is different. They are homographs, but not homophones - something the article doesn't explain, and even misleads us about, as only one IPA transcription and audio recording are given (which is in a section unto itself). As there is first a pronunciation section, then a noun section, then a verb section, the implication is that the pronunciation applies to both when it only applies to the noun. The past participle and 3rd person singular present indicative of faire are homographs and homophones thankfully - but their pronunciation is different from that of the noun. Whereas the noun is pronounced "fe" (non-IPA transcription) the verb is pronounced "fay" (again, non-IPA transcription)

I do not know the IPA very well at all, so I ask for help in clearing up this difficulty and ambiguity in the page. I've looked up IPA vowel chart, I think the noun is pronounced /fɛ/ and the verb /fe/ - could someone with IPA knowledge double check this? Thanks --EcheveriaJ (talk) 22:27, 19 December 2021 (UTC)

/fε/ is given as the pronunciation of fait in its verb-form (past participle) incarnation in the Trésor de la langue française informatisé, the Collins French Dictionary, and in French Wiktionary. Le Robert Dico en ligne doesn't display the IPA transcription but the sound files for the past participle and noun sound identical (like /fε/).
On the French Wiktionary page, /fe/ is listed as a variant pronunciation in the South of France for both the noun and verb form. Voltaigne (talk) 01:23, 20 December 2021 (UTC)
I should have added in conclusion: I think we have enough authoritative evidence that /fε/ is a correct IPA transcription for both the noun meaning and the past participle meaning, and that they can thus be treated as homophones (with /fɛt/ as an alternative for the noun and /fe/ as a variant for both). Voltaigne (talk) 01:29, 20 December 2021 (UTC)

What's going on here?Edit

I made this page, užsienietis. Apparently a bot immediately copied the definition to the mg (Malagasy) subdomain of Wiktionary, even including the reference templates. I don't recall this having happened with previous definitions I have entered. I'm not complaining, it's just surprising. 23:09, 19 December 2021 (UTC)

The bot in question has been warned numerous times but there is no mechanism to get them to stop doing whatever they're doing, even when they create egregious errors. DTLHS (talk) 23:48, 19 December 2021 (UTC)
(See meta:Requests for comment/Large-scale errors at Malagasy Wiktionary.) FWIW, the bot seems to have translated the word correctly(?), but redundantly (putting two sense lines for synonyms, where the source entry only has one sense line, suggesting that the translation is, well, mechanical, and may fail or be inaccurate when translating more polysemous words than "foreigner"). Pinging User:Metaknowledge so he's aware. - -sche (discuss) 22:49, 20 December 2021 (UTC)

yam on, dunk onEdit

In basketball, someone can yam on someone else, dunking on them, beating them humiliatingly: see Citations:yam. Should this be at yam or at yam on? I see we have "dunk on" at both dunk and dunk on. - -sche (discuss) 22:44, 20 December 2021 (UTC)

These seem to be uses of a sense of on that our entry has: "Indicating the target of, or thing affected by, an event or action.". That makes me wonder whether these should be in usage examples at [[dunk]] and [[yam]] (or in a collocations section it we ever get one) rather than be separate entries. DCDuring (talk) 23:03, 21 December 2021 (UTC)
Is this sense of yam derived from jam#Verb? DCDuring (talk) 23:06, 21 December 2021 (UTC)
We actually didn't have the relevant sense of jam#Verb ("dunk"), now added. DCDuring (talk) 23:12, 21 December 2021 (UTC)


After several RFVs (see talk page!), I think there are probably enough citations now to support the loose ~"crossdresser or trans woman"-y sense (used especially by people who disparage and don't necessarily distinguish those things). User:Awhiteduck disagrees. Additional input, especially on how to define the term and whether one or more definitions in this vein are cited, is welcome. Pinging the other users from the last RFV, @Surjection, Fay Freak, Kiwima. - -sche (discuss) 22:59, 20 December 2021 (UTC)

That specific RFV failed. The definition lists mainly 2 different things and 2 out of 3 (now 5) of the citations only support one (crossdresser) and at the same time go against the other (trans woman). That's for the 4th and 5th citations. The 2nd citation isn't a use case but a definition. Awhiteduck (talk) 00:04, 21 December 2021 (UTC)
I don't think the cites rule out a trans woman -- the term seems to have nothing to do with the gender identity of the person, but rather with the fact that, whether a crossdresser or trans woman, this person is fooling a heterosexual male into the belief that he is dealing with a biological woman. Kiwima (talk) 00:07, 21 December 2021 (UTC)
How is ""My son is a tranny.” “No, mother dear, I'm a Trap..." Not ruling out a trans person? Awhiteduck (talk) 00:15, 21 December 2021 (UTC)
If the question arises then the person is certainly, most likely, not cis, which we define as the antonym of transgender (ibidem). The rest is just the bullshit argue about that people with fewer first-world mental issues cannot distinguish, like: “I am not racist but” … “racialist” … or “I just believe in human biodiversity”. And yeah, there is a difference, but from a perspective which the reader can assume there is not. We don’t need to understand all esoteric terminology. Fay Freak (talk) 02:45, 21 December 2021 (UTC)
Crossdressers are cis. I'm not even sure what question you're referring to. Everything after your first sentence seems unrelated. Awhiteduck (talk) 05:23, 21 December 2021 (UTC)
No, they aren’t, they remodel themselves as being of the other sex, so they are at least temporarily trans (while others do it more permanently, although they may revert to their natural states if they stop taking their hormones); it is like pleasure marriage: but if it is not temporary then it is indefinite marriage, even if them man claimed it temporary; if somebody labels it as temporary but it is executed as indefinite it is of course the latter and not the former; this is to say that if somebody claims himself to be not a tranny but is a tranny it does not mean he is not a tranny, people are not what they identify as (although identifying as something helps becoming something), humans lie. Or for another example, the type of a contract (the legal rules that govern it) ain’t depending on or strictly accessory to what parties labelled it in the title of the contract document or what they believed it to be but on the objective purpose of the contract.
You don’t seem to relate to the real world. But of course I am the bigot here for being strictly observational.
I have repeated myself bare so you understand what every language researcher with a scientific attitude here already understands. It is actually easy, it is a spectrum, no essentialist “identities”: all those non-traditional terms, in so far as we need to describe the terms. If we were on an imageboard, we would say it is all faggotry, and if we were in Russia, it would be just all пидорасы (pidorasy), and we would reliably be consistent with that, but you insist on insider views instead of outsider views, which is problematic from a scientific point of view, not quite from conservative leaning merely or an ideological slant. We do indicate some insider distinctions but only to a certain point as the ill can’t have strict contours (a well-known problem, on which there are also various Wikipedia articles). Fay Freak (talk) 06:15, 21 December 2021 (UTC)
"they remodel themselves as being of the other sex" "stop taking their hormones" This is not part of the definition nor the common expectation of a crossdresser. It is literally only someone wearing cloths typically associated with the opposite gender. They still identify by the sex/gender assigned at birth so they are cis.
"claims himself to be not a tranny but is a tranny it does not mean he is not a tranny" Whether someone is trans or not is how they identify.
"You don’t seem to relate to the real world" What world is hormones significantly related to the term "crossdresser?" I do not know what world you come from. This is why we use quotes.
This isn't rocket science, it's whether or not a quote supports the definition and if it's a usage of the word. Awhiteduck (talk) 06:52, 21 December 2021 (UTC)
They otherwise identify as the sex/gender assigned at birth so they are cis, but not all the time. Our definitions do not require transgenderism or transsexuality to be anyhow constant that one could not be cisgender in the morning but transgender in the evening and again cisgender the next morning. You seem to have a hard time gathering what quotes are saying, for I did not imply they take hormones, but noted that even more permanent transsexuals are not utterly permanent in so far as they rely on constant chemical support, so there is no binary opposition between die-hard transsexuals and crossdressers, from a descriptive view. So you are trying to introduce a distinction into the quote that was only introduced in that quote—it presupposed a commonality of trannies and traps, which the son only thereby differentiated. It is not A and B but A₁ and A₂ there, and we put the quote under the definition of the term trap as an A correspondingly, more accurately than the former narrow definition “a fictional character from anime etc.”, which is like A₂₀. Fay Freak (talk) 09:37, 21 December 2021 (UTC)
You seem to have some sort of scale. We do not abide by your scale. Crossdresser and trans aren't connected because we are not using your scale, simple as that. One is about cloths, the other is how they identify. You are making a assumption about the quote by presupposing the community and it's inhabitants. "I'm not A, I am B" Therefore B can not have A in it's definition and that goes against the definition purposed. I don't see what the other definition has to do with this quote not supporting the purposed definition. Awhiteduck (talk) 12:21, 21 December 2021 (UTC)
User:Awhiteduck is correct that crossdressers and trans people are conceptually different, though the border is a little fluid (look at Eddie Izzard's trajectory, or figures like Sylvia Rivera who described herself as both trans and a drag/street queen, or the occasional trans woman drag queen). But we're dealing with a derogatory and offensive word, used mostly by people who dislike and use disparaging terms for the broader category of people that crossdressers and trans people are, who don't necessarily care about the distinction, like racists seeing brown Sikhs and attacking them with anti-Muslim slogans because they're not bothering to distinguish race/religion or Sikh/Muslim. I concede that the subset of uses which have made it into print include an unusually high proportion of self-descriptions by real or fictional people, some of whom do drawn some distinction, and this does complicate things.
Maybe one issue is that the various definitions people have used, including the one I tried, have been specifying what proper categories of people the term ends up being used of, when we should take a step back and instead define the single, looser category that the term itself lumps people into, along the lines of Kiwima's wording, something in the vein of "someone who is anatomically male but is perceived as 'tricking' people into thinking thy are anatomically female", or something? Would that better capture what various users of the term mean? - -sche (discuss) 19:36, 22 December 2021 (UTC)
Might as well bring it up now. In addition to your citations not supporting your definition, your definition is bad. Your definition is in a "It's A or B or C" format. Such definition should have separate entries for A, B, and C. Not one combined entry. What I think is a better definition for what I think you are trying to define would be this: A biological male that appears to be a woman (/with the appearance of a woman). I would still question the derogatory part since I only see it labeled as derogatory when in use of a trans person.
This still does not answer my question, how ""My son is a tranny.” “No, mother dear, I'm a Trap..." does not rule out a trans person? Awhiteduck (talk) 07:39, 23 December 2021 (UTC)

Premature deletionEdit

These articles were deleted without having gone through RFV or RFD, can anyone help me cite durable sources for these words?

