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bring it onEdit

Is the set phrase that is used to accept a perceived challenge from someone (or to challenge someone to something) distinct enough from definition 3 to warrant being mentioned in the entry? The online "Macmillan Dictionary" has an entry for this sense (although it lists it as "mainly British", which is news to me, because I have heard it and used it plenty of times, especially in my childhood years), the Cambridge English Dictionary has an entry for this sense. The "Farlex Dictionary of Idioms" and the "Collins Cobuild Idioms Dictionary" allegedly have it as well, but I cannot verify these latter two.

EDIT: I see that we have "bring it" (the interjection sense), our entry of which states that it is from "bring it on"... even though our entry for "bring it on" (which I assume is the older form. It certainly was the one that I heard first, at least) does not contain this meaning. What's up with that? Tharthan (talk) 03:19, 1 May 2019 (UTC)

Hahaha, what kind of childhood did you have? Anyway I feel as though our verb sense should cover this, since it's just an imperative, but we say "pose a challenge or threat", which is too passive. Mount Everest poses a challenge. It's not the same as someone actively attacking. Equinox 07:05, 1 May 2019 (UTC)
As an imperative, it is addressed to a person, not a mountain or a puzzle. Usually the challenge is a physical one in sports or a fight, but one can find it used between, say, players of board or electronic games.
We need more citations of the imperative, whether or not we have a separate entry for bring it on. DCDuring (talk) 13:29, 1 May 2019 (UTC)
@Equinox I am a pacifist now, and have been since about a year or two before my teen years, but prior to then, I was–at times–somewhat aggressive. Suffice it to say that I got into a few dustups (although I maintain that, in most of those cases, the other person was being obnoxious and provocative as well. I'm not excusing the way that I responded to those situations back then, however).
@DCDuring I may be able to help in that regard (finding a couple or a few good citations for our entry), but I actually need to be somewhere for noon (and I won't be back until the mid-late afternoon), so I'm not going to seek them out just yet. Tharthan (talk) 15:16, 1 May 2019 (UTC)
Thanks. We've done without them since 2011. Another week wouldn't hurt much. DCDuring (talk) 18:40, 1 May 2019 (UTC)
Is this good to start with? Pay no attention to the wording used in the URL, just note the wording actually used in the article. Tharthan (talk) 17:50, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
Apart from the questionable wisdom of using political citations when others are available, no problem. DCDuring (talk) 20:50, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
  • 2007, Janet Evanovich, Twelve Sharp[1]:
    I was now face to face with Scrog. He had the stun gun. I had a lot of rage. “Bring it on,” I said to him. “Come get me.”
I only picked that one because, a. it was recent, and b. I didn't have to do much looking to find it. I wanted to make sure that a citation of that sort was acceptable.
I don't agree with that publication's political views very often. I'm a moderate independent [in other words, a moderate that belongs to no political party]. I solely picked it for the reasons that I have just stated. Tharthan (talk) 21:06, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
Apart from the questionable wisdom of using political citations when others are available, no problem. DCDuring (talk) 20:50, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
  • 2007, Janet Evanovich, Twelve Sharp[2]:
    I was now face to face with Scrog. He had the stun gun. I had a lot of rage. “Bring it on,” I said to him. “Come get me.”
  • 2012, Sharon Bolton, ‎S. J. Bolton, Dead Scared[3], page 349:
    Bring it on, I muttered as I stepped out, knowing the bravado was to make myself feel better and that it wasn't really working.
  • 2015, Roy A. Hinderer, The Brilliant Adventures of Nate Connor[4]:
    Bring it on, Bob,” he replied in a taunting manner. “I'll be waiting.”
  • 2018 August 20, Michael D. Shear and Eileen Sullivan, New York Times:
    Together, the two tweets amounted to an odd “bring it on” challenge to Mr. Brennan, who had mused over the weekend about filing a lawsuit as a response to losing his security clearance.

whose idiot is that car?Edit

Is the following sentence grammatical, and if so what meaning of whose applies to the phrase whose idiot? whose idiot is that car? --Backinstadiums (talk) 04:17, 1 May 2019 (UTC)

No it's not grammatical. But it sounds like something that would be said in haste or anger without thinking. DTLHS (talk) 04:20, 1 May 2019 (UTC)
@DTLHS: How would the meaning "to whom idiot person does that belong"? --Backinstadiums (talk) 04:23, 1 May 2019 (UTC)
That's not grammatical. You can say "to which idiot person does that belong". DTLHS (talk) 04:24, 1 May 2019 (UTC)
@DTLHS: So definitely whose cannot be used in this structure, can it? BTW, what about "to what idiot does that belong?", given that idiot is a noun there --Backinstadiums (talk) 05:48, 1 May 2019 (UTC)
"Whose idiot is that car" is wrong because you're saying that the car is an idiot — not the intention. (As DTLHS says, it's a possible error and it would probably be understood.) "To what idiot does that belong?" is grammatically correct but very unlikely, because that's a very formal structure whereas calling somebody an idiot is usually an informal remark. I can easily imagine someone saying "what idiot parked there?!", but it's a little harder to formulate a real-world "idiot" sentence where you're just discussing ownership. Equinox 07:02, 1 May 2019 (UTC)
More pragmatically, your sentence could be rendered as "what idiot owns that car?" or "whose car is that? what an idiot!". Equinox 07:08, 1 May 2019 (UTC)
One might also ask, ”what idiot’s car is that?”.  --Lambiam 12:19, 1 May 2019 (UTC)
"Which idiot's is that car?" RichardW57m (talk) 12:17, 1 May 2019 (UTC)
  • The phrase in question could be interpreted as metonomy. DCDuring (talk) 13:35, 1 May 2019 (UTC)
@DCDuring: Could you elaborate your point a bit please? --Backinstadiums (talk) 18:20, 1 May 2019 (UTC)
Think of it as a kind of politeness accomplished by metonomy. You don't want to say the driver is an idiot directly, so you blame the idiocy on the car, but want to know the identity of the owner (who is also probably the (idiot) driver or the (idiot) person who let the driver have the car). I agree that it is more likely just a mistake of some kind, but identifying a car with its owner or driver is not rare. DCDuring (talk) 18:45, 1 May 2019 (UTC)

Kun’yomi readings of Edit

The birth name of the new occupant of the Chrysanthemum Throne is 徳仁, romanized “Naruhito”, so I expected to find なる (naru) among the readings of . However, the only kun’yomi reading given is おしえ (oshie). The Japanese Wiktionary gives the readings なる (naru); のり (nori); ゆき (yuki); よし (yoshi); and あつ (atsu). No おしえ (oshie) there. Conversely, our entry なる gives two verbs as meanings, but nothing related to the noun . Finally, the Japanese Wiktionary does not give 徳 as a meaning of おしえ.  --Lambiam 07:27, 1 May 2019 (UTC)

That reading only seems to pop up in names AFAICT (e.g. the one you mentioned, 徳久, etc), so it should be listed as nanori, rather than kun'yomi, and I have just added it as such. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 20:59, 1 May 2019 (UTC)
@Μετάknowledge, thank you.
@Lambiam, name readings are notoriously irregular in Japanese, to the point that sometimes when meeting someone and receiving their business card, you don't dare address them verbally by name until you've had a chance to confirm the reading. If you're lucky, someone else says it, or their business card might have furigana (rare, in my experience).
Jim Breen's resources are pretty good for names. His single-kanji entry for 徳 lists several nanori, including なる.
HTH, ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 20:25, 3 May 2019 (UTC)

Dutch bonus-Edit

I spotted bonus- in this Dutch newspaper article. Apparently, it serves as a replacement for the prefix stief-.[5] Is this worthy of inclusion? If so, how to describe this? As a euphemism? Has it any chance of becoming a generally used replacement? It seems that this stems from a similar use of Bonus- in German, as seen here. (The hyphen in the word Bonuseltern in the title is the result of a line break.)  --Lambiam 12:57, 1 May 2019 (UTC)

"Hey, Robby, I don't want you to think that your deceased father is no longer your father. No, it's just that, well, Stan is your... "bonus" father. Yeah, that's it." Tharthan (talk) 17:54, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
FWIW, I'd describe the Danish equivalent as euphemistic.__Gamren (talk) 15:01, 5 May 2019 (UTC)

the other day, the other night, the other weekEdit

We have an entry for “the other day”, but I think one can say as well “the other night” or “the other week”. Although more rare, there are also uses of “the other month” and even “the other year”. Are there other time periods for which this can be used? Should this sense be recorded at other, or perhaps at an entry the other, or is it better to have an entry for each separate case?  --Lambiam 15:10, 1 May 2019 (UTC)

If you have sufficient faith in our 'normal' users to believe that they know how to make use of our failed-search page, then the usage note I just added will lead users searching for the other night/morning/evening/month/week to [[the other day]]. You can test it in a while once the words in the usage note are indexed. DCDuring (talk) 18:55, 1 May 2019 (UTC)
That failed-search fails the (abnormal?) user who puts the search string between quotes; "the other night" gets twenty hits, but the other day is not among them.  --Lambiam 09:04, 2 May 2019 (UTC)

make landEdit

A synonym of "to come ashore, to land", apparently. Is that correct? ChignonПучок 18:36, 1 May 2019 (UTC)

Yes, but make in this sense can have lots of objects:
I didn't make the wake, but I did make the funeral.
The plane didn't make the airport.
Closely related (possibly the same) is: He couldn't make bail.
The unifying concept is "achieve", which underlies a number of make definitions. DCDuring (talk) 19:00, 1 May 2019 (UTC)
In many of these uses there is a sense of difficulty in achieving a goal. You can’t say, “after an uneventful two-hour flight, the plane made the airport”. Grammatically it is fine, but semantically strange, unlike “although we lost both engines, the pilot skillfully applied his gliding skills and the plane made the airport safely”. But “make land” does not have this sense of an achievement realized with difficulty. There is nothing wrong with saying, “after an uneventful three months, we made land”. That suggests there is something idiomatic about the collocation. It sounds archaic though.  --Lambiam 20:36, 1 May 2019 (UTC)
The word land in the sense required is the entire source of any archaicism. And, were I to say "I need thy assistance", the use of thy doesn't make the sentence entryworthy. DCDuring (talk) 21:04, 1 May 2019 (UTC)
In my view, "make land" is idiomatic enough to deserve an entry. I do not perceive it as archaic. Mihia (talk)
What shapes your view? DCDuring (talk) 12:55, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
One can also say "make shore" (e.g. The ship made shore), "make port" (= reach/arrive at port), and "make harbour" [[6]]; strangely though it doesn't quite work for "make bank (riverbank)", "make island" or "make destination". In any event, make land does feel slightly more idiomatic, as a nautical expression...and sounds to me not a little dated as well. Leasnam (talk) 20:17, 3 May 2019 (UTC)
I meant that "make land" does not seem fully predictable, based on observations such as the fact that a turtle can "make land", while a salmon cannot "make sea" and an eagle cannot "make sky". Mihia (talk) 17:04, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
Also occurs as "make the land". Equinox 21:57, 2 May 2019 (UTC)

to-do (2)Edit

Noun sense 2:

A task that has been noted as one that must be completed, especially on a list.
My to-do list has been growing longer every day.

I am unconvinced that "to-do" here is a noun meaning a type of task, but what is it? An adjective? Mihia (talk) 22:35, 1 May 2019 (UTC)

On the other hand, it did later occur to me that we can say e.g. "one of my to-dos is ...", so perhaps it is right after all? Mihia (talk) 02:06, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
I agree with your second thoughts. In the usage example above it is the noun used attributively. DCDuring (talk) 02:51, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
I think it's a noun. This is a list of to-dos. Equinox 17:46, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
I disagree, it's a list of things to do. Just like a list of things to clean could be called a "to-clean list", which is not a list of "to-cleans". Ƿidsiþ 10:33, 6 May 2019 (UTC)
@Widsith: So what PoS do you see it as in the phrase "to-do list"? Mihia (talk) 17:10, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
@Mihia: I see it as an adjective. So does the OED, incidentally. Ƿidsiþ 09:04, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Right, OK, I added a second example in which it is (to me) more obviously a noun meaning a task. Mihia (talk) 20:54, 2 May 2019 (UTC)

hringan pronunciationEdit

I just made an edit to a usex at OE belle [[7]], which got me thinking about the sound of the 'g' in OE hringan: could it really have been /'hrind͡ʒɑn/ ? If it descends from PGmc *hringijaną, then a palatised g would be the expected outcome. So I did some further digging in the Middle English Dictionary to see if I could find any traces in ME spelling that might give me a clue to how the word was pronounced in OE, and I found some unclear yet rather compelling spellings, such as rengen, ringgen, hrinʒe, which might indicate a palatised sound.

So my question is this: if the OE indeed was pronounced /'hrind͡ʒɑn/, then were ME pronunciations with /ŋɡ/ influenced from or wholly borrowed from Old Norse hringja ? Does the etymology at English ring (verb) need to be rewritten ? Is this really a Norse word ? Leasnam (talk) 03:06, 2 May 2019 (UTC)

I also found this example from B&T: Sý þæs abbodes gýmen þæt mon ealle tída þæs godcundan þeówdómes on rihte tíman hrincge which shows the combination cg, indicative of a palatised g ... Leasnam (talk) 03:09, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
There seem to be so many of these cases of failed palatalization explained through Norse loaning, that I wonder if we understand the regular conditions of palatalization properly. What about Frisian? We have at *hringijaną a North Frisian ringe, does form have palatalization? Crom daba (talk) 11:13, 3 May 2019 (UTC)
I'm not sure. I wonder if the North Frisian might possibly be a loan from Danish. Leasnam (talk) 20:02, 3 May 2019 (UTC)
West Frisian has ringje, but that's the wrong verb class, and doesn't have the right meaning either. —Rua (mew) 19:14, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
For the palatalisation, *sangijaną appears to have the full complement of Frisian descendants. It appears that palatalisation was inconsistent already in Old Frisian, and remains so. —Rua (mew) 19:26, 5 May 2019 (UTC)


What does "swamp" mean in the idiom "drain the swamp"? Could someone please add this sense? Thanks. ---> Tooironic (talk) 04:13, 2 May 2019 (UTC)

  • Our first definition. Land that is rich and would be very good for cultivation if only it wasn't so wet. SemperBlotto (talk) 05:47, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
    This is challenging to untangle, because referring to Washington, DC as a swamp references the fact that it literally was one before urbanisation, and was used before Trump. Swamps having unsavoury connotations, Trump's speechwriter transformed it into a metaphor for corruption, although it did not change the lexical value of "swamp". The usage of the slogan "drain the swamp" in the current American political landscape is borderline lexical, but our current entry at drain the swamp does a miserable job of defining it and completely omits its association with Trumpism. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 05:56, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
    Citations would greatly help [[drain the swamp]]. DCDuring (talk) 12:57, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
    From The Dictionary of American Proverbs When you're up to your ass in alligators, it's hard to remember you're there to drain the swamp (it's too late to start figuring out how to drain the swamp).
  • 1971, “Safety Review”, in (Please provide the book title or journal name)[8], volume 28-29 ((Please specify the language of the quote)), page 8:
    However, when you're up to your neck in alligators, it is sometimes difficult to remind yourself that the initial objective was to drain the swamp.
  • 1979, Nicholas Dujmovic, quoting Ronald Reagan, Regulation (radio commentary), quoted in The Literary Reagan: Authentic Quotations from His Life, published 2018:
    We are up to our necks in alligators, and it's time to drain the swamp.
Added a figurative sense. Equinox 17:46, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
Why did the President drain the swamp? — To find the bottom feeders for populating his cabinet.  --Lambiam 19:16, 2 May 2019 (UTC)


I think the second definition ("not usual") is quite unhelpful. ChignonПучок 17:51, 2 May 2019 (UTC)

Yes, how is it meant to differ from sense 1? Equinox 17:56, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
“Differing from the norm” has a negative connotation, but someone can have an unusual ability to make people feel at ease, or to explain complicated things in a simple way. Such an ability is indeed “not usual”. A possibly more helpful definition for this sense may be “remarkable, extraordinary”.  --Lambiam 19:10, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
I didn't feel there was a negative connotation. Equinox 19:15, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
It depends on the sense assigned to “norm” in that phrase. Deviating from the norm in sense 2 (a rule that is enforced by members of a community) is not done – or if it is, it is frowned upon and may even give rise to tut tuts.  --Lambiam 19:23, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
I wasn't going to comment on this, but since Lambiam stated pretty much what my own first thoughts on this were already, I will just note this:
"unusual" is one of the few words that we have that can potentially denote the concept that it describes without a negative connotation. "strange", "odd", "bizarre", "abnormal", etc. all often have negative connotations. But unusual can be potentially (and is) used to simply mean "not usual, not typical" in a neutral sense. Tharthan (talk) 19:46, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
I also fail to see the difference. If there is a difference, it needs to be better explained, preferably with some contrasting usage examples. Mihia (talk) 20:58, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
  • I think the first definition is wrong. At its core the term need have nothing to do with norms and has no value implications in its common use. As always, context can introduce valuation, as one says "unusual" while raising one's eyebrows. DCDuring (talk) 21:26, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
Or you can briefly pause, as in “it was, uh, unusual”.[9]  --Lambiam 10:22, 3 May 2019 (UTC)
For me, all the current definitions may or may not have negative implications, or even positive implications, depending on context. I don't see this property as any way of differentiating between them. Mihia (talk) 21:52, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
If a sexual practice violates stated community norms, but is actually widely practiced, is it unusual? I think not. DCDuring (talk) 21:59, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
"violates stated community norms" is a stronger and more specifically targeted phrase than "differing in some way from the norm", which is what the entry says. If something "differs from the norm" then, yes, I would say that generally speaking that means it is unusual. One could argue about whether "in some way" could be stronger, I suppose. Mihia (talk) 22:18, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
So you are saying that you could get citations that unusual is used for not uncommon things that depart from norms. I think this will be going to RfV. DCDuring (talk) 22:54, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
If I may say so, I think you're overthinking it. Mihia (talk) 23:15, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
I think it is the author of definition 1 who did the overthinking. DCDuring (talk) 02:16, 3 May 2019 (UTC)
Well, maybe it was over-elaborate. Mihia (talk) 17:35, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
What about scrapping the first def and augmenting the second with “, out of the ordinary”, while giving enough usexes to display the spectrum of applicability, from (agreeably) amazing to (neutrally) unexpected to (unpleasantly) disturbing?  --Lambiam 10:22, 3 May 2019 (UTC)
That sounds like a good plan to me. Tharthan (talk) 10:54, 3 May 2019 (UTC)
Great. DCDuring (talk) 11:54, 3 May 2019 (UTC)
  So done. I had to merge the translations for the two senses, but looking at the languages I have some familiarity with the differentisl nuances – if any – did not rise to the level where I saw an impediment to the merger. (I blithely extrapolated this to the other languages.)  --Lambiam 20:50, 3 May 2019 (UTC)

intensive: medical senseEdit

Seems to have been added to try to cover the specific case of intensive care. Is it really separate from other senses of intensive? Equinox 21:35, 2 May 2019 (UTC)

Our other definitions seem sufficiently poorly worded so as to not quite obviously cover intensive care. DCDuring (talk) 22:01, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
I would agree with that. Probably it would be good to fix this and then add "intensive care" as a usage example, allowing us to get rid of the medical-specific sense. 22:21, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
“Intensive care” is also a colloquial but very common shortening of “intensive care ward” or “intensive care unit”, being a dedicated hospital ward, as in “The nurse at the emergency room desk told me that Mrs. White had been moved to intensive care.” I think we ought to include this sense.  --Lambiam 10:37, 3 May 2019 (UTC)
Exactly what MWOnline does. I don't object, but in intensive care is almost always ambiguous between the place (or organizational unit) and the type of care. You would need citations or usage examples like: Intensive care has an extra backup generator. or She run intensive care. (but preferrably ones found in the wild). DCDuring (talk) 12:02, 3 May 2019 (UTC)
The example of poor Mrs. White is, I believe, completely unambiguous; the use of “moved to” indicates a change of location. It was spotted and caught in the wild.  --Lambiam 17:23, 3 May 2019 (UTC)


Sense 3: "to become pregnant". I don't think that's a good gloss. Wouldn't "beget" be better? ChignonПучок 14:49, 3 May 2019 (UTC)

