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Wiktionary:Tea room/2012/July

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discussion rooms: Tea roomEtym. scr.Info deskBeer parlourGrease pit ← June 2012 · July 2012 · August 2012 → · (current)

July 2012


It seems that a certain noun sense of the word, ie a celebrating or identifying movement such as w:Gay pride is missing from this page. Since there are several pages of this kind on Wikipedia (w:Black pride, w:White pride) and they are listed on the pride disambiguation page, it seems strange not to include them on the Wiktionary page. This whole thing came up because a friend said she was going to a local pride at the weekend, reminding me that it is common usage to refer to these celebratory events as such. -- 09:36, 1 July 2012 (UTC)

worse (noun)

Does this actually suggest a noun? "His mood took a turn for the worse." Equinox 11:05, 1 July 2012 (UTC)

I wouldn't say so. You can put any comparative there: 'for the better', 'for the greener', 'for the more grammatical'. I think it's just a substantivised adjective. —CodeCat 11:38, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
It should be removed then. Also how about the noun at "new": "out with the old, in with the new". That's just elliptical for "in with what is new". Not a noun. Equinox 14:32, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
CGEL (p 529 "Further adjectival functions") calls this a "fused modifier head ... combin[ing] the functions of internal modifier and head in NP structure.". "Fused-head constructions": They're not just for determiners. DCDuring TALK 17:39, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
I would speedy delete this as an adjective, not a noun. Mglovesfun (talk) 20:36, 1 July 2012 (UTC)

Acronyms no longer

Is there a term (or category) for names that used to be acronyms (or initialisms) but no longer stand for them (e.g. w:BRAC (NGO) used to stand for "Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee" but no longer does)? This is visually similar to names that the holder prefers to be in all caps (e.g. w:Gigabyte Technology likes their name to be "GIGABYTE"). --Bequw τ 11:46, 1 July 2012 (UTC)

I seem to think ESPN is the same. Mglovesfun (talk) 12:00, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
Wikipedia calls them Pseudo-acronyms Chuck Entz (talk) 16:15, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
And now Category:Pseudo-acronyms by language
But the 'full' WP article is actually w:Orphan initialism, which seems to me to better communicate the idea. The article also has a score of examples. DCDuring TALK 16:57, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
I saw that. I thought the phrase using acronym was better as some of them are pronounced as words and others letter by letter so "acronym" in its broader sense would apply to both. But I'm open to changes. --Bequw τ 04:59, 13 July 2012 (UTC)


I have never seen a independent Usage of this as a Conjunction, unless you count the ampersand. It is used in Phrases to be sure though, but it seems implied here that it was us’d in general. --Æ&Œ (talk) 14:34, 1 July 2012 (UTC)

I'm guessing you meant the term in English? —CodeCat 14:56, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
Yes, that is what the Link returns, does it not ? --Æ&Œ (talk) 14:59, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
On Wiktionary you can never rely on a link pointing you to the right section, unfortunately. In this case, there are many Conjunction sections on the page, and you are linked to the first one, but for all I know you could have meant the French or Latin one. —CodeCat 15:24, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
These would make a good rfv, wouldn't it? Use of 'et' to mean and in English sentences. Mglovesfun (talk) 19:08, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
I'm sure it would have no difficulty passing RFV overall (just the first two pages of results at google books:"et so on" already find one · two · three cites), but we might have some difficulty finding appropriately obsolete cites. :-P   —RuakhTALK 20:28, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
I hardly disputed that the Significance exists, but I expected the Scope of its Usage to be much more limited. You can go ahead and test this in Requests for Verification, I am going to pass. --Æ&Œ (talk) 20:35, 1 July 2012 (UTC)


The header says 'verb' but the sense is an adjective. I think the sense may be wrong because fr:panggang lists verb senses, but I don't know Indonesian so I can't be sure. —CodeCat 18:45, 1 July 2012 (UTC)

no such thing as

"There is/are no such thing(s) as ____" is a common set phrase in English, but it seems to me that a learner wouldn't be able to deduce how to create the phrase, even if s/he knew the definitions of each part. Would that make it NSOP and deserving of an entry? Or could some of the the individual entries (or such as) be improved to explain this kind of phrase? Siuenti (talk) 11:57, 2 July 2012 (UTC)

IMO no, because we are a dictionary, not a grammar book (though a WikiGrammarBook would be a fine project). How would such an entry cover all the bases: "no such thing", "no such thing as", "there isn't/wasn't such a thing", "does such a thing exist? no"... A dictionary cannot be an all-purpose sentence construction kit; it deals with units (word and set phrase); rules must be shown as rules and not by a million examples. Equinox 12:15, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
See b:English Grammar. Textbooks are Wikibooks' domain, not ours. —Angr 13:08, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
This expression is certainly decodable using a dictionary. Encoding phrases, including those that are decodable piecewise, seems to be the province of a phrasebook.
If we had a well-defined purpose and agreed-on criteria for phrasebook entries, rather than simply treating it as a dumping ground for SoP expressions that would have otherwise failed SoP (or worse), then expressions such as this, which are not included in any monolingual dictionary, would be good candidates for inclusion therein, IMO. DCDuring TALK 13:25, 2 July 2012 (UTC)

Schrödinger's cat

I'm not sure what the distinction between the common and proper noun is, if any. Mglovesfun (talk) 22:58, 2 July 2012 (UTC)

Yes. They both look encyclopedic, devoid of lexicographic value, even in a translating dictionary. DCDuring TALK 23:20, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
The more I look at it, the proper noun almost looks like a deliberate joke. It's a bit like saying my cat is a proper noun because there's only one of it. Sigh. Mglovesfun (talk) 00:01, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
It's a Daniel Carrero entry, telling them apart from deliberate jokes is sometimes a bit tricky. Harsh but true. Mglovesfun (talk) 00:04, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
The difference is the syntax: one is used as a common noun, and one as a proper noun. It's just like having a separate ===Noun=== and ===Adjective===, or a separate {{countable}} and {{uncountable}}, when a single sense shows syntactic diversity. —RuakhTALK 00:41, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
So... it remains in an undefined state- neither noun nor proper noun- until you use it in a sentence? ... Chuck Entz (talk) 05:52, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
"Cat" in the citations for the proper noun meaning is not capitalized, but there is no article indicating the proper noun POS is correct. I wonder if the common noun meaning can be handled by grammar along the lines of "Is there a John in the room?" --BB12 (talk) 08:56, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
Re: "I wonder if the common noun meaning can be handled by grammar along the lines of 'Is there a John in the room?'": I'm not sure, but I don't think so. Judging by the quotations, it looks to me like there're just two different conceptualizations of Schrödinger's cat (both the term and the concept): some people (myself included) imagine the thought experiment as applying to a single, specific, imaginary cat, whereas others apparently imagine the thought experiment as an experiment that is imaginarily performed repeatedly on many imaginary cats. —RuakhTALK 17:10, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
I don't understand how you get that from the quotations. Under the common noun section, there is one quotation using the indefinite article and one using the plural form. Under the proper noun section, the quotations are all singular with no article (which is a characteristic of proper nouns). --BB12 (talk) 18:16, 5 July 2012 (UTC) I think I agree with you.
Chuck you made me giggle... that was clever. :) —CodeCat 10:34, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
It is redundant to have this at both noun and proper noun, when they mean the same thing. Compare Jesus, Talk:Jesus. Equinox 19:50, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
The difference in article usage seems to indicate that one is proper and one is not. How else could this be handled? --BB12 (talk) 00:46, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
I would call it a proper noun, and explain in a usage note that it sometimes takes an indefinite article. The "language" sense of [[German]] is similar in this regard: although "the language with the ISO code 'de'" is a proper noun, I can still say "he spoke an archaic German". There, "German" = "a kind of (the language) German", just like "a Schrödinger's cat" is presumably "an instance of (the thought experiment) Schrödinger's cat". Would that work? - -sche (discuss) 01:02, 6 July 2012 (UTC)

a square peg in a round hole

I don't understand the definition at all. It's worded as a verb, but the phrase and the (only) translation rather suggest a noun. -- Liliana 08:26, 3 July 2012 (UTC)

No usable content? Mglovesfun (talk) 11:25, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
Wiktionary:Beer parlour#User:Sae1962. Mglovesfun (talk) 11:40, 3 July 2012 (UTC)

have someone going

I cannot find this treated as an idiom in any OneLook reference. It is superficially an instance of the construction used in "I had him whitewashing fences for me in no time.". But I could not identify a sense of go#Verb that fit the meaning it seems to have here, perhaps "upset, excited", either in Wiktionary or at MWOnline. Nor could I find a suitable sense at any PoS at going. I cannot imagine go being used with this meaning in any other expression. Is this an idiom or have my less-than-exhaustive research and imagination missed something? DCDuring TALK 15:16, 3 July 2012 (UTC)

  • Yes, but I'm having trouble coming up with a really good definition. An example :- "You had me going there for a minute!" means "I was taking you seriously for a while - until I realised that you were joking". SemperBlotto (talk) 15:55, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
    @SB For that example, our closest seems to be go (to make an effort). Perhaps this sense from MWOnline captures it: "to begin an action or motion". With some extension of the wording, "or an emotional state or thought process", that might encompass both my thought about how this is used and yours. Perhaps broadening to "To begin an action or process".
    Does this sense of go exist outside this expression. MWOnline has a usage example for their sense "Here goes." It is clearly semantically related to "he is going to do something" and some dialect use of go as an auxiliary or intensifier. Is it an "intransitive" version of "She went riding". DCDuring TALK 17:50, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
    • There are at least two meanings for to have someone going. One is as both SB and msh say, but there is also "to make someone upset, to provoke someone". These meanings are certainly derived from a sense of go, but is enough meaning added in the whole expression to constitute an idiom? DCDuring TALK 17:55, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
I'm thinking it's an idiom, but I wonder why others don't. DCDuring TALK 18:10, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
"Get" can be used in place of "have": "He really got her going." "You got me going there for a moment." The usual distinction between "have" and "get" (someone is in the state of "going" vs you bring someone into that state) applies, but seems too subtle to merit having two entries or trying to move the content of the idiom to [[going]] just because it can take two verbs, not one. It certainly does, as you seem, seem like an idiom. - -sche (discuss) 19:48, 3 July 2012 (UTC)


I do not believe that this term should be classified as an alternative spelling, but Ruakh disagrees. I would rather not continue arguing about this with him, so I would like to see your opinions on this instead.

‘Publically’ and ‘publicly’ mean the same thing of course. So do uncorrect and incorrect. However, the affixes in these terms are significantly separate, and thus I believe that they should be treated as synonyms. If you have objections, please explain your positions. --Æ&Œ (talk) 20:10, 3 July 2012 (UTC)

Are they pronounced differently? I suspect not, except perhaps out of hypercorrectness. DCDuring TALK 20:25, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
Not that many of the (underlying) references at publically at OneLook Dictionary Search have publically except as a redirect to publicly. MWOnline presents it as they would an alternative form or spelling, but also some derived terms. WordNet (which doesn't have alternative forms, being a semantic network, not a dictionary), has the two as synonyms. Most of the others convey no information relevant to the distinction under discussion or incorporate or reference WordNet. DCDuring TALK 20:40, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
I recall in my primary-school spelling tests, we were read a lot of words like politically and publicly to spell, and we would listen closely to try to discern a telltale -al- in the pronunciation, but our teachers always read in a way that we could not hear any difference. We often spelt them "politicly" or "publically", which were considered incorrect spellings and unacceptable. So for us at least, "publicly" and "publically" were one and the same word (except that only one of them was correctly spelt). —Stephen (Talk) 21:04, 3 July 2012 (UTC)

get fresh

Am I the only one who feels like this idiom means more than just "flirt"? I think it also has a connotation of doing so inappropriately. ---> Tooironic (talk) 12:43, 4 July 2012 (UTC)

Just realised we already have the two meanings at fresh - 1. Rude, cheeky, or inappropriate; presumptuous; disrespectful; forward. 2. Sexually aggressive or forward; prone to caress too eagerly; overly flirtatious. - Perhaps this idiom is SoP after all? ---> Tooironic (talk) 12:50, 4 July 2012 (UTC)

And the word fresh is often used playfully in speech, as part of flirting. DCDuring TALK 16:49, 4 July 2012 (UTC)
While looking at the entry, I added the "inappropriate" sense (i.e. "to come on to (someone)"). I specifically remembered this usage from televion shows when I was a kid. Leasnam (talk) 21:19, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
get + [adj OR past participle] is a common standard construction in English. Which is why get fresh at OneLook Dictionary Search and get drunk at OneLook Dictionary Search show that we are not with a lexicographically distinguished group of lemmings with these entries. I doubt that it could be called idiomatic. Both would be wonderfully appropriate for an English phrasebook, because they are vastly more common in speech, I think, than any one-word English synonyms.
Of course one can be fresh with someone. Become occurs as well. DCDuring TALK 22:39, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
I'd say SoP. Getting frisky is another one, and Mark Morrison had that awful song called Get Horny. Equinox 21:21, 5 July 2012 (UTC)

Blood flushing the fruit

"Who plants a seed begets a bud, Extract of that same root; Why marvel at the hectic blood That flushes this wild fruit?" (Fruit of the Flower by Countee Cullen, 1925)

  • What is the meaning of the "flushing" here = a rush of juice into the fruit that makes it ardent\colourful, or "flushing" closer to the "flushing" of game by hunters, i.e. making the fruit appear\come out of a plant? I think the first one. Then wouldn't it be proper to change the (intransitive) mark in the article on flush (verb, meaning 4) or add an additional meaning with markings (poetic, transitive) to the list? --CopperKettle (talk) 03:03, 5 July 2012 (UTC)

sērsna snow crust?

