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April 2011


I've always wondered how "attached" works in a sentence like this: "Please find attached the relevant documents." It seems a bit strange to me despite the fact that it's a relatively common expression. Do other adjectives function in the same way (as in, coming straight after the noun)? The only one I can think of off the top of my head is "galore". ---> Tooironic 21:57, 1 April 2011 (UTC)

The function attached is performing here is, I believe, what the CGEL calls the predicative adjunct function. Other examples would be:
  • She left satisfied
  • They ran naked down the street
Although the position is different, this is the same function as:
  • Angry as hell, he screamed, "we're not going to take it anymore."
(On a side note, I have a feeling that attached, (in the sense of being included in a letter) is a past participle, not an adjective.)
As for galore and its ilk, there are a number of adjectives that are restricted to following the noun they modify (postpositive function). These include galore, elect, laureate, aplenty, designate, and proper (when it means: in the strict sense of the word). Other adjectives (strictly speaking adjective phrases) can also function this way, but only under certain syntactical constraints, for example
  • a paddle this long
  • cake so sweet that you can't eat it without milk
  • something wonderful
  • a man happy with his lot in life
Hope that helps.--Brett 12:47, 2 April 2011 (UTC)
It does help - a lot. Thank you very much for your detailed explanation. Just one thing though - how does an ESL learner predict the use of these kind of tricky adjectives? I'm guessing the only way would be to memorise usages when one comes across them. As it is, they don't seem particularly intuitive. ---> Tooironic 22:57, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
If you mean galore, etc., then most of them don't. The words are too rare. When they do learn them, they most likely learn them as part of a pair (e.g., president elect). If you mean the others, there are rules, but most ESL teachers I know are clueless about them.--Brett 23:41, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
I can't imagine that learning such rules would help a typical learner, who learns mostly inductively. I also can't imagine having entries for every verb-predicative adjunct combination. Specific rules of somewhat narrow application as laid out in CGEL seem mostly useful on occasion for teachers and language professionals to resolve problems arising from consciously noticing something that one had not noticed before.
Also, one can also find fused-head constructions using "attached" as in: "The information you requested is in the attached." DCDuring TALK 18:19, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
Incidentally (i.e., this doesn't have anything to do with the question at hand, but) AFAIK the usual form for enclosures enclosed please find not please find enclosed. So for e-mail I do the same: attached please find.​—msh210 (talk) 16:44, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
I can't find enough hits in the COCA to check, but google has "please find attached" almost twice as common as the alternative.--Brett 21:31, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
"Please find attached." is also a self-referent, in a particularly physical way, much like "this document is written on crown wove paper". "I enclose with this letter..." has the advantage of being explicit about what is going on. In the commercial era the abbreviation "Encs. 2" or "encs 2" was often used. Rich Farmbrough, 22:46, 24 April 2011 (UTC).


I wrote this definition for the Finnish colloquial verb

: "to lose one's beauty or handsomeness, esp. regarding the shape and firmness of one's body". Is there an English equivalent? --Hekaheka 19:43, 2 April 2011 (UTC)

fade or go to pot maybe?--Brett 16:10, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
What about wilt or droop? Can they be used of human bodies? --Hekaheka 20:52, 3 April 2011 (UTC)
Possible, but if you wilt, it usually means you run out of energy. It's for a short time, not over a long time. And part of one's body might droop, like your breasts, or your muscles, but sag is more common here.--Brett 23:37, 3 April 2011 (UTC)

member FDIC

Why do we say "member FDIC" rather than "member of the FDIC" or "FDIC member" or "member, FDIC"? Is this an idiom? Are there other phrases like it? —RuakhTALK 01:11, 4 April 2011 (UTC)

I have two hypotheses:
  1. it is said without "of the" to economize on time in television and radio ads. Test of hypothesis: What portion of print ads have the "of the" currently and before television (can't do before radio), say in 1940-50.
  2. it is actually "member, FDIC", parallel to various "title/position, organization" formulations that appear in lists of notable folks with many titles and honors, but also academic credentials: BS, Economics, MIT; MBA, Wharton; formerly Managing Director, Drexel Burnham; currently, Deputy Secretary of the Treasury. DCDuring TALK 03:18, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
I don't know — I always assumed, without really thinking about it, that it was "member, FDIC", but the reason I'm asking is that I noticed a while back that that's not how it's written. So far as I can tell, it's never written with a comma. —RuakhTALK 04:39, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
I think I meant "actually" in a Platonic or Chomskian sense, ignoring the mere surface reality of an actual comma. But, the common absence is contrary evidence. Have you seen the expression in running text or only in print ads?
I would expect that we would find this punctuation for other "X Y" expressions where "X" is a role, position or title and "Y" is an organization, but most often in advertisements, business cards, lists. What kind of Xs and Ys, you ask? Besides "member": "sponsor", "manager", "director", "president", "chairman", "associate". Following "member": "FSLIC", "SIPC". DCDuring TALK 15:25, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
I found the following at COCA from a response by candidate to a questionnaire about qualifications: "U.S. Marine Corps veteran; graduate, State University of New York. # Policy and research analyst for the Colorado Department of Transportation; elected RTD Board member representing downtown and South Denver; member Regional Air Quality Council; chairman Gove Community School board; former member DPS bond election committee". Note that "graduate" is followed by a comma. DCDuring TALK 15:38, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
Re: "Have you seen the expression in running text or only in print ads?": Running text. (I mean, not in day-to-day life, but I consulted b.g.c. before posting, and it had lots of running-text examples.) Re: questionnaire response: So interesting! I guess it's a general thing, then. I wonder why I never noticed it. Thanks! —RuakhTALK 18:45, 4 April 2011 (UTC)


