Wiktionary:Tea room

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

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Oldest tagged RFTs

August 2020

series: a noun of multitude similar to “lot”Edit

According to Garner's fourth edition

Though serving as a plural when the need arises, series is ordinarily a singular noun. But it is also a noun of multitude, so that phrases such as a series of things take a plural verb. However, the collocation there {has been - is} a series predominates in print sources.

Common nouns of multitude: lot, majority, mass, minority, multitude, percentage, proportion, variety.

However, the entry of series of the American Heritage Dictionary reads

When it has the singular sense of "one set," it takes a singular verb, even when series is followed by of and a plural noun: A series of lectures is scheduled.

Are these dissimilar usages stylic advice?

The inversion after there also chooses singular elsewhere, unlike in say there are a lot of them, but I do not know why

When the verb precedes the noun percentage, a singular verb is required. That is, a higher percentage of them are, but there is a higher percentage of them.

--Backinstadiums (talk) 07:59, 1 August 2020 (UTC)

You haven't said what "brand" of English you're referring to. But those books deal with American English. In British English, "a series" definitely takes a plural verb. A series of things ARE under consideration. A number of things are being done. There are a number of things to consider, etc. An interesting one is "couple". The couple are walking down the road, hand in hand. It can be jarring to read "is" after the word "couple", which I have always presumed was an Americanism (either a natural variant in English or one reinforced by the presence in America of German and other European language speakers". The police ARE - is said in both the UK and the US. The police IS is what French and German L2 speakers of English often say... —⁠This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 19:54, 12 September 2020 (UTC).

weasel wordEdit

I like the current definition, but I think this word is often used with a less precise definition as if it is literally read as a "weaselly word". MW has this definition [1] and the American Heritage Dictionary combines the two in a single definition. [2] ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 12:12, 1 August 2020 (UTC)

I no longer like the wording I gave this definition. Although use of a weasel word may be the result of an intention to mislead, it seems to me more often to involve an attempt to avoid making a strong assertion. In my experience, qualifications (such as the underlined ones above) are necessary to convey the uncertainty of an unqualified (strng) assertion. I would go so far as to assert that all strong assertions are misleading because they don't leave sufficient room for skepticism and all-around uncertainty. DCDuring (talk) 18:03, 1 August 2020 (UTC)
Offhand, besides "to make it potentially misleading", it comes to mind that weasel words might be used so as to make a statement vague / avoid attributing it to anyone identifiable (thus making it harder to disprove — the very example cited in the entry is of this, rather than of per-se misleading use!), or perhaps even just to hedge it in the way DCDuring underlines above. - -sche (discuss) 06:10, 2 August 2020 (UTC)
I like that there are languages that have grammatical distinctions for epistemic modalities and evidentiality. It helps legitimize the use of the words pejoratively called weasel words. DCDuring (talk) 16:38, 2 August 2020 (UTC)
I modified the definition. The citations given treat 'weasel word' as "a word that negates / removes the meaning of another word" (distinct from making a statement equivocal), and I find some evidence this was the older meaning. Bryan Garner's 2001 Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage, page 926, quotes Roosevelt's line and adds "Some writers have incorrectly assumed that the metaphor suggested itself because of the wriggling, evasive character of the weasel", which might explain the modern, different meaning. Merriam Webster's definition focuses on how the words are used to make a statement not "direct or forthright", while Dictionary.com, after offering the same basic definition, and adds possible motives: to make a statement "equivocal, misleading, or confusing". (There is also a book titled Weasel Words: The Dictionary of American Doublespeak.) I think we could have two senses here: one for words that negative the meaning of other words, and one for words like "some say...", which are two different things. - -sche (discuss) 05:07, 5 August 2020 (UTC)


Where is the evidence of this being a calque from Old English, as opposed to a recent sci-fi/fantasy invention? @Leasnam Equinox 03:55, 2 August 2020 (UTC)

If early uses were in Old-English-era-esque fantasy, that would lend credence to the idea, but...none of the citations suggest that to me. In the Stephen Leigh cite, it seems perfectly analogous to dayshade (which we're missing, and which also as an aside refers to a kind of flower) / day shade (which might be SOP), i.e. a straightforward modern compound or invention, as you say. - -sche (discuss) 06:06, 2 August 2020 (UTC)
  Done Leasnam has changed it to a "compare identical formation" line which seems like a good move. Equinox 19:56, 4 August 2020 (UTC)

kithen conjugationEdit

The conjugation of Middle English kiþen does not match the forms in the Middle English Dictionary at https://quod.lib.umich.edu/m/middle-english-dictionary/dictionary/MED24365. The template-generated past participle forms are kiþed, ykiþed. The dictionary gives "ppl. kīthet & kid, kidde, kide, kud, cud, ked, keid". The short form kid or ked lives on in unked (according to Merriam-Webster). I could try to override a template parameter in {{enm-conj-wk}} but it would be better for somebody who knows more about Middle English to fix properly. Vox Sciurorum (talk) 14:01, 2 August 2020 (UTC)

First Month, Second Month, etcEdit

...as the Quaker name for January, February, etc. Do we want them? I see we have First Day, to which I recently added the "etymology" (though the fact that different people start the week on different says (Sunday vs Monday) may give that one slightly more claim to idiomaticity). Capitalization varies, which could be evidence against idiomaticity, or not. - -sche (discuss) 01:25, 3 August 2020 (UTC)

Do Quakers also have (or have they had) preferred alternatives to Sun-Day, Moon-Day, Tyr's-Day, Wotan's-Day, etc.? DCDuring (talk) 10:29, 3 August 2020 (UTC)
Apparently they did: Sunday = First Day, etc. DCDuring (talk) 10:40, 3 August 2020 (UTC)
Do. :) While less common, I do hear First Day, Second Day, etc. in use among Quaker family and acquaintances. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 23:26, 17 August 2020 (UTC)
I'd say they're inclusion-worthy. It's fairly similar to Portuguese (segunda-feira (Monday, literally second weekday), terça-feira (Tuesday, literally third weekday), etc.) and those are certainly inclusion-worthy. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 03:32, 6 August 2020 (UTC)
That's a tad different, don't you think? The Portuguese terms are the standard terms, right? So naturally they are worthy of inclusion. That the effort to do away with weekday names that may concern some got more traction in some of the Romance languages, whereas it did not in English, is reason enough to consider the Portuguese terms naturally more fit for inclusion than the Quaker terms.
Mind you, I'm not saying that the Quaker terms aren't worthy of inclusion. I'm just saying that the Portuguese terms are no justification in themselves for including the Quaker terms. Tharthan (talk) 06:31, 6 August 2020 (UTC)
Perhaps it's somewhat different, but at the same time, we don't usually concern ourselves with what is standard, but rather with what is attestable. So if something fairly transparent is included in one language, something similarly transparent can be included in another. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 06:38, 9 August 2020 (UTC)

flang as a rare simple past of flingEdit

COCA has two cites of flang that clearly use it as a simple past of fling:

  • H-hmm. So I take it the previous nannies never flang? No, they, they were not flingers. (1994, TV, The Nanny)
  • Before I could stop her she'd picked up one in either hand and flang 'em at my boy. (2002; FIC; FantasySciFi)

COHA has six cites:

  • ...arrows, they would in no wise go forward, but drew aback, and flang and took on so fiercely that many of them fell on their masters, so... (1833; NF; HistoryVegetable)
  • With lute in hand then sweetly to thee sang. Sometime in dancing wondrously I flang, And sometime playing farces on the floor, ... (1880; NF; RoyalEdinburgh)
  • Heigh! FARROW Be quiet and leave me lay where Jesus flang me. (1934; FIC; Play:RollSweetChariot)
  • " Who flang that brick? " he asked faintly. (1953; FIC; Adventurer)
  • Just because you got your ankles together and your hips flang forward -- that don't necessarily mean posture. (1954; FIC; SweetThursday)
  • "I jes' sorta flang out a fist an' he got in the way." (1963; FIC; AnythingYouCan)

-- Mocha2007 (talk) 16:27, 3 August 2020 (UTC)

Well spotted. I can also find plenty of other citations. I've added it to the entry [[flang]]. I have not yet added a mention of it to [[fling]]. - -sche (discuss) 00:12, 4 August 2020 (UTC)
I'm gonna add flinged too, while I'm here. --Kriss Barnes (talk) 03:40, 13 August 2020 (UTC)

Wagen (sense 2), WaggonEdit

@-sche, Leasnam: What is the difference between sense two of Wagen, and the word Waggon? Tharthan (talk) 06:19, 4 August 2020 (UTC)

@Sche, please correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe sense 2 of Wagen is what we would call a cart or buggy (in general) but could also mean a shopping cart; and a Waggon is a railway or freight car. Leasnam (talk) 17:00, 4 August 2020 (UTC)
A Waggon or Wagon is a railroad wagon/car, yes, especially one for carrying goods. A Wagen is a wheeled vehicle for transporting anything (whether moved by a person, a horse, an ox, a motor, a locomotive, etc). A railroad Wag(g)on is also referred to as a Wagen (indeed, the German Wikipedia article on "w:Railroad car" is "de:w:Eisenbahnwagen"), but Wagen can also denote other things fitting that basic definition (an automobile, a shopping cart, a baby stroller, ...). - -sche (discuss) 19:37, 4 August 2020 (UTC)
Some dictionaries also have a sense at Wagen for the use of Wagen to mean "either the Großer Wagen or the Kleiner Wagen constellation", parallel to English use of Dipper, but finding citations where Wagen has that meaning by itself outside those two phrases is nontrivial. - -sche (discuss) 05:47, 5 August 2020 (UTC)
Some such uses (in the plural): [3], [4], [5].  --Lambiam 10:55, 6 August 2020 (UTC)


The sense "a motor that does not take fuel, but instead depends on a mechanism that stores potential energy for subsequent use" seems poorly worded. One can find reference to e.g. locomotives with a "steam drive" (that ultimately requires input of water and heat and hence coal etc), navy ships with a "nuclear drive" (that require at least occasional input of radioactive material as fuel), etc. Hence, the bit about not taking fuel needs to be worded better; these are not (normally) "free energy" / "energy from nothing" / "perpetual motion" devices, they do ultimately depend on the input of fuel or energy, ... - -sche (discuss) 19:37, 4 August 2020 (UTC)

I revised the definition. No other dictionary I looked at had a sense like ours, their senses were similar to the revised definition. - -sche (discuss) 20:22, 9 August 2020 (UTC)

sworn enemyEdit

Entryworthy? PUC – 11:53, 5 August 2020 (UTC)

I think it is idiomatic. The Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary has an entry. And we have an entry for French ennemi juré. Usage note: often used in the plural, implying mutual enmity.  --Lambiam 22:46, 6 August 2020 (UTC)
An easy way to check for prima facie entryworthiness is {{R:OneLook}}. If a dictionary there has it, just add it. sworn enemy at OneLook Dictionary Search shows that one respectable dictionary has it. DCDuring (talk) 02:24, 10 August 2020 (UTC)
I think one cannot find among the 9 definitions of swear at MWOnline (let alone in either of our two inadequate definitions (last one added in 2003!) at [[swear#Verb]]) meanings that fit sworn as modifying enemy. It is the enmity which is sworn, not the enemy. The meaning is obvious in context (as is that of mortal enemy), but conventionalized metonymy, like conventionalized metaphor needs a definition. DCDuring (talk) 11:43, 17 August 2020 (UTC)

mortal enemyEdit

Sounds SOP, but is found in three dictionaries:

PUC – 22:39, 15 August 2020 (UTC)

In contrast with immortal enemies or mortal friends? In this expression, the point is not that one enemy is a mortal being, but that one's enmity towards them is mortal ("deadly serious"). DCDuring (talk) 11:43, 17 August 2020 (UTC)

English open / closeEdit

So I've heard people use the phrases "open the lights" and "close the lights" (meaning, "turn on the lights" and "turn off the lights" respectively). I believe this is a calque from Chinese 打開 / , but I'm not entirely sure. Anyone think these should be added though? The etymology seems different, and I don't even see "turn on" / "turn off" listed as definitions under "open" / "close". 2601:49:C301:D810:579:EED5:5A39:105C 11:56, 5 August 2020 (UTC)

The iWeb corpus has 15 and 22 examples respectively of these expressions; but if I look at the examples, there are 9 and 14 respectively that are straightforward examples of this use. Are we interested in a pair of phrases used 23 times in a 14 billion word corpus? (genuine question: I don't know our criteria). --ColinFine (talk) 16:37, 5 August 2020 (UTC)
  • These are collocations, and non-standard ones at that. Why would they be included? ---> Tooironic (talk) 22:37, 5 August 2020 (UTC)
    If open the lights is a common way in some lect of saying “turn on the lights”, then people will also say open the TV and so on. Then the collocation is an SOP, and “to turn on” should be listed as a sense of the lemma open. Compare the senses listed for Turkish açmak.  --Lambiam 23:33, 5 August 2020 (UTC)
It may be a collocation from Chinese, but it's not just from Chinese. In Quebec, or instance, native English speakers (in Montreal, for example), commonly say "open/close the lights". Not sure about whether it's used with electronics. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 03:29, 6 August 2020 (UTC)
This is a common mistake in French too. PUC – 13:45, 8 August 2020 (UTC)
Which is where the Quebec usage comes from. It's common enough in Quebec French that I would consider it informal, not a mistake, however. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 06:40, 9 August 2020 (UTC)
It's also used in Spanish: cerrar la luz. I believe Portuguese as well. I grew up using this expression myself in English (at least with "close") just due to cultural diffusion. Soap 23:16, 7 August 2020 (UTC)
  • If the translation is correct, this is the opposite of the English usage, so should definitely be added; alternatively, if it was translated wrongly, it should again definitely be added, because intelligent people have been discussing it here for a whole week without noticing the anomaly!
In UK safety-critical situations, the use of open and close is banned because it is ambiguous. In traditional, and non-technical, UK usage, to open a steam valve means to turn it on, while to open a switch is to turn it off, because the contacts are opened, ie pulled apart, to achieve this. And open circuit/closed circuit referring to circuit breakers, broken cables, etc are similarly defined as off/on. Strictly, the UK sense refers to the valve, switch or break, rather than the whole circuit, but it is sometimes abbreviated, so an electrician might say to another standing by the MCB board "OK, now open the lights and close the cooker"
Therefore, to avoid confusion, in standard operating procedures (SOPs), akin to pilots' checklists, turn to on and turn to off are used for valves and switch to on/switch to off are used for switches. It therefore seems important to add the Chinese use, which turns this on its head. Also, in Quebec/France/Spain/Portugal, etc, does close the lights follow the UK usage and mean switch on ... or does it mean switch off ... as, apparently, in Chinese usage.?
A similar situation occurred about 60 yrs ago, when wording on fire safety notices warning of inflammable materials [from the verb inflame/enflame] was changed to read flammable, to save confusion with its opposite, non-flammable, particularly amongst people whose first language was not English. --Enginear 19:20, 12 August 2020 (UTC)

English shut offEdit

The above question reminded me of something related: I would only use "shut off" referring to closing a tap or valve to stop a literal physical flow. But I remember forty years ago noticing a character in Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress talking about "shutting off the video", which always struck me as odd. I never knew whether using the expression in that way was a bit of science fiction, or was in general use in Heinlein's circles in the 1960s. I see that our lemma says "by closing something (such as a valve)"; but again, a search in iWeb has a respectable 200 hits for "shut off the lights". --ColinFine (talk) 16:37, 5 August 2020 (UTC)

I might shut off the video or the lights; I would definitely shut off the TV or the radio or the computer. Those collocations sound completely natural to me. —Mahāgaja · talk 16:46, 5 August 2020 (UTC)
Fine, @Mahagaja:. But that's not what shut off says. --ColinFine (talk) 22:32, 5 August 2020 (UTC)
@ColinFine: Then that definition needs to be generalized. —Mahāgaja · talk 06:38, 6 August 2020 (UTC)
According to Google Books Ngram Viewer, “shut off the video“ is less popular than “turn off the video“, but not dramatically so.  --Lambiam 23:55, 5 August 2020 (UTC)
iWeb has 32 hits for "turn off the video", and 7 for "shut off the video". --ColinFine (talk) 14:39, 6 August 2020 (UTC)

that used with a person's name, etc.Edit

I've heard that used to refer to people by name, or to other proper nouns. Some examples:

  • "Oh, that Richard, he's such a kidder."
  • "It was all that Lex's fault; she's absolutely evil!"
  • "That Star Clangers 2 was a total waste of time!" (Star Clangers 2 being the name of a fictitious video game)

The current determiner definition at the entry is "The (thing, person, idea, etc) indicated or understood from context, especially if more remote physically, temporally or mentally than one designated as "this", or if expressing distinction." But currently no given names, or any proper nouns for that matter, are appended to that in any of the examples or quotes listed at the entry. Is this a nonstandard usage of that? If so, is it to be made into a separate sense, or perhaps at least included in the usage notes? It's definitely rarer to see it used this way, anyway. PseudoSkull (talk) 20:20, 5 August 2020 (UTC)

I think such an (often mildly) pejorative sense is found in some other languages too. Compare the third usage note for Latin iste. The connotation is one of disapproval. I think the same holds for Dutch die (Ach, die Jan). It is not restricted to proper nouns, but can be used with these as well. In stark contrast, French ce (Ah! ce Jean) has a connotation of admiration.  --Lambiam 23:19, 5 August 2020 (UTC)
In English an emphasized the can be used to express admiration. It can be hard to tell without context if the determiner that is favorable or unfavorable. Vox Sciurorum (talk) 15:19, 6 August 2020 (UTC)
I don't see that as pejorative, nor does it take on a different meaning when applied to persons or entities referred to by proper names. Is the level of usage with proper names relative to usage with common nouns any more or less than would be expected given the relative frequency of proper names relative to common nouns? I wouldn't expect so. DCDuring (talk) 19:59, 9 August 2020 (UTC)


Is there a dated comico-tragical for tragicomic? I found it as 'older' English in a Greek dictionary. Thank you. ‑‑Sarri.greek  | 12:38, 6 August 2020 (UTC)

A Google Books search found "Hatcher (1951) identifies the earliest recorded example as comico-tragical (OED: 1598), and suggests that this is an Anglicization of a Latin adjective comico-tragicus (1540), itself inspired by a non-serious nominal coinage of Plautus, tragicomoedia 'tragicomedy'."[6]
Thank you so much, @Vox Sciurorum, I thought it was a mistake. ‑‑Sarri.greek  | 15:26, 6 August 2020 (UTC)

out (verb)Edit

There are three senses of the verb out related to revealing a secret, currently 2, 3, and 4. I'm tempted to have one main definition with subsenses. Is it known which sense came first? I first heard the sense of outing somebody as gay. Vox Sciurorum (talk) 15:00, 6 August 2020 (UTC)

system architectureEdit

Would someone knowledgeable have a look at the definition? I don't understand the "more views" part. — SGconlaw (talk) 19:58, 6 August 2020 (UTC)

That definition is copied straight from the first sentence of the Wikipedia article Systems architecture, which is derived from an academic paper that states: “We use the following definition of the notion architecture: A system architecture represents the conceptual model 5 of a system together with models derived from it that represent (1) different viewpoints defined as views on top of the conceptual model, (2) facets or concerns of the system in dependence on the scope and abstraction level of various stakeholders, (3) restrictions for the deployment of the system and description of the quality warranties of the system, and (4) embeddings into other (software) systems.“ There are several issues with the Wikipedia definition (and therefore with its clone here), the most glaring of which is that the academic paper is specifically concerned with the development of the software of information systems, and not just any kind of system. Also, there is an essential difference between “X represents Y” (as in the paper) and “X is Y” (as in the Wikipedia definition). Some very differently formulated definitions can be found here and here, and yet another one here. The first of these two looks reasonably usable; it is in fact the definition of the (superseded) standard 1471 of the IEEE 1471. The second one is much more wordy and uses categories in an inconsistent and confusing way. I don’t know if the current joint ISO/IEC/IEEE standard has a concise definition of the concept. The architecture of a building is defined by its components and their connections, by which they can function together as an organic whole; for other kinds of systems the basic idea is the same. I hope this helps.  --Lambiam 22:28, 6 August 2020 (UTC)
Are you able to rewrite the definition? I'm still not sure what "more views" (and what type of "views"?) is supposed to mean. — SGconlaw (talk) 09:07, 7 August 2020 (UTC)
I think “more views” is intended to mean “other aspects”. I can rewrite the definition, but I cannot promise the result will be more comprehensible and still an acceptable approximation of what people mean when using the term. I am tempted to say that the term is SOP, but that our list of definitions for the term architecture is lacking. (In which sense is that term used here? And the collocation “system architecture” is not petrified; one can also uses phrases like “the architecture of a system” – in the use linked to, not an information system but a vision system.) What I find the hardest is how to start with a category. Is it a model, or a description, or a specification? But here is an attempt:
“A way of analyzing a system as composed of interrelated components.”
In other words, what you see, or expect to see, when you open the black box (sense 3) and try to make sense of it. Maybe “analyzing” is too grandiose; “viewing” will probably work as well.  --Lambiam 23:43, 7 August 2020 (UTC)


What about the sense given here? We don't appear to have that sense. Tharthan (talk) 06:05, 7 August 2020 (UTC)

We need to fix sense 1 anyway because we should not use the obsolete or archaic word lorn in a definition. —Mahāgaja · talk 06:13, 7 August 2020 (UTC)
I think all these senses are basically one sense. We do not have senses for poor like “having constant bad luck in acquiring wealth; desperate for money” or ”unhappy because of a lack of means”.  --Lambiam 00:25, 8 August 2020 (UTC)
I've reworded the first part of sense 1. Leasnam (talk) 03:07, 8 August 2020 (UTC)


This is labelled using dialect labels, so it's categorized into Category:Cuban English (and Philippine English). Is that right, or is the information that this refers to "a guide in Cuba or the Philippines" information that should be presented like that, as part of the definition, instead? - -sche (discuss) 17:32, 7 August 2020 (UTC)

I think it is not an English term but an instance of code-switching of a noun sense of standard Spanish práctico, written without diacritic as is common in English texts. The noun sense is given here in a Spanish dictionary of synonyms as: “Práctico llamamos tambien al piloto principal de un puerto de mar, encargado de auxiliar á los embarcaciones á su entrada ó salida.” (Práctico is also what we call the main pilot of a sea port, charged with assisting the vessels on entry or exit.“) The dictionary was published in Madrid.  --Lambiam 00:17, 8 August 2020 (UTC)
Such an issue afflicts several (all?) entries in Category:South American English, btw. (I am trying to clean up the category, because I do not think the words are limited to "the dialect of English spoken in South America", but rather, they refer to things that exist in South America.) - -sche (discuss) 00:46, 10 August 2020 (UTC)


The audio file almost sounds like [lʲɵxkʲɪç] Dngweh2s (talk) 17:40, 7 August 2020 (UTC)


Anyone familiar with the two figurative senses (artistic/intellectual, and hippie-like)? I can imagine somebody fixing onto such a person's long hair to insult them, but would the term really be used if the person had short hair or was bald? Equinox 23:56, 7 August 2020 (UTC)

I tend to agree with you on this, but I have a niggling doubt. --- "I expect this new boyfriend of yours is another of those longhaired, intellectual (or hippy) types!" --- On the other hand, wouldn't this normally be a hyphenated adjective anyway? -- ALGRIF talk 11:34, 11 August 2020 (UTC)
The hyphen isn't relevant here; it may be hyphenated or not, even in other senses e.g. type of cat. Equinox 12:06, 11 August 2020 (UTC)
True. However, thinking about my usex, the speaker has not even seen the "new boy-friend" and so he could easily be a short-haired or bald intellectual or hippy, who has just been called "longhaired" in an insulting way. That is my niggling doubt here. -- ALGRIF talk 15:46, 11 August 2020 (UTC)


The noun sense of lovelorn gives lovelorns as its plural (uses of which form are attestable). Yet the usex has “the lovelorn” in a clearly plural sense, similar to ”the rich are getting richer”. So is this usex actually an example of the noun sense? It seems to me to be the adjective, used in a standard way that can be used with almost any adjective A to refer to a collectivity, by which “the A” means “the people who are A”.  --Lambiam 00:43, 8 August 2020 (UTC)