I'm wondering if there is a better English expression or word for this concept -- frozen snow, a layer of frozen snow. Is 'snow crust' OK? Is it the best term? Thanks in advance! --Pereru (talk) 04:51, 5 July 2012 (UTC)

Well, both w:Alpine skiing and w:Types of snow define crust as a thin layer of hard snow with softer snow under it. Is that what sērsna means? —Angr 07:25, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
snow crust and snowcrust look attestable. DCDuring TALK 11:50, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
See this technical glossary for non-technical definition and more encyclopedic explanatory material. DCDuring TALK 11:53, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
Thanks, people. The best online Latvian dictionary I am aware of has this definition for sērsna, which translates more or less into English "a blanket(=layer?)-like crust of snow which is usually formed by the upper part/layer of wet snow when it freezes". Given the links you have found, it seems 'snow crust' is indeed the adequate translation. (Out of curiosity: should the English phrase snow crust (snowcrust?) also be added to Wiktionary?) --Pereru (talk) 23:59, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
Because snowcrust looks to be attestable (not just with what might be mistaken spacing), our rules would permit snow crust as well. Whether it should be a rule or not, one-word spelling such a compound is at least suggestive evidence that the compound is thought of as a unit, even though its meaning fairly transparent from the meanings of its components. IOW, yes it should, IMO. DCDuring TALK 01:01, 7 July 2012 (UTC)

Chinese characters in Vietnamese translations for some words

I'm curious to know why there are Chinese translations in the Vietnamese translation section for some English words, for example: brave (strong in the face of fear). I'm a Vietnamese myself and I can confirm that nowadays people there don't speak Chinese at all. It's confusing to see the Chinese characters in those sections. So I tried removing them, but then some bots reverted it back. I'm new here, so please help to explain. Thanks! Ben —This unsigned comment was added by Pckben (talkcontribs) at 12:19, 5 July 2012‎ (UTC).

Weren't Chinese characters originally used to write Vietnamese, though? —CodeCat 12:48, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
It's not Chinese, but rather Chu Nom (a writing system, based on that of Chinese, that was formerly used for Vietnamese). But I agree with you; there's no reason to give Chu Nom renderings in translations-sections of English words. —RuakhTALK 14:39, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
There is no harm in providing the original Chinese character for Sino-Vietnamese words or words coined using he Sino-Vietnamese roots, despite the anti-Chinese sentiment in Vietnam. I know Vietnamese dictionaries don't provide Chinese characters, so it's often very hard if not impossible to know that trà ("tea") is the Sino-Vietnamese reading of and thời tiết ("weather") is the Sino-Vietnamese reading of , gia đình ("family") - 家庭. Dictionaries such as Unihan provide this information. The Chinese characters appear in brackets and by no means signify that Chinese characters can replace the Vietnamese words, the same is true for Korean, although the usage of Chinese characters in Korean is more recent and is still in use sometimes. Previous Vietnamese editors supported this idea, so do other CJKV enthusiasts, so let's NOT change it. It is useful for etymology. We have a collection of Sino-Vietnamese words, which needs expansion. --Anatoli (обсудить) 05:18, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
I agree with you that we should definitely provide the Chu Nom in the Vietnamese entries, e.g. in trà. I also agree with original poster (and Ruakh) that we should not provide them in the translations tables of English entries. - -sche (discuss) 06:15, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
In the case of brave, the Vietnamese equivalent dũng cảm doesn't have an entry yet. It seems a pity to lose the information even though it's in the wrong place, so perhaps the Chu Nom can stay there until an entry is created? Siuenti (talk) 20:23, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
Sounds like we all agree; Latin script for translations, but Chinese writing should be very much encouraged in Vietnamese entries, the same way I'd encourage Runes in Old English and Old Norse entries, Glagolitic script for Old Church Slavonic and so on. Mglovesfun (talk) 20:30, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
I didn't say I agree with removing Chinese characters from translations where a Vietnamese term happens to be Sino-Vietnamese, even if an entry exists. I don't think it's in the wrong place. --Anatoli (обсудить) 03:30, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
If you want to keep the Chinese characters, then they should be moved to a Chu Nom nested subsection, as done for other languages with multiple scripts. Matthias Buchmeier (talk) 09:10, 11 July 2012 (UTC)

Caramel carmel

I came to Wiktionary hoping to learn how acceptable/unacceptable is "carmel" for "caramel". I find that carmel rudely (without warning) redirects to Carmel, and Carmel currently does not acknowledge at all the common noun carmel to be itself enormously common (as a variant?/misspelling?/mispronunciation?). I am not arguing that "carmel" must be accepted as a valid variant, but I am arguing that the matter cannot be completely ignored (as it currently is). I don't know what to do about it. Ideas? --→gab 24dot grab← 20:32, 5 July 2012 (UTC)

If carmel is a common misspelling of caramel, then it should be de-redlinked and labeled a {{misspelling of}} caramel. But if people frequently pronounce caramel [ˈkɑɹməl] while still spelling it caramel, then [ˈkɑɹməl] should be added to the pronunciation line and labeled {{nonstandard}}. —Angr 20:50, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
People do frequently pronounce caramel ˈkɑɹməl while spelling it caramel: wealready have that pronunciation listed, and I don't know that it's nonstandard. I don't know whether carmel is a common misspelling: cites will tell.​—msh210 (talk) 21:11, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
google books:"eating|of carmels", restricting to those works whose previews Google lets me see, shows me exactly four relevant results, one of which uses a lot of eye-dialect spellings, of which this may be one. The same search with caramels yields hundreds.​—msh210 (talk) 21:28, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
How is Carmel pronounced? If with emphasis on the first syllable (/ˈkɑɹməl/), then we can link between it and caramel using {{homophones}}.​—msh210 (talk) 21:11, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
I think I've heard both /ˈkɑɹməl/ and /kɑɹˈmɛl/ for it. —Angr 21:33, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
I pronounce "Carmel" /ˈkɑɹ.ml̩/, "caramel" /ˈkɛəɹ.ə.məl/ or /ˈkɑɹ.ml̩/, and "Carmelo" /kɑɹ.mɛl.o/. I've also sometimes heard "caramel" pronounced /ˈkɑɹ.ᵊ.məl/. - -sche (discuss) 01:17, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
I pronounce 'caramel' as [ˈkʰaɹᵊmɫ̩] while 'Carmel' is [ˈkʰɐ˞mɫ̩]CodeCat 13:18, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
I've created 'carmel', perhaps incorrectly (insufficiently?). --→gab 24dot grab← 13:50, 26 July 2012 (UTC)


Mmm. The deletions of decayed diphthongs is not usually considered incorrect in America, so it is strange for me to see this classified as a misspelling. Are we sure that there are no establishments that support this form? --Æ&Œ (talk) 03:50, 6 July 2012 (UTC)

Fairly sure, but you might find contrary evidence at onomatopeia at OneLook Dictionary Search and at google books etc. DCDuring TALK 04:40, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
That is, authority is one possible basis for argument and fact (relative and absolute frequency of various spellings) another. DCDuring TALK 04:42, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
The OED has it as the oldest form (1450), followed by 1553 and 1577. The Google Book hits are a definite minority, but this spelling is clearly still in use with 22.6K raw hits. --BB12 (talk) 06:40, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
I have made it an "obsolete spelling, rather than a misspelling. I hope users view it as a bit more than a question of being up-to-date. Of all the ways one could misspell onamatapia, this is may the least bad. DCDuring TALK 11:58, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
I looked at Google Books, and this is clearly still in use, so I changed "obsolete" to "alternative." See, for example: 2011, 2007, 2009 and 2004. --BB12 (talk) 06:15, 11 July 2012 (UTC)

I found a similar specimen : phenix, markt as ‘archaic’, which is also dubious. --Æ&Œ (talk) 02:04, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

Bumping your nut?

Please help with a meaning: in "The Good Girl" (2002 movie) a religious guy says to the heroine: " It's a church. You can't make water without bumping your nut on a bible." (She told him previously that she forgot her bible - as an excuse for not attending a religious meeting the night before). I just don't get it. I feel there may be a joke in there somewhere.. but it slips from my grasp. --CopperKettle (talk) 16:42, 6 July 2012 (UTC)

Since he's a religious guy and uses nut in the singular, he probably means sense 4 of [[nut]], but he might mean sense 10. Sense 11 seems rather unlikely. Oh, and [[make water]] means what that says, too. —Angr 17:07, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
I think you're right that it's nut (head). Of the three hits at google:"bumped his nut on", two certainly mean "head", and the third is irrelevant (because it's the result of a mad lib; the person who supplied the word "nut" did not know what the context would be). But Wikipedia describes the movie as a "black comedy-drama", so perhaps the audience is supposed to notice an unintended ambiguity with nut (testicle). —RuakhTALK 17:20, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, it's probably supposed to be a double entendre. I haven't seen the movie, but I can imagine the point is to make fun of the naive religious guy for unintentionally saying something risqué. (Like the nuns at the private Catholic college where my father taught when he was young. They put on Shakespeare plays, bowdlerizing the dirty bits, but the dirtiest bits they left in because they didn't get the jokes.) —Angr 17:27, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Thank you! The "make water" helped me see the sense in the phrase; I wasn't aware of that meaning, my mind automatically perceived it as "to extract water". With your hint my mind escaped from that gestalt and all became clear. (0: The religious guy's meaning was "C'mon, Bibles are easy to come by". --CopperKettle (talk) 02:59, 7 July 2012 (UTC)

Latvian komandants

I don't really feel sure about the English translations I've provided, based on 'commandant' and 'commander'. I'm not sure about the difference between these two words (and the commandant and commander entries here didn't seem helpful), which means I'm not sure if the English translations I used actually exist as terms for certain kinds of military officers (to say nothing about how acurately they correspond to the Latvian terms I've found). Would you guys mind having a look, to tell me if the translations I used actually exist in English? Again, thanks in advance! --Pereru (talk) 00:08, 7 July 2012 (UTC)

w:Commandant explains the usage in various anglophone countries. It has only specialized use in the US for military academies, for the Marines and for the Coast Guard. I'm not whether watch officer, officer of the day, duty officer correspond to your last sense. But these are just clues (or red herrings), not answers. I don't know. DCDuring TALK 03:15, 7 July 2012 (UTC)

Valley girl

Having lived all my life in the San Fernando Valley, I think I can give some insights into the term. I'm just not sure how to work it into our framework.

The term "Valley girl" was popularized by Frank Zappa, who recorded the song of the same name, with his daughter Moon Unit providing spoken examples of the much-imitated Valley-girl talk. "Valley girl" is actually a bit of a misnomer, since typical Valley-girl speech is more characteristic of the Santa Monica Mountains/aka the Encino Hills/aka the Hollywood Hills on the south edge of the Valley, where the expensive homes and upper-class residents are concentrated.

As a resident of the flatlands "north of the Boulevard" (Ventura Boulevard, at the south end of the Valley), I never really heard Valley-girl talk until the song came out. My sister, however, worked in a store on Ventura Boulevard, and she assured me that she heard girls talking exactly like that all the time.