I've just added the adverb sense "Also: in addition" with example sentence "'I can count backwards from one hundred.' ―'So can I'". Then I realized that there's a usage note under the Conjunction header that seems to be dealing with this sense; it reads:

When used as the conjunction in a conditional sentence, instead of the usual English word order in the apodosis, wh-movement is used instead. Eg:
If he can run a marathon, so can you.

Now, there is no sense under the Conjunction header that that usage note matches. And it doesn't seem like a conjunction to me (but I'm far from being a grammarian). So I'd just move the usage note to the Adverb section and reword it. but I figured it'd be a lot better to get more wiser people's opinions first.

On a related topic, I'm second-guessing my addition of the "Also" sense altogether: perhaps it's really just the "In the same manner or to the same extent as aforementioned"?​—msh210 (talk) 17:28, 4 April 2011 (UTC)

That usage note is wrong in several ways. You've already noted two problems:
  • "So" is an adverb in that example ("if" is the conjunction).
  • This happens generally with this sense of "so", not just in apodoses (e.g. "He can run a marathon, and so can you").
In addition:
I would just scrap the usage note; whoever wrote it seems to have done their best to make it sound as complicated as possible, so as to be maximally useless to any ESL reader. The gist should be expressed in the definition, and we should have a few example sentences.
RuakhTALK 20:31, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
So scrapped. Thanks. My second-guessing (as in my last paragraph above) remains, though.​—msh210 (talk) 20:43, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
I don't think it's the same sense, no; as far as I can think, in one it means "also", is always preposed, always triggers subject-auxiliary inversion, and is never used with a "main verb", whereas in the other it means "thus", is rarely preposed (though that does happen sometimes: "so I said", "so it would seem", etc.), never triggers subject-auxiliary inversion, and is usually used with a "main verb". I assume that in older usage the line between them was blurrier, but nowadays it seems like a pretty solid line to me. —RuakhTALK 21:12, 4 April 2011 (UTC)

I've spent some time thinking about so before, and I have a really hard time wrapping my head around it (not that this is really useful information). Some musings here. In the case above, it seems to contrast with neither, for what that's worth.--Brett 21:44, 4 April 2011 (UTC)

...which we list as an adverb ("similarly not", with example Just as you would not correct it, neither would I) and conjunction ("also not", with example If you won’t correct it, neither will I). Perhaps someone should. (Correct it.)​—msh210 (talk) 21:47, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
Not following you exactly. Thos two examples are entirely congruent with respect to neither, or was that your point.--Brett 23:22, 4 April 2011 (UTC)
The examples are both correct uses of neither, but the second is not the use of neither#Conjunction that it purports to be. —RuakhTALK 00:35, 5 April 2011 (UTC)
Yes, my take as well.--Brett 00:57, 5 April 2011 (UTC)

Find - it

Please for somebody put some light on use of "found" and "it" in expressions as "remember, when the car bomb was found it Times Square" (,cSA0n3UkyjnE). Im not english native speaker, and I think would be very useful to include in the "find" entry of wiktionary a contrib in this sense—This unsigned comment was added by Obernhardt (talkcontribs).

It seems to be a typo for "was found in Times Square".​—msh210 (talk) 22:28, 5 April 2011 (UTC)
Now I see it, and seems so obvious. Sorry. Thanks Msh210 —Obernhardt

Keeweenawatin, Keewatin+Keewanawan

Brian Boyd, in Vladimir Nabokov, the Russian Years, suggests looking this up in a "good dictionary." So naturally I tried here! He quotes a passage wherein a translator of Nabokov says that Keewatin is a an Archaeozoic schist and that Keewanawan is a subdivision of the Proterozoic. Being unfamiliar with scientific usages, I don't know if these are archaic or foreign or what, but these words have both scientific and literary interest.

Use of the word "Keewanawatin" was originally from Bend sinister. And the quoted passage about a flummoxed translator requesting help from the Nabokovs is on page 316 of the 1990 book specified above.

