Open main menu

Wiktionary > Discussion rooms > Tea room

WT:TR redirects here. For Translation requests, see Wiktionary:Translation requests. For guidelines on translations, see Wiktionary:Translations
Tea house party in Japan (not tea ceremony)-J. M. W. Silver.jpg

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

For questions about the technical operation of Wiktionary use the Beer parlour. For questions about specific content, you're in the right place.

Tea room archives edit

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


April 2019


This spelling is extremely rare in books, and the spelling sleeveen is 360 times more common in raw Google search results and is the only spelling found in other dictionaries Is it OK to switch the contents of the two entries? --Espoo (talk) 06:12, 1 April 2019 (UTC)

@Espoo: Yes, this is a perfect example of when you should switch them. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 16:54, 1 April 2019 (UTC)

Regional variation: Penultimate as second highest?Edit

See also somewhat relevant previous discussion about penultimate for "best".

At w:Talk:Christchurch mosque shootings#Penultimate there was a discussion about using penultimate to mean the second-highest terror level (diff). Consensus seems to be that it is unnecessarily confusing for our purposes, so this isn't an article debate. But it leaves lingering questions: apparently at least one person from New Zealand thinks it is completely valid to use it this way. To my ears, it might be interpreted as "the terror level before the last one", and there is an underlying issue that the "ultimate terror level" in my mind would not imply the highest on the present list but the highest that could potentially exist. So ... do we have a genuine case of an international difference in meaning that is worth noting in Wiktionary? It might help head off many future miscommunications on and off Wikipedia. Wnt (talk) 13:30, 1 April 2019 (UTC)

I have a feeling that it's just a misunderstanding of the word rather than a real regional difference. But I suppose we might as well ask @Jamesjiao, Kiwima for New Zealander insight. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 21:36, 3 April 2019 (UTC)
I have nothing to add as a New Zealander. I have always known penultimate to mean next to last, since before I moved to New Zealand, and I rarely hear the word used at all here. Kiwima (talk) 22:46, 3 April 2019 (UTC)
It means second to last to me. I guess it depends on which way you look at it: is the highest level the 'last' level or is the lowest level the 'last' level? If there is no consensus to this question, then it is ambiguous at best. JamesjiaoTC 22:29, 4 April 2019 (UTC)

choiceEdit sense 2 (NZ slang term) is listed under 'adjective' but the example sentence shows it used as an exclamation. 23:38, 1 April 2019 (UTC)

for a minute thereEdit

I wanna add this term. It's in the Radiohead song Karma Police, which I believe automatically qualifies under Wiktionary:Entry layout#Rock and roll. --I learned some phrases (talk) 10:20, 2 April 2019 (UTC)

sideways onEdit

Are adverbial phrases adding "on" at the end, such as sideways on, accounted for yet in Wiktionary? --Backinstadiums (talk) 15:14, 2 April 2019 (UTC)

Do you have some actual examples? DCDuring (talk) 20:51, 2 April 2019 (UTC)
@DCDuring: This one --Backinstadiums (talk) 03:41, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
on the shelf is just a PP serving as an adjunct to sideways. DCDuring (talk) 04:03, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
@DCDuring: sorry that was not the link I intended. Check this one --Backinstadiums (talk) 17:51, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
I don't see any definitions or usage examples, let alone attestation. DCDuring (talk) 18:34, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
@DCDuring: ...while facing him, not sideways on like many matadors do. --Backinstadiums (talk) 22:23, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
See sideways-on (adjective). DCDuring (talk) 00:27, 10 April 2019 (UTC)

year adverbEdit

Should year be added as adverbial because of sentences like "Immigrants officially sent $51 billion in remittances home in 2012 — far larger than the US government’s foreign aid budget of $39 billion that year"? --Backinstadiums (talk) 15:33, 2 April 2019 (UTC)

I don't think [year] is adverbial in that example, but [that year] is. Short for (in) that year, and similar in construct to today (= this day/(on) this day), tomorrow, next year, etc. We have entries for last year, next year as translation hubs... Leasnam (talk) 19:02, 2 April 2019 (UTC)
This is a very common pattern for nouns that refer to time periods, including all the days of the week, months, named years (eg, year of the rat), quarter, period, decade, century, millennium, named holidays, periodic events with temporal extent. Some nouns referring to periodic events (punctive) behave somewhat similarly, I think. I think in every case the noun alternates in speech with a prepositional phrase using some preposition having a temporal sense. In temporal use these nouns still behave like nouns, accepting modification by determiners and adjectival phrases, sometimes even forming plurals. I suppose that we could have usage notes for all such nouns, usage examples, and perhaps even separate definitions, but an adverb PoS seems more confusing than helpful. Something similar comes up with locative use of nouns. DCDuring (talk) 20:48, 2 April 2019 (UTC)

Election NightEdit

Shoudd "Election Night" be added owing to its usage On Election Night, Republicans were... --Backinstadiums (talk) 18:46, 2 April 2019 (UTC)

Well, we have Election Day, but I think you could add "election" to any period of time. DTLHS (talk) 18:48, 2 April 2019 (UTC)
Indeed, there is also "Election Eve", and apparently "on election afternoon", although it seems to be mostly Day, Night, and Eve which function (with caps) like proper 'holiday'-like names. - -sche (discuss) 21:27, 2 April 2019 (UTC)

Devales? Non-English for shrine, or god-like being or...?Edit

Helloo from Wikipedia again~

I'm starting from here, looking at the instances of 'devales', as I believe it's non-English and should be templated. I found this, but I don't think it's enough by itself.

Thanks for your insights~ Elfabet (talk) 20:47, 2 April 2019 (UTC)

devale, yes it looks includable as English. DTLHS (talk) 21:00, 2 April 2019 (UTC)
There is also the more literary term devalaya (Sinhala දේවාලය), from Sanskrit, which appears to be about equally common. But isn’t this a case of code-switching, using a (transliterated) Sinhala word in an English text? In this book, for instance, the occurrences of the word devale are either part of a proper noun (the name of a temple), recognizable as such by the capitalization, or else given in italics.  --Lambiam 23:26, 2 April 2019 (UTC)
Were either of you able to find a more concrete definition, or should we go with the simple "a temple, particularly in ______"? Thanks, Elfabet (talk) 15:07, 3 April 2019 (UTC)
Please don't define things you don't understand; that's how errors get propagated. It seems to refer only to Hindu temples. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 16:44, 3 April 2019 (UTC)
Of course not, hence why I'm here, looking for help. Which I'm appreciative of. Do we have a method of requesting the plural of a noun be looked into for inclusion as well? Cheers! Elfabet (talk) 21:20, 3 April 2019 (UTC)
The plural in -s seems to be attested. That's what I put in the entry. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 21:33, 3 April 2019 (UTC)
Not so much Hindu temples but actually the Sinhalese version of Buddhism, which has an unusual dose of syncretism with Hinduism. The Sinhala Wikipedia uses the term also for other temples, such as the Luxor Temple. I am still not convinced that this is more than code switching as you may expect in travelogues and such (like “My personal favorite were poffertjes, written by an American student visiting Holland).  --Lambiam 21:37, 3 April 2019 (UTC)
The Sinhalese dictionary I checked made a distinction, with a different word being used for Buddhist temples (as would make etymological sense). I would also be suspicious of using Wikipedia as a guide to usage in smaller or minority languages; they are forced to resort to protologisms and protologistic uses of existing words in order to describe things that never before had any local relevance. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 21:47, 3 April 2019 (UTC)

electrencephalography -> electroencephalographyEdit

According to google search

The w:electroencephalography is correct. Category:Electrencephalography should be renamed to Category:Electroencephalography. Perhaps that needs to go under a categories for discussion - never done that before.

Dpleibovitz (talk) 01:24, 3 April 2019 (UTC)

  • I've converted it into an "alternative form of" and got rid of most of the cruft (don't know about pronunciation). SemperBlotto (talk) 05:06, 4 April 2019 (UTC)


Hey. On the WP page, what is that symbol that looks like a robot head? Someone trolling? --I learned some phrases (talk) 12:24, 3 April 2019 (UTC)

Looks more like a "grey" alien than a robot. He/she may also be sighted at thionyl chloride. Equinox 13:46, 3 April 2019 (UTC)
It's a lone pair. DTLHS (talk) 16:44, 3 April 2019 (UTC)
Awesome. Is there a Unicode symbol for it? --I learned some phrases (talk) 18:52, 7 April 2019 (UTC)

speak baguette, speak spaghetti, speak sushiEdit

I don't speak baguette, I don't speak spaghetti, I don't speak sushi… there is clearly a pattern but do you think they are worth having an entry? — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 13:40, 3 April 2019 (UTC)

Definitely not. It is an indefinitely expandable set of expressions. We might need more at speak#Verb. DCDuring (talk) 14:16, 3 April 2019 (UTC)
"Can't read baguette" etc. can also be occasionally found. Equinox 14:23, 3 April 2019 (UTC)
The phenomenon is apparently sometimes metonomy for the language which is associated with the noun, more often for the culture of speakers of the language. DCDuring (talk) 14:38, 3 April 2019 (UTC)
Doesn't our sense 8 at speak cover it? It might benefit from additional or better examples and rewording. DCDuring (talk) 14:41, 3 April 2019 (UTC)
When the phrase "I don't speak spaghetti!" is used, does it have a jocular connotation, an offensive connotation, or both? Because, if I were Italian, and someone were to say that to me, I feel that it is likely that I would probably laugh more than anything else. On the other hand, "I don't speak baguette." seems much less jocular and far more insulting (although I admit that that is debatable, and that there is a good likelihood that the perception of that particular sentence might vary from person to person). "I don't speak sushi." seems like it could be either or depending upon the tone, but I would perhaps lean more towards the thought that it would be insulting. I don't know, I just think that the phrase "I don't speak spaghetti!" sounds utterly absurd no matter how one might say it. I mean, picture someone saying that in a serious tone, an attempted condescending tone, or a jocular tone. Even if it were a bully saying "Yeah? Well I don't speak spaghetti!" [followed by roaring laughter from their toadies] to a small child, a scenario which would have the most potential for causing offence, I can't imagine the child going home to their parents and saying "Kevin beat me up and said ‘I don't speak spaghetti!’" and the parents having any other reaction than to burst out laughing and then telling their child that "Kevin" sounds like a buffoon. If someone were to say "I don't speak pierogi." to me (I am of partial Polish descent [and in case for some reason you care enough to bother keeping track of what some random person on the Web has said previously {please, if possible, forgive this--in all likelihood--needless digression that has the potential to come off as vain/indicative of narcissism or the like even though that is not my intent/how I think. Y'see, I'm actually a bit paranoid about people jumping to conclusions about--and misunderstanding--myself, my motives, what I am saying in a given instance, etc., and although there--as I just said--is no good reason why anyone here could justify bothering to pay attention to the stuff that I have said previously on personal beliefs, I still feel that I need to cover all of my bases just in case}, you would be incorrect to presume that that was where my and my family's Catholicism came from {or that that even played any part at all in it]. My Polish forebears were Protestant, and my Polish-descended forebear who was a first-generation New Englander converted to Catholicism only when she married an Irish-descended New Englander forebear of mine. The French and Portuguese sides of my family provided the other side of my family with their Catholicism]) in an attempt to mock me, I would lean more towards laughing at how silly they sound saying a line like that, than towards being offended.
@TAKASUGI Shinji: If you don't mind me asking, how would you take someone saying "I don't speak sushi!" in a playful tone. Would it have any impact at all on whether or not you would take offence at such a line? I'm asking because I am wondering if perhaps the perception of lines like the ones that you gave here would at least in part depend upon what culture the person being spoken to grew up around/in, or if it is purely a person-to-person difference. If we include lines like these in the dictionary, I think that labelling them properly (as "jocular", "derogatory", or both) is important. Tharthan (talk) 16:39, 3 April 2019 (UTC)
Honestly, I don't know what is funny about that, if it is a negative sentence. “I want to speak baguette!” sounds nice. — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 22:27, 3 April 2019 (UTC)
Found in a book: "I don't speak Starbucks and just always ask for something simple."
I got to it because on a forum someone wrote: "I don't speak sushi or Starbucks [] ." DCDuring (talk) 22:49, 3 April 2019 (UTC)
I don't see anything inherently pejorative in the baguette, spaghetti, and sushi examples. In context they could be used pejoratively. DCDuring (talk) 23:00, 3 April 2019 (UTC)
It seems better to explain those expressions in each entry of food rather than in speak. — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 23:33, 3 April 2019 (UTC)
Getting off topic, sense 5.1 and sense 8 have some overlap and should perhaps, at a minimum, be moved next to each other. - -sche (discuss) 00:04, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
Possibly a merger as subsense 5.1, with rewording, and broad range of usage examples. DCDuring (talk) 12:54, 4 April 2019 (UTC)

Variant of 茶餅Edit

I have a package of tea labeled 雲南七子餅茶 with "yunnan chi tse beeng cha" underneath (= 云南七子饼茶 simplified). A web search will show a picture of what I mean. Note the last word is 餅茶, which is not in this dictionary, rather than 茶餅.

1. Are 餅茶 and 茶餅 the same? Should a page be created for the missing one?

2. Which romanization system of which regional language is being used?

Vox Sciurorum (talk) 00:31, 4 April 2019 (UTC)

It's just Mandarin, albeit in a seemingly ad hoc romanisation scheme. I can't speak to whether 餅茶 deserves an entry, although it does seem to mean the same thing. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 04:52, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
A piece of paper inside has a different non-Pinyin romanization: yunnan chitsu pingcha. Vox Sciurorum (talk) 15:51, 1 May 2019 (UTC)
餅茶 rather than 茶餅 is the Chinese (and Japanese) name presented in the Wikipedia article Compressed tea. Neither term has a page on the Chinese Wikipedia, but zh:餅茶 is a red link there with 89 incoming links, including one from zh:中國茶 (Chinese tea), where it is given as a synonym of “compressed tea”. No pages link to zh:茶餅. In a Google search, however, "茶餅" is the clear winner, getting 7000 times the number of hits for "餅茶".  --Lambiam 15:00, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
茶餅 is the common vernacular term. I have added 餅茶 as a literary synonym. ---> Tooironic (talk) 14:07, 5 April 2019 (UTC)

nap of the earthEdit

Are we missing a sense at nap, and/or an entry for nap-of-the-earth? (Or which sense covers such usage?) - -sche (discuss) 00:38, 4 April 2019 (UTC)

It is probably the sense of “nap of a fabric”.  --Lambiam 06:20, 4 April 2019 (UTC)


This is a participle, but what verb is it a participle of? The root *ten- does not list any descendants that this verb can be the participle of; the participle reflects a thematic root-accented *téneti. —Rua (mew) 13:18, 4 April 2019 (UTC)


We have these two senses: "(slang, UK) A useless person of inferior intellect"; "(slang, euphemistic) A dipshit". Are these definitions not trying to say the same thing? Merge? Equinox 19:04, 4 April 2019 (UTC)

They might be used distinctly, but I doubt it. Also, I think the term would be understood and used in the US with either definition, not just UK. DCDuring (talk) 22:04, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
I don't see any important difference in meaning if it's referring to a person. "dipshit" is obviously more vulgar. Mihia (talk) 20:49, 6 April 2019 (UTC)
I merged them. - -sche (discuss) 01:06, 9 April 2019 (UTC)

Category:Hot words older than a yearEdit

This category is getting pretty big (currently over 50 members). Many of them will now pass CFI just fine, but others will need to be sent to RFV. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 22:16, 4 April 2019 (UTC)


This links to a page on the English Wikipedia that doesn't actually exist. Thus, the definition doesn't actually tell a user what it means. What should the definition really be? Should we have our own Yüce Diriliş Partisi entry? If not, then should we have an entry for an acronym of a term when the term itself is not includable? A possible solution would be to link to each individual term separately, but then that would be implying that the full expanded term "Yüce Diriliş Partisi" is SOP. And is it? —Rua (mew) 19:04, 5 April 2019 (UTC)

Sorry, I was editing that page, and TBH I got a bit lazy. I made a link to tr.wikipedia, which should be sufficient. --Pious Eterino (talk) 19:11, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
I don't think that's really any better. A Wikipedia page in an unfamiliar language (to an English speaker, i.e. one using the English Wiktionary) is not really any more useful than a nonexistent page. —Rua (mew) 19:13, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
I'd say it's better. If a reader really wants to find out more, they could Google Translate the page. --Pious Eterino (talk) 19:29, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
I GT'd the page myself and added a detail about the party. --Pious Eterino (talk) 19:34, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
Ok, so the original problem hasn't actually been solved. Anyone else who has ideas? —Rua (mew) 13:25, 6 April 2019 (UTC)
This party (basically a one-man party) wants a homeland for Muslims, like Israel is a homeland for Jews, but then comprising the totality of what they deem to be Muslim countries, from Morocco to Brunei. Kind of like the Arabic, Ottoman and Mongol Empires combined. To explain the underlying ideology, going back to Necip Fazıl Kısakürek – also the main source of inspiration of President Erdoğan of Turkey – requires an encyclopedic treatment. Since the aim is completely divorced from any semblance of reality, the party has very few followers and no influence on the political discourse.  --Lambiam 21:28, 6 April 2019 (UTC)
Look, that doesn't even really matter, I don't care what the term means. What I'm pointing out is that right now, there's a bunch of entries like this that link to either a nonexistent or a foreign Wikipedia article, giving the user not even a hint at a definition. So there's no way for them to use Wiktionary to find out what it means, our primary mission. —Rua (mew) 21:31, 6 April 2019 (UTC)
So is “a Turkish political party founded in 2007” not enough? Imagine we had an entry Yüce Diriliş Partisi here. What else should be put in its description?  --Lambiam 07:23, 7 April 2019 (UTC)
Why do we even have this? Delete. ChignonПучок 12:35, 11 April 2019 (UTC)


Verb senses 7 and 8:

7. (intransitive) To stay; to spend a short time; to reside temporarily.

to stop with a friend
He stopped for two weeks at the inn.
  • R. D. Blackmore
    by stopping at home till the money was gone
  • 1931, E. F. Benson, Mapp & Lucia, chapter 7
    She’s not going away. She’s going to stop here forever.”

8. (intransitive) To tarry.

He stopped at his friend's house before continuing with his drive.

The difference between 7 and 8, if there is any, is quite poorly explained. One definition of "tarry" is "To stay somewhere temporarily", which seems little different from "to spend a short time". Other definitions of "tarry", such as "To delay; to be late or tardy in beginning or doing anything" or "To linger in expectation of something or until something is done or happens" do not obviously have anything to do with the example sentence. If anyone sees what this is getting at, perhaps they can suggest an improvement. Mihia (talk) 20:45, 6 April 2019 (UTC)

I merged them. The only difference I would discern was in the length of time one stays in a place (stopping briefly before continuing, vs stopping for two weeks / forever), but I'm not sure that requires separate senses. - -sche (discuss) 21:19, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
OK, thanks. I think that makes sense. Mihia (talk) 23:01, 8 April 2019 (UTC)


What is "how" under the adverb meanings supposed to refer to? I don't think either of the adverb meanings of how can be replaced with "what". Added by @Osbri. — surjection?〉 08:59, 7 April 2019 (UTC)

I reverted it. This editor has a history of adding inexplicable senses to common words. As far as I can tell, they're sincere and not a vandal, but they also obviously have problems with basic English. I'm not quite sure what we should do about it. Chuck Entz (talk) 13:06, 7 April 2019 (UTC)
I was thinking it's like "how" or similar to "how" because I've seen some show or say "What good is this?" Or maybe I've seen "what" before an adjective or something similar to that. Osbri (talk) 19:17, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
"What good is this?" and "How good is this?" mean different things and are grammatically different too (e.g. "good" is a noun in the first case and an adjective in the second). Mihia (talk) 02:58, 22 April 2019 (UTC)
I think I see that. I think I've seen 'what' before some adjectives but I think I see that now. Osbri (talk) 04:28, 24 April 2019 (UTC)

Insufficient meaning in Korean word '바르다'?Edit

Can someone provide the source for "# To be uncommon, insufficient; to be rarely encountered, to fail to reach a given degree or amount." in Korean adjective '바르다'? I've looked up several dictionaries, but I couldn't find this meaning. BTW insufficient in Korean is 모자르(라)다.

This meaning was from North Korean dictionary. So I didn't know. Solved.


According to some guy on quora, 懸念 / 悬念 can translate the English cliffhanger. Can a Chinese speaker confirm and update the definition if necessary? Vox Sciurorum (talk) 13:01, 7 April 2019 (UTC)

@Vox Sciurorum: Yes, I believe that "cliffhanger" is right. We say "这集留了个悬念" (This episode is left with a cliffhanger). But recently we use "坑" (hole) more often. "这集留了大坑" (This episode is left with a hole). We find it vivid because, just as a hole, it can be "filled" with the plots from the next episode/season. We also say "这么大个坑,下集怎么填啊?" (Such a big hole, how are they gonna fill it in the next episode?), where "填" (to fill) means "to resolve (the cliffhanger)".QIU Ao (talk) 09:09, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
Thanks. Plot hole means something different in English. Vox Sciurorum (talk) 17:54, 17 May 2019 (UTC)
@Vox Sciurorum:I believe it's a different "hole". Maybe I should have used the word "pit".QIU Ao (talk) 05:09, 20 May 2019 (UTC)

how, where, when as conjunctionsEdit

I don't agree with the analysis as conjunctions here. They are very clearly relative adverbs, they introduce an adverbial relative clause in the same way that why (which is marked as an adverb) does, and also the relative pronouns. —Rua (mew) 00:55, 8 April 2019 (UTC)

They are also "clearly" subordinating conjunctions. The question is whether we have both PoS sections to accommodate the divergence of terminology or whether we can find evidence that the references used by ordinary users mostly favor one set of terms over another. Our admins and professional linguists ought to be able to accommodate the redundancy without their heads exploding. DCDuring (talk) 03:13, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
See Conjunction (grammar)#Subordinating conjunctions on Wikipedia. Personally, I find it confusing that coordinating conjunctions and subordinating conjunctions are covered by the umbrella term “conjunction”, because (to me) they are totally different animals.  --Lambiam 15:24, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
Ok, but then we should be consistent and label relative pronouns as conjunctions too, because they also introduce subordinate clauses. —Rua (mew) 15:40, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
I sympathize with the feeling that the consistency leaves much to be desired here. However, we (Wiktionary) did not make these part-of-speech categories up. They are the traditional ones invented by traditional grammarians, and I’m afraid we are stuck with them for now, until one glorious day a new school of grammar ascends and gains primacy.  --Lambiam 17:02, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
Um, not if there's a consensus to do it another way. We're not slaves to traditional grammar, it's our dictionary you know! —Rua (mew) 17:05, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
It's not "our" dictionary; it's our users' dictionary. Why should we indulge the desire of some of us for internal consistency, non-redundancy, or adherence to some particular terminological system unless it clearly serves the interests of our users?
I was reading through the ComprehensiveGEL on this and noted that they have notes referring to the alternative terms used by linguists to refer to these. CambridgeGEL explicitly addresses areas of controversy with conspicuously marked sections of polemic. The very least we should do is try to use the most common categories for word classes. In the case of determiners we already have redundant definitions under different PoSes. This seems just to be another example of the same phenomenon. DCDuring (talk) 18:58, 8 April 2019 (UTC)


@Mahagaja, Hintha: Hi. Has this term changed from the dictionary meaning "mail-train; mail-boat" to also include mail (postal delivery system)? Some less reliable source suggest this and my Google search about the usage. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 06:18, 8 April 2019 (UTC)

@Atitarev: Sorry about the late reply; this question goes far beyond my rudimentary knowledge of Burmese anyway. —Mahāgaja · talk 15:06, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
@Atitarev: စာပို့ဆက်သွယ်ရေး (capui.hcakswaire:) (lit. "mail communications") would be the closest approximation for mail (postal delivery system), or to be more literal, စာပို့စနစ် ( (lit. "mail system"). The postal organization is typically called စာပို့တိုက်လုပ်ငန်း (capui.tuiklupngan:) or shortened to စာတိုက်လုပ်ငန်း (catuiklupngan:) (e.g., Myanma Post is called မြန်မာ့စာတိုက်လုပ်ငန်း (mranma.catuiklupngan:). --Hintha (talk) 04:16, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
@Hintha: Thank you. So, the base word is correct then. I have now defined ဆက်သွယ်ရေး (hcakswaire:, communications) and စနစ် (ca.nac, system) with your usage examples - pls check, စာပို့ (capui.) still needs some attention (definitions). --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 05:08, 16 April 2019 (UTC)

dildo non-sexual usesEdit

"An artificial phallus (penis), particularly for sexual uses." What other uses does it have? Door-stop? Equinox 17:41, 8 April 2019 (UTC)

dildos as windscreen wipers.  --Lambiam 19:56, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
Art? I suppose the question is, would just saying "An artificial phallus (penis)" be sufficient? (Should we clarify that it is three-dimensional and a drawing of a penis would not count?) - -sche (discuss) 21:25, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
I would at least add "designed for sexual stimulation" or similar. IMO "artificial penis" would also describe a neopenis (there has been disagreement about this before); in any case that definitely isn't a dildo. But if there aren't any other serious uses for it then we should drop the strange "particularly" bit. Equinox 01:03, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
I probably wouldn't call a neopenis an artificial penis, but I would call a packer one, and a packer isn't a dildo. —Mahāgaja · talk 15:08, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
There's an episode of the CBC show Still Standing wherein the lead is talking with a boat-builder on Fogo Island (show synopsis here streaming here if your IP is in Canada, also available for pay here on Amazon Prime), and the boat-builder is walking him through the names of various parts of a small rowboat he's building. Apparently the short wooden post to which the oar is lashed is called a dildo. It's roughly the same size and shape as the phallic device, but here it's clearly not used for sexual purposes. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 16:34, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
Good points. (The use Eirikr mentions seems like a different sense, like the plant sense is a different sense, and not an example of this sense.) Would a usage note clarifying what the term is and isn't be a good idea? A bar of soap shaped like a mini penis or lipstick shaped the same way (both found as e.g. bachelor/ette party gifts), or an oversized sculpture like in Korea's Penis Park, might be intended to be sexual ("naughty" or titillating), but wouldn't be dildoes. An artist could design "the world's largest dildo" too large to use, but I suppose that's an edge case that shouldn't influence the definition (like the world's smallest shirt might not constitute clothing). Adding illustrations to the entry would probably help. - -sche (discuss) 19:56, 16 April 2019 (UTC)


When I came upon our entry for this word, I was somewhat surprised to see the slang sense marked as vulgar. I wonder about that.

Out of curiosity, I checked the talk page for the entry. When I did so, I saw that (a little under a year ago) @-sche and @Mnemosientje had a brief discussion that seems to have led to the (vulgar) label being tacked onto the aforementioned sense of retard.

Now, (and please do correct me if I am wrong here, -sche. I'm not trying to put words into mouths here) -sche seemed somewhat hesitant at first about having the (vulgar) label be applied there, because they weren't certain that it was the most accurate label in this instance. However, Mnemosientje (and the same—of course—goes for you, Mnemosientje: feel free to correct me if I am wrongly representing what you said or am otherwise misunderstanding what you meant) indicated that they felt that the (vulgar) label would do quite a good job at communicating that the term is "offensive, and [...] not used in polite company". They (Mnemosientje) then said that the label also noticeably fits given the original meaning of the word vulgar (I don't particularly find that point to make for a strong argument, considering that, by that logic, any particularly colloquial word that indicates any level of offensiveness could be argued to rightfully deserve the label "(vulgar)".)

Now, I actually do have one instance of an anecdotal experience that at least suggests that some people may well look at retard (and its derivatives) as vulgar. Several years ago, I was chatting with several people that I knew (in a public place, although not amidst a whole bunch of other people), and one of those people (someone who was a former friend of mine at the time [he was a former friend even then, I mean]) expressed some shock when I described some moronic (not a strong enough word in this instance) happening or notion as "retarded". Now, I don't call people "retards", because there is no good reason to describe someone that way, and I am not really the kind of person to characterise a person themselves with a term like that [considering that the only thing that I can in any way rightfully do myself is interpret and judge the actions and behaviours of an individual or group of people]. However, given the fact that (at least where I live) the adjective retarded has—to most people—an often particular meaning that is more or less a combination of foolish (or idiotic, depending upon the circumstances) + demented, that is not very well represented with other words (at least not very many non-vulgar words, anyway [and I choose not to use vulgar words]), I do in rare circumstances use the adjectival derivative if I am describing something that is not only utterly idiotic or foolish, but also makes me question if, in the case of it being a proposed idea or something of that sort, there is something behind that whatever-it-is that is, well, "off". ...In any case, if I recall correctly, someone who was a closer (and actually at that time current) friend of mine said that the word wasn't vulgar (although I will note that there were a few others in that conversation who sided with the surprised fellow on this, perhaps more than who sided with me or who didn't have an opinion. I really can't remember).

But I think that perhaps there may be some distinction between how retard and retarded are generally perceived by the everyman or everywoman who does not really have a horse in the race that is the controversy that is found in the usage of this particular word and its derivatives (I say this only because I recall there actually being a specific campaign to end the use of the word "retard" and its derivatives specifically, which leads me to believe that this particular word is seen by a significant number of people to be particularly unacceptable). I, at least, have long gotten the sense that to call someone a retard is particularly low and callous (for obvious reasons). On the other hand, calling a decision, concept, proposed law, etc. "retarded", whilst still most definitely insulting and offensive, is (perhaps) not perceived to be as unacceptably slighting as the use of its root noun. I don't know. I'm just suggesting the possibility. I will note that, although definition four for our entry for retard is marked as (vulgar), its adjectival equivalent is not, for what that's worth.

Also, just to be clear, I am in no way intending to suggest that the word retard and its derivatives are acceptable in polite discourse, inoffensive, or the like. I'm just saying that I question the veracity of the (vulgar) label in this instance. Tharthan (talk) 21:13, 8 April 2019 (UTC)

To me "vulgar" means it's something like a swear-word. I wouldn't call retarded vulgar, just likely to be offensive. Equinox 21:16, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
Yeah, that's pretty much how I see the (vulgar) label as well, hence my concern about its application in definition four of the noun in our entry for retard. Grouping retarded (and the like) with actual vulgar terms is, at best, inaccurate. At worst, it could potentially be perceived as deceptive. Tharthan (talk) 22:22, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
A usage note like the one on girl may be more appropriate. Vox Sciurorum (talk) 00:08, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
On one hand, I agree that this doesn't feel vulgar. On the other hand, it seems like it may meet our (terrible!) glossary definition of 'vulgar'. I would nonetheless remove the label, maybe replacing it with 'informal' or something, but we should also consider how to refine that glossary definition of 'vulgar'... the definition that Google supplies if you search for it is "making explicit and offensive reference to sex or bodily functions", which seems like a reasonable starting-point. - -sche (discuss) 01:00, 9 April 2019 (UTC)

given toEdit

Despite the lemming test, isn't given to really just an 'adjectival past participle' + 'preposition' ? Originally having a literal meaning of "dedicated to" (cf. I now give the boy to the LORD. For as long as he lives, he is given to the LORD." Then he worshiped the LORD there. 1 Samuel 1:28, CSB). Then over time becoming reflexive: I give myself/am given to drinking a cup of green tea every morning. We call the whole set an Adjective, but is that right ? Can one ever use it without an object of the preposition, as "I am really given to" or "She's more given to than I am" ? Leasnam (talk) 23:10, 8 April 2019 (UTC)

Additionally, we have something very similar already at at given (sense 5) Leasnam (talk) 23:19, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
My initial reaction/inclination is: redirect to the "Prone, disposed" sense of given (via {{senseid}}). But maybe just redirect to given, not to any specific sense? Or delete... - -sche (discuss) 01:04, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
This is very similar to partial, sense 4. We also have an entry partial to. There is something peculiar to these cases: when used in these particular senses, it is strictly obligatory to combine the adjective with a prepositional phrase starting with to. So if it is a sum of parts, these parts do not allow themselves to be pried apart.  --Lambiam 17:26, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
If we intend to eliminate duplication of lemmas, we could eliminate the relevant sense of given (assuming, as I do, that Lambiam's conclusion is correct). I think we are trying to help our users find definitions appropriate to what they have heard or read. Having this kind of redundancy may help. DCDuring (talk) 19:50, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
Or we can change partial sense 4 to mean exactly what it does: "biased or favourable" and then the combination 'partial' + 'to' all makes sense (e.g. I'm partial to doing what's best for the users = I'm biased to or favourable towards doing what's best...). prone to is another one. If we need to keep these, can we call them something besides 'Adjectives' ? Maybe Phrase ? Leasnam (talk) 01:03, 10 April 2019 (UTC)

beech tree usage notesEdit

Usage notes: "Beech tree is less commonly used by far than ? in referring to such trees." I know them as beech trees, anyone know what the "?" might be? Or is this some copy-paste artifact. - TheDaveRoss 02:10, 9 April 2019 (UTC)

Than beech alone, I expect. Equinox 02:16, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
There are also about twice as many OneLook references that have an entry for beech as have an entry for beech tree. DCDuring (talk) 02:24, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
Also "Elm tree is less commonly used by far than elm in referring to such trees" at elm tree and "Oak tree is less commonly used by far than oak in referring to such trees" at oak tree. I think these usage notes are of questionable correctness or usefulness, and I would consider deleting them. I also don't know on what basis we have a separate "~ tree" entry for some trees and not for others. Mihia (talk) 19:35, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
See Talk:oak tree. If beechtree is not attested, this could be RfDed. Or it could be RfDed to generate the effort to attest beechtree, which would succeed. The effort would not succeed for the overwhelming majority of tree species.
And this is all fundamentally a result of the tail wagging the dog: those creating FL L2 sections like to be able to link to [[beech tree]] rather than [[beech]] [[tree]].
The point of the notes is to help those who might use beech tree (or the others) to realize that it is not the only, not the most common way to refer to such a tree. DCDuring (talk) 00:22, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
"by far" is too extreme. It sounds as if e.g. "oak tree" is an unusual thing to say, whereas in fact it is common. I don't think that the difference in frequency between "oak" and "oak tree" when referring to such trees is sufficiently notable to be worth mentioning. I don't object to "oak tree" etc. as separate entries, but I don't grasp why the existence in print of "oaktree" (which seems verging on a spelling error anyway) should make any difference to whether or not we include "oak tree". Mihia (talk) 18:00, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
We could always use fresh eyes on WT:COALMINE. DCDuring (talk) 18:06, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
OK, thanks, I see the arguments stated in favour of it. Mihia (talk) 19:24, 11 April 2019 (UTC)


As the person who first posted the word Corbynization, I should like to say that the term Progressive is better than Socialist in the context of describing political alignments pertinent to the word, as the term Corbynization is often applied to the American Democrat Party, which is Progressive but NOT Socialist.

bridge (card game)Edit

Bridge: "A card game played with four players playing as two teams of two players each." I'm afraid I don't play this game, but I'm sure we can come up with a better definition! — SGconlaw (talk) 08:00, 9 April 2019 (UTC)

Is the definition at contract bridge any better? I am not a bridge player either, but I believe these terms are synonyms, bridge being a shortening of contract bridge, which is named thus to distinguish it from its precursor, auction bridge. (See History of contract bridge.)  --Lambiam 16:41, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
We could say the same about many card games - the definition of shithead is pretty, err, shitty, for a start. --I learned some phrases (talk) 12:31, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
Perhaps: "a trick-taking card game, usually played by four players in two competing partnerships, where players attempt to covertly communicate information about the cards they hold so that they can XXX". What is XXX? Maybe "bid to win tricks". I don't understand this game fully. Equinox 14:05, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
Yes, something along those lines would be more informative. — SGconlaw (talk) 02:02, 12 April 2019 (UTC)

go haring pastEdit

How is the phrase go haring past to be analized? --Backinstadiums (talk) 17:49, 9 April 2019 (UTC)

Like [the fellow] came running around the corner. In your phrase, haring is the present participle of the verb hare, and past is an adverb. Now analyze the phrase Bij zoute haring past een zeer droge, diepgekoelde sherry het best. :)  --Lambiam 18:55, 9 April 2019 (UTC)


This looks like a Spanish entry inexplicably changed into English. Is there anything there worth salvaging? Ultimateria (talk) 19:03, 9 April 2019 (UTC)

Maybe Basque or Tagalog, not Spanish.  --Lambiam 19:28, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
A Google news source gives plenty of occurrences, apparently as a diacritic-free spelling of Josué, just like the many occurrences of Francois.  --Lambiam 19:37, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
I just saw that the Biblical senses were added a few days ago by an anonymous user. But there is plenty of evidence searching Google Books for "book of Josue" and "Josue chapter" that it's an obsolete synonym of Joshua. I'm going to convert the page into an alt form. Ultimateria (talk) 15:20, 10 April 2019 (UTC)


Because this is the word of the sense 6 completely redundant? Isn't is just a partial repetition of sense 5? Esszet (talk) 14:32, 10 April 2019 (UTC)

One sense is supposedly transitive and the other intransitive, but when I looked for some quotations yesterday I actually had some trouble distinguishing between the two. I suppose I could combine them into “(transitive, intransitive)” – thoughts? — SGconlaw (talk) 14:59, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
Sense 5 already says “transitive, intransitive”. Esszet (talk) 15:44, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
Oh yeah … OK, merged. The WOTD has also been updated. — SGconlaw (talk) 16:00, 10 April 2019 (UTC)


In the sense of "so" or "that", indicating degree or extent, e.g. "It was yay big". We describe it as a misspelling of yea, but at least three other dictionaries list it as a valid spelling. [1][2][3]. Is it a misspelling? Mihia (talk) 19:15, 10 April 2019 (UTC)

I changed it to "alternative spelling". Since it exists and other dictionaries consider it a standard spelling, it seems likely it's just "alternative" and not a "mis-" spelling. If some authorities specifically proscribe it, that could be added as a label / usage note. - -sche (discuss) 18:21, 14 April 2019 (UTC)


How should this be labelled, and should the lemma have a dot (Messrs.)? Looking at the edit history a number of editors over the years have added, removed, readded etc the French section, and the French Wiktionary lists it as exclusively English. google books:"et Messrs" suggests it is attested in French, but maybe only marginally: the first several results are some Louisiana French, some Guernsey French, and some rather old French. - -sche (discuss) 07:51, 11 April 2019 (UTC)

The French orthographic rule is not to use a dot after the abbreviation when the last letter of the abbreviated word is included. See fr:Abréviation#Typographie et abréviations. The GBS results show, though, that this rule is not universally followed. I think that in French this is obsolete. The current convention is to use MM. (with a dot).  --Lambiam 14:35, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
I took a stab at editing the entry and writing some usage notes at M.. - -sche (discuss) 19:54, 11 April 2019 (UTC)

instrument flight, instrument flight rules, IFR, visual flight, visual flight rules, VFREdit

Entry-worthy? ChignonПучок 11:31, 11 April 2019 (UTC)

I had the impression that “instrument flight” means, “a flight that is operated under instrument flight rules”, but the earliest instances I can find for “instrument flight” precede those for “instrument flight rules”. That suggests that instrument flight rules is a rather transparent SoP. On the other hand, I believe that someone who is told that “flight” in “instrument flight” means “trip made by an aircraft” would still not be able to infer the meaning of the attribute “instrument” unless they happen to have further knowledge of how pilots operate aircrafts. So that makes instrument flight in my eyes worthy of inclusion. The same applies, mutatis mutandis, for visual flight.  --Lambiam 13:34, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
Does visual flight precede visual flight rules? And even so, the existence of the abbreviations is suggestive the the underlying terms have become set phrases in their own right. And, etymology is not destiny. DCDuring (talk) 17:59, 11 April 2019 (UTC)

Is there a word for it? Examples?Edit

Study the phrase "If you don't know what an X is, you are an X". Now tell me which words can fit into the sentence for it to make sense. Next week we'll do the same but with "If you don't know what an X is, you are not an X"--I learned some phrases (talk) 12:34, 11 April 2019 (UTC)

If you don’t know what an ignoramus is, you are one. See further Thesaurus:ignoramus. Already now for next week, if you don’t know what a sesquipedalianist is, you ain’t one yourself, bro.  --Lambiam 13:49, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
Probably two categories that fit the bill: 1. words describing stupid or oblivious people (like "ignoramus" suggested above); 2. words describing people who are uncool/unhip (since not knowing the grooviest words makes you a square, daddy-o). Equinox 14:01, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
Like if you don’t know what a sad case is, ... . But then, maybe you are an O.G., just not British.  --Lambiam 14:40, 11 April 2019 (UTC)


I think that the etymology section implies that "pathology" existed in ancient Greece. However, as far as I know, even the word "παθολογια" didn't exist, and it is a 15th-century neologism. What are your thoughts about it? Do you think that there should be an alteration to show that historical perspective of the word? I would love to see some citation for the existence of the word in ancient Greek, but even if it did exist, I don't think that matters, because the word was made to show the usage of the ancient Greek way of thinking to explain and study diseases and medicine in general. In my opinion, it needs some more explanation. Thank you.