I don't think beget can be intransitive, but conceive can ("they were trying to conceive"). Also "beget" might sound a bit archaic. I have added the word "with". Equinox 15:44, 3 May 2019 (UTC)
Not to mention that beget is generally said of men, whereas conceive is said of women. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 16:06, 3 May 2019 (UTC)
And “conceive” refers to the moment of conception, while “beget” is more like the moment of birth, some nine months later (at least, for Home sapiens) – if no miscarriage intervenes.  --Lambiam 17:15, 3 May 2019 (UTC)
@Equinox, Andrew Sheedy, Lambiam: All right, "beget" is not a good gloss. But I'm still unconvinced glossing it with "become pregnant" is right: it only works when the subject is a singular, and is a woman. If two people have been trying to conceive, they haven't been trying both to "become pregnant"; they've been trying to "create a child together" or something. ChignonПучок 17:55, 3 May 2019 (UTC)
Nowadays, at least in the US, it is not uncommon to say that a couple got pregnant,[10][11] and gave birth.[12][13] I am not in favour of changing the definitions to account for such usage, but perhaps we should mention it in the usage notes. Same for conceive.  --Lambiam 18:58, 3 May 2019 (UTC)
I can accept a couple conceiving a child, but the idea that a couple can become pregnant or give birth just seems absurd. I cannot conceive of it, in fact. Mihia (talk) 20:59, 7 May 2019 (UTC)


I heard this on BBC radio, which I assume means as ugly as a pug (dog). There is an entry for plug-ugly, which seems to mean the same thing. Has anyone else heard pug-ugly? DonnanZ (talk) 21:27, 3 May 2019 (UTC)

I've heard it, and no, it just means extremely ugly. I suspect it's a variant of plug-ugly. I think the rhyme reinforces the association with ugh, which probably has more influence on the meaning than any association with dogs or pugilists. Chuck Entz (talk) 21:45, 3 May 2019 (UTC)
It could be a mixture of both plug-ugly and the dog. Anyway I have added a basic entry, found some quotes in Google Books which I will add. DonnanZ (talk) 23:19, 3 May 2019 (UTC)
The website Grammarist states that the two terms have different eymologies, with the pug of pug-ugly being a shortening of pugilist, without giving a source for this claim. We do have an entry for this shortening. Partridge, however, thinks the term arose, through confusion, from plug-ugly, associating the term with “as ugly as a pug”, that is, the dog breed. Some historical information can be found on Phrase finder. And then there are those who think the name of the breed of dog comes from its smashed-in face, like having been battered by a pugilist.  --Lambiam 14:29, 4 May 2019 (UTC)

none theEdit

@Lbdñk recently created the entry none the (labelled "Phrase") and nominated it for WOTD, but I am wondering if it might be sum-of-parts. However, in case I'm barking up the wrong tree, I'd like some comments before I take any steps to formally nominate the entry for deletion. Thanks. — SGconlaw (talk) 20:25, 4 May 2019 (UTC)

I find it grammatically puzzling, and it doesn't look SOP to me. If someone has an explanation I'd be interested to read it. By the way several dictionaries have an entry for it. ChignonПучок 20:41, 4 May 2019 (UTC)
Ok, I see we have an adverb section at the. I think a hard redirect to that section is in order, then. ChignonПучок 20:45, 4 May 2019 (UTC)
The adverb section at the mentions about the usage of not. See definition two. As such, I don't see why none the shouldn't be nominated for deletion; it seems unnecessary to me. Jclu (talk) 20:57, 4 May 2019 (UTC)
It is not strictly speaking a phrase, not being a constituent. Heed the lemmings: none the at OneLook Dictionary Search. DCDuring (talk) 21:53, 4 May 2019 (UTC)
I think it can be classified as an adverb, just like any in a phrase such as “I’ll be damned if this will make you any wiser”. (And I was right, it made him none the wiser.) A bit strange because it only modifies comparatives, but so does any in this usage.  --Lambiam 22:57, 4 May 2019 (UTC)
It's hard to see what other PoS could work. Sometimes I wish we still had the 'idiom' PoS header. DCDuring (talk) 23:23, 4 May 2019 (UTC)
Hello everyone ! and especially @Sgconlaw. I am amazed to see so much ado about nothing. Firstly, it makes no sense to delete this entry, forasmuch as none the is too well attested in literature to not have an independent existence as an entry. Now coming to the PoS problem, both the constituent words are adverbs, so it only reckons upon Wiktionary conventions how this should be labelled. —Lbdñk (talk) 17:56, 5 May 2019 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── There seems to be a difference of opinion over whether the entry should remain; should I nominate it for deletion and see how the discussion goes? — SGconlaw (talk) 16:09, 5 May 2019 (UTC)

This is one of those times when I wish we had passed the lemming rule. DCDuring (talk) 17:16, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
OK, I have nominated the entry for deletion. Please comment at "Wiktionary:Requests for deletion/English#none the". Thanks. — SGconlaw (talk) 18:10, 5 May 2019 (UTC)

cavalier: French clarificationEdit

Hi all, I was looking up the meaning of "cavalier" in French here and definition number 4 states "a staple". However, staple has multiple meanings in English, and especially two quite disparate ones - a basic or essential supply, or the object that's used in a stapler. Could we get a clarification for the French meaning? Does cavalier as staple in French refer to an essential supply, the object used in a stapler, or both?

Jclu (talk) 20:50, 4 May 2019 (UTC)

I think what is meant is what you see in these images. I don’t know what to call these in English, but simply “staple” is not quite right.  --Lambiam 23:09, 4 May 2019 (UTC)
A possible translation is, apparently, “fencing staple”, a term I was not familiar with. A French synonym for cavalier in this sense is crampillon. Another sense, shared by both French terms, is “cable clip”.  --Lambiam 23:26, 4 May 2019 (UTC)
Yes, it's a cable clip – or just "clip" is usually a good translation. Ƿidsiþ 13:44, 14 May 2019 (UTC)


I'm truing up some of the etymologies using prefix non-, especially the nouns using this prefix derived from Middle English. To my surprise, I'm finding that nouns created in Middle English actually do not use the Latin prefix non- meaning "not", but were formed from a combination of Middle English nōn meaning "none, no, not any" + the noun (e.g. non-obeisaunce = "no-obeisance"; cf. no-show, no man's land). If this is the case, then nouns prefixed with non- are using a different prefix to what we are showing—one with a separate etymology. Can someone verify if I am seeing this accurately ? If so, we need to add another etymology at non- Leasnam (talk) 21:22, 4 May 2019 (UTC)

Okay, I just found this at Online Etymology Dictionary [[14]] "In some cases perhaps from Middle English non "not" (adj.), from Old English nan (see not)." so I am not going completely off my rocker. It's clear in words like nonpayment that this is coming from the adjective. I suppose an update to non- is needed... Leasnam (talk) 21:32, 4 May 2019 (UTC)
I’d call it a determiner rather than an adjective.  --Lambiam 23:31, 4 May 2019 (UTC)
Yes, here we would call it a Determiner. After further digging, the adverbial form Middle English nōn (not, not at all) is also used with adjectives/past participles to form the following adjectives: nōn-pertinent, nōn-voluntārī, nōn-seued (non-sued), nōn-ulcerāt, etc. Leasnam (talk) 01:01, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
I've updated the existing etymology at non-, rather than splitting the etymology. It's clear that the modern prefix is a merger of ME non meaning "no, none, not, not at all" used with nouns and also with adjectives, plus a prefix introduced via borrowed words from Old French and Latin meaning "not" used with adjectives. Leasnam (talk) 15:28, 11 May 2019 (UTC)

misfire, miss fireEdit

We had miss fire as a misspelling of misfire, but it's actually a legit older form: it appears in Chambers 1908 and is common in older books; I've added two cites to miss fire. Does this mean that the etymology at misfire needs to say something other than the current mis- + fire? Equinox 22:35, 4 May 2019 (UTC)

I am afraid that it will be very difficult to determine to what extent misfire is a univerbation of miss fire, with juncture loss possibly due to miss analyzing as mis- + fire, and to what extent it is an honestly new creation independent of earlier miss fire. The fact that the past tense and the participles do not agree (like missed fire versus misfired) works against the misanalysis theory, but need not be decisive. In the sense of a complete failure to discharge, miss fire seems a perfect match, but when an engine does fire, only in an improper way, the match is not so good. But I can imagine that misfire as a univerbation of miss fire, due to the inviting analysis of mis- + fire, allowed for and gave rise to a broadening of the sense. The best is probably to mention both analyses, and conclude by s.t. like “or possibly a combination of both”.  --Lambiam 23:51, 4 May 2019 (UTC)


What does "herne" mean in the following lines from the eighth section of William Morris's poem The Pilgrims of Hope (1885–86)?

High up and light are the clouds, and though the swallows flit
So high o'er the sunlit earth, they are well a part of it,
And so, though high over them, are the wings of the wandering herne;
In measureless depths above him doth the fair sky quiver and burn;
The dear sun floods the land as the morning falls toward noon,
And a little wind is awake in the best of the latter June.

I don't think it has anything to do with the mythological figure Herne the Hunter. Is it possibly an old-fashioned or unusual spelling of heron? Arms & Hearts (talk) 23:01, 4 May 2019 (UTC)

Presumably the same as hern: (dialectal or poetic) heron. The spelling herne is also found in heraldry.  --Lambiam 00:03, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
I can't help thinking of this famous New Yorker cartoon, which I only recently discovered is quoting from a Tennyson poem. Chuck Entz (talk) 08:51, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
Thanks Lambiam. Not sure why I gave up and decided to ask here before looking at hern. Arms & Hearts (talk) 12:00, 5 May 2019 (UTC)

death threatEdit

Entry-worthy? ChignonПучок 11:43, 5 May 2019 (UTC)

It seems SoP to me. One can also have a bomb threat, flood threat, security threat, shooting threat, storm threat, terror threat, weather threat, and so on.  --Lambiam 19:54, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
death threat is alternatively spelt death-threat, even when it's not used attributively. Can it be regarded as a compound word ? Leasnam (talk) 02:52, 11 May 2019 (UTC)
It's definitely a set phrase, although more likely than not SOP. But Lambiam's examples actually give it a bit more support, because of those only death threat and bomb threat show the same specialised use of "threat" to refer to a message; a security threat can be an abstract situation or a person, but a death threat is always a message, usually a written one. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 04:34, 11 May 2019 (UTC)
I think that it's a compound word, but then again I don't think there's a distinction between a phrase with attributive noun and a compound word. — Eru·tuon 04:37, 11 May 2019 (UTC)

look forwardEdit

The page look forward, formerly a regular entry, was turned into a hard redirect to look forward to, with a reasonable rationale on the talk page. So far so good, as far as I’m concerned (although I have a nagging feeling that hard redirects are frowned upon). But the entry look forward to lists, under Related terms, “look forward”. That seems worse than pointless. Remove? Or recreate an entry look forward – which also has an &literal meaning.  --Lambiam 11:54, 5 May 2019 (UTC)

Other dictionaries are divided on look forward to vs. look forward. I'd have preferred the redirect to go from look forward to to look forward. Even the 'literal' sense has some interest: forward is almost always temporal, not spatial, in this expression. The contrast of almost always positive looking forward with usually negative looking backward is notable as well. DCDuring (talk) 20:42, 5 May 2019 (UTC)

Pronunciation of classical proper namesEdit

Is it necessary to give a reference for the pronunciation of a classical proper name? The rule is that these names are accented in English on the syllable that is accented in Latin. Isn't that enough for Wiktionary? Eric Kvaalen (talk) 12:13, 5 May 2019 (UTC)

In general editors do not need to give references for any material, although providing one may be prudent for something that is likely to be challenged. If a user is not convinced by a pronunciation that has been provided, they can ask for confirmation by posting here, in our Tea room. The rule you give works only for names that are copied from Latin, retaining all syllables. It doesn’t work for Euclid, Homer, Virgil, and quite a few names that were cut short in the process of being Anglified.  --Lambiam 14:11, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
But note that we are descriptive, not prescriptive. If enough people say it one way,[15][16][17] we record it – possibly with a usage note that this is not how classical scholars say it.  --Lambiam 14:27, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
@Lambiam: The name in question is Apophis, so it does have all the syllables. I see that someone has now added back the pronunciation I tried to put. The trouble with not being "prescriptive" is that most people would have no idea how it should be pronounced, so somebody makes a guess and then other people follow that, and pretty soon everybody is pronouncing it wrong. Wiktionary (and other dictionaries) ought to provide guidance according to the standard rule which applies to names like this. Eric Kvaalen (talk) 18:15, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
@Eric Kvaalen: I've added more explanation of the pronunciations. (I was the one to restore the pronunciation that you added, as well as the more trendy one.) The most that is consistent with the spirit of Wiktionary to say in favor of the pronunciation with Latinate stress is that it's older; to say the other pronunciation is wrong would conflict with the spirit of descriptivism. To me, the Latinate pronunciation sounds weird and dare I say wrong because the name of the Stargate character is pronounced the other way. Unfortunately language doesn't conform to the tidy rules I could wish it to (in this case, that the English stress should match the Latin when the Latin word has not been shortened). — Eru·tuon 04:48, 11 May 2019 (UTC)

the other white meatEdit

I can't make sense of most of the occurrences of this. There seems to be some racial senses, such as here

  • 2008, Linda Villarosa, Passing For Black, Kensington Publishing Corp. (→ISBN)
    “As soon as black women leave our men and join up with the white women's libbers, you know what happens?” Nona continued, holding out her glass. “Some white woman turns around and snatches up the brother.” “Yep, that other white meat, my mother said under her breath, nodding.

possibly sense #4 in UD (reverse Oreo). Possible other senses: turkey meat, Latinos, dick. Maybe just "the other one" in general, as here:

  • 2011, Charlaine Harris, Dead Reckoning, Penguin (→ISBN)
    Possibly he would have done it anyway out of sheer self-defense, but it didn't hurt that his wife, standing right by me, was a blonde. He couldn't be completely sure they meant me, the other white meat.

In this story (obviously not archived, and also NSFW) it seems to mean "men, as sexual partners, seen as an alternative to women":

  • No woman I know is gonna shine a man’s boots, so that means you’re going after the other white meat.

I probably missed some.__Gamren (talk) 14:35, 5 May 2019 (UTC)

It's not an answer to your post, but I'm not sure I agree with the definition: you can't simply gloss it with "pork", it's not substitutable.

  • "You can't go wrong with pork, it's the other white meat you know" > "You can't go wrong with pork, it's pork you know"?
  • "It'll prove why pork is most thankfully not the other white meat" > "It'll prove why pork is most thankfully not pork"?

That doesn't make sense. ChignonПучок 15:01, 5 May 2019 (UTC)

Thank you for pointing that out. It apparently came with the implication that pork is healthy and non-fatty, and indistinguishable from regular white meat. The second quote could maybe rephrased as "it'll prove why pork is most thankfully different from white meat"__Gamren (talk) 15:10, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
(edit confict) The phrase started out as the slogan for an ad campaign to change perceptions about pork, which has a very bad reputation among health-conscious consumers. As such, it's come to be seen as the epitome of a euphemism used to talk people into accepting as desirable something that's really undesirable. I think your examples are referring to "the other white meat" as something considered inferior where someone is pretending that they don't consider it inferior- an unspoken negative judgment that someone doesn't want to admit even exists. Chuck Entz (talk) 15:28, 5 May 2019 (UTC)

erste vs. ersterEdit

(Notifying Matthias Buchmeier, Kolmiel, -sche, Atitarev, Jberkel): @Rua, Metaknowledge What should be the lemma for the German word meaning "first"? Currently erster claims to be that lemma, but erste does as well, in addition to being listed as an inflected form of erster. Meanwhile the {{de-ordinals}} template lists erste as the lemma, and inflected forms like ersten refer back to erste, not erster. The other ordinals are found under zweite, dritte, etc. without the final -r. This suggests that erste is the proper lemma, but I want to make sure before fixing things. Benwing2 (talk) 18:56, 5 May 2019 (UTC)

To be consistent with the other ordinals, it should be erste. But I'm not sure why the ordinals have this as the lemma in the first place. It appears to be the nominative form of the weak declension; why was that form chosen in particular? —Rua (mew) 19:06, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
@Rua Presumably because the predicative forms like erst, zweit, dritt don't exist, and the strong declension is fairly rare for ordinals. Benwing2 (talk) 19:19, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
Other questions:
  1. zweitgrößter is given as a lemma with inflected forms like zweitgrößten. Is this correct?
  2. unwohl has inflected forms like uhnwohlen, with an extra h. Surely this is wrong?
Benwing2 (talk) 19:20, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
For occurrences of zweitgrößten see e.g. [18] and [19]. As to uhnwohl – what a weird, uhnwohlesome error.   Fixed.  --Lambiam 20:09, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
Thanks User:Lambiam. Other issues:
  1. besten listed as the base form of the superlative of gut, and beste given as an inflected form of besten. Is this correct? For comparison, bestes, bestem, bester are given as inflected forms of gut.
  2. tragischsten listed as the base form of the superlative of tragisch (such base superlatives aren't normally found I think), and inflected forms like tragischster referring back to tragischsten instead of tragisch, as is normal.
  3. bescheidensten, bescheidenste, bescheidenster, etc.: as for tragischsten.
  4. nächster listed as the base form of the superlative of nah, inconsistently with besten. nächstes, nächstem, nächste are listed as inflected forms both of nah and nächster, but nächsten is listed as an inflected form only of nächster.
  5. letzter listed as a lemma; see discussion of erster above. In this case, the inflected forms letzte, letztem, letztes, letzsten refer back to letzter.
  6. unterer listed as a lemma; same as for letzter.
  7. oberer listed as a lemma; same as for letzter and unterer.
  8. linker listed as a lemma; same as previous.
  9. vorderer listed as a lemma; same as previous.
  10. wievielter listed as a lemma; same as previous.
  11. hinterer listed as a lemma; same as previous.
  12. mittlerer listed as a lemma; same as previous.
  13. vorkantscher listed as a lemma, with inflected forms vorkantschen, etc. In Talk:vorkantscher, an IP who is apparently a native speaker complains about this, and User:Mahagaja justifies the form based on the apparent lack of quotable occurrences of the predicative form vorkantsch (which seems questionable to me).
  14. überdünischer listed as a lemma; similar to vorkantscher.
Bunches of other evident errors:
  1. am citynähsten as the superlative of citynah.
  2. anisotrope, anisotropes, inflected forms of isotrop
  3. bekannte, bekanntes, inflected forms of weltbekannt
  4. gammliger comparative of gammelig; gammligerer, gammligeres, etc. as inflected forms of gammelig (shouldn't they all refer to gammlig instead, which should be given as an alternative form of gammelig?)
  5. gemäßigster, gemäßigste, etc., inflected forms of gemäßigt; dewikt says they should be gemäßigtster
  6. berühmt-berüchtigster, etc., inflected forms of berühmt-berüchtigt (same as previous)
  7. gesättigster, etc., inflected forms of gesättigt (same as previous two)
  8. homogenen listed as comparative degree of homogen, and corresponding inflections homogenener, homogenene, etc. listed as inflections of homogen
  9. beherrschtestener listed as inflected form of beherrscht.
  10. fluorierender, fluorierende, etc. listed as inflected forms of fluoriend. I think in this case the lemma itself is wrong, should be fluorierend.
  11. mittigstener, mittigstene, etc. listed as inflected forms of mittig.
  12. nichtionisher, nichtionishe, etc. listed as inflected forms of nichtionisch.
  13. ökonomischstener, ökonomischstene, etc. listed as inflected forms of ökonomisch.
  14. skandalträchtigser, skandalträchtigse, etc. listed as inflected forms of skandalträchtig.
  15. vorausschauenerer, vorausschauenere, etc.; vorausschauenster, vorausschauenste, etc.; vorausschauene, vorausschauenes, etc., all listed as inflected forms of vorausschauend.
  16. hellestener, hellestene, etc. listed as inflected forms of helle.
  17. mittlererer, mittlerere, etc. listed as inflected forms of mittel.
  18. unentwegster, unentwegste, etc. listed as inflected forms of unentwegt.
  19. widersprüchlichlerer, widersprüchlichlere, etc. listed as inflected forms of widersprüchlich.
  20. quartalweiser, quartalweise, etc. listed as inflected forms of quartalsweise.
  21. hangererer, hangerere listed as inflected forms of hager.
  22. Nanoelektronischer, Nanoelektronische, etc. listed as inflected forms of nanoelektronisch.
  23. homosexueler, homosexuele, etc. listed as inflected forms of homosexuell.
  24. nictleuchtender, nictleuchtende, etc. listed as inflected forms of nichtleuchtend.
etc. Other errors that I don't feel like enumerating right now; this is tedious. Benwing2 (talk) 20:48, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
Benwing2 (talk) 20:48, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
The German wiktionary has the weak forms (erste, zweite etc.) as lemmas. Matthias Buchmeier (talk) 21:27, 5 May 2019 (UTC)

