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tentorium plurlizationEdit

I found some use of the plural form tentorii. Would this be considered nonstandard? DTLHS (talk) 00:01, 1 July 2017 (UTC)

I think so. It is easy enough to see how the mistake might occur: misconstruction and imitation of incisurae tentorii. DCDuring (talk) 23:47, 1 July 2017 (UTC)

hot glue gunEdit

This needs more of a definition than just "a form of glue gun". What kind? How is it distinguished? Equinox 23:09, 1 July 2017 (UTC)

I don't know of cold glue guns, though they may exist. DCDuring (talk) 23:29, 1 July 2017 (UTC)
I could find images of various glue guns that are not hot glue guns and have so modified [[glue gun]] and [[hot glue gun]]. DCDuring (talk) 23:39, 1 July 2017 (UTC)
I don't think either is SoP. DCDuring (talk) 23:40, 1 July 2017 (UTC)

evolutionary stable strategyEdit

I wouldn't call that a "misspelling", but I don't know how I would call it. --Barytonesis (talk) 13:16, 2 July 2017 (UTC)

Just as "SoP/Encyclopedic" as the other spelling? Or: "Poor grammar"? "Use of unattested/proscribed adverb evolutionary"? DCDuring (talk) 13:32, 2 July 2017 (UTC)
Basically a typo, similar to how you can sometimes miss out an entire word if you're distracted. I see virtually no value in such entries. Equinox 13:34, 2 July 2017 (UTC)
Usually I'd agree with you, but I suspect many people really don't think of it as a mistake at all. [1] --Barytonesis (talk) 13:39, 2 July 2017 (UTC)
When I page through, I see 66 Google Books results for "evolutionary stable strategy". Nearly half (30) also use "evolutionarily stable strategy", which is strong evidence the nonstandard spelling is a typo in those works. Some of the works that don't also use "-il-" may only use the term once, making it hard to judge if it's intentional or not. But Ngram data suggest this ratio is true over all the texts Google has seen: "evolutionary stable strategy" is used once for every two times "evolutionarily stable strategy" is used, and numbers in a Google Scholar search of journal articles are similar, meaning it's a very common (mis)spelling, certainly inclusion-worthy.
I'd guess it's caused by the ease of the typo in the long word, and the fact that it can be parsed as grammatical, as "evolutionaryadj, stableadj strategy" or with a misunderstanding of the meaning as "(evolutionaryadj stablenoun)"attributive" phrase strategy". Maybe some spell-checker programs even recognize "evolutionary" but not the far less common word "evolutionarily", and prompt people to change "evolutionarily" to "evolutionary". Compare how "evolutionary successful" is used about 1/4 as often as "evolutionarily successful"! - -sche (discuss) 15:49, 2 July 2017 (UTC)
As for what to call it: I think it's OK to call it a "misspelling", but another possibility is to use Template:misconstruction of. - -sche (discuss) 15:54, 2 July 2017 (UTC)

Arabic ڭ‎ (ng) differing in medial position in historical texts.Edit

So I am basically looking at Kashgari's transciriptions in the original Arabic script and I noticed that his ng is perfectly what you expect at the end of a word (ڭْ) but the expected shape in medial position is not similar and there are no three dots or anything like that as in ـڭـ‎. Rather I see there is a middle dot at the right hand side of medial Kaph (ـکـ). Is there a way so that I can create this original form using some Unicode letters? It is like there is no ج and I must create it from ح but I can not find this dot. --Anylai (talk) 18:15, 2 July 2017 (UTC)

Side note: I noticed he sometimes has it as نْكْ in the final position, unification of نْ and كْ --Anylai (talk) 18:29, 2 July 2017 (UTC)
I came to realise that it is no different than realization of نْكْ at medial position, it is just his hand writing that confused me. the middle dot I saw apparantly belongs to ن. So medial -ng- in Kashgari is ـنــ‍ك‍ـْـ --Anylai (talk) 19:45, 2 July 2017 (UTC)


"he defines something which he calls inclusive fitness, which is an absolute swine to calculate". We're missing a sense. Could I say "a bitch to calculate"? --Barytonesis (talk) 20:27, 2 July 2017 (UTC)

Yes. Added. Equinox 00:04, 3 July 2017 (UTC)

Finger mix-upEdit

See leech-finger and its large list of synonyms (and related back-linking synonyms on further pages), and the change I just made to medical finger. I think the creator of these entries had the fourth and third finger mixed up, and thus got the medical/physician/etc. finger synonyms and definitions wrong in most places, but it's actually making my head spin now so I've stopped trying to fix them all... Equinox 00:04, 3 July 2017 (UTC)

Looks like "fourth" here refers to fingers, exclusive of the thumb, which isn't a true finger (?). So the index finger would be the first finger, right ? Fourth finger is the pinkie. Leasnam (talk) 02:00, 3 July 2017 (UTC)


At homogenous, it says that in General American it is "often pronounced as homogeneous, with some dictionaries listing only this pronunciation". Now, I understand that there is a confusion between "homogenous" and "homogeneous", but putting that aside, given that the word "homogenous" is used, do Americans really often pronounce it as "homogeneous"? That seems unlikely to me, and I can't find the supposed dictionary evidence. Mihia (talk) 11:31, 3 July 2017 (UTC)

As no one has recognised this as being correct, I have deleted it. Mihia (talk) 22:32, 6 July 2017 (UTC)


I don't really understand this, so I'm seeking other opinions rather than making changes unilaterally.

At homogeneous, under the heading "Alternative forms", it says:

Is this the "wrong way round"? Shouldn't the "Alternative forms" section be presented as alternative forms of the headword, not words that the headword is an alternative form of?

Beyond that, this note, and also the sense "(proscribed) Alternative form of homogenous", appear to be saying that the biological sense of homogenous (the only sense that is said to be correct at homogenous) is commonly (or reasonably commonly) incorrectly written as "homogeneous". Is that actually true? Or is this all a big muddle, and what is actually meant is that the word "homogeneous" is often incorrectly written as "homogenous"? Mihia (talk) 20:07, 3 July 2017 (UTC)

  • I have simplified the section. I don't believe that either of the two forms are proscribed - it's just a transpondian thing. SemperBlotto (talk) 04:59, 4 July 2017 (UTC)
    • @SemperBlotto: in U.S. English at least, homogenous is proscribed when it means homogeneous. The opposite situation almost never applies, since it's so rare for someone to actually use homogenous correctly; though I can imagine that a correct usage of homogenous may occasionally be altered to homogeneous by hypercorrection. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 15:06, 4 July 2017 (UTC)
      • Yes, it's not hard to find opinions that "homogenous" for "homogeneous" is incorrect, or traditionally considered incorrect, but I have not yet seen any other suggestions that it is an AmE/BrE issue. My feeling also is that the opposite situation almost never applies, so I suggest that the sense "(proscribed) Alternative form of homogenous" probably is a mix-up, as I suggested it might be, and should be deleted. Also, I think there ideally should be a way of showing in the "Alternative forms" section that "homogenous" as an alternative form is considered incorrect by some. Mihia (talk) 20:28, 4 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Why not just put something under Usage notes or See also? DCDuring (talk) 03:49, 5 July 2017 (UTC)
  • As no one has recognised it as being correct, and it seems wrong, I have deleted the sense "(proscribed) Alternative form of homogenous". I have also cross-referenced the usage note at homogenous. Mihia (talk) 22:21, 6 July 2017 (UTC).

select for - select againstEdit

"With this mode of natural selection, intermediate forms are selected against". Should we have an entry for that? --Barytonesis (talk) 12:51, 4 July 2017 (UTC)


I wonder if there's an English equivalent for Finnish aikamiespoika (unmarried man who lives with his parents). --Hekaheka (talk) 21:41, 4 July 2017 (UTC)

The closest I can think of is basement-dweller, although it is decidedly pejorative; not sure about the Finnish term (its literal translation appears to be "man-boy"): if it is pejorative too (which I strongly suspect), you should add a qualifier. In Japan, there's also the term Parasite single. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 01:04, 5 July 2017 (UTC)
There's man child in English, which may share some of the negative connotations of basement-dweller, but that also doesn't say anything about living with parents. I don't think there's an English word with the requested meaning. Equinox 15:55, 5 July 2017 (UTC)
In medicine especially, you can call such a person a “failure to launch” (unisex), colloquially. Wyang (talk) 12:24, 8 July 2017 (UTC)


This nonstandard past and past participle appears to be found mainly in specific technical contexts – literal and metaphorical binders (as in folders or ring binders), and coding. Maybe this should be mentioned at both bind and binded. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 00:52, 5 July 2017 (UTC)

I think binded is mostly used in contexts where the author is not a native speaker. That would include many technical fields. But it is not limited to non-native speakers, nor to technical contexts. Garner's Modern American Usage (both 2009 and 2016) proscribe it. DCDuring (talk) 04:34, 5 July 2017 (UTC)

Latin: luoEdit

The entry for Latin "luo" <> says the word is active only. It appears, however, in passive voice ("luitur") in classical Latin. E.g. in Seneca's Epistulae Morales XLVII. This is also verifiable from Perseus or Logeion.


  1. (Britain, education) A class or year of students (often preceded by an ordinal number to specify the year, as in sixth form).
  2. (Britain) Grade (level of pre-collegiate education).

What is the difference between these two senses? Mihia (talk) 22:46, 6 July 2017 (UTC)

  • As no one has proposed any difference, I have merged them. Mihia (talk) 20:48, 16 July 2017 (UTC)

Serbo-Croatian krst and krstjaninEdit

Sorry in advance for meddling with Slavic: Shouldn't the accusative of krst be unchanged because it's inanimate? And is krstjanin really a derivation from the former or isn't it another borrowing from Greek? (Maybe adapted to -janin, if this suffix is native?) Kolmiel (talk) 19:20, 7 July 2017 (UTC)

I've searched "krst" and "krsta" with a couple of transitive verbs and seemingly I was right. My knowledge of Serbo-Croatian is limited, but I was bold and changed the declension. Kolmiel (talk) 16:28, 11 July 2017 (UTC)
@Kolmiel Yes, you are indeed right. As for krstjanin, Serbocroatian regularly borrows Greek χ as h, not k, unless the word goes through Latin first, hence e.g. Krist from Latin vs. Hrist from Greek. However, it’s almost certainly neither from Latin nor Greek but from Old Church Slavonic крьстиꙗнинъ (krĭstijaninŭ). — Vorziblix (talk · contribs) 14:49, 25 July 2017 (UTC)
But don't forget that Proto-Slavic *krьstъ itself is ultimately derived from Greek. --WikiTiki89 15:01, 25 July 2017 (UTC)
Interesting that SC borrowed /x/ as h, but Proto-Slavic used k. —CodeCat 15:56, 25 July 2017 (UTC)
Perhaps the spirantization of chi wasn’t yet complete when PSl borrowed the word? AFAIK Armenian transcriptions of Greek continued to render chi as aspirated k until almost the end of the first millennium, so maybe some speakers still pronounced it that way. But things would have to have changed by the time of OCS, since OCS borrowed the same word as христъ (xristŭ). My bet would be instead that *krьstъ came from Greek indirectly, through some other language, given that most PSl borrowings from Greek seem to be mediated by either Romance or Germanic. — Vorziblix (talk · contribs) 17:02, 25 July 2017 (UTC)
Yes, Vasmer says *krьstъ came through Old High German. I'm not sure what the evidence for that is, but it seems more or less reasonable. --WikiTiki89 17:24, 25 July 2017 (UTC)
And OHG got it from Latin, I assume? It too had /x/ after all... —CodeCat 17:39, 25 July 2017 (UTC)
Of course; I didn’t mean to imply anything beyond the immediate borrowing. — Vorziblix (talk · contribs) 17:02, 25 July 2017 (UTC)
I wasn't necessarily addressing that to you, just pointing it out. --WikiTiki89 17:24, 25 July 2017 (UTC)
My question concerning krstjanin was not so much the path of borrowing, but whether the -janin part is really a native Slavic formation independent of Ancient Greek Χριστιανός (Khristianós) and Latin Christianus. Kolmiel (talk) 23:38, 25 July 2017 (UTC)
It is indeed native, or at the very least nativized. Crom daba (talk) 14:45, 1 August 2017 (UTC)

chocolate bar vs. bar of chocolateEdit

Our entries insist that these are two different things. New to me. Is the distinction real? Is it universal? Equinox 16:24, 8 July 2017 (UTC)