I've always wondered if we have a policy specifically excluding noun uses of adjectives like that. The OED seems rather inconsistent on this issue, but this could be because not all entries have been reviewed since they were first published. For the reasons that you state, I would agree it's probably a good idea not to have noun senses of this form for adjective entries. — SGconlaw (talk) 14:44, 8 August 2020 (UTC)
I don't know that we have a concrete policy, and the situation "on the ground" is inconsistent, e.g. we don't have rich#Noun but we do have poor#Noun. Some prior discussions are at Talk:deaf, Talk:Irish, Talk:wicked, a short 2015 BP thread and a 2016 Tea Room thread. We have a sense at the which explains the phenomenon. It can also occur without the in headlinese like "Smith: poor will die under government's proposed budget" or "Irish vote for Amendment C". - -sche (discuss) 01:01, 10 August 2020 (UTC)
"Only the tall will make the varsity basketball team at forward and center."
This works for almost any adjectival (adjectives + present and past participles, possibly with adverb modification, even by PPs, eg, "the young at heart") that can be applied to a person. It works for adjectivals applied to other entities, but, I think, only in a context where the omitted noun is clear. DCDuring (talk) 03:06, 10 August 2020 (UTC)
It occurs to me that while the (Chinese|Irish|French) head to the polls tomorrow works, *the (German|American|Korean) head to the polls tomorrow does not: it has to be the (Germans|Americans|Koreans), or else one has to take the noun to be a singular standing for all members of its class, and inflect it with singular rather than plural verbs (the German is punctual, the lion eats meat). OTOH, both the Abenaki and the Abenakis work as collectives, and likewise for Catawba(s), Thai(s), Xhosa(s). Is there a rule? - -sche (discuss) 04:06, 10 August 2020 (UTC)


This page could really use some improvement. Ultimateria (talk) 01:41, 8 August 2020 (UTC)

washing machineEdit

Can it be used for any washing device, or does it refer to a clothes washing machine specifically? PUC – 13:43, 8 August 2020 (UTC)

The OED does note the use of the term to mean "a machine used in the manufacture of crêpe rubber", but even if a sense along the lines of "a machine that washes objects" is added, I think it should be made clear that the predominant meaning is a machine used to wash clothes. — SGconlaw (talk) 14:39, 8 August 2020 (UTC)
I've never heard a dishwasher called a "washing machine" either. Equinox 00:05, 9 August 2020 (UTC)
carwash neither. -- ALGRIF talk 11:57, 11 August 2020 (UTC)

Reconstruction:Proto-Semitic/ʔakal- sense "food" listed under section VerbEdit

Why is the sense "food" listed under "Verb"? It's been there since the page creation over a decade ago, so presumably there is a reason. Kritixilithos (talk) 15:03, 8 August 2020 (UTC)

I don't deal much with our Proto-Semitic entries, so there may be some conventions I don't know about, but I can see why it was done this way: in the Semitic languages I've studied, the boundary between inflectional and derivational morphology tends to be a bit blurry: you have a single consonantal root that can be modified in various routine ways to be what other languages would treat as various types of verbs and nouns- sort of like a vacuum cleaner or a multitool with various attachments. Some older dictionaries try to keep things consistent by making up placeholder verb stems to serve as lemmas for nouns, but apparently there are indeed roots that really are one part of speech or the other.
If you look at the descendants for this verb, you'll find the verb Hebrew אָכַל(eat), and there's a noun that's clearly from the same source, אֹֽכֶל(food). If this interchangeability has been productive all along, it gets hard to say that the verb is descended from a verb but the noun is descended from a separate noun as opposed to the whole system having descended as a system. Chuck Entz (talk) 16:28, 8 August 2020 (UTC)
Thank you, the example made it much clearer. Have a good day, @Chuck Entz:. Kritixilithos (talk) 18:11, 8 August 2020 (UTC)
Originally, these were all under "root", despite that being a Eurocentric definition of a "root", rather than what a Semiticist would call a root (in this case, ʔ-k-l). Wikitiki changed it to "verb" without paying attention to the actual content, and we landed here.
As for this word in particular, the noun appears deverbal, and it is certainly old (given the Ethiosemitic forms), although whether it is genuine PS I am unsure. For example, Arabic has both أَكْل(ʾakl) (obviously deverbal within Arabic) and أُكُل(ʾukul) (which looks like it could be inherited, but not from *ʔakal-). Maybe @Fay Freak will have more insight. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 18:28, 8 August 2020 (UTC)

-bronchium pluralsEdit

mesobronchium -> plural mesobronchi, dorsobronchium -> plural dorsobronchi. Can someone verify these plurals please? I would have thought bronchium -> bronchia and bronchus -> bronchi. Equinox 00:05, 9 August 2020 (UTC)

https://www.websters1913.com/words/Mesobronchium, as sourced in the entry, says the plural should be mesobronchia. Also parabronchia is listed as a plural of parabronchium, so it seems it should be as you say (i.e. mesobronchia). Kritixilithos (talk) 09:14, 9 August 2020 (UTC)
  Done Okay, changed. Equinox 01:22, 10 August 2020 (UTC)

Maori use of huruhuruEdit

This article [7] mentions huruhuru and claims widespread use in Maori to mean pubic hair.

"We acknowledge that we did not consider the commonplace use of the term huruhuru as a reference to pubic hair, and that consultation with a Maori representative would have been a better reference than online dictionaries"

They can't blame us, for the fact is we don't yet have a Maori section for huruhuru (or huru huru)! -- Unless, I suppose, they searched a dictionary aspiring to mention "every word in every language", as part of due diligence to confirm their proposed brand name had no negative connotations anywhere in the world...which would be a neat use, allowing small businesses the sort of certainty that mega-businesses only achieve by spending millions on consultants.

Does anyone have any evidence of that usage? I note that the BBC is only quoting the brewer's response, rather than stating it is correct, and not a publicity-seeking hoax -- a well-known small-business trick to gain column inches without paying for advertising. --Enginear 02:24, 9 August 2020 (UTC)

I've added a Maori section at huruhuru. Most dictionaries don't like talking about things like pubic hair, so Te Aka (referenced in the entry) is less than clear, but the derived terms make it unambiguous that pubic hair is correct. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 17:09, 9 August 2020 (UTC)
Thanks --Enginear 17:10, 12 August 2020 (UTC)

feel downEdit


This is feel + adjectival down. Just as one might "feel bad(ly)", or a million other examples.

Why on Earth is this an entry?

I would propose this for RfD, but I just want to make sure that I am not missing something. I doubt that I am, but... I just want to make sure that my eyes deceive me not; that this is, indeed, a no good entry. Tharthan (talk) 08:25, 9 August 2020 (UTC)

Delete. PUC – 10:31, 9 August 2020 (UTC)
RfD it. DCDuring (talk) 19:46, 9 August 2020 (UTC)

They won hundreds of dollars; five hundreds to be precise!Edit

‘They won hundreds of dollars; five hundreds to be precise!’
 "The Name of the Number", by Michael A. B. Deakin , page 48.

Is the meaning of hundred used in the second sentence already added in its wiktionary entry? --Backinstadiums (talk) 09:21, 9 August 2020 (UTC)

Yes, this is just "a numerical value equal to 100". — SGconlaw (talk) 09:47, 9 August 2020 (UTC)
@Sgconlaw: how about the following?
something representing, represented by, or consisting of 100 units
Collins Concise English Dictionary 
They won hundreds of dollars — five of them, to be precise!​ And if someone asked what them stood for, what would the answer be? --Backinstadiums (talk) 10:03, 9 August 2020 (UTC)
I might answer: “I do not understand that sentence... Five what? Five people who were betting?? What is the context?”.  --Lambiam 16:14, 9 August 2020 (UTC)
They would answer "Five of those hundreds", perhaps, if they didn't walk away or punch you in the mouth. DCDuring (talk) 19:19, 9 August 2020 (UTC)
@Lambiam: Edited. The most comprehensive source: https://www.oed.com/oed2/00109312 --Backinstadiums (talk) 16:35, 9 August 2020 (UTC)
Yes, but what is your point? Do you think the sense of the second use in the sentence you quoted is different from the first?  --Lambiam 18:12, 9 August 2020 (UTC)
@Lambiam: According to OED, it is; didn't you take a look? https://www.oed.com/oed2/00109312 --Backinstadiums (talk) 18:40, 9 August 2020 (UTC)
TL;DR. DCDuring (talk) 19:20, 9 August 2020 (UTC)
The OED does not discuss the sentence by Deakin, so where you wrote, “according to OED”, you mean, “according to your interpretation of the OED”. All I see that seems relevant to me is this: “1. The cardinal number equal to ten times ten, or five score: denoted by the symbols 100 or C. a. As n. or quasi-n., with plural. [...] (b) In plural: hundreds.” Why does this not fit both uses? What is this other sense you speak off?  --Lambiam 23:33, 9 August 2020 (UTC)
@Lambiam It doesn't fit because that meaning is not grammatical
The uses of the singular and the plural  
(iii) Number and weight. The numbers dozen, score, hundred, thousand, million, billion are not pluralized when they are (part of) dependents or when, as heads, they are preceded by definite numerals (cardinal numbers): (1) two hundred bikes / *two hundreds bikes (but hundreds of bikes / *two hundreds of bikes) (2) a few thousand cars / *a few thousands cars (but several thousands of cars / *four thousands of cars) (3) How many bikes were there? - About two hundred / *two hundreds (4) Can you count to four thousand / *four thousands?

--Backinstadiums (talk) 23:54, 9 August 2020 (UTC)

That's irrelevant because the second part is grammatically the same as the first part, but "of dollars" in the second part is understood rather than expressed. Chuck Entz (talk) 09:10, 10 August 2020 (UTC)
I think the point Backinstadiums is making is that, in this analysis, when you make the implied words explicit, you end up with “five hundreds of dollars to be precise”, which the OED declares ungrammatical. But with a little help of imagination we can reconstruct this dialogue intérieur: “They won hundreds of dollars; [yes, in fact many hundreds of dollars. ‘How many is many?’, you ask. Well,] five hundreds, to be precise!”.  --Lambiam 12:42, 10 August 2020 (UTC)
I don't know that "five hundreds of dollars" is actually ungrammatical (per se), anyway. It's stilted, sounds old-fashioned and overly formal (in the contexts I spotted it in, though I can see how it could also occur in e.g. childish speech), it's uncommon and not the standard form, but checking for everything between "two hundreds of" and "seven hundreds of", they're all common enough that Ngrams plots them. (They vary from 1-2% as common as the usual forms, which means a large raw number of uses. The meaning is also transparent.) - -sche (discuss) 21:24, 10 August 2020 (UTC)
@-sche still hundred outnumbers hundreds --Backinstadiums (talk) 22:02, 10 August 2020 (UTC)
It's very non-idiomatic to find hundred, thousand, million, billion, etc used in the plural after a number. That is not to say you won't find attested examples. The former UK prime minister, Gordon Brown, used to regularly say "we're spending another twenty BILLIONS on health", which struck me as odd each time he said it. The principle that these "unit-like" nouns are used in the singular, also explains why foot, pound and stone are often/usually used in the singular after a numeral (see the OED in each case). Five feet = five appendages to legs. Five foot = someone's height (a measurement). Five stones = five pebbles. Five stone = 70 lbs in weight. Five pound - £5 or 5 lbs in weight. It seems to me, anecdotally, that more and more younger English people are saying "five pounds"... —⁠This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 08:22, 13 September 2020 (UTC).

  • What is the consequence for Wiktionary? Which changes to entries are to be made? DCDuring (talk) 03:11, 10 August 2020 (UTC)

sollicitudo -onis, LatinEdit

This word has an enhanced meaning (= 'area of responsibility') in Medieval Latin.

See Souter, and a letter of Pope Leo I referred to in Southern,'Western Society...Middle Ages', page 157 —⁠This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 06:45, 10 August 2020 (UTC).

English care end concern likewise have the dual senses “worry” and the sense “responsibility”. These dual senses also apply for German Sorge and French souci. L&S list the senses “care, forethought, duty, responsibility“ for Late Latin,[8] with a quotation of Ammianus Marcellinus, so this well precedes the Middle Ages.  --Lambiam 18:32, 11 August 2020 (UTC)


The page klarinetista is in the category "cs:Male musicians" but the translation does not say that it is a male clarinetist, nor does the page clarinetist provide any alternative (female or otherwise) Czech translation for clarinetist, though the page klarinetistka 'female clarinetist' also exists. What should be done about these inconsistencies? Mölli-Möllerö (talk) 12:27, 10 August 2020 (UTC)

run pointEdit

Heard in a US tv series: "Well, the Russians say there's no deal unless Grace and Darius run point on this operation." Is run point an idiom? PUC – 13:42, 10 August 2020 (UTC)

Looks like a variation on take point. Chuck Entz (talk) 14:04, 10 August 2020 (UTC)
One can also HAVE point, BE point. I think take point is NISoP.
run point at OneLook Dictionary Search gets no lemming corroboration; take point at OneLook Dictionary Search has principally take someone's point; point at OneLook Dictionary Search has military definitions, from which a metaphorical sense derives, something like "a vulnerable operational leadership position in a risky endeavor". We usually insist on having an explicit definition instead ("by extension") instead of relying on our users to sort it out. DCDuring (talk) 18:47, 10 August 2020 (UTC)
  • This is our point, def 2.6. The cite there has the form "walking point". Ƿidsiþ 18:56, 10 August 2020 (UTC)
    Don't we need the extended metaphorical sense as used in business, etc.? DCDuring (talk) 18:59, 10 August 2020 (UTC)
    Yeah, probably. Ƿidsiþ 19:40, 10 August 2020 (UTC)
Not a phrase I am familiar with; I would probably interpret "run point" as "act as point man". Equinox 12:05, 11 August 2020 (UTC)
You must mean "act as point person". DCDuring (talk) 13:52, 11 August 2020 (UTC)

looking for wordEdit

Hi there. Is there a word in English to denote someone who is good at / enjoys drinking alcohol? Thank you. ---> Tooironic (talk) 05:32, 11 August 2020 (UTC)

See Thesaurus:drunkard. —Mahāgaja · talk 07:16, 11 August 2020 (UTC)
Do you mean someone who can handle their liquor or hold one's liquor? DCDuring (talk) 10:35, 11 August 2020 (UTC)
Winebibber  . — SGconlaw (talk) 10:44, 11 August 2020 (UTC)

Einstellung effect or einstellung effect ?Edit

I was thinking of making this entry. However, I can't seem to find any decent quotes where "Einstellung" is spelt "einstellung". The problem lies with this being a German borrowing. As German nouns are capitalised, the quotes use the capitalised form, even though its meaning is not a proper noun in either German nor English. Suggestions on how to proceed please? Thanks. -- ALGRIF talk 11:16, 11 August 2020 (UTC)

If it's usually capitalized in English, then make the entry capitalized. Not all capitalized nouns are proper nouns. —Mahāgaja · talk 11:28, 11 August 2020 (UTC)
Thanks ex-Angr. -- ALGRIF talk 14:44, 11 August 2020 (UTC)

Split -ινος and -ῖνοςEdit

They have different meaning and pronunciation, not etymologically explainable (vowel length isn't anything randomly changing in Greek), and, as I propose, different etymologies: -ῖνος should stay with *-iHnos, while -ινος could be explained as i-stem + -nos, alike to -ικος. I don't see any semantic complications but many difficulties with the current connection, as I addressed in the beginning. 2A02:8388:C80:1900:9550:8BB4:B72E:8900 19:00, 11 August 2020 (UTC)

you tell me!Edit

Currently glossed simply as "I don't know", but doesn't it mean more than that? In my experience it's used with an accusative tone, meaning something along the lines of "You're the one who knows the answer to your question, so you should answer it yourself (and tell me the answer while you're at it)." PUC – 16:25, 12 August 2020 (UTC)

Not necessarily, I think. Sometimes it just means "your guess is as good as mine", with no implication that one's interlocutor ought to know the answer themself. —Mahāgaja · talk 18:10, 13 August 2020 (UTC)

dog grateEdit

A type of fire grate. No lemmings on OneLook. Cf. dog senses 11, 15 and maybe 9. Does it deserve an entry? ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 17:16, 12 August 2020 (UTC)

  • Yeah it's from sense 11. The OED defines this as "a detached fire grate standing in a fireplace upon dogs". Ƿidsiþ 17:24, 12 August 2020 (UTC)

free handEdit

Currently free hand reads (uncountable).

Free hand, n. [countable; singular]​
Unrestricted freedom or authority: They gave the director a free hand to cut the budget wherever she wanted​

However, the Random House Learner's Dictionary explains the NOUN GRAMMAR CODES as follows

[count] it can be counted and has a plural. It can be used with the word a or an before it.
[singular] only used in the singular with a singular verb. It can be used with a or an before it.
FREE 8b. phr. (to have or give) a free hand: liberty of action in affairs that one has to deal with. So to have one's hands free 

Therefore, isn't adding both codes in the same word contradictory? --Backinstadiums (talk) 18:26, 12 August 2020 (UTC)

Is this case similar to take (a) pride?
4. esp. in to take a pride (in, †to do something, etc.).
(esp in the phrase take (a) pride in)

--Backinstadiums (talk) 20:04, 12 August 2020 (UTC)

Cross-ref to missing EtymologyEdit

Maltese -ja Etymology 2 (can't work out how to link to a specific etymology) says "# Alternative form of -i (1st-person singular non-verbal pronominal suffix), used with stems ending in vowels or diphthongs" but the specific meaning (1s pronominal suffix) isn't present in -i, so it's linking to non-existing meaning. I might add it, but I've come here specifically to find out whether or not that suffix (-i) exists in that meaning in Maltese, having failed to find it in w:Maltese language. --ColinFine (talk) 19:08, 12 August 2020 (UTC)

I think it's just missing, but here's a piece of advice: don't add it if you haven't studied Maltese. It's far too easy to introduce errors into the dictionary, and it takes a long time for people to catch them. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 00:59, 13 August 2020 (UTC)
Well, that's why I didn't, @Metaknowledge:. I see that Maltese was added to the -ja entry by an IP in December 2019. Do we have a way of notifying Maltese experts? Do we have any Maltese experts? --ColinFine (talk) 17:32, 13 August 2020 (UTC)

How do I propose a word of the day?Edit

Discussion moved to Wiktionary:Information desk/2020/August#How do I propose a word of the day?.

Latin passuEdit

Two problems:

1 Not a part of the pavo participle.

2 It is the ablative of passus -us, = pace. This is not given. —⁠This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 06:35, 13 August 2020 (UTC).

Does this refer to an entry on the English Wiktionary? If so, which entry? What is "the pavo participle"? The Latin term pavo is a noun. Our entry for passu defines it as the "ablative singular of passus". So I have no idea what you are talking about.  --Lambiam 11:44, 13 August 2020 (UTC)
I suspect this may be another example of the problem I ran into a couple of questions above, that there is no obvious way to link to a particular etymology/meaning of a word. The entry for passu says it is the ablative of "passus", but unless you know some Latin grammar there is no reason to realise that it means spedcifically Etymology 2 of passus but not Etymologies 1 or 3 (which are indeed past participles). So the OP is wrong that "This is not given", but it's easy to miss it as one of three lemmas. --ColinFine (talk) 17:41, 13 August 2020 (UTC)
@ColinFine: The easy way to indicate that only one of the three etymologies is meant is to add a gloss, which I have now done. —Mahāgaja · talk 18:07, 13 August 2020 (UTC)


Should there be a usage note about the locative case of дом ? Dngweh2s (talk) 22:15, 13 August 2020 (UTC)

дома is an adverb meaning "at home". в доме means in the house. на дому is used in some phrases referring to things done at your house, eg. работа на дому, work done from home. врач принимает на дому, the doctor conducts consultations in his own home. —⁠This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 20:08, 12 September 2020 (UTC).


  1. (transitive) This term needs a definition. Please help out and add a definition, then remove the text {{rfdef}}.
    Sleep your way to good health.
    He hoped to sleep his troubles away.
  2. (reflexive) This term needs a definition. Please help out and add a definition, then remove the text {{rfdef}}.
    Sleep yourself slim.
    stay in bed and sleep yourself until a christian hour.
    Where did you sleep yourself?
    Sometimes they eat and sleep themselves into the grave.

I think we lack a definition that fits these well-attested usages.

Cf. oversleep for a related reflexive usage. DCDuring (talk) 01:45, 14 August 2020 (UTC)

Can't you use this pattern with many intransitive verbs? Walk your troubles away. Drink your troubles away. It rained the sun away. DTLHS (talk) 01:47, 14 August 2020 (UTC)
Maybe. Same with the reflexive usage. But can we substitute any of our definitions into such usage? DCDuring (talk) 02:09, 14 August 2020 (UTC)
MWOnline has three good, more broadly worded transitive definitions that cover more transitive usage than ours do, IMO. DCDuring (talk) 02:19, 14 August 2020 (UTC)

wise beyond one's years or beyond one's yearsEdit

Which one of these should get an entry? {{R:Macmillan}} has an entry for wise beyond one's years, but can't you be other things beyond your years? PUC – 11:03, 14 August 2020 (UTC)

Created both. Beyond one's years seems pretty uncommon to be used without wise, but clearly has still been done alone and with other adjectives. The rareness is apparent in that most of my search queries for beyond my years with adjectives etc. only take up one page (except on one search which yielded a few) in Books each, while "wise beyond my years" obviously has over 10 pages of results. PseudoSkull (talk) 11:22, 14 August 2020 (UTC)

अस्मद् isn't in its own inflection tableEdit

I just went back into the etymology of Hindi मैं and was sent to मया, allegedly the intrumental form of अस्मद् "I"… except the pronoun appears to be अहम्, and this अस्मद् isn't even in the inflection table in its own entry! What is going on? MGorrone (talk) 15:00, 14 August 2020 (UTC)

wicked meaning brilliantEdit

The BBC claims here [9] to antedate this usage to 1920: F Scott Fitzgerald This Side of Paradise, which is a book I've never read, and I know little of US nightlife at that time. Checking books.google, I found 3 instances of wicked, of which only one "Phoebe and I are going to shake a wicked calf" has any possible claim to this meaning. It does show up in the 1921 edition, but only in snippet view, so moving to a later edition, here is the context: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=q5vDAgAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=%22Phoebe+and+I+are+going+to+shake+a+wicked+calf%22&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiEv5vYoZzrAhXVtXEKHX7SCWc4ChDoATABegQIAxAC#v=onepage&q=%22Phoebe%20and%20I%20are%20going%20to%20shake%20a%20wicked%20calf%22&f=false

Reading a page before and several after, I tend to disagree with the BBC. Since it is in a section headed The devil and in the context that one of their party, who seems a bit boring on first acquaintance and is not drinking, is nonetheless repeatedly hallucinating a devil figure, my guess is that it is said sarcastically, suggesting that while some people (including possibly the boring friend) would think that style of dancing by an unmarried couple was sinful, they intend to enjoy it. But I doubt it was intended to say "Look at us, we're going to be the stand-out couple on the dance floor", which would be the meaning the BBC are claiming.

