Wiktionary:Tea room/2019/March

discussion rooms: Tea roomEtym. scr.Info deskBeer parlourGrease pit ← February 2019 · March 2019 · April 2019 → · (current)


The pages Firmingham and Mirmingham say that the forms are nonstandard, but how nonstandard are such Welsh mutations? The Welsh Wikipedia has a category called "Pobl o Firmingham" after all: https://cy.wikipedia.org/wiki/Categori:Pobl_o_Firmingham 10:50, 1 March 2019 (UTC)

Pinging @I'm so meta even this acronym, BigDom, Mahagaja as the users I can think of who have some familiarity with Welsh. - -sche (discuss) 09:04, 2 March 2019 (UTC)
Not a native speaker, but in general the usage note is true although there are common exceptions - Google Books has a few hits for "ym Mirmingham" (google books:"ym Mirmingham"), but standard "yn Birmingham" is much more common (google books:"yn Birmingham"). BigDom 09:54, 2 March 2019 (UTC)
I don't know a whole lot about it either, but I suspect that mutated forms like this are more commonly used by nonnative speakers who are so enthusiastic about mutations that they don't realize when not to apply them. I've certainly encountered that in Irish, and strongly suspect it happens in Welsh as well. —Mahāgaja · talk 10:20, 2 March 2019 (UTC)

soviet republic or Soviet republicEdit

There is a page for Soviet Socialist Republic, which is a proper noun and formal title. I think we could do with a less formal countable noun entry especially for the plural form, but I'm not sure whether soviet should be capitalised or not; I suspect it should be. DonnanZ (talk) 13:50, 1 March 2019 (UTC)

The plural occurs here: "Etter den russiske revolusjon ble Sentral-Asia inndelt i sovjetrepublikker etter etniske skillelinjer, ..." DonnanZ (talk) 14:11, 1 March 2019 (UTC)

I think Soviet republic may be the most common on Google Books (google books:"a soviet republic"), but soviet republic and Soviet Republic are found as well. There doesn't seem to be much of a semantic split based on capitalisation either. ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 14:29, 1 March 2019 (UTC)
Soviet is commonly capitalized, also when used as an attribute, so the best way to write this would indeed be Soviet republic. Also in news sources this is the most common form; often in the collocation “the former Soviet republics”.  --Lambiam 18:29, 2 March 2019 (UTC)
I'm inclined to go for soviet republic, as I think soviet should only be capitalised in proper nouns, like Soviet Union, Supreme Soviet. Our entries for soviet and Soviet reflect this confusion, and a citizen of the Soviet Union is only treated as Soviet. But I'm prepared to let that one go. Other forms would automatically redirect to whichever form is selected. DonnanZ (talk) 18:49, 2 March 2019 (UTC)
Being prescriptive, I'd say that "soviet" should be used when soviet is the description of a system of government (like republican), but "Soviet" should be used when it's an abbreviated form of "Soviet Union" (like Republican).--Prosfilaes (talk) 01:02, 3 March 2019 (UTC)
Yeah, I am contradicting what I said in the opening paragraph. Lingo Bingo Dingo, Lambiam and yourself all think it should be Soviet republic, so that's what it will be, I guess. DonnanZ (talk) 12:48, 3 March 2019 (UTC)
Oxford's example sentences for soviet (citizen) are worth looking at, which is why I'm letting it go. DonnanZ (talk) 19:11, 2 March 2019 (UTC)
I have now   done an entry for Soviet republic, feel free to criticise or revise it. DonnanZ (talk) 17:56, 3 March 2019 (UTC)

啇 'to stalk'?Edit

I'm suspicious of the definition data in Unihan entry U+5547 啇: "to stalk; the stem; the foot; the base". What is "to stalk"?

  • Is it really a zero-derived verb from stalk 'stem'? We don't even record any such verb at stalk now! (Though OED does.) If so this is a bad gloss, bad enough that I'd think we should replace it with e.g. "to remove the stalk" regardless of any general norms for Unihan data.
  • Is it an error in Unihan for "the stalk"?
  • Or is it really to stalk 'to follow stealthily' vel sim.? If so that too could use more explicitness, given how much like a mistake it looks. 4pq1injbok (talk) 14:04, 1 March 2019 (UTC)
It would be an incredible coincidence if the same Han character can mean stalk both as a noun and as a verb, even though these English homonyms are not cognates (pace the OED). So I bet that this is an error. If so, it is an error replicated in our own entry.  --Lambiam 18:43, 2 March 2019 (UTC)
IMO the Unihan translations are not that good. I believe they were translated shoddily from some monolingual dictionary, based on comparison to other dictionaries. They were copied to #Translingual. —Suzukaze-c 01:12, 3 March 2019 (UTC)

mommy war, mommy warsEdit

Should these terms for a political controversy about the role/integration of motherhood in society be included? Sense 3 of war would suggest this is SOP, though one might argue it is a fixed expression (compare culture war, which is however a lot more common). ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 14:11, 1 March 2019 (UTC)

My initial inclination is to think it's SOP, and to compare google books:"bathroom wars" (over trans people using bathrooms), google books:"pizza wars" (between pizza restaurant chains competing to be the most profitable / make the best pizza / etc), and the "war on Christmas". OTOH, I can see how it could be argued that some of these are "set phrases" and have somewhat more restricted meanings than a broad reading of their parts would suggest (e.g. "bathroom wars" these days, in the West being mostly about trans people using bathrooms), even though I'd argue that's due to non-lexical rather than lexical grounds (namely, trans people using bathrooms is what people are fighting over—but any time a specific locality has fought over e.g. siting bathrooms in a particular place or building more of them, I expect newspapers have probably referred to "bathroom wars" then too). I see we have "War on Women", though, not to mention lots of articles on wars like War of 1812 and World War II, and phrases like war of nerves. So, what do I know... - -sche (discuss) 08:58, 2 March 2019 (UTC)

punt (retreat, or make best nonideal choice)Edit

Is anyone familiar with these two senses?

  • "To retreat from one's objective; to abandon an effort one still notionally supports."
  • "(colloquial, intransitive) To make the best choice from a set of non-ideal alternatives."

I'm not, and I don't see them in other dictionaries I checked. Is the second one possibly a poor attempt at the sense I just added as sense 2, "To equivocate and delay or put off (answering a question, addressing an issue, etc)"?? But I don't want to RFV them if they're real... - -sche (discuss) 08:51, 2 March 2019 (UTC)

  • One of the OED's many definitions is "To give up, back out; to defer or avoid taking action or responsibility, to ‘pass the buck’" - is that what we mean?SemperBlotto (talk) 08:57, 2 March 2019 (UTC)
    That almost seems like it's combining two senses. The "defer or avoid taking action or responsibility" seems like it probably corresponds to what Dictionary.com has as "equivocate or delay", as when politicians punt on answering tough questions. "Give up, back out" would seem to correspond to the "retreat from one's objective, abandon and effort" sense above, but how is it used? I searched Google Books for phrases like "punt from"+"goal" and "punt on"+"goal" and didn't see anything but uses of the sporting kick sense. - -sche (discuss) 09:18, 2 March 2019 (UTC)
We could try to explore the metaphorical source before trying to tease out meaning from citations. To punt in American football is to kick the ball to a receiver on the other team. One makes this choice almost always on the last of four downs in a series when the situation does not favor trying to win another set of four downs. Generally, one will have a subsequent chance to do better. One still has the objective of winning the game.
In its metaphorical use, punt is intransitive and informal. I usually interpret it as "to avoid committing oneself to a course of action with risk of failure, embarrassment, etc." DCDuring (talk) 17:19, 2 March 2019 (UTC)



I'm french and it's the first time I see aujourd'hui written like this. Unfortunately, the only reference is broken and so, I'm asking is there any other evidence this form exist?

Sorry for my poor level of english, ^^'. Lepticed7 (talk) 11:00, 2 March 2019 (UTC)

I have removed that reference because the term simply does not occur with this spelling in Le Trésor. Since aujourd'hui is a univerbation of au jour d'hui, the form aujour-d'hui has no right to exist, while au-jour-d'hui is a believable intermediate step. Looking for occurrences I found some cases where the term was hyphenated because it was broken across lines, but no genuine cases. This makes me think the entry should be deleted (and the mention of it at the etymology section of aujourd'hui removed), but the proper way to do that is through a request at Wiktionary:Requests for verification/Non-English – which is most easily done by adding a template {{rfv|fr}} at aujour-d'hui, publishing the change (or showing the preview), and clicking the (+) that you see in the yellow box.  --Lambiam 11:51, 2 March 2019 (UTC)

Korean War and Vietnam WarEdit

Why do we say Korean War but Vietnam War, not "Vietnamese War"? ---> Tooironic (talk) 13:40, 2 March 2019 (UTC)

Here is a very tentative theory: There is a default preference for the adjective, but if the adjective has more syllables than the (common) proper noun for the geographical entity where the war is or was fought, the noun form is used instead. Obviously, this theory needs more examples for testing it.  --Lambiam 15:35, 2 March 2019 (UTC)
Looking over w:List of wars: 1945–1989, w:List of wars: 1990–2002 and w:List of wars: 2003–present, that holds much of the time, including for explaining the Iraq War and various Congo Wars. But there are a few exceptions; there were also the "Indochina Wars" where "Indochinese" would've been as many syllables, like "Korean" vs "Korea". (There was also the "Kosovo War", but Kosovan is rare.)
Among war names that include two parties, the Iran–Iraq War is explained by the proposed tendency, but the "Cambodian–Vietnamese War" and "Sino-Vietnamese War" are longer than "Cambodia-Vietnam War" and "China-Vietnam War" and also discrepant with the "Vietnam War". However, it seems like two-party names may generally use adjectives regardless of length and it's instead "Iran-Iraq War" which is the exception(?).
Civil wars seem to have a much stronger preference for adjectives, e.g. the Paraguayan Civil War (even though "Paraguay" would be shorter), Nepalese Civil War, Chadian Civil War, Iraqi Civil War, etc. The only exceptions to the preference for adjectives that I spotted were the North and South Yemen Civil Wars (but the forms with "Yememni" are also attested, and contrast the currently-ongoing Yemeni Civil War!), the Sierra Leone Civil War, and Guinea-Bissau Civil War, but in all those cases the state's name is two words (and in the last case, the adjective Bissau-Guinean is so rare Ngrams doesn't even plot it).
- -sche (discuss) 20:40, 2 March 2019 (UTC)
Possibly relevant: "the war in Vietnam" sounds more natural to me than "the war in Korea". Perhaps the "Vietnam War" is influenced by or shortened from "the war in Vietnam". Of course, I have no clue why this difference exists. On the other hand, it's equally natural to say a soldier "served in Korea" as saying they "served in Vietnam". Chuck Entz (talk) 22:10, 3 March 2019 (UTC)
No lack of ghits, though, for “the war in Korea”.  --Lambiam 01:00, 4 March 2019 (UTC)

Whaddya "what are you"Edit

Doesn't whaddya also represents "what are you", as in Whaddya doing? --Backinstadiums (talk) 16:39, 2 March 2019 (UTC)

  Done Equinox 16:47, 2 March 2019 (UTC)


I just corrected a spelling mistake here, but its a bit unclear to me what "common innovation" is supposed to mean. That makes it sound like the word arose in Ancient Greek and Phrygian through w:parallel evolution. But I would have thought it more likely to be due to descent from a common ancestral language. SpinningSpark 16:55, 2 March 2019 (UTC)

This very commonality is one of the arguments for the hypothetical Graeco-Phrygian language as a common ancestor. I have no idea how generally accepted this is. There is an article with the title Phrygian & Greek that appeared in the journal Talanta; it can be downloaded here.  --Lambiam 18:20, 2 March 2019 (UTC)


Can't it'll be also pronounced as a homophone of ill? --Backinstadiums (talk) 17:21, 2 March 2019 (UTC)

I don't think so. Only if it's rapid slurred speech, not in a way that dictionaries would include. Equinox 17:26, 2 March 2019 (UTC)
Doesn't the word rhyme with little? According to the (US) pronunciations given, it doesn’t. As to the original question, even though lil' (as in Lil' Kim) is written the way it is, it is also not a perfect homophone of the (obsolete) verb lill: there is still a quick but noticeable flap between the vowel and the final consonant, as you can for example hear, quite pronounced actually, here. Same for it'll.  --Lambiam 17:57, 2 March 2019 (UTC)
Yeah, to all points above. It can be pronounced without the t, but it would usually still have a glottal stop or flap. I'm not sure whether it's the kind of thing we should include or not. We do include the pronunciation of something as /ˈsʌʔm̩/ (though not the pronunciation as /ˈsʌm(ʔ)n̩/) that I was about to invoke as a comparison...! - -sche (discuss) 18:30, 2 March 2019 (UTC)
It would pain me hugely if we had to include glottal stop for "t" in the pronunciation of every word that contains non-initial "t", which is what it would amount to. Mihia (talk) 00:45, 23 March 2019 (UTC)

pronunciaiton of dancingEdit

What is the pronunciation of dancing in Elvis's Jailhouse Rock or Daft Punk's One more time (minute 3:21 in the official video? I do not hear any /s/ --Backinstadiums (talk) 18:41, 2 March 2019 (UTC)

The Daft Punk lyrics are "celebrate and dance so free" (not "dancing"); they seem to have blended the two words together with a single /s/ sound in "danCE-SO": it's hard to tell exactly because of the robotic voice processing. Regarding Elvis: you can hear it here at 0'25 [1] and I agree, he has a strange pronunciation (of many words, not just that one). Equinox 18:48, 2 March 2019 (UTC)
@Equinox: Elvis's "let's rock" sounds without /s/ and with a flap, for example. --Backinstadiums (talk) 19:07, 2 March 2019 (UTC)

every otherEdit

shouldn't the first meaning of every other show the label "Used other than with a figurative or idiomatic meaning"? --Backinstadiums (talk) 19:09, 2 March 2019 (UTC)

I think so. DCDuring (talk) 22:30, 2 March 2019 (UTC)

Pronunciation of 小雨 in JapaneseEdit

The entry gives pitch accent info and IP for "harusame", but then the Romaji is "kosame" in the next subsection. I'm pretty sure "harusame" is an intruder from the comparandum 春雨 given for the etymology, but I don't know what the pitch accent is like, so can someone fix this? MGorrone (talk) 22:12, 2 March 2019 (UTC)

fixed ✅ —Suzukaze-c 01:15, 3 March 2019 (UTC)

Note on sizeEdit

I feel like the entry for size should offer some remarks about some of its appositional usages, such as in the sentences it's the size of a brick; what size shirt/shoes do you take? Maybe also for words such as shape, color, age (I have a daughter your age), etc.

According to Quirk (1985:1293) "Some noun phrases of measure, denoting size, age, etc, can also be postposed : A man the size of a giant came up to me. Somebody her age shouldn't do such exercises".

--Backinstadiums (talk) 00:40, 3 March 2019 (UTC)

It isn't mere postposing that's involved. There are conventional constructions probably derived from ellipsis (omitted prepostions?) There are also many other words that used in this kind of apposition: style, cut, model, design, length, width, height, texture, finish, grade, grain, pH, brightness, saturation, weight, ply, fabric, fineness, carat, density, opacity. The number suggests that this is more a grammar matter than a lexical one. DCDuring (talk) 04:22, 3 March 2019 (UTC)
@DCDuring: Thanks. References? where did you find that list of words? --Backinstadiums (talk) 09:39, 3 March 2019 (UTC)
In my native-speaker brain. Note the strings of association + random restarts. DCDuring (talk) 12:51, 3 March 2019 (UTC)
It's interesting to explore the semantic limits of this kind of construction: *"What veracity politician/salesman would you [vote for/buy from]?" ?"What hardness steel do you need for that?" !"What capacity laundry dryer do you want?" DCDuring (talk) 12:56, 3 March 2019 (UTC)

They're "plain NP minor determiners" in Cambridge Grammar of the English Language , page 355 --Backinstadiums (talk) 13:14, 3 March 2019 (UTC)

Cambridge University Press, Huddleston, and Pullum thank you for acknowledging that it is a matter of grammar. Me too. But they don't mean the word class, do they? They mean they serve a determinative function, like the possessive of a proper noun (or a common one). DCDuring (talk) 15:04, 3 March 2019 (UTC)
@DCDuring: Does it work with the plurals, e.g. two cars the colors she wanted are available --Backinstadiums (talk) 15:57, 3 March 2019 (UTC)
I think so, but not as well, to my ear. I'd probably say ?"Two cars in/with the colors she wanted are available." I certainly wouldn't say: *"What colors cars does she want?". Rather: !"What colors does she want for her cars?" DCDuring (talk) 17:41, 3 March 2019 (UTC)
The problem with "what colors cars" wording seems to be the way English avoids inflecting modifiers: "what color cars" works, regardless of whether the cars are assumed to be the same or multiple colors. Chuck Entz (talk) 22:17, 3 March 2019 (UTC)
This says a little bit about this, although probably not much that helps us. (The words they list are size, color, length, weight, age, pattern, style.) They do say "with a wh-word the two nouns may disagree in number. That the verbal agreement goes with the second noun further supports the hypothesis that the latter is the head. [as in:] What size dresses *is/are left? What length skirts *is/are in fashion?". - -sche (discuss) 22:30, 3 March 2019 (UTC)

@-sche: Updated paper here --Backinstadiums (talk) 15:43, 4 March 2019 (UTC)

Plural of the measure unit footEdit

The usage note in foot could be more clarifying, with examples of itw own; furthermore, the reference to the "OE genitive plural" is not clarifying either --Backinstadiums (talk) 13:11, 3 March 2019 (UTC)

My first reaction was that referencing the OE genitive plural should show the genitive plural form. However, the deeper problems are that:
  1. The usage note may merit an etymology section of its own.
  2. We are verging on an issue of general English grammar.

--RichardW57 (talk) 13:11, 30 March 2019 (UTC)

everyone /ˈɛvɹʷən/Edit

I keep hearing this disyllabic pronunciation everyone /ˈɛvɹʷən/, and would add it becuase of the high frequency of use of this word --Backinstadiums (talk) 15:44, 3 March 2019 (UTC)

Are you certain there's a clear /v/ being enounced ?...I very commonly hear /ˈɛɹ(i)ʷən/ or /ˈɝːʷən/ used, especially among AAVE speakers. If so, your example is different and one I may not have heard yet. Leasnam (talk) 06:57, 4 March 2019 (UTC)

possessive with worthEdit

I think it deserves a note; according to Garner Modern English Grammar "The idiomatic possessive should be used with periods of time and statements of worth —30 days’ notice (i.e., notice of 30 days), three days’ time, 20 dollars’ worth, and several years’ experience. Yet, six months pregnant vs six months’ time: the main word (e.g., time) is a noun, whereas pregnant is an adjective. Further, the sense is different: “six months of time” (idiomatic possessive) vs. “pregnant for six months” (no possessive at all). "

However, in the Oxford Study Genie PLus, there appear the following examples: £1 million worth of jewellery; 200 euros worth of books--Backinstadiums (talk) 17:53, 3 March 2019 (UTC)

"£1 million" is pronounced "one million pounds", so it's hard to place an apostrophe in that example, because "£1 million's worth" could no longer really be spoken as "pounds' worth" (IMO). The euro example in my opinion is an error and needs an apostrophe. Equinox 18:05, 3 March 2019 (UTC)
You would have to be careful where you put it though: 200 euros' worth. DonnanZ (talk) 18:23, 3 March 2019 (UTC)
@Donnanz, Equinox: What about coordinated nominals? I've just come across This is two Christmases and a birthday worth of presents --Backinstadiums (talk) 02:29, 8 March 2019 (UTC)
An odd one, I would hyphenate only birthday I think - birthday's worth. DonnanZ (talk) 09:25, 8 March 2019 (UTC)
Yes, it is unusual. If I were going to hyphenate either, I would hyphenate both, to be consistent: "two Christmases' and a birthday's". On its own "a birthday worth" (with no possessive) sounds strange to me. Equinox 02:12, 10 March 2019 (UTC)

You do that!Edit

I think the idiomatic meaning of You do that!, namely you had better do that! deserves its own entry --Backinstadiums (talk) 01:22, 4 March 2019 (UTC)

I disagree: in one sense (a warning) it's like "you stop that right now!", "you get it on my desk by Monday!"; in the other ("feel free") it's like "you go right ahead!", "you do what you want!". It's not just this one phrase that can have the emphatic "you" at the beginning. Equinox 01:58, 4 March 2019 (UTC)

introduce /ɪɾ̃ərˈduːs/Edit

Does the pronunciation of introduce as /ɪɾ̃ərˈduːs/ reflect the metathesis of the word it derives from, interduce? --Backinstadiums (talk) 02:27, 4 March 2019 (UTC)

Probably not. It looks more like like the reduction of the second vowel, leaving what passes in American English for a syllabic r: ɚ/ər Chuck Entz (talk) 02:51, 4 March 2019 (UTC)

every with cardinal numbersEdit

The second sense of every only mentions ordinal numbers; is there a specific reason for it? --Backinstadiums (talk) 16:56, 4 March 2019 (UTC)

Entry probably prepared in haste, without recourse to either modern dictionaries or an adequate sample of actual citations, but with supreme confidence. Not every dictionary gets it right IMO, but Oxford US has:
Used before an amount to indicate something happening at specified intervals.'
‘tours are every thirty minutes’
‘they had every third week off’
Note that "intervals" don't have to be equal, as the Oxford usexes imply:
'Every few hurricanes we have to evacuate.'
DCDuring (talk) 17:06, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
@DCDuring: Does every {second/other - third} day mean the same as every {two - three} days, respectively? Is ago the antonym of this meaning of every? --Backinstadiums (talk) 10:59, 5 March 2019 (UTC)
I can't think of a examples where there is a difference in meaning.
Ago is not an antonym, because it does not have any implication of seriality. DCDuring (talk) 14:49, 5 March 2019 (UTC)


Owing to their special grammatical order, does sinage such as "road closed/flooded" or "road closed to thru traffic" deserve an entry of its own? --Backinstadiums (talk) 17:54, 4 March 2019 (UTC)

The grammar of signage is shared with headlines of articles in newspapers and their descendants. DCDuring (talk) 18:04, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
And many other phrases that omit "is", e.g. "game over" and "case closed". Equinox 18:52, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
That's my point: the properties of being sinage is the main reason reinforced by the postnominal modification, not the other way round, so I'd add them --Backinstadiums (talk) 19:21, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
It's just some particular somewhat context-dependent grammar, not something lexical. Unusual, archaic, or obsolete grammar in a multi-word expression may warrant it's inclusion, not grammar that is current and common, even if limited to a specific context. In the case of signage and headlines, the semantics are almost always transparent. The biggest communication problem that arises is that they are prone to ambiguity, sometimes hilariously so, eg, "Teacher Strikes Idle Kids", "Pentagon Plans Swell Deficit", "Kids Make Nutritious Snacks", "British Left Waffles on Falkland Islands", "Drunk Gets Nine Months in Violin Case", "One-armed Man Applauds the Kindness of Strangers", "Miners Refuse to Work After Death", "Squad Help Dog Bite Victim". There is a literature about this. DCDuring (talk) 21:30, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
You're not seriously suggesting we should have entries for thousands of signage phrases like "road closed to thru traffic"? Equinox 21:12, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
Are there thousands of these that are attested? bd2412 T 21:16, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
Are you suggesting that they need to be found in running printed text, when their essence is that they are not running printed text? Would Wikicommons be a durable archive? DCDuring (talk) 21:35, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
I'm thinking that any combination worth having as an entry would appear in a book or magazine. See, e.g., Perkins-Manistique 138 KV Transmission Line Draft Environmental Impact Statement, Volume II - Appendices (1998), p. B-15: "If the road must remain open for residential access, then a Road Closed to Thru Traffic sign would be used at the barricade location". bd2412 T 01:40, 5 March 2019 (UTC)
That seems mentiony. DCDuring (talk) 02:49, 5 March 2019 (UTC)
Still better than using pictures of signs as evidence of the use of the text of signs as "a word". bd2412 T 05:08, 5 March 2019 (UTC)
I agree with DCDuring. These are SOP; the grammar is common and indeed open-ended: not just "road closed", "tunnel closed", "railway closed", "tracks closed", "path closed", "planetarium closed", "building flooded", etc, etc, but if tomorrow someone builds a hyperloop or foobarium and then it needs to be shut for repair, one will see the headlines "hyperloop closed", "foodbarium closed". - -sche (discuss) 01:22, 5 March 2019 (UTC)

I can find on google books several references such as "the sign/notice read 'road closed'", but not "...read building/tunnel closed" etc. --Backinstadiums (talk) 10:27, 5 March 2019 (UTC)

From Google News (used because it offers easily searchable headlines—I'm not claiming these news sites are durably archived, but that the same phrases can surely be attested in printed papers' headlines, too): "tunnel closed", "bridge-tunnel closed", "tunnel closed", "tunnel partially closed" (the whole phrase shows other examples of journalese); "I-70 closed", "I-70 shut down", and then "I-70 reopened"; "DLR and roads closed", "road closed after woman seriously injured"; "church destroyed" (by fire), "church, homes destroyed" (after/by tornado), "church closed to public", "Our Lady of the Holy Rosary closed needing $10 million in repairs"; "explosive devices found"; "Soft Brexit could be result if May deal rejected again, says chief whip" ...
For "game over" and "case closed", there's idiomaticity in that they are often used when there was no game being played or case being tried. With "(road|street|lane|I-70|tunnel|tunnel-bridge|church|Our Lady of the Holy Rosary) (closed|shut down|opened|reopened)" etc, that's not the case. - -sche (discuss) 05:51, 6 March 2019 (UTC)