vorkantscher cannot be a lemma form, and *vorkantsch does not exist because the alleged word is a syncope of vorkantisch. In adjectives on -isch derived from names of persons one can omit the -i- like one can write andrer instead of anderer, papiernes and rechtschaffner instead of papierenes and rechtschaffenes, while one cannot omit it in the predicative form, and by the way with -n- the writing of the syncope is discarded from the written standard language since the nineteenth century and is colloquial or archaic (both); whereas the syncope has only developed as a standard for personal names in the early twentieth century. One cannot and could not do this for other words, including adjectives from place names, so überdünischer is not comparable to vorkantscher / vorkantischer. But for personal names one can still use the full forms like kantischer, goetheischer, schopenhauerische, though possibly some progressivistically ideologized teachers underline such forms as wrong (does not matter, I always knew German better than its teachers). Regarding spelling, if the syncope is employed, according to the 1901 rules one shall write the adjective with a majuscule, so Goethescher, Kantscher, Wolffsche analogously to the forms from placenames Kölner, Bielefelder, Osnabrücker and the like, but according to the 1996 rules one has to write either with minuscule, goethescher, kantscher, wolffsche, or write majuscule and use an apostrophe, Goethe’scher, Kant’scher, Wolff’sche. Indeed both rules are retarded and arbitrary, hence I suggest only putting the full forms like kantisch and goetheisch as lemma forms, which one would have understood so in the state of Classical German (until the 1830s, when writers like J. W. v. Goethe and W. v. Humboldt died). The ordinal numbers should have the lemmas erster, zweiter and so on. For one thing, they behave like anderer (which also meant “second” until the classical times). For the other thing one can use them predicatively so: ich bin erster, du bist zweiter. Though according to the current rules (1901 and 1996) these are nouns and written with majuscules – hell knows why. They are like all superlatives, one uses them like one can say: “Diese Aufgabe ist schwerst.” “Deine Uhr ist urst.” Whereas according to the rules of 1901 and 1996 one writes the “pronouns” anderer, mehrere, keiner, einiger, einige and others always with minuscule, though this causes not rarely ambiguities in texts.
The rules are created out of futility to establish a livelihood for Germanists, vexing anyone who wants to implement the German language. My view is, as one can see, easy, natural, and classical: They all are adjectives and have the lemma as one says them in a predicative sentence. So anderer should be at anders: “Ich bin anders”! But: “Ich bin keins (von beiden)”! ”Ich bin einig (mit dir)”! “Ist er rechts? Nein, er ist links.” (Different meaning than “Er ist recht”!) And: “Ich bin unten!” – hence unterer etc. are inflected forms of this adjective. And all can also be written with majuscules in fitting sentences (i.e. when nominalized). You see currently a lot is lacking, the very frequent keins is a red link and anders, rechts etc. lack an adjective entry though being used as adjectives.
Or can someone argue why “alius” should be on anderer and “inferus” should be on unterer while “magnus” should be on “groß” and not on großer? Observe that unten inflects as unterer and has a superlative but no comparative (or only nonstandardly, I am not acquainted with such a use because it is hard to use as being ridiculous-sounding). ein and kein can be a special case, because of being the core on which the German system of definiteness is built. One can hence say “Ich bin keiner” like “Ich bin keins” with different meaning but one cannot say *“Ich bin mehrerer, er ist mehrerer” or *“Ich bin anderer”.
Or any better suggestion to get out of the limbo of uncertainty of where things should be put? Fay Freak (talk) 22:26, 5 May 2019 (UTC)

Thanks for the ping. German lemmas should be at -er forms for ordinals and superlatives. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 23:21, 5 May 2019 (UTC)

Some prior discussion of this is at User talk:-sche#German_ordinal_numbers. De.Wikt and the Duden would have us lemmatize erste, which is also currently the norm for German ordinals, although -er would be more consistent with how other adjectives are treated. - -sche (discuss) 01:00, 6 May 2019 (UTC)

(Now) that's what I'm talking about!Edit

When it is preceded by now, is it still true that there is always a strong emphasis on "that['s]"?

This was true originally, but I have also heard it more recently (not too recently. The youngsters seem to use this somewhat less frequently than they did some years ago, at least in my area. It is more common to hear "Oh yeah!" or some variant for this purpose these days, in my experience) without any "excessive" stress on "that['s]". With that said, when I think of it in my head, I still think of it with the stressed pronunciation, so I don't think that this was anything remotely near some sweeping shift or something. I'm just suggesting that it seems to be an alternative pronunciation of sorts (or whatever one might choose to call it) that can occur when preceded by "now".

Thoughts? Tharthan (talk) 22:53, 5 May 2019 (UTC)

Not on the change of stress level, but where the usage note has “derived from its ordinary meaning”, is the intention perhaps “divorced from its ordinary meaning”?  --Lambiam 08:15, 6 May 2019 (UTC)
I think it's reasonable to say that the catchphrase is derived from the ordinary meaning of the phrase. As far as the stress is concerned, I can't visualise hearing it other than with "that" emphasised, whether or not preceded by "now", but I couldn't say for sure that nobody ever says it that way. Mihia (talk) 20:43, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
@Mihia I guess that maybe "that['s]" may have very slight stress even in the situations that I'm thinking of, but it would be very slight. If someone were to say "Now that's what I'm talking about" with the tone and general stress attagal/attaboy (or something similar), any potential stress on "that['s]" would be very slight, if present at all. Tharthan (talk) 22:01, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
Hmm, OK, well I can still only imagine it being said with significant or main stress on "that's", but it could be that I just haven't heard the same speakers as you. Mihia (talk) 22:32, 7 May 2019 (UTC)

wiki: how comes it's a valid Chinese word?Edit

I don't think "wiki" (written in Latin letters) is a valid Chinese word; the Chinese word should be 維基. Why is there a #Chinese in "wiki"?? User670839245 (talk) 03:47, 6 May 2019 (UTC)

Sent to RFV. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 04:12, 6 May 2019 (UTC)


How are these senses distinct?

  1. An employee who receives visitors and/or calls, typically in an office setting.
  2. A secretary whose tasks prominently include the above.

-Ultimateria (talk) 17:06, 6 May 2019 (UTC)

Neither of them mentions that the person is on reception?! That's silly. Anyone can receive calls and visitors at work, e.g. in private offices and meetings: it doesn't make them a receptionist if they aren't on reception. Equinox 17:15, 6 May 2019 (UTC)
I've combined the definitions and taken a stab at rewriting them. Alternatively, perhaps instead of saying someone works in reception (if an organization doesn't have a reception department per se), it would be sufficient to say that their main job is recieving visitors? Not sure. - -sche (discuss)
Yes! Sitting near the door and having a phone are sufficient in a little start-up. Equinox 00:25, 13 May 2019 (UTC)


What Ghanaian football team specifically is this referring to? I don't see anything like "Phobos" at w:List of football clubs in Ghana. DTLHS (talk) 17:19, 6 May 2019 (UTC)

Accra Hearts of Oak S.C. Now added. Equinox 20:20, 6 May 2019 (UTC)


Hello again, I'm looking for some help on finding usage of the word brazzle in the sense of "..the terms brass, brazzle and brazil are English dialect terms for pyrite or to coal seams with significant pyrite content...", and not, as I found when I tried a basic search on g.scholar and g.books, of authors.

How is it best to go about searching for such information? Thanks! Elfabet (talk) 20:04, 6 May 2019 (UTC)

By typing “brazzle” in Google search and praying for results. Then you see that Brazzle is a not uncommon proper noun, so to avoid most (not all) such hits, and since brazzle is some material, you refine the search to “of brazzle”. With a book search this gives at least one good hit, the sentence “The lime-stone be‘nt up to mooch, they be full of brazzle”, contributed by correspondent W.M.M., presumable the Reverend W. M. Morris from Treherbert. Apart from that gem, I find only mentions.  --Lambiam 22:34, 6 May 2019 (UTC)
Here is another one, very similar, found by searching for “full of brazzle”: “the coal is a poor one and full of brazzle”.  --Lambiam 22:42, 6 May 2019 (UTC)
My go-to sources for attesting quotations are Google Books, the Internet Archive, and the HathiTrust Digital Library. I also use Google News if Google Books doesn't turn up anything useful. — SGconlaw (talk) 06:41, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
Thanks for the additional resources. Using them and your methods I'm also only finding the same two sources. Am I correct in surmising then that it doesn't meet attestation and is not fit for inclusion? Or are there further steps I should take that could prove it's worth for creating? Thanks again, Elfabet (talk) 12:42, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
The OED might have some cites that we don't. DCDuring (talk) 13:55, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
The OED has an entry for brasil with this meaning (with "brazzle" &c as an alternative form). SemperBlotto (talk) 14:03, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
I found a limerick that uses the term.  --Lambiam 17:51, 7 May 2019 (UTC)

fittings and furnishingsEdit

Our entry implies that "fittings" is just a British word for "furnishings", but I think that in Britain there is -- at least commonly -- a distinction between fittings and furnishings. Fittings are screwed in place (like a stove, a lamp, a curtain rod), while furnishings are not (like a carpet, a table, a bed). Furnishings are generally owned by the tenant, while fittings may be owned by the landlord. Right?? 23:28, 6 May 2019 (UTC)

  • Yes. SemperBlotto (talk) 05:19, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Yes — Saltmarsh. 06:18, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Absolutely yes (speaking as a lawyer). Anything that is affixed to the realty is considered part of the realty. However, it's too sweeping to say that furnishings are generally owned by the tenant and fixtures by the landlord. It all depends on the terms of the tenancy agreement. An agreement may provide, for example, that the landlord will rent furniture to the tenant (and thus the furniture is owned by the landlord), or that the tenant will be allowed to attach fixtures to the realty and remove them at the end of the tenancy. — SGconlaw (talk) 06:28, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
Having said that, there could well be a non-legal, colloquial use of fittings where it simply means furnishings. If necessary, list fittings at RFV so that attesting quotations can be found. — SGconlaw (talk) 06:35, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
"fixtures and fittings" probably warrants an entry. Mihia (talk) 20:59, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
You could be right. DonnanZ (talk) 14:48, 8 May 2019 (UTC)


We have "(of a room) Entered without an intervening passage." Is this accurate and/or are we missing a sense? I thought a "walk-in closet" or "walk-in (kitchen) pantry", for example, was a closet/pantry that was big enough to walk into, not one "entered without an intervening passage". It seems common, perhaps even typical, for closets to be located directly off larger rooms without intervening passages. A Google Image search for "walk-in closet" and "walk-in kitchen pantry" supports my understanding. - -sche (discuss) 17:54, 7 May 2019 (UTC)

The present definition doesn't seem ideal. I would say that primarily it means big enough to walk into, and "entered without an intervening passage" is a typical additional property. Probably it would not hurt to mention both. A better label than "of a room" also seems desirable, since in this sense (or the sense that I assume is intended) it applies only to things like closets and pantries that need not be full rooms, not to rooms in general. Mihia (talk) 18:44, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
At least the other 'adjective' senses seem like they are better viewed as attributive use of the corresponding noun. If we are committed to finding, for a given pair of noun and adjective definition, whether the adjective or noun PoS came first, we have a lot of work ahead (a long run for a short slide). DCDuring (talk) 22:53, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
Testing various rooms, I see "walk-in bathroom" is also attested, which is interesting, because in my experience most bathrooms are big enough to walk into, and most home bathrooms are un-separated from their associated bedrooms (etc) by passages, so the descriptor seems unnecessary. Most Google Image results are for bathrooms which contain walk-in showers or tubs, so perhaps metonymy of some kind is at work. "Walk in bedroom" only returns instances of "walk-in bedroom closet". - -sche (discuss) 00:37, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
MWOnline has some other definitions, including one like Mihia's, and omits some of ours. They have "arranged so as to be entered directly rather than through a lobby" a walk-in apartment, plausible enough, though I don't think I've ever heard it. DCDuring (talk) 01:19, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
"walk-in bathroom" is an interesting example. Where I come from, a bathroom would traditionally be separated from other rooms by a passage, yet of course always be large enough to walk into, so to me "walk-in" in "walk-in bathroom" does in fact only mean "entered without an intervening passage". Perhaps after all there are two senses which may be merged in some instances. Mihia (talk) 01:26, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
I found exactly one hit for "walk-in apartment". Maybe there are more in e.g. newspaper classified ads? I added a sense for closets/pantries. - -sche (discuss) 01:38, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
I would expect it to be mostly with without the "apartment". Try something along the lines of "lived in a walk-in" or "lives in a walk-in"~—This unsigned comment was added by Chuck Entz (talkcontribs) at 03:14, 8 May 2019‎.
  • The entry now says or implies that "walk-in" is an attributive noun in "walk-in bathroom", "walk-in pantry", "walk-in closet" etc. I disagree with this. I think that "walk-in" is adjectival in all these phrases. This is despite its perhaps not passing some tests for adjectivicity. Mihia (talk) 01:12, 9 May 2019 (UTC)
I changed several of the senses into nouns because I agree with DCDuring that they seem more like attributive nouns, but I see now he was talking about "the other 'adjective' senses" and this one may be attested in adjectival ways... I see google books:"closet was walk-in" does return some hits. I'll restore that one to being both an adjective and a noun. - -sche (discuss) 01:59, 9 May 2019 (UTC)
@Mihia: We apply the adjectivicitude tests so that only one test has to be passed in addition to attributive use, which doesn't help with distinguishing adjectives from nouns very often. DCDuring (talk) 02:41, 9 May 2019 (UTC)
Sorry to all for not making my comments more clear. I found this entry a bit confusing to work on and my confusion leaked into the comments. DCDuring (talk) 02:41, 9 May 2019 (UTC)
Well, looking at what we've now got, it seems to me that there should be four senses here:
a) Noun: room big enough to walk into
b) Noun: room entered directly
c) Adjective: big enough to walk into
d) Adjective: entered directly
Presently we are missing (d). I believe that the examples "a walk-in bathroom" and "a walk-in apartment", presently at (b), should be at (d) instead. Mihia (talk) 17:29, 9 May 2019 (UTC)
I've been looking at cites for the plural form walk-ins to get a better fix on noun usage. Some didn't fit our noun definitions, I think. Consider:
  • 2009, Ardien Blu, Flies Without Wings[20], page 11:
    We came from Chicago where the houses were mostly apartments on our side of town; people living above you or below. All of the buildings were located next to one another. This was different. Most homes were walk—ins with attached garages and laundry rooms.
  • 2014, Phillip Gardner, Someone To Crawl Back To[21]:
    The drive-thrus get madder than the walk-ins if you make a mistake.
  • 1971, Kansas Planning for Development Report[22], volume 37-40, page 85:
    Table 49 shows the interviews versus total counts for each park and the comparison between vehicles and walk-ins.
I assume that we could find attestation of the singular sufficient for inclusion. DCDuring (talk) 18:47, 9 May 2019 (UTC)
Some ways of organizing the noun definitions:
by antonyms: walk-out (See new def); drive-in; appointment
by role: walker, either initiator/volunteer or recruit; walkee (place), either with direct entrance or indirect/shared entrance.
I think we should try to reduce the proliferation of definitions once we are fairly sure we have covered most usage. DCDuring (talk) 19:50, 9 May 2019 (UTC)
I didn't add (d) because I couldn't find any clearly adjectival citations of it, and indeed could find very few citations even just of the form "walk-in apartment" where an adjectival analysis could even be suggested; most uses are of the sort Chuck mentioned ("so-and-so lived in a walk-in") where it's a noun. I can't find many adjectival citations of the new "Designed for ease of access" sense, either.
I suspect some of the senses could be grouped as subsenses.
"Most homes were walk—ins" could be viewed as using the same (already present) sense as "most of the apartments were walk-ins", IMO: they're homes with their own doors, rather than Chicago apartments where you have to enter the apartment building before you can enter your own apartment in it. - -sche (discuss) 19:11, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
The readily available collocations for the "ease of access" sense are walk-in tub, walk-in bathtub, walk-in shower, walk-in shower-tub. News is best. There can't be too many other nouns because the "ease of access" is principally that there is nothing to trip over when entering the enclosure. (Think use by the aged and infirm.) The collocating nouns should normally hold liquid and a person. Such a design requires tight seals, grabbars, etc.
The Chicago cite uses homes where I think most English speakers would use houses. A walk-in house is a pleonasm for most. Note, too, "the houses were mostly apartments on our side of town", where most of us would prefer homes. It is a curious use of walk-in. There are no appropriate Google Books hits for "walk-in house". News has "Kim on Kanye's House text: "We use the whole bottom floor for storage," she said. Added Kanye: "We have a walk-in house!" (You must know who Kim and Kanye are.) I don't know what Kanye means by walk-in. Is ground-floor storage a focal part of the house? DCDuring (talk) 21:55, 10 May 2019 (UTC)

let somebody have itEdit

Does let somebody have it deserve an entry?

I think so. Next to the literal meaning, it has a highly idiomatic meaning. Compare our treatment of do it.  --Lambiam 22:43, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
It should be at let someone have it, which we already have. Equinox 22:54, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
(The Derek Bentley case is also of interest...) Equinox 22:55, 7 May 2019 (UTC)

Encoding of Northern Thai ᨷᩤ᩠ᨸ (บาป)Edit

@Octahedron80: I'm not sure whether I've encoded this word properly. My first inclination was to encode it as ᨷᩤ᩠ᨷ <BA, SIGN TALL AA, SAKOT, BA>, but I find that on the Thai Wikipedia and in the on-line translation of the New Testament, it is encoded as ᨷᩤ᩠ᨸ <BA, SIGN TALL AA, SAKOT, HIGH PA>. Are there published rules leading to this spelling?

My best guess is that the subscript consonant is being encoding according to how the word would be written in Thai. In this case, because the word comes from Pali, the final consonant would be written with po pla in Thai, and therefore HIGH PA is to be used for the subscript consonant in the Lanna script. What is the extent of this rule? Does it apply to Lao, Lue and Tai Khuen? Does it apply to the Pali clusters /pp/ and /mp/ in Lanna script writing systems that write /p/ with BA? Does it apply to the same clusters for Pali loans in Northern Thai?

This rule gets bizarre. Under it, ᩈᩣ᩠ᨸ (curse) would have HIGH PA, its homonym ᩈᩣ᩠ᨷ (bad smell) would have BA, and its doublet ᩈᩣᨷ (saapa, curse) indisputably has BA. RichardW57 (talk) 21:09, 7 May 2019 (UTC)

be killedEdit

The following sentence is said to sb who was choking: you could have been killed!; does be killed deserve an entry of its own? --Backinstadiums (talk) 19:07, 7 May 2019 (UTC)

...Why? "You could have been killed" = "Something could have killed you" = "Something could have ended your life" = "Something could have caused you to die". I don't see at all what could possibly be so special about "be killed" that would make it not merely a sum of its parts. Tharthan (talk) 20:40, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
Nope. Normal passive construction. In various situations "you could have been burned, injured, suffocated..." Equinox 21:47, 7 May 2019 (UTC)


No pronunciation is given for the English word. Is an anglicised pronunciation possible (or multiple anglicised pronunciations, as is the case with abseil)?