So, basically, a Valley girl is someone from upper-class areas on the south end of the San Fernando Valley, and the term as part of regular English comes from the Frank Zappa recording. Chuck Entz (talk) 00:27, 7 July 2012 (UTC)

By the way, we have Valley Girl, Valley girl, and valley girl, with all three trying to be the lemma. Valley girl would make the most sense, since Los Angeles residents usually refer to the San Fernando Valley as simply "the Valley". I'm not sure which is the most widely used, though. Chuck Entz (talk) 00:34, 7 July 2012 (UTC)

During a long stay in Los Angeles I found myself explaining the meaning of Essex girl to a group of Angelinos. They unanimously offered "Valley girl" as an American translation, which definitely indicates our definition has shortcomings. SpinningSpark 10:00, 7 July 2012 (UTC)
I was trying to find a way of saying what Spinningspark was able to express with his example. That seems more like what our definition should look like. BTW, w:Valley girl could use some work. Is there any 'scholarship' in some journal of American Studies or Cultural Studies that could form the basis for improving it? DCDuring TALK 16:15, 7 July 2012 (UTC)
They could replace it with content from w:Valspeak and it would be ten times better. They use the term sociolect, which is right on the money. When I was at UCLA in the '80s, we had to do a sort of informal "research project" for an undergrad sociolinguistics class. I chose valspeak as my subject. I actually went to a few high schools in the area and recorded students reading a text with some of the phonemes where valspeak was different. Even in the limited sample, you could tell that it was associated with socioeconomic variation. The strongest valspeak I heard was at w:Birmingham High School, which draws students from both the affluent hills and the middle-class flatlands. I think it served there to distinguish which area a student came from. Chuck Entz (talk) 17:21, 7 July 2012 (UTC)
But there's more to being a Valley Girl than language. —Angr 17:26, 7 July 2012 (UTC)
My impression is that what is culturally and definitionally relevant outside the LA area is valspeak. I'm not sure that the socio-economic marking is conveyed outside the LA area. It seems more demographic: young, white, female, from southern California, perhaps not poor. Once we had some good hypotheses, we could test 'em against usage. DCDuring TALK 17:46, 7 July 2012 (UTC)
google books:"like a valley girl" suggests that speech is far and away the main salient attribute. (It's not the only attribute — one hit has "keep my nose up like a valley girl so that I look dismissive rather than coy", one has "Like a valley girl who wears high heels and expensive clothing and smokes and has a lot of boyfriends", one has "She was dressed like a Valley girl, not like a mamacita but like a worker", and so on — but it seems like 80–90% of hits are about people speaking like a Valley girl, talking like a Valley girl, sounding like a Valley girl, and so on.) —RuakhTALK 18:27, 7 July 2012 (UTC)
google books:"like a scouser" mostly gets people talking about people speaking Liverpudlian, but I wouldn't call speech the main attribute of a scouser. It's just an especially useful comparison to make, and one that's familiar to most people (at least in the UK). Searching Google for "define:valley girl" gets the following results from various dictionaries and encyclopedias:
  • A fashionable and affluent teenage girl from the San Fernando valley in southern California
  • A girl who grew up in the tract housing in the San Fernando Valley
  • Girl from the valley area of Los Angeles.
  • Valley Girls originated in the San Fernando Valley (just outside Los Angeles) in the early 1980s. The profile: white, affluent, materialistic, self-centered, sex on the mind, a master of teeny bopper colloquial language {see Like, above}, and generally… [clueless]
  • A term referred to affluent upper-middle class young girls living in the bedroom community neighborhoods of San Fernando Valley.
  • Airheaded, spoiled girls in California's San Fernando Valley. Later, valley girl talk or valspeak inhabited the 80s across America. A Valley Girl would of said something like: "That stud is like, omygod, so rad!"
Based on that, I'd say in order, the most important attributes of a valley girl are 1) teenage girl 2) from the San Fernando Valley 3) who is affluent, 4) fashionable, 5) and speaks with a distinct slang. Smurrayinchester (talk) 08:40, 8 July 2012 (UTC)
What one would expect to occur has occurred, only the distinctive features, geographic location and valspeak, remain after extracting the attributes shared much more widely in the US population. DCDuring TALK 13:18, 8 July 2012 (UTC)


A long-standing school-kid hoax is the assertion that the skin of the elbow has the little-known name of "wenis". The idea is to see what kind of double entendres can be gotten away with based on the similarity in sound between "wenis" and "penis". The term is, of course, a completely fraudulent made-up word, perhaps originally a blend of weenie and penis.

That said, I think it's time we created an entry for this, in order to document what seems to have become a widespread part of school-age folklore. There are plenty of examples on Usenet, and even some on Google Books. They might be dismissed as nothing but mentions, but I would contend that this pattern of mentions comes from the nature of the term, and that it has become part of the language.

The remaining issue, then, is: how do we handle the context labels/usage notes? The word "hoax" should be be in there somewhere, along with the fact that it's a complete fabrication created as a prank. Beyond that, I'm not sure. Thoughts? Chuck Entz (talk) 07:28, 9 July 2012 (UTC)

  • I would have no objection to a Citations page (to show that mentions exist) and a talk page (to explain the hoax) but not an actual article page. SemperBlotto (talk) 08:12, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
I doubt that we will be limited to mentions, but starting with citations is usually a good idea. From looking at Usenet, I think that wenis is often used for penis, perhaps to escape e-mail content filters. I have also seen claims that it is used to mean a wearable cast of a penis. That might give us three distinct etymologies.
And google books rewarded my searches with what I claim are the first citations on Wiktionary of Snooki. DCDuring TALK 13:49, 9 July 2012 (UTC)


People often use pregnant about a couple. It seems this would require a new sense ("(of a couple (two partners in a relationship)) Having a pregnant (carrying developing offspring) member"). What think y'all?​—msh210 (talk) 22:41, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

I think it belongs at we. The term we is used often to refer to something that directly involves one of the members of the couple but is deemed to be shared, eg, "We got a promotion." and "We're having a baby.". It seems like usage-note material because it doesn't clash with the definitions. DCDuring TALK 23:31, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
Good point: that sounds right: it belongs at we. I'm not sure, though, whether it should, as you say, be relegated to a usage note.​—msh210 (talk) 04:30, 11 July 2012 (UTC)
I've already put "we're pregnant" in a usage example at we. If you can think of a worthwhile way to word a sense, I'd love to see it. AHD has 5 senses, some non-gloss. Compact Oxford is good, but none of them capture what you've noticed. It is pragmatics. I find it hard to imagine apart from a couple or a family, possibly an extended family, at least in Western culture. DCDuring TALK 05:44, 11 July 2012 (UTC)
I think "pregnant" also refers to human males with a pregnant partner. See, for example, [1], [2], [3], [4], [5]. --BB12 (talk) 06:30, 11 July 2012 (UTC)
The first of your links doesn't support the sense you describe: that writer is making fun of a man for saying "we're pregnant", by pretending to think that he's thereby calling himself pregnant. · The second counts, but is not very convincing IMHO: that's a humor book titled The Pregnant Father. · The third doesn't support the sense you describe: at the time that the father is described as "pregnant", his child is six or seven years old. · The fourth counts, but is a fictional example of a woman laughing at a man for calling himself "pregnant", so still not very convincing IMHO. (When a writer who mocks a usage (s)he sees as infelicitous, that doesn't inspire confidence in the writer's understanding of the usage.) · The fifth doesn't support the sense you describe: it uses "'pregnant'", with scare-quotes, in reference to men with sympathetic pregnancy.   —RuakhTALK 14:25, 11 July 2012 (UTC)
The first link can be read that way, but it's clear that the idea of a man being pregnant (i.e., his wife being pregnant) is being discussed. As to the second, AFAIK, humor counts. You're right about the third. The fourth seems to be very strong to me because what happened is that the man called himself pregnant, demonstrating that men do so. The fifth one uses the quotes indicating that the term pregnancy is being extended to men; I don't see those as scare quotes at all. So at least my second, fourth and fifth seem to still qualify. Here's one more: [6]. Also, here's a citation from Usenet: [7]. I imagine there are a lot more, hidden under "I'm pregnant," but nearly impossible to find because the vast majority are women. --BB12 (talk) 18:50, 11 July 2012 (UTC)
Re: first link: I don't follow you. A woman is requesting advice about her husband's use of "we're pregnant!"; the advice-columnist replies that it's stupid for the man to say he's pregnant. But he's not saying he's pregnant, so it's actually the advice-columnist who's stupid. (Stupid for our purposes, I mean. She may be a smart lady in other ways, but clearly she was not wearing her competent-lexicographer hat when she wrote that advice.) · Re: second link: Humor counts, yes; more specifically, it counts as humor. If all we've got are humorous cites, then we need to tag the sense accordingly. · Re: fourth link: No, what happened is that a female fiction writer depicted a man as implying he's "pregnant" — followed immediately by a woman laughing at him, and the man resorting to "You know what I mean!", without anyone having to explain what's funny about it. (As far as the CFI are concerned, we do accept cites from fictional dialogue — we'd be screwed if we didn't — but this isn't very strong evidence for the claim that a man can really be "pregnant" by virtue of having a pregnant partner.) · Re: fifth cite: Regardless, that source is clearly not operating under the belief that the term "pregnant" has a sense "(of a man) having a pregnant partner". —RuakhTALK 19:31, 11 July 2012 (UTC)
I'm not going to debate this further as we disagree on what the citations mean. In any case, I think that my initial citations plus the other two (plus the fact that my citations are based only on searching for "he's pregnant") make this a pass. --BB12 (talk) 19:54, 11 July 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, I guess I'm not sure what we're "debating"; your phrase "make this a pass" doesn't seem suited to a tea-room discussion. (It's not as though anyone had RFV'd such a sense.) By the way, one of your "other two" cites is actually the same as one of your "initial citations". I think you must have copy-and-pasted the wrong link? —RuakhTALK 20:35, 11 July 2012 (UTC)
I'm happy to just add the definition and then it can be debated on a more suitable page, then. I'll do that tomorrow if there are no objections. --BB12 (talk) 23:49, 11 July 2012 (UTC)
I think all we need is a meaning "anticipating the birth of a child" or something like that to cover the "we're pregnant"/"pregnant dad" senses. The current primary definition "carrying developing offspring within the body" really does not work with the example sentence "I went to the doctor, and guess what, we're pregnant!" because we are not carrying developing offspring within the body (unless we are a lesbian couple each of whom has a baby in her womb). —Angr 21:46, 11 July 2012 (UTC)
I don't think someone saying "we're armed!" is lying if he's the unarmed spokesperson/leader for a group of armed soldiers or policemen. Nor is a spokesman for a company saying "we're working on a new release of the AntiPro 3000 software package" lying even if it's a one-person project done by someone in the company the spokesman has never met. We're doing something is generally considered is generally considered true even if the speaker has a tenuous connection to the person in the group who is actually doing it.--Prosfilaes (talk) 23:12, 11 July 2012 (UTC)
If I find three qualifying instances in print of something like a stay-at-home spouse saying "we got a promotion", when, as we usually would say, the working spouse gets the promotion, should I add the sense to get a promotion, get, or promotion?
If a football player assists in scoring a goal, can he say "We scored!"? What about another team-member on the field? Off the field? A coach? A retired player? The team owner? A resident of the city the team is from? A fan? I think we may be trying to ascribe to one predicate something that can be true, in principle, of almost any predicate. If anything, it is associated with we, but it could be associated with any plural personal pronoun, eg, "You Republicans are trying to repeal Obamacare." It might be even more general, including many instances of metonymy. DCDuring TALK 23:30, 11 July 2012 (UTC)
On the other hand, I think I'd be confused if someone used "we're black" to mean "my spouse is black", or "we're turning thirty" to mean "my spouse is turning thirty", or "we're a beautiful woman" to mean "my wife is a beautiful woman", or "we're her best friend" to mean "my spouse is her best friend", or . . . well, you get the idea. —RuakhTALK 02:09, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I think there is non-lexical social knowledge about the scope of acceptability of this kind of use of pronouns (and similar deixis and anaphora?). It is like knowing that, outside of fiction, one is not likely to be able to say "my car is putrefying". Isn't this pragmatics or discourse analysis? We can only hint at this kind of thing in usage notes. DCDuring TALK 02:49, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
Aren't the uses of we in the examples above simply a form of synecdoche, as in totum pro parte? The unacceptability of many similar appearing usages seems to derive from social considerations – I suspect that being black, a beautiful woman, someone's best friend, and turning thirty are considered highly individual properties that the spouse is not responsible for, while pregnancy, promotion etc. affects the couple as a collective unit, and they're events, not properties (turning some age may not really be a distinct event on some cognitive level, even if it's verbalised just like an event).
At least several of the examples seem to involve some sort of spokesman's we. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 11:40, 29 July 2012 (UTC)