A chocolate bar is usually some form of bar of chocolate, but they're not mutually inclusive. bar of chocolate is more generic and literal, as in a "an hunk of chocolate shaped into a bar" (compare brick of chocolate). The other is synonymous with chocolate candy bar. Leasnam (talk) 17:59, 8 July 2017 (UTC)
Chocolate bar is similarly "literal". Consider: chocolate drop, chocolate kiss, chocolate bark, chocolate brownie, chocolate soda. Coconut bar, nougat bar, etc are similar for the other part of the collocation. DCDuring (talk) 20:44, 8 July 2017 (UTC)
I wonder too if chocolate bar is a blend of "chocolate" and "candy bar" in the way a cheeseburger is a blend of "cheese" and "hamburger" Leasnam (talk) 01:57, 9 July 2017 (UTC)
Britain doesn't use the word "candy" so I doubt it. Equinox 01:58, 9 July 2017 (UTC)
I created bar of chocolate. I think I'm right with the def, but is there a difference between UK and US defs? I don't know. DonnanZ (talk) 18:08, 8 July 2017 (UTC)
I'd have assumed they are the same thing. I wonder in what context a difference is maintained. It would be nice if there were is essential that there be citations to support this kind of distinction. DCDuring (talk) 20:00, 8 July 2017 (UTC)
Any ideas for search strategies? I suppose we could pick popular brands of e.g. creme-filled bar and see if people call them "bar of chocolate" in books etc... Equinox 20:06, 8 July 2017 (UTC)
I guess starting with the two in Google N-Grams would enable us to see some collocations. We could use some of those collocations and anything suggested by them in the more complete Google corpora to find specific support for the distinction. DCDuring (talk) 20:24, 8 July 2017 (UTC)
BTW, at OneLook only Collins, WordNet, and find chocolate bar inclusion-worthy (other apparent entries are copies, redirects, or failed-search pages). No OneLook reference finds bar of chocolate inclusion-worthy. DCDuring (talk) 20:31, 8 July 2017 (UTC)
  • (UK) To me there is no difference between "chocolate bar" and "bar of chocolate" (except that the latter feels faintly more idiomatic). The "candy bar" sense does not exist here: a chocolate bar is always made from chocolate. Mihia (talk) 20:57, 16 July 2017 (UTC)
    I absolutely want citations proving that in Canada, something can be called a "chocolate bar" without containing any chocolate. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 21:12, 16 July 2017 (UTC)
    I wonder whether white chocolate bars qualify and can be found in Canada. DCDuring (talk) 23:31, 16 July 2017 (UTC)
    As a Canadian, I would call a bar of white chocolate either a chocolate bar or a white chocolate bar. But I also think of white chocolate as a form of chocolate...just not "real" chocolate, so I don't think it's evidence that "chocolate bar" can mean a candy bar of some other sort. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 01:00, 17 July 2017 (UTC)
    I think you are right. I remember it as tasting somewhat chocolaty, not all that much different from milk chocolate. I expect that others would agree, so it doesn't qualify. DCDuring (talk) 01:35, 17 July 2017 (UTC)
My conclusion from the above is that nobody is aware of the chocbar/bar-of-choc distinction and we should remove it from the entries. Will anyone be upset if I do? Equinox 01:15, 23 July 2017 (UTC)
Not I. DCDuring (talk) 11:51, 23 July 2017 (UTC)

some or -some?Edit

"I've been working here for 30-some years."

What does this sentence mean? Does it mean "I've been working here for about 30 years." or "I've been working here for 30-something years."?

And does this sense belong at some or -some? PseudoSkull (talk) 19:06, 8 July 2017 (UTC)

it means 30-something. I think it's a shortening of 30-some(thing) Leasnam (talk) 19:59, 8 July 2017 (UTC)
30-some years is almost the same as and, I think, lexicographically analogous to 30-odd years. Semantically a possible difference is that 30-odd might be "30 +/- [1-5]" whereas 30-some might be "30 + [0-9]". Lexicographically some in these expressions seems to me to be just a postpositioning of some#Determiner ("A considerable quantity or number of"), as in "I've been working here for some 30 years." DCDuring (talk) 20:19, 8 July 2017 (UTC)
Doesn't "I've been working here for some 30 years" mean "I've been working here for about 30 years" though ? It could be anywhere from 29-31 years, but 30-some could not be used if it had actually been 29. Leasnam (talk) 22:48, 8 July 2017 (UTC)
I don't think so, but it would take {many) citations to determine the answer.
I think someone might be able to say "I worked there for some 35 years.", it doesn't seem to work postpositively. But that seems to me to be determined by euphony. I doubt that "some" and "odd" are used much with numbers that are not round (unless they small (single digit)?). DCDuring (talk) 02:54, 9 July 2017 (UTC)
But that would seem to confirm Leasnam's interpretation: "some 35 years" works because it means "circa 35 years", whereas "35-some years" doesn't work because the postpositioned "some" replaces the last digit. Kolmiel (talk) 16:18, 11 July 2017 (UTC)


Most such words seem to be an existing -ize verb plus agentive -er. We don't have e.g. -izable or -izing. Equinox 22:44, 8 July 2017 (UTC)

Should we have them? I mean that's just an addition to the current suffix by another suffix. PseudoSkull (talk) 23:24, 8 July 2017 (UTC)
de.Wikt had a similar discussion some time about about the verbal suffix -ieren, which (it was ultimately decided) is coverable by entries for -ier(-) and -en. Somewhat related in Talk:-icity, where however there is a change in pronunciation ("-icity" is not pronounced the way "-ic /ɪk/ + ity" would be). I suppose we could try to find examples of "-izers" than lack corresponding "-ize" verbs. If we decide not to have an entry for this, it should at least be a {{no entry}} that directs people to "-ize" and "-er", IMO. Among "lemmings", has an entry for "-izer". - -sche (discuss) 00:13, 13 July 2017 (UTC)


At fishing, we have an adjective which looks to me like an attributive noun. Not saying that there may or may not be a true adjective for fishing (e.g. a fishing man), but that would be derived from the present participle. Leasnam (talk) 23:42, 8 July 2017 (UTC)

The only usage example for the supposed adjectival sense, namely "Ivor had acquired more than a mile of fishing rights with the house", is certainly an example of an attributive noun, not an adjective. I personally feel that routine adjectival use of present participles as in "fishing man = a man who is fishing" is a regular feature of English that does not merit a separate PoS entry. In other cases, where the participle is a "strong" adjective, a separate entry may be desirable. Mihia (talk) 01:06, 9 July 2017 (UTC)
We do have e.g. fishing cat, which is a cat that fishes, not a cat used in fishing. I don't feel such adj entries add much either, but the OED does include them. Equinox 01:53, 9 July 2017 (UTC)
As far as I understand it, fishing cat is a species of cat, not merely a cat that fishes. Mihia (talk) 02:44, 9 July 2017 (UTC)
Yes, but you can see how it was formed. It's more a living creature than a living standard IYSWIM. Equinox 02:46, 9 July 2017 (UTC)
I thought we had the same discussion about garden but I can't find it. Anyway I agree with you. Equinox 01:15, 9 July 2017 (UTC)
I can at least imagine that someone might say "[it is a] very garden [thing, plant, etc]", whether or not they actually do (a matter for RFV?), but it doesn't seem at all possible to use fishing adjectivally. "The rights were very fishing"? "That pole is more fishing than this one"? It seems like an error; many people mistakenly assume that anything that modifies a noun (the way "fishing" modifies "rights" in "fishing rights") must be an adjective. - -sche (discuss) 01:41, 9 July 2017 (UTC)
One can even view fishing rights as a compound noun, as if it were fishing-rights or fishingrights (cf. driving school, driving permit, fishing pole, etc.). Leasnam (talk) 01:48, 9 July 2017 (UTC)

metroprolol vs metoprololEdit

There are pages for both metroprolol and metoprolol. However, I am quite sure both are the same medication and that metroprolol is a misspelling of metoprolol. In my job, I often see this medication, and it is always spelled without the initial r. The page for metroprolol cites this NIH article, which shows the word spelled metroprolol throughout, but a quick Google search shows that metroprolol is a common misspelling of metoprolol, which is a generic form of a medication known as Lopressor. For example, see [2].

Should these pages be merged into one, or should we just have a note on the metroprolol page that it is a common misspelling of metoprolol? I did an IPA transcription on metroprolol not noticing that initial r and was trying to add audio, which didn't work because I used the usual spelling in my audio filename (en-us-metoprolol.ogg). Given the existence of a scholarly article using the misspelled version, I would lean toward just adding a note vs merging the pages. If I do this, where should I put the note? Thanks! BirdHopper (talk) 16:08, 9 July 2017 (UTC)

Converted to misspelling. DTLHS (talk) 16:11, 9 July 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for that quick response. I see now that I could have just gone to Help:Misspellings. Noted for future edits. BirdHopper (talk) 16:24, 9 July 2017 (UTC)
Sorry; my screw-up. This is one of the rare cases where I think a misspelling entry might be justified; it is very common. Equinox 01:13, 23 July 2017 (UTC)


platyfish Definition says any member of the genus Xiphophorus, but this would also include swordtails. Are swordtails therefore platyfish? (I'm in doubt about this...) Leasnam (talk) 01:34, 10 July 2017 (UTC)

w:Xiphophorus makes it look as if platyfish and swordtail constitute two disjoint sets of species of the genus. I'll check Fishbase and WoRMS for the vernacular names they have to confirm WP. DCDuring (talk) 04:01, 10 July 2017 (UTC)
There are two main types of platies (among a few other rare varieties): regular/common platies (Xiphophorus maculatus) and variatus platies (Xiphophorus variatus), neither of which has a sword-like projection on the lower tailfin. I believe the definition would be correct if it mentioned this detail Leasnam (talk) 04:16, 10 July 2017 (UTC)

s'en êtreEdit

This verb is a very special case where it's only conjugated in the past historic and used in place of the past historic for s'en aller. I don't quite know the best way to represent this in the article. Should this be in the usage notes? And how do I create a conjugation chart for a defective verb? 2WR1 (talk) 01:45, 10 July 2017 (UTC)

It's not used in place of the past historic of s'en aller ("il s'en alla" is correct); it's a literary variant of it. But otherwise you're right, we should add this somewhere. --Barytonesis (talk) 21:41, 10 July 2017 (UTC)

puppy dog eyesEdit

The definition is along the lines of naiveté, credulity, and lack of sophistication. That may be perfectly correct. I just want to allude to my interpretation of the analogous German Hundeblick. If this notion existed in the English term as well, it should probably be added. Kolmiel (talk) 01:15, 11 July 2017 (UTC)


Could the examples of usage of a rather rare and pretty word not reference a boil? I am imagining the sensitive individual who first learns of this word forever associating it with that.


