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discussion rooms: Tea roomEtym. scr.Info deskBeer parlourGrease pit ← March 2010 · April 2010 · May 2010 → · (current)


April 2010


  • What does "raising" mean in this text:


   'Tis this slave;--
   Go whip him, 'fore the people's eyes:--his raising;
   Nothing but his report.

William Shakespeare "Coriolanus" Act IV, Scene 6. Igor Skoglund

tyrolienne needs definition

Hi. Who knows what this machine does, and what does it do? More importantly, what is it in English? The French Wikipedia page says this about it, but it may as well be in Ancient Babylonian as far as I'm concerned. If anyone gave me this to translate, I'd flat-out refuse.

une boite en tôle électro-zinguée pouvant projeter de l'enduit de façade sur les maçonneries grâce à l'action d'un rotor, muni de lamelles en acier inoxydable. À un certain moment de la rotation, ces lamelles sont bandées vers l’arrière par un butoir réglable (la butée) puis en continuant la rotation, les lamelles sont brusquement relâchées pour venir taper sèchement contre un arrêtoir se trouvant sur le rotor.

--Rising Sun talk? contributions 19:48, 1 April 2010 (UTC)

See pebbledash, roughcast, w:Roughcast. See also this link for possible hyponyms. The machine is supposed to distribute the pebbles (or similar) into a wet plaster to achieve that "pebbledash" look, which some folks seem to hate. It might be called a "pebbledasher" or "roughcaster", but I haven't seen such. DCDuring TALK 23:35, 1 April 2010 (UTC)

Here is a picture of a big old one. DCDuring TALK 23:41, 1 April 2010 (UTC)

  • Google's translation of the French WP article gave me enough to go on to start searching. It seems the machine is used to make/apply Tyrolean render. The English name for the machine seems to be Tyrolean gun - google image searches for "Tyrolean gun" and "crepir tyrolienne" show very similar looking machines. "Tyrolean" (English) / "Tyrolienne" (French) means "of or from Tyrol", "Tyrolean render" being a specific style/type (not sure which) of rendering that (I guess) originated in Tyrol. Thryduulf 23:47, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
Thryduulf's approach led me to this, which seems to be an English version of the text that led off the fr.wp article. DCDuring TALK 00:08, 2 April 2010 (UTC)
Hmm, maybe a mortar sprayer, then. Thanks for the good research. We need some more bulky, hunky, muscly, sweaty, topless builder types around here. You know, to help out with construction-type questions, and so there's someone for the women to wolf whistle at. --Rising Sun talk? contributions 16:20, 2 April 2010 (UTC)
Damn, these Tyrolean machines all look different, and I can't understand the job they do. Some seem to be battery-powered, but ome are on sale on eBay, so I might buy one just so my curiosity wanes. --Rising Sun talk? contributions 16:24, 2 April 2010 (UTC)
Some YouTube videos show workmen flinging shovelfuls of pebbles at a still wet rendered wall. I take it that the use of the hand-held "mortar sprayer" ("Tyrollienne" seems to be a company/product/brand name.) is something like:
  1. load it with the appropriate pebbles
  2. direct the opening at the wet rendered wall
  3. turn the crank (press the button/pull the trigger on powered models)
  4. the rotating brush (or similar) picks up some of the pebbles and flings them through the opening.
The result is the embedding of the pebbles in the rendered surface. You could send me just the cost of least expensive one on eBay. (FREE shipping and handling) DCDuring TALK 18:34, 2 April 2010 (UTC)


Request for comments: I have merged two senses of reddish into one. Several *colorish entries have only one sense. All dictionaries that I have checked have only one sense. --Dan Polansky 09:12, 2 April 2010 (UTC)


A Latin word glossed as British? Should the noun be categorised as English instead? Equinox 13:59, 3 April 2010 (UTC)

I've had a go. The Latin looks fine, I don't know if the English is attestable or not. Mglovesfun (talk) 12:11, 4 April 2010 (UTC)

violin / violins

Can these words (and lots of others) also mean a person who plays the instrument? here are some cites from Google books . . . SemperBlotto 11:05, 4 April 2010 (UTC)

  • My teacher was the first violin of the small orchestra . . .
  • The violins played most strenuously, but no one attended to them.
The entry second fiddle includes a "person who plays the violin in an orchestra" definition, so why not these cited examples? (he asked, rhetorically) -- ALGRIF talk 15:36, 4 April 2010 (UTC)

There's a sense that one is addressing the performance of the instrument-person combined. In that sense people playing instruments are just part of a more general pattern of person-plus-device forming a single augmented entity, which may be referred to by either name: "The car swerved to avoid a cat" or "The driver swerved to avoid a cat"; "The drums beat deafeningly" or "The drummers beat deafeningly".

first violin, second violin, etc. are particular roles in a symphony orchestra as well as some smaller ensembles. But certainly there are many cites where a first violinist is referred to as a first violin, such as "The two met when he was the first violin in the orchestra at the Edinburgh theatre where Irving played several seasons as an unknown 'walking gentleman'" from Google Books as SemperBlotto suggested. However, I can find almost no occurrences of "he was the violin". Facts707 08:26, 16 May 2010 (UTC)

I am a first study violinist and "violin" is a term that can be loosely applied to someone who plays a violin. It's more common for it to appear in the plural, for example if a conductor is addressing an orchestra he could say "are there any more violins who need parts?" or "we have a violin missing" i.e. an empty seat. Jakeybean 17:50, 7 June 2010 (UTC)

Fred as a diminutive for Humphrey, Godfrey.

I recently had my edit reverted when I added Humphrey and Godfrey to the names that Fred is short for, citing a lack of written evidence. I actually know two Humphreys, and both have been known all their lives as Fred. Has anyone else come across this. It's difficult to get any cite, as Humphrey can be either a first or family name.

As for Godfrey, this one I am less sure of, but knew someone 20 years ago who went by Fred. Might have been a one-off.

Thanks. Any comments welcome.--Dmol 03:49, 5 April 2010 (UTC)

Withycombe's The Oxford Dictionary of English Christian Names makes no mention of any connection between Fred (given as short for Frederick) and Humphrey. She does say that Dumfrey was a pet form, though, and that Lewis Carroll's "Humpty-Dumpty" may be based on this by analogy of form. Likewise, Godfrey gave rise to Geoffrey, Geoff, Jeff, and not to Fred. --EncycloPetey 04:00, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
Any individual person can go by any name they choose, whether it is related to their real name or not. Someone I (and everyone else in this group of friends) know as Colin is actually Nigel on official documents (I don't know his middle name, but it isn't Colin). Similarly a friend's father I've always known as Fred, although his real name is Peter. This doesn't mean there is any connection between the names beyond one person's individual preference. Thryduulf 10:17, 5 April 2010 (UTC)


I've just created the page offski - there's uses of this as a verb, but apparently it doesn't conjugate - there's some uses on Google groups for offskied and even offskiing, so maybe it is valid. I'd love to know where this word originates too. Pseudo-Russian or something, I guess. --Rising Sun talk? contributions 11:56, 6 April 2010 (UTC)

There's a whole series of invented words formed by adding -ski to any common English word. If anybody knows more about this, it would be a good addition to the -ski entry. -- ALGRIF talk 12:50, 6 April 2010 (UTC)

ad hoc and post hoc

Do we consider these two terms related (to each other)?

I was thinking of adding a Related terms to each but wasn't 100% sure, and also not sure whether if so, they should go under the English or the Latin.

Thanks--TyrS 11:59, 6 April 2010 (UTC)

Definitely used as if English.
The relatedness would be trivial in Latin if these were Latin idioms. But, as hoc is not English, they are not related through a shared common English term. The problem is that I would not feel it appropriate to include every English term including ad as a related term of ad hoc (eg, ad hominem) and, mutatis mutandis, of post hoc. And a form of a pronoun doesn't really seem to merit being the source of relatedness any more than the preposition. I would be inclined to let the user find the terms "related" in this way via the blue link to the constituent Latin ancestors, but we do not have usable links to just the right L2 and PoS sections, so most users would not find them. DCDuring TALK 14:19, 6 April 2010 (UTC)

QED cats

Should QED be in category: Latin derivations? Thanks --TyrS 12:12, 6 April 2010 (UTC)

No, it is a Latin Initialism right and proper. I'll add it. 09:49, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
As well as a Latin derivation /facepalm 09:52, 15 April 2010 (UTC)


Etymology 1 is currently "Through French espeller and dialect nuance.".

What does it mean by "dialect nuance"? Thryduulf 12:16, 6 April 2010 (UTC)

Best guess, Old French espeller and its variants. Variation is dialectal to some extent, but mostly it's just individual preference. Besides, would see {{term|spell|lang=en}} do, since it's an inflected form? Plus I'd be espeler is more common than espeller. Mglovesfun (talk) 12:28, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
By coincidence, see Appendix:Old French spellings, that I updated a few minutes before this was posted. Mglovesfun (talk) 13:26, 6 April 2010 (UTC)

bought and brought

Should we document the (mis)use of "bought" to mean "brought" and vice versa? This is very common in Australia and I believe also used in the UK. I'm not saying I think it's correct, I'm just saying that it's very very frequently heard (unfortunately). Mostly in speech but probably also in (lower quality) newspapers.--TyrS 12:42, 6 April 2010 (UTC)

Sure. I hear it all the time in UK. Problem is that when writing, they are almost always used correctly. So maybe a usage note in each entry? -- ALGRIF talk 12:46, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
Do we document speech impediments? Dbfirs 15:12, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
I thought that we descriptively document all usages (including such solecisms as 'spit' as simple past & past participle tenses of 'to spit', for example) that have become accepted by big enough human populations. (Also, I don't know if those who confuse 'brought' and 'bought' also confuse, for example, 'fought' and 'fraught', and I don't know of any evidence suggesting that this is a speech impediment. But you were joking a bit, weren't you?) --TyrS 02:47, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
Yes, a bit, but I've never heard the error (in the UK), so I don't know whether people really confuse the two (as they confuse flout and flaunt), or whether they are just lazy in their pronunciation. If the words are written correctly, then the problem is just one of lazyness (as is often the case for those who lithp). Dbfirs 22:40, 7 April 2010 (UTC)


a lorry in Glasgow with the words "HEAVY FILTHY" scrawled in the dirt

When I was in Glasgow at the end of January I took the photograph seen to the right. Someone has scrawled the words "heavy filthy" into the dirt on the tailgate. I took the photograph as using the word heavy to mean (presumably) very isn't one I'm familiar with. It doesn't seem to be covered by any of the senses at our heavy entry either. It could be a Scottish usage - given that it is on a road vehicle I can't be certain where it was written, but the company that operates the lorry has a distribution centre less than 1.5 miles away as the crow flies from where I photographed it, it could even be purely Glaswegian. Thryduulf 15:51, 6 April 2010 (UTC)

lol, I don't think we accept things written on the back of a truck as reliable citations. Otherwise I wish my wife was this dirty would have an entry. --Rising Sun talk? contributions 10:46, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
Why not? They are good examples of a specific type of language use. They're informal, usually terse and (attempting to be) witty, indeed the example you give is an idiomatic set phrase - why is this less valid than works written on other media? True they are not normally durably archived (by their very nature) but photographs of the inscriptions (for want of a better word) can be. Thryduulf 13:51, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
Idiomatic, definitely. We do have an entry for woz ere, which is quite similar as something you generally don't find in books, so there's hope yet. --Rising Sun talk? contributions 22:41, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
Indeed a bgc and ggc search brings up quite a few durably archived reports of this exact phrase being used. Thryduulf 13:55, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
Indeed, there are some decent hits for that phrase. I might even add an entry. Thanks. But I'm not going to create an entry for clean me, at least because it isn't witty. --Rising Sun talk? contributions 22:41, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
The use of heavy to mean "very" is fairly common on the Indian subcontinent. 16:41, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
Thank you for that, I've added this sense at heavy#Adverb, currently marked as just Indian English, I'll look again for Scottish usage. Thryduulf (talk) 17:04, 20 May 2010 (UTC)