So I don't intend to add it. But I post it here in case someone who knows the book thinks I have misjudged the usage. --Enginear 04:21, 15 August 2020 (UTC)

I think you have misjudged the usage. It looks like our second adjective definition to me. DCDuring (talk) 04:38, 15 August 2020 (UTC)
Hmm. It's hard to say. Either definition could work. - -sche (discuss) 19:37, 15 August 2020 (UTC)

Japanese 停車場Edit

Does this word mean "railway station" specifically, or does it just mean any station? — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 07:04, 15 August 2020 (UTC)

@Justinrleung: Nelson's Kanji dictionary gives only "stopping a train" as the gloss for 停車, but for 停車場 it says "railway station; taxi stand". --ColinFine (talk) 22:28, 17 August 2020 (UTC)

deep sixEdit

I added a noun section. The second sense, though uncommon, is attested in various phrases (albeit seemingly always with "the"), and seems to belong where it is, at [[deep six]]. The first sense seems to principally occur in two phrases (and it might be easier to write definitions for them than to write one for "deep six" as a noun used in both): should it be "moved" to give the deep six and get the deep six? (Can it be attested in other phrases?) - -sche (discuss) 09:12, 15 August 2020 (UTC)

red pillEdit

How can this mean "to take the red pill"? I don't remember ever seeing it used without a direct object. PUC – 12:48, 15 August 2020 (UTC)

(I replied at WT:RFVE.) - -sche (discuss) 19:34, 15 August 2020 (UTC)
@-sche: Yes, thanks. Sorry for the double post. PUC – 09:49, 16 August 2020 (UTC)

great white hunterEdit

Should this be added? It has more overt connotations than white hunter, is more saliently linked to fictional representations and is also less likely to be used unidiomatically. Of course, a hard redirect or a mention at white hunter could also cover this. ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 14:20, 15 August 2020 (UTC)

shagging wagonEdit

Does it rhyme? @Mahagaja? PUC – 15:41, 15 August 2020 (UTC)

It can, if you "drop the g", making the first word shaggin’ and if you speak an accent with the weak vowel merger so that shaggin’ is /ˈʃæɡən/ rather than /ˈʃæɡɪn/. —Mahāgaja · talk 16:14, 15 August 2020 (UTC)
@Mahagaja: Thanks. Do you think it's a term that appeared in a lect such as the one you just described (and we may thus imagine that it was chosen precisely for the rhyme), or is the rhyme coincidental (it was coined elsewhere, and there just happened to be a lect where it rhymes)?
I'm asking this because I've put the term in Category:English rhyming phrases, but I actually feel uneasy doing that: I think the category should be used only for deliberate rhymes. PUC – 09:46, 16 August 2020 (UTC)
I think it's pretty likely it was coined as a rhyme or near-rhyme, since motor vehicles are not normally called wagons in English. —Mahāgaja · talk 09:53, 16 August 2020 (UTC)
Here the term is spelled shaggin‘ waggin’, reinforcing the theory this is intended as (or at least perceived as) a rhyme.  --Lambiam 10:01, 19 August 2020 (UTC)


Should the prefixes even be listed as descendants here? According to the Finnish entry at yli-, the prefix derives from the adverb/postposition yli. Thadh (talk) 19:20, 16 August 2020 (UTC)


At face value, it is composed of what it looks like. But I've seen this term used a lot in Japanese media for many years, and I'm not quite sure how we ought to define it, nor if our current definition is adequate. "punishment game" is not a proper definition for this in English, unless there is some kind of actual regular usage of "punishment game" in my mother tongue (English) that I am unaware of. I have never seen or heard "now for the punishment game", or "it is time for the punishment game" in English, save perhaps in very literal translations of something that was originally in Japanese. Granted, I wasn't familiar with the English phrasing "it can't be helped" for what was more usually phrased (in my experience) "what can you do?", "that's just how it is", "such is life" etc. until I first encountered its usage as a translation of 「しょうがない」, and thought that it sounded a bit unnatural at first (the only things akin to that phrasing that I knew were "one cannot help it" [as in reference to, for instance, a behaviour], or "one cannot help but [xyz]" but those aren't the same thing), so I suppose that it is possible that "punishment game" has some areal usage somewhere in the English speaking world, and I simply have never encountered it.

@TAKASUGI Shinji, Eirikr: Perhaps a native speaker such as Mr. Takasugi might be able to give some insight into this matter. Maybe he and/or Eirikr have some suggestions on how we ought to word our definition. My gut tells me that this is probably some modern Japanese (pop) cultural element that has no perfect English counterpart, with "penalty" or "punishment" being the closest to adequate. But I don't want to edit the current entry, just in case people with more knowledge of this have something to say about it. Tharthan (talk) 09:52, 18 August 2020 (UTC)

Wikipedia has an article for batsu game. Google Books gives several usages in English. — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 11:44, 18 August 2020 (UTC)
I see, so it ultimately derives from Japanese game shows. Thanks for informing me of that. That is in line with what I thought about it being a Japanese pop cultural element. Might that be worth mentioning in the etymology section of 「罰ゲーム」, @Lambiam, Eirikr, for the sake of those who look up the term here and do not exactly understand what it is?
With regard to the English citations: usage of batsu game in English would inherently indicate that it is being used with or in reference to the Japanese concept, not as a native or nativised English idea (which attestations of "punishment game" or "penalty game" might potentially suggest). Tharthan (talk) 22:05, 18 August 2020 (UTC)
If uses of the term batsu game in English can be attested so as to satisfy WT:CFI (some of the results of GBS as well as Google News Search seem usable), we can make that an entry and use it as the definition of 罰ゲーム.  --Lambiam 07:58, 19 August 2020 (UTC)

get off easyEdit

Worth an entry? Found in one lemming, but it may be SOP.

PUC – 18:36, 18 August 2020 (UTC)

It is verb sense 12 at get off, to escape. I don't think it needs an entry. (There may be a question around easy vs. easily but I'm not very convinced.) Equinox 19:11, 18 August 2020 (UTC)
Compare get off unscathed [10].  --Lambiam 09:51, 19 August 2020 (UTC)
Or scot-free, cheap, or various PPs (eg, with a slap on the wrist, with a warning, with probation, with community service, with a plea). DCDuring (talk) 22:02, 19 August 2020 (UTC)

Hogs and pigs in computingEdit

I recently created resource hog and resource pig with the definition "a process which consumes a large amount of system resources compared to its importance or function". However, I've noticed that hog and pig are used with many other computing terms in a similar manner: CPU hogs/CPU pigs, memory hogs/memory pigs etc. Should we add a computing sense to hog and pig, and if so, how might the definition be worded? – Einstein2 (talk) 21:32, 18 August 2020 (UTC)

This is sense 2 of the noun hog, currently defined as “A greedy person; one who refuses to share.” I think this Cambridge definition is much better: “someone who takes much more than a fair share of something, especially by eating too much“. Applying this to a software process, gives something like: “(computing) A process that consumes an inordinate or disproportionate amount of some scarce resource.” —⁠This unsigned comment was added by Lambiam (talkcontribs).
Yes, these are not technical terms, just a general sense of greed. Equinox 13:45, 22 August 2020 (UTC)

See also the #BalanceTonPorc ("denounce your pig") hashtag, another pig in computing. PUC – 08:58, 19 August 2020 (UTC)

the term "ullage" as used in the domain of spaceflightEdit

I'm not a wordsmith expert, but I don't think the four senses given for the word ullage quite get at the way the term is used in the domain of spaceflight. And ullage is used a lot in that domain.

I would greatly appreciate it if a Wiktionary editor (or two) would take a look at the comment I left on Talk:ullage, and help think about the problem. Or maybe tell me its not a problem. Best would be someone who is both a wiktionary wordsmith expert and also somewhat versed in technical English. Cheers. N2e (talk) 01:19, 19 August 2020 (UTC)

At the Earth‘s poles, the concept of dawn is not well defined. And while riding a roller coaster, a person’s weight is not clearly defined. These are not problems of the dictionary definitions of these concepts. Under micro-gravity conditions there is no free surface separating the liquid from the gaseous state and therefore no clearly defined “ullage” (“empty space”); I do not see that as a lexicographic concern either. Note that Wikipedia has a section Ullage#Rocketry. If I understand this correctly, the whole point of ullage motors is to create conditions (artificial gravity) under which the “ullage” regains definition.  --Lambiam 09:21, 19 August 2020 (UTC)
Comment left on talk page. I think the definition as worded is correct. If the definition referred to the top of the tank it would be wrong. Vox Sciurorum (talk) 11:14, 19 August 2020 (UTC)
Thank you both. That is precisely what I was looking for from experience Wiktionarians. N2e (talk) 17:52, 20 August 2020 (UTC)

situational awarenessEdit

Entryworthy? PUC – 11:34, 19 August 2020 (UTC)

I am not convinced it has an idiomatic meaning beyond “awareness of the situation“, although this has a strong connotation of military engagement, the way it is used in the entry fog of war.  --Lambiam 11:47, 19 August 2020 (UTC)
There's actually a US government website called the National Fire Situation Awareness Tool. I think this is one of those expressions that's used to signal a particular register, even though it doesn't mean anything different, like utilize and affirmative. Chuck Entz (talk) 15:10, 19 August 2020 (UTC)

Let's note it's been deleted before: see Talk:situational awareness. PUC – 11:48, 19 August 2020 (UTC)

If it hadn't been deleted I'd vote for an entry, but it's the same word it was in 2011 and I don't feel strongly enough to overturn precedent. Vox Sciurorum (talk) 11:59, 19 August 2020 (UTC)
Seems SoP to me. — SGconlaw (talk) 13:13, 19 August 2020 (UTC)
  • The US National Institute of Standards and Technology (Dept of Commerce) has the following definition from its Committee on National Security Systems (CNSS) Glossary:
"Within a volume of time and space, the perception of an enterprise’s security posture and its threat environment; the comprehension/meaning of both taken together (risk); and the projection of their status into the near future."
I'd be embarrassed to have such a definition in Wiktionary, but the focus on 'security' and 'threat' make this seem more specific than situational + awareness. DCDuring (talk) 21:57, 19 August 2020 (UTC)

social awarenessEdit

Same question. PUC – 11:47, 19 August 2020 (UTC)

On Wikipedia the term Social awareness redirects to Social consciousness, a Marxist philosophical concept (in German gesellschaftliches Bewusstsein), of which the essence is that it is a collective consciousness, a shared understanding that we need each other. This – to me – means something very different from how I think the term is more commonly used, which is how the Wikipedia article Awareness defines it: “Social awareness is the information you maintain about a social or conversational context. This is a subtle awareness maintained through non-verbal cues, such as eye contact, facial express, etc.” This conforms to the use here in some definitions, such as 空気よめない. The term has also been identified with social intelligence, which (IMO) is yet something else. Definitions found in the literature include “an understanding of how to achieve ‘social competence’”, where the latter means “the effective and appropriate use of specific social skills in interactions with other”; and “the understanding of a contextual situation at a present time”. These are conceptually and operationally quite different. My conclusion is that there is no clearly delineated shared concept underlying these various uses; a definition that encompasses all will be too vague to be useful.  --Lambiam 12:48, 19 August 2020 (UTC)

numerical advantageEdit

Entryworthy? PUC – 11:51, 19 August 2020 (UTC)

Seems completely SoP to me. — SGconlaw (talk) 13:12, 19 August 2020 (UTC)

pocket of resistanceEdit

Entryworthy? PUC – 17:37, 19 August 2020 (UTC)

Nah, we're missing the sense of pocket that Lexico perfectly defines as "A small, isolated group or area." Now, how to copy that definition... Ultimateria (talk) 17:55, 19 August 2020 (UTC)

dive not into waterEdit

Should we bother distinguishing the sense of "headfirst jump" (both verb and noun) by whether it's into water? I feel like a dive into home plate in baseball is basically the same as a dive into a pool; you're jumping forward headfirst, just landing somewhere different. Ultimateria (talk) 17:49, 19 August 2020 (UTC)

The etymology strongly suggests that water has long been the prototypical target, with meanings related to other targets emerging by metaphorical extension. A language learner would start with the prototypical definition, no? DCDuring (talk) 22:12, 19 August 2020 (UTC)
The prototypical sense of eat is to consume foodstuff, and yet we relativize this by adding, parenthetically, “usually food” [my emphasis]. Take sentences like “I thought rich people just dove headfirst into the piles of gold coins they kept in their money rooms like Scrooge McDuck”,[11] or “I had jammed my weapon, run wildly through kill zones, and dove into a pile of shit.”[12] Shouldn’t we make sure the sense of the verb as used here is covered by one of the listed senses?  --Lambiam 17:46, 20 August 2020 (UTC)
Okay, I've added a basic verb and noun definition for this sense. Ultimateria (talk) 15:58, 24 August 2020 (UTC)

ooga boogaEdit

Apparently this is a word? ---> Tooironic (talk) 23:27, 20 August 2020 (UTC)

Isn't it approximately something a shock jock's (Howard Stern's?) followers used to use at the end of prank calls? Also, LA Times 1992-12-16 has a use. Vox Sciurorum (talk) 22:47, 21 August 2020 (UTC)
I was wrong, "baba booey" is the Howard Stern nonsense phrase. I started Citations:ooga booga. Good uses are hard to find. Vox Sciurorum (talk) 17:23, 31 August 2020 (UTC)

good endingEdit

The current definition we have at this entry is "an ending that occurs when the player finishes a video game and is completely successful, as opposed to a bad ending.".

It is true that good endings usually do mean that the player completed the game's main quest or whatever, but mightn't a particular game hypothetically have its "good end" not actually have the player be able to fully complete the main quest?

On this matter, what of games with multiple endings? In that case, there might be multiple "good endings" and multiple "bad endings". So naturally it would not be unlikely that at least one of those good endings didn't result from the player fully succeeding at the main quest. For that matter, why do we not have true ending as an entry yet? That seems just as important an entry as good ending and bad ending. Tharthan (talk) 22:51, 20 August 2020 (UTC)

My immediate thought on reading that definition is "could a game have a 'good' (successful/complete) ending that ends in tragedy, and a 'bad' (incomplete/not 100%) ending that ends in happiness?", as this would make it more than SoP. I don't play modern games though. Equinox 22:30, 21 August 2020 (UTC)


The audio file says US but sounds off. I think it is using a light l. Dngweh2s (talk) 03:39, 21 August 2020 (UTC)

At c:User:Neskaya, the person who made the recording says, "I am aware that my accent on some audio recordings is nonstandard"; she has a similar disclaimer at User talk:Neskaya here at Wiktionary. I agree that it sounds a little odd, but it's not wrong, so I wouldn't support removing it unless another audio file with a more canonical pronunciation exists. (Courtesy ping to @Neskaya though she hasn't been here in over a year.) —Mahāgaja · talk 07:27, 22 August 2020 (UTC)


I found a usage meaning porch, but I'm not sure if it's Southern American or African American. Dngweh2s (talk) 03:49, 21 August 2020 (UTC)


Hi, what is the meaning of rintontonire? „E m'arintontonivi de bugìe.“ (Ettore Petrolini, Tanto pè cantà) -- 18:59, 21 August 2020 (UTC)

  • Do you mean rintontire? SemperBlotto (talk) 19:22, 21 August 2020 (UTC)
    • ‘rintontonire’ is rare, but it seems to exist. Or are people using a bad spelling? Did Ettore Petrolini? -- 19:38, 21 August 2020 (UTC)


Is the pronunciation "bóxìng" used? -- 09:22, 22 August 2020 (UTC)

Pinging @Geographyinitiative, who added it based on "a recording made for a Classical Chinese text". Which recording is this? — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 10:10, 22 August 2020 (UTC)
He could be confusing it with 百 as in the toponym 百色, or maybe the 編制單位: 舊讀bo2(伯)。古時軍隊編制單位,百人為佰。 (from Wang Li's 古漢語常用字典). ---> Tooironic (talk) 23:49, 24 August 2020 (UTC)


The quotes on jukskei ain't good enuff, right? --Emit888 (talk) 10:52, 22 August 2020 (UTC)

If the entry were challenged they would not be enough to keep it. Because jukskei exists in the Dictionary of South African English[13] with citations I am not going to challenge it. Vox Sciurorum (talk) 11:54, 22 August 2020 (UTC)

take placeEdit

This edit and this comment don't make sense to me. take is transitive, take place is not, be it syntactically or semantically. If we want to explain how the expression is built, we should do so in the etymology section. PUC – 11:55, 22 August 2020 (UTC)

It does look syntactically transitive to me. Place is the object, and take is a verb applied to it. Equinox 13:47, 22 August 2020 (UTC)
Yes, but as SemperBlotto explained below, the phrase as a whole doesn't take an object, so we shouldn't label it as transitive (even "in construction", which to me doesn't mean anything) on its definition line. PUC – 14:05, 22 August 2020 (UTC)
Would you argue then that a phrase like take the biscuit is intransitive? Equinox 15:25, 22 August 2020 (UTC)
Yes, though take itself isn't. PUC – 16:53, 22 August 2020 (UTC)
But a casual non-idiomatic phrase like "can you take this heavy bag for a moment?" is still transitive? Then you're IMO outside the realm of syntax because the meanings of the words are starting to matter. Equinox 16:57, 22 August 2020 (UTC)
No, I think it's the exact same thing: the verb phrase "take this heavy bag" is not transitive, but the verb "take" is, and "this heavy bag" is its direct object. PUC – 17:25, 22 August 2020 (UTC)
But the verb, as a whole, doesn't take an object. It looks intransitive to me. SemperBlotto (talk) 13:49, 22 August 2020 (UTC)
I remember raising this before, and at the time the consensus was that such phrases should be taken as a whole. Thus, as SemperBlotto says, while take is transitive, take the biscuit is intransitive (one can't "take the biscuit the [object]"). — SGconlaw (talk) 15:33, 22 August 2020 (UTC)
I find that quite strange (for one thing, "take the biscuit the object" would be ditransitive), but okay. Maybe it's worth a note on a policy page somewhere. Equinox 15:39, 22 August 2020 (UTC)
The other point that arose from the previous discussion was that perhaps it would be best not to mark such entries as "intransitive". Perhaps that needs further discussion, I don't know. — SGconlaw (talk) 16:33, 22 August 2020 (UTC)
Again, it's not the phrase that would be ditransitive, but the verb only: "give me that" is not a ditransitive phrase, it's a phrase with a ditransitive verb as its head. PUC – 17:29, 22 August 2020 (UTC)
take place is presented as a Verb, with Verb POS, not as a Phrase. And it is used as a verb, can be substituted into a sentence where a verb occurs. It's obviously verbal! Equinox 18:02, 22 August 2020 (UTC)
@Equinox: Yes, but it can only be substituted into a sentence where an intransitive verb (such as happen or occur) occurs. You'd agree that those are synonymous and have strictly the same syntactic behaviour, right? But if you do, and at the same time argue that take place is transitive, then you're saying that happen and occur are transitive too. Since they aren't, it means "take place" as a whole isn't either. PUC – 18:21, 22 August 2020 (UTC)
  • "Take place" is certainly intransitive. There are plenty of phrasal verbs that can be both, like make up is intransitive when it comes to settling an argument, but transitive when it means inventing something. Ƿidsiþ 10:20, 26 August 2020 (UTC)


The entry for the French word mildiou says it's uncountable, yet there exists on Wiktionary a page mildioux which claims to be the plural. What's more, the French Wiktionary article for the word lists a regular plural mildious instead. Something's wrong somewhere, anyone have any ideas or access to a good French dictionary? Thanks 2WR1 (talk) 20:35, 22 August 2020 (UTC)

There are a few examples of both mildious and mildioux on Google Books: [14], [15], [16], [17]. —Mahāgaja · talk 21:33, 22 August 2020 (UTC)
@Mahagaja Thanks for checking that, should I make the plural "mildious or mildioux" then? 2WR1 (talk) 01:53, 23 August 2020 (UTC)
@2WR1: I'd say so. It could still say "usually uncountable" if that's the case. —Mahāgaja · talk 07:48, 23 August 2020 (UTC)


"A psychoactive substance, especially one which is illegal and addictive, ingested for recreational use, such as cocaine."

Doesn't a substance have to be refined or processed in some way to be a "drug"? I believe alcohol is generally not understood as being a drug, nor, say, raw coca or khat leaves.__Gamren (talk) 23:13, 22 August 2020 (UTC)

I disagree, alcohol is definitely considered a drug by some people. Consider a Google Books search for "drugs such as alcohol". DTLHS (talk) 02:13, 23 August 2020 (UTC)
A few years ago, someone at Wikipedia went on an "alcohol is a drug" spree and converted every instance of "drugs and alcohol" he could find to "drugs including alcohol". —Mahāgaja · talk 07:47, 23 August 2020 (UTC)
An additional sense is probably warranted. In the narrow sense typical of everyday speech neither alcohol nor caffeine is a drug, but inclusion in the category of drugs is common enough that we can't ignore it. Vox Sciurorum (talk) 10:32, 23 August 2020 (UTC)


The source linked gives أيش, why do we have إيش instead? Or is this something that cannot be standardised? Kritixilithos (talk) 07:52, 23 August 2020 (UTC)

The source had to put the hamza there because it was writing the long ē as a diphthong ay, which is its historical origin. We have the freedom of dispensing with harakat and instead using romanisation to express that kind of thing. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 04:56, 25 August 2020 (UTC)
Ah, so we simply chose the current spelling. Maybe it is worth having a separate entry for أيش specifying it as another way to spell إيش? Kritixilithos (talk) 07:49, 27 August 2020 (UTC)

have doneEdit

have done should certainly be tagged idiomatic. I'm also assuming it's archaic/obsolete? --Emit888 (talk) 10:39, 23 August 2020 (UTC)

In what sense is it idiomatic? It is derived from the past participle of do in the sense of "finish". Whether it is archaic is an empirical question. Has it been used much in writings of the last 20 or 50 years? DCDuring (talk) 03:01, 24 August 2020 (UTC)
It is hard to search for. The GBS results are all pretty old; the most recent one I found may have been penned down in 1941, but most are from the 19th century.  --Lambiam 21:26, 24 August 2020 (UTC)


No pronunciation for English angle-measure —⁠This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 11:03, 23 August 2020 (UTC).

I'm not familiar with the word, so I'm not going to add a pronunciation, but I strongly suspect it's pronounced to rhyme with John, i.e. in many accents (but not all) it's a homophone of gone. —Mahāgaja · talk 18:15, 23 August 2020 (UTC)
-gon BrE ɡən (also ɡɒn) ǁ AmE ɡɑːn --Backinstadiums (talk) 19:15, 23 August 2020 (UTC)
That's for the suffix, of course. I assume that the sense "one hundredth of a right angle" is RP /ɡɒn/, GA /ɡɑn/, but that's only an assumption. —Mahāgaja · talk 19:29, 23 August 2020 (UTC)
I doubt the term is in common use in Anglophone nations; it may be hard to find spontaneous utterances by English speakers using it in this sense; they may themselves never have heard the term spoken, and then I guess they are very likely to use the firstcspelling pronunciation that comes to mind, such as one rhyming with on, don, pon or won.  --Lambiam 23:18, 23 August 2020 (UTC)

Interwikis of Reconstruction:Proto-Slavic/britiEdit

Why this page is connected to ru:Шаблон:Derksen? And how to disconnect? 15:57, 23 August 2020 (UTC)

User:GregZak added an interwiki link to the {{Template:R:sla:EDSIL}} template outside of the <noinclude></noinclude> part of the code, which caused the link to be transcluded in every page that used the template. I reverted that, but it may take a while for those links to clear from the system for the thousands of other entries that use the template. If you see it in another entry, simply do a null edit for that entry: click "Edit", then "Publish changes" without making any changes to the entry. That won't show up in the edit history, but it will force the system to update the transclusions, categories and links. Chuck Entz (talk) 17:00, 23 August 2020 (UTC)


Sense 4: "to undress to get undressed". Is there a missing semicolon ("to undress; to get undressed"), or is the intended sense "to remove one's clothes so that one is undressed"? This is today's Foreign Word of the Day. — SGconlaw (talk) 08:45, 24 August 2020 (UTC)

It is a missing semicolon: It is a reflexive form (to undress someone, namely oneself). I've fixed it. Thadh (talk) 09:47, 24 August 2020 (UTC)
@Thadh: thanks. Would it be clearer to say “to undress oneself”? — SGconlaw (talk) 04:30, 25 August 2020 (UTC)
@Sgconlaw: Yeah, that would do the trick. Thadh (talk) 07:33, 25 August 2020 (UTC)


Is this term offensive? One editor says it is, while online sources range literally everywhere from "no, why would it be?" to "absolutely" with seemingly no consistency whatsoever. — surjection??⟩ 16:01, 24 August 2020 (UTC)

Well, one option is to put a usage note like "some sources consider this offensive, others consider it inoffensive" or something. Do we have any editors who might have a sense for this or have connections to resources or people that could speak to this? @AryamanA, Sreesarmatvm? - -sche (discuss) 18:20, 27 August 2020 (UTC)
@-sche, Surjection: Don't think it's inherently offensive (I've heard Malayali people use it to refer to themselves), but it can be used pejoratively. Gujju is the same kind of word, where it can be neutral ("my dad is Gujju", quoting from my university groupchat) or used to make fun of Gujaratis. I think offensive with some sort of qualifier ("sometimes offensive"?) is best. —AryamanA (मुझसे बात करेंयोगदान) 19:26, 27 August 2020 (UTC)
OK. It sounds like it's an informal term (like Gujju is labelled as being). It's not uncommon for informal terms to be OK in self-reference or among friends while also being usable by other people as pejoratives, and conversely, not uncommon for people to use lighter pejoratives informally and in self-reference in affectionate ways. How about "informal, sometimes pejorative"? - -sche (discuss) 19:29, 7 September 2020 (UTC)


Would someone review my edit of tumble? The quote in question:

Whether he ever thought of it at all, might be a question; but, if he ever did chance to cast his mind that way after a comfortable dinner, no doubt, like a good sailor, he took it to be a sort of call of the watch to tumble aloft, and bestir themselves there, about something which he would find out when he obeyed the order, and not sooner.