@-sche: thanks for the info, but I cannot see the pertinence of if; what is exactly your point? --Backinstadiums (talk) 11:56, 6 March 2019 (UTC)

You asked if the "special grammatical order" of phrases like "road closed/flooded" or "road closed to thru traffic" on signs meant that they deserved entries. I pointed out that the "special grammatical order" is found in a vast, open-ended set of phrases. Other signs have entire paragraphs. "Road closed" is as NISOP a phrase for a sign to have as "tunnel closed" (which does appear on signs, btw, see photos), "turn on headlights" (photos), "Builder 1st school", "During WW II, Mantell assigned to 440th Troop Carrier Group", etc. - -sche (discuss) 02:19, 7 March 2019 (UTC)

Obligate non-scriptio continua in a Mandarin Chinese exampleEdit

Most of the time, we assume that Mandarin Chinese is an unspaced scriptio continua. But there is a political slogan in Mainland China that includes an obligate space between the two halves of the six character phrase, and it appears in the original text of an example that I am adding (and elsewhere- not idiosyncratic or a typo). Is there a way to add a space between the actual characters (not just a space in the pinyin) in a zh-x? Here's the page with the example: 四十埠 (Sìshíbù). --Geographyinitiative (talk) 20:45, 4 March 2019 (UTC)

(I didn't mean to post this here- I accidentally made three posts- one here, one on the Talk of zh-x, and one in the grease pit.)--Geographyinitiative (talk) 21:22, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
  Done using HTML entities. —Suzukaze-c 01:21, 5 March 2019 (UTC)

wish, nounEdit

Should some senses be merged? We have "1. a desire, hope, or longing for something or for something to happen; 2. an expression of such a desire, often connected with ideas of magic and supernatural power; 3. the thing desired or longed for." It seems to me that "three wishes granted by a genie", "my dearest wish", etc. could go under several of these. Equinox 21:11, 4 March 2019 (UTC)

Those three definitions are exactly the ones in Century 1911. For the first two, one can certainly have an unexpressed wish or an insincere expression. If a wish is denied, what is denied is neither the inner desire, nor the expression, but rather "the thing desired of longed for". DCDuring (talk) 21:50, 4 March 2019 (UTC)

sitting down as adverbEdit

In "I pee sitting down", is sitting down an adverb? --Backinstadiums (talk) 00:21, 5 March 2019 (UTC)

This doesn't answer your question, but one can also pee (or shoot, die, etc) sitting, standing, standing up, google books:"shoot kneeling down", google books:"shoot lying down", "pee crouching" / "shoot crouching", etc, and for that matter "die fighting", "die screaming", "die running", "hit your head falling down", etc. - -sche (discuss) 01:15, 5 March 2019 (UTC)
Are you asking whether we need to have an adverb PoS section for it? Is there any other action that you think we perhaps should take? DCDuring (talk) 02:39, 5 March 2019 (UTC)
In the phrase "I laugh rolling my eyes" rolling my eyes doesn't describe how I laugh. I could laugh loudly (while) rolling my eyes, or softly, or mockingly...so I am not sure sitting down directly describes how one pees, but rather it describes the condition one is in while performing such an action. Contrast to "Sitting down, I pee" and "Being seated, I pee." Leasnam (talk) 03:11, 5 March 2019 (UTC)

Unlike many others, both sitting and standing are already added as adjectives, which made me thought the next step up as adverbs was easier for them --Backinstadiums (talk) 10:13, 5 March 2019 (UTC)

It is indeed a grey area...most(?) adjectives can be pressed into adverbial positions, and it's hard to tell when it's become lexicalized (the way e.g. real#Adverb has). But with these, building on Leasnam's point, I think it may make more sense to view them as "pee [while] standing[adj. or v.]". (As an aside, standingly seems to be attestable, at least with a meaning like "not transitorily"...) - -sche (discuss) 06:14, 6 March 2019 (UTC)

day before yesterdayEdit

Shouldn't day before yesterday and the like add the definite article the --Backinstadiums (talk) 10:45, 5 March 2019 (UTC)


Verb sense 2:

(ergative) To perform in (a sport); to participate in (a game).

I thought an "ergative" verb was a verb where the transitive object could become the intransitive subject, e.g. "I boiled the water", "The water boiled". You can play football, or cricket, but football or cricket can't themselves "play", can they? How is this sense ergative, or am I missing something? Mihia (talk) 14:53, 5 March 2019 (UTC)

It looks like a mistake to me.
Also, I don't think the ergative label is appropriate for an audience that includes the general public. DCDuring (talk) 15:27, 5 March 2019 (UTC)
Possibly it a misunderstanding that "ergative" merely means "transitive or intransitive" (examples of both of which are given). Anyway, I will change it to that. If anyone knows better please make any necessary further changes. Mihia (talk) 17:32, 5 March 2019 (UTC)

thoraces /θɔːˈreɪsiːz/Edit

The Longman Dictionary of Pronunciation, among others, offers /θɔːˈreɪsiːz/ as a second pronunciation, remarkable for the stress shift accompanied by the strong vowel /ei/, and the orthographic change of -x /ks/ into -ces /siːz/. Written syllabification : tho·ra·ces. I find such info quite valuable --Backinstadiums (talk) 18:55, 5 March 2019 (UTC)

You pushed me in front of a carEdit

Does its entry contain the movement meaning of the preposition in the sentence You pushed me in front of a car? --Backinstadiums (talk) 01:14, 6 March 2019 (UTC)

Yes, just as its synonym before. DCDuring (talk) 01:54, 6 March 2019 (UTC)
The sentence could mean "I was in front of a (parked, stationary) car and you pushed me" but context would usually rule that out. Same goes for any preposition, really, e.g. "I was taken behind the nightclub" might mean you were dragged there by the bouncers (movement), or just that you were there when you had sex (location). Puts me in mind of the old joke: "I once shot an elephant in my pyjamas; how he got into my pyjamas I'll never know." Equinox 02:31, 6 March 2019 (UTC)
(A joke often attributed to Groucho Marx but actually from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.  --Lambiam 23:32, 6 March 2019 (UTC))
This YouTube excerpt from his TV show dates to 1954. But the original version (with I don't instead of I'll never is from Animal Crackers (1930). Doesn't that antedate Chitty Chitty Bang Bang? DCDuring (talk) 03:49, 7 March 2019 (UTC)

escort agencyEdit

Regarding that, uh... first definition:

1. A company that provides customers with companions for a fee.

... ... ...


If I were to, err, take this at face value, I would picture some hypothetical modern-day version of an RPG guildhall or something like that. But that seems pretty ridiculous, for the obvious reason that (unless I have been missing something quite big here) people don't usually go to dedicated institutions to recruit/generate "party members", since, well... people aren't really going on fantasy-esque quests nowadays (again, at least last that I checked). Furthermore, I highly doubt that LARP is popular enough to warrant actual RPG-style guildhalls.

The only other way that I could interpret definition one literally is if I were to take it to be referring to some kind of "friend recruitment centre". That seems slightly less preposterous of a concept, I guess, but the problem with that is that I don't think that I could see the term escort agency used for something like that.

So, I'm going to, err, assume that that definition is not meant to be taken to mean what it actually says. If that is indeed the case, then I daresay that that is probably the most euphemistic definition of a term that I have ever seen on Wiktionary. I'm serious: why on Earth would we give this as a definition? We don't mince words when we talk about most other subjects, so... why is this vaguery the first thing that one sees when one comes to the entry?

Also, if this is indeed more or less an extended euphemism (an extension of the euphemistic meaning of the term escort), then how is definition one distinct from definition two? Is it that definition one implies a virtual version of definition two, or something like that? But, wait... doesn't that contradict definition seven of escort?

...I'm utterly bewildered.

Would someone please help to clear this up? Thanks!

...I just can't stop cracking up at the idea of an actual RPG-style guildhall (especially in modern times)!

Tharthan (talk) 06:43, 6 March 2019 (UTC)

I'm more bothered by the second definition ("brothel"). I thought that these businesses did not have premises at which sexual services were performed. I thought that the businesses have this structure to evade criminal charges and shutdown.
As to the first definition, as with many of our more gigglesome entries, euphemism is at work. The headword is itself euphemistic in its intent and the definition usually uses words that are euphemistic in their use in the definition, eg, companion. What makes the terms escort service and escort agency so successful is that there is nothing inherent in the arrangement that leaves evidence that sexual services are being performed. What's more, there is even the prospect that, in any one instance, no sexual services are being performed. Another definitional difficulty is that we feel compelled to avoid gender-role stereotypes, though the typical escort service/agency relies on expectations built on such stereotypes.
The simple addition of the phrase ", usually for sexual services" that the WP article includes in the lede from which this definition was taken, would be substantially address the concerns stated above.
I have also RfVed the second definition. DCDuring (talk) 08:46, 6 March 2019 (UTC)
Right. The other thing is that definition seven of escort explicitly contains the words "who does not operate in a brothel". So if an escort agency is a brothel, then how can it possibly be an "agency" of "escorts"?
companion is not given a euphemistic definition of "hired prostitute" in its entry here, though. Definition two of companion, "(dated) a person employed to accompany or travel with another." (my emphasis) could potentially fit for the sense used in definition one of escort agency, but I really don't think that that "accompany" is referring to "following someone around for show", and I definitely don't think that it is referring to "temporarily joining for sexual escapades". I really think that it would, instead, be far more applicable to, say, Bilbo and the dwarves/Frodo and co. This seems somewhat supported by the fact that it has a "(dated)" tag.
Thanks for doing that. I'll try to keep my eye on the RfV. Tharthan (talk) 09:56, 6 March 2019 (UTC)
(Copied over from the RfV, per request by DCDuring)
@Lambiam Wait... I don't get it. "in places where prostitution is illegal ... a prostitution ring may operate under the guise of ‘escort agency’".
So... are "escorts" not prostitutes? I understand that sometimes people may pay someone for a time to pretend to be their girlfriend for show or something like that, but aren't "escorts" (or "call girls") essentially just prostitutes that do not work at brothels? Tharthan (talk) 17:28, 6 March 2019 (UTC)
Both prostitute and escort are roles, not complete human identities. Presumably at the time a person is being presented by the agency/service to a client, that person is in the escort role. It is only subsequently that the person may exchange sexual services for money. The notion is that the subsequent transaction does not involve the agency/service. I don't see why this is seems so unbelievable to you. DCDuring (talk) 23:00, 6 March 2019 (UTC)
Also, the management of a prostitution ring often operates like a bunch of pimps, strictly controlling the “girls” in abusive ways, not shunning violence. In an escort agency, the women generally have much more freedom, in particular the freedom to say goodbye to the agency. Think of them as freelancers. They also get to keep whatever gifts a client bestows upon them, which is not at all the case for sex workers run by pimps.  --Lambiam 23:16, 6 March 2019 (UTC)
@DCDuring I think that I see what you mean now. You are saying—I think—that, essentially, the "escort" role is more or less an intermediary one. The reason why I was confused was that I was thinking that the situation with prostitute and definition seven of escort pretty much mirrors how, for instance, not every cook is a chef (per the usual meanings found in our entry for usages one and two), but (on the other hand) every chef is a cook. I was aware that not every instance of someone hiring a call girl/callboy(? [our definition of that word doesn't mention the telephone part, so I'm just assuming here]) is necessarily going to result in sexual activity, but a. I have never heard of there being any common practice that allows someone that engages in this particular line of work to "opt out" of actual sexual activity when they choose to enter it. I suppose that if it were some small, private operation (or, perhaps, some "high-end" operation), then I could see them potentially being able to do that, but other than that, wouldn't they seriously risk losing money if they were to broadly allow for that? I don't know. I know next to nothing about this subject, so please feel free to correct me if I am mistaken or incorrect on this, and b. given that the term escort agency may be sometimes potentially used euphemistically (as came up in the RfV), to the point where we currently have "brothel" as a secondary meaning of that term, there seems to be a popular perception that the difference between the two words (prostitute and definition seven of escort) is largely a distinction which makes little difference.
It's not that I found it unbelievable, but rather that I wasn't aware of how the whole concept worked in practice. It seemed as if someone were essentially saying the equivalent of "sometimes a supermarket is used as a front for a shop". It seemed bizarre to me for that reason.
@Lambiam Well, to be honest, I wasn't really aware of what prostitution ring entailed here when you mentioned it. I suppose that I guessed something along the lines of a secretive prostitution-providing something or another that (for whatever reason) was of particular interest to the authorities. Now that you described it, I realised that I ought to have thought of it as comparable to the more common term "drug ring" (which is, of course, a similar concept, except that it doesn't generally involve the trafficking of human beings, but, rather, the trafficking of [inanimate] drugs). I am embarrassed to admit that the first thing that came to mind when I saw ring used in that sense was webring, honestly, hence why I didn't quite get what you meant exactly when you said prostitution ring. Also, if I were to think of it as essentially freelancing in that line of work, that would still not resolve the primary concern that I had, because (for instance), a freelance writer is still a writer. But DCDuring cleared that up already, so no problem there. Tharthan (talk) 01:53, 7 March 2019 (UTC)
This really a simple business situation in which each of he three types of participants has some freedom of action, some incentives to engage in transactions, and a reputation to protect. But if we were talking about the relations between, say, MacDonalds and its franchisees it wouldn't have been as motivating. DCDuring (talk) 03:29, 7 March 2019 (UTC)


The respective cognate forms in several languages are given as translations for the sense "public hall for concerts and lectures". In most or all languages besides English, the word means a kind of secondary school or college, and I suspect that a lot of them don't have the mentioned sense at all. I've corrected the German translation, but I don't feel bold enough to delete all the others, because maybe the sense does exist. Please have a look. Thank you.

I’ve removed the French, Spanish and Portuguese because they were certainly out of place. Better to have no translation than an incorrect one. I suspect several more are incorrect. What is missing is a translation section for the school sense.  --Lambiam 13:21, 6 March 2019 (UTC)
Whenever there's a doubt about a translation in a language you don't know, you should replace {{t}} with {{t-check}}. Chuck Entz (talk) 14:34, 6 March 2019 (UTC)


According to the Longman Pronunciaiton Dictionary, the pronunciation with two syllables, sim.pler, originally a result of a compression, has become the only standard possibility, so this info should be added. Any other similar phenomena apart from every etc. which is not shown in their spelling? (unlike angry, disastrous, remembrance). --Backinstadiums (talk) 17:52, 6 March 2019 (UTC)

Added, though I've also heard the three-syllable version, and Merriam-Webster also has it (including in their audio). (Sampler has the same variation, but apparently not -ambler words?) - -sche (discuss) 05:05, 7 March 2019 (UTC)

Audio clip at 사람Edit

At 사람, the Pronunciation sounds as if it is /ˈtɑ.rɑm/...can someone please check this ? Thanks Leasnam (talk) 06:22, 7 March 2019 (UTC)

It is 사람 but that’s true that it is not very clear. — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 13:36, 3 April 2019 (UTC)


Hi, first time here, not sure about protocol but I think I've got it right.

For the word frog, 3rd etymology, "a leather or fabric loop used to attach a sword or bayonet, or its scabbard, to a waist or shoulder belt."

Could the etymology be linked to the French fourreau? In HEMA and LARP communities the French equivalent for frog is generally porte-épée/hâche, "sword/axe-holder", but a lot of people just say fourreau, "scabbard". So I guess generally speaking, "frog" and "fourreau" refer to the same "group" of objects.

Could be a coincidence, but it might not be. Any thoughts? --Caddwen (talk) 13:23, 7 March 2019 (UTC)

My money is on it being a coincidence. It would help if we knew which sense for etymology 3 is earlier (loop to attach a weapon or scabbard, versus ornate fastener), assuming that they indeed have a shared etymon. If the fastener sense is earlier, this will sink the French link. BTW, the quote from The Count of Monte Christo for the fastener sense has brandebourg in the original French.  --Lambiam 22:50, 8 March 2019 (UTC)

Adverbial previo + nounEdit

In sentences such as "Tales mercancías pueden venderse (previo pago del impuesto de venta) o utilizarse de otra forma", isn't the phrase "previo pago" functioning as an adverb? --Backinstadiums (talk) 19:44, 7 March 2019 (UTC)

Yes, in English the phrase is against payment (which would be an adverb in this sentence), as in documents against payment (def). Ultimateria (talk) 04:48, 8 March 2019 (UTC)


luh seems predominant for the non standard pronunciation of (only the verb?) love --Backinstadiums (talk) 20:09, 7 March 2019 (UTC)


After reading this piece that I happened to come across whilst I was reading another piece, I am questioning whether the use of so-called always implies that something is "wrongly called" what it is called (which is what definition one in our entry claims).

See the sixth paragraph (loosely using the term here. I'm referring to the sixth, individual, broken-off section of the piece). I don't want to put a quotation here, because I am not sure what our rules on that subject are, nor am I aware of what Bloomberg expects either. I don't often quote published pieces (even opinion pieces) from respected outlets in situations where I could be liable if I were to do so improperly (except, perhaps, in a university setting. I have some experience doing that, but even then I am not the best at it).

If one is unable to access the piece for some reason, please let me know how to properly make reference to the part in question that I am referring to, and I will gladly do so.

...Anyway, I obviously can't read the mind of the writer of the piece, but the way that he uses "so-called" seems more to me to be saying "commonly called by some, although the value of that is questionable", rather than saying "incorrectly called".

If I have set up this whole thing in a completely incorrect manner, or if there is some other problem, please correct me/explain to me what I ought to have done. Tharthan (talk) 22:59, 7 March 2019 (UTC)

We are protected by the "fair use" exception, if copyright is your concern. The same applies to our attestation citations from in-copyright works.
I think the use of so-called is similar to the use of of scare quotes. The writer is presenting the expression perhaps one s/he wouldn't use. DCDuring (talk) 00:17, 8 March 2019 (UTC)
FWIW I too have encountered "so-called" used the way DCDuring describes, to introduce a term the author isn't using in their own voice, but which is not necessarily wrong. For example, I can find books saying "so called Mary Jane, marry-wanna, is a plant" and talking about "so-called fag hag(s)", and a Chicago Tribune article mentioning "so-called crack houses, where the drug is sold and used", where it's not clear to me on what basis the descriptions could be considered wrong—the "so-called" seems to only be a way of introducing what it is called in some register other than the author's. Other dictionaries distinguish these as two different senses ("wrongly called" vs "called"), which seems to be the way to go, and indeed, the way we've already gone... we just need to remove the "mathematics" label from def 2. - -sche (discuss) 01:00, 8 March 2019 (UTC)


Discussion moved from Wiktionary:Requests for verification/Non-English.

@Justinrleung Is this a phrase? It's in the Xinhua dictionary, but both my friend and I dispute its existence, having never encountered this word before. There is also currently no article for it. Does it exist? Johnny Shiz (talk) 22:45, 7 March 2019 (UTC)

@Johnny Shiz: First of all, if an entry is not created yet, this kind of discussion should probably go to WT:Tea Room. Second, I will reiterate that Xinhua Zidian is a character dictionary, and as such, examples are examples and do not necessarily mean we should create an entry for it. As for whether this particular sequence of characters should be included as an entry, I'm unsure as well as I'm not familiar with this. It seems to be includable and might mean "blotting" (based on a quick Google search), but don't quote me on this (and don't create an entry for it unless you're sure what you're doing. — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 00:48, 8 March 2019 (UTC)

hundred meaning "hundred hours" in military timeEdit

According to the wikipedia page on hour: Hours on a 24-hour clock ("military time") are expressed as "hundred (hours)"(1000 is read "ten hundred (hours)"; 10 pm would be "twenty-two hundred"). Should that meaning be included? --Backinstadiums (talk) 13:16, 8 March 2019 (UTC)

If it can be attested through actual uses. Mentions in conversion charts for “military time” and such don’t count.  --Lambiam 21:04, 8 March 2019 (UTC)
I'm not sure how the definition should be worded, but it's well-attested: Citations:hundred#time. - -sche (discuss) 06:47, 9 March 2019 (UTC)
The “oh” in “oh ten hundred” is weird. In “oh nine hundred” it is the pronunciation of the digit “0” in “09 hundred”.[2] As to the definition, I’ve given it a try.  --Lambiam 20:14, 9 March 2019 (UTC)
Yeah, I was confused by that, too. Maybe it's an error by people who don't know the lingo, or maybe militaries sometimes use it to more unambiguously indicate that the string is a time. Incidentally, I can also find things like "oh three hundred thirty" for 03:30 (Citations:hundred#oh_three_hundred_thirty), where defining it as "00" doesn't seem to work. On one hand, maybe (probably?) those instances are by people who don't understand how military time is actually told; on the other hand, if it's a common enough "error" (i.e., use of hundred), it should still be covered somehow (if it is indeed nonstandard, then perhaps in another sense; alternatively, perhaps just a usage note). - -sche (discuss) 20:47, 9 March 2019 (UTC)
I'd go for a general usage note suggesting that not all authors have experience with military or aviation time and not all users will be highly disciplined in using the system, so plausible alternatives to the official standard can be found. DCDuring (talk) 23:25, 9 March 2019 (UTC)

cancel on somebodyEdit

Is it idiomatic (enough) to deserve an entry? --Backinstadiums (talk) 17:26, 8 March 2019 (UTC)

At first I was worried you meant "cancel sombebody" (via supposed "cancel culture"). 😆
Assuming you're talking about e.g. "we were supposed to meet for lunch but he cancelled on me", I think it might be a relatively advanced bit of grammar(?) from a language-learning perspective, but still probably SOP (something to cover in on): compare "change(d) plans on", "switch(ed) things up on", "spring a surprise on". - -sche (discuss) 20:58, 9 March 2019 (UTC)
See also give up on someone, walk out on someone (we include on in the title here; it might actually be SOP). Cf. “on” in Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, Longman., last (30th) sense. Per utramque cavernam 21:15, 9 March 2019 (UTC)
I think the new "spring a surprise" is quite probably SOP, btw, with sense 3 of spring ("produce or disclose unexpectedly", which may need some wordsmithing). Besides "springing surprises on" people, one can "spring an announcement on" somebody, "spring a proposal on" somebody, "spring a wedding on" somebody, ... google books:"spring a new car on" (i.e. unexpectedly produce a new car—potentially as a gift, or in the cite at Google Books, as one's own surprise advantage in a race), ... and, replacing the other word, one can google books:"drop a surprise on", "pop a surprise on", etc. - -sche (discuss) 21:33, 9 March 2019 (UTC)
All right, redirected. Per utramque cavernam 21:36, 9 March 2019 (UTC)


Can someone please expand rewrite the first two senses to include intransitivity (or add it as another sense)? Ultimateria (talk) 17:46, 8 March 2019 (UTC)

Here is an intransitive use for sense 1: We walked into the garage, and there were boxes marked Christmas shit. We hauled the boxes into the living room and began to decorate the tree. We had little white twinkling lights, bulbs, and tinsel. The whole time we were decorating, we were sipping champagne and hitting on a joint. Would it do to label sense 1 as “ambitransitive” (just like e.g. the verb eat)? If not, do you have something else in mind? It seems to me that intransitive sense 3 is likewise the use of transitive sense 2 without a specified object, so IMO these two should also be combined with an “ambitransitive” label.  --Lambiam 21:18, 8 March 2019 (UTC)
That would be lovely if out target audience was limited to folks who took a sufficiently advanced grammar course that included those terms and who remembered what they were taught. Like plurale tantum and ergative, ambitransitive makes a lovely entry, but a poor label. DCDuring (talk) 21:44, 8 March 2019 (UTC)
The magic of {{label}} transforms {{lb|en|ambitransitive}} into (transitive, intransitive).  --Lambiam 23:42, 8 March 2019 (UTC)
One less thing for me to whine about, provided I remember. DCDuring (talk) 03:15, 9 March 2019 (UTC)

IWD Initialism of International Women's DayEdit

Is there a reason for which only the initialism of the International Women's Day has an entry? --Backinstadiums (talk) 18:24, 8 March 2019 (UTC)

Because people like to create (and have created in the thousands) initialism entries for pages that would not be acceptable entries in full. DTLHS (talk) 18:26, 8 March 2019 (UTC)
By what rule would International Women's Day not be acceptable? (Note that we have an entry International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Argh!)  --Lambiam 20:59, 8 March 2019 (UTC)
I don't know. It probably would be acceptable. Never mind. DTLHS (talk) 21:01, 8 March 2019 (UTC)
Meh. Holiday names like that (see also: National Teacher Appreciation Week, which Equinox pointed out a while ago) seem numerous, fairly transparent (the first one is an international day to celebrate women, the second a week to appreciate teachers), and thus low-value, but I also don't feel like RFDing them. (Single-word holiday names like Halloween and Hanukkah seem more idiomatic.) In some ways (but not in others) they are similar to book titles; they denote specific things (you can't necessarily predict what day they occur on just from the name); maybe they are similar to laws or court cases, e.g. "SB5"/"Senate Bill 5" or "Re Alex" denotes a particular thing, but is it lexical, something for a dictionary to cover? Probably we should try to hammer out a guideline... - -sche (discuss) 21:16, 9 March 2019 (UTC)