This was written for the French/Dutch pathologie where the connotation is more severe, however, I can see the same in the English version, to a lesser extent.

LSJ lists παθολογία, but with a different meaning. I don’t know what “Gloss.” means here; it does not occur in the list of abbreviations. Apparently, Galen used the corresponding adjective παθολογικός in the sense of “pathological”. The Greek Wikipedia presents Modern Greek παθολογία as a loan from French pathologie.  --Lambiam 23:06, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
Bailly does not have a lemma παθολογία. So (unlike the adjective παθολογικός and the verb παθολογέω), it would seem that this noun – although it would likely have been understood and may well have been spoken – is unattested in Ancient Greek.  --Lambiam 17:39, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
@Lambiam: I already addressed this at Talk:pathologie, but OP has seemingly not noticed. If it's attested in Byzantine Greek, the solution is clear. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 18:55, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
I assume that in saying it is a 15th-century neologism he meant that French pathologie is a 15th-century neologism in French, although Le Trésor says 1550, which is 16th century. While the latter source says the French term is borrowed from Greek, citing Liddell-Scott, the Greek Wiktionary claims the opposite direction. From these sources it is not clear to me if παθολογία can really be found in pre-Modern Greek; it seems unlikely that Hervé Fierabras took the term from a Byzantine text. If the term can be found in pre-Modern Greek, the situation is probably similar to that of French acoustique and Greek ακουστικός (akoustikós). To complicate the matter, Fierabras reportedly wrote in Latin and translated the text to French later, which gives a chain like pathology/παθολογία < pathologie < *pathologia < παθολογία.  --Lambiam 23:47, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
Earlier editions (Liddell & Scott American edition, 1859, Scott 1889) also list παθολογέω and παθολογικός but not παθολογία, which appears to confirm that the word is not attested in Ancient Greek.  --Lambiam 01:03, 13 April 2019 (UTC)


This was discussed briefly in 2013, but defining it as "Abbreviation of various terms beginning "social"" without spelling out which terms seems abnormal for us: for most shortenings, e.g. sitch, we spell out what it's a shortening of (situation), and for acronyms, we don't just say "acronym of any of several strings starting with these letters", we list each thing it's an acronym of. It follows that, here, we should list each attested sense, at least as a subsense: "social security number", "socialist", etc. Right? - -sche (discuss) 19:30, 11 April 2019 (UTC)

Well, we certainly should have the leading attestable cases, but if it is productive in its application, we would still need the open-ended definition. Also, isn't socsci/soc-sci/soc sci more common as an abbreviation of social sciences than soshsci or sosh. DCDuring (talk) 23:42, 11 April 2019 (UTC)

Pushrim vs. push rim?Edit

How do I look up the instances difference between two similar words in order to best assay which should be included? (The word in question is the rim of a wheelchair which users can push on in order to produce locomotion.) Thanks! Elfabet (talk) 19:40, 11 April 2019 (UTC)

Both here and on Google, enclosing the term in " forces a literal search for the enclosed string. DCDuring (talk) 23:43, 11 April 2019 (UTC)
Thanks! Follow up: if both have about equal usage in g.scholar and g.books, is there any additional criteria that would distinguish which to use? Appreciate the timely responses~ Elfabet (talk) 13:13, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
In this case an ordinary Google search reports many more hits for “push rim” than for “pushrim”, about 250 times as many. All other things being equal, I’d go for push rim as the main lemma and pushrim as an {{alternative spelling of|push rim|lang=en}}. (Compare the infamous coal mine.) --Lambiam 17:20, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
Thanks, I've taken a stab at both of them with your suggestsions. Additional flushing out would be well appreciated. Cheers! Elfabet (talk) 12:54, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
It was good, but I reworded it as a single phrase and added an image, which often helps with uncommon words relating to fairly common objects. DCDuring (talk) 13:09, 15 April 2019 (UTC)

However muchEdit

much as is defined as However much, but are they interchangeable? {Much as - However much} I like James as a friend, I could never date him --Backinstadiums (talk) 00:37, 12 April 2019 (UTC)

In that case they are, IMO. DCDuring (talk) 01:34, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
Agreed. Ultimateria (talk) 02:51, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
I added your sentence as an example of much as sense 1. Sense 2 may need some work:
2. Almost as; as much as.
"as much as" is confusing as a definition since "as much as" works just as well in the sense 1 example "As much as I like James ...". I can't offhand think of a case when "much as" means "almost as", at least not in a sense where "as much as" could also work. There is the usage like "He spoke to me much as a doctor would". Could this be what it is getting at? If anyone understands it, an example sentence would be good. Mihia (talk) 19:39, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
I think you have it right. I couldn't understand the much as entry, which was the redirect target of as much as. I made a real entry for as much as (which gets an entry in dictionaries more often than much as does), which BTW would benefit from a fresh set of eyes. I wonder how many of the definitions in much as are the same as those of as much as. DCDuring (talk) 20:30, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
A definition for much as in the sense it is used in “He spoke to me much as a doctor would” could be “largely in the same way as”. I think there is agreement that the definition “as much as” for sense 2 is confusing rather than enlightening, so why not scrap it?  --Lambiam 20:57, 13 April 2019 (UTC)

to say somebody nayEdit

Shouldn't it be the verb tell instead? --Backinstadiums (talk) 02:14, 12 April 2019 (UTC)

"Tell" is an old sense of say. In a set phrase sound matters: say and nay. DCDuring (talk) 02:35, 12 April 2019 (UTC)


Sense 1 is "archaic Ado.", but then sense 3 is "A fuss made over something, commotion." Am I correct in wanting to remove 1 entirely? 3 fits the definition of ado, and it's not archaic. Ultimateria (talk) 02:50, 12 April 2019 (UTC)

I think so. IMO, ado in at least one of its senses is a synonym of to-do. DCDuring (talk) 03:43, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
I think so too, unless anyone can demonstrate in which way it is different. Mihia (talk) 19:29, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
Perhaps it's archaic in the phrase "without further 'to-do" = "without further ado". Leasnam (talk) 22:56, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
"without further ado" is a bit more of a set phrase than "without further to-do", but for me the latter is also usable and does not seem archaic. I am a BrE speaker. Mihia (talk) 12:50, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
To do this to excessright we should test the relative frequency of to-do and ado in the various common collocations and insert each common collocation in usage examples in the entry with the greater relative frequency. We might discover something. DCDuring (talk) 13:34, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I have combined the relevant senses and removed the "archaic" tag. The other definition, "A task that has been noted as one that must be completed, especially on a list", is very dubious for me also. Surely in the example "to-do list", the word "to-do" does not mean "a task". I'll have to come back to this one. Mihia (talk) 23:23, 30 April 2019 (UTC)
I started a new thread for this at Wiktionary:Tea_room/2019/May#to-do_.282.29. Mihia (talk) 22:35, 1 May 2019 (UTC)

run upEdit

This is how the first few definitions of "run up" presently read (partly as a result of my additions):

  1. Used other than with a figurative or idiomatic meaning: see run,‎ up.
    The small boy ran up the hill.
    As I was walking along the road, a man suddenly ran up to me.
  2. To hasten to a destination.
    The dog ran up under the table to get his food.
  3. (with to) To approach.
    We are putting on lots of special events as we run up to Christmas.

Now I feel unsure about this. Is "a man suddenly ran up to me" literal enough to be in the "&lit" section, on the basis that there is a corresponding sense at up, and that we can also have "walk up", "stroll up", "saunter up" etc.? Or is it idiomatic? But then is "The dog ran up under the table to get his food" not really just the same sense? Is "The dog ran up under the table to get his food" also a literal sense? Mihia (talk) 19:28, 12 April 2019 (UTC)

Phrasal verbs are confusing, but important to many non-native English learners. :MWOnline has 5 verb senses for run up:
  1. (intrans.) grow rapidly
  2. bid up (run up shares in Lyft)
  3. stitch together quickly (I can run up a cushion cover in less than an hour)
  4. erect hastily (run up a store out of so many planks and so much corrugated iron)
  5. achieve by accumulating (run up the score, run up a big bill)
  6. run up against experience (something difficult)
[The examples are not from MWOnline.]
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs has:
  1. run up against (See up against)
  2. run up to (a place) travel to (a place) quickly or for a brief time
  3. run up (to someone or something) run as far as (someone or something)
None of these quite fit run up the flag/sail, run up the engine, run up a column of figures, run up a covey of birds.
I haven't compared each of these definitions to determine whether there actually is a sense of run that carries an appropriate definition and that works without up.
Based on previous discussions here, opinions on this differ, but IMO MWOnline has it right and the senses that you have at run up seem SoP to me. DCDuring (talk) 21:19, 12 April 2019 (UTC)


Any Vietnamese language editors who can check the translations here? From what I can tell "tổng đốc" refers to what was once a 總督 of a Vietnamese or Chinese province, while in fact the modern concept of governor-general should be toàn quyền. ---> Tooironic (talk) 15:01, 13 April 2019 (UTC)

Indeed, governor-general is normally translated with toàn quyền. The Vietnamese Wikipedia page about toàn quyền does state, however, that tổng đốc is an equivalent position from feudal/imperial times. MuDavid (talk) 09:31, 24 May 2019 (UTC)


How is that a nickname? ChignonПучок 12:36, 14 April 2019 (UTC)

Dante” was a nickname for Durante di Alighiero degli Alighieri, but “Petrarch” is clearly merely an anglicization of “Petrarca”, just like “Livy” is an anglicization of “Livius”.  --Lambiam 20:47, 14 April 2019 (UTC)


@Erutuon, Florian Blaschke, Rua, -sche and anyone else who knows about Proto-Germanic: why does *mōdēr have Verner's Law? In other words, why *mōdēr and not ×mōþēr, since the stress in Proto-Indo-European *méh₂tēr is on the first syllable? There's no Verner's in *brōþēr from *bʰréh₂tēr, so why is there here? —Mahāgaja · talk 14:58, 14 April 2019 (UTC)

Never mind, I've just read the answer at the PIE entry. —Mahāgaja · talk 17:34, 14 April 2019 (UTC)


This was recently added as a suffix meaning "sandwich". The sole example given is ribwich. To me that is a blend of rib and sandwich; is there enough evidence for -wich as a suffix? Equinox 15:02, 14 April 2019 (UTC)

an allEdit

Given as an alt form of and all, with no further explanation. Is it non-standard, regional, a misspelling or typo? Should we have a new sense at an defined as "and"? — Oh, I've just noticed that the originally said "Northern England", but this was removed at some point. Equinox 15:16, 14 April 2019 (UTC)

It represents a pretty common informal/regional BrE pronunciation of "and all", especially in the sense "in addition", but surely it should properly be written an' all. Since we already have an', I'm not sure that we need a separate entry though. Mihia (talk) 19:30, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
BTW, an' is labelled "nonstandard". Similar to y'know, below, I question whether "nonstandard" is appropriate. Mihia (talk) 19:32, 14 April 2019 (UTC)


This is a word only used by or in reference to the golfer Tiger Woods. It is not a general designation used by other people for themselves. Also, we define it as "of mixed ethnicity", whereas Tiger derived the word from "Caucasian, black, American Indian and Asian", and presumably meant that specific mixture, not any ethnic mixture. The whole entry feels a bit wrong. Equinox 15:42, 14 April 2019 (UTC)

I've revised the def. According to one of the hits, Tiger dropped the term soon after he coined it. Maybe we should RFV it to see if there are three authors using it outside even just direct quotations of Tiger. If there are three authors using it outside quotations, but still all describing Tiger, I'm not sure what should be done, but I guess we'd keep it? We do have e.g. Windy City which only refers to Chicago, and more recently RPattz was kept. - -sche (discuss) 19:30, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
Another word of this type just came up at WT:RFVE#cannista (discussion will eventually be archived to Talk:cannista); in the discussion, it was brought up that tweet also only(?) refers to Twitter. - -sche (discuss) 07:49, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
If it passes our attestation requirements ("clearly widespread use, or use in permanently recorded media, conveying meaning, in at least three independent instances spanning at least a year"), perhaps label it as a nonce word. — SGconlaw (talk) 08:58, 16 May 2019 (UTC)

y'know, y'seeEdit

If fuggedaboudit and c'mere are not nonstandard, how exactly are y'know and y'see nonstandard? Marking the latter two as nonstandard seems incredibly arbitrary, I feel.

I take no issue with the former two (in fact, the variant(s) figgedabatit/figgedaboutit [/fɪˈɡɛdəˈbæːtɪt/ / /fɪˈɡɛdəˈbaʊtɪt/] of fuggedaboudit are certainly common enough in my speech to be considered "part of my vocabulary"), but why is it that they (along with d'ya and probably others, although I need to be somewhere in a moment, so I don't have time to look) are somehow different? Tharthan (talk) 15:50, 14 April 2019 (UTC)

I don't think y'know should be labelled nonstandard. Informal, yes. Mihia (talk) 19:25, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
Yes, I think these are informal, not nonstandard. - -sche (discuss) 19:31, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
OK, I changed both to "informal". Given y', I'm not sure on what basis we include separate entries for some contractions and not others, but that is another discussion. Mihia (talk) 00:19, 21 April 2019 (UTC)


This is a Spanish baseball term, which could be translated as "base sweeper". Not knowing anything about baseball, and watching a couple of "barrebases" videos, I guess this is just a jonrón where there are batters already on the bases. Further research suggests there's an English phrase clear the bases, and there's probably a noun for that situation too - a base-clearing home run? Help from some Yanks would be much appreciated. --I learned some phrases (talk) 21:13, 14 April 2019 (UTC)


"(uncountable, ice hockey) The area where a game of ice hockey is played. The neighbouring countries have enjoyed many great battles on the ice." Isn't that just the normal sense of "frozen water"? Equinox 02:41, 15 April 2019 (UTC)

Isn't it the specific (yet not always critically defined) space, size, and quality of the arena or designated area? As compared to the smaller, but unusable, ice in your glass? Elfabet (talk) 13:12, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
Re tennis, I found: "She had won on the clay of Paris in 1961 and 1966 but few expected her to succeed on fast grass at Wimbledon..." They're just surfaces as far as I can tell. Equinox 14:10, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
Here the sense is rather specifically the rink on which the game is played and not the material forming its surface. I expect that a diligent search will turn up enough uses to meet our usual requirements.  --Lambiam 18:11, 15 April 2019 (UTC)


Does anybody know what the gender of this title is? I'd say the title is in practice singular in contemporary Dutch, like most titles are and just like Proverbs is singular in contemporary English, but it seems like writers tends to use appositions with (bijbel)boek to avoid a bare singular for a word that might superficially seem plural. The term almost never takes any articles. @DrJos, Mnemosientje, Morgengave ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 08:04, 15 April 2019 (UTC)

One test is to use een + a declinable adjective + the gender-curious word. Like *een vrolijk meid vs. een vrolijke meid, maar een vrolijk meisje vs. *een vrolijke meisje. The test requires a native or near-native speaker to assess the grammaticality. It is not easy to apply this to Spreuken, but what about this:
*“In zijn boekenkast stond een tot de draad versleten Prediker naast een nog puntgaaf Spreuken.”
 “In zijn boekenkast stond een tot de draad versleten Prediker naast een nog puntgave Spreuken.”
I hope I got this right. If so, this suggests that also viewed as a singular we have a de word.  --Lambiam 18:31, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
Proper nouns can just be plural-only without being reinterpreted as singular (e.g., de Pyreneeën, de Vogezen, etc.). I believe that's the case here. As a consequence, they don't have a gender as only singular words take a gender (and just FYI: singular spreuk is a feminine word). Morgengave (talk) 19:49, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
The thing is that you could still use Spreuken as a subject so it must be able to take conjugated verbs. According to my sense of grammaticality Spreuken in that position always agrees with singular conjugated forms, similar to how other plural book titles like De avonden, Twee vrouwen do so. E.g. "Spreuken is een verzameling die samengesteld is uit verschillende bronnen en heeft veel gemeen met andere voorbeelden van wijsheidsliteratuur uit het oude Nabije Oosten." You couldn't use zijn or hebben in this context without changing the meaning (and then the statement would make no sense). ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 11:23, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
Thank you, I think that is sufficient reason for stating the gender as common. If someone would prefer to specify that to feminine based on the etymology, they can have a shot at that. ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 11:23, 16 April 2019 (UTC)

village idiotEdit

The label at village idiot denotes "Britain", but isn't it more widespread than that ? Leasnam (talk) 21:07, 15 April 2019 (UTC)

I've heard it in the U.S. —Mahāgaja · talk 21:43, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
I removed both the label and the etymology, which despite being in the entry for quite a long time, are just plain wrong. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 00:21, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
Thanks, all ! Leasnam (talk) 23:50, 16 April 2019 (UTC)


Can we specify the meaning of cock in the definition? Sobreira ►〓 (parlez) 12:44, 16 April 2019 (UTC)

Needs work generally. I'm not sure "consumer of cocks" means anything much. Equinox 13:24, 16 April 2019 (UTC)
It might refer to Armin Meiwes, with Bernd Brandes as the purveyor.  --Lambiam 10:26, 17 April 2019 (UTC)


Subheader: "But first, we must ask ourselves...what is art?" We have two senses identical besides one calling it art and one calling it vandalism. Aren't they just the same practice from different perspectives? I say merge. Ultimateria (talk) 20:59, 16 April 2019 (UTC)

Yes, something along the lines of this might actually be an improvement over the current entry. - -sche (discuss) 05:25, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
I agree we should merge senses 1 & 2 (hopefully with a better wording than given by C133). At the same time, it should be pointed out that graffiti in this sense is considered (at least, sometimes) an art form by some but vandalism by others. Can we use the Usage notes for this? Formulating this may be tricky; for instance, I consider some graffiti more art than vandalism, and some more vandalism than art. Another issue: isn’t it better to complete separate the archaelogical sense by defining it as the plural of graffito?  --Lambiam 10:21, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
Yes to separating the archaeology sense. I would do change it to {plural of} with gloss, but the singular needs a better definition first. Ultimateria (talk) 17:49, 17 April 2019 (UTC)

my manEdit

Google built-in dictionary says it's "(British, dated)", but other references say it's American. Which is right? ChignonПучок 10:42, 17 April 2019 (UTC)

It has no definition. Isn't it SoP? Perhaps "my" in a term of address gives it a patronising tone, but the noun can vary widely. Equinox 11:44, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
It has been used as a term of address and an exclamation of approval in the US (Compare you go, girl.). DCDuring (talk) 12:06, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
As an exclamation of approval, shouldn’t it be categorized as an interjection rather than a noun? As a form of address, used similarly to ”my dear man” or “my good man” (cf. French mon bon homme), I think it SOP.  --Lambiam 17:16, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
Almost anything attestable used in these ways without proper names included is a set phrase. It deserves a non-gloss definition. We have a fairly large number of these already. I don't see how my + man conveys approval or greeting, whereas may man does.
Vast numbers of the members of Category:English interjections are readily seen as nouns or other PoSes. We seem to believe that almost any attestable excited utterance, not matter how many components it has, and no matter how readily subject to modification by determiners, adjuncts, etc. is an interjection (sensu lato ad absurdum) Almost any noun can be used in a way similar to interjections sensu stricto. DCDuring (talk) 00:49, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
But what if some phrase, in a particular given sense, can only be used as a stand-alone exclamation? Like “hear, hear” occurs in the tragedy Phædra and Hippolitus by Edmund Smith: “Hear, hear the ſtunning harmonies of woe”. But in the sense in which it is used as an exclamation of approbation, as heard e.g. in the British parliament, what else can it be than an interjection?  --Lambiam 19:02, 18 April 2019 (UTC)


An anon has been adding strange translations to a (some containing numbers). I have no idea if they are correct but didn't block him in case it was real. Any ideas? SemperBlotto (talk) 12:33, 17 April 2019 (UTC)

Reverted by @Rua, and I cleaned up some that got by @Surjection yesterday and weren't affected by the revert. Pretty obvious because:
  1. The IP geolocates to "Newfoundland & Labrador English School District"
  2. The translations covered an impossibly broad range of obscure languages (I think they just typed in random language codes)
  3. The translations themselves were mostly obvious keyboard mashing
The clincher for me was that there was a translation for an extinct American Indian language that was spoken in Los Angeles before Europeans arrived. It survives mostly in a few fragmentary mentions by non-linguists, and in the field notes of John Peabody Harrington- not the kind of sources available to a child or teen (it also goes against everything I know about the morphology of the language, as well).
They evidently edited from their school computer, then from their phone, then from their school computer again, so Surjection's revert only got the phone part and Rua's revert got only the last part.
I'm going into detail because I'm really surprised you missed all of the red flags above- you've been at this longer than any of us and you know all of this stuff (the numbered ones, anyway). Chuck Entz (talk) 13:59, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
Eh, Semper does a lot of good and hard work patrolling; if he wants to bring something like this in languages he doesn't speak up for others' input I don't think that's a problem. (On Wikipedia, I just saw a more experienced editor revert an IP's change to the spelling of a name, presumably since the changed spelling was less common in general and the IP's edit summary was "you spelled my dad's name wrong", but when I looked into it the IP appears to have been right, so discussion rather than a "this is probably wrong" revert would've been useful.) Thanks for looking into this so thoroughly. - -sche (discuss) 17:37, 17 April 2019 (UTC)

you go, girlEdit

According to User:Ivan Štambuk, this is a feminist phrase. According to me, it is not and doesn't belong here. you go, girl is around 30 times more common than you go, boy, I'm sure you'd be quick to mention. But who cares? --I learned some phrases (talk) 22:02, 17 April 2019 (UTC)

In saying that it “doesn’t belong here”, do you mean that, according to you, the phrase should not be included at all on Wiktionary, or merely that it should not be labelled as “feminist”?  --Lambiam 18:37, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
Not sure. --I learned some phrases (talk) 18:40, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
It probably could be viewed as originating from the spirit of feminism, possibly with an admixture of AAVE, but that is mostly of possible etymological interest now. It's persistent use in many registers, despite its crudeness, is, I think, an indication that it is a set phrase. DCDuring (talk) 18:54, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
I'm not aware of "go" being used in this way outside of "you go". Presumably not "she really went!" after seeing a great slice of feminist performativity. Whether it has to have "girl" (and whether you can say "you go, boy!" without making a self-conscious play on "you go, girl") I do not know. Equinox 21:01, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
On further thought, I've also often heard "go you!" as an expression of approval. Equinox 21:05, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
Removed feminist label and added early examples. DTLHS (talk) 21:10, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
It no longer says "feminist" but now it doesn't mention women at all. Are we to understand that saying "you go, girl" to someone who identifies as male is normal? Equinox 21:52, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
Is that part of a definition? DTLHS (talk) 21:55, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
added "for a woman or girl" and synonym attagirl. I wanted to add good girl too, but that may be too canine. --I learned some phrases (talk) 21:59, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
If "girl" is part of the term then yes. Imagine a foreign learner who picks up this phrase, learns the definition, and then says it to a guy. That would be silly; so we need to make any such usage restrictions clear. It's almost like how "Your Highness" isn't a term of respect to just anyone, but only to kings, popes or whatever. Equinox 21:59, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
It's very common for cisgender gay men to say "you go, girl" to each other, as indeed it's common for us to use just about any term chiefly applied to females to refer to each other (including the pronoun she, which in recent years gay men have started applying even to inanimate objects). —Mahāgaja · talk 07:33, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
True, but the fact that that phenomenon is so general, extending to all feminine words, suggests it's not an impediment to defining this one as being mostly or exclusively said to women. I recall that we excluded both the derogatory call-a-boy-a-girl sense and the gay call-another-gay-man-a-girl sense from girl for the same reason, and drill sergeants calling men "ladies" hasn't (yet) changed how we define lady, either. As an aside, do you think we should have an entry for [[gay she]] a la royal we? - -sche (discuss) 09:44, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
I don't think I've ever heard the phrase gay she used, so I'm not in favor of an entry unless cites are found. If you have some, go ahead and start Citations:gay she. I'd be interested to see if it's used to refer to the age-old phenomenon of gay men using she not only in reference to each other (and in reference to straight guys they wish were gay), but also to the relatively recent phenomenon of gay men using it to refer to objects (e.g. She looks good! in reference to a wig or a brightly colored coffee cup). And I'm not saying we need a separate sense of you go, girl for its usage among gay men or even mention gay men in the definition at all; I'm just saying we should phrase it as something along the lines of "chiefly for a woman or girl" so that the definition doesn't exclude the possibility of its being used occasionally for boys and men. —Mahāgaja · talk 12:39, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
"Chiefly" or "usually" seems like a good-enough solution. The gender-identification complexities may seem a little difficult to address in a dictionary, but we have plenty of polysemic entries. I think our entries for she, girl, lady, etc fall a bit short of adequate coverage of use that reflects current subculture usages. Citations would be essential. OTOH, I can't see it for MWEs that use these terms, like ladies and gentlemen, you go, girl/you go girl, etc. DCDuring (talk) 14:28, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
Sure, "chiefly" or "usually" would work here. ("Chiefly", "typically" and "mostly" do a lot of work for us in various words, including male and female, and lesbian, where I've known and also known of [cis] women—like E. J. Levy, who's also in the news lately for a use of she—who've identified as lesbians but fell in love with and married [cis] men.)
I suppose my concern is, would/should we similarly change the definitions of e.g. every feminine word ("heiress", "actress", etc) for which we find three instances of a man being put down as such, or a gay man being referred to as such? I...don't know; I concede that the other 'would we add a sense if...?' situations that come to mind, like finding three instances of people insulting a fat person as a balloon or calling a bad speech vomit probably are situations where we'd add a sense. (Maybe, despite my initial thoughts, bullies calling boys "girls" and sergeants calling men "ladies" is common enough to merit mention in a usage note or sense after all? Or maybe just a usex/quote... hmm...) - -sche (discuss) 20:36, 19 April 2019 (UTC)

red sauceEdit

Should we have a more specific definition? [4], [5], [6]. Or maybe red-sauce restaurant. DTLHS (talk) 22:35, 17 April 2019 (UTC)

I added ", as typically served in Italian cuisine, especially of southern Italy." But, see   red sauce on Wikipedia.Wikipedia for more. DCDuring (talk) 17:47, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
I suspect that the marinara sauce mentioned on Wikipedia is essentially the same thing. We do not have an entry for marinara sauce nor Italian alla marinara, but we have Spanish salsa marinara. Of course, any sauce that has a red colour may be called “red sauce”. In Chinese restaurants, spring rolls are often served with two sauces: a green sauce (which is hot) and a red sauce (which is not hot but somewhat sweet).  --Lambiam 19:14, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
mojo is another red sauce. Unlike the Chinese one, it is pretty spicy. The Spanish don't call it red sauce though. Which makes this post entirely pointless. --I learned some phrases (talk) 22:03, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
It is not pointless, however, to mention that there is a WP page for green sauce too. --I learned some phrases (talk) 22:05, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
I'd be surprised if red sauce was restricted to marinara sauce. DCDuring (talk) 22:23, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
There should probably be a literal definition, but if it's used specifically for a tomato sauce in certain contexts, we need that definition.--Prosfilaes (talk) 23:12, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
The red sauces of Italian, Asian, and Tex-Mex are all distinct but at least tomato- or chili-based. I think it's a synonym of pasta sauce / marinara sauce / spaghetti sauce / tomato sauce(?), as well as enchilada sauce (which does not refer to green sauce of green enchiladas). I don't know of any synonyms in Asian cuisine. I don't think it's hot sauce or chili sauce. Ultimateria (talk) 23:18, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
I think red sauce will be found to be used attributively to characterize a certain type of Italian cuisine and purveyors thereof, whereas spaghetti sauce, pasta sauce, marinara sauce, and tomato sauce, which may be identical to or types of red sauce, are not. DCDuring (talk) 02:13, 19 April 2019 (UTC)

West Frisian gEdit

Looking at the Pronunciations of begraafplak and begrave, I noticed that the g is fricative. It was my understanding that g at the onset of a stressed syllable was plosive (/ɡ/) in West Frisian (?) Leasnam (talk) 14:28, 18 April 2019 (UTC)

@Leasnam I'm not questioning at all what you're saying, but how do we think that that happened? I've always been under the assumption (perhaps it is an incorrect assumption) that the shift of Proto-Germanic /ɣ/ to /g/ in most Germanic languages happened at least somewhat independently from one another (not entirely, of course, as in later Old English it seems to have been due to Old Norse influence). How did West Frisian, considering the part of Frisia that it has long been spoken in, develop /g/ from /ɣ/? And how did it retain such a development over time, considering where West Friesland is located? Do we have any idea at all? Tharthan (talk) 04:44, 24 April 2019 (UTC)
@Leasnam, Tharthan, Rua – The book Phonology & grammar of modern West Frisian by Pieter Sipma (1913) states (on page 5) that g, when initial, has (almost) the same value as in English, but when not initial is a voiced fricative. On pages 15 and 17 these values are further specified to be, respectively, a voiced velar [ex]plosive and a voiced velar fricative. Omniglot gives the values [ɡ/ɣ] without a hint on which occurs in which positions.  --Lambiam 10:37, 25 April 2019 (UTC)
They are allophones of a single phoneme. Wikipedia treats /ɣ/ as the phoneme and [ɡ] as the allophone, so that is what has been adopted here as well. We could equally do it the other way around, although it can be argued that [ɡ] is the special case so it should not be considered the main realisation of the phoneme. But regardless of what we do, we should not mix ɣ and ɡ within a phonemic transcription. —Rua (mew) 11:00, 25 April 2019 (UTC)
@Lambiam, Leasnam After some research I found that there are actually words that violate the allophony. In words of multiple morphemes, each morpheme preserves its status as plosive or fricative, regardless of stress. hartoginne preserves the fricative of hartoch despite being stressed, while needgefal preserves the plosive of gefal despite being unstressed and no longer word-initial. Thus, the allophony only appears to hold within single-morpheme words, but compounding or affixation can break it. I've therefore changed my mind and think that we should give the allophones the status of full phonemes. —Rua (mew) 00:16, 6 May 2019 (UTC)
How is a morpheme boundary any different from a word boundary in this respect? It looks like it's just another condition for the phonological rule. Are there cases where a morpheme boundary doesn't have this effect? Chuck Entz (talk) 00:32, 6 May 2019 (UTC)
But a phonological rule for determining allophony that depends on morphological analysis isn't tenable. If we treat them as one phoneme, the only way to know that hartoginne has a fricative is by comparison with hartoch, which cannot be expressed in IPA. In phonological terms, the only way to treat these cases is as different underlying consonants; treating them as one phoneme loses this information and makes users of our phonemic IPA unable to pronounce it correctly. This makes both of them phonemes for our purposes. —Rua (mew) 00:43, 6 May 2019 (UTC)

what's upEdit

-- Yeah, how you doing, man? -- Just kidding. I don't care about how Wiktionary editors are doing.

I think we should merge senses 3 and 4, that is: (3) "(idiomatic, colloquial) What do you need?; How can I help you? "Can I ask you something?" / "Sure, what's up?"", (4) "(idiomatic, colloquial) What’s the matter?". I don't think that what's up, by itself, goes so far as to mean "how can I help you?" (sense 3): rather, it's just asking what the problem or issue is (sense 4). Equinox 20:59, 18 April 2019 (UTC)

behavioral forceEdit

"Anything, such as peer pressure, that makes the people in a society behave according to certain norms." Is this a sum of parts? If it's a set phrase, what group of people use it: psychologists, advertisers, etc. Equinox 21:54, 18 April 2019 (UTC)

The term comes from (post-Skinnerian) behavioural psychology, but is used by all sorts of pop psychologists.  --Lambiam 23:37, 19 April 2019 (UTC)

Hyphenation at supercalifragilisticexpialidociousEdit

I'm pretty sure "ifrag" and "ilis" are missing a syllable divider, the former being i-frag (or if-rag?), and the latter being i-lis or il-is. First of all, which is it? Also, why doesn't the hyphenation section show up when I edit the pronunciation section? Is it a bug in the mobile website (I'm on a Huawei p10 lite)?

MGorrone (talk) 22:26, 18 April 2019 (UTC)

They weren't there and I added them. Syllables can be pretty subjective in English, though; a Brit might disagree with me. Ultimateria (talk) 23:05, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
For the record, regarding "syllables", hyphenation (as noted on WT:Hyphenation) is about "how a word is broken across line breaks [...] a question of typography," not necessarily the same as pronunciation. For example, in German, Schlüssel is hyphenated Schlüs·sel, but there's only one /s/ sound in between the /l/s. And, conversely, Ecke is hyphenated Ecke despite being two syllables. - -sche (discuss) 00:10, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
Oh that's right. They should probably be sourced more often than not then. Should I undo my edit? Ultimateria (talk) 00:30, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
Eh, your edit had as many sources as the previous content (ha). Maybe we should just comment-out the hyphenation altogether. Or look for sources or even instances where the word is hyphenated in books. Google's suggested hyphenation is su·per·ca·li·fra·gil·is·tic·ex·pi·a·li·do·cious. In books, I can find the following line breaks (not exhaustive): "superca-lifragilisticexpialidocious", "supercal-ifragilisticexpialidocious", "supercalifra-gilisticexpialidocious", "supercalifrag-ilisticexpialidocious", "supercalifragilisticexpiali-docious". Someone with more patience could try all possible line break locations and see which existed. - -sche (discuss) 21:25, 19 April 2019 (UTC)


I’ve noticed the word wug in Michael Carr’s “Chinese Dragon Names” (1990) listed in Wiktionary:About Chinese/references#C. He uses it to refer to the radical . Isn’t it a dialectal form of bug? — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 01:09, 19 April 2019 (UTC)

Do you mean a dialect form of "bug" in English? Mihia (talk) 02:19, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
This is a WUG.  --Lambiam 23:25, 19 April 2019 (UTC)


So I just made Μανούσιο, which I guessed is a Greek surname. Obviously, I should never ever be allowed to edit in Greek. Was my guess correct that it is a surname? --I learned some phrases (talk) 09:43, 19 April 2019 (UTC)

The form is wrong. There are people whose surname is Μανούσιος, with a final sigma. It is not a good idea to make entries based on guesses.  --Lambiam 23:31, 19 April 2019 (UTC)


Another question about Greek. It seems that κανούσιο might be a word. Possibly referring to Canusium. --I learned some phrases (talk) 09:45, 19 April 2019 (UTC)

That would be the accusative case (as in στο Κανούσιο), with Κανούσιον (spelled with a majuscule, as it is a proper noun) as its nominative. This form was apparently already used by Plutarch, so it is also Ancient Greek.  --Lambiam 23:03, 19 April 2019 (UTC)

ladies and gentlemenEdit

Our usage notes have a number of problems. For one, they seem to be confusing "unisex" with "monosex" (probably we should just spell out "audiences of all one gender"). For another, they say the phrase is "used with ladies before gentlemen even in feminist [...] environments", as if to imply (by "even") that this is unusual or unexpected, but wouldn't feminists be expected to put "ladies" first in this phrase? (Or am I just influenced by the tendency to say Foobar-innen und Foobar-en in German?) - -sche (discuss) 20:11, 19 April 2019 (UTC)

Now I'm sad to discover that the term Foobarinnen doesn't seem to exist... 😢 ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 20:35, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
I wonder at what age it becomes ladies first, as the customary extended greeting, “Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls”, puts the male children before the female. I thought female feminists don’t care about being called “ladies“; perhaps “wymmyn and doodz”?  --Lambiam 23:19, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
It's better than "Guys". SemperBlotto (talk) 05:40, 20 April 2019 (UTC)
OK, I rewrote the usage notes. - -sche (discuss) 06:09, 20 April 2019 (UTC)

heaping big, heaping-bigEdit

Is heaping used as an intensifier with any other adjective than big? (a few quotes: "Intermittently, the mommas would bring us heaping big plates of home made teacakes", "I done dug a heaping-big can full of the biggest fishing worms you ever saw", "Right in the middle of all that stood a heaping big plate of cookies", "Then you spoon a heaping big portion onto your plate and eat it").