Does this have to be (rolls eyes) /ˈɑpɡəʃmɑkt/ / /ˈɑpɡɛʃmɑkt/, or is /ˈɑbɡəʃmɑkt/ / /ˈɑbɡɛʃmɑkt/ possible? How about /ˈæbɡəʃmækt/? Tharthan (talk) 01:56, 8 May 2019 (UTC)

BUMP. Tharthan (talk) 21:38, 26 May 2019 (UTC)
I think the last pronunciation you suggested is by far the most likely. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 21:44, 26 May 2019 (UTC)

strength, lengthEdit

What about /stɹeɪŋ(k)θ/ and /leɪŋ(k)θ/? This is the pronunciation that I am most familiar with in my area, and is the one that I have always used. When I first heard /stɹɛŋ(k)θ/, for instance, I thought that it was an affectation of speech. Indeed, in some cases it seems to have been (again, in my area); some people who had used the /eɪŋ/ pronunciation for as long as I had known them suddenly switching to a heavily-emphasised /ɛŋ/ pronunciation later on in life is far from unnoticeable! Tharthan (talk) 07:49, 8 May 2019 (UTC)

This is the pronunciation I'm most familiar with, too, but I think the distinction is phonetic, not phonemic. For me /æŋ/ is consistently realized as [ɛŋ]~[eŋ] and /ɛŋ/ is consistently realized as [eɪŋ], so the same phonemic distinctions are there, just with different phonetic realizations. — Vorziblix (talk · contribs) 18:30, 9 May 2019 (UTC)
It's still worth including, though (with square brackets, of course). Andrew Sheedy (talk) 00:12, 10 May 2019 (UTC)

board and lodgingEdit

Isn't this a form of accommodation, rather than "a place of lodging"? DonnanZ (talk) 14:43, 8 May 2019 (UTC)

Like room and board, which has the same wording. "Accommodation" seems too abstract for such a basic term. "Lodging and meals earned as part of wages, purchased for a set fee, or otherwise provided." For the next 2 years you will be getting free room and board, unless the parole board decides otherwise. DCDuring (talk) 16:30, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
I think the original contributor got their wires crossed. Board and lodging is accommodation, not a tangible place - you could have board and lodging in a boarding house, which I did in Sydney in 1970-71. DonnanZ (talk) 09:19, 9 May 2019 (UTC)
I've removed "the place" - not sure if it is SoP (probably not). SemperBlotto (talk) 09:24, 9 May 2019 (UTC)
I don't think it should be interpreted as SoP. Thanks anyway. DonnanZ (talk) 09:32, 9 May 2019 (UTC)


The Latin section has a quotation, but there isn't actually a quotation there, just the text where it can be found. Could someone with Latin experience add the actual quotation text? —Rua (mew) 23:38, 8 May 2019 (UTC)

I’ve added the Latin text together with a somewhat dated translation. If anyone has access to a better translation, please replace it.  --Lambiam 02:00, 9 May 2019 (UTC)

Korean 漢城, 한성, Japanese 漢城Edit

As far as I know, 한성 (漢城, Hanseong) can only be used in Korean in the historical sense of Hanseong and can never be used to mean "Seoul", which has only a native Korean spelling (hangeul) in Korean 서울 (Seoul) and no hanja exists, which is almost unique for Korean place names. It seems a very sensitive topic in Korea and was a cause for an argument between China and South Korea. Because of the Chinese usage 漢城汉城 (Hànchéng), which can also be interpreted as a "Han city" to mean "서울", Koreans suggested or created 首爾首尔 (Shǒu'ěr, “Seoul”) and asked/demanded China only to use this spelling when writing in Chinese, which has also upset China or someone in China. I hope I got the story correct, correct me if I'm wrong.

What about the Japanese usage? 漢城 (かんじょう) (Kanjō). Is it considered a historical term only? Does it still mean "Seoul" - same as ソウル (Sōru, Seoul), which doesn't have a kanji spelling either. Are there any negative connotations? @TAKASUGI Shinji: Do you mind helping out, possibly update senses, labels and usage notes? I've just created 한성 and added ja and ko sections for 漢城. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 09:02, 9 May 2019 (UTC):

漢城 is the name used only for the capital of Joseon and there is no negative connotation in Japanese. It was called 京城 (けいじょう) (Keijō) during the Japanese colonial period. — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 09:16, 9 May 2019 (UTC)
@TAKASUGI Shinji: Thanks! --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 12:03, 9 May 2019 (UTC)


Sense: "The system of color television. This film is broadcast in color." Is this sense redundant? (I suppose one could pedantically argue that black and white are colours too.) Equinox 10:48, 9 May 2019 (UTC)

It’s not limited to televisions: you can find photographs in color. I would say “technology that can reproduce chromaticity, not only brightness.” Sepia is not color. — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 11:38, 9 May 2019 (UTC)
Is it a separate sense from normal colour at all, then? We do not have a separate sense at sound to describe film/television that has a soundtrack. It's just "sound" sense 1. Equinox 11:54, 9 May 2019 (UTC)
I think that should be explained too. — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 12:20, 9 May 2019 (UTC)
It's redundant to / overlaps sense 3. As mentioned above, it's not specific to TV. It's not even specific to artificial devices:
  • 2004, Marci Pliskin, Shari L. Just, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Interpreting Your Dreams, Penguin (→ISBN), page 5:
    Do you dream in black and white? In color? Shared anecdotes of dream therapists and research tell us that most people dream in color, some in black and white. No one is sure why this occurs [...]
- -sche (discuss) 15:16, 9 May 2019 (UTC)
  • I would say that "This film is broadcast in color", and the other examples, are examples of the phrase in color, which cunningly already has an entry. I'm not certain whether there might be a better usex to justify "The system of color television" as a separate definition. Mihia (talk) 20:11, 9 May 2019 (UTC)
There are examples such as "Experimental color broadcasts began in 1977. Full-time color arrived in 1980" [23]. I don't know if this is quite adequate. Mihia (talk) 21:35, 9 May 2019 (UTC)
It should be noted that the definitions are a bit cyclical—
in color -> color -> color television -> colour television -> colour -> color
It is also interesting to see how some older (early 20th century) dictionaries handled similar situations (even though color TV didn't yet exist):
  • In the Century Dictionary, the third sense of color was defined as “Any distinguishing hue, or the condition of having a distinguishing hue—that is, a hue different from that which prevails among objects of the kind concerned, whether the prevailing hue be positive, as green, or neutral or negative, as white or black; hence, (a) in a picture or view, or in a fabric or other material dyed or painted, any hue, especially a pure tint (often implying a vivid one), other than black and white; (b) in human beings, from the standpoint of the white races, a hue or complexion other than white, and especially black; (c) in bot., any hue except green. See colored, 2.” The second sense of colored was defined as “Having a distinguishing hue. (a) Having some other hue than white or black, especially a bright or vivid hue, as red, purple, blue, etc.: as, a colored ribbon. (b) In bot.,of any hue but green: as, a colored leaf. (c) Having a dark or black color of the skin; black or mulatto; …”
  • Likewise in Webster's New International Dictionary, the fourth sense of color was defined as “A hue noticeable as being other than that regarded as normal or prevalent, or other than black or white; as, to dress in colors. Specif.: (a) Bot. A hue other than green. (b) The hue of races of men other than white, esp. of negroes; also, formerly, other than white or black.” Its first sense of colored was defined as “Having color,—strictly, exclusive of black and white; also, sometimes, exclusive of the prevalent or normal color, as in Bot., of green.”
That may give some guide on how to rewrite these senses.-Mike (talk) 22:51, 9 May 2019 (UTC)
As to sense 8, Oxford (US) online has "The use of all colors, not only black, white, and gray, in photography or television."
'He has shot the whole film in color
[as modifier] 'color television'
Collins has: "(Photography and Television) reproduction of images in chromatic colors rather than in black, white, and gray.
Also, the usage example for sense 8 "broadcast in color" clearly refers to a signal which does not itself have color in any of the other senses. During most stages between the original image being recorded and the image being displayed on a screen or monitor, there is no color in those senses, but I expect that any frame, portion of a frame, or set of frames in whatever form encoded to be referred to as 'color' if only to differentiate them from similar items in black and white or grayscale. DCDuring (talk) 00:21, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
Again this applies to other things like sound: there is no sound produced by an audio signal while encoded for transmission (it's just ones and zeros, etc.). Equinox 10:15, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
Trust the lemmings. There may be other similar attestable expressions, but the closest analogs in audio that I can think of are things like in stereo, in hi-fi, in Dolby. DCDuring (talk) 11:11, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
In the citation I gave above of dreaming in colour, there is just as much an absence of 'actual colour' (because dreams are just neurons firing / electrical signals in the brain; if I dream in colour about Foobarian flowers, there are no actual Foobarian flowers reflecting wavelengths of light that constitute colours) as in a broadcast signal... - -sche (discuss) 19:20, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
But if we are talking about the experience of dreams one's model of the internals usually doesn't matter. That would be like "I watched the 1964 Olympics in color", in which the technology is secondary. DCDuring (talk) 22:05, 10 May 2019 (UTC)

do a, pull aEdit

These are in Category:English non-constituents. Per our normal entry naming pattern, though, should they possibly be moved to do a someone, pull a someone? Equinox 12:12, 9 May 2019 (UTC)

Hmm. Maybe, but that naming scheme seems a bit jarring here, perhaps because I don't think one would normally fill the "someone" slot with pronouns, as one could for other "verb someone" entries we have. "(He|she) did a him" gets no relevant hits. Certainly we should have redirects from whichever title we don't use, to whichever title we do use. - -sche (discuss) 15:21, 9 May 2019 (UTC)
I think these definitions should simply be at "do" and "pull". I would delete "do a" and "pull a". Mihia (talk) 17:35, 9 May 2019 (UTC)
Hmm, that could also work, though I would keep redirects at "do a", "pull a". - -sche (discuss) 19:32, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
I suppose it would be churlish to oppose redirects, but "Category:English non-constituents" pretty much says it: "do a" does not actually exist. "do a Donald Trump" is not "do a / Donald Trump" but "do / a Donald Trump". Mihia (talk) 23:05, 10 May 2019 (UTC)

Russian adjectives for red/beautifulEdit

I'm a Russian learner, and do not feel competent to edit entries, but: there are three (clearly related) adjectives:

But the synonyms should surely be красивый and прекрасный, since these both mean "beautiful" in modern Russian. Am I missing anything, or should I rearrange this. Imaginatorium (talk) 04:03, 10 May 2019 (UTC)

favorite and favouriteEdit

need some merging for consistency. At the very least in the translation tables. Ultimateria (talk) 20:11, 10 May 2019 (UTC)

I merged them, centralizing the content on the older entry, favourite. (I left the pronunciation in favorite although IMO it could be merged, too.) - -sche (discuss) 20:27, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
Another throwback to bygone days, before 1940. See Google NGrams. DCDuring (talk) 22:08, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
Thank you! It's usually too scary to merge the everyday ones like neighbour and sulfur because people will get upset. But at some future time we can improve the display so that they get equal priority. And it's worse than anything to have a lot of duplicated junk that requires continual syncing. Equinox 22:32, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
I totally agree. I have done some of these merges myself. Manually duplicating content for trivial spelling variations is the stupidest thing ever, and is a recipe for continual maintenance headaches. I also agree that better presentation is required. For example, the main heading should say e.g. "favorite or favourite". Other presentational things would need to be fixed too for optimal results. But, as you say, pretty much anything is better than (manual) duplication. Mihia (talk) 23:14, 10 May 2019 (UTC)


The Spanish entry photoshop is marked as a noun and translated to English as photoshop which in English is a verb. So what is the "noun" meaning of English photoshop or is photoshop a Spanish word at all? 10:10, 11 May 2019 (UTC)

It is the result of the verb, i.e. a digitally manipulated image. Easy to find on the Web but maybe not in Google Books. They are also informally called "shoops" (derived from "shop"). Equinox 12:43, 11 May 2019 (UTC)
OK, I added a noun definition to the English section. 18:39, 11 May 2019 (UTC)


Can someone please check the inflection of Proto-Germanic *merkuz ? It used to show a w (e.g. *mirkwi-) in the oblique forms, but the template has been changed and it no longer shows this.

I was under the impression that the w is what prevented Old English mirce from palatising into *mirċe. Leasnam (talk) 16:55, 11 May 2019 (UTC)

I've re-added the old template and params for the time being... Leasnam (talk) 17:06, 11 May 2019 (UTC)

Wallabies and WallabyEdit

The Wallabies are the Australian rugby team, but I heard Wallaby on the radio, apparently referring to a member of the team playing for an English team. Shall we make an entry for this, like Springbok? We also have All Blacks, but not All Black. DonnanZ (talk) 17:36, 11 May 2019 (UTC)

If it's attested, then sure. If there aren't enough hits on Google Books, there might be some in the newspapers and sports mags that Issuu has digitized. Viking is another entry with such a sense. - -sche (discuss) 21:17, 11 May 2019 (UTC)
  Done. It was pretty easy, one Wallaby has been in the news lately, having got the sack for comments he made. DonnanZ (talk) 22:10, 11 May 2019 (UTC)
All Black added --I learned some phrases (talk) 08:17, 16 May 2019 (UTC)

gold star parent, gold star wife, gold star father, gold star mother, gold star familyEdit

Could we reasonably reduce these to a new sense at gold star, and then remove these entries as SoP? It seems it can be used to indicate any relation whose "relate-ee" was killed in action (e.g. gold star brother and sister are also found). Equinox 17:39, 11 May 2019 (UTC)

@Equinox. I have added such a sense. I suggest to make the listed compounds hard redirects. Fay Freak (talk) 18:51, 11 May 2019 (UTC)
Yeah, let's redirect most of them, although gold star mother probably meets the WT:JIFFY test (it seems to be the original phrase). - -sche (discuss) 21:20, 11 May 2019 (UTC)


This is given the same etymology as Euthymia. I thought it was fictitious, but I did find some hits in a DuckDuckGo search. Εὐθημία (Euthēmía) and Εὐθεμία (Euthemía) don't seem to exist, so maybe it's a weird alteration of Euthymia. I'm not sure exactly how this is supposed to be indicated in the entry. — Eru·tuon 02:11, 12 May 2019 (UTC)


Some interesting news. The Macquarie (Australian) English Dictionary has defined this term as "an upper eyelid without a fold, perceived by some in Asia to give an appearance of lethargy or laziness." Understandably, Chinese Australians have submitted an official complaint. I added this entry on 15 August 2018 with the definition, "An eye that does not have a crease on the eyelid." It's good to see another example of Wiktionary coming out ahead of a published dictionary. ---> Tooironic (talk) 05:52, 12 May 2019 (UTC)

I had a browse through Google Books to see if I could find this stereotype mentioned, and I couldn't — but did find Monolid (a "cultural and political quarterly" from San Franscisco), where somebody wrote, "Pretty soon, I thought, the Monolid eye, a cultural symbol of Asian beauty, power, and nationhood for centuries, would be a dying animal." Equinox 11:04, 12 May 2019 (UTC)
I wonder whether there is an online version of Macquarie we could use. DonnanZ (talk) 11:29, 12 May 2019 (UTC)


In the course of fixing incorrect Ancient Greek orthography I ran across this Serbo-Croatian word said to be from ἔλειψα (éleipsa), one of the two aorist tense formations of λείπω (leípō). I guess it's phonologically plausible, but I'm curious how it would have been borrowed. Pinging Ivan Štambuk because he added the etymology. — Eru·tuon 08:03, 12 May 2019 (UTC)

ants in one's pantsEdit

Hi talented linguists. We have the entry ants in one's pants, but all the translations look like translations of the verb have ants in one's pants. I changed the Spanish, the others need changing --I learned some phrases (talk) 09:45, 12 May 2019 (UTC)

  • Hmm. The Italian is just plain wrong - uncapitalised and I think it refers to herpes zoster anyway. I'm going to remove it. SemperBlotto (talk) 11:10, 12 May 2019 (UTC)

should in one should be so luckyEdit

What is the exact meaning of should in one should be so lucky? --Backinstadiums (talk) 10:37, 12 May 2019 (UTC)

  • I believe it is the subjunctive of the verb "to be". SemperBlotto (talk) 11:06, 12 May 2019 (UTC)
I am not sure; this phrase has always sounded a bit strange to me. I would assume either (i) it's sense 2 ("ought to"), and you are ironically saying that you deserve that luck, or (ii) it's sense 6 ("would"), and you're saying that if X happened, then you would be a lucky person indeed (i.e. it's not probable). Equinox 11:10, 12 May 2019 (UTC)

why's why doesEdit

Can why's mean why does ? --Backinstadiums (talk) 12:07, 12 May 2019 (UTC)

Informally yes: "Why's he want to do that?" Equinox 12:09, 12 May 2019 (UTC)
Interesting, I didn't know. Canonicalization (talk) 13:14, 12 May 2019 (UTC)
Also who's, when's, where's etc. can mean "__ does". We have senses (I just added it at who's). Equinox 13:20, 12 May 2019 (UTC)
  • -'s and 'd can each represent pronunciation of a few modal/auxiliary verbs as well as other words. (Don't ask me why one has a hyphen and the other not.) DCDuring (talk) 00:08, 13 May 2019 (UTC)

spitters are quittersEdit

I've written a tentative definition. Can someone improve it? Canonicalization (talk) 22:57, 12 May 2019 (UTC)

truer words were never spoken, no truer words were ever spoken, never were truer words spokenEdit

Entry-worthy? Canonicalization (talk) 23:04, 12 May 2019 (UTC)

No. Not a proverb; SoP; transparent. DCDuring (talk) 00:10, 13 May 2019 (UTC)
I don't think there is much to "define": it's one of those common phrases that just means what it says, like, I dunno, "love conquers all"...? Equinox 00:13, 13 May 2019 (UTC)
I couldn't agree more.  --Lambiam 15:53, 14 May 2019 (UTC)

Pronunciation of -igEdit

I recently came across an interesting word: Old English ǣwicnes (eternity) (cf. German Ewigkeit). What I noticed almost immediately was that this clearly had to be some variant of another unrecorded form, i.e. *ǣwignes, composed of *ǣwig (eternal) + -nes. So far makes total sense. However, what does not make sense to me is this: if Old English -ig is pronounced as /ij/, then how could the /j/ have strengthened to a c in ǣwicnes ? On the contrary, for this to make any sense, the g must have been pronounced as a /ɡ/ or /ɣ/ and it's nearest approximate spelling by scribes attempting to match the sound penned it as "ǣwicnes" (for /ˈæːwignes/ or /ˈæːwiɣnes/) in the same way we see Anglian spellings of meaht as mæct (might), with a c.

So my question is this, how do we know that Old English -ig was pronounced as /ij/ and not as /iɣ/ ? This is a question I've tossed around in my head for a long time, and I have always found it odd that words supposedly pronounced as /bizij/ and /biziju/ would be spelt as bisig and bisigu rather than a more straightforward bisī and bisīu. Or that nigon, if pronounced /nijon/ wouldn't rather be spelt nīon-- why use a g = /j/ in such words ? Makes little sense. On the contrary, it makes more sense that "g" would approximate some other phoneme, like /ɣ/. Consider metegian, there is no way the "g" was /j/ as that would produce something like /ˈmetejiɑn/--can anyone actually believe that OE speakers pronounced the word this way ? No ! Impossible. It clearly must have been /ˈmeteɣiɑn/ or /ˈmeteɣjɑn/ and the derivative metegung was /ˈmeteɣuŋ(ɡ)/.