Usage note says: "In techy slang the term has predominantly positive connotations." There is no mention of this techy slang in the actual definitions. Can anyone confirm? (I've heard of a powerful computer being called a "beast", but never "beastly".) Equinox 23:47, 8 March 2019 (UTC)

[3], [4], [5].  --Lambiam 03:57, 9 March 2019 (UTC)

know somebody forEdit

Does Know somebody for deserve an entry of its own, as in she knew him for a liar and a cheat? --Backinstadiums (talk) 02:06, 9 March 2019 (UTC)

If so, that wouldn't be the best entry title, since "a" needn't be there (e.g. "I knew him for London's biggest liar"). Equinox 02:07, 9 March 2019 (UTC)
@Equinox: Regarding your "if so," I am not a native speaker, so I hope some editor can help here --Backinstadiums (talk) 11:29, 9 March 2019 (UTC)
@Backinstadiums: "if so, [...]" means "if know somebody for indeed deserves an entry, [...]", I think.
Btw, I don't think it deserves an entry.
If you're not a native speaker of English, could you please edit your Babel on your userpage? What is your mother tongue? Per utramque cavernam 12:14, 9 March 2019 (UTC)
I’m also not a native speaker, but is seems to me that the use of for in this collocation is simply the current sense 17: “to be, or as being”. That makes the whole thing a SOP.  --Lambiam 12:27, 9 March 2019 (UTC)


Does this seem like a worthwhile thesaurus entry? I'm not very experienced in making them, and improvement would be welcome. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 05:57, 9 March 2019 (UTC)

There is also the obviously derogatory cretinist (e.g. [6]), but I don’t know if it can be attested so as to satisfy our CFI.  --Lambiam 12:10, 9 March 2019 (UTC)

the $20Edit

Can the $20 can be used to mean "the $20 bill/Note" --Backinstadiums (talk) 11:13, 9 March 2019 (UTC)

The link shows that the answer is, apparently, affirmative. Two more uses: [7], [8]. To complicate (or simplify?) the issue, “a $20” can be used to mean “a twenty-dollar bill/note”.[9] It is similar to how the term dollar can denote a monetary value equivalent to 100 dollar cents, but also a one-dollar note (as in “The victim dropped a dollar during the struggle and the suspect stole the dollar as he left the scene.”) Likewise, the term quarter can denote both a value and a physical coin. This is such a standard and expected use of metonymy that I am not sure it is worth mentioning.  --Lambiam 12:01, 9 March 2019 (UTC)

@Lambiam: Thanks for replying. By the way, how would "a/the $20" be pronounced then? --Backinstadiums (talk) 12:22, 9 March 2019 (UTC)

Like “a/the twenty dollar”.  --Lambiam 14:45, 9 March 2019 (UTC)
Well, it depends on context. In "I told her the price was $19.99 and she dropped the 20$ on the counter" it would (generally) be pronounced as "the twenty dollars" or "the twenty dollar bill". In "she dropped a $20 as she ran" I would expect either "she dropped a twenty as she ran" or "she dropped a twenty dollar bill/note as she ran". I would never expect to hear it spoken as "she dropped a twenty dollar as she ran", except in a dialect that did not use plural forms. Evidence for this can be found in the existence of the first two spelled-out phrases (e.g. google books:"a twenty as") and absence of the last one (there's no *google books:"a twenty dollar as", and every hit for google books:"the twenty dollar" follows it with bill, note, piece(s), coin(s), greenback, etc). - -sche (discuss) 16:18, 9 March 2019 (UTC)

@Lambiam: Then with the singular "dollar" the phrase does deserve an entry, doesn't it? (as against the plural in, say, the $20 I lent you yesterday) --Backinstadiums (talk) 15:24, 9 March 2019 (UTC)

A/the twenty. DCDuring (talk) 16:51, 9 March 2019 (UTC)
This is an example of “twenty dollar” (second occurrence on the page) signifying in the context, apparently, a value. And this one (also second occurrence) signifies a bank note.  --Lambiam 17:37, 9 March 2019 (UTC)

I'd add such use at the entry of dollar, and maybe the sign $ itself two? --Backinstadiums (talk) 10:21, 10 March 2019 (UTC)

left to rightEdit

"runs left to right" returns many instances on google; what would left to right be then? --Backinstadiums (talk) 12:26, 9 March 2019 (UTC)

  • I'm pretty sure that it normally has hyphens and that left-to-right (and right-to-left) can be an adjective or adverb depending on usage. SemperBlotto (talk) 14:50, 9 March 2019 (UTC)
    It is a shortening of “from left to right”. The omission of “from” is obligatory in attributive uses, as in “a left-to-right script is a script that is written in the left-to-right direction”. When used as an adverb, it is also common to use spaces instead of hyphens.  --Lambiam 15:03, 9 March 2019 (UTC)
@Lambiam: Is the omission also obligatory in predicative uses? young people {aged 18 to 26 ~ between the age of 18 and 26} --Backinstadiums (talk) 15:51, 10 March 2019 (UTC)
I think “young people (aged from 18 to 26)” is not really wrong, but seems to have a somewhat different meaning. Without “from”, the parenthesis is like a definition of what is meant in the context by the term “young people”. With “from”, I get the impression that this means, “young people (with ages that ranged from 18 to 26)”, as if someone observed there was a gathering of young people and found out that the youngest in the group was 18 and the oldest 26. But as I’ve said before, I am not a native speaker, so my feeling may be off.  --Lambiam 20:10, 12 March 2019 (UTC)
@Lambiam: I've just also noticed the singular of age in the second example, but I'd use the plural --Backinstadiums (talk) 19:38, 12 March 2019 (UTC)

@Lambiam: I've found "Science Explains Why Mario Runs Left to Right", so the current definition applying only to text is not inclusive enough --Backinstadiums (talk) 15:26, 9 March 2019 (UTC)

The Longman entry to which I linked above also gives several examples that are not text-related. Note that all are adverbial and not hyphenated. The hyphenated versions are used almost exclusively for the writing direction of text.  --Lambiam 15:39, 9 March 2019 (UTC)
Well, I changed it from 'of text' to 'chiefly to text' (and added a citation about movie chases) and linked to the (currently nonexistent) unhyphenated forms. - -sche (discuss) 16:27, 9 March 2019 (UTC)

out the gate, out of the gate, right out of the gateEdit

Apparently an idiomatic expression meaning "immediately, straightaway". Per utramque cavernam 12:32, 9 March 2019 (UTC)

According to this source this derives from the metaphor of a race horse immediately taking off in a galloping start as the gates open. A longer form is the idiomatic expression come out of the gate running. Personally I think that the added adverb right corresponds to sense 4 and is soppy.  --Lambiam 18:18, 9 March 2019 (UTC)

pronunciation of bedroomEdit

The audio at bedroom display an affricate, but the IPA section does not; which one is correct/standard? --Backinstadiums (talk) 13:10, 9 March 2019 (UTC)

Quoting the Wikipedia article Pronunciation of English /r/:
In many dialects, /r/ in the cluster /dr/, as in dream, is realized as a postalveolar fricative [ɹ̠˔] or less commonly alveolar [ɹ̝].
When using broad transcription, such fine and possibly speaker-dependent detail is usually not represented in the notation.  --Lambiam 15:28, 9 March 2019 (UTC)

@Lambiam: being a compound, and with clear morphoogical boundaries, I think bedroom should show such detail; Longman Pronunciation Dictionary gives AmE /bE?room/ --Backinstadiums (talk) 15:44, 9 March 2019 (UTC)

Morphological boundaries have a tendency to disappear in compounds. Just look at what happened to words like lord and Worcester over time. If the boundary is not clear in speech, we shouldn't try to artificially reintroduce it in our IPA either. —Rua (mew) 17:29, 9 March 2019 (UTC)
Affrication of the d and r could be added in a [narrow phonetic transcription], but not (IMO) in the /broad phonemic one/, since the phonetic realization as an affricate is speaker-dependent (and also predictable?). - -sche (discuss) 18:09, 9 March 2019 (UTC)

Dutch: ZessenEdit

The word zessen in dutch is listed as an archaic dative form of zes, which is correct, but is still in somewhat common usage in the set phrase "na zessen" meaning after six o'clock. I'd like to make note of this but am in no way familiar with the markup and outline functions of wiktionary. anyone who can help me?

It's used in other ways as well, like met zijn zessen (with six, in a group of six). I don't know what the part of speech is in that case. It's also the regular plural of the noun zes (number six). —Rua (mew) 17:27, 9 March 2019 (UTC)
In this case it has the same form as the regular plural, but there is a divergence for zeven (regular plural zevens) and negen (regular plural negens). The other form is used in we waren met zijn zevenen and ik werd pas tegen negenen wakker, so these are apparently not plurals. If the prepositions na and met behaved like German nach and mit, they were historically used with the dative case. But German gegen governs the accusative, so I don’t know about Dutch tegen – unless “tegen negenen” is used in that form in analogy with “na negenen”.  --Lambiam 18:00, 9 March 2019 (UTC)
@Lambiam have you had any luck figuring this out? I can't find any more on where this form originally came from, but maybe we can look to older uses of these forms for clues. I did a search for citations containing these forms on INL, and found some interesting things. It seems that originally drien was a case form, which we actually list on *þrīz. The numbers 4 and above didn't inflect that way originally, but it's quite likely that they were occasionally inflected analogically. A lot of the cases of inflected numerals I find in Middle Dutch appear between a definite article and a noun, so the numeral inflects as if it were an adjective of some sort. There is often, but not always, a preceding preposition: bi dien tween husen, in tween sticken, Onder u viven, Den andren viven, buten haren sessen (with the modern day note: grammatisch juist ware haerre sesse). The last one is interesting because it suggests there were more case forms than just this one. Only the dative plural would have had this -n as far as I can tell, and many prepositions triggered the dative. It is perhaps this prepositional use that survives into modern Dutch, since it seems that even today only prepositions trigger them. —Rua (mew) 17:02, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
@Rua – I had not examined the issue further, but looking again I find an early Modern Dutch phrase teghen der Christelycke Kercke, which is a dative (or genitive, but that is excluded by teghen den aerdt). Conclusion: it is a reasonable assumption that in the cases we have seen of PREPOSITION + NUMERAL-en, the suffix is the dative suffix. In het loopt al tegen zessen, the plural does not make much sense semantically anyway. If numerals were inflected like adjectives, it is likely also found in other early West-Germanic languages.  --Lambiam 18:25, 17 April 2019 (UTC)

Quotations in eitherEdit

I believe a couple of the quotations at either are in the wrong part of speech section.



  1. One or other of two people or things.
  2. (obsolete) Both, each of two or more.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Francis Bacon
      Scarce a palm of ground could be gotten by either of the three.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
      There have been three talkers in Great British, either of whom would illustrate what I say about dogmatists.

I believe both should be moved to the determiner section since they are "either of the three" and "either of whom" respectively. It also seems that "any" is synonymous with these usages, but "any" is not given as one of the meanings. Danielklein (talk) 02:11, 10 March 2019 (UTC)

Now I'm double-guessing myself, since I've compared "either of" with "most of", where "most" is defined as a noun. I think "NOUN of NOUN" makes more sense than "DETERMINER of NOUN" or "PRONOUN of NOUN". Danielklein (talk) 03:01, 10 March 2019 (UTC)
I would say that pronoun is probably right. Anyway, I can't see that "either" is a determiner in, um, either of those examples. Mihia (talk) 18:53, 10 March 2019 (UTC)

sum('ma) bitchEdit

I cannot derive phonogically sum'ma in sum'ma bitch, unlike in sum bitch --Backinstadiums (talk) 02:31, 10 March 2019 (UTC)

It's slang. I don't think a phonology expert sat down and thought "how will I spell 'son of a bitch' in slang?". It's just how non-expert people write. Perhaps they thought "a lot of slang forms tend to contain apostrophes, so I'd better use one". (sumbitch has an entry, BTW.) Equinox 02:58, 10 March 2019 (UTC)
Oops, sorry, you weren't talking about spellings. It just leapt out at me because the apostrophe there is weird. Equinox 04:27, 10 March 2019 (UTC)
There are no agreed rules to spell slang. "gonna", "dinna", "dunno" all arrived from a gradual process of acceptance. "Son of a bitch" can easily change to "Sum of a bitch", then to "Sum a bitch" or "Sum bitch", which can be spelt the way you have. Note that it would sound like "Summer bitch" or "Some bitch", so the similarity of other existing words may have helped get to this form. Danielklein (talk) 03:12, 10 March 2019 (UTC)
sonofa->sunva->sumva->summa. Inability on your part to master some aspect of English does not constitute a failure in Wiktionary's coverage of English. Chuck Entz (talk) 03:21, 10 March 2019 (UTC)
@Chuck Entz: Forward bilabial accommodation of a labiodental? Sure, 've been > /(b.)bɪn/, but read again my OP and explain the accommodation with the intervening schwa in sum'ma --Backinstadiums (talk) 10:17, 10 March 2019 (UTC)
There was a reason I didn't use IPA. For our purposes, it doesn't really matter whether the second m is really a labiodental nasal, or whether it became a bilabial nasal because there's no "slot" in the phonology for a labiodental nasal, or whether that sound simply disappeared. This is a non-linguist's spelling of slang, so attempting to do a precise phonological derivation is about as useful as trying to figure out the isotope ratios in a bucket of pond water without testing equipment. You seem to think that everything should be like an exercise in a linguistics class, where someone has manicured the data to make everything consistent. Chuck Entz (talk) 00:18, 11 March 2019 (UTC)

dunno "Written form of <don't know>, which is a reduction of <do(es) not know>Edit

Which is the reduction, dunno or <don't know>? Phonetic reduction?

dunno as a reduction of <does not know> seems to be AAVE or dialectal; any counterexamples? --Backinstadiums (talk) 12:24, 10 March 2019 (UTC)

Since don't know is pronounced the same as dunno in some instances, I'd say that the latter is an eye dialect spelling. —Rua (mew) 12:29, 10 March 2019 (UTC)
It's a contraction, pure and simple, how people use it is another matter.
I would say the pronunciation of a simple "Dunno" differs from "I dunno", different emphasis. DonnanZ (talk) 10:35, 12 March 2019 (UTC)

at this hourEdit

What about this sense: "At this hour" is a phrase that means "at this late time of night" --Backinstadiums (talk) 18:18, 10 March 2019 (UTC)

I'm tempted to say it's worth including, but it's really just sense 3 of hour; it just so happens that people are more likely to point out the inopportune time at night. You could say "I'm surprised to see you awake at this hour" to your insomniac friend at any time before noon. "They air the stupidest commercials at this hour" is true of 11 pm, 4 am, and 10 am. Ultimateria (talk) 19:08, 11 March 2019 (UTC)
I agree. - -sche (discuss) 19:16, 11 March 2019 (UTC)


My intention is to add the verb sense meaning to move frequently from place to place, often in the form "bat around/about", e.g.:

After batting around all day we were exhausted.

But does everyone agree that this is from the mammal sense of "bat"? It doesn't seem likely to me to be from the "club" sense, but there is another etymology listed pertaining e.g. to the expression "bat one's eyelids" which I am less sure about. Mihia (talk) 18:41, 10 March 2019 (UTC)

  • I have never come across that meaning of the verb. Do you mean "battling ..."? SemperBlotto (talk) 19:01, 10 March 2019 (UTC)
You've never heard of "to bat around/about"? Perhaps it is only in BrE. No, definitely not battling. Mihia (talk) 19:06, 10 March 2019 (UTC)
The OED has this sense for the verb (to bat) "To go or move; to wander, to potter. Usually with adverbial complement, along, around, away, etc. Chiefly dialect and U.S." - so it's a US thing. SemperBlotto (talk) 19:09, 10 March 2019 (UTC)
It's interesting that they should say that. I am a BrE speaker and have never considered this use to be either US or dialect. As far as I am aware, it is a fairly normal expression here. May I ask whereabouts you are from? Also, does the OED give any indication of which sense of "bat" they think this derives from? Mihia (talk) 20:11, 10 March 2019 (UTC)
I think SB is a Brit... Per utramque cavernam 22:05, 10 March 2019 (UTC)
Oh ... I guess in that case the expression can't be as widely known over here as I imagined. Mihia (talk) 22:47, 10 March 2019 (UTC)
I've heard "bat around" used in American English to mean "informally discuss or debate"; Merriam-Webster (a US dictionary) has that, and Collins and Dictionary.com mark it as US and Canadian slang. It seems connected to the image of using a bat to move a topic/idea around as one would a baseball.
Those dictionaries do also have "bat around" with the sense "move/wander about", marked as US and Canadian slang. (They also mention "bat along".) It's possible it has the same etymology as the aforementioned "bat around".
Dictionary.com also has "bat" meaning "to rush", and the English Dialect Dictionary has it, too, defined as "walk at a quick pace" and marked as Lancashire English and with a quote about "Billy battin away across a fielt"; both of them connect it to the "beat" senses.
OTOH, FWIW, the MED doesn't seem to have any of those senses, which suggests they may not go back as far as Middle English, and the DSL doesn't have them which suggests they're not used in Scotland. - -sche (discuss) 21:48, 10 March 2019 (UTC)
My feeling is that "bat around" in the sense of discuss or debate is a different, unrelated sense. As you say, it is from the "batting a ball" image. As it happens, just before posting this question I added an example of this figurative use, which was also missing [10]. Again, I do not, as a BrE speaker, perceive it to be North American, or, indeed, "slang". Mihia (talk) 21:59, 10 March 2019 (UTC)

next closest house, closest adjacent houseEdit

  1. We currently list "they live in the next closest house" as an example of the adverb, and we are not alone: two other dictionaries I checked have "next oldest" and "next closest" as uses of the adverb next. But is it really an adverb or is it an adjective? (Most of the other usexes under adverb sense 1 are indeed adverbial, it's just this one and "next best" that I'm wondering about.)
  2. Compare closest in google books:"closest adjacent" (house, etc). Closest does seem to be an adverb in google books:"drove closest to", something our entry on it currently doesn't cover, but is it also an adverb in "closest adjacent house"? Compare "nearest adjacent house"? Do all these words need adverb sections?
  3. Relatedly, is next an adverb or an adjective in "he is next after Henry gives his presentation" and "the 2nd of February that was next before the 17th October, 1488" or "the day of the passover week that was next before the sabbath"?

- -sche (discuss) 21:19, 10 March 2019 (UTC)

  1. I would say adverb. I don't know of any grammatical test to support that. Semantically, there is a set of houses closest to location X, which houses are ranked by proximity to X. I would interpret next are relating to the ranking not to house. Were the phrase punctuated as "next, closest house", next would be an adjective IMO and the expression would refer to the next house (from some arbitrary sequence), which was also the house closest (to some arbitrary location).
  2. I would say adjective, though I'm not sure by what common-sense measure one adjacent house can be closer than another to the location they are adjacent to. Is the location to which they are adjacent different from the location they are close(r/st) to?
  3. I think next is an adjective, simply based on its following a copula. "after [] " qualifies next. I don't understand the meaning of examples 2 and 3.
HTH. And I hope I understood your questions. DCDuring (talk) 00:24, 11 March 2019 (UTC)
I agree. Mihia (talk) 02:47, 11 March 2019 (UTC)
Thanks for the replies. Regarding not understanding "next before": apparently, from at least Middle English through at least the 1800s, it was possible to refer to something immediately preceding (and not just something immediately following) something else in an order as the "next" thing. (Even today "nearest" can work this way, e.g. the holiday nearest All Saints' Day is Halloween.)
It belatedly occurs to me that another construction to compare to "next closest" is "second closest", and I see we do list second as an adverb. I guess it makes sense. - -sche (discuss) 03:23, 11 March 2019 (UTC)


Can someone explain what this mean in the etymology 1 of mother "Some authorities consider the sense "greatest thing of its kind" a calque of Arabic أُمّ‎ (ʾumm, “mother”), but others do not[1] and other familial terms can also be used this way, e.g. granddaddy/grand-daddy."

Looks confusing seems incorrect to me. Gotitbro (talk) 22:57, 10 March 2019 (UTC)

It is referring to the use of the word in expressions such as "mother of all battles" (sense 5). Mihia (talk) 23:00, 10 March 2019 (UTC)
There was some discussion last month of this issue at the Etymology scriptorum, in a thread with the title the mother of all etymologies.  --Lambiam 00:35, 11 March 2019 (UTC)

too... thanEdit

I guess this usage derives semantically from the third meaning of too, more than enough, e.g. in It happens way too often than it should. --Backinstadiums (talk) 16:22, 11 March 2019 (UTC)

To me that sentence is ungrammatical.  --Lambiam 21:04, 11 March 2019 (UTC)
I agree. I can find it in a handful of low-quality (Lulu.com-published) books, e.g. "Too often than necessary this can be the first sign", but it seems like too rare an error to try to cover. - -sche (discuss) 21:56, 11 March 2019 (UTC)
The usage example follows the common pattern or starting a sentence with one structure "It happens way too often." and then extending it in a way not entirely consistent with the initial structure. I think Zwicky covered this in his piece on language errors, Mistakes. DCDuring (talk) 00:20, 12 March 2019 (UTC)

make aboutEdit

Idiomaticity? Why conservatives want to make Charleston about "religious liberty" --Backinstadiums (talk) 16:51, 11 March 2019 (UTC)

I wouldn't say it's idiomatic; it's the same as "don't make this about me; you're the one at fault". (Charleston is short for "the Charleston shooting"). On another note, I really think you shouldn't have your user page claim that you're a native English speaker when that is patently false. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 19:51, 11 March 2019 (UTC)
I don't think the addition of "about" is idiomatic, as it seems like the same kind of "make" as google books:"make this a (race|racial) (thing|issue)". It's probably sense 12 (which should possibly be merged with sense 8?). - -sche (discuss) 20:10, 11 March 2019 (UTC)
Should not have an entry. "About X" is the end state, like "bigger" in "make it bigger". "Make about" isn't a unit. Equinox 00:26, 12 March 2019 (UTC)

(dis)equal partsEdit

Does parts collect its meaning in "Solar Painting Is Equal Parts Boring And Brilliant" --Backinstadiums (talk) 17:38, 11 March 2019 (UTC)

What do you mean by "collect its meaning"? I'd say [equal parts] functions as an adverb here, synonymous with equally. Per utramque cavernam 17:43, 11 March 2019 (UTC)
Could we call equal parts a "reduction" of in equal parts? DCDuring (talk) 18:16, 11 March 2019 (UTC)
To me, "Z is equal parts X and Y" seems comparable to "Z is 2 parts X and 1 part Y" (e.g. "two parts stupid, one part insidious"). "In equal parts" certainly also exists, but I'm not sure "equal parts" is a reduction of it as opposed to the same kind of thing as "is two parts X". One could also add "of", like "the most convenient mixture is equal parts of dried chalk and iron" or "cherry color is two parts of English vermilion and one of carmine lake". - -sche (discuss) 18:59, 11 March 2019 (UTC)


https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/chetnik Patchman123 (talk) 19:48, 11 March 2019 (UTC)

This is like saying that all white supremacists are KKK members, when you say something like, (any) Ultranationalist Serb when referring to Chetniks. It's like saying that all white Southern supremacists are KKK. It's just rather silly, in my opinion.

have a go atEdit

All the senses are labelled as British, but I think the first sense ("try") and possibly the second ("attack") are also used in American English. Merriam-Webster has the "try" sense with no label, in line with my suspicions, though they do label the "attack" sense as British. (Anyone familiar with Australian, Canadian, Irish or other usage is also encouraged to weigh in...) - -sche (discuss) 23:08, 11 March 2019 (UTC)

Speaking as a data point, I think of it as British. DCDuring (talk) 00:16, 12 March 2019 (UTC)
Here are a few uses from US sources: [11], [12], [13].  --Lambiam 13:23, 12 March 2019 (UTC)
The first use is a pleonasm: "others will try to have a go at it on their own." The adjectival usage have-a-go is definitely British. I suppose the verb is sufficiently obvious in meaning to be readily adopted by us colonials. I would use take a run at in preference to have a go at. DCDuring (talk) 15:01, 12 March 2019 (UTC)

nary aEdit

nary a is suggested in the "See also" section of many a; just like the latter, is nary a also "always followed by a singular noun and a singular verb"? The quotations, as usual, do not exemplify comprehensively the relevant grammatical properties. Garner's MEU offers "when nary a dark shadow was to be seen".