Compare Wiktionary:Tea room/2017/December § socking; see also Wiktionary:Tea room/2019/March § smoking hot, freezing cold et alii. ChignonПучок 07:58, 20 April 2019 (UTC)

Looking at google books:"a heaping big", the things described—spoons, dishes (bowls, plates), quarts, portions / amounts, piles (of leaves), or ice-cream sundaes—could also be described just as "heaping", so I think it may be not an intensifier but a second descriptor, like with google books:"large fat man". We're currently missing an adjective section at heaping, but it has as much merit as the adjective section we do have at heaped, I think: the verb sections could intelligibly cover both, but other dictionaries do have adjective sections. (The only oddity is "a heaping big rain squall", and even there I see "a heaping rain" and "a heaping storm" also occur.) As to other collocations, there is google books:"a heaping large" and a couple for "(the|a) heaping great". - -sche (discuss) 08:31, 20 April 2019 (UTC)
There's also the pseudo-American-Indian heap in the mix somewhere. Chuck Entz (talk) 17:26, 20 April 2019 (UTC)
@-sche: Yes, indeed. I stand corrected. ChignonПучок 20:42, 21 April 2019 (UTC)

girlfriendable, boyfriendable, wifeable, husbandable, girlfriend material, boyfriend material, wifey material, husband materialEdit

ChignonПучок 08:04, 20 April 2019 (UTC)

1. You can check. 2. You can check. 3. I'd lean towards not. 4. Yes; you can add it. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 19:17, 22 April 2019 (UTC)
About 1. and 2., the problem is I don't know how to use UseNet (and husbandable isn't attested in that sense on GB, AFAICT). About 3., okay, no entries. About 4., done, but I'm not sure about the inflection, and I don't know how to define it. ChignonПучок 20:13, 23 April 2019 (UTC) 
Use, and only look at results from groups in the Usenet format (e.g. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 20:29, 23 April 2019 (UTC)


It has been quite a while since I have been so put off by a word as I am now by this word. It is definitely attestable, but we are the only OneLook dictionary to have a full entry for it, having only a run-in at comfortable.

I would very much like to discourage use of this word. What is reasonable for labels, usage note, etc?

I also don't think the third definition is substitutable, which is IMO an indication that it may be wrong. DCDuring (talk) 21:39, 20 April 2019 (UTC)

You could add a usage note explaining that experienced Wiktionary editor DCDuring experiences a great deal of discomfortabilitation at the use of this word and therefore requests that any uses be replaced by a word providing simple “comfort”. (I feel your pain; I too become disorientated by such words.)  --Lambiam 12:15, 21 April 2019 (UTC)
We may need to clean up the current definitions; I am not convinced they are a good reflection of the senses the word has. If some senses are nonstandard, uncommon, or rare, they could be labelled as such. You could add a usage note suggesting that the word is not common enough to be in (many / most / all) other (major) dictionaries. For some senses the word seems to be the standard/expected one, however (though attestation of it would be key), like for "the extent to which someone can be comforted", like how the extent to which something can be deleted / redefined / whatever is its deletability, redefinability, etc. - -sche (discuss) 18:01, 21 April 2019 (UTC)
One problem is that in one definition it just means comfort, but has three more syllables that add nothing. But I think part of my particular problem is that my normal interpretation of such a word is that it should be decipherable as comfort#Verb + -ability ("'ability' to be comforted"), but that almost none of the usage seems to fit that definition. The alternative derivation, comfortable + -ity would yield the same meaning as comfortable + -ness (comfortableness), which word is not subject to alternative constructions and is used with a single definition about three times more frequently than comfortability, with its three or more definitions.
Perhaps another definition is "Affording the potential for comfort; enabling comfort." This is not the same as the "comfort" thereby achieved, nor is it "comfortableness", the state of having achieved comfort.
I've tried to reword the existing definitions and reallocate the cites, but haven't added the definition proposed immediately above. Please take a look. DCDuring (talk) 01:53, 23 April 2019 (UTC)


When I came to our entry for wretched, I was surprised to see the third sense marked as obsolete, because that sense was literally why I looked up the word here. I was thinking of synonyms for "despicable", "deplorable", worthy of detesting, and "wretched" was the first thing that came to mind for me.

I checked the talk page after noticing that one existed, and found that someone had left a message saying that they didn't think that the third sense was obsolete. Now, just to make sure that I hadn't left that message a long time ago, I looked up the IP address. Safe to say that it wasn't me, because they were on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.

I suppose that the problem is that distinguishing senses two and three in practice is sometimes quite difficult. If we read literature holding the belief that sense three is most definitely obsolete, then it is most likely that we will interpret nearly all potential instances of sense 3 as sense 2. Tharthan (talk) 23:49, 20 April 2019 (UTC)

If no one's complaining that the definition is accurate, let's see if anyone wants to cough up a source that says the usage is obsolete, which i also find questionable. (Even if such a source exists, i have to wonder if its research is obsolete.) i removed that tag solely on the merits of personal experience (original research, Wikipedia calls it) and Being Bold. Would dated or archaic be a less objectionable tag? Now that i'm thinking about it, i don't think anyone has forgotten or changed the meaning... People just seem more inclined to cuss these days.
Does Wiktionary have a [citation needed]template? 01:28, 21 April 2019 (UTC)
Erm... huh? We're supposed to discuss things like this, preferably. Be bold, but not reckless. I've taken the liberty of reverting your edit, because (even though I agree that the tag ought to be removed) it is unreasonable to just make serious changes like that all willy-nilly. I would suggest that you familiarise yourself with Wiktionary policies.
With that said, I think that the removal of the tag would be potentially reasonable. However, I would like to hear from other Wiktionarians first. But to address your statement...
1. You don't know whether anyone contests the definition. Someone here might say that definitions two and three are too similar, and need to be looked at. Let's wait and see.
2. We do give more leeway here in the research department than Wikipedia does (largely because a dictionary is a different beast from an encyclopaedia).
3. I would say that, at worst, (archaic) ought to suffice. But, at best, we might not need such a tag at all. Let's discuss, like I said. Many people (including myself) work on Wiktionary in their spare time, so please understand that it might take some time for the discussion to get going.
4. I would agree with that sentiment. In fact, I would venture to say that the English speaking world today is more rife with vulgarities than ever (almost certainly literally true anyway, considering the size of the English-speaking world today, and the number of words now in the language). I have things that I could say about the shocking comparisons that could be drawn between many of today's "First World" societies and the Roman Empire as it was before Constantine got the ball of progress rolling, but this is neither the time nor the place to get into that. We all have different takes on things, and this is a dictionary, not a message board.
5. Wiktionary has different rules than Wikipedia regarding the subject of citations, due to the fact that the two are different projects. However, I am not the best person to go into the details of that. Perhaps someone else can explain more to you. Tharthan (talk) 01:52, 21 April 2019 (UTC)
It looks like the definition and the obsolete tag was copied from Webster 1913. The best way to show it to not be obsolete would be to find citations. Another, lazier way would be to see what MWOnline says. They have 4 definitions, none marked as obsolete. But their wording is not in the form of a synonym cloud, so it is not easy to determine which of their current definitions correspond their century old ones. Our entry could stand modernization. DCDuring (talk) 02:12, 21 April 2019 (UTC)

criticality point/rateEdit

The entry for CRT includes the role-playing game's definition "criticality point/rate", and links to criticality, to point, and to rate. i do not know what "criticality point/rate" means, and i do not think reading the definitions of the component words helps. (The comparison that comes to mind is: linking to gold and digger might be misleading about the definition of gold digger.) Would anyone object if we do not include links in the case of criticality point/rate? 01:00, 21 April 2019 (UTC)

A definition that is incomprehensible is useless. I have requested verification of this sense.  --Lambiam 09:37, 21 April 2019 (UTC)

o' courseEdit

Real, of course, but not a very typical form. Should o' and of course suffice? Equinox 00:59, 22 April 2019 (UTC)

Economy, sadly, is not a consideration in CFI. DCDuring (talk) 03:02, 22 April 2019 (UTC)
Where a multi-word phrase has secondary variant spellings/contractions for its individual components, we do not, in my opinion, need to include separate entries for permutations of those variant spellings, unless any such are notably prevalent. Fer cryin' oot lood. Mihia (talk) 03:17, 22 April 2019 (UTC)
Not typical in writing, but very typical in speech, and it patterns differently than o' in my idiolect, at least. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 03:59, 22 April 2019 (UTC)
Perhaps this is reflected in the spelling acourse – easily attestable and passing the lemon test.  --Lambiam 07:43, 22 April 2019 (UTC)
Is this comparable to e.g. Talk:eatin' for two (2011) and Talk:eatin' like a bird (2018), which were both deleted? (I am on the fence about whether or not these are useful. I think I would prefer redirecting to outright deletion.) - -sche (discuss) 07:36, 22 April 2019 (UTC)

want + adjective/adverb (?)Edit

Recently heard in the movie Fracture (2007): "- I don't care. That's not what this is about. - What is it about? - It's about whether you can do what you're told. You wanted corporate, right? That was the point".

I'm familiar with this use, which I've come across before, but I don't think our entry want covers it. It seems similar to want in. ChignonПучок 18:56, 22 April 2019 (UTC)

Isn't it just the past perfect tense? DTLHS (talk) 18:58, 22 April 2019 (UTC)
@DTLHS: I'm confused. Of what verb? ChignonПучок 19:08, 22 April 2019 (UTC)
"You [had] wanted corporate". DTLHS (talk) 19:10, 22 April 2019 (UTC)
Mh, maybe, but even if it is, I don't think that would change anything to how corporate must be parsed. Or am I missing something? ChignonПучок 19:16, 22 April 2019 (UTC)
"Corporate" is definitely a noun in this case, if that's the problem. We don't have a good sense for this currently. DTLHS (talk) 19:17, 22 April 2019 (UTC)
Yes, that's the problem. I'm not convinced it's a noun; I could have sworn I've come across similar (slang) constructions before ("to want X", meaning "to want to join..." or something like that), where I would intuitively parse X as an adjective. Though right now I can't give you any examples... The only thing it reminds me of is want in and want out. ChignonПучок 19:30, 22 April 2019 (UTC)
Actually, I'm willing to concede it's a noun, but I really think it's the entry want that's lacking, not corporate. ChignonПучок 19:46, 22 April 2019 (UTC)
Well I'm coming around on it being an adjective. "You wanted fast", "you wanted bad", etc. I think we could come up with other verbs than "want" that we could apply this pattern to although none are coming to mind right now. DTLHS (talk) 19:48, 22 April 2019 (UTC)
Surely it's an adjective. Also "you wanted difficult", "you wanted different" etc. Mihia (talk) 22:09, 22 April 2019 (UTC)
Yeah, isn't it just elision of "you wanted (it/things to be) corporate/fast/difficult/etc"? I don't think it's "you wanted to join (corporate/whatever)", or at least I don't read the examples that have been listed so far that way. As to other verbs, what about (in the context of discussing e.g. a car) "you (needed / were looking for) fast, so I (built / got you / brought you) fast"? - -sche (discuss) 23:03, 22 April 2019 (UTC)
It is not just the verb want. For example: “You wanted cheap, you got cheap.” (Here, the verb get means “obtain” or “acquire”.) To me, it feels as if “something that is” has been elided: “You wanted something that is cheap, you got something that is cheap.” (Be careful what you want: you may get it.)  --Lambiam 00:00, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
Applied to the original quotation: “You wanted a job that is corporate, right?”  --Lambiam 00:05, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
Yet another verb + adjective: “I’m thinking modern but plush and sexy.”, meaning (in the context), “I’m thinking of an interior decorating style that is modern but plush and sexy.”  --Lambiam 00:27, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
I'm with Lambian.
This is not limited to want, think, get. It is a property of many English adjectives: that they can be used as nominals, with obvious meanings. "He intended to marry rich." "Living Poor with Style". "We should take a step back just to see the true beauty in ugly". "Jack's problem was that he was short, but played tall." It is not too common in formal speech and writing, but more so in informal settings, I think. DCDuring (talk) 02:20, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
Yes, I think -sche's explanation and yours are convincing. ChignonПучок 09:15, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
In many instances, "Corporate" is a proper noun, referring to the central, highest-level division of some corporations: "you can't do that without approval from Corporate". Without context, I'm not sure if that's what's referred to here, but it sounds plausible for such a sentence. Chuck Entz (talk) 02:26, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
@Chuck Entz: I don't think that's that. Unfortunately I'm not too well acquainted with the terminology, but the gist, I think, is that the character the sentence is addressed to used to work in a public service (?), but has applied for a new position in the private sector.
Here's what Wikipedia says: "Now in jail awaiting trial, Crawford engages in a battle of wits with rising star deputy district attorney William "Willy" Beachum [that's the person the sentence is addressed to], who considers the case an open-and-shut matter and agrees to go to trial immediately. Beachum is preparing to transition from criminal law to a corporate attorneyship at well-known law firm Wooton & Simms, and flirts with his future boss, Nikki Gardner [that's the person uttering the sentence]." ChignonПучок 09:15, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
As an aside, I think the played tall example is at least as well analyzed as an adverb, though we don't have an adverb PoS section at [[tall]]. MWOnline has it as a run-in; AHD, RHU, and WNW with a definition. Ergo, it may be US.
Also, I find it hard to imagine anyone not immersed in an English-speaking setting ever learning much of this kind of thing from any amount of study, even with a native speaker as a personal tutor. There are many ways of expressing the thoughts behind these expressions that are somewhat longer, but not likely to generate comment or confusion. DCDuring (talk) 12:03, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
The phrase play tall is idiom (used in basketball, baseball and other sports) and may – just like idioms such as think big and stand corrected – defy standard analysis.  --Lambiam 13:24, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
I don't really think play tall is an idiom. One doesn't have to look hard to find "Are you willing to play heavy or conservative?" (craps); "As one who chooses to play light, I am inclined to probe deeply into the various subjects I explore." (new age); "you can not possibly play heavy as a drummer when you have to have so many beats per minute"; "If it is happy, you can play light and bouncy."; "the thought of seeing the love of his life and Angel too, played heavy in his thoughts"; "play simple, play quiet and play light." DCDuring (talk) 18:07, 23 April 2019 (UTC)

break one's fastEdit

How are definitions one and two clearly distinct, especially considering the line in definition one "[T]o conclude any period of fasting by consuming food"? Tharthan (talk) 07:23, 23 April 2019 (UTC)

I don't think they are. I'd divide the senses up as follows:
  1. (dated) [or possibly even obsolete, in my view] To eat the first meal of the day after a night of not eating; to eat breakfast.
  2. To conclude any period of fasting by consuming food.
SGconlaw (talk) 09:58, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
There is (at least in my mind) a distinction between intentional fasting, practiced out of religious (or medical) motives, and simply not taking nourishment between (usually regular) meals. I think the latter sense, used in the present definition (“any period of fasting”), has mostly fallen into disuse, although “nightly fast” or “overnight fast” are still fairly common. In any case, both quotations for sense 1 refer to having breakfast, and it will be nigh impossible to find supporting citations for a more general sense, so the proposed new definition seems fine. The term is still used in contemporary historical novels (e.g. here) and will be understood in context by most readers, so the appropriate label is probably (archaic). To avoid misunderstanding, I suggest though to expand sense 2 to “To conclude any period of intentional fasting (usually for religious or medical reasons) by consuming food”.  --Lambiam 10:59, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
Sounds good to me. — SGconlaw (talk) 14:28, 23 April 2019 (UTC)


On an unrelated point, in a "verbal phrase" like break one's fast (not sure if there is a technical name for it), indicated in the entry as a verb, is it appropriate to indicate whether the phrase is transitive or intransitive? If so, is it transitive or intransitive? — SGconlaw (talk) 10:40, 23 April 2019 (UTC)

The usual term is verb phrase; to be included here it needs to be an idiomatic verb phrase. Some random similar verb phrases that come to mind: beat one’s brain; blow a kiss; kick the bucket; get one’s act together; rock the boat; zip one’s lip. Since these already carry an (idiomatically fixed) object, there is no slot left for another (optional) object, so one might say these verb phrases are formally intransitive, and in a few rare instances they have been labelled thus (e.g., make faces). But since the head verb in these phrases (beat; blow; kick; get; rock; zip) is transitive, that feels weird to me. It is different when the verb phrase itself is not pre-loaded with an object. Then one can have both transitive verb phrases (e.g. blow out of proportion) and intransitive ones (e.g. fool around), and labelling them accordingly is appropriate  --Lambiam 11:47, 2019 April 23 (UTC)
I had established Category:English predicates to capture this kind of expression in case we ever decided the issue SGconlaw has raised. I don't like adding Verb phrase as a PoS; nor do I think Phrase is a good heading. As we have many verbs that don't have their (in)transitivity labeled, simple neglect (ie, no label) may be good enough. DCDuring (talk) 12:14, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
So, in summary, if the verb phrase already has an idiomatically fixed object (e.g., break one's fast) we should not indicate the transitivity, but if it does not (e.g., fool around) we should? — SGconlaw (talk) 14:28, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
That is my inclination. I think these labels are most useful for verbs that have both transitive and intransitive senses, and sometimes also ambitransitive ones, like break. For cases like blow a kiss it does not appear to serve an identifiable purpose. Others may nevertheless prefer to add the label intransitive, as some have in fact done for several of these cases.  --Lambiam 22:43, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
We could go that way; I wouldn't object. But, it may be that we should always add a "transitive" label to the entries that have transitive usage because such a label might help users make sense of such usage, by drawing attention to the requirement for an object. An intransitive label for a term that only has intransitive usage seems to me to be just confusing to users in the same way it has been a bit confusing to us. DCDuring (talk) 02:04, 24 April 2019 (UTC)
I agree with always labelling transitive senses as transitive; in English these never have an idiomatically fixed object. And if a verb has both transitive and intransitive senses, I think it is helpful to also label the intransitive senses. Sometimes the transitive sense is NISOP and not listed; for example, you can hang out the washing, but our entry hang out lists only intransitive senses.  --Lambiam 20:54, 24 April 2019 (UTC)


Should the pronunciation be indicated as /ˈsaɪˌdaɪ/, /ˈsaɪdˌaɪ/, /ˈsaɪdaɪ/, or perhaps /ˈsaɪd ˌaɪ/? — SGconlaw (talk) 09:09, 23 April 2019 (UTC)

I'd prefer the second option, /ˈsaɪdˌaɪ/. I don't think it's quite a perfect rhyme of tie-dye. —Mahāgaja · talk 10:36, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
Yes, the first one (currently in the entry) looks odd to me. — SGconlaw (talk) 10:37, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
I don’t think it makes much of a difference, but in my opinion the current one – although looking odd – is just fine. In English pronunciation, boundaries between morphemes – even words – do typically not give rise to corresponding phonological features. For example, ”I scream” and ”ice cream” are homophonic in normal speech. For an example in Dutch, which in this respect is similar to English, the univerbation heelal from heel + al has hyphenation heel‧al, but the indicated pronunciation /ɦeːˈlɑl/ is probably the best choice. (For the Dutch word nogal two pronunciations have been provided (@LBD), but I think that from a phonetic perspective these are indistinguishable.)  --Lambiam 12:14, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
Actually, Lambiam, that would vary from dialect to dialect and even speaker to speaker. "I scream" for me is /aɪ skɹim/, whereas "ice cream" for me is /ʌɪsˈkɹiːm/. Even in casual speech they would sound noticeably different, because /ʌɪ/ could not be by itself in that way; */ʌɪ skɹim/ wouldn't happen. The closest thing to that would be in one of the realisations of fauteuil; /ˈfoʊ.tʌɪ/ (which happens to be the realisation that I use myself). This is why that whole "I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!" thing went right over my head and my younger sister's head when we were children. We just thought that the line meant that people throw fits until they get ice cream or something like that. It was only later that I realised that it was a pun on the pronunciation. Tharthan (talk) 00:03, 24 April 2019 (UTC)
I am sorry for you and your sister that you missed out on the fun of the pun. In the song the stress is additionally on the first syllable of “ice cream”, as you would expect for a compound; the other stress pattern, also common, may be a holdover from earlier “iced cream”. My point was, though, that the word boundary is not phonologically marked. I’m sure there are other examples, even if somewhat contrived, that would work for your dialect.  --Lambiam 07:38, 24 April 2019 (UTC)


"Religion" is one of those words that is notoriously hard to define. I took a stab at it earlier this year and (IMHO) greatly improved the first definition, and I heavily revised it again today. I'm not entirely sure it's a good definition though, so I thought I'd bring it up here for further scrutiny. Does anything come to mind that fits the definition, but isn't generally considered a religion (or vice versa)? Andrew Sheedy (talk) 20:22, 23 April 2019 (UTC)

I am not sure I understand the “goal-oriented” qualification. If there is a goal, shouldn’t it be identified? Or can it be any goal, like getting rich fast? I also think (others may disagree) that replacing “associated with” by “relevant to” is not an improvement.
What I miss in the definition is that for religious people religion gives a deeper meaning to their lives, a meaning beyond the mundane.
Some inspiration may be drawn from the various definitions given in the Wikipedia article Definition of religion, which is more helpful than the article Religion itself. Also, Spiritual but not religious contains material that may be useful for expanding the usage notes.  --Lambiam 23:16, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
Thanks for the feedback. The "goal-oriented" addition is perhaps redundant to the mention of practices and rituals. I wanted to make sure I excluded philosophical systems that aren't religious, as well as scientific study of things that the senses cannot perceive. I've removed the descriptor for now.
I replaced "associated with" because I didn't want things like blowing people up with suicide vests to be considered part of certain religions. I've now changed it to "pertaining to", but the ambiguity might still be there, or I might have created a new problem. I'm not sure.
Good point regarding meaning. I'll have to think about it some more and maybe add it to the definition later. Actually, I think that's what I was trying to capture with "goal-oriented." Andrew Sheedy (talk) 01:12, 24 April 2019 (UTC)
I would say "spiritual", i.e. relating to the individual religious person's "soul" or "spirit" (whereas "reality beyond what is perceptible by the senses" could cover purely external supernatural things that are not religions, like holding séances, or ghost-hunting). Equinox 01:42, 24 April 2019 (UTC)
“Reality beyond what is perceptible by the senses” could also cover quarks and gluonsQCD as a religion, with Feynman as its prophet. :)  --Lambiam 15:23, 24 April 2019 (UTC)
Exactly, which is what I was trying to exclude with "goal-oriented" (although the things you mentioned could very well be goal-oriented!). But I think Equinox's suggestion resolves the issue. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 19:55, 24 April 2019 (UTC)

do more harm than goodEdit

Is it entry-worthy? Other dictionaries have it, but it sounds quite SOP.

ChignonПучок 20:28, 23 April 2019 (UTC)

Not always with do: "this often results in more harm than good". Equinox 20:33, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
IMO [[more harm than good]] seems like it would be a good entry. It should also be the target of redirects from the lemma and inflected forms of do more harm than good. DCDuring (talk) 21:15, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
This Google NGram show that forms of do more harm than good represent at least two thirds of the total usage of more harm than good. The actual total is even higher because these numbers do not report cases of modification by adverbs like far and much, passives, objects intervening between forms of do and more harm than good, etc. The uses without do in the vicinity have synonyms of near-synonyms of do like cause, produce
IOW, it would be easy to justify a full entry for do more harm than good, possibly with a redirect going from more harm than good to do more harm than good.
The deciding factor may be that it seems easier to write a non-SoP definition or at least a useful definition for do more harm than good than for more harm than good. DCDuring (talk) 21:42, 23 April 2019 (UTC)

cringe sense 3 countabilityEdit

The third noun sense: "An embarrassing event, item or behaviour which causes an onlooker to cringe." Is this countable: can you say that someone's behaviour was "a cringe"? If uncountable (the way I've always heard it), this should be noted. Equinox 23:06, 23 April 2019 (UTC)

Can it be that in this sense it is short for cringeworthy, making it an adjective? That also explains sentences like “it was very cringe” and phrases like “a cringe performance”.  --Lambiam 23:30, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
It sounds like a neologism that a contemporary teen might use. "Pfft. What a cringe, amirite?" ...something like that? Probably used after one of their friends asked "How do I sex?" or said "Alot of my peeps have treaded water, but unlike them I wasn't phased that I had to do it". Tharthan (talk) 00:12, 24 April 2019 (UTC)
I do think it's at least an uncountable noun ("some classic cringe"), not just an adjective. P.S. Get off Thartan's lawn. Equinox 00:17, 24 April 2019 (UTC)


Does 烤羊肉 deserve a page? Or is it an obvious modification of 烤肉 disqualified by sum-of-parts? Vox Sciurorum (talk) 23:52, 23 April 2019 (UTC)

It feels like a sum-of-parts, + 羊肉. There is also 烤豬肉, which is more canonical when it comes to Chinese cuisine, but also has no entry.  --Lambiam 10:52, 24 April 2019 (UTC)

legal address, registered address vs. mailing addressEdit

Are these entry-worthy? ChignonПучок 15:41, 24 April 2019 (UTC)

I think so, but legal address, for example, may be SoP as its meaning depends on jurisdiction and purpose. If all we can say by way of definition is "address for legal purposes", we shouldn't include it. DCDuring (talk) 18:31, 24 April 2019 (UTC)

Dutch zich suf + verb and "tot je een ons weegt"Edit

@Lingo Bingo Dingo, Lambiam In Dutch, you can combine any verb with either of these, with the meaning "until one is blue in the face". I am having some difficulty how to lemmatise these, so I'm hoping for some feedback.

(verb) zich (adjective)Edit

In the first, the combination of verb + zich + suf is one of verb + reflexive pronoun + adverb suf. Really, the whole combination, including the verb, is a verb phrase, but because the idiom works with any verb, it's hard to decide what to call the entry and what POS to give it. zich suf isn't really anything at all by itself, it only "becomes" something by the addition of the verb and the replacement of the reflexive pronoun by one matching the subject. Moreover, we don't include the reflexive pronoun in verb entries anyway, so a lemma for a hypothetical verb werkwoorden used in this construction would be suf werkwoorden with a {{lb|nl|reflexive}} sense. So should it be on suf, or should there be zich suf, or something else? —Rua (mew) 18:16, 24 April 2019 (UTC)

Not an answer, but the observation that the issue occurs also with other cases: One can zich het apezuur schrikken/werken/oefenen/zoeken/..., or alternatively het apelazarus. To find relief, one then can zich klem drinken/zuipen/eten/vreten/lachen or (if you are Mark Rutte) zich klem lullen.  --Lambiam 21:13, 24 April 2019 (UTC)
Some more observations. There is a certain similarity in syntactic structure between “ik kan me wel voor het hoofd slaan” en “ik kan me suf piekeren”. In both cases we see a reflexive pronoun (the object of the verb, referring to its subject) and an adverb. There are two significant differences. One is that in the first sentence you can leave out the adverb, but not in the second one: “ik kan me wel slaan”; *“ik kan me piekeren”. The other is that in the first sentence the object need not be a reflexive pronoun or even any pronoun, while it is obligatory in the second sentence, even though the verb piekeren is not by itself reflexive: “ik kan die gozer wel voor het hoofd slaan”; *“ik kan die gozer suf piekeren”. Another case with structural and formal similarities is [iemand] naar de verdommenis helpen/zien gaan/laten gaan versus [zich] naar de verdommenis werken/zuipen/.... Here we see again that in the reflexive case the verb is not by itself reflexive, and not even necessarily transitive, and when it is (zuipen) it takes rather different objects than the [zich]. In the non-reflexive case, the verb is always transitive, and the object is the [iemand]. Hmm, curious. The plot thickens. I think you can also say things like “Hij vloekte zich te pletter”, no? The pattern appears to be that the adverb or adverbial phrase, or whatever, identifies the condition of the actor (the [zich]) that results or will result from their performing the action of the verb. I am starting to suspect that this is a general aspect of Dutch grammar that cannot be properly dealt with at the lexical level by putative lemmas like [zich] suf, or we may also need [zich] het apelazarus, [zich] naar de verdommenis, [zich] te pletter, ad nauseam.  --Lambiam 22:02, 24 April 2019 (UTC)
It just occurred to me that syntactically, this is a causative verb construction along the lines of "to (verb) oneself (adjective)", thus that by verb-ing you make yourself adjective. What's weird is that this construction can be freely used with intransitive verbs, which are definitely not causative (transitive by definition). For example, something like ik pieker me suf uses piekeren, which is not transitive in any sense that I know of. Yet, in this construction, it's not only transitive but causative, with the reflexive object as the patient of the action. So it seems that this kind of phrase has the ability to bend the rules of verbs quite far. Very mysterious. —Rua (mew) 22:27, 24 April 2019 (UTC)
So one way of thinking about this is that adding a reflexive pronoun to a (possibly intransitive) verb turns it into a reflexive, causative and copulative verb that (just like the copulative verb worden) requires a subject complement specifying the result of the action – which can be an adjectival phrase like helemaal kapot, an adverbial phrase like uit de naad, or a noun phrase like een ongeluk. While some collocations using this construction are more idiomatic than others (I do not expect to find uses of zich geleerd studeren), it appears to be at least somewhat generic and productive.  --Lambiam 09:42, 25 April 2019 (UTC)
That's quite an interesting analysis, making this a specific use of the reflexive pronoun. If we can phrase it in that way, then all of these combinations suddenly become SOP terms and the question of lemmatising becomes moot. However, that would imply that any adjective or noun can be used in this way, and I'm not sure that's the case? —Rua (mew) 11:50, 25 April 2019 (UTC)
Usually the subject complement signifies something undesirable, but not necessarily. For example, someone can zich uit de put werken. When I google “studeerde zich” I see a hit containing the line ”Studeerde zich een Master in Film“, apparently from a capsule bio. But in any case, it needs to be a possible outcome of an action, something the actor can become (if only in one’s unfettered imagination). One can zich rijk slapen (or hope to do so), but what could someone do to make oneself transcendental? Zich transcendent epibreren? So that gives a semantic restriction. If you can think of another restriction, where X worden as a state transition is possible, but zich X werken/... not, I’d like to hear it. By the way, I can’t imagine that this issue has not been analyzed already by some Dutch, who are known for being cunning linguists.  --Lambiam 12:45, 25 April 2019 (UTC)
It looks like this kind of construction can be applied quite generally. I notice zich already has a sense for it, too, so apparently someone was smarter than us and figured it out first. :D —Rua (mew) 23:26, 28 April 2019 (UTC)
A few other dictionaries either had this as a usage example or as a sublemma of suf with a raft of infinitives, similar to: zich suf peinzen/piekeren/prakkiseren/werken. Both approaches are useless for Wiktionary. If non-duplication is a large concern, I suppose it could be lemmatised under zich suf as a sort of modifying phrase due to its unusual grammatical behaviour with intransitive verbs (though the causative analysis is imo better), but I would not mind it either if it was only lemmatised as a verb phrase with any attested infinitives included. ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 08:20, 25 April 2019 (UTC)

Impersonal pronounEdit

The second one, tot je een ons weegt, is somewhat the same in meaning, but at least it is clear that it's an adverb just like the English phrase. The difficulty is in the pronoun. English has an indefinite pronoun one, but Dutch has no such equivalent. In the phrase here I used impersonal "you", but in Dutch that's an informal pronoun so it's not really all that neutral. Using men is a possibility, but feels really weird to have an entry called tot men een ons weegt. Any ideas? —Rua (mew) 18:16, 24 April 2019 (UTC)

As to the last item, I like the way The Free Dictionary handles this, as seen, for example, in the entry “absent (oneself) from (someone or something)”. What I think of as parameters of a phrase are marked by parentheses. Square brackets would be better for us – “absent [oneself] from [someone or something]” – because we already use round parens for glosses and some other stuff. The present approach is ambiguous: you can specialize for someone to for me, for you, ..., but someone else can’t be specialized: *me else, *you else. Using brackets we can make a distinction between for [someone] and just someone else. To introduce that generally would need something stronger than tea, and we may need to wait until a drastic weight reduction.
The adverbial phrase is special in that the subject of the embedded clause must reference the same person as that of the (possibly implicit) verb to which it refers: you have to know Anne’s gender to fill in the blank in the sentence “Anne kan soebatten tot __ een ons weegt, maar mijn besluit staat vast.” If that was not the case, you could use iemand, but that is not right here; men is better.
I’ll think about the first issue and hope some idea will present itself before my face gets smurfed.  --Lambiam 20:25, 24 April 2019 (UTC)
Having just checked a few dictionaries, they all have this as an example under ons, with the subject invariably being je. Clearly that is ill-suited to how Wiktionary entries work, so a lemma under tot je een ons weegt would in my view be the best choice. It also seems to me that je is also the most common pronoun to be used in this expression. ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 08:08, 25 April 2019 (UTC)


According to Encarta dictionaries "said (archaic or literary) (1st and 3rd person singular, before the subject) "I swoon," quoth he." Is it really proscribed from other persons than 1st/3rd singular? --Backinstadiums (talk) 19:30, 24 April 2019 (UTC)

  • Well, it doesn't sound right in the 2nd person, or in the plural. Have you searched for such usage? SemperBlotto (talk) 19:50, 24 April 2019 (UTC)
The Bard uses “quoth you” in Love’s Labour‘s Lost, Act IV, Scene III. Here you can see uses of “quoth they”. Although not proscribed, it is clearly uncommon.  --Lambiam 20:36, 24 April 2019 (UTC)

Categories for numbersEdit

It looks like some entries use {{head|en|numeral}} and some use {{head|en|number}} so we have both Category:English numbers and Category:English numerals. The latter is subdivided with more specific categories like Category:English cardinal numbers. Do we really need categories for both numbers and numerals, or should they be unified? If they should be kept separate, what rule determines what words go where? (It looks like there currently isn't a rule; for example, first is currently not in Category:English numerals but forty-first is.) -- Beland (talk) 22:29, 24 April 2019 (UTC)

@Beland The situation was a problem for a long time I remember, but it was eventually resolved this way:
  • "Numeral" is a part of speech, so it implies a specific set of rules for how the word behaves grammatically, that is specific to number words. Generally only cardinal number words are numerals, while ordinal numbers and other number-like words belong to regular parts of speech. eleventh is an adjective, for example, while twice is an adverb. This is language-specific, though. Not all languages have numerals as a part of speech, and not all cardinal numbers have the same part of speech either; Zulu -hlanu (5) is an adjective, while ikhulu (100) is a noun.
  • The "cardinal number" category holds number-like words, i.e. words that can quantify a specific number of things, regardless of how they behave grammatically. The purpose of the cardinal numbers category is to cross the grammatical divide between different cardinal number words and group them together regardless. That is why the Zulu words for 5 and 100 are both in Category:Zulu cardinal numbers, despite being grammatically very different.
  • The "ordinal number" category serves the same purpose, but for ordinal numer-like words. Because these are grammatically adjectives in most cases, there needs to be a separate way to group them that is not tied to part of speech.
  • The base "number" category, finally, should probably not contain any entries, as it's really just a holder for the more specific subcategories. I suppose if you have some number word that is not cardinal, not ordinal, not fractional, and doesn't fall into any other category we have, then it can be placed in the bare "numbers" category. But creating a new type of category is probably the better solution.
I hope that clarified things for you. —Rua (mew) 22:45, 24 April 2019 (UTC)
@Rua: Ah, that's very helpful. So then is e.g. forty-eighth in Category:English numerals because fractional numbers (like 1/48th) are grammatical numerals, or is it misclassified? (It has two meanings, the other being the ordinal 48th, which if I understand correctly isn't a numeral.) -- Beland (talk) 00:45, 25 April 2019 (UTC)
Hmm w:Numeral (linguistics) is citing sources that say that both cardinal and ordinal numbers are grammatical numerals, among others. I'm not sure if these are using the word "numeral" in a sense other than as a grammatical entity, or if there are just competing grammatical theories here. -- Beland (talk) 00:55, 25 April 2019 (UTC)
Yes, it's misclassified. forty-eighth is an adjective in terms of its part of speech/lexical category. I think the differences lie in terminology moreso than in actual grammatical differences. Some consider numeral a subclass of quantifier, which in turn is a subclass of determiner, while others use the word "numeral" for any word referring to numbers without regard for grammatical consideration. A word like forty-eighth is not a quantifier, because it's not quantifying anything, it doesn't say how much of something there are. So it is not a numeral in the sense of being a quantifier, but it can be considered a numeral in the sense of having a numerical meaning. I suppose you could consider ordinals to be their own distinct lexical class too, but there doesn't seem to be any benefit in doing so, since for all purposes they behave like adjectives. Wiktionary, in any case, has adopted the definition of "numeral" in which it is a subclass of quantifier, so that is how our entries and categories are structured. For words that have a numeric meaning, we use the term "number" in our categories, while we do not use it as a part-of-speech header. —Rua (mew) 11:47, 25 April 2019 (UTC)
@Rua: OK, I'l try and clean things up. What about fractions like three-fourths? I'd say "I'd like three-fourths of an apple", but would we allow "I'd like one and three-fourths apples" it looks like the fraction can be a quantifying determiner? -- Beland (talk) 21:50, 26 April 2019 (UTC)
@Beland I don't understand what you're doing here. "Ordinal number" is not a part of speech so it should not be used as a header or as the category in {{head}}. As I said above, English ordinal numbers are grammatically adjectives. —Rua (mew) 20:23, 28 April 2019 (UTC)
@Rua: Ah, sorry, I'll put in the structure you demonstrated for ordinal adjectives. Still not sure what to do about fraction that are currently classified as part-of-speech numerals? -- Beland (talk) 20:28, 28 April 2019 (UTC)
@Beland: "One thirty-first" has a qualifier in front of it, suggesting that the thing it's qualifying is a noun. So I'd use the Noun part of speech for them. From what I can see, that's what our entries currently already do as well, so you don't have to change anything there. —Rua (mew) 20:31, 28 April 2019 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Hmm, there's this note on a lot of the pages I was editing which contradicts the idea that ordinals are always adjectives: "English ordinal numbers may function as either an adjective or as a noun, and almost never appear in the plural." For example, "second" appears to be a noun in a sentence like "You talk to the first-place finisher and I'll talk to the second." or "Second is a perfectly good spot". I think that's why a generic "numeral" header was being used. -- Beland (talk) 20:32, 28 April 2019 (UTC)

That's not anything special with ordinal numbers. "You talk to the old and I'll talk to the young" illustrates a non-numeric usage of this principle. In general, any adjective can used without a noun this way. —Rua (mew) 20:41, 28 April 2019 (UTC)
OK, I'll delete that notice where I see it on ordinals and make them adjectives, and reclassify fractions like seven-eighths as nouns. It looks like they are not part-of-speech classifiers ("seven eighths of an apple" vs. "seven slices of apple"). -- Beland (talk) 20:50, 28 April 2019 (UTC)


A useful word, I think. But how is it pronounced?