All I'm saying is that I've always been somewhat doubtful about "g" being /j/ in so many positions, especially -ig, and now with ǣwicnes, I believe I actually have some evidence to possibly, [maybe], back that assertion up. Can this actually be the case ? Please enlighten me if I am missing out on something obvious [which is very possible at this time of night hehe]. Leasnam (talk) 03:34, 13 May 2019 (UTC)

The palatals were frequently part of the same morphological or even inflectional system as their nonpalatal counterparts, and speakers seem to have understood their basic relationship (until the radical levelling that occurred in Middle English). I don't really have a horse in this race, but you haven't produced anything that challenges the status quo. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 03:28, 15 May 2019 (UTC)
I am still looking for other examples. One example is not enough, I would agree. Leasnam (talk) 03:31, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
Could something along the lines of /iç/ have been in free variation with /ij/? Just wondering. Tharthan (talk) 20:19, 23 May 2019 (UTC)
That is precisely what I am thinking. Was maybe the /iç/ an older/more conservative pronunciation that later softened to /ij/ in most dialects during the OE period (just kicking around thoughts at this point) ? In the Middle English dictionary, there is a quote at shildi (OE sċyldiġ): a1225(c1200) Vices & V.(1) (Stw 34)51/24 : Hwilche daiʒ ðu etst of ðese trewe ðu art deaðes sceldih., which shows that at least somewhere this /iç/ pronunciation survived. However, the vast majority of words in Middle English that are suffixed with the descendant of OE -iġ show up suffixed with a Middle English -ig, -iȝ, -i, or -y. The exact pronunciations of ME -ig and -iȝ are unclear to they could have been either /iç/, /ij/, or even something else Leasnam (talk) 21:24, 23 May 2019 (UTC)
To me, /ç/ to the ear has some similarities to /tʃ/ (although I would say /ʃ/ is honestly more similar). Indeed, when I was but a young toddler, I (according to my mother) pronounced huge as /tʃuːdʒ/. This is probably because my father, who is originally from a nearby New England state to mine and my mother's, has always used a New York City-influenced pronunciation for /hj/ words, thus pronouncing huge as /juːdʒ/. My mother, on the other hand, pronounces huge as [çu̟ːd͡ʒ].
So my toddler mind interpreted the word's pronunciation as /tʃuːdʒ/.
In a phrase like "It's huge", this is very reasonable deduction. Leasnam (talk) 18:11, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
Except that that would mean that I would have said "it's huge" as /ɪˈtʃuːdʒ/, and no one has ever indicated that I did that. And since my parents remember quite well the quaint lingual quirks and errors of my babyhood and toddlerhood, I think that they would have mentioned that. Tharthan (talk) 02:19, 25 May 2019 (UTC)
If I could have done it completely naturally, why would it have been unreasonable for scribes to interpret /ç/ as /tʃ/?
It seems 100% plausible to me. Of course, we would (as you said) need more examples to really make an argument here. Tharthan (talk) 03:10, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
To me, /ç/ sounds nothing like /t͡ʃ/.
Well, Central Franconian forms of High German sometimes have /ɕ/ where standard German has /ç/, and Tatar represents /ɕ/ with the letter Ч, which in other languages that use the Cyrillic alphabet represents /t͡ʃ/. Furthermore, Swedish and Norwegian use kj to represent /ç/, whereas Faroese uses that same digraph to represent /t͡ʃ(ʰ)/ so I don't think that it is too odd a realisation. But, like I said, /ʃ/ is more like /ç/ than /t͡ʃ/. Tharthan (talk) 02:19, 25 May 2019 (UTC)
Remember that the scribes were native Old English speakers themselves in most cases.
Right, but why are we assuming that it is impossible that they interpreted /ç/ as /t͡ʃ/ (or saw /t͡ʃ/ as the closest approximate sound to /ç/), and wrote it as such? Tharthan (talk) 02:19, 25 May 2019 (UTC)
I do believe that we are representing -iġ correctly as far as pronunciation goes, at least in the majority of cases, and at the latest point in the Old English period. Whatever other pronunciations of -ig may have existed, /ij/ definitely did as well, and I am okay with that being the one we showcase. I just find it fascinating that Old English was so varied. Leasnam (talk) 18:04, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
Could this have had a heavy dialectal element to it, particularly considering what you said earlier? What I mean is that perhaps /iç/, if it existed in (at least some dialects of) Old English, was either purely dialectal or almost purely dialectal, even from the get-go. Tharthan (talk) 02:19, 25 May 2019 (UTC)
I don't think it was dialectal in the sense of it being a departure from the normal sound, but dialectal in that it was conservative in retaining the sound. From Proto-Germanic, the sound was /-iɣ/. It would be natural to assume that the evolution of this (through the pre-Old English and later Old English period) was /-iɣ/ > /ix/ > /iç/ > /ij/ where some dialects may have held on to /iç/ for longer than others who were more progressively using /ij/ Leasnam (talk) 02:38, 25 May 2019 (UTC)
Right. I wasn't implying that it would have been a departure (of course not!) from the etymological sound value that would have existed in that position pre-Old English, but I wonder if from the very beginning of "Old English" as "Old English", this was already a dialectal matter (if it indeed was a matter at all). Tharthan (talk) 04:09, 25 May 2019 (UTC)
I gotcha. Yes, I would think that which you point out is a very distinct possibility Leasnam (talk) 04:16, 25 May 2019 (UTC)


I came across citations of this while trying to cite crime#Verb, and defined it as best I could, but it could use a look-over. The definition is different from unfound#Verb, which one of the citations gives as the US synonym (though our entry is not marked as US-only). - -sche (discuss) 18:20, 13 May 2019 (UTC)


Definition for sense 1 of the verb:

(transitive) To intentionally collide with (a ship) with the intention of damaging or sinking it.

Definition for sense 2 of the verb:

(transitive) To strike (something) hard, especially with an implement.


How is any instance of sense 1 distinguishable from sense 2? Yes, sense 2 has "especially with an implement" as a sort of qualifier, but one can easily ram into something without using a separate implement. , Tharthan (talk) 18:43, 13 May 2019 (UTC)

The nature of the object of the verb is different in these two senses. In sense 1, the object is a target, and the objective is to damage the target: Let‘s ram the enemy ship. In sense 2, the objective is to make the object enter something else, not to inflict damage upon it (but, perhaps, to damage the something else): To build a sturdy fence, you have to ram the posts deep into the ground.  --Lambiam 13:28, 14 May 2019 (UTC)
Then does sense 1 need to be broadened from just "with a ship"? ...Oh! is "with (a ship)" just suggesting that a ship might be the target? If so, that ought to be made more clear, I think. Tharthan (talk) 21:00, 14 May 2019 (UTC)
I agree. On this page with military news you see the verb used in both senses: in the title sense 2, trying to make a SUV enter a gated passage, and the sense 1, aiming to damage the gate, not with a ship but with a land-based vehicle. And it doesn’t have to be a vehicle either; here someone rams a gate with his shoulder, to no avail.  --Lambiam 00:32, 15 May 2019 (UTC)

associate sense 3Edit

How does this sense work: "(transitive) To join as a partner, ally, or friend"? I'm imagining something like "he associated the king" (i.e. joined the king's faction) which does not sound good. Equinox 21:07, 13 May 2019 (UTC)

I think this is supposed to include usage like:
He associated his name with many environmental causes.
This is why everyone needs usage examples. I associated our unexampled definitions with similar ones in Century that had usage examples. DCDuring (talk) 23:21, 13 May 2019 (UTC)
Given that the sense is transitive, the sense of the verb join in the definition should also be transitive, but none of the listed transitive senses is a good match. Applying the def to the usex gives s.t. like He joined his name as a partner, ally, or friend with many environmental causes. When I read something like He is said to be associated with an international terror group, I interpret it in sense 3, but who is the actor who did the associating? Is it the alleged terrorism supporter? Is associated here the past participle of a passive construction, or more an adjective?  --Lambiam 13:16, 14 May 2019 (UTC)
I would read it as "An (unknown/unnamed) investigator/source/agency associated him with an international terror group." DCDuring (talk) 13:37, 14 May 2019 (UTC)
Isn’t this then sense 5: “To connect evidentially, or in the mind or imagination”? And when it is said that someone’s name is associated with some cause or movement, I think this is basically a metonymic way of stating that said person is associated with it.  --Lambiam 15:47, 14 May 2019 (UTC)
Metonomy usually connects some different definitions of polysemic terms. You introduced the example, which has "is said" in it, as an example of sense 3, not of sense 5. I find sense 5 to confound different ways of associating that seem distinct, though the word evidentially is not part of my idiolect and doesn't seem like a good choice for a defining term. DCDuring (talk) 16:20, 14 May 2019 (UTC)
The switch to sense 5 was inspired by your reading of the sentence, which it fits better than sense 3. Evidence-based?  --Lambiam 22:40, 14 May 2019 (UTC)
Citations can be ambiguous in regards to which definitions best reflect to meaning in the passage, even with a lot of context. Though sometimes the ambiguity is not very important or too subtle for all but a few to notice, it also could be a sign that the entry needs new citations or more or less extensively revised definitions. Both join and evidentially are candidates to be replaced. I don't know what more radical surgery might help. DCDuring (talk) 02:46, 15 May 2019 (UTC)

crime redundant senses?Edit

We have the following senses:

  1. (uncountable) The practice or habit of committing crimes.
    crime doesn't pay
  2. (uncountable) criminal acts collectively.

Surely these are the same? I should mention that the synonyms for the second of these senses are delinquency, crime rate, and criminality. Ultimateria (talk) 15:31, 14 May 2019 (UTC)

I don't find them the same.
Crime is on the increase, according to FBI statistics. exemplifies the second definition, not the first.
Crime has become a pervasive fact of life in some neighborhoods. exemplifies the first, not the second, at least not very well. DCDuring (talk) 16:12, 14 May 2019 (UTC)

no kiddingEdit

Regarding the second definition:

(colloquial, sarcastic) Said in response to an obvious statement.

...I question whether this is still always sarcastic. Unlike "you don't say?", "no kidding" doesn't always still have a sarcastic nature. I think that this phrase has evolved (perhaps only in recent decades) a sense that is no different than the "duh" (*shudders*) that used to be particularly popular with younger folks. Now, that isn't to say that the original sarcastic usage has gone away. Rather, I am suggesting that both coexist. Perhaps "sometimes sarcastic", "often sarcastic", or something of that nature ought to be the descriptor tag instead, along with usage notes that qualify what that tag means in this case.


Friend: "Hey, Bill - did you know that I earn money from my office job?"

Bill: (with mock surprise) "No kidding? When did that start?"


Bill: Junior, you seem to be being very careful with your words these days when you speak to me.

Bill Jr.: Yeah, no kidding, Dad! I'm like that with everyone, and I've done that forever.


The first is equivalent to "you don't say?", whereas the second is equivalent to "duh" (*shudders*).

Now, some might argue that, since "you don't say?" can be used without the question mark, and can be said in a critical tone (or similar), although even that–I would argue–still has a slight questioning feeling to it, that this is no different. To that, I would note that, by its very nature, "you don't say(?)" has sarcastic vibes. On the other hand, one could parse (if one did not already know the phrase somehow) the non-faux-questioning "no kidding" as "it is no joking matter (that that is the case)", or "this is no jest", which is assertive rather than questioning (even if the questioning were to be insincere).

Do you think that we ought to change or at least clarify the "sarcastic" that we tag "no kidding" with? If not, why not? Tharthan (talk) 20:43, 14 May 2019 (UTC)

We could reuse the definition of duh, which we also should list as a synonym. Apart from the senses already given, I think this interjection is also used in its literal sense.[24] I kid you not.  --Lambiam 22:28, 16 May 2019 (UTC)

my dog ate itEdit

No entry for this? I haven't looked it up on the Web, but isn't this quite a popular phrase?

I just used it myself, and when I went to look it up here out of curiosity, there was no entry. Perhaps the sense that I was using it in (jocularly self-deprecating phrase to downplay my actually legitimate reasons for why I didn't do something; "Basically, my dog ate it." as a "TL;DR" at the end of an explanation) is not particularly common, but surely some sense of this phrase merits inclusion? No? Tharthan (talk) 05:41, 15 May 2019 (UTC)

Wikipedia has an article on the expression “The dog ate my homework”.  --Lambiam 09:20, 15 May 2019 (UTC)
Quoting that article:
"The phrase is referenced, even beyond the educational context, as a sarcastic rejoinder to any similarly glib or otherwise insufficient or implausible explanation for a failure in any context."
If that can be proven to indeed be so, doesn't it warrant inclusion? It's 6:02 AM here, and I ended up not getting any sleep, so I can't look for any citations now, but if no one else has found any that cover a clear usage (of some sort) of some form of the phrase (my dog ate it, the dog ate it, the dog ate my homework, the dog ate the homework, etc.) by the time that I'm finally up for the day, I can probably look for some myself. Tharthan (talk) 10:03, 15 May 2019 (UTC)
The lemma is a little ugly: dog ate one's homework. A few determinatives can modify dog and a few possessives can modify homework. DCDuring (talk)
  • I wouldn't want this phrase in MY dictionary. --I learned some phrases (talk) 08:15, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
    I think I had it in my dictionary, but I cannot check this because the dog ate it. Now it barks sesquipedalianly.  --Lambiam 22:16, 16 May 2019 (UTC)


What a great entry, very great addition! Top marks to whoever added that.

...It seems to be a metallurgical term. I would have added it to one of the Rfs, but I wasn't sure which one would be best.

EDIT: Oops. It looks like DCDuring added it over eleven years ago. No offence, pal. Still, this entry is not very helpful as it is. Tharthan (talk) 07:20, 15 May 2019 (UTC)

I was brand-new, probably atoning after being blocked by Connel MacKenzie for copyvio. I was adding a lot of form-of entries in response to "rq"s.
hot work at OneLook Dictionary Search shows that lemmings have the lemma verb. DCDuring (talk) 11:49, 15 May 2019 (UTC)
Compare cold work. Equinox 13:40, 15 May 2019 (UTC)


What is meant by a "starred windshield"? Is it a common expression? Should we include it here? ---> Tooironic (talk) 14:15, 15 May 2019 (UTC)

  • It is a windshield / windscreen that has been chipped by a flying stone. SoP? SemperBlotto (talk) 14:18, 15 May 2019 (UTC)
I don't think I've heard of it, but if it has use, then it doesn't strike me as SoP.--Prosfilaes (talk) 14:56, 15 May 2019 (UTC)
I think it is SoP because you can say "a starred windshield/windscreen", "the windshield/windscreen is starred", etc. Rather, the question should be: should the sense be included as a verb at "star" or as an adjective at "starred"? ---> Tooironic (talk) 15:06, 15 May 2019 (UTC)
The hits at google books:"starred the windshield" suggest it's a verb that should be covered at star. Incidentally, the hits at google books:"starring the windshield", speaking of rain starring a windshield, suggest it might just mean to 'hit' or 'impact' the windshield and not necessarily 'chip' it...? - -sche (discuss) 15:33, 15 May 2019 (UTC)
Starred (adjective) just means having a star or stars (in any sense). This particular sense would be a star (noun) which is a chip or break in the window with radial cracks that make it appear like a star. A flying rock may star (verb) the window. After which you might say the rock starred (verb) the window. It may also be used attributively as a star chip or star break but I will let others argue whether that would be an adjective or attributive noun. -Mike (talk) 18:13, 15 May 2019 (UTC)
Here I see the sentence, “Don‘t let a broken or starred window create mishap.” And here I find, “One of [three shots] starred the windshield.” So starred is indeed the past participle of the verb star meaning “to cause the formation of a star” (where “star” means “star-shaped defect”), and starred windshield then is a SOP.  --Lambiam 00:38, 16 May 2019 (UTC)

"Caesar is dead, and it was you as good as held the knife"Edit

This sentence is uttered by Mark Antony in the TV series Rome (you listen to it here, at 0:48). I understand what it means, but I have some trouble parsing it.

Or maybe I'm not hearing it correctly, and he's saying "Caesar is dead, and it was you who as good as held the (a?) knife"? Canonicalization (talk) 21:04, 15 May 2019 (UTC)

You are hearing it correctly: "you as good as". Very colloquially (and to me it has a Cockney flavour), "as" may be used instead of "who" or "that". For example: "it was him as did it!" (it was he who did it; he's the one who did it). Also, unrelatedly, if you "as good as" do something then you do enough to make yourself more or less responsible: "he committed suicide, but your constant harassment as good as killed him". I would say that "it was you as good as [did something]" is confusing these two unrelated constructions, and using a single "as" for both. Equinox 22:21, 15 May 2019 (UTC)
(Of course, "as as" sounds ridiculous, so you wouldn't choose to use those two forms together anyway.) — Here is a second interpretation: again colloquially, you can drop "who/that", as in this example (found in Google Books): "It was him told me to look out for young Prindy". So perhaps that's the construction and my "him as did it" is a red herring. Impossible to know. Equinox 22:30, 15 May 2019 (UTC)
It is standard to omit the conjunction that introducing a clause: “I know that he smokes” → “I know he smokes”. It is also common to omit the relative pronoun that in a phrase like “Jack is the man that you should see”. It is less common, and I think nonstandard, to omit it in a phrase like “Jack is the man that can help you”, but nevertheless I hear it a lot: “Jack is the man can help you”. Therefore I am inclined to analyze the utterance as “Caesar is dead, and it was you [that] as good as held the knife.”  --Lambiam 00:01, 16 May 2019 (UTC)

Voronoi poleEdit

Hi! Here's an awful entry I just made. I think it is better than nothing because we acknowledge the existence of the term, give it an etymology, and direct interested readers to Wikipedia. The definition is crap though. Geometers please improve. Equinox 22:15, 15 May 2019 (UTC)

Far above my pay grade, but @Kiwima, msh210 are mathematically inclined. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 22:29, 15 May 2019 (UTC)
Sending our readers to Wikipedia is only helpful if the article over there is improved. (1) It refers to a set P that is not introduced or otherwise defined. (2) It does not account for the possibility that “the” vertex with maximal distance is not unique; (3) It uses a notion of “average direction” that is not well defined. (4) It does not give even the slightest clue as to why this somewhat abstruse concept of a Voronoi pole should be of interest to anyone.  --Lambiam 00:19, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
As Wikipedia would say, SOFIXIT ;) Equinox 01:16, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
When I find the time I can fix (1). I don’t know what to do about (2), which may depend on the uses of the concept – are all poles, or should one randomly pick one and declare it to be the pole?. I am not sure about (3) either – is it the direction that minimizes the square differences of the angles with the other directions, or the direction of the average of the unit vectors, or still something else? And I‘m clueless as to (4), which I think is the major villain. The one reference given in Wikipedia is not previewable, so researching this so that I can fix these issues may cost a considerable amount of time, possibly leading to the conclusion that this orphan is a NN concept.  --Lambiam 10:36, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
Or as Wiktionary would say, "no usable content given". DTLHS (talk) 19:47, 16 May 2019 (UTC)


Feels like a problem entry. Agree or not? Anything we should do: rare, nonstandard, better cites, etc.? Equinox 04:58, 16 May 2019 (UTC)

Better cites are always helpful. But Etymology 2 is already labelled rare, non-standard. I think Etymology 1 exists in order to avoid confusion with Etym 2. Leasnam (talk) 13:48, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
I think it should be made clear that usage in the hydrogen sense is not only “non-standard”, but either tongue-in-cheek or experimental and intended to evoke a sense of estrangement. The “bang-gas“ of the first quotation shows that the correspondent apparently found these German compond nouns irresistibly funny. The brilliant young Homoeoid physicist from the next quotation lives on the planet Nirgends (a blend of German nirgendwo and Dutch nergens) on the edge of the Galaxy; the Homoeoids reportedly have neglected mathematics and engineering most shamefully. The third quotation is from Poul Anderson’s infamous over-the-top Anglish essay “Uncleftish Beholding”. I think it is open to dispute whether this is actually English; Hofstadter has dubbed it “Ander-Saxon”.  --Lambiam 20:42, 16 May 2019 (UTC)


Just observing that we have three senses for this word, all relating to human temperaments, but there seems to be only one single hit for "headish man" in a Google Books search. Equinox 05:02, 16 May 2019 (UTC)

Century 1911 has the three "synonyms" as one definition line. The don't look like synonyms to me. I'd RfV each of the three definitions. Maybe the OED has real cites. DCDuring (talk) 13:10, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
From the online OED:- SemperBlotto (talk) 13:13, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
  • 1530 J. Palsgrave Lesclarcissement 315/1 Heedysshe or heedstronge, testu.
  • 1882 Little Folks June 362/2 Ah! ye were always a little headish chap afore ye took to these swellish ways.
  • 1928 A. MacLeish Let. 24 Aug. (1983) 214 I hope you won't think me unduly headish if I return the charge.
DARE has it meaning "headstrong" in Georgia and Alabama, with but one cite: He's a little headish. which is from Dialect Notes 1908.
Unsurprisingly it is used in combinations: pecker-headish, egg-headish, horse's headish, square-headish, air-headish, cone-headish, cheese-headish, death's headish, hot-headish. DCDuring (talk) 19:46, 16 May 2019 (UTC)


This underwent RFV lately. I appreciate editors' effort in finding citations but I don't think the outcome was correct. Remember, we're trying to distinguish (i) "scientific, pertaining to science" from (ii) "apparently scientific, having the trappings of science". So if I say something "sounds sciencey" that's probably sense (i) because I'm saying it sounds like real science, I'm not saying it sounds like fake science.

Looking at the cites for sense 2, then: (2010) " sciencey things such as building and constructing" (not 100% sure, but I would probably say sense 1, because these are rigorous disciplines with rules and conventions, they are sciences), (2013) "it sounds sciencey, it looks sciencey [...but isn't scientific]", well this is sense 1 because we're saying it sounds like science, we're not saying it sounds as though it sounds like science or it sounds like fake science!, (2014) "formulated (a sciencey word)" surely sense 1 again, (2017) pencils in your pocket make you look sciencey: again sense 1: we're saying you look scientific, not you look like fake-scientific.