Template:usage less fewer

If anyone's interested in this, I've proposed an edit (including a citation) at the talk page. Thanks --TyrS 09:25, 7 April 2010 (UTC)


Does anyone have information on this term? Is it a neologism? There's nothing on Wikipedia or Wiktionary about it yet there's a definition at [1] and it looks like it's saying the origin is dated 1920-1925? is this right? I'm wondering why there wouldn't be an article or at least a mention somewhere in Wikipedia about this. -- OlEnglish 10:13, 7 April 2010 (UTC)

  • Added. (fairly rare though) SemperBlotto 10:22, 7 April 2010 (UTC)

"could care less"

Have others noticed this being used to mean "couldn't care less"? I wonder if it's worth documenting in case it's confusing to learners of English?--TyrS 14:42, 7 April 2010 (UTC)

  • I vaguely remember some discussion of this a while back (might not have been on Wiktionary though, I'm not sure) that came to the conclusion that in American usage "could care less" can mean "I care about this" or the opposite "I do not care about this" (i.e. the same as "couldn't care less"), whereas British English it is/was only used with the sum-of-parts first meaning. Thryduulf 15:40, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
  • I (an American) have never heard used to mean "care"; AFAIK it always means "couldn't care less". I even rather doubt your claim that in British English it means "care"; rather, as far as I can tell (from Googling and such), in British English *"could care less" basically doesn't exist. (I expect that in both Englishes, it could be used in very restricted circumstances — consider google:"i couldn't care less well i could" — but I think that's a nonce formulation rather than an actual meaning of the phrase.) —RuakhTALK 18:03, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
  • UK use is always "couldn't . . .". I always think that the US form has a Jewish feel to it - "I could care less?" SemperBlotto 15:47, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
  • As a Jew, perhaps I'm not a good judge; but to me "could care less" does not sound at all Jewish. —RuakhTALK 18:03, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
  • As an American who has been irritated by this expression for years, it always means "I do not care at all," rather than the literal meaning that "I care a tiny bit." --EncycloPetey 18:09, 7 April 2010 (UTC)
Frequency stats:
BNC: could + not/n't + form of care + less : 87; could + form of care + less : 2
COCA: 328; 223.
Transcripts of broadcast speech at COCA show 40; 70. I think in true US colloquial speech the "could care less" form is even more common. I don't think the "could not care less" form would be considered affected among the great untutored masses, however. The irony/sarcasm conjecture doesn't fit with my untutored experience. DCDuring TALK 18:53, 7 April 2010 (UTC)

This is a specific case of undernegation, of which there is some discussion around. The guys at Language Log have commented in it on occasion for a good while now. Circeus 20:53, 7 April 2010 (UTC)

whinge: additional definition...

Another definition for the word winge as is used technically: Reference: Tooling University. When using multiple mirror surfaced gauging standard blocks, to whinge them together is to force all the air out from between them by twisting and pushing them strongly together. When all the air is squeezed or whinged out, air pressure from outside holds the blocks tightly together, allowing accurate gauging.

I can find no Google trace of your claimed usage. Is it just a colloquial expression in a particular establishment, or can you point us to any document where the word is used in this way? Dbfirs 21:00, 8 April 2010 (UTC)


Is there anyone who frequents Wiktionary who has a good grasp on esoteric terminology in biology? I have added a comment to the Talk page of undulipodium where I suggest that the single sense given today in the Wiktionary entry is incorrect. Would appreciate others, especially real wordsmiths which I am not, joining in to the discussion. Cheers. N2e 17:37, 8 April 2010 (UTC)

I've extended the definition slightly, but I'm neither a wordsmith nor a Biologist, and I don't think that I've addressed your concerns. What other functions are vestigial cilia associated with? Can you point us to a reference that uses your definition? Should we add "and unknown functions"? Dbfirs 20:43, 8 April 2010 (UTC)
Active discussion is going on at Talk:undulipodium. N2e 18:21, 9 April 2010 (UTC)


An anon recently edited this stating it is incorrect to use address in this sense: To handle, discuss about a problem especially to solve it. Note that this usage, though widespread, is not a correct usage.

Is it really? Who has defined what is incorrect if this usage is in widespread usage? -- 10:07, 9 April 2010 (UTC)

Much usage advice is suspect. Garner's Modern American Usage (2009) considers it somewhat formal, but does not otherwise remark it. DCDuring TALK 11:50, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
I've undone the anon's edit, as the usage note is incorrectly placed, if it is valid, which I find very unlikely. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 13:47, 9 April 2010 (UTC)


The word "unkept" is pretty self explanatory and is often used however, not yet in the dictionary or Wiktionary. Let's adopt the word. —This comment was unsigned.

Do you mean to suggest it as a synonym or alternative form of unkempt or a misspelling? Or do you mean "not kept"? DCDuring TALK 11:50, 9 April 2010 (UTC)

Let's assume he means both and get on with it. 02:02, 30 May 2010 (UTC)


Is this really a verb? Chambers and Merriam-Webster do not have it. I think the verb is sheathe. Equinox 18:28, 9 April 2010 (UTC)

Agreed, the OED also has sheath only as a noun, but I'm sure some people ignorantly use it as a verb, so it will be attestable, and we already have thousands of less common errors without any indication that they are errors! The verbing of nouns has become an avalanche! (Please excuse the rant!) Dbfirs 08:30, 10 April 2010 (UTC)

reënable in English?

In the English dictionary is the entry reënable, which lists reenable and re-enable as alternative forms (re-enable also has a complete page, whereas reenable is just a reference to reënable). Is this right? A search in Google books turns up zero entries for reënable and 600-700 for each of re enable and reenable. I suspect the examples given in the reënable entry are from people for whom English isn't their primary language. I don't think the reënable page should exist in English. - dougher 00:55, 10 April 2010 (UTC)

The other entries should link to the most common form in professional writing, re-enable.
Our criteria for inclusion require a certain type of citation, but there is no requirement for the writers' educational history. It's likely that for most English speakers English is not the first language, so we may as well get used to it. Of course this describes some of the best writers, like w: Joseph Conrad, while some “native” speakers can barely manage to slaughter their own tongue. Michael Z. 2010-04-13 21:01 z
Oh, that is Doremítzwr. In the mid 1950s, there was an experiment in the U.S. to use the diaeresis over an ‘o’ rather than a hyphen to break up a doubled oo that is pronounced as separate vowels: coördination, coöperation. It was taught in all American schools during the experiment, but it was abandoned by the 1960s. Doremítzwr thinks it’s a peachy idea and he wants to reinvigorate it, even adding eë and other similar combinations that were never part of the original experiment. It would be okay if these spellings had had currency, but most, like reënable, are Dorem’s protologisms. —Stephen 03:17, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
Really? I didn't know American schools actually tried innovating in the language.
Reënable is attested before that, and appears as a spelling in the OED (“19–”). See citations:re-enableMichael Z. 2010-04-14 14:49 z
The raw Google web/books frequencies are re-enable 68MM/1820M, reenable 10MM/3.67M, reënable 172/0. (I didn't try inflected forms.) COCA has only the "re-enable" spelling. That would recommend that "reenable" and, especially, "reënable" be presented as alternative spellings. Our practice of "first in, best looking" with respect to alternative spellings seems silly once such facts have been gathered. DCDuring TALK 15:14, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
100% agreed. I didn't know about “first in, best looking” – I assume that's just how it tends to work out, and it only takes a little effort to shift focus (as I've now done for re-enable). Does anyone have a problem with that? Michael Z. 2010-04-14 15:40 z
There has been an explicit discussions of the policy or practice of "rewarding" the first spelling entered (mostly UK or US} by making the other spelling its alternative. I would accept that when the relative frequency disparity is not too large. In this case, reenable (still less reënable) does not merit being the primary. DCDuring TALK 16:21, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
Okay, makes sense, although I've noticed that in many cases we get redundant elements or even double full entries. I wonder if there isn't a systematic way to make a “fair” distribution of US and Brit main entries – maybe choose the spelling truest to its etymology, the earliest attested, or the one most-often used in Canadian spelling. Michael Z. 2010-04-14 16:33 z
That's the ticket! Let the Canadians decide for us! Brilliant! I wonder to whom we should delegate the final decision-making authority? Anyone? Anyone? DCDuring TALK 20:01, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
No, we'd be letting the majority decide choosing based on the majority usage. Since there are three varieties of English spelling, it's no stretch to make a main entry of the spelling used in any two of them.
There are a few good sources, but best is the authoritative Canadian Oxford Dictionary, which lists variants in the order they are most used in Canada. See also w: Canadian English, g: Canadian spelling. The Canadian first choice is clear in most cases, and includes spellings that Brits might consider Americanisms – curb, draft, (pneumatic) tire, the Oxford etymological -ize ending – and ones that Usonians might consider Briticisms – fibre, marvellous, labour, licence (n.). A few Canadian spellings usage is split by meaning, e.g. (computer) disk, disc (shape). Michael Z. 2010-04-14 21:13 z

Most useless phrase in any language

We finally found it! See [2]. --EncycloPetey 02:19, 10 April 2010 (UTC)

I don't get it. ---> Tooironic 06:40, 10 April 2010 (UTC)

If you could learn only one phrase, perhaps this is the best choice. Michael Z. 2010-04-13 21:15 z