If it is derived from a pun as the etymology section of the entry suggests (I hope that it is, for reasons that ought to be obvious if you know anything about my lingual preferences), are we supposed to assume that it is pronounced /eɪˈliːf/?

I actually didn't get it at first, because I pretty much always pronounce belief as /bəˈliːf/. I always have, too.

But, yeah, how is this word pronounced? It would be good to indicate the pronunciation in the entry as well, of course. Tharthan (talk) 23:36, 24 April 2019 (UTC)

In the essay in which Gendler coined the term (Tamar Szabó Gendler. “Alief and Belief”. Journal of Philosophy 105/10 (2008), 634–63), the word is introduced without suggesting a pronunciation; the relation to belief is completely obvious in the context:

Surely they believe that the walkway will hold: no one would willingly step onto a mile-high platform if they had even a scintilla of doubt concerning its stability. But alongside that belief there is something else going on. Although the venturesome souls wholeheartedly believe that the walkway is completely safe, they also alieve something very different. The alief has roughly the following content: “Really high up, long, long way down. Not a safe place to be! Get off!!”

(The italics is as in the original. I have made the word “alief” bold; it is the first occurrence in the text, not counting the title of the essay. By the way, I think this shows that our etymology for the verb alieve as being from the noun alief is wrong.) I would have read that text aloud with the pronunciation /əˈliːf/, with the first syllable of alive and the second of belief. However, in this video, I hear first the person introducing the speaker, and then Gendler herself (at 5:41–5:42) clearly (in spite of the bad audio) use /ˈeɪ.liːf/. Later (at 7:11), I think I hear the plural /əˈliːfs/, but at 10:15–10:16 it is again /ˈeɪ.liːf/, and also later. A video by another speaker also features a rather emphatic /ˈeɪ.liːf/ (next to a nonstandard, also emphatic, /ˈbiː.liːf/).  --Lambiam 09:08, 25 April 2019 (UTC)
The most natural pronunciation would be /əˈliːf/, in my opinion, but if it was formed in the way that we say that it was, /ˈeɪ.liːf/ would seemingly be the obvious pronunciation. If, in actual usage, the pronunciation varies to some extent, then I think that that ought to be noted in our entry. But based upon what you have just indicated, it seems that (by and large) /ˈeɪ.liːf/ would be the normal pronunciation. Do you think that we ought to note that (in the entry)? Tharthan (talk) 17:12, 25 April 2019 (UTC)
Since you are embedded in an English-speaking region, why don’t you try the following experiment. Give some people the above quote to read – after explaining that this is about the Grand Canyon Skywalk, a walkway open to the public with a floor of glass, 4,000 foot above the floor of the Grand Canyon, and how some visitors avoid the centerline of the walkway and anxiously clutch the sides. Then, after ascertaining that they feel they understand the text – while carefully avoiding to enunciate the words alieve or alief yourself, ask them to read the text aloud. (If they ask how they should pronounce these words, shrug and say something like “whatever”.) If a fair number spontaneously say /əˈliːf/, I think we should record that as a secondary pronunciation.  --Lambiam 23:11, 25 April 2019 (UTC)
I'm not sure I agree with this method. 99% of people pronounce "anemone" as "anenome", but that does not make the pronunciation correct. Mihia (talk) 22:22, 30 April 2019 (UTC)


This is a matter that has come up several times in various discussions, but none of it has really had a conclusive outcome. At the moment, there are three headers on this page: Verb, Adjective and Noun. The sense given under the Adjective header is, in disguise, exactly identical to the participle above it. English present participles can always be used as adjectives after all, and we do not normally have a separate Adjective header for each one. At the same time, it seems wrong to label such cases "verb". Is "a falling leaf" using a verb, or an adjective? The same question could be asked about the noun: gerunds are verbal things, so should that not also go under the verb header? I would like to set a future standard for such ambiguous cases, where words are verb forms yet behave as adjectives or nouns as well. In English, we've traditionally labelled participles as "Verb", but given that they can be used as adjectives, that doesn't seem correct. I just don't know what would be a better way to do it either. For some languages, like Latin or Dutch, we have separate "Participle" headers. We could do that for English too, but then we would require a Gerund header for the equivalent noun-like verb form too. —Rua (mew) 10:44, 25 April 2019 (UTC)

A bit of déjà vu: Wiktionary:Beer parlour/2019/April#How should gerunds be handled? I am in favour of a reasonable amount of parsimony. For a speaker of language X without any knowledge of some language Y, a Y-to-X dictionary is practically useless. If it is a grammatical feature of language Y that terms whose natural or traditional part-of-speech assignment is U can generically, with perhaps the occasional exception, also function to fill slots for another given part of speech, say V, then (I feel) we may expect the user to be aware of that and not require, next to the U assignment, also the consequent V assignment to be given. For example, we do not list Dutch mooi both as an adjective and as an adverb, nor should we. Similarly, we do not have separate entries Dutch zwemmen both as a verb and as a noun. It is different if the term as a V has additional or different senses than the ones generically expected given the U senses, as is the case, for example, for Dutch eten used as a noun. In the Malay languages the plural is formed by repeating the ground form: orang means “person”, orang-orang means “persons”, “people”. Again, this is totally predictable, so I think we should not have entries for these plurals. I’d make an exception, though, for forms that, although predictable, form accidental homographs with other forms, like Turkish toplar can be a (by itself predictable) plural noun form and a (likewise predictable) present-simple verb form. This is a coincidence.  --Lambiam 12:07, 25 April 2019 (UTC)
Yes, it is a deja vu. I'm kinda frustrated by not having a good general solution to this, but instead seeing wildly different treatments in different languages when there is no real reason to do so. So as long as it bothers me, my brain annoys me into trying to figure out how to fix it. And since I have no ideas, I keep asking others to help me fix it. I've posted this same question on Wikipedia and Wikidata as well now, that's how much it annoys me.
The question matters because there are some cases where a purely predictable verbal meaning nonetheless has nominal inflections, like is the case for German participles and gerunds. If we have a separate section for the non-verbal senses, then we end up having two inflection tables with the exact same forms, for what could be considered one and the same word. A case in point is obair: if we split them into a Verb and a Noun section, then they both end up with the same inflections. We'd also need a separate headword template for verbal nouns, which would be an exact duplicate of {{ga-noun}} except for the category. Moreover, not everyone is happy with such a split, User:Fay Freak was pretty adamant that we should not treat verbal forms and nominal forms as different parts of speech, but instead treat them both under Noun in the case of Arabic verbal nouns. Applying that treatment to English, in turn, would mean having to treat the participle falling as Adjective and the gerund as Noun, without any Verb header. Now, obviously these are different languages and not the language of falling, but I feel that we should not treat English participles and gerunds differently merely because they aren't inflected. So we should take the features of other languages into consideration when trying to decide what to do in English. —Rua (mew) 12:17, 25 April 2019 (UTC)
Oh, another point to consider: not all participles can in fact be used as an adjective. walked can't, for example. So we can't use Adjective for all participles. I believe that if participles have additional non-verbal meanings, then the participle itself can also be adjectival, though. Are there any cases of adjectives formed from non-adjectival participles like walked? —Rua (mew) 12:40, 25 April 2019 (UTC)
False premise. Counterexamples:
  • 2014, E. G. Walsh, Mary Lowe, The English Whippet, page 97:
    At a walked meeting you may walk alongside your dog if it is misbehaving and you have the Steward's permission [] .
  • 2013, Alison Gazzard, Mazes in Videogames: Meaning, Metaphor and Design[7], page 19:
    As recognized above, the walked experience is different from one in which we are using a vehicle, such as a car, to navigate routes.
  • 2009, James R. Sills, The Comprehensive Respiratory Therapist Exam Review[8]:
    Record the walked distance.
  • 2008, William Aaron Scheinberg, The World Citizen[9], page 23:
    After about a walked mile, I saw that kind guy coming back and offering to take me to Milden Hall.
  • 2005, Ana Hernandez, ‎Ana Hernández, The Sacred Art of Chant: Preparing to Practice[10], page 79:
    It dawned on me one day that the household tasks and errands, even though productive in one sense (clean laundry and a walked dog), were in a real sense contributing to self-neglect by being the enablers of avoidance.
  • 1979, Berichten van de Rijksdienst voor het Oudheidkundig Bodemonderzoek[11]:
    In order to equalize this effect, the sites are divided into three categories: 1. sites lying wholly within the walked area, which applies to 38 sites; []
HTH. DCDuring (talk) 13:23, 25 April 2019 (UTC)
It does not bother me if the treatment for different languages is different because of language-specific reasons. Also, for any given language there will be exceptions. The adverb hopefully is not simply the adverb corresponding to the adjective hopeful. What does matter is avoiding unreasonable amounts of regular and predictable duplication. For German, gerunds may be verb forms, but when used as nouns the standard orthography requires them to be written with a capital letter. That is a German-specific argument for giving them a separate entry. That argument does not make sense for English; it is just fine for me that we only have an entry for specializing as a verb form, even though the term can be used as a count noun that has a plural form ([12], [13], [14]).
The only mechanism we appear to have for establishing accepted project-wide guidelines is by voting, but such guidelines cannot be hard and fast rules but can only help to provide guidance, and many editors do not like rules that require some exercise of judgement (just look at the arguments for the Oppose votes in the ongoing typo/scanno vote). So I expect that road to be closed. What we can do is start a policy think tank, like was done for Code-switching, but this time on avoiding redundancy.  --Lambiam 20:28, 25 April 2019 (UTC)
  • It is in my opinion not desirable to list English present participles separately as adjectives just because they can go in front of a noun to mean that the noun is doing that thing. This is a standard feature of present participles that does not need to be treated separately each time. However, some present participles have attained the status of "proper" adjectives and should be listed as such; for example, "caring" as in "she is a very caring person" or "tiring" as in "this job is very tiring". In contrast, I would say that "falling" is not a true adjective. Mihia (talk) 19:27, 1 May 2019 (UTC)
    And there are standard tests for adjectivity: comparability/gradability, predicate use, modifiabiliy by too and very, distinctive meaning. Most participles don't pass any of these, though many common participles have senses that do. DCDuring (talk) 20:20, 1 May 2019 (UTC)


Any particular reason why this specific "version" of this term has a psychological and sociological nuance? I don't see the hypothetical form "nonbereft" come up in any (serious) search results (at least through DuckDuckGo), but how is this term any different than unbereaved and unbereft in what it indicates?

Does "non-" have some special meaning in the jargons of the more specialised social sciences (psychology and sociology in particular)? I also see nonlonely, nonround, nonself, and nonconserver. Forgive me for my ignorance, here. I only have a slight bit of knowledge of sociology, and but a basic knowledge of psychology. Tharthan (talk) 17:43, 25 April 2019 (UTC)

It looks like unbereaved is rather uncommon.  --Lambiam 19:38, 25 April 2019 (UTC)
Strange enough, bereaved is not that popular either.  --Lambiam 22:26, 25 April 2019 (UTC)
Oops, Google Books Ngram Viewer interprets (non-believer + nonbeliever) the same as (non + nonbeliever - believer); the hyphen is taken for a minus sign.  --Lambiam 22:45, 25 April 2019 (UTC)
Imagine a psychologist or sociologist designing a study into some aspect of people who are characterized by X. For hypothesis testing, a control group is needed, and what is then easier to label the subjects in that group as being non-X. I think that suffices to explain the titles of scholarly articles like “The measurement of grief: bereaved versus non-bereaved” and “Psychological morbidity among suicide-bereaved and non-bereaved parents”. No psychological or sociological nuance is needed for that.  --Lambiam 02:36, 26 April 2019 (UTC)
I created the entry. It evidently seemed to me at the time that "non-X" had a formal, scientific flavour: it's hard to imagine an everyday gossip about the local community where Betty says "of course, Dave was a different man back when he was nonbereaved". Equinox 21:50, 27 April 2019 (UTC)
But Betty saying "Of course, Dave was a different man back when he was unbereft" would be any more likely in that scenario? I'm not sure that I buy that, personally. Tharthan (talk) 00:56, 6 May 2019 (UTC)

ecclesial (and ought we to have an "ecclesial community" entry? It's well attested)Edit

This is listed merely as a synonym for "ecclesiastical", but what of the term "ecclesial community" (which I've noticed even has a page on Wikipedia, for what that is worth)?

The Wikipedia article is fairly adequate (although in my opinion slightly passive-aggressive), but if you don't already know, "ecclesial community" is the term used in Catholicism to refer to a Christian "sub-faith" (for lack of a better term, as the term denomination, even if potentially appropriate here, tends to be looked at differently in Catholicism than it usually is elsewhere) that is not set up with what are considered (by us) to be the elements inherent in a Christian church. So, for instance, the Church would note the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Nestorian/Persian Church (also called "the Church of the East"), the Oriental Orthodox Church, etc. but would note "a Protestant ecclesial community" (this used to exclude Anglicanism, which was considered a church proper until 1896, but now it does not). One would not use (in Catholic speech proper) "A Protestant church".

(I'm merely defining this here, not trying to get into "keyboardicuffs".)

I do not believe "ecclesiastical community" is used in this way in official parlance, so I am left with (potentially) two questions:

1. Ought we to have a Wiktionary entry for "ecclesial community"? I personally can't see why not. It is well attested and would be helpful to have an entry so that if people ever looked it up here, they could find a definition for it. However, I would prefer to not put the article together myself, as I feel that I have a bit of a conflict of interest in this area. If a definition were created that seemed a bit off (and by "off" I don't mean neutral, I mean "off") or the like, I might consider making a minor edit or something.

, and if so

2. Ought we to add potential clarification to "ecclesial" (a usage note, perhaps?) clarifying that it would not be usual to substitute "ecclesiastical" for "ecclesial" in the case of "ecclesial community"? Tharthan (talk) 00:46, 26 April 2019 (UTC)

The etymon ἐκκλησία (ekklēsía) of English ecclesia means “assembly”, “congregation”, and was used in Early Christianity for local groups congregating for worship, and by extension for a local group also when not gathered. The term is used today as a self-designation by communities of Christians attempting to emulate the practices of the early Christians, in particular the communal joint exercise of ministry. While ecclesiastical summons the connotations of a hierarchically organized institution, with arch-thises and arch-thats, ecclesial essentially means “pertaining to an ecclesia”, without that vertical baggage. Used in that sense, “ecclesial community” is somewhat pleonastic, since it is then synonymous with “ecclesia”. Without going into all that detail, I think we can safely use the definition “pertaining to an ecclesia” and state in the usage notes that this term is preferred over “ecclesiastical” by Christian religious groups that prefer a grassroot organization to the hierarchical organization of the institutionalized Churches. If we take this approach, I think we do not need a separate entry for “ecclesial community”.  --Lambiam 02:22, 26 April 2019 (UTC)
I think that that is not a bad approach.
Also, I just noticed that our entry particular Church uses "ecclesial community" in its definition. I noticed this because my browser's autocorrect sent me to Wiktionary again instead of Wikipedia as I had intended without me initially realising it [I was going to Wikipedia to see if there were other language entries for "ecclesial community", because I had a hunch that the reason that this term may be used is because of the use of cognates of ecclesia to mean "church" in other languages. It seems that it is used, although Wikipedia didn't help me find that out: Spanish "comunidad eclesial", for instance.])
EDIT: One potential problem that I actually see with that is that, out of the 3,000-whatever (I don't know the exact number, but I think that it is somewhere around there) 'denominations' of Protestantism, I doubt that all of the ones that are grassroots, so to speak, would use (or even approve of) the term "ecclesial community". I know that it is used by some (although I have only personally seen a small number that do) but many regard its usage as something akin to Catholic bigotry. So that could potentially present a bit of a problem. Tharthan (talk) 02:43, 26 April 2019 (UTC)
Fun fact: the Holy Father Francis (aka the Pope) himself has used the designation “ecclesial community” for the Catholic Church. Wikipedia uses the term “ecclesiastical community” for a so-called “particular Church”; see Catholic particular churches and liturgical rites. I think we at Wiktionary should do the same: these ecclesi[astic]al communities are hierarchical in accordance with Catholic canon law. Many of the “ecclesial communities“ as meant in the corresponding Wikipedia article are evangelical and more than a few are Pentecostalist or close, and quite different in Spirit from particular Churches. I think that they are unlikely to apply this Catholic terminology to themselves, but they might self-identify (also pleonastically) as an “ecclesia community” or “ecclesia church”.  --Lambiam 09:46, 26 April 2019 (UTC)

'fore, 'less, 'cuz, etcEdit

Many such forms as 'fore (before), 'less (unless), unlike 'cuz, haven't been added yet --Backinstadiums (talk) 16:18, 26 April 2019 (UTC)

ne bis in idem/non bis in idemEdit

Are both variants grammatical in Latin, and do any authorities proscribe or prefer one variant?__Gamren (talk) 21:20, 27 April 2019 (UTC)

In Latin proper, ne and non aren't used in the same syntactic contexts. However, as 1) this is "international Latin", and 2) it's used absolutely (i.e. there's no grammatical context), I think we can safely treat them as variants of one another. That's what this book does, in any case. ChignonПучок 21:31, 27 April 2019 (UTC)
(edit conflict) I can't answer the second question, but the answer to the first is that both variants are grammatical in Latin, but they mean slightly different things (ne means "so that... not" and non means simply "not"), so one would have to see them used in a complete sentence to determine which is correct in a given context. —Mahāgaja · talk 21:34, 27 April 2019 (UTC)
Ah, so, in older works we should expect a distinction, but since most current writers aren't sensitive to Latin's distinctions, they will probably use them interchangeably? Maybe one of you would add a usage note?__Gamren (talk) 21:40, 27 April 2019 (UTC)
Some of these legal doctrines using Latin are complete sentences (res ipsa loquitur) or noun phrases in the nominative case (beneficium inventarii), but other traditional ones require a context in which they are embedded to make sense, grammatically; they probably arose by copying some core snippets, verbatim, from judgements expressed in full sentences in Latin. Jurists who are also Latinists may be inclined to replace them by a less context-sensitive phrase (e.g. Scottish nolumus prosequi instead of traditional nolle prosequi). I suspect that the replacement of “ne” by “non” is a similar needless “correction”.  --Lambiam 08:01, 28 April 2019 (UTC)


玫瑰花 is translated simply "rose". Does it refer to any rose or specifically to Rosa rugosa? Does it refer to both the flower and the shrub bearing the flower (as in English)? Vox Sciurorum (talk) 00:19, 28 April 2019 (UTC)

I don't really speak Chinese, but I know roses fairly well by sight. When I do a Google search on "玫瑰花", I see lots of images of hybrid teas, floribundas, etc., but nothing so far that I can definitively recognize as Rosa rugosa (I mostly go by the leaves, which are quite distinctive, though some rugosa hybrids aren't like that). This page is especially interesting, because it gives the taxonomic and English names for Rosa rugosa, but there are lots of images that look like non-rugosa roses. It may be one of those names that can be used generically, but has a very specific identity when contrasted with other specific identities. Chuck Entz (talk) 01:06, 28 April 2019 (UTC)
See %E7%8E%AB%E7%91%B0 at wuu.wikipedia. DCDuring (talk) 02:00, 28 April 2019 (UTC)
See 玫瑰 mei gui at Flora of China. DCDuring (talk) 02:43, 28 April 2019 (UTC)
Apparently just means "flower" in this context. DCDuring (talk) 02:47, 28 April 2019 (UTC)

changing out from under themEdit

Saw this the other day: "Implementors should be aware that this specification is not stable. Implementors who are not taking part in the discussions are likely to find the specification changing out from under them in incompatible ways." I get the gist but the construction doesn't quite make sense to me. Comments? Equinox 06:27, 28 April 2019 (UTC)

I've also heard this. For me it invokes the idea of something changing in such a way that it's pulling the rug out from under (someone). (Compare also cut the ground out from under, an attested form of what we currently have only as cut the ground from under someone's feet.) - -sche (discuss) 06:55, 28 April 2019 (UTC)
The worst is to have not only the rug but everything pulled out from under you ([15], [16], [17]). Or it is just your potential targets, but now they are yanked out from under you. Apparently it’s become a bit snowcloney: [verb] [definite noun phrase] out from under [someone], in which the verb denotes a way of causing to vanish. Or there may even be no active agent; what vanishes out from under you is the subject, like when it is your life that slides out from under you like a slowly releasing avalanche.  --Lambiam 09:54, 28 April 2019 (UTC)
Surely it is out from under#Preposition that most merits an entry. A couple of lemmings show the way at out from under at OneLook Dictionary Search. DCDuring (talk) 12:03, 28 April 2019 (UTC)
The meanings given there are completely unrelated.  --Lambiam 20:00, 28 April 2019 (UTC)
The definition for an adverb (of the type called by CGEL (Cambridge)) an intransitive preposition) is semantically the same as the prepositional sense in these longer expressions. I expect that the number of expressions with closely related metaphorical meanings is large, possibly even an open set, ie, one can come up with new forms indefinitely. Following are some metaphorical uses of out from under from Google Books.
Here's how these rolling temporary files have helped us climb out from under a household of paper piles.
And now he plots to steal my property out from under me.
They want to create this new agency so that Revenue Canada can get out from under the inconvenient restraints of the Treasury Board [] .
people may not have as their ultimate goal getting out from under a trusteeship or getting out from under a consent decree
this industry is not trying to get out from under safety standards for its employees.
a bland ideologue who had never managed to come out from under Deng's shadow.
We have before us now a proposition to take out from under the civil-service laws the appointment of certain officials
Note that there are a few different verbs and a variety of nouns (only one pronoun). For a native speaker it is trivial to discern the metaphorical meaning. The object of the phrasal preposition is invariably something oppressive or restrictive, not something neutral, even possible positive, as is more usual in the more literal, physical use of the term. DCDuring (talk) 22:06, 28 April 2019 (UTC)
I doubt that the person perceiving a threat of their property being stolen saw themselves as something oppressive or restrictive. Also, the senator speaking in the last quotation did not see these civil-service laws as unduly burdensome, since he spoke in favour of striking out that provision. The metaphorical sense in which the object of the phrasal preposition is a burden that is removed (which is a Good Thing) and that in which the object of the embedding phrase is a support that is removed from the object of the phrasal preposition (which is a Bad Thing) are in my opinion sufficiently distinct to warrant their not being lumped together, even if they are metaphors deriving from the same physical type of event.  --Lambiam 07:50, 29 April 2019 (UTC)
You are right. They may be combinable with sufficiently careful wording, but quite likely not. DCDuring (talk) 16:42, 29 April 2019 (UTC)

the day's anniversariesEdit

Is such a phrase addible? --Backinstadiums (talk) 18:50, 28 April 2019 (UTC)

I say not: it means what you’d expect it to mean, so it is not idiomatic.  --Lambiam 19:56, 28 April 2019 (UTC)
@Lambiam: I meant both the possessive and the singular day (and possibly the definite article?) --Backinstadiums (talk) 21:02, 28 April 2019 (UTC)
@Backinstadiums — I don’t understand. I thought you were asking about adding the noun phrase the day's anniversaries, which, as far I can see, means: “the anniversaries of the day”. What is the phrase you were thinking of, and how should it be defined?  --Lambiam 06:42, 29 April 2019 (UTC)
@Lambiam: which of the two meanings of the day applies here? BTW, can you explain the first meaning mean of the day? --Backinstadiums (talk) 13:49, 29 April 2019 (UTC)
@Backinstadiums: The term the day is listed as being archaic Scots. The phrase "the day's anniversaries" isn't [[the day]][['s]] [[anniversaries]], it's [[the]] [[day]][['s]] [[anniversaries]]. —Mahāgaja · talk 15:28, 29 April 2019 (UTC)
@Mahagaja: What meaning of day applies here then? why is anniversaries in the plural, vs singular the day? --Backinstadiums (talk) 15:52, 29 April 2019 (UTC)
To start with, your example sentence is a translation, and those tend to emphasize getting the meaning right rather than grammatical correctness. "Anniversary" isn't normally used that way: a day is the anniversary for multiple events, and will have multiple anniversaries- one per year. In this case, "anniversaries" seems to refer to the multiple events that the day is anniversary for, which sounds odd to me. I would say that it's not decipherable from the sum of its parts because it's simply indecipherable, not because it's idiomatic. As for "day", it's the day that is being looked up in the almanac, whatever sense that is, and as for the singular/plural bit: a possessive noun gets its number from that of the possessor(s), not from what's possessed. It's no different than Spanish in that respect: dias de la semana, not *de las semanas. Not everything that you don't understand is something new that's missing from the dictionary- sometimes it's just nonsense. Chuck Entz (talk) 04:33, 30 April 2019 (UTC)


There is a word that is growing in popularity in my particular sphere of people known as evangelship. Technically it is not a word yet, but it does have a definition. In the same way that discipleship is the role or condition of being a disciple, and in the same way that servantship is the role or condition of being a servant, evangelship is the role or condition of being an evangelist. (evangel for short) This term, evangelship, could technically be applied to someone who has the role of sharing good news of any kind, but typically it would be the role of sharing the biblical gospel of Jesus Christ. I would like to formally propose that evangelship should be added to the wiktionary with the following definition: The role or condition of being an evangelist, especially in relation to the biblical gospel of Jesus Christ. —This unsigned comment was added by Tomm Bacon (talkcontribs) at 20:08, 28 April 2019‎.

The term seems to be attested; I've added an entry with two cites. - -sche (discuss) 22:35, 28 April 2019 (UTC)


The context labels are kind of confusing here. The noun is a plurale tantum and is given no singular form, yet the two senses are labelled singular and plural. It can't lack a singular form and then have a sense labelled singular, that makes no sense. —Rua (mew) 21:42, 28 April 2019 (UTC)

The labels concern the noun-verb number agreement, as also shown in the usage examples. As we use it, plurale tantum is only concerned with the form of the noun, not with any grammatically meaningful fact of its use, thus requiring labels such as those in this exemplary entry. DCDuring (talk) 22:23, 28 April 2019 (UTC)
If there are actually uses that take singular agreement, then I would say that those are in fact using the singular form of the noun. It just happens to be the same as the plural. —Rua (mew) 23:22, 28 April 2019 (UTC)
Go look it up in a dictionary. DCDuring (talk) 01:49, 29 April 2019 (UTC)
I did, that's why I'm here. —Rua (mew) 09:57, 29 April 2019 (UTC)
I think the entry is wrong too. I would arrange it like swipes, which is a plural ("the cat made two swipes at the string") but also a singular for bad beer ("swipes isn't good for you"). Equinox 10:03, 29 April 2019 (UTC)
The singular sense "toll, tax or tribute" is labelled archaic, although it has a biblical (1769) attestation.— Pingkudimmi 12:04, 29 April 2019 (UTC)
I labelled it archaic and uncountable yesterday, based on books usage. Customs ("import duties") is plural in form, uncountable, and takes a plural verb, eg, "How much customs are due?". I don't see how "plurale tantum" or even "plural only" ensures that a user would know that. Of the three attributes, "plural in form" is the least important and is usually indicated in English by the presence of a terminal s. Also, I don't think that uncountable nouns are said to have a plural form the same as their singular form. In fact, many also have a true plural form, eg, rice, flour, rock, water. DCDuring (talk) 16:35, 29 April 2019 (UTC)
"How much customs are due?" sounds just wrong to my ear: if it's "how much" then it's uncountable which means "is". Neither this nor " due" can be found in Google beyond one or two scant hits. Equinox 17:55, 29 April 2019 (UTC)

@DCDuring: This is the first time I see much and a verb in the plural applying to the same noun; can you add a contrastable real example where this also happens? --Backinstadiums (talk) 16:54, 29 April 2019 (UTC)

It seems to be a poorly chosen example for current English. Much was used with plural nouns in the 18th century and before, where we would use many now. I didn't find any other examples in current English, but there might be some. They would be rare exceptions, if they exist. DCDuring (talk) 17:52, 29 April 2019 (UTC)
I don't know what you mean by 'contrastable'. What contrasting behavior are you looking for?
Examples of the phenomenon:
  • We can actually quantify how much earnings are enough to maintain a....
  • She noted that in spite of the generous discounts rolled out to consumers, not much sales were made.
  • She noted that in spite of the generous discounts rolled out to consumers, not much sales were made
  • It was during that interim that not much sales were going on.
  • Knowing your numbers requires owners and managers of every construction company [] determine how much sales are required [] .
None of these sentences sound good to me, but they are examples. DCDuring (talk) 18:03, 29 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Presently the second sense reads:
2. (in the singular) The government department or agency that is authorised to collect the taxes imposed on imported goods.
Customs has pulled us over on our way for an inspection.
This does not reflect fairly common usage in BrE (especially) whereby departments, companies etc. may be treated as plural for purposes of verb agreement. For example, see Google Search results for "customs have seized". Mihia (talk) 22:17, 30 April 2019 (UTC)
I don't hear enough BrE, so I miss that kind of thing. I do hear AAVE, Irish English, Canajan, and Slavic-accented English. The Brits that I know have lost most of the distinctive bits of British grammar. DCDuring (talk) 13:23, 1 May 2019 (UTC)


The headword line shows a different form from the page name. A mistake, maybe? —Rua (mew) 12:36, 29 April 2019 (UTC)

The genders were rotated: ἐλαχύς is the masculine, ἐλάχεια the feminine, and ἐλαχύ the neuter form of the nominative case.   Fixed  --Lambiam 12:59, 29 April 2019 (UTC)

Mona LisaEdit

We have a US pronunciation /ˌmoʊnə ˈlaɪzə/. I've never heard anyone say this. Can it be sourced? Ultimateria (talk) 20:24, 29 April 2019 (UTC)

Added in this diff by a user who is a non-native English speaker and who has made many mistakes in the past involving languages he does not know sufficiently well. Therefore removed pending sourcing. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 04:44, 30 April 2019 (UTC)

back ofEdit

Currently the entry is in back of, but among others such as Webster's, Encarta dictionary shows:

at the back of or behind something (of which, by the way, I'd like to know the difference that seems to be implied); The phrase back of is standard and in back of is its informal variant. Both mean "behind," and in back of is formed on the direct analogy of in front of: There was a swimming pool (in) back of the house. --Backinstadiums (talk) 12:49, 30 April 2019 (UTC)

MWOnline has entries for both in back of and back of. I don't see other entries at either back of at OneLook Dictionary Search or in back of at OneLook Dictionary Search. Which Webster's are you using? DCDuring (talk) 16:01, 30 April 2019 (UTC)
@DCDuring: This one. Secondly, why both meanings are given, at the back of or behind? --Backinstadiums (talk) 16:45, 30 April 2019 (UTC)
I only see "behind" at that link. DCDuring (talk) 21:08, 30 April 2019 (UTC)
I think "in back of" is more deserving of an entry than "back of". "in back of" is an unpredictable idiomatic phrase, while "back of" is more of SOP fragment. Mihia (talk) 22:11, 30 April 2019 (UTC)
But arguably in the back ofin back ofback of. The first is clearly SoP because back includes the relevant sense. The others are natural shortenings, but back of is less transparent because of the intervening step. DCDuring (talk) 12:18, 1 May 2019 (UTC)
I don't personally see "in back of" as a natural shortening. While "in the back of" is predictable SOP, "in back of" seems idiomatic because of the unpredictable dropping of the article, plus it doesn't quite mean the same thing anyway. (In fact, "in back of" sounds incorrect to me as a BrE speaker, but I am taking it on authority that it is a correct expression in AmE.) Mihia (talk) 17:46, 1 May 2019 (UTC)
Is in back of beyond an alternative form of in the back of beyond? ChignonПучок 18:02, 1 May 2019 (UTC)
In BrE, no. I'm not sure about AmE. Mihia (talk) 19:15, 1 May 2019 (UTC)

Pronunciation of antiquityEdit

Re the pronunciation of antiquity, I can believe /ænˈtɪ.kwə.ti/ (or /ænˈtɪ.kwɪ.ti/), I can even accept /ænˈtɪk.wə.ti/, but I balk at /ænˈtɪk.kwə.ti/. (Same issue at antiquities.)  --Lambiam 15:43, 30 April 2019 (UTC)

There's psycholinguistic evidence that consonants are ambisyllabic in English in contexts like that, so that the /k/ is both in the coda of the preceding syllable and the onset of the following one, but that doesn't make it a geminate. Since there's no convenient way to show nongeminate ambisyllabicity without resorting to tree diagrams (which heaven forbid in a dictionary pronunciation section), it's conventional to show the consonant in question as belonging only to the coda of the previous syllabe, thus /ænˈtɪk.wə.ti/, /ænˈtɪk.wɪ.ti/. —Mahāgaja · talk 17:29, 30 April 2019 (UTC)

fist pumpEdit

"The forward thrust of one's fist, as in celebration."

Forwards, or upwards? I've always thought that it was upwards.

May seem quite minor (it is), but wouldn't thrusting one's fist forwards be different than thrusting one's fist upwards? pump one's fist also uses "forward". Tharthan (talk) 17:13, 30 April 2019 (UTC)

As a disco move the preferred direction is upwards, I think, while as a spontaneous emotional release both forward and upward movement seem common. In this video (the last three seconda) the motion is definitely forwards. The fist-pumping winning reactions in this video go in all directions.  --Lambiam 19:14, 30 April 2019 (UTC)
The (acted) fist pump at 02:11 in this video, which I saw just now, is also forwards. But making this part of the definition appears too limited.  --Lambiam 19:34, 30 April 2019 (UTC)
Well, it isn't commonly "downward", "backward", "leftward", "rightward", "sideways", "in circles", or "at random". DCDuring (talk) 21:12, 30 April 2019 (UTC)
But it can be upwards, so perhaps that ought to be added to the definition. Tharthan (talk) 01:37, 1 May 2019 (UTC)
It can be at a slight but unmistakeable angle downward from horizontal; in some disco moves the dancer pumps their fist sideways. (Tutorial video; see the “side-on” fist pump at 1:12–1:56.) What about hedging it like this: “The thrust of one's fist, most commonly forward or upward, as in celebration”?  --Lambiam 08:11, 1 May 2019 (UTC)
That satisfies me, because in my experience it is principally in celebration and, when in celebration, almost exclusively forward and upward. Otherwise, we would be stuck with a definition like "the pumping of one's fist", with pumping referring to some elastic definition of pump DCDuring (talk) 12:13, 1 May 2019 (UTC)
@DCDuring This is just a guess, but perhaps the reason for the ambiguity might be that the original "fist pump" was the thrusting downwards of one's arm/fist (resembling a "pumping motion". Thinks of, say, pumping air into a bicycle), but then the air punch was conflated in usage with the "fist pump", leading to the modern ambiguity. Again, just a guess. Tharthan (talk) 15:26, 1 May 2019 (UTC)


What meaning of quater applies to quatercentenary? --Backinstadiums (talk) 01:07, 1 May 2019 (UTC)

Four times.  --Lambiam 08:02, 1 May 2019 (UTC)

May 2019

bring it onEdit

Is the set phrase that is used to accept a perceived challenge from someone (or to challenge someone to something) distinct enough from definition 3 to warrant being mentioned in the entry? The online "Macmillan Dictionary" has an entry for this sense (although it lists it as "mainly British", which is news to me, because I have heard it and used it plenty of times, especially in my childhood years), the Cambridge English Dictionary has an entry for this sense. The "Farlex Dictionary of Idioms" and the "Collins Cobuild Idioms Dictionary" allegedly have it as well, but I cannot verify these latter two.