Secondly, nary is defined as "not one", yet the quotation given already includes a "one", Nary one glare of..., so either should be changed for greater clarity --Backinstadiums (talk) 10:54, 12 March 2019 (UTC)

The entry for nary should have at least two usage examples, one with a, another with one. Nary a and nary one are synonyms, just as a and one have synonymous senses. IOW nary a is NISoP. Why wouldn't a user go to [[nary]]? DCDuring (talk) 12:17, 12 March 2019 (UTC)
@DCDuring: Does many one also exist as a variant of many a ? --Backinstadiums (talk) 12:35, 12 March 2019 (UTC)
Not that I know of. DCDuring (talk) 13:22, 12 March 2019 (UTC)
The article a is followed by a singular noun, a point of English grammar that has nothing to do with nary. Then the noun phrase nary a [SINGULAR NOUN] is obviously also singular; used as the subject of a phrase, subject–verb agreement requires the verb to be also in the singular. Again, this is not a property of nary.
Although rare, there are also occurrences of nary two: [14], [15], [16]. The sense there appears to be a mere.  --Lambiam 13:46, 12 March 2019 (UTC)
To be fair, nary a at OneLook Dictionary Search shows that other dictionaries have an entry for nary a. They also have entries for nary that don't convey that nary licenses quite a few common cardinal numbers.
I think that these other dictionaries haven't caught the broader usage and remain hung up on the meaning associated with the etymology (ie, supposedly from ne'er a). I have added some cites to [[nary]] and changed the definition, but I couldn't find substitutable wording that covers both the singular and plural following nouns. Can someone do better? DCDuring (talk) 14:47, 12 March 2019 (UTC)
Would this work: classifying it as an adverb, and defining it as a synonym of not even? In one direction it is substitutable: nary a sound was heardnot even a sound was heard. The reverse is problematic: trust no one, not even yourself *trust no one, nary yourself. The usage has some pretty severe restrictions, which should be formulated in the usage notes.  --Lambiam 21:25, 12 March 2019 (UTC)


For a more comprehensively illustrating one, the usage note in hundred should add examples with verb agreement, so "a/one/the hundred men" + singular/plural verb? "is/are ready"; "A hundred dollars is/are enough", etc. If the matter were a stylistic one, it should also be specified as such --Backinstadiums (talk) 12:30, 12 March 2019 (UTC)

You're a native speaker. Why not take a run at it? DCDuring (talk) 14:48, 12 March 2019 (UTC)
@DCDuring: I am not, there're may parameters I haven't mastered: grammaticality vs stylistics; GAmE vs BrE; one vs a vs several; hundred vs million; dollars vs people vs ∅; pl vs sg vb agreement (is/are). --Backinstadiums (talk) 15:51, 12 March 2019 (UTC)
I was going by your Babel box. You ought to have correct info there. DCDuring (talk) 16:19, 12 March 2019 (UTC)
For the record, Backinstadiums did not put that Babel box up. In fact, they never edited their user page.  --Lambiam 21:03, 12 March 2019 (UTC)
There is nothing special about hundred. The same pattern of alternation of number agreement is possible with any number. "X is/are enough." With enough, it seems to be a question of whether the noun is being conceived of as, 1., a mass or perhaps the result of a single (instantaneous or continuous) effort or action or, 2., a collection of individual entities or the result of multiple actions. If there is a rule that summarizes this better, I don't know it. DCDuring (talk) 17:31, 12 March 2019 (UTC)
@DCDuring: BTW, What verb agreement would you use for a half-dozen gunshot wounds? --Backinstadiums (talk) 19:11, 12 March 2019 (UTC)
Personally, I would go with plural. I'd recommend it as the default in all these cases. Many of the clear exceptions are cases where a number word refers to a physical thing, as commonly a hundred/fifty/twenty/ten/five ("$100/50/20/10/5 dollar bill"), perhaps a dozen (eg, a carton of eggs). DCDuring (talk) 20:10, 12 March 2019 (UTC)
@DCDuring: interesting. Lastly, what verb agreements for each of the following three (if they're correctly expressed; otherwise, let me know) '{a/two/half} dozen dozen eggs', that is twelve dozen eggs which are 144 eggs (in google books one can find many "a dozen dozen", and even "half a dozen dozen pounds of gold") --Backinstadiums (talk) 21:14, 12 March 2019 (UTC)
Simple plural works well with each in almost all cases. BUT, I would prefer to say "A half-dozen/six eggs is too much cholesterol" rather than are. In such a case the semantics seems to trump the traditional grammar. It is as if the number agreement is with cholesterol and the sentence read "The cholesterol in a half-dozen/six eggs is too much.". DCDuring (talk) 21:49, 12 March 2019 (UTC)
@DCDuring: Online lexicography could add fine-grained detail thanks to corpora databases, especially COCA and BNC, together with google books or even wikipedia. --Backinstadiums (talk) 22:00, 12 March 2019 (UTC)
COCA is a wonderful source, but they would expect to be paid were we to be using them systematically. DCDuring (talk) 22:47, 12 March 2019 (UTC)
I recall someone asking this a while ago with regard to things like "a (number|group|etc) of them (was|were)...", where it seems natural to use the plural even though one could make a case for, and sometimes find attested, the singular. It seems that when a group is considered as a unit it is possible to use the singular ("one group of them was hiding from another group"), but when the members are considered, the plural is used ("a group/number of them were already setting up the chairs when we got there")...? If one is speaking of a (literal) plural number of people, I agree with DCDuring the plural would generally be used (one is considering the members at least closely enough to count them), like "a hundred men were marching". Whereas, phrases like "a hundred dollars is enough to cover it" or "nine dollars is enough to cover it" or "a half-dozen gunshot wounds was what finally killed him" sound OK to me because the phrase on the left side of the "is" seems to be being treated as a unit, the amount necessary to pay for something, etc: there is no single physical thing that is a 9$ bill, but there is conceptually a single payment/fee of 9$ (and "nine dollars are enough to cover it" would sound a bit odd to me). Either the singular or plural would sound OK to me in "he drank two bottles of whiskey and one bottle of vodka, but three shots of tequila (were|was) what finally made him sick" (depending, perhaps, on whether "three shots" were viewed as the singular straw that broke the camel's back and made him throw up, or three things that contributed to him throwing up). - -sche (discuss) 22:09, 12 March 2019 (UTC)
@-sche: Certainly there comes a time when the boundaries between the planes of grammaticality, stylistics, and logic become too blurred --Backinstadiums (talk) 23:05, 12 March 2019 (UTC)
Collective noun on Wikipedia: Different forms of English handle verb agreement with collective count nouns differently; in particular, users of British English generally accept that collective nouns take either singular or plural verb forms depending on context and the metonymic shift that it implies.“ Also, Dictionary.com: “Generally, in American English, collective nouns take singular verbs. In British English, collective nouns are more often treated as plurals that take plural verbs.”  --Lambiam 10:38, 13 March 2019 (UTC)

-x (or -x-) as an general inclusive affix?Edit


I've recently seen the use in English entry 3 (gender-neutral replacement of -a or -o) extended to use beyond just Spanish loan words, as a general marker of gender inclusivity. Examples: Folx (also sometimes folkx), Womxn (the latter is an simulfix, not just a suffix).

Anyone have any insight into this? Should this be recorded somewhere? —This unsigned comment was added by Thestickystickman (talkcontribs).

I tend to agree there are enough x-words that this should probably be covered somewhere. My initial suggestion would be to cover the cases where it replaces an ending, as in Latinx, at -x, the way it is now and the way e.g. punx is handled by -x#Etymology_2. Incidentally, folx / folkx seems more like punx, since folks is already gender-neutral. (IME the respelling connotes that e.g. non-white / non-cis people are being discussed; compare how women is inclusive of feminist women, but womyn conveys that one is talking specifically about feminist women / women in a feminist context.) (See also alumnx, where -x replaces different suffixes...)
For other cases, x might be the best place (cross-linked with -x), looking at how we cover things like "5xx" (where x replaces digits) at [[x]]. I've seen it not just in the middle of words (womxn, wxmxn, hxstory) and at the end, but even at the beginning, in e.g. Xicana and Xicano (where x replaces not the gendered suffix, which is left alone, but the Ch of Chicana/Chicano), and Xicanx.
All of these (initial, medial, and final x) can also be found in Spanish, e.g. latinx, lxs, ellxs, xicana. - -sche (discuss) 18:57, 12 March 2019 (UTC)
Is xicana not just a spelling difference? Instead of the shortening chicana < mechicana, this represents xicana < mexicana.  --Lambiam 20:58, 12 March 2019 (UTC)
In some cases, probably; maybe even in many or most cases. But at least some books use both spellings and at least some books (some of which specify Xicana as a feminist or activist spelling) seem to intend to convey a difference, like with folx (itself at least occasionally attested as mere eye-dialect) versus folks or women vs womyn/womxn or boy vs boi. But perhaps it shouldn't be considered an instance / derivation of the x we're discussing; I'm not sure. - -sche (discuss) 22:24, 12 March 2019 (UTC)
See also -@, where the definition's coverage of Kosov@ could help us revise -x to cover alumnx, but where the mention of Pin@y suggests some further changes or an entry at @ may be eventually needed. (Are there more words with non-final @?) - -sche (discuss) 18:57, 12 March 2019 (UTC)
I moved the "suffix" entries -x and -@ to x and @, since I recall in previous discussion there was disagreement over whether or not they were really suffixes or endings, and they do also occur in the middle of words, and x is where we cover the sense "Used as a placeholder for a digit or value that may vary" as in 4xxx. - -sche (discuss) 20:56, 16 March 2019 (UTC)


According to some dictionaries, this word also has a literal meaning, (the one primary in German) of "hunter", in English. Two examples of this are Merriam-Webster (a dictionary that I personally don't care for, but find is still quite representative of general United States word usage), and Collins English Dictionary, which also gives this meaning, but unlike Merriam-Webster, labels it as "rare", and gives it alongside a "hunter's attendant" definition. The American Heritage Dictionary gives "a huntsman" as one definition of jaeger as well.

Ought we to include this definition? Also, if it is used in this sense (which I have no reason to think that it hasn't been at some point, everything considered) is it primarily poetic or literary (or something like that) or is it just simply an alternative word for hunter? Tharthan (talk) 02:08, 13 March 2019 (UTC)

You may add such a sense if you can find attestation for it. DTLHS (talk) 02:13, 13 March 2019 (UTC)


According to the Longman Pronunciation Dictionary : Although Received Pronunciation and General American are both traditionally considered to prefer /di/, most speakers in practice use both pronunciations for this suffix, often in a strong form—weak form relationship: /deɪ/ generally in exposed positions, for example at the end of a sentence: I’ll do it on Monday /ˈmʌndeɪ/; the di form is preferred in close-knit expressions such as ,Monday 'morning --Backinstadiums (talk) 12:34, 13 March 2019 (UTC)

a week out fromEdit

What sense of out is the one applying in a week out from Apple’s iPhone 6S launch? --Backinstadiums (talk) 16:24, 13 March 2019 (UTC)

What about at a distance? The same collocation out from occurs in “about a mile out from the finish line” and “20 yards out from the left touchline”.  --Lambiam 18:02, 13 March 2019 (UTC)
@Lambiam: You're right, it's the second meaning of distance; yet, I've noticed that the two quoatations given are just phrases, alongside links to wikipedia pages of whom? the authors? the whole sentences are outdated, e.g. there is ten years distance between one and the other, where distance is used as an accountable noun, unlike current use --Backinstadiums (talk) 18:12, 13 March 2019 (UTC)

to thinkEdit

Does this merit an entry, as in "To think that he was living up there in the attic and we never knew a thing about it!". If it's SoP, what other constructions are there where an infinitive is used like this? Equinox 07:52, 14 March 2019 (UTC)

I think it is basically an unfinished sentence. Take for instance this sentence: “To see him suffer was – it was just terrible.”[17] The speaker could just have left it at “To see him suffer like that ...”, and the empathic listener would have gotten the message all the same. What the speaker left unfinished in the sentence about the attic stowaway is something like “boggles the mind”, which is a feeble ending better left unsaid for best effect. In any case, this would seem to be the province of grammar and rhetoric, not of lexicography.  --Lambiam 09:40, 14 March 2019 (UTC)
(Afterthought: "just think" and "only think" are used synonymously but with slightly different grammar.) Equinox 09:52, 14 March 2019 (UTC)
And think, "and think" seems like it could be used this way sometimes, too! Would one ever use "to imagine!" this way? - -sche (discuss) 10:09, 14 March 2019 (UTC)
“To hear the master play his music in person!” Perhaps this kind of use should reflect a personal emotive experience.  --Lambiam 13:36, 14 March 2019 (UTC)
@Equinox We already have an entry at to think that. Per utramque cavernam 17:57, 14 March 2019 (UTC)
Created by me, in fact :p Per utramque cavernam 17:57, 14 March 2019 (UTC)


Is ounce a meronym of pound? If not, the section title Meronyms of the entry iugerum is a misnomer.  --Lambiam 13:42, 14 March 2019 (UTC)

I don't see why not. A pound is made up of 16 ounces. But I wouldn't say that a gram is a meronym of a pound since it contains an uneven 453.592 of them. If you wanted, you could change the header to Coordinate terms. Ultimateria (talk) 16:20, 14 March 2019 (UTC)
No. A meronym refers to a part, but means the whole e.g. "wheels" meaning "car". But "ounce" doesn't ever mean pound. SemperBlotto (talk) 16:24, 14 March 2019 (UTC)
Wiktionary:Semantic_relations#Meronymy disagrees, giving bark for tree and elbow for arm. Equinox 16:50, 14 March 2019 (UTC)
SemperBlotto, are you distinguishing between a constituent part and a divisional amount? Ultimateria (talk) 16:50, 14 March 2019 (UTC)
Blotto was evidently thinking of metonym, not meronym. Equinox 16:52, 14 March 2019 (UTC)

on toEdit

what sense is on to displaying? We talked for nigh on to two hours (Microsoft® Encarta® 2009)? --Backinstadiums (talk) 16:49, 14 March 2019 (UTC)

"Nigh on" is the unit here, and means "nearly". (Compare "verging on".) I would say "nigh on two hours": I think the "to" is an error. Equinox 16:51, 14 March 2019 (UTC)
@Equinox: alternative with onto --Backinstadiums (talk) 17:56, 14 March 2019 (UTC)
If it is an error, it is a fairly common one.  --Lambiam 18:36, 14 March 2019 (UTC)

So how are such sentences correctly parsed? --Backinstadiums (talk) 02:17, 15 March 2019 (UTC)

By first replacing “on to” by ”onto” and then noticing that nigh onto is a common extension of nigh when used as an adverb in the sense “nearly” (see e.g. here, here, definition 2 and here).  --Lambiam 09:36, 15 March 2019 (UTC)
FWIW I think the spaced version ("nigh on to") can be parsed as SOP much as Equinox says even without needing to assume "onto" was meant. - -sche (discuss) 20:27, 15 March 2019 (UTC)
@-sche: What does SOP stand for? --Backinstadiums (talk) 10:10, 16 March 2019 (UTC)
"nigh on to" and "nigh onto" seem to be primarily US forms. The expression that I am familiar with is "nigh on". Mihia (talk) 22:53, 15 March 2019 (UTC)


"Usage notes: As with all nationalities formed from -ese, the countable singular form ("I am a Chinese") is uncommon and often taken as incorrect"

I'd add what the correct form is --Backinstadiums (talk) 17:56, 14 March 2019 (UTC)

For the noun, there isn't one. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 21:57, 14 March 2019 (UTC)
It would be the multi-word phrase Chinese person (or man, woman, etc). At least the first part of the usage note should be made into a template so it can be used on other -ese words; I'll see about doing that. - -sche (discuss) 01:57, 15 March 2019 (UTC)
@-sche Thanks --Backinstadiums (talk) 02:16, 15 March 2019 (UTC)
@-sche: "I am a Chinese person" sounds stilted, almost non-native. One would say "I am Chinese" in any normal context in order to communicate this. If the template offers any wording, it should offer that. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 05:19, 15 March 2019 (UTC)
Just on how in East Asian languages the phrase "I am Chinese", etc is used: Chinese and Japanese translate it literally as "(I) am + demonym" (Chinese: 中國人) but Koreans would normally say "(I) am + country + person" (중국 사람이에요 Hanguk saram ieyo), Vietnamese: "I am person + country" (tôi là người Việt Nam), etc. So, "Chinese/Japanese", etc. person is common in many countries of the East. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 05:38, 15 March 2019 (UTC)
Good point, about that specific phrase. I've added that, but I've also added another example phrase, because in situations where a noun like "Brit" would be used, "Chinese person", "Chinese man" etc would be used, like in the Vice headline "The Struggles of Writing About Chinese Food as a Chinese Person", or a sentence like "I found the actors' attempts to speak Mandarin in Firefly comical, and I bet any other Chinese person would feel the same way". Or, indeed, just "I saw a Chinese guy standing over there". - -sche (discuss) 06:35, 15 March 2019 (UTC)

new lease of lifeEdit

Apparently the original version of the idiom new lease on life. Do natives confirm? Per utramque cavernam 20:46, 14 March 2019 (UTC) 

[18] seems fairly definitive. I would use "on life". DTLHS (talk) 20:54, 14 March 2019 (UTC)
Thanks. Seems it's also a UK vs. US thing. I've converted the original entry to an alternative-form entry of the of variant. This decision might have to be revisited a few years down the road, because the on variant is gaining ground. Per utramque cavernam 22:38, 14 March 2019 (UTC)
Yes, it seems that it is a UK/US variation. FWIW, I (BrE) have never heard of "new lease on life", and, if I had encountered it prior to reading this, I would have assumed that "on" was an error for "of". Mihia (talk) 21:15, 15 March 2019 (UTC)

"jutsu" vs. "jitsu"Edit


I've been wondering about our jujitsu page and whether it wouldn't be better suited making jujutsu the main (English) word, as it is a little more true to the Japanese, would be more consistent with the Wikipedia page, and would be more consistent with other Japanese Wiktionary words involving the same kanji.

Japanese accuracy I don't know a huge amount of Japanese, but I have learned that the kanji that is transliterated as "jutsu" (術), referring to an art or craft, is completely different from that transliterated to "jitsu". I first learned that distinction on this webpage.

Consistency with Wikipedia page If you try to go to the Wikipedia page titled "jujitsu", it redirects you to one titled "jujutsu".

Other Wiktionary words If you go to the Wiktionary page for the word ninjitsu, it is defined as a misspelling of the word ninjutsu. kenjutsu too is spelled with a u.

Let me know your thoughts!

Best wishes, Taurvaethor (talk) 01:54, 15 March 2019 (UTC)

We are a descriptive dictionary. The main spelling used for the English entry has nothing to do with what is more "correct" in Japanese or consistency with Wikipedia or any other word. The only criterion for what spelling to use is what spelling is most common. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 21:57, 14 March 2019 (UTC)
In terms of frequency in English, jiu jitsu spelled with a space is the overwhelming winner, with an order of magnitude more ghits than all other versions combined. The runner-up (at a far, far distance) is jiujitsu, with jujitsu trudging behind and jujutsu as the last comer.  --Lambiam 10:00, 15 March 2019 (UTC)
The wikipedia Jujutsu page is describing a form of martial arts. The English word jiu-jitsu is used to refer to any type of complicated but precise maneuver. --Geographyinitiative (talk) 01:17, 27 March 2019 (UTC)

Poo should not be marked as childish but informalEdit

As per the subject poo is the most common informal way to refer to feces and is not childish so shouldn't be marked as childish. Poop on the other hand is childish (and every other permutation of poo). It is also marked as informal, not childish in the Oxford Dictionary.

First of all, the term that you are referring to actually postdates the term that you claim is childish. Secondly, I think that we have a dialectal usage difference here.
I'm going to assume that you speak some variety of Commonwealth English, based upon what you have just said. If so, then I must inform you that the situation that you describe is reversed at least in much of North America. I live in New England, and here, the term that you claim is the most common term for this is actually considered quite childish and also extremely silly. And, furthermore, the only specific times that I can recall hearing it off of the top of my head and remembering that I had heard it specifically in those particular instances were in some infantile schoolyard jokes that my mother recounted to me when I was a young child. On the other hand, the term that you claim is more childish than the term that you suggest that we mark as not childish is the standard informal term for what it describes where I live.
Also, don't get me wrong, by the way. I love the Oxford English Dictionary. I have always used one, and it has always been my go-to dictionary, as I have always had an Oxford around me, because my father had one. I didn't grow up with a Webster's Dictionary, and since a. my dialect of North American English is not particularly well represented at all in really any of the United States English dictionaries that I am aware of (there are even significant spelling differences between the typical local way that things are spelt here and the standard of the country [some basic examples: we spell travelling/travelled, cancelling/cancelled, and omelette as such, not with the altered, artificial-looking forms devised by Whosis because they wanted to needlessly simplify English spelling for no good reason and probably also as some "edgy" way to spit in the face of speakers of England or something like that. We also use, for instance, leapt, not leaped {sic}]), and b. although I recognise Webster as quite a knowledgeable individual, I fundamentally disagree with his philosophy on how to address the question of how to best spell English words (if you've ever seen his initial attempts at modifying the spelling of his time, you'd know that he had an utterly atrocious idea of how to "reform" [more like "deform"] the English spelling system), and have therefore many years ago shed pretty much any of the influence his spelling reforms had had on my own spelling due to the time period in which I was born. ...In any case, I have a 1990s Concise Oxford English Dictionary more or less within arm's reach from the desk that I am sitting at right now. But all of that aside, this particular situation here requires a more international perspective on the word choice, and although Oxford (in my experience) is usually quite good at having various usages and nuances listed for this kind of stuff, this seems to be an instance in which that is not the case. Tharthan (talk) 00:27, 15 March 2019 (UTC)
I've recently noticed, to my surprise, that the NHS now uses "poo", e.g. (from their page on rectal bleeding) "pink water in the toilet bowl, blood in your poo or bloody diarrhoea [...] very dark, smelly poo". Certainly sounds absurdly childish and slangy to me, but maybe I'm out of date — or they are justifiably trying to make their site understandable to people with a low reading level or limited English. Equinox 03:56, 15 March 2019 (UTC)
@Equinox Is that so? I was under the impression that many contemporary Britons used that word casually in a manner not all that different from how the other word that I referred to is used in North America. A usage such as that would have a good likelihood of being perceived slightly differently than a North American usage of the term. Even though they are the same utterance, have the same pronunciation, the same meaning, and the same spelling, I can say that, at least for myself (although, admittedly, I have had the experience of having met and spent time with Britons at different times in my life. Not all people have the same experiences, obviously) I would get quite a different impression if a younger-middle-aged, generally mild-mannered, middle-class English woman were to use the term in her description of what she had come across when she discovered that a pet had done something, than I would if a young man from my region were to use the term in pretty much any context. But perhaps that's just me. Again, my impression has always been that, in the United Kingdom, the three letter term (the one that would clearly be seen as childish where I live) is essentially the general colloquial (and I'm excluding swearwords from falling under that description a. because they are a whole different animal in this regard in my opinion, and b. I detest swearwords) whereas in much of North America (at least), the other word that I have referred to previously is the general colloquial word for that very same thing, whilst the three letter term is almost entirely childish in tone, and will be pretty much interpreted that way across the board (at least in the area that I live in). Tharthan (talk) 06:38, 15 March 2019 (UTC)
I have heard both words used by adults, when someone evidently didn't want to be as vulgar as "shit" but also didn't want to be as formal as "feces". To me the difference in childishness between the two seems relatively small, even if there is a difference in commonness between dialects. Merriam-Webster (US) and Cambridge and {{R:ODO}} (UK) mark both as informal, whereas MacMillan marks both as childish. Collins has "poo" as informal and childish, "poop" as only informal. Century (US) only has "poop" as "break wind", vulgar; Wright's EDD (UK) only has "poop" as "cacare", marked as childish. Cambridge, {{R:ODO}} and this thread suggest Americans use "poop" more and Brits use "poo" more, as mentioned above. Possibly they could be marked as "informal, usually childish" or something, along with with "chiefly US"/"chiefly UK" labels? - -sche (discuss) 16:49, 15 March 2019 (UTC)
My feeling in the UK is that "poo" is formerly childish, but becoming informal or even mainstream. As noted above, it is now even used in official literature aimed at adults. I too was surprised when I first saw this. I thought the word was entirely inappropriate, but that seems to be the way it's going. I think many adults refer informally to, say, "dog poo", or even to themselves "having a poo" without considering it childish language. Mihia (talk) 23:23, 15 March 2019 (UTC)
@-sche Personally, I don't think that marking either as "chiefly [dialect]" would really be accurate, as they generally aren't (at least not here). Why would you suggest that label?
@Mihia Would someone actually use the latter example in conversation, even casually? If someone were to say that (or that, with its more common equivalent in North America used instead), even in casual speech, when talking to me at least, I would probably raise one eyebrow and feel slightly put off. Tharthan (talk) 04:33, 16 March 2019 (UTC)
Yes, I think some people would. Of course, any way that someone says they are "having a poo" may be slightly offputting because it is not something we necessarily want to know about or think about. Mihia (talk) 11:28, 16 March 2019 (UTC)
  • Is there a less proscriptive term than "childish"?
What is a popular, not-too-offensive term for feces, preferably a word of one syllable? Poop seems to fit the bill. It is a term regularly used in discussions of dog-owner etiquette in public forums. DCDuring (talk) 13:15, 16 March 2019 (UTC)

smoking hot, freezing cold et aliiEdit

I'm currently collecting compound adjectives of the form "V-ing (i.e. present participle) + adjective", which I'm putting in Category:English compound adjectives. According to this paper (pp. 51-54), some adjectives admit a fair many modifiers.