I'm not quite sure whether the quote suits the meaning that I described. Methinks to tumble aloft means, in this particular example, to move upwards, to a spar/masthead, hence my decision to create a new definition. Please give me your thoughts.

Jerzy (talk) 10:17, 25 August 2020 (UTC)
  • Looks OK to me - but I would have made it the last, rather than the first definition of the verb. SemperBlotto (talk) 10:21, 25 August 2020 (UTC)

What did you used to do?Edit

Page 496 of Collins Cobuild English Usage reads

You form 'yes/no'-questions by putting did in front of the subject, followed by use to: Did you used to play with your trains?
If the 'wh'-word is the object of the clause, or part of the object, you use the auxiliary do after it, followed by the subject and used to: What did you used to do on Sundays?

However, I do not know why used is compulsory in wh-questions, unlike in yes/no-questions --Backinstadiums (talk) 18:28, 25 August 2020 (UTC)

There is no established preference between did you use to and did you used to (they are indistinguishable in ordinary speech). See for example MW --ColinFine (talk) 20:32, 25 August 2020 (UTC)
I am used to the cold and I am use to the cold are also indistinguishable in speech, yet the first is strongly preferred over the second. And Did she walk to the edge? is fine, but Did she walked to the edge? is not.  --Lambiam 00:07, 26 August 2020 (UTC)
If this was copied correctly from the book: their first example does not follow their given rule. I don't know the context, but most 'yes/no'-questions do not involve use(d) to: Did he really say that?; Did you have anything to do with that?; Did we just see what I think we saw?.  --Lambiam 00:07, 26 August 2020 (UTC)
I'm surprised that Collins used that as an example. It sounds strained (not strange, though) to me. I would probably say What was it (that) you used to do?. Is it commonly used in British/Commonwealth Englishes? DCDuring (talk) 14:56, 26 August 2020 (UTC)

There is/are a wide variety of patternsEdit

Discussion moved from Wiktionary:Beer parlour/2020/August § There is/are a wide variety of patterns.
A plural verb is needed after a/an (large, wide, etc.) variety ofA variety of reasons were given. 
You can use a singular or a plural verb before it: There is/are a wide variety of patterns to choose from.

However, I do not know whether this is some wider general aspect of the English language. --Backinstadiums (talk) 18:51, 25 August 2020 (UTC)

@BackinstadiumsConstructio ad sensum. Do not do this in most other languages. Fay Freak (talk) 19:50, 25 August 2020 (UTC)
I do not think this kind of question is supposed to be in the Beer parlour. J3133 (talk) 20:09, 25 August 2020 (UTC)
It also depends on whether this concerns an amount of something referred to by a count noun or a mass noun:
 There is still a lot of beer in the fridge.
*There are still a lot of beer in the fridge.
*There is still a lot of bottles in the fridge.
 There are still a lot of bottles in the fridge.
These example sentences may make this more acceptable for the Beer parlour.  --Lambiam 10:02, 26 August 2020 (UTC)
@Lambiam: I do not think you understand what the Beer parlour is for: “fundamental aspects of Wiktionary—that is, about policies, proposals and other community-wide features”. Questions about terms and phrases in languages do not belong there. J3133 (talk) 15:12, 26 August 2020 (UTC)
It was a joke, fer cryin’ out loud. For when the Beer parlour runs out of beer – look in the fridge.  --Lambiam 15:24, 26 August 2020 (UTC)
I like small text —AryamanA (मुझसे बात करेंयोगदान) 21:18, 26 August 2020 (UTC)
Original poster, this is the same as the question (the first Tea room question for August) that you posted about "series". I'm British and can't confidently make assertions about American English, but in British English collective nouns take a plural verb. A series of things ARE being done. A number of things ARE under consideration. A lot of things ARE... The police ARE on their way. The loving couple ARE walking hand in hand. It seems to me that in US English this principle is implemented in a more restricted way, e.g. they also have "a lot of things are" and "the police are", but most of rest are used in the USA with "is". Or at least when I read news articles on Bloomberg, they always seem to say "a number of things is..." I don't know the precise reason. It is possible that in Middle English both ways were found, and that US English has standardised on one form and UK English on another, but it could also be that the large number of L2 speakers, German speakers, speakers of Scandinavian languages, etc, in the US has reinforced the tendency to use the single verb with mass nouns? Maybe someone could examine that and write a PhD on it. Note also that there are many nouns that can be used either way in the UK: the government is doing this, the government are doing that, depending on whether you parse the noun as a mass noun or not. England have scored a goal - this refers to the English football team! In colloquial UK English, the tendency to use a plural verb in such instances is more pronounced (McDonalds ARE now selling fruit and veg), but with nouns like "series", "number", "lot", "couple", it is perfectly standard to use the plural verb and odd (in UK English) to find it otherwise. Now, a fruitful avenue of inquiry would be the Celtic sub-stratum in English and possible influence on UK English of migration from the Celtic countries. E.g. in traditional Munster Irish, mass nouns took a plural verb (táid an mhuinntir, not tá an mhuinntir; sin iad an pobal, not sin é an pobal, etc). —⁠This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 08:14, 13 September 2020 (UTC).

Category:Northern Sami ambipositionsEdit

Could someone with the understanding of the problem and the postcatboiler template fix this? Thadh (talk) 20:55, 25 August 2020 (UTC)

You have to add it to the appropriate module. If you go to a category of basically the same sort (in this case I used Category:English circumfixes), it will have a link that says "Edit category data", which opens the module that governs that category. I like to copy the text for a whole item in the module and paste it into the correct place, then replace the parts that are specific to the new item. That way I don't have to worry about finer details of the syntax.
I do find it odd that no one has used that POS before. I wonder if the practice is to lump postpositions and ambipositions together with prepositions. Pinging @Rua, who has worked with Northern Sami and will probably have an opinion on this. Chuck Entz (talk) 05:44, 26 August 2020 (UTC)
Northern Sami has prepositions, postpositions, and words that can be used as either without a distinction. —Rua (mew) 09:43, 27 August 2020 (UTC)

Chinese terms suffixed with -Edit

Are these words (民主化, 現代化, 去極端化, 氧化, etc.) necessarily verbs and nouns? Or are these words just verbs? -- 04:33, 26 August 2020 (UTC)

@沈澄心: I think most dictionaries would only treat them as verbs. — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 19:23, 26 August 2020 (UTC)
That's right. When it comes to PoS in Chinese, when in doubt treat it as a verb. ---> Tooironic (talk) 21:56, 26 August 2020 (UTC)

Dispute concerning Ainu-language entry at アイヌEdit

Mediation and additional expertise requested from any of our other editors familiar with Ainu, and probably also Japanese (since most material about Ainu is written in Japanese). Pinging @TAKASUGI Shinji, Suzukaze-c, Metaknowledge, Chuck Entz, anyone else with relevant expertise.

Relevant resources:

Order of events:

Alves9 (talkcontribs) updated the Ainu-language entry at アイヌ (person; Ainu person; man) yesterday:

  • Removed {{also}}
  • Removed Wikipedia link
  • Removed image
  • Added ====Antonyms====
  • Added ====Synonyms====

Reviewing the changes, various things stood out to me as problematic:

  • {{also}} should be included at the top of any entry where the headword may be graphically similar with another.
  • Wikipedia links to relevant entries are encouraged.
  • Relevant images are encouraged.
  • ====Antonyms==== makes no sense to me in this context, and indeed the English man entry uses ====Coordinate terms==== instead.
  • None of the terms listed under ====Antonyms==== included glosses, deepening the confusion -- what is "opposite" of "adult male human"? Is it boy, woman, beast, something else?
  • One of the items listed as a ====Synonyms====, Ainu ニㇱパ (nispa) with a purported sense of husband, is not corroborated in the three references I have for Ainu.

I thus reverted Alves9's changes and proceeded to update the entry, incorporating as best I could the additional information he had added and that I could confirm as correct. Before I was done, Alves9 had reverted back to his version. I then started a thread on his talk page, at [[User_talk:Alves9#Ainu_アイヌ]], and finished my own edits to the Ainu アイヌ entry.

Alves9 reverted me again, without any edit comment. Since the underlying issues I'd identified above were still issues, I reverted that, adding an edit comment regarding the most severe issue: "Alves, your content disagrees with the references." I also added an explanation to the thread on his Talk page. A minute later, he reverted yet again, adding the confusing note that "Yes it does". I reverted, temporarily blocked Alves9 from editing that page, and started this thread here in the Tea Room.

Additional issues:

The thread at [[User_talk:Alves9#Ainu_アイヌ]] is slightly more informative, but not by much.

Alves9 blanked his Talk page just a little bit ago with the edit comment "archivin'", however there are no child pages for either his Talk or User pages. I didn't think that "archiving" was a synonym for "deleting", but this is the second instance I've seen recently of a user "archiving" their Talk page as a means of scrubbing or outright deleting threads.
The relevant thread persists in history at Special:PermanentLink/60157345. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 21:06, 26 August 2020 (UTC)
  • Alves9's statements on his Talk page suggest a sloppy approach.
  • In his first reply, he claimed the entry was fine and "already has references". Prior to my edit, it only had one reference, Batchelor's 1905 dictionary.
  • In his second reply, he claimed that I removed senses. I did not, which a perusal of the diff clearly reveals. He also claimed that "Now it just looks like I added a bunch of loosely connected terms" (emphasis mine), which appears to claim ownership of the entry and display a misundertanding of how open-access wikis work in general. I also fail to see how either grouping is more or less connected; the ordering I listed hews more closely to the references, while Alves9's appears to be a translated copy of the National Ainu Museum's entry here.
In addition, he seems to misunderstand the entry in Batchelor's An Ainu-English-Japanese Dictionary of 1905, stating "In fact, Batchelor's material does say that nispa means "husband"." However, it does not. The relevant entry is here, topmost entry in the left-hand column on page 289. In Batchelor's romanization, it's listed as Nishpa, glossed in Japanese as 主人, 富者, 貴下, and in English as Master. Lord. Sir. A rich person. A title of respect. While Japanese 主人 (shujin) can be used as an epithet for husband, the core meaning of the Japanese term is master, with a follow-on usage as a title of respect. The lack of any husband gloss here for Ainu nispa says to me that husband is not the meaning of the Ainu term, as defined by Batchelor.
Lastly, Alves9 pointed to the National Ainu Museum's entry for nispa as evidence for the husband sense. There are a few issues with this:
  • This usage may be specific to the dialect spoken in Saru District, Hokkaido, as noted in the entry itself.
  • The husband sense is listed last, and glossed in Japanese as あなた (literally you, husband, person). Contextually, this tells me that this might mean husband solely when used by a wife to address her husband -- which seems more like an application, or at best extension, of the "title of respect" sense listed by Batchelor.
  • Subjectively, Alves9's responses and behavior suggest to me that he is simply insisting that he is right, without really looking at the information about the term, or considering the issues that I've brought to his attention. He has reverted my changes reflexively, almost all without any edit comment, and the one edit comment he left doesn't make sense. Even being generous in interpreting that edit comment, it comes off as "I'm right". I also get the impression that he's taking ownership of the entry in a way that doesn't seem either healthy or constructive.


I'd appreciate additional eyeballs and feedback on how best to proceed. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 18:59, 26 August 2020 (UTC)

I don't know any Ainu, so I will presume that I was pinged to offer mediation, rather than linguistic expertise. I will start with the content of the revert war.
1. The {{also}} should not be removed, per usual practice. 2. The Wikipedia link is to en.wiki; it is a matter of valid debate whether it belongs in an Ainu entry, and I support its removal. 3. The (appropriate) image should not be removed; Alves's claim that those people are not ethnically Ainu appears to be false. 4. The definitions and 'nyms were made worse by Alves's reversion. 5. Valid references should not be removed. 6. Alves's evidence for the sense "husband" seems secure, at least for the Saru dialect, but that seems covered in the current version of the entry.
My conclusions: Alves is in the wrong on most of these issues. Even if he were in the right, his behaviour (edit-warring without explanation) is unacceptable. If he continues this kind of behaviour, on this entry or any other, he will be subject to a sitewide block. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 19:18, 26 August 2020 (UTC)
Thank you Μετάknowledge for your input. I saw your name on the history of the [[アイヌ]] page, and I have appreciated your approach to handling other issues in the past. (I have likewise appreciated Chuck's approach, who I'm pretty sure doesn't have much Ainu or Japanese expertise.) ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 21:06, 26 August 2020 (UTC)

Words for user accountsEdit

I was told to make a discussion here after adding an entry for OnlyFans. Not exactly referring to the brand or platform, but an account on such platform. Such as, "check out my OnlyFans". We already have entries for this for other platforms like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and myspace. What is the stance on this, and what determines which can be made entries? AntisocialRyan (talk) 00:58, 27 August 2020 (UTC)

freedom of religion and religious freedomEdit

Are these the same thing? Are they interchangeable? Should we add a trans-see? ---> Tooironic (talk) 04:52, 27 August 2020 (UTC)

No, they are not the same thing. "freedom of religion" has to do with someone being able to declare and/or otherwise make known publicly that they are a follower of whatever religion that they might be following without repercussions (for instance, in a place where there might otherwise be or have historically had a particular state religion).
"religious freedom" has to do with someone being able to live out their faith—including following commitments, rejecting that which is prohibited by their faith, etc.—without fearing that their government is going to persecute them for it.
However, our definition for freedom of religion seems to be much broader than that which I have usually encountered, encompassing elements of religious freedom as well. Maybe we ought to look at which parts of the definition are better in which entry.

Tharthan (talk) 11:23, 27 August 2020 (UTC)

Also, incidentally, what on Earth is this bit on about?: "Use of this phrase may be subject to controversy"
Who, aside from an antitheist, or an autocrat, actually finds freedom of religion objectionable? Tharthan (talk) 11:28, 27 August 2020 (UTC)
  • Some (many?) people use the terms without distinction, including Oxford Learner's Dictionaries, whose entry on "freedom of religion" uses "religious freedom" as a synonym in the definition. (Wikipedia also treats them as synonyms, FWIW.) Most dictionaries only have one or the other or neither, not both, so it's hard to be sure if they'd define them the same or differently. For "freedom of religion", MW has "right to choose what religion to follow and to worship without interference", Dictionary.com has "right to choose what religion to follow and to worship without interference", Lexico has "right to practice whatever religion one chooses", and MacMillan has "right to practice religion without being punished or persecuted". AFAICT only Collins has an entry for "religious freedom", and it doesn't have a definition(!). A few books mention them together as synonyms, as in google books:"freedom of religion, or religious freedom", compare google books:"freedom of religion, or religious liberty" using another phrase in this constellation (religious liberty).
    The point about use of the phrase being "subject to controversy" may be extralexical. It may be referring to how some people claim that religious freedom entitles them to infringe on other people's rights (e.g. having "religious freedom" to refuse to issue a marriage license to a 'sinfully' interracial couple, which is controversial), but I'm not sure if that's something for a dictionary to cover. - -sche (discuss) 17:48, 27 August 2020 (UTC)
I've never heard of a religion that considers interracial marriage sinful, though perhaps there is some cult or obscure religious group out there that thinks that. I can't imagine what their justification for that would be, though. Tharthan (talk) 22:46, 27 August 2020 (UTC)
@Tharthan: There was a whole lot of religiously based opposition to interracial marriage in the United States before it was legalized, and there is still some, but not as much as there used to be. The same groups (e.g. Southern Baptists) that used the Curse of Ham to justify slavery in the 19th century continued to use it to justify Jim Crow and laws against interracial marriage in the 20th. Nowadays it's probably really only very small fringe groups that openly oppose it on religious grounds, but only 60 years ago probably the majority of white Protestants in the South belonged to churches that did. —Mahāgaja · talk 10:25, 28 August 2020 (UTC)
I see. Except for the bit about what Southern Baptists did during the age of slavery, I did not know any of that information. To me, it is quite evident that people like that were actively searching for an excuse to reject interracial marriage, in a desperate attempt to reject the realisation that there was nothing wrong nor objectionable about interracial marriage.
I do think that that is be a good example for what the usage note appears to be referring to. It probably would be best to clean up the usage note if it is decided that it not be excised, and consider adding that as an example. Tharthan (talk) 11:22, 28 August 2020 (UTC)


How is sense 2 ("a word, symbol, sign, or other referent that can be used to refer to any entity") used? Dictionary.com has an opposite sense, "something signified or represented, as distinguished from a word, symbol, or idea representing it." Several other senses have issues; perhaps I should just overhaul the entry later. We seem to be missing a sense along the lines of "a thought or point" ("just the thing to say", "say the first thing you think of"). - -sche (discuss) 07:08, 27 August 2020 (UTC)

Felis catusEdit

The entry labels it as archaic but is it? Wikipedia uses it and has a section mentioning “In 2017, the IUCN Cat Classification Taskforce followed the recommendation of the ICZN in regarding the domestic cat as a distinct species, Felis catus.” J3133 (talk) 10:57, 27 August 2020 (UTC) Pinging @DCDuring who added the label. J3133 (talk) 11:38, 27 August 2020 (UTC) Pinging @DCDuring again, who has edited the entry but has kept the “archaic” label. (An explanation would be in order.) J3133 (talk) 16:15, 27 August 2020 (UTC)

After edit conflict.

I don't want to remove the label while there is a discussion (albeit with just two) going on. It usually makes the discussion harder to follow. I agree the label is wrong. Taxonomic treatment of the long-domesticated versions of animals sometimes irregularly oscillates between treatment of the domesticated animals as members of a subspecies of the wild ancestral species or as a distinct species. IRMNG and Wikispecies call it a subspecies; most other sources treat it as a species. We'll see what the next edition of Mammal Species of the World says about preferred taxonomic treatment. You might want to look at the taxonomic designation of all domesticated plants and animals to make sure that all have a taxonomic name, that both types of taxonomic designations are shown in the taxonomic entries and the preferred name (or both) appear in the vernacular name entries. I am suffering from real-world distractions at this time. DCDuring (talk) 16:29, 27 August 2020 (UTC)
The label can be re-added when it is is verified. The entry should not contain unverified information. J3133 (talk) 16:31, 27 August 2020 (UTC)
That is a counsel of perfection. Our entries, especially the definitions therein, are predominantly chock full of unverified, unsourced information. We hardly ever make it clear when we copy a definition from an out-of-copyright dictionary or from WP. Dictionaries generally don't have footnotes. Most dictionaries don't even show citations, the OED being the famous exception among dictionaries of Modern English. DCDuring (talk) 16:43, 27 August 2020 (UTC)
@DCDuring: I do not understand how that is related with removing this label until it is verified. Why should an entry contain false information? J3133 (talk) 16:49, 27 August 2020 (UTC)
You asserted "The entry should not contain unverified information." in support of your position. Almost ALL of our content is unverified. Thus applying your stated principle generally would require removing almost all of our content. Or, in a more conservative application, any challenge to any unreferenced and/or uncited content would result in the challenged content being stricken within 24 hours of a Tea Room challenge. DCDuring (talk) 22:35, 27 August 2020 (UTC)
(1) Even if Felis catus is no longer the correct term, it isn't archaic; at worst it's superseded. (2) While it's true our entries have a lot of unverified and unsourced info, we do usually remove something unverified and unsourced if somebody call attention to it and objects to it. —Mahāgaja · talk 17:22, 27 August 2020 (UTC)
@Mahagaja: Should that be 1. within 24 hours of the challenge whether or not there is discussion, let alone consensus, or 2. unilaterally and immediately without discussion, or 3. should be have a bot delete or, at least, flag all unsourced content? I am interested in orderly improvement of Wiktionary without invoking misleading, naive, idealistic rhetorical slogans. DCDuring (talk) 22:35, 27 August 2020 (UTC)
Option (1) isn't enough time; I'd give it a month. Option (2) depends on the situation; I often delete unsource info immediately for languages I know that I'm one of very few people working on such as Old Irish, but I would certainly reject doing that for languages a lot of people work on like English, French, or Spanish. Option (3-delete) would be intolerable; option (3-flag) would be impractical. My suggestion is, if it's a language you don't know well or a lot people work on, bring the issue to wider attention and give it at least a month. If it's language you know well, and few if any people other people are working on it, and you're a respected Wiktionarian who can delete things out of process without others suspecting you of vandalism, just delete it. For cases in between those two extremes, use common sense. —Mahāgaja · talk 10:19, 28 August 2020 (UTC)
Right. And sources recognizing it as a species date to 2017; so it's better to explain the dispute in usage notes than to label it "archaic", especially if the sources treating it as a subspecies are older (as Wikipedia implies) and more out of date...! - -sche (discuss) 18:12, 27 August 2020 (UTC)
I have agreed above that the label is wrong. In fact most taxonomic databases show Felis catus as the preferred species name.
My interest is procedural. We should have as orderly a discussion as possible before deleting the erroneous label. In this case the discussion might help Wiktionary more generally should we determine that such taxonomic mistakes occur in other entries where domestication complicates matters.
The alternative of establishing a precedent of immediate deletion without discussion seems unacceptable without sufficiently broad discussion and consensus. DCDuring (talk) 22:35, 27 August 2020 (UTC)
I disagree. Keeping the label without discussion and consensus seems unacceptable. J3133 (talk) 07:46, 28 August 2020 (UTC)


I'd like to ask about the pronunciation of gular (etymology 1) and our rhymes pages. I have indicated the pronunciation as /ˈɡjuːlə/ (RP) and /ˈɡ(j)ulɚ/ (GA), using "Appendix:English pronunciation" and the OED and Lexico.com as guides. As we have Rhymes:English/uːlə, I added the entry to that page. However, we do not have a rhymes page for Rhymes:English/ulə(ɹ). However, an anonymous editor repeatedly added the entry to Rhymes:English/uːlə(ɹ), claiming at one stage in an edit summary that "/u/ and /uː/ both represent the GOOSE vowel. Wiktionary's rhymes use /uː/ for the GOOSE vowel". Was that appropriate? — SGconlaw (talk) 17:21, 28 August 2020 (UTC)

Yes. Our pronunciation sections represent different accents differently, but our Rhymes pages are trans-dialectal. Since General American doesn't have contrastive vowel length, we don't usually mark vowels as long for GA; but GA /u/ corresponds exactly to RP /uː/, and Rhymes pages only use the latter. So any word that has /u/ (the "GOOSE vowel") in GA can go on a Rhymes page using /uː/. —Mahāgaja · talk 19:17, 28 August 2020 (UTC)
OK, thanks for clarifying. — SGconlaw (talk) 20:10, 28 August 2020 (UTC)
@Mahagaja: shouldn't the rhyme page Rhymes:English/uːlə be added as well, as a rhyme for the RP pronunciation? — SGconlaw (talk) 20:13, 28 August 2020 (UTC)
No; as I said the Rhymes pages are trans-dialectal. Rhymes:English/uːlə is for words that end in /ə/ in both rhotic and nonrhotic accents; while Rhymes:English/uːlə(ɹ) is for words that end in /əɹ/ (= /ɚ/) in rhotic and /ə/ in nonrhotic accents. That's why Rhymes:English/uːlə(ɹ) has a note saying "In non-rhotic accents, words ending in -uːlə are also rhymes for words on this page." —Mahāgaja · talk 21:05, 28 August 2020 (UTC)
Right. I hope I remember this. — SGconlaw (talk) 21:19, 28 August 2020 (UTC)


Is the pronunciation of the name for the Chinese kingdom really ə (Not the Chinese pronunciation, but the English)? That doesn't sound English at all. It was added by User:LlywelynII in 2013. Chuck Entz (talk) 04:09, 29 August 2020 (UTC)

Who might know? @Justinrleung, Mx. Granger, have you ever heard this pronounced? I tried to find e.g. YouTube videos about Chinese history mentioning it but there was too much chaff; I tried to find videos mentioning various people wtth the surname E just to see how that would be pronounced, but couldn't find that, either. - -sche (discuss) 20:54, 30 August 2020 (UTC)
I've never heard anyone use this word in English. If I were trying to pronounce it with English sounds, I would probably say /ʊ/ or /ʊə/. The ancient kingdom is obscure enough that a standard English pronunciation may not exist, with most speakers just doing their best approximation of the Chinese sound. I searched Youtube for "Ezhou" (鄂州), which apparently takes its name from E (), and found this vlog from someone who doesn't seem very confident in her pronunciation. —Granger (talk · contribs) 21:41, 30 August 2020 (UTC)
I haven't heard this pronounced in English, and I agree with Granger. — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 22:30, 30 August 2020 (UTC)
  • I imagine most native speakers of English would read it as /ɜː/ like "err" in BrE. ---> Tooironic (talk) 07:30, 2 September 2020 (UTC)
    Agree, but this is usually realized as [əː] anyway these days (at least in my southern England dialect). Ƿidsiþ 08:38, 14 September 2020 (UTC)


Discussion moved from Wiktionary:Etymology scriptorium/2020/August#Geodesic.