2600:387:1:809:0:0:0:A4 01:11, 21 December 2021 (UTC)

I only see one cite for google books:"bedaffled", and I can't find anything for tactleneck (spasino gets too much chaff to tell), but Citations:pubikini seems to just barely (or almost) meet CFI. It's not ideal that two of the three citations (and other available citations) refer to Gernreich, but they're referring to him as the inventor of the product, while using the word in their own separate authorial voices, so they could be argued to be independent. (Still, it'd be better to find a third cite like the Wilde one.) - -sche (discuss) 09:39, 21 December 2021 (UTC)


This page has no less than six etymology sections, which is commendable on the face of it, though the editor responsible more or less gave up by Etymology 5. My complaint is that it's not very methodical, and more difficult to find the place you want - for instance there are two places in both Kent and Wiltshire split between etymology sections. Has anyone got a better idea for presentation? DonnanZ (talk) 12:37, 21 December 2021 (UTC)

My "better idea" is that it is not the purpose of a dictionary to list minor place names, albeit I am not denying that etymologies are interesting, but I understand that this opinion was not carried in a recent vote. Mihia (talk) 23:18, 22 December 2021 (UTC)
I'm looking for an idea better than that. The entry is a mess currently. But some place names can be more interesting than this one - take Rumbling Bridge, and Santa Claus, which must be a great place for kids at this time of year. DonnanZ (talk) 11:19, 23 December 2021 (UTC)
These are even more interesting. Ha-ha, LOL out loud. Mihia (talk) 11:53, 23 December 2021 (UTC)
I had seen that page before. Lovely Bottom sounds fairly decent. We have Six Mile Bottom... DonnanZ (talk) 12:09, 23 December 2021 (UTC)
Myself, I wonder what size of building might be found at "New Erection". Would it be a large one? Mihia (talk)
In exceptional circumstances like this, I've seen entries group all the places under one ===Etymology=== and put the actual etymology information on the sense line; Moscow is an example, only a few senses have individual etymologies, but you get the idea. Alternatively, group the places under one etymology section that says "The hamlet in Kent near Lenham is from X, the village in Kent near Maidstone is from Y", etc, like we do with personal names when it's impossible to tell which source the average bearer today got it from (Karl is an example), or in situations like "the verb is from Middle English foobaren, from the noun; the noun is form Middle English foobar; both are from Old English fubar". - -sche (discuss) 19:52, 23 December 2021 (UTC)
@-sche: I may be able to revise some of it anyway, looking at A.D. Mills' "A Dictionary of British Place Names", before I decide. I have a question: any name that appeared in the Domesday Book (1086) would be Old English, right? I don't think Middle English kicked in until 1100 at the earliest. DonnanZ (talk) 23:19, 23 December 2021 (UTC)
  Done, Mills's dictionary must have been used as the source of the etymologies. In some cases I have treated what was given in the entry as Middle English as Domesday Book sources. DonnanZ (talk) 11:19, 24 December 2021 (UTC)

Pronunciation of ChristmasEdit

This should be /kɹɪsməs/, but I find myself, and others around me in England, more and more neutralising the vowel in the first syllable to something like /kɹəsməs/. Or is the vowel becoming /ɪ̈/, which is normally found only in unstressed syllables? I think it is possible that /ɪ/ is becoming neutralised in England, along the same lines as the process that has happened in New Zealand English, and that that is more obvious in certain words than others? What do people think of the pronunciation of this word (in southern England)? 13:29, 21 December 2021 (UTC)

I live in south-east England and I think I've only heard the obvious /ɪ/. But I am not a phonology expert at all. My understanding is that we don't usually transcribe a stressed schwa in English, so /kɹəsməs/ would be rather radical. Equinox 01:10, 22 December 2021 (UTC)
I mean something like https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=93&v=CLpCwRwLiAM&feature=emb_logo at 01:32. The /ɪ/ isn't as open as in some other words. It's not exactly a /ə/ either, but something in between. 08:42, 22 December 2021 (UTC)
Personally, that clip sounds to me like the normal "obvious" pronunciation. I cannot notice anything different. However, I am not an expert in phonetics. Mihia (talk) 11:59, 23 December 2021 (UTC)
My 2cents .. This is normally a word with a stressed syllable, as it is almost always some kind of specific identifier. (Can't think of any phrase where it is not). That stress normally falls on the /I/. I personally have never heard this as a non-stressed noun. So I would be 98% opposed to any other pronunciation without supportive evidence. -- ALGRIF talk 15:36, 5 January 2022 (UTC)
It is a stressed syllable. I don't think anyone has suggested it isn't. But you can listen to "Christmas" in UK English on Youglish and will note the large number of people for whom the "i" has become /ɪ̈/. Maybe this slight retraction is happening in many words, or maybe it happens after a preceding /k/ as that is a guttural sound. This isn't really something that needs to be noted in the pronunciation, more a phonological development in British English. I note that I have only received low-quality replies in this thread, including those by Equinox and Mihia who state in their replies that they don't know enough about phonology to discuss the matter (why reply then?). 12:12, 6 January 2022 (UTC)
At the risk of being told off for not being a phonology expert, this sounds like a normal English pronunciation of Christmas to me too (it doesn’t sound remotely like how Jacinda Arden would say it!). Overlordnat1 (talk) 16:09, 6 January 2022 (UTC)
Once again, you miss the point. I do not think it sounds like anything other than a normal pronunciation of Christmas. That point wasn't made. I despair of the university system, which no longer produces people who can think. Please state - which is the point at hand - whether the vowel in the sound files indicated is /i/ or /ɪ̈/? And whether in English /i/ is normally retracted to /ɪ̈/ after a guttural consonant? If you can't speak to these, you don't have a reply to give. 18:15, 9 January 2022 (UTC)
If the pronunciation in the video is the "normal" pronunciation, it's certainly not the normal one where I live, and it's definitely not /ɪ/. If it's common, it may be worth noting in the entry as a phonetic pronunciation. I'm used to hearing it with a much clearer /ɪ/ sound. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 17:01, 10 January 2022 (UTC)
Thank you, Andrew. Yes, I think you're right. 19:43, 10 January 2022 (UTC)

thermometer gun?Edit

What are those pistol-shaped things people point at you to take your temperature called? thermometer gun? --General Vicinity (talk) 04:01, 23 December 2021 (UTC)

Yes, thermometer gun or a non-contact thermometer. 06:41, 23 December 2021 (UTC)
Also called gun thermometer. DCDuring (talk) 21:57, 27 December 2021 (UTC)


The first translation has a link to the page incompetence where the text is "Competence". Which of the translations is correct? Mölli-Möllerö (talk) 14:07, 23 December 2021 (UTC)

When I looked at your question, I saw that the word obviously contained the privative suffix -ttom-, so I assumed that it must mean "incompetence". But looking at esteetön, the underlying metaphor is "free of obstruction", and it does indeed appear to mean "competence". The definition has been linked to incompetence since the article was created in 2007, but that doesn't make any sense to me. --ColinFine (talk) 17:04, 2 January 2022 (UTC)

that's wassup -- attention neededEdit

My online friend who is a native speaker of English has said that the definition I gave for that's wassup back in 2012 might be wrong. Please correct the definition. He finds it hard to come up with the proper definition, but he feels that my definition might be off the mark. Cheers, merry Xmas, --CopperKettle (talk) 19:03, 24 December 2021 (UTC)

it doesn't mean anything at all in British English, so needs to be labelled as a form of English found in certain areas. 10:59, 25 December 2021 (UTC)
It appears to originate in African-American Vernacular English so perhaps should be labelled as such. Based on its use in hip-hop, the definition "that is cool" appears to be justified. However, it's unclear whether it is truly a synonym (rather than merely a derivative) of that's what's up. The glosses currently shown for that's wassup (used to express approval) and that's what's up (used to express acquiescence or concurrence) don't quite match. (Incidentally, I suggest that "that's what's up" is most generally understood to mean "that's what the matter is", "that's what's going on" etc.) Voltaigne (talk) 13:59, 25 December 2021 (UTC)
I use it all the time. However, I tend to mean "that's true; indeed" rather than simply "that's cool", although it can certainly mean that as well. Leasnam (talk) 00:32, 27 December 2021 (UTC)
This usage is at that's what's up, so strike dat. Leasnam (talk) 00:34, 27 December 2021 (UTC)

30s - new sensesEdit

I added a couple of new senses to 30s (in one's 30s, casualties in the 30s) I thought I'd get feedback before I do the same to 40s etc. --General Vicinity (talk) 08:08, 26 December 2021 (UTC)

These should probably be merged and generalized per Talk:100s. (Frankly, the temperature senses should've been deleted/generalized per that RFD.) Any(?) number or range can stand for a temperature or casualty or age, etc; I don't think we need senses at 9 or nine for "the age reached after 8, before 10", "a number of casualties greater than 8 but lower than 10", etc. - -sche (discuss) 22:37, 26 December 2021 (UTC)
It used to mean 30 shillings (30 s., £1 10 s.) DonnanZ (talk) 00:13, 27 December 2021 (UTC)


The Japanese term 口寂しい (kuchisabishii), formed as (mouth, kuchi) +‎ 寂しい (lonely, sabishii) is suddenly a meme found all over the Internet. My first idea was that this was made-up pseudo-Japanese, but it is apparently in real use, so it seems worth an entry. I think it is an adjective that means “craving for something to put in your mouth while lonely”. Did I get the meaning right?  --Lambiam 17:07, 26 December 2021 (UTC)

seems to be kuchisabishii/kuchizamishii [32] --General Vicinity (talk) 19:59, 26 December 2021 (UTC)
I've corrected kushikuchi. --L.  --Lambiam 16:50, 27 December 2021 (UTC)


Can I ask about the stress on this? The Wiktionary entry says the stress is пробУдишь where it means "to arouse", and пробудИшь where it means engender. But the latter could just be a mistaken entry? 13:30, 27 December 2021 (UTC)

This is correct but not even all native speakers know the distinction. The "c" stress pattern (пробужу́/пробу́дишь) is dominating. "Русское словесное ударение" (The Russian verbal stress) by М. В. Зарва (M. V. Zarva) can be sourced for that. See gramota.ru. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 09:22, 30 December 2021 (UTC)
Thank you. I see now. | 18:16, 9 January 2022 (UTC)


There's surely a term for noqueador in English - I was abashed at only finding a French at knockouter... Br00pVain (talk) 21:00, 27 December 2021 (UTC)

A boxer who specializes in inflicting knockouts is sometimes referred to in sports media as a knockout merchant (4,000+ Google hits for that exact term). Voltaigne (talk) 21:17, 27 December 2021 (UTC)
That'll do :) Br00pVain (talk) 21:34, 27 December 2021 (UTC)
Of course, I don't deny that the term "knockout merchant" is in common enough use (whether it is SoP is another matter); however, I cannot help pointing out again that we should not rely on these Google numbers like "4,000+" unless and until someone can explain why the number of actual retrievable results, in this case, for me, 97, is often wildly at odds with the hit count shown on page one. Mihia (talk) 11:09, 28 December 2021 (UTC)


Presently the sense of who seen in e.g. "who am I to criticize you?" is listed as a separate sense, "asks rhetorically whether someone deserves to say or do something". I don't believe that this is a distinct sense of who per se, but rather a pattern incorporating a standard rhetorical use of the word as in e.g. "Who cares?", "Who knew?", plus "some other stuff". The pattern "who am I to ~", "who are you to ~" etc. could be listed, but I don't know what the lemma would be. Any views? Mihia (talk) 11:02, 28 December 2021 (UTC)

I don't think who is an essential part of the expression, which might be considered a (mere) collocation. In this view in principle the lemma should be be one to, but such a lemma makes me question the principle. I'm not even sure that be the one to wouldn't also be a potential lemma. There are so many structures and wordings using to convey the notion that I question whether there is anything lexical except for some common (mere) collocations. DCDuring (talk) 13:35, 28 December 2021 (UTC)
I think you're right. It's hard to see what part(s) of this, if any, are lexical. "to ~" has a distinct kind of meaning in e.g. "who am I to ~" or "she's one to ~" or "he's the man to ~", but this does not seem to reside specially in the word "to" but rather to be one of potentially many different ways in which a to-infinitive can be used. Anyway, I'm deleting the entry at who. Anyone definitely disagrees with this, please say. Mihia (talk) 18:21, 28 December 2021 (UTC)
I can't think even which of the terms in the expressions like "I'm not one to" or "Your not the one to" or "Who am I to" would be a good place for usage examples for these common constructions. These or similar expressions are used in some of our entries. DCDuring (talk) 19:16, 28 December 2021 (UTC)
I think these would probably fit in a list of different ways in which the to-infinitive may be used, so for now I'll add a usex or two to the "particle used for marking the following verb as an infinitive" sense of to. Mihia (talk) 20:21, 28 December 2021 (UTC)