EDIT: I see that we have "bring it" (the interjection sense), our entry of which states that it is from "bring it on"... even though our entry for "bring it on" (which I assume is the older form. It certainly was the one that I heard first, at least) does not contain this meaning. What's up with that? Tharthan (talk) 03:19, 1 May 2019 (UTC)

Hahaha, what kind of childhood did you have? Anyway I feel as though our verb sense should cover this, since it's just an imperative, but we say "pose a challenge or threat", which is too passive. Mount Everest poses a challenge. It's not the same as someone actively attacking. Equinox 07:05, 1 May 2019 (UTC)
As an imperative, it is addressed to a person, not a mountain or a puzzle. Usually the challenge is a physical one in sports or a fight, but one can find it used between, say, players of board or electronic games.
We need more citations of the imperative, whether or not we have a separate entry for bring it on. DCDuring (talk) 13:29, 1 May 2019 (UTC)
@Equinox I am a pacifist now, and have been since about a year or two before my teen years, but prior to then, I was–at times–somewhat aggressive. Suffice it to say that I got into a few dustups (although I maintain that, in most of those cases, the other person was being obnoxious and provocative as well. I'm not excusing the way that I responded to those situations back then, however).
@DCDuring I may be able to help in that regard (finding a couple or a few good citations for our entry), but I actually need to be somewhere for noon (and I won't be back until the mid-late afternoon), so I'm not going to seek them out just yet. Tharthan (talk) 15:16, 1 May 2019 (UTC)
Thanks. We've done without them since 2011. Another week wouldn't hurt much. DCDuring (talk) 18:40, 1 May 2019 (UTC)
Is this good to start with? Pay no attention to the wording used in the URL, just note the wording actually used in the article. Tharthan (talk) 17:50, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
Apart from the questionable wisdom of using political citations when others are available, no problem. DCDuring (talk) 20:50, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
  • 2007, Janet Evanovich, Twelve Sharp[18]:
    I was now face to face with Scrog. He had the stun gun. I had a lot of rage. “Bring it on,” I said to him. “Come get me.”
I only picked that one because, a. it was recent, and b. I didn't have to do much looking to find it. I wanted to make sure that a citation of that sort was acceptable.
I don't agree with that publication's political views very often. I'm a moderate independent [in other words, a moderate that belongs to no political party]. I solely picked it for the reasons that I have just stated. Tharthan (talk) 21:06, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
Apart from the questionable wisdom of using political citations when others are available, no problem. DCDuring (talk) 20:50, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
  • 2007, Janet Evanovich, Twelve Sharp[19]:
    I was now face to face with Scrog. He had the stun gun. I had a lot of rage. “Bring it on,” I said to him. “Come get me.”
  • 2012, Sharon Bolton, ‎S. J. Bolton, Dead Scared[20], page 349:
    Bring it on, I muttered as I stepped out, knowing the bravado was to make myself feel better and that it wasn't really working.
  • 2015, Roy A. Hinderer, The Brilliant Adventures of Nate Connor[21]:
    Bring it on, Bob,” he replied in a taunting manner. “I'll be waiting.”
  • 2018 August 20, Michael D. Shear and Eileen Sullivan, New York Times:
    Together, the two tweets amounted to an odd “bring it on” challenge to Mr. Brennan, who had mused over the weekend about filing a lawsuit as a response to losing his security clearance.

whose idiot is that car?Edit

Is the following sentence grammatical, and if so what meaning of whose applies to the phrase whose idiot? whose idiot is that car? --Backinstadiums (talk) 04:17, 1 May 2019 (UTC)

No it's not grammatical. But it sounds like something that would be said in haste or anger without thinking. DTLHS (talk) 04:20, 1 May 2019 (UTC)
@DTLHS: How would the meaning "to whom idiot person does that belong"? --Backinstadiums (talk) 04:23, 1 May 2019 (UTC)
That's not grammatical. You can say "to which idiot person does that belong". DTLHS (talk) 04:24, 1 May 2019 (UTC)
@DTLHS: So definitely whose cannot be used in this structure, can it? BTW, what about "to what idiot does that belong?", given that idiot is a noun there --Backinstadiums (talk) 05:48, 1 May 2019 (UTC)
"Whose idiot is that car" is wrong because you're saying that the car is an idiot — not the intention. (As DTLHS says, it's a possible error and it would probably be understood.) "To what idiot does that belong?" is grammatically correct but very unlikely, because that's a very formal structure whereas calling somebody an idiot is usually an informal remark. I can easily imagine someone saying "what idiot parked there?!", but it's a little harder to formulate a real-world "idiot" sentence where you're just discussing ownership. Equinox 07:02, 1 May 2019 (UTC)
More pragmatically, your sentence could be rendered as "what idiot owns that car?" or "whose car is that? what an idiot!". Equinox 07:08, 1 May 2019 (UTC)
One might also ask, ”what idiot’s car is that?”.  --Lambiam 12:19, 1 May 2019 (UTC)
"Which idiot's is that car?" RichardW57m (talk) 12:17, 1 May 2019 (UTC)
  • The phrase in question could be interpreted as metonomy. DCDuring (talk) 13:35, 1 May 2019 (UTC)
@DCDuring: Could you elaborate your point a bit please? --Backinstadiums (talk) 18:20, 1 May 2019 (UTC)
Think of it as a kind of politeness accomplished by metonomy. You don't want to say the driver is an idiot directly, so you blame the idiocy on the car, but want to know the identity of the owner (who is also probably the (idiot) driver or the (idiot) person who let the driver have the car). I agree that it is more likely just a mistake of some kind, but identifying a car with its owner or driver is not rare. DCDuring (talk) 18:45, 1 May 2019 (UTC)

Kun’yomi readings of Edit

The birth name of the new occupant of the Chrysanthemum Throne is 徳仁, romanized “Naruhito”, so I expected to find なる (naru) among the readings of . However, the only kun’yomi reading given is おしえ (oshie). The Japanese Wiktionary gives the readings なる (naru); のり (nori); ゆき (yuki); よし (yoshi); and あつ (atsu). No おしえ (oshie) there. Conversely, our entry なる gives two verbs as meanings, but nothing related to the noun . Finally, the Japanese Wiktionary does not give 徳 as a meaning of おしえ.  --Lambiam 07:27, 1 May 2019 (UTC)

That reading only seems to pop up in names AFAICT (e.g. the one you mentioned, 徳久, etc), so it should be listed as nanori, rather than kun'yomi, and I have just added it as such. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 20:59, 1 May 2019 (UTC)
@Μετάknowledge, thank you.
@Lambiam, name readings are notoriously irregular in Japanese, to the point that sometimes when meeting someone and receiving their business card, you don't dare address them verbally by name until you've had a chance to confirm the reading. If you're lucky, someone else says it, or their business card might have furigana (rare, in my experience).
Jim Breen's resources are pretty good for names. His single-kanji entry for 徳 lists several nanori, including なる.
HTH, ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 20:25, 3 May 2019 (UTC)

Dutch bonus-Edit

I spotted bonus- in this Dutch newspaper article. Apparently, it serves as a replacement for the prefix stief-.[22] Is this worthy of inclusion? If so, how to describe this? As a euphemism? Has it any chance of becoming a generally used replacement? It seems that this stems from a similar use of Bonus- in German, as seen here. (The hyphen in the word Bonuseltern in the title is the result of a line break.)  --Lambiam 12:57, 1 May 2019 (UTC)

"Hey, Robby, I don't want you to think that your deceased father is no longer your father. No, it's just that, well, Stan is your... "bonus" father. Yeah, that's it." Tharthan (talk) 17:54, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
FWIW, I'd describe the Danish equivalent as euphemistic.__Gamren (talk) 15:01, 5 May 2019 (UTC)

the other day, the other night, the other weekEdit

We have an entry for “the other day”, but I think one can say as well “the other night” or “the other week”. Although more rare, there are also uses of “the other month” and even “the other year”. Are there other time periods for which this can be used? Should this sense be recorded at other, or perhaps at an entry the other, or is it better to have an entry for each separate case?  --Lambiam 15:10, 1 May 2019 (UTC)

If you have sufficient faith in our 'normal' users to believe that they know how to make use of our failed-search page, then the usage note I just added will lead users searching for the other night/morning/evening/month/week to [[the other day]]. You can test it in a while once the words in the usage note are indexed. DCDuring (talk) 18:55, 1 May 2019 (UTC)
That failed-search fails the (abnormal?) user who puts the search string between quotes; "the other night" gets twenty hits, but the other day is not among them.  --Lambiam 09:04, 2 May 2019 (UTC)

make landEdit

A synonym of "to come ashore, to land", apparently. Is that correct? ChignonПучок 18:36, 1 May 2019 (UTC)

Yes, but make in this sense can have lots of objects:
I didn't make the wake, but I did make the funeral.
The plane didn't make the airport.
Closely related (possibly the same) is: He couldn't make bail.
The unifying concept is "achieve", which underlies a number of make definitions. DCDuring (talk) 19:00, 1 May 2019 (UTC)
In many of these uses there is a sense of difficulty in achieving a goal. You can’t say, “after an uneventful two-hour flight, the plane made the airport”. Grammatically it is fine, but semantically strange, unlike “although we lost both engines, the pilot skillfully applied his gliding skills and the plane made the airport safely”. But “make land” does not have this sense of an achievement realized with difficulty. There is nothing wrong with saying, “after an uneventful three months, we made land”. That suggests there is something idiomatic about the collocation. It sounds archaic though.  --Lambiam 20:36, 1 May 2019 (UTC)
The word land in the sense required is the entire source of any archaicism. And, were I to say "I need thy assistance", the use of thy doesn't make the sentence entryworthy. DCDuring (talk) 21:04, 1 May 2019 (UTC)
In my view, "make land" is idiomatic enough to deserve an entry. I do not perceive it as archaic. Mihia (talk)
What shapes your view? DCDuring (talk) 12:55, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
One can also say "make shore" (e.g. The ship made shore), "make port" (= reach/arrive at port), and "make harbour" [[23]]; strangely though it doesn't quite work for "make bank (riverbank)", "make island" or "make destination". In any event, make land does feel slightly more idiomatic, as a nautical expression...and sounds to me not a little dated as well. Leasnam (talk) 20:17, 3 May 2019 (UTC)
I meant that "make land" does not seem fully predictable, based on observations such as the fact that a turtle can "make land", while a salmon cannot "make sea" and an eagle cannot "make sky". Mihia (talk) 17:04, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
Also occurs as "make the land". Equinox 21:57, 2 May 2019 (UTC)

to-do (2)Edit

Noun sense 2:

A task that has been noted as one that must be completed, especially on a list.
My to-do list has been growing longer every day.

I am unconvinced that "to-do" here is a noun meaning a type of task, but what is it? An adjective? Mihia (talk) 22:35, 1 May 2019 (UTC)

On the other hand, it did later occur to me that we can say e.g. "one of my to-dos is ...", so perhaps it is right after all? Mihia (talk) 02:06, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
I agree with your second thoughts. In the usage example above it is the noun used attributively. DCDuring (talk) 02:51, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
I think it's a noun. This is a list of to-dos. Equinox 17:46, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
I disagree, it's a list of things to do. Just like a list of things to clean could be called a "to-clean list", which is not a list of "to-cleans". Ƿidsiþ 10:33, 6 May 2019 (UTC)
@Widsith: So what PoS do you see it as in the phrase "to-do list"? Mihia (talk) 17:10, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
@Mihia: I see it as an adjective. So does the OED, incidentally. Ƿidsiþ 09:04, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Right, OK, I added a second example in which it is (to me) more obviously a noun meaning a task. Mihia (talk) 20:54, 2 May 2019 (UTC)

hringan pronunciationEdit

I just made an edit to a usex at OE belle [[24]], which got me thinking about the sound of the 'g' in OE hringan: could it really have been /'hrind͡ʒɑn/ ? If it descends from PGmc *hringijaną, then a palatised g would be the expected outcome. So I did some further digging in the Middle English Dictionary to see if I could find any traces in ME spelling that might give me a clue to how the word was pronounced in OE, and I found some unclear yet rather compelling spellings, such as rengen, ringgen, hrinʒe, which might indicate a palatised sound.

So my question is this: if the OE indeed was pronounced /'hrind͡ʒɑn/, then were ME pronunciations with /ŋɡ/ influenced from or wholly borrowed from Old Norse hringja ? Does the etymology at English ring (verb) need to be rewritten ? Is this really a Norse word ? Leasnam (talk) 03:06, 2 May 2019 (UTC)

I also found this example from B&T: Sý þæs abbodes gýmen þæt mon ealle tída þæs godcundan þeówdómes on rihte tíman hrincge which shows the combination cg, indicative of a palatised g ... Leasnam (talk) 03:09, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
There seem to be so many of these cases of failed palatalization explained through Norse loaning, that I wonder if we understand the regular conditions of palatalization properly. What about Frisian? We have at *hringijaną a North Frisian ringe, does form have palatalization? Crom daba (talk) 11:13, 3 May 2019 (UTC)
I'm not sure. I wonder if the North Frisian might possibly be a loan from Danish. Leasnam (talk) 20:02, 3 May 2019 (UTC)
West Frisian has ringje, but that's the wrong verb class, and doesn't have the right meaning either. —Rua (mew) 19:14, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
For the palatalisation, *sangijaną appears to have the full complement of Frisian descendants. It appears that palatalisation was inconsistent already in Old Frisian, and remains so. —Rua (mew) 19:26, 5 May 2019 (UTC)


What does "swamp" mean in the idiom "drain the swamp"? Could someone please add this sense? Thanks. ---> Tooironic (talk) 04:13, 2 May 2019 (UTC)

  • Our first definition. Land that is rich and would be very good for cultivation if only it wasn't so wet. SemperBlotto (talk) 05:47, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
    This is challenging to untangle, because referring to Washington, DC as a swamp references the fact that it literally was one before urbanisation, and was used before Trump. Swamps having unsavoury connotations, Trump's speechwriter transformed it into a metaphor for corruption, although it did not change the lexical value of "swamp". The usage of the slogan "drain the swamp" in the current American political landscape is borderline lexical, but our current entry at drain the swamp does a miserable job of defining it and completely omits its association with Trumpism. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 05:56, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
    Citations would greatly help [[drain the swamp]]. DCDuring (talk) 12:57, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
    From The Dictionary of American Proverbs When you're up to your ass in alligators, it's hard to remember you're there to drain the swamp (it's too late to start figuring out how to drain the swamp).
  • 1971, “Safety Review”, in (Please provide the book title or journal name)[25], volume 28-29 ((Please specify the language of the quote)), page 8:
    However, when you're up to your neck in alligators, it is sometimes difficult to remind yourself that the initial objective was to drain the swamp.
  • 1979, Nicholas Dujmovic, quoting Ronald Reagan, Regulation (radio commentary), quoted in The Literary Reagan: Authentic Quotations from His Life, published 2018:
    We are up to our necks in alligators, and it's time to drain the swamp.
Added a figurative sense. Equinox 17:46, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
Why did the President drain the swamp? — To find the bottom feeders for populating his cabinet.  --Lambiam 19:16, 2 May 2019 (UTC)


I think the second definition ("not usual") is quite unhelpful. ChignonПучок 17:51, 2 May 2019 (UTC)

Yes, how is it meant to differ from sense 1? Equinox 17:56, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
“Differing from the norm” has a negative connotation, but someone can have an unusual ability to make people feel at ease, or to explain complicated things in a simple way. Such an ability is indeed “not usual”. A possibly more helpful definition for this sense may be “remarkable, extraordinary”.  --Lambiam 19:10, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
I didn't feel there was a negative connotation. Equinox 19:15, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
It depends on the sense assigned to “norm” in that phrase. Deviating from the norm in sense 2 (a rule that is enforced by members of a community) is not done – or if it is, it is frowned upon and may even give rise to tut tuts.  --Lambiam 19:23, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
I wasn't going to comment on this, but since Lambiam stated pretty much what my own first thoughts on this were already, I will just note this:
"unusual" is one of the few words that we have that can potentially denote the concept that it describes without a negative connotation. "strange", "odd", "bizarre", "abnormal", etc. all often have negative connotations. But unusual can be potentially (and is) used to simply mean "not usual, not typical" in a neutral sense. Tharthan (talk) 19:46, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
I also fail to see the difference. If there is a difference, it needs to be better explained, preferably with some contrasting usage examples. Mihia (talk) 20:58, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
  • I think the first definition is wrong. At its core the term need have nothing to do with norms and has no value implications in its common use. As always, context can introduce valuation, as one says "unusual" while raising one's eyebrows. DCDuring (talk) 21:26, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
Or you can briefly pause, as in “it was, uh, unusual”.[26]  --Lambiam 10:22, 3 May 2019 (UTC)
For me, all the current definitions may or may not have negative implications, or even positive implications, depending on context. I don't see this property as any way of differentiating between them. Mihia (talk) 21:52, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
If a sexual practice violates stated community norms, but is actually widely practiced, is it unusual? I think not. DCDuring (talk) 21:59, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
"violates stated community norms" is a stronger and more specifically targeted phrase than "differing in some way from the norm", which is what the entry says. If something "differs from the norm" then, yes, I would say that generally speaking that means it is unusual. One could argue about whether "in some way" could be stronger, I suppose. Mihia (talk) 22:18, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
So you are saying that you could get citations that unusual is used for not uncommon things that depart from norms. I think this will be going to RfV. DCDuring (talk) 22:54, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
If I may say so, I think you're overthinking it. Mihia (talk) 23:15, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
I think it is the author of definition 1 who did the overthinking. DCDuring (talk) 02:16, 3 May 2019 (UTC)
Well, maybe it was over-elaborate. Mihia (talk) 17:35, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
What about scrapping the first def and augmenting the second with “, out of the ordinary”, while giving enough usexes to display the spectrum of applicability, from (agreeably) amazing to (neutrally) unexpected to (unpleasantly) disturbing?  --Lambiam 10:22, 3 May 2019 (UTC)
That sounds like a good plan to me. Tharthan (talk) 10:54, 3 May 2019 (UTC)
Great. DCDuring (talk) 11:54, 3 May 2019 (UTC)
  So done. I had to merge the translations for the two senses, but looking at the languages I have some familiarity with the differentisl nuances – if any – did not rise to the level where I saw an impediment to the merger. (I blithely extrapolated this to the other languages.)  --Lambiam 20:50, 3 May 2019 (UTC)

intensive: medical senseEdit

Seems to have been added to try to cover the specific case of intensive care. Is it really separate from other senses of intensive? Equinox 21:35, 2 May 2019 (UTC)

Our other definitions seem sufficiently poorly worded so as to not quite obviously cover intensive care. DCDuring (talk) 22:01, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
I would agree with that. Probably it would be good to fix this and then add "intensive care" as a usage example, allowing us to get rid of the medical-specific sense. 22:21, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
“Intensive care” is also a colloquial but very common shortening of “intensive care ward” or “intensive care unit”, being a dedicated hospital ward, as in “The nurse at the emergency room desk told me that Mrs. White had been moved to intensive care.” I think we ought to include this sense.  --Lambiam 10:37, 3 May 2019 (UTC)
Exactly what MWOnline does. I don't object, but in intensive care is almost always ambiguous between the place (or organizational unit) and the type of care. You would need citations or usage examples like: Intensive care has an extra backup generator. or She run intensive care. (but preferrably ones found in the wild). DCDuring (talk) 12:02, 3 May 2019 (UTC)
The example of poor Mrs. White is, I believe, completely unambiguous; the use of “moved to” indicates a change of location. It was spotted and caught in the wild.  --Lambiam 17:23, 3 May 2019 (UTC)


Sense 3: "to become pregnant". I don't think that's a good gloss. Wouldn't "beget" be better? ChignonПучок 14:49, 3 May 2019 (UTC)

I don't think beget can be intransitive, but conceive can ("they were trying to conceive"). Also "beget" might sound a bit archaic. I have added the word "with". Equinox 15:44, 3 May 2019 (UTC)
Not to mention that beget is generally said of men, whereas conceive is said of women. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 16:06, 3 May 2019 (UTC)
And “conceive” refers to the moment of conception, while “beget” is more like the moment of birth, some nine months later (at least, for Home sapiens) – if no miscarriage intervenes.  --Lambiam 17:15, 3 May 2019 (UTC)
@Equinox, Andrew Sheedy, Lambiam: All right, "beget" is not a good gloss. But I'm still unconvinced glossing it with "become pregnant" is right: it only works when the subject is a singular, and is a woman. If two people have been trying to conceive, they haven't been trying both to "become pregnant"; they've been trying to "create a child together" or something. ChignonПучок 17:55, 3 May 2019 (UTC)
Nowadays, at least in the US, it is not uncommon to say that a couple got pregnant,[27][28] and gave birth.[29][30] I am not in favour of changing the definitions to account for such usage, but perhaps we should mention it in the usage notes. Same for conceive.  --Lambiam 18:58, 3 May 2019 (UTC)
I can accept a couple conceiving a child, but the idea that a couple can become pregnant or give birth just seems absurd. I cannot conceive of it, in fact. Mihia (talk) 20:59, 7 May 2019 (UTC)


I heard this on BBC radio, which I assume means as ugly as a pug (dog). There is an entry for plug-ugly, which seems to mean the same thing. Has anyone else heard pug-ugly? DonnanZ (talk) 21:27, 3 May 2019 (UTC)

I've heard it, and no, it just means extremely ugly. I suspect it's a variant of plug-ugly. I think the rhyme reinforces the association with ugh, which probably has more influence on the meaning than any association with dogs or pugilists. Chuck Entz (talk) 21:45, 3 May 2019 (UTC)
It could be a mixture of both plug-ugly and the dog. Anyway I have added a basic entry, found some quotes in Google Books which I will add. DonnanZ (talk) 23:19, 3 May 2019 (UTC)
The website Grammarist states that the two terms have different eymologies, with the pug of pug-ugly being a shortening of pugilist, without giving a source for this claim. We do have an entry for this shortening. Partridge, however, thinks the term arose, through confusion, from plug-ugly, associating the term with “as ugly as a pug”, that is, the dog breed. Some historical information can be found on Phrase finder. And then there are those who think the name of the breed of dog comes from its smashed-in face, like having been battered by a pugilist.  --Lambiam 14:29, 4 May 2019 (UTC)

none theEdit

@Lbdñk recently created the entry none the (labelled "Phrase") and nominated it for WOTD, but I am wondering if it might be sum-of-parts. However, in case I'm barking up the wrong tree, I'd like some comments before I take any steps to formally nominate the entry for deletion. Thanks. — SGconlaw (talk) 20:25, 4 May 2019 (UTC)

I find it grammatically puzzling, and it doesn't look SOP to me. If someone has an explanation I'd be interested to read it. By the way several dictionaries have an entry for it. ChignonПучок 20:41, 4 May 2019 (UTC)
Ok, I see we have an adverb section at the. I think a hard redirect to that section is in order, then. ChignonПучок 20:45, 4 May 2019 (UTC)
The adverb section at the mentions about the usage of not. See definition two. As such, I don't see why none the shouldn't be nominated for deletion; it seems unnecessary to me. Jclu (talk) 20:57, 4 May 2019 (UTC)
It is not strictly speaking a phrase, not being a constituent. Heed the lemmings: none the at OneLook Dictionary Search. DCDuring (talk) 21:53, 4 May 2019 (UTC)
I think it can be classified as an adverb, just like any in a phrase such as “I’ll be damned if this will make you any wiser”. (And I was right, it made him none the wiser.) A bit strange because it only modifies comparatives, but so does any in this usage.  --Lambiam 22:57, 4 May 2019 (UTC)
It's hard to see what other PoS could work. Sometimes I wish we still had the 'idiom' PoS header. DCDuring (talk) 23:23, 4 May 2019 (UTC)
Hello everyone ! and especially @Sgconlaw. I am amazed to see so much ado about nothing. Firstly, it makes no sense to delete this entry, forasmuch as none the is too well attested in literature to not have an independent existence as an entry. Now coming to the PoS problem, both the constituent words are adverbs, so it only reckons upon Wiktionary conventions how this should be labelled. —Lbdñk (talk) 17:56, 5 May 2019 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── There seems to be a difference of opinion over whether the entry should remain; should I nominate it for deletion and see how the discussion goes? — SGconlaw (talk) 16:09, 5 May 2019 (UTC)

This is one of those times when I wish we had passed the lemming rule. DCDuring (talk) 17:16, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
OK, I have nominated the entry for deletion. Please comment at "Wiktionary:Requests for deletion/English#none the". Thanks. — SGconlaw (talk) 18:10, 5 May 2019 (UTC)

cavalier: French clarificationEdit

Hi all, I was looking up the meaning of "cavalier" in French here and definition number 4 states "a staple". However, staple has multiple meanings in English, and especially two quite disparate ones - a basic or essential supply, or the object that's used in a stapler. Could we get a clarification for the French meaning? Does cavalier as staple in French refer to an essential supply, the object used in a stapler, or both?

Jclu (talk) 20:50, 4 May 2019 (UTC)

I think what is meant is what you see in these images. I don’t know what to call these in English, but simply “staple” is not quite right.  --Lambiam 23:09, 4 May 2019 (UTC)
A possible translation is, apparently, “fencing staple”, a term I was not familiar with. A French synonym for cavalier in this sense is crampillon. Another sense, shared by both French terms, is “cable clip”.  --Lambiam 23:26, 4 May 2019 (UTC)
Yes, it's a cable clip – or just "clip" is usually a good translation. Ƿidsiþ 13:44, 14 May 2019 (UTC)


I'm truing up some of the etymologies using prefix non-, especially the nouns using this prefix derived from Middle English. To my surprise, I'm finding that nouns created in Middle English actually do not use the Latin prefix non- meaning "not", but were formed from a combination of Middle English nōn meaning "none, no, not any" + the noun (e.g. non-obeisaunce = "no-obeisance"; cf. no-show, no man's land). If this is the case, then nouns prefixed with non- are using a different prefix to what we are showing—one with a separate etymology. Can someone verify if I am seeing this accurately ? If so, we need to add another etymology at non- Leasnam (talk) 21:22, 4 May 2019 (UTC)

Okay, I just found this at Online Etymology Dictionary [[31]] "In some cases perhaps from Middle English non "not" (adj.), from Old English nan (see not)." so I am not going completely off my rocker. It's clear in words like nonpayment that this is coming from the adjective. I suppose an update to non- is needed... Leasnam (talk) 21:32, 4 May 2019 (UTC)
I’d call it a determiner rather than an adjective.  --Lambiam 23:31, 4 May 2019 (UTC)
Yes, here we would call it a Determiner. After further digging, the adverbial form Middle English nōn (not, not at all) is also used with adjectives/past participles to form the following adjectives: nōn-pertinent, nōn-voluntārī, nōn-seued (non-sued), nōn-ulcerāt, etc. Leasnam (talk) 01:01, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
I've updated the existing etymology at non-, rather than splitting the etymology. It's clear that the modern prefix is a merger of ME non meaning "no, none, not, not at all" used with nouns and also with adjectives, plus a prefix introduced via borrowed words from Old French and Latin meaning "not" used with adjectives. Leasnam (talk) 15:28, 11 May 2019 (UTC)

misfire, miss fireEdit

We had miss fire as a misspelling of misfire, but it's actually a legit older form: it appears in Chambers 1908 and is common in older books; I've added two cites to miss fire. Does this mean that the etymology at misfire needs to say something other than the current mis- + fire? Equinox 22:35, 4 May 2019 (UTC)

I am afraid that it will be very difficult to determine to what extent misfire is a univerbation of miss fire, with juncture loss possibly due to miss analyzing as mis- + fire, and to what extent it is an honestly new creation independent of earlier miss fire. The fact that the past tense and the participles do not agree (like missed fire versus misfired) works against the misanalysis theory, but need not be decisive. In the sense of a complete failure to discharge, miss fire seems a perfect match, but when an engine does fire, only in an improper way, the match is not so good. But I can imagine that misfire as a univerbation of miss fire, due to the inviting analysis of mis- + fire, allowed for and gave rise to a broadening of the sense. The best is probably to mention both analyses, and conclude by s.t. like “or possibly a combination of both”.  --Lambiam 23:51, 4 May 2019 (UTC)


What does "herne" mean in the following lines from the eighth section of William Morris's poem The Pilgrims of Hope (1885–86)?

High up and light are the clouds, and though the swallows flit
So high o'er the sunlit earth, they are well a part of it,
And so, though high over them, are the wings of the wandering herne;
In measureless depths above him doth the fair sky quiver and burn;
The dear sun floods the land as the morning falls toward noon,
And a little wind is awake in the best of the latter June.

I don't think it has anything to do with the mythological figure Herne the Hunter. Is it possibly an old-fashioned or unusual spelling of heron? Arms & Hearts (talk) 23:01, 4 May 2019 (UTC)

Presumably the same as hern: (dialectal or poetic) heron. The spelling herne is also found in heraldry.  --Lambiam 00:03, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
I can't help thinking of this famous New Yorker cartoon, which I only recently discovered is quoting from a Tennyson poem. Chuck Entz (talk) 08:51, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
Thanks Lambiam. Not sure why I gave up and decided to ask here before looking at hern. Arms & Hearts (talk) 12:00, 5 May 2019 (UTC)

death threatEdit

Entry-worthy? ChignonПучок 11:43, 5 May 2019 (UTC)

It seems SoP to me. One can also have a bomb threat, flood threat, security threat, shooting threat, storm threat, terror threat, weather threat, and so on.  --Lambiam 19:54, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
death threat is alternatively spelt death-threat, even when it's not used attributively. Can it be regarded as a compound word ? Leasnam (talk) 02:52, 11 May 2019 (UTC)
It's definitely a set phrase, although more likely than not SOP. But Lambiam's examples actually give it a bit more support, because of those only death threat and bomb threat show the same specialised use of "threat" to refer to a message; a security threat can be an abstract situation or a person, but a death threat is always a message, usually a written one. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 04:34, 11 May 2019 (UTC)
I think that it's a compound word, but then again I don't think there's a distinction between a phrase with attributive noun and a compound word. — Eru·tuon 04:37, 11 May 2019 (UTC)

look forwardEdit

The page look forward, formerly a regular entry, was turned into a hard redirect to look forward to, with a reasonable rationale on the talk page. So far so good, as far as I’m concerned (although I have a nagging feeling that hard redirects are frowned upon). But the entry look forward to lists, under Related terms, “look forward”. That seems worse than pointless. Remove? Or recreate an entry look forward – which also has an &literal meaning.  --Lambiam 11:54, 5 May 2019 (UTC)

Other dictionaries are divided on look forward to vs. look forward. I'd have preferred the redirect to go from look forward to to look forward. Even the 'literal' sense has some interest: forward is almost always temporal, not spatial, in this expression. The contrast of almost always positive looking forward with usually negative looking backward is notable as well. DCDuring (talk) 20:42, 5 May 2019 (UTC)

Pronunciation of classical proper namesEdit

Is it necessary to give a reference for the pronunciation of a classical proper name? The rule is that these names are accented in English on the syllable that is accented in Latin. Isn't that enough for Wiktionary? Eric Kvaalen (talk) 12:13, 5 May 2019 (UTC)

In general editors do not need to give references for any material, although providing one may be prudent for something that is likely to be challenged. If a user is not convinced by a pronunciation that has been provided, they can ask for confirmation by posting here, in our Tea room. The rule you give works only for names that are copied from Latin, retaining all syllables. It doesn’t work for Euclid, Homer, Virgil, and quite a few names that were cut short in the process of being Anglified.  --Lambiam 14:11, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
But note that we are descriptive, not prescriptive. If enough people say it one way,[32][33][34] we record it – possibly with a usage note that this is not how classical scholars say it.  --Lambiam 14:27, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
@Lambiam: The name in question is Apophis, so it does have all the syllables. I see that someone has now added back the pronunciation I tried to put. The trouble with not being "prescriptive" is that most people would have no idea how it should be pronounced, so somebody makes a guess and then other people follow that, and pretty soon everybody is pronouncing it wrong. Wiktionary (and other dictionaries) ought to provide guidance according to the standard rule which applies to names like this. Eric Kvaalen (talk) 18:15, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
@Eric Kvaalen: I've added more explanation of the pronunciations. (I was the one to restore the pronunciation that you added, as well as the more trendy one.) The most that is consistent with the spirit of Wiktionary to say in favor of the pronunciation with Latinate stress is that it's older; to say the other pronunciation is wrong would conflict with the spirit of descriptivism. To me, the Latinate pronunciation sounds weird and dare I say wrong because the name of the Stargate character is pronounced the other way. Unfortunately language doesn't conform to the tidy rules I could wish it to (in this case, that the English stress should match the Latin when the Latin word has not been shortened). — Eru·tuon 04:48, 11 May 2019 (UTC)

the other white meatEdit

I can't make sense of most of the occurrences of this. There seems to be some racial senses, such as here

  • 2008, Linda Villarosa, Passing For Black, Kensington Publishing Corp. (→ISBN)
    “As soon as black women leave our men and join up with the white women's libbers, you know what happens?” Nona continued, holding out her glass. “Some white woman turns around and snatches up the brother.” “Yep, that other white meat, my mother said under her breath, nodding.

possibly sense #4 in UD (reverse Oreo). Possible other senses: turkey meat, Latinos, dick. Maybe just "the other one" in general, as here:

  • 2011, Charlaine Harris, Dead Reckoning, Penguin (→ISBN)
    Possibly he would have done it anyway out of sheer self-defense, but it didn't hurt that his wife, standing right by me, was a blonde. He couldn't be completely sure they meant me, the other white meat.

In this story (obviously not archived, and also NSFW) it seems to mean "men, as sexual partners, seen as an alternative to women":

  • No woman I know is gonna shine a man’s boots, so that means you’re going after the other white meat.

I probably missed some.__Gamren (talk) 14:35, 5 May 2019 (UTC)

It's not an answer to your post, but I'm not sure I agree with the definition: you can't simply gloss it with "pork", it's not substitutable.

  • "You can't go wrong with pork, it's the other white meat you know" > "You can't go wrong with pork, it's pork you know"?
  • "It'll prove why pork is most thankfully not the other white meat" > "It'll prove why pork is most thankfully not pork"?

That doesn't make sense. ChignonПучок 15:01, 5 May 2019 (UTC)

Thank you for pointing that out. It apparently came with the implication that pork is healthy and non-fatty, and indistinguishable from regular white meat. The second quote could maybe rephrased as "it'll prove why pork is most thankfully different from white meat"__Gamren (talk) 15:10, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
(edit confict) The phrase started out as the slogan for an ad campaign to change perceptions about pork, which has a very bad reputation among health-conscious consumers. As such, it's come to be seen as the epitome of a euphemism used to talk people into accepting as desirable something that's really undesirable. I think your examples are referring to "the other white meat" as something considered inferior where someone is pretending that they don't consider it inferior- an unspoken negative judgment that someone doesn't want to admit even exists. Chuck Entz (talk) 15:28, 5 May 2019 (UTC)

erste vs. ersterEdit

(Notifying Matthias Buchmeier, Kolmiel, -sche, Atitarev, Jberkel): @Rua, Metaknowledge What should be the lemma for the German word meaning "first"? Currently erster claims to be that lemma, but erste does as well, in addition to being listed as an inflected form of erster. Meanwhile the {{de-ordinals}} template lists erste as the lemma, and inflected forms like ersten refer back to erste, not erster. The other ordinals are found under zweite, dritte, etc. without the final -r. This suggests that erste is the proper lemma, but I want to make sure before fixing things. Benwing2 (talk) 18:56, 5 May 2019 (UTC)

To be consistent with the other ordinals, it should be erste. But I'm not sure why the ordinals have this as the lemma in the first place. It appears to be the nominative form of the weak declension; why was that form chosen in particular? —Rua (mew) 19:06, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
@Rua Presumably because the predicative forms like erst, zweit, dritt don't exist, and the strong declension is fairly rare for ordinals. Benwing2 (talk) 19:19, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
Other questions:
  1. zweitgrößter is given as a lemma with inflected forms like zweitgrößten. Is this correct?
  2. unwohl has inflected forms like uhnwohlen, with an extra h. Surely this is wrong?
Benwing2 (talk) 19:20, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
For occurrences of zweitgrößten see e.g. [35] and [36]. As to uhnwohl – what a weird, uhnwohlesome error.   Fixed.  --Lambiam 20:09, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
Thanks User:Lambiam. Other issues:
  1. besten listed as the base form of the superlative of gut, and beste given as an inflected form of besten. Is this correct? For comparison, bestes, bestem, bester are given as inflected forms of gut.
  2. tragischsten listed as the base form of the superlative of tragisch (such base superlatives aren't normally found I think), and inflected forms like tragischster referring back to tragischsten instead of tragisch, as is normal.
  3. bescheidensten, bescheidenste, bescheidenster, etc.: as for tragischsten.
  4. nächster listed as the base form of the superlative of nah, inconsistently with besten. nächstes, nächstem, nächste are listed as inflected forms both of nah and nächster, but nächsten is listed as an inflected form only of nächster.
  5. letzter listed as a lemma; see discussion of erster above. In this case, the inflected forms letzte, letztem, letztes, letzsten refer back to letzter.
  6. unterer listed as a lemma; same as for letzter.
  7. oberer listed as a lemma; same as for letzter and unterer.
  8. linker listed as a lemma; same as previous.
  9. vorderer listed as a lemma; same as previous.
  10. wievielter listed as a lemma; same as previous.
  11. hinterer listed as a lemma; same as previous.
  12. mittlerer listed as a lemma; same as previous.
  13. vorkantscher listed as a lemma, with inflected forms vorkantschen, etc. In Talk:vorkantscher, an IP who is apparently a native speaker complains about this, and User:Mahagaja justifies the form based on the apparent lack of quotable occurrences of the predicative form vorkantsch (which seems questionable to me).
  14. überdünischer listed as a lemma; similar to vorkantscher.
Bunches of other evident errors:
  1. am citynähsten as the superlative of citynah.
  2. anisotrope, anisotropes, inflected forms of isotrop
  3. bekannte, bekanntes, inflected forms of weltbekannt
  4. gammliger comparative of gammelig; gammligerer, gammligeres, etc. as inflected forms of gammelig (shouldn't they all refer to gammlig instead, which should be given as an alternative form of gammelig?)
  5. gemäßigster, gemäßigste, etc., inflected forms of gemäßigt; dewikt says they should be gemäßigtster
  6. berühmt-berüchtigster, etc., inflected forms of berühmt-berüchtigt (same as previous)
  7. gesättigster, etc., inflected forms of gesättigt (same as previous two)
  8. homogenen listed as comparative degree of homogen, and corresponding inflections homogenener, homogenene, etc. listed as inflections of homogen
  9. beherrschtestener listed as inflected form of beherrscht.
  10. fluorierender, fluorierende, etc. listed as inflected forms of fluoriend. I think in this case the lemma itself is wrong, should be fluorierend.
  11. mittigstener, mittigstene, etc. listed as inflected forms of mittig.
  12. nichtionisher, nichtionishe, etc. listed as inflected forms of nichtionisch.
  13. ökonomischstener, ökonomischstene, etc. listed as inflected forms of ökonomisch.
  14. skandalträchtigser, skandalträchtigse, etc. listed as inflected forms of skandalträchtig.
  15. vorausschauenerer, vorausschauenere, etc.; vorausschauenster, vorausschauenste, etc.; vorausschauene, vorausschauenes, etc., all listed as inflected forms of vorausschauend.
  16. hellestener, hellestene, etc. listed as inflected forms of helle.
  17. mittlererer, mittlerere, etc. listed as inflected forms of mittel.
  18. unentwegster, unentwegste, etc. listed as inflected forms of unentwegt.
  19. widersprüchlichlerer, widersprüchlichlere, etc. listed as inflected forms of widersprüchlich.
  20. quartalweiser, quartalweise, etc. listed as inflected forms of quartalsweise.
  21. hangererer, hangerere listed as inflected forms of hager.
  22. Nanoelektronischer, Nanoelektronische, etc. listed as inflected forms of nanoelektronisch.
  23. homosexueler, homosexuele, etc. listed as inflected forms of homosexuell.
  24. nictleuchtender, nictleuchtende, etc. listed as inflected forms of nichtleuchtend.
etc. Other errors that I don't feel like enumerating right now; this is tedious. Benwing2 (talk) 20:48, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
Benwing2 (talk) 20:48, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
The German wiktionary has the weak forms (erste, zweite etc.) as lemmas. Matthias Buchmeier (talk) 21:27, 5 May 2019 (UTC)

vorkantscher cannot be a lemma form, and *vorkantsch does not exist because the alleged word is a syncope of vorkantisch. In adjectives on -isch derived from names of persons one can omit the -i- like one can write andrer instead of anderer, papiernes and rechtschaffner instead of papierenes and rechtschaffenes, while one cannot omit it in the predicative form, and by the way with -n- the writing of the syncope is discarded from the written standard language since the nineteenth century and is colloquial or archaic (both); whereas the syncope has only developed as a standard for personal names in the early twentieth century. One cannot and could not do this for other words, including adjectives from place names, so überdünischer is not comparable to vorkantscher / vorkantischer. But for personal names one can still use the full forms like kantischer, goetheischer, schopenhauerische, though possibly some progressivistically ideologized teachers underline such forms as wrong (does not matter, I always knew German better than its teachers). Regarding spelling, if the syncope is employed, according to the 1901 rules one shall write the adjective with a majuscule, so Goethescher, Kantscher, Wolffsche analogously to the forms from placenames Kölner, Bielefelder, Osnabrücker and the like, but according to the 1996 rules one has to write either with minuscule, goethescher, kantscher, wolffsche, or write majuscule and use an apostrophe, Goethe’scher, Kant’scher, Wolff’sche. Indeed both rules are retarded and arbitrary, hence I suggest only putting the full forms like kantisch and goetheisch as lemma forms, which one would have understood so in the state of Classical German (until the 1830s, when writers like J. W. v. Goethe and W. v. Humboldt died). The ordinal numbers should have the lemmas erster, zweiter and so on. For one thing, they behave like anderer (which also meant “second” until the classical times). For the other thing one can use them predicatively so: ich bin erster, du bist zweiter. Though according to the current rules (1901 and 1996) these are nouns and written with majuscules – hell knows why. They are like all superlatives, one uses them like one can say: “Diese Aufgabe ist schwerst.” “Deine Uhr ist urst.” Whereas according to the rules of 1901 and 1996 one writes the “pronouns” anderer, mehrere, keiner, einiger, einige and others always with minuscule, though this causes not rarely ambiguities in texts.
The rules are created out of futility to establish a livelihood for Germanists, vexing anyone who wants to implement the German language. My view is, as one can see, easy, natural, and classical: They all are adjectives and have the lemma as one says them in a predicative sentence. So anderer should be at anders: “Ich bin anders”! But: “Ich bin keins (von beiden)”! ”Ich bin einig (mit dir)”! “Ist er rechts? Nein, er ist links.” (Different meaning than “Er ist recht”!) And: “Ich bin unten!” – hence unterer etc. are inflected forms of this adjective. And all can also be written with majuscules in fitting sentences (i.e. when nominalized). You see currently a lot is lacking, the very frequent keins is a red link and anders, rechts etc. lack an adjective entry though being used as adjectives.
Or can someone argue why “alius” should be on anderer and “inferus” should be on unterer while “magnus” should be on “groß” and not on großer? Observe that unten inflects as unterer and has a superlative but no comparative (or only nonstandardly, I am not acquainted with such a use because it is hard to use as being ridiculous-sounding). ein and kein can be a special case, because of being the core on which the German system of definiteness is built. One can hence say “Ich bin keiner” like “Ich bin keins” with different meaning but one cannot say *“Ich bin mehrerer, er ist mehrerer” or *“Ich bin anderer”.
Or any better suggestion to get out of the limbo of uncertainty of where things should be put? Fay Freak (talk) 22:26, 5 May 2019 (UTC)

Thanks for the ping. German lemmas should be at -er forms for ordinals and superlatives. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 23:21, 5 May 2019 (UTC)

Some prior discussion of this is at User talk:-sche#German_ordinal_numbers. De.Wikt and the Duden would have us lemmatize erste, which is also currently the norm for German ordinals, although -er would be more consistent with how other adjectives are treated. - -sche (discuss) 01:00, 6 May 2019 (UTC)

(Now) that's what I'm talking about!Edit

When it is preceded by now, is it still true that there is always a strong emphasis on "that['s]"?