There is some confusion between the Greek-derived noun "geodesic" and the adjective "geodetic". I recently commented on this matter here on Wikipedia. Unfortunately, while Wiktionary correctly classifies geodetic as an adjective, the entry on geodesic elaborates an adjectival usage which I dispute as erroneous. I see "geodetic" as the preferable English, along the lines of eidetic from εἶδος. Bjenks (talk) 03:18, 29 August 2020 (UTC)

This isn't about the etymology, so I've moved it to the correct forum. Chuck Entz (talk) 04:46, 29 August 2020 (UTC)
Well, an adjective geodesic certainly exists (even in clearly adjectival ways), see Citations:geodesic. If there are references calling it wrong, they could be added to usage notes and/or a "proscribed" label could be added. - -sche (discuss) 09:32, 29 August 2020 (UTC)
Thanks, you're right about the inexpert usage proliferation. I need to go the OED and other specialised refs for clarification. Bjenks (talk) 05:00, 30 August 2020 (UTC)

hen's teethEdit

Current definition: “ungrammatical version of hens' teeth”. Should it be changed? See the edits and their summaries: 1, 2, 3 and the talk page. 09:25, 29 August 2020 (UTC) @Chuck Entz J3133 (talk) 10:16, 29 August 2020 (UTC)

Undone. This is a descriptive dictionary: we don't "correct" the spelling of widely attested phrases based on our personal grammatical analyses. There are plenty of idioms that the IP would consider ungrammatical: cow's milk, plumber's helper, etc. Also, there was no need to ping me, since I wouldn't have done what I did if I hadn't already seen this. Chuck Entz (talk)


The English entry (as a plural form of lat) has been removed because it was not mentioned in lat. Of which sense of lat is it a plural form and is it used? J3133 (talk) 09:25, 29 August 2020 (UTC)

It's the Latvian plural of lats, which is singular in Latvian. It would make more sense as the plural of English lats, the alternative form, but we'd have to look at the usage. Chuck Entz (talk) 10:35, 29 August 2020 (UTC)


Is the usage example suitable? Showing how to play seems more suitable for Wikipedia. J3133 (talk) 09:25, 29 August 2020 (UTC)

Removed. Just WF playing around. Chuck Entz (talk) 10:25, 29 August 2020 (UTC)

How many masts does a bark have?Edit

Sense 3 is "A three-masted vessel, having her foremast and mainmast square-rigged, and her mizzenmast schooner-rigged." But from a 1907 Technical Literature article, top of the right column: "This year the United States will celebrate the three hundredth anniversary of the building of the first American ship, the two-masted bark, "Virginia"...". Is a "bark" only typically three-masted? Is this a use of the poetic sense, but in a technical context? grendel|khan 18:06, 29 August 2020 (UTC)

I can also find google books:"one-masted bark", google books:"four-masted bark", etc. It does not seem like three masts are strictly definitional. Another dictionary I saw has "a sailing ship of three or more masts having the foremasts rigged square and the aftermast rigged fore-and-aft", which fails to cover the one- and two-masted versions, or relegates "two-masted bark" and "three-masted bark" to being/using different senses of the word...which, however, is actually plausible, since it seems like no books mention one- or two-masted barks and three-masted barks in the same book. (If they did, it would suggest "bark" had one meaning and the number of masts was modifying that one basic meaning.) I modified the def a bit: [18]. A one-masted bark is probably the "poetic" (ish) sense, and a two-masted bark could either be that sense or, plausibly, a bark with its sole foremast square-rigged and its other mast schooner-rigged. - -sche (discuss) 20:43, 30 August 2020 (UTC)


The word modernity has definitions for "The quality of being modern or contemporary." and "Modern times.", but I don't think either really capture what's meant in the "reject modernity / embrace tradition" memes. Is there another meaning here? Maybe "modern western culture"? grendel|khan 20:19, 29 August 2020 (UTC)


@Etimo pinged as the adder of the cognate In the etymology, Norwegian våk (child) is given as cognate; However, the translation given doesn't seem to be right. Is it still a cognate (from "to roam" > "buzzard") or is it just not a cognate at all? Thadh (talk) 21:45, 29 August 2020 (UTC)

You're assuming that our Norwegian entries are complete. Judging from the Bokmål and Nynorsk dictionary entries linked to in the entries, there are at least three etymologies, of which we only have one. Your first clue should have been that that the gloss in the Albanian entry doesn't match the Norwegian definitions at all. Chuck Entz (talk) 22:25, 29 August 2020 (UTC)
Actually, this dictionary does give the word for "boy", but it gives the etymology as "sick person" which doesn't seem to match any good sense for "roaming". All in all, I can't as a user understand the whole thought process. Perhaps some expansion would be in order (for example the PIE meaning?) Thadh (talk) 22:35, 29 August 2020 (UTC)

hard wordEdit

Is this an idiom? Are longer expressions built on it (like put the hard word on) idiomatic? Even if they are not, don't they merit inclusion as usage examples?

Generalizing from this, do we need to systematically go through red links under Derived and Related terms and add such terms as usage examples to the entries for their leading component words? At this point in Wiktionary's history, the vast majority of such red links are not considered idiomatic and entryworthy. DCDuring (talk) 20:04, 30 August 2020 (UTC)

Well, we could start by making a list of red links in Derived terms and Related terms of the English section (there will be around 50,000, I bet), and eliminate a few of them or turn them into usexes. --Daleusher (talk) 21:28, 30 August 2020 (UTC)
If we did something like that, it would be handy to have the individual component terms linked as well a clean version of the term in question.
I'd like to hear whether the English-language contributors, especially, think it is worth the trouble at this point in Wiktionary's evolution or whether we should kick the can down the road. DCDuring (talk) 21:52, 30 August 2020 (UTC)
No, "hard word" is not an idiom. I have no idea what "put the hard word on" would mean - other than to say it is clearly a phrase made up by an L2 learner. —⁠This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 10:45, 13 September 2020 (UTC).
What do you think Boris Johnson's first language was? "Mr Johnson asked them: “Do you think he is tough enough to refuse? Do you think he is tough enough to stand up to Nicola if Nicola puts the hard word on him?" Is the meaning not clear? Does the meaning of the expression follow from the meanings of the constitutent terms? DCDuring (talk) 08:32, 14 September 2020 (UTC)
  • hard word is definitely worth an entry (it can also mean "password"), and "put the hard word on" is a well-known idiom in Australian English if someone is asking for money or making some other kind of demand. I'm surprised to hear BoJo using it though, I have to admit. Ƿidsiþ 08:36, 14 September 2020 (UTC)
    Yup. I had to go through a score or more of ANZ newspaper usage to find a couple UK uses. DCDuring (talk) 08:44, 14 September 2020 (UTC)


There's a quote by Winston Churchill that we have at courage that goes a bit like this...I think this is a classic example of a quote being so widely quoted that it's assumed to be true. However, I can't find any actually instance of him saying this. Can anyone else dig this up? If it can't be found, naturally it should be removed from this site. --Daleusher (talk) 13:38, 31 August 2020 (UTC)

    • Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

Another one at go through hell (which looks like SOP to me...)

    • If you're going through hell, just keep going.
[Begin reply.] I will sometimes write "attributed to" when I can not verify the source. An anonymous quotation can still be useful. For example at stamp collecting,
That one is probably real. Offsite, I have also described "one death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic" as "attributed to Stalin" although that one is probably not accurate. I was quoting for the meaning, not to pass judgment on Stalin. Vox Sciurorum (talk) 17:31, 31 August 2020 (UTC)
Quote investigator generally does a thorough job looking for origin of quotations, often finding wording differences that are easy to miss in doing such research. DCDuring (talk) 08:38, 14 September 2020 (UTC)

chota hazriEdit

Also Module_talk:hi-noun#कच्चा_लोहा

It seems to be based on grammatically incorrect Hindi. I think it's feminine - छोटी हाज़िरी (choṭī hāzirī), not masculine छोटा हाज़िरी (choṭā hāzirī). The former Hindi spelling gets more Google hits. choti hazri (from Hindi feminine also seems attestable. It may be possible that the grammatical gender of हाज़िरी (hāzirī) is not well established and is also used as a masculine or it may be ungrammatical.

@Benwing2, AryamanA: What do you think and what should be done with English entry? --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 03:06, 1 September 2020 (UTC)

@Atitarev: From a descriptivist standpoint, as the masculine form does occur in sources, we must keep the entry. The school my father attended had छोटा हाज़िरी every afternoon (in the masculine). Many dialects of Hindi are looser in terms of gender markings, so it's possible it's just a technically ungrammatical yet common variant. I do not think any of them should be deleted. Maybe a usage note is a good idea. —AryamanA (मुझसे बात करेंयोगदान) 03:59, 1 September 2020 (UTC)
@AryamanA: Thanks. I have now removed the redirect from छोटा हाज़िरी (choṭā hāzirī) and made it an alt form of छोटी हाज़िरी (choṭī hāzirī). So, can छोटा हाज़िरी (choṭā hāzirī) be labelled masculine and छोटी हाज़िरी (choṭī hāzirī) feminine? Pls check both. And हाज़िरी (hāzirī) is only feminine, isn't it or it can also be masculine, based on this? --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 04:16, 1 September 2020 (UTC)
@Atitarev: Added a note explaining on the entry. हाज़िरी (hāzirī) by itself, to my knowledge, is always feminine; this is just a weird exception. —AryamanA (मुझसे बात करेंयोगदान) 17:25, 1 September 2020 (UTC)

September 2020

Is -ant a German suffix?Edit

There are three nouns in Category:German words suffixed with -ant, but -ant is not defined as a German suffix. It does form agent nouns in Dutch. Is it really a German suffix? Vox Sciurorum (talk) 16:16, 2 September 2020 (UTC)

Yes, I would say it's a suffix, and the Duden, DWDS and en.Wiktionary's colleagues over on de.Wiktionary (who seem to be relatively conservative about what is considered a suffix) have it as such. It's also commonly found as an ending on borrowings where it's borrowed 'wholesale', similar to the situation described in the usage notes of English -ant. - -sche (discuss) 20:30, 2 September 2020 (UTC)
I updated Aspirant which is borrowed from French. Ultimateria (talk) 17:22, 3 September 2020 (UTC)
Yes, but rarely productive at any point in history; most of the examples listed on de.Wiktionary do not count because they are “borrowed wholesale” from Latin or French nominalized participles. Antifant is surely a jocular condescending formation that I think the edgelords repeatedly invented in the decade 2000–2010 until it lexicalized, Lieferant I just put into the category is from the macaronic baroque, for as you might know during some decades in the 17th century there was a lot of artificial style owing the physical intrusion of foreign elements, which had to be mended by the Fruitbearing Society, and influenced by Low German and Dutch trade usage. Fay Freak (talk) 00:54, 4 September 2020 (UTC)


Page 759 of the Collins English Usage reads

A slash, stroke, or oblique is used between two words describing something that is in fact two things, as in a washer/drier, a clock/radio or a lounge/diner.

--Backinstadiums (talk) 11:00, 3 September 2020 (UTC)

Ngrams seems to support this
All rooms have color TV, alarmclock/radio, en-suite bathrooms, the child whom the alarm clock/radio wakes up, cord pulls are fitted to the lounge/diner and bedroom windows, in one combination washer/dryer unit

—⁠This comment was unsigned.

Or entry on / could definitely use some improvement as far as the use of the slash between nouns, or words in general as opposed to numbers, percents, dates, etc. Also, the claim that both the use of it for exclusive or and the use of it for inclusive or are proscribed could stand to be substantiated with references and/or a usage note. - -sche (discuss) 08:04, 8 September 2020 (UTC)
Collins may prefer it like that, but if you look for clock radios in shops, you will often find "clock radio". —⁠This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 08:26, 13 September 2020 (UTC).


I don't know much Romanian, but I'm wondering about the pronunciation distinction given here—that the [j] is dropped after el and ea. That is contradicted in this video, where Nico clearly says [ˈjel ˈjeste] and [ˈja ˈjeste]. But I see the same distinction is given on Romanian Wiktionary. Is it possibly a matter of slow/fast speech? —⁠This unsigned comment was added by Lesgles (talkcontribs).


Has this ever been used to mean "immortal", either as a noun ('the undying') or an adjective? Tharthan (talk) 00:36, 4 September 2020 (UTC)

  • For sure; that was the original meaning. Milton uses it that way in Paradise Lost I'm pretty sure. Ƿidsiþ 11:10, 4 September 2020 (UTC)
It occurs in Book VI of Paradise Lost, line 739, in the phrase “th’ undying Worm”. It seems to me that the meaning is more that of a never-ending torment in Hell (see worm sense 10) than that of a tubular invertebrate of the annelid phylum that has gained immortality. Milton uses a thrice repeated metaphor from Mark 9:43–46, which in turn stems from Isaiah 66:24.
Do you think, then, that we ought to include that as a secondary definition in our entry? I don't think that definition 1 is sufficient to imply to a Wiktionary reader that the word could be used to mean "immortal". Tharthan (talk) 16:11, 4 September 2020 (UTC)

Three for threeEdit

First, I've encountered this phrase in /Nho9HWVPgh4?t=28 on YouTube (which is spam-filtered here). Later today I noticed it again in /F_Riqjdh2oM?t=3155 also on YouTube.

The meaning seems to be rather consistently explained in the following threads:

but it does not seem to have a Wiktionary page. —⁠This unsigned comment was added by (talk).

  • Three could be replaced by another number. The definition is at for (out of; used to indicate a fraction, a ratio). Vox Sciurorum (talk) 21:40, 4 September 2020 (UTC)
  • I noticed, but three seems to be significantly more frequent then other numbers. I don't know if it is entryworthy though. 12:02, 5 September 2020 (UTC)
  • Ok, it is not: ngram comparison 12:23, 5 September 2020 (UTC)


"(linguistics) Present at an abstract level, but not realized in the data." Are we missing a sense of data here? This, that and the other (talk) 03:23, 5 September 2020 (UTC)

No, we just have a poorly written definition. I'll change it now. —Mahāgaja · talk 07:32, 5 September 2020 (UTC)


I plan to add a sense for the "in" that is used in combination to indicate a gathering of people assembled for a stated activity, as in e.g. "sing-in", "pray-in", "hug-in", but what PoS is "in" in these compounds? Any ideas anyone? Mihia (talk) 09:25, 5 September 2020 (UTC)

I'd call it a suffix. —Mahāgaja · talk 09:42, 5 September 2020 (UTC)
Oh, do you think so? It did briefly cross my mind as to whether to put it at -in with the other suffixes, presumably in a new ety section, but I dismissed that idea. Do you think it should go there? Mihia (talk) 11:20, 5 September 2020 (UTC)
As a very young suffix applied to verb stems to form nouns, originating from a generalization of its first applications in sit-in (1939?) and next by analogy in the (then) neologism teach-in (1965), it is an odd bird in the suffix aviary. I think that the notion that the activity is a form of activist protest is part of the original uses, but this may have been watered down in some later uses.  --Lambiam 11:04, 6 September 2020 (UTC)
FWIW, Dictionary.com agrees with the view that it is a suffix, calling -in a "suffixal use of the adverb", and noting both the protest sense and the extended social activity sense. (Merriam-Webster, in turn, has only the protest sense of -in as a "noun combining form", as distinct from the chemical and pharmaceutical -in which they call a "noun suffix". Both dictionaries agree on putting it in a separate ety section, btw.) Ngrams suggests that a spaced form "sit in" (specifically, I searched for the plural in the phrase "sit ins in", to ensure only nouns turned up) is about 1/200th as common as "sit-in", which is rare enough that finding specifics examples is tedious (because outside of Ngrams a Google Books search for "sit in" "helpfully" also returns hits for "sit-in"), and probably rare enough not to impede analysis as a suffix. - -sche (discuss) 16:29, 6 September 2020 (UTC)
It also seems curious to have the "particles" baked-in (or is that baked in?) to phrasal verbs not be called suffixes when they are at least as tightly linked to the verb as -in. Our -in doesn't survive (or does interfere with) verb inflection whereas phrasal verb particles do. DCDuring (talk) 19:04, 10 September 2020 (UTC)
Personally I see e.g. "sing-along" as a compound word, not word + suffix. I feel the same too about "-in" in e.g. "sing-in", though per above I have deferred to the majority view on that. I would definitely not call the small adverb of a phrasal verb a suffix even when hyphenated e.g. attributively. Mihia (talk) 19:28, 10 September 2020 (UTC)
If there are references which support analysis as another part of speech, let's talk about them. :) I merely reported what I could find. The Concise Oxford English Dictionary calls "-in" a "combining form". OTOH, I see the 2004 Chambers has this under "in prep", as something used "in compounds". The existence of unspaced forms like "sitin" with the plural "sitins" (which Ngrams says is about 1/30th as common, searching for the phrase "sitins in" in an effort to ensure only nouns are returned), and indeed the fact that the hyphenated noun inflects as "sit-ins", suggests that "in" is more tightly linked to the main word here than in phrasal verbs like "bake in" (where the inflected form is, as you note, "baked-in", not "bake-ined"), no? - -sche (discuss) 22:16, 10 September 2020 (UTC)
I couldn't think of another example where a particle/adverb/preposition acquired so much meaning from its early uses as to productively add that meaning to words it is subsequently combined with. An analogy might be up and down which lost any spatial meaning they had in their early uses (I think) and became more or less aspect markers (indicating something like "thoroughly"). Perhaps off as in play-off, bake-off, cook-off, face-off, run-off possibly from fight off/beat off.
But we don't normally call a morpheme an affix if it is normally linked to other morphemes by a hyphen. It has to be a bound form, but in is normally not a bound form in the cases advanced.
Because sit-in had a clear spatial component (the sitting took place in a place that was an object of the protest), the extended meaning of in seems much like other extended meanings, not warranting the imposition of the PoS "suffix" when it does not meet the most basic condition for being a suffix. DCDuring (talk) 04:02, 11 September 2020 (UTC)
OK, so if we were to move it back from -in to in, under which PoS at in do you think it should go? Sounds as if you might be inclined towards preposition? Mihia (talk) 10:45, 11 September 2020 (UTC)
The absence of any specific spatial object makes me think objectless preposition, that is, adverb. The definitions "At or towards the interior of a defined space, such as a building or room." and "So as to be enclosed or surrounded by something." seem close enough to ground the extended meaning. DCDuring (talk) 11:40, 11 September 2020 (UTC)
Digging some more, I found an old paper, Stanley Peters, Goals of Linguistic Theory (1972), page 13, which says: "Consider the recent popularity of event nouns used in the context of social protest in which the first element is a verb and the second element is the preposition in, as in sit-in, love-in, etc."
Among non-linguistic books, Teach-ins, U.S.A. (1967), p. 5, correctly predicts "in future dictionaries of American English, the suffix '-in' may well be defined as referring to a technique of social protest", and [among non-linguistic books I would not ascribe much weight to] Carson's 1990 The Student Voice, 1960-1965, p. 15, Sheppard's 2005 The Party, p. 35, and Hanshew's 2012 Terror and Democracy in West Germany, p. 91, also call it a suffix.
The 1973 New York Times Encyclopedic Almanac, page 427, speaks of "use of the preposition in with verbs to form nouns expressing the mass occupation of a place for the purpose of performing the action described by the verb, often as a protest, as in sit-in, love-in, be-in, work-in, etc." And an old (1950s?) work hostile to civil rights [which I would not ascribe much weight to], reprinted in/as other books like The Right Not to Listen (1964), says "The preposition “in” will not be found as a standard addition to verbs in dictionaries of the English language. [...] But in the past few years, our newspapers have devised a new vocabulary to meet the needs of the times by adding “in” to almost every action verb in the dictionary, as, for example, in “sit-in"." (I did not spot any books which call in an adverb.)
The 1972 A Grammar of contemporary English also apparently mentions "woman-haters break-downs close-ups grown-ups sit-ins lay-bys (NB: spelling) stand-bys (NB: spelling) take-offs gin-and-tonics [and] forget-me-nots", but I can't find a searchable copy of the book to find out what they say about any of the words in that odd list.
It seems the possibilities are "suffix -in" or "preposition in" (or "combining form -in" per some dictionaries, but we don't use that POS for English AFAIK). - -sche (discuss) 17:38, 11 September 2020 (UTC)
Thanks for all that research. Yes, it would certainly be easier if we allowed a "combining form" PoS! Mihia (talk) 20:03, 11 September 2020 (UTC)
I guess there's no inherent reason we couldn't start using that POS for English (we have some Ancient Greek things like -φοβία as a "combining form" rather than a suffix, for reasons that are opaque to me), but I don't see what benefit "[hyphenated] combining form" would have over "suffix"...? - -sche (discuss) 22:23, 11 September 2020 (UTC)
In the 1985 A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language, Quirk and his co-authors (authors of the 1972 A Grammar of the English Language) have a footnote in their "Appendix I: Word-formation":
"Conversion to noun'
"[B] Event/activity (from verbs used dynamically)
"attempt, fall, hit, laugh, release, search, swim; shut-down, walk-out, blow-out (of a tyre)
"Note: It will be noticed that the examples above include nouns formed from phrasal and prepositional verbs. The type of informal deverbal coinage represented by teach-in belongs to Type [B] rather than to any other, but unlike shut-down it cannot be derived from a phrasal verb (there is no *We taught-in last night). The vogue for such formations produced sit-in, love-in, swim-in, and others. They signify an activity (that denoted by the verb) being carried on corporately (typically within an institution and with overtones of social protest)."
The other types of deverbal conversion are 'State', 'Object of V', 'Subject of V', 'Instrument of V', 'Manner of V-ing', 'Place of V'.
Quirk et al. do not explicitly address the word- or morpheme-class to which in would belong, that being a secondary matter in a footnote in an appendix.
The other CGEL (2002) separately mentions sit-in and its descendants as one of several groups of compounds.
I would draw attention to the six adverbial definitions of in at in#Adverb. I see no reason why a non-gloss definition would not fit in that group and do so more aptly than among the preposition definitions. There is no specific associated place inherently involved in these terms, with the possible, occasional exception of sit-in. Even in that case many sit-ins were not conducted in any protest against the place or owners of the place at which the sit-in occurred. DCDuring (talk) 23:15, 11 September 2020 (UTC)


English gloriole sense 2 is defined as "golden ring". Does this just mean a ring of gold (in which case it shouldn't be a red link)? Is it in fact distinct from sense 1, the halo? Equinox 18:17, 5 September 2020 (UTC)

Added by an IP last March. Looking at the first few pages of books that use both terms (google books:"gloriole" "golden ring" and google books:"gloriole" "gold ring"), gloriole always seems to mean "halo" or something to that effect.. - -sche (discuss) 16:34, 6 September 2020 (UTC)
Therefore temoved, pending any evidence of its existence. - -sche (discuss) 20:53, 7 September 2020 (UTC)