Talk:any more#I don't like Braque any more than I like Picasso.Edit

Can I get some input as to whether phrases like ": "I don't like pointing guns at pregnant woman any more than I like them pointing guns at me." [33] often imply both are disliked. Reply at Talk:any_more#I_don't_like_Braque_any_more_than_I_like_Picasso. please General Vicinity (talk) 12:01, 28 December 2021 (UTC)

Pronunciation of животноеEdit

The IPA given for животное is [ʐɨˈvotnəjə] (here and at ru.wiktionary), but I hear everyone at https://forvo.com/word/животное/#ru voice the letter т: is the IPA correct? PJTraill (talk) 14:55, 28 December 2021 (UTC)

@PJTraill: The IPA is correct and I can't hear any discrepancies from any pronunciations at Forvo. Do you hear it as [ʐɨˈvodnəjə]? The perception may depend on your native language but the difference from the English [t] is that it's never aspirated and it's a denti-alveolar [t̪]. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 09:13, 30 December 2021 (UTC)
Thank-you very much, your answer is very helpful to me personally (indeed a native RP English speaker), though I fear my question does not help Wiktionary improve. Perhaps I should have studied the IPA and other phonetic reference materials more closely. PJTraill (talk) 14:36, 30 December 2021 (UTC)


@Justinrleung, Fish bowl, Tooironic, 沈澄心 Monolingual dictionaries give the definition "形容对有钱有势的人奉承、对没钱没势的人歧视的处世态" (or similar) for the modern meaning of this compound. How should it be reconciled with the current senses of "selfishly concerned with gaining advantages for oneself" and "snobbish; snobby" on Wiktionary? RcAlex36 (talk) 08:57, 29 December 2021 (UTC)

bootlicking? (I don't know this word.) —Fish bowl (talk) 09:14, 29 December 2021 (UTC)
bootlicking is a slightly strong or graphic term (arse-licking even more so, and vulgar). Less strong/graphic words are obsequious and sycophantic, so if all these are in the right ball-park in terms of meaning, I guess the choice would depend on the tone of the Chinese term. Mihia (talk) 11:15, 29 December 2021 (UTC)
I'm not sure. I suspect sense 1 and 2 are just two different explanations in English for the same sense in Chinese. ---> Tooironic (talk) 04:32, 1 January 2022 (UTC)
I've made some changes to merge the two senses. — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 06:38, 20 January 2022 (UTC)


We have an archaic sense of who defined as "he/they who", example "Who steals my purse steals trash". I'm thinking that there ought to be a corresponding archaic sense of whom, something like "Whom I give my purse I give trash" or whatever, but I haven't been able to confirm this, and it is hard to search for. Can anyone see a way to find examples, should they indeed exist? Mihia (talk) 11:55, 29 December 2021 (UTC)

Trash is stolen by [him/he] who steals my purse ~ He steals trash who steals my purse but * Trash is given by me [...] whom ... ~ I give trash whom ...?? I don't think this is working.
Note that German is perfectly fine leaving the nominative subject unmentioned upon repition, Wer andern eine Grube gräbt, [der] fällt selbst hinein, but oblique cases almost obligatory require the relative pronoun to mark acc. Was du heute kannst besorgen, das verschiebe nicht auf morgen, dat. wem der Schuh passt, der zieht ihn sich an (missing agreement), acc. Was übrig lässt Christus, das holt der Fiskus [34], dat. Wen die Götter lieben, stirbt jung [35]. Those constructions are overall rarer than the simpler SOV nominative. The latter example with omission feels ungrammatical to me because case changes (and the comma is incorrect if the phrase acts as subject), but I'd accept the previous one where superficial agreement in -s may be implied (although, or because, I cannot tell the case of this das).
Close calls are "That Derida whom I derided died", "... those whom many believe [that those] had at one time professed belief ...", "This is the true God , “ whom to know is eternal life . ”" (phrase acts as subject?) from the first results of g-books: "whom" (the search function is just terrible).
In Old English, æt-hwám "each" stands out, for it best resembles Ger. jedweder, -m. In Bosworth/Toler there's also Oft hwæm gebyreþ ðæt hé hwæt mǽrlíces and wundorlíces gedéþ [36] (My take: * ought him praising that he something marvelous and wonderful did). ApisAzuli (talk) 12:54, 30 December 2021 (UTC)
Close, but perhaps an even closer translation would be: It oftentimes falls to him to cause such a glorious and wonderful thing or It is often his responsibility to cause something marvellous and wonderful Leasnam (talk) 21:24, 30 December 2021 (UTC)
Consequently, I'd argue that modern English him who must be correct, and this is possibly akin to quisquam and the like, inasmuch as it means anyone. ApisAzuli (talk) 13:04, 30 December 2021 (UTC)
It can be a puzzle to know which of "he/him who/whom" is correct. I would argue that "he whom" is correct in e.g. "Where is he whom I have named?". In cases such as "I call on he/him whom I have named", "him whom" can seem awkward, although I can't actually see why it should be incorrect. Mihia (talk) 22:21, 30 December 2021 (UTC)
Conversely, I also wondered if some instances of what were hypercorrect for Dutch het, eg., similar to the corrupt spelling of whore, somewhen after the regular assimilation of Norse oo < *wo. Cp. U wot m8?. Whereas English he, him is high, this might have served to create sufficient contrast with a lower vowel, which could become spontaneously rounded with a asking expressio 😮😯. See the French dropping h in any event. A "Northsea Germanic" loss of n is also fairly similar to the typical French nasalization. whom was only the dative (and the fact that whom is used for both is grating at first); Dutch has a clitic -m ~ hem, but not so for hen ~ zij; yes for mijn ~ m'n "my" etc. which may have been repaired based on mijne "mine" etc. p. p. So, OV acc. whom should be fairly nonexistent in those forms by my estimate, if OV is older. Dat. whom would compete with dat. what, what should be more common.
A random list of 680 proverbs that I saw has none of either "Who" or "Whom ...". What do our pages say? ApisAzuli (talk) 20:59, 30 December 2021 (UTC)
  • It seems to me that an example of "whom" = "he/him whom" (not sure whether it should be "he" or "him") ought to be "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion" [37], but actually the sentence does not seem grammatical. Should it not logically be "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy on"? Or am I missing something? Mihia (talk) 22:14, 30 December 2021 (UTC)
    "I will have mercy on whom I [will] have mercy" seems technically grammatical to me, just stilted; perhaps that's why it seems "off", that it's not something someone would normally say...? ("...on whom I will have mercy on" seems more "off" to me.) I tried searching for examples of "Whom I give my purse..." type usage using phrases like "Verily whom" but all I got were scannos. - -sche (discuss) 22:31, 30 December 2021 (UTC)
    Does it seem to you, then, as if "whom" in that sentence stands for "he whom"? Surely "I will have mercy on he whom I will have mercy" is illiogical (isn't it?), but perhaps there is some other explanation? Mihia (talk) 10:19, 31 December 2021 (UTC)
    i can, of course, find "whomsoever" used that way, and it seems reasonable to infer that the unextended "whom" is used the same way: "Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is He, hold Him fast." - -sche (discuss) 22:33, 30 December 2021 (UTC)
  • “To whom it may concern, the crosswagon stands 9.5 inches (24.1 centimeters) above the ground and features 225/65 by 17-inch Yokohama Geolandar G015 all-terrain rubber that measures 28.5 inches (72.4 centimeters) in diameter.”[38]  --Lambiam 22:24, 30 December 2021 (UTC)
Ah yes, thanks, that does seem to be an example. Mihia (talk) 10:20, 31 December 2021 (UTC)

臺窩灣 and 臺圓Edit

@Justinrleung, Fish bowl, 沈澄心 I can't seem to find attestations for these two terms from the Qing dynasty. If anyone could find them please let me know. RcAlex36 (talk) 08:15, 30 December 2021 (UTC)

flash vs lightningEdit

What's the relation between these? I was looking for ἀστραπή, which can be found at lightning#translations and not under flash. There is no definition particularly for lightning at f., although the primary definition at l. is "a short flash of light". There is no mention of "lightning" at all (ctrl+f "lightning"), at f.!

I anticipated the dichotomy, I just can't explain it very well. First of all, I tend to confuse these two because both translate German Blitz, and Marvel's the Flash does sport the corresponding symbol ⚡. Also, f. is just the simpler word; contrast thunderbolt.

In addition, I'd try to correlate these etymologically, although with difficulties, seeing that ME vb. flasken is of uncertain origin. This would be a matter for a different forum. Finding any related sense that patently means lightning, noun or verb, would be helpful at that, for a start. It is covered by "sudden burst of light" vel sim. (MW, AHD, Lexico, Collins) cf. Collins: flash, "A sudden flash of lightning lit everything up for a second".

By the way, Old English has a number of words for this, it seems [39], of which blác and lig etc. would be the respective cognates – neither one clearly spells out lightning in our book, only indirectly behind líget (q.v.).

The whole topic becomes a lot more approachable if taking flashlight ~ torch into account, with eg. Welsh fflachlamp, fflach (flare). ApisAzuli (talk) 11:35, 30 December 2021 (UTC)

For a sense of flasken, flaskien (to sprinkle, splash) see blot, and by extension ON slag (Augenblick), maybe sleight of hand (although I'd later argue for sly, slik, s.v. schleichen (sneak)), ablauting vb. perfective slew, see also DWB: schlag I. 2.d "Wunde" (cf. I. 3. "... vleischwunde ... oder lemen mit slegen ...") 5.c of weather etc. "vom blitze, .... gewöhnlich vom blitze geschieden" (cf. 4.b of god "mhd. gotes slac: do quam gotis slag ober den herrin", "und wære an fröide ein angeslîcher slac.") [40], cp. Blitzschlag (lightning-strike) also Niederschlag (cp. *naudiz "Not", "emergency"; fall, Notfall, cf. II. 2.d "ein schwerer fall, sturz", cp. aufschlagen, cf. s. IV. 2. "... eigentlich wol fallthür"); cf. II. 9. "'schlag der augenbraue, ... wie jetzt augenblick", cp. ON id., also blink, flick; III. "was durch Schlagen entsteht", cp. Lücke, similar IV. 4. "klappe, luke, ..." (viz. loophole, Schlupfloch, cf. loop, Schleife, sleave, Schlauch, Locke all uncertain!), or V.2. "deichschlag", etc. A sense of, say, glamorous confetti is not apparant, though V.7.b "aeris squamae, stricturae ferri Frisch w, 187c", cp. Schlacke ("ore"), slag, similar spark, spunk, funk, flint, flake, spike, splinter, maybe span, and well I guess the comparison of iron to PIE *HesHr- "blood", similarly sweat "blood" besides Ger. schweißen "to weld", Löten "to solder (with lead)", further flicken "to patch" – akin to Fleck "blot". Well, I guess there is no mention in DWB for the Schlagschatten that I expected. For shame, all for nought. ApisAzuli (talk) 22:43, 30 December 2021 (UTC)


Those with long memories will recall "Pass a Method" (and various sockpuppets) and his focus on sexual topics and Islam, often creating obscure or non-existent words and then heavily linking them throughout the project. "manbulge" was one particularly annoying one. Well, "normophile" is marked very rare and therefore "Thesaurus:normophile" does not seem like a good page title. Plus the contents seem a bit biased, not synonyms as much as PaM's opinions on what is "perversion", etc. Thoughts? Equinox 14:18, 30 December 2021 (UTC)

The synonymous antonyms seem to be defined by opposition to the norm, so that's as plausible as the norm itself, mutatis mutandis.
Synonyms to fifty shades of grey may be offensive in several degrees. It is quite usual for synonym sections, just as trouser snake, truncheon, virilis member, pee-pee or, respectively, axe wound, coochie, cunt, pee-pee are not interchangeable, but defined by opposition, according to the pidgeon-hole principle, or key + lock (in German Schlüssel-Schloss-Prinzip, if that makes a difference).
More over, I did not know the word. I thought it has an euphemistic tinge like normy, or German Paragraphenreiter (one who is proficient in regulation, if not obsessed with norms), what could itself be deemed sadistic in certain psychological theories. In the given sense with norm(alus) as attribute in opposition to eg. anomalous it makes sense, nevertheless because -phile was a misnomer where eros is understood when paraphernalia are concerned. Such is the euphemism treadmill. That the word is rare has to do with the fact that it's young because the concept goes, or did go, without saying. I reckon it is still difficult to define and therefore profiting from the additional structure. The given definition is quite vague, anyway.
It would get problematic should somebody beginning adding hetero- and homo-sexaul or any properly attributive headwords. So long it has plausible deniability. ApisAzuli (talk) 19:14, 30 December 2021 (UTC)
Thesaurus:inceldom is another thesaurus page whose name is an incredibly rare word, barely attestable from GBooks. Equinox 13:41, 2 January 2022 (UTC)


a) They have lots of shirts, but I'll buy whichever is cheapest.
b) I'll buy the red shirt or the blue shirt, whichever is cheaper.