Others are (almost) one-off cases:

Are all of these attested? Do we want entries for each and every one of them? Would someone have a suggestion for a more accurate category name?

Per utramque cavernam 10:55, 15 March 2019 (UTC)

Go for it. As long as they would survive an RfV. SemperBlotto (talk) 10:58, 15 March 2019 (UTC)

Reverse caseEdit

Conversely, there are present participles that can be used as modifiers on almost any adjective (however, some of them aren't participles, but bowdlerizations or alternative forms of real present participles):

And others on a few:

get madeEdit

does get made deserve to be added? --Backinstadiums (talk) 16:38, 15 March 2019 (UTC)

Well, look at the senses we have at make and see if any cover it. I suspect 14 and 20 do (with sense 18 of get). - -sche (discuss) 16:56, 15 March 2019 (UTC)

thousand pluralEdit

According to Microsoft Encarta 2009 dictionaries,

"thousands (pl noun): very many: a very large but unspecified number sold thousands of copies " and in a different entry: thousand is "noun (pl thou·sand or thou·sands), and so the dictionary defines million as "a thousand thousand",

I'm interested in the second entry, specifically why it gives its plural as either thousand(s) and whether this approach, different from the current wiktionary entry, is correct --Backinstadiums (talk) 20:10, 15 March 2019 (UTC)

We say "two thousand", "three thousand", etc., not "two thousands" etc. We say "thousands of ~". We say "many thousands", but "several thousand". Our entry at thousand says "It doesn't take -s when preceded by a determiner", yet we class "several" as a determiner, so this may not be exactly consistent. Mihia (talk) 00:12, 16 March 2019 (UTC)
For what it's worth, Ngrams suggest most uses of "many thousands" today are in the phrase "many thousands of": if you exclude cases with a following of, "many thousand" and "many thousands" seem to be about as common. And with a following noun (without of), only "many thousand women" seems to exist (though it sounds a little odd), not *"many thousands women" (which sounds completely wrong); I would guess the non-of uses of "many thousands" are not followed by anything but are like "there were many thousands", while non-of uses of "many thousand" are followed by another noun? With "several", it does seem that most uses of "several thousands" are in the phrase "several thousands of", and excluding the phrases with of, "several thousands" is now only in the vicinity of 1/16th as common as "several thousand". But with of, "several thousand of" is about 1/4th as common as "several thousands of". I will have a go at tweaking the usage notes, but please revise them further if my edits overlook anything; I kept thinking of more things the longer I thought about it... - -sche (discuss) 15:32, 16 March 2019 (UTC)
@-sche: I've used ngrams to check a thousand/few dollars more vs a thousand/few more dollars; aren't the results meaningful? --Backinstadiums (talk) 16:21, 17 March 2019 (UTC)
Sorry, I don't follow ― in what way are you suggesting they're meaningful; is there some part of the usage notes which are inconsistent with those results? (If you're only suggesting it's interesting that "thousand dollars more" is more common than "thousand more dollars", that's not specific to "thousand"; one finds the same thing with e.g. "ninety".) - -sche (discuss) 07:50, 18 March 2019 (UTC)


Today's WOTD:

  1. (archaic, now chiefly Canada, US) A lazy person who lies in bed after the usual time for getting up; a sluggard.

I find the combination of labels somewhat confusing. Is it trying to say that the word is not archaic in North America, but is archaic elsewhere? Mihia (talk) 21:08, 15 March 2019 (UTC)

That's precisely how I would take it to mean, although if I think about it long enough it really is ambiguous...maybe it needs an "and" or "or" in there to bring clarity to what is intended Leasnam (talk) 21:17, 15 March 2019 (UTC)
archaic, except in Canada/US? Per utramque cavernam 21:38, 15 March 2019 (UTC)
That would certainly be easier to understand, if that is what is meant. Mihia (talk) 21:45, 15 March 2019 (UTC)
Is it thought of as old-fashioned in North America ? It's certainly well-used, and I see a mix of old-fashioned and seemingly modern uses of it. It was actually new to me when I saw it. I've only ever heard of slugabug for this Leasnam (talk) 21:48, 15 March 2019 (UTC)


I think this term is already well established --Backinstadiums (talk) 10:14, 16 March 2019 (UTC)

  • Added. You could have added it yourself. SemperBlotto (talk) 10:21, 16 March 2019 (UTC)

will expressing "confident assumption about the past"Edit

Does the entry for will includes the meaning in I will have done it on the previous Tuesday, i.e., "I must have"? --Backinstadiums (talk) 11:38, 16 March 2019 (UTC)

  • No. This is a hard one to define, I tried it once but maybe I never saved it since I can't see any trace of it on the page history, although I did write most of the current definitions there. It's the same thing as saying "That'll be Karen" when the doorbell goes, or "John will be home by now" about someone who left a while ago, or "That will be €5.20" in a shop. Here "will" means "is" but with an added "subjective softening" to make it less harsh, so in effect it means "must be" or "will turn out to be" or "is, by inference". This use goes back to the 1400s. Ƿidsiþ 08:07, 18 March 2019 (UTC)
  • @Backinstadiums, I added a sense to cover it (hopefully). Ƿidsiþ 08:18, 18 March 2019 (UTC)

no doubt about itEdit

Could the adverb no doubt be extended to "no doubt (about it)"? --Backinstadiums (talk) 12:58, 16 March 2019 (UTC)

I would say that "no doubt about it" is more an abbreviated clause (for "there is no doubt about it") than adverbial. Mihia (talk) 18:34, 16 March 2019 (UTC)

the same adverbEdit

Is the same an adverb in You'll Never Look at Mr. Potatohead the Same After Watching Him Play? What sense applies in that sentence? --Backinstadiums (talk) 16:50, 16 March 2019 (UTC)

Yes, it is an adverb (or adverbial phrase), meaning "in the same way (as previously)". This type of usage does not seem to be presently covered at same, as far as I can see. Mihia (talk) 18:27, 16 March 2019 (UTC)


¡Hola! Why is this RRHH instead of RH? Would it be an initialism, acronym or abbreviation? --Pious Eterino (talk) 08:06, 17 March 2019 (UTC)

I suppose it's plural, like "pp. 50-52" for "pages". Equinox 08:19, 17 March 2019 (UTC)
Probably. Compare EEUU. It's interesting that Spanish would do this even with proper nouns. - -sche (discuss) 15:20, 17 March 2019 (UTC)
That's correct - it's plural, but should be two words with the dots RR. HH. - them's the rules for these types of acronyms. --I learned some phrases (talk) 08:16, 18 March 2019 (UTC)
Thanks everyone for the answers. --Pious Eterino (talk) 12:26, 25 March 2019 (UTC)

Noun more (uncountable)Edit

Here Are More Of The Most Amazing Images Of Cars

However, its wiktionary entry reads "Noun more (uncountable)"; therefore, is the sentence not grammatical, and it should agree with singular is instead?

According to Microsoft® Encarta® 2009:

4. additional: indicates something additional or further (pronoun + singular or plural verb)

adjective: I need more light.

pronoun: There aren't any more of these.

pronoun: No more is expected

--Backinstadiums (talk) 11:40, 17 March 2019 (UTC)

It works the same way as "some": can take either "is" or "are", depending on countability ("some paper is...", "some people are..."). I don't know how to explain that grammatically. I note "some" does not have a noun sense in Wiktionary. Equinox 11:42, 17 March 2019 (UTC)
A relevant Wiktionary problem is that "uncountability" is produced when contributors have typed {{en-noun|-}} to suppress the display of a plural form ending in s. We have not systematically replaced {{en-noun|-}} with {{en-noun|?}}, {{en-noun|!}}, or other use of {{en-noun}} parameters.
A larger part of the problem is that more functions sometimes as a pure determiner (formerly often analyzed as adjective) and sometimes in ways that can be analyzed as nominal (noun or pronoun). These functions are in addition to its adverb functions, more easily separated.
More as determiner is the comparative of both much, which selects a singular noun, and many, which selects a plural. IF we treat the non-adjective examples above as uses of comparative determiners, the difficulty disappears. CGEL analyzes such uses of more as "fused-head constructions", which is usually indistinguishable from analyzing are determiner as sometimes taking a nominal role.
We have Noun and Pronoun PoS sections for more that arguably duplicate/overlap the Determiner PoS section. I have thought that was a good approach because determiner is not nearly as widely accepted a term in the general population as noun and pronoun are. Perhaps we should instead have usage notes for most determiners that explain why we don't have Noun, Pronoun, and sometimes Adjective PoS sections where other dictionaries do. DCDuring (talk) 14:59, 17 March 2019 (UTC)
In my opinion a determiner always qualifies a noun, whereas a noun or pronoun can stand alone, which is a testable distinction. The present entry does not make the supposed distinction between the noun and pronoun senses as clear I would like (e.g. by way of examples). In other entries, I think the theory may be that a noun can take a determiner (e.g. "the more") whereas a pronoun can't, but I'm not sure whether there is a consistent Wiktionary-wide approach to this, or even whether it is necessary to have separate noun and pronoun entries in cases such as this. If we do have both, we need some testable way to distinguish the two. On another point, I personally loathe the use of "amount of" with plural countable nouns, as in the present noun definition "a greater amount of people or things". Mihia (talk) 03:25, 18 March 2019 (UTC)
Now that you've made me notice it, I have a similar problem with "amount of", as I have long had with the "10 items or less" signage at the express line at the grocery store. But there as so many outrages to my linguistic sensibilities.
As to how we treat secondary functions of members of word classes, we have been gradually reducing duplication of semantic content by combining certain PoSes. We have voted to accept Prepositional phrase as a PoS header to eliminate semantically duplicativee Adjective and Adverb PoS sections. We have attempted to eliminate semantic duplication by eliminating Adjective PoS sections for words in the noun word class whose sole adjective-like behavior is attributive use without any new meaning. CGEL shows the way to a similar elimination of semantic duplication with its analysis of "fused-head" constructions. In such constructions there is nothing semantically new, but determiners and some adjectives fulfill the grammatically role of a nominal. The authors of CGEL argue that such an analysis is superior to various alternatives, most especially those which assert that determiners should be considered as adjectives, nouns, or pronouns depending on their function. Our acceptance of Determiner as a PoS header has not led us to abandon Adjective, Noun, and Pronoun headers for such terms consistently.
In this particular case, our desire to address the countability or uncountability of everything under the Noun PoS header has forced us to do so for the case of a determiner that fulfills a role as a nominal.
Someone who is a stronger advocate than I of having Noun and/or Pronoun sections for determiners should clean this entry up and review all such Noun and Pronoun sections for consistency and completeness. DCDuring (talk) 10:38, 18 March 2019 (UTC)
One problem with the "fused head" approach, as I see it, is that "determiner + implied noun" may not always be substitutable for the proposed noun/pronoun sense. One example is the pesky use with "of", e.g. "I want more of it". Another doubtful case may be something like "I should have done more to help". More what? Mihia (talk) 14:42, 18 March 2019 (UTC)
That same substitutability issue often arises in instances of attributive use of nouns: in order to apply the noun definition to attributive usage, perhaps word order has to change and prepositions have to be inserted, neither in an entirely predictable way. It would not be unreasonable to have a separate definition to suit usage of determiners in partitive constructions. Also, it is not the laziness of lexicographers that leads to the use of non-gloss definitions for function words like conjunctions and prepositions. Perhaps we should revisit our entries for basic determiners and decide whether they need some combination of improved labels, rewording or replacement by non-gloss definitions, usage examples, and usage notes. The various learner's dictionaries have accessible approaches that seem informed by, but more accessible then, those taken in the more scholarly grammars. DCDuring (talk) 17:19, 18 March 2019 (UTC)

melk for milkEdit

melk should already have an English entry related to milk --Backinstadiums (talk) 13:30, 17 March 2019 (UTC)

No lack of mentions, but can it be attested?  --Lambiam 15:50, 17 March 2019 (UTC)
I searched for it + various dialectal and eye-dialectal words ("de", "sum", "uv") and finally found promising co-search terms in google books:"melk" "frum" and google books:"melk" "tae", leading to e.g. these two, but deciding whether it's English or Scots is tricky... - -sche (discuss) 16:25, 17 March 2019 (UTC)
Lowering of /ɪ/ to /e/ strikes me as a typical Scots feature, this spelling could be a reflection of that. —Rua (mew) 22:02, 19 March 2019 (UTC)
That paper seems to be spelling out a pronunciation, not saying that anybody would spell the word "melk" in writing. Equinox 15:52, 17 March 2019 (UTC)


In the language sense, isn't this a proper noun? It is called an uncountable common noun in our entry. It is exceedingly tedious to search for clear evidence on uncountability.

Also, w:Sino-Vietnamese has it as being a demonym for possibly five different groupings. DCDuring (talk) 16:34, 17 March 2019 (UTC)


Isn't this a proper noun notwithstanding the numerous occurrences of references to the proliferation of Englishes such as Indian English, American English, etc.? Aren't all of these Englishes also proper nouns? DCDuring (talk) 16:42, 17 March 2019 (UTC)

Yes, IMO, languages are proper nouns (even when countable, like "the Englishes of the two countries had diverged somewhat over the centuries", compare "the Adams in my class are all redheaded"), and so is your other example. However, other people feel they are common nouns. Past discussions in the BP have been not entirely conclusive and sometimes entries have been changed back and forth, as happened here. Personally, I would change it (and the rest) back to =Proper noun=. - -sche (discuss) 17:51, 17 March 2019 (UTC)
I was starting to look at the vast number of uses of {{en-noun|-}} (ie, uncountable). As you probably know the uncountability is often applied just as a way of suppressing the display of a plural. Just removing the proper nouns from nouns marked "uncountable" would make a dent in the errors. DCDuring (talk) 21:58, 17 March 2019 (UTC)

it's there wasEdit

I've just come across it's meaning "there was (glass everywhere)", Shameless US S09E12, minute 55:18. --Backinstadiums (talk) 02:18, 18 March 2019 (UTC)

Therefore, the same allophones of 's seem to apply to was, voiceless it's and voiced in I's--Backinstadiums (talk) 19:21, 19 March 2019 (UTC)
We do have the present-tense "there is" as a sense of it's; if the past tense ("it's" meaning "there was") is attested (preferably in writing), it can be added. If it were attested, I suspect "it's" meaning "it was" would also be attested. If "'s" means "was" in other cases it could be added to -'s too. - -sche (discuss) 19:58, 19 March 2019 (UTC)
@-sche: that's already has it as well --Backinstadiums (talk) 20:11, 19 March 2019 (UTC)

talk and its English conjugation tableEdit

What's the benefit of this? It's a regular verb, but this huge table goes all the way to "they would have been talking". Equinox 07:04, 18 March 2019 (UTC)

Eh, we do this for other languages, I don't see why we so rarely do it for English ― we have a lot of English-learners using us, who have occasionally suggested/requested conjugation tables, and it helps them. And it's collapsed so anyone who already knows the conjugation doesn't have to look at it. But perhaps there is a middle ground between the huge number of forms in that table, and the small number of forms in Template:en-conj-simple. (Ironically, only the "simple" template includes the -est and -eth forms which at least one learner asked about―due to reading Shakespeare, I think―in a previous discussion I could try to locate if necessary.) - -sche (discuss) 07:59, 18 March 2019 (UTC)

culture of deathEdit

What happened here? There are three senses. Talk:culture of death suggests that there was agreement to merge the first two into a single sense, and this was done (?), but they appear to have been split back out again, with no explanation of why. And the third sense (society that reveres suicide bombers as martyrs) has IMO very poor citations that are pretty much SoP. Anyone got any ideas of how to improve the morass? Equinox 14:00, 18 March 2019 (UTC)

Send folks to w:Culture of death? not that the WP article is much good either.
I think BD did combine two of four senses. I don't see any subsequent addition of definitions.
The universal remedy for all the ills of a truly new dictionary entry (ie, one where paraprasing other definitions is not possible) is to:
  1. get a large number of citations
  2. sort them into piles
  3. see which of the piles can be combined or ignored
  4. write some appropriate definitions
  5. get citations from another set of sources
  6. test adequacy of definitions
  7. repeat, if necessary, possible, and interesting enough
Really. DCDuring (talk) 16:59, 18 March 2019 (UTC)

Implications of lady vs. womanEdit

Is it fair to say that lady, today, has overtones of patronising gallantry, whereas woman is neutral? I feel a usage note might be in order, also at entries like spokeslady and translady that otherwise give the misleading impression of being entirely neutral synonyms. Equinox 14:24, 18 March 2019 (UTC)

I would certainly oppose any labelling anywhere near as pejorative as "patronising gallantry". In fact, just the other day I was in a shop and, because I was faffing around with something, I said to the checkout person "Would you like to serve this lady first?", referring to someone behind me in the queue. To me it seemed a normal-polite thing to say, and she seemed grateful rather than patronised. Mihia (talk) 14:47, 18 March 2019 (UTC)
I think we need evidence that it is perceived as patronizing by more than a couple of squads of SJWs and their claques at the propaganda mills. It may be hard to assess how widespread the perception is among normal folk, but it is very hard to trust those formerly known as "opinion leaders". DCDuring (talk) 16:33, 18 March 2019 (UTC)
I was thinking less about "ladies first" politeness in a supermarket, and more about why one would probably say "women" and not "ladies" if addressing a conference about wage gaps or some such. Equinox 16:38, 18 March 2019 (UTC)
It's nice to know you consider "social justice warriors" to be subnormal. Get fucked shitlord. It's also nice when people tell you who they really are. DTLHS (talk) 16:44, 18 March 2019 (UTC)
So it is. DCDuring (talk) 20:42, 18 March 2019 (UTC)
  • Guys, please, this is all very unpleasant. May I please ask everyone to discuss things in a civilised way. Mihia (talk) 17:42, 18 March 2019 (UTC)
  • I didn't find any discussion of lady vs. woman in any context at Language Log.
Since the gender revolution, some women are insulted to be called “ladies,” feeling that the word suggests inferiority, hypocrisy, or condescension.
I suppose that in our “nowadays,” any significant difference between the words lady and woman has disappeared for most speakers.
  • The New Republic on the appropriate noun to use attributively.
  • language: a feminist guide
  • The entry for lady in my 2009 edition of Garner's Modern American Usage seemed dated and unhelpful. Here's something from the 2016 edition:
It is jarring to hear phrases such as lady lawyer, woman doctor, female booksalesman, and the Air Force’s female airman. It sounds condescending, even if that wasn’t intended.
I wouldn't want to be the one writing the usage note. DCDuring (talk) 20:33, 18 March 2019 (UTC)
The problem with terms like "female booksalesman" and "female airman" is twofold: 1. the terms "booksaleswoman" (although I can't find any citations for it, "saleswoman" exists, so "booksaleswoman" wouldn't look particularly odd, I don't think) and "airwoman" could be legitimately used instead. Furthermore, unless the context clearly made it necessary to note the gender of the people in question, "bookseller" and "aviator"/"air force pilot" would probably be best anyway. I mean, it's different from using "person up" (yes, that exists!) for "man up" and "woman up", where—in that instance—using "person" misses the point of the original terms, which were (to say the least) pointing to maturity at least as much as they were pointing to gender, and 2. both of those words have the suffix -man, which is different from the use of man in (for instance) mankind, because in a large majority of cases where the suffix -man is used for a job in English, it was more or less a position that males historically held. Tharthan (talk) 03:41, 19 March 2019 (UTC)

(This is in response to the original question, not to any of the responses)

I don't think that "lady" is necessarily patronising or insensitive. It really depends upon the context. The word is clearly not meant reverentially at all in a phrase like "Listen, lady: I don't have time for this.", but obviously a phrase such as "She is a real lady" (I would personally opt for the word "true" if I were using a phrase like that, but "real" is more common colloquially for this) would probably mean something quite different than a phrase such as "She is a real woman". Also, I cannot say for sure, as I am not a woman, but I get the feeling that someone saying "Listen, lady: I don't have time for this." would probably have a lower likelihood of giving off an air of hatred for women than if one were to replace "lady" with "woman" in that sentence. I just get that feeling from this. To me, saying "Listen, lady: I don't have time for this." is essentially saying "Listen: I don't have time for this.", with a flippant term of address, whereas using "woman" instead in that sentence would make me think that the person saying it thinks less of women than men, and that the person saying it thinks that the person being spoken to ought not to be being (what the speaker thinks is) combative with them, purely because they are a woman (in other words: that kind of phrasing gives the impression that the speaker feels that the person being spoken to is inferior due to their womanhood). Tharthan (talk) 03:41, 19 March 2019 (UTC)

Yeah, I'm not sure there's a consistent difference in the connotations of (bare, uncompounded) lady vs woman, except that lady seems to connote somewhat more formality / higher class. this, in turn, can be used in patronizing ways, or bad come-ons, etc. But then sometimes (many times?) it's more polite! I think I see what Equinox is saying about not addressing a conference with "ladies!" ― I can picture a bro saying that to a group of women, not a dynamic to mimick in a professional conference. OTOH, one would greet an assembly of men and women with "ladies and gentlemen, I'm here to talk to you about X", not "women and (gentle)men, I'm here to...". And I can picture a woman addressing a conference of women by saying "ladies, for too long we have been [etc etc]" and sounding friendly/comradely, not patronizing.
I agree spokeslady would sound weird, like spokesgentleman also would...and I guess it could come off as mockingly faux-"PC", and hence patronizing? But I would want to look at more examples of compounds with "lady" in use in the wild in order to figure out if there's a consistent difference/connotation there — because regarding the other example, I know trans women who've used "trans lady" in conversation, describing themselves or another trans women, without any hint of patronage. - -sche (discuss) 05:54, 19 March 2019 (UTC)

what allEdit

According to the Microsoft® Encarta® 2009,

what all: U.S. pronoun, something of the same or a similar kind (informal). --Backinstadiums (talk) 16:21, 18 March 2019 (UTC)

Yes, this exists in many dialects; I will finally set about creating (soft redirect) entries—some previous discussion is at Wiktionary:Tea room/2018/July#"what_all_you_can_do". "Who all", "how all", "why all", etc also exist, so probably we should have the actual definition at all like some other dictionaries do. - -sche (discuss) 05:59, 19 March 2019 (UTC)

ten more people/cars vs ten dollars moreEdit

Ngrams show that dollars, unlike people or cars, prefers postmodifying more in sentences such as <{a few - ten} dollars more.>. Yet, the only possible phrase with no is no more dollars. Is this just a coincidence? Is it worth adding to its entry? --Backinstadiums (talk) 19:46, 18 March 2019 (UTC)

Whatever applies to dollar probably also applies to pound, shilling, penny, whatever other currency. I would speculate that this might possibly have something to do with money being fungible and treated as an amount, and not a number of separately counted things. Then I would expect the same to apply for time (a few hours, minutes, seconds). Generally "a few X more" and "a few more X" are interchangeable though. Equinox 19:56, 18 March 2019 (UTC)
@Equinox: Only some more water is recorded--Backinstadiums (talk) 20:28, 18 March 2019 (UTC)
Yeah, "some water more" isn't possible, but then "water" (unlike dollars and hours) isn't countable that way. Equinox 20:31, 18 March 2019 (UTC)
@Equinox: Ngrams only shows <a few more pesos.>. (I added a dot, but without it that phrase is still the preferred one). Therefore, it seems to be a property of dollars. --Backinstadiums (talk) 20:57, 18 March 2019 (UTC)
No, it isn't. English speakers just don't talk about pesos as often as they do about dollars. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 20:58, 18 March 2019 (UTC)
"Few cents more" (and "ten cents more") and "few pence more" also show preference for "few X more", but as with "dollars", the "few more X" versions are generally 1/2 (or better!) to 1/5 as common, and other corpora also show that the trend is not large: the COCA has 37 instances of "few dollars more" to 34 of "few more dollars", and 3 of "few cents more" to 4 of "few more cents". Even in Google's Ngram corpus, while "few shillings more" historically beat out "few more shillings", it is almost evenly matched now (as is "pesos", especially at high levels of smoothing).
I'm trying to think of other fungible or "amount" things to check. "Coins" and "nickels" apparently refer to discrete physical coins too often for this to hold for them. "Digits", "drops", "years" and "steps" prefer the "few more X" format.
If other reference works have written about this trend, there might be a basis for a usage note at more, but otherwise the tendency might be too slight (and too hard to pin down the scope of) to mention. - -sche (discuss) 03:40, 19 March 2019 (UTC)

English minimal pair words by syllabificationEdit

Are there English minimal pairs created by different syllabification, specifically of lexical words? --Backinstadiums (talk) 02:32, 19 March 2019 (UTC)