  • We have Keweenawan as a proper noun only. The OED has it as an adjective only, but doesn't have the other two words. SemperBlotto 15:42, 6 April 2011 (UTC)
  • My spellings are verbatim from Boyd's. So my basic search yielded nothing.
Cree words. Keewatin refers to blizzards out of the north (Ojibwe giiwedin (north, the north wind)). The Keewatin period is the oldest period of the Precambrian (3.5 billion years ago) in an area of the U.S. Northern Midwest to Northeast known as the North Country. The Keweenawan period comes later, 1.6 billion to 600 million years ago in the Great Lakes region. Keeweenawatin is a telescopic combination of the two words Keewatin and Keewanawan. Not sure, but I think Keewanawan is a corruption of Keweenawan. —Stephen (Talk) 02:12, 7 April 2011 (UTC)


first#Noun sense 1: "The person or thing in the first position."

There are other senses where there is some semantic distinctness to the sense that seems to warrant inclusion. But this would seem to be a fused-head use of first#Adjective. All ordinals and many semantic classes of adjectives can be used this way. Is this something we want to lexicalize? I would think not, but as we have no default linkage of PoS appendices or WP articles to the PoS header, we cannot rely on grammar rules. If we want this to be lexicalized, then shouldn't it appear for every ordinal? If so, it ought be put on the cleanup list. Perhaps someone can come up with a bot solution to this mindless (and fundamentally meaningless) task. DCDuring TALK 17:17, 7 April 2011 (UTC)

English possessives

We have the following senses at have:

1. (transitive) To possess, own, hold.
I have a house and a car.
Look what I have here — a frog I found on the street!
2. (transitive) To be related in some way to (with the object identifying the relationship).
I have two sisters.
The dog down the street has a lax owner.
16. To be afflicted with, to suffer from, to experience something negative
He had a cold last week.
We had a hard year last year, with the locust swarms and all that.

We have the following senses at of:

8.1. Belonging to, existing in, or taking place in a given location, place or time.
Thus, as he dressed, the thoughts and the rage of yesterday began to stir and move in his mind again.
Within ten seconds, the citizens of New York, Cleveland, Detroit and Toronto were being given first-hand experience of what it was like to live in the nineteenth century.
8.2. Belonging to (a place) through having title, ownership or control over it.
In a much-anticipated radio broadcast the Duke of Edinburgh said last night that Britain will be a grim place in the year 2000 [...].
The third son, William John (1826-1902), was headmaster of the Boys' British School, Hitchin [...].
8.3. Belonging to (someone or something) as something they possess or have as a characteristic; the "possessive genitive".
The breasts of young girls sometimes become tender at puberty in sympathy with the evolution of the sexual organs [...].
It amounts to knocking on the door of No 10 then running away.

We have the following sense at 's:

1. Possessive marker, indicating than an object belongs to the noun phrase bearing the marker.
The cat bit the dog's tail and ran.
The cat bit the dog with the shaggy fur's tail and ran.

We have the following sense at his:

1. Belonging to him.
With that he put his spurres vnto his steed, / With speare in rest, and toward him did fare, / Like shaft out of a bow preuenting speed.

And, likewise, her:

1. Belonging to her.
This is her book

And hers:

1. That which belongs to her; the possessive case of she, used without a following noun.

And their:

1. Belonging to them.
They will meet tomorrow at their convenience.
This is probably their cat.
2. Belonging to someone of unknown gender.
Place the casualty on their back with feet and legs raised—this is called the shock position.

And almost identical definitions at theirs, my, mine, yours, and its. We have a slightly more fleshed-out definition line than that at your:

1. Belonging to you; of you; related to you.
Let's meet tomorrow at your convenience.
Is this your cat?

Really, though, all the senses I listed from of and have have corresponding senses at the pronouns and 's. And the senses of of (respectively have) have corresponding senses at have (of). (Just to run through them: The senses we have at have can be reworded as the pen of my uncle, my uncle's pen, his pen; the sister of my uncle, my uncle's sister, his sister; the plight of my uncle (?), my uncle's cold, his cold. Our senses at of can be reworded New York has seven million residents, New York's residents, its residents; the school has a principal, the school's principal, its principal; I have clothes, John's clothes, my clothes.) So either we should start duplicating everything in each of those entries, or we should have an appendix:English possessives (or something), where we discuss the meanings of the possessive pronouns and 's and possibly also of of and have. (Or at least those are my middle-of-the-night thoughts. Perhaps when I've slept I'll realize this is all stupid or I'm missing something major.) Thoughts?​—msh210 (talk) 09:02, 8 April 2011 (UTC)

make out

"To kiss passionately OR make love." Really? I don't think so. ---> Tooironic 22:32, 8 April 2011 (UTC)