A definition of adj. "out" read "Openly acknowledging that one is queer and/or genderqueer". I changed this to "Openly acknowledging that one is homosexual" with the comment "avoid slang in definitions", and similarly for the corresponding verb sense. Editor @AugustusVarius changed them back with the comment " queer is not slang, and is not replaceable by the narrower homosexual". I disagree that it is not slang. I believe that the word "queer" in this sense is widely perceived not only as slang but also widely as offensive slang, and that it is inappropriate for us to use it in this way in our definitions. Please comment. Mihia (talk) 19:08, 5 September 2020 (UTC)

I think the term has been reclaimed to the extent that it no longer carries a pejorative connotation and can no longer be considered slang. Many queer people proudly declare themselves “proud to be queer”.[19][20][21] The initialism LGBTQ, in which the letter Q is usually taken to stand for “queer”, is a now a mainstream term, as is the term “queer rights”.  --Lambiam 11:19, 6 September 2020 (UTC)
I have only ever heard out used by or about people who would idenfity as or be called gay, lesbian, or bi. Never queer or neologisms. There was talk about queer being reclaimed as positive in the early 1990s. I don't know when it really happened. The gay, lesbian, and bi people I knew in the 1990s and 2000s never identified themselves as "queer" (etc.), and so were not "out" as "queer" (etc.). But I can't assert confidently that kids these days don't use out differently. Vox Sciurorum (talk) 16:37, 6 September 2020 (UTC)
Queer is used by enough queer people and formal contexts that I don't think it's any more pejorative or slangy than e.g. gay, long widely used as a slur for "lame, retarded". There are academic disciplines called "queer theory" and "queer studies", which suggests a high level of acceptability (non-pejorativeness) and entails formal use of the word. In turn, while homosexual is probably still fine to use in a definition where it's a semantically correct word, it does have (decently correct, IME) usage notes about how it's now disfavored by many gay/queer people, so I wouldn't think of it as obviously 'better'. But the main problem is that both "homosexual" and "queer or genderqueer" are too narrow: one can be e.g. an out bisexual, or an out trans man or trans woman, besides google books:"an out queer" person or google books:"out nonbinary" person. (This also applies to the verb.) I thought our entry covered trans people before... ah, it was changed in diff, which treated "trans" as being under "queer" (which is...not the most common definition of queer). I'd suggest either "queer or transgender" or "LGBT+" (relying, in both cases, on the broad definition of "transgender"/"T" by which it theoretically covers nonbinary). - -sche (discuss) 17:16, 6 September 2020 (UTC)
I think we're better off not being specific: the basic idea is being known as being something unacceptable according to traditional views on sexual orientation and gender. It started with homosexuality, but has been progressively broadening as new movements have borrowed terminology from older ones. Chuck Entz (talk) 17:31, 6 September 2020 (UTC)
I'm inclined to have two senses, one covering the queer/trans sense, and one for the later(?) extension(?) to unrelated things; in line with what the verb section already does. This is because you can just say someone is "out" without further specification, and that alone denotes "openly queer or trans". Indeed, not only do you usually need to specify in order to convey something else, but even when you do, calling someone "an out spy" still suggests "an openly gay spy", and when I search for google books:"an out Nazi", "an out Muslim", "an out Jew", etc, many (most?) results are for ones who are "openly lesbian", "openly gay", etc, not ones who are merely open about being Nazis, religious, etc. - -sche (discuss) 18:13, 6 September 2020 (UTC)
I agree with having two senses, just not using "queer" in the definitions, per my comment below. Ultimateria (talk) 05:09, 7 September 2020 (UTC)
  • I am surprised that there is any support for "queer". To me, "queer" is a startlingly inappropriate word to encounter unmarked in a dictionary definition. I am aware that some activists have have tried to "reclaim" the word, but that is far from saying that acceptance has extended to the general population. Can anyone provide examples of mainstream publications -- say mainstream media or dictionaries -- that use the word "queer" in this sort of unmarked or unconcerned way in normal editorial content? In these matters we should take our cue from mainstream usage, not marginal use by in-groups. Mihia (talk) 22:15, 6 September 2020 (UTC)
From my perspective it casually used much more widely than just by "some activists". A quick search in The Guardian (yes, I know) shows hundreds of uses of "queer people", "queer spaces", and "queer culture". However, even if I encounter it almost always as a neutral term, the fact that it can be pejorative leads me to agree with you that we should not use it in definitions. Ultimateria (talk) 05:08, 7 September 2020 (UTC)
Queer is one of many polarized words in modern culture. It is a Guardian word, and probably an NPR word in the United States, but you will rarely if ever find it used on Fox News outside of quotations or quotation marks. Vox Sciurorum (talk) 13:11, 7 September 2020 (UTC)
I might go as far as to say that these days it seems to be largely "some activists" (particularly TERFs and conservatives who say it "erases" gays / lesbians by including "too many" other identities) who are the main people who want it stigmatized, and some older people who think it is stigmatized, while it's nonetheless common. It's in the names of multiple fields of academic study and a quick search like google scholar:"queer patients" finds it in medical literature, which seems about as formal as you get short of being codified into law. (I'm not sure if even gay, with into own long and ongoing use as a slur for "lame/retarded", has been reclaimed enough that it's in laws, though I think both terms are still fine to use.) We can certainly word this definition another way—I suggested "LGBT+" (maybe something like "openly acknowledging having an LGBT+ identity"?)—but I definitely push back on the idea that queer can't be used, and the idea that homosexual, a term disfavored for its medicalizing and sometimes pejorative connotations, is better. (PS I wouldn't interpret non-use by Fox as suggesting they find it pejorative, since Fox has no problem using pejoratives: a quick search finds stories on "illegals" and "gypsies", for example.) - -sche (discuss) 18:34, 7 September 2020 (UTC)
Maybe there are cases where it makes sense to use queer in a definition, but I strongly prefer the more neutral LGBT(+/Q/QIA) in at least this case. In speech I use queer ten times more often than LGBT, and I agree with your observations about the word's politics, but like I said, if any negativity can be read in our wording, let's avoid it. Let's go with LGBT+ as you suggested. Ultimateria (talk) 17:19, 8 September 2020 (UTC)


Moved to RFV. Mihia (talk) 20:38, 5 September 2020 (UTC)

more than one cares to mentionEdit

Methinks either I put this expression at the wrong lemma, or that it's redundant somehow to something. --Java Beauty (talk) 19:22, 5 September 2020 (UTC)

Compare the (more common) idiom more often than one cares to admit and more often than one cares to think about: the verb mention is not a fixture of the phrase; other verbs that can be used include hear, face, imagine, know, realize, recount and see.  --Lambiam 09:06, 6 September 2020 (UTC)
I don't think it's a determiner phrase. I do think it's NISoP. DCDuring (talk) 21:50, 6 September 2020 (UTC)

idem sonans: pluralEdit

We have this as an adjective, but I also see idem sonantia used in plural contexts. Is that a Latin plural adjective, or a noun? How can we fit it into the English entry? Equinox 22:57, 5 September 2020 (UTC)

Hard to tell. Latin adjectives can be used as nouns, usually in their neuter forms, which for singular sonans is the same as the masculine and feminine forms, but the plural form sonantia is neuter only. (For pluralis, the neuter form plurale is also distinct in the singular.) I have not investigated this, but I’d not be surprised if the use of the term idem sonans in English legalese is often, perhaps even more commonly, as a noun, just like the term plurale tantum in grammatical treatises. (Note also that Latin nomen is singular, and idem sonantia is plausibly a short form of the Latin phrase nomina idem sonantia – “names that sound the same” – in which sonantia is unambiguously an adjective). --Lambiam 08:55, 6 September 2020 (UTC)

Strike jambEdit

What on earth is a "strike jamb"? I came across the phrase "strike jamb" in (or on, whichever preposition our needlessly difficult language requires here) the instruction sheet for installing a shower door. Wiktionary has no entry for "strike jamb".

I'm sure I once saw a jazz band called Strike Jamb. --Java Beauty (talk) 02:00, 6 September 2020 (UTC)
It is not specific to shower doors. For a hinged door, the two jambs are called the hinge jamb and the strike jamb. See further this guide to door part terminology.  --Lambiam 08:36, 6 September 2020 (UTC)
Do we think strike jamb, strike plate, mortise strike, deadbolt strike, latch strike, door strike, etc. are derived from the verb or the noun? Our entry for strike has separate derived terms sections. I don't know that they are all attestable, but they don't seem SoP. DCDuring (talk) 21:12, 6 September 2020 (UTC)
WTF is "SoP"? 2602:252:D14:F900:3CD7:BD8B:3A02:85CB 23:52, 6 September 2020 (UTC)
Sum of parts. If a term is understandable by going to the dictionary entries for its components and testing in context the meaning that results from each combination of definitions, then it is SoP. Rarely is the process so laborious as to require testing more than a few combinations. In contrast, no such determination of meaning is possible for a pure idiom like kick the bucket. At WT:RFD we regularly consider such matters. DCDuring (talk) 00:03, 7 September 2020 (UTC)
Right. If a friend takes you to the cleaners because you spilled something on your best suit and your car is in the shop, we don't want a dictionary entry about that. Chuck Entz (talk) 00:57, 7 September 2020 (UTC)
I think that strike in strike jamb or door strike is short for strike plate, which is mounted where the latch strikes the jamb, so this is probably a verb-noun compound, like push button.  --Lambiam 08:47, 9 September 2020 (UTC)

malé ryby taky rybyEdit

An anonymous editor recently added a Czech proverb malé ryby taky ryby. Literally, "small fish are still fish". According to some guy on the internet[22], it has the expected meaning "be happy with what you got." But the editor gave it the mysterious translation small cattle are also crap. That English phrase is a new one for me. (Currently subject to RFV. And just deleted as a protologism.) Any Slavic speakers want to offer a better translation? Vox Sciurorum (talk) 16:20, 6 September 2020 (UTC)

Pinging User:Dan Polansky, since he speaks Czech. - -sche (discuss) 17:21, 6 September 2020 (UTC)
See also Wiktionary:Requests for verification/English#small cattle are also crap, which gives the plausible hypothesis that this arose from the mistranslation (actually the product of Google Translate) of a German saying whose proper translation is “small livestock also produces manure” – in which the product is considered a valuable commodity, being fertilizer, not to be poopooed (sorry) because of the small amount compared to the heaps of BS available from cattle. It seems to me that the message is the same as for the Czech proverb: every little bit helps, so do not dismiss minor things – small fry – as having no value just because the value is not large. We define the mistranslated German proverb as meaning “many a mickle makes a muckle”.  --Lambiam 16:02, 9 September 2020 (UTC)
I translated Czech malé ryby taky ryby as half a loaf is better than none. --Dan Polansky (talk) 11:10, 13 September 2020 (UTC)

move upward by grapple gunEdit

Especially in superhero fiction, someone will sometimes fire a grappling hook at e.g. the top of a nearby building, and then the grapple gun will winch the line back in, so that they "fly" upward to where they hooked their grapple. Is there a word for this action, "the hero/villain [verb]ed to the top of the building", the way sliding rapidly downward on a rope that you anchored somewhere is rappelling / abseiling? TVTropes says someone "is pulled up" by their gun, but I wondered if there was a more specific word. - -sche (discuss) 03:14, 7 September 2020 (UTC)

I see all of two book hits for "grappled to the top" and two for "grappled up to the top" (of the building, robot, etc). Maybe that's it, or maybe there are other/better words... - -sche (discuss) 03:24, 7 September 2020 (UTC)
Do grapple guns exist in the non-fiction universe? DCDuring (talk) 22:39, 7 September 2020 (UTC)
Apparently, they do! DCDuring (talk) 22:51, 7 September 2020 (UTC)
Yes, the Allies used some to scale cliffs on D-Day, and Russian police have a man-portable one. At least a few hobbyists make ones that winch users up, like superheroes'. I just wonder if there's a better word for "move via grapple gun" than "be winched up". - -sche (discuss) 23:02, 7 September 2020 (UTC)
I have yet to see one that has the power to lift anything, let alone a superhero and rescuee (~300+ lbs.). They just seem to use compressed air to fire the grappling hook and a rope ladder (say, 50 lbs with high-tech materials) perhaps 100 feet vertically. Then the muscle-powered ascent begins. DCDuring (talk) 23:26, 7 September 2020 (UTC)
'The Hacksmith' built one that can winch someone up like Batman's can, and an engineering student built something similar for the US military, so they do exist, even if only as "one-offs". - -sche (discuss) 23:40, 7 September 2020 (UTC)
I'd love to see one work that could not only fire the grappling hook and its strong trailing rope/cable a hundred feet (the easy part), but also have enough power to lift two people a hundred feet at 10 ft/sec. DCDuring (talk) 15:01, 8 September 2020 (UTC)
Unlike Hacksmith, Batman didn't need an extension cord. DCDuring (talk) 19:47, 8 September 2020 (UTC)

gender reveal, gender reveal cakeEdit

We have gender reveal cake (since 2017), but it seems SOP, since there are also "gender reveal balloons" (which become visible and are a certain colour), "gender reveal smoke (bombs|cannons)" (which give off a certain colour), etc, and the "gender reveal parties" people use them at. My question is, do you agree gender reveal cake is SOP, and if so, is it [[gender]] [[reveal]] [[cake]], or should we have [[gender reveal]]? On one hand, a gender reveal is just revealing someone's [presumed] gender; OTOH, the fact that it usually refers to a baby, and only rarely to an adult, could be idiomatic; OTOH, that's arguably a practical rather than a lexical restriction. - -sche (discuss) 02:38, 8 September 2020 (UTC)

The common meaning of the compound noun gender reveal is “gender-reveal party”.[23][24][25] This is just like baby shower is short for “baby-shower party”. However you analyze it, gender reveal cake is SOP.  --Lambiam 08:38, 9 September 2020 (UTC)

Wikipedia as a sourceEdit

It is stated here, "According to Wikipedia..." Is it acceptable here to cite a wiki?—Fezzy1347 (talk) 05:26, 8 September 2020 (UTC)

Citing Wikipedia for this seems substandard to me. If the statements are sourced on Wikipedia (they are), to sources which indeed say this, let's just cite those sources (as I have now done), if nothing else. In this case, I added one more source for the date it was dropped from the DSM, and replaced WP's citation of the American Heritage Medical Dictionary with one of {{R:AHD}}, which confirms the main sentence about the term no longer being used in mainstream psychiatric diagnosis. - -sche (discuss) 07:05, 8 September 2020 (UTC)

rolled ice creamEdit

Needs a definition. --TheDarkKnightLi(STAY HAPPY) 06:00, 8 September 2020 (UTC)

  Done Equinox 18:21, 10 September 2020 (UTC)


From looking at 10 different dictionaries, it would appear community as a definition of place, is missing here. [26] [27] [28] [29] I have not edited Wiktionary before, and I hate getting my edits reverted or flagged.... so leaving this here for someone more familiar with the site to pick up. Dagelf (talk) 06:12, 8 September 2020 (UTC)

I also question the decision to have "Internet community" as a separate sense [in our entry] from sense 1, when even one of the citations begins by paraphrasing sense 1: "Online gaming communities develop their own language, history, routines, and relationships." At a minimum, there should probably be some better sense grouping / subsensing. - -sche (discuss) 07:14, 8 September 2020 (UTC)
A community can be an administrative division in various countries; see Community (administrative division) on Wikipedia. It is also used informally in other countries than listed there for a small populated place; for example Bayou Chene, Louisiana and Pooleville, Oklahoma. It can furthermore (just like commune) refer to a dwelling, compound or settlement where a group of people forming a community of like-minded individuals resides, like the utopian socialist communities founded by Robert Owen, such as the Owenite community in New Harmony.  --Lambiam 17:33, 8 September 2020 (UTC)

Case sensitivityEdit

Why is there a Community as well as a community, should these pages not be merged? Dagelf (talk)

  • The first is German, the second is English. SemperBlotto (talk) 06:38, 8 September 2020 (UTC)

out (2): push someone out the gate, etcEdit

The preposition, "from from the inside to the outside of", was formerly labelled "now nonstandard". But the 2012 citation "she sat looking out the window" is perfectly standard, and phrases like "shove someone out the door", also perfectly standard to this day AFAICT, seem to have the same grammar as the Shakespeare citation "when you have pushed out your gates the very defender of them". So I removed the "now nonstandard" tag. Am I wrong? - -sche (discuss) 18:54, 9 September 2020 (UTC)

For me, "looking out the window" and "shove someone out the door" are most definitely not formally correct in modern English, albeit this is a form that one might lapse into in casual speech. I am not knowledgeable about historical usage, but the present label, Now often as "out of", does not fully capture my perception of modern usage. Mihia (talk) 23:19, 9 September 2020 (UTC)
The problem with "when you have pushed out your gates the very defender of them" seems to have more to do with ordering and syntactic structure than with the semantics. There's a big difference between "pushing someone out your gates" and "pushing out your gates someone". The second order makes you want to interpret it as the gates being pushed, until you hit the noun phrase and are forced to mentally move everything into the first order. Chuck Entz (talk) 04:33, 10 September 2020 (UTC)
From about 1980 bare out has become more frequent than out of with window and door at Google NGrams. In 2000-2019 the out the window is about twice as common as out of the window and out the door is about five times as common. With gate and room, the out of collocation is more common over the entire period from 1800 to 2009, with out of the room being more than 50 times as common as out the room and out of the gate about three times as common as out the gate. The results are similar to the latter for out (of) the car, out (of) the train, out (of) the house, and out (of) the office. In all cases use of out has had an uptick in the last two decades. I haven't looked at the specific uses to make sure they were comparable semantically.
I tentatively conclude from this that out the window and out the door have become 'almost' idiomatic. A more radical interpretation is that these are leading indicators of language change. But I am reminded also of the common omission of determiners in some prepositional phrases headed by in, at, to, and from, with home, work, school, college, uni, church, prison, jail, etc. as objects, which has been a stable part of usage for quite some time. DCDuring (talk) 08:30, 10 September 2020 (UTC)
  • Fascinating: looking into this, it seems to be (partly?) a US(+Aus+NZ) vs. UK thing. Merriam-Webster, a US dictionary, not only doesn't indicate any nonstandard- or datedness of out in this sense, they use it themselves in their own voice, e.g. in a historical note in the entry on defenestration: "the [most famous] tossing out the window was quite literal. [...] they were thrown out the window of Prague Castle." OTOH, Lexico says it is "standard in American, Australian, and New Zealand English" but "traditionalists do not accept it as part of standard British English". MacMillan says it's common "in American English and spoken British English [...] but many British people consider that this use is not correct". I took a stab at a usage note, please revise / expand as needed. (Canada is a notable omission at present.) - -sche (discuss) 08:36, 10 September 2020 (UTC)
OK, I'm surprised to learn that this is considered standard in any formal register of English, if that's what Lexico are saying. I never knew that. As far as BrE is concerned, I would agree with your note, except that it might be useful to say that it is not standard in formal BrE, rather than just BrE, and also to mention the formally correct alternative, i.e. "out of". Mihia (talk) 17:00, 10 September 2020 (UTC)


Should we include a specific reference to the slang/neologism "sth is such a mood", "mood!", etc.? It means something along the lines of "that's so relatable". ---> Tooironic (talk) 23:13, 9 September 2020 (UTC)

I can find three citations, so I'd say yes, they should either go under an existing sense or a new sense. (Two are "[be a] whole mood" and one is "[be a] whole-ass mood", but that's just an artifact of those being the only phrases that didn't turn up tons of chaff.) Of the senses in the entry, "a prevalent atmosphere or feeling" seems most closely related to the sense of this slang. - -sche (discuss) 09:21, 10 September 2020 (UTC)

dynamic equilibriumEdit

Does this have a different sense in physics? If so, what is it? ---> Tooironic (talk) 23:28, 9 September 2020 (UTC)

A great amount of the usage of this phrase seems SoP to me. A system can be viewed as in equilibrium with many of its state variable being in flux. If some relationship of interest among the state variables in invariant, than the system can be said to be in equilibrium. The chemical sense in the entry seems more specific. I'm a but skeptical that anyone but a chemist would use the term in its supposed extended meaning. DCDuring (talk) 08:43, 10 September 2020 (UTC)
A chemist would probably not guess the meaning of the term as used in economics and ecology, and conversely. If this supposition of mine is correct, then the term is not transparent to either group. In the eco* and similar uses, the sense is that there are opposing forces that change (hence dynamic), but in such a way that they cancel each other and therefore do not disturb an existing equilibrium. A very simple example is when the populations of a predator species and a prey species grow, but in equal proportions. For an exposition of the use in economic theory, see Economic equilibrium#Dynamic equilibrium on Wikipedia. The chemical sense is indeed much more specific. A nice definition, which however only works if you already understand the concept, is this one: “An system is in dynamic equilibrium, if, observed from afar, the state of a system doesn’t change although all the time reversible processes are going on.” An example in an upcoming election would be that for each option the number of potential voters remains constant; although individually they are changing position all the time, the absolute rates of inflow and outflow are the same. In all cases there is an invariant relationship between the state variables, but its nature is very different.  --Lambiam 21:27, 10 September 2020 (UTC)
I don't think that dynamic is limited to directly opposing/offsetting forces/phenomena, with the apparent exception of chemistry. I'd be interested to see uses of the first sense, which seems like a chemist's attempt to generalize/broaden the application of the chemical definition. DCDuring (talk) 23:29, 10 September 2020 (UTC)
Vaporization and condensation taking place simultaneously, leaving the amounts of a substance in its liquid and gaseous states invariant, is an instance of a dynamic equilibrium that is, strictly speaking, not chemical, because these phase transitions are not reactions in the sense of chemistry. It falls, however, in the realm of physical chemistry. But here are some uses that are squarely non-chemical: [30], [31], [32]. The chemical sense is actually that of sense 1 in a more specific context, except that sense 1 should be made more precise in the sense that these opposite changes do not only occur simultaneously, but that they also cancel each other, so that together they have no net effect – where judging the existence or absence of a “net effect” is context-dependent.  --Lambiam 12:01, 12 September 2020 (UTC)


The current definition of acciaccatura is, as far as I can tell, unsourced, and to me it seems inaccurate. Admittedly I am not a professional musician, just a competent amateur, but I have three main issues with the current definition: I generally understand acciaccature as occurring an infinitesimally short time before the beat rather than on the beat: appoggiature, on the other hand, would be on the beat.

I do not see why for a grace note (with a slash through) to qualify as an acciaccatura it should have to be diatonically immediately above or below the main note, I can think of many examples of what most people I know would refer to as acciaccature which are further away from the main note. If this is a matter of differences between common usage and technical definitions, it may be prudent to mention this.

The mention of interpretations of grace notes in Baroque music being different and stricter seems unhelpful and ambiguous to me here more than anything. I would even argue that in the case of the acciaccatura the Baroque interpretations may be less strict, as they could be more varied, e.g. sometimes occurring before the beat, sometimes on the beat*; in Romantic or 20th century music an acciaccatura would essentially always be before the beat. Conversely appoggiature are probably interpreted more strictly in Baroque music, with it also being relevant that they are considerably less common in Romantic and 20th century music. An updated definition probably should mention the differences in interpretation between Baroque (and Classical) and later eras, but ensuring that there is no ambiguity neither with respect to what the differences are, nor with regards to whether it is referring to the interpretation of acciaccature or appoggiature, possibly avoiding mentioning appoggiature for this reason.

  • Concrete example that comes to mind: So ist mein Jesus nun gefangen from St Matthew Passion by Bach, I am fairly certain I have heard just about every possible interpretation of the grace notes in this duet, and I have also very unhelpfully seen the grace notes printed with slashes in some editions and without in others.