We have some etymology on this page already, but I'm skeptical how accurate it is. The OED dates it back to post-classical Latin abracadabra, but largely throws up it hands after that. It mentions Abraxas, but skeptically, and mentions Hebrew and Aramaic (but says there's no attestation in Jewish sources predating the Latin) but not any of our specific claims. I'm especially skeptical of the claim "It may also be the combination of three Hebrew words ארבע-אחד-ארבע when it is read from right to left [8]." as it links to a scribd document that doesn't look peer reviewed or scholarly... and I suspect we're misquoting, because Hebrew is always read right to left, so it must mean left to right. The First Edition of the OED just says "L; origin unknown. Occurs first in a poem by O. Severus Sammonicus, 2nd c." (which is weird, since the 3rd edition dates it to the 4th century.)--Prosfilaes (talk) 22:53, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

That's what's up, whassup, wassup

I've struck upon the phrase while watching the w:Inside Man. It turns out that the phrase originally recorded at Wiktionary as that's what's up also exists as that's wassup and that's whassup. The second article was created by me 'cause I did not know that the first already existed. Should the third variant also be created as article? Should it be a simple "redirect" ("What's whassup: alternative spelling of..) or a full article with examples from literature? Google books finds plenty of instances for each of the three variants of spelling. Cheers, --CopperKettle (talk) 14:30, 12 July 2012 (UTC)


Can something really be an archaic neologism? Isn't that a contradiction in terms? Smurrayinchester (talk) 16:48, 12 July 2012 (UTC)

As pronouns are usually rather old in origin, formation within in the last 200 years might make it a neologism among pronouns. But it doesn't seem that it would convey the right impression to a normal user. This is a case where an appendix for recently coined pronouns (eg, s/he and relatives) and extended pronoun usage (singular, gender-neutral they, them, their) might help more than a new category. Including some less successful earlier proposals such as thon might be interesting. DCDuring TALK 17:07, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
This question has been asked before: [9]. Maybe a usage note like the one I just wrote is better than the context tags. Geefdee (talk) 18:45, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

Category:Georgian terms derived from Hittite

The ===Etymology=== sections of the entries in this category imply that their terms come directly from Hittite into Modern Georgian, but of course, almost three thousand years elapsed between the extinction of the one and the development of the other. Is this just total nonsense, or are the ===Etymology=== sections merely incomplete, or . . . ? —RuakhTALK 20:20, 12 July 2012 (UTC)

Since Hittite had neither a v nor an f, I'm gonna call bullshit on the etymologies of სუფთა and ველი. Duddumili really is an adjective meaning "silent", so I suppose it's possible that the Georgian word is an indirect loanword (having gone through several intermediate steps), but it's more likely to be a coincidence. —Angr 20:48, 12 July 2012 (UTC)

I have used quite reliable source - Georgian History -- issued in 2012 (in 4 volumes). I believe these etymologies to be true and I agree that these borrowings were indirect and transmitted from parental languages of Georgian. I have made relevant changes to these words. Concerning the absence of V in Hittite, I mistook it for w. Both words are basically the same in Georgian. The word w exists in hittite, see - wine#Etymology 1. I have made similar mistake with suffi, where I replaced f with P - pʰ. I have also added Hattic etymologies for some Georgian words but I have no other source than what I stated earlier, so I'm unable to check it. You are welcome to participate in that as well. -- 06:27, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

Well, suppi and wellu are real Hittite words, but the problem with your source is that historians aren't linguists, and non-linguists are very prone to seeing vague surface similarity as evidence of an etymological relationship where none exists. While the four-volume book may well be a reliable source for the history of Georgia, it is not necessarily a reliable source at all for the history of Georgian, and I still view these etymologies with extreme skepticism. —Angr 17:51, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

page-turner for audiobooks?

Is there a term that describes a captivating audiobook that references the listening process (like page-turner does for paper books and to some versions of e-books)? I vaguely remember a phrase used to describe captivating audio programs for the car (radio or song) that mentioned staying in the car and listening even after arriving at one's destination. --Bequw τ 05:03, 13 July 2012 (UTC) Ah! it's a driveway moment.--Bequw τ 01:46, 22 July 2012 (UTC)


What part of speech is "lawbreaking" in this sentence: "In this case, I think a court would see clearly that your involvement was in no way lawbreaking." ---> Tooironic (talk) 09:13, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

Good question. When you say "part of speech", I assume you mean for Wiktionary PoS-header purposes. I would say that the sentence does not provide unambiguous evidence to discriminate between Noun and Adjective. At least it provides evidence of use other than as a Verb , though it could be read that way if "your involvement" is interpreted metonymically as "you, indirectly". DCDuring TALK 11:44, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
Well the New Oxford American Dictionary lists it as both a noun and an adjective. In light of this I've added the "unlawful" sense. ---> Tooironic (talk) 13:02, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
I took the liberty of replacing the ambiguous usex with one that is not. I would take the placement of the ambiguous one as an assertion that it was an adjective in that use. I agree that it might be. Also, surprisingly I could not attest comparative use. Such use might be attestable on Groups. DCDuring TALK 15:01, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
Fantastic, looks great. Thanks DC! ---> Tooironic (talk) 22:16, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

Term for the fruit

(a) Fruit of some plants

What is the term that you most commonly use to refer to the fruits shown at the picture? --Dan Polansky (talk) 08:27, 14 July 2012 (UTC)

(b) Some more fruits

What do you call the fruits in the second picture? --Dan Polansky (talk) 09:00, 14 July 2012 (UTC)

I would call them all peppers; the ones in picture (a) I would call specifically bell peppers. I'm American. An Australian friend of mine would call them all capsicums. —Angr 09:05, 14 July 2012 (UTC)
I would call the first ones 'sweet peppers' and the second just 'peppers'. I'm British, BTW. Sharon2001 (talk) 12:08, 14 July 2012 (UTC)
NYC US: a: "peppers", "green peppers", "sweet peppers", "bell peppers", ("orange peppers", "orange green peppers", etc)
NYC US: b: "hot peppers", "chili peppers", "peppers"
DCDuring TALK 12:46, 14 July 2012 (UTC)
(Upper Midwestern U.S.) I'd call the top ones "peppers" or "bell peppers" or "red/yellow/green peppers". I'd probably call the bottom ones "hot peppers" or "chili peppers". I don't think I'd call them just "peppers", but I might call them "those peppers". —RuakhTALK 13:16, 14 July 2012 (UTC)
(Irish-Dutch) I'd call the top ones 'paprikas' and I don't know what the bottom ones are. —CodeCat 14:03, 14 July 2012 (UTC)
  • The now-complete (but for supplements, the first to be released in 2013) w:Dictionary of American Regional English would probably provide good, fairly current information about the distribution of the terms in the US as the P-Sk volume was published in 2002. DCDuring TALK 14:38, 14 July 2012 (UTC)
(Southern California US) I'd call the top ones "bell peppers". The bottom ones look like a cultivar advertised by American seed companies as Hungarian Wax or Hungarian Yellow Wax, which is moderately hot. There's also a cultivar called Sweet Hungarian Yellow Wax that looks similar, but isn't hot. I don't know what I'd call them if I didn't know them from seed company usage. Chuck Entz (talk) 16:53, 14 July 2012 (UTC)
Thanks! --Dan Polansky (talk) 08:08, 15 July 2012 (UTC)
I'd call a fruit in the top picture "a red/yellow/[-] pepper", "a [-]/[-]/green pepper", or "a (color) bell pepper" (in decreasing order of likelihood); I don't recognize what kind of pepper the ones in the bottom picture are, so I'd probably just call any of them "a pepper": if I know it (e.g. from a label) to be hot, "a hot pepper"; if I know it to be a certain kind, "a chili/jalapeño/habanero/whatever pepper"; if I don't know what kind it is but want to distinguish it from a pepper as in the top picture, "a pepper, you know, the long kind, not a bell pepper" or possibly even "a long pepper" with a hand motion to indicate what I mean.​—msh210 (talk) 21:00, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
I would call both types 'peppers', but if I had to make a distinction between the two, the top ones are 'bell peppers' and the bottom 'chilli peppers' (I'm English, from East Anglia way) Gpcfox (talk) 21:16, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
I call the top one a red bell pepper, the second one a yellow bell pepper, and the third one a green bell pepper, or just a bell pepper. The picture at the bottom are of paprika peppers. —Stephen (Talk) 21:27, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
Australian: mild ones are capsicums, hot ones are chillies. ZackMartin (talk) 11:17, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
New Zealander: The top three are capsica (red, yellow, and green) and the bottom ones are not a fruit which I often see... chillies, I guess (Though chillies are usually the small narrow bean-shaped spicy ones only...). None of them is a pepper - Pepper is a powder for making food spicier Furius (talk) 14:36, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

party favor

American spelling aside, is this really American English? I heard it said by an Aussie guy the other day. ---> Tooironic (talk) 10:48, 14 July 2012 (UTC)

w:Party favor#Around the world is under the impression they're called by different names outside North America. —Angr 12:19, 14 July 2012 (UTC)

oppressor vs oppressour

I was wondering if 'oppressor' is en-us spelling and 'oppressour' is en-uk spelling. Is this true? Tony6ty4ur (talk) 23:08, 14 July 2012 (UTC)

The UK spelling is "oppressor", never seen it spelt with a "u" before. BigDom (tc) 23:20, 14 July 2012 (UTC)
It was used in the US around the end of the period it was used in the UK. Little use by the middle of the 19th century, possibly earlier. Residual use in in quotes and republications of books from Early Modern English. See here. DCDuring TALK 23:45, 14 July 2012 (UTC)
-our isn't used for agent nouns in contemporary British English. Mglovesfun (talk) 09:53, 15 July 2012 (UTC)


The original definition (indeed, the whole entry) was "Edible friut similar to watermelon, only shorter in size." In reality, xigua is just Pinyin xīguā without the macrons, and that is the Mandarin version of a Chinese term for watermelon, 西瓜. At most, the fruit referred to is just a smaller type of watermelon, not a separate kind of fruit. The original entry is a plural, so it was cleaned up by making it into a "plural of" entry, but the entry for the singular was never created.

I'm a bit torn: on the one hand, it's pointless having a "plural of" entry with no lemma, and there may well be enough cites for the original sense (from non-Chinese who frequent Asian markets). On the other hand, the original sense is, as far as I can tell, a factual error based on a misunderstanding. It's true that such occurrences are part of the normal evolution of language, but it seems wrong to add to the confusion by referring to a non-existent type of fruit.

What's the best way to proceed? Chuck Entz (talk) 07:51, 15 July 2012 (UTC)

I've just sent it to RFV, as I cannot attest it. Without attesting quotations, it is hard to figure out a definition. --Dan Polansky (talk) 08:37, 15 July 2012 (UTC)

Comparing English Wiktionary with other dictionaries

At User:DCDuring/Dictionary comparisons/MW3rd1993/Addenda I have a small, carefully drawn random sample (n=31) of items (bolded words) from Webster's Third New International Dictionary (1993) Addenda. The Addenda (some 11,000 words) must have been the most important omissions from and new items after the closing of the first edition c. 19651. Of the 31 items we have all but 7 in the same spelling and capitalization. The seven:

In parentheses are the names of users who have lists that include the terms.

One conclusion from this limited sample is that we have lists that include unentered terms that a print dictionary with limited space finds room for, even among relatively recent terms. I intend to at least triple the size of this sample.