Widespread colloquial use in US. I'm not 100% sure how far it would be deemed to go beyond "heavy petting". DCDuring TALK 00:59, 9 April 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps that might be more likely, if it is used with regard to people older than teenagers, and/or outside the US where the idiom apparently originated. Wikpedia has this article. Etymonline dates it from 1939, but doesn't say that it is US. — Pingkudimmi 07:25, 9 April 2011 (UTC)
I only know the first meaning. Surely they are two meanings and should be on two lines. Mglovesfun (talk) 18:38, 10 April 2011 (UTC)
Some other dictionaries have both as senses/subsenses, including WordNet and MWOnline, or combine the two. I think we should separate them to allow us to show timing of sense development. DCDuring TALK 20:08, 10 April 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, I split them. The "sex" sense was pretty common in the 60s, but now it's quite hard to tell, when you look at some citations, exactly which sense was intended. Ƿidsiþ 06:26, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
Of course "to make love" does not always mean "to have sex", especially in more traditional usage. Making out that consisted of mere osculation, no matter how passionate, might be considered a little unusual. Rich Farmbrough 19:56, 24 April 2011 (UTC)
I've found that people from Canada (Toronto and Ottawa, at least) at least use it to mean sex, synonymous with "hook up", while people in the US use it to mean kissing. This confused me for a while. 17:08, 29 May 2011 (UTC)


How do you link this to -y? ---> Tooironic 23:40, 8 April 2011 (UTC)

One way is by using {{suffix}} non-canonically: {{suffix||y}} (Note absence of first argument). DCDuring TALK 00:54, 9 April 2011 (UTC)


I came upon this randomly, and have a problem with the definition; "value range" may be a literal gloss of the Swedish, but English it is not. What does this word mean? I get that it's some sort of range (def. 6), but what type?--Prosfilaes 03:48, 9 April 2011 (UTC)

Remove "a value range" and use the stuff in brackets only. Mglovesfun (talk) 19:09, 10 April 2011 (UTC)
No, it's the math term, a mix-up. Cleaned up now. Thanks for noticing, Prosfilaes. --Makaokalani 10:34, 19 April 2011 (UTC)

Wellington boots

Wellington boot redirects there. Surely it's attestable as a relatively rare singular form? Mglovesfun (talk) 18:34, 10 April 2011 (UTC)

Defined, say, as "one of a pair of Wellington boots"? Though that isn't the only logical possibility, it must be the most common sense. I wonder if such a sense would work for other singular forms of terms normally used in plural. DCDuring TALK 19:11, 10 April 2011 (UTC)
This is not a plurale tantum and the entry should be under the singular form. Ƿidsiþ 06:10, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
What Widsith said.​—msh210 (talk) 14:40, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
I agree that it is not a plurale tantum, but the plural is much more common at bgc (and in ordinary use), reversing the common pattern. For "boots" and similar words ("Wellingtons", "Wellies", "shoes", "gloves", "socks", "gauntlets"; not "pants" and "spectacles", which are truly pluralia tantum), I think the primary use of the plural is not unrestricted plural in the ordinary sense, but rather "a pair of gloves" etc. The unrestricted plural is a secondary meaning. We could examine a sample of COCA or BNC uses to confirm this if it does not conform to anyone's intuition. At the very least, the plural of such terms needs a usage note that says that the typical usage is to refer to "a pair of [term]s". This seems at least as worthy as many of our superspecialized senses/subsenses (See channel) and not-very-idiomatic included terms. DCDuring TALK 16:06, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
I tend to use {{chiefly|in the plural}} for both the singular and plural, see also my edits to jug/jugs earlier in 2011. --Mglovesfun (talk) 16:13, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
I assume you, DCDuring, when you say foos usually means "a pair of foos", mean that it usually means "the foos that comprise a pair" (and not "a pair of foos looked at as a unit", as that'd make foos singular). My intuition differs from yours: mine is that foos generally means just "foos", and not specifically "foos comprising a pair". That's why people will very, very often say a pair of foos when they mean a pair of foos, or the foos comprising a pair. I can't think of a way to prove that my boots are too tight has the one meaning (plain plural, "my boots, specifically the ones that are the obvious referents because they're on my feet, are too tight") or the other (the boots comprising a pair, "my boots comprising a pair, specifically the ones that are the obvious referents because they're on my feet, are too tight"), and likewise for most other quotes — but I think pair of foos, especially when used as a plural (where pair of is completely redundant if foos means "the foos comprising a pair") but even when used (as is IME more common) as a singular (where it's not as clear), is pretty indicative that foos is just a plural.​—msh210 (talk) 17:40, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
Looking at "* * wellies" at COCA there are 2 instances of "pair of". The other 31 instances are predominantly cases of people donning, wearing, and doffing or buying and selling or offering to sell same. Real-life knowledge provides some guidance here: those are prototypically "pairs of" uses. Occasionally there are ambiguous cases, such as plural persons' Wellies or one person's habit of wearing Wellies, which may refer to multiple pairs. DCDuring TALK 18:11, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
Looking at the search result at COCA: The first hit is Estelle also wore wellies, along with a sloppy sweater, not clearly plural or dual (I mean, presumably she wore a pair, but that doesn't mean that the word means as much). The second is Change into your wellies: same deal. And so on. I'm not seeing any clear indication it's a dual (whereas in The rows of brown riding boots and green wellies lined up by the door like soldiers and Two young men in Wellies climb into it seems clearly to be a plural, not a dual).​—msh210 (talk) 18:26, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
Agreed. If I say, say, "My dog can't stand the rain, so I have him wear a little doggie raincoat and rain-hat and wellies", I think most people would suddenly find that "wellies" is quadral. (They'd also find an adorable mental image.) —RuakhTALK 19:07, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
Well, when I ask my butler to bring me my wellies, if he brings me more than one of my pairs, he is likely to need to seek other employment, unless it be April Fool's Day. I understand you linguists call this pragmatics. If I am forced to hire as my next butler someone not an Englishman, I would be quite a bit happier if I could direct him to Wiktionary to get this kind of thing straight. DCDuring TALK 20:23, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
When I instruct my butler to prepare my hot water, I expect him to notice whether I'm in the living room, planning to drink the water, or in the bathroom, planning to bathe in it. I do not expect him to dither about online finding out what temperature and volume "hot water" is most likely to refer to on Google Books. —RuakhTALK 20:34, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
Yes, but good help is hard to find#Proverb these days. DCDuring TALK 21:28, 11 April 2011 (UTC)