This was true originally, but I have also heard it more recently (not too recently. The youngsters seem to use this somewhat less frequently than they did some years ago, at least in my area. It is more common to hear "Oh yeah!" or some variant for this purpose these days, in my experience) without any "excessive" stress on "that['s]". With that said, when I think of it in my head, I still think of it with the stressed pronunciation, so I don't think that this was anything remotely near some sweeping shift or something. I'm just suggesting that it seems to be an alternative pronunciation of sorts (or whatever one might choose to call it) that can occur when preceded by "now".

Thoughts? Tharthan (talk) 22:53, 5 May 2019 (UTC)

Not on the change of stress level, but where the usage note has “derived from its ordinary meaning”, is the intention perhaps “divorced from its ordinary meaning”?  --Lambiam 08:15, 6 May 2019 (UTC)
I think it's reasonable to say that the catchphrase is derived from the ordinary meaning of the phrase. As far as the stress is concerned, I can't visualise hearing it other than with "that" emphasised, whether or not preceded by "now", but I couldn't say for sure that nobody ever says it that way. Mihia (talk) 20:43, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
@Mihia I guess that maybe "that['s]" may have very slight stress even in the situations that I'm thinking of, but it would be very slight. If someone were to say "Now that's what I'm talking about" with the tone and general stress attagal/attaboy (or something similar), any potential stress on "that['s]" would be very slight, if present at all. Tharthan (talk) 22:01, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
Hmm, OK, well I can still only imagine it being said with significant or main stress on "that's", but it could be that I just haven't heard the same speakers as you. Mihia (talk) 22:32, 7 May 2019 (UTC)

wiki: how comes it's a valid Chinese word?Edit

I don't think "wiki" (written in Latin letters) is a valid Chinese word; the Chinese word should be 維基. Why is there a #Chinese in "wiki"?? User670839245 (talk) 03:47, 6 May 2019 (UTC)

Sent to RFV. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 04:12, 6 May 2019 (UTC)


How are these senses distinct?

  1. An employee who receives visitors and/or calls, typically in an office setting.
  2. A secretary whose tasks prominently include the above.

-Ultimateria (talk) 17:06, 6 May 2019 (UTC)

Neither of them mentions that the person is on reception?! That's silly. Anyone can receive calls and visitors at work, e.g. in private offices and meetings: it doesn't make them a receptionist if they aren't on reception. Equinox 17:15, 6 May 2019 (UTC)
I've combined the definitions and taken a stab at rewriting them. Alternatively, perhaps instead of saying someone works in reception (if an organization doesn't have a reception department per se), it would be sufficient to say that their main job is recieving visitors? Not sure. - -sche (discuss)
Yes! Sitting near the door and having a phone are sufficient in a little start-up. Equinox 00:25, 13 May 2019 (UTC)


What Ghanaian football team specifically is this referring to? I don't see anything like "Phobos" at w:List of football clubs in Ghana. DTLHS (talk) 17:19, 6 May 2019 (UTC)

Accra Hearts of Oak S.C. Now added. Equinox 20:20, 6 May 2019 (UTC)


Hello again, I'm looking for some help on finding usage of the word brazzle in the sense of "..the terms brass, brazzle and brazil are English dialect terms for pyrite or to coal seams with significant pyrite content...", and not, as I found when I tried a basic search on g.scholar and g.books, of authors.

How is it best to go about searching for such information? Thanks! Elfabet (talk) 20:04, 6 May 2019 (UTC)

By typing “brazzle” in Google search and praying for results. Then you see that Brazzle is a not uncommon proper noun, so to avoid most (not all) such hits, and since brazzle is some material, you refine the search to “of brazzle”. With a book search this gives at least one good hit, the sentence “The lime-stone be‘nt up to mooch, they be full of brazzle”, contributed by correspondent W.M.M., presumable the Reverend W. M. Morris from Treherbert. Apart from that gem, I find only mentions.  --Lambiam 22:34, 6 May 2019 (UTC)
Here is another one, very similar, found by searching for “full of brazzle”: “the coal is a poor one and full of brazzle”.  --Lambiam 22:42, 6 May 2019 (UTC)
My go-to sources for attesting quotations are Google Books, the Internet Archive, and the HathiTrust Digital Library. I also use Google News if Google Books doesn't turn up anything useful. — SGconlaw (talk) 06:41, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
Thanks for the additional resources. Using them and your methods I'm also only finding the same two sources. Am I correct in surmising then that it doesn't meet attestation and is not fit for inclusion? Or are there further steps I should take that could prove it's worth for creating? Thanks again, Elfabet (talk) 12:42, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
The OED might have some cites that we don't. DCDuring (talk) 13:55, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
The OED has an entry for brasil with this meaning (with "brazzle" &c as an alternative form). SemperBlotto (talk) 14:03, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
I found a limerick that uses the term.  --Lambiam 17:51, 7 May 2019 (UTC)

fittings and furnishingsEdit

Our entry implies that "fittings" is just a British word for "furnishings", but I think that in Britain there is -- at least commonly -- a distinction between fittings and furnishings. Fittings are screwed in place (like a stove, a lamp, a curtain rod), while furnishings are not (like a carpet, a table, a bed). Furnishings are generally owned by the tenant, while fittings may be owned by the landlord. Right?? 23:28, 6 May 2019 (UTC)

  • Yes. SemperBlotto (talk) 05:19, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Yes — Saltmarsh. 06:18, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Absolutely yes (speaking as a lawyer). Anything that is affixed to the realty is considered part of the realty. However, it's too sweeping to say that furnishings are generally owned by the tenant and fixtures by the landlord. It all depends on the terms of the tenancy agreement. An agreement may provide, for example, that the landlord will rent furniture to the tenant (and thus the furniture is owned by the landlord), or that the tenant will be allowed to attach fixtures to the realty and remove them at the end of the tenancy. — SGconlaw (talk) 06:28, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
Having said that, there could well be a non-legal, colloquial use of fittings where it simply means furnishings. If necessary, list fittings at RFV so that attesting quotations can be found. — SGconlaw (talk) 06:35, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
"fixtures and fittings" probably warrants an entry. Mihia (talk) 20:59, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
You could be right. DonnanZ (talk) 14:48, 8 May 2019 (UTC)


We have "(of a room) Entered without an intervening passage." Is this accurate and/or are we missing a sense? I thought a "walk-in closet" or "walk-in (kitchen) pantry", for example, was a closet/pantry that was big enough to walk into, not one "entered without an intervening passage". It seems common, perhaps even typical, for closets to be located directly off larger rooms without intervening passages. A Google Image search for "walk-in closet" and "walk-in kitchen pantry" supports my understanding. - -sche (discuss) 17:54, 7 May 2019 (UTC)

The present definition doesn't seem ideal. I would say that primarily it means big enough to walk into, and "entered without an intervening passage" is a typical additional property. Probably it would not hurt to mention both. A better label than "of a room" also seems desirable, since in this sense (or the sense that I assume is intended) it applies only to things like closets and pantries that need not be full rooms, not to rooms in general. Mihia (talk) 18:44, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
At least the other 'adjective' senses seem like they are better viewed as attributive use of the corresponding noun. If we are committed to finding, for a given pair of noun and adjective definition, whether the adjective or noun PoS came first, we have a lot of work ahead (a long run for a short slide). DCDuring (talk) 22:53, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
Testing various rooms, I see "walk-in bathroom" is also attested, which is interesting, because in my experience most bathrooms are big enough to walk into, and most home bathrooms are un-separated from their associated bedrooms (etc) by passages, so the descriptor seems unnecessary. Most Google Image results are for bathrooms which contain walk-in showers or tubs, so perhaps metonymy of some kind is at work. "Walk in bedroom" only returns instances of "walk-in bedroom closet". - -sche (discuss) 00:37, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
MWOnline has some other definitions, including one like Mihia's, and omits some of ours. They have "arranged so as to be entered directly rather than through a lobby" a walk-in apartment, plausible enough, though I don't think I've ever heard it. DCDuring (talk) 01:19, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
"walk-in bathroom" is an interesting example. Where I come from, a bathroom would traditionally be separated from other rooms by a passage, yet of course always be large enough to walk into, so to me "walk-in" in "walk-in bathroom" does in fact only mean "entered without an intervening passage". Perhaps after all there are two senses which may be merged in some instances. Mihia (talk) 01:26, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
I found exactly one hit for "walk-in apartment". Maybe there are more in e.g. newspaper classified ads? I added a sense for closets/pantries. - -sche (discuss) 01:38, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
I would expect it to be mostly with without the "apartment". Try something along the lines of "lived in a walk-in" or "lives in a walk-in"~—This unsigned comment was added by Chuck Entz (talkcontribs) at 03:14, 8 May 2019‎.
  • The entry now says or implies that "walk-in" is an attributive noun in "walk-in bathroom", "walk-in pantry", "walk-in closet" etc. I disagree with this. I think that "walk-in" is adjectival in all these phrases. This is despite its perhaps not passing some tests for adjectivicity. Mihia (talk) 01:12, 9 May 2019 (UTC)
I changed several of the senses into nouns because I agree with DCDuring that they seem more like attributive nouns, but I see now he was talking about "the other 'adjective' senses" and this one may be attested in adjectival ways... I see google books:"closet was walk-in" does return some hits. I'll restore that one to being both an adjective and a noun. - -sche (discuss) 01:59, 9 May 2019 (UTC)
@Mihia: We apply the adjectivicitude tests so that only one test has to be passed in addition to attributive use, which doesn't help with distinguishing adjectives from nouns very often. DCDuring (talk) 02:41, 9 May 2019 (UTC)
Sorry to all for not making my comments more clear. I found this entry a bit confusing to work on and my confusion leaked into the comments. DCDuring (talk) 02:41, 9 May 2019 (UTC)
Well, looking at what we've now got, it seems to me that there should be four senses here:
a) Noun: room big enough to walk into
b) Noun: room entered directly
c) Adjective: big enough to walk into
d) Adjective: entered directly
Presently we are missing (d). I believe that the examples "a walk-in bathroom" and "a walk-in apartment", presently at (b), should be at (d) instead. Mihia (talk) 17:29, 9 May 2019 (UTC)
I've been looking at cites for the plural form walk-ins to get a better fix on noun usage. Some didn't fit our noun definitions, I think. Consider:
  • 2009, Ardien Blu, Flies Without Wings[37], page 11:
    We came from Chicago where the houses were mostly apartments on our side of town; people living above you or below. All of the buildings were located next to one another. This was different. Most homes were walk—ins with attached garages and laundry rooms.
  • 2014, Phillip Gardner, Someone To Crawl Back To[38]:
    The drive-thrus get madder than the walk-ins if you make a mistake.
  • 1971, Kansas Planning for Development Report[39], volume 37-40, page 85:
    Table 49 shows the interviews versus total counts for each park and the comparison between vehicles and walk-ins.
I assume that we could find attestation of the singular sufficient for inclusion. DCDuring (talk) 18:47, 9 May 2019 (UTC)
Some ways of organizing the noun definitions:
by antonyms: walk-out (See new def); drive-in; appointment
by role: walker, either initiator/volunteer or recruit; walkee (place), either with direct entrance or indirect/shared entrance.
I think we should try to reduce the proliferation of definitions once we are fairly sure we have covered most usage. DCDuring (talk) 19:50, 9 May 2019 (UTC)
I didn't add (d) because I couldn't find any clearly adjectival citations of it, and indeed could find very few citations even just of the form "walk-in apartment" where an adjectival analysis could even be suggested; most uses are of the sort Chuck mentioned ("so-and-so lived in a walk-in") where it's a noun. I can't find many adjectival citations of the new "Designed for ease of access" sense, either.
I suspect some of the senses could be grouped as subsenses.
"Most homes were walk—ins" could be viewed as using the same (already present) sense as "most of the apartments were walk-ins", IMO: they're homes with their own doors, rather than Chicago apartments where you have to enter the apartment building before you can enter your own apartment in it. - -sche (discuss) 19:11, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
The readily available collocations for the "ease of access" sense are walk-in tub, walk-in bathtub, walk-in shower, walk-in shower-tub. News is best. There can't be too many other nouns because the "ease of access" is principally that there is nothing to trip over when entering the enclosure. (Think use by the aged and infirm.) The collocating nouns should normally hold liquid and a person. Such a design requires tight seals, grabbars, etc.
The Chicago cite uses homes where I think most English speakers would use houses. A walk-in house is a pleonasm for most. Note, too, "the houses were mostly apartments on our side of town", where most of us would prefer homes. It is a curious use of walk-in. There are no appropriate Google Books hits for "walk-in house". News has "Kim on Kanye's House text: "We use the whole bottom floor for storage," she said. Added Kanye: "We have a walk-in house!" (You must know who Kim and Kanye are.) I don't know what Kanye means by walk-in. Is ground-floor storage a focal part of the house? DCDuring (talk) 21:55, 10 May 2019 (UTC)

let somebody have itEdit

Does let somebody have it deserve an entry?

I think so. Next to the literal meaning, it has a highly idiomatic meaning. Compare our treatment of do it.  --Lambiam 22:43, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
It should be at let someone have it, which we already have. Equinox 22:54, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
(The Derek Bentley case is also of interest...) Equinox 22:55, 7 May 2019 (UTC)

Encoding of Northern Thai ᨷᩤ᩠ᨸ (บาป)Edit

@Octahedron80: I'm not sure whether I've encoded this word properly. My first inclination was to encode it as ᨷᩤ᩠ᨷ <BA, SIGN TALL AA, SAKOT, BA>, but I find that on the Thai Wikipedia and in the on-line translation of the New Testament, it is encoded as ᨷᩤ᩠ᨸ <BA, SIGN TALL AA, SAKOT, HIGH PA>. Are there published rules leading to this spelling?

My best guess is that the subscript consonant is being encoding according to how the word would be written in Thai. In this case, because the word comes from Pali, the final consonant would be written with po pla in Thai, and therefore HIGH PA is to be used for the subscript consonant in the Lanna script. What is the extent of this rule? Does it apply to Lao, Lue and Tai Khuen? Does it apply to the Pali clusters /pp/ and /mp/ in Lanna script writing systems that write /p/ with BA? Does it apply to the same clusters for Pali loans in Northern Thai?

This rule gets bizarre. Under it, ᩈᩣ᩠ᨸ (curse) would have HIGH PA, its homonym ᩈᩣ᩠ᨷ (bad smell) would have BA, and its doublet ᩈᩣᨷ (saapa, curse) indisputably has BA. RichardW57 (talk) 21:09, 7 May 2019 (UTC)

be killedEdit

The following sentence is said to sb who was choking: you could have been killed!; does be killed deserve an entry of its own? --Backinstadiums (talk) 19:07, 7 May 2019 (UTC)

...Why? "You could have been killed" = "Something could have killed you" = "Something could have ended your life" = "Something could have caused you to die". I don't see at all what could possibly be so special about "be killed" that would make it not merely a sum of its parts. Tharthan (talk) 20:40, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
Nope. Normal passive construction. In various situations "you could have been burned, injured, suffocated..." Equinox 21:47, 7 May 2019 (UTC)


No pronunciation is given for the English word. Is an anglicised pronunciation possible (or multiple anglicised pronunciations, as is the case with abseil)?

Does this have to be (rolls eyes) /ˈɑpɡəʃmɑkt/ / /ˈɑpɡɛʃmɑkt/, or is /ˈɑbɡəʃmɑkt/ / /ˈɑbɡɛʃmɑkt/ possible? How about /ˈæbɡəʃmækt/? Tharthan (talk) 01:56, 8 May 2019 (UTC)

strength, lengthEdit

What about /stɹeɪŋ(k)θ/ and /leɪŋ(k)θ/? This is the pronunciation that I am most familiar with in my area, and is the one that I have always used. When I first heard /stɹɛŋ(k)θ/, for instance, I thought that it was an affectation of speech. Indeed, in some cases it seems to have been (again, in my area); some people who had used the /eɪŋ/ pronunciation for as long as I had known them suddenly switching to a heavily-emphasised /ɛŋ/ pronunciation later on in life is far from unnoticeable! Tharthan (talk) 07:49, 8 May 2019 (UTC)

This is the pronunciation I'm most familiar with, too, but I think the distinction is phonetic, not phonemic. For me /æŋ/ is consistently realized as [ɛŋ]~[eŋ] and /ɛŋ/ is consistently realized as [eɪŋ], so the same phonemic distinctions are there, just with different phonetic realizations. — Vorziblix (talk · contribs) 18:30, 9 May 2019 (UTC)
It's still worth including, though (with square brackets, of course). Andrew Sheedy (talk) 00:12, 10 May 2019 (UTC)

board and lodgingEdit

Isn't this a form of accommodation, rather than "a place of lodging"? DonnanZ (talk) 14:43, 8 May 2019 (UTC)

Like room and board, which has the same wording. "Accommodation" seems too abstract for such a basic term. "Lodging and meals earned as part of wages, purchased for a set fee, or otherwise provided." For the next 2 years you will be getting free room and board, unless the parole board decides otherwise. DCDuring (talk) 16:30, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
I think the original contributor got their wires crossed. Board and lodging is accommodation, not a tangible place - you could have board and lodging in a boarding house, which I did in Sydney in 1970-71. DonnanZ (talk) 09:19, 9 May 2019 (UTC)
I've removed "the place" - not sure if it is SoP (probably not). SemperBlotto (talk) 09:24, 9 May 2019 (UTC)
I don't think it should be interpreted as SoP. Thanks anyway. DonnanZ (talk) 09:32, 9 May 2019 (UTC)


The Latin section has a quotation, but there isn't actually a quotation there, just the text where it can be found. Could someone with Latin experience add the actual quotation text? —Rua (mew) 23:38, 8 May 2019 (UTC)

I’ve added the Latin text together with a somewhat dated translation. If anyone has access to a better translation, please replace it.  --Lambiam 02:00, 9 May 2019 (UTC)

Korean 漢城, 한성, Japanese 漢城Edit

As far as I know, 한성 (漢城, Hanseong) can only be used in Korean in the historical sense of Hanseong and can never be used to mean "Seoul", which has only a native Korean spelling (hangeul) in Korean 서울 (Seoul) and no hanja exists, which is almost unique for Korean place names. It seems a very sensitive topic in Korea and was a cause for an argument between China and South Korea. Because of the Chinese usage 漢城汉城 (Hànchéng), which can also be interpreted as a "Han city" to mean "서울", Koreans suggested or created 首爾首尔 (Shǒu'ěr, “Seoul”) and asked/demanded China only to use this spelling when writing in Chinese, which has also upset China or someone in China. I hope I got the story correct, correct me if I'm wrong.

What about the Japanese usage?  (かん) (じょう) (Kanjō). Is it considered a historical term only? Does it still mean "Seoul" - same as ソウル (Sōru, Seoul), which doesn't have a kanji spelling either. Are there any negative connotations? @TAKASUGI Shinji: Do you mind helping out, possibly update senses, labels and usage notes? I've just created 한성 and added ja and ko sections for 漢城. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 09:02, 9 May 2019 (UTC):

漢城 is the name used only for the capital of Joseon and there is no negative connotation in Japanese. It was called  (けい) (じょう) (Keijō) during the Japanese colonial period. — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 09:16, 9 May 2019 (UTC)
@TAKASUGI Shinji: Thanks! --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 12:03, 9 May 2019 (UTC)


Sense: "The system of color television. This film is broadcast in color." Is this sense redundant? (I suppose one could pedantically argue that black and white are colours too.) Equinox 10:48, 9 May 2019 (UTC)

It’s not limited to televisions: you can find photographs in color. I would say “technology that can reproduce chromaticity, not only brightness.” Sepia is not color. — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 11:38, 9 May 2019 (UTC)
Is it a separate sense from normal colour at all, then? We do not have a separate sense at sound to describe film/television that has a soundtrack. It's just "sound" sense 1. Equinox 11:54, 9 May 2019 (UTC)
I think that should be explained too. — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 12:20, 9 May 2019 (UTC)
It's redundant to / overlaps sense 3. As mentioned above, it's not specific to TV. It's not even specific to artificial devices:
  • 2004, Marci Pliskin, Shari L. Just, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Interpreting Your Dreams, Penguin (→ISBN), page 5:
    Do you dream in black and white? In color? Shared anecdotes of dream therapists and research tell us that most people dream in color, some in black and white. No one is sure why this occurs [...]
- -sche (discuss) 15:16, 9 May 2019 (UTC)
  • I would say that "This film is broadcast in color", and the other examples, are examples of the phrase in color, which cunningly already has an entry. I'm not certain whether there might be a better usex to justify "The system of color television" as a separate definition. Mihia (talk) 20:11, 9 May 2019 (UTC)
There are examples such as "Experimental color broadcasts began in 1977. Full-time color arrived in 1980" [40]. I don't know if this is quite adequate. Mihia (talk) 21:35, 9 May 2019 (UTC)
It should be noted that the definitions are a bit cyclical—
in color -> color -> color television -> colour television -> colour -> color
It is also interesting to see how some older (early 20th century) dictionaries handled similar situations (even though color TV didn't yet exist):
  • In the Century Dictionary, the third sense of color was defined as “Any distinguishing hue, or the condition of having a distinguishing hue—that is, a hue different from that which prevails among objects of the kind concerned, whether the prevailing hue be positive, as green, or neutral or negative, as white or black; hence, (a) in a picture or view, or in a fabric or other material dyed or painted, any hue, especially a pure tint (often implying a vivid one), other than black and white; (b) in human beings, from the standpoint of the white races, a hue or complexion other than white, and especially black; (c) in bot., any hue except green. See colored, 2.” The second sense of colored was defined as “Having a distinguishing hue. (a) Having some other hue than white or black, especially a bright or vivid hue, as red, purple, blue, etc.: as, a colored ribbon. (b) In bot.,of any hue but green: as, a colored leaf. (c) Having a dark or black color of the skin; black or mulatto; …”
  • Likewise in Webster's New International Dictionary, the fourth sense of color was defined as “A hue noticeable as being other than that regarded as normal or prevalent, or other than black or white; as, to dress in colors. Specif.: (a) Bot. A hue other than green. (b) The hue of races of men other than white, esp. of negroes; also, formerly, other than white or black.” Its first sense of colored was defined as “Having color,—strictly, exclusive of black and white; also, sometimes, exclusive of the prevalent or normal color, as in Bot., of green.”
That may give some guide on how to rewrite these senses.-Mike (talk) 22:51, 9 May 2019 (UTC)
As to sense 8, Oxford (US) online has "The use of all colors, not only black, white, and gray, in photography or television."
'He has shot the whole film in color
[as modifier] 'color television'
Collins has: "(Photography and Television) reproduction of images in chromatic colors rather than in black, white, and gray.
Also, the usage example for sense 8 "broadcast in color" clearly refers to a signal which does not itself have color in any of the other senses. During most stages between the original image being recorded and the image being displayed on a screen or monitor, there is no color in those senses, but I expect that any frame, portion of a frame, or set of frames in whatever form encoded to be referred to as 'color' if only to differentiate them from similar items in black and white or grayscale. DCDuring (talk) 00:21, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
Again this applies to other things like sound: there is no sound produced by an audio signal while encoded for transmission (it's just ones and zeros, etc.). Equinox 10:15, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
Trust the lemmings. There may be other similar attestable expressions, but the closest analogs in audio that I can think of are things like in stereo, in hi-fi, in Dolby. DCDuring (talk) 11:11, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
In the citation I gave above of dreaming in colour, there is just as much an absence of 'actual colour' (because dreams are just neurons firing / electrical signals in the brain; if I dream in colour about Foobarian flowers, there are no actual Foobarian flowers reflecting wavelengths of light that constitute colours) as in a broadcast signal... - -sche (discuss) 19:20, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
But if we are talking about the experience of dreams one's model of the internals usually doesn't matter. That would be like "I watched the 1964 Olympics in color", in which the technology is secondary. DCDuring (talk) 22:05, 10 May 2019 (UTC)

do a, pull aEdit

These are in Category:English non-constituents. Per our normal entry naming pattern, though, should they possibly be moved to do a someone, pull a someone? Equinox 12:12, 9 May 2019 (UTC)

Hmm. Maybe, but that naming scheme seems a bit jarring here, perhaps because I don't think one would normally fill the "someone" slot with pronouns, as one could for other "verb someone" entries we have. "(He|she) did a him" gets no relevant hits. Certainly we should have redirects from whichever title we don't use, to whichever title we do use. - -sche (discuss) 15:21, 9 May 2019 (UTC)
I think these definitions should simply be at "do" and "pull". I would delete "do a" and "pull a". Mihia (talk) 17:35, 9 May 2019 (UTC)
Hmm, that could also work, though I would keep redirects at "do a", "pull a". - -sche (discuss) 19:32, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
I suppose it would be churlish to oppose redirects, but "Category:English non-constituents" pretty much says it: "do a" does not actually exist. "do a Donald Trump" is not "do a / Donald Trump" but "do / a Donald Trump". Mihia (talk) 23:05, 10 May 2019 (UTC)

Russian adjectives for red/beautifulEdit

I'm a Russian learner, and do not feel competent to edit entries, but: there are three (clearly related) adjectives:

But the synonyms should surely be красивый and прекрасный, since these both mean "beautiful" in modern Russian. Am I missing anything, or should I rearrange this. Imaginatorium (talk) 04:03, 10 May 2019 (UTC)

favorite and favouriteEdit

need some merging for consistency. At the very least in the translation tables. Ultimateria (talk) 20:11, 10 May 2019 (UTC)

I merged them, centralizing the content on the older entry, favourite. (I left the pronunciation in favorite although IMO it could be merged, too.) - -sche (discuss) 20:27, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
Another throwback to bygone days, before 1940. See Google NGrams. DCDuring (talk) 22:08, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
Thank you! It's usually too scary to merge the everyday ones like neighbour and sulfur because people will get upset. But at some future time we can improve the display so that they get equal priority. And it's worse than anything to have a lot of duplicated junk that requires continual syncing. Equinox 22:32, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
I totally agree. I have done some of these merges myself. Manually duplicating content for trivial spelling variations is the stupidest thing ever, and is a recipe for continual maintenance headaches. I also agree that better presentation is required. For example, the main heading should say e.g. "favorite or favourite". Other presentational things would need to be fixed too for optimal results. But, as you say, pretty much anything is better than (manual) duplication. Mihia (talk) 23:14, 10 May 2019 (UTC)


The Spanish entry photoshop is marked as a noun and translated to English as photoshop which in English is a verb. So what is the "noun" meaning of English photoshop or is photoshop a Spanish word at all? 10:10, 11 May 2019 (UTC)

It is the result of the verb, i.e. a digitally manipulated image. Easy to find on the Web but maybe not in Google Books. They are also informally called "shoops" (derived from "shop"). Equinox 12:43, 11 May 2019 (UTC)
OK, I added a noun definition to the English section. 18:39, 11 May 2019 (UTC)


Can someone please check the inflection of Proto-Germanic *merkuz ? It used to show a w (e.g. *mirkwi-) in the oblique forms, but the template has been changed and it no longer shows this.

I was under the impression that the w is what prevented Old English mirce from palatising into *mirċe. Leasnam (talk) 16:55, 11 May 2019 (UTC)

I've re-added the old template and params for the time being... Leasnam (talk) 17:06, 11 May 2019 (UTC)

Wallabies and WallabyEdit

The Wallabies are the Australian rugby team, but I heard Wallaby on the radio, apparently referring to a member of the team playing for an English team. Shall we make an entry for this, like Springbok? We also have All Blacks, but not All Black. DonnanZ (talk) 17:36, 11 May 2019 (UTC)

If it's attested, then sure. If there aren't enough hits on Google Books, there might be some in the newspapers and sports mags that Issuu has digitized. Viking is another entry with such a sense. - -sche (discuss) 21:17, 11 May 2019 (UTC)
  Done. It was pretty easy, one Wallaby has been in the news lately, having got the sack for comments he made. DonnanZ (talk) 22:10, 11 May 2019 (UTC)
All Black added --I learned some phrases (talk) 08:17, 16 May 2019 (UTC)

gold star parent, gold star wife, gold star father, gold star mother, gold star familyEdit

Could we reasonably reduce these to a new sense at gold star, and then remove these entries as SoP? It seems it can be used to indicate any relation whose "relate-ee" was killed in action (e.g. gold star brother and sister are also found). Equinox 17:39, 11 May 2019 (UTC)

@Equinox. I have added such a sense. I suggest to make the listed compounds hard redirects. Fay Freak (talk) 18:51, 11 May 2019 (UTC)
Yeah, let's redirect most of them, although gold star mother probably meets the WT:JIFFY test (it seems to be the original phrase). - -sche (discuss) 21:20, 11 May 2019 (UTC)


This is given the same etymology as Euthymia. I thought it was fictitious, but I did find some hits in a DuckDuckGo search. Εὐθημία (Euthēmía) and Εὐθεμία (Euthemía) don't seem to exist, so maybe it's a weird alteration of Euthymia. I'm not sure exactly how this is supposed to be indicated in the entry. — Eru·tuon 02:11, 12 May 2019 (UTC)


Some interesting news. The Macquarie (Australian) English Dictionary has defined this term as "an upper eyelid without a fold, perceived by some in Asia to give an appearance of lethargy or laziness." Understandably, Chinese Australians have submitted an official complaint. I added this entry on 15 August 2018 with the definition, "An eye that does not have a crease on the eyelid." It's good to see another example of Wiktionary coming out ahead of a published dictionary. ---> Tooironic (talk) 05:52, 12 May 2019 (UTC)

I had a browse through Google Books to see if I could find this stereotype mentioned, and I couldn't — but did find Monolid (a "cultural and political quarterly" from San Franscisco), where somebody wrote, "Pretty soon, I thought, the Monolid eye, a cultural symbol of Asian beauty, power, and nationhood for centuries, would be a dying animal." Equinox 11:04, 12 May 2019 (UTC)
I wonder whether there is an online version of Macquarie we could use. DonnanZ (talk) 11:29, 12 May 2019 (UTC)


In the course of fixing incorrect Ancient Greek orthography I ran across this Serbo-Croatian word said to be from ἔλειψα (éleipsa), one of the two aorist tense formations of λείπω (leípō). I guess it's phonologically plausible, but I'm curious how it would have been borrowed. Pinging Ivan Štambuk because he added the etymology. — Eru·tuon 08:03, 12 May 2019 (UTC)

ants in one's pantsEdit

Hi talented linguists. We have the entry ants in one's pants, but all the translations look like translations of the verb have ants in one's pants. I changed the Spanish, the others need changing --I learned some phrases (talk) 09:45, 12 May 2019 (UTC)

  • Hmm. The Italian is just plain wrong - uncapitalised and I think it refers to herpes zoster anyway. I'm going to remove it. SemperBlotto (talk) 11:10, 12 May 2019 (UTC)

should in one should be so luckyEdit

What is the exact meaning of should in one should be so lucky? --Backinstadiums (talk) 10:37, 12 May 2019 (UTC)

  • I believe it is the subjunctive of the verb "to be". SemperBlotto (talk) 11:06, 12 May 2019 (UTC)
I am not sure; this phrase has always sounded a bit strange to me. I would assume either (i) it's sense 2 ("ought to"), and you are ironically saying that you deserve that luck, or (ii) it's sense 6 ("would"), and you're saying that if X happened, then you would be a lucky person indeed (i.e. it's not probable). Equinox 11:10, 12 May 2019 (UTC)

why's why doesEdit

Can why's mean why does ? --Backinstadiums (talk) 12:07, 12 May 2019 (UTC)

Informally yes: "Why's he want to do that?" Equinox 12:09, 12 May 2019 (UTC)
Interesting, I didn't know. Canonicalization (talk) 13:14, 12 May 2019 (UTC)
Also who's, when's, where's etc. can mean "__ does". We have senses (I just added it at who's). Equinox 13:20, 12 May 2019 (UTC)
  • -'s and 'd can each represent pronunciation of a few modal/auxiliary verbs as well as other words. (Don't ask me why one has a hyphen and the other not.) DCDuring (talk) 00:08, 13 May 2019 (UTC)

spitters are quittersEdit

I've written a tentative definition. Can someone improve it? Canonicalization (talk) 22:57, 12 May 2019 (UTC)

truer words were never spoken, no truer words were ever spoken, never were truer words spokenEdit

Entry-worthy? Canonicalization (talk) 23:04, 12 May 2019 (UTC)

No. Not a proverb; SoP; transparent. DCDuring (talk) 00:10, 13 May 2019 (UTC)
I don't think there is much to "define": it's one of those common phrases that just means what it says, like, I dunno, "love conquers all"...? Equinox 00:13, 13 May 2019 (UTC)
I couldn't agree more.  --Lambiam 15:53, 14 May 2019 (UTC)

Pronunciation of -igEdit

I recently came across an interesting word: Old English ǣwicnes (eternity) (cf. German Ewigkeit). What I noticed almost immediately was that this clearly had to be some variant of another unrecorded form, i.e. *ǣwignes, composed of *ǣwig (eternal) + -nes. So far makes total sense. However, what does not make sense to me is this: if Old English -ig is pronounced as /ij/, then how could the /j/ have strengthened to a c in ǣwicnes ? On the contrary, for this to make any sense, the g must have been pronounced as a /ɡ/ or /ɣ/ and it's nearest approximate spelling by scribes attempting to match the sound penned it as "ǣwicnes" (for /ˈæːwignes/ or /ˈæːwiɣnes/) in the same way we see Anglian spellings of meaht as mæct (might), with a c.