I intend to do a similar, larger random sample of hundreds of entries from the main mass of entries in MW3 and small samples from some of its supplementary listings, such as "Forms of Address" and "Abbreviations Used in this Dictionary". Any comments are welcome. DCDuring TALK 16:04, 16 July 2012 (UTC)

Brilliant. I think we'll find that we're not missing much from what is in print. bd2412 T 20:15, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
5/31 missing is a little disappointing. I didn't yet check whether we had all the senses MW3 was adding or whether MW3 was adding senses to headwords that they already had in 1961.
My expectation is that there will be large areas where our coverage is weak because of the lack of interest in certain fields among our contributors. Note that 4/5 of the missing items are "technical" (yes, even flower bug) and "water fowling" (hunting) is not something our contributors are likely to look neutrally on, let alone practice. DCDuring TALK 22:02, 16 July 2012 (UTC)


This doesn't really mean "belonging to God", at least not so straightforwardly, does it? It means "belonging to him", where "he" is understood, in a Jewish or Christian (or Muslim) context, because of the capitalisation, to mean God. Thus, the definition isn't strictly wrong, it's just that as Equinox pointed out on Talk:He, any pronoun can be capitalised when it refers to a god: Genesis 1:26 YLT uses "Us" and "Our", Matthew 6:13 YLT uses "Thou" and "Thine", many hymns use "You", "Your", "Yours", "Thy"... and many gods are referred to with capitalised pronouns: in Wiccan contexts, "He" refers to the male deity of Wicca and "She" the female deity. Like "we", "We" and "You" can even refer to a monarch (in royal proclamations and supplications, respectively), and "He" and "She" and "You" can refer to a dominator or dominatrix (in BDSM books). (And all of the pronouns are surely attested in capitalised form in reference to all kinds of people in those old texts that capitalised all Important Words.) We could have separate senses in each entry subject to attestation... but wouldn't it be better to define "His", "Your" etc only as a capitalised alternative form of "his", "your" etc, and have a usage note explain that pronouns are capitalised in some contexts, such as when used by worshippers in reference to gods? - -sche (discuss) 06:26, 17 July 2012 (UTC)

When all you've got is a hammer, you treat everything as a nail. We tend to treat lexically many things, such as the use of ordinary nouns and proper nouns as interjections, which often triggers the creation (and retention) of an Interjection PoS section in fairly ordinary nouns and proper nouns. This latter point provides an interesting contrast with the case you raise: Jesus#Interjection. Is that use more in need of a dictionary entry section than His? DCDuring TALK 09:58, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
I think it's appropriate, since it has a completely different meaning, and is used by some non-Christians. There are even some odd variants, such as Jesus H. Christ. Chuck Entz (talk) 13:40, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
LORD may also be related. - -sche (discuss) 13:55, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
I agree (w/-sche). (It's not just pronouns, BTW; nouns such as father and king are also capitalized when they refer to G-d.) —RuakhTALK 13:17, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
Of course -sche is right, and other examples would include Mother among Marianists and Lamb more widely among Christians.
But wouldn't we want to follow the principle of not lexicalizing every type of grammatical event more generally? Category:English interjections is chock full of nouns, proper nouns, and phrases that occasionally or even commonly function to convey an emotion. We have had the same kind of thing with some bare-noun prepositional phrases.
How do we distinguish between grammatical features that we treat in an entry and those we leave to Wikipedia or to some future WikiGrammar? Would we use a quantitative criterion, including only features shared by a small number of terms? Does the usage context matter? DCDuring TALK 13:39, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
Ruakh's comment reminds me that in English-speaking Islam, there is a list of 99+ capitalised terms ("the Merciful", "the Guardian", etc). At least one religious sense of "Father" seems more nuanced and thus worthy of inclusion than "Him"; I suppose it would be for citations to show whether or not terms like "King" and "Guardian" are attested with sufficiently nuanced meanings. - -sche (discuss) 13:52, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
@Chuck: It is a different use, not a different meaning. If it had no connection with religion, it would not be as functionally effective in the use in question. I agree its use warrants a separate non-gloss definition under the Noun PoS, just as much all other terms, whether nouns, verbs, proper nouns, or phrases attestably used in this way should have such a non-gloss definition.
This seems to me to be just the kind of usage fact that we would unquestionably find worth covering were it not a sectarian religious usage. DCDuring TALK 14:07, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
It also makes me appreciate the wisdom of Philip Gove in minimizing the role of capitalization in MW3. All headwords are lower case, except abbreviations, with some italic notation like usu. cap. DCDuring TALK 14:16, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
Yes, though it takes a while to get used to the fact that MW3's "usu. cap." actually means "invariably cap.". —Angr 14:28, 17 July 2012 (UTC)


This entry is a bit of a mess; not being very experienced around here, I thought to turn it over to the regulars for a look. In particular, I don't think definition 1 is the most common, and the examples are rather strange. (The old example for definition 1, which I removed, was terrible...) 11:39, 17 July 2012 (UTC)

wheelchair fencing et al

If I were to create pages for wheelchair fencing and other wheelchair sports, how likely is it that they'd be deleted? Will anyone be dumb enough to use the argument "I though it was fencing using wheelchairs as the weapon"? --BLurpty (talk) 16:27, 17 July 2012 (UTC)

I would challenge such entries. I don't know what the outcome of the challenge would be. DCDuring TALK 17:40, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
I would have thought wheelchair fencing was like rabbit fencing or deer fencing: used to keep those pesky things from tearing up the garden- but I could be wrong... ;p Chuck Entz (talk) 05:25, 19 July 2012 (UTC)


What's with Category:Religion? The text doesn't seem right. Malafaya (talk) 16:47, 17 July 2012 (UTC)

The problem dates to this template-related edit of Daniel Carrero's. Now fixed. (Oh, and, for next time, WT:RFC might be a better venue.)​—msh210 (talk) 17:44, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
Registered :). Thanks, Malafaya (talk) 23:16, 17 July 2012 (UTC)


Shouldn’t this be classified as an indefinite article? --Æ&Œ (talk) 20:19, 17 July 2012 (UTC)

No; English's only indefinite article is a(n). —RuakhTALK 20:37, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
I learned that, as an aid for translating to languages with different article usage, some should be considered the plural indefinite article in English. I don't know whether this is linguistically sound, but I'd like to see an argument for why it isn't. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 07:25, 18 July 2012 (UTC)
As I understand it, some is often the best translation for a plural indefinite article in another language. But some is a determiner with other functions so it often cannot be translated by a plural indefinite article in another language. Moreover one of its uses use as a singular indefinite where a might also be appropriate, though with a change in implication. For example, "A/Some contributor forgot to document his template." Furthermore, some (and any) cannot be used in places where a is used in the singular and a bare noun is used for the plural. "Foo and Bar are [] contributors" vs. *"Foo and Bar are some contributors." CGEL has more classes of cases where some fails to function as a plural indefinite and explicitly rejects the analysis of some as plural indefinite, which they say others follow. DCDuring TALK 10:26, 18 July 2012 (UTC)
Hmm. Food for thought. Unless I'm much mistaken, your explanation suggests that some (and any) may function as indefinite articles but often do not. I think a usage note is required. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 23:43, 18 July 2012 (UTC)
Just so long as appropriate recognition is given to the major role of the bare "[plural noun]" as plural of "a [singular noun]". It is fairly complicated. What about the role of any instead of some in [] negative polarity clauses? I had never given much thought to the various uses and meanings of [] determiners and [] articles. I am skeptical that [] usage notes can cover all this complexity and remain intelligible to our supposed users. Wording truth simply and briefly is not easy. Note that "[]" marks places where some might be a candidate were it really a general-purpose plural indefinite article, but is not actually appropriate. DCDuring TALK 03:18, 19 July 2012 (UTC)


Can this term safely be utilized as a synonym for friend or pal? --Æ&Œ (talk) 02:42, 19 July 2012 (UTC)

Given the connotations, hardly. For me, at least, it tends to have bellicose or taxonomic implications, and to suggest groups rather than individuals. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 02:52, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
No. An ally is someone who's on your side, not necessarily someone you like, or who likes you. "The enemy of my enemy is my friend" shouldn't be taken literally. Chuck Entz (talk) 03:35, 19 July 2012 (UTC)


Isn’t this term offensive (to anyone)? --Æ&Œ (talk) 09:41, 20 July 2012 (UTC)

I'd bet that someone will find it offensive in some uses. See this. Urban Dictionary's lead definition says it's offensive. Most online dictionaries that have it call it offensive, but not Collins. DCDuring TALK 10:32, 20 July 2012 (UTC)
I've labeled it "often offensive". Sometimes it could just be jocular or old-fashioned, and I doubt anyone would seriously be offended by "honest injun". —Angr 12:35, 20 July 2012 (UTC)

looking for a word

I'm looking for a word in English to describe someone who other people notice immediately when they enter the room. Someone who commands people's attention without any kind of conscious effort. Consider, for example, the character of Miranda Priestly from the Devil Wears Prada. The Chinese word I'm translating is 气场 but I couldn't think of its English equivalent apart from something like "s/he has an aura about them". :S ---> Tooironic (talk) 11:58, 20 July 2012 (UTC)

Someone who "turns people's heads" or "makes people's heads turn"? —Angr 12:31, 20 July 2012 (UTC)
charismatic? DCDuring TALK 12:57, 20 July 2012 (UTC)
striking?, magnetic?, or arresting. I'd pick the last for a single-word adjective translation, but it is not very dramatic. I'm also not sure about a noun. DCDuring TALK 13:09, 20 July 2012 (UTC)
Noun: head-turner, perhaps.​—msh210 (talk) 15:46, 20 July 2012 (UTC)


If someone could check the Esperanto definition for this entry, I would greatly appreciate it! Cannona (talk) 15:08, 21 July 2012 (UTC)

Why did you add it if you don't know the definition? And why not at least add three cites to make it verifiable?
I see no reason to think it's right. Wikitrans offers "Mi repudias vian realecon kaj anstataŭaĵon mia posedi" for "I reject your reality and substitute my own"; not terribly reliable, but an example. "Monda Socia Forumo (MOS) repudias novaliberalismon" comes from [10] and "art. 11a: Italio repudias la militon kiel ilo por ofendi la liberon de aliaj popoloj kaj kiel rimedo por sovi internaciajn kontrastojn"[11] (from the Italian constitution) are from political discussions on Yahoo Groups.
I see no reason to believe in your definition. Please post your three cites; and if you don't have three cites or can't produce them, why did you create this entry?--Prosfilaes (talk) 22:44, 22 July 2012 (UTC)

cut down

I think there's another sense: [12]. Maybe equivalent to slay? --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 21:16, 21 July 2012 (UTC)

MWOnline has five senses, including one like that: "to strike down and kill or incapacitate". I think almost any phrasal verb retains some specific differentiating residual of meaning from the components. I don't think that you can cut down someone by blowing up their car or poisoning them. With a single shot perhaps not, but by automatic weapons fire certainly. DCDuring TALK 21:57, 21 July 2012 (UTC)


What is a "pair of stilliards" and how does it work? Judging from Google books [13] [14] and images, a single stilliard seems to be a pole with hooks on it, used as a scale...? How is it used? - -sche (discuss) 22:55, 21 July 2012 (UTC)

If the image results are correct I know what it is. The iron bar has numbers written down; you hang something in a hook and place a weight in the iron bar. When the bar is horizontal the weight of the object is the number written down where the weight is placed. They are common in rural areas of the state where I live. — Ungoliant (Falai) 23:06, 21 July 2012 (UTC)
Aha! Fascinating, and useful. And thanks, DCDuring, for the information that it's an alternative spelling. I figured from the spellings like shiers (shears) and syths (scythes) that I found near it that it might be, but I couldn't guess what the standard spelling would be... not that I would have understood the meaning of it (steelyard), either. - -sche (discuss) 07:27, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
I must have forgotten to save my edit here, linking to steelyard. Good old Century Dictionary had this. It's a bit more comprehensive than Webster 1913 it seems. I think it is just a portable balance scale. The original question was about the 'pair' aspect, was it not? Is one (or more) yard used to support the calibrated yard? Is one yard used as the sliding weight? The whole setup might be designed to be long and thin for ease of transport and storage, as to rural markets. DCDuring TALK 12:13, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
Some of the usage has Justice holding a pair of stilliards, which suggests it means a balance scale. This might be a reinterpretation of steelyards by people who had never seen a large-scale one, but knew it was used for weighing. I did not find stilliard in Robert, so the spelling seems Frenchified rather than French. DCDuring TALK 12:25, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

powers that be

The phrase "the powers that be", which I have now learned (thanks to Wiktionary) is really from the KJV, has just reminded me of a discussion back from January about "lexical be". What is be in this archaic phrase? Subjunctive, imperative, infinitive, habitual, whatever archaic or dialectal (probably not merely dialectal, at least not back in the 17th century) form like those possibly found in the other examples we had discussed? --Florian Blaschke (talk) 19:20, 22 July 2012 (UTC)