At least in Finnish and German there's a word for a "person with profound knowledge of their field, but relatively ignorant and unappreciative of other fields of knowledge and art" (fakki-idiootti and Fachidiot respectively). Is there a corresponding English word? A geek seems to come close, but is it associated with computers only? Can one be a law geek? --Hekaheka (talk) 06:58, 12 July 2017 (UTC)

Perhaps monomath, monomaniac, one-trick pony. In Japanese, there is 専門バカ. Wyang (talk) 07:01, 12 July 2017 (UTC)
As Google Books attests, you can certainly be a law geek (or a geek of any specialised subject; anyone remember the old Internet "geek codes"?), but I don't think that necessarily implies you are ignorant of other things, merely that you have a somewhat obsessive focus on law. Equinox 01:12, 23 July 2017 (UTC)


Where is the usual stress for this word? I've heard it pronounced in Australia as in-TERN-ship. ---> Tooironic (talk) 13:09, 12 July 2017 (UTC)

In the US it's on the first syllable (IN-tern-ship) Leasnam (talk) 16:38, 12 July 2017 (UTC)
Ditto in UK. SemperBlotto (talk) 05:22, 13 July 2017 (UTC)
Which pronunciation are you dittoing? DTLHS (talk) 05:28, 13 July 2017 (UTC)

preferably and preferentiallyEdit

What's the difference in usage? --Barytonesis (talk) 18:04, 12 July 2017 (UTC)

If our entry doesn't explain it, it seems like a question for Google or Garner's Modern American Usage or a functional equivalent for other flavors of English. DCDuring (talk) 21:41, 12 July 2017 (UTC)

Abstract senses of guardEdit

We have an entry for being on one's guard, though there is no corresponding sense in guard to fit this use. I don't think on one's guard is strictly idiomatic, because similar uses of guard occur in phrases like "dropping one's guard", "keeping your guard up", and more distantly, "standing guard". (This last case is different as guard acts as an adverb and seems a bit less flexible; "posting guard" is also possible, though that may instead be an uncountable reference to members of a squadron.) The desired sense seems to be "a defensive or vigilant state" (or "defensively; vigilantly" in the adverb use). Do we have cause for the addition of this sense? Also, what do you think about the addition of entries for phrases such as keep one's guard up, let one's guard down, raise one's guard, and drop one's guard? Rriegs (talk) 23:09, 12 July 2017 (UTC)

Also, I just noticed on guard and on one's guard are near identical, and in fact on guard essentially serves the adverb sense in standing guard (though of course with different wording; "standing on guard" should also be acceptable). Regardless, I think we still need to add a sense to guard. Rriegs (talk) 23:14, 12 July 2017 (UTC)
Indeed. As to definitions of guard, MWOnline has:
2 a : a defensive state or attitude "asked him out when his guard was down"
b : a defensive position (as in boxing)
3 a : the act or duty of protecting or defending
b : the state of being protected : protection
We don't have our own versions of those senses, three being abstract states of general applicability. DCDuring (talk) 21:34, 13 July 2017 (UTC)

live free or dieEdit

"New Hampshire's state motto" is not a definition. Equinox 01:06, 13 July 2017 (UTC)

Well, being denotatively SoP, it could be formatted as a non-gloss definition. Connotatively, it is evocative of revolutions or wars of liberation. DCDuring (talk) 21:25, 13 July 2017 (UTC)
Are mottos really within our scope? There are so many thousands of them, and to me, they seem more like encyclopedic content than worthy of a dictionary entry. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 15:53, 15 July 2017 (UTC)
Wikipedia does seem to have such content, just as they often have etymologies, pronunciations, translations, synonyms, etc. In this case they have a fairly credible article. The translation-target rationale would seem to apply. I think some such mottos are indistinguishable from proverbs. DCDuring (talk) 17:33, 15 July 2017 (UTC)


I note that sense 7 ("used before a body part as an alternative to the possessive pronoun") can indeed apply to any (physical?) part of something, rather than just body parts. For example, "a stone hit her car on the windshield", or "my teacher corrected our papers in the margins". I note, however, that this entire sense may in fact be a special case of sense 6 ("used to indicate a certain example of which is most usually of concern"): "a stone hit him in the head" has "his head" as the reference that is "most usually of concern". That being said, I'm not sure I completely understand sense 6, given it's awkward wording.

Also, which sense applies to uses such as "she's in the hospital", "we went to the park", or "I'll take the train"? These of course could refer to a specific hospital, park, or train, though I don't feel the sentences would typically be interpreted that way. In particular, in UK English, the first is equivalent to "she's in hospital", elevating hospital (and by extension, US English's the hospital) to signify something more like the concept of being at a hospital, rather than any specific hospital. Other words in this category (in either US or UK English) are work, school, and home (the later being even further optimized into an adverb in uses like "he went home"), though none of these involve the (anymore?). I don't think this is sense 6, as no certain example can be identified, nor do I think it's sense 4 ("introducing a singular term to be taken generically") because that would imply reference to, e.g., all hospitals. Is there need for an additional sense, to the effect of "used to indicate a generic example, especially of a kind of location or establishment"? Rriegs (talk) 20:00, 13 July 2017 (UTC)

I made minimal changes to sense 6, which IMO, address the awkwardness complaint. Does it help?
The US "in the hospital" example does seem synonymous with UK "in hospital". I think that hospital in the UK case means "the state of being hospitalized" rather than a corresponding concept. I wonder whether US "in the hospital" is derived from most speakers in the US only having had practical access to a single community hospital. I can't think at the moment of another comparable example of such use of "the". DCDuring (talk) 21:07, 13 July 2017 (UTC)
There are a number of cases of "the [noun]" and "[noun]" being mutually substitutable. Words like Fall, Spring, earth (fall to earth, fall to the earth) come to mind. DCDuring (talk) 21:23, 13 July 2017 (UTC)
A couple other comparable uses that come to mind are "go to the doctor", "at the library", "to the police station", etc. In my experience, all of those can be used regardless of how many of those things there are nearby. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 15:51, 15 July 2017 (UTC)
Good examples. Thanks. They remind of still more: "the bank", "the post office", "the park", "the beach", "the store", etc. In all of these cases there is or was some local uniqueness that has pretty much disappeared in many urban and suburban contexts. But is this really a new sense of the or a bleaching or generalization of sense 6? It seems to me that "the library" means "THE library appropriate for the context". Similarly for the others. That is, it seems to be a more general kind of deixis than supports the wording of our definitions. If the context makes the specific referent unclear, one could ask "Which one?", which question itself supports some kind of uniqueness in the intended referent. This is really just like the deixis of pronouns, which can be ambiguous in specific instances. DCDuring (talk) 17:24, 15 July 2017 (UTC)

English mentalEdit

Should this be split into two etymologies? Wyang (talk) 08:01, 15 July 2017 (UTC)

One for the mind and one for the chin? Yes. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 08:20, 15 July 2017 (UTC)
Yes, one for the mind and one for the chin. Wyang (talk) 11:14, 15 July 2017 (UTC)
Before this post sinks into the depths of Wiktionary... I've gone ahead and split the etymology. Wyang (talk) 01:11, 16 July 2017 (UTC)


At soup, is there any difference between Etymology 1 and Etymology 4 ? If not, I suggest we remove Etym 4 Leasnam (talk) 16:14, 15 July 2017 (UTC)

thrift for thrift shop?Edit

[3] Is this common usage in some dialect? DTLHS (talk) 17:48, 15 July 2017 (UTC)

I think it's just short for thrift shop/store/sale/etc., left off due to either laziness or for the sake of being concise (?) Leasnam (talk) 19:49, 25 July 2017 (UTC)
Does this support that sense? Equinox 20:00, 25 July 2017 (UTC)
  • 2004, Los Angeles Magazine (volume 49, number 2, page 88)
    I love the American Cancer Society Discovery shops because they are good matches between thrifts and resales.
update. I was at the beach this weekend and I saw a shop called "<something> Thrift" and I immediately remembered this thread. I can't withcall the name, and it is so new that it's not in Google Maps yet (--the location is in Maps, but it was a closed shop till very recently and it still shows as a vacant building). I'm having someone get the name for me (it was like "Sunset Thrift", "Coastal Thrift", "Topsail thrift", etc.), but apparently it is used this way. Leasnam (talk) 16:08, 31 July 2017 (UTC)
It was Bayside Thrift Leasnam (talk) 16:41, 31 July 2017 (UTC)


I'm not sure if this is the right place to post this, but an IP user,, has been adding a bunch of translations of Muslim and removing other translations, for instance those that are derived from Muhammad: diff. For example, he or she removed German Mohammedaner and Russian магомета́нский (magometánskij). I don't know what the motivation for this is: maybe this person is a Muslim and is censoring Muhammad's name because it's too holy to be used in a word referring to a member of the religion. Or maybe it's because these would be better as translations of Mohammedan. In any case, what should be done here? — Eru·tuon 22:41, 15 July 2017 (UTC)

I can't speak for the Russian, but the German word is certainly better as a translation of Mohammedan than of Muslim. Just like Mohammedan, German Mohammedaner is very old-fashioned and might even be vaguely offensive if used nowadays. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 13:43, 16 July 2017 (UTC)
It's old-fashioned in German, but not very old-fashioned. It was in normal use until, I guess, ~1980. So as as other dated terms are found in translation sections, this one should as well, probably with a note (dated). Kolmiel (talk) 22:01, 17 July 2017 (UTC)
In some other languages, it may still today be in normal use. I don't know; but if so, these terms must definitely be put back on. (Descriptivism!) Kolmiel (talk) 22:05, 17 July 2017 (UTC)
As to the censoring, it's not because the name is too holy. It's because Muslims believe that the teaching of all prophets was the same and contained all the main tenets of faith from the beginning on (differences existing only in the specifics of law and ritual). Therefore they tend to disapprove of the word "Muhammedan", which implies the idea, unacceptable to them, that Islam is a form of monotheism specific to Muhammad. Kolmiel (talk) 22:01, 17 July 2017 (UTC)
Done. The person who deleted it doesn't seem to have had much knowledge of German. They deleted the dated "Mohammedaner" but left the much more archaic "Muselmane" and even the now clearly derogatory "Muselmann". I've deleted the latter, provided "Muselmane" with the label "archaic" and "Mohammedaner" with "dated". Kolmiel (talk) 20:17, 19 July 2017 (UTC)
The problem with Wiktionary is that it is edited by the Alt-left or SJWs who insert extreme points of view all over it. Look at Mohammedan - stated as being offensive. It isn't, or is only if someone is looking to claim sythetic offence.—This unsigned comment was added by (talk).
A hundred years ago it was a perfectly normal term. These days it's only ever used by the stunningly old-fashioned, or people who are deliberately trying to offend. You know, like people who use the terms "alt-left" and "SJW" non-ironically. --Catsidhe (verba, facta) 11:59, 26 August 2017 (UTC)
No, Catsidhe, you are an SJW. I use Mohammedan as my primary description of the followers of that religion - because they follow Mohammed. I don't use Muslim, as I deny that religion is a submission to God. It is in fact rebellion against God. Mohammed's approval of the rape of women in warfare - you'd have to be a Mohammedan to support that.—This unsigned comment was added by (talk).
We're a descriptive dictionary: we describe a term as it's used, not how someone thinks it should be used. Your anger against the whole of Islam over a detail that means little to most of its followers is precisely the kind of attitude that people might find offensive. You're entitled to your opinion, but not to have us represent it as the mainstream view of the speakers of the language. Chuck Entz (talk) 17:53, 26 August 2017 (UTC)
I don't feel any anger towards Islam: I just don't follow the religion. I note you instantly rise to slur and libel: that is the mark of the SJWs, and yes the SJWs are full of anger and hate. I would advise you that anger and hate are negative emotions, Chuck Entz, which will do you no good. Instead of wielding baseball bats at rallies, I suggest you take an anger management class. **I too described Mohammedan as used**: I am a native speaker of British English and my usage qualifies as "English as used".—This unsigned comment was added by (talk).
You are using the term because you know it's offensive. That makes the label accurate, according to your usage. QED. Also, an accurate description is not libel, even under British law. Nor do we hate you, despite your attempts to preempt that reaction. As regards the definition of SJW, I'm wondering if we don't need a definition of "someone on the internet who points out that the person using the word is being an arse, especially if they're right." --Catsidhe (verba, facta) 10:48, 27 August 2017 (UTC)
No, I do now know that it is offensive at all! And I don't feel anger towards Islam, so that slur is not an accurate description in law. Your final sentence confirms what I said about the anger and the hatred of SJWs -- was it you hurling flamethrowers at people at Charlottesville? Please, stop the hatred. The pent-up anger of the SJWs reflects our intellectual delibitation. The claim there is anything wrong with the word Mohammedan is part of the intellectual enfeeblement I mention. It is anger, resentment and hatred that fuels your views, Catsidhe.—This unsigned comment was added by (talk).
" [] slur and libel [] Instead of wielding baseball bats at rallies, I suggest you take an anger management class. [] was it you hurling flamethrowers at people at Charlottesville? [] "
At any rate, it looks like we've discussed all the dictionary-related issues, so it seems all that's left is the trolling, which seems to be your primary purpose here. I have better things to do. Chuck Entz (talk) 15:04, 27 August 2017 (UTC)


Why just surgically remove? I've heard people talk about amputation from some sick serial killers for instance, with the general meaning of cutting parts off of people's bodies. "The serial killer had a pattern of amputating the bodies of his victims postmortem." PseudoSkull (talk) 19:53, 16 July 2017 (UTC)

Generally a serial killer will cut the parts of the body off, in a surgical fashion. Getting blown off with explosives generally seems to be different from amputation, though there are some Google books hits that use "amputate" to include parts blown off by explosions.--Prosfilaes (talk) 18:42, 17 July 2017 (UTC)
One way to deal with this would be to use (chiefly medicine) as a label, and take "surgical" out of the definition proper. Ƿidsiþ 07:20, 23 August 2017 (UTC)

scream blue murderEdit

I had never heard this phrase before. (I thought it was a mistake for "bloody murder".) Is it mainly a UK thing? — Eru·tuon 20:04, 16 July 2017 (UTC)