Could it be that we are missing the sense as in, "The countries need to resolve their issues through diplomatic channels."? ---> Tooironic 00:30, 11 April 2011 (UTC)

It seems to be covered at channels. BNTW, our proliferation of "technical" subsenses at channel seems to miss the point of "a means or route of communication". DCDuring TALK 03:04, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
I don't think it's plural only... There's plenty of Google Book hits for "through what channel" [1] ---> Tooironic 05:21, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
That strikes me as the missing non-technical sense "means or route of communication". DCDuring TALK 05:52, 11 April 2011 (UTC)


Can this also mean even if, e.g. in, "I'll win this if it kills me." ---> Tooironic 09:47, 11 April 2011 (UTC)

Good point! I've added that sense, thanks. —RuakhTALK 18:50, 11 April 2011 (UTC)

haereditas: incorrect?


¶ Could somebody confirm with any certainty if this alternative form to hereditas is correct or not? “haere‐” seems to be less common than “here‐” in Latin. Is haereditas related to haereo? --Pilcrow 07:27, 15 April 2011 (UTC)

Not confirm, but it does look good. --Mglovesfun (talk) 12:59, 18 April 2011 (UTC)

hereditas seems to be from heres (heir) (also eres), cognate with Ancient Greek χηρόω (khēróō, make desolate, bereave) and χηρωστής (khērōstḗs, surviving relatives, heirs of one who dies childless). —This unsigned comment was added by DCDuring (talkcontribs).

Interesting that you've transliterated χηρ as chē, then as xhē directly afterwards. Mglovesfun (talk) 10:33, 20 April 2011 (UTC)
Finger memory from Perseus site. DCDuring TALK 13:49, 20 April 2011 (UTC)

Newer meaning for 'trending'

Is there a newer meaning of trending? As in popular views of internet articles/blog discussions/etc?


I wonder: would this be considered SoP? ---> Tooironic 05:24, 17 April 2011 (UTC)

IMO, it's similar to Greek mythology currently at RFD in that it only uses one value of "character", but it's obvious which one. I don't know whether we should include these. —Internoob (DiscCont) 23:34, 19 April 2011 (UTC)
I think it's quite obvious from the sum of its parts, but I can think of quite a strong counterargument. For example, would you say 'character-constructing' or 'personality-building'? Mglovesfun (talk) 21:47, 20 April 2011 (UTC)

zombie etymology

Currently we have "From Bantu; compare Jumbee, a spirit or demon in Caribbean folklore." but compare etymonline's etymology:

1871, of W. African origin (cf. Kikongo zumbi "fetish"; Kimbundu nzambi "god"), originally the name of a snake god, later with meaning "reanimated   
corpse" in voodoo cult. But perhaps also from Louisiana creole word meaning "phantom, ghost", from Sp. sombra "shade, ghost".

--Person12 12:57, 18 April 2011 (UTC)

  • Well, neither are particularly great but I can't see a very authoritative source on this one. The etymonline one is vaguer, which is probably safer, but they put the first date at 1871, which is much too late -- the OED has citations going back to 1819 and that may well be pushed back further. I'll keep looking. Ƿidsiþ 13:05, 18 April 2011 (UTC)
Thanks Ƿidsiþ. I just checked the only version of the OED to which I have access and it also mentions the Kikongo (zumbi). Perhaps we could include that.--Person12 01:44, 20 April 2011 (UTC)
In the meantime I thought I'd vague ours up a bit more, while leaving out any dates. I hope that's ok. --Person12 02:07, 20 April 2011 (UTC)

English Adjectives taking NP complements

There are very few examples of English adjectives that take NP complements. The CGEL lists four: due, like, unlike and worth. Rodney Huddleston brought another to my attention this morning: underweight. It seems likely that overweight and perhaps underexposed and overexposed are also in this camp. Should some kind of usage note be added to the attested words, or would it just confuse? Perhaps this is best dealt with through examples.--Brett 22:48, 18 April 2011 (UTC)