The habitual is the only one that would make sense in the context. This verse, incidentally, is one of the few things Noah Webster changed in his revision of the KJV: he wrote "The powers that are, are ordained by God". —Angr 20:50, 22 July 2012 (UTC)
I would say be is being used in the subjunctive mood here like in the following example: "My rules require that he be good when home alone." (See w:English subjunctive) --WikiTiki89 (talk) 15:39, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
But why would you use a subjunctive here? Paul is talking about the powers that really exist, not about a hypothetical or desirable situation. —Angr 18:33, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
You can also twist it and ask what the use of the subjunctive indicates about the original meaning of the phrase. --WikiTiki89 (talk) 20:39, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
Certainly nothing about the original Greek, since there's no subjunctive there, just a participle. A more literal translation would be "the existing powers" and I think some modern Bible translations do say that. There's simply no grammatical reason to use a subjunctive here, but there is a good semantic reason to use a habitual. —Angr 20:48, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
Ok well I didn't really intend to say it had to be specifically the subjuctive. I just meant to point out that there are other tenses and moods and whatnot that people tend to forget about, of which the most common (I think) is the subjunctive). --WikiTiki89 (talk) 21:19, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
Well, given that the subjunctive was the first possibility I listed, and it was also given its due in the linked discussion, people here clearly need not be reminded of it. :-Þ
Thank you, Angr! Clearly, the habitual is the most sensible interpretation, I was just wondering if I might have missed another explanation. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 11:09, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
Another instance I just encountered (again): here be dragons, even though the phrase as such does not seem to be authentic, but essentially a modern invention (though with a few dispersed precursors on old maps that could have served as inspiration). This, too, would seem to be a use of the habitual sense. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 16:07, 23 August 2012 (UTC)


A word to be added - found in 19th century technical text describing ice or metal fusion as "Regelation" <a href="">regelate</a>.Ineuw (talk) 04:55, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

regelate, regelation, regelated, regelates, regelating. We lacked the inflections of the verb. DCDuring TALK 11:12, 23 July 2012 (UTC)


The entry suggests that "big-endian" and "little-endian" are derived from this word, when it is the other way around: "endian" is derived from "little-endian" and "big-endian", coming as they do from the nicknames for two groups of people in Gulliver's Travels. Hence "little-endian" and "big-endian" are related terms, not derived terms, and "endian" should be listed as a derived term under both of these words.

Similarly, "endianness" is a derived term, not a related term. — 13:06, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

Yeah. I have changed Derived to Related at endian. Equinox 13:14, 23 July 2012 (UTC)


The digitised copy of Webster 1913 that can be found on the Internet defines fallowness as "(US) A well or opening, through the successive floors of a warehouse or manufactory, through which goods are raised or lowered. [Bartlett]". I think there must have been some mistake here. Does anyone know the word (presumably alphabetically very close to fallowness) to which this definition really belongs? Equinox 14:17, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

  • I know what the definition refers to (my first job was in an animal-feed mill), but I can't think what it was called. (maybe something like "fall space"?) SemperBlotto (talk) 07:47, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
    My first recent use of my parents' old Webster's Second International: It's definitely fallway. DCDuring TALK 12:45, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
    Good lad! Equinox 00:43, 18 August 2012 (UTC)

bad girl

Defined as "a female criminal", but I don't think that's right, is it? Certainly google books:"a bit of a bad girl" doesn't imply criminality — not even a slight criminality IMHO. —RuakhTALK 03:31, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

I reckon if we found an accurate definition, it would be SOP. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 03:41, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
Bad boy does have a male criminal sense, and not added by the same user. Mglovesfun (talk) 09:50, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
It seems that it just needs a secondary definition that is something to the likes of "has a tendency to break rules or refuse to conform but not quite criminal" --WikiTiki89 (talk) 15:23, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
I believe that's just being bad. Hence my SOP argument. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 17:43, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
They way this is pronounced makes me think of it as idiomatic, but I can't think of a definition that would not be SoP. bad girl at OneLook Dictionary Search shows only Wordnik (no definition, but usage examples) and Urban Dictionary to have this. Of course there are book and song titles and band names. And there are plenty of citations for badgirl. DCDuring TALK 19:49, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
Yeah I agree with DCDuring. It is pronounced as one lexical unit and therefore should be identified as a separate term. After all, compounds like doghouse deserve their own entries even though it is clearly just a house for a dog. And words like baker deserve their own entries even though it is clearly bake + -er (someone that bakes). It's all because it is used as a single lexical unit. --WikiTiki89 (talk) 21:10, 24 July 2012 (UTC)


Can someone help me with the parts of speech for each sense of this word? I was thinking of contraction but that isn't really a part of speech and I'm not sure whether it is a contraction. --WikiTiki89 (talk) 15:17, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

It would be a phrase if it were two words, I suspect. Compare id est. The fact that it is one word leaves contraction as the obvious L3 header; compare don't and shan't. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 16:31, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
I'm hesitant to mark it as a contraction though since the second part of it (הוא) is obsolete in the sense of is (it is still used as a masculine singular pronoun though). --WikiTiki89 (talk) 17:16, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
That has nothing to do with it being a contraction. I would argue that the grammatical usage of be in powers that be is obsolete, but the fact that it has persisted only in select phrases does not affect the lexical classification of such idiomatic uses. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 17:46, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
It's not really a contraction IMHO, since contractions are a linguistic phenomenon, whereas I think this is chiefly orthographic. (There are stress and intonational differences, but if those made something a contraction, then anyway would be a contraction of any way.) Also, it's not true that הוא is obsolete in the sense of "is"; I'm not sure where you got such an idea. It's very much alive and well. You can see it in the first sentence of a large proportion of Hebrew Wikipedia articles, since so many of them start out "masculine noun (linguistic info) is [] ". —RuakhTALK 17:57, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
I will trust your sizeable Hebraic knowledge, but you haven't actually resolved what to call it. Also, out of curiosity, what would you call a contraction? ז''ל? --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 18:01, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
Re: first sentence: I don't know. Shortly after I posted my comment, and just before you posted yours, I edited the entry to use ===Particle===, which is a pretty safe catch-all; but I'd be happy with a less punt-y POS if there's one that fits.   Re: second sentence: ז״ל is usually just a written abbreviation (pronounced e.g. /ziχ.ʁoˈno liv.raˈχa/), sometimes a spoken abbreviation -slash- acronym (pronounced /zal/). But it's still not a contraction, because even when it's reflected in pronunciation, that's a secondary effect of the orthographic abbreviation. As for what is a contraction — if I correctly understand the extension of that term, then I think that forms such as בַּ־‎ (ba-) (combining בְּ־‎ (b'-) and הַ־‎ (ha-)) count, even though they differ from English contractions in that the uncontracted forms are ungrammatical. (English contractions don't always have the same grammar as the uncontracted forms — "don't you" = "do you not", not *"do not you" — but the uncontracted forms always exist, at least.) The form /ta-/ (combining אֵת (ét) and הַ־‎ (ha-)) also seems to be a contraction, if English dunno and gotta are. —RuakhTALK 20:06, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
I've used particle in those sorts of situations as well, but I didn't know that such was possible in Hebrew. Do other dictionaries have this term? If so, how do they treat it?
That's very informative, thanks. I'm pretty backwards as far as Hebrew grammar goes (I never understood את, for example), so this is a good overview for me. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 20:36, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
I don't even know if I would call בַּ־‎ (ba-) a contraction. I remember reading that the definite article was originally just the doubling of the first consonant with an extra vowel inserted before it if there isn't already one to aid pronunciation. This would explain בַּ־‎ (ba-) instead of *בְּהַ־ (beha-). Better examples of what I think are contractions are שֶׁ־‎ (she-) from אֲשֶׁר (asher) and מִ־‎ (mi-) from מִן (min). But as far as the POS of זהו, I would also like something better than particle. For the "that's that" sense I was thinking interjection maybe? --WikiTiki89 (talk) 21:02, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
It's not an interjection, q.v., IMO. That said, I've got nothing better than particle either. Note that other Hebrew words that might be part of the same discussion are מַהוּ and אֵיזֶהוּ.​—msh210 (talk) 21:51, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
Re: "I remember reading that the definite article was originally just the doubling of the first consonant": You may well have read that, but I'm reasonably confident that it's not true. It doesn't account for any of the facts except the presence of consonant doubling. (See some discussion here. I think it's obvious that Lameen Souag's arguments are more convincing.) —RuakhTALK 15:49, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
I read the post and it seems to me that the two sides have equal likelihood. There really isn't enough evidence to be able to tell, although I am not an expert in the field. --WikiTiki89 (talk) 16:49, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
But there's a great deal of evidence. Imagine that you are presented with two photographs of the same kitchen: photograph A shows it with a stack of ceramic plates piled high, teetering on the edge of a table, and photograph B shows it with the same plates scattered across the floor, all shattered to bits. The question: which photograph was taken first? In one sense, there's no way to tell: if you believe that photograph B was taken first, and that the plates were then all picked up, assembled, mended, and stacked before photograph A was taken, then there's nothing in the pictures that could disprove that. But in another sense, there's plenty of evidence — the entire rest of the world — and we have no difficulty making the correct inference. It's the same thing here: Herman posits a sequence of sound changes that is completely unknown from the world's languages, rather than the reverse sequence, which is well-known. (For that matter, there actually is a fair bit of more direct evidence against his theory, including definite-article suffixation in Aramaic (which he may or may not be aware of), the Hebrew demonstrative éle (which he is presumably aware of, but without recognizing its significance), and the fact that Arabic orthography uses an L (which he acknowledges, but dismisses as not-definitive-proof). Plus, of course, the almost total lack of evidence for his theory. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, but when a theory doesn't make sense, doesn't account for anything, and is not supported by any evidence, it's a bit generous to even call it a "theory". We might as well speak of the "theory" that cannot originated from can't via insertion of an epenthetic vowel, and insist that can't is therefore not a contraction.) —RuakhTALK 17:39, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
I find lk > kk and kk > lk equally unlikely. And lʔ > ʔ and ʔʔ > lʔ even less likely. And who's to say which of a > ha and ʔa > a is more likely? That seems to me what it basically comes down to although I'll admit the Aramaic thing looks suspicious. Proto languages are all just thoroughly researched speculation. --WikiTiki89 (talk) 19:43, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
lk > kk is known from other languages. (And FWIW, nk > kk is known from Hebrew.) I agree that lʔ > ʔ is unlikely, but it's not needed; the effect of such a change could result from leveling. —RuakhTALK 15:07, 31 July 2012 (UTC)
As much as I like arguing, this debate doesn't belong on this page. It would be better if you responded to my question on כדאי. --WikiTiki89 (talk) 15:35, 31 July 2012 (UTC)


I am confused as to why cannot is a considered a contraction if nothing is contracted. I asked this on its talk page but no one seems to be responding (I mean who reads talk pages anyway?). --WikiTiki89 (talk) 10:51, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

Good question. It doesn't look like a contraction to me as there are no omitted letters and no apostrophe. I'd put it under a Verb PoS header, as it had been from 2004 to mid 2007. DCDuring TALK 11:54, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
The problem now is that {{en-verb}} displays nonexistent forms and I can't seem to figure out how to make them go away without resorting to '''cannot'''. --WikiTiki89 (talk) 12:09, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
Actually {{head|en|verb}} worked. --WikiTiki89 (talk) 12:11, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
The contraction bit can go in the etymology, or {{form of|contraction|can not}}. Mglovesfun (talk) 15:37, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
Or in the edit-history. ;-)   —RuakhTALK 15:48, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
This is actually something I have wondered about before. If the definition of a term is its etymology, should we include only the definition, or both (with obvious duplication)? —CodeCat 15:16, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
Since no letters are omitted isn’t this a compound? — Ungoliant (Falai) 15:31, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
I think it is a compound and isn't a contraction. DCDuring TALK 16:22, 26 July 2012 (UTC)