Robert Louis Politzer's Linguistics and applied linguistics gives nightrate (one word sic, which might be attested) /naɪt+ret/ vs nitrate /naɪtret/ as one example of a pair distinguished by juncture, and the phrases an aim /ən + eɪm/ vs a name /ə + neɪm/ as another. Our entry on nitrate does say, matching that and my experience, that it's pronounced different from night rate, but factors beyond syllabification seem to also be distinguishing there on the narrow phonetic level, like stress and vowel length and the quality of the /t/. OTOH, this Concise Introduction to Linguistics seems to disclaim the idea that there's any phonemic difference, saying (of night rate) that "in continuous speech the pause is only perceived; it is usually not physically real", and only context distinguishes what is meant.
Bruce Hayes (linguist)'s Introductory Phonology warns that "minimal pairs [...] that differ only in syllabification [...] have in fact been suggested, but only for a very few languages", and this Encyclopedia of language & linguistics similarly says they "are absent altogether in most - if not all - languages, although exceptions to this generalization have been argued to exist (e.g., in Arrernte, see Breen and Pensalfini, 1999)", so it seems unlikely English would have a lexical minimal pair truly distinguished only by syllabification without other distinguishing factors like stress. Kreidler, similarly saying such pairs are rare-to-nonexistent, mentions Ida /ʔáy.da/ vs Aïda /ʔa.iy.da/ as an English near-case, but it seems rather far off the mark, the nitrate example seems closer. - -sche (discuss) 05:06, 19 March 2019 (UTC)
Reminds me of the "four candles" / "fork handles" gag ... Mihia (talk) 18:37, 21 March 2019 (UTC)

as pronounEdit

's 2. (Britain, dialectal) Contraction of as. (when it is (nonstandardly) used as a relative pronoun)

However, as does not show any section as a pronoun; is it because only the contraction functions as such? --Backinstadiums (talk) 19:27, 19 March 2019 (UTC)

This does seem like an error; I would expect the contracted and uncontracted forms to have the same POS. Does it correspond to conjunction definition 9 of as: "(now England, US, regional) Functioning as a relative conjunction; that."? Which POS is right? Are we missing pronominal senses of as even if this is not one? Hmm... as has been on my to-do list of entries to overhaul, so I may have a go at it later. - -sche (discuss) 20:11, 19 March 2019 (UTC)
MW has two pronoun senses, but I don't quite believe their glosses. DCDuring (talk) 20:19, 19 March 2019 (UTC)
I've overhauled the entry to "basic English" standards, except without splitting conjunction "that" and pronoun "that" as other dictionaries (old and modern) do. - -sche (discuss) 16:30, 21 March 2019 (UTC)


Concerning sense 2: "(Internet slang, derogatory) An atheist, especially one of obnoxious temperament." I feel like the central characteristic isn't atheism, but pseudo-intellectualism. To me it evokes an image of a (chiefly male) teenager who was just introduced to philosophy or whatever and is sure he has the answers and that everyone needs to bask in his intellect. The atheism, like the MLP/Rick and Morty thing, seems like something that stereotypically accompanies it.__Gamren (talk) 20:30, 19 March 2019 (UTC)

I agree. - -sche (discuss) 20:34, 19 March 2019 (UTC)
It's a loose synonym of neckbeard — but our entry has a miserable definition there that needs improvement as well. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 01:08, 20 March 2019 (UTC)
Was also going to say it's the same as a neckbeard. Equinox 07:02, 21 March 2019 (UTC)
Both terms would benefit from attestation. DCDuring (talk) 15:33, 21 March 2019 (UTC)
I changed "atheist" to "pseudointellectual" per the above, and revised the definition to "a self-important or obnoxious pseudointellectual". I crosslinked [[fedora]] and [[neckbeard]] and revised the latter to "a self-important, socially inept nerd". Is this an improvement? If not, please undo or revise further. Should "fedora" also say "socially inept"? Should "neckbeard" say "usually with poor grooming"? Should either/both say "often misogynistic" or is that incidental like atheism? - -sche (discuss) 18:05, 21 March 2019 (UTC)
Definitely an improvement. I think "neckbeard" should say "usually with poor grooming", since it's the etymology. "Self-important" seems like a specific flavour of "socially inept". I'm not sure how essential the misogyny is, maybe if you qualified it with "sometimes" instead?__Gamren (talk) 15:45, 22 March 2019 (UTC)
  • I could not find attestation at Google Groups. I've RfVed it. OTOH neckbeard seems attestable in roughly the Internet slang sense. DCDuring (talk) 17:58, 22 March 2019 (UTC)

Pronunciation of chordadierEdit

An anonymous user just added the IPA here, and I'm not sure if it's correct. Specifically, is this really pronounced with an initial /k/? /x/ seems much more likely to me, as that's the phoneme that's normally used for the Greek equivalent. —Rua (mew) 22:00, 19 March 2019 (UTC)

Pinging other recently-active Dutch speakers @DrJos, Lingo Bingo Dingo, Morgengave. - -sche (discuss) 18:13, 21 March 2019 (UTC)
We use the /x/. --DrJos (talk) 07:51, 22 March 2019 (UTC)
I would say /ˈxɔr.daːˌdiːr/, but I have never heard this word pronounced so I cannot say for sure. ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 07:52, 22 March 2019 (UTC)
That's the right way: the same sound as the -ch- in lachen. --DrJos (talk) 08:46, 22 March 2019 (UTC)
One should expect this to be like the pronunciation /ˌxɔr.doːˈfoːn/ of chordofoon.  --Lambiam 20:20, 23 March 2019 (UTC)

BRCA /'bra:ka/Edit

I'm not sure how BRCA is pronounced (minute 0:40) --Backinstadiums (talk) 00:53, 20 March 2019 (UTC)

Is there any reason not to include it? --Backinstadiums (talk) 00:28, 21 March 2019 (UTC)

New page requestEdit

Wiktionary:About Vietnamese. Doesn't really fit within the scope of WT:RE, so here seems like the most logical place to dump it. Johnny Shiz (talk) 21:24, 20 March 2019 (UTC)

"She had something the matter with her back"Edit

This entry in Longman has taught me new things; I'd never encountered such sentences as "Is there anything the matter?", "I know something’s the matter" or "Nothing’s the matter" before.

The last sentence especially is interesting to me: how would you parse "She had something the matter with her back"? chignonbunпучок 21:39, 20 March 2019 (UTC)

It seems like a fossilization of matter ("problem, difficulty") with and therefore there is quite possibly an idiom in there somewhere. The "problem, difficulty" sense is a specialization of the meaning "state of things/affairs", negative states of affairs being more commonly discussed than positive ones.
I imagine it offered as an answer to a question like: "What was the matter/the problem/wrong with her?" "She had something the matter/*the problem/wrong with her back." MWOnline has a run-in definition of the matter ("wrong"). I'd say we need an entry for the matter to cover this. DCDuring (talk) 23:39, 20 March 2019 (UTC)
There had been an RFD on the matter in 2016, hastily closed (10 days). No one brought up that MWOnline, Oxford(US), and Cambridge Advanced Learners all have entries. The nonsubstitutability of the definitions of matter thought to cover this was waved away as irrelevant because of "ellipsis". DCDuring (talk) 00:01, 21 March 2019 (UTC)
@DCDuring: Thank you, this is very interesting. ChignonПучок 12:55, 22 March 2019 (UTC)

According to "Practical English Usage":

We use the matter (with) after something, anything, nothing and what. It means ‘wrong (with)’. Something’s the matter with my foot. Is anything the matter? Nothing's the matter with the car - you ’re just a bad driver. What’s the matter with Frank today? There is often used as a 'preparatory subject’ There's something the m atter w ith the TV. Is there anything the matter? (see also page 1394 of Cambridge Grammar of the English Language) --Backinstadiums (talk) 00:28, 21 March 2019 (UTC)

Does [[the matter]] pass muster? DCDuring (talk) 00:33, 21 March 2019 (UTC)
@DCDuring: For the usage note, I'd add the brief info. in the page page 1394 of Cambridge Grammar of the English Language --Backinstadiums (talk) 00:38, 21 March 2019 (UTC)

can /k/ : Can we /Kwi/Edit

Can anybody confirm this? --Backinstadiums (talk) 00:36, 21 March 2019 (UTC)

I know that I speak one of the more traditional dialects in the country, but nevertheless some of this seems particularly regional/dependent on the area (such as pronouncing water as /ˈwɑɾɚ/). Pronouncing can we as /kwi/ seems doubtful, at least outside of extremely rustic/very lazy and slurred speech. /kʰn̩ˈwi/, yes, but not /kwi/. Thinking about it, the closest to that that I might potentially hear in the laziest speech (that is not extremely rustic) would be (forgive the transcription) /kʰˈwi/, or something like that. But /kwi/ seems like something that one would only really ever potentially hear in the speech of those who lived in, well... "especially dilapidated sections of a city". Now, I'm not trying to be rude when I say that. I'm merely making an observation. Coming from such a place does not in any way guarantee that an individual will speak in any particular way in that sense, but that isn't my point in this instance. What I'm trying to say is that I could only envision hearing /kwi/ by speakers of a particularly broad dialect associated with such a place.
"In American English, words are not pronounced one by one."
Oh really? That's interesting, because that completely goes against my personal experience. I find it particularly amusing that it doesn't even say "not usually" or something like that. It just declares that words are simply not pronounced one by one. If they mean to say "Sometimes, depending upon the circumstances and the particular speaker, words ‘flow’" or something like that, then fine. But the statement as it is given there (if we take it as an absolute) is false.
"Usually, the end of one word attaches to the beginning of the next word."
There is truth to this, although I think that it would be more accurate to say "in many cases" instead of "usually".
"They tell me the dime easier to understand.
They tell me that I'm easier to understand.
The last two sentences above should be pronounced exactly the same, no matter how they are written. It is the sound that is important, not the spelling."
...What? That last bit is not true. I mean, we're not illiterate people (well, I hope that most of us aren't, anyway)!
["actually" being pronounced /ˈæ(.)tʃə.li/]
...No. /ˈæk.(t)ʃə.li/, yes, but not /ˈæ(.)tʃə.li/.
In essence, this is the perfect example of why people ought not to write books telling people that don't know much about English in the United States that there is a foolproof way to speak United States English properly ("How does one speak United States English properly?" does not really have one complete answer, by the way), especially if they are not native speakers of English in general.
...Anyway, this is just my take. Keep in mind that I, again, speak a particularly traditional dialect (and a particularly cultivated form of that dialect as well [Don't get me wrong, I don't speak like some stereotypical aristocrat or anything like that. I think very highly of language, not of myself {although I do judge others too much, I will say}. I just try to speak well, 's all.]) Perhaps others could offer their takes as well. Tharthan (talk) 02:25, 21 March 2019 (UTC)
@Tharthan: I've recently heard /kʰ/ with the first singular pronoun. Should we add such reduction to the entry can? --Backinstadiums (talk) 09:51, 22 March 2019 (UTC)
That's fine, but I really think that we need to see a citation for something like that if we were to add it. Do you think that you could provide something like that? Tharthan (talk) 17:59, 22 March 2019 (UTC)

daren't past time referenceEdit

Accroding to the Cambridge Grammar of the English Language, "daren’t is used occasionally in ordinary past time contexts (Kim daren’t tell them so I had to do it myself).

I've just come across such an use in The Simpsons, Season 29 Episode 15, minute 18:33. Therefore, I'd add a note about it in its entry --Backinstadiums (talk) 00:52, 21 March 2019 (UTC)

Do you have a link to the video? DCDuring (talk) 02:38, 21 March 2019 (UTC)
@DCDuring, Prosfilaes: here --Backinstadiums (talk) 10:35, 21 March 2019 (UTC)
I've used DVD subtitles for citations. I'd rather avoid using user-made transcripts, as that involves more personal interpretation.--Prosfilaes (talk) 08:01, 21 March 2019 (UTC)
In context that is not unambiguously a past tense IMO. DCDuring (talk) 11:50, 21 March 2019 (UTC)

.::@DCDuring: Anyway, the mention in the Cambridge Grammar of the English Language is authoritative enough, isn't it? --Backinstadiums (talk) 12:04, 21 March 2019 (UTC)

I can see using the scholarly grammars as references or "Further reading" as well as to guide our minds. I can't see them as substitutes for quotations exhibiting the usage, no matter how hard it may be to find such quotations. DCDuring (talk) 12:17, 21 March 2019 (UTC)

Category:Translingual reference templates includes Template:R:APWeb?Edit

This template is categorized in Category:Taxonomy reference templates (ie, by subject matter, along with some 50 other templates) and in Category:Translingual reference templates.

The website this template refers to includes a great deal of running English text and no running text in any other language. It does not have any translations into normal languages, ie, vernacular names. It discusses taxonomic names, the organism characteristics that lead biologists to put organisms in one taxonomic entity or another, and the relationships of the names to each other. Is what makes Translingual the appropriate category only that the subject matter is names that Wiktionary calls Translingual? If Category:Taxonomy reference templates is made a subcategory of Category:Translingual reference templates, is there any need for each template to also appear in the latter category? DCDuring (talk) 02:37, 21 March 2019 (UTC)


Why do we classify instances of -'s which are contractions of is and has (etc) as being a ===Suffix===, but classify instances of -'s which are contractions of us as being a ===Pronoun===, by extension from which I also classified the contracted conjunction under ===Conjnction===? Should the former have a ===Verb=== header instead or should the latter two have a ===Suffix=== header or is this difference desirable? - -sche (discuss) 16:34, 21 March 2019 (UTC)

I'd think that we'd want all of those to be uniformly suffixes.
Grouping the definitions by part of speech might be educational.
IMO, it would also be useful to hard-categorize [[-'s]] into the various part-of-speech categories and possibly into any finer grammatical categories inherited from the words of which -s is a contraction.
Also, I hope -s appears as alternative form on [[is]], [[as]], [[does]], etc. DCDuring (talk) 16:57, 21 March 2019 (UTC)
OK, done. - -sche (discuss) 03:09, 22 March 2019 (UTC)
Hmmm. Is it really an alternative form? Or is it a synonym? Or should it just be mentioned in a usage note? I suppose we could do a little reading so that we could specify the permitted collocations and usage contexts. Biber's grammar has frequency information for this kind of thing, because it is sufficiently common so that meaningful frequencies in different medium-sized corpora are possible.
This is the kind of thing that one learns fairly easily by ear. Does attentive reading help? How would one learn by intense study?
In any event, this entry looks much better. DCDuring (talk) 10:58, 22 March 2019 (UTC)
Biber doesn't provide much except that -'s is more common in speech than is after wh- question words. DCDuring (talk) 21:04, 22 March 2019 (UTC)

POS and labelling of "as" meaning "that"Edit

We label the use of as to mean that as a conjunction and "(now especially England and US)". Some uses do seem dialectal, like "I don't reckon as that's very likely" (which seems like something a Southern or Western US-er would say), or "it’s father as calls me Sissy" (which some references consider a pronoun, btw); the related sense at -'s was labelled a pronoun until I harmonized it with as, and is still labelled as British. But other sentences seem like they'd be cromulent in standard English, like "He had the same problem as she did getting the lock open." Is a sentence like that really dialectal? If not, should the "regional" labels be removed? (And should some or all instances be considered a conjunction, or a pronoun?) - -sche (discuss) 16:51, 21 March 2019 (UTC)

Yes, it seems as they are not purely dialectal, possibly merely informal. DCDuring (talk) 17:03, 21 March 2019 (UTC)
OK, I removed the regional labels (in various references it is said to be found in UK dialects / England, in New England, the Midland US, the Southern US, and the Western US, but some usexes seem fine in standard Englishes). - -sche (discuss) 03:08, 22 March 2019 (UTC)
So, in the US, not so much in Hawaii and Alaska, and the Middle Atlantic? I'll see if DARE has any info. I have the volume that would have it. DCDuring (talk) 11:02, 22 March 2019 (UTC)
DARE has it in regional speech, but not concentrated anywhere in particular in the 20th century, tho not represented in the West when the West was a smaller % of US population than now. DCDuring (talk) 21:01, 22 March 2019 (UTC)
Did you come up with any other examples of "as = that" in standard modern English, other than the "same ~ as ~" case? I wonder whether this might just be a special case resulting from the collocation "same as". Mihia (talk) 18:53, 23 March 2019 (UTC)
Some probably-durably-archived court cases (findable by google) use "(raised|raising) the identical issue as he does (here|now|etc)", though occasional use of a synonym for "same" is not the strongest evidence, and the use seems intermediate between meaning "that" and something else. FWIW, regarding both POS and labelling:
  • Dictionary.com has a usex analogous to my "I don't reckon as that's very likely" sentence classed as a conjunction, labelled only "informal", while they have a usex analogous to the "same problem" one classified as a pronoun with no restrictive regional or register-related label.
  • Merriam-Webster has a "same problem"-type usex as a pronoun (along with a quotation from Shakespeare about medlars), and no relevant conjunction sense AFAIS.
  • Century has a "same problem"-type usex and Dickens' "the box as stands in the first fire-place" as a pronoun, putting it in same definition ("that, who, which") as "such a result as that" and Milton's "such a fear as loves not", which however seems clearly distinct (the definition is not substitutable AFAICT). However, they do point to Shakespeare's "show of love as I was wont to have" and "hard conditions, as this time is like to lay upon us" which seem in-between use to mean "that" and the use they define as conjunction sense 4 (q.v., for which their usex is "so many examples as filled xv. bookes").
  • The EDD also has as as a relative pronoun, quoting uses like "Ready to kiss the ground as the missis trod on".
It's also discussed as a pronoun here and (in Appalachian) here. Should this be added? Is it distinguishable from the conjunction?
- -sche (discuss) 19:31, 23 March 2019 (UTC)
Of the examples discussed, the only POSs that I feel very confident about are cases like "I don't reckon as that's very likely", where "as" is a conjunction, and cases like "the box as stands in the first fire-place", where "as" functions as a relative pronoun (though I think some people don't like that terminology). I can't think of any examples of these cases that I would consider standard modern English. Mihia (talk) 22:00, 23 March 2019 (UTC)
Hmm. Would "now chiefly colloquial" work as a label? I don't want to just say "dialectal" without specifying which dialects—in the long term, I think all instances of "dialectal" or "regional" should be replaced with the relevant dialects' names—but it's used in an awful lot of dialects, and bleeds into standard use in the "same problem"-like cases.
As an aside, the EDD says of the relative pronoun that the usual form (found in a greater number of UK dialects, apparently) is at, also spelled 'at, ut or et and pronounced /ət/ (some examples: "him 'at wrote Judas Iscariot", "him 'at went to foreign parts", "a plank at was laid cross two barrels", "nowt at ah knaws", "them at steals geese"), which makes me wonder if it has a separate etymology (namely, being a reduced form of that). - -sche (discuss) 23:30, 23 March 2019 (UTC)
To me, "now chiefly colloquial" implies that a usage is no longer appropriate in formal language, but is still standard in informal English. This does not seem to fit usages of the type "I don't reckon as ..." and "the box as stands ...", which IMO are not standard modern English in any register, at least not in BrE. I think a "dialect" label (or "now dialect" if we know that they used to be standard) is appropriate for these senses, at least for BrE usage. I agree that we should ideally specify which dialects, but failing that, I believe that "dialect" gives the right sense of the currency of these usages (notwithstanding that, in the broadest possible sense, everything is a "dialect"). "same X as Y" seems to me to be standard English; I'm not sure that it needs any particular usage label, though there may be disagreement over which is preferable, "as" or "that".
I agree that the "at" that you mention has the appearance of being a contraction of "that", especially as it often seems to be written with an apostrophe. Mihia (talk) 19:43, 24 March 2019 (UTC)


At least according to this: https://www.wildmadagascar.org/people/malagasy-english.html the word "mangina" means 'quiet' in Malagasy. I would have added it myself if the page wasn't blocked from editing. 18:09, 21 March 2019 (UTC)

I can also find this in several other dictionaries, both old dead-tree ones and modern ones, so: added. - -sche (discuss) 18:20, 22 March 2019 (UTC)

Latino/a, Latina/oEdit

These are attested (Citations:Latino/a, Citations:Latina/o), but are they words / should we include them? On one hand, the set of words that can be combined this way might be fairly large (I can also find Mexicana/o(s) and Chicana/o(s), non-Spanish words like alumnus/a + alumna/us, and also compounds like congressman/woman, congresswoman/man and spokesman/woman which might constitute a different kind of thing). On other hand, they function like single words like s/he (especially when pluralized as Latino/as + Latina/os rather than Latinos/as + Latinas/os which are also attested), unlike e.g. "blue/green" wich a reader could figure out to look up as "blue / green". - -sche (discuss) 20:34, 21 March 2019 (UTC)


At lime we have, under the respective definitions for the two types of tree, the following usage notes:

Both this and the citrus are trees with fragrant flowers, but this is more temperate and the citrus is more tropical and subtropical. Outside of Europe and adjoining parts of Asia, the citrus sense is much more common.
Both this and the linden are trees with fragrant flowers, but the linden is more temperate and this is more tropical and subtropical. Outside of Europe and adjoining parts of Asia, this sense is much more common.

I can't figure out what this is trying to say. Surely one sense of the English word "lime" can be more common than another only in English-speaking countries, and most of "Europe and adjoining parts of Asia" is not made up of English-speaking countries. Does it make sense to anyone else? Mihia (talk) 23:35, 21 March 2019 (UTC)

The idea is probably the mundane one that English-speaking individuals, when in different environments, refer to different kinds of trees when using the word lime. DCDuring (talk) 00:33, 22 March 2019 (UTC)

somebody is about to get their asses kickedEdit

I've just come across the sentence somebody is about to get their asses kicked, South Park S19E08, minute 0:42. I thought the agreement of singular they was not tranferred to the noun governed by the possessive. --Backinstadiums (talk) 01:00, 22 March 2019 (UTC)

In formal usage one would definitely not say that. DCDuring (talk) 01:42, 22 March 2019 (UTC)
Not really correct: suggests the person has two (or more!) "asses". I suppose the confusion arises from singular "they/their". Equinox 10:28, 22 March 2019 (UTC)
I'm pretty sure that this kind of departure from the new prescribed grammar of they/them/their will last for a while in this and other expressions. How long until it'll be OK to say They is/was/has/gets/goes/sees etc? DCDuring (talk) 11:06, 22 March 2019 (UTC)
@Equinox: According to Practical English Usage: the distributive plural is used To talk about several people each doing the same thing, a plural noun for the repeated idea Tell the kids to bring raincoats to school tomorrow. Plural forms are almost always used in this case if there are possessives: Tell the children to blow their noses; Six people lost their lives in the accident. --Backinstadiums (talk) 11:57, 22 March 2019 (UTC)
Yes. I'm saying that "their" usually refers to several people, and inflects accordingly ("they are" even if it's a singular "they"), so a careless writer might get mixed up and use a plural noun like that. Equinox 20:30, 22 March 2019 (UTC)
You can't say 'Somebody lost their lives' unless the person has more than one life. You can't say 'Somebody is about to get their asses kicked' unless the person has more than one ass (donkey?). --Geographyinitiative (talk) 02:00, 26 March 2019 (UTC)


The definition that we give is as follows:

1. A rock which has become wedged in a vertical fissure or cleft.

This is somewhat unsatisfactory, because of the ambiguity of the word rock here. Is rock meant in the traditional sense of boulder, or in the contemporary sense of stone of any size?

EDIT: Out of curiosity, I have checked the Collins English Dictionary definition of this word, and not only is the word stone used where we use rock, but within the definition is the line "[i]t may vary in size from a pebble to a large boulder".

If this is indeed the case, then I am of the opinion that our definition needs to be changed in order to reflect what is actually the case. Tharthan (talk) 19:56, 22 March 2019 (UTC)

According to Wikipedia’s article Nut (climbing), a chockstone is a metal wedge. Is that wrong?  --Lambiam 19:57, 23 March 2019 (UTC)
My guess would be that that's a separate, extended sense. - -sche (discuss) 20:28, 23 March 2019 (UTC)
A quick Google Image search confirms that this can refer to pieces of rock larger than adult humans, and also to some kind of metal-looking implement which is probably the one Lambiam mentioned. google books:"chockstone the size of" turns up "...a large bus tire" and "...a large exercise ball"; google books:"chockstone as big as" turns up "...a house" and "...a small car". "Tiny chockstone" also gets a hit, so I assume the other dictionary mentioned is right that it can also refer to small ones - -sche (discuss) 20:36, 23 March 2019 (UTC)
A chuckstone is a pebble: possible overlap or confusion? Equinox 11:11, 25 March 2019 (UTC)
I personally find confusion (at least on a meaningful level- misuse of chockstone for chuckstone by a sizeable number of people impacting chockstone’s definition in dictionaries, for instance, seems unlikely) to be not very likely for this. With that said, considering "chock-full" (not derived from the same chock, however) is often pronounced chuck full (I recall my mother always pronouncing it in that way when I was growing up, even though she would spell it chock-full. In this particular case, though, it might be a remnant of /ɒ/ [cf. /fəˈɡʌt.n̩/, /ˈpʌp.aɪ/]. I cannot say for sure. But even so, I'm pretty sure that it is pronounced that way by some people even in areas where the people living there never historically had /ɒ/), it wouldn't surprise me if some people confused the two.
Considering the fact that clefts in mountains can vary somewhat in size, I don't see why it would be unreasonable to think that an average-sized stone (or even a noticeably small one) could be wedged in a cleft.
(Also, isn't every stone a chuckstone?
Tharthan (talk) 04:22, 26 March 2019 (UTC)

Old spellings of AliceEdit

Before spelling was so prescribed, the English name Alice used to be spelled Alis or Alse. Is it customary to add entries for archaic spellings of modern names? Vox Sciurorum (talk) 12:23, 24 March 2019 (UTC)

When are you talking about? I've seen those sorts of spellings from before 1500, but that would be considered Middle English here. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 16:39, 24 March 2019 (UTC)
See this story about Alse being used in the 1600s in America: [19]. I haven't researched whether it was a common enough spelling to go into a dictionary. Vox Sciurorum (talk) 09:55, 25 March 2019 (UTC)
I would argue that these are entirely separate names and not alternatives of each other. An alternative form implies that the two are interchangeable, but that is not the case with names. Only the exact spelling is acceptable, referring to someone named Alice as Alis is wrong, and so would the reverse be. —Rua (mew) 18:54, 25 March 2019 (UTC)
i'm told that William Shakespeare used various spellings of his own name interchangeably because, in days gone by, spelling was not formalized the way it is today. Today, Mark, Marc, Marcus, and Marcos are different names, but aren't they nevertheless versions of the same name? Still, maybe "see also" or "related terms" would be more appropriate than "alternative forms". Anyway, Alice lists Alis in the etymology.
Wiktionary technical question: Is there a difference between {{m|en|Alice}} and [[Alice#English]]? Is there a reason i must (or should) use one or the other? 21:41, 25 March 2019 (UTC)
You'd never write the latter. Plain links are to be used in English prose where terms are used rather than mentioned, such as definitions, etymologies and usage notes. The only case where you'd use #English is when such a prose term is the same as the page name. By contrast, you wouldn't ever write {{l|en}} or {{m|en}} in a definition, they are both for mentions: {{m}} to be used within English prose to refer to a word, and {{l}} to be used outside of running text, such as in lists and inflection tables. —Rua (mew) 19:14, 26 March 2019 (UTC)


(Notifying Kc kennylau, Tooironic, Jamesjiao, Meihouwang, Suzukaze-c, Justinrleung, Hongthay, Mar vin kaiser, Dokurrat, Zcreator alt, Dine2016, Geographyinitiative): Hello all. It has been a common practice, to my knowledge, for dialectal Mandarin words to provide the standard pinyin, even if the word is really dialectal, especially if the system for that specific dialect has not been developed yet (such as Sichuanese, Dungan), moreover, the actual real pronunciation may not be known.