What are NP complements? Mglovesfun (talk) 23:07, 18 April 2011 (UTC)
Sorry, NP is noun phrase. Prepositions typically take NPs as complements (e.g., up the ladder) as do linking verbs (e.g., She appeared a good sort). Adjectives don't, at least not typically. But we have he's very like his mother or it's worth $500. In the example that Rodney sent me, it has "It's a long-run trend of foreign investors -- typically being underweight the banking sector in Australia," Mr Baker said. Does that help?--Brett 23:17, 18 April 2011 (UTC)
I would call 'like' and 'unlike' prepositions rather than adjectives, because they can be compared to 'similar to' or 'different from', both of which are compound prepositions. I believe 'due' is an adjective, but it doesn't seem to take a noun phrase complement from what I can see. In a sentence like 'It is due the next day', 'the next day' is a sentence adverb and not a complement to 'due'. It's like 'I did it the next day', in both cases something is the next day, either 'it being due' or 'me doing it'. —CodeCat 23:20, 18 April 2011 (UTC)
Certainly like and unlike exist as prepositions, but in she's very like her mother, it's clearly an adjective. Unlike prepositions, it can be modified by very and can function as the complement of become. (c.f. *It's very on the shelf or *It became on the shelf.)--Brett 23:27, 18 April 2011 (UTC)
See the examples for the first sense at due#Adjective. Note that there are two kinds of complements, as in "Pay John the respect due him." and "He is due fifteen quid." In the first case "due" seems to be more likely a preposition. DCDuring TALK 04:43, 19 April 2011 (UTC)
Prepositions, unlike adjectives, can function as non-predicate adjuncts. That is, you can do this with a preposition phrase: For John, show some respect but you can't with an adjective (e.g., *Due John, show the respect.)--Brett 11:49, 19 April 2011 (UTC)
How about an Appendix: Appendix:English adjectives taking noun phrase complements. We could lay out all details there and link to it from each adjective as we confirm (for the "perhaps" items) the facts. DCDuring TALK 04:05, 19 April 2011 (UTC)
That seems like a good solution. It seems that long and short too are being used this way in financialese. See discussion here.--Brett 11:21, 19 April 2011 (UTC)
And they have a long provenance. I should have thought of them. I can imagine those fronted however: "Long many stocks, they shorted the S&P, achieving near market neutrality." DCDuring TALK 17:03, 19 April 2011 (UTC)
It's not the fronting per se, but fronting when the adjective isn't a predicate of the subject. In this case they were long, so it works, but try something like *Long many stocks, there was a problem. --Brett 19:09, 19 April 2011 (UTC)

Transwiki:Floating tone

I just imported this page from WP but I'm having second thoughts as to whether it's idiomatic. I'm thinking that because you can say "floating low tone", "floating tone" is really just "floating" + "tone". (We need a new sense at floating if this is the case.) —Internoob (DiscCont) 23:25, 18 April 2011 (UTC)

I think you are right about the missing sense at or possibly . DCDuring TALK 04:45, 19 April 2011 (UTC)
This sounds something like "variable over a range of values," and seems akin to the usage in floating point, although I think the latter would still not be obvious from its parts. — Pingkudimmi 07:27, 19 April 2011 (UTC)
I added a linguistics sense to floating. This might be a subsense of a more general definition that includes floating point and things but I don't know. —Internoob (DiscCont) 23:42, 4 May 2011 (UTC)


We have a second definition "hard to climb". Um, why? This definition goes back to the very first edit of arduous, and seems very much redundant to "Needing or using up much energy; testing powers of endurance.", just more specific and less-well worded. Mglovesfun (talk) 10:30, 20 April 2011 (UTC)

Merriam-Webster has the sense, and I think it is distinct, if there are cites like "the mountain/cliff is arduous" or "an arduous mountain/cliff" (not "the climb/way/ascent up the mountain is arduous" or "an arduous climb/trek/ascent"), because an arduous mountain is "hard to climb", not a mountain that "needs much energy". (It's a mountain that a person needs much energy to climb, whether on foot or on a bike, whereas an arduous trek is a trek that uses up much energy.) - -sche (discuss) 19:00, 20 April 2011 (UTC)
Take a look at these quotations Citations:arduous. - -sche (discuss) 19:15, 20 April 2011 (UTC)
But what about an arduous journey, voyage, trip, process (and whatnot). Mglovesfun (talk) 21:45, 20 April 2011 (UTC)
An arduous journey, process, or struggle is a journey/process/struggle that uses up a lot of a person's energy, it's true. But those are events or activities of sorts: a person participates in a journey, process, or struggle. A person doesn't participate in a mountain (only in climbing it), so "arduous" does seem to mean something different in "arduous mountain" than in "arduous climb/journey". Anyone else have a take on this? - -sche (discuss) 06:12, 21 April 2011 (UTC)
The split sounds right to me, but I'm not sure the "hard to climb" sense is restricted to climbing. "Hard to traverse" might be better: copnsider all the cites for arduous route and arduous [something] route, as well as things like a very arduous river.​—msh210 (talk) 18:46, 21 April 2011 (UTC)
Yeah that's what I mean; if I thought the sense was redundant I would use {{rfd-sense}}. I just think it's not accurate enough. Mglovesfun (talk) 09:44, 22 April 2011 (UTC)
Ok, I've reworded it, taking msh210's point and good "arduous river" cite into consideration. Please refine it further as you deem necessary. - -sche (discuss) 01:27, 23 April 2011 (UTC)