An editor has modified this to add a sentence where a neighbour is addressed as "yon neighbor". It sounds like fake-mediaeval speech to me. Is this a legitimate kind of example? (I think he added it through disagreement with the existing usex for that part of speech, but still, maybe someone could find some real usages to add...?) Equinox 00:33, 26 July 2012 (UTC)

I added a usex and a cite and deleted the one given. How could a neighbor one is asking a question be yon? The pronoun could use some help too. DCDuring TALK 00:55, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
Is it really an adjective? I'd have thought it was a determiner - in modern English, it's more or less interchangeable with the determiner that. Smurrayinchester (talk) 07:44, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
Is/was it ever used alone? ?"Yon is four miles distant."? ?"How do I get to yon?" DCDuring TALK 15:11, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
Those sound wrong to me, but that just means it isn't a pronoun, as that can be. —Angr 15:47, 26 July 2012 (UTC)


Never heard of it before, and does no longer seem all too common Google NGram stats. Should this be marked as obsolete or dated or archaic or so forth ? ZackMartin (talk) 10:27, 26 July 2012 (UTC)

You have to look at the recent citations and at how other dictionaries treat it. OneLook provides convenient access to a number of good online dictionaries. (See froward at OneLook Dictionary Search.) Some have a "habitually disposed to disobedience and opposition" sense unmarked, some say archaic, so that's not conclusive. Is it ever used in books with recent publication dates other than reprints, in quotations of older works (including anthologies)? If not, it is probably obsolete. If it is sometimes used, say, in fiction, it might be archaic. If older folks still use it, but nobody else, it might be dated. DCDuring TALK 15:28, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
FWIW, said humorously in a comment: Thou art wise to go to the hotel, and froward is the man that avoideth it. ... There there is Cape Froward ... From a 2010 book, p175: If you are disrespectful and spiteful toward your employer, you are being froward. ... It may be somewhat seldom noted, but I wouldn't rush to tag it archaic or obsolete. --AnWulf ... Ferþu Hal! (talk) 20:18, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
The 2010 book had to take the trouble to explicitly define the word for its readers. The 2004 use is from a website about Asian English language misuse apparently based on naive use of dictionary translations. Cape Froward was named in 1587. I expect that most folks are mildly curious as to who Captain Froward might be.
... named the place after the climate's roughness with rains and winds. Does it matter if the 2010 book took the time to define it? ... And then go on to note it a lot! I did say that it was noted humorously in the 2004 ... but it was noted! Again, it may be seldom noted, but it does pop up time to time. --AnWulf ... Ferþu Hal! (talk) 01:53, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
COCA shows historical and literary usage. COHA shows a marked reduction in usage after the opening decades of the 20th century, with the remaining usage being literary and historical. Looking at Usenet, it is hard to find usage that is not a misspelling, related to older texts, or a discussion of the meaning of the word. Of the first 30 or 718 hits from Google N-Gram post-1925 with preview available, I found no departure from the pattern of historical usage, except for cases where the word was the subject of discussion (ie, a mention not a use). DCDuring TALK 20:56, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
So when do we label something archaic? For me, anything from the early 1800s onward is not archaic. There are many classics written in that time that has words like this. And definitely after 1900 ... And even if the word was the "subject of discussion" ... it was still noted for whatever reason. I think twice ... thrice ... before I label a word archaic or obsolete. Seldom noted doesn't mean archaic. I don't see the behoof in tagging it archaic or obsolete or how it adds anything. I think the tag it has now chiefly literary and historical is more than enuff. --AnWulf ... Ferþu Hal! (talk) 01:53, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
I've changed "historical" to "dated". "Historical" means that the referent of the word doesn't exist but the word is still used in discussions of that no-longer existing thing (e.g. "Czechoslovakia" is historical). Disobedience still exists, it's just that the word "froward" is "dated" (not used very much anymore). - -sche (discuss) 02:14, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
In my researches I found it used in historical works quoting older usage and occasionally using the word.
The most coherent use of dated that I've seen refers to terms that were still in current use, but only by older generations, more or less as in Wiktionary:Obsolete and archaic terms, which is not entirely in accord with Appendix:Glossary and does not mention the useful {{defdate}}. Froward might be archaic, but not dated. I wonder how far back we would have to go to find evidence that it was widely understood. DCDuring TALK 03:58, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
I went with "dated" to humour AnWulf, but given your comment, I've now changed it to "archaic". I've also removed "literary"... feel free to reinstate that tag if you think the term was only literary even when it was current, or to alter the {{context}} further as you deem appropriate. - -sche (discuss) 04:52, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
LOL … Well thanks for humoring me! From the glossary terms, dated might be a good fit if one truly feels the need to tag it: Formerly in common use, and still in occasional use, but now unfashionable … Dated is not so strong as archaic or obsolete.
Digging about a bit it seems that froward is fairly well understood and "still in occasional use".
“Froward” is in the KJV 21 times. “Frowardly” once. “Frowardness” thrice. All that is likely what it often shows up in religious talks.
It is also in Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew: That wench is stark mad or wonderful froward. So I would guess that it is well known among followers of Shakespeare as well … and even among those who don't like Shakespeare as in this blog: However, it does make one wonder — if William Shakespeare were the creator of all these froward, literate, and often powerful women, why did he let his own daughters grow up illiterate?
It may also start showing up this political season in the US as this political/religious blog (from June, 2012) shows: Forward or Froward? … the Communist/Marxist/Progressive/Globalist meaning of the term "Forward" can more accurately be labeled as Froward … and she puts out about every meaning of froward she could find to show her point!
So my two cents is that it's a bit too soon to be slapping an "archaic" tag on it. Truthfully, for now, I wouldn't put any tag on it. I think it's better to err on the side of no tag than a bad tag. --AnWulf ... Ferþu Hal! (talk) 13:05, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
I think you're misunderstanding what archaic means. An archaic word is one which is currently used, but only with the understanding that it's an example of the way people used to talk. People still quote and understand Shakespeare and the King James Version of the Bible, but they only use many of the words from them when trying to evoke the feel of those works or of that period. It's not uncommon for someone to dig up an old word like froward and play with it, but they're not treating it as a modern word, rather they're using the contrast between the modern context and the old word for humorous effect. Chuck Entz (talk) 17:19, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
Oh I understand what archaic means but I don't get wrapt about the axle whether a word is "dated" or "archaic" ... I would call ambuscade archaic since it has been fully supplemented by its shorter sibling: ambush but it's tagg'd as "dated" ... meh. For froward, this may be an AmE-BrE thing. The Oxford Dict. (Brit. version) lists it as archaic but the Oxford American doesn't. And thinking about it, the noting of it did seem to be by Americans. So maybe it should say: "Considered to be archaic in British English."
Again, I'd rather see no tag than a bad tag. We're dealing with millions of nativ speakers over the world with sundry backgrounds and ages. What may be dated or archaic to yu or me may not be to many others ... and what worth does it add to the word to tag it as such? It's not an outdated slang word. It's not an outdated form of grammar. It's not a word that has been besteaded by a shorter version of itself as with ambuscade/ambush. I saw the word insuperable for the first time today. It too has a pretty dismal ngram slope and seems to be one of those quaint old words. Does that make it dated or archaic since in XX years I'v never seen the word or for that unsurmountable is the word one would expect to see? Of course not. I look'd at the word chrononaut, it's tagg'd "science fiction" and "dated". Truly? A sci-fi word that's still noted in some time travel sci-fi stories (see The Chrononaut, by Richard Hamliton, 2011) and it's tagg'd dated as if it went out of style in 50s? ... Wait, looks like it didn't show up til 1970 ... but someone tagg'd it "dated"? At least the ngram has an upward slope! That's a bad tag! ... --AnWulf ... Ferþu Hal! (talk) 22:25, 21 August 2012 (UTC)


Isn’t this slur also applied to people of Latin American descent (especially Mexicans)? --Æ&Œ (talk) 11:42, 27 July 2012 (UTC)

Looks as though it's a general ethnic slur and one specifically for Italians. I don't see it as specifically for Hispanics/Mexicans. I didn't check very carefully, though. We do seem to missing a sense: it seems to be a baseball pitch, or the ball thus pitched.​—msh210 (talk) 17:12, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
I've only ever heard it used specifically to Italians, the closest I have heard for Latins is greasy mexican, greasy cuban, greasy salvadoran etc. But even that is rare and stinking is usually used for those groups, stinky is used for Indians and pakis. And greaseball/greaser/guide for ItaliansLucifer (talk) 22:01, 27 July 2012 (UTC)


How is this entry doing? Is there anything I missed?Lucifer (talk) 21:59, 27 July 2012 (UTC)

Looks good to me. I fixed it per Ruakh's comments. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 17:54, 28 July 2012 (UTC)


The adverb sense of כדאי seems to be defined with adjectives. This makes me wonder whether it should really be an adjective of whether the definition needs to be changed. --WikiTiki89 (talk) 10:54, 28 July 2012 (UTC)

I had difficulty with this one, so I hewed pretty closely to the information in Even-Shoshan (the listed reference). As far as I can tell from his assignment of cites to senses, he considers it an adjective when it modifies a noun (or pronoun, or implicit subject of an appropriate copula), with or without an infinitive complement, and an adverb when it stands alone with an infinitive. The former seems indisputably correct to me. The latter is trickier. I doubt that Even-Shoshan is really saying that it's an adverb in a very strict sense; it's just that in traditional grammar, "adverb" (or תה״פ) is a bit of a catch-all POS (like "particle" in more modern grammar).
I'd be O.K. with listing the "adverb" as an adjective. It's different from the currently-listed adjective in that it would apparently be modifying the infinitive, whereas with the currently-listed adjective the infinitive is clearly a complement; but that's not a big deal.
I guess that would put it in Category:Hebrew impersonal adjectives.
RuakhTALK 17:18, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
Example: כדאי לך לקרוא את הסיפור הזה.‎
In English this would translate to "It is worthwhile for you to read this story." Here worthwhile is an adjective and I always thought of the Hebrew version as containing an implicit "it is". But now I thought about it more and realized that in Russian it translates to either "Стоит тебе прочесть этот рассказ." or "Желательно тебе прочесть этот рассказ." In the first case, "стоит (stoit)" is a verb meaning "[it] is worthwhile", while in the second case "желательно (želatelʹno)" is an adverb meaning "desirably" (I could not think of an adverb for worthwhile but grammatically it makes no difference). Clearly for an English speaker, כדאי takes the place of an adjective and therefore seems like it is an adjective, but for a Russian speaker (since it clearly is not a verb) it replaces an adverb and therefore is seen as an adverb.
I now wonder, how does a native speaker of Hebrew interpret כדאי in the example above?
--WikiTiki89 (talk) 19:11, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
Well, native speakers aren't always great at identifying POSes; in fact, they're often pretty terrible at it. But my instinct, as a more-or-less-native speaker, is that k'dái is the same POS as nóakh, namely "adjective" (or what I think of as "impersonal adjective" — though N.B. that's not a standard term). Certainly k'dái and nóakh can, as you put it, "take the place of" the other. They both can take just an infinitive, or an object-with-to plus an infinitive, or a she- clause (though they differ in that k'dái with a she- clause generally does not take an object-with-to, whereas nóakh with a she- clause generally does). —RuakhTALK 17:24, 31 July 2012 (UTC)
Alright, I think it should be an adjective then. But I'm not quite sure how to change it to adjective while keeping it separate enough from the other sense so it is clear they are not used in the same way. --WikiTiki89 (talk) 19:23, 31 July 2012 (UTC)

onion idoms

A bizarre chain of events led me to some idioms about onions. know one's onions seems definitely idiomatic — and missing — to me. I'm rather less sure of the French regretter les oignons d'Égypte. It comes from the Christian Bible, and idiomatically translates into German as sich nach den Fleischtöpfen Ägyptens sehnen and into English as to sigh for the fleshpots of Egypt. But it's a fairly straight reference to Numbers 11:5–6. For what it's worth, it is listed under the entry for oignon in the 19th century Dictionnaire de l'Académie française, alongside such things as être vêtu comme un oignon (redlinked on fr:) and en rang d'oignon (c.f. fr:en rang d’Oignon). Comments please. Uncle G (talk) 10:59, 28 July 2012 (UTC)