In any case, I don't see why pinyin and standard Mandarin pronunciation shouldn't be added by default, such as "qīngqīng". I think it should be but User:Dokurrat disagrees. What's everybody's opinion? --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 07:53, 25 March 2019 (UTC)

@Atitarev: I think "dialectal Mandarin" is kind of a broad term. In certain cases, when it refers to Beijing Mandarin or Northeastern Mandarin, it would be fine to include pinyin, especially if the term is included in dictionaries like Xiandai Hanyu Cidian, Hanyu Da Cidian or Guoyu Cidian. However, in this case, when the dialects in question have phonologies that differ significantly from standard Mandarin, I don't think it's appropriate to put a standard Mandarin pronunciation in, especially if the term isn't commonly incorporated into standard Mandarin. The actual pronunciation is often known if it's in the dialectal tables: in the Jinan dialect, it is actually pronounced /tʰiŋ²¹³⁻²¹ tʰiŋ⁵/ (and can also be written as as 蜻蜓 or 蜓蜓); in the Hefei dialect, it is pronounced as /tɕʰin²¹²⁻²¹ tɕʰin³/. — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 08:12, 25 March 2019 (UTC)
For collation purposes, some pan-dialect dictionaries provide pinyin for all words, which might result in 揚尾仔扬尾仔 (yángwěizǐ). I suppose it's necessary for them?? but we don't really need this, as long as we use hanzi as our entry titles.
The core problem is that the scope of {{zh-pron}} is currently limited.
" [] the system for that specific dialect has not been developed yet [] "
I don't like this either. Creating a custom romanization for every single Chinese dialect under the sun and writing [[Module:*-pron]] for each romanization is absurd. I suppose this is an appropriate time to mention my ideas for revising zh-pron? Accommodating these "other" dialects is a priority.
"It has been a common practice, [] "
Mm, I wasn't aware of this. I personally 1) might not create an entry; or 2) might use {{rfp}} (which might stay on an entry infinitely, due to lack of support from {{zh-pron}}).
Suzukaze-c 08:23, 25 March 2019 (UTC)
@Suzukaze-c: The {{zh-pron}} template might be enhanced a bit with requests for pronunciations for specific lects and dialects. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 05:49, 26 March 2019 (UTC)
Here is a similar case: 黑區媽區黑区妈区. Also, 蜻蜻 is not found in Xiandai Hanyu Cidian 7 p1067, Xiandai Hanyu Guifan Cidian 3 p1073, Guoyu Cidian Jianbianben or Chongbian Guoyu Cidian Xiudingben (of course). --Geographyinitiative (talk) 08:26, 25 March 2019 (UTC)
As Justin pointed out, the term is also used in standard Mandarin, otherwise, I'm OK if the community decides to not use the standard Mandarin pronunciation for dialectal words. As for the common practice, I've seen many examples, where a word in other Chinese lects is normal but only used dialectally in Mandarin. I won't mention who did and when and won't search for such examples. It doesn't matter now. Let's decide here. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 08:32, 25 March 2019 (UTC)
@Atitarev: Just for the record, @Justinrleung has not said or implied that "the term is also used in standard Mandarin". Dokurrat (talk) 05:25, 26 March 2019 (UTC)
@Dokurrat: He did. In diff: 'For this particular word, it seems like it's used to refer to some kind of small cicada in literary Chinese (per Hanyu Da Cidian), so it'd be fine to include a Mandarin pronunciation if we do list that definition. ' --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 05:41, 26 March 2019 (UTC)
@Dokurrat: I suspected that @Atitarev was referring to this. After more investigation, it turns out that the pronunciation for the cicada is not related to the dragonfly sense, so I have split them. — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 05:44, 26 March 2019 (UTC)
@Justinrleung: Well, you need to be more specific then. BTW, Category:Chinese dialectal terms has a lot of dialectal Mandarin terms without specifying how a term is pronounced in specific areas. Do we now have to worry that we have provided standard pinyin for commonly known dialectal Mandarin words like (ǎn) or (shá)? --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 05:57, 26 March 2019 (UTC)
@Atitarev: I didn't know that it's a different until looking into it more, so I couldn't have been more specific, though I should've been more careful. Words like or have definitely been incorporated into "standard Mandarin" (with a bit of a dialectal flare) so there's no need to worry about them; as I've said above, their inclusion in dictionaries like Xiandai Hanyu Cidian means we don't really have to debate about it. — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 06:05, 26 March 2019 (UTC)
Wiktionary is a work-in-progress. Speaking only for me, I would say only add a pronunciation for a Chinese word if you think that the pronunciation you are adding exists or existed in the language of some real people. Are you pretty sure that the qīngqīng pronunciation exists? If there is any controversy about whether something you want to add exists or not, find example usages. -- Question absolutely anything that you think may not exist (what I think Dokurrat is doing in this case). Some automatically generated pronunciations may need to be deleted or altered eventually. Everything will be figured out over the course of an endless, painstaking process. --Geographyinitiative (talk) 12:14, 25 March 2019 (UTC)
If this particular term is in 漢語大詞典, then we don't need to worry about this term any more. I already said, I will agree not to provide pinyin for dialectal Mandarin but it seems an overkill to me. Someone will pronounce the dialectal "蜻蜻" (dragonfly) as /t͡ɕʰiŋ⁵⁵ t͡ɕʰiŋ⁵⁵/ in Mandarin speaking areas. Would that be incorrect? I don't think so. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 05:49, 26 March 2019 (UTC)
@Atitarev: I have serious doubts that 蜻蜻 would be used in putonghua; even if it could be read in standard Mandarin, I could only imagine it used as a mention, not an actual use. With the same logic, I could even put a Cantonese pronunciation cing1 cing1 since that's the most likely way it would be read in Hong Kong if someone were presented with the word. — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 06:09, 26 March 2019 (UTC)

shared serviceEdit

I'm having trouble seeing the real difference between senses 1 and 2. I also note the article creator put his own document as a reference, usually a red flag. Equinox 11:54, 25 March 2019 (UTC)

Agree they should be merged. This term is definitely in use, but currently our page comes across a bit jargony. Ƿidsiþ 08:08, 26 March 2019 (UTC)


English section states "Abbreviation of ibidem", which is Latin and not explained in the entry. Should we have an English entry for ibidem or move ib. to a Latin section, or both? --Pious Eterino (talk) 13:30, 25 March 2019 (UTC)

We should have an English entry for ibidem. It's in a few English dictionaries with just "in the same place" and no explanation of how it's used. We should be more explicit. Ultimateria (talk) 15:25, 25 March 2019 (UTC)
The American Heritage Dictionary explains this is “Used in footnotes and bibliographies to refer to the book, chapter, article, or page cited just before.” Wordsmyth states the same in more words. Webster (1913) needs even more words but, even so, manages to miss out on the context of footnotes and bibliographies.  --Lambiam 17:46, 25 March 2019 (UTC)
Compare ibid.. (Note that the first of these two full stops is in italics.)  --Lambiam 17:35, 25 March 2019 (UTC)
If ibidem isn't attestable in English texts (i.e. it isn't used 3 times), there can't be an English entry. Then it should be "English ib. - abbreviation of Latin ibidem" with English category, but Latin link (i.e. not {{abbreviation of|ibidem|lang=la}} as that gives a wrong category and doesn't display the language). --Brown*Toad (talk) 22:21, 28 March 2019 (UTC)

fracking etymologyEdit

True or false:

Just curious. Thanks. 21:18, 25 March 2019 (UTC)

False; NA; True.
We don't have 'primary topics' or anything that closely corresponds. Etymology sections that have only obsolete, archaic, dated, and rare terms tend to be placed below other etymology sections. Sometimes older etymology sections precede newer ones because the derivation of the second is from the first, but not in a simple way, eg, not by mere conversion.
This subject to change. There is a BP discussion in progress that could lead to changes. DCDuring (talk) 22:11, 25 March 2019 (UTC)
I have today split the article you mention into 2 separate etymologies, which I suspect is what you were driving at. (Anyone who knows these things: please try to fix the alternative forms, as I didn't know which belonged where.) Equinox 01:58, 26 March 2019 (UTC)

pilot adjectiveEdit

What do we think of pilot adjective? Three senses, not really having the properties of adjectives (comparability; "this light/vehicle is pilot", etc.). Equinox 01:57, 26 March 2019 (UTC)

I'm having trouble finding, either in my head or in references, one (or more) current definition that obviously covers these. DCDuring (talk) 12:10, 26 March 2019 (UTC)
To me, "pilot" does not smell like a true adjective in any of the examples presently given. Mihia (talk) 01:17, 27 March 2019 (UTC)


Second opinion please: [20]. I'm inclined to go back to the original (Wikipedia-based) definition but I don't particularly want Autymn's claws in me. Equinox 07:53, 26 March 2019 (UTC)

So, those who don't have a family (i.e., orphans) aren't included? For that matter, "their family" (i.e., the singular form) would only make sense if all the believers belonged to one family. Never mind the substance- the logic and the grammar is all wrong. Chuck Entz (talk) 08:26, 26 March 2019 (UTC)
I took a stab at it. - -sche (discuss) 17:19, 26 March 2019 (UTC)

IPA for KingstonEdit

I'm not sure whether the IPA added here is correct. My feeling is it should be kɪŋstən or even kɪŋztən. Thinking about it I will settle for kɪŋstən, Kingston in London is about five miles from here. DonnanZ (talk) 12:23, 26 March 2019 (UTC)

I fixed it. I'm not even sure how to pronounce /ŋɡ/ in English without a following vowel, let alone with a following voiceless consonant cluster. Chuck Entz (talk) 13:08, 26 March 2019 (UTC)
Cheers. Putting my brain in overload, it is possible to pronounce "king" or any other -ng ending with a hard "g" as happens the Mancunian way, so it could be dialectal. DonnanZ (talk) 13:15, 26 March 2019 (UTC)
I pick them up on BBC Radio 5 Live if I listen long enough. E.g. strong rendered as /stɹɒŋɡ/. DonnanZ (talk) 23:27, 28 March 2019 (UTC)

English vs Irish, proper or not?Edit

Right now, the sense referring to the language is labelled a proper noun in one entry, but a noun in the other. Clearly, only one of them is correct, but which? —Rua (mew) 18:43, 26 March 2019 (UTC)

See #English further up. These used to be (and still are, looking at all the minor languages) almost all labelled proper nouns, but discussions have been less than entirely conclusive and some editors changed some of them to common nouns. IMO this was in error and should be undone. - -sche (discuss) 18:50, 26 March 2019 (UTC)
Other dictionaries are unhelpful, but I class languages as standard nouns just like any other uncountable noun. They are not proper nouns like England, the White House etc. Elsewhere, Scandinavian languages don't use capital letters for languages. DonnanZ (talk) 19:11, 26 March 2019 (UTC)
There was a discussion about it on da.wikt, where I was mostly alone in thinking they were proper nouns. The arguments given were 1) they're uncapitalized (irrelevant, since proper nouns aren't always capitalized, and doubly irrelevant for English), 2) constructions equivalent to "a broken English" and "her English is better than his" are possible and 3) the dictionaries say so.__Gamren (talk) 19:21, 26 March 2019 (UTC)
I think Danish may differ from Norwegian here, Den dominikanske republikk looks for all the world like a standard noun; it's the capitalised "Den" which indicates that it's a proper noun. DonnanZ (talk) 19:37, 26 March 2019 (UTC)
I'd say it's an uncountable noun just like water is. They behave pretty much the same way grammatically. Both have niche countable senses, which both specify a kind of it. —Rua (mew) 19:24, 26 March 2019 (UTC)
Um, @-sche, mind waiting with all your edits until there is actually a consensus for them? —Rua (mew) 19:54, 26 March 2019 (UTC)
I've only been undoing the non-consensus edits by one user which changed entries from proper nouns to common nouns, restoring their longstanding state of being proper nouns, but I'll pause for more discussion now. As a point of information, I just went through all the languages starting with A and found that only about half a dozen had been edited to be common nouns, with all the rest being proper nouns. (If you look at my recent conntributions/edits, the rest are just adding dots and extra plurals and such.) - -sche (discuss) 19:59, 26 March 2019 (UTC)


Noun sense 2:

An act of flying.
We had a quick half-hour fly back into the city.

Is this example natural to anyone? Wouldn't one always say "flight"? Mihia (talk)

No, I would use flight, though in Scandinavian languages fly is a plane. DonnanZ (talk) 19:02, 26 March 2019 (UTC)
This would be an RfV question. Google Books "a quick fly" includes a number of appropriate citations among a much larger number relating to fly fishing. Most of them indicate something more or leas recreational. DCDuring (talk) 21:37, 26 March 2019 (UTC)
I'm not questioning the entry itself, only the naturalness of this specific example. I added another example that to me seemed more feasible ("There was a good wind, so I decided to give the kite a fly"), but if anyone can come up with better ones, please go ahead. Mihia (talk) 23:51, 26 March 2019 (UTC)
The first example sounds unnatural and I would remove it. I have a feeling this noun sense corresponds to the transitive fly of sense 3, "to cause to fly (travel or float in the air)", because the kite and fly fishing examples sound fine. On Google (not books though) I found a few references to model planes. Ultimateria (talk) 06:04, 27 March 2019 (UTC)

fly (2)Edit

Adjective senses:

  1. (slang, dated) Quick-witted, alert, mentally sharp.
    • (Can we date this quote?), Charles Dickens, “Household Words”, in Arcadia[21], volume 7, page 381:
      be assured, O man of sin—pilferer of small wares and petty larcener—that there is an eye within keenly glancing from some loophole contrived between accordions and tin breastplates that watches your every movement, and is "fly,"— to use a term peculiarly comprehensible to dishonest minds—to the slightest gesture of illegal conveyancing.
  2. (slang) Well dressed, smart in appearance.
    He's pretty fly.
  3. (slang) Beautiful; displaying physical beauty.
    • 1991, “Busy Doin Nuthin”, in I Need a Haircut, performed by Biz Markie:
      Word is bond she looked divine, she looked as fly as can be
      I thought she was different cause she was by herself
      She looked real wholesome, and in good physical health
  4. (slang, chiefly Doric) Sneaky
    • 2013 November 12, Charley Buchan, Karen Barrett-Ayres, “A Fly Cup”, in Doric Voices[22], Robert Gordon University:
      Noo then, fa's for a fly cup?

I gather from certain "song" lyrics that there a modern US urban slang usage, which I kind of assumed meant something like "cool". Is this any particular one of the above senses? Does it need a separate entry? The "Beautiful; displaying physical beauty" sense with the 1991 lyrics quote doesn't quite seem to fit the bill for the usage I am thinking of. Mihia (talk)

I've added citations to the "Well dressed, smart in appearance." definition, but I don't like the wording or the usage example. I think the definition is something like "In style, cool" in line with your thoughts. I didn't find anything at Urban Dictionary that suggests any other definition. DCDuring (talk) 22:15, 26 March 2019 (UTC)
OK, well I added "in style, cool" to the "Well dressed, smart in appearance" sense. If anyone thinks it should be a separate sense, or that "Well dressed, smart in appearance" actually isn't quite right, please make the necessary changes. I'm also not certain whether the supposed "Beautiful; displaying physical beauty" sense is truly a separate sense, or really is just the same thing in a slightly different guise. Mihia (talk) 23:55, 26 March 2019 (UTC)

Pronunciation of Ms(e)s, plural of MsEdit

What is the pronunciation of Ms(e)s, plural of Ms? --Backinstadiums (talk) 00:45, 27 March 2019 (UTC)

I've never had to use it, nor do I recall seeing it used, but (and I could be completely wrong on this, because this is just a guess off of the top of my head) isn't it likely to be /ˈmɪz.ᵻz/? That would be my first guess. Although someone who is not completely aware of what is being discussed/the context of the sentence that it is being used in might misinterpret such a pronunciation as missus/Mrs., because they would be very close in pronunciation (Mses. /ˈmɪz.ᵻz/ vs. Mrs. /ˈmɪs.əz/). Tharthan (talk) 01:12, 27 March 2019 (UTC)
That would be my guess as well, and upon poking around, I see Dictionary.com gives it as well (though they only write a schwa for the final vowel), and this site. (For some dialects, such a pronunciation would even be homophonous with "Misses". Still not as confusing as when I once saw "Mr." pluralized as "Mrs."...) - -sche (discuss) 06:24, 28 March 2019 (UTC)

how's comeEdit

Where does the <'s> come from in the variant how's come? --Backinstadiums (talk) 01:13, 27 March 2019 (UTC)

Definitely non-standard, the usual form is how come. DonnanZ (talk) 14:33, 27 March 2019 (UTC)
There are lots of standard questions and greetings that begin with "How's", eg, "How's it that ...?". Our own etymology for the idiom how come? points to a long form "How comes it that?", which seems smoother to me as "How does it come that?", which could easily shorten to "How's it come that". That is often omitted in introducing subordinate clauses. Then only the pesky but unstressed it remains to be omitted.
Since how come is internally non-grammatical as is, ie, without all these plausible, but imaginary, constructs, we can't be too surprised that other common expressions, like how's intrude. DCDuring (talk) 19:57, 27 March 2019 (UTC)
I can understand "how's" being used for "how is", e.g. "How's Timmy?", but it doesn't go with "come", I feel. DonnanZ (talk) 22:18, 27 March 2019 (UTC)
Our recently revised entry for -'s reminds us that it can be used for does. Whence how('s|does) (it) come (that).
I'm not arguing that it is perfectly standard, just that it is understandable how it has come about. DCDuring (talk) 22:39, 27 March 2019 (UTC)
Compare how's about, where I guess it's mainly to aid liaison. Ƿidsiþ 13:04, 28 March 2019 (UTC)
@Ƿidsiþ: the diphthong ends in a semivowel, which is enough aid --Backinstadiums (talk) 19:20, 1 July 2019 (UTC)
Never heard this form; sounds just wrong to me. Could be from "how does it come about": wild guess. Equinox 18:45, 28 March 2019 (UTC)
  • Whether of not anyone here approves or can explain it, both how's about and how's come exist in the spoken wild and may well be attestable. DCDuring (talk) 19:41, 1 July 2019 (UTC)
    How's come occurs at Google NGrams with about one tenth the frequency of how's about and about one thousandth the frequency of how come. How's come is, however, abundantly attestable in books, almost entirely in dialog. DCDuring (talk) 19:48, 1 July 2019 (UTC)

IPA pronunciation for -seyEdit

I have done IPA for Molesey and Chertsey; the -sey sounds the same as sea (but in Molesey's case sounds like a "z"), but shorter, not the same emphasis. My question is whether I should use the IPA character i as iː as in sea, or just as i for the shorter sound. I hope this makes sense; there are quite a few English place names ending in -sey; some also end in -sea, like Pitsea and Southsea, which sound more like sea.

It's also worth looking at Swansea, where "z" is (correctly) used, and Chelsea. DonnanZ (talk) 13:49, 27 March 2019 (UTC)

Or Surtsey, given the case. Sobreira ►〓 (parlez) 08:49, 28 March 2019 (UTC)
For Guernsey and Jersey we give a pronunciation with /i/, but for Anglesey we have /iː/. It is possible that the local pronunciations vary, so this is not much to go on, but without further information I’d expect a somewhat reduced vowel in the unstressed final position. By the way, I think the ending is ey, meaning “island”.  --Lambiam 12:40, 28 March 2019 (UTC)
Agreed, I think it should be /-i/ for all these. Ƿidsiþ 13:02, 28 March 2019 (UTC)
Thanks, I more or less answered my own question actually. I am not going to attempt the IPA for Surtsey though. DonnanZ (talk) 13:29, 28 March 2019 (UTC)
@Lambiam: Are you saying the "s" is genitive? DonnanZ (talk) 13:39, 28 March 2019 (UTC)
In most cases it very likely is the Germanic masculine genitive suffix, like Anglesey <? Ǫngli’s ey, Guernsey < Grani’s ey, Jersey < Geirr’s ey, Molesley < Mul’s ey, and Surtsey < Surtr’s ey. In other cases the s was already part of the first component, like Chertsey < Cirotis’ ey.  --Lambiam 15:09, 28 March 2019 (UTC)
OK. Ey can also be compared with Icelandic ey, Norwegian Bokmål øy and obsolete Faroese oy. DonnanZ (talk) 15:46, 28 March 2019 (UTC)


Is this just a misspelling? DTLHS (talk) 18:21, 27 March 2019 (UTC)

On a balance, I'd say: probably.
It could be a valid/intentional derivation of Latin explanabilis, like explanation from Latin explanatio. But, it's rare: COCA has 134 uses of "explainable" vs none of this; BNC has 12 of "explainable", none of this; Ngrams has "explainable" ~200x more common. Pulling all Google Books hits with QQ and counting only ones where the snippet used "explanable", discounting 29 duplicate copies, only ~244 books use "explanable"; many if not most or all only use it once, making it impossible to be sure if it's a one-off misspelling or one the author would use consistently, and 14 (5.7%) also use "explainable", suggesting that in those books, it is a typo. The only dictionaries I see it in are two old German-English translation dictionaries, one old Persian-English one, and an old copy of Samuel Johnson's English dictionary, but in all four the alphabetization of "explain, explanable, explainer, explanation" suggests it was meant to have an "i" (which other copies of Johnon's do have; indeed, the same copy of Johnson which has an entry for EXPLANABLE uses "explainable" later in a definition), and the German dictionaries also have "inexplainable". No books I saw give it as a derivative of (or even mention it near) "explanabilis" (whereas at least one copy of Webster's does connect "explainable" to "explanabilis"!).
- -sche (discuss) 06:00, 28 March 2019 (UTC)
Discussion moved to WT:RFDE.

File:Den Største - The Greatest (1978) (18698064520).jpgEdit

I chanced upon this, but I'm not sure how it got here, or why we have it. DonnanZ (talk) 19:28, 27 March 2019 (UTC)

It's on Commons, and thus is transcluded into Wiktionary file space. Which is why it says "This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons." on top.--Prosfilaes (talk) 19:38, 27 March 2019 (UTC)
Since that got deleted, see e.g. File:US Justice Department Redacted Smiley.jpg and how it's marked on top.--Prosfilaes (talk) 19:40, 27 March 2019 (UTC)
For the benefit of those who didn't see it, it was a newspaper page in Norwegian about Muhammed Ali. DonnanZ (talk) 19:49, 27 March 2019 (UTC)

I found three more when checking for ydmykende, which I'm entering. Weird things are happening.