last hurrah

After re-reading this a few hours later, I've realized the definition I gave is rather bad. Can someone else look over it please. --Porelmundo 21:31, 20 April 2011 (UTC)

  • Always willing to help out an old friend. SemperBlotto 21:37, 20 April 2011 (UTC)


The current second definition seems worth improving:

  • An account intended as a critical evaluation of a text or a piece of work.

Some takes:

  • A piece of text that evaluates a creative work or a product.
  • An article that evaluates a creative work such as book or play or an industrial product.
  • A written evaluation of a creative work such as book or play or an industrial product.

The original definition seems to use a needlessly hard word "account". Furthermore, it seems constrained to literary and artistic works. I am unsure whether the evaluation needs to be "critical". Alternatively, a product review could have a dedicated definition. Other suggestions for definitions? --Dan Polansky 17:27, 21 April 2011 (UTC)


We are missing a definition to fit the phrase "that jacket suits you". --Porelmundo 22:32, 21 April 2011 (UTC)

We have "To be fitted to; to accord with; to become; to befit". Is that not it?​—msh210 (talk) 22:35, 21 April 2011 (UTC)
But the wording seems so, so, so Webster 1913-ish. This shows that Webster 1913 wording obscures the meaning for modern readers, as if illustration were needed. DCDuring TALK 01:31, 22 April 2011 (UTC)
Yeah definition is correct but the wording is mediocre at best. Mglovesfun (talk) 16:37, 23 April 2011 (UTC)

Alternative forms

See the entry for okay. It shows several terms related to okay, some of which are not pronounced the same. Shouldn't "alternative form" be limited to synonymous homophones? DCDuring TALK 01:28, 22 April 2011 (UTC)

As an absolute rule, no — consider andrerseits, a synonymous but non-homophonic alternative form of andererseits. In this case, maybe — maybe okey-dokey, m'kay and the others should be Related Terms. - -sche (discuss) 02:43, 22 April 2011 (UTC)

serve somebody right

Are we missing the sense as in, "If memory serves me right..."? Or would that be better served somewhere else? ---> Tooironic 09:41, 22 April 2011 (UTC)

Feels like serve + me + right to me. Mglovesfun (talk) 10:11, 22 April 2011 (UTC)
It seems slightly off to me in that literal application, using "right" instead of some other adverb. "If memory serves, ...." and "If my memory serves me well, ...." seem much more appropriate. Perhaps the idiom interferes with/prevents the literal use, though I haven't looked at a corpus to find facts about this.
In that case maybe we should have an extra sense or usage example at serve. This construction would be confusing to a non-native speaker I reckon. ---> Tooironic 23:03, 22 April 2011 (UTC)
See sense 8 partially split from sense 7 and extended. DCDuring TALK 23:12, 22 April 2011 (UTC)
Thanks a lot DCDuring, that example is extremely helpful for everyone. :) ---> Tooironic 06:02, 26 April 2011 (UTC)


Spot the odd one out. Yes, it's the English! All the others are actual descendants and the English one's aren't direct descendants. Similarly I removed religion as a descendants of Latin religo as it's from religio. Anyone oppose this approach? We have amicabilis, and amatorius is listed as a red link in some Latin entries. --Mglovesfun (talk) 20:42, 22 April 2011 (UTC)