So my question is this, how do we know that Old English -ig was pronounced as /ij/ and not as /iɣ/ ? This is a question I've tossed around in my head for a long time, and I have always found it odd that words supposedly pronounced as /bizij/ and /biziju/ would be spelt as bisig and bisigu rather than a more straightforward bisī and bisīu. Or that nigon, if pronounced /nijon/ wouldn't rather be spelt nīon-- why use a g = /j/ in such words ? Makes little sense. On the contrary, it makes more sense that "g" would approximate some other phoneme, like /ɣ/. Consider metegian, there is no way the "g" was /j/ as that would produce something like /ˈmetejiɑn/--can anyone actually believe that OE speakers pronounced the word this way ? No ! Impossible. It clearly must have been /ˈmeteɣiɑn/ or /ˈmeteɣjɑn/ and the derivative metegung was /ˈmeteɣuŋ(ɡ)/.

All I'm saying is that I've always been somewhat doubtful about "g" being /j/ in so many positions, especially -ig, and now with ǣwicnes, I believe I actually have some evidence to possibly, [maybe], back that assertion up. Can this actually be the case ? Please enlighten me if I am missing out on something obvious [which is very possible at this time of night hehe]. Leasnam (talk) 03:34, 13 May 2019 (UTC)

The palatals were frequently part of the same morphological or even inflectional system as their nonpalatal counterparts, and speakers seem to have understood their basic relationship (until the radical levelling that occurred in Middle English). I don't really have a horse in this race, but you haven't produced anything that challenges the status quo. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 03:28, 15 May 2019 (UTC)
I am still looking for other examples. One example is not enough, I would agree. Leasnam (talk) 03:31, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
Could something along the lines of /iç/ have been in free variation with /ij/? Just wondering. Tharthan (talk) 20:19, 23 May 2019 (UTC)
That is precisely what I am thinking. Was maybe the /iç/ an older/more conservative pronunciation that later softened to /ij/ in most dialects during the OE period (just kicking around thoughts at this point) ? In the Middle English dictionary, there is a quote at shildi (OE sċyldiġ): a1225(c1200) Vices & V.(1) (Stw 34)51/24 : Hwilche daiʒ ðu etst of ðese trewe ðu art deaðes sceldih., which shows that at least somewhere this /iç/ pronunciation survived. However, the vast majority of words in Middle English that are suffixed with the descendant of OE -iġ show up suffixed with a Middle English -ig, -iȝ, -i, or -y. The exact pronunciations of ME -ig and -iȝ are unclear to they could have been either /iç/, /ij/, or even something else Leasnam (talk) 21:24, 23 May 2019 (UTC)
To me, /ç/ to the ear has some similarities to /tʃ/ (although I would say /ʃ/ is honestly more similar). Indeed, when I was but a young toddler, I (according to my mother) pronounced huge as /tʃuːdʒ/. This is probably because my father, who is originally from a nearby New England state to mine and my mother's, has always used a New York City-influenced pronunciation for /hj/ words, thus pronouncing huge as /juːdʒ/. My mother, on the other hand, pronounces huge as [çu̟ːd͡ʒ].
So my toddler mind interpreted the word's pronunciation as /tʃuːdʒ/.
In a phrase like "It's huge", this is very reasonable deduction. Leasnam (talk) 18:11, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
Except that that would mean that I would have said "it's huge" as /ɪˈtʃuːdʒ/, and no one has ever indicated that I did that. And since my parents remember quite well the quaint lingual quirks and errors of my babyhood and toddlerhood, I think that they would have mentioned that. Tharthan (talk) 02:19, 25 May 2019 (UTC)
If I could have done it completely naturally, why would it have been unreasonable for scribes to interpret /ç/ as /tʃ/?
It seems 100% plausible to me. Of course, we would (as you said) need more examples to really make an argument here. Tharthan (talk) 03:10, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
To me, /ç/ sounds nothing like /t͡ʃ/.
Well, Central Franconian forms of High German sometimes have /ɕ/ where standard German has /ç/, and Tatar represents /ɕ/ with the letter Ч, which in other languages that use the Cyrillic alphabet represents /t͡ʃ/. Furthermore, Swedish and Norwegian use kj to represent /ç/, whereas Faroese uses that same digraph to represent /t͡ʃ(ʰ)/ so I don't think that it is too odd a realisation. But, like I said, /ʃ/ is more like /ç/ than /t͡ʃ/. Tharthan (talk) 02:19, 25 May 2019 (UTC)
Remember that the scribes were native Old English speakers themselves in most cases.
Right, but why are we assuming that it is impossible that they interpreted /ç/ as /t͡ʃ/ (or saw /t͡ʃ/ as the closest approximate sound to /ç/), and wrote it as such? Tharthan (talk) 02:19, 25 May 2019 (UTC)
I do believe that we are representing -iġ correctly as far as pronunciation goes, at least in the majority of cases, and at the latest point in the Old English period. Whatever other pronunciations of -ig may have existed, /ij/ definitely did as well, and I am okay with that being the one we showcase. I just find it fascinating that Old English was so varied. Leasnam (talk) 18:04, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
Could this have had a heavy dialectal element to it, particularly considering what you said earlier? What I mean is that perhaps /iç/, if it existed in (at least some dialects of) Old English, was either purely dialectal or almost purely dialectal, even from the get-go. Tharthan (talk) 02:19, 25 May 2019 (UTC)
I don't think it was dialectal in the sense of it being a departure from the normal sound, but dialectal in that it was conservative in retaining the sound. From Proto-Germanic, the sound was /-iɣ/. It would be natural to assume that the evolution of this (through the pre-Old English and later Old English period) was /-iɣ/ > /ix/ > /iç/ > /ij/ where some dialects may have held on to /iç/ for longer than others who were more progressively using /ij/ Leasnam (talk) 02:38, 25 May 2019 (UTC)
Right. I wasn't implying that it would have been a departure (of course not!) from the etymological sound value that would have existed in that position pre-Old English, but I wonder if from the very beginning of "Old English" as "Old English", this was already a dialectal matter (if it indeed was a matter at all). Tharthan (talk) 04:09, 25 May 2019 (UTC)
I gotcha. Yes, I would think that which you point out is a very distinct possibility Leasnam (talk) 04:16, 25 May 2019 (UTC)


I came across citations of this while trying to cite crime#Verb, and defined it as best I could, but it could use a look-over. The definition is different from unfound#Verb, which one of the citations gives as the US synonym (though our entry is not marked as US-only). - -sche (discuss) 18:20, 13 May 2019 (UTC)


Definition for sense 1 of the verb:

(transitive) To intentionally collide with (a ship) with the intention of damaging or sinking it.

Definition for sense 2 of the verb:

(transitive) To strike (something) hard, especially with an implement.


How is any instance of sense 1 distinguishable from sense 2? Yes, sense 2 has "especially with an implement" as a sort of qualifier, but one can easily ram into something without using a separate implement. , Tharthan (talk) 18:43, 13 May 2019 (UTC)

The nature of the object of the verb is different in these two senses. In sense 1, the object is a target, and the objective is to damage the target: Let‘s ram the enemy ship. In sense 2, the objective is to make the object enter something else, not to inflict damage upon it (but, perhaps, to damage the something else): To build a sturdy fence, you have to ram the posts deep into the ground.  --Lambiam 13:28, 14 May 2019 (UTC)
Then does sense 1 need to be broadened from just "with a ship"? ...Oh! is "with (a ship)" just suggesting that a ship might be the target? If so, that ought to be made more clear, I think. 21:00, 14 May 2019 (UTC)
I agree. On this page with military news you see the verb used in both senses: in the title sense 2, trying to make a SUV enter a gated passage, and the sense 1, aiming to damage the gate, not with a ship but with a land-based vehicle. And it doesn’t have to be a vehicle either; here someone rams a gate with his shoulder, to no avail.  --Lambiam 00:32, 15 May 2019 (UTC)

associate sense 3Edit

How does this sense work: "(transitive) To join as a partner, ally, or friend"? I'm imagining something like "he associated the king" (i.e. joined the king's faction) which does not sound good. Equinox 21:07, 13 May 2019 (UTC)

I think this is supposed to include usage like:
He associated his name with many environmental causes.
This is why everyone needs usage examples. I associated our unexampled definitions with similar ones in Century that had usage examples. DCDuring (talk) 23:21, 13 May 2019 (UTC)
Given that the sense is transitive, the sense of the verb join in the definition should also be transitive, but none of the listed transitive senses is a good match. Applying the def to the usex gives s.t. like He joined his name as a partner, ally, or friend with many environmental causes. When I read something like He is said to be associated with an international terror group, I interpret it in sense 3, but who is the actor who did the associating? Is it the alleged terrorism supporter? Is associated here the past participle of a passive construction, or more an adjective?  --Lambiam 13:16, 14 May 2019 (UTC)
I would read it as "An (unknown/unnamed) investigator/source/agency associated him with an international terror group." DCDuring (talk) 13:37, 14 May 2019 (UTC)
Isn’t this then sense 5: “To connect evidentially, or in the mind or imagination”? And when it is said that someone’s name is associated with some cause or movement, I think this is basically a metonymic way of stating that said person is associated with it.  --Lambiam 15:47, 14 May 2019 (UTC)
Metonomy usually connects some different definitions of polysemic terms. You introduced the example, which has "is said" in it, as an example of sense 3, not of sense 5. I find sense 5 to confound different ways of associating that seem distinct, though the word evidentially is not part of my idiolect and doesn't seem like a good choice for a defining term. DCDuring (talk) 16:20, 14 May 2019 (UTC)
The switch to sense 5 was inspired by your reading of the sentence, which it fits better than sense 3. Evidence-based?  --Lambiam 22:40, 14 May 2019 (UTC)
Citations can be ambiguous in regards to which definitions best reflect to meaning in the passage, even with a lot of context. Though sometimes the ambiguity is not very important or too subtle for all but a few to notice, it also could be a sign that the entry needs new citations or more or less extensively revised definitions. Both join and evidentially are candidates to be replaced. I don't know what more radical surgery might help. DCDuring (talk) 02:46, 15 May 2019 (UTC)

crime redundant senses?Edit

We have the following senses:

  1. (uncountable) The practice or habit of committing crimes.
    crime doesn't pay
  2. (uncountable) criminal acts collectively.

Surely these are the same? I should mention that the synonyms for the second of these senses are delinquency, crime rate, and criminality. Ultimateria (talk) 15:31, 14 May 2019 (UTC)

I don't find them the same.
Crime is on the increase, according to FBI statistics. exemplifies the second definition, not the first.
Crime has become a pervasive fact of life in some neighborhoods. exemplifies the first, not the second, at least not very well. DCDuring (talk) 16:12, 14 May 2019 (UTC)

no kiddingEdit

Regarding the second definition:

(colloquial, sarcastic) Said in response to an obvious statement.

...I question whether this is still always sarcastic. Unlike "you don't say?", "no kidding" doesn't always still have a sarcastic nature. I think that this phrase has evolved (perhaps only in recent decades) a sense that is no different than the "duh" (*shudders*) that used to be particularly popular with younger folks. Now, that isn't to say that the original sarcastic usage has gone away. Rather, I am suggesting that both coexist. Perhaps "sometimes sarcastic", "often sarcastic", or something of that nature ought to be the descriptor tag instead, along with usage notes that qualify what that tag means in this case.


Friend: "Hey, Bill - did you know that I earn money from my office job?"

Bill: (with mock surprise) "No kidding? When did that start?"


Bill: Junior, you seem to be being very careful with your words these days when you speak to me.

Bill Jr.: Yeah, no kidding, Dad! I'm like that with everyone, and I've done that forever.


The first is equivalent to "you don't say?", whereas the second is equivalent to "duh" (*shudders*).

Now, some might argue that, since "you don't say?" can be used without the question mark, and can be said in a critical tone (or similar), although even that–I would argue–still has a slight questioning feeling to it, that this is no different. To that, I would note that, by its very nature, "you don't say(?)" has sarcastic vibes. On the other hand, one could parse (if one did not already know the phrase somehow) the non-faux-questioning "no kidding" as "it is no joking matter (that that is the case)", or "this is no jest", which is assertive rather than questioning (even if the questioning were to be insincere).

Do you think that we ought to change or at least clarify the "sarcastic" that we tag "no kidding" with? If not, why not? Tharthan (talk) 20:43, 14 May 2019 (UTC)

We could reuse the definition of duh, which we also should list as a synonym. Apart from the senses already given, I think this interjection is also used in its literal sense.[41] I kid you not.  --Lambiam 22:28, 16 May 2019 (UTC)

my dog ate itEdit

No entry for this? I haven't looked it up on the Web, but isn't this quite a popular phrase?

I just used it myself, and when I went to look it up here out of curiosity, there was no entry. Perhaps the sense that I was using it in (jocularly self-deprecating phrase to downplay my actually legitimate reasons for why I didn't do something; "Basically, my dog ate it." as a "TL;DR" at the end of an explanation) is not particularly common, but surely some sense of this phrase merits inclusion? No? Tharthan (talk) 05:41, 15 May 2019 (UTC)

Wikipedia has an article on the expression “The dog ate my homework”.  --Lambiam 09:20, 15 May 2019 (UTC)
Quoting that article:
"The phrase is referenced, even beyond the educational context, as a sarcastic rejoinder to any similarly glib or otherwise insufficient or implausible explanation for a failure in any context."
If that can be proven to indeed be so, doesn't it warrant inclusion? It's 6:02 AM here, and I ended up not getting any sleep, so I can't look for any citations now, but if no one else has found any that cover a clear usage (of some sort) of some form of the phrase (my dog ate it, the dog ate it, the dog ate my homework, the dog ate the homework, etc.) by the time that I'm finally up for the day, I can probably look for some myself. Tharthan (talk) 10:03, 15 May 2019 (UTC)
The lemma is a little ugly: dog ate one's homework. A few determinatives can modify dog and a few possessives can modify homework. DCDuring (talk)
  • I wouldn't want this phrase in MY dictionary. --I learned some phrases (talk) 08:15, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
    I think I had it in my dictionary, but I cannot check this because the dog ate it. Now it barks sesquipedalianly.  --Lambiam 22:16, 16 May 2019 (UTC)


What a great entry, very great addition! Top marks to whoever added that.

...It seems to be a metallurgical term. I would have added it to one of the Rfs, but I wasn't sure which one would be best.

EDIT: Oops. It looks like DCDuring added it over eleven years ago. No offence, pal. Still, this entry is not very helpful as it is. Tharthan (talk) 07:20, 15 May 2019 (UTC)

I was brand-new, probably atoning after being blocked by Connel MacKenzie for copyvio. I was adding a lot of form-of entries in response to "rq"s.
hot work at OneLook Dictionary Search shows that lemmings have the lemma verb. DCDuring (talk) 11:49, 15 May 2019 (UTC)
Compare cold work. Equinox 13:40, 15 May 2019 (UTC)


What is meant by a "starred windshield"? Is it a common expression? Should we include it here? ---> Tooironic (talk) 14:15, 15 May 2019 (UTC)

  • It is a windshield / windscreen that has been chipped by a flying stone. SoP? SemperBlotto (talk) 14:18, 15 May 2019 (UTC)
I don't think I've heard of it, but if it has use, then it doesn't strike me as SoP.--Prosfilaes (talk) 14:56, 15 May 2019 (UTC)
I think it is SoP because you can say "a starred windshield/windscreen", "the windshield/windscreen is starred", etc. Rather, the question should be: should the sense be included as a verb at "star" or as an adjective at "starred"? ---> Tooironic (talk) 15:06, 15 May 2019 (UTC)
The hits at google books:"starred the windshield" suggest it's a verb that should be covered at star. Incidentally, the hits at google books:"starring the windshield", speaking of rain starring a windshield, suggest it might just mean to 'hit' or 'impact' the windshield and not necessarily 'chip' it...? - -sche (discuss) 15:33, 15 May 2019 (UTC)
Starred (adjective) just means having a star or stars (in any sense). This particular sense would be a star (noun) which is a chip or break in the window with radial cracks that make it appear like a star. A flying rock may star (verb) the window. After which you might say the rock starred (verb) the window. It may also be used attributively as a star chip or star break but I will let others argue whether that would be an adjective or attributive noun. -Mike (talk) 18:13, 15 May 2019 (UTC)
Here I see the sentence, “Don‘t let a broken or starred window create mishap.” And here I find, “One of [three shots] starred the windshield.” So starred is indeed the past participle of the verb star meaning “to cause the formation of a star” (where “star” means “star-shaped defect”), and starred windshield then is a SOP.  --Lambiam 00:38, 16 May 2019 (UTC)

"Caesar is dead, and it was you as good as held the knife"Edit

This sentence is uttered by Mark Antony in the TV series Rome (you listen to it here, at 0:48). I understand what it means, but I have some trouble parsing it.

Or maybe I'm not hearing it correctly, and he's saying "Caesar is dead, and it was you who as good as held the (a?) knife"? Canonicalization (talk) 21:04, 15 May 2019 (UTC)

You are hearing it correctly: "you as good as". Very colloquially (and to me it has a Cockney flavour), "as" may be used instead of "who" or "that". For example: "it was him as did it!" (it was he who did it; he's the one who did it). Also, unrelatedly, if you "as good as" do something then you do enough to make yourself more or less responsible: "he committed suicide, but your constant harassment as good as killed him". I would say that "it was you as good as [did something]" is confusing these two unrelated constructions, and using a single "as" for both. Equinox 22:21, 15 May 2019 (UTC)
(Of course, "as as" sounds ridiculous, so you wouldn't choose to use those two forms together anyway.) — Here is a second interpretation: again colloquially, you can drop "who/that", as in this example (found in Google Books): "It was him told me to look out for young Prindy". So perhaps that's the construction and my "him as did it" is a red herring. Impossible to know. Equinox 22:30, 15 May 2019 (UTC)
It is standard to omit the conjunction that introducing a clause: “I know that he smokes” → “I know he smokes”. It is also common to omit the relative pronoun that in a phrase like “Jack is the man that you should see”. It is less common, and I think nonstandard, to omit it in a phrase like “Jack is the man that can help you”, but nevertheless I hear it a lot: “Jack is the man can help you”. Therefore I am inclined to analyze the utterance as “Caesar is dead, and it was you [that] as good as held the knife.”  --Lambiam 00:01, 16 May 2019 (UTC)

Voronoi poleEdit

Hi! Here's an awful entry I just made. I think it is better than nothing because we acknowledge the existence of the term, give it an etymology, and direct interested readers to Wikipedia. The definition is crap though. Geometers please improve. Equinox 22:15, 15 May 2019 (UTC)

Far above my pay grade, but @Kiwima, msh210 are mathematically inclined. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 22:29, 15 May 2019 (UTC)
Sending our readers to Wikipedia is only helpful if the article over there is improved. (1) It refers to a set P that is not introduced or otherwise defined. (2) It does not account for the possibility that “the” vertex with maximal distance is not unique; (3) It uses a notion of “average direction” that is not well defined. (4) It does not give even the slightest clue as to why this somewhat abstruse concept of a Voronoi pole should be of interest to anyone.  --Lambiam 00:19, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
As Wikipedia would say, SOFIXIT ;) Equinox 01:16, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
When I find the time I can fix (1). I don’t know what to do about (2), which may depend on the uses of the concept – are all poles, or should one randomly pick one and declare it to be the pole?. I am not sure about (3) either – is it the direction that minimizes the square differences of the angles with the other directions, or the direction of the average of the unit vectors, or still something else? And I‘m clueless as to (4), which I think is the major villain. The one reference given in Wikipedia is not previewable, so researching this so that I can fix these issues may cost a considerable amount of time, possibly leading to the conclusion that this orphan is a NN concept.  --Lambiam 10:36, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
Or as Wiktionary would say, "no usable content given". DTLHS (talk) 19:47, 16 May 2019 (UTC)


Feels like a problem entry. Agree or not? Anything we should do: rare, nonstandard, better cites, etc.? Equinox 04:58, 16 May 2019 (UTC)

Better cites are always helpful. But Etymology 2 is already labelled rare, non-standard. I think Etymology 1 exists in order to avoid confusion with Etym 2. Leasnam (talk) 13:48, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
I think it should be made clear that usage in the hydrogen sense is not only “non-standard”, but either tongue-in-cheek or experimental and intended to evoke a sense of estrangement. The “bang-gas“ of the first quotation shows that the correspondent apparently found these German compond nouns irresistibly funny. The brilliant young Homoeoid physicist from the next quotation lives on the planet Nirgends (a blend of German nirgendwo and Dutch nergens) on the edge of the Galaxy; the Homoeoids reportedly have neglected mathematics and engineering most shamefully. The third quotation is from Poul Anderson’s infamous over-the-top Anglish essay “Uncleftish Beholding”. I think it is open to dispute whether this is actually English; Hofstadter has dubbed it “Ander-Saxon”.  --Lambiam 20:42, 16 May 2019 (UTC)


Just observing that we have three senses for this word, all relating to human temperaments, but there seems to be only one single hit for "headish man" in a Google Books search. Equinox 05:02, 16 May 2019 (UTC)

Century 1911 has the three "synonyms" as one definition line. The don't look like synonyms to me. I'd RfV each of the three definitions. Maybe the OED has real cites. DCDuring (talk) 13:10, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
From the online OED:- SemperBlotto (talk) 13:13, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
  • 1530 J. Palsgrave Lesclarcissement 315/1 Heedysshe or heedstronge, testu.
  • 1882 Little Folks June 362/2 Ah! ye were always a little headish chap afore ye took to these swellish ways.
  • 1928 A. MacLeish Let. 24 Aug. (1983) 214 I hope you won't think me unduly headish if I return the charge.
DARE has it meaning "headstrong" in Georgia and Alabama, with but one cite: He's a little headish. which is from Dialect Notes 1908.
Unsurprisingly it is used in combinations: pecker-headish, egg-headish, horse's headish, square-headish, air-headish, cone-headish, cheese-headish, death's headish, hot-headish. DCDuring (talk) 19:46, 16 May 2019 (UTC)


This underwent RFV lately. I appreciate editors' effort in finding citations but I don't think the outcome was correct. Remember, we're trying to distinguish (i) "scientific, pertaining to science" from (ii) "apparently scientific, having the trappings of science". So if I say something "sounds sciencey" that's probably sense (i) because I'm saying it sounds like real science, I'm not saying it sounds like fake science.

Looking at the cites for sense 2, then: (2010) " sciencey things such as building and constructing" (not 100% sure, but I would probably say sense 1, because these are rigorous disciplines with rules and conventions, they are sciences), (2013) "it sounds sciencey, it looks sciencey [...but isn't scientific]", well this is sense 1 because we're saying it sounds like science, we're not saying it sounds as though it sounds like science or it sounds like fake science!, (2014) "formulated (a sciencey word)" surely sense 1 again, (2017) pencils in your pocket make you look sciencey: again sense 1: we're saying you look scientific, not you look like fake-scientific.

So I would move ALL FOUR of those citations to sense 1, and delete sense 2. I think the RFV really got it wrong. Thoughts? Equinox 05:07, 16 May 2019 (UTC)

Based on how some other dictionaries define the suffix -y, I imagine they would define sciencey as "characterized by science, scientific; like science, somewhat scientific" either as one sense, subsenses, or multiple senses, but in practice it may not be that easy to categorize actual examples. -Mike (talk) 07:37, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
A parallel case is truthy. DCDuring (talk) 13:33, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
Yeah, I would be inclined to merge the senses into one sense like the one you propose, or like "Scientific; of, pertaining to, or resembling science." I think I see where Prosfilaes is coming from in the RFV discussion, but, crucially, the idea that "chocolatey" wouldn't be used to describe chocolate isn't borne out in practice—google books:"chocolatey chocolate" turns up mentions of "chocolatey chocolate chips", "chocolatey chocolate chip cookie(s)", "chocolatey chocolate cake(s)", etc which are made with (of in the first case, entirely of) chocolate. Likewise, an orange could be very "orangey", e.g. if it has a notably strong or vivid orange taste. So, I don't think the use of those words to describe other things is a distinct sense. - -sche (discuss) 08:08, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Why would someone use the word sciencey rather than scientific? If you look at Wordnik's ten examples and ours, there is clearly a distinction being made. I think in virtually all cases the idea is that the speaker/author isn't vouching for something being actually scientific, but rather for it appearing scientific. A synonym would be science-like. DCDuring (talk) 13:30, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
    I've been thinking about this more and agree with this thought. I think what is missing from these definitions is a certain color that is introduced by the use of sciencey due to its informality. If it were just scientific, then that is what would be said. But being sciencey can imply that it is beyond the technical ability of one to explain it or of one to understand its explanation, "Ya know, it's a sciency thing." It can also be a bit of a tease or a disparagement of what has been said—the egghead or the official with his sciencey things—so the term introduces an uncertainty in just how much science is actually involved. -Mike (talk) 17:27, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
If we define the term as “having the trappings of science”, we do not commit to a determination of whether it is actual science, pseudo-science, or something that just happens to have a scientific look without any pretense.  --Lambiam 13:47, 18 May 2019 (UTC)
A usage note per Mike wouldn't hurt and might help. DCDuring (talk) 17:56, 18 May 2019 (UTC)

of one's ownEdit

Discussion moved from WT:BP.

Doesn't of one's own deserve its own entry? --Backinstadiums (talk) 00:10, 16 May 2019 (UTC)

When you say that someone has an X of his own, this is basically a more emphatic way of saying that he has his own X – his particular X that he does not share with anyone. I‘m on the fence whether this is sufficiently idiomatic for inclusion. The qualification is at least somewhat transparent, but several lemmings have it in some form, such as “a mind of one’s own” (Oxford Dictionary of English, Oxford Living Dictionaries, The Free Dictionary, Collins). But we don’t have to follow them blindly – we have a mind of our own.  --Lambiam 21:11, 16 May 2019 (UTC)

then, on to more important things: when is your birthday party?Edit

Discussion moved from WT:BP.

Should the meaning in then, on to more important things: when is your birthday party? be included? --Backinstadiums (talk) 02:51, 16 May 2019 (UTC)

It's sense 3. Ultimateria (talk) 16:06, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
Then, of course, there's always the most important thing: the cake!  --Lambiam 21:20, 16 May 2019 (UTC)


Needs splitting uppercase/lowercase --I learned some phrases (talk) 08:31, 16 May 2019 (UTC)

We have had separate pages Porto and porto since 23 October 2005. Can you be more explicit which senses for which languages need splitting or moving?  --Lambiam 20:51, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
They might mean that there is no English L2 for porto, but I don't think that there is a commonly used English word porto. Perhaps they are put off by there being a capitalized word deemed a common noun. DCDuring (talk) 13:16, 17 May 2019 (UTC)
English sense added (but it is rather rare/old-fashioned). SemperBlotto (talk) 13:21, 17 May 2019 (UTC)

besides thatEdit

Many google hits for instance for "besides that he's cute". Is the PoS in such cases already added in its entry? --Backinstadiums (talk) 22:38, 16 May 2019 (UTC)

Yes, it's sense 2 of the preposition. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 23:01, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
As written, I would say that it's sense 3. For example: "What is there to like about him, besides (the fact) that he's cute?". However, it seems possible that "besides that he's cute" may be supposed to mean "Besides that, he's cute", in which case it would be sense 2. Mihia (talk) 13:04, 17 May 2019 (UTC)
I would just echo Ebinoth in the quotes for that term: When you say "besides," do you mean "in addition to," or "instead of"? You really do need to see the greater context of the sentence to know which sense it is. -Mike (talk) 16:35, 17 May 2019 (UTC)
Besides that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?  --Lambiam 00:23, 17 May 2019 (UTC)

Would it make sense to create a category for this kind of jargon/slang?Edit

(I couldn't conclusively determine for myself where I ought to bring this, but I hope that the Tea Room is appropriate for this sort of thing)

I'm noticing that we don't have marked/noted/usage-notes-for a lot of words that either originated in drug slang (and are still used in it), or are more or less limited to drug slang. What I mean by drug slang is: the particular jargon used amongst people who associate themselves with the recreational usage of narcotics.

Due to recent contemporary happenings (and the trend for at least the last few decades), drug slang is passing into English slang (or even sometimes general informal speech), particularly that of those under thirty (although those in their thirties may well have some of these jargonistic words in their vocabulary as well) at a rate far higher than it did prior to the 1960s.

The problem is, we don't categorise these particular words in any way, even though we have special categories for words in basically every other major jargon (or similar).

Why are words like dank, dope, and sense three of geek out (that list is by no means exhaustive) not labelled in some manner to denote their connotation/nuance and are not part of a category titled something like "English drug slang" or whatever? I don't know what would be the best way to title such a category, and what (if any) descriptor tags we ought to use for senses that could be so labelled, but I for one think that we (and our readers/those who consult Wiktionary) would benefit from some sort of category for words that are part of that jargon. Tharthan (talk) 16:31, 18 May 2019 (UTC)

Well, slang is a register, but drugs are a topic. Then again, we do have a category for some subcultural slangs, like 4chan slang and Internet slang. But those are easy to group together because they are used on 4chan or on the Internet. Is "drug slang" as used by Timothy Leary in the LSD-soaked '60s of America the same as "drug slang" used by dealers supplying a 21st-century London house party? Probably not; then it's just slang, and drugs is the topic category. Equinox 00:48, 23 May 2019 (UTC)
Do you think that adding these kinds of terms and phrases to Category:en:Recreational drugs [can't seem to find a way to turn that into a link without it disappearing] might be the solution, then? Some of the words already in that category would probably already fit the idea of "drug slang". I would also note that, in some cases, there is a subcultural level to this. Those who (rightly or wrongly) perceive themselves to be downtrodden and/or treated as semi-societal-outcasts often will (by the very nature of their situation) heavily associate with those who have in common whatever trait(s) or characteristic(s) are being heavily emphasised by others when they are treated the way that they are treated by them, more so than they would otherwise. So there can be a "subculture" of sorts, although (to your point) whether just one subculture is created, or (instead) multiple subcultures depending upon the time and place in the world that don't have much overlap, is a good question. If I had to guess, there probably is at least some overlap in terminology. If not, I would be quite surprised. Tharthan (talk) 19:33, 23 May 2019 (UTC)
@Tharthan: add a colon before the word Category, thus: "[[:Category:en:Recreational drugs]]". — SGconlaw (talk) 08:10, 25 May 2019 (UTC)

Misspelling of unofficial: inofficialEdit

I'm not sure whether or not the word inofficial would be counted as a misspelling of unofficial and therefore should be deleted, or whether it stays as it's a common misspelling or otherwise a recognized. Can someone clarify this for me please? Nimaex (talk) 17:44, 18 May 2019 (UTC)

Seems to be a non-standard, hyper-correction of unofficial, as though in- were more correct than un-. Per GNGram it is extremely rare in comparison [[42]]. I would just label it non-standard and rare Leasnam (talk) 18:16, 18 May 2019 (UTC)
I'd label it rare, but not non-standard. Definitely not a misspelling. —Mahāgaja · talk 18:20, 18 May 2019 (UTC)
Why not non-standard? It's definitely going to get marked as wrong by editors and teachers. I'd definitely correct it to "unofficial" if editing something.--Prosfilaes (talk) 00:21, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
Sometimes such words are archaic forms that got edged out over time. Don't know whether this one was ever popular. Ask Romanophile, who created it? Equinox 00:52, 23 May 2019 (UTC)

at some time or otherEdit

Isn't the preposition idiomatic enough to earn it an entry¿ --Backinstadiums (talk) 19:17, 18 May 2019 (UTC)

It's so idiomatic that we have a definition for it, AFAICT: def. 2 at at#Preposition. DCDuring (talk) 21:26, 18 May 2019 (UTC)
What about “some X or other”, meaning “some unspecified or unknown X” (“in some way or other”, “on some day or other”, “for some reason or other”, ...)?  --Lambiam 00:26, 19 May 2019 (UTC)


Too many meanings, and they're not well ordered, in my opinion: for example, senses 5 and 10 look identical, and senses 1 and 9 should be brought closer to each other. @-sche, what do you think? Canonicalization (talk) 19:32, 18 May 2019 (UTC)

Defs. 5 and 10 may be intended to differ in degree, but I don't think that is a worthwhile distinction clearly sustainable in citations. The usage examples don't show a distinction I can discern. Definition 1 seems to be two definitions on one line. The first part of def. 1 seems quite close to def. 3, based on the wording. DCDuring (talk) 21:39, 18 May 2019 (UTC)
I've given the entry an overhaul; see what you think. - -sche (discuss) 15:32, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
@-sche, I made minor changes and added one definition to your version, but I think that 5 and 6 should be combined. An odd job can be said to be occasional or infrequent. You could add "irregular" and "casual" to 5. Also in 5, "not forming part of a set" is actually part of 2 which can refer to any sized set (as in "a few odd volumes of a book series"). Though maybe that part was meant to distinguish it from 2 which would have a defined set size, unlike 5. -Mike (talk) 20:00, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
I disagree that "odd jobs" are necessarily infrequent. For example:
  • 2005, Paul F. Everett, The Prisoner: An Invitation to Hope[43], page 36:
    While working at Allegheny General, Jim often did odd jobs on the side.
(Not an isolated example) DCDuring (talk) 20:09, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
Yes, I suspect that's why other dictionaries also distinguish the senses, although some group them as subsenses, which we could try. - -sche (discuss) 21:54, 20 May 2019 (UTC)

Long vowels in -x perfects in LatinEdit

(Notifying Metaknowledge, Fay Freak): @Brutal Russian, JohnC5, Rua Apparently, vehō had principal parts vēxī vĕctum while tegō had tēxī tēctum, and similarly regō -rēxī rēctum, legō -lēxī lēctum and agō ēgī āctum. Some of these long vowels are mentioned in [44]. I am planning on fixing up all the compounds of the above verbs to reflect the long vowels and then do a bot run to fix all the non-lemma forms, is this correct? I notice for example that Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers has advēxī prōvēxī transvēxī but no long vowel indicated in the other compounds of vehō; I assume this is an oversight rather than intentional. Benwing2 (talk) 22:31, 18 May 2019 (UTC)

I don't know what to do with all these cases, as I don't know the current literature very well. Charles Edwin Bennett's helpful list says that the long vowel inferred for vēxī is based on a slightly flimsy statement from Priscian, but perhaps there is more evidence now? —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 22:42, 18 May 2019 (UTC)
Looks like we're running a risk of confusing lenghened-grade aorist with what's known as Lachmann's lengthening wherein voiced stops that were followed by a voiceless consonant (in other formulations, only /t/), and consequently devoiced, normally do so with accompanying vowel lengthening: teg-s-ī > tēxī, leg-t-us >> lēctus (in these other formulations only the participles). The exceptions to this law (as well as the fact that it seems to operate primarily within verbal morphology) have made it a point of contention for over a century with no apparent consensus so far, but it's still relevant as having implications for the glottalic theory. It didn't operate on the outcomes of PIE aspirated stops, so vec-t-us from vehere, trac-tus from trahere are not affected .
This topic in general is known as "hidden quality" - here's a good compendium of from various sources. These sources being from the beginning of the last century, that's the state of the art it reflects. As for dictionaries, Elementary L&S is also outdated in this regard - the most reliable quick references in my experience have been Gaffiot 2016 and especially LaNe, both found at Logeion. For a non-quick reference TLL seems to be the only choice, but without a subscription your options are either checking the entry name and the first couple of lines, or the recently published open access PDFs - I'm not sure how up to date they are. Besides it only exists up to the letter O, so no vehere, trahere or vincere atm.
I did read quite a few modern works on the subject (quite often in order to verify and correct wiktionary entries), and I do know the "correct" lengths in almost every case, but I'll have to re-read these in order to make sure and compile a list of which perfect forms there seems to be agreement about. Overall though the roots in this paper should be reliable both for the past participles and the s-perfects if they have one. Not only do prefixed derivatives behave exactly the same way, but also suffixed derivatives such as obtrĕctāre (< trăctus), vĕctitāre and āctīvus. The vowels in compounds of trahere itself seem to have been analogically restored very early on, or never reduced to avoid the opaque pattern contrēre~contrāxī. I think all of these can safely be corrected. Brutal Russian (talk) 17:42, 19 May 2019 (UTC)


What are your thoughts about : 6. used to soften harsh words: used to soften a blunt statement or make one more polite

I should hope you're sorry now (Microsoft® Encarta® 2009). --Backinstadiums (talk) 01:37, 19 May 2019 (UTC)

IMO not a separate sense, just context. Similar to "I should imagine he wishes he had never X" Equinox 01:50, 19 May 2019 (UTC)

hold onto your hatEdit

Should the entry not be hold onto one's hat ? --Backinstadiums (talk) 01:44, 19 May 2019 (UTC)

Ideally perhaps. It's a bit hard to imagine hearing "he held onto his hat as he was told that his wife had cancer!". Equinox 01:49, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
@Equinox: I was thinking of reported speech --Backinstadiums (talk) 02:23, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
"told+him+to+hold+onto+his+hat" Here is an example of a writer describing a third party being told "to hold onto his hat". bd2412 T 03:26, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
I note that the meaning in that cite could be read as "to be patient; to cool one's jets; to keep one's shirt on".
I also note that hold on to your hat has been about twice as common as hold onto your hat since about 1950, per Google NGrams. DCDuring (talk) 16:11, 19 May 2019 (UTC)


There are two apparently overlapping senses, with differing definitions but really only different in countability: (i) uncountable "recognition and respect"; (ii) countable "acknowledgement of a contribution, especially in the performing arts". Under (i) we have three separate examples of "giving someone credit": these are IMO acknowledging a contribution, thus (countability aside) the same thing as (ii). Was (ii) intended specifically for uses like "he got a credit on that film"? If so, there has been some blurring. Equinox 04:55, 19 May 2019 (UTC)