Er, I don't get it either. What am I missing? --Yair rand 21:25, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
I'm guessing that's the general "you", and not specifically referring to EP? Because since EP does speak English, I can't imagine he'd find it very useful to tell people that he doesn't. —RuakhTALK 22:09, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
Probably because the translations are totally useless? - TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 23:15, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
How often will anyone need to tell someone in Esperanto that they don't speak English? The chance that two randomly selected people both speak Esperanto is minimal to begin with, and if they do happen to understand each other in Esperanto, then why does it matter whether one doesn't speak English? --EncycloPetey 02:20, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
"English" is really just a place holder. You can find the word for English in virtually any of the translations and plug another language into them following the same pattern. It’s an extremely useful phrase, even more useful than I speak English. Just thinking of Navajo, the construction for not being able to speak some language is so alien and enigmatic for Indo-European speakers that nobody would ever be able to say it meaningfully (especially since Navajo is a language that has to be spoken precisely in order to be understood correctly). With this phrase, it is easy for most of us to plug German, French, Russian, or other language into the slot and say it correctly. Kudos to us. —Stephen 02:42, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Hmm... I disagree. If a person is fluent is Esperanto, he or she presumably knows other people who speak Esperanto in order to use that language with them. Since Esperanto is a constructed, auxiliary language with few native speakers, Esperanto speakers usually are at least bilingual. Among a group of bilingual people who communicate by using an auxiliary language, the repertoire of languages that each person knows is a subject liable to appear in conversations. --Daniel. 02:51, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
Right. Thinking only of Esperanto, although as a constructed language I personally do not have the slightest interest in it, it is an official language in some places. For instance, it is (or was) an official language alongside Portuguese of the Government of Brazil. I can imagine two politicians in Brazil (perhaps one of them from Germany or the Ukrain) speaking together in Esperanto and one, uncomfortable with his level of fluency in Esperanto, asks the other whether he speaks another language such as English, and the other replies in Esperanto that he does not speak English. —Stephen 03:00, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
How about changing the translations? Instead of having je ne parle pas anglais in French and 영어를 못합니다 in Korean, we could have je ne parle pas français (I don't speak French) and 한국말을 못합니다 (I don't speak Korean). They would be useful for English speakers. - TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 11:17, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
We tried something like that with do you speak...?. People found it very confusing, so we finally moved it to do you speak something. It is still a confusing idea and we get a lot of bad translations from people who do not understand what it is about. It requires a lot of careful cleanup. The phrase I don't speak English is easy to understand and translate, and the pattern is useful if you want to change the language name. —Stephen 12:23, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
By that token, we should have I don't speak something. Wait, no, I know: I don't speak anything.​—msh210 15:57, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
Those would be the most useful translations, but may well confuse readers.​—msh210 15:55, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

We're WT:NOT paper. Why not include this phrase in English for each language? (“I don't speak Aari,” . . . “I don't speak Zyrian.”) In inflected languages, you can't just swap in the nominative form of the language name to say it correctly. Michael Z. 2010-04-14 14:45 z

Because "I don't speak Aari" is probably not attestable, nor it is common, so it should be avoided according to my interpretation of WT:CFI and WT:PB. --Daniel. 18:54, 14 May 2010 (UTC)


Biases questions for sense #3:

  • Is the parenthetical "(dishonourably)" appropriate? should it not be an appended subjunctive clause ", generally dishonourably."? also, how does one dishonourably displace someone in another's affections? Sounds like prudish claptrap to me.
  • In both historic and modern use, a mistress need not displace anyone. A left-handed marriage, a kept-woman, or even a wife's female lover do not displace a 'wife' yet are all described as a mistress. Should we be biased toward this 1950s sensibility?
  • 'in the affections of a man'? wth? Doesn't this presuppose the relationship is emotional as well as carnal, which has proven repeatedly not to be the case even in so well-celebrated a case as Mr. Woods, the US golfer? Perhaps the intent is to merge two separate senses - that of emotional fidelity and that of sexual fidelity.

- Amgine/talk 18:17, 10 April 2010 (UTC)

"Light Discussion"

Is there some idiomatic meaning to this phrase/idiom? Or is this just a (very popular) phrase to refer to light (as in, not too serious or solemn) conversation. I'm not a native English speaker myself which might explain my confusion. I tried to look up the phrase (which to me would qualify as an idiom due to the way it's used) but couldn't find it anywhere.

If it would qualify it might be a good idea to add it to the Wiktionary. Bootini 22:06, 10 April 2010 (UTC)

It's just light (unimportant, trivial) + discussion. There is no additional idiom in the combination. --EncycloPetey 22:11, 10 April 2010 (UTC)

poor diddums & diddums

Poor diddums! A very common phrase. Was very surprised to find it not included here. But what does diddums even mean? And is it really plural only? Help, please. ---> Tooironic 09:01, 11 April 2010 (UTC)

  • Added the interjection. I suppose it may be used as a noun when referring to a child. SemperBlotto 10:37, 12 April 2010 (UTC)
It is a noun sometimes used vocatively, isn't it? Many nouns are sometimes used as "interjections" in that manner, but that does not make them interjections, I don't think. Also, don't we have a baby talk context tag? That is how I personally think of this, at least in its origins. DCDuring TALK 12:22, 13 April 2010 (UTC)


Is there a word in english like French rembobiner - to wind back onto a bobbin - the obvious word would be re-embobbin, but that doesn't exist. Also what about embobiner (to embobbin) - to wind onto a bobbin? --Rising Sun talk? contributions 09:53, 12 April 2010 (UTC)

Does coil up work? recoil doesn't seem to be the right word. --Rising Sun talk? contributions 09:55, 12 April 2010 (UTC)
When using microfilm readers I have always used rewind. SemperBlotto 10:31, 12 April 2010 (UTC)

mind you

I don't expect an answer to appear on the Discussion page sooner than when I would've already lost any interest, so I'm reopening this topic here (please move it to the Discussion page if it don't belong here anymore). I can't get the exact sense of "mind you". Is it something like "keep in mind that", "be aware that", or something milder, like "just so/to let you know"? la la means I love you talk 09:39, 13 April 2010 (UTC)

In my experience, it is almost exclusively used in speech. Accordingly, tone of voice would convey which of the paraphrases you offer would be closest, I think. Reflecting on it, I think it often is used to convey a qualification to what had just been said. But, mind you, in my mind's ear, I hear it with a UK accent, which may mean I've heard it most memorably on television, rather than in the wild. HTH. DCDuring TALK 12:09, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
I have incorporated some of the above into the entry. Please correct what seems wrong. DCDuring TALK 12:16, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
After reading a few more exemplifying sentences (ex: he's well dressed, but mind you, he has plenty of money), I've finally got it (the tonality, descending). In Romanian we have "(băi) (dar) scuză-mă" (lit. (but) excuse me) and "nu te supăra" (lit. don't take offence), both of which don't make much sense in the context (unless introducing a reproach directed towards the collocutor). Edit: On second thought, they might though, as they're usually used to introduce a gossip. Thanks DCDuring. la la means I love you talk 19:43, 13 April 2010 (UTC)


This probably needs a {{law}} tag and a little expansion --Rising Sun talk? contributions 11:47, 13 April 2010 (UTC)


Redundant meanings

  1. (soccer) An international appearance
  2. (cricket) The cap worn by players as protection from the sun; the cap awarded to a player when first selected to play for a side

Cap doesn't refer to any specific sport, it refers to many. IMO put {{sports}} and then if necessary, put all the individual categories at the bottom. Same would go for goalkeeper, sports, but the categories Soccer, Field hockey, Ice hockey and Handball at the bottom. Mglovesfun (talk) 12:40, 13 April 2010 (UTC)

In my mind (I come form England and try to avoid sport) the two different definitions are correct ie (1) soccer cap = each appearance, (2) a cricket cap is awarded for a debut appearance, ie you get your cricket cap once. A cricket fan will need to contradict or confirm this. I suspect that the soccer usage has crept into use for cricket. I won't comment on the categorisation. —Saltmarshαπάντηση 14:15, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
About soccer I'm in doubt too--Pierpao 06:28, 2 May 2010 (UTC)

Sartrean philosophy term in English

For those clued up on the works of Sartre, can you give a definition in English of the word éclater, which cnrtl gives as Sortir de soi, effectuer un mouvement vers l'objet [come out of oneself, make a movement towards the object]. --Rising Sun talk? contributions 07:45, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

Google suggests it is sometimes translated as "burst out". Equinox 18:19, 15 April 2010 (UTC)


I can't find this ugly word in any dictionary, but there are lots of examples of it, such as w:Logistics Proponency Office or Proponency Office for Rehabilitation and Reintegration. It seems to have been invented by the US Army. Any ideas for a definition? Jonathan Webley 18:56, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

  • How strange. It seems to be derived from the verb propone, but has nothing to do with it. I suspect that the person who invented it meant to use a different word - but I can't think what. Have you tried asking them? SemperBlotto 07:48, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
I would say that it comes via hyper-correction parallel to that of constituency, constitue; solvency, solve, etc. So probably, what they were trying to mean when they coined this hideous word, was a body/office that administers the discussion of (something) 09:24, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
It looks to me as if they were looking for a synonym for advocacy and derived this from proponent. I have two hypotheses about avoiding "advocacy": one is that it is politically undesirable, reminiscent of protest marches, and the other is that it might cause confusion with w:Judge Advocate General's Corps, United States Army. DCDuring TALK 11:32, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
I'd lean to the second hypothesis, as the usage seems to predate the use of "advocacy"/"advocate" in the protest sense, AFAICT. DCDuring TALK 12:05, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

Latin: qui, quis, quam, quod

I would like to create links to quam and quod from qui and quis, but do not know what section they should be under. Derived terms? Related terms? See also? Speaking of which, how do we emphasize a particular inflection of a word in Latin that takes on a different meaning of its own? cf. capio > captus. From the model of how we categorize suffixed forms which can be thought of as special inflections, I'm guessing that we should list these under Derived terms. --- 08:57, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

Above poster, now logged in. For now I'll list them under Derived terms. VNNS 08:53, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

would rather

Sum of Parts? I can't decide. ---> Tooironic 15:03, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