So I would move ALL FOUR of those citations to sense 1, and delete sense 2. I think the RFV really got it wrong. Thoughts? Equinox 05:07, 16 May 2019 (UTC)

Based on how some other dictionaries define the suffix -y, I imagine they would define sciencey as "characterized by science, scientific; like science, somewhat scientific" either as one sense, subsenses, or multiple senses, but in practice it may not be that easy to categorize actual examples. -Mike (talk) 07:37, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
A parallel case is truthy. DCDuring (talk) 13:33, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
Yeah, I would be inclined to merge the senses into one sense like the one you propose, or like "Scientific; of, pertaining to, or resembling science." I think I see where Prosfilaes is coming from in the RFV discussion, but, crucially, the idea that "chocolatey" wouldn't be used to describe chocolate isn't borne out in practice—google books:"chocolatey chocolate" turns up mentions of "chocolatey chocolate chips", "chocolatey chocolate chip cookie(s)", "chocolatey chocolate cake(s)", etc which are made with (of in the first case, entirely of) chocolate. Likewise, an orange could be very "orangey", e.g. if it has a notably strong or vivid orange taste. So, I don't think the use of those words to describe other things is a distinct sense. - -sche (discuss) 08:08, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Why would someone use the word sciencey rather than scientific? If you look at Wordnik's ten examples and ours, there is clearly a distinction being made. I think in virtually all cases the idea is that the speaker/author isn't vouching for something being actually scientific, but rather for it appearing scientific. A synonym would be science-like. DCDuring (talk) 13:30, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
    I've been thinking about this more and agree with this thought. I think what is missing from these definitions is a certain color that is introduced by the use of sciencey due to its informality. If it were just scientific, then that is what would be said. But being sciencey can imply that it is beyond the technical ability of one to explain it or of one to understand its explanation, "Ya know, it's a sciency thing." It can also be a bit of a tease or a disparagement of what has been said—the egghead or the official with his sciencey things—so the term introduces an uncertainty in just how much science is actually involved. -Mike (talk) 17:27, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
If we define the term as “having the trappings of science”, we do not commit to a determination of whether it is actual science, pseudo-science, or something that just happens to have a scientific look without any pretense.  --Lambiam 13:47, 18 May 2019 (UTC)
A usage note per Mike wouldn't hurt and might help. DCDuring (talk) 17:56, 18 May 2019 (UTC)

of one's ownEdit

Discussion moved from WT:BP.

Doesn't of one's own deserve its own entry? --Backinstadiums (talk) 00:10, 16 May 2019 (UTC)

When you say that someone has an X of his own, this is basically a more emphatic way of saying that he has his own X – his particular X that he does not share with anyone. I‘m on the fence whether this is sufficiently idiomatic for inclusion. The qualification is at least somewhat transparent, but several lemmings have it in some form, such as “a mind of one’s own” (Oxford Dictionary of English, Oxford Living Dictionaries, The Free Dictionary, Collins). But we don’t have to follow them blindly – we have a mind of our own.  --Lambiam 21:11, 16 May 2019 (UTC)

then, on to more important things: when is your birthday party?Edit

Discussion moved from WT:BP.

Should the meaning in then, on to more important things: when is your birthday party? be included? --Backinstadiums (talk) 02:51, 16 May 2019 (UTC)

It's sense 3. Ultimateria (talk) 16:06, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
Then, of course, there's always the most important thing: the cake!  --Lambiam 21:20, 16 May 2019 (UTC)


Needs splitting uppercase/lowercase --I learned some phrases (talk) 08:31, 16 May 2019 (UTC)

We have had separate pages Porto and porto since 23 October 2005. Can you be more explicit which senses for which languages need splitting or moving?  --Lambiam 20:51, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
They might mean that there is no English L2 for porto, but I don't think that there is a commonly used English word porto. Perhaps they are put off by there being a capitalized word deemed a common noun. DCDuring (talk) 13:16, 17 May 2019 (UTC)
English sense added (but it is rather rare/old-fashioned). SemperBlotto (talk) 13:21, 17 May 2019 (UTC)

besides thatEdit

Many google hits for instance for "besides that he's cute". Is the PoS in such cases already added in its entry? --Backinstadiums (talk) 22:38, 16 May 2019 (UTC)

Yes, it's sense 2 of the preposition. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 23:01, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
As written, I would say that it's sense 3. For example: "What is there to like about him, besides (the fact) that he's cute?". However, it seems possible that "besides that he's cute" may be supposed to mean "Besides that, he's cute", in which case it would be sense 2. Mihia (talk) 13:04, 17 May 2019 (UTC)
I would just echo Ebinoth in the quotes for that term: When you say "besides," do you mean "in addition to," or "instead of"? You really do need to see the greater context of the sentence to know which sense it is. -Mike (talk) 16:35, 17 May 2019 (UTC)
Besides that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?  --Lambiam 00:23, 17 May 2019 (UTC)

Would it make sense to create a category for this kind of jargon/slang?Edit

(I couldn't conclusively determine for myself where I ought to bring this, but I hope that the Tea Room is appropriate for this sort of thing)

I'm noticing that we don't have marked/noted/usage-notes-for a lot of words that either originated in drug slang (and are still used in it), or are more or less limited to drug slang. What I mean by drug slang is: the particular jargon used amongst people who associate themselves with the recreational usage of narcotics.

Due to recent contemporary happenings (and the trend for at least the last few decades), drug slang is passing into English slang (or even sometimes general informal speech), particularly that of those under thirty (although those in their thirties may well have some of these jargonistic words in their vocabulary as well) at a rate far higher than it did prior to the 1960s.

The problem is, we don't categorise these particular words in any way, even though we have special categories for words in basically every other major jargon (or similar).

Why are words like dank, dope, and sense three of geek out (that list is by no means exhaustive) not labelled in some manner to denote their connotation/nuance and are not part of a category titled something like "English drug slang" or whatever? I don't know what would be the best way to title such a category, and what (if any) descriptor tags we ought to use for senses that could be so labelled, but I for one think that we (and our readers/those who consult Wiktionary) would benefit from some sort of category for words that are part of that jargon. Tharthan (talk) 16:31, 18 May 2019 (UTC)

Well, slang is a register, but drugs are a topic. Then again, we do have a category for some subcultural slangs, like 4chan slang and Internet slang. But those are easy to group together because they are used on 4chan or on the Internet. Is "drug slang" as used by Timothy Leary in the LSD-soaked '60s of America the same as "drug slang" used by dealers supplying a 21st-century London house party? Probably not; then it's just slang, and drugs is the topic category. Equinox 00:48, 23 May 2019 (UTC)
Do you think that adding these kinds of terms and phrases to Category:en:Recreational drugs [can't seem to find a way to turn that into a link without it disappearing] might be the solution, then? Some of the words already in that category would probably already fit the idea of "drug slang". I would also note that, in some cases, there is a subcultural level to this. Those who (rightly or wrongly) perceive themselves to be downtrodden and/or treated as semi-societal-outcasts often will (by the very nature of their situation) heavily associate with those who have in common whatever trait(s) or characteristic(s) are being heavily emphasised by others when they are treated the way that they are treated by them, more so than they would otherwise. So there can be a "subculture" of sorts, although (to your point) whether just one subculture is created, or (instead) multiple subcultures depending upon the time and place in the world that don't have much overlap, is a good question. If I had to guess, there probably is at least some overlap in terminology. If not, I would be quite surprised. Tharthan (talk) 19:33, 23 May 2019 (UTC)
@Tharthan: add a colon before the word Category, thus: "[[:Category:en:Recreational drugs]]". — SGconlaw (talk) 08:10, 25 May 2019 (UTC)

Misspelling of unofficial: inofficialEdit

I'm not sure whether or not the word inofficial would be counted as a misspelling of unofficial and therefore should be deleted, or whether it stays as it's a common misspelling or otherwise a recognized. Can someone clarify this for me please? Nimaex (talk) 17:44, 18 May 2019 (UTC)

Seems to be a non-standard, hyper-correction of unofficial, as though in- were more correct than un-. Per GNGram it is extremely rare in comparison [[25]]. I would just label it non-standard and rare Leasnam (talk) 18:16, 18 May 2019 (UTC)
I'd label it rare, but not non-standard. Definitely not a misspelling. —Mahāgaja · talk 18:20, 18 May 2019 (UTC)
Why not non-standard? It's definitely going to get marked as wrong by editors and teachers. I'd definitely correct it to "unofficial" if editing something.--Prosfilaes (talk) 00:21, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
Sometimes such words are archaic forms that got edged out over time. Don't know whether this one was ever popular. Ask Romanophile, who created it? Equinox 00:52, 23 May 2019 (UTC)

at some time or otherEdit

Isn't the preposition idiomatic enough to earn it an entry¿ --Backinstadiums (talk) 19:17, 18 May 2019 (UTC)

It's so idiomatic that we have a definition for it, AFAICT: def. 2 at at#Preposition. DCDuring (talk) 21:26, 18 May 2019 (UTC)
What about “some X or other”, meaning “some unspecified or unknown X” (“in some way or other”, “on some day or other”, “for some reason or other”, ...)?  --Lambiam 00:26, 19 May 2019 (UTC)


Too many meanings, and they're not well ordered, in my opinion: for example, senses 5 and 10 look identical, and senses 1 and 9 should be brought closer to each other. @-sche, what do you think? Canonicalization (talk) 19:32, 18 May 2019 (UTC)

Defs. 5 and 10 may be intended to differ in degree, but I don't think that is a worthwhile distinction clearly sustainable in citations. The usage examples don't show a distinction I can discern. Definition 1 seems to be two definitions on one line. The first part of def. 1 seems quite close to def. 3, based on the wording. DCDuring (talk) 21:39, 18 May 2019 (UTC)
I've given the entry an overhaul; see what you think. - -sche (discuss) 15:32, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
@-sche, I made minor changes and added one definition to your version, but I think that 5 and 6 should be combined. An odd job can be said to be occasional or infrequent. You could add "irregular" and "casual" to 5. Also in 5, "not forming part of a set" is actually part of 2 which can refer to any sized set (as in "a few odd volumes of a book series"). Though maybe that part was meant to distinguish it from 2 which would have a defined set size, unlike 5. -Mike (talk) 20:00, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
I disagree that "odd jobs" are necessarily infrequent. For example:
  • 2005, Paul F. Everett, The Prisoner: An Invitation to Hope[26], page 36:
    While working at Allegheny General, Jim often did odd jobs on the side.
(Not an isolated example) DCDuring (talk) 20:09, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
Yes, I suspect that's why other dictionaries also distinguish the senses, although some group them as subsenses, which we could try. - -sche (discuss) 21:54, 20 May 2019 (UTC)

Long vowels in -x perfects in LatinEdit

(Notifying Metaknowledge, Fay Freak): @Brutal Russian, JohnC5, Rua Apparently, vehō had principal parts vēxī vĕctum while tegō had tēxī tēctum, and similarly regō -rēxī rēctum, legō -lēxī lēctum and agō ēgī āctum. Some of these long vowels are mentioned in [27]. I am planning on fixing up all the compounds of the above verbs to reflect the long vowels and then do a bot run to fix all the non-lemma forms, is this correct? I notice for example that Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers has advēxī prōvēxī transvēxī but no long vowel indicated in the other compounds of vehō; I assume this is an oversight rather than intentional. Benwing2 (talk) 22:31, 18 May 2019 (UTC)

I don't know what to do with all these cases, as I don't know the current literature very well. Charles Edwin Bennett's helpful list says that the long vowel inferred for vēxī is based on a slightly flimsy statement from Priscian, but perhaps there is more evidence now? —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 22:42, 18 May 2019 (UTC)
Looks like we're running a risk of confusing lenghened-grade aorist with what's known as Lachmann's lengthening wherein voiced stops that were followed by a voiceless consonant (in other formulations, only /t/), and consequently devoiced, normally do so with accompanying vowel lengthening: teg-s-ī > tēxī, leg-t-us >> lēctus (in these other formulations only the participles). The exceptions to this law (as well as the fact that it seems to operate primarily within verbal morphology) have made it a point of contention for over a century with no apparent consensus so far, but it's still relevant as having implications for the glottalic theory. It didn't operate on the outcomes of PIE aspirated stops, so vec-t-us from vehere, trac-tus from trahere are not affected .
This topic in general is known as "hidden quality" - here's a good compendium of from various sources. These sources being from the beginning of the last century, that's the state of the art it reflects. As for dictionaries, Elementary L&S is also outdated in this regard - the most reliable quick references in my experience have been Gaffiot 2016 and especially LaNe, both found at Logeion. For a non-quick reference TLL seems to be the only choice, but without a subscription your options are either checking the entry name and the first couple of lines, or the recently published open access PDFs - I'm not sure how up to date they are. Besides it only exists up to the letter O, so no vehere, trahere or vincere atm.
I did read quite a few modern works on the subject (quite often in order to verify and correct wiktionary entries), and I do know the "correct" lengths in almost every case, but I'll have to re-read these in order to make sure and compile a list of which perfect forms there seems to be agreement about. Overall though the roots in this paper should be reliable both for the past participles and the s-perfects if they have one. Not only do prefixed derivatives behave exactly the same way, but also suffixed derivatives such as obtrĕctāre (< trăctus), vĕctitāre and āctīvus. The vowels in compounds of trahere itself seem to have been analogically restored very early on, or never reduced to avoid the opaque pattern contrēre~contrāxī. I think all of these can safely be corrected. Brutal Russian (talk) 17:42, 19 May 2019 (UTC)


What are your thoughts about : 6. used to soften harsh words: used to soften a blunt statement or make one more polite

I should hope you're sorry now (Microsoft® Encarta® 2009). --Backinstadiums (talk) 01:37, 19 May 2019 (UTC)

IMO not a separate sense, just context. Similar to "I should imagine he wishes he had never X" Equinox 01:50, 19 May 2019 (UTC)

hold onto your hatEdit

Should the entry not be hold onto one's hat ? --Backinstadiums (talk) 01:44, 19 May 2019 (UTC)

Ideally perhaps. It's a bit hard to imagine hearing "he held onto his hat as he was told that his wife had cancer!". Equinox 01:49, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
@Equinox: I was thinking of reported speech --Backinstadiums (talk) 02:23, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
"told+him+to+hold+onto+his+hat" Here is an example of a writer describing a third party being told "to hold onto his hat". bd2412 T 03:26, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
I note that the meaning in that cite could be read as "to be patient; to cool one's jets; to keep one's shirt on".
I also note that hold on to your hat has been about twice as common as hold onto your hat since about 1950, per Google NGrams. DCDuring (talk) 16:11, 19 May 2019 (UTC)


There are two apparently overlapping senses, with differing definitions but really only different in countability: (i) uncountable "recognition and respect"; (ii) countable "acknowledgement of a contribution, especially in the performing arts". Under (i) we have three separate examples of "giving someone credit": these are IMO acknowledging a contribution, thus (countability aside) the same thing as (ii). Was (ii) intended specifically for uses like "he got a credit on that film"? If so, there has been some blurring. Equinox 04:55, 19 May 2019 (UTC)

Giving someone a credit is formally stating for the record that they made a contribution to the work in question and are, in a sense, a creator or co-creator of it. Doing so has legal and financial ramifications. If a producer says in interviews, etc. that someone was part of a film, but they aren't listed in the credits, it's likely the producer is going to hear from that person's union, and there may be legal action. Chuck Entz (talk) 06:04, 19 May 2019 (UTC)


Doesn't look like an adjective to me. --I learned some phrases (talk) 17:08, 19 May 2019 (UTC)

Good catch. It was originally deemed an adverb, but the 2010 change to adjective has stood til now. DCDuring (talk) 18:10, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
On closer inspection, the boxing citation there is actually an adjective. --I learned some phrases (talk) 07:35, 23 May 2019 (UTC)

term before denarian (vicenarian, tricenarian, etc)Edit

Is there any term for the decenium before denarian (vicenarian, tricenarian, etc)? --Backinstadiums (talk) 20:30, 20 May 2019 (UTC)

I'm sure someone would be happy to invent one, as they have invented "denarian". Nobody actually uses these terms. DTLHS (talk) 20:51, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
Logically you might say "predenarian" (if you hyphenated it, it would even be readily decodable), but as DTLHS says, apparently no-one outside Urban Dictionary does. - -sche (discuss) 21:58, 20 May 2019 (UTC)

Translation Table for Firethorn or Pyracantha?Edit

Which of the two terms, firethorn or pyracantha, should have the translation table? --Lo Ximiendo (talk) 00:55, 21 May 2019 (UTC)

Google NGrams shows pyracantha to be about twice as common as firethorn, but 80% of the pyracantha hits were for Pyracantha, often as part of a species name. I'd go with firethorn. DCDuring (talk) 01:01, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
@Lo Ximiendo, DCDuring: A better approach is to use Google ngrams, which is case-sensitive. The result suggests that pyracantha is the more common term. (Another way to tell that scientific names aren't interfering is to compare the plurals; pyracantha still wins.) —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 01:33, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
Did you look at individual hits? DCDuring (talk) 01:34, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
Yes. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 01:37, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
What was your count? The only individual hits were for pyracantha, both upper- and lower-case. The case-displaying NGgram visually shows combined Firethorn, firethorn, and FIRETHORN to be more than pyracantha, in my eyes. But I don't see how one could rely on the visual display alone. Examining the 1995-2008 hits shows that most hits for pyracantha are for the capitalized form and most of those are for the genus name or species names. DCDuring (talk) 01:46, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
See the Google NGram for yourself. DCDuring (talk) 01:48, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
A subjective data point: I had pyracantha in my back yard as a kid in the LA area, and I never encountered the word "firethorn" until I was an adult. Also, just to complicate things, I see a good number of fantasy novels in the Google Books results- who's to say the "fire thorn" in those is always pyracantha, and not some imaginary magical species? See this, for example. Firethorn is also a character's name in several others. Chuck Entz (talk) 03:11, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
I hadn't analyzed the firethorn results. Perhaps a quarter of them (1960-2008) are referring to fictional characters, plants, or fruit. In News most references to firethorn (plant or berry) also has [P/p]yracantha. (Firethorn seems very popular as a placename.) A smaller share of articles referencing pyracantha also refer to firethorn, so pyracantha may be the better choice. DCDuring (talk) 12:26, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Another location would be Pyracantha, but that brings a conceptual problem in that we usually say that a vernacular name usually refers to an individual organism, whereas a taxonomic name refers to a lineage, of which the individual is a member. DCDuring (talk) 17:04, 21 May 2019 (UTC)

jerq - (informal) name of old technology - should it be included?Edit

From (computer terminal), do we include "nicknames" that likely were recorded on hard media (although I can't tell how far apart mentions may be)? Cheers! Elfabet (talk) 13:24, 21 May 2019 (UTC)

  • If you can find citations for its use - yes. SemperBlotto (talk) 13:27, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
I'm seeing 1 and 2 with a quick search. Elfabet (talk) 13:32, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
@Elfabet: Remember, those websites don't do us any good for finding citations. We need three from something physically published, or from Google Books or Usenet. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 19:22, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
Here is one use from a book, embedded in an ubernerdish joke.  --Lambiam 19:25, 21 May 2019 (UTC)

Only in present tense?Edit

The verb miss, sense 7: “(only in present tense) To be wanting; to lack something that should be present.” So what, then, is the tense in the sentence, The car was missing essential features?  --Lambiam 19:14, 21 May 2019 (UTC)

Perhaps the intended label was (only in progressive aspect). (Are there exceptions to that formulation? I can't think of them offhand.) — Vorziblix (talk · contribs) 21:36, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
Google Books has counterexamples, e.g. 1. "The child becomes an under-developed adult, because in comparison with the adult, it misses something"; 2. "Aesthetic theory too cannot get by without such joker concepts, and where it imagines it can, it misses something essential to the aesthetic experience..." Equinox 21:41, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
I think your second example is rather sense 4 (‘To fail to understand or have a shortcoming of perception’), but you’re right, thanks. Thinking on it further, I suppose IME it’s limited to the progressive aspect in less formal registers, but not necessarily in more formal text. In any case the label should probably be done away with. — Vorziblix (talk · contribs) 22:07, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
The sense in Equi’s second example is ambiguous; at least I think it could also mean that aesthetic theory lacks something essential to the aesthetic experience. Pedantically, one might even argue that theories cannot understand or perceive anyway, full stop. So then sense 4 cannot apply. Unless you agree that your socks miss the subtleties of German humour. (No offense intended.) The following book quote, though, can only refer to sense 7: “A methodology in itself is useful, yet misses essential ingredients: domain knowledge.” (As the examples show, essential ingredients are typically the most sorely missed.)  --Lambiam 22:44, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
I don't think there is such a restriction on tense for that sense of miss.
  • 2010, Helen Small, The Long Life[28]:
    The Platonic theory of forms, as Adorno interprets it, missed the essential criterion for metaphysics—that is, it missed the essential criterion for how Adorno himself, somewhat unorthodoxly, wants to redefine 'metaphysics'.
  • 1932, Arthur Marshall, Explosives[29], volume 3, page 4:
    [] that these had entirely missed the essential feature of having a bursting charge only just sufficient to open the shell.
  • 2018 September 24, “8 Best Weight Loss Tips From Mom Who Shed 17 Kgs”, in (Please provide the book title or journal name)[30]:
    If you don't have a balanced breakfast that gives you both protein and energy, your body will miss the essential requirement for the day's tasks.
It may be that the perfect aspect is what is incompatible with this definition, not the past tense or future tense. DCDuring (talk) 00:29, 22 May 2019 (UTC)