Could be. I am from the UK and it is a familiar expression to me. Mihia (talk) 20:44, 16 July 2017 (UTC)
It probably is British, I've heard it used, and probably used it myself. It was WOTD actually. I'm not sure the def is complete though - from Oxford: "to make cries of terror or alarm; to make a noisy and extravagant protest or outcry; to raise a commotion". DonnanZ (talk) 21:29, 16 July 2017 (UTC)
Why isn't this just a redirect to [[blue murder]]? One can yell/cry/holler/shout/kick up/swear/threaten/squall/squeal/roar blue/bloody murder as well. (all from first 6 pages of bgc results) DCDuring (talk) 21:47, 16 July 2017 (UTC)
In my experience the most common verb used here is scream. So why is there an entry for scream bloody murder and not for the variants? DonnanZ (talk) 22:42, 16 July 2017 (UTC)
Because it is more common, obviously, and therefore more likely to have been heard by someone who is unaware of blue murder as the core of the expression, never having happened to have heard it with another verb. And because it is less work or more fun to add an entry for a term that is not part of one's idiolect than to work on entries for common words that need it. There are lots of instances of a [Verb1] + [NP] collocation being more common than [Verb2] + [NP] where [Verb1] and [Verb2] are somewhat similar. DCDuring (talk) 23:25, 16 July 2017 (UTC)
It is most definitely British - but now very dated. I haven't heard it in years. (but always with "scream" rather than any other cry) SemperBlotto (talk) 04:56, 17 July 2017 (UTC)
I by no means hear it every day, but it doesn't strike me as dated. Mihia (talk) 01:37, 18 July 2017 (UTC)

English roseola meaning “German measles” (definition #3)?Edit

I don't think it's modern usage at least. Should it be reworded as an obsolete sense of "any disease with a red rash, such as scarlet fever, measles and rubella."? Wyang (talk) 11:45, 17 July 2017 (UTC)

translations for translingual entriesEdit

Do we add translations for translingual entries e.g. at Prunus spinulosa? I couldn't remember. ---> Tooironic (talk) 23:53, 17 July 2017 (UTC)

I think there is acceptance, though a common practice is to use {{trans-see}}, to a translation table at an English vernacular name. As commonly used vernacular names are very often ambiguous, this practice seems somewhat undesirable. DCDuring (talk) 04:40, 18 July 2017 (UTC)
Indeed, there was overwhelming acceptance shown in the 9-1 vote favoring them (Wiktionary:Votes/pl-2016-01/Translations of taxonomic names}. DCDuring (talk) 04:46, 18 July 2017 (UTC)
Wiktionary:Entry_layout#Translations: Translations should be given in English entries, and also in Translingual entries for taxonomic names. --Hekaheka (talk) 01:07, 28 July 2017 (UTC)

half gyp, whole gypEdit

What's the difference? Anyone know? Equinox 01:05, 18 July 2017 (UTC)


What is the difference in usage between definition 1 and 2? And which definition should I have put my usage example under (it's currently the second one under definition 2)? Andrew Sheedy (talk) 02:39, 18 July 2017 (UTC)

The usage example for sense 1 should be under 2, I think. It may be better to merge both senses. Female Jehovah's Witnesses are known as sisters, e.g. Sister Smith, but I'm not sure whether it's a formal title.
What is missing is the nursing sense, a sister in charge of other nurses. My mother was known as Sister Raymond (her maiden name) before she married. DonnanZ (talk) 08:02, 18 July 2017 (UTC)
Actually, I think the usage examples may be transposed, a sister in a religious order, like a nun, is more likely to use a Christian name than a surname. DonnanZ (talk) 08:20, 18 July 2017 (UTC)
This entry is in a poor state, as is Brother. IMO senses 1 and 2 should be merged in both entries. Sense 3 does a terrible job of covering the word as used in its usex, while a general sense used among comrades in many types of movement is missing ("Sister Huerta led us on the path to unionization", etc). Use of nurses, like Donnanz mentions, also needs to be covered somewhere... maybe "religious" and "fraternal" (sororal!) use should be split? I have boldly edited the entries along the lines I suggested, but use of nurses still needs to be added. - -sche (discuss) 18:04, 18 July 2017 (UTC)


Because of this revision.

That doesn't fit together. "unterschreiben" indeed has the participle "unterschrieben". But as for a possible WT:RFVN/WT:RFD for "untergeschrieben": A German word "untergeschrieben" does exist as in "untergeschriebenes Iota" (= iota subscript). "untergeschrieben" could be an adjective (unter + participle or participial adjective geschrieben), another verb (with participle "untergeschrieben"), or it could be an old participle form of "unterschrieben". - 02:49, 18 July 2017 (UTC)

The underlying verb is a rare and possibly defective únterschreiben ("to write below", first syllable stress). The infinitive, particularly the extended infinitive unterzuschreiben, doesn't sound all that strange to me. For example: "Wenn man das Iota in einer Handschrift hinzufügen wollte, war man gezwungen, es unterzuschreiben." This use is attestable on google books. I don't know if conjugated forms are attestable; they are difficult to search for at any rate. But in my opinion, the two existing forms would be enough to create the verb with a note that conjugated forms are very rare. Kolmiel (talk) 04:10, 18 July 2017 (UTC)
Done. Kolmiel (talk) 17:49, 19 July 2017 (UTC)


𪜈 is the only katakana digraph registered in CJK Unified Ideographs Extension. I’m not sure how to change it to a proper entry. The other digraphs and are correctly registered in respective blocks in Unicode, and categorized as symbols here in Wiktionary. Isn’t it better to treat them in the same manner? — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 13:21, 18 July 2017 (UTC)

@TAKASUGI Shinji: Maybe we could treat it as a katakana digraph and have a usage note that says that it was mistakenly included in Unicode as a kanji. —suzukaze (tc) 09:01, 19 July 2017 (UTC)

Bastard capitalizationEdit

i don't use Wiktionary very often, so please forgive this question: Is capitalization the only reason (and/or sufficient reason) for bastard and Bastard to have separate pages?

i wasn't sure if i should ask the question here, or at Talk:bastard (Talk:Bastard was previously deleted).

As a curiosity, when i use the "Search in the archives of Tea room" box to search for "bastard", would it find any occurrences of "Bastard"? Here is my first page of search results copied and pasted; should i have added this question to an existing thread, or is this new discussion better?

   Wiktionary:Tea room/2007/October (section pommy bastard)
   no parallel terms I can think of such as British bastard, yanky bastard, kiwi bastard, aussie bastard, etc. It's pretty subtle though and I wouldn't want
   62 KB (9,237 words) - 11:25, 2 June 2017
   Wiktionary:Tea room/2012/December (section bastard#Noun)
   for "she is a real bastard", "she is a complete bastard" and "she is such a bastard". There are plenty of hits for "she is a bastard" but they seem only
   80 KB (10,503 words) - 11:01, 2 June 2017
   Wiktionary:Tea room/2008/September (section bastard)
   somewhere. RJFJR 13:58, 2 September 2008 (UTC) The definition for the word "bastard" says "born to unmarried parents". Does this mean that birth rather than
   133 KB (17,512 words) - 11:27, 2 June 2017
   Wiktionary:Tea room/2017/January
   the entry itself here says literally 'son of a prostitute'. However, a bastard is not necessarily a son of a prostitute, but rather a female who had sex
   108 KB (15,050 words) - 04:27, 28 June 2017
   Wiktionary:Tea room/2010/March
   something where something can be from some set of terms like "freak", "bastard", "monster", "ass", "shrew", etc? It all might be somewhat useful for,
   59 KB (8,335 words) - 11:08, 2 June 2017
   Wiktionary:Tea room/2009/December
   to merit an entry. DCDuring TALK 23:54, 14 December 2009 (UTC) Re: bastard#Interjection. Isn't this just the noun used as a vocative? Like cunt, bitch
   138 KB (19,656 words) - 11:09, 2 June 2017
   Wiktionary:Tea room/2010/December
   of Wiktionary - or any dictionary. But no one seems to object to pommy bastard as an entry, which I "advocated" as a joke. Is the use of the term "poor"
   52 KB (7,286 words) - 11:06, 2 June 2017
   Wiktionary:Tea room/2011/October
   can also be inverted: "If ever there was/were a person to be called a bastard, it would be him." This may make one consider it more a literal, though
   88 KB (12,968 words) - 11:04, 2 June 2017

Thank you for your patience.

-- 17:14, 18 July 2017 (UTC)

I believe the search form is case-insensitive. Yes, they're separate entries because German nouns (as far as I know) are always capitalized. The capitalization policies were fleshed out I think pre-2006. —Aryaman (मुझसे बात करो) 22:32, 18 July 2017 (UTC)
In this particular case the meanings are the same. A better example is polish and Polish. SemperBlotto (talk) 05:04, 19 July 2017 (UTC)


Could a Japanese-speaking editor check the Japanese definition? It seems wildly different to the Chinese meaning. ---> Tooironic (talk) 11:30, 19 July 2017 (UTC)

@Tooironic: It seems to be right. See [4], which says that it is Myrica rubra. —suzukaze (tc) 11:45, 19 July 2017 (UTC)
OK. Thank you. ---> Tooironic (talk) 11:46, 19 July 2017 (UTC)


Plural of "kanji". I have seen it used, but I always thought it was bad English. Any opinions? Mihia (talk) 22:01, 19 July 2017 (UTC)

It's a rare plural form; that means that someone is going to object to it as bad English. IMO, English words that don't come from Middle English should pluralize regularly, with -s or the appropriate variant of that. But it is more popular to carry over the pluralization of the original, at least for the null plurals of Japanese.--Prosfilaes (talk) 18:43, 20 July 2017 (UTC)
How do you feel about "a kanji" meaning "a kanji character"? (I know that the "ji" means "character", so by that token it should be OK, yet in English I feel that "a kanji" is somehow substandard.) Mihia (talk) 00:23, 21 July 2017 (UTC)
It seems well-attested.--Prosfilaes (talk) 18:45, 22 July 2017 (UTC)
Well, "alot" is also well-attested ... but, joking apart, some of the attestations for "a kanji" do seem somewhat reputable, so perhaps it's only me who feels that it is substandard. Mihia (talk) 00:00, 25 July 2017 (UTC)


yearling: an anom added an adjective header citing [[5]] it really an adjective ? I thought such uses were attributive cases. Leasnam (talk) 03:20, 20 July 2017 (UTC)

Several dictionaries give it as an adjective, Century in particular cites: A yearling heifer and As yearling brides provide lace caps, and work rich clothes for the expected darling. I'm having trouble finding solid usage examples as an adjective though... Leasnam (talk) 03:31, 20 July 2017 (UTC)
I find lots of yearling males, yearling females, yearling ewes, yearling rainbow trout, etc. and an odd This very yearling ram of mine goes back three generations on his dam's side to sheep bred here on this farm, ...--this last one looks to me like (This)+(very =adj)+(yearling+ram =noun) Leasnam (talk) 03:39, 20 July 2017 (UTC)
The OED has it as an adjective, but says it is attributive use of the noun. The problem with the anon's input was that it wasn't formatted and was added in the wrong place. I'll add it in the correct format. SemperBlotto (talk) 04:37, 20 July 2017 (UTC)
To me, "adjective" and "attributive use of the noun" seem mutually exclusive. Mihia (talk) 00:24, 21 July 2017 (UTC)
  1. The adjective definition ("adj. def.") is not substitutable.
  2. As shown the adj. def. is obviously semantically identical to a noun definition.
  3. AFAIK, it won't be possible to attest instances of any use of yearling that are comparable, gradable, used as a predicate adjective, or used attributively in a sense not used by the noun.
  4. We have a practice (polcy???) of eliminating the adjective PoS section for a word that is a noun and doesn't have those kinds of use, even though it is attestably used attributively. In principle, ANY English noun can be used attributively, which is why we don't bother to duplicate the noun definitions with definitions that differ from the noun only by rewording as if it were a true adjective, or by rewording that makes it superficially appear that the adjective use is a novel sense.
  5. Other dictionaries have different practices. It would be nice to know whether they had explicit policies about the matter. For example, do they included an adjective PoS because users want/need it, on relative frequency grounds, or on some other basis. WordNet might use translation target arguments.
In the end, the general question is a policy matter (BP), but whether a particular term should have an adjective PoS is and RfV matter. Whether the wording of an adjective definition is sufficiently distinct from the noun definitions is an RfD matter. DCDuring (talk) 02:24, 21 July 2017 (UTC)
Unless anyone can present any convincing true-adjective usage examples, I vote that the adjective sense should be deleted. Mihia (talk) 23:32, 21 July 2017 (UTC)
Yes, as far as I've seen we don't provide separate adjectives for attributively-used nouns; compare shade as in "a shade plant". I also note that when I check the Middle English Dictionary, they only have it as a noun... if it had formerly been clearly adjectival, and survived in modern English in places like "yearling lamb" where either an adjective or a noun fits, then one could've made an argument based on that that it was still an adjective. I haven't found any use of the form "the lamb is yearling", either... only cases where it seems to be a noun modifying another noun. - -sche (discuss) 16:21, 22 July 2017 (UTC)