Yes. See [[rather#Adverb]].​—msh210 15:34, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
It is just that "'d + rather" and "would + rather" constitute 98% of the use of modal verbs with "rather". (I haven't yet analyzed use of "have" with rather which might lower the percentage because some of the 'd usage might be of had with rather in a different sense.) Though this might be strictly sum of parts, it is opaquely so and is so common as to merit care. To me "would rather" seems like a natural unit. The use of would in the appropriate sense without rather seems to me to be rather uncommon in current English. I would rather we gave more thought to the rationale for adding/keeping this. DCDuring TALK 11:53, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
Also, the existence of druthers suggests to me that this functions as a unit. DCDuring TALK 11:55, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
I agree with DCD. This should have an entry. It's a specific unit which we use to talk about preferences, and is almost modal in it's usage. "Would rather" always modifies a following (or previously used) verb which is in the bare infinitive form. Also it cannot be followed by a true modal verb, nor an auxiliary "do". But unlike a modal, it can also take a clause "I'd rather you do it, please" for example. -- ALGRIF talk 16:59, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
Then you'd say we should also have would sooner, I suppose. What about would prefer? Different sort of phrase, but most of what you say above applies to it.—msh210℠ on a public computer 18:10, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
If this is to be treated differently, it is because it seems to be a current usage of an otherwise archaic-to-obsolete sense of would as a form of non-modal will. That is, it seems like a fossilized form. As such, it would qualify as an idiom. "Would prefer" seems to me a simply modal use of "would". "Would sooner" does seem to be the same. I am not accustomed to looking at these carefully, so my head is beginning to hurt. I am not sure the distinction I would make is valid. I would sooner omit the entry (rather ?) than get it wrong. DCDuring TALK 18:23, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
Now you mention them, I'd say that would sooner deserves an entry for the same reasons as would rather. "Would prefer" is NOT followed by the bare infinitive, and does not display any other modal-like qualities. I also believe that most possibly idiomatic phrases that warrant a significant entry in EFL teaching books should be considered as being useful. (Why is it that "being useful" is not part of CFI. Or perhaps it is?) -- ALGRIF talk 15:18, 17 April 2010 (UTC)

1. were it not for & 2. if it weren't for

Are these two Sum of Parts? Aaaah. ---> Tooironic 15:09, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

Yes. They are unusual phrases, though: see [3] (and the original discussion at [4]).​—msh210 15:31, 15 April 2010 (UTC)


I don't think this is really a suffix. burger is certainly now a standalone term and probably predates terms like cheeseburger, which in any event might have been considered a blend in its early use. I think burger is now used as a combining form. IMO this should be a soft redirect to burger. Is this a meaningful distinction? Is a term like lamburger a blend because of the loss of one of the "b"s whereas cheeseburger is a compound? DCDuring TALK 11:38, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

I'd delete it too. Mglovesfun (talk) 11:59, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
Certainly just a standalone term, used in compounds and blends. Contrast -gate, which is a productive suffix with a meaning distinct from gate. Robert Ullmann 14:00, 22 April 2010 (UTC)


First definition: A conflict involving the organized use of arms and physical force between countries or other large-scale armed groups. The warring parties hold territory, which they can win or lose; and each has a leading person or organization which can surrender, or collapse, thus ending the war.

This seems too limiting for the primary sense and too encyclopedic. As worded it is not substitutable (esp, the full sentence can't substitute for a noun). I also wouldn't want to have to find three citations for each distinct feature of this definition, let alone three citations that simultaneously attest to each element of the definition.

Also, isn't there a legal sense of "war" under international (and national wars), at least one generalized definition of which should be included? DCDuring TALK 16:39, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

I would suggest that the first sentence is the definition and the second is encyclopaedic (and therefore should be deleted). I don't know the legal definition, but I think we need to include something that distinguishes a war from a skirmish. Dbfirs 17:02, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
"The legal definition", I guess there's not one single definition. Mglovesfun (talk) 23:23, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
I'd bet that it is possible that there could be a state of war under international law and national laws between two countries without any shots being fired. Even if we didn't capture every variation, such basic phenomena belong in here. BTW, we already have "decided" (?) that any attestable regulatory or legal definition in principle belongs here. (See ground beef.) We could have 50+ definitions for "misdemeanor", "felony" and similar legal terms from the US alone. DCDuring TALK 02:28, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
For example, any kind of cold war is initially a war without shots being fired. Also for example, I believe that the Greek and Turkish Cypriots are legally at war even now. And it's not the only place where a cease fire has never been declared, and who remain officially at war, much to the surprise of the general public. -- ALGRIF talk 15:09, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
The entry has other senses which might be deemed to include other kinds of wars between or within nations, armed wars involving entities other than nations, and conflicts involving other kinds of participants (eg, edit wars). As a monlingual entry it would certainly benefit from some work, but the translations have trouble keeping up, I've been told, so I don't make that kind of change lightly. DCDuring TALK 16:29, 17 April 2010 (UTC)

keep watch

Sum of parts? If so, what are the parts? That's not sarcastic, I really wanna know. Mglovesfun (talk) 23:21, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

not SOP. Define it already --Rising Sun talk? contributions 23:54, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
What is it exactly? ---> Tooironic 01:29, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Originally it was sum of parts (one meaning of "watch" is "guardianship, lookout"), but now, like many set phrases, the parts are rather obscure. So yes, definitely define it. Ƿidsiþ 11:36, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
"Maintain the condition of" "a particular time period when guarding is kept"? Pingku 16:54, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
I'm not sure if you're being deliberately obtuse, but...I would parse it as "to maintain or cause to continue" "the state of watching or guarding". Ƿidsiþ 17:01, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
Sorry. I did not mean to be deliberately obtuse. I was citing glosses of keep and watch. Without attempting, at this stage, to rephrase them. I was wondering whether this is close enough to a definition. It seems, from your response, like the rephrasing might be unavoidable. Pingku 17:38, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
Nah, the real reason is (I now see) that we don't yet have the relevant senses for either of these words. I'll try and get around to adding them, although that doesn't stop this from being a good set phrase which deserves a page in its own right. Ƿidsiþ 17:42, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
Cool. Pingku 18:02, 17 April 2010 (UTC)


Does contraception have a verb? ---> Tooironic 01:46, 17 April 2010 (UTC)

Contracept appears to be more common than contraceive (855 vs 26 on b.g.c, though the former count includes abbreviations of contraception/ive). Pingku 11:32, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
... but it is rare - Google bring up mainly the Wiktionary entry for "contracepted", but a few others for "contracepting". Dbfirs 10:12, 18 April 2010 (UTC)

flock vs. herd

Is there a fundamental difference between these two terms? --Vahagn Petrosyan 20:14, 17 April 2010 (UTC)

  • "Fundamentally" (ie etymologically), a flock is a group whereas a herd is specifically a group of domestic animals. But functionally, the only real difference now is that they are applied to different animals -- "flock" for birds, sheep or sometimes goats, and herds for, well, lots of others. In some cases the two are deliberately contrasted, eg the old phrase "herds and flocks", where herds means specifically cattle. Ƿidsiþ 20:25, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
Well, that means that they are not substitutable synonyms for each other. I'm not sure what Vahagn was getting at, but I would argue that they should not appear as synonyms for each other without explanation. The extended senses differ a great deal in application and connotation as well. Wordnet has a good set of synonyms for the various senses of each. I hope we do, too. DCDuring TALK 20:56, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
I just wanted to know what's the difference between those too, for myself, after reading this line in Britannica: "According to Julius Caesar, the Germans were pastoralists, and the bulk of their foodstuffs—milk, cheese, and meat—came from their flocks and herds." I read somewhere that animals that hold together easily are in “flocks”. Thus, bad breeds of sheep that run away when attacked are referred to as in “herds” not flocks. --Vahagn Petrosyan 21:12, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
Not really, flocks and herds is a set phrase which specifically means "sheep and cattle". Ƿidsiþ 05:04, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
Apparently the Latin words grex was a generic term and pecus and armentum could be used preferentially for collections of sheep (or pigs) and of cattle, respectively, though apparently sometimes used more generally. Interesting that herd animals are those that need herding and flock animals flock together (even "birds of a feather flock together"). DCDuring TALK 01:42, 18 April 2010 (UTC)


One of the definitions of pudding is: (New Zealand, British) Any dessert. The example sentence is: We have apple pie for pudding today. The definition refers to a countable item, but the sentence refers to a course of a meal. If both are possible, the additional meaning of "course of a meal" needs to be added; otherwise, something needs to be changed. Can someone with expertise in these dialects help with this? Wakablogger 05:24, 18 April 2010 (UTC)

  • Done. Ƿidsiþ 05:33, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
TY Wakablogger 07:46, 18 April 2010 (UTC)

(Overheard in Nairobi: Waitress: Do you want Spotted Dick for pudding? Tourist, from U.S.: WHAT?! ;-) Robert Ullmann 13:53, 22 April 2010 (UTC)


I'm confused about what the difference is between the current first two senses, "accidental termination of pregnancy", and "a spontaneous abortion". spontaneous abortion is definitely the medical term for a miscarriage, but is the first sense really distinct? Ƿidsiþ 07:17, 18 April 2010 (UTC)

WF created this entry with the first defn. An anon then added the better second defn. I think the first defn. could be eliminated as I cannot see any notable distinction. -- ALGRIF talk 13:39, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
Spontaneous abortion to someone (like me, I mean) sounds like a woman just going "oh what the heck, I'm gonna do it". That seems to merit its own entry, hence merge those two. Mglovesfun (talk) 19:20, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
Yeah, they're synonyms AFAICT: merge.​—msh210 15:44, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
Per Mglovesfun. I suggest we retain the first definition and create spontaneous abortion as a synonym with a medicine tag.—verily nest no settingsuns [ mai tok paeij ] 11:44, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
Yeah, sounds good.​—msh210 16:23, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Done, thanks all. Ƿidsiþ 16:43, 20 April 2010 (UTC)


Firstly I don't think that the usage notes should refer to senses by number for the same reasons translation glosses don't. Secondly, I'm not expert but for the example senses given for the current senses 2 and 3 (which I think are the same as when the usage notes were written) only one for the three sentences uses a gerund, suggesting the usage notes are either wrong, incomplete or need to be more precise. Thryduulf 19:01, 18 April 2010 (UTC)

I rest my case

Shouldn't this be at its lemma, rest one's case? ---> Tooironic 13:02, 19 April 2010 (UTC)

It is a formulaic statement by which one announces that one's case is completed (that it rests on what has already been presented). Looks like a speech act. Pingku 14:18, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
The legal sense may warrant such a lemma. It may be idiomatic based on its using an archaic-to-obsolete sense of rest.
The second sense is idiomatic only as a speech act and a speech act is intrinsically first-person, I think. DCDuring TALK 17:38, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
BTW, it seems odd to be that the English legal sense of rest should have the same Germanic etymology as the other senses of "rest" (verb and noun). So many legal terms come via Anglo-Norman from Old French (or Middle French ?) and stop is close in sense. DCDuring TALK 18:04, 19 April 2010 (UTC)





There are three entries in Wiktionary: amadán, amadawn and omadhaun. They mean exactly the same thing.

Another spelling form of the same word is "ommadawn", which is probably most well known as the title of Mike Oldfield's third album.

Amadán is the correct Irish spelling, evidenced by Irish language dictionaries and even Google translate.

I believe that the four words should be combined into the entry for amadán - perhaps with redirections as appropriate?

I don't know for sure how to arrange this other than by asking here..... thanks.