Garra pingi pingi

What attestation standards apply to taxonomic name entries? If the only works using a taxonomic name are by the same author does that meet our independence criterion? In the case of this term there might be some difference of opinion as to whether Garra pingi pingi is really a synonym of Garra imberba, rather than a different species. If we can't find use of Garra pingi pingi outside of Chinese works, does that mean it isn't translingual. If it isn't accepted translingually, is it really a taxonomic name? DCDuring TALK 02:11, 29 July 2012 (UTC)

If I came up with the word agsplargh and published several novels using it, unless other people and other authors start using it, it would not meet inclusion criteria. So what's different about a taxonomic name? --WikiTiki89 (talk) 04:36, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
Taxonomy has very particular rules about whether a name is valid. For the name Garra agsplargh to be valid, it would have to be published in a recognized, durably archived taxonomic work, have a description of the species that meets certain standards, and meet a variety of other requirements. The publication of a taxonomic name isn't just an occurrence in print, it's a taxonomic act. Chuck Entz (talk) 04:54, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
Taxonomic usage is quite foreign to our CFI. To be a valid taxonomic name, it only has to be published once in an approved work, and meet the standards for taxonomic names in the code that covers the taxonomic group in question (in this case the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature). There have been a number of cases where a name is published, then never mentioned again for decades or even a century or two- but then someone realizes that it applies to a taxon widely known by one or more names that were published later. If there are no rules in the relevant code to make an exception because of the disruption the renaming would cause, that name is then the accepted name for the taxon. The ornamental Coleus is just such an example: a lot of people still know it as Coleus blumei, but the correct name is now considered to be Solenostemon scutellarioides To make things even more counterintuitive, the ICZN (probably the other codes do as well, but I don't know them as well) has a provision that publishing a new species automatically counts as publishing the subspecies of the same name. A trinomial name could theoretically be the only valid name for a subspecies without ever having appeared in print at all.
I really don't know if we should even have entries on most taxonomic names that consist of more than a link to a reference like wikipedia or wikispecies- we really have no business making decisions about the validity of taxonomic names. If you think wikilawyering is bad, you should see some of the arcane debates in scientific publications about whether a given name is valid according to the taxonomic code.
As for the question of whether a taxonomic name is translingual: if the work in question isn't written in Latin, there's more than one language involved, right there. Besides which, taxonomic nomenclature as a system is translingual, so any of the names that make it up is, by definition, also translingual. It's like saying that a sentence that's never been uttered isn't English, even though all the words are English and they're spoken by a monolingual English speaker according to the grammatical rules of the language.
As to this case: Garra pingi pingi (if it was validly published), is a valid taxonomic name, if only as a synonym for Garra imberba. Fishbase gives a 2005 reference for the current taxonomy, so it no doubt appeared in that. The ICZN requires durable archiving for a work to be taxonomically valid, so I'm pretty confident there are at least 3 durable cites. I would contend that listing in a synonymy is more than a mere mention: it's saying things about the name beyond the mere fact that it exists. Chuck Entz (talk) 04:44, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
I was not questioning the validity of the name in taxonomy. I only meant that it probably should not be included on Wiktionary, which is not a taxonomic dictionary but a general-purpose dictionary. If the word isn't used by anyone except for one person, it doesn't seem like it would be useful to anyone here. Wikispecies seems to be a much better place for it. --WikiTiki89 (talk) 07:36, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
Is there any reason not to include it? People aren't forced to read the entry. So if it meets WT:CFI, mainly in terms of being idiomatic and being attested, just keep it. Mglovesfun (talk) 13:03, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
@Wikitiki89: In part it's a question of how we go about adding taxonomic names. I've never wanted to include species names which seem to include the least attested, least accepted taxons. Users really would probably like to know whether a species name is "correct" or accepted and, if it isn't, what the "correct" name is. Can we can provide that? I think there is more stability at some higher levels, though plenty of change. Even Wikispecies has large gaps at the level of species. OTOH, I have been working to regularize species epithets and taxonomic names at the level of genus, which is often the most intuitive level. There is a BP issue in this, but I couldn't formulate it now.
Most comprehensive general-purpose dictionaries (Webster's, at least since 1913, and Century) have included many taxonomic names. The OED does not. Smaller dictionaries do not. We are both comprehensive and multilingual and operate under the slogan "All words in all languages". We have more reason than most to include the words that make up the language of taxonomic classification. DCDuring TALK 13:13, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
@MG: I would love not to include species-level names. EP shared this preference, AFAICT. I find it hard to provide some of the information that users would most like to know. DCDuring TALK 13:13, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
I don't have a problem with taxonomic names, just with the fact that only one author has written about it. It may be enough to be accepted in the taxonomic community but it certainly does not meet any of the 3 criteria for attestation on WT:CFI. --WikiTiki89 (talk) 13:27, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
I will link to this discussion and to Talk:Garra pingi pingi, the presumed destination for archiving purposes for it or a link to its archive location. DCDuring TALK 04:27, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
FWIW, I agree with Wikitiki. "Wiktionary [] is not a taxonomic dictionary but a general-purpose dictionary". WT:CFI: "A term should be included if it's likely that someone would run across it and want to know what it means." If a taxonomic name is only used once, in a work that (necessarily) describes it, then the rare person who reads that work will already know what the name means, because the work will have explained. - -sche (discuss) 05:16, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
It will be interesting to see what this means for some of the species and subspecies that we already have. In Finnish we have a few vernacular names with definiens that include subspecies taxonomic names. I haven't examined the attestability of the subspecies names. I suppose we always have the fall-back of omitting the taxonomic name entry. We thereby reduce the likelihood that we would collect the vernacular name in other languages, eg, Sami, Swedish. DCDuring TALK 11:44, 9 September 2012 (UTC)

enfonceur de portes ouvertes

Wiktionnaire gives this as Personnage qui se vante d’avoir surmonté des obstacles qui n’existaient pas ou qui n’existaient plus (Person who brags about overcoming obstacles which didn't existed or didn't exist any longer). Have we got in English a good translation for this concept? Also valid is the noun enfoncer des portes ouvertes (one dictionary gives the translation state the obvious which doesn't seem right to me). Any help? --Le Fondu (talk) 10:00, 29 July 2012 (UTC)

  • FWIW, state the obvious seems a highly plausible candidate for an entry in English. --Le Fondu (talk) 10:01, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
  • How about Captain Obvious? --Le Fondu (talk) 10:02, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
  • I don't think Captain Obvious brags about overcoming nonexistent obstacles, nor do I think that such bragging is the same thing as stating the obvious. —Angr 10:19, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
  • It's not easily translated. braggadocio, braggart, and fanfaron encapsulate most of the meaning, but miss some of what is being boasted about. Apparently, we used to have, a century and a half ago, Tommy Noodle as an idiomatic translation for this, but that seems to have dropped out of usage. Uncle G (talk) 14:50, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
I think "One who brags about overcoming nonexistent obstacles" (per Angr) is a good definition, with perhaps a mention that it literally means something like "one who breaks down (or through?) open doors". As for state the obvious, I'm not sure it's not SOP. Chuck Entz (talk) 15:58, 29 July 2012 (UTC)


The perfect stem given in the principal parts doesn't match the perfect stem in the conjugation table. I'm not sure which is right (I can't seem to find this word in Perseus), but if the conjugation table is wrong, a lot of the bot-created inflected entries are going to have to be deleted. This, that and the other (talk) 11:02, 29 July 2012 (UTC)

  • I've fixed the conjugation table. I'll tidy up later. SemperBlotto (talk) 11:06, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
  • (ec) Unfortunately, they were both wrong, as were the supine/past participle forms. I've corrected it now: the perfect is allēvī and the supine is allitum. This is a derivative of lino, which is one of a few verbs in Latin that has an -n- in the present stem but not in other forms. —Angr 11:10, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
  • I added {{R:L&S}}. The entry name works just fine for finding the word at Perseus. You may have tried the headword (macron) form. Chuck Entz (talk) 15:38, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
    • Also adlino? This, that and the other (talk) 22:54, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
      • It should be the same, since it's made up of the same parts. The only difference is that it lacks the assimilation of the d to the following l that normally happens when a prefix ending in d is added to a word starting with l. Lewis & Short list it as part of the header for the allino entry ("al-lĭno (adl- ), lēvi, lĭtum"). Chuck Entz (talk) 23:06, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
        • I realise that. Could some kind soul please fix the same problems that exist at adlino? This, that and the other (talk) 03:13, 30 July 2012 (UTC)
        • BTW, I was accessing Perseus via the "Word Study Tool" ( It is, as you can see, not returning anything for "allino". Maybe the 1s pres ind act form is not attested, because forms like give results. This, that and the other (talk) 03:20, 30 July 2012 (UTC)
          • I copied the relevant parts from allino and changed all to adl. If that's wrong, feel free to revert. As for the Word Study Tool: I'm not so sure it's complete, though I have no way of knowing. From the number of titles that have no hyperlinks in the dictionaries, I gather they don't have the complete corpus of either Classical Latin or Ancient Greek in their databases with morphological tagging. It could be a matter of which works they've already processed. Chuck Entz (talk) 03:37, 30 July 2012 (UTC)

spoken for

Am I right in thinking the verb sense should just be {{past of|speak for}} retaining the usage note and the example sentence. Also I'm not sure the adjective is one, isn't it also {{past of|speak for}}? Mglovesfun (talk) 19:03, 30 July 2012 (UTC)

I think so, but I can't speak for what others. Has anyone used the sense of speak for that is the origin of spoken for [in the last centtury]? - ?"I spoke for my share of reward." The usage example seems at least archaic. If it is archaic, I would think we should join the several OneLook lemmings that have it as an adjective. There is also the quaint sense of spoken for meaning "engaged to be married, or nearly so" (or something.
I question whether all (any?) the senses of speak for are, first, phrasal verbs and, second, meet CFI. Some lemmings have some of the senses, but, of course, not MWOnline. Tellingly, McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Idioms and Phrasal Verbs, not bashful about claiming (*speaking for) verb-particle combinations as phrasal verbs only has the adjective sense. DCDuring TALK 20:36, 30 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Also, the translation target rationale is not very compelling for phrasal verbs as there are hardly any phrasal verb entries that have translations. DCDuring TALK 20:38, 30 July 2012 (UTC)
    • I'm certainly not feeling the current implicit claim that when a person is spoken for, it's an adjective, but when seats are spoken for, it's a past participle. Either they're both adjectives, or they're both past participles, or they're both both. —Angr 22:12, 30 July 2012 (UTC)
      • I think the rationale for including the adjective (absent evidence of gradability) would be that the verb speak only has the meaning "claim" in archaic current usage. Is there such a concept in etymology as a stranding of a sense of an inflected form? DCDuring TALK 22:20, 30 July 2012 (UTC)
        • If we don't like ===Adjective===, we can instead say that this sense of speak for is now restricted to the passive voice. Brett (talkcontribs) wrote here about 23 verbs that occur more commonly in the passive voice than in the active, and similar sorts of restrictions are seen with various other verbs (for example, "I've never been to China" uses a sense of be that's restricted to the perfect aspect), so it's not completely farfetched. —RuakhTALK 03:42, 31 July 2012 (UTC)
          • That's how MWOnline presents it. I wish we had the ability to redirect users who search for "spoken for" to a specific sense of a polysemic term like speak. As we lack that ability, why don't we direct users to spoken and place our definition there. I haven't found an instance at google books of "[speak] for a seat" and only one of a "seat [being] spoken for", so our usage example seems to be a stretch. DCDuring TALK 04:59, 31 July 2012 (UTC)
              • 1941, Jean Ingram Brookes, International Rivalry in the Pacific Islands, 1800–1875, University of California Press, pages 76:
                […] Australia and New Zealand, the only suitable places, were already spoken for by Great Britain.
              • "Most of the good colonial territories were already spoken for; […]" — →ISBN p. 106
              • "The school was very partial to legacies and 30 of the places were already spoken for." — →ISBN p. 219
              • "We were informed that there were fifty-four seats onboard the aircraft for this mission, but approximately thirty of the seats were already spoken for." — →ISBN p. 515
            • Uncle G (talk) 14:55, 31 July 2012 (UTC)
              Thanks. Great to have reasonably current cites. Now we need to finally decide on the entry ([[spoken]], [[speak]], or [[spoken for]]?) and the PoS header if [[spoken for]] is the entry (Adjective or Verb). My preferred order is the order given. DCDuring TALK 15:17, 31 July 2012 (UTC)