This is a puzzle to me. The definition of "whichever" fitting (a) is "the/any one that", fine. However, "the/any one that" is not truly substitutable into (b). I created a separate definition for (b), "According to or depending upon which one(s)", but I am not 100% happy with this because I am not sure that "according to" or "depending upon" is truly a part of the meaning of "whichever". Can we use "the/any one that" as the definition for (b) on the basis that it is "near enough"? Or is there a better (substitutable) definition for (b) (of course, I could alternatively write a non-gloss definition)? Any views on this? Mihia (talk) 11:30, 31 December 2021 (UTC)

I'll buy the red shirt or the blue shirt, the one that is cheaper. sounds fine to me, meaning the same thing as b).--Prosfilaes (talk) 04:57, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
I agree, it makes sense semantically and it doesn’t sound all that stilted, though I’d be more likely to say ‘the cheaper/cheapest one’ or a construction with ‘whatever’ than I would be to say ‘the one that’s cheapest’. Overlordnat1 (talk) 21:39, 12 January 2022 (UTC)

arming doubletEdit

Referring to the thing described here, depicted here: is this SOP or idiomatic? On one hand, it seems like a set phrase(?) for a specific thing, a padded aketon/doublet with arming points for attaching armor; OTOH, I can also find citations that mention someone adding "an arming partlet or under-collar, pairs of arming spurs and arming shoes", as if we might just be missing a sense at arming. - -sche (discuss) 20:25, 31 December 2021 (UTC)

jack of plateEdit

w:Jack of plate. Same question as above: is it idiomatic or SOP? On one hand, they're just one type of jack, and there are also jacks of mail, and padded jacks, for which reason I initially did this. But now I have doubts, because OTOH there are things that aren't guessable from the parts, most crucially that a plate [item of clothing] or [item] of plate would normally be one or a few solid plates, e.g. a plate codpiece is this, solid plate, but a jack of plate is many small pieces of metal sewn (and, incidentally, concealed) inside two layers of cloth. (I also don't think it can be called a plate jack.) - -sche (discuss) 00:18, 1 January 2022 (UTC)

January 2022

ballerina "sometimes derogatory"?Edit

"(less common, sometimes derogatory) A male ballet dancer." This seems strangely specific. Anyone got any examples of a male ballet dancer being deliberately insulted by being called a ballerina? Equinox 03:50, 1 January 2022 (UTC)

I think this mainly occurs because the proper name for male ballet dancers isn't so widely known. That is, it is an error. I daresay it has been used as an insult, but mostly not to actual ballet dancers. One can use almost any female form (eg waitress) to insult a male, I don't think this one deserves a specific entry. The insult is more along the lines of an insult against male dancers in general and the grammatical gender error. I have an example of it being used about a male dog if that helps SpinningSpark 08:18, 1 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Anna Kemp, Dogs Don't Do Ballet, Simon & Schuster, 2010 →ISBN
  • Biff is not like other dogs. He doesn't chase sticks, he doesn't scratch and he doesn't pee on lamp posts! He thinks he is a ballerina
Here's an example of it being used erroneously, and definitely not as an insult.
  • Vivienne Westwood, Get a Life: The Diaries of Vivienne Westwood, Serpent's Tail, 2016 →ISBN.
  • Fernando is a wonderful personality because he is the loveliest person, but he deserves the award because he is a ballerina and in presenting him I'd like to acknowledge the others...
I think that's how the entry should describe the meaning, simply as an error for ballerino. SpinningSpark 08:34, 1 January 2022 (UTC)
Compare masseuse:
2. (nonstandard) A masseur; a man who performs massage.
I prefer nonstandard to erroneous.  --Lambiam 20:51, 1 January 2022 (UTC)
I don't dislike "nonstandard" quite as much as I used to, but I think we can and ought to make a distinction between words used non-standardly and words used incorrectly. Mihia (talk) 11:06, 2 January 2022 (UTC)
The meaning we give to the term is, “Not conforming to the language as accepted by the majority of its speakers.” That is a descriptivist way of labelling where a prescriptivist would use “erroneous”. More than a few terms that are now entirely and unreservedly standard were at some time blatantly “erroneous”. Two wrongs don’t make a right, but in language evolution a million wrongs do. Actually, as a condemnation nonstandard is stronger than proscribed, but I agree it has a weaker connotation, so perhaps there is a better term for the observation of a use generally being considered unacceptable.  --Lambiam 13:20, 2 January 2022 (UTC)


From various sources this seems to be:

Should it just be left at "Indian grass of the genus Saccharum"? 22:00, 1 January 2022 (UTC)

Tripidium is considered another genus than Saccharum. The term Indian grass sounds like it is a common name for some species. What about: “Any of several species of sugarcane or sugarcane-like grasses found in India, of the genera Saccharum and Tripidium.” ?  --Lambiam 13:36, 2 January 2022 (UTC)
That sounds good to me. I have gone ahead and copied that. :) 11:26, 3 January 2022 (UTC)

Countability of the grammatical casesEdit

This is handled inconsistently at the moment. genitive is uncountable, nominative is countable, ergative case is usually uncountable. I think the countability should roughly be the same for all cases. Besides this, the case entries are also inconsistent in two other aspects: 1. whether there is a sense "a word in the X case" (there should be) and 2. whether the translations of the case are at "X" or "X case". Fytcha (talk) 05:17, 2 January 2022 (UTC)

You can talk about the genitive cases of different Indo-European languages, or maybe even some languages which have multiple genitive cases, like the Tsez language has. However, in most uses, it is singular. "Usually uncountable", or "countable and uncountable", make sense to me. 05:24, 2 January 2022 (UTC)
Yes, agreed, that would make the most sense to me too. BTW, are you Fytcha (talk) 05:33, 2 January 2022 (UTC)
It's the genitive, so isn't it always countable? When would one ever speak uncountably about "some genitive" or "an amount of genitive"? Equinox 07:31, 2 January 2022 (UTC)
Oh, yeah, you're right, it's not a mass noun, even if it's found in the singular in most contexts. 09:53, 2 January 2022 (UTC)
(e/c) The IP's first comment vs Equinox's get at something which has come up before, which is: do we need to change {{en-noun}} to stop treating "countable vs (usually) uncountable" and "pluralizes vs (usually) doesn't pluralize" as the same thing? There's currently no way to indicate that a word doesn't usually pluralize, except by generating "usually uncountable"; do we need a parameter for things that are countable but "usually not pluralized"? ...then again, are there such things? Genitives seems to be about 1/15th as common as genitive, which doesn't seem rare at all, it's about the same ratio as prime ministers to prime minister. - -sche (discuss) 09:57, 2 January 2022 (UTC)
I think one needs to distinguish between the two senses: "an inflection pattern ..." and "a word inflected ...". The second sense is clearly countable/pluralisable, so I suppose that the previous discussion is only about the first. Your Ngrams result would presumably include many plurals of the second sense. Mihia (talk) 10:56, 2 January 2022 (UTC)
Good point. Genitive cases is about 1/30th as common as genitive case. OTOH, ablative cases is about 1/10th. Dative cases is about 1/20th. - -sche (discuss) 11:11, 2 January 2022 (UTC)
I'm not convinced that even "genitive cases" would be limited to sense #1, "an inflection pattern". Nevertheless, it seems to me anyway that sense #1 is pluralisable. E.g. "That operation is clearly to be seen in the grammatical behavior and derivation of the two genitives of Basque, the en-genitive and the ko-genitive." Mihia (talk) 11:52, 2 January 2022 (UTC)
More examples: “English has two genitives”; “Khinalug has two genitives”.  --Lambiam 13:03, 2 January 2022 (UTC)
I maintain that the "inflection pattern" sense and the "word inflected" sense are both always countable! Equinox 12:06, 2 January 2022 (UTC)
I agree. Mihia (talk) 12:07, 2 January 2022 (UTC)

Mandarin translation of public domainEdit

@Meng6 recently added 共享 as a translation of public domain sense 1.1. However, I note that the Chinese term is a verb, not a noun. Can it be used as a noun? — SGconlaw (talk) 18:14, 2 January 2022 (UTC)

This is a weird one: there's no adjective POS for the English because what might be an adjective in other languages is obviously attributive use of the noun in English. In standard/Mandarin Chinese, "adjectives" are generally stative verbs. That means, if I understand it correctly (BIG if!), that there should be Chinese verb constructions that are equivalent to the non-existent adjective which is replaced by an SOP attributive-noun modifier construction in English. Chuck Entz (talk) 20:18, 2 January 2022 (UTC)
The Chinese translation of public domain is [[公有领域]]. 共享 is share. Betty (talk) 03:47, 5 January 2022 (UTC)
Can anyone give some example English sentences that differentiate the two meanings -- (1) state of not being owned by anyone, and thus freely usable by everyone and (2) realm of intellectual property which is not or no longer protected by copyrights or patents? For the the second meaning, 公共领域, 公有领域 and similar are clearly good and literal translation that is well accepted. I've for now changed 共享 to 公有 (publicly owned; status of being publicly owned). If we want a manifestly noun phrase as a translation to 'public domain' for its first meaning which as stated is clearly a noun phrase, maybe even 公有属性 (?) Meng6 (talk) 04:56, 6 January 2022 (UTC)
An example of (1) that is not (2) might be "Even the staunchest of capitalists must admit that air is in the public domain, not owned by OxygenCorp." 05:17, 6 January 2022 (UTC)
To say 'air is in the public domain' naturally in Chinese, it will use a adjective phrase in the place of 'public domain': '空气是公有的'. So I've changed the Chinese translation to 'public domain' under its first meaning to '公有的'. That's the best I could come up with. Meng6 (talk) 06:05, 6 January 2022 (UTC)
@Meng6: OK, thanks. Generally, translations should be of the same part of speech as the entries being translated, which is why I asked the original question above. — SGconlaw (talk) 06:32, 6 January 2022 (UTC)

Countability of niggerishEdit

niggerishes was just created and I wondered why this is marked as countable. Languages are usually uncountable though this may be different as it's not a proper noun. Fytcha (talk) 04:18, 3 January 2022 (UTC)