We don't use redirections on Wiktionary. See Wiktionary:Redirections. Each spelling should have its own page here, since they're pages about that word and that spelling, not pages about a topic. One way to handle this sort of situation is with "Alternative spellings" or "Alternative forms" (when they're pronounced differently). See Wiktionary:Alternative spellings. --EncycloPetey 23:58, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

professional wrestling

Three definitions. I think they should be merged. The second definition seems wrong, as it seems to be countable, but listed as uncountable. Mglovesfun (talk) 13:10, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

It's used that way in the US. One can say "We watched professional wrestling last night." This refers to a specific performance, and not to the business as a whole. However, "My friend loves professional wrestling." refers to the business as a whole, and not to any specific instance. Both senses are uncountable, since you cannot wacth "three professional wrestlings". --EncycloPetey 13:48, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
These are not different things. “I love professional wrestling; I like watching it in person better than on TV.” Michael Z. 2010-04-20 14:26 z
Agree with Mzajac. I don't think that this is a separate sense, nor do I think it's countable. It would sound beyond silly for someone who watched two separate bouts of wrestling the other night to say, "I watched professional wrestlings last night." -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 14:41, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
Yeah you could apply this to any sport or similar spectacle. Baseball could refer to watching some baseball or the professional sport, or the amateur sport. Would this justify three different definitions (plus the countable one, a baseball). Mglovesfun (talk) 15:21, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
Is the essence of the idiom that it is choreographed entertainment, a "fixed fight"? Is that encyclopedic? Is professional wrestling the paradigm of a "fixed fight"? To me this last is the principal justification for having it as an entry. DCDuring TALK 17:28, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
I think not. I'm sure a million fans know exactly what professional wrestling means without believing that some fight may be fixed. Michael Z. 2010-04-21 15:25 z
But without the fixed-fight meaning, it seems to mean wrestling for money, which does seem SoP. It seems to me that the fixedness is what makes this possibly idiomatic. DCDuring TALK 16:34, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
I think that fights are fixed or choreographed in professional wrestling is a fact about professional wrestling, and not part of the meaning of professional wrestling, which is SoP.​—msh210 16:46, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
Well, google:"is the professional wrestling of" suggests that this property (or supposed property) of professional wrestling has leaked from the realm of the encyclopedia into the realm of what we might plausibly cover, though google:"is the pro wrestling of" raises a wrinkle. —RuakhTALK 17:17, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
Professional wrestling isn't wrestling that's professional. Dubious whether it's even wrestling, it's a form of fiction-based entertainment like movies, books, music (etc.) Futhermore Greco-Roman wrestling at a professional wrestling is not known as professional wrestling to avoid confusion. Mglovesfun (talk) 17:17, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
...except when it is: [5], [6].​—msh210 17:37, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

Wrestling is a sport, so professional wrestling should be “the sport of wrestling with professional participants.” But professional wrestling is idiomatic because it is not sport, but theatrical entertainment. Michael Z. 2010-04-21 19:32 z

That's like saying meat is healthy, so delicatessen meat should be defined as "healthy meat delicatessen-style". But delicatessen meat is idiomatic because it is not healthy, but garbage. No: wrestling is just wrestling, not necessarily a sport, and professional wrestling is "wrestling with professionals as participants" or "wrestling for a living" or something.​—msh210 19:39, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
That's not exactly true. It's true that wrestling denotes a sport; and it's true that professional wrestling and pro wrestling denote theatrical entertainment; but wrestling alone also denotes the latter theatrical entertainment (just look through google:"watch wrestling", most of the hits mean pro wrestling) and professional wrestling also denotes the former sport (see Msh210's links above, about Greco-Roman wrestling; some of those same hits also apply it to other forms of wrestling). —RuakhTALK 19:38, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
RE msh210 and those two link. In those cases, professional wrestling would be sum of parts (wrestling of a professional nature) whereas professional wrestling is professional, but it isn't wrestling. Mglovesfun (talk) 19:42, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
That sounds reasonable. At least it does if I understand you correctly: that professional wrestling is a synonym for sense 2 of wrestling (the staged stuff) and that those links have professional + sense 1 of wrestling (the non-staged stuff). Reasonable, but I don't think it's correct. Consider this: would you consider amateurs who wrestle in staged wrestling matches to be engaged in professional wrestling? Or would you have to say something like "professional wrestling-type wrestling"? If the former (and it's attested), fine, but otherwise professional wrestling is SOP AFAICT.​—msh210 19:49, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
Amateurs competing in staged matches? I'd say that's professional wrestling, yes. Mglovesfun (talk) 19:51, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
I don't buy the argument that "the part means the combination, so the combination is sum of parts". If that were true then "professional" has no meaning, for to be a sum must add the meaning of the two words independently. Your argument actually suggested that professional wrestling is redundant, not that it is sum-of-parts.
The reason that wrestling refers to professional wrestling is that the former term is a more inclusive one. The word guitar can mean acoustical guitar, but that doesn't make acoustical guitar sum of parts. Likewise (a game of) ball can mean baseball, basketball, football (either sport), etc., but this does not make the names of all those sports sum-of-parts. The short form is an etymological derivative short form, derived from the full name, which in turn derives from the part. That's not the same thing as "sum of parts". --EncycloPetey 20:02, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
I'd compare it to barbecue sauce or something similar. Barbecue describes a specific style here, or else we need a sense at professional "faked, staged, fictional". Mglovesfun (talk) 20:30, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
@EncycloPetey: I see what you're saying, and that's a good point, but I'm not sure it really addresses anything I said. I'm not arguing that "wrestling" means "professional wrestling". Rather, I, like you, am arguing that professional wrestling is a kind of wrestling — specifically, the professional kind. In the present-day Anglosphere, professional wrestling tends to be faked while amateur wrestling tends to be real; but that, in itself, is not a linguistic fact (let alone a lexical one), so to my mind, the only question is whether it has linguistic consequences that we should document.
That said, if you have any evidence for your suggestion that the only reason wrestling alone can ever refer to pro wrestling is because it's short for "professional wrestling", then I'd be interested to hear that. (Though plausible-sounding, it seems unprovable, and therefore irrelevant for our purposes, but maybe you can think of a way to demonstrate it?)
RuakhTALK 01:20, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
I would find it very difficult to demonstrate the etymological relationship, but that's my second point. My first point stands whether or not the second supporting argument can be demonstrated. I disagree with you about the lexical difference. One says "professional wrestling" to clarify a particular form of the sport, which means that it does carry lexical significance. Saying "My cousin participates in competitive wrestling" versus "My cousin participates in professional wrestling describes an entirely different sort of activity, even if both are income-generating careers. This is not true for other sports. Consider also Mexican wrestling; is this just wrestling that is Mexican? --EncycloPetey 01:36, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
Well, as of this writing, google:"participates in professional wrestling" gets only five hits, and google books:"participates in professional wrestling" gets only one; and neither google:"participates in competitive wrestling" nor google books:"participates in competitive wrestling" gets any at all. But if you can find better-attested phrases that demonstrate the lexical significance you describe, then I think you'll convince me. What you're saying sounds very plausible, and Mglovesfun's comments seem to indicate that his take on the phrases is similar to yours, but after trying various Google-searches that seemed likely to pull up evidence, I just haven't managed to convince myself. —RuakhTALK 02:39, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
Look at the results for b.g.c "different from professional wrestling" [7]. --EncycloPetey 20:20, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

Hm; I'm tempted to take it back. There are too many ifs ands or buts. We could examine the history of both pro & Græco-Roman wrestling, or any sport, and do a census of how many matches are staged or fixed; we could debate the boundaries of sports and entertainment, whether ice dancing or improv comedy are sports &c. Maybe we should not overanalyze it, or remain detached and just mention that pro wrestling puts the emphasis on entertainment. Michael Z. 2010-04-21 23:50 z

"Professional wrestling" involves an awful lot of activity that could not be considered wrestling under any reasonable definition. People hitting people with ladders and chairs, for example, are staples of the sport. Consider the fact that you can watch an hour of "professional wrestling" and see nothing but overblown banter, pageantry, fireworks, and brawling, involving thrown punches but no actual grappling or wrestling moves. If, at that point, you wisely turn off the television, you can still honestly say you watched an hour of professional wrestling (but you could not correctly say you watched an hour of wrestling). bd2412 T 20:47, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

Category:Chinese surnames

To index Chinese characters used as surnames, I created Category:Chinese_surnames. This resulted in each character getting its own index character, though, so I put them all under the index character of 字. This does not seem completely satisfactory, but the indexing character is limited to one character.

I've also suggested merging Category:Mandarin_surnames with Chinese surnames; I found it after I created the Chinese surnames category. Wakablogger 20:34, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

The index letter is one character, but the sort key is not. See answer in the GP. Robert Ullmann 13:46, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
Surname categories should begin with a language statement, and Chinese isn't considered a language in the Wiktionary. Shouldn't Category:Chinese surnames be deleted, and a separate category created for each language, like Category:Mandarin surnames and Category:Cantonese surnames? There will be repetition in han characters, but the Roman script entries are different. Also, English seems the wrong language statement for and , etc. I don't know Chinese of any kind, and you are very welcome to clean up Chinese surnames, Wakablogger. I hope some of our Chinese contributors will tell their opinion. --Makaokalani 15:38, 23 April 2010 (UTC)


Our definition is "an area of land totally surrounded by water", which is fine, except that it includes, e.g., the Americas, or Eurasia-cum-Africa. Perhaps "a contiguous area of land, smaller than a continent, totally surrounded by water", but then what about Australia, which is often considered an island? and what about an area surrounded by man-made canals, such as Cape Cod? I don't think those are considered islands generally, though I'm not sure.​—msh210 18:01, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

Some areas surrounded (or nearly surrounded) by water that is partly or entirely in man-made channels are called islands, e.g Spike Island. I'm not certain that there is any standard by which these areas of land are called islands or not. Thryduulf 18:31, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
Well, one could certainly write that “completing the last canal turned Cape Cod into an island” by way of explanation, even though it isn't normally called an island. Don't mistake being an island for having island in the proper name. But why not follow RH and AHD, and add “smaller than a continent” to the definition? Michael Z. 2010-04-21 19:28 z
  • I think the definition is about right: if you called the Americas an island, I wouldn't say that's wrong, just a bit weird. But I guess some clarification about how it's normally used is fine. Ƿidsiþ 10:59, 22 April 2010 (UTC)


The entries in the category do not have a proper noun category. I couldn't find any proper noun inflection line templates in Category:Estonian inflection templates. -- 21:22, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

You can use {{infl|et|proper noun}} on the inflection line for this. --EncycloPetey 23:30, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
Thanks. I have added this to the pages accordingly. I will remove {{rft}} from the category now. -- 08:42, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
A lot of our proper nouns in all languages, especially English, don't appear in proper nouns categories, only in topical ones. Mglovesfun (talk) 08:45, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
Is it wrong then? Should I undo? -- 09:08, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
No the opposite, the other entries are wrong. Mglovesfun (talk) 10:36, 22 April 2010 (UTC)


"diminutive, and less offensive version of nigger." I don't think it's a diminutive. Mglovesfun (talk) 09:26, 22 April 2010 (UTC)

Definitely not, on either count. It's an AAVE eye dialect spelling. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 10:17, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
Sweet Jesus, that's been there for years. I'm so embarrassed. Of course, it's Connel who wrote it. *sigh* -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 10:24, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
Popular among the "gangsta" contingent to address each other. "sup my niggaz?" Equinox 10:28, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
It probably is less offense for that reason; it's the 'black' spelling of it. Mglovesfun (talk) 10:35, 22 April 2010 (UTC)

At the moment the entry says "often considered offensive" and "less offensive version of nigger", which to me reads as contradictory (even if they aren't strictly, that's the impression I get). Yes it is explained in the usage notes, but these are at nigger (the link doesn't even point direct to the relevant section), so I don't think we can rely on them to remove the ambiguity - we need to avoid creating it in the first place. Thryduulf 15:20, 22 April 2010 (UTC)

Is it really less offensive? The spoken word is exactly the same as nigger, if the speaker has an urban accent or is affecting one, so it is exactly as offensive, in whatever particular context. Perhaps spelling it thus is a hint to the reader that its context is such speech. A colloquialized spelling. Michael Z. 2010-04-24 20:55 z

What word is this?