Anditres (talk) 04:55, 10 September 2020 (UTC)

For the Baroque interpretation, a somewhat authoritative treatment can be found here on p. 22 ff. – but not quite as authoritative as the ascription “By Johann Sebastian Bach” in the sidebar might make one hope. For later periods, see e.g. here. But there is no definitive contemporaneous description of how these and many other kinds of grace notes were performed during the lifetimes of the composers in earlier periods, often by performers who had quite some latitude to improvise as they saw fit, so anyone is free to form their own theories and perform them accordingly, based on what they feel makes the most sense, musically speaking – where it must be noted that once you get used to a certain style, it may begin to feel as if this is the way it has to be.
I think we should do well by aiming for the simplest definition that is more distinctive than “a kind of grace note” but not wrong, and rely for the rest on referring the reader to Wikipedia, which allows all room for a variety of significant points of view, provided they can be backed up by reliable sources.  --Lambiam 17:05, 10 September 2020 (UTC)


Can "Czech" also be attested as denoting "Czech Republic"? I have heard things like "He is from Czech" numerous times, but I always assumed Czech can only be an adjective, or refer to a person from the Czech Republic. ---> Tooironic (talk) 05:40, 10 September 2020 (UTC)

I've heard this. It sounds wrong to me, but I can find citations [which I've moved to the entry now]. - -sche (discuss) 10:29, 10 September 2020 (UTC)
Added, labelled "nonstandard". - -sche (discuss) 03:42, 11 September 2020 (UTC)
Thanks everyone! ---> Tooironic (talk) 00:05, 12 September 2020 (UTC)

English for "board game move made assuming the opponent will blunder"?Edit

Trying to find a single-word English equivalent for Korean 꼼수, if there is one at all.--Karaeng Matoaya (talk) 05:43, 10 September 2020 (UTC)

A similar concept is a Trick play, but I'm not sure if that translates this exactly. - -sche (discuss) 09:48, 10 September 2020 (UTC)
It describes perfectly how I play chess. It is not a dependable tactic, though: if your opponent is strong, they are probably on to your game, and if they are weak, they’ll spoil your cunningly crafted stratagem with a random idiot move. I see some uses of “ploy move”.[33][34] A single term but not a single word, and also not enough uses to confidently call this an equivalent. In many contexts this may nevertheless be understood without further explanation.  --Lambiam 14:32, 10 September 2020 (UTC)
If successful, you might say your opponent took the bait. But I don't see a path from there to a one word definition. Vox Sciurorum (talk) 18:21, 11 September 2020 (UTC)
gambit perhaps? —⁠This unsigned comment was added by Algrif (talkcontribs) at 13:11, 13 September 2020 (UTC).

measle, measledEdit

Some clarification is needed here.

Lexico indicates that measled is derived from measle, the 'singular form of measles + -ed, but was perhaps influenced by measle (presumably the second "measle" in the etymology is referring to the unrelated Latinate noun that has to do with leprosy).

We, meanwhile, list "measled" under derived terms of measle (as in, the Latinate noun referring to leprosy).

We also, by the way, have "a tapeworm larva" as a secondary definition of "measle", again under the same etymology as the Latinate.

But we have, at measles, "[a] disease of pigs and cattle, caused by larval tapeworms" as the third definition, given as the same word as the Dutch-derived condition also known as Rubeola.


This really needs to be cleaned up by someone who can figure what on Earth is going on with those entries. Tharthan (talk) 05:56, 10 September 2020 (UTC)

It may be hard to figure out the exact relationship. I don't know if this is of any help, but the learned term for the disease of pigs and cattle is cysticercosis. The problem is really figuring out the relationship between the vernacular plural name for cysticercosis, and the singular name for its etiological agent. It is possible that measle in the sense of tapeworm larva is a back-formation from the formally plural disease name. (One would say that “pigs have the measles” rather than that they have measles,[35][36] which suggests that the disease name is not simply the plural of the infecting agent. Although not in any way conclusive, note that one wouldn’t say *“dogs that have the worms”.) The oldest use of the singular I managed to find with Google Books dates from 1857. The oldest use found of the vernacular plural name for cysticercosis predates this by 27 years; it is from 1830, embedded in a sorry story with a happy ending.
The Etymology Online Dictionary offers the hypothesis that the form measles was influenced by Middle English mēsel, which, I suppose, corresponds to our formulation “due to confusion with measle”.
If measles as an animal disease derives from the singular measle and not from the name of the highly contagious human disease with its characteristic rash, it should have a separate etymology from the human and tree diseases. If the derivation is the other way around, as seems more plausible to me, the tapeworm sense of measle should be etymologically separated from the leprosy sense.  --Lambiam 16:37, 10 September 2020 (UTC)

Rhyme pageEdit

Not sure where to request rhyme pages. We need one for hickory, stickery, pickery, liquory --Java Beauty (talk) 14:14, 10 September 2020 (UTC)

Is something keeping you from creating  Rhymes:English/ɪkəɹi  yourself (which may be more accurate than the cauda /-ɪkəɹiː/ we have now for hickory)?  --Lambiam 14:47, 10 September 2020 (UTC)
I'm kinda hoping someone else does it for me. Also a page for sheepish and sleepish would be awesome. But the real question is: Is there a Requests for rhymes page? Should be, IMHO. --Java Beauty (talk) 19:16, 10 September 2020 (UTC)

Paumanok and the Algonquin language(s)Edit

Paumanok is the word for Long Island in one of the Algonquin languages. Not sure which one (most sources list the origin as simply "Algonquin"), although it's apparantly not the Algonquin that we call "Algonquin", which only applies to one dialect. Let's figure out what dialect and create the entry.

On a related note, should we consider renaming what we currently call "Algonquin language" to something more specific? Purplebackpack89 21:14, 10 September 2020 (UTC)

I thought we followed ISO standards on language names, rather than making them up ourselves...? Equinox 23:53, 10 September 2020 (UTC)
@Equinox: The relevant think tank Wiktionary:Languages#Language names doesn't mention ISO standards at all, instead recommending a consensus process for the community and a few criterion to use. —The Editor's Apprentice (talk) 02:50, 11 September 2020 (UTC)
(ec) We try to use whatever name is most commonly used in English, unless that name is identical to the name of another language. As a perusal of WT:LTD shows, we've renamed numerous languages from the names the ISO/Ethnologue picked. (The basic system is describe on WT:LANG.) As far as I've seen, Algonquin usually is called Algonquin, and is already distinct from the name of the Algonquian family, which has an extra a. - -sche (discuss) 02:55, 11 September 2020 (UTC)
Thanks. I was probably thinking of language codes, not names. Equinox 22:14, 11 September 2020 (UTC)
As for this name, William Bright, Native American Placenames of the United States (2004), page 373, says that the name, "also written as Paumanack and Pommanock, is of unclear derivation (Tooker 1911)" (though clearly Algonquian). Some sources say it's Lenape (most likely Munsee), and one says it's "Renneiu", which linguistlist says "appears to be P.'s name for the r-dialect Munsee spoken in western Long Island". Munsee is plausible based on the geography. Some sources even assert a meaning, "land of tribute", but I have not yet found a reliable, modern, linguistic source confirming this or giving the spelling of the original Munsee name. - -sche (discuss) 02:55, 11 September 2020 (UTC)

@Purplebackpack89 you're already in way over your head. Please stop digging. There is no such thing as the "Algonquin languages"- Algonquin is an
language, spoken in Canada, not New York. It's not a dialect of anything, except perhaps Ojibwe. The Algonquian languages are quite diverse and widespread, ranging from Cheyenne and Arapaho, spoken at the Battle of the Little Bighorn, to Mi'kmaq of Canada, to Massachusett/Wampanoag, spoken by Squanto, and Powhatan, spoken by Pocahontas, as well as Blackfoot, Cree, Menominee, Shawnee, Fox, Kickapoo, Abenaki, Penobscot, Etchemin, Malecite-Passamaquoddy, Mahican (which is not Mohawk), etc. As part of the Algic languages, they're related to the Yurok and Wiyot languages of northern California.
The language spoken on Long Island was probably a Lenape language such as Munsee or Unami, which, as Eastern Algonquian languages, are only distantly related to Algonquin: look at Appendix:Algonquian and Iroquoian Swadesh lists and compare the column for Ojibwe, which is fairly close to Algonquin, and the column for the Lenape languages. There's really not much chance of one being a dialect of the other. It's unfortunate that the names sound similar, but that's the predominate English usage. On a similar note, people get Sweden and Switzerland mixed up (and the Swiss share languages with the Austrian aborigines, not the Australian aborigines). Chuck Entz (talk) 17:44, 11 September 2020 (UTC)
Well then, we'll create it in Munsee or Unami! And apparently, we'll ignore the numerous source material that refers to its origin as "Algonquin" Purplebackpack89 17:53, 11 September 2020 (UTC)
Wiktionary is descriptive, not prescriptive. Please stop trying to change history because that's not what we're here for. PseudoSkull (talk) 18:17, 11 September 2020 (UTC)

Possible new glossary and dictionary entry "sideform"Edit

I noticed that the word sideform appears in in the etymology sections for a small number of terms (for example, streng#Danish, öm#Westrobothnian, kofta#Swedish) each of which had the word added by a native Danish or Norwegian speaker (specifically Enkyklios, Knyȝt, and Tommy Kronkvist) where sideform seems to be native term. At no:sideform the term's definition is machine translated as "(linguistics) In Norwegian, until 2012, words that could be used correctly in Norwegian by schoolchildren and private individuals, but not public bodies." which seems to suggest it is related to the Norwegian language conflict and the idea of a sidemål. Doing some more research I found a small number of published uses of the term, all of which also seem to be by people with North Germanic backgrounds. The specific usages are at page 261 of Aspects of the Early History of Romani, page 40 of A Study on Compound Substantives in English, and page 9 of Continental-Germanic Personal Names in England in Old and Middle English Times. The word "sideform" seems to carry a specific, idiomatic meaning which I am unsure of and seems to fufill the criteria to be considered attested (3 usages over more than a year). Should it therefore be added to Wiktionary as an English word and to Wiktionary's glossary or would it be more accurate to describe it as a repeated similectic phenomenon? Thanks and I hope you the best. —The Editor's Apprentice (talk) 23:50, 10 September 2020 (UTC)

It may have this meaning in Norwegian, but that does not mean it has this very specific meaning in English as well. I think that in English it often more generally means the same as “alternative form”, without any implication about who may or may not approve, by whatever authority, of its use in given circumstances, as used here in “naught, which is a sideform of nought ”; or here in “āsīna is ... a sideform of āsita”. The authors do not appear to have North Germanic backgrounds. The English term sideform may sometimes be a calque of German Nebenform (cf. English side effect = German Nebenwirkung).  --Lambiam 15:59, 11 September 2020 (UTC)
The usual word in English is byform; I suggest we change the very rare "sideform" to that in those etymology sections. —Mahāgaja · talk 16:52, 11 September 2020 (UTC)
Or the rather more common synonym ”variant”?  --Lambiam 19:04, 11 September 2020 (UTC)
I agree that the meaning is not as specific in English as it appears to be in Norwegian. Thanks for doing more research on its usage, it is encouraging to see more usages have been found which don't seem to be related to North Germanic backgrounds. Such shows to me beyond a reasonable doubt that sideform is a word in English. It is intriguing to think that a the word has entered English on multiple occasions and by multiple routes, one a borrowing and the other a calque. As to what term should be used to define sideform and replace it in etymology sections, I think all of the proposals make sense. —The Editor's Apprentice (talk) 23:42, 11 September 2020 (UTC)
Good news, and for the record, I have created an entry for sideform! —The Editor's Apprentice (talk) 03:15, 19 September 2020 (UTC)

Latin: pila#Etymology_1_5Edit

re: the latin 'ball' sense of pīla. Sources that distinguish vowel length allow for 'pĭla' to be 'ball', but not 'pīla'. There's no 'ball' sense of 'pīla' given in the "Etymologisches Wörterbuch der lateinischen Sprache" from Schwenck/Konrad https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/pila#Etymology_1_5 ( https://reader.digitale-sammlungen.de/de/fs1/object/display/bsb10586460_00584.html ).

Let me check the sources listed

  • "pila in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press" does't seem to differentiate long and short vowels, so it's hard to know if it's talking about 'pīla' or 'pĭla' (which means 'ball' in the German source)
  • "pila in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers" - oh, that's the same link.
  • "pila in Charles du Fresne du Cange’s Glossarium Mediæ et Infimæ Latinitatis (augmented edition, 1883–1887)" - my Latin is basically non-existent, but this also doesn't seem to distinguish long from short vowels...
  • "pila in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire Illustré Latin-Français, Hachette" does distinguish vowel length, and doesn't allow 'ball' for 'pīla' but does for 'pĭla'
  • "Carl Meissner; Henry William Auden (1894) Latin Phrase-Book‎[1], London: Macmillan and Co." doesn't mention vowel-length and talks about a 'spear' sense of 'pila'
  • "pila in Harry Thurston Peck, editor (1898) Harper's Dictionary of Classical Antiquities, New York: Harper & Brothers" distinguishes vowel length and doesn't allow for 'ball' sense
  • "pila in William Smith et al., editor (1890) A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, London: William Wayte. G. E. Marindin" doesn't distinguish vowel-length.
  • "De Vaan, Michiel (2008) Etymological Dictionary of Latin and the other Italic Languages (Leiden Indo-European Etymological Dictionary Series; 7), Leiden, Boston: Brill, page 465" talks about the 'column' sense of the word "pīla" only.

ok, given all of this I'm just going to remove the 'ball' sense for 'pīla'; it's probably a mistake.

2001:770:10:300:0:0:86E2:510C 15:37, 11 September 2020 (UTC)

hunker downEdit

Discussion moved from Wiktionary:Requests for deletion/English § hunker down.

Is this chiefly AmE? ---> Tooironic (talk) 00:07, 12 September 2020 (UTC)

It's a common phrase in America, at least in news reporting (reporters and people quoted on the news). I never hear hunker alone. Vox Sciurorum (talk) 09:05, 12 September 2020 (UTC)
@Tooironic: Why is this question in RFD? Are you nominating this entry for deletion? J3133 (talk) 16:10, 12 September 2020 (UTC)
According to a BBC program, "The Old Norse “huka” means to crouch or squat. However, “hunker down” was a Southern United States dialectal phrase – a dialect that was popularised by Texan President Johnson in the mid 1960s." Vox Sciurorum (talk) 17:19, 12 September 2020 (UTC)
  • Sorry, this should be in the Tea Room. My mistake. What is the protocol for moving it now? ---> Tooironic (talk) 06:20, 13 September 2020 (UTC)
  • My perception as a BrE speaker is that "hunker down" has an AmE flavour but is (now) not overwhelmingly or exclusively AmE. BTW, I do wish that editors who make changes while TEA, RFD, RFV etc. discussions are ongoing would note this at the discussion (I know that I am guilty myself of sometimes not doing this). It is confusing to try to address the original point when the article has changed with no notice. Mihia (talk) 22:10, 13 September 2020 (UTC)

tap (vulgar slang)Edit

The current definition is: "To have sexual intercourse with." This is probably a stinker to cite, but I suspect this definition is too broad. A brief web search and skim of examples at Urban Dictionary (their definitions aren't ) suggests the intercourse described by the verb typically involves a penis (maybe also an artificial one?) that is used for penetrative or mammary intercourse. I also note that some UD definitions are acronyms, presumably backronyms for tits, ass, pussy. As for the direct object, other things I noticed are that the direct object is often an orifice or pair of breasts, and that it often contains that or those (both as pronoun and determiner). Furthermore, is the direct object almost exclusively a woman or a part of her body? Or is it not that common for the direct object to be a person at all, except perhaps in the phrase tap that? Finally, is there evidence that this sense is particularly objectifying compared to other slang terms for sex (have people commented on this, etc.)? ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 14:28, 12 September 2020 (UTC)

It's always a male doing the tapping, in my experience, and usually if not always the man is tapping that or that ass (body). Vox Sciurorum (talk) 15:55, 12 September 2020 (UTC)
As for the tappee, in this case as in virtually all cases of sexual slang, if a straight man can say it of a woman, a gay man can say it of another man. I strongly suspect straight women and lesbians can also say they'd like to "tap that", though I really don't feel like going searching for citations to prove it. —Mahāgaja · talk 16:03, 12 September 2020 (UTC)
People have seen a double entendre in headlines like "Trump taps Haley" (i.e. the president nominated Nikki Haley to be ambassador to the UN). Tap in the sexual sense is still a transitive verb that could take many objects without confusing people. But I have not seen it used with the full range of possible objects. You'd be more likely to bang a named woman and tap a demonstrative. Vox Sciurorum (talk) 17:30, 12 September 2020 (UTC)
As Citations:tap I've put four examples of women referring to tapping men: The tapper might be usually a man, but not exclusively. (I share Mahagaja's suspicion that women can also tap women.) - -sche (discuss) 22:01, 13 September 2020 (UTC)
OK, it's not a common word in my experience and I may not encounter a representative spectrum of uses. Vox Sciurorum (talk) 20:35, 16 September 2020 (UTC)

that was thatEdit

I added a quote here which doesn't seem to fit in with the definition of that's that. In this case it seems to mean "job done". Any thoughts? DonnanZ (talk) 16:53, 12 September 2020 (UTC)

Verb inflection entries for VPs with a trivial base verbEdit

This user [37] has been making a point of expanding verb phrases to include all the forms: for example go the distance would become went the distance, going the distance, etc.. I think this is basically a waste of time and space and I don't like it. I would like to propose that we introduce a system where we can mark these phrases with the HEAD verb (in my example go) which would mean "to inflect the phrase, you simply inflect that head verb normally". I don't know how we would technically achieve this but I don't like loads of stupid pages being created for stuff like went the distance. Thoughts, feelings, kisses? Equinox 18:47, 12 September 2020 (UTC)

I agree that it can seem overkill, or look a bit silly or laborious, to list the full inflections of verb phrases of more than a couple of words. To suppress this, I have in the past used {{head|en|verb}}, as at draw a line under. What would be the actual appearance at the main entry of what you are suggesting? (My favourite, for those who haven't see it: give_a_shit#Conjugation. I just 'lol out loud', as the youngsters say, every time I look at this.) Mihia (talk) 19:26, 12 September 2020 (UTC)
I also 'lol out loud' when I saw that!! Brilliant craziness! Someone really gave a shit about that particular entry. - Sonofcawdrey (talk) 18:54, 20 September 2020 (UTC)
No kisses. DonnanZ (talk) 19:36, 12 September 2020 (UTC)
Donnanz I also use the "head|en|verb" but we're dealing with someone now who is replacing that with explicit inflection lists. That's why I raise the question now. xoxo. muhahaha. To answer "what do I expect to see?": I'm not sure: it would be OK for the head verb (go in my example) to be linked, and the other words not linked...? but that's maybe a down side because you can't get a quick definition for other words in the phrase. Or we could just show the base form (go the distance) and have a little automatically computer-generated text saying "for verb forms, see go", or something. Equinox 19:42, 12 September 2020 (UTC)
I have started using {{head|en|adjective}} when I'm unsure about comparatives (they can always be amended), but not {{head|en|verb}} for longish verb phrases, and usually list the inflections without creating entries for them. I think this is OK, but the downside is all the red links can be offensive to the eye. I did add given place today, only because I added a quote which included it. DonnanZ (talk) 20:42, 12 September 2020 (UTC)
"en-adj" has a "?" parameter for "when the inflection is unknown or uncertain". I have also used this to suppress inflections in cases where I do not want to state that an adjective or adjective phrase is "not comparable", but on the other hand I do not want to draw so much attention to it as to explicitly list "most ~". But thanks for mentioning "head|en|adjective" as that had not occurred to me. However, personally I think it would be a lot easier if there was a flag on "en-adj", "en-verb" etc. whose express purpose was simply to suppress inflections. Mihia (talk) 21:19, 12 September 2020 (UTC)
  • It is in fact rather worrying. If this editor decides to attack such phrases as take it or leave it? -- takes it or leaves it. taking it or leaving it. took it or left it. taken it or left it. That would make interesting reading for what should be a simple entry. -- ALGRIF talk 12:31, 13 September 2020 (UTC)
    That reminds me of a sketch or movie I once saw - it may have been a translation, CTMI. The fiancé(e)s were trying to come up with fancy phrases on a wedding invitation and one suggested a phrase like "You shall be wine-dined!" and was corrected by the future spouse "you mean wine and dined", then another correction was "actually, they will be wined and will be dined". They got into an argument after that, and changed it to something banal like "there's food and drink". I assume they broke off the wedding after that, and also assume that at least one of them was a lexicographer. --Java Beauty (talk) 21:10, 13 September 2020 (UTC)
Anyone want to have a vote about this? I know "blah blah wikis aren't paper" but this is still a stupid waste of space since the inflections for any multi-word phrase are always based on one of the verbs in it. Let's nip it in the bud. Equinox 23:25, 15 September 2020 (UTC)
  • I for one vote to nip it in the bud. -- ALGRIF talk 17:36, 16 September 2020 (UTC)

I'm in two minds. At present, if someone searches for "drew a line under", because they had read the expression in this form and were completely unfamiliar with it, they will be told it is not in Wiktionary and they can create an entry for it if they'd like to. Not really helpful to the poor confused user. However, if they had searched for "drew a line in the sand", for the same reasons as above, then they would have been okay as some editor has created the conjugation entries for that expression. To not have these conjugation entries assumes that the user's knowledge of English is good enough for them to go: "Oh, _drew a line under_ is not in Wiktionary, how about I try _draw a line under_". Easy for us, but difficult for a learner of English, for example, who may not be able to get to the infinitive when confronted with an irregular verb form. - Sonofcawdrey (talk) 18:46, 20 September 2020 (UTC)

bang on aboutEdit

Why is this now a redirect? It is a well-known two particle phrasal verb. No idea if the US uses it, but in UK it is v. v. common. Please restore it. Thank you. Please note that to bang on does not mean to talk, however to bang on about something does. -- ALGRIF talk 08:33, 13 September 2020 (UTC)

Just click on "bang on about" in the message (Redirected from bang on about), which brings you to the page, then you can edit it. DonnanZ (talk) 09:17, 13 September 2020 (UTC)
Looking at the history of the entry, it seems to have been redirected as the result of an RFD in 2011. DonnanZ (talk) 10:04, 13 September 2020 (UTC)
It doesn't just mean "talk". It means "to go on and on and on about" in an obsessive way. A very common example in the UK is "banging on about Europe", implying that some political parties are obsessed with Brexit. —⁠This unsigned comment was added by (talk) at 10:48, 13 September 2020 (UTC).
Looking at the usage examples for bang on in Lexico almost all of them include "about". DonnanZ (talk) 11:09, 13 September 2020 (UTC)
Yes. Exactly what I find. Which is why I am requesting that bang on about be restored as a separate entry with a specific definition, rather than a redirect (which to me is more like a misdirect!). (edit) (I am asking first, because this seems to have been changed, perhaps by RFD) -- ALGRIF talk 12:18, 13 September 2020 (UTC)
I don't support having separate entries for bang on and bang on about. The present entry for bang on, "To constantly talk about", is faulty, being the definition of a transitive verb, whereas bang on is intransitive. With that fixed, I would support a label at bang on reading "often with 'about'" or similar. I think this should be adequate. Mihia (talk) 20:38, 13 September 2020 (UTC) Sorry, I see there is already a usage note to this effect. I personally prefer labels for things that can be explained in a few words, since I think people tend not to notice usage notes. 20:41, 13 September 2020 (UTC)
I note that one can bang on that/how, with those words introducing noun clauses. Can one bang on and on?
Consider: "Isn't this what DAP and party veteran Lim Kit Siang kept banging on when they were the opposition?" Is this the same sense of bang on? DCDuring (talk) 08:17, 14 September 2020 (UTC)
Yes, one can certainly "bang on and on", and indeed "bang on and on and on", for as many "on"s as you want. The sentence that you quote is likely to be a mistake or slip. The writer forgot that an "about" was needed. Having said this, the ratio of Google hits for "banging on this point" to "banging on about this point" is FAR higher than I would have expected. I think that many people may simply be misunderstanding the idiom; on the other hand, if you really can "bang on" a point, then apparently it cannot be the same expression as the intransitive "bang on (about)" that we are talking about. Mihia (talk) 09:29, 14 September 2020 (UTC)

Definition of "drift" -- should sub-definition be moved to primary definition?Edit

In the definition of drift, a meaning is nested under the primary definition that seems to me to be a primary definition itself.

The sub-definition is this: "A mass of matter which has been driven or forced onward together in a body, or thrown together in a heap, etc., especially by wind or water." If I were writing this definition anew, I might say: "An accumulation or mass of natural material, such as snow, leaves, or plants, often piled up or carried along by wind or water."