Changed to uncountable. Equinox 04:51, 3 January 2022 (UTC)
Technically this should be "plural not attested" as it is possible to speak of multiple 'niggerishes' (just like there could be various different jibberishes, or different types of jibberish - e.g. English jibberish might adhere to English phonetic inventory and incorporate some English words whereas Chinese jibberish might sound and look very different). Leasnam (talk) 18:45, 6 January 2022 (UTC)

shine someone onEdit

See the Terminator quote in hasta la vista: are we missing an entry for shine someone on, shine on, or a sense of shine? TheFreeDictionary has shine someone on defined as "deceive one or to tell one a lie", or "to insult, provoke, or aggravate". BTW, TFD also has the noun shine as a slur for a Black person, which I have also not heard before, and while I can find shine used to refer to some kind of person (Citations:shine), it's unclear to me what kind. - -sche (discuss) 11:21, 3 January 2022 (UTC)

Looking for an English idiomEdit

I recently created the entry katsoa kuin lehmä uutta porttia which I defined as "To give a bewildered or confused look." I couldn't find a fitting English idiom with a quick Google search, but I'd assume there must be one I can't think of. brittletheories (talk) 14:54, 3 January 2022 (UTC)

Maybe look a proper Charlie? Fytcha (talk) 14:56, 3 January 2022 (UTC)
I wasn't familiar with that idiom, but I don't think it's quite the thing, as it would seem that in BrE Charlie is a general word for a fool. So, while the two idioms could certainly be used in similar contexts, the Finnish one only paints the other party as confused and not necessarily stupid. brittletheories (talk) 15:04, 3 January 2022 (UTC)
@Brittletheories Found this in the Urban Dictionary: you look like a cow looking at a new gate (a look of lost bewilderment). Panda10 (talk) 18:23, 3 January 2022 (UTC)
@Brittletheories: “Look like a deer in the headlights”? Don’t think it’s exactly the same as the Finnish expression, though. — SGconlaw (talk) 18:37, 3 January 2022 (UTC)
Looked around but couldn't find anything in English. All I can think of is the Chinese neologism 黑人問號臉. ---> Tooironic (talk) 01:23, 4 January 2022 (UTC)

Words used solely by non-native speakersEdit

(moved from WT:GP#Words used solely by non-native speakers)

(moved from WT:BP#Words used solely by non-native speakers)

The adjective bietapic is attested in English with the meaning "two-stage", but seems to only ever appear in scholarly and technical works by Spanish L1 authors who have directly anglicized the word bietápico. (I wouldn't be surprised if some uses by Lusophone authors also existed, given the existence of a Portuguese equivalent.)

In another similar case I encountered recently, terophyte could be labelled as a misspelling of therophyte used by authors whose native-language orthography transliterates θ to t in Greek-derived words. However, as far as I know, there is no "regular" English word for which bietapic is a misspelling. Do we have a standard way of tagging or categorizing such terms? 19:38, 2 January 2022 (UTC)

{{lb|en|NNSE}} = (non-native speakers' English) perhaps? This, that and the other (talk) 00:20, 3 January 2022 (UTC)
Yeah, like tecidual or precise#Verb. We might not want to fill the category with mere misspellings, though (it may be enough to just categorize those as misspellings). - -sche (discuss) 00:33, 3 January 2022 (UTC)
You can use NNES, as in biasness or vandalist. Equinox 01:47, 3 January 2022 (UTC)
Does nervosity qualify as well? I don't think I've ever heard a native use it, compare also French nervosité, German Nervosität and others. Fytcha (talk) 01:55, 3 January 2022 (UTC)
Seems like a good idea, but it belongs at BP, because not everyone with a worthwhile opinion watches this page. I shouldn't need a vote, IMHO. DCDuring (talk) 16:14, 3 January 2022 (UTC)
@DCDuring: You've moved it to the Tea room instead of the BP. Fytcha (talk) 16:24, 3 January 2022 (UTC)
D'oh. DCDuring (talk) 16:28, 3 January 2022 (UTC)
Czechia for the Czech Republic is mainly used by non-native speakers. (And no, it's no Czech for the Czech Republic; the Czech word is Česko). This follows from the fact that many countries whose official language are not English claim the right to determine what their name is in English, because English is in some sense a global language. You can imagine, for comparison, Germany informing England that Germany will be known - in English - as Deutschland from now on. Czechia is just not used by native speakers of English. —⁠This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 12:22, 4 January 2022‎.
I call it Czechia, for what it's worth. —Justin (koavf)TCM 00:23, 5 January 2022 (UTC)
Even if so, the label “non-native” is problematic in so far as non-native speakers may reckon it necessary to use particular terminology in spite of positively knowing of it being unnatural to native speakers: a frequent problem on the European Union level, you notice that many formulations for her politics can only be explained by someone being at home in continental law, a system which has no equal in English-native countries. Similarly due to geographical closeness and historical consciousness we may be more sensitive in naming countries. Americans usually do not even know most of the countries and “do not use” Latvia either: if you say that you are Latvian they ask “oh, you are Latin?” Nations and nationalities are not understood as a concept in a nation which only refers to itself as “this country” or by a state name (“United States”). Fay Freak (talk) 16:05, 5 January 2022 (UTC)
Your reply was incoherent and rambling. I'm not American, but Americans do know of themselves as a country that is America. There is such a thing as the state name vs. country distinction. In England, the UK is a formal name for the country. But there are more and more countries trying to tell us - the English native speakers, if you please - what, not only the formal name of their state is, but what the informal name of the country MUST be in English. We have the Dutch government trying to say that Holland isn't called Holland as that is a pars pro toto (we don't tell the Chinese not to call Britain Yingguo - we let them call Britain what they like). Then there are the Czechs and the Ukrainians. I think "Ukraine" is catching on, in place of "the Ukraine", but has caught on much less in the US than in the UK, and - can you believe it? - the Ukrainian embassy in London actually employs a Ukrainian woman whose job is to write to people telling them that it is grammatically incorrect - in English - to refer to the Ukraine as the Ukraine -as if she had any locus standi or even any knowledge of English grammar to start with. This is all rudeness. 22:11, 5 January 2022 (UTC)
Your reply is incoherent collectivist rambling. Of course a state does not have “standing” to select word usage. But essentialist categorizations of whether someone is native or non-native or a statist astroturfer do not exclude that people have their reasons to prefer a usage. Whether usage has “caught on” is irrelevant because language is not democracy (by which some local majority would decide what is “acceptable” or not “rude” but not outlanders). Fay Freak (talk) 00:19, 6 January 2022 (UTC)
I still say Burma and Zaire, not just Holland! Overlordnat1 (talk) 00:32, 6 January 2022 (UTC)
BTW, Czechia is an official short-form since 2016. – Jberkel 00:41, 6 January 2022 (UTC)
Official, yes, as declared by the Czech government. But the Czech government is not a regulator of the English language, and it has nothing to do with the Czech government what the country is called in the English language. What if China informed us that from now on, when we speak English, we are to refer to China as Zhongguo? Does Britain tell the French to stop calling London Londres? Should we decree an "official" version of "London" to be used in the French language? Czechia means nothing. Now if English native speakers started using even a poorly drafted word, then it would be classed eventually as native English. By the way, Czechia is not the Czech word for the Czech Republic. It's actually, wait for it, drum roll.... the Russian word (Чехия). Quite literally, Prague expects all 300m native speakers of English to drop into Russian when referring to their country. 12:04, 6 January 2022 (UTC)
Ironically, “English speakers” only call that country “Czech Republic” because it hasn’t declared a short form, so the traditional “Czechia” was kind of politically incorrect, so they did let themselves be regulated by the Czech government, and they even let themselves by regulated by a ghost from the past.
There is nothing wrong in “dropping into Russian” – again your tribalist rambling – because it is also English. -ia was convenient for the analogy in many other country names (as in Russian, a commonality between English and Russian rarely seen), while the endings of Česko or Czechy were not feasible in English. Fay Freak (talk) 12:52, 6 January 2022 (UTC)
"The Czech Republic" is a new state that was part of Czechslovakia. Has there ever been a state in these borders before in history? If not, there you have your reason why there is no proper English word. The most appropriate English term is "Bohemia and Moravia". You don't appear to know that there is a Czech word Čechy, which is why you quoted a Polish word. Čechy means Bohemia. It's not tribalism - which is just your attempt to substitute name-calling for discussion - but simply a fact that native speakers of a language own the language. I wouldn't tell the Chinese not to refer to Britain as Yingguo again (and to only use da buliedian - I know you don't know anything about these terms in Chinese). It's not a question of whether the ending of Česko or of Čechy could be used in English. Of course either of these words could be. But neither of these words is au courant in English as used by native speakers. It's not for the Czechs to determine what we call their country in our own language. Are you suggesting the French are being tribalist for calling Germany Allemagne? You don't seem to realise it, but that is what you would need to be arguing. 16:49, 7 January 2022 (UTC)
The Russian form, if borrowed into English, would be *Chehia.
I find Czechia intuitive and use it regularly. It is more convenient to say than 'Czech Republic'- in a normal conversation, one would use, for instance, France, Russia, and Morocco rather than French Republic, Russian Federation, and Kingdom of Morocco. Nicodene (talk) 03:36, 15 January 2022 (UTC)
But the utility of the word, if it existed in English, is a separate question from whether the word actually exists in native English. There is no such word as Czechia, and I doubt you could argue that you have found it in natural widespread use among native speakers of English. If you had to pick a word, Bohemia would be more intuitive. This would be a pars pro toto, but then so is Čechy, which means Bohemia, but can be used in Czech as a pars pro toto for the Czech lands as a whole. We constantly talk at cross purposes here - a fundamental problem produced by the education system. 2A00:23C8:A7A1:9A00:D522:F7F1:A016:3968 23:47, 16 January 2022 (UTC)
Native English speakers confirming that they use it and you arguing that that still doesn't count as native English is getting into the No true Scotsman fallacy. - -sche (discuss) 00:48, 17 January 2022 (UTC)
No. There are more than 300m native speakers of English. To say that "not one native speaker of English" uses a word would be an adventurous claim, and I would need to interview all 300m to be sure of it. But it is not a widely accepted form and even if Nicodene claims he uses it, he cannot claim he hears it in widespread usage. It is an awkward form that has not caught on. But to say that not one of the 300m native speakers of English uses it would be a different claim entirely. Nicodene simply hasn't considered the matter in detail. 17:45, 18 January 2022 (UTC)


"Having the form of a vinculum." What form is that? Our definitions of vinculum are mostly nonspecific as to shape, apart from the apparently inapplicable math sense. The shape of chain links (which is what google images suggests)? - -sche (discuss) 03:10, 4 January 2022 (UTC)

Seems to be used only to describe a type of zoarium, if that helps. Equinox 04:26, 4 January 2022 (UTC)
There seems to be a lot of esoteric (and missing) vocabulary in this realm. DTLHS (talk) 04:31, 4 January 2022 (UTC)
And I think this is a misconstruction of vinculariform, as also the cellariiform given in the synonym section of cellariform. In the former case by reason that there is just the adjective vinculāris and not vinculārius (neither in antiquity, the former only after antiquity) and in the latter case, where both cellāris and cellārius are attested in antiquity but with quite specific meanings, because -āris and -ārius have a meaning distinction which recommends the former. And this is in spite of vinculariiform and cellariiform apparently being oftener: this is as with those words which are only attested in misspellings, -sche will remember which I mean. There is no rule that a misspelling/misconstruction cannot be oftener than the correct form, right? Fay Freak (talk) 20:48, 4 January 2022 (UTC)
@-sche: This is from the dense literature of bryozoology. I have had the pleasure of the acquaintance of some people who work in this subfield, and if you come up with a list of the undefined or underdefined words, I'm sure I could define them all or point you to a resource so you could do it yourself. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 07:33, 6 January 2022 (UTC)