Homer's noddingEdit

Could someone help me clean up Homer nods, even Homer nods and even Jove nods? We should not be duplicating all of this considering they are all alternative forms of the same expression. Thanks. ---> Tooironic (talk) 00:05, 21 July 2017 (UTC)

I'll try what I can--Sigehelmus (talk) 23:47, 21 July 2017 (UTC)

kanji (different meaning)Edit

What does this use of kanji refer to? Alternative spelling of an entry we already have? DTLHS (talk) 00:30, 21 July 2017 (UTC)

  • If it's not found in other contexts, I would argue that this is a Mongolian term used in English text. It is first introduced in italics, and loosely defined, and only then used without italics, clearly indicating that the author did not expect his English-speaking readers to be familiar with the term. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 16:52, 24 July 2017 (UTC)
PS: Reading further through that text, it appears that -jis may be a suffix indicating an office or job title. It is also unclear if the final -s is inherent to the terms, or if this is the author appending the normal English plural suffix. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 16:55, 24 July 2017 (UTC)

The meaning of the word ལྟམ (ltam) in TibetanEdit

In the dictionary this word is defined as the honorific version of the verb to be born (intransitive) or to give birth to a child (causative). I've searched through various other Tibetan dictionaries on the internet and even in the STEDT, and apparently the word ལྟམ (ltam) has another meaning apart from the ones suggested in the translation. It seems to related with the words ཐམ་པ (tham pa) and གཏམ་པ (gtam pa) (Benedict, 1972). The former is an adjective which means full or complete, while the latter is verb with a similar causative meaning to fill up. It ultimately derives from the PST root *l-(t/d)jam.

Do you think that this other meaning should be added in the page for the word ལྟམ (ltam)? Is this a case of homophony? Does some of you have additional information about this word? — Sorjam (talk) 20:26, 21 July 2017 (UTC)

Pinging @Wyang as our only active editor whose Babel box lists knowledge of Tibetan. In general, if the senses you mention are attested i.e. actually used, they should be added, but I don't know if they have the same etymology or not. - -sche (discuss) 16:10, 22 July 2017 (UTC)
@Sorjam Yes, absolutely. I will add it. Wyang (talk) 23:56, 22 July 2017 (UTC)

Reformatting, cleanup, and expansion of trasgoEdit

I don't know where to start on this one, but all I'll say is that trasgo has both a Spanish and Portuguese definition that to my research are extremely similar if not the same, but I'm still not 100% certain and it's missing a lot of info concerning all definitions and synonyms and the like, as well as formatting. Can someone help please? I never really fleshed out an article here before but I tried a fair amount.--Sigehelmus (talk) 23:46, 21 July 2017 (UTC)

Should foreign PPs be treated as PPs in English?Edit

Stuff like à trois or in extremis. Prepositional phrase, or not? Equinox 00:05, 22 July 2017 (UTC)

It's complicated. I think there may be some cases such as in extremis where the foreign words are close enough to English ones that English speakers may see the parts as words that mean something. They may not know the exact meanings, nor would they know what case extremis is in, nor how that would affect the meaning of in, but they probably can guess that in is a preposition and extremis is a noun. In other cases, they wouldn't know the difference between the parts of voilà and à la- just how they're used as a whole in context. I think that alternate/nonstandard forms such as wallah for voilà and pronunciations such as /ˈboʊnəˌfaɪd/ for bona fide may show that the whole has lost all connection to the parts, but it's not always that easy to figure out. Chuck Entz (talk) 00:47, 22 July 2017 (UTC)
What else could they be?
  • Adjectives (as currently in à trois)? Doesn't seem to be a good choice.
  • Prepositional phrases (as currently in in extremis)? Might be somewhat incorrect, misleading or unprecise as the preposition isn't English.
  • Just phrases? Seems to be the better choice (IMHO). Maybe the etymology section could somehow state that it is a (non-idiomatic) prepositional phrase in the source language. 16:47, 31 July 2017 (UTC)

general educationEdit

The current def ("Education in a number of important subjects, taught in schools") seems somewhat SoP and is also possibly wrong. Other sources say that general education is non-academic, character-forming stuff like culture and citizenship. (When I was at school, this is probably what they called PSE: personal/social education.) Equinox 11:49, 22 July 2017 (UTC)

Divisions to clean upEdit

Anyone who's bored or feels like some botting might like to clean up these Divisions [6]. The capitalisation within the link needs fixing, i.e. division, not (German noun) Division. I was going to recommend the same for Districts [7], but we seem to have an English generic District (of questionable value: see Talk:New). Equinox 12:18, 22 July 2017 (UTC)


There are currently two subsenses, for "the Eurozone" and "the European Union", but the usexes for each contain context that makes clear what block of countries is meant by "[the] bloc", and one can speak similarly of many (all?) other blocs, e.g. "The Secretary General of NATO announced the bloc's position", "ASEAN states agree bloc should take hard line". So should the subsenses be folded into the general sense i.e. removed? - -sche (discuss) 16:06, 22 July 2017 (UTC)

I think so. Bloc is either explicitly qualified (eg, Eastern bloc) or contextually determined. DCDuring (talk) 18:17, 22 July 2017 (UTC)

Βλάχος in GreekEdit

Just wanted to note that the first entry on this page for Ancient Greek should technically be Byzantine Greek (by the time interaction with Slavs and the Old Church Slavonic language happened, it was well past the ancient/classical Greek era. Or I guess it would have been a transition between Koine and Medieval Greek). I'd change it myself but I don't know how that would affect the rest of the entry, with the inflection template still modeled on the ancient/classical forms; I'd imagine there'd be some inconsistencies. Word dewd544 (talk) 18:30, 22 July 2017 (UTC)

I tagged it as Byzantine Greek and removed the dual (which AFAIK was no longer in use by Koine, let alone Byzantine). Are there any other differences in the inflection? —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:10, 22 July 2017 (UTC)


The Japanese section gives a definition plus readings, but then the usage note says "This character is not used in Japanese", which is a bit bizarre. Category:Japanese terms spelled with 你 includes only one entry: 你好, which is said to be "rare" and "usually in the Chinese context", so I'm not sure whether it is fully considered a Japanese word. Anyway, the current presentation is peculiar, but I'm not sure how it should be fixed. Mihia (talk) 21:02, 22 July 2017 (UTC)

The usage note was in need of some expansion, which I've since added. I also updated the Japanese 你好 entry to clarify. An argument could be made that this is not a Japanese term, but rather a Chinese term that is sometimes used by Japanese speakers to sound deliberately Chinese-ish, much like English speakers might say guten Tag to fellow English speakers to deliberately impart a certain German-ness to the conversation.
There are various kanji characters that are included in Japanese character dictionaries for sake of completeness, even though the characters themselves are never -- or hardly ever -- used in modern Japanese, and might only appear either in historical works, or in renderings of non-Japanese text. The in 你好 is one such instance. Japanese readers may encounter this character often enough, given its use in the ubiquitous Chinese greeting 你好. In fact, 你好 is included in both the Daijirin and Daijisen monolingual Japanese dictionaries (such as here at dictionary aggregator Kotobank) -- and these entries basically state that this is Chinese for こんにちは (konnichi wa, hello, good day).
On a separate note, one important distinction to make is "character" and "word". is certainly a character, but it is not a word in Japanese. Likewise, is a character, but not a word on its own.
Have a look at the Japanese entry and see if that answers your concerns. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 17:43, 24 July 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for looking at this. Mihia (talk) 20:03, 24 July 2017 (UTC)

zincirleme ad tamlamasıEdit

Anyone competent to change the "penis size" fun to something less ridiculous? Equinox 01:08, 23 July 2017 (UTC)

get one up on someoneEdit

I have just made get one up on someone. My first impression was "surely this phrase already would have an entry in WT", followed by "I must've made a calamitous spelling mistake or something". Looking at one up and one-up and onupmanship, still I was shocked not to see any note of this entry. Anyway, I put some spoilers for last week's Game of Thrones in a few entries. And hopefully I can annoy some people by tricking them into reading entries featuring spoilers for the next episodes of GOT. I assume that at least half of us watch the show. -WF

I am not sure whether the lemma should be "get one up on someone" in full. We can use "get one up" without the "on someone" part, and also "be one up (on someone)" without the "get" part. I wonder if the relevant meaning should be added to one up instead. Mihia (talk) 19:36, 23 July 2017 (UTC)
I'm not actually sure that I've heard "get one up" without the "on X". Is it common? Equinox 22:12, 23 July 2017 (UTC)
It seems somewhat familiar to me, though I doubt it would qualify as "common". A search like this throws up some, but you have to page through a lot of irrelevant stuff. Some examples:
  • WePay wants to get one-up in the mobile payments race with its new iOS app for small businesses [8]
  • He tends to view dealing with others through a kind of "win-lose" lens, seeking to get "one up" whenever possible. [9]
  • “It’s exciting, you’d love to get one up and say you coached against one of the greats of all time,” he said. [10]
Also, some people seem to say "get one up over someone" rather than "on". I wonder whether this might be just confusion with "get one over" though. Mihia (talk) 19:37, 24 July 2017 (UTC)


I find the etymology to be inadequate. How exactly did the verbal suffix emerge in Old English? Was it a dialectal variant of -aþ? — (((Romanophile))) (contributions) 07:07, 24 July 2017 (UTC)

It was not a dialectal variant of . It is actually the same verbal ending as the second person singular indicative (i.e. -s, -st), as in thou singst, which was originally lacking the final t. It was due to levelling of the verb inflections due to Scandinavian settlers taking up English (rather, Old English), with the pattern of levelling being carried over from Old Norse. Leasnam (talk) 18:17, 24 July 2017 (UTC)

rather used at the end of a clauseEdit

An example. Does this fit with any existing sense? How should it be defined? DTLHS (talk) 01:04, 25 July 2017 (UTC)

I think it fits with sense 5, although that definition might need to be expanded slightly to fit that usage perfectly. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 01:12, 25 July 2017 (UTC)


Is the nominative singular really with short -es? I thought such nouns normally had identical singular and plural forms. Also, the genitive seems wrong, and the second reference doesn't actually contain "martes". —CodeCat 12:30, 25 July 2017 (UTC)

Fixed the genitive and removed the second reference. Lewis & Short doesn't mark the -es as long, but then it doesn't for nūbēs either, so it could be wrong. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 13:06, 25 July 2017 (UTC)
Checked the OLD, but the word isn't even listed there! —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 18:38, 25 July 2017 (UTC)
Is this word Mediaeval Latin ? Maybe a label is needed. Leasnam (talk) 19:44, 25 July 2017 (UTC)
Used in De re metallica (1556). DTLHS (talk) 19:48, 25 July 2017 (UTC)
Is this the earliest record of it ? Leasnam (talk) 00:24, 26 July 2017 (UTC)
Lewis & Short have it because of a possible use in Martial, but they mark it "dubious" and list some alternative readings. Its absence in the OLD suggests to me that modern scholars have probably accepted one of the alternative readings as the accurate one. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 05:51, 26 July 2017 (UTC)
Wow. Did the Romans really not have a word for martens? —CodeCat 11:55, 27 July 2017 (UTC)

business before pleasure, head over heels, time after timeEdit

Is there a classification by which to categorize idioms phrased as a "thing preposition thing" like business before pleasure, head over heels, and time after time? I am thinking of something like Category:English coordinated pairs, containing phrases like bait and switch, law and order, and wheel and deal. bd2412 T 20:35, 25 July 2017 (UTC)