File:Den norske kvinnebevegelsens historie.pdf
File:Ot prp 35 (2004-2005).pdf
DonnanZ (talk) 20:13, 27 March 2019 (UTC)
What weird things are happening? It is by design that Wikimedia Commons files are appear on Wikimedia wikis as if they were in the File space on that wiki.--Prosfilaes (talk) 20:40, 27 March 2019 (UTC)
They never used to show up. DonnanZ (talk) 20:47, 27 March 2019 (UTC)
Are you referring to how they show up as search results now, if you search for e.g. "foo" in "all namespaces", and a file happens to contain the text "foo"? That is indeed semi-recent (they didn't used to, say, six years ago, but they have for a while now—maybe a year?). It is a little weird (if I wanted to search files, I'd go to commons...) but it just means you have to mind that namespaces you're searching in. - -sche (discuss) 04:17, 28 March 2019 (UTC)
Yes, I think it only happens when a word has no entry. If I search for ydmykende now, only the entry I made yesterday comes up, the 3 files listed above don't show up now. DonnanZ (talk) 09:22, 28 March 2019 (UTC)

Category:English Braille abbreviationsEdit

These are under the heading "Abbreviation", which we're trying to get rid of slowly but sure. Any idea of a better category? A few seem like suffixes to me. --Pious Eterino (talk) 22:34, 27 March 2019 (UTC)

Intuitively I'd say something like ⠨⠙ (-ound) is just a symbol. It doesn't represent a morphological suffix; it's just a shorthand, like the ampersand to mean "and". Equinox 18:47, 28 March 2019 (UTC)


Under the noun form of limber there are these two definitions:

1. (obsolete) A two-wheeled, horse-drawn vehicle used to pull an artillery piece into battle.
3. (military) The detachable fore part of a gun carriage, consisting of two wheels, an axle, and a shaft to which the horses are attached. On top is an ammunition box upon which the cannoneers sit.

Are these referring to different things? They seem just about the same to me. If they're different, then shouldn't there be additional description, perhaps in "1.", to make the distinction clear? --R. S. Shaw (talk) 03:37, 28 March 2019 (UTC)

First of all, apparently horses need not be involved. The vehicle could be used to transport an artillery piece out of battle or, indeed, anywhere. Ammunition boxes are not essential and caissons are intended for that purpose.
A good definition might be "a two-wheeled vehicle to which a wheeled artillery piece or caisson may be attached for transport."
A picture would help. DCDuring (talk) 16:04, 28 March 2019 (UTC)
See WT:RFDE#limber. DCDuring (talk) 16:19, 28 March 2019 (UTC)

box of examplesEdit

I don't think the examples in sweet nothings and double entendre are given in the same way. In fact, I don't understand the latter. Sobreira ►〓 (parlez) 08:45, 28 March 2019 (UTC)

Hm? I mean, they're both examples of the thing in question. The second is a double entendre on giving the woman "it" = either the example of double entendre she asked for, or his penis / sex. - -sche (discuss) 18:31, 28 March 2019 (UTC)
See give it to someone, last sense.  --Lambiam 21:13, 28 March 2019 (UTC)
@Lambiam, -sche. With whatever meaning anyway: double entendre has the lemma in the example, while sweet nothings hasn't. Sobreira ►〓 (parlez) 08:47, 2 April 2019 (UTC)
That is true and may be confusing. It would be better to have an example not involving the term itself.  --Lambiam 08:53, 2 April 2019 (UTC)
I have replaced the example by another less confusing one.  --Lambiam 14:48, 2 April 2019 (UTC)

synons in two places?Edit

What is the point of having sometimes a section for syns and sometimes a template #: { {synonyms|en|whatever}} under a sense? The same for hyponyms (and I guess more other relationships even Quotations). Ref: WT:EL. Now I'm reading Wiktionary_talk:Entry_layout#Two_ways_of_entering_synonyms,_but_only_one_is_mentioned_at_WT:LAYOUT and Wiktionary:Votes/pl-2018-11/Allow semantic relations under definition lines. Sobreira ►〓 (parlez) 09:39, 28 March 2019 (UTC)

am /m/Edit

am is /m/ in "am I level headed", min 0:13 --Backinstadiums --Backinstadiums (talk) 16:27, 28 March 2019 (UTC)

Yes, it probably occurs (more widely than just that example, I mean) as a reduced form, although attesting it is hard. In searching for instances of "'m" (how I would expect it to be conveyed in writing, or else maybe "m'[V]"), I've so far only found e.g. "how'm", which is still -'m. But I suspect standalone use exists in writing somewhere. I expect it can only occur next to a vowel or else /m̩/ would be used: I suppose this should be mentioned on am, if we can agree on how to word it. - -sche (discuss) 18:26, 28 March 2019 (UTC)
Famously, Mayor Ed Koch, walking on the streets of New York, would loudly ask "How'm I doin'?". You can hear it at 0:07 on this YouTube. DCDuring (talk) 21:59, 28 March 2019 (UTC)
Other examples of reduced am, besides I'm, could be imagined by trying to duplicate the sound pattern. "Where'm I going?" looks attestable, as do "Why'm I going", "Why'm I doing", "What'm I saying". There's no shortage of examples. DCDuring (talk) 22:08, 28 March 2019 (UTC)
OP is asking about am, not -'m, so I imagine we'd have to use the rare cases where it isn't immediately preceded by I (which of course becomes I'm): perhaps "I, Elvis Presley, /m/ proud to be here" :) Equinox 22:14, 28 March 2019 (UTC)
Sorry. It seems a bit like a snipe hunt. DCDuring (talk) 22:53, 28 March 2019 (UTC)
@DCDuring, -sche, Backinstadiums, Equinox: Can Imma in here (0:28, repeated several times) be understood as /amma/ and thus added to pronunc. of Imma and a justification of /m/ for am? Sobreira ►〓 (parlez) 13:31, 5 June 2019 (UTC)
I construct it as "I'm a-doing a cappella". That seems subject to Equinox's criticism. Song lyrics are, like poetry, poor evidence of normal speech patterns inasmuch as prosodic considerations cause departures from more standard speech. DCDuring (talk) 14:37, 5 June 2019 (UTC)
@DCDuring, -sche, Backinstadiums, Equinox: Oh, I sent the wrong video: in this one with the lyrics, they write I'mma. Sobreira ►〓 (parlez) 14:17, 17 June 2019 (UTC)

shall, shouldEdit

Our entry on shall gives should as the past tense. How does that work? "I should go" isn't a past tense of "I shall go". That would be "I should have gone". Equinox 20:15, 28 March 2019 (UTC)

I suspect it's describing historical usage (judging by the grammars that turn up when searching for google books:"do, did" "shall, should"). If such usage is attested i.e. ever existed, I'd think that would be better handled as a usage note, not on the headword line. - -sche (discuss) 20:36, 28 March 2019 (UTC)
Century 1911 has a brief discussion. Curme's A Grammar of the English Language has a discussion. It is older use. I find it hard to detect the difference between the purported past tense and whatever one calls the current modal use unless context makes it obvious. DCDuring (talk) 22:12, 28 March 2019 (UTC)
Should is morphologically the past tense of shall, but not very semantically nowadays. It seems old-fashioned to use it with that meaning — for instance, if someone said "I shall go to London tomorrow" and then reported what they said with "I said I should go to London tomorrow", where "should" is synonymous with the future-in-the-past sense of "would". I would have trouble not interpreting that as "... I ought to go ..." if anyone said it to me in conversation. (But also using shall would be pretty unusual in my part of the US.) Past-tense senses of should can be found in the OED (shall, 14). The most recent quotation in that section of the entry is from 1978. — Eru·tuon 06:03, 29 March 2019 (UTC)
It has been my experience that most particularly younger people nowadays (at least in the United States) seem to have more or less ditched "ought" entirely. They (by and large) recognise and understand the word and its meaning, but it is (in most cases) in no way a part of their vocabulary. Indeed, some in that age group actually perceive it as markèdly dated. To replace it, "should" (in their idiolects) has fully taken up the role that "ought (to)" has historically played.
In regards to the traditional usages of "should", I have to say that I was surprised when (years ago), in speaking to a middle-aged woman from Southern England who spoke Received Pronunciation, I discovered that even some of her age and education were completely unaware of the distinction in usage between "would" and "should" that was historically most notably emphasised in England (yet when I asked her, she immediately showed that she was well aware of the U and non-U matter- I recall her saying in regards to it something like 'Don't you find such things pedantic?'). One need only open as common a book as an Agatha Christie mystery novel to see the distinction in action. All of that said, I had always suspected (and, indeed, it was noted by some linguists of the middle of last century) that this distinction had some level of dubiety to its nature. It is absolutely true that plenty of people made such a distinction, but the actual basis for it was questionable, and the consistency in how it was actually applied in practice often varied from speaker to speaker. Tharthan (talk) 17:58, 31 March 2019 (UTC)
So erm do we remove it or not? Equinox 09:18, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
I say we keep it, with the qualifier I added. Compare reach, which includes obsolete forms in the header. It's interesting information other dictionaries don't have. In the case of should, I've encountered it a number of times, so it can't be that uncommon. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 21:59, 7 July 2019 (UTC)

Abu etymology 2Edit

"A common part of Arabic-derived names, meaning 'father of' in Arabic." Is this English? Shouldn't it at least be at the lower-case form abu instead? Equinox 21:14, 28 March 2019 (UTC)

Regarding English-ness: I guess it's as English as bin/ben. The usual test I can recall us using for whether a name is an English name is whether there's evidence of people who acquired their names in English-speaking countries/communities who have the name, but even if there isn't, we could still keep the name/element as an English translation of a name the way we have e.g. Putin or Gaddafi. Regarding caps, I dunno, it does kinda seem like it should be lowercase, but paging through quite a lot of results for google books:Abu Abdul, all the hits are capitalized. Maybe move the lemma to lowercase but leave an {{altcaps}}... - -sche (discuss) 07:13, 29 March 2019 (UTC)
This isn't a name, it's a morpheme. It can definitely be analyzed as a unit within English names, but I doubt it means anything in English. Schwarzkopf may merit an English entry, but Schwartz doesn't merit an English entry simply by virtue of being "a common part of German-derived names, meaning 'black' in German." Farther off the beaten path, it's easy enough for someone who's studied American Indian languages to find recognizable morphemes from those languages in place names like Topanga and Cahuenga (Gabrielino/Tongva locative suffixes), Pahrump and Minnesota (terms for water), etc- but ask anyone who doesn't know Uto-Aztecan or Siouan languages, and you'll get blank looks. With this kind of definition, we run the risk of moving any discrete elements of borrowed terms out of etymology sections into English entries of their own. Chuck Entz (talk) 07:47, 30 March 2019 (UTC)
Given that this is set apart by spaces, the better comparison would be to "von". But even then there's a key distinction: someone who sees an English name like "Dita Von Teese" and looks up the "von" will find the relevant content, even if it is in the #German and not the #English section, whereas with "Abu", the Arabic entry is at another page they'll never find by searching for "Abu", because that page is in Arabic script. And whereas I seem to recall us deciding against having "Maha-" and in favour of only having "Maha-Bharata", "Maharashtra", etc, here I don't think we want to have entries for Abu Abdul and every other combination... so, "Abu" strikes me as a reasonable entry to have. - -sche (discuss) 07:41, 1 April 2019 (UTC)

rest assuredEdit

Can rest assured be an adjective ? Phrases like "be rest assured" and "I'm rest assured" make me think it can...

    • 1995, Mohit Chakrabarti, Pioneers In Philosophy Of Education:
      It is rest assured and in most cases compelled to be rest assured with the second rate, lifeless, passive, mechanical type of education []
      Leasnam (talk) 22:18, 28 March 2019 (UTC)
Maybe in Indian English. The above does not make much sense to me. Equinox 22:20, 28 March 2019 (UTC)
What prompted me to get thinking about this is a song I've been hearing...which comes out of Australia. The lyrics: "is rest assured in your great love", so it might be wider than merely Indian English... Leasnam (talk) 22:23, 28 March 2019 (UTC)
    • 2001, Gracy Ukala, The Broken Bond, page 202:
      I'm rest assured that God will win the battle.
      2002, Joseph B. Lambert, 9-11 America Under Attack, page 61:
      They were rest assured now that the towers couldn't be bombed again.
Here ^ are a couple more. @Equinox, I apologise, but I often will grab the first quotation I see...don't over-analyse the quote and its origin :) Leasnam (talk) 22:27, 28 March 2019 (UTC)
What would the definition be? DCDuring (talk) 22:56, 28 March 2019 (UTC)
In this Google Books search a few authors call it out as an error. A couple of editions of Roget's have "be —, rest – –assured &c. adj.". Could authors have misinterpreted that?
  • Shouldn't we also ask whether rest can be an adverb? DCDuring (talk) 23:10, 28 March 2019 (UTC)
It looks like it is equivalent to "fully persuaded and confidently trusting". Rest (verb) + assured (pptc) over time seems to have morphed into something new based on re-analysis, which is not totally uncommon in language evolution...In this particular construct I can see how one might interpret rest as an adverb. I can't think of any other instances off the top of my head though where it might be used in a similar way... Leasnam (talk) 23:29, 28 March 2019 (UTC)
Your example of "something is, rest assured, in your great love" is perfectly normal English if you put commas where I have done. Then it's like "something is, be advised, on its way": no adjective. Equinox 11:24, 29 March 2019 (UTC)
Ah yes, that is true; however the full lyrics are: The hope of all the earth /Is rest assured in Your great love. Leasnam (talk) 16:58, 30 March 2019 (UTC)

Catalan - "conjetura" (Hispanicism)Edit

I'm reposting what I already wrote on the discussion page for conjetura:

  • Is this really Catalan? The DIEC and the diccionariu normatiu valencià of the AVL both have conjectura - the AVL dictionary redirects conjetura to conjectura and the DIEC doesn't recognise conjetura at all. The Alcover-Moll dictionary seems like it's down at the moment (at least for me), but I'd be surprised if it had something different. Perhaps there are some native speakers who say conjetura without the /k/, but I wonder if that sort of criteria for inclusion would lead us to accept basically any Spanish word as "Catalan", given Catalan's sociolinguistic situation and the high level of Spanish influence and code switching among some speakers. Saimdusan (talk) 09:32, 29 March 2019 (UTC)


Noun of swinge is defined as "A swinging blow."

Should it rather be "A swingeing blow." ?

Regards, BenAveling (talk) 10:26, 29 March 2019 (UTC)

Hyphenation: fix‧ed‧ly, fixed‧lyEdit

If the hyphenations fix‧ed‧ly, fixed‧ly corresponds to the respective different pronunciations, it must be expressly indicated --Backinstadiums (talk) 11:42, 29 March 2019 (UTC)

Are we talking about fixedly? There might be a connection between the pronunciations and the hyphenations, but I suspect hyphenation corresponds to pronunciation in the same way as English spelling corresponds to pronunciation; vaguely and what's considered correct often has more relation to what reference works say then actual usage.--Prosfilaes (talk) 08:43, 30 March 2019 (UTC)

other (dialectal)Edit

I'm trying to work out the IPA in the Northern England dialect, is /ʊðə/ good enough? DonnanZ (talk) 12:18, 30 March 2019 (UTC)

Honestly, I think that is very close if not dead on Leasnam (talk) 17:08, 30 March 2019 (UTC)
That's the transcription I'd use. — Eru·tuon 17:31, 30 March 2019 (UTC)
Thanks both,   done. Having heard it on the radio I thought it sounded like the /ʊ/ in book. DonnanZ (talk) 18:42, 30 March 2019 (UTC)

"Obliged" has largely replaced "obligate";Edit

The note in oblige reads ""Obliged" has largely replaced "obligate";" but it is comparing a past-participle with an infinite form. --Backinstadiums (talk) 13:33, 30 March 2019 (UTC)

Google NGrams would provide the raw material for the research. DCDuring (talk) 15:40, 30 March 2019 (UTC)
@DCDuring: the problem is that it is comparing a past-participle with an infinite, pears with apples --Backinstadiums (talk) 16:45, 30 March 2019 (UTC)
You could view it as such [[23]], and [[24]]. This might give you a rough idea Leasnam (talk) 18:55, 30 March 2019 (UTC)
Google NGrams is just the start. It has some rudimentary PoS tags. You might actually have to inspect individual items, too. DCDuring (talk) 19:01, 30 March 2019 (UTC)
  • Another simple approach might be to look at the usage note at obligate. Did the same person add both notes? Did someone try to add a note to oblige, making mutatus mutandi adjustments to the note at obligate? Did someone make a subsequent edit that messed things up? DCDuring (talk) 19:09, 30 March 2019 (UTC)
    In any event the usage note at obligate provides a good model for a usage note for oblige. DCDuring (talk) 19:14, 30 March 2019 (UTC)
I think they are not comparing the past participle with the infinite obligate, but with the adjective obligate. — Mnemosientje (t · c) 15:43, 9 April 2019 (UTC)

tithing: one tenth part of somethingEdit

According to Encarta dictionaries: tithing: one tenth part of something --Backinstadiums (talk) 18:35, 30 March 2019 (UTC)

Isn't our entry pretty close to that, whatever minor defects the wording might have? DCDuring (talk) 19:16, 30 March 2019 (UTC)

speaking as a suffixEdit

I often hear speaking being used in casual speech very much like a suffix in the sense "speaking of, in regards to": like European Union-speaking, ... ("speaking of the European Union/regarding the European Union"), "Brexit-speaking, ...", etc. It reminds me of -wise. I cannot for the life of me find it readily in written form, but can anyone confirm whether this is being used as such, and if so, does it warrant it's own entry or perhaps a sense at speaking ? Leasnam (talk) 21:10, 30 March 2019 (UTC)

Suffix or postposition? ChignonПучок 21:55, 30 March 2019 (UTC)
Hrm, yeah, I suppose it might possibly be that as well... "Speaking (of) Brexit, ..." = "Brexit speaking, ..." ...still, it feels so much like a suffix Leasnam (talk) 22:00, 30 March 2019 (UTC)
It strikes me as ungrammatical, because you can't "speak the EU". You can speak of the EU, though, or equivalently with other prepositions. If people are really using this, then perhaps it's part of a wider phenomenon of omitting prepositions that also works with other verbs. I'd rather look for a more generic phenomenon first before concluding that this is something specific about the verb speak alone. —Rua (mew) 22:15, 30 March 2019 (UTC)
I'm against making an artificial suffix out of it; it is an adjective that can be used in combination, e.g. French-speaking; also attributively, e.g speaking clock. DonnanZ (talk) 22:33, 30 March 2019 (UTC)
That's not the particular case that Leasnam is demonstrating here, though. You can "speak French", where French is the direct object of speak. Consequently, there is also the combination French-speaking, where the relationship is the same. But in this case, you can't "*speak EU" or "*speak Brexit", so the relationship is not the same. —Rua (mew) 22:37, 30 March 2019 (UTC)
I don’t think I have ever heard this. It might be helpful to have some full sentences in which we can see this construction used in a context.  --Lambiam 22:54, 30 March 2019 (UTC)
I can't recall hearing it, either, and I didn't spot it on twitter: I searched for "European Union speaking" and "Brexit speaking" but all the hits were "[so-and-so from the] European Union speaking". :/ - -sche (discuss) 07:32, 1 April 2019 (UTC)
Can't imagine calling this a suffix. It's a whole word in Modern English. We can't go calling everyday words a "suffix" just because they can be added to stuff with a hyphen. Equinox 07:34, 1 April 2019 (UTC)


Not a root in any PIE sense. What is it? —Rua (mew) 23:19, 30 March 2019 (UTC)

I find it odd that there are no real sound changes between PIE and the initial forms of any of the branches- the lack of ablaut variants, especially. Chuck Entz (talk) 00:02, 31 March 2019 (UTC)
Yes, and Germanic is missing Grimm's law. —Rua (mew) 12:19, 31 March 2019 (UTC)
Though that could be explained by borrowing from Latin, as some of the etymologies claim. Still, pardon the pun, but something doesn't smell right about the whole thing. It's more like what I would expect from onomatopoeia or nursery talk. Chuck Entz (talk) 15:18, 31 March 2019 (UTC)


There's a sense "overview, summary, outline", which none of the dictionaries at my disposal cover. A good deal of the attestations are from German or Dutch writers, who transfer it from Übersicht, overzicht. But I've definitely heard a British native-speaker (who knew no German or Dutch) say: "Let me give you an oversight of the day", meaning an "overview" of what was planned. And there are a lot of attestations that do seem to be by native speakers, perhaps chiefly British. But anyway, that's all I know. Can you say more? Thank you. 05:29, 31 March 2019 (UTC)


It shouldn't say with the instep --Backinstadiums (talk) 11:51, 31 March 2019 (UTC)

prepositional adverbEdit

pronominal adverb references prepositional adverb --Backinstadiums (talk) 14:51, 31 March 2019 (UTC)

gross noun (plural gross or grosses)Edit

Regarding the three difference nominal meanings in gross, how should "(plural gross or grosses)" be understood? --Backinstadiums (talk) 19:34, 31 March 2019 (UTC)

In the sense of 144 items, I’d use gross also for the plural, as in, ”We received an order for 42 gross of XXL rubbers.” (I think this requires the word to be preceded by a numeral; if the number is not specified – replace “42” by “a large number of” – I’d say “grosses”.) In other cases I’d use grosses: “This weekend’s opening grosses exceeded all expectations.” Can native speakers confirm this?  --Lambiam 20:11, 31 March 2019 (UTC)
@Lambiam: I've been looking up different entries, and the lack of specificity like in this one seems pretty common. --Backinstadiums (talk) 20:18, 31 March 2019 (UTC)
Well, Wiktionary is a work in progress. The completely missing lemmas (for most of the world’s languages most if not all words) are a much worse problem than such incomplete details that can be delegated to usage notes.  --Lambiam 20:48, 31 March 2019 (UTC)
Re "42 gross": but is that a plural? Compare the usage notes at thousand that we recently discussed; one can also say "42 dozen", "42 score" (or at least 4 score and 7...), and indteed "42 thousand". If that's the only place that "plural" is attested, it may not be a plural at all. - -sche (discuss) 07:27, 1 April 2019 (UTC)


According to the wikipedia entry, "Aes is the plural of the name of the letter. The plural of the letter itself is rendered As, A's, as, or a's." What does it mean? For that statement to be possible, the letter should be written "ae" --Backinstadiums (talk) 20:29, 31 March 2019 (UTC)

English words have plurals. Porcupines, laws and graphemes may have quills, exceptions and shapes, but have no plurals. The letter A is a grapheme, so I have no idea what the meaning is of “the plural of the letter itself”. In the Tennyson quote to our entry aes, it appears that the “oes” and “aes” whereof he speaks refer to sounds, not graphemes. They may be plurals of names for /o/ and /a/ – or /əʊ/ and /æ/; how could we tell?  --Lambiam 23:09, 31 March 2019 (UTC)

most nounEdit

In the sense of record, used when the positive denotation of best does not apply. Can somebody please add an example to clarify this note? --Backinstadiums (talk) 21:40, 31 March 2019 (UTC)

Sense seems dubious to me and should probably be challenged. What is meant is: if you improve on a record (e.g. the fastest mile ever run) then you have set "a new best". But (the note claims) "best" implies that something is good; so if the record is for doing a bad thing (most people murdered??) it would merely be a "most". I think that's silly rubbish though. Equinox 21:46, 31 March 2019 (UTC)
While we're at it, should the most "((US, slang, dated [60s?]) Something that is the best or the greatest)" be at [[most]] or [[the most]]? DCDuring (talk) 02:00, 1 April 2019 (UTC)

d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, d20, d100, d1000Edit

...and possibly more that I've missed. In all cases the d means "die/dice". But the entry "d" (after a minor revision by me) now gives examples of "d20 — a specialized die with twenty sides" and "2d6 — the sum of the roll of two six-sided dice". I don't think we need all these separate entries: could/should they be deleted? We have sometimes deleted "insert any number you want" entries, like (I thought) S1E1 (TV series 1 episode 1, which works with any other numbers too): that can't be quite right since there's no deleted page there. I remember I made an analogy with nºC, where you define C as Celsius rather than trying to include an entry for every possible temperature. Equinox 22:14, 31 March 2019 (UTC)

I'm a little worried that people might not know to search for d. On the other hand, I've seen d2, d3, d5, d7, d16, d24, d30, d40, d60, and d120, and I'm pretty sure I could cite several of those with books at hand. Probably best to delete them all, or maybe we could redirect those to d?--Prosfilaes (talk) 02:26, 1 April 2019 (UTC)
Well, IMO, redirects would be better than full entries. (Where do you stop, though? Dice can have almost any number of sides.) I would also be happy with a small usage note at d, explaining the two common formulations (dX = X-sided die; YdX = roll it Y times). BTW I think the distinction at d100 (the die itself vs. the rolling action) is unnecessary: rolling a die is an obvious implication when seen in a gamebook etc. but not necessarily a separate sense. Equinox 02:30, 1 April 2019 (UTC)
These are absolutely transparent sums of parts. Granted, there are no spaces, but these aren't words. I'm sure we could attest all kinds of chess notation without spaces, too. Or how about rhyme schemes, or dNA sequences? Chuck Entz (talk) 03:15, 1 April 2019 (UTC)
They certainly seem like words, more than some of the other things you mention. Like rhyme schemes, in normal situations/situations by the non-initiated, there is a small set of items in use; unlike rhyme schemes, the fact d4 means the tetrahedral die is vital to the use of the notation. When someone says "This is a d4", you're approaching that line between notation and word. I'd redirect the first seven in the header, then d2, d3 and d1000. Those others I mentioned can occur in English works, but not volumes that those unfamiliar with the notation will be reading.--Prosfilaes (talk) 22:42, 1 April 2019 (UTC)
At least for the common ones, like d6 and d20, I think redirects + {{senseid}} seems worthwhile. They can be soft redirects if any have another sense (a la G5, G6, G7, G20, and... hey, waitaminute, are these also SOP? nah, probably their specific composition saves them). - -sche (discuss) 07:22, 1 April 2019 (UTC)