Harvard formatEdit

Vague definition: "A standard format for citing information from any source." What is it, though? I can't find any style guide for this, like APA. Wikipedia suggests that it just means parenthetical referencing, in which case it isn't exactly a "standard format". Anyway, I think the entry needs clarification. Equinox 05:59, 4 January 2022 (UTC)

There is a Harvard format for citing references in the bibliography section. It goes something like this:
Surname, Christian name. Name of the book in italics, Place of publication: publishing company, year of publication. An example would be:
Smith, John. Hiking in the Amazon, New York: Travel books publishing, 1998.
Harvard also has detailed rules for citing journals and articles in journals, etc. 12:25, 4 January 2022 (UTC)
The Wikipedia mention concerns only the appearance of the citations in the running text, which is what I think most people mean when they say ”Harvard style”. The Harvard style also concerns the format of the bibliography. One aspect, more or less dictated by this citation style, is that the entries are ordered alphabetically by the last name of the author, and that that name is the first element of each entry. I think that the year of publication should immediately follow the author’s name, and that several publications by the same author in the same year are disambiguated by using 1998a, 1998b, ... . Since I never use this style, I don”t know the details, which are encyclopedic and not lexicographic information anyway, so giving an {{examples}} and a link to Wikipedia should suffice.  --Lambiam 21:31, 4 January 2022 (UTC)


For medicament. A reasonable number of GBS hits, mostly in old books, + a mention at https://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/dost/mendicament. Can't find it in any other online dictionaries. Is this merely a misspelling (influenced by "mend"?) or something more? Mihia (talk) 12:49, 4 January 2022 (UTC)

It looks like a misspelling to me, perhaps also influenced by amend and mendicant. There is an Italian adverb mendicamente (imploringly), but I don’t think it has played a role here.  --Lambiam 20:48, 4 January 2022 (UTC)

keep, loveEdit

Intransitive sense of keep:

To continue.
I keep taking the tablets, but to no avail.

Transitive sense of love:

To be strongly inclined towards something; an emphatic form of like.
I love walking barefoot on wet grass.

Are these cases transitive or intransitive? In the test case of keep, e.g. M-W calls this type of usage intransitive, while e.g. Macmillan calls it transitive. Some people call the second part of a catenative construction a "complement" of the first, specifically distinguishing it from a direct object, while at Appendix:English_catenative_verbs we say "Commonly the second verb (along with any clause it might introduce) serves as the direct object of the first verb" (without explaining why "commonly", as far as I can see). What do you think? Mihia (talk) 18:44, 4 January 2022 (UTC)

In the second case we have a verbal noun, the English gerund; you can replace it by the other verbal noun, to + inf: I love to walk barefoot on wet grass. You can also topicalize the object: Walking barefoot on wet grass is what I like. You can do neither with the first case: I keep to take the tablets; Taking the tablets is what I keep. One might instead say: Taking the tablets is what I keep doing, which only underscores that taking the tablets is not a noun phrase here and that taking is not the gerund but the participle.  --Lambiam 21:02, 4 January 2022 (UTC)
It's a good point about the fronting of the object. I wonder, then, whether "keep taking the tablets" is fundamentally a different kind of grammar than "love walking barefoot"? Presently we lump these types together, without distinction, at Appendix:English_catenative_verbs. I think the possibility of also using "to + infinitive" is unrelated, since one can "continue to do X" and also "continue doing X", yet "to do X" and "doing X" can't be what one "continues", or hardly. Anyway, what you're saying is that you think the categorisation of the "keep" example above as intransitive and the "love" example as transitive is correct, right? Mihia (talk) 22:53, 4 January 2022 (UTC)
Evidence of love being transitive is that the object can be an ordinary noun, "I love grass, and walking barefoot on it". I don't know that keep can take a noun in the same way: you can say e.g. "I keep the tablets coming, taking one every day" but the meaning may be a little different(?). Our entries are indeed pretty often inconsistent in whether things like keep where the "object" is a verb form get labelled transitive or intransitive; I recall this coming up before. It'd be good to explain the difference in how they function/ can be rephrased in the appendix and anywhere else it comes up, regardless of how we decide to label them. - -sche (discuss) 01:02, 5 January 2022 (UTC)
@Lambiam I'm not so sure that the substitution method using to is an adequate method to test whether it's a gerund or a participle. The -ing verb after 'keep' exhibits no other participle-like attributes. A participle can modify a noun, as in "the falling leaves" = "the leaves that fall/are falling". One cannot say "the keep taking tablets" for "the tablets I keep taking". I believe that the x-ing PoS is still a gerund. I think it's simply a matter of usage. No, one doesn't usually hear "I keep to take the tablets", but if you substitute continue for keep the construct becomes possible: "I continue taking the tablets" = "I continue to take the tablets". So 'taking the tablets' is indeed a noun (i.e. "tablet-taking") Leasnam (talk) 15:53, 6 January 2022 (UTC)
I did not suggest that keep taking together was a participle, but just taking. You can replace “patients taking tablets” by “tablet-taking patients”.  --Lambiam 16:27, 6 January 2022 (UTC)
Correct, you didn't suggest that. Ok. Yes, taking is a participle in "patients taking tablets” and “tablet-taking patients”. But we still haven't sorted out how it can be a participle in a construct like keep taking. I still see 'taking' as something being 'kept' (in its antiquated sense of "to follow, observe, maintain, continue with") Leasnam (talk) 16:47, 6 January 2022 (UTC)
It's generally worthwhile to keep (heh) in mind that "[t]he distinction between gerund and present participles is not recognised in modern reference grammars, since many uses are ambiguous." (W:Gerund#Distinction from other uses of the -ing form)
- 2A02:560:424C:4B00:AD11:C025:FC19:BE56 17:40, 6 January 2022 (UTC)
They're not ambiguous to me. We need educators to get a hold of this ( - if I can learn it, it isn't hard.) and teach it confidently. Dumbing something down and mixing it all up so that it's all blended will only make English seem more confusing in the future when someone asks "why is it like this ?", imho. Leasnam (talk) 18:23, 6 January 2022 (UTC)
CGEL (2002) has some 50 pages on catenative verb constructions. That should make it easy to sort this out. DCDuring (talk) 18:42, 6 January 2022 (UTC)
I agree that the distinction between present participle and gerund is generally quite clear and that throwing this distinction out the window is indeed a form of "dumbing down". This doesn't rule out, however, that there may be ambiguous cases. I can see that "keep doing" could be considered such an ambiguous case, because it might be interpreted as "continue the doing" (gerund) or "stay a doer" (participle). 00:59, 9 January 2022 (UTC)
I don't quite understand: keep doing meaning "stay a doer" - are you suggesting that keep doing here means keep (being) a doing (one/individual)? (?) Leasnam (talk) 02:43, 10 January 2022 (UTC)
Yes. "Keep being (i.e. stay) a doing one (i.e a doer)". I'm sure it's not the original interpretation, but I can see that it might be reinterpreted that way. Because you also say things like "keep calm", which perhaps originally meant "keep (i.e. preserve) your calm", but in the end is equivalent to "stay calm", right? So the reinterpretation is possible in this case. Whether speakers actually do so, I don't know. 01:58, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
Keep doing would never be interpreted as "stay a doer", although the two sentences mean basically the same. -ing endings do not denote agents in English. In keep calm, keep quiet, keep clean, etc., I believe the original had a reflexive pronoun before the adjective (e.g. keep thee calm; keep thyself quiet, keep yourself clean). But this construction doesn't work for all adjectives: one doesn't normally say "keep young" for 'stay young', or "keep good" for 'stay good/keep being good' without an intermediary pronoun - in most cases it's obligatory (keep yourself young, keep me good), etc. Interesting... Leasnam (talk) 06:47, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
I think a better way of looking at it is as a state of doing or being something: "keep taking the tablets" means "maintain yourself in the state of tablet-taking". The difference from the "doer" analysis is that "being a doer" implies that it's a characteristic of the person: they are "a person who does". It reminds me of the ser vs. estar (Spanish) / bēon vs. wesan (Old English) distinctions. Chuck Entz (talk) 07:32, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
That's exactly what I meant. Sorry if the word "doer" confused you all so much. In my mind "a doer" and "a doing one" are the same; for example, someone who swims thereby automatically becomes a "swimmer". But that's really beside the point, so let's focus. What I meant was that the construction "keep doing" could (!) be interpreted as involving a present participle. Chuck Entz seems to confirm this. And regarding the "keep calm" construction: I know that it can't be used with all adjectives, but what does that matter? I simply suggested that this construction, in which simple "keep" means "stay", could (!) serve as a bridge for the reinterpretation of "keep doing" as "keep" + present participle. Please remember that I'm not and haven't been talking about historic development, but only about how contemporary speakers may understand the construction. 13:08, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
Well, yes, that's what this whole discussion is about - it's about how contemporary speakers think it's participle or maybe gerund, but aren't sure. I've demonstrated clearly (I hope) that with -ing verbs that it's the latter. Just because someone interprets something doesn't mean it's correct, or true. Our job as a dictionary is to help point out what is true, even if it confronts a commonly held paradigm. Historical analysis is one tool that helps us to do so. Leasnam (talk) 14:38, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
"Keep taking the tablets" to mean "maintain yourself in the state of tablet-taking" I think is a just a tad bit beyond stretchy..."keep taking the tablets" really means "Don't stop taking the tablets". In don't stop taking the tablets again it is clear 'taking the tablets' is an activity rather than a state, and doesn't imply anything about the condition of the taker. Leasnam (talk) 15:20, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
I don't understand what you think you've demonstrated clearly. "That with -ing verbs that it's the latter" (??) They're all -ing verbs... Sometimes these are participles, sometimes gerunds. Our discussion is about what they are in "keep doing". And if native speakers -- especially, but not exclusively, educated native speakers -- interpret this construction in a certain fashion, that to me is nothing less relevant than where the construction historically comes from. And who said it implies something "about the condition of the taker"? The person addressed currently takes the pills, they're currently a "pill-taker", they are in a state/condition/habit (call it what you will) of taking the pills. Now I recommend to them to "keep themself that way", to "stay that way". That is the possible analysis that I've proposed and which Chuck Entz (if I don't misunderstand him) agrees with. -- I feel I have to stress again that I actually agree that "keep doing" is "keep" + gerund! I never said otherwise. All I've been saying is that I can see how speakers might reinterpret the gerund as a participle in this particular construction. 17:37, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
"That with -ing verbs that it's the latter" - I'm talking about the latter between the aforementioned "participle" and "gerund" I wrote in the previous sentence (i.e. I'm saying I've demonstrated that it's a gerund.) My first "paragraph" is in reply to what you wrote; my second was in reply to what Chuck said. Sorry if that was not clear. "I feel I have to stress again that I actually agree that "keep doing" is "keep" + gerund! I never said otherwise. All I've been saying is that I can see how speakers might reinterpret the gerund as a participle in this particular construction." - yes, I'm in agreement with you :) Leasnam (talk) 20:56, 11 January 2022 (UTC)

Norwegian (Bokmål) word kjele: kettle or saucepan?Edit




The current Wiktionary page says kjele is kettle. However, based on the Google search results for these words, kjele is more saucepan than kettle. Duolingo's Norwegian course also says kjele is a pot or pan. I know it's not the most reliable source, but that's what got me here. I hope qualified people with better sources can clarify this. —⁠This unsigned comment was added by Betty (talkcontribs) at 04:02, 5 January 2022 (UTC).