Why is Category:English coordinated pairs not appropriate for these? Equinox 20:37, 25 July 2017 (UTC)
Strictly speaking, I don't know that it is inappropriate, but virtually all of the terms presently in that category are "foo and bar", not "foo preposition bar". The former suggests things that merely go together, while the latter suggests a specific relationship between the things. bd2412 T 21:20, 25 July 2017 (UTC)
Prepositions aren't coordinators like and, or, and/or (and ,?).
The examples aren't quite the same. The first is an elliptical form of a proverbial-type expression, like age before beauty.
The latter two seem to be adverbial, following a common pattern like the phrases using other prepositions: cheek by jowl/cheek to jowl, head-to-head, north by northwest, hat in hand, side by side. All of them seem like ellipses of absolutes, eg, heading north by northwest, walking side by side. Category:English elliptical absolutes doesn't seem to me to be a category that would be recognized, let alone used, by anyone, but it's the closest I can think of. DCDuring (talk) 02:55, 26 July 2017 (UTC)
My interest is in putting all the things that share a common grammatical feature together, however it is titled. bd2412 T 22:16, 26 July 2017 (UTC)
You could always do it with a user page. DCDuring (talk) 22:45, 26 July 2017 (UTC)
Yes, but the point is to organize things that may be of lexical interest to the general reader. bd2412 T 13:12, 27 July 2017 (UTC)
How is a "general reader" supposed to access the category when there is no obvious name? I have no evidence that anyone cares about this. Would it help us with entry maintenance in some way? DCDuring (talk) 16:44, 27 July 2017 (UTC)
Is Category:English coordinated pairs an "obvious" name to the general reader? If there is utility to categorizing that body of phrases, why would there not be equal utility to categorizing a similarly related body of phrases? bd2412 T 19:48, 27 July 2017 (UTC)

بيت لحمEdit

Hi, could sb. please add the declension of بيت لحم, a compound term. Thanks in advance. --Backinstadiums (talk) 10:06, 26 July 2017 (UTC)

@Backinstadiums I'm not sure why the 2nd part looks indefinite as in a phrase "the book of a man" كِتَابُ رَجُلٍ (kitābu rajulin). In the definite, the fully vocalised form with ʾiʿrāb should then be بَيْتُ اللَّحْمِ (baytu l-laḥmi). But this must be a borrowing, the full term is then declinable as بَيْتَ لَحْمُ (bayta laḥmu) where "bayta" is indeclinable but "laḥmu" is declined as a diptote. I left it in the indefinite state for now - it's too late here. @Wikitiki89, Benwing2, Erutuon, Kolmiel, feel free fix as appropriate, if you know how. I'll get back to it, if nobody does. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 14:00, 26 July 2017 (UTC)
@Atitarev: The Wikipedia article (as well as the Online Etymology Dictionary) indicate the word comes from the name of a god, Lahamu or Lahmu. Given that this name is spelled with in the article, I guess the Arabic is folk-etymologized: it should be something like *بيت لخم, with the other consonant that corresponds to Hebrew ח‎. (Maybe the Hebrew was affected the same way, but the consonant isn't evidence, as historical *ḥ and *ḫ merged in Hebrew anyway.) So, there's no definite article because it was a name. Not sure how to add this information to the etymology. — Eru·tuon 02:58, 27 July 2017 (UTC)
Well if Arabic got it from Hebrew via Aramaic, then that explains the consonant in Arabic. An an interesting point though, is that the Septuagint has Βηθλεεμ (Bēthleem) [11], Βαιθλεεμ (Baithleem) [12], and Βαιθλαεμ (Baithlaem) [13] (and Βαιθμαν (Baithman) [14]), when it often distinguishes the earlier *ḫ, which still quasi-existed in Hebrew at the time, with χ (kh). --WikiTiki89 16:19, 27 July 2017 (UTC)
Ahh, so that's evidence it had the reflex of *ḥ rather than *ḫ, at least at the time of the Septuagint. Maybe then the second element of the word had already been reanalyzed or folk-etymologized or censored by the Hebrews (the name of a god → a word for food), transforming *ḫ to *ḥ, before it got to Arabic. (My statement about the phonemes merging wasn't accurate for earlier periods of Hebrew.) But I'm speculating. — Eru·tuon 20:40, 27 July 2017 (UTC)
It's not conclusive evidence, because there are other names where you would expect *ḫ, but the Septuagint does not have χ (kh). Then there is also the separate matter of whether the vowels in לֶחֶם/לָחֶם(léḥem/lā́ḥem), as opposed to the would-be expected לַחַם/לָחַם (láḥam/lā́ḥam), say anything about the nature of the consonant in previous stages of Hebrew. In other words, one might speculate based on the vowels that the ח () in לֶחֶם(léḥem, bread) was not originally a pharyngeal and so it must have been *ḫ, but on the other hand we know that the Arabic cognate has rather than . So who knows. --WikiTiki89 20:56, 27 July 2017 (UTC)

Oddly enough, In ‘Arabic: An Essential Grammar by Faruk Abu-Chacra’ pag. 153 both terms appear with فتحة, unlike the terms before/after it (Por Said, New York, etc.). --Backinstadiums (talk) 14:06, 26 July 2017 (UTC)

The final "-a" must be a typo in that book. I "vote: for this declension, since I don't have a source ready (diptote, the first part "bayta" indeclinable):
The audio in the entry matches this in the pausal form, Hans Wehr also suggests a romanisation "baytalaḥm" for the alternative term written without a space - بيتلحم. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 14:13, 26 July 2017 (UTC)
So what's the verdict? Is it بَيْتَ لَحْمُ (bayta laḥmu) or بَيْتَ لَحْمَ (bayta laḥma) in the nominative? --WikiTiki89 14:27, 26 July 2017 (UTC)
I now lean towards بَيْتَ لَحْمُ (bayta laḥmu) but I'll wait and see if there are other opinions or sources. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 14:29, 26 July 2017 (UTC)
If it wasn't clear, I have already voted for this declension above with a table. I think Backinstadium's book has a typo. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 14:31, 26 July 2017 (UTC)
Sorry, when I asked that I had misread your table above as having a nominative بَيْتَ لَحْمَ (bayta laḥma), which confused me. --WikiTiki89 14:38, 26 July 2017 (UTC)
It would appear to be either a diptote bayta laḥmu or an invariable bayta laḥma. The information in the grammar is inconsistent, but there's no way to decide whether they mistakenly put the final -a, or whether they mistakenly called it diptote. I'd not put a declension table at all until we find additional information that confirms the one or the other. Kolmiel (talk) 14:32, 26 July 2017 (UTC)
I think we can keep the diptote declension for now until we find evidence against it, as it makes more sense and goes along with the fact that it can be spelled as one word بيتلحم. --WikiTiki89 14:38, 26 July 2017 (UTC)
Yeah... I think many an Arabic philologist would be hard-pressed to decline this word, and it might not just be because they don't know but because no one really knows. But if we must decide, then I agree that bayta laḥmu is more likely. Kolmiel (talk) 14:41, 26 July 2017 (UTC)

I've also found بيت لحمٍ --Backinstadiums (talk) 14:51, 26 July 2017 (UTC)

Yes, that's what I had suspected. The readings bayta laḥmu, baytu laḥmin, baytu laḥma, etc., probably all occur. Maybe the first is the most accepted. The source for it seems more reliable.... provided that we've interpreted it correctly. Kolmiel (talk) 15:48, 26 July 2017 (UTC)
I've made some small changes. Feel free to improve. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 07:03, 27 July 2017 (UTC)

to mountEdit

Am I just stupid or does this definition for "to mount" actually make sense: "to deploy (cannon) for use in or around it"? --Hekaheka (talk) 08:33, 27 July 2017 (UTC)

If I am reading it correctly, it says to me: to set up a cannon for use, either "in it" or "(round) about it". I think we could just change it to "deploy a cannon for use" and be okay. Leasnam (talk) 11:53, 27 July 2017 (UTC)
I thought that would be the case. --Hekaheka (talk) 12:02, 27 July 2017 (UTC)
I'm always interested in the source of erroneous or questionable definitions. I think this came from a usage example in Webster 1913: A fort or ship is said to mount cannon, when it has them arranged for use in or about it. DCDuring (talk) 12:56, 27 July 2017 (UTC)
Ahh...Leasnam (talk) 13:14, 27 July 2017 (UTC)

IPA æEdit

This is a Pronunciation question I've been churning for quite a while now. In looking at the English pronunciation of haystack, we show the IPA pronunciation as /ˈheɪˌstæk/. My question revolves around the use of æ for the English sound...It's shown as a "short" vowel, but in actuality, for many speakers (US especially) it's pronounced "long" as /ˈheɪˌstæːk/. In American English, I can't think of a single word that uses a true short vowel /æ/. Has anyone else ever noticed this before ? Leasnam (talk) 13:12, 27 July 2017 (UTC)