Giving someone a credit is formally stating for the record that they made a contribution to the work in question and are, in a sense, a creator or co-creator of it. Doing so has legal and financial ramifications. If a producer says in interviews, etc. that someone was part of a film, but they aren't listed in the credits, it's likely the producer is going to hear from that person's union, and there may be legal action. Chuck Entz (talk) 06:04, 19 May 2019 (UTC)


Doesn't look like an adjective to me. --I learned some phrases (talk) 17:08, 19 May 2019 (UTC)

Good catch. It was originally deemed an adverb, but the 2010 change to adjective has stood til now. DCDuring (talk) 18:10, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
On closer inspection, the boxing citation there is actually an adjective. --I learned some phrases (talk) 07:35, 23 May 2019 (UTC)

term before denarian (vicenarian, tricenarian, etc)Edit

Is there any term for the decenium before denarian (vicenarian, tricenarian, etc)? --Backinstadiums (talk) 20:30, 20 May 2019 (UTC)

I'm sure someone would be happy to invent one, as they have invented "denarian". Nobody actually uses these terms. DTLHS (talk) 20:51, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
Logically you might say "predenarian" (if you hyphenated it, it would even be readily decodable), but as DTLHS says, apparently no-one outside Urban Dictionary does. - -sche (discuss) 21:58, 20 May 2019 (UTC)

Translation Table for Firethorn or Pyracantha?Edit

Which of the two terms, firethorn or pyracantha, should have the translation table? --Lo Ximiendo (talk) 00:55, 21 May 2019 (UTC)

Google NGrams shows pyracantha to be about twice as common as firethorn, but 80% of the pyracantha hits were for Pyracantha, often as part of a species name. I'd go with firethorn. DCDuring (talk) 01:01, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
@Lo Ximiendo, DCDuring: A better approach is to use Google ngrams, which is case-sensitive. The result suggests that pyracantha is the more common term. (Another way to tell that scientific names aren't interfering is to compare the plurals; pyracantha still wins.) —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 01:33, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
Did you look at individual hits? DCDuring (talk) 01:34, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
Yes. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 01:37, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
What was your count? The only individual hits were for pyracantha, both upper- and lower-case. The case-displaying NGgram visually shows combined Firethorn, firethorn, and FIRETHORN to be more than pyracantha, in my eyes. But I don't see how one could rely on the visual display alone. Examining the 1995-2008 hits shows that most hits for pyracantha are for the capitalized form and most of those are for the genus name or species names. DCDuring (talk) 01:46, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
See the Google NGram for yourself. DCDuring (talk) 01:48, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
A subjective data point: I had pyracantha in my back yard as a kid in the LA area, and I never encountered the word "firethorn" until I was an adult. Also, just to complicate things, I see a good number of fantasy novels in the Google Books results- who's to say the "fire thorn" in those is always pyracantha, and not some imaginary magical species? See this, for example. Firethorn is also a character's name in several others. Chuck Entz (talk) 03:11, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
I hadn't analyzed the firethorn results. Perhaps a quarter of them (1960-2008) are referring to fictional characters, plants, or fruit. In News most references to firethorn (plant or berry) also has [P/p]yracantha. (Firethorn seems very popular as a placename.) A smaller share of articles referencing pyracantha also refer to firethorn, so pyracantha may be the better choice. DCDuring (talk) 12:26, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Another location would be Pyracantha, but that brings a conceptual problem in that we usually say that a vernacular name usually refers to an individual organism, whereas a taxonomic name refers to a lineage, of which the individual is a member. DCDuring (talk) 17:04, 21 May 2019 (UTC)

jerq - (informal) name of old technology - should it be included?Edit

From (computer terminal), do we include "nicknames" that likely were recorded on hard media (although I can't tell how far apart mentions may be)? Cheers! Elfabet (talk) 13:24, 21 May 2019 (UTC)

  • If you can find citations for its use - yes. SemperBlotto (talk) 13:27, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
I'm seeing 1 and 2 with a quick search. Elfabet (talk) 13:32, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
@Elfabet: Remember, those websites don't do us any good for finding citations. We need three from something physically published, or from Google Books or Usenet. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 19:22, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
Here is one use from a book, embedded in an ubernerdish joke.  --Lambiam 19:25, 21 May 2019 (UTC)

Only in present tense?Edit

The verb miss, sense 7: “(only in present tense) To be wanting; to lack something that should be present.” So what, then, is the tense in the sentence, The car was missing essential features?  --Lambiam 19:14, 21 May 2019 (UTC)

Perhaps the intended label was (only in progressive aspect). (Are there exceptions to that formulation? I can't think of them offhand.) — Vorziblix (talk · contribs) 21:36, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
Google Books has counterexamples, e.g. 1. "The child becomes an under-developed adult, because in comparison with the adult, it misses something"; 2. "Aesthetic theory too cannot get by without such joker concepts, and where it imagines it can, it misses something essential to the aesthetic experience..." Equinox 21:41, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
I think your second example is rather sense 4 (‘To fail to understand or have a shortcoming of perception’), but you’re right, thanks. Thinking on it further, I suppose IME it’s limited to the progressive aspect in less formal registers, but not necessarily in more formal text. In any case the label should probably be done away with. — Vorziblix (talk · contribs) 22:07, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
The sense in Equi’s second example is ambiguous; at least I think it could also mean that aesthetic theory lacks something essential to the aesthetic experience. Pedantically, one might even argue that theories cannot understand or perceive anyway, full stop. So then sense 4 cannot apply. Unless you agree that your socks miss the subtleties of German humour. (No offense intended.) The following book quote, though, can only refer to sense 7: “A methodology in itself is useful, yet misses essential ingredients: domain knowledge.” (As the examples show, essential ingredients are typically the most sorely missed.)  --Lambiam 22:44, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
I don't think there is such a restriction on tense for that sense of miss.
  • 2010, Helen Small, The Long Life[45]:
    The Platonic theory of forms, as Adorno interprets it, missed the essential criterion for metaphysics—that is, it missed the essential criterion for how Adorno himself, somewhat unorthodoxly, wants to redefine 'metaphysics'.
  • 1932, Arthur Marshall, Explosives[46], volume 3, page 4:
    [] that these had entirely missed the essential feature of having a bursting charge only just sufficient to open the shell.
  • 2018 September 24, “8 Best Weight Loss Tips From Mom Who Shed 17 Kgs”, in (Please provide the book title or journal name)[47]:
    If you don't have a balanced breakfast that gives you both protein and energy, your body will miss the essential requirement for the day's tasks.
It may be that the perfect aspect is what is incompatible with this definition, not the past tense or future tense. DCDuring (talk) 00:29, 22 May 2019 (UTC)


I am not convinced by this last sense: "Used with verbs to indicate that the action of the verb was carried to some state of completion, rather than being of indefinite duration. He boiled down the mixture. He sat down and waited." Well, we already have "boil down" as an example for another sense (reducing in size/amount), and Chambers 1908 agrees that "boil down" is using "down" to indicate reduction. I don't know about "sit down" but it could just be "to a lower position"; compare "sit up", where a seated person is rising higher. Equinox 21:28, 21 May 2019 (UTC)

The examples do not support this sense. The literal meaning of sit down is “to assume a sitting position from a standing position”, which for a person of average stature settling themselves on a normal chair or seat entails a downward motion of the parts of the body above their knees. Although the common phrase in German is sich setzen, another common form is sich niedersetzen, heard in the final chorus “Wir setzen uns mit Tränen nieder” of Bach’s St Matthew Passion. German nieder corresponds to English down. The only case I can think of off the top of my head where down does not literally or figuratively implies lowering is in the idiom come down to – although there is a sense of reduction there as well, as in whittling the issues down to a single one.  --Lambiam 22:23, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
I think both down and up serve as aspect markers in phrasal verbs and their derivatives. Examples include buttoned up/down, break up/down; burn down/up; call up/down; chase up/down; close up/down; count down/up; cut up/down. The meanings are different, but either particle seems to indicate some kind of completed process compared to the plain verb. That kind of completion can be overridden by a progressive (-ing-)form of the verb. Also not every use of such particles in phrasal verbs has a clear aspectual interpretation. Often it is simply either literally of figuratively directional. DCDuring (talk) 23:58, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
I agree: the present examples have nothing to do with the definition. I can't offhand think of any uses that support the definition, but it is hard to be sure that none exist. If no one can come up with any relevant examples then this sense should be deleted, in my opinion. Mihia (talk)
Why don't all of the examples In my preceding posting here support the definition? Compare:
  • He counts the attendees. vs. He counts up the attendees. (~to a total)
  • He counts the seconds. vs. He counts down the seconds. (~to zero)
  • He chased a waiter. vs. He chased up a waiter. vs. He chased down a waiter. (~to get the waiter to take our order)
  • The fire burned the brush in the forest. vs. The fire burned up the brush in the forest. (~so none was left)
  • He burned himself. vs. He burned himself up. (~to death; to ashes)
In all of these cases the particled verb has an implication of an action carried out to an end, whereas the unparticled has no very well defined end. DCDuring (talk) 02:23, 24 May 2019 (UTC)

Sometimes written <driver license> in official issuancesEdit

Sometimes written driver license in official issues --Backinstadiums (talk) 11:26, 22 May 2019 (UTC)

Looking at the map, I would say "most often". However, a search of Google News yields mostly "driver's license". -Mike (talk) 19:43, 22 May 2019 (UTC)


I'm not at all convinced by the recent additions to that entry. Overly specialised senses. Canonicalization (talk) 11:42, 22 May 2019 (UTC)

This user should probably be blocked as they keep adding lots of ranting to entries and show no interest at all in following policy or finding consensus. Equinox 19:37, 22 May 2019 (UTC)
I've got half a mind to block him myself. DCDuring (talk) 01:55, 23 May 2019 (UTC)

pronunciation of 'ud < wouldEdit

What is the pronunciation of 'ud meaning would? --Backinstadiums (talk) 13:46, 22 May 2019 (UTC)

I've added it. —Mahāgaja · talk 18:01, 22 May 2019 (UTC)

thereupon: upon that/itEdit

What meaning(s) of upon apply in the first meaning of thereupon ? --Backinstadiums (talk) 15:19, 22 May 2019 (UTC)

I updated the definitions, but as far as I can tell, it is just any sense of upon. An older Oxford dictionary added additional clarification, "upon that (of motion or position)." But I don't know if that helps much. -Mike (talk) 21:09, 22 May 2019 (UTC)


Short for Lucius; also added at the Lucius entry. Is this only in one fictional work by William Faulkner? Any evidence of real use? Equinox 19:36, 22 May 2019 (UTC)

amphitheatre / amphitheaterEdit

How do you pronounce this word, and in particular, do you the first consonant cluster as /-mf-/ or /-mp-/? US and UK dictionaries I checked only list /-mf-/ (except Merriam-Webster, which acknowledges /-mp-/), but I asked friends and looked around YouTube (links on talk), and all the Americans said /-mp-/. Are there any examples of Americans saying /-mf-/? Conversely, all the British speakers did say /-mf-/; do any say /-mp-/? What's the situation elsewhere? - -sche (discuss) 23:21, 22 May 2019 (UTC)

I would never have guessed that anyone said /p/. It's not etymologically sensible, and doesn't even seem likely from the spelling (where else is ph pronounced /p/?). Doesn't appear in Chambers. Equinox 23:59, 22 May 2019 (UTC)
I think it's a case of assimilation (/f/ becomes /p/ because of the m). It's probably more commonly pronounced with /p/ where I'm from. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 00:26, 23 May 2019 (UTC)
I would probably first type 'ampitheater' and only be saved from public humiliation by spell-checking. DCDuring (talk) 01:51, 23 May 2019 (UTC)
You and me both (-re, not -er). (The correct spelling looks wrong - but I've checked with the OED). SemperBlotto (talk) 05:36, 23 May 2019 (UTC)
I mean, the Latin and early Greek pronunciation was /pʰ/, not /f/ which was apparently adopted from later Greek. ;p
Some other words where ph can be /p/ are diphtheria (where the /p/ pronunciation also seems to be more common in the US), diphthong, and ophthalmology, and I notice something common to all of them: I wonder if it's not (or, not just?) the influence of the /m/ but rather some kind of desire to avoid following a fricative /f/ too closely with a fricative /θ/ that might motivate simplification. Fifth and twelfth also have "simplified" variant pronunciations. (Does phenolphthalein ever have /-lpθ-/ or /-lθ-/?) Other interesting phs include phthisis and phthalate. - -sche (discuss) 03:15, 23 May 2019 (UTC)
@Equinox Now that I think about it, I think that I pronounce it /ˈæmpfɪˌθɪə̯tɚ/. I don't know why, but it's not that surprising, considering that the ph is preceded by m. I know that I wouldn't say /ˈæmpɪˌθɪə̯tɚ/. That just sounds wrong to me (although I believe that I have heard it before). For reference, I pronounce diphthong as /ˈdɪpθɔŋ/, ophthalmology as /ˌɒpθʌ(l)ˈmɒlʌdʒi/ (with "ɒ" being /ɑ~ʌ/) and diphtheria as /dɪpˈθɪɚɹi.ə/, so I'm not sure why this is an exception.
@-sche That doesn't seem like an unlikely possibility, but then, why North America? Wouldn't that kind of quasi-prudential pronunciation be more expected in England, where th-fronting has become endemic? Tharthan (talk) 20:11, 23 May 2019 (UTC)
It seems like what is phonologically discouraged is a complex sequence of two different fricatives in close proximity, like how /sf/ in one syllable is also discouraged and only found in a few words e.g. sphere, so I wouldn't expect th-fronting to make it any more likely. (It might not make it any less likely, but I wouldn't expect it to make it more likely.) I also suspect that British retention of /f/ in this case could have been helped by the fact that the syllable seems to have slightly more emphasis in British English, which gives it an /i/ for a vowel, than in American English which reduces it to a schwa.
I wonder if the order affects whether or not the change happens: all the examples mentioned so far have the would-be /f/ before the /θ/; are there any words which would be expected to have /θf/, not counting compound words like "hearthfire", which we could check for the existence of "simplified" pronunciations of? The only ones I spotted by searching Onelook for *thph* where the Hebrew placename Bethphage and xanthphos, which is apparently more commonly (standardly?) spelled xantphos (suggesting that, even if a /θf/ were older or more etymological, a "simplified" or "dissimilated" /t.f/ form also exists). - -sche (discuss) 23:43, 23 May 2019 (UTC)


Should be marked nonstandard, yes, or even a misspelling? I don't understand why this would be used instead of the apparent identical synonym "wasted". The 1980 and 2015 cites ("wastened no moment in responding", "not a second was to be wastened") seem like errors. 1962 is poetry. The older two may be okay. Equinox 03:11, 23 May 2019 (UTC)

I don't see "wastened" as a misspelling of "wasted", but it's at least extremely rare. It is very strange to see such a poetic term in otherwise standard text. I might label it rare, poetic. Ultimateria (talk) 16:38, 23 May 2019 (UTC)
Why do we never have the Middle English L2, when the Middle English is the source of the archaic Modern English term? See wasten at the Middle English Dictionary online. This would clearly warrant an 'archaic' tag for the English L2. DCDuring (talk) 17:33, 23 May 2019 (UTC)
Because sources like the OED treat them as English. Creating a Middle English entry would be an extra step. Chuck Entz (talk) 02:57, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
Every L2 is an extra step. This TR is an extra step caused by the absence of an ME entry. If we had the ME, wouldn't we have instantly made "archaic" the most likely label? DCDuring (talk) 13:19, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
English wasten would have to descend from a Middle English *wastenen, *wastnen, not wasten. Middle English wasten evolves into English waste (verb). Am I maybe missing something ? Leasnam (talk) 17:57, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
Not if it was simply borrowed, as by those seeking to sound or make a character sound 'Anglo-Saxon'. DCDuring (talk) 23:06, 24 May 2019 (UTC)


Can anyone confirm the sense "belonging to a minority group": i.e. one single individual can be "diverse"? Is this normal usage in the USA, or elsewhere? Is it politically correct, or "alt-right" speak, or something used by Human Resources departments? "We need a diverse hire for this position"? Equinox 03:13, 23 May 2019 (UTC)

Hmm, Googling "a diverse hire" suggests that some people do say that! Only 172 of them (when you page through to the end), but it does even get a few Google Books hits. It doesn't seem "politically correct" (if anything, referring to one single person as "diverse" solely on account of them being in a minority group would seem to be "politically incorrect".) It seems like the sort of language you'd see from HR departments and people who only think of diversity in terms of what they feel 'required' to do (in hiring, casting, etc). I half expect these same people might use "diverse(s)" like a noun, too, haha, though there's too much interference from diverses for me to tell. - -sche (discuss) 03:33, 23 May 2019 (UTC)
I'm not sure this is best considered a separate sense, though, vs an extension of sense 4 ("containing people groups that are minorities in a given area"). It seems like referring to an individual as "LGBT" when they are not simultaneously lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans: it's probably best not to view that as meaning that "LGBT" means "(just) lesbian" in some cases and "(just) bisexual" in others, but rather to view it as a slightly weird use of the usual sense. No? I'm sure there are more parallels, but I'm having trouble thinking of them. - -sche (discuss) 17:04, 23 May 2019 (UTC)
Applying a group property to an individual is not uncommon, but diversity is essentially a group property. One would be unlikely to call an individual homogeneous just because of membership in a homogeneous group, or numerous because of membership in a large group.
OTOH, I suppose one might apparently call a member of an endangered species endangered. But this is more like the phenomenon referred to by Rupolph Carnap: 'the phrase “the lion” has a universal sense in the sentence “the lion is a beast of prey”, but not in the sentence “the lion is now fed”.' It would go against the social norm of not treating human groups in that way to rely on metonomy to justify excluding this distinctive usage. DCDuring (talk) 17:23, 23 May 2019 (UTC)

That’s a bit rich, coming from himEdit

The following citations show a meaning of rich that I don’t see at our entry.

From yesterday’s Washington Post:

She said for Carson to go on Fox “and say that I’m the one who doesn’t know what’s going on, and he’d ‘be happy to inform’ me is, frankly, very rich.”

From yesterday’s The London Economic:

He has tried to smear environmentalists as privileged (which is a bit rich, pardon the pun, coming from him), and he admits he has fossil fuel donors.

From Bartlett’s Dictionary of Americanisms (1848):

RICH. Luscious, i. e. entertaining; amusing in the highest degree.
It would be rich indeed if the parasite should vault to the heights of power just one year after the despot he served was cast down to contempt and exile.—N. Y. Tribune, June 2, 1848.

What comes closest is our sense 8:

8. (informal) Ridiculous, absurd.
  • 2017 March 8, Shashi Tharoor, “‘But What About the Railways... ?’ The Myth of Britain’s Gifts to India”, in The Guardian[48], retrieved 14 April 2018:
    It is a bit rich to oppress, torture, imprison, enslave, deport and proscribe a people for 200 years, and then take credit for the fact that they are democratic at the end of it.

The definition resembles that of Bartlett in that it suggests when something is called “rich” it is something one should laugh about, and I’m sure the likes of Colbert and Oliver will agree. But I think something important is missing in the definition: the sense that behaviours or utterances deemed “rich” are considered a chutzpah, an ironic reversal of propriety – maybe ridiculous, but also provoking indignation.

Do I see this right? Should this sense be added as a new one? Or should the current sense 8 be adjusted? The quotation there fits the indignation-provoking sense.  --Lambiam 08:10, 23 May 2019 (UTC)

I agree with you. An excellent translation for French fort de café, by the way. Canonicalization (talk) 10:37, 23 May 2019 (UTC)
rich in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911. (def. 10) has a definition that includes the sense in question, I think. "Excessive; extravagant; inordinate; outrageous; preposterous: commonly applied to ideas, fancies, fabrications, claims, demands, pretensions, conceits, jests, tricks, etc." They call it colloquial, which I think reflects the distinct manner in which it is delivered orally, which doesn't come across as readily in straight prose vs reported dialog, in which a native speaker's imagination supplies the usual oral delivery. DCDuring (talk) 12:24, 23 May 2019 (UTC)

being asEdit

I just added an new entry for this, but the more I look at it, the less sure I feel about the status of this expression (and also, in fact, the status of being that). There is no doubt that people say "being as" -- at least, they do in the UK -- but is it acceptable or just plain wrong? If anyone has a clear idea about this, please make any necessary changes. Mihia (talk) 23:53, 23 May 2019 (UTC)

If these collocations can be attested in accordance with our CFI, sure, they should be included. After all, we are descriptivist, not prescriptivist. I don’t think I’ve heard this, though, on either side of the pond. If it can be established that certain language mavens frown upon this use, we can add a usage note to that effect.  --Lambiam 00:18, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
There is no question that "being as" can be attested in use. The question is only how it should be labelled and/or any necessary usage notes. Mihia (talk) 00:33, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
I see that the wedsite Grammar Guide calls it a “common error” and “wrong use”, without giving much of an argument. Of course, this is just a blog by one person, so this is her opinion, not necessarily widespread. There seems to be general agreement that these collocations are informal and colloquial, and in the US dialectal (Southern).
I don't think it is anything more than the participle "being" with the conjunction "as" (meaning "that"), used similar to constructions such as: "Knowing that the bomb couldn't be defused, Fred hastily ran away." "Seeing that the car's front end is destroyed, will the insurance agent have it totaled?" "Feeling that the surface was smooth, Harry knew that he had sanded the wood enough." -Mike (talk) 16:48, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
In each of these examples, the subject of the main phrase is also the subject of the -ing forms in the adverbial phrase, which means it can be explained as a present participle. But in a sentence like "Seeing that the car is crumpled like a wad of paper, it sure is a total loss" the car is not the subject doing the seeing, so it cannot simply be explained as a present participle.  --Lambiam 20:31, 25 May 2019 (UTC)
The underlying sentence is really something like: "Seeing that the car is crumpled like a wad of paper, [one must conclude that] it sure is a total loss". It's not simple, but it's definitely best explained as a present participle. Chuck Entz (talk) 21:17, 25 May 2019 (UTC)
Collins is the only lemming that has it. They call it UK, informal. DCDuring (talk) 23:03, 24 May 2019 (UTC)


I come from Wikipedia, where I have been looking at the latest claim to have deciphered Voynich; the author appears to be a rank amateur, but claims the mystery document is written in "Proto-Romance". I have always interpreted things like "proto-Indo-European" to mean reconstructed hypothetical forms, embodying all that is known about the origins of branches of a family, but not purporting to represent a language that actually existed. And I had never heard of "Proto-Romance", but the entry says it is essentially whatever (hypothetical) came before vulgar Latin, as real Latin crumbled into a mass of dialects. The problem is that the Wikipedia article "Proto-Romance" redirects to w:Vulgar Latin, which I believe was a language something could be written in. Even though this article mentions proto-Romance, I wonder if the typical reader would unpick this -- so I was going to add a note that the "proto-Romance" claim is bogus. Am I right? Comments appreciated. Imaginatorium (talk) 09:26, 24 May 2019 (UTC)

The term ”Proto-Romance” is used by scholars for a hypothetical ancestor language of the Romance languages, reconstructed using the same method by which other hypothetical common-ancestor languages are reconstructed: the comparative method. Of course the result is (an idealized version of) Vulgar Latin, but there are insufficient direct examples of the latter to describe it in a reasonably detailed way. In spite of the variety of dialects into which vernacular Latin split after the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, the reconstruction shows many commonalities that are alien to attested Classical or Medieval Latin, so the hypothesis of a common non-Classical ancestor is apparently not without merit. If you consider adding a note to a Wikipedia article, please be aware of their No original research policy.  --Lambiam 14:02, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
You can find many details about Proto-Romance in the Wikipedia article Romance languages. This is probably a better redirect target than Vulgar Latin.  --Lambiam 14:08, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
Oh, and I believe there is a general view among comparative and other historical linguists that the Indo-European languages descend from one common ancestor, a language that at some time actually was spoken. What they call Proto-Indo-European represents their best attempts at reconstructing that language, but obviously without a claim that they got everything right. It is rather similar to reconstructions of extinct species based on fossils. The paleontologists doing so are convinced that these species actually flourished at some time in the past.  --Lambiam 14:21, 24 May 2019 (UTC)


What phonological change makes joint homophone of jint? --Backinstadiums (talk) 10:01, 24 May 2019 (UTC)

@Backinstadiums: The "Line-loin merger" (a name Wikipedia invented). The spelling jint is intended to suggest a rhyme with pint, not with mint. —Mahāgaja · talk 10:10, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
@Mahagaja: Would you mind adding a brief note about it in the entry? --Backinstadiums (talk) 10:15, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
  DoneMahāgaja · talk 10:30, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
I find this spelling in texts that are written entirely in an ad-hoc pronunciation respelling, such as the The Nasby Letters, or the rendering of spoken senetences in Marian Rooke; Or, The Quest for Fortune. A wored like “point” is also rendered as “pint”; we see “unkiver” for “uncover”, “credick” for “credit”, “ignerminy” for “ignominy”, “kno” for “know”, “indivijjles” for “individuals”, “obserwashen” for “observation”, and so on and on and on. Are such pronunciation respellings really worthy of inclusion?  --Lambiam 13:06, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
If they meet CFI, yes: "use in permanently recorded media, conveying meaning, in at least three independent instances spanning at least a year". If three different authors have used jint to mean joint, then we can include it. If not, we probably shouldn't. —Mahāgaja · talk 19:03, 24 May 2019 (UTC)

force (physics)Edit

Are there essential differences between senses 4 and 5 of the term force? The use of the term in the quotation at sense 5 is clearly talking about physical force in the sense as presented at 4.  --Lambiam 19:27, 24 May 2019 (UTC)

I don't think it's a lexicographically meaningful distinction, but I believe the senses are trying to distinguish two possible answers to the question "What is the force that prevents this box from falling?": using sense 4, the answer might be "10 newtons", and using sense 5, it might be "the centripetal force, at least in this reference frame". —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 19:48, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
What about moving the definition of sense 4 to a usex at sense 5 (Viewed as a physical quantity that denotes the ability to accelerate a body, force is measured in units such as the newton representing mass × acceleration.)? People who want to see more detail should consult an encyclopedia.  --Lambiam 21:53, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
How does our physics definition encompass weak force and strong force? I don't find Newtonian or Maxwellian formulas in discussions of these. DCDuring (talk) 23:27, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
It doesn’t for sense 4, which is the sense of classical mechanics. Sense 5 is broad enough (I think) to encompass the fundamental forces. (I think I just spotted a fundamental circularity in our definition of fundamental force.)  --Lambiam 16:59, 25 May 2019 (UTC)
Our entry implies that force as in the physics terms weak force and strong force is encompassed by the definition labeled "physics". A definition that encompasses moral force doesn't seem the right one to simultaneously encompass subatomic forces. DCDuring (talk) 17:39, 25 May 2019 (UTC)
How does sense 5 encompass moral force? Unless the moral force of your rebuke makes me cringe, which may be considered a physical effect. :)  --Lambiam 20:09, 25 May 2019 (UTC)

force (metaphorical)Edit

Is the sense of force seen in the phrase “AOC is a force to be reckoned with” properly represented in our entry? The qualification “to be reckoned with” is the most commonly encountered for this metaphorical sense, but I also see “AOC is a force for good”, “AOC is a force for action”, “AOC is a force to behold”, and even just “AOC is a force”, full stop, as in “AOC is a force and a breath of fresh air” and “AOC is a force and I love her for it!”. Would this be a good definition: “(figuratively, countable) Someone or something that exerts a powerful influence”?  --Lambiam 19:40, 24 May 2019 (UTC)

Is it not simply sense 3? —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 19:49, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
Perhaps, but then the definition is not very apt. I wouldn’t use the pronoun anything to include people; and the change effected does not have to be particularly big – shifting a metaphorical mountain by an equally metaphorical inch also requires a metaphorical force to be reckoned with. (When not metaphorical, all this requires is work, sense 2.4.)  --Lambiam 22:05, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
Perhaps relevant is force of nature, which is used the same way and may at least partly be the source for this. Chuck Entz (talk) 22:22, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
I think the meaning is the same. Again a subpar definition (“qualities which appear to be beyond outside control” – really?). Now which came first? is this force of nature an expanded version of metaphorical force, or is the latter a shortening of the former?  --Lambiam 23:11, 24 May 2019 (UTC)

force (Star Wars fictional universe)Edit

The last sense of force is defined as: “(science fiction) A binding, metaphysical, and ubiquitous power in the fictional Star Wars universe created by George Lucas.” Did Lucas really create this power? Wow, good for him! That aside, I am not sure whether this complies with WT:FICTION, but assuming it does, shouldn’t this sense be listed under Force with a capital F?  --Lambiam 19:48, 24 May 2019 (UTC)

(warning/caution:) wet paintEdit

Does it deserve an entry? The translations are non-trivial: each language (or at least English, German, French and Russian) has its own usage-sanctioned wording. (We're getting close to the realm of pragmatics.) Canonicalization (talk) 20:52, 24 May 2019 (UTC)

Also Spanish, Italian, Dutch (very parsimonious), Turkish. And a Russian warning for a wet cat.  --Lambiam 22:36, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
Indeed, the warnings are varied. The Romance languages tend to go with “fresh paint”, Germans and Turks say “recently painted”, Russians think that “painted” suffices, and the Dutch keep it at “wet”.  --Lambiam 22:49, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
Seemingly fits the phrasebook project. Definitely useful. Also needed: “Achtung Giftköder!” – “Achtung Gift gestreut!” which one hangs out for the safety of playing children and animal companions. The translations need investigation. Suppose you are a facility caretaker in a foreign country and need to set up signs. Fay Freak (talk) 22:56, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
I note that warnings are not included in the nine categories of possible phrasebook entries to be accepted in English. (I think they should be included, as they often are among the more useful ones.) I find it funny that commands should always be accompanied by please – “Please drop the gun.” That is Canadian English. In Sranan Tongo, adding this to a simple request (such as for a light, or to pass the salt) is definitely unidiomatic; it sounds like you’re begging your interlocutor to do you a big favour.  --Lambiam 23:37, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
Since we agree on its usefulness, there is, since it is a think tank, nothing to prevent you from including it on that page, if not your capacity to express accordingly what we intend here. It needs an update that reflects our experiences after its having been untouched for almost a decade. “Warnings” is the idea, calling for specification. Fay Freak (talk) 23:54, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Knowing what a warning like this means is definitely useful, but this seems more like a phrasebook entry, if the usage examples in the entries aren't enough. It's definitely SOP in all of those languages- but the parts are different: freshly painted, fresh paint, and careful, painted. The whole idea is something like "be careful not to touch this: it has been painted and the paint is still wet because it hasn't dried yet". Different languages remove different different parts to make it succinct enough for a warning sign, with the rest being implied. Chuck Entz (talk) 23:08, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
Can a one-word term be a sum of parts?  --Lambiam 23:16, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
No, but none of the examples in the post that I was responding to were one-word terms, and that was all I had available while I was writing my reply. Whether the "careful" part of the Russian example can be excluded from the translation is debatable. Chuck Entz (talk) 00:35, 25 May 2019 (UTC)
I realized that, but the Zen nature of the question was too tempting not to post it. (At that moment the student was enlightened.) The word Осторожно! seen on the sign is an interjection: Watch out!. It can be left out; see the wet cat linked to above.  --Lambiam 16:44, 25 May 2019 (UTC)

used bookstoreEdit

This doesn't make sense to me. It sounds as if the bookstore itself was used. Should it not be a "used-book(s) store"? Canonicalization (talk) 10:07, 25 May 2019 (UTC)

EDIT: Garner's Modern American Usage agrees with me. Canonicalization (talk) 10:07, 25 May 2019 (UTC)
Yes, but Garner is prescriptivist and we're descriptivist. If used bookstore is actually used to mean "store for used books", then we need to have an entry for it, though we could perhaps call it {{lb|en|proscribed}}. I wonder what Garner makes of phrases like theoretical physicist, though, where there's no hyphenation possibility to help us. —Mahāgaja · talk 11:48, 25 May 2019 (UTC)
There are hits on GB for used bookstore, but how common is it? And in any case, I don't think we should use a (confusing!) misspelling as a translation target, which is why I moved the entry.
About theoretical physicist, I don't know, but that's an interesting question. Canonicalization (talk) 12:51, 25 May 2019 (UTC)
As a physicist I wouldn’t mind being called “theoretical” – although “hypothetical” is more accurate, but I’ll protest being labelled “experimental”!  --Lambiam 16:25, 25 May 2019 (UTC)
You have to wonder about plastic surgeons: are they action figures, or do they work on mannequins? Or how about mechanical engineers? And then there are boring contractors... Chuck Entz (talk) 19:05, 25 May 2019 (UTC)
Based on Google NGram, used bookstore is about four times as common as either used book store or used-book store. The latter two don't really warrant an entry because they are transparent and unconfusing, though they should appear as alternative forms in [[used bookstore]].
It is not in accord with the bedrock principle that Wiktionary is a descriptive dictionary to use "This doesn't make sense to me." as a rationale for deleting content. It is a good reason to question an entry or definition at WT:ID or WT:TR or to use resources like search engines or corpora to check relevant facts or other dictionaries to see how professional lexicographers view the matter. DCDuring (talk) 15:41, 25 May 2019 (UTC)
I used to frequent a used bookstore called “Know Knew Books”, which I’m afraid has become a no-longer-used bookstore. In any case, it was generally referred to with the term “used bookstore” (as e.g. here).  --Lambiam 16:34, 25 May 2019 (UTC)
@DCDuring You're right, I jumped the gun here. I restored the reference to Garner's work though. Canonicalization (talk) 16:37, 25 May 2019 (UTC)
Based on their superior taste in English? I like Garner's because they are more empirical than other usage experts, but I don't take them as gospel. Google NGrams has used bookstore as much more popular in this century. And the hyphenated form they recommend is about one-fifth as popular as the other two, both of which are subject to the same ambiguity of interpretation. DCDuring (talk) 17:14, 25 May 2019 (UTC)
The one problem that I have with this is that used is just an adjective. How would you treat "a rare and used bookstore"? Or what about the more general "used store", as in "since you sold Tugboat back to the used store"; "shopping at the used store or through online classifieds"; "the risk of the used-store investment"; "I got one for $10 at a used store!"; "Being an all-used store"; "a gently used store"; etc.? Perhaps it just needs a sense at used, and this entry could then be discarded unless there is some other reason to keep it. -Mike (talk) 08:54, 26 May 2019 (UTC)

Appendix:Scientific instruments: change to a category?Edit

I have created entries for all of the scientific instruments that I could, leaving a handful of red links for obscurities that didn't seem CFI-attestable. Should we now delete this appendix and put all the entries into a category instead? Equinox 17:40, 25 May 2019 (UTC)

Sounds good to me. There are quite a few not in that appendix, like HPLC, cyclotron, Geiger counter. DCDuring (talk) 19:54, 25 May 2019 (UTC)

How do you say “I don’t speak French” in French? I don't speak French.Edit

Funny (pick your preferred meaning) that “I don't speak French” was explicitly listed in WT:Phrasebook as an example of “possible phrasebook entries to be accepted”, with moreover French being listed as one of the acceptable languages in sentences of the type “I don't speak Valarin”, and yet was deleted in one fell swoop together with “I don't speak Supyire” – one of the languages listed there as not being acceptable.  --Lambiam 20:02, 25 May 2019 (UTC)

Glyph origin of Taiwanese Minnan character 𤆬 (chhōa)Edit

(discussion moved here from Wiktionary talk:About Chinese)

I don't believe the glyph origin given for this character. I do believe it might be a useful and/or popular saying used for teaching people this character, and as such is a part of the cultural background of this character and should not be outright deleted and ignored. --Geographyinitiative (talk) 02:01, 26 May 2019 (UTC)

@Geographyinitiative: I haven't found a better explanation. The glyph origin comes from 臺灣閩南語按呢寫. (BTW, this discussion should be at WT:TR or WT:ER). — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 02:58, 26 May 2019 (UTC)
@Justinrleung: Thanks for your reply. The source you are referring to has the sentence, "這個字是依照漢字「會意」的原則造的,上半部的「」代表一隻母雞,下半部的「」代表四隻小雞,所以「𤆬」就是母雞「帶」小雞的 tshuā。" (If there is some surrounding context to this statement, I missed it- please let me know.) I guess what I'm wondering is, what is the connection between the character ' (máo)' and a mother hen? If that connection does not have some kind of solid foundation, then why would we believe that '毛' is to be understood as representing a mother hen, or that '' (四點底四点底 (sìdiǎndǐ)) has anything to do with four chicks, or that they are being lead anywhere? You can't just assert that 'feather' means 'mother hen' without giving some kind of explanation, 更不用說 take four dots as her hatched progeny. As I suspected from the beginning, this is a well-known etymological story. But the true glyph origin of this character is by no means established just because someone authoritative wrote down this story as a throw-away one-sentence explanation. The source provided merely provides support for the fact that the story exists. I suggest calling the glyph origin 'unknown' and mentioning the existence of the story. I have made a slight change to the page based on my opinion. [49] --Geographyinitiative (talk) 04:34, 26 May 2019 (UTC)
@Geographyinitiative: There is some reason to doubt the proposed origin of the character, but I don't think we should say it's unknown. The farthest I can trace this proposed origin is to Wu Shouli (吳守禮). He seems to have published an article in 大陸雜誌 on this character, but I can't find a copy of it. From what I can tell from here, I think we can attribute this origin to him. — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 05:02, 26 May 2019 (UTC)
@Justinrleung: I agree that 'unknown' was probably too strong. I have reworded the glyph origin based on the source you provided. [50] --Geographyinitiative (talk) 05:18, 26 May 2019 (UTC)


Century has, as definition 4, "to have occasion for, as something requisite, useful, or proper; require; need", which they support with Goldsmith's Hermit line "man wants but little here below, nor wants that little long." (This line apparently references one by Young in Night Thoughts, "man wants but little, nor that little long", and I can also find the same line elsewhere with "nature" instead of "man".) Are they right that this is what Goldsmith means, are if so are there other examples of this sense? (Century also puts Merrick's hymn line "not what we wish, but what we want, oh! let thy grace supply" under this sense, but that's ambiguous IMO, as it's possible to interpret that line as using the "lack" sense instead.) - -sche (discuss) 04:45, 26 May 2019 (UTC)