I have the feeling that we don't have completely thought-through criteria that would cover all situations. I especially wonder about the appropriate treatment of, for example, Middle English, Anglo-Norman, and Old French for English and of Latin for words borrowed into Latin from Greek and then used in any modern language. —This unsigned comment was added by DCDuring (talkcontribs) at 23:11, 22 April 2011.
In the proto-language appendixes, we treat descendants like a tree. So if a word derives from a descendant of the language, the list item is indented one step further. —CodeCat 22:26, 22 April 2011 (UTC)
The 'norm' seems to be only to list direct descendants, apart from for English, where we seem to do much more; the indirect English descendants of caput#Latin could go into the dozens, perhaps over 100. Mglovesfun (talk) 23:42, 22 April 2011 (UTC)
  • FWIW, I strongly support the idea that Descendants should show only direct descendants and not borrowings. When I first started using the Descendants header (I can't remember if I was actually the first to do so or not), it was only ever used for direct descent so that you could make useful comparisons between daughter languages, but gradually people started using it for borrowings too, and I seem to remember EncycloPetey was a strong supporter of that. In any case, if we do allow borrowings then they should be obviously distinct in some way, typographically or something. Ƿidsiþ 12:34, 23 April 2011 (UTC)
    • Relatedly, I'm uneasy about allowing constructed languages in these sections. ami#Esperanto didn't descend from amo, it was coined based on the Latin and its many descendants. Ditto for Ido and Interlingua amar. Mglovesfun (talk) 14:01, 23 April 2011 (UTC)
      • Surely though, coinings and borrowings merge gently into descent, especial in creoles and pidgins, of which some conlangs could certainly be considered a type. Derived terms and related terms in other languages might all be of interest. Rich Farmbrough
        • It's not at all the same. When one language evolves into another it shows specific phonological changes which are the same across the whole language. These rules are very important because they're the basis for reconstructing non-attested languages. They are completely obscured if Descendants include borrowings, or at least if borrowings are not marked as such. Personally I would exclude them altogether; consider that if we consider borrowings to be descendants then English words like or could feasibly have several hundred descendants. Ƿidsiþ 08:50, 26 April 2011 (UTC)

I agree with CodeCat. There should be some place for borrowed words. A hierarchical structure (indented list) would visualise the paths of inheritance and borrowing very well. Indirectly there would be a distinction between borrowing and inheritance when for instance an English word would be placed under its Old French or Latin "parent". --MaEr 18:23, 23 April 2011 (UTC)

English is not complicated, but Romance languages are. You need to distinguish French words which evolved from Latin ones, from French words which were simply borrowed from Latin. Ƿidsiþ 18:32, 23 April 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps I should have gone to the Beer Parlour with this. FWIW the French Wiktionary uses the clearer but much more verbose "Words derived in other languages" header. Mglovesfun (talk) 14:40, 24 April 2011 (UTC)


When trying to write a good definition for diddly, I had trouble finding a word to describe the sound that diddly represents. I was thinking something like "the written representation of a vibrato sound", and though that trilly would be a nice word to describe it, but I'm sure there's a better word to describe the "diddly" sound in "dum dum diddly dum". On a side note, maybe diddly-dum warrants entry, and new definitions for onomatopeic dum, bum, dum-dee-dum, dee etc. --Porelmundo 23:35, 22 April 2011 (UTC)

"Diddly-dee diddly-dum" is certainly an important usage. I'm not sure about "um-tiddly-um-tum". "Tiddly-pom" presumably is already covered? Rich Farmbrough, 20:18, 24 April 2011 (UTC).
Diddling also has a sense related to scat singing I believe. Rich Farmbrough, 20:21, 24 April 2011 (UTC).


I noticed on the Alexa rank page this seems to be a popular term, and the Portuguese entry is a little uncertain of itself. Just thought you ought to know. Rich Farmbrough


Is the sense for "stock photography" adequately covered here? "Normally available for purchase." doesn't seem precise enough. ---> Tooironic 04:43, 26 April 2011 (UTC)

"nothing to show for"

How would we cover the meaning in this kind of sentence: After working for five years in this company, I have nothing to show for it. Do we cover the meaning in show already, or should we have a separate entry at show for? ---> Tooironic 04:47, 26 April 2011 (UTC)

I think it is the very first sense of show#Verb. I have added a usage example. I also added a few senses, but we are far short of better dictionaries in showing the range of senses that the word has. Encarta has 15 senses; we had 4 and now have 7. DCDuring TALK 12:08, 26 April 2011 (UTC)


This English verb form has translations. Is there any reason for this verb form to have translations? Is there any reason for this any English non-lemma verb form to have translations? DCDuring TALK 01:24, 30 April 2011 (UTC)

If we were to have translations wouldn't we need to have them in each sense of the lemma? DCDuring TALK 01:26, 30 April 2011 (UTC)
Not after Wiktionary:Votes/pl-2011-02/Disallowing translations for English inflected forms. Nadando 01:27, 30 April 2011 (UTC)
Given the vote, shouldn't we have a clean-up for this kind of thing? (Or did we?) Could someone generate a list of English plurals, comparative and superlative adjectives, and verb forms that have translation sections? DCDuring TALK 01:41, 30 April 2011 (UTC)
I suppose. I wouldn't be comfortable doing the actual removing, but I'll make a list. So, {{comparative of}}, {{superlative of}}, {{past of}}, {{simple past of}}, {{third-person singular of}}, {{plural of}} in English entries with translation sections- anything I missed? Nadando 01:47, 30 April 2011 (UTC)
Here's the list:
  • Careful. Look before you delete. Some inflections might have extra definitions that will therefore require translation. -- ALGRIF talk 12:57, 3 May 2011 (UTC)
    That seems to be correct, yes. --Mglovesfun (talk) 16:35, 4 May 2011 (UTC)