I am not convinced by this last sense: "Used with verbs to indicate that the action of the verb was carried to some state of completion, rather than being of indefinite duration. He boiled down the mixture. He sat down and waited." Well, we already have "boil down" as an example for another sense (reducing in size/amount), and Chambers 1908 agrees that "boil down" is using "down" to indicate reduction. I don't know about "sit down" but it could just be "to a lower position"; compare "sit up", where a seated person is rising higher. Equinox 21:28, 21 May 2019 (UTC)

The examples do not support this sense. The literal meaning of sit down is “to assume a sitting position from a standing position”, which for a person of average stature settling themselves on a normal chair or seat entails a downward motion of the parts of the body above their knees. Although the common phrase in German is sich setzen, another common form is sich niedersetzen, heard in the final chorus “Wir setzen uns mit Tränen nieder” of Bach’s St Matthew Passion. German nieder corresponds to English down. The only case I can think of off the top of my head where down does not literally or figuratively implies lowering is in the idiom come down to – although there is a sense of reduction there as well, as in whittling the issues down to a single one.  --Lambiam 22:23, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
I think both down and up serve as aspect markers in phrasal verbs and their derivatives. Examples include buttoned up/down, break up/down; burn down/up; call up/down; chase up/down; close up/down; count down/up; cut up/down. The meanings are different, but either particle seems to indicate some kind of completed process compared to the plain verb. That kind of completion can be overridden by a progressive (-ing-)form of the verb. Also not every use of such particles in phrasal verbs has a clear aspectual interpretation. Often it is simply either literally of figuratively directional. DCDuring (talk) 23:58, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
I agree: the present examples have nothing to do with the definition. I can't offhand think of any uses that support the definition, but it is hard to be sure that none exist. If no one can come up with any relevant examples then this sense should be deleted, in my opinion. Mihia (talk)
Why don't all of the examples In my preceding posting here support the definition? Compare:
  • He counts the attendees. vs. He counts up the attendees. (~to a total)
  • He counts the seconds. vs. He counts down the seconds. (~to zero)
  • He chased a waiter. vs. He chased up a waiter. vs. He chased down a waiter. (~to get the waiter to take our order)
  • The fire burned the brush in the forest. vs. The fire burned up the brush in the forest. (~so none was left)
  • He burned himself. vs. He burned himself up. (~to death; to ashes)
In all of these cases the particled verb has an implication of an action carried out to an end, whereas the unparticled has no very well defined end. DCDuring (talk) 02:23, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
@DCDuring: In a number of your examples, for example, "count down", "button down", "burn down" or "cut down", I see "down" as essentially having the usual "movement to a lower place" or "reduction" meaning, suitably developed or abstracted. The purpose of "down" in some others, such as "chase down" is more elusive, but I can't say that I personally see the meaning as primarily having to do with carrying something to completion, even though that also may be the case. Mihia (talk) 19:20, 27 May 2019 (UTC)
And in shut down, close down, slow down, run down, double down, wash down, narrow down, down is contributing directionality? I suppose that, because many basic verbs which become phrasal verbs with the addition of both down and up, both of which IMO imply some kind of completion of the action of the verb, there is some kind of value component to the particle. To close down something is more negative and permanent than to close up something. I don't think that particles are arbitrary signs added to verbs. The seem to contribute something from the their meaning as adverbs or prepositions, but also contribute something else, which looks like aspect to me. I think some other particles also indicate some kind of completion, eg. out. Other particles seem to contribute other aspects. Consider along, about, around, at. It seems to me that omitting the contributions particles make to phrasal verbs makes it harder for language learners to make intelligent guesses at the meanings of phrasal verbs. DCDuring (talk) 20:11, 27 May 2019 (UTC)
I completely agree with your last sentence, but I think it can be quite hard to identify exactly what the contribution is for some of the more idiomatic cases. I think "up" signifies completion more clearly than "down". In cases such as "narrow down", and certainly "slow down", I see "down" as signifying reduction, which is a development of the literal directional meaning, arising from the fact that we visualise a reduction as a movement downwards. Mihia (talk) 20:42, 27 May 2019 (UTC)
What we now have is the unsupported and, IMO, lame non-gloss definition that down is an intensifier, immediately preceding the non-gloss under discussion. Of course, that doesn't cover most uses of down as a particle in a phrasal verb. In any event, when one tracks down (or chases down) something, one isn't tracking it intensely or in a downward direction, one is tracking it successfully, ie, to completion. In fact, many of the phrasal verbs in which down has a directional contribution to the meaning are also completed- or successful-action phrasal verbs. DCDuring (talk) 00:02, 28 May 2019 (UTC)
Although I don't have any actual evidence, and it is only my personal guess, I would imagine that "down" in "track/chase down", and perhaps more obviously "hunt down", "shoot down" etc., ultimately originates from the idea that the quarry is "brought down", i.e. felled. Mihia (talk) 00:42, 28 May 2019 (UTC)

Sometimes written <driver license> in official issuancesEdit

Sometimes written driver license in official issues --Backinstadiums (talk) 11:26, 22 May 2019 (UTC)

Looking at the map, I would say "most often". However, a search of Google News yields mostly "driver's license". -Mike (talk) 19:43, 22 May 2019 (UTC)


I'm not at all convinced by the recent additions to that entry. Overly specialised senses. Canonicalization (talk) 11:42, 22 May 2019 (UTC)

This user should probably be blocked as they keep adding lots of ranting to entries and show no interest at all in following policy or finding consensus. Equinox 19:37, 22 May 2019 (UTC)
I've got half a mind to block him myself. DCDuring (talk) 01:55, 23 May 2019 (UTC)

Hello Wikians. It's my first visit to the Tea Room, and I find it curious that I'm the subject of such threatening gossip. Give me a break, please. I'm a newbie who just responded to the invitation to be "bold". I haven't insulted anyone, and don't think I've ranted, but I've been learning from the experience, and I'm quite interested, actually, in the process of getting to good definitions, particularly on this topic. I think I have a case to make for 'specialised senses', though I might go at it differently. What's not clear to me is how best, and where, to get into the discussions my efforts have generated: here? at Rfv? on the discussion tab of the Entry?... Meanwhile, I hope everybody keeps their other 'half a mind' open. B.Sirota (talk) 19:01, 1 June 2019 (UTC)

Don't take DCDuring's post seriously. He likes to hide references to the term being discussed in seemingly unrelated sentences, and that was the easiest way to do that.
As for your edits: this is a descriptive dictionary, so we document the terms as they're actually used, from a neutral point of view. The original meaning intended by the coiner of a term is of interest for the etymology section, but once it becomes part of the language it means what the people who use it and the people who read or hear it think it means. Also, dictionaries should be concise and only provide the minimum necessary for people to understand and use the term as a term, not to explain the concept(s) behind it- that's what encyclopedias are for.
You've made dozens of edits adding thousands of words over a bit less than a month, all in the entries for this word and its derivatives. It's obvious that you care about the subject, but that can lead to loss of objectivity and to impatience with others. Remember that this is a wiki and you have to respect the contributions and opinions of others.
As for where to discuss this, it may require all of the above, though rfv is more for showing that there's usage to justify the definitions than for discussing them. Chuck Entz (talk) 20:02, 1 June 2019 (UTC)
Thanks Chuck for your helpful message. I’ve certainly jumped into the deep end, even though I thought my first efforts were taking it easy. (a) I agree with the principle of ‘definition based on usage’, but of course, the concept is not so simple: widespread usage can often change a word’s meaning, but that doesn’t erase narrow usage from the word’s history; a word, with a popular or general usage as well as a technical or specialized definition, can easily cause confusion. Obviously, dealing with such matters, and preventing confusion, is part of the lexicographer’s job, but I’m not trying to argue here about Wiki policies. (b) I think I can also agree that my attempted definitions got overly detailed (i.e. repeatedly referring to Jaynes), though I believe that the special senses are in real-world, verifiable usage, but the existing history of controversy seems already to be part of the Wiki debate over the matter (specifically the Rfv comments about ‘fringe theories’ and “a few published followers” of Julian Jaynes). (c) I started my Wiki experience by assuming, mistakenly, that it would be easier and less controversial to edit existing entries rather than to try to add a new one. My approach has become provocative and complicated. I now think that all the derivative definitions can be simplified, and verified, with less confusion if there is a distinctive new entry for “bicameral mind” as the primary term (doing so would allow a proper etymology not to cloud the definition). I’d like to discuss my reasons – perhaps on a new entry page – but here I just want to assure everyone concerned that I am not trying to pad the dictionary with more of my ‘favorite stuff’. On the contrary, as I said, I think the relevant derivatives can be made less controversial. I’m open to discussion. B.Sirota (talk) 07:33, 7 June 2019 (UTC)

pronunciation of 'ud < wouldEdit

What is the pronunciation of 'ud meaning would? --Backinstadiums (talk) 13:46, 22 May 2019 (UTC)

I've added it. —Mahāgaja · talk 18:01, 22 May 2019 (UTC)

thereupon: upon that/itEdit

What meaning(s) of upon apply in the first meaning of thereupon ? --Backinstadiums (talk) 15:19, 22 May 2019 (UTC)

I updated the definitions, but as far as I can tell, it is just any sense of upon. An older Oxford dictionary added additional clarification, "upon that (of motion or position)." But I don't know if that helps much. -Mike (talk) 21:09, 22 May 2019 (UTC)


Short for Lucius; also added at the Lucius entry. Is this only in one fictional work by William Faulkner? Any evidence of real use? Equinox 19:36, 22 May 2019 (UTC)

It's not the most common of names (because Lucius itself is not that common), but google books:"Loosh" Lucius -Faulkner suggests it does exist; I added two citations. - -sche (discuss) 03:53, 30 May 2019 (UTC)

amphitheatre / amphitheaterEdit

How do you pronounce this word, and in particular, do you the first consonant cluster as /-mf-/ or /-mp-/? US and UK dictionaries I checked only list /-mf-/ (except Merriam-Webster, which acknowledges /-mp-/), but I asked friends and looked around YouTube (links on talk), and all the Americans said /-mp-/. Are there any examples of Americans saying /-mf-/? Conversely, all the British speakers did say /-mf-/; do any say /-mp-/? What's the situation elsewhere? - -sche (discuss) 23:21, 22 May 2019 (UTC)

I would never have guessed that anyone said /p/. It's not etymologically sensible, and doesn't even seem likely from the spelling (where else is ph pronounced /p/?). Doesn't appear in Chambers. Equinox 23:59, 22 May 2019 (UTC)
I think it's a case of assimilation (/f/ becomes /p/ because of the m). It's probably more commonly pronounced with /p/ where I'm from. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 00:26, 23 May 2019 (UTC)
I would probably first type 'ampitheater' and only be saved from public humiliation by spell-checking. DCDuring (talk) 01:51, 23 May 2019 (UTC)
You and me both (-re, not -er). (The correct spelling looks wrong - but I've checked with the OED). SemperBlotto (talk) 05:36, 23 May 2019 (UTC)
I mean, the Latin and early Greek pronunciation was /pʰ/, not /f/ which was apparently adopted from later Greek. ;p
Some other words where ph can be /p/ are diphtheria (where the /p/ pronunciation also seems to be more common in the US), diphthong, and ophthalmology, and I notice something common to all of them: I wonder if it's not (or, not just?) the influence of the /m/ but rather some kind of desire to avoid following a fricative /f/ too closely with a fricative /θ/ that might motivate simplification. Fifth and twelfth also have "simplified" variant pronunciations. (Does phenolphthalein ever have /-lpθ-/ or /-lθ-/?) Other interesting phs include phthisis and phthalate. - -sche (discuss) 03:15, 23 May 2019 (UTC)
@Equinox Now that I think about it, I think that I pronounce it /ˈæmpfɪˌθɪə̯tɚ/. I don't know why, but it's not that surprising, considering that the ph is preceded by m. I know that I wouldn't say /ˈæmpɪˌθɪə̯tɚ/. That just sounds wrong to me (although I believe that I have heard it before). For reference, I pronounce diphthong as /ˈdɪpθɔŋ/, ophthalmology as /ˌɒpθʌ(l)ˈmɒlʌdʒi/ (with "ɒ" being /ɑ~ʌ/) and diphtheria as /dɪpˈθɪɚɹi.ə/, so I'm not sure why this is an exception.
@-sche That doesn't seem like an unlikely possibility, but then, why North America? Wouldn't that kind of quasi-prudential pronunciation be more expected in England, where th-fronting has become endemic? Tharthan (talk) 20:11, 23 May 2019 (UTC)
It seems like what is phonologically discouraged is a complex sequence of two different fricatives in close proximity, like how /sf/ in one syllable is also discouraged and only found in a few words e.g. sphere, so I wouldn't expect th-fronting to make it any more likely. (It might not make it any less likely, but I wouldn't expect it to make it more likely.) I also suspect that British retention of /f/ in this case could have been helped by the fact that the syllable seems to have slightly more emphasis in British English, which gives it an /i/ for a vowel, than in American English which reduces it to a schwa.
I wonder if the order affects whether or not the change happens: all the examples mentioned so far have the would-be /f/ before the /θ/; are there any words which would be expected to have /θf/, not counting compound words like "hearthfire", which we could check for the existence of "simplified" pronunciations of? The only ones I spotted by searching Onelook for *thph* where the Hebrew placename Bethphage and xanthphos, which is apparently more commonly (standardly?) spelled xantphos (suggesting that, even if a /θf/ were older or more etymological, a "simplified" or "dissimilated" /t.f/ form also exists). - -sche (discuss) 23:43, 23 May 2019 (UTC)


Should be marked nonstandard, yes, or even a misspelling? I don't understand why this would be used instead of the apparent identical synonym "wasted". The 1980 and 2015 cites ("wastened no moment in responding", "not a second was to be wastened") seem like errors. 1962 is poetry. The older two may be okay. Equinox 03:11, 23 May 2019 (UTC)

I don't see "wastened" as a misspelling of "wasted", but it's at least extremely rare. It is very strange to see such a poetic term in otherwise standard text. I might label it rare, poetic. Ultimateria (talk) 16:38, 23 May 2019 (UTC)
Why do we never have the Middle English L2, when the Middle English is the source of the archaic Modern English term? See wasten at the Middle English Dictionary online. This would clearly warrant an 'archaic' tag for the English L2. DCDuring (talk) 17:33, 23 May 2019 (UTC)
Because sources like the OED treat them as English. Creating a Middle English entry would be an extra step. Chuck Entz (talk) 02:57, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
Every L2 is an extra step. This TR is an extra step caused by the absence of an ME entry. If we had the ME, wouldn't we have instantly made "archaic" the most likely label? DCDuring (talk) 13:19, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
English wasten would have to descend from a Middle English *wastenen, *wastnen, not wasten. Middle English wasten evolves into English waste (verb). Am I maybe missing something ? Leasnam (talk) 17:57, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
Not if it was simply borrowed, as by those seeking to sound or make a character sound 'Anglo-Saxon'. DCDuring (talk) 23:06, 24 May 2019 (UTC)


Can anyone confirm the sense "belonging to a minority group": i.e. one single individual can be "diverse"? Is this normal usage in the USA, or elsewhere? Is it politically correct, or "alt-right" speak, or something used by Human Resources departments? "We need a diverse hire for this position"? Equinox 03:13, 23 May 2019 (UTC)

Hmm, Googling "a diverse hire" suggests that some people do say that! Only 172 of them (when you page through to the end), but it does even get a few Google Books hits. It doesn't seem "politically correct" (if anything, referring to one single person as "diverse" solely on account of them being in a minority group would seem to be "politically incorrect".) It seems like the sort of language you'd see from HR departments and people who only think of diversity in terms of what they feel 'required' to do (in hiring, casting, etc). I half expect these same people might use "diverse(s)" like a noun, too, haha, though there's too much interference from diverses for me to tell. - -sche (discuss) 03:33, 23 May 2019 (UTC)
I'm not sure this is best considered a separate sense, though, vs an extension of sense 4 ("containing people groups that are minorities in a given area"). It seems like referring to an individual as "LGBT" when they are not simultaneously lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans: it's probably best not to view that as meaning that "LGBT" means "(just) lesbian" in some cases and "(just) bisexual" in others, but rather to view it as a slightly weird use of the usual sense. No? I'm sure there are more parallels, but I'm having trouble thinking of them. - -sche (discuss) 17:04, 23 May 2019 (UTC)
Applying a group property to an individual is not uncommon, but diversity is essentially a group property. One would be unlikely to call an individual homogeneous just because of membership in a homogeneous group, or numerous because of membership in a large group.
OTOH, I suppose one might apparently call a member of an endangered species endangered. But this is more like the phenomenon referred to by Rupolph Carnap: 'the phrase “the lion” has a universal sense in the sentence “the lion is a beast of prey”, but not in the sentence “the lion is now fed”.' It would go against the social norm of not treating human groups in that way to rely on metonomy to justify excluding this distinctive usage. DCDuring (talk) 17:23, 23 May 2019 (UTC)

That’s a bit rich, coming from himEdit

The following citations show a meaning of rich that I don’t see at our entry.

From yesterday’s Washington Post:

She said for Carson to go on Fox “and say that I’m the one who doesn’t know what’s going on, and he’d ‘be happy to inform’ me is, frankly, very rich.”

From yesterday’s The London Economic:

He has tried to smear environmentalists as privileged (which is a bit rich, pardon the pun, coming from him), and he admits he has fossil fuel donors.

From Bartlett’s Dictionary of Americanisms (1848):

RICH. Luscious, i. e. entertaining; amusing in the highest degree.
It would be rich indeed if the parasite should vault to the heights of power just one year after the despot he served was cast down to contempt and exile.—N. Y. Tribune, June 2, 1848.

What comes closest is our sense 8:

8. (informal) Ridiculous, absurd.
  • 2017 March 8, Shashi Tharoor, “‘But What About the Railways... ?’ The Myth of Britain’s Gifts to India”, in The Guardian[31], retrieved 14 April 2018:
    It is a bit rich to oppress, torture, imprison, enslave, deport and proscribe a people for 200 years, and then take credit for the fact that they are democratic at the end of it.

The definition resembles that of Bartlett in that it suggests when something is called “rich” it is something one should laugh about, and I’m sure the likes of Colbert and Oliver will agree. But I think something important is missing in the definition: the sense that behaviours or utterances deemed “rich” are considered a chutzpah, an ironic reversal of propriety – maybe ridiculous, but also provoking indignation.