The Norwegian Wikipedia has a disambiguation page, stating the term can refer to (a) a steam boiler; (b) a pot (cooking vessel with ear handles); (c) a saucepan; (d) a pressure cooker. A Google image search shows that the term has indeed a broad sense, including some vessels that are definitely “kettles” in common English. —⁠This unsigned comment was added by Lambiam (talkcontribs) at 16:55, 6 January 2022.

ahold: Noun or adverb?Edit

This looks like it's been discussed before, but apparently no conclusion was reached.

We list the colloquial word ahold (as in "get ahold of") as a noun, but many dictionaries say it's an adverb. A quick sampling of various online dictionaries:

  • Merriam-Webster: ahold: noun
  • Dictionary.com: ahold: noun (also lists the nautical sense as an adjective, which is not directly related)
  • Cambridge: ahold: adverb
  • Collins: ahold: both – adverb in the British English dictionary, noun in the American English one (which is actually Webster New World, a publication unrelated to Merriam)
  • Macmillan: ahold: adverb in both US and UK localizations
  • Lexico (Oxford): ahold: adverb in both US and UK localizations

Split consensus, but note that the ones saying noun are US-based, and the ones saying adverb are UK-based – and crucially it seems to be mostly used in American English, so that may tip the balance in favour of the US lexicographers.

My take – with the caveat that the word isn't a part of my dialect so I'm not basing this on personal usage – is this:

Although it does seem to have arisen as a misconstruing of the nounal "a hold" (by analogy with other adjectives beginning with a-, particularly ahead and abreast which appear in exactly the same "get ... of sth" constructions as ahold), that very act of reanalysis means it has become an adverb. When people write "ahold" instead of "a hold" it's because they perceive it to be an adverb.

In addition, it really doesn't behave as a noun, the fossilized article in there blocks any kind of determiner or adjective from qualifying it (**"this ahold", **"my ahold", **"a strong ahold" etc). On the other hand I can't pin down a definitely adverbial use of it, e.g. following a verb that isn't transitive: can one say something like "I was ahold of the situation" (= I had taken hold of it)? It sounds valid to my non-American ear, but that's probably because I'm equating it with words that are native to me such as abreast or astride; I don't know if it's actually idiomatically correct or not.

Complicating this is the other nautical sense, which definitely is an adverb (formed with the same a- meaning "in"/"on"/"at") and is essentially the same formation, even if its precise meaning is different; though it's likely too obscure or archaic to have directly influenced the word we're talking about. 15:31, 5 January 2022 (UTC)

You may have noticed that Lexico affirms this is non-standard English. The UK English is "get hold of". 22:15, 5 January 2022 (UTC)
I have noticed before that Americans are prone to do this, with a phrase beginnIng with "a". God knows why. DonnanZ (talk) 17:14, 9 January 2022 (UTC)
Yes, but my point is that it should be tagged as a certain form of English. Wiktionary often specifies. 18:11, 9 January 2022 (UTC)


I fail to see how "Ephemeral or relatively short-lived." is not a sub-sense of "Lasting for only a moment." Fytcha (talk) 02:19, 6 January 2022 (UTC)

Most dictionaries have 3 senses like ours. Some dictionaries show defs. 1 and 3 to be closer in meaning to each other than to our definition 2. It is normal for definitions to have overlap, just as it seems to be normal for some to try to make our definitions more orthogonal to each other while others treasure and try to memorialize relatively subtle differences in and specializations of meaning that arise in different contexts. DCDuring (talk) 17:47, 6 January 2022 (UTC)
I, on the other hand, fail to see how “lasting for only a moment” is not a sub-sense of “ephemeral or relatively short-lived”. So are these two synonymous?  --Lambiam 21:32, 8 January 2022 (UTC)
I would support merging them. — Fytcha T | L | C 〉 16:14, 9 January 2022 (UTC)
It sounds like the two senses are intended to distinguish between something that literally lasts for a moment, and something that does so figuratively (hence “relatively short-lived”—which could mean lasting from a few hours to a few months). Understood thus, perhaps the senses should be kept separate, with the figurative sense clearly marked. — SGconlaw (talk) 19:24, 9 January 2022 (UTC)

“He come tell ’bout I’m gonna take the TV”Edit

Should the dialectal usage mentioned in this Atlantic article and more fully described for instance here be added to "come"? I never know how to go about stuff this tricky to pin down.

- 2A02:560:424C:4B00:AD11:C025:FC19:BE56 16:59, 6 January 2022 (UTC)

The Atlantic article contains a link to a scholarly article on the use of come to be found here. If you have the time, you could try to boil it down to a definition and/or usage labels and notes. DCDuring (talk) 18:31, 6 January 2022 (UTC)
The link is paywalled for me, and when I tried googling a random snippet to find a public-access full-text version, I came up blank. That's why I put the google books result (which cites the same article) instead.
- 2A02:560:424C:4B00:AD11:C025:FC19:BE56 19:15, 6 January 2022 (UTC)
This is arguably still transparent. For another example, when I wondered whether German will shows a future aspect in certain phrases I was told off, for it is the usual sense of wollen ("to want", cp. last will), which it is unless supposing common drift in comparison to the English modal will. And I'd argue without reading the Atlantic that the case is in the same wise transparent, here, unless *kwem- (come) was conflated with *kweþ- (quoth, besides chat, Ger. quasseln, quackeln, quaddeln, quatschen), *wen-, or *gawahwan or the like. Compare German dative jemandem Dumm kommen (somebody.DAT blunt.ADJ come.VB – "to be insolent [or [Br.] cheeky] to sb." pons.de), komm mir nicht so (don't be [blunt] like that) indicating possibly a clitic -mir (viz. me, to me) to explain the -m, which might seem unnessecary. See also come correct. ApisAzuli (talk) 09:17, 14 January 2022 (UTC)


Boarded is sometimes shorthand for storyboarded. See "Storyboarding Apes" search "boarded". Google "boarded" site:hollywoodreporter.com. I'm not competent to add this to Wiktionary correctly will leave it to others who might have an interest. Also, storyboard can be "story board" (space) or "story-board" (dash). -- GreenC (talk) 04:20, 7 January 2022 (UTC)

quotey stuff at bodybuilderEdit

One of the quotes at bodybuilder contains (Dec.) 20 (2): 148, and I don't really know what that means. I left the information hidden on the page, so if anyone cares, could they explain what that means? I'm probably not gonna follow it up... Br00pVain (talk) 13:09, 7 January 2022 (UTC)

They're citing a journal. I think "(Dec.) 20 (2): 148" means it was published in December as volume 20, issue 2, page 148. Equinox 13:11, 7 January 2022 (UTC)
Yup, it definitely means that. — SGconlaw (talk) 19:19, 8 January 2022 (UTC)

Pronunciations of year and anyEdit

Listening to the most recent YouTube video by the English amateur linguist Simon Roper called ‘A Northern U.S Accent from the 18th to the 21st centuries’ (I can no longer provide YT links here because of a WT spam filter), he depicts someone who he imagines being born in Kent in 1696 and speaking in the New World in 1766 as saying ‘any’ in an Irish way (‘anny’). In the comments section of this video there are links to other videos posted on YT of recordings of Americans who were between 70 and just over 100 years old between the 1900s and 1920s saying ‘year’ in the Welsh and Brummie fashion - in other words as if one were to say ‘yearn’ without the final ‘n’. Could anyone shed any further light on these unusual pronunciations - I notice that we have the ‘anny’ pronunciation listed as possible in U.K dialect at our any entry but I’ve never personally heard this myself (I’ve just brought this up at the talk pages for year and any too). Overlordnat1 (talk) 13:48, 7 January 2022 (UTC)


I don't know much about biochemical lab procedures, but I'm leaning toward thinking this term is a (surprisingly common) error for enhanced chemiluminescence. There is also a small possibility that some uses could be errors for electrochemiluminescence, and this is what I initially thought based on reading the previous deletion summary which mentioned "an error of prefixes", although I haven't actually found any uses that obviously meant this sense. For example, there are a lot of co-occurrences with the term and "HRP" and none on Google Scholar with "Ruthenium" (compare that with the two real procedures).

I'm also not sure whether there's any chance this is a real distinct thing, since it seems so common. In particular, this use perplexes me, although it could still be due to confusion: "Blots were visualized by enhanced chemiluminescence with echochemiluminescence and quantified by Kodak Image Station." [48] That said, luminescence is light and echo- is sound, so a priori it seems pretty unlikely.

I guess I'm just looking for someone to confirm that my interpretation makes sense, because I feel uncertain. 05:19, 8 January 2022 (UTC)

There are too many hits ([49]) for this to plausibly be an error. It may have been a name given to a proprietary assay technique of subsidiaries of the former corporation Amersham plc.  --Lambiam 21:15, 8 January 2022 (UTC)
I guess the main reason I assumed it was an error was because of the previous speedy deletion rationale, along with the fact that there were no articles or webpages describing the method, e.g. search for "echochemiluminescence is" and there's nada, and that a lot of the authors are non-native speakers. I (or someone else) could email Amersham and ask for clarification. Oh wait, it doesn't exist, although GE Healthcare Systems may still have someone on staff with knowledge. Not sure how to proceed. 00:44, 9 January 2022 (UTC)
By the way, GE Healthcare's site seemingly makes no mention of an "echo" chemiluminescence system: [50], [51], [52], [53], and none on the Cytiva website (another spinoff) either. The archived Amersham product catalog includes lots of mentions of ECL but no "echo" as far as I can see: [54], [55], etc. There are no trademarks registered with the USPTO found by searching the intersection of "echo" with "Amersham" or "chemiluminescence", either. The Amersham trademark registrations for ECL that do exist make no mention of it: [56], [57]. Quite perplexing. 01:16, 9 January 2022 (UTC)

Turkish “dark l” between front vowelsEdit

In Turkish phonology, the “dark l” phoneme, denoted with the IPA symbol “ɫ”, is an allophone of the /l/ realized next to the central and back vowels /a, ɯ, o, u/. Some Turkish terms with IPA pronunciation here have a narrow transcription with an “ɫ” between front vowels. For example, at ertelenebilir we see IPA(key): [eɾteɫenebiˈɫiɾ]. (In narrow transcription I’d also expect some “ɛ”s here.) This can even be found in some broad transcriptions, such as for dizeler: IPA(key): /diˈzeɫeɾ/. Is there any reason for these uses of “ɫ”, or are these just mistakes? @Djkcel, MhmtÖ  --Lambiam 12:09, 8 January 2022 (UTC)

There does exist a phonemic distinction between /l/ and /ɫ/, but to my knowledge only in such a way that the "clear L" can occur next back vowels, specifically /a/ and /u/. I'm positive that "dark L" next to front vowels is impossible (though I'm ready to have myself corrected by someone more knowledgeable). 00:49, 9 January 2022 (UTC)
I believe it is phonetic. You'd get corrected for saying /meʃɡuɫ/. — Fytcha T | L | C 〉 00:53, 9 January 2022 (UTC)
So do you agree these uses of “ɫ” are simply incorrect?  --Lambiam 10:31, 9 January 2022 (UTC)
I'm personally tempted to say so but I still want to hear the natives chime in. Pinging also @İtidal. — Fytcha T | L | C 〉 12:02, 9 January 2022 (UTC)
Thanks for pinging out. Usage of circumflexes before L is not practised anymore, now it’s usage is reduced to be used with <k> and <g>. So clear L can be seen before or later back wovels (except “ı”, laik - /laˈic/, loş - /lɔʃ/),, but vice versa (dark L near front vowels) cannot. “ertelenebilir” should’ve been /ɛɾtelenebiliɾ/, not /eɾteɫenebiˈɫiɾ/ which is obviously incorrect. İtidal (talk) 16:50, 9 January 2022 (UTC)
Thanks all. So when I see a twiddled “dark l” near front vowels, I’ll fix it.  --Lambiam 23:04, 9 January 2022 (UTC)
I would like to see transcriptions distinguishing the velar consonants, the variations in i and e, and possibly the unvoiced r. See Wiktionary:Tea_room/2021/March#Turkish_pronunciation for past discussion. Vox Sciurorum (talk) 10:54, 9 January 2022 (UTC)
As I wrote in that discussion, “I actually prefer a broad transcription – in particular when (not contrastive) realizations are entirely predictable”. I do make exceptions, in particular for velarization, which I also denote between /.../, as I did when creating the page mübarek. But when exactly is /e/ lowered to [ɛ]? Turkish phonology § Vowels says, ‘in environments variously described as "final open syllable of a phrase" and "word-final"’. But then, how to explain IPA(key): [cɛpɛc] for kepek?  --Lambiam 23:29, 9 January 2022 (UTC)