There was this discussion I had with another Teacher, yet I seem to forget some of his teachings. I forgot the term, and the appropriate word for this but I know the brief meaning of the word, it goes like: "to destroy one's dignity" or something like that. I sure hope one in here would know the answer. —This unsigned comment was added by Jewel.share (talkcontribs) at 11:42, 22 April 2010 (UTC).

Doesn't narrow it down too much I'm afraid. Denigrate? Mglovesfun (talk) 15:22, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
(after edit conflict) There are several possibilities that come to mind, it could be one of "demean", "debase", "humiliate", "degrade", or possibly others. Thryduulf 15:24, 22 April 2010 (UTC)

that said

This had been PoSed as an adverb. I have called it a phrase, an elliptical form of an absolute: "that having been/being said". As its current definition is however, it could be deemed a conjunction and/or a conjunctive adverb. But I am not sure which of the various senses of however was intended by the previous contributors. And the entry for however confuses me and may need cleanup. Furthermore, I am not sure that "however" is the best definition for this, especially in the absence of a means of linking to a specific sense or to multiple senses at however, rather than a substitutable synonym in some uses. DCDuring TALK 15:26, 22 April 2010 (UTC)

having said that

As above. DCDuring TALK 15:55, 22 April 2010 (UTC)


I wonder if this should be merged into a single def, something along the lines of "pertaining to the cortex". I can't speak about the kidney, but in neuroscience "cortical" does not mean "pertaining to the outer layer," it means "pertaining to the cortex." Granted, the cortex is an outer layer, but it does not comprise the entire outer layer of the brain. The cerebellum is certainly part of the outer layer of the brain, but it's not cortical. Thoughts? -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 00:50, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

Maybe something like this? :
  1. Pertaining to a cortex.
    (neuroscience) Pertaining to the cerebral cortex.
    (anatomy) Pertaining to the cortex of a kidney, or other internal organ or body structure.
    (botany) Pertaining to the cortex of a stem or root.
Just as cortex has multiple senses, cortical has multiple senses. We wouldn't think to completely replace all the definitions at [[cortex]] with "A cortical thing", because then we couldn't list synonyms and translations by sense.
RuakhTALK 14:04, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
Rather than merging the senses into one, I would like to see three senses, as given above by Ruakh, with no supersense. It seems that the generic would-be sense is "Of or related to whatever entity that is called 'cortex'", where 'cortex' has to remain in quotation marks. The various things called "cortex" really are called or named "cortex" rather than being a cortex. The generic would-be sense is already contained in the etymology of the term "cortical". The definition "Pertaining to a cortex" is not really a definition but a definition schema: a definition template from which definitions are obtained by replacing the term "cortex" with the definitions of "cortex". --Dan Polansky 14:48, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
I agree. Ruakh, the general anatomical sense of cortical refers to the surface of an internal organ. The botanical sense refers to an entire region within the stem or root, and not to a surface. The fact that both disciplines have used the word cortex to label to objects is pure happenstance, and not relevant except for the etymology. --EncycloPetey 00:39, 29 April 2010 (UTC)


I am looking for an improved etymology of words like phantasy, phantasm and phantom which distinguishes the morphemes. __meco 09:51, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

The etymologies generally look pretty good from where I'm standing. Granted, phantasy doesn't have one at all, but fantasy does. Could you elaborate on what it is you're looking for in the way of improvement? -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 13:27, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
It doesn't look to me that these words are the result of any process of formation from productive morphemes in any vintage of English, let alone modern English. I would expect that any words beginning with "phant" that have been formed in English are best considered blends or compounds. But facts could prove otherwise. DCDuring TALK 14:45, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
I guess "phant-" is productive in the minds of inventors of trademarkable proper nouns, such as for games, musical groups, and other entertainment entities. If those names are to be part of Wiktionary I suppose all manner of morphemes used in commercial fabrication of such words would accompany them. DCDuring TALK 15:01, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

I guess I was expecting to find a Greek meaning that went a bit deeper ontologically than the ones we can offer. __meco 20:35, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

I'm just a simple amateur lexicographer. Ontology is up the road in the metaphysics department at the uni or was last I noticed. DCDuring TALK 21:19, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
Anyway, I'm sure I hope others grasp what I'm getting at. __meco 12:36, 24 April 2010 (UTC)


Is "Imploration" a word? Or rather, can it be used in the sense of one's imploring something? Would that make sense? I was just wondering because this word came up in a game of Scrabble one day ;P -- OlEnglish 16:07, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

  • Yep, it's a word. Not a common one though -- you'd be brave to try it in a game of Scrabble. Ƿidsiþ 16:10, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
Seems to be valid in Scrabble. :) Pingku 18:06, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
That depends where you are. It's not in the Official Club and Tournament Word List, Second Edition (used in the United States, Canada, and Thailand), only in SOWPODS (used elsewhere). —RuakhTALK 18:23, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
I'm online, via Facebook, on Scrabble Worldwide "excluding U.S. and Canada" ... which would fit with the SOWPODS notion. Thanks. Pingku 18:42, 23 April 2010 (UTC)


Is it really a prefix? Equinox 20:29, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

  • I think it definitely is, although it's always hard to separate prefixes from just words used to make compounds. However, this was added to words even in Old English, and also was often used to form new words in imitation of Greek αύτο-; that plus some of the words formed make it feel strongly like a full-on prefix to me. Ƿidsiþ 20:58, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
  • I wouldn't think so. OneLook has no words that begin "selfa", "selfb", or "selfc", but has many that begin "self-a", etc. Two OneLook dictionaries (AHD and Encarta) show it as a prefix. RHU and CompactOED show it a combining form. To me, the prefix would seem better as a redirect to the noun, which needs to contain mention of its common use as a combining form.
But that is just from the minority English monolingual perspective. I'm wouldn't be surprised to find a felt need to retain the fictitious prefix to accommodate the need of another language to have a translation target. But I don't see why a prefix in one language couldn't have a noun as a translation target. DCDuring TALK 21:13, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
Among OneLook dictionaries, Compact OED, Pocket Collins, RHU, and MWOnline show it as a combining form; AHD, MacMillan, Encarta, Wordsmyth show it as a prefix (WNW shows no PoS). Some of those that have it provide definitions that simply associate a preposition with "self" (eg, "by itself", "of itself", "from/by means of itself", "to/with/for/toward itself". If we are going to keep such entries as if they were prefixes, we may as well illustrate how English nouns combine semantically using the meanings of some prepositions. DCDuring TALK 10:55, 18 May 2010 (UTC)


Can this also be spelled along side? The split version appears numerous places in Wiktionary. __meco 20:30, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

  • I have never seen it like this, but it wouldn't surprise me. The common older spelling was with a hyphen, along-side. Ƿidsiþ 20:55, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

give something a rest

give something a try

give something a go

Would these be considered dictionary material? ---> Tooironic 05:37, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

Not to me, unless there are meanings I don't know of. Mglovesfun (talk) 11:31, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
To "give (something) a try/go/whirl/shot" appears in a McGraw Hill Idiom dictionary. To "give it a try/go/whirl/shot/rest appears in one or two Cambridge dictionaries.
IMO, we should, at the very least, have the appropriate sense and usage examples (probably with "it" at try, go, whirl, shot, and rest. Another approach would be to make an Appendix (See Appendix:Collocations of do, have, make, and take) and use {{only in}} for a soft redirect to it. Or we could have full entries for each or just for the most common, with the others as alternative forms or hard redirects. DCDuring TALK 15:28, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

feed a cold, starve a fever

There's been a two person discussion on Talk:feed a cold, starve a fever that isn't really getting anywhere. I'm trying to argue that this is figurative rather than (necessarily) idiomatic, and that it's not a proverb as it has a literal meaning. Compare with come to an end which I just created, which also strikes me as figurative but not necessarily idiomatic. I don't intend to rfd either, or I would have already done it. Mglovesfun (talk) 09:03, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

It has the earmarks of a proverb in that it offers advice, it has parallel grammatical structure, and rests on a metaphor (that the afflictions/symptoms are organisms that eat). Paremiologists would certainly consider it one - but, then again, it is in their professional and commercial interests to do so. See w:Proverbs.
We could come up with our own criteria for proverb inclusion, but, as we tend to get bored or angry with such criteria, they are unlikely to stand for long. DCDuring TALK 11:07, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
What about my comments on the talk page? Is this idiomatic, or just figurative? Mglovesfun (talk) 12:19, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

Translating worth as a verb

We have worth as an adjective (meaning having value). In many Romance languages there is a verb (e.g. valere, valoir) that means "to be worth". I can't see a way to point our users to those verbs from our entry at worth. Any ideas? —This comment was unsigned.