Well, it's short compared to the vowel in stag, due to regular vowel lengthening before "voiced" stops. Chuck Entz (talk) 13:31, 27 July 2017 (UTC)
stag almost sounds like a diphthong to me: /ˈstæːɘɡ/ or /ˈstæːɪ̯ɡ/ Leasnam (talk) 16:01, 27 July 2017 (UTC)
In fact, length is not longer an issue in English phonemes. --Backinstadiums (talk) 14:11, 27 July 2017 (UTC)
@Backinstadiums, but we should represent the pronunciation correctly. If we say "/'stæːk/" we should show /'stæːk/, right ? /ˈstæk/ to me approximates more like how some Germans might pronounce Stäck (--just the vowel). I'm concerned, because I add a lot of pronunciations for Old Enlgish, and Old English bæþ (/ˈbæθ/) doesn't sound at all like Modern English bath. Modern bath would come closer to OE bǣþ (/ˈbæːθ/ or /ˈbæːɘθ/) Leasnam (talk) 16:09, 27 July 2017 (UTC) Leasnam (talk) 16:01, 27 July 2017 (UTC)
@Leasnam: What accent of English do you speak with? For me Modern English bath and Old English bæþ sound basically identical. As for stack, it's true that open vowels tend to be longer than close vowels, so stack has a longer vowel than stick, but as Chuck Entz points out, it has a shorter (and more monophthongal) vowel than stag. But at the phonemic level, there's no reason to consider the vowel of stack long, because there's no short vowel it contrasts with, nor is there any reason to consider the vowel of stag phonemically a diphthong, because there's no monophthong it contrasts with. At the phonemic level, they're both just /æ/. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 18:23, 27 July 2017 (UTC)
I don't think Old English bæþ was pronounced like Modern English bath. I think it sounded more like what we would hear as [beθ] in Gernal American, but with the vowel very short. Maybe something like a Northern England bath, from Lancashire or Merseyside. Leasnam (talk) 18:31, 27 July 2017 (UTC)
Of course we have no way of knowing the precise phonetics of the Old English, but whether or not modern English bath sounds like it depends a lot on what variety of English you speak. Someone from Northern England says [baθ], London says [bɑːθ] (or [bɑːf]), someone from Sydney [bɐːθ], someone from Boston (with the now recessive traditional Boston accent) says [baːθ], someone from New York says [beə̯θ], someone from Alabama says [bæɪ̯ə̯θ], and I say [bæθ]. Which one of these does the Old English (presumably) not sound like? —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 18:42, 27 July 2017 (UTC)
If your [bæθ] is anything like the clip at bath for US pronunciation, then that how I pronounce it. Incidentally, that is not how I imagine (give or take) how the Old English sounded. I imagine that an OE speaker hearing the US pronunciation would write that as bǣþ [bæːθ]. Their bæþ would sound much shorter. Leasnam (talk) 18:51, 27 July 2017 (UTC)
The audio clip at bath is more diphthongal than my pronunciation; more like an Old English *beaþ. Since vowel length was phonemic in Old English, I suspect their short vowels were shorter but also that their long vowels were longer, so an OE speaker might feel like our /æ/ (at least before a voiceless consonant) is somewhere between his /æ/ and his /æː/. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:22, 27 July 2017 (UTC)
@Angr Where (if you don't mind me asking :) is your accent/dialect located ? Leasnam (talk) 21:28, 27 July 2017 (UTC)
My accent is a very regionally neutral General American. My parents both grew up in Los Angeles, so I have definite West Coast influences (cot-caught merger, for example, though not consistently: Don and dawn are homophones for me, but stocking and stalking are different). From the ages of 2 to 9 (L1 acquisition window) I lived in Rochester, NY, but I don't think I have any significant Inland North/Northern Cities Vowel Shift influences, at least none that I'm aware of. From the age of 9 to adulthood I lived in Austin, TX, but I don't have a canonical Texas accent (as Austin is a cosmopolitan university town, probably more than half of my peer group were from someplace else, so there was no particular pressure to develop a Texas accent); the Texas influence on my speech is more lexical than phonological. And for the past 20 years I've lived in Germany, where most of my English-speaking friends have been British, so that has also had a "leveling" influence on my speech, as I don't want to say anything that my German friends won't understand or that my British friends will snicker at. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 08:28, 28 July 2017 (UTC)
The issue of actual phonetic vowel length in English is very complicated, and varies very widely by region. Let's stick with phonemic length. --WikiTiki89 16:58, 27 July 2017 (UTC)
Also, the fact that English is a stress-timed language makes vowel length an even trickier issue. --WikiTiki89 21:38, 27 July 2017 (UTC)
(edit conflict) You're not distinguishing between phonology (phonemes) and phonetics (phones). The transcriptions between slashes // are phonemic, while transcriptions between square brackets [] are phonetic. I think you're talking about phonetics, unless you've done some phonological analysis. So you should be writing [ˈstæːk], not /ˈstæːk/.
The question is, does the long [æː] correspond to a phoneme /æː/ or not? Stack might be phonetically [ˈstæːk] but phonemically /ˈstæk/, as the the length of the vowel might not be phonemic. Does the long [æː] contrast with a short [æ] in a way that is not predictable from the phonological environment? (For instance, is there a word with a long vowel, [ˈstæːk], that has a different meaning from a word with a short vowel, [ˈstæk]?) Then it's phonemic. That's the most obvious way to establish the long vowel as a phoneme. (It can be used to establish the Finnish ää vs. ä contrast as phonemic.)
I'm not aware of there being such a contrast in American English, but there are quite a few subtle differences between American dialects, and maybe there's one that makes the contrast. (You say that there's not a word in which the vowel is short; that suggests there isn't a contrast.) Maybe there are other ways to determine that a vowel is phonemically long, but that's the easiest one.
German has a vowel length contrast, we don't. So if Germans use their phonology when reading the transcription /ˈstæk/, and interpret the vowel as phonetically short, they're misunderstanding how American English phonology works. Sometimes vowels transcribed as short in phonemic transcriptions are pronounced long, or are diphthongized. — Eru·tuon 17:07, 27 July 2017 (UTC)
@Erutuon So when I use æ in Old English, it represents a different sound than when I use æ for Modern English ? Leasnam (talk) 17:16, 27 July 2017 (UTC)
@Leasnam: Yes, if you mean Old English phoneme /æ/ and American English phoneme /æ/. Because Old English /æ/ contrasts in the feature of length with the long vowel /æː/ (and contrasts in other features with the diphthongs /æɑ æɑː/, and with the other Old English phonemes), it's a different entity from American English /æ/, which is not involved in the same contrasts in the American English phonological system. A phoneme is defined by what it contrasts with and by the features that the language's phonology uses to distinguish the phoneme from others. So phonemes in different languages that are represented with the same symbol are not necessarily the same entities. (Perhaps they never are, since no phonological system is completely identical.) — Eru·tuon 17:35, 27 July 2017 (UTC)
Excellent. Thanks!
Since it's been mentioned several times in this discussion: Standard German has phonemic [corrected] vowel length only for /a/ and /ɛ/. Nevertheless we use /ː/ for all long vowels. And I think that makes sense, too. Because otherwise one might think that /i/ is as short as /ɛ/ when it's actually as long as /ɛː/. — And then the question is why we use /ː/ for English transcriptions at all? (We don't in GA, but we do in RP.) Kolmiel (talk) 04:57, 28 July 2017 (UTC)
I think German vowel length is phonemic for vowels other than /a/ and /ɛ/, even though there aren't other short–long pairs with the same place of articulation (/ɔ oː/ for instance, differ in quality). The criterion above, that there be a minimal pair distinguished only by vowel length (not quality), is not the only way to establish vowel length as phonemic. But I'm not sure what criteria are used for the German vowels that don't form exact short–long pairs, aside from the fact that the (stressed) long vowels are pretty noticeably long, as you say.
RP and Australian have phonemic vowel length, General American apparently doesn't. Australian has the pairs /ɪ ɪː, e eː, ɐ ɐː/ (hit here, dress square, strut palm) and maybe /ʊ oː, æ æː/ (foot thought, trap glad). A surprising number of closely corresponding short and long vowels.
RP's more complicated; nowadays it has long vowels that were formerly (and are still usually transcribed as) centering diphthongs, as well as diphthongs that were formerly (and are still usually transcribed as) long vowels. But, as in Australian, kit and near, dress and square are basically short–long pairs. Wikipedia transcribes them as /kɪt hɪər drɛs skwɛər/, but (ignoring the rhoticity) using a strong diphthong sounds pretty old-fashioned; it should be /hɪt hɪː drɛs skwɛː/, as given by Geoff Lindsey.
So, both RP and Australian have clear short–long pairs; General American doesn't. — Eru·tuon 06:18, 28 July 2017 (UTC)
If you define phonemic vowel length in such a way that length can be phonemic even without there being a short vowel of the same quality, then that's a different definition. Maybe GA could be said to have phonemic vowel length as well by that definition, whatever it may be.
I've seen the interpretation by Geoff Lindsey before, and I agree that it's much more realistic. (Except for /ʌ/ maybe, which I don't hear as [ə], but still as [ɐ].) But the point is that the traditional transcription of RP requires length marks just as little as GA, so why use it in one and not in the other? Kolmiel (talk) 07:30, 28 July 2017 (UTC)
For one thing, using length marks in RP facilities cross-dialect comparison. The vowel in RP heart /hɑːt/ is significantly longer than the vowel in GenAm hot /hɑt/, so if we're listing both varieties it would misleading to imply they're homophones. (The Longman Pronunciation Dictionary does exactly this, but by marking them both long: it claims that both RP heart and GenAm hot are /hɑːt/, much to my annoyance. I think there are other British dictionaries that want to show American pronunciation that do the same thing.) —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 11:03, 28 July 2017 (UTC)
That's a terrible reason. The the word Bob is pronounced significantly longer in GenAm than in RP, so then why don't we put a length mark in GenAm? --WikiTiki89 15:24, 28 July 2017 (UTC)
I've often seen /i/, /u/ used instead of /iː/, /uː/ for GA. Take the entry use. Etymology 1, the noun, has /juːs/ for both accents, while etymology 2, the verb, has /juːz/ for RP and /juz/ for GA. If I'm not totally wrong, all of these are the same phoneme everywhere. So this facilitates nothing, but only makes a mess. Kolmiel (talk) 14:57, 28 July 2017 (UTC)
For fleece, goose, and thought I usually use /iː/, /uː/, and /ɔː/ for a bidialectal pronunciation when nothing else is different (so I would not have separate RP and GA lines for the verb use), but if there are other differences in a word with one of those two vowels (e.g. beater, where you need separate lines because of the -er), I use /iː/, /uː/, /ɔː/ in RP and /i/, /u/, /ɔ/ in GA. Maybe that isn't entirely logical, but it makes things easier to read. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 15:07, 28 July 2017 (UTC)
@Kolmiel: Regarding your earlier comment: length marks cannot be removed just because the phonemic symbols would still be distinct without them. That's a mechanical question of which symbols to use; the actual question is whether the phonological system as understood by its speakers includes vowel length. Anyway, older RP had a couple of short–long pairs that were almost at the same place of articulation: /ɪ iː, e eɪ, ʊ uː, ɒ ɑː/ (modern /ɪ ɪi, ɛ ɛi, ɵ ɵu, ɔ ɑː/). So even using the criterion I mentioned above, it wouldn't make that much sense removing vowel length. Perhaps there are other criteria.
There are other considerations: some of the phonemes derived partially from former diphthongs. Diphthongs generally become long vowels. For instance, /ɔː ɑː/ from former /ɔə ɑə/ in force, start. That was a fairly recent change, as I think the diphthongal pronunciation was used at the beginning of the 20th century. It would be odd for vowel length to suddenly vanish after this monophthongization. And of course, Middle English had vowel length, but that doesn't really have bearing on RP specifically. — Eru·tuon 16:40, 28 July 2017 (UTC)
I don't necessarily want to remove length marks. That's not the point. I simply don't understand — that's what I've been trying to say all along: Why do we use length marks in RP, but not in GA, when there is absolutely no difference between the two regarding this matter. (Length marks could be removed in both. Keeping them does make a lot of sense in both.) Kolmiel (talk) 18:26, 28 July 2017 (UTC)
PS: You said: "Length marks cannot be removed just because the phonemic symbols would still be distinct without them." But yes, that's exactly what we do with GA. (Isn't it?) Kolmiel (talk) 18:29, 28 July 2017 (UTC)
And I've forgotten exactly how the test was formulated, but supposedly, the reason for not using length marks for GA is that the erstwhile long vowels aren't consistently much longer or aren't consistently much longer than the erstwhile short ones, when they are recorded and their length measured. Vowel length is determined more by pre-fortis clipping. I can't remember where I read this, perhaps in a quote from Wells. Anyway, I think GA more than either old or new RP has distinct vowel qualities that do not overlap. — Eru·tuon 18:50, 28 July 2017 (UTC)
@Erutuon: I addressed that point below. --WikiTiki89 19:53, 28 July 2017 (UTC)
Let's take the examples of bit, bid, beat, bead, bitter, bidder, beater, beader in my idiolect. Here's the breakdown of the vowel lengths of the /ɪ/ and /i(ː)/ vowels in my realization of these words (or as far as I can tell, so don't take this as scientific research):
  • Ultra-short: bit
  • Short: bid, beat, bitter, bidder, beater*
  • Mid-length: beater*, beader
  • Long: bead
* beater can be either short or mid-length
As you can see, the environment alone (in these examples, the two environmental factors are the voicing of the following consonant and the presence or absence of a second syllable) cannot determine the length of the vowel. Therefore, the length distribution among these environment factors must be an inherent property of each vowel. Now this length distribution property may actually be more complicated than simply "long" and "short", because I'm not sure that all other vowels will exactly match the pattern of either /ɪ/ or /i(ː)/ (although perhaps they will, it's hard to tell without going through each one). And furthermore, not all the vowels will match according to their "traditional" length; i.e. /æ/ and /ɒ/ might match up more with /i(ː)/ than with /ɪ/. But still I think that until all these things and their dialectal distributions even within the US are well-understood, we're better off keeping the traditional length distinctions for American English. --WikiTiki89 15:55, 28 July 2017 (UTC)
You might find ShipOrSheep useful. -- ALGRIF talk 07:48, 30 July 2017 (UTC)

to channelEdit

I'm British and I read today in Politico that Scaramucci "channelled Priebus as he spoke".[15] (In the last few months US politics has become my favourite on-line entertainment). I could think of various plausible meanings for "channelled" and one was confirmed by Wiktionary: "assume personality of other person". I'm pretty elderly but have never come across this usage and neither have two British teenagers I asked. I did not dare put {{lb|en|North America|informal}} because I do not know its regional usage and Wiktionary is too highfalutin (Wikt is wrong to say this is limited to the US but in Britain it can merely mean "stylish") for me to feel comfortable. Can anyone help? Is there a known origin for this? To me it seems a curious, and possibly recent, usage. Thincat (talk) 17:05, 28 July 2017 (UTC)