Missing macrons on xochitlEdit

The page history shows that someone removed the macrons in last year, presumably in error. Someone who is knowledgeable in Nāhuatl should probably have a look, maybe other pages were also edited this way. —Rua (mew) 18:35, 8 January 2022 (UTC)


There's also some random quotey stuff at iatrogenic, some dates etc. Again, I aint gonna follow this up. Br00pVain (talk) 19:30, 8 January 2022 (UTC)

I don't know what sort of reply if any you were seeking. I didn't previously know this word, but suddenly this word is being used in the newspapers to talk of Covid caught in hospital, and so more recent quotes from 2022 newspapers could be given if needed. 2A00:23C8:A7A1:9A00:A98E:9D09:FB2F:5BCB 07:34, 20 January 2022 (UTC)


Is the IPA correct, i.e. the syllable break? Isn't it simply /ˈrɛ.sɪ.pi/? 00:42, 9 January 2022 (UTC)

Syllables aren't understood/defined well enough to say what is "correct". The transcription /ˈɹɛs.ɪ.pi/ is based on the theory that short (also called "lax") vowels cannot end a stressed syllable in English: supporting evidence for this is the absence of /ɛ/ word-finally or before another vowel. Your proposed transcription is based on the theory that intervocalic consonants are syllabified with the following vowel (sometimes called the principle of "maximizing onsets", although that is more general). I don't think there is a consensus either among linguists or among Wiktionary editors for one theory of English syllabification vs. the other.--Urszag (talk) 12:08, 9 January 2022 (UTC)
Thank you. So there's neither a mistake, nor anything special about the word "recipe". I just wanted to be sure of that, especially the latter. I think it's a weird way of syllabifying, but as long as it's not a personal whim and there's a principle behind it, all right :) 20:26, 9 January 2022 (UTC)
See also the paragraph in the section English phonology § Syllable structure in Wikipedia that starts with “In some cases, no solution is completely satisfactory” and refers the reader to Ambisyllabicity.  --Lambiam 22:48, 9 January 2022 (UTC)


This quote is from a British Antarctic Survey report of 1988 describing the manual moving of stores off a beach to a base in the 1940s,

This took four days, and Robin estimated that over two million foot pounds of manual labour was done – a great tribute to 'Fid power'.

None of the meanings at fid seem to cover this. Surely the author did not mean Penis power? Not in an official report! SpinningSpark 16:11, 9 January 2022 (UTC)

Found the answer myself in The Antarctic Dictionary: A Complete Guide to Antarctic English. It means a British antarctic worker with the BAS. SpinningSpark 16:39, 9 January 2022 (UTC)
FID = Falkland Islands Dependencies. DonnanZ (talk) 17:33, 9 January 2022 (UTC)
Already made the entry at Fid. There may be grounds for an all caps entry too, but I think that is more general than just the FIDS workers which this cite means. SpinningSpark 17:39, 9 January 2022 (UTC)
An entry for FID for the dependencies themselves, perhaps. DonnanZ (talk) 17:52, 9 January 2022 (UTC)


I'm sceptical, what real evidence is there? The noun went through RFV, and survived. DonnanZ (talk) 16:51, 9 January 2022 (UTC)

Are you suggesting that scant evidence exists this is a determiner? The absence of an article is a giveaway. Same for ample; compare “he will have ample opportunity to reexamine the witness”[58] with “they will have an ample water supply”.[59] IMO the two 2018 quotations for the adjective are actually uses of scant as a determiner.  --Lambiam 22:39, 9 January 2022 (UTC)
I am suggesting there is no evidence. I checked four other dictionaries, and none of them mention scant as a determiner. I have added them as references, so you can check them out if you want. DonnanZ (talk) 00:16, 10 January 2022 (UTC)
Per CGEL (2003), among the sufficient tests to discriminate adjective (ADJ) and determiner (DET) are:
  1. DET can't combine with the articles a and the
  2. DET can make an NP with a singular count noun
  3. DET (quantifier-type) can be a fused determiner-head in partitive constructions
I don't think scant and ample qualify. For example, one can find "scant/ample inch/foot/yard/mile/minute/hour/day/week/month/year), but almost always with a preceding article. DCDuring (talk) 01:39, 10 January 2022 (UTC)
  • In the meantime I have placed it below the adjective. DonnanZ (talk) 11:26, 10 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Now labelled "proscribed", if anyone disagrees they can remove it. DonnanZ (talk) 07:04, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
    If an entry is labelled (proscribed), it means there are authorities or commentators warning against the listed usage. Where do we find such warnings?  --Lambiam 14:31, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
If we want to do something meaningful to the Determiner section, it should go to RfV or RfD. In either forum we would look for usage evidence that it met determiner criteria, the legitimacy of which we could debate there. DCDuring (talk) 22:22, 12 January 2022 (UTC)
Yes, if that's the only way forward. The question is: RFV or RFD, which one? DonnanZ (talk) 09:36, 13 January 2022 (UTC)


Thai word borrowed from English sa, definition "sa". ??? Ultimateria (talk) 01:47, 10 January 2022 (UTC)

The same "definition" was in the entry as created by a Philadelphia IP. After it was tagged with rfdef and then replaced with a real definition, another (?) Philadelphia IP added it back as Etymology 2, this time with the "English" etymology. Chuck Entz (talk) 02:36, 10 January 2022 (UTC)


Can somebody explain to me how a word goes from meaning ‘thus’ to ‘and’? Is this something attested in Medieval Latin? I can understand the transition from ‘thus’ to ‘yes’ in Romanian’s sibling languages, but in this case, I just don’t get it. —(((Romanophile))) (contributions) 13:18, 10 January 2022 (UTC)

Well, DEX mentions that older meanings were "in addition to, also, thus" so maybe the leap might not be that big. --Robbie SWE (talk) 15:17, 10 January 2022 (UTC)
Cf. the usage of si (also from Latin sīc) in Old French:
Marie ai nun, si sui de France
'My name is Marie, [and] I am from France.'
Nicodene (talk) 02:52, 15 January 2022 (UTC)

Error in illustration of bowlineEdit

The "bowline" entry shows an incorrectly tied knot. It looks much like a bowline, but the loop is backward (compare to Wikipedia or any other reputable source). Please replace image!

I don't see anything wrong with the illustration...what exactly doesn't look right ? Leasnam (talk) 21:29, 10 January 2022 (UTC)
(Not the same person.) It's in c:Category:Left hand bowlines, which is connected to the Wikipedia article cowboy bowline. In other words, the knot displayed is a bowline (sensu lato) but not a bowline (sensu stricto). Perhaps we should replace it with a more archetypal image. 00:17, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
Better yet, just add a more typical image without removing the old one, but add captions clarifying the distinction, so that users can be made aware that it has a sensu lato and sensu stricto. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 15:39, 11 January 2022 (UTC)

broccoli rabe and rapeEdit

Further to the RFV conversations which resulted in the passing of rabe, I’ve spotted a related potential issue with our definitions of these two words. We correctly give the main definition of broccoli rabe as rapini (Brassica Rapa - subspecies Rapa) but a secondary definition is given as rape(Brassica Napus), supported by a quote from an Appalachian cookery book referring to rape - might this cite not instead actually refer to Brassica Rapus (Ruvo Group)instead, which is also known as rape according to the first link at the Wikipedia article for Rapini[60] (which is itself another name for broccoli rabe according to both our main definition and a Wikipedia redirect from broccoli rabe)? It seems to me as though the subspecies Rapa of Brassica Rapa is in the Ruvo group and that the second sense in our broccoli rabe entry doesn’t exist. Does anyone think that we should first create a new sense of rape (namely ‘broccoli rabe/rapini/brassica rapa - subspecies Rapa of the Ruvo group’) and then move the quote from the Appalachian cookbook there? The North Carolina State University link could be added as a reference and the term could be labelled as Southern American dialect if applicable. Overlordnat1 (talk) 00:11, 11 January 2022 (UTC)

In actual fact, on further examination there’s another problem: we define broccoli rabe as rapini, which would be fine apart from the fact we define rapini as brassica rapa rapa, which is in fact a turnip (of the standard white variety). We should instead define rapini as brassica rapa ruvo. A related problem is that we define rapini as being turnip greens/tops and even link to turnip greens for translation purposes but this possibly refers to the edible leaves of brassica rapa rapa not brassica rapa ruvo. We then, perhaps following the lead of Wikipedia which lists the Italian term cime di rapa as being equivalent to rapini, add cime do rapa as a translation for turnip greens, but as pointed out on the Wikipedia talk page for rapini, Italian Wikipedia has cime di rapa as a synonym for broccoli rapa sylvestris var. esculenta, not broccoli rapa ruvo. Input from experts on vegetables and the Italian language would be welcome to sort this out. Overlordnat1 (talk) 00:44, 11 January 2022 (UTC)
An older revision of w:Rapini said "Rapini is classified scientifically as Brassica rapa subspecies rapa, in the same subspecies as the turnip, but has also been treated as Brassica rapa ruvo, Brassica rapa rapifera, Brassica ruvo, and Brassica campestris ruvo.". Perhaps the entry was based on that. – Jberkel 02:48, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
Well spotted, the version of the page that claimed that as of 06/10/2020 was revised on 22/10/2020 as the claim was incorrect and unsourced. The revision in question not only changed the passage to claim that rapini Is a synonym of brassica rapa ruvo and not brassica rapa rapa but added a cite proving it, so I’ll change the definition.
It appears that rapini isn’t a synonym for rape in the usual botanical sense (broccoli napus) and so only the first sense of our definition is valid. I’m not sure whether to just remove the second sense and quote wholesale from our rapini entry and transfer it to our rape entry by adding a new sense there (which would be defined to claim that rape can mean rapini, or equivalently broccoli rapa ruvo) or to just RFV the second sense of rapini for now though.
The other issue is that w:Rapini claims that ‘ The young leaves of these plants as used in cooking are either the same as or the South European equivalent of turnip tops or turnip greens.’ This slightly unclear sentence seems to be referring to the previous part of the Wikipedia article and should probably be interpreted as meaning ‘the young leaves of plants in the mustard family are used in Mediterranean cuisine, when they are the leaves of turnips (white turnips, scientific name: ‘brassica rapa rapa’) they are known as turnip tops or turnip greens’, meaning that our definitions of turnip tops and turnip greens are correct but that we’re wrong both in listing rapini as a synonym and in listing cime di rapa as a synonym. Overlordnat1 (talk) 13:10, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
Cooking terminology is often tricky and ambiguous, and sometimes hard to pin to a single species, or can depend on the region where it is used etc. So using/adding these terms as synonyms will always be a bit problematic. – Jberkel 14:14, 13 January 2022 (UTC)
It's not so much cooking terminology, but confusion with botanical classifications. There have been any number of ways that botanists have tried to make sense out of the cultivars of the genus Brassica, with subspecies, varieties and groups among the taxonomic categories used.