  • Sometimes I will do "valoir". But we don't have a good consistent way of dealing with this. Ƿidsiþ 11:15, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
It would be nice if we had a verb (phrasal verb ?) to point to. Something like "appraise at" (idiom for which appraiser is the subject is in a McGraw-Hill idiom dictionary; the idiom also exists with the item being valued as the subject), but more general. Most terms I think of focus on "cost" (market value) rather than "value" (utility, subjective value). Which of the two value concepts do the Romance terms relate to? Either, depending on context? DCDuring TALK 11:20, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
Don't the meanings merit#Verb and deserve#Verb merit inclusion? Does "merit" miss some of the sense of valoir? DCDuring TALK 14:51, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
Personally, I would like to see the entry be worth. It would be useful, therefore I strongly suspect it would be argued out of existence under some pretext such as SoP or not CFI. -- ALGRIF talk 15:15, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
I argued the same thing a few months ago (archive?) since worth can only be used with be, or much more rarely become. I'll probably create it tomorrow, or today if I'm home early enough. Mglovesfun (talk) 15:26, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
FWIW, the premise of your argument is wrong. Consider: "I bought a book worth a hundred dollars for a buck." No form of "be". But we don't have that many human monolingual English users anyway to be confused by the existence of the entry, should they come across it. DCDuring TALK 16:07, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
I think that Mglovesfun is talking about collocation with copular verbs, where "worth" almost uniquely uses "be" and sometimes "become". (Yes I'm sure some exceptions can be found, but the principle still holds) -- ALGRIF talk 16:26, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
Amiss is like that, too. Advocates of having [[be worth]] for that reason would presumably want [[be amiss]], too, then.​—msh210 16:47, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
No, I do not think be worth is worth having any more than be red or be read.​—msh210 16:31, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
How about (in answer to the original question) * French: {{t|fr|valoir}} {{pos v}}?​—msh210 15:58, 26 April 2010 (UTC)

no A, no B

Could someone add an explanation on the phrase no A, no B probably based on no pain, no gain? As you know, it means that if the former weren't (or hadn't been) there, the latter wouldn't be (or wouldn't have been) there. There are many similar expressions, such as no harm, no foul; no efforts, no results; no cross, no crown; and it is a productive construction today, such as no Kick-Ass, no Red Mist (I just heard it yesterday  ). I think the no in this case is a conjunction. Or is it better described as a snowclone of no pain, no gain? - TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 05:09, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

As the structure is a particular instantiation of the parallelism commonly found in proverbs, another way of treating this would be in an generic appendix on proverbs. As the various forms of the construction are not synonymous, the should not be listed as alternative forms or synonyms. As they are numerous, they should not be individually listed in each entry of the form. As the form has more semantic content than a mere grammatical construction, I don't think it should be omitted.
Such an appendix could have many forms of this, especially all the attested entries and be referenced in the Usage notes or See also section for each entry. That appendix would be a good place for an elaboration on the construct, as we have not yet settled on a way of presenting snowclones that require placeholders other than "something", "one", or "someone". I don't think anyone would be happy with an entry of the form no something, no something else. DCDuring TALK 12:46, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
I just wanted someone to explain it in the page of no as a conjunction. For snowclones, why don't you use (or ...) for placeholders, like no …, no …? Using something doesn't work well with interwiki links. - TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 17:27, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
That form of placeholder, in departing from the standard used dictionary headwords, would be yet another indication that entries here are not for the benefit of any normal human user. I had been self-deluded into thinking that serving normal users were in some way the purpose of this project. How foolish of me. DCDuring TALK 18:16, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
I'm not sure we can cover this, firstly because "no ___, no ____" can sometimes imply other conjunctions (consider google:"no way, no how", or the first part of google:"no shirt, no shoes, no service"), and secondly because other instances of "____, ____" can also imply if–then (consider google:"try it, you'll see" or google:"you do it, you die"). I suppose we could have a series of senses at [[,]] documenting all the conjunctions that can be left implied by juxtaposition, but I tend to doubt anyone would ever think to look it up. —RuakhTALK 18:31, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
I think it's simply the elliptical construction: (If) no A (then) no B. B implies A. Pingku 18:40, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
That's how it looks to me. This is a sentence, not a lexeme (term, word, or whatever). The constant demand to add sentences and grammatical constructions to the dictionary make me fret. Michael Z. 2010-04-26 15:42 z
It's totally up to you English Wiktionarians to include or not to include that construction. I want to say one thing though: the construction no A, no B is not clear at all for non-native speakers. When Tower Records had an ad with the tagline no music, no life in Japan, many people couldn't understand it. Wiktionary seems to remain a dictionary for those who have already acquired English. - TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 02:17, 14 May 2010 (UTC)
Although, I agree that it may be difficult to use the English Wiktionary by foreign learners, it's all up to individual editors and how much time and effort they put into entries. Some entries have clarifications some don't. The clarifications may be useful or not to foreigners with low English skills. How can an entry be made understood easier in your opinion? What is useful is the translation, that's the purpose of dictionaries. The entry no pain, no gain, apart from the explanation has the translation into Japanese - 苦は楽の種. The clarifications help to understand idioms. --Anatoli 03:01, 14 May 2010 (UTC)
For example, we can add no harm, no foul and no cross, no crown in the related terms section in no pain, no gain, or we can explain them in no. I wanted to do it myself but I was afraid of deletion, which now seems to be likely to happen. - TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 09:43, 14 May 2010 (UTC)


I thought this was a valid alternative spelling. We have it as a misspelling. Mglovesfun (talk) 12:13, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

Webster's on-line has it as "a variant of wiener" —Saltmarshαπάντηση 15:22, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

23 Skidoo Street

A generic fictitious place. Is this a proper noun? Is this an idiom? It seems more like You-Know-Who. Similarly, is Podunk really a proper noun? DCDuring TALK 12:15, 25 April 2010 (UTC)


I'm confused. The first definition reads: "(obsolete) A wallet, purse or bag." but gives an example using "bouget". Then, amongst the Derived terms, it lists Dutch, German, French and Italian translations (budget/Budget). I don't think this is right, is it? ---> Tooironic 10:00, 26 April 2010 (UTC)

  • The definition is right, it just looks a bit confusing right now because we only have the original sense and the modern sense without any of the ones in between. bouget is an obsolete spelling of the word, used until the 18th century. You're right that those translations seem to be in the wrong place, though. Ƿidsiþ 10:06, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
I think it is always confusing to normal people to have attestation or usage examples using spellings other than the headword spelling, at least in principal namespace. (Even in citation space I would argue they should only appear under a distinguishing header or subheader.) Or we could simply entirely dispense with making allowances for normal people or the vestiges of normality occasionally displayed by our active contributors.
I would think we would want bouget to have its own entry and appear in the etymology. Further, I would think that we would not consider it an alternative spelling unless we know its pronunciation to have been the same as current or recent pronunciations of the headword. DCDuring TALK 14:33, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
That makes no sense. Prounciations have changed massively over time, and even words whose spelling has not changed are not pronounced the same as they were. (This is often what drives spelling change, in fact.) Citations should go under the lemma form, whatever their spelling. Most words have been spelled in literally dozens of different ways over the past few hundred years, and the only reason it looks confusing to you is because our citations are so few as to make it jump out. Ideally citations would show the development of the word over time. You can't simply stick it in the etymology because many of these spelling forms coexisted. Siphoning off bouget with its own citations gives the impression that it is a different word from budget, which is absolutely not the case. Ƿidsiþ 09:01, 27 April 2010 (UTC)
Among the advantages of having separate, linked pages for each individual spelling are:
  1. Reducing the bulk and complexity of the page for the modern spellings, which are those most useful for language learners, most monolingual users, and most quotidian translation work.
  2. Avoiding confusion, such as triggered this heading on this page, by having highlighted terms not identical to the headword.
  3. Ensuring that each spelling is separately attested.
In modern languages the dominant spellings are clearly differentiated from those used to represent dialectal pronunciations. I could understand that Middle English and Old English could have distinct policies about alternative spellings. But to allow the Early Modern English tail wag the English dog seems to me to not serve users. DCDuring TALK 12:15, 27 April 2010 (UTC)
I'm not suggesting anything be wagged, you either want to show how a given word has been used in English or you don't. Pretending that obsolete definitions and spellings are not really the same word that we know and love is wrongheaded and misguided. It can only be sustained with the most basic dictionary. There is a reason all the big dictionaries in whatever language you choose have historical collections of citations. A better way of reducing confusion is adding more historic forms, not less, so that the evolution is clearly represented. In this case, the "confusion" would disappear if the citation you dislike was supplemented by several more showing modern usage as well. Ƿidsiþ 12:28, 27 April 2010 (UTC)
I would have thought we would give some consideration to the needs of those ordinary human users whom we are likely to lose to competing dictionaries because our entries are too cumbersome and confusing. Perhaps we should be more explicit in Wiktionary:Mission statement about our purpose. I personally find long-winded presentation of the evolution of word meaning interesting. So perhaps I should just indulge myself. DCDuring TALK 13:50, 27 April 2010 (UTC)


I think we are missing a sense here, i.e., in "protein shake", "protein bar", etc. Not sure how to word it though. ---> Tooironic 10:05, 26 April 2010 (UTC)

The usual rules of semantics for attributive use of a noun would seem to apply here. "Protein" has yet to become a true adjective. Perhaps we should have a usage notes section that says of this (as other dictionaries do) "often used attributively".
We could go further and draw attention to its use in product labeling. If there is a distinctive regulatory sense of the word in food labeling, that would be worth including as a separate sense. DCDuring TALK 14:44, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
I guess... but it somehow seems different to me, something along the lines of energy drink, surely we aren't suggesting that that is merely a drink with energy in it? ---> Tooironic 08:57, 27 April 2010 (UTC)

first-person singular

  1. (grammar) The form of a verb used (in English and other languages) with the pronoun I (or its equivalent in other languages).

This is clearly inaccurate and misleading, not only verbs and have first-person singular forms. Also, it should avoid using "I" specifically. I'm trying to write decent definitions for this (the six that passed rfd today) and I can't! The best I have it [[first-person]] [[singular]] which I think covers it fine, but if that were the case it wouldn't have passed rfd. Mglovesfun (talk) 11:43, 26 April 2010 (UTC)

Many languages have the pronoun built in (Spanish) or do not require the pronoun (Japanese). How about "In languages with verbs that conjugate for person, the form of a verb used to indicate the speaker"? Wakablogger 04:11, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

make a quick buck

Anyone know the origin of this idiom? (Is it an idiom?) -- OlEnglish 13:27, 26 April 2010 (UTC)

If it is an idiom, I am surprised that you think it has a need for an etymology. To me its meaning comes from the parts. Quick buck might be an idiom. Fast buck is more likely. Some dictionaries consider them synonymous. I personally don't, holding that "fast" has additional implications of illegality or immorality that "quick" doesn't have. Other dictionaries give "fast buck" a US origin around 1950. Also see easy money. DCDuring TALK 15:09, 26 April 2010 (UTC)


I'm curious as to why we don't include this spelling. I always assumed this was how you spelt it - in the Commonwealth anyway! ---> Tooironic 08:46, 27 April 2010 (UTC)

Not as far as I know. Compare generosity and humorous for an ou becoming an o even in British English. Equinox 08:58, 27 April 2010 (UTC)
Hmmm, English is confusing... ---> Tooironic 11:17, 27 April 2010 (UTC)


home page

home page outnumbers homepage in COCA 519 to 100. It's the main headword in OED, RH, M–W, but not in AHD. Anyone object to making home page the main entry? Michael Z. 2010-04-27 20:54 z