I think it comes from the idea from Eastern philosophy of "channeling energy", i.e. opening a channel within yourself to let some sort of external energy pass through you so you can make use of it. This later was extended to things other than spiritual energy, such as wisdom and personality. --WikiTiki89 17:08, 28 July 2017 (UTC)
I think our entry lacks definitions or even usage examples that show the transition in meaning. I could recommend looking in the OED until we improve our entry. DCDuring (talk) 19:50, 28 July 2017 (UTC)
Referring to channel at OneLook Dictionary Search I find that MWOnline refers to channeler, which it defines as "a person who conveys thoughts or energy from a source believed to be outside the person's body or conscious mind; specifically: one who speaks for nonphysical beings or spirits", indicating first known use in 1987. DCDuring (talk) 19:54, 28 July 2017 (UTC)
Our definitions at channel#Verb, channeler, and channeling don't provide sufficient semantic content or even reference to external content to be very helpful to someone seeking to find what these words mean. DCDuring (talk) 19:57, 28 July 2017 (UTC)
I agree that the sense "assume the personality of another person" derives from a sense that we're missing, the New Age sense of channeling spirits. I can't find any earlier usage on Google Books than 1987 either. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 20:46, 28 July 2017 (UTC)
The OED's earliest quote for the New Age sense is from 1977. — Eru·tuon 20:52, 28 July 2017 (UTC)
There is an earlier intermediate/transitional sense as shown in this indirect citation of a 1959 scholarly article:
  • 1986, Ronald L. Baker, Jokelore: Humorous Folktales from Indiana, page xvii:
    In 1959 Dorson viewed folklore as "the oral traditions channeled across the centuries through human mouths.
In a popular book of 1983 the spiritualist sense appears, though not with an individual person or spirit or....
There was an earlier (1972) work co-authored by Jane Roberts (1949-1989) and Seth (spirit) that may have used channel in the spiritualist sense. See   Seth Material on Wikipedia.Wikipedia . That work spawned an enormous literature. For a larger context see   Mediumship#Channeling on Wikipedia.Wikipedia .
The 1987 date must be with a given person/spirit as object of the verb. Usage now is well outside the spiritualist context, at least in the US. DCDuring (talk) 22:51, 28 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Thank you for all those replies. I expect it is commonplace to the regulars here but for me it is fascinating how a word can be used metaphorically and the new meaning can become established, and on and on. So what was at one time a reed (κάννα#Ancient_Greek beside a channel) can now be an impersonation. Meanwhile, although my original source has been channelled to another place, I'll stick with US "fake news" since British politics are so dismal. Thincat (talk) 13:51, 1 August 2017 (UTC)
    I don't think impersonate is quite right. I have revised the channel#Verb. HTH. DCDuring (talk) 04:26, 7 August 2017 (UTC)

objectivity#Noun, sense 3: unclear definitionEdit

I do not even understand the sentence grammatically. Here it is:

3. That which one understands, often, as intellectually, of all and everything, of what is sensed as felt, thereof

--Anareth (talk) 17:28, 29 July 2017 (UTC)

The grammar works if you take "as" to mean "for example" (common in Webster 1913's definitions; rather pedantic in modern English). But yes it's an unhelpful mess. Equinox 17:33, 29 July 2017 (UTC)

my favorite part was the endEdit

A sarcastic phrase that means someone didn't like a video or book. Does this merit an entry? Does it have a lot of variants? I would say it isn't SOP, but others may disagree? PseudoSkull (talk) 18:59, 29 July 2017 (UTC)

Reminds me of the common YouTube quip of saying that one's favourite part was from 00:01 to 25:34 (or whatever the entire length of the video is). Equinox 19:06, 29 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Seems pretty transparent to me. Sarcasm usually doesn't make something idiomatic, since almost any utterance can be sarcastic. ---> Tooironic (talk) 00:53, 30 July 2017 (UTC)
I agree. This is not dictionary material in my view. Mihia (talk) 02:07, 31 July 2017 (UTC)

Etymology of 尉犁 (Yùlí)Edit

This is the name of a state in the Western Regions during the period 2nd c. BCE – 2nd c. CE, and is now the name of a county in Xinjiang, where the previous state was.

This word was discussed in the article On the Place Name Yuli and Rouran (《尉犁地名和柔然源流考》) by Li Shuhui (李树辉).

The name Yuli is said to come from Turkic (J)yrægir (“one who is stationed; one who stays”), the name of a Turkic clan, and derived from yræ- (verb form yryk, “to be stationed in”) + -gir (adjectival suffix). Both (J)yrægir and yryk are said to have been recorded in the ancient dictionary Dīwān Lughāt al-Turk (“Compendium of the languages of the Turks”), however I could not seem to find these words in the Chinese and Arabic versions of the book, and I could not find an index for the book to help me locate these words.

I'm wondering if anyone familiar with Turkic/Arabic/Arabic script is able to help out with finding the original Arabic-script form of this name, or the description of the Turkic clan in the book or elsewhere, or related words in Turkic languages. Pinging @Anylai, Crom daba, ZxxZxxZ, Vahagn Petrosyan.

Thanks in advance, Wyang (talk) 00:24, 30 July 2017 (UTC)

Looking at Clauson, a better translation of yra- seems to be "to be distant", and yryk is "distant, far" as in Turkish ırak. The original Arabic is يِراقْ(yıraq) (Kashgari even gives a verse using the word, we can use it as usage example). Unfortunately I wasn't able to find the name of the tribe neither in Clauson nor in Atalay's index. Maybe there's a separate index nominum, but I can't find it. Crom daba (talk) 02:25, 30 July 2017 (UTC)
There is an Oghuz clan which sounds close. Kashgari introduces them as اُرَكِرْ(Üregir), يُرَكِرْ(Yüregir), the 15th clan of the Oghuz. But unsure how that was to be realised in Ancient Chinese records. --Anylai (talk) 18:15, 30 July 2017 (UTC)
@Crom daba, Anylai Thank you both. I have incorporated some of the above into the etymology on the page. yryk ("distant, far") doesn't quite correspond to the gloss in the article (驻扎), but may actually be correct if there is no Turkic word yryk meaning "to be stationed". Wyang (talk) 03:09, 28 August 2017 (UTC)

noun + ed e.g. leggedEdit

Just a query really. Is there a linguistic name for this kind of word formation / transformation? Noun + "ed" as if the noun were a verb in past participle form making an adjective? For example legged leg (noun) +‎ -ed giving rise to long-legged, hairy-legged, etc as adjectives. Or haired giving rise to long-haired, raven-haired, etc. Or brimmed meaning having a brim. brim (noun) +‎ -ed giving rise to wide-brimmed, leather brimmed, etc. Any takers? What is the technical terminology for this word formation, please? -- ALGRIF talk 08:01, 30 July 2017 (UTC)

It's only like the past participle by coincidence. It's actually an entirely separate suffix going back to PIE, see Proto-Indo-European *-eh₂tos. —CodeCat 10:28, 30 July 2017 (UTC)


Wonderfool entry for "a cocky man". The word seems quite rare, and it's hard to tell what it means. Might be an insult from cock (penis), etc. Anyone familiar with the word? Equinox 12:14, 30 July 2017 (UTC)

gorge vs. ravineEdit

These two are synonyms right? I wanted to merge the translation tables, but many of the languages seem to have completely different words given on these pages. How do we deal with this? Crom daba (talk) 15:52, 30 July 2017 (UTC)

  • Hmm. Is a ravine always formed by a river, but a gorge may be formed by other means? I forget. SemperBlotto (talk) 05:52, 31 July 2017 (UTC)
Chambers rather entertainingly defines gorge as "a deep narrow valley" and ravine as "a deep, narrow gorge". Equinox 06:10, 31 July 2017 (UTC)
and how does it define canyon? SemperBlotto (talk) 06:15, 31 July 2017 (UTC)
AFAIK, canyons and gorges are distinguished from valleys and ravines by the rockiness of their walls, which therefore also tend to be steeper. Canyons and valley are generally wider than gorges and ravines. The US uses all of these in toponyms. The land features called canyons in the US are also in the southwest where Spanish toponyms are common. Ravines are also more western, but of French derivation. DCDuring (talk) 12:22, 31 July 2017 (UTC)
They are all formed by water, though they could be dry currently. Other terms for similar, more modest features are gully and gulch. DCDuring (talk) 12:26, 31 July 2017 (UTC)
"A deep gorge or ravine"! Ha. Equinox 14:39, 1 August 2017 (UTC)
Grand Canyon of the east
the gorge
A Google search for "canyon "New York"|"New England"" found some places that where asserted to be the "Grand Canyon of the East" or "little Grand Canyon" and a recently created underwater park: "Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument". The place most commonly so named is described as follows:
Letchworth State Park, renowned as the "Grand Canyon of the East," is one of the most scenically magnificent areas in the eastern U.S. The Genesee River roars through the gorge over three major waterfalls between cliffs--as high as 600 feet in some places--surrounded by lush forests."
In Colorado two features called Royal Gorge and Black Canyon of the Gunnison differ only modestly in their shapes, so treating these terms as synonyms seems justified. I think there is a modest tendency toward associating walls that are more nearly vertical from top to bottom, through harder rock, with gorge and walls carved though softer sedimentary rock, that are much less vertical at their base due to large volumes of fallen rock, with canyon. DCDuring (talk) 15:46, 1 August 2017 (UTC)


I have a book that uses this word with the sense of artificiality or vapidity. Does this fit into one of our current definitions?

  • 1989, H. T. Willetts (translator), Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (author), August 1914, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, →ISBN, page 163:
    This had given him the strength to leave cadet school at seventeen and volunteer for active service, reach the rank of second lieutenant no later than his hothouse-bred contemporaries, begin his military studies in the General Staff Academy itself, and, still only twenty-five, graduate not only with top marks but with promotion out of turn for special excellence in military science.
  • 1989, H. T. Willetts (translator), Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (author), August 1914, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, →ISBN, page 182:
    In 1906 and 1907 defeat was not yet total, society was still on the boil, spinning around the rim of the maelstrom. Lenin had sat in Kuokkala, waiting in vain for the second wave. But from 1908, when the reactionary rabble had tightened its grip on the whole of Russia, the underground had shriveled to nothing, the workers had swarmed like ants out of their holes and into legal bodies—trade unions and insurance associations—and the decline of the underground had sapped the vitality of the emigration too, reduced it to a hothouse existence. Back there was the Duma, a legal press—and every émigré was eager to publish there.

Germyb (talk) 18:02, 30 July 2017 (UTC)

Good catch. Definition 2 seems slightly off the mark. I'm not sure whether we need to reword it or have a definition closer to my understanding of the most common use of the term, which definitely refers to an artificial environment favorable to the growth of something that would not prosper as well or survive in a more natural environment. DCDuring (talk) 19:42, 30 July 2017 (UTC)
In the common attributive use it is somewhat comparable to test tube or laboratory, but applicable to something that has achieved some kind of maturity, DCDuring (talk) 19:45, 30 July 2017 (UTC)


Our "intransitive" definition seems to be reflexive, and it seems like maybe we could collapse the two definitions into one. Am I missing any subtle distinctions? Germyb (talk) 01:57, 31 July 2017 (UTC)

On a completely unrelated note, I have never in my life seen or heard of this word before. It sure is an odd-looking one. PseudoSkull (talk) 06:31, 31 July 2017 (UTC)
Maybe your English teacher missed off on it... Leasnam (talk) 15:46, 31 July 2017 (UTC)
I'd definitely change "intransitive" to "reflexive". I'm inclined to keep the regular transitive and reflexive senses separate, if only because the reflexive is so much more common. I have heard this word before, but it's rare and kind of old-fashioned; when I have heard it, it's almost always been reflexive. I've definitely heard of people bestirring themselves, but I don't know if I've ever heard of anyone bestirring someone else. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 09:39, 31 July 2017 (UTC)
I see that Citations:bestir has a couple of examples of transitive use from Pilgrim's Progress, which I've never read. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 09:42, 31 July 2017 (UTC)
Most other dictionaries don't bother with a reflexive label, but have reflexive use in the usage examples. I don't know of any that have intransitive senses, but I don't have home access to the OED. DCDuring (talk) 12:31, 31 July 2017 (UTC)
@Angr: I think the two examples in Citations:bestir are actually reflexive: i.e., him and them are used in place of himself and themselves. — Eru·tuon 16:45, 31 July 2017 (UTC)
I think you're right. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 18:53, 31 July 2017 (UTC)


The Latin section of the ita (so, yes, thus) page lists the etymology as having possibly derived from Proto-Indo-European *éy (the (just named, anaphoric)) and *só (this, that). Could this derivation possibly be precisely (zero-grade form of *éy) +‎ *th₂h₁ (zero-grade form of *téh₂(e)h₁, instrumental of *só)? —This unsigned comment was added by 2601:80:C202:9166:0:0:0:42A3 (talk) at 04:12, 1 August 2017 (UTC).