Right now, this meaning is nested under the first definition: "(physical) Movement; that which moves or is moved." That definition strikes me as both too general, and too broad -- referring both to movement itself as well as things that move (themselves) or are moved.

I suggest that this common meaning of "drift" (e.g., drift of snow, drift of sand) should be "un-nested" and made the second definition. Thoughts?

--Lucida sidera (talk) 17:32, 13 September 2020 (UTC)

On the face of it, I wouldn't object to the "movement" and "thing that is / has been moved" senses being split. I guess one would need to see how it all looked when all the senses were in their new places. There seem to be some anomalies anyway with the existing article, so it wouldn't hurt to give the whole thing a work-over, I would say. Mihia (talk) 21:19, 13 September 2020 (UTC)

up closeEdit

Adverb  up close (comparative more up close, superlative most up close):   1. Very nearby.

Worth an entry?  --Lambiam 07:33, 14 September 2020 (UTC)

Lemmings say yes: up close at OneLook Dictionary Search. See also up close and personal at OneLook Dictionary Search. DCDuring (talk) 08:01, 14 September 2020 (UTC)
I agree that up close and up close and personal are both deserving of entries. Sorry to nitpick, but the present definition of adverb "up close" is "very nearby", which to me is not 100% natural English, and also the example sentence, which is "Viewed from up close, the image becomes a blur of coloured dots", does not seem to be an example of adverbial "up close". Mihia (talk)
It is not hard to find uses of “very nearby” (e.g. [38], [39], [40]); what is the issue? The lemmings that assign a PoS to up close (without a hyphen) call it an adverb. What else could it be? Is nearby in the common combination[41][42][43][44][45] “viewed from nearby” not an adverb? Why should it be different for up close?  --Lambiam 21:55, 16 September 2020 (UTC)
E.g. at [46] (second definition) they label "nearby" as "not gradable", which in careful English I would agree with, albeit I think non-gradability may be more obvious in adjectival use. No doubt in practice you will find examples that violate this. As far as your second point is concerned, I don't see how an adverb can be the object of a preposition ("from"). In "viewed from nearby", the word "nearby" is apparently functioning as a pronoun, meaning "a nearby place", and similarly for "viewed from up close". Mihia (talk) 19:32, 17 September 2020 (UTC)
Many locative expressions are problematic. I don't think that the usage example in question is in any way wrong, but it is an example of an atypical use of an adverbial. At the very least we need more typical examples of adverbial use. IDCDuring (talk) 21:50, 17 September 2020 (UTC)
I agree that locative expressions can be problematic, but personally I do not see it as problematic to assert that X cannot be adverbial in the expression "viewed from X". I guess opinions vary. In any case, I think we should not need to use such a usage example when uncontroversial examples, or, as you express it, more typical examples, surely abound. Mihia (talk) 19:22, 18 September 2020 (UTC)
From, which we class solely as a preposition, can have such terms as nearby, far away, alongside, and above in place of nouns. Only the last is included in nouns, but only for special derived meanings. DCDuring (talk) 05:51, 20 September 2020 (UTC)


There's a quote given here, but I think it's crap because a) There's no author called Sandor Johnson, b) He didn't ever write any book and c) WTF kind of tag is "seduction community" anyway? @Equinox was the user who originally added the quote. --Java Beauty (talk) 13:06, 14 September 2020 (UTC)

    • Sandor Johnson, Call of the Loons (page 272)
      It's called peacocking. Gets the chicks to notice me. Gives 'em a conversation piece.
If (a) there's no author then (b) how can you say whether he wrote a book or not? I found it at the time. "Peacocking" is a pick-up artist thing, it's tacky Internet dating advice, and this isn't exactly some famous tome you can request in the British Library. I did not make up a book... Equinox 23:23, 15 September 2020 (UTC)
Sandor Johnson's bio on pinterest.com does mention "writer" although I can find no trace of this particular book. DTLHS (talk) 23:29, 15 September 2020 (UTC)


In which computing context does this mean 'compatible'. If I think about compatibility and computing, the first Finnish translation that comes to mind would be yhteensopiva. Mölli-Möllerö (talk) 15:24, 14 September 2020 (UTC)

Shouldn’t this be at WT:RFVN?  --Lambiam 11:09, 17 September 2020 (UTC)
Oh yes, sure. I've moved the question there. Mölli-Möllerö (talk) 15:12, 17 September 2020 (UTC)

Pull Through Caravan / RV TermEdit

Talk Page In short: A campsite where you can pull your 5th wheel or trailer through instead of backing into it. Inetbiz (talk) 15:53, 15 September 2020 (UTC)


"(chiefly in verb forms) Added after a word’s terminal ‘c’ when it is suffixed by a morpheme beginning in ‘e’, ‘i’, ‘y’, ‘æ’, or ‘œ’ (usually -ed or -ing), so as to preserve its “hard” [k] sound (as opposed to [s])."

  1. It's easy to think of (and our category holds) examples of e (frolicked), i (frolicking) and y (colicky), but what are examples of this with æ or œ, or are those spurious?
  2. This list is missing that -k- also added before the past tense marker -'d (and possibly -d), as in google books:"frolick'd" "frolic".

- -sche (discuss) 08:30, 16 September 2020 (UTC)

Oh honestly, this isn't an interfix. It isn't a morpheme at all. It's just an artifact of English spelling. The entry -k- ought to be deleted. —Mahāgaja · talk 10:39, 16 September 2020 (UTC)
Hmm, I could see redirecting it to k and explaining it there, like @ explains Chican@ and Pin@y or like x explains alumnx, Chicanx and womxn, but I wouldn't delete the content entirely; it's clear that a book that uses frolic but frolicked or colic but colicky has added a k and that's worth documenting somewhere in my opinion. No objection to deleting the category, though. We don't track mere use of gender-neutralizing @ or x anywhere in a word, either (though words that end in an @ or x that replaces a/o are trackable via using a certain template in their etymologies). - -sche (discuss) 16:27, 16 September 2020 (UTC).
I'm really not sure whether this deserves an entry in a dictionary. As far as I can see, we might as well have entries for -b-, -g- etc., noting doubling of consonants in e.g. "grabbed" or "bugged". Mihia (talk)
Hmm, good point. (And grab -> grabber and bug -> buggy shows it's not just verbs in those cases, either, I now realize.) Perhaps it's another phenomenon to describe in WikiGrammar, then. (Appendix:English grammar? Appendix:English language?) - -sche (discuss) 19:19, 16 September 2020 (UTC)
This seems less about grammar than about spelling, strictly speaking -- this is a purely orthographical phenomenon, which has no bearing on the spoken language. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 21:07, 16 September 2020 (UTC)
I would agree. I don't see this as a grammatical issue. Mihia (talk) 21:26, 16 September 2020 (UTC)
You could add that the variation between -c and -ck- is found in modern English. If you go back a couple of hundred years, you can find spelling like publick, and they were considered correct spellings at the time 21:31, 17 September 2020 (UTC)


7. A stage of a journey, race etc.
9. (nautical) One side of a multiple-sided (often triangular) course in a sailing race.

Is sense 9 really a distinct nautical sense, or is it just one example of sense 7? Mihia (talk) 17:24, 16 September 2020 (UTC)

Most lemmings that give a nautical sense, e.g. Collins and Webster's New World College Dictionary, define it as “the run made by a sailing vessel on one tack”, without involving a sense of a race. The American Heritage Dictionary gives the nautical sense as a subsense of the general sense “a stage of a journey or course”, as does Oxford’s online Lexico. Merriam–Webster combines the nautical sense with the sense “a portion of a trip” as separate subsenses of a common (but not verbally defined) supersense. Several have a (sub)sense of “one section of a relay race”, not specifically involving sailing.  --Lambiam 11:35, 17 September 2020 (UTC)
Note that we have "A distance that a sailing vessel does without changing the sails from one side to the other" (i.e. on one tack) as a separate definition. Mihia (talk) 18:38, 17 September 2020 (UTC)


Any of our biology/taxonomy-inclined editors want to figure out whether this is taxonomic Latin or English and what it means? There are more citations on Google Books, beyond the two I added. - -sche (discuss) 20:38, 16 September 2020 (UTC)

It is common in context to use only the species part of a binomial name. I don't consider it a dictionary word in either Latin or English. You shouldn't see such use without a prior mention of the full name in the same paper. Say you had a quotation "Homo neanderthalensis became extinct soon after contact with H. sapiens. Leading scientists think that is because neanderthalensis was cursed by God." I would not count that as supporting a word neanderthalensis. Only if the word started appearing frequently without introduction, the way Neanderthal does. Vox Sciurorum (talk) 13:56, 17 September 2020 (UTC)
As for the meaning, it may have been a variation on the related species name Papilio chrysippus. The description (Cramer, 1777) reads "Fig. E. F. Alcippus. Ce Papillon, quant au dessein, a beaucoup de ressemblance avec le Chrysippus, que est représenté fur la Planche CXVIII. Fig. B. C. Il se distingue seulement par les aîles inférieures dont les deux surfaces sont tachetées de blanc. On le trouve à la Côte de Guinée, à la Sierre Leona." Or if you prefer Germanic to Romance, the other column reads "Deze Kapel heeft, wat de Tekening betreft, veele overeenkomst met den Chrysippus welke op Plaat CXVII. Fig. B. C. is afgebeeld, alleen onderscheid ze zig in de aan beide zyden witgevlakte ondervleugels. Men vindtze op the Kuft van Guiné, aan de Sierra Leona." Much later, by the late 20th century, zoologists decided to explicitly recommend that species descriptions explain the etymology of new names. Vox Sciurorum (talk) 16:19, 17 September 2020 (UTC)
It is a genus name in the family Pentatomidae and also part of the specific epithet of the monarch butterfly subspecies D. c. alcippus of Danaus chrysippus (formerly Papilio chrysippus). GBS also shows mentions of Limnas alcippus, not found as such on Wikispecies, where the genus Limnas is exclusively a genus of grasses. The term alcippus is not a common Latin or Greek noun, but the Ancient Greeks were fond of horse-related names, which in Latinized form end on -ippus (for males) or -ippe (for females). The best known of these is Philippus (“fond of horses”), but we also have Alcippe (“battle horse”), Chrysippus (“golden horse”), Leucippus (“white horse”), Melanippus (“black horse”), Plexippus (“horse driver”), and Xanthippe (“yellow horse”). Why Linnaeus chose to give quite a few butterflies in the Danaus genus horse-related epithets is a mystery to me.  --Lambiam 17:34, 17 September 2020 (UTC)
According to Wikpedia, Linnaeus named the species after the sons the twin brother of Danaus, king Aegyptus, who fathered fifty sons.  --Lambiam 18:37, 17 September 2020 (UTC)



  1. irreverence toward something considered sacred or inviolable
    That imam said that drawing the prophet Muhammad is a form of blasphemy.
  2. the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for any religion's deity or deities

Are these two different senses? Assume that we know that Ali suspects Bilal of lacking respect for a sacred tenet, even though Bilal’s behaviour does not show any sign of lack of respect, which Ali admits. Can we then say that Ali suspects Bilal of blasphemy? Is not some act of disrespect required? Mere irreverence, as in the definition of sense 1, does not suffice. Drawing a figure as in the usex for sense 1 is an act (as in sense 2). If used in a religious context, the term blasphemy includes the act of contradicting tenets of a religion. Lack of reverence (I prefer “lack of respect”) subsumes insulting and showing contempt, so the definition of sense 2 can be simplified. And a religion’s deities will generally be considered sacred or inviolable by its ardent followers. So is there any substantive difference left? Can we combine the two into

  1. An act that shows lack of respect for something considered sacred or inviolable

?  --Lambiam 11:02, 17 September 2020 (UTC)

Re Ali and Bilal: I mean, I would say yes...? I don't think the two senses above are different senses when the thing disrespected is a god / religiom / religious tenet, etc (although the intended distinction might have been between disrespecting a god vs disrespecting a nonreligious thing like a company ethos, because other dictionaries handle the latter with wording almost identical to our sense 1, but we [also] have it as a separate sense 3). But I'm not sure the result of a merger / restructuring should necessarily be to definitionally require an overt "act", even though I concede other dictionaries typically do (for the religious sense, but not the nonreligious sense, for some reason). I can find references to "unspoken blasphemy" that someone merely thought inside their own mind:
  • 2013, Tom Clancy, The Cardinal of the Kremlin, Penguin (→ISBN), page 548:
    And perhaps not even Him? the Archer wondered, then chastised himself for the unspoken blasphemy.
  • 1920, John Rougier Cohu, The Bible and Modern Thought, page 325:
    Had God cancelled His everlasting Covenant with Israel? The mere thought was blasphemy! But what did God's silence and the present dark cloud mean?
and one can say that someone's google books:"views are blasphemy" / google books:"views were blasphemy. Granted, this is typically in reference to expressed views, and expressing a view is an act (and thinking a thought is technically an "act"), but it seems like the view itself, rather than only the act of expressing it, can be called blasphemy. Incidentally, other dictionaries have a sense we lack, for claiming to have the attributes/qualities or rights of a god. - -sche (discuss) 19:13, 17 September 2020 (UTC)
Maybe [revise the current 3 senses to] something like:
  1. Irreverence or contempt toward a god or toward something considered sacred; an impious act or utterance.
  2. Irreverence towards anything considered inviolable, such as life.
with usexes to illustrate other things sense 2 can be in reference to?- -sche (discuss) 19:19, 17 September 2020 (UTC)
Wondering and thinking are not externally noticeable acts, but they are acts nevertheless.  --Lambiam 23:22, 17 September 2020 (UTC)
True. I suppose even a view or belief existing could be an act (with regard to phrases like "[their] views were blasphemy", and google books:"belief is blasphemy"), although this may not be the most intuitive definition of "act" for readers. I admit other dictionaries do use language like "an act or utterance" or "an act", for the religious sense, although oddly often not for the nonreligious sense. Should we say something like "an act or belief that shows [...]"? Or perhaps "an act [...]" is indeed fine. I would keep a mention of either God or "a god" in the religious def, as other dictionaries do, for more clearly distinguishing it from our sense 3.. - -sche (discuss) 06:26, 18 September 2020 (UTC)


1. Facts or observations presented in support of an assertion.
4. A body of objectively verifiable facts that are positively indicative of, and/or exclusively concordant with, that one conclusion over any other.

Can anyone see any important difference between #1 and #4?

Originally raised at Wiktionary:Requests_for_verification/English#leg_(2). Mihia (talk) 19:49, 17 September 2020 (UTC)

go the way of the dodoEdit

Today's WOTD is labelled "idiomatic". I don't believe that it is idiomatic, not in our sense, and given that go the way of exists as a generic recipe. It seems non-literal only in the most obvious figurative way, that could be applied to any number of extinct creatures. Perhaps the dodo is the most common example, but I don't believe that "go the way of the dodo" is qualitatively different from numerous other examples that could probably be found. Mihia (talk) 22:30, 17 September 2020 (UTC)

last nightEdit

Is it possible for last night to mean "the previous night" in reported speech?

Page 516 of the Collins English Usage reads

A place clause usually goes after the main clause. However, in stories, the place clause can be put first
Where Kate had stood last night, Maureen now stood

Dickens [Wikisource], in Edwin Drood (p 125) uses 'last night' deictically in a narrative:

The Weir ran through his broken sleep, all night, and he was back again at sunrise. It was a bright frosty morning. The whole composition before him, when he stood where he had stood last night, was clearly discernible in its minutest details.

Secondly, is this a general use of the adjective last in reported clauses? --Backinstadiums (talk) 11:21, 18 September 2020 (UTC)

I don't think this works in reported speech generally (?He told me yesterday that he'd been there last night.) but in narrative, even past-tense narrative, temporal expressions are often relative to story time. If you google expressions like "were going tomorrow" and "was now", you'll find plenty of examples. --ColinFine (talk) 12:28, 18 September 2020 (UTC)


Can someone check the pronunciation labeled "Slang"? I've never heard it, and /t͡s/ represents the voiceless alveolar sibilant affricate, which is rare, if used at all, in English. Glades12 (talk) 15:58, 18 September 2020 (UTC)

The only slang pronunciation I know for this word is /ˈbijæt͡ʃ/. —Mahāgaja · talk 16:30, 18 September 2020 (UTC)
Or /ˈbiːæt͡ʃ/? The pronunciation /bɪt͡s/ was added by Ozelot911.  --Lambiam 09:53, 19 September 2020 (UTC)

Longest definition?Edit

A while back I looked up an English interjection, containing just one meaning, but the longest meaning I've ever seen on this site - It was a full two lines long, even on my widescreen monitor. Initially I thought it was ridiculous and that there was surely a simpler way to say it, but after thinking about it I couldn't find a way to make it any shorter.

I tried looking for it again but couldn't find it in the sea of other interjections. It wasn't a common interjection, but it was common enough to where most would know it. Anyone know what it is? Thanks. -- Mocha2007 (talk) 17:08, 18 September 2020 (UTC)

I wasn't able to find it, but I was able to find OK, boomer which is also two lines. -- Mocha2007 (talk) 17:26, 18 September 2020 (UTC)
huh? blah? yeah, no? DTLHS (talk) 17:43, 18 September 2020 (UTC)
It was none of those, but those are even more than what I needed, so I'm satisfied. Thanks! -- Mocha2007 (talk) 18:20, 18 September 2020 (UTC)

@Erutuon can probably make a list of the longest definitions. They love that kind of stuff! Java Beauty (talk) 13:11, 19 September 2020 (UTC)

Negative form of be able toEdit

Should be unable to be added? --Backinstadiums (talk) 08:34, 19 September 2020 (UTC)

I question whether the entry should be at "be able to" anyway. I think it should be at "able to" (which is presently a redirect). Mihia (talk) 10:36, 19 September 2020 (UTC)
Isn't able to the outcome of the sum able (sense 4) + to? I think though we need this as a translation hub. In Turkish the ability to do something is generally expressed with a suffix attached to the verb stem: vermek = “to give”; verebilmek = “to be able to give”. In the negative, it changes in an unexpected way: verememek = “to be unable to give”. Also, for the verb be able to, we could record that can/could are synonyms for the finite forms in the past and present tenses.  --Lambiam 12:17, 19 September 2020 (UTC)
Well, in my view, "able to" is no more or less the outcome of "able" + "to" than "be able to" is the outcome of "be" + "able" + "to", so if the latter is considered non-sum-of-parts, then the former presumably should be too. I would say that the essence of "be able to", such as exists in a non-SoP way, does not depend on the "be" verb, but resides in "able to", which can indeed stand without the "be" verb. I take your point about the translations, though, albeit they seem to be replicated anyway at can, and also the desirability of, um, being able to reference "be able to" as standing in for the absent infinitive or fully inflectable form of "can". Mihia (talk) 13:28, 19 September 2020 (UTC)
Any copulative verb could take the place of be, eg, seem, feel, appear, grow, become. (I wonder whether this simple test should be applied to other headwords containing be.) Or we could simply assume that our users know the be is a placeholder for any copulative verb. Or we could insert a usage note in each such entry suggested that some or all copulative verbs could substitute for be. DCDuring (talk) 04:03, 20 September 2020 (UTC)
Irish faigh, French pouvoir, Icelandic kunna, Italian sapere, Japanese できる, Marathi शकणे, Russian мочь, Sranan Tongo man and many many more entries link to be able to. It is definitely a translation hub for incoming traffic. Is that a point of consideration?  --Lambiam 21:28, 20 September 2020 (UTC)


If any Administrator or User (other than the one on whose page my edit is placed) wishes to reply to a question or contribution of mine, can they PLEASE do so on my talk page and not on that of someone's else's. Many thanks. Andrew H. Gray 16:50, 19 September 2020 (UTC) Andrew


Your feet will soon warm up once your socks are on.

What PoS is "on"? Ostensibly it may seem to be an adjective. It describes the state or condition of your socks, as much as if they were loose or sweaty. OTOH, I don't feel thrilled about listing it as an adjective. Is it instead an "intransitive" preposition, just short for "on your feet"? And yet again I have seen words like this categorised as adverbs. Even Lexico give "make sure the lid is on" as an example of adverb "on", for which I can see no explanation or justification, but perhaps someone can offer one. Mihia (talk) 22:06, 19 September 2020 (UTC)

Putting this sense under an adjective PoS indeed seems to give no thrill at all to many other dictionaries. An exception is Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary ("CACD") (via OneLook), which has:
on preposition, adjective, adverb [not gradable] (COVERING)
covering or wrapping another thing:
The child had no shoes on her feet.
You should put a coat on.
The baby’s got nothing on (= is not wearing anything).
[None of these examples seem to use on in a clearly adjectival way, whereas your example above does.]
CGEL (2002) advocates the nomenclature intransitive preposition for the Adverb PoS section for headwords that are principally used as prepositions. IOW if you don't like calling the usage 'adverbial', you shouldn't like calling it 'intransitive prepositional' either.
I think you can construct plausible examples using other copulative verbs besides be, such as seem, appear, etc. One might find citations for some of these. You might get a kick out of such examples if you have nothing else to do.
To be clear, I would include a definition like CACD's under our Adjective PoS section. DCDuring (talk) 04:52, 20 September 2020 (UTC)


Thoughts on this? It was created as slang for inappropriate but I think it's a fumbled spelling attempt at an opposite for apropos; I've split it up a bit to indicate this but it still seems like a very dodgy entry. Equinox 08:00, 20 September 2020 (UTC)


Any golfers here? I know a straightaway is a thing in golf, but I don't know what it actually is, and we don't have a sense for it. bd2412 T 20:48, 20 September 2020 (UTC)

It appears to describe a fairway that runs straight from tee to green without a dogleg. Vox Sciurorum (talk) 19:52, 21 September 2020 (UTC)

Wonkiness under Japanese section of Edit

It appears to suggest that 体 is two separate kanji with different readings, meanings, and grades/classes. The source uses the same character for both, but uses custom formatting to try and make it look different. Only the first kanji has words and compounds given.

If there really are two slightly different kanji which have undergone Han unification, then that should be so stated, along with a textual description of their graphical difference. On the other hand, if their glyphs are identical then the claim they are still distinct seems implausible, and requires substantial supporting evidence. 01:06, 21 September 2020 (UTC)

en proieEdit

En proie à is translated as "in the grip of" (etc.). Today I saw a use with de instead of à: "Le radar mobile était en proie des flammes."[47] "The speed camera was engulfed in flames." (Destroying speed cameras is a popular pastime in France.) Should the word be renamed to simply en proie? Is there any difference in meaning depending on the following preposition? Vox Sciurorum (talk) 14:49, 21 September 2020 (UTC)

I have the feeling this conflates this idiom with the also common une proie de “a prey of”.  --Lambiam 18:19, 22 September 2020 (UTC)

Chinese names for languages and dialectsEdit

Are these word nouns or proper nouns? -- 05:58, 22 September 2020 (UTC)


For the French etymology we have

Supposedly, this word originates with a dispute at the Collège de France circa 1550, over whether to use a traditional French pronunciation of Latin or a reconstructed pronunciation of Latin. One of the points of most dispute was the pronunciation of qu, with the word quamquam exemplifying this: it was pronounced in reconstructed Latin as [ˈkʷam.kʷã(m)] but pronounced in French Latin as /kɑ̃.kɑ̃/ ("cancan"). After this debacle, a "cancan" came to be "any kind of scandalous performance".[1]

, but Oxford English dictionary has

French (16th cent. in Littré), noise, disturbance, ‘rumpus’, also the dance. Of uncertain etymology, the popular fancy being that it is the Latin quanquam, about the proper pronunciation of which a noisy wrangle is said to have occurred in the French schools. But Littré also points to an Old French caquehan tumultuous assembly; Scheler thinks it the verbal noun < cancaner, which he thinks was ‘to quack as a duck’.

I don't know french, but it seems there are some threads missing from the english etymology page (The german one mentions parrots for some reason...), though I thought I'd flag it for others...


The etymology section of Le Trésor appears to support the fancy origin, citing a 1584 use of faire quanquam for “much ado about little”.  --Lambiam 16:24, 22 September 2020 (UTC)

idiom: descended fromEdit

To be related to (an ancestor) by genetic descent from an individual or individuals in a previous generation: She claims to be descended from European royalty. --Backinstadiums (talk) 18:09, 22 September 2020 (UTC)