  • Not really, although I can't help feeling the one-word version is steadily overtaking the other one. Ƿidsiþ 05:07, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
    Looks that way. In COCA (, I compared the occurrence of the two in 1990–99 to 2000–09. Home page reduces slightly (0.89) in relative frequency, while homepage doubles (1.98). Still, the former greatly outnumbers the latter, even in the last three years (84 to 19). Michael Z. 2010-04-28 06:01 z

I've gone ahead and switched the main/alt entries. Michael Z. 2010-04-28 06:19 z


"It's fixing to rain." Just an inflection of a sense we should have at fix (but don't), isn't it? "Why did you fix to go there?" and plenty more examples in Books. Equinox 22:05, 27 April 2010 (UTC)

  • This is considered dialectical. The AHD4 marks it as "Chiefly Southern U.S." It definitely should be included. Wakablogger 04:06, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
"I b'lieve I'm 'fixin to die" blues by Bukka White, Bob Dylan, and many others, puts this dialectical into the "likely to come across it" lexicon. Just to give one example. -- ALGRIF talk 09:50, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
We should probably have it at both fix and fixing (fixin' ?). MWOnline shows no restrictions, but I think it is both regional and informal. In the North it may occur among those from the South, but may be dated. DCDuring TALK 11:34, 12 May 2010 (UTC)


The definition is insufficient. I don't understand how anything could be worthy of bending over or pulling together. Should we also have word like jumpworthy and blinkworthy? I suspect there's an idiomatic use of this which should be explained. __meco 20:56, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

I've changed the definitino to "embarrassing", which is the only place I've heard it used. Conrad.Irwin 20:59, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
Would cringe be the correct term to use in relation to the full-body movement seen during intense laughter? __meco 21:13, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
No, cringing is the slight involuntary backward torso movement someone standing still makes when he notices a dead rat some feet away.​—msh210 21:20, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
The laughter movement would more properly be bowling over, or perhaps convulsing. bd2412 T 21:39, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
Could you suggest a word for what I am attempting to explain? __meco 21:28, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
To double over is to bend at the waist until one is double (i.e. folded in two) or, more generally, nearly so. (google books:doubled|doubling "in|with laughter" gives also double up and double.) Is that action what you have in mind?​—msh210 21:39, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
That would be hard for me to answer since I have only what I read in this section to go by. I think I'll attempt to use bowling over in the Wikipedia article where I was looking for the right expression to use. __meco 21:50, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
No, I don't think that's right. See [[bowl over]]: it's something you do to someone to make him laugh or wonder or something, not something the laugher/wonderer does AFAIK.​—msh210 21:56, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
I think it's both; you bowl someone over, they are bowled over. bd2412 T 02:16, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
On second thought, a Google Books search points towards it simply being overwhelming:
  • Ellen Schoeck, I was there: a century of alumni stories about the University of Alberta, 1906-2006 (2006), p. 593:
In my year off, I would go to the free concerts at noon and I was bowled over by the quality of the performances.
Cheers! bd2412 T 02:19, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
Addendum: 30 Google Books hits for "bowled over with laughter"; about a dozen for "bowled over laughing". bd2412 T 02:21, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
In one of bd2412's Google Books hits for "bowled over laughing" I find this describing comedian Richard Pryor: "He left his audiences bowled over, laughing so hard that they would be crying," This appears to be the exact meaning I was looking for to convey in that Wikipedia article, so I'll stick to that choice of words. __meco 16:36, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
I've attempted to improve the definition (and I've removed the list of other -worthy words from the "see also" section). SemperBlotto 21:36, 28 April 2010 (UTC) p.s. I think that cringe here means "to shrink away from" or maybe "to cower". SemperBlotto 21:37, 28 April 2010 (UTC)


The following was posted to Talk:transom by user:Rrenner:


The given definitions do not capture how "transom" is used in court filings. A transom filing is one made as a court clerk's office opens in the morning for a document that was due the previous day, typically a day when the clerk's office was not open until midnight. Transom filings can be made for briefs and other documents due on a specific day, but are not advisable for notices of appeal or other documents for which timely filing is a jurisdictional requirement.


Can someone who is (a) awake and (b) has time, turn this into a concise definition and determine if it's specific to the USA or is more widespread than that. Thryduulf 23:16, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

I've heard it in the US, though with a slightly different sense, ie, a "transom manuscript". I think in both senses "transom" is an ellipsis for over the transom. DCDuring TALK 19:57, 30 April 2010 (UTC)


Yet another startlingly inadequate entry. Isn't there a noun, and a plural Romantics as well? Mglovesfun (talk) 10:08, 29 April 2010 (UTC)

get one's eye in

We really ought I think have an entry for this idiomatic phrase - nearly five hundred google books hits for "get|got my|his|her|their eye in", although not all are relevant most are.

I'd add it myself, but I'm just not sure how to define it. I know what it means, but I can't condense that into anything that is both meaningful and shorter than several sentences. Can anyone do better than me? Thryduulf 22:25, 29 April 2010 (UTC)

Is it something like "to 'come'/'learn how'/'begin' to 'perceive'/'focus one's perception on' what is most important to success in an activity"?
As I am in the US and not a cricket fan, the citation I found most helpful was from Pacey, "get|got+my|his|her|their+eye+in"&lr=&as_brr=3&ei=fR3aS7uLBojqzASy1djzCA&cd=53#v=onepage&q="get|got my|his|her|their eye in"&f=false Meaning in Technology. DCDuring TALK 00:05, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
I've made an attempt. I'm not really sure if it applies to sports other than cricket. SemperBlotto 07:07, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
I am pretty certain I've heard it for e.g. darts and snooker (anything involving some kind of aim?). On Google you can find it in one or two other dictionaries, and they don't specify the sport. Equinox 08:32, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
(after edit conflict) That's a good definition fo the term as used in cricket, but it is also used much wider than that. [8] uses it in a shooting context, I've certainyl heard it with archery as well, [9] is talking about archaeological recording. In [10] the context is tennis, in [11] its World War I flying aces, and [12] uses it in relation to an anthropomorphised submarine. I thought about it after using the phrase on AF's talk page in relation to spotting mismatched syntax. Thryduulf 08:44, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
In my link above it was extended to activities like reading X-rays, so the scope of current applicability seems quite broad. I wonder if it has yet gotten beyond one's visual sense to other senses or other cognitive functions.
OTOH, the 19th century citations in this intransitive use that I had looked at were almost entirely for cricket. I wonder if this evolved from apparently non-idiomatic transitive usages like "to get one's eye in a line with ...". DCDuring TALK 15:20, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
What does to "develop a skill" mean here? I've only heard it for definition one. Again, if I were to RFV it I couldn't cite it as I don't understand it (that is, it's to vague). Mglovesfun (talk) 16:58, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
As the usage in the Pacey book (link above) indicates, some people seem to refer at least to visual capabilities, possibly other perceptual skills, if not to broader skills. For example, the ability of doctor to screen out irrelevant information from an X-ray, the ability of a geologist to "read" a landscape, the ability of a structural engineer to read a drawing. I think it might extend farther, to other perceptual realms (hearing, smell, etc) and to seeing in the mind's eye (unconsciously), picking up on patterns. I wouldn't think it would extend to the performance itself (to get in the groove). The right way to do this would be to attempt to find citations for each level of departure from the cricket sense. I will leave to others finding citations for snooker and darts. DCDuring TALK 17:51, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
  • I wonder if the idiomatic element is one's eye in or eye in, which works with "get", "have", and "with". Consider:
    2009, Leo Duff, Drawing - The Purpose‎ ((Please specify the language of the quote)), page 21:
    Someone who has 'got their eye in' has internalized an ability to draw to scale. While the new recruit stops all the time to take measurements, the drawing of someone with 'their eye in' flows.
    Also, there are 19th century citations in hunting and tennis. DCDuring TALK 18:05, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

Doctor of Philosophy

I was wondering whether we should have this as an entry. A lot of others have it, but remember, it opens the door to a large number of "Doctor of X" entries. My feeling is that it is not actually SoP, and should be here to back up the entry Ph.D. Opinions? -- ALGRIF talk 15:35, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

I agree. It is not SoP because a "Doctor of Philosophy" may be held in a subject that has nothing to do with what is now conventionally thought of as philosophy (e.g., the esoteric discussion of values and ideas). Indeed, one can have a seemingly redundant Doctor of Philosophy in philosophy. bd2412 T 20:38, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
OK. Thanks. I've made a start. Please feel free to improve the entry. -- ALGRIF talk 09:08, 1 May 2010 (UTC)
Great work here Algrif. I've done my best to edit it slightly to make it conform to Wiktionary expectations. By the way, not sure what you mean by terminal... ---> Tooironic 09:46, 1 May 2010 (UTC)
Terminating the educational course. It's what I found at Doctor of Arts and at Ph.D. -- ALGRIF talk 10:09, 1 May 2010 (UTC)
Interesting. A quick Google search reveals it is indeed a kind of higher education jargon. Perhaps we should add another sense to terminal, though I wouldn't be sure how to word it. ---> Tooironic 23:56, 1 May 2010 (UTC)


Someone added the "-man suffix" category. [13] Is that correct, considering that it came in its entirety from Swedish? Equinox 20:13, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

Certainly not for a correct etymology. But users do seem to like to be able to infer meaning (or partial meaning) from word components. I wonder if there is any value to a category of items that could be considered as having a suffix equivalent to an English even though the suffixation occurred in another language. It would also help in maintaining some related terms sections. After all ombudsman is related to -man and man, isn't it? Manual updating of such lists is quite tedious and spotty. DCDuring TALK 20:32, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
Why would it not be? The suffix is the same in Swedish as in English. bd2412 T 20:34, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
Even in our crude model of language -man is not the same in all regards as -man. They have different pronunciations, partially different etymologies, etc. They have different plurals, I think. They are homographs, not the same thing. That they mean the same thing, more or less, or are used more or less the same way is because English and Swedish are Germanic languages. In this case it is particularly clear that suffixation didn't occur in English as ombud did not exist when the word was first used in English and does not exist now AFAICT. DCDuring TALK 21:08, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
But even with that, the essential -man (“man”, n.) is still perceived in English, hence ombudsperson or ombudswoman. Swedish man may have been kinda different, but so was Old English man, the ancestor of our man. How do we describe this in lexicography? Michael Z. 2010-05-02 02:29 z
Q: at the time that ombudsman was borrowed from Swedish, was -man a common suffix in English? If so, wouldn't the -man from Swedish naturally and automatically have meant -man to anglophones? If a term or component of a term is a synonym in two languages, then a borrowing from one to the other is practically identical to a calque or translation, no? It's origin is Swedish -man, but to those who used the word in English, it was English -manMichael Z. 2010-05-02 02:41 z