Do I see this right? Should this sense be added as a new one? Or should the current sense 8 be adjusted? The quotation there fits the indignation-provoking sense.  --Lambiam 08:10, 23 May 2019 (UTC)

I agree with you. An excellent translation for French fort de café, by the way. Canonicalization (talk) 10:37, 23 May 2019 (UTC)
rich in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911. (def. 10) has a definition that includes the sense in question, I think. "Excessive; extravagant; inordinate; outrageous; preposterous: commonly applied to ideas, fancies, fabrications, claims, demands, pretensions, conceits, jests, tricks, etc." They call it colloquial, which I think reflects the distinct manner in which it is delivered orally, which doesn't come across as readily in straight prose vs reported dialog, in which a native speaker's imagination supplies the usual oral delivery. DCDuring (talk) 12:24, 23 May 2019 (UTC)

being asEdit

I just added an new entry for this, but the more I look at it, the less sure I feel about the status of this expression (and also, in fact, the status of being that). There is no doubt that people say "being as" -- at least, they do in the UK -- but is it acceptable or just plain wrong? If anyone has a clear idea about this, please make any necessary changes. Mihia (talk) 23:53, 23 May 2019 (UTC)

If these collocations can be attested in accordance with our CFI, sure, they should be included. After all, we are descriptivist, not prescriptivist. I don’t think I’ve heard this, though, on either side of the pond. If it can be established that certain language mavens frown upon this use, we can add a usage note to that effect.  --Lambiam 00:18, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
There is no question that "being as" can be attested in use. The question is only how it should be labelled and/or any necessary usage notes. Mihia (talk) 00:33, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
I see that the wedsite Grammar Guide calls it a “common error” and “wrong use”, without giving much of an argument. Of course, this is just a blog by one person, so this is her opinion, not necessarily widespread. There seems to be general agreement that these collocations are informal and colloquial, and in the US dialectal (Southern).
I don't think it is anything more than the participle "being" with the conjunction "as" (meaning "that"), used similar to constructions such as: "Knowing that the bomb couldn't be defused, Fred hastily ran away." "Seeing that the car's front end is destroyed, will the insurance agent have it totaled?" "Feeling that the surface was smooth, Harry knew that he had sanded the wood enough." -Mike (talk) 16:48, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
In each of these examples, the subject of the main phrase is also the subject of the -ing forms in the adverbial phrase, which means it can be explained as a present participle. But in a sentence like "Seeing that the car is crumpled like a wad of paper, it sure is a total loss" the car is not the subject doing the seeing, so it cannot simply be explained as a present participle.  --Lambiam 20:31, 25 May 2019 (UTC)
The underlying sentence is really something like: "Seeing that the car is crumpled like a wad of paper, [one must conclude that] it sure is a total loss". It's not simple, but it's definitely best explained as a present participle. Chuck Entz (talk) 21:17, 25 May 2019 (UTC)
Collins is the only lemming that has it. They call it UK, informal. DCDuring (talk) 23:03, 24 May 2019 (UTC)


I come from Wikipedia, where I have been looking at the latest claim to have deciphered Voynich; the author appears to be a rank amateur, but claims the mystery document is written in "Proto-Romance". I have always interpreted things like "proto-Indo-European" to mean reconstructed hypothetical forms, embodying all that is known about the origins of branches of a family, but not purporting to represent a language that actually existed. And I had never heard of "Proto-Romance", but the entry says it is essentially whatever (hypothetical) came before vulgar Latin, as real Latin crumbled into a mass of dialects. The problem is that the Wikipedia article "Proto-Romance" redirects to w:Vulgar Latin, which I believe was a language something could be written in. Even though this article mentions proto-Romance, I wonder if the typical reader would unpick this -- so I was going to add a note that the "proto-Romance" claim is bogus. Am I right? Comments appreciated. Imaginatorium (talk) 09:26, 24 May 2019 (UTC)

The term ”Proto-Romance” is used by scholars for a hypothetical ancestor language of the Romance languages, reconstructed using the same method by which other hypothetical common-ancestor languages are reconstructed: the comparative method. Of course the result is (an idealized version of) Vulgar Latin, but there are insufficient direct examples of the latter to describe it in a reasonably detailed way. In spite of the variety of dialects into which vernacular Latin split after the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, the reconstruction shows many commonalities that are alien to attested Classical or Medieval Latin, so the hypothesis of a common non-Classical ancestor is apparently not without merit. If you consider adding a note to a Wikipedia article, please be aware of their No original research policy.  --Lambiam 14:02, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
You can find many details about Proto-Romance in the Wikipedia article Romance languages. This is probably a better redirect target than Vulgar Latin.  --Lambiam 14:08, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
Oh, and I believe there is a general view among comparative and other historical linguists that the Indo-European languages descend from one common ancestor, a language that at some time actually was spoken. What they call Proto-Indo-European represents their best attempts at reconstructing that language, but obviously without a claim that they got everything right. It is rather similar to reconstructions of extinct species based on fossils. The paleontologists doing so are convinced that these species actually flourished at some time in the past.  --Lambiam 14:21, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
Thanks for your comments. I shouldn't have said anything about the claim being "bogus", just that it is confusing for the reader to be directed from one name to another without explanation. OTOH, the Cheshire paper actually refers fairly indiscriminately to both proto-Romance and Vulgar Latin, so perhaps the confusion is all part of the baggage. Imaginatorium (talk) 12:08, 26 May 2019 (UTC)
@Lambiam: Your comparison between linguistics and paleontology reveals some confusion about one or the other field. Reconstructing the characteristics of an extinct species based on its fossils is equivalent to reconstructing the phonology of Attic Greek based on written records. PIE is a hypothesis and many scholars do not believe what they are reconstructing represents a unified ancestral language; the paleontological equivalent is called ancestral reconstruction and uses phylogenetic inference. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 02:05, 27 May 2019 (UTC)
If there is no general working hypothesis among scholars that the Indo-European languages descend from a common ancestor, a language that was spoken at some time, the Wikipedia article Proto-Indo-European language needs some serious changes. Two quotes from that article.
Proto-Indo-European (PIE)[32][33] is the linguistic reconstruction of the ancient common ancestor of the Indo-European languages, the most widely spoken language family in the world.
PIE is estimated to have been spoken as a single language from 4500 BC to 2500 BC[34] during the Late Neolithic to Early Bronze Age, though estimates vary by more than a thousand years.
If historical linguists are not using the techniques developed for ancestral reconstruction, they are probably missing out on some helpful tools.  --Lambiam 09:32, 27 May 2019 (UTC)
One problem with reconstructing PIE is that IE languages show ancient ancient mutual influences, so what is now a common feature may not have been present in the common ancestor. Another is that related languages may independently develop in parallel. For example, there is now much evidence of the laryngeals persisting quite late in individual non-Anatolian branches. Loss has been an independent process. RichardW57 (talk) 21:55, 27 May 2019 (UTC)


What phonological change makes joint homophone of jint? --Backinstadiums (talk) 10:01, 24 May 2019 (UTC)

@Backinstadiums: The "Line-loin merger" (a name Wikipedia invented). The spelling jint is intended to suggest a rhyme with pint, not with mint. —Mahāgaja · talk 10:10, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
@Mahagaja: Would you mind adding a brief note about it in the entry? --Backinstadiums (talk) 10:15, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
  DoneMahāgaja · talk 10:30, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
I find this spelling in texts that are written entirely in an ad-hoc pronunciation respelling, such as the The Nasby Letters, or the rendering of spoken senetences in Marian Rooke; Or, The Quest for Fortune. A wored like “point” is also rendered as “pint”; we see “unkiver” for “uncover”, “credick” for “credit”, “ignerminy” for “ignominy”, “kno” for “know”, “indivijjles” for “individuals”, “obserwashen” for “observation”, and so on and on and on. Are such pronunciation respellings really worthy of inclusion?  --Lambiam 13:06, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
If they meet CFI, yes: "use in permanently recorded media, conveying meaning, in at least three independent instances spanning at least a year". If three different authors have used jint to mean joint, then we can include it. If not, we probably shouldn't. —Mahāgaja · talk 19:03, 24 May 2019 (UTC)

force (physics)Edit

Are there essential differences between senses 4 and 5 of the term force? The use of the term in the quotation at sense 5 is clearly talking about physical force in the sense as presented at 4.  --Lambiam 19:27, 24 May 2019 (UTC)

I don't think it's a lexicographically meaningful distinction, but I believe the senses are trying to distinguish two possible answers to the question "What is the force that prevents this box from falling?": using sense 4, the answer might be "10 newtons", and using sense 5, it might be "the centripetal force, at least in this reference frame". —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 19:48, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
What about moving the definition of sense 4 to a usex at sense 5 (Viewed as a physical quantity that denotes the ability to accelerate a body, force is measured in units such as the newton representing mass × acceleration.)? People who want to see more detail should consult an encyclopedia.  --Lambiam 21:53, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
How does our physics definition encompass weak force and strong force? I don't find Newtonian or Maxwellian formulas in discussions of these. DCDuring (talk) 23:27, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
It doesn’t for sense 4, which is the sense of classical mechanics. Sense 5 is broad enough (I think) to encompass the fundamental forces. (I think I just spotted a fundamental circularity in our definition of fundamental force.)  --Lambiam 16:59, 25 May 2019 (UTC)
Our entry implies that force as in the physics terms weak force and strong force is encompassed by the definition labeled "physics". A definition that encompasses moral force doesn't seem the right one to simultaneously encompass subatomic forces. DCDuring (talk) 17:39, 25 May 2019 (UTC)
How does sense 5 encompass moral force? Unless the moral force of your rebuke makes me cringe, which may be considered a physical effect. :)  --Lambiam 20:09, 25 May 2019 (UTC)

force (metaphorical)Edit

Is the sense of force seen in the phrase “AOC is a force to be reckoned with” properly represented in our entry? The qualification “to be reckoned with” is the most commonly encountered for this metaphorical sense, but I also see “AOC is a force for good”, “AOC is a force for action”, “AOC is a force to behold”, and even just “AOC is a force”, full stop, as in “AOC is a force and a breath of fresh air” and “AOC is a force and I love her for it!”. Would this be a good definition: “(figuratively, countable) Someone or something that exerts a powerful influence”?  --Lambiam 19:40, 24 May 2019 (UTC)

Is it not simply sense 3? —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 19:49, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
Perhaps, but then the definition is not very apt. I wouldn’t use the pronoun anything to include people; and the change effected does not have to be particularly big – shifting a metaphorical mountain by an equally metaphorical inch also requires a metaphorical force to be reckoned with. (When not metaphorical, all this requires is work, sense 2.4.)  --Lambiam 22:05, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
Perhaps relevant is force of nature, which is used the same way and may at least partly be the source for this. Chuck Entz (talk) 22:22, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
I think the meaning is the same. Again a subpar definition (“qualities which appear to be beyond outside control” – really?). Now which came first? is this force of nature an expanded version of metaphorical force, or is the latter a shortening of the former?  --Lambiam 23:11, 24 May 2019 (UTC)

force (Star Wars fictional universe)Edit

The last sense of force is defined as: “(science fiction) A binding, metaphysical, and ubiquitous power in the fictional Star Wars universe created by George Lucas.” Did Lucas really create this power? Wow, good for him! That aside, I am not sure whether this complies with WT:FICTION, but assuming it does, shouldn’t this sense be listed under Force with a capital F?  --Lambiam 19:48, 24 May 2019 (UTC)

(warning/caution:) wet paintEdit

Does it deserve an entry? The translations are non-trivial: each language (or at least English, German, French and Russian) has its own usage-sanctioned wording. (We're getting close to the realm of pragmatics.) Canonicalization (talk) 20:52, 24 May 2019 (UTC)

Also Spanish, Italian, Dutch (very parsimonious), Turkish. And a Russian warning for a wet cat.  --Lambiam 22:36, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
Indeed, the warnings are varied. The Romance languages tend to go with “fresh paint”, Germans and Turks say “recently painted”, Russians think that “painted” suffices, and the Dutch keep it at “wet”.  --Lambiam 22:49, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
Seemingly fits the phrasebook project. Definitely useful. Also needed: “Achtung Giftköder!” – “Achtung Gift gestreut!” which one hangs out for the safety of playing children and animal companions. The translations need investigation. Suppose you are a facility caretaker in a foreign country and need to set up signs. Fay Freak (talk) 22:56, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
I note that warnings are not included in the nine categories of possible phrasebook entries to be accepted in English. (I think they should be included, as they often are among the more useful ones.) I find it funny that commands should always be accompanied by please – “Please drop the gun.” That is Canadian English. In Sranan Tongo, adding this to a simple request (such as for a light, or to pass the salt) is definitely unidiomatic; it sounds like you’re begging your interlocutor to do you a big favour.  --Lambiam 23:37, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
Since we agree on its usefulness, there is, since it is a think tank, nothing to prevent you from including it on that page, if not your capacity to express accordingly what we intend here. It needs an update that reflects our experiences after its having been untouched for almost a decade. “Warnings” is the idea, calling for specification. Fay Freak (talk) 23:54, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Knowing what a warning like this means is definitely useful, but this seems more like a phrasebook entry, if the usage examples in the entries aren't enough. It's definitely SOP in all of those languages- but the parts are different: freshly painted, fresh paint, and careful, painted. The whole idea is something like "be careful not to touch this: it has been painted and the paint is still wet because it hasn't dried yet". Different languages remove different different parts to make it succinct enough for a warning sign, with the rest being implied. Chuck Entz (talk) 23:08, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
Can a one-word term be a sum of parts?  --Lambiam 23:16, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
No, but none of the examples in the post that I was responding to were one-word terms, and that was all I had available while I was writing my reply. Whether the "careful" part of the Russian example can be excluded from the translation is debatable. Chuck Entz (talk) 00:35, 25 May 2019 (UTC)
I realized that, but the Zen nature of the question was too tempting not to post it. (At that moment the student was enlightened.) The word Осторожно! seen on the sign is an interjection: Watch out!. It can be left out; see the wet cat linked to above.  --Lambiam 16:44, 25 May 2019 (UTC)

used bookstoreEdit

This doesn't make sense to me. It sounds as if the bookstore itself was used. Should it not be a "used-book(s) store"? Canonicalization (talk) 10:07, 25 May 2019 (UTC)

EDIT: Garner's Modern American Usage agrees with me. Canonicalization (talk) 10:07, 25 May 2019 (UTC)
Yes, but Garner is prescriptivist and we're descriptivist. If used bookstore is actually used to mean "store for used books", then we need to have an entry for it, though we could perhaps call it {{lb|en|proscribed}}. I wonder what Garner makes of phrases like theoretical physicist, though, where there's no hyphenation possibility to help us. —Mahāgaja · talk 11:48, 25 May 2019 (UTC)
There are hits on GB for used bookstore, but how common is it? And in any case, I don't think we should use a (confusing!) misspelling as a translation target, which is why I moved the entry.
About theoretical physicist, I don't know, but that's an interesting question. Canonicalization (talk) 12:51, 25 May 2019 (UTC)
As a physicist I wouldn’t mind being called “theoretical” – although “hypothetical” is more accurate, but I’ll protest being labelled “experimental”!  --Lambiam 16:25, 25 May 2019 (UTC)
You have to wonder about plastic surgeons: are they action figures, or do they work on mannequins? Or how about mechanical engineers? And then there are boring contractors... Chuck Entz (talk) 19:05, 25 May 2019 (UTC)
Based on Google NGram, used bookstore is about four times as common as either used book store or used-book store. The latter two don't really warrant an entry because they are transparent and unconfusing, though they should appear as alternative forms in [[used bookstore]].
It is not in accord with the bedrock principle that Wiktionary is a descriptive dictionary to use "This doesn't make sense to me." as a rationale for deleting content. It is a good reason to question an entry or definition at WT:ID or WT:TR or to use resources like search engines or corpora to check relevant facts or other dictionaries to see how professional lexicographers view the matter. DCDuring (talk) 15:41, 25 May 2019 (UTC)
I used to frequent a used bookstore called “Know Knew Books”, which I’m afraid has become a no-longer-used bookstore. In any case, it was generally referred to with the term “used bookstore” (as e.g. here).  --Lambiam 16:34, 25 May 2019 (UTC)
@DCDuring You're right, I jumped the gun here. I restored the reference to Garner's work though. Canonicalization (talk) 16:37, 25 May 2019 (UTC)
Based on their superior taste in English? I like Garner's because they are more empirical than other usage experts, but I don't take them as gospel. Google NGrams has used bookstore as much more popular in this century. And the hyphenated form they recommend is about one-fifth as popular as the other two, both of which are subject to the same ambiguity of interpretation. DCDuring (talk) 17:14, 25 May 2019 (UTC)
The one problem that I have with this is that used is just an adjective. How would you treat "a rare and used bookstore"? Or what about the more general "used store", as in "since you sold Tugboat back to the used store"; "shopping at the used store or through online classifieds"; "the risk of the used-store investment"; "I got one for $10 at a used store!"; "Being an all-used store"; "a gently used store"; etc.? Perhaps it just needs a sense at used, and this entry could then be discarded unless there is some other reason to keep it. -Mike (talk) 08:54, 26 May 2019 (UTC)
I deal with such problems by accepting that not all speakers of my language speak my idiolect. I try not to myself use expressions that have what I view as stylistic or logic flaws, or humorous ambiguity, except for the sake of humor. DCDuring (talk) 16:47, 26 May 2019 (UTC)

Appendix:Scientific instruments: change to a category?Edit

I have created entries for all of the scientific instruments that I could, leaving a handful of red links for obscurities that didn't seem CFI-attestable. Should we now delete this appendix and put all the entries into a category instead? Equinox 17:40, 25 May 2019 (UTC)

Sounds good to me. There are quite a few not in that appendix, like HPLC, cyclotron, Geiger counter. DCDuring (talk) 19:54, 25 May 2019 (UTC)

How do you say “I don’t speak French” in French? I don't speak French.Edit

Funny (pick your preferred meaning) that “I don't speak French” was explicitly listed in WT:Phrasebook as an example of “possible phrasebook entries to be accepted”, with moreover French being listed as one of the acceptable languages in sentences of the type “I don't speak Valarin”, and yet was deleted in one fell swoop together with “I don't speak Supyire” – one of the languages listed there as not being acceptable.  --Lambiam 20:02, 25 May 2019 (UTC)

Glyph origin of Taiwanese Minnan character 𤆬 (chhōa)Edit

(discussion moved here from Wiktionary talk:About Chinese)

I don't believe the glyph origin given for this character. I do believe it might be a useful and/or popular saying used for teaching people this character, and as such is a part of the cultural background of this character and should not be outright deleted and ignored. --Geographyinitiative (talk) 02:01, 26 May 2019 (UTC)

@Geographyinitiative: I haven't found a better explanation. The glyph origin comes from 臺灣閩南語按呢寫. (BTW, this discussion should be at WT:TR or WT:ER). — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 02:58, 26 May 2019 (UTC)
@Justinrleung: Thanks for your reply. The source you are referring to has the sentence, "這個字是依照漢字「會意」的原則造的,上半部的「」代表一隻母雞,下半部的「」代表四隻小雞,所以「𤆬」就是母雞「帶」小雞的 tshuā。" (If there is some surrounding context to this statement, I missed it- please let me know.) I guess what I'm wondering is, what is the connection between the character ' (máo)' and a mother hen? If that connection does not have some kind of solid foundation, then why would we believe that '毛' is to be understood as representing a mother hen, or that '' (四點底四点底 (sìdiǎndǐ)) has anything to do with four chicks, or that they are being lead anywhere? You can't just assert that 'feather' means 'mother hen' without giving some kind of explanation, 更不用說 take four dots as her hatched progeny. As I suspected from the beginning, this is a well-known etymological story. But the true glyph origin of this character is by no means established just because someone authoritative wrote down this story as a throw-away one-sentence explanation. The source provided merely provides support for the fact that the story exists. I suggest calling the glyph origin 'unknown' and mentioning the existence of the story. I have made a slight change to the page based on my opinion. [35] --Geographyinitiative (talk) 04:34, 26 May 2019 (UTC)
@Geographyinitiative: There is some reason to doubt the proposed origin of the character, but I don't think we should say it's unknown. The farthest I can trace this proposed origin is to Wu Shouli (吳守禮). He seems to have published an article in 大陸雜誌 on this character, but I can't find a copy of it. From what I can tell from here, I think we can attribute this origin to him. — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 05:02, 26 May 2019 (UTC)
@Justinrleung: I agree that 'unknown' was probably too strong. I have reworded the glyph origin based on the source you provided. [36] --Geographyinitiative (talk) 05:18, 26 May 2019 (UTC)


Century has, as definition 4, "to have occasion for, as something requisite, useful, or proper; require; need", which they support with Goldsmith's Hermit line "man wants but little here below, nor wants that little long." (This line apparently references one by Young in Night Thoughts, "man wants but little, nor that little long", and I can also find the same line elsewhere with "nature" instead of "man".) Are they right that this is what Goldsmith means, are if so are there other examples of this sense? (Century also puts Merrick's hymn line "not what we wish, but what we want, oh! let thy grace supply" under this sense, but that's ambiguous IMO, as it's possible to interpret that line as using the "lack" sense instead.) - -sche (discuss) 04:45, 26 May 2019 (UTC)

Here is an example from Walden: “for my greatest skill has been to want but little”. The sense lack does not fit here, while just need is a fine fit. Also in Goldsmith’s poem, the sense lack fits less comfortably than need.  --Lambiam 16:17, 26 May 2019 (UTC)


We have four senses that seem to overlap a great deal:

  • To make use of; to use.
  • To make useful; to find a practical use for.
  • To make best use of; to use to its fullest extent, potential, or ability.
  • To make do with; to use in manner different from that originally intended.

My Chambers CD-ROM has only one senses: "to make use of, turn to use". Equinox 17:48, 26 May 2019 (UTC)

Maybe this is a form of pareidolia caused by misanalysis. Looking at the examples down in the usage notes, utilise could obviously just have the first sense with the other words around it creating the particular presumed sense of the word. -Mike (talk) 22:22, 26 May 2019 (UTC)
Merriam-Webster, and Century all likewise have only one sense, matching our sense 1 but adding verbiage after a semicolon about the use being profitable. I would combine the senses into something like "To make use of; to put to use, especially a profitable use." - -sche (discuss) 03:17, 27 May 2019 (UTC)

looking for a wordEdit

Hi everyone. Is there a word in English which means "driver of a carriage or chariot"? ---> Tooironic (talk) 01:43, 27 May 2019 (UTC)

I don't think "carriage" and "chariot" are synonyms, but charioteer. DTLHS (talk) 01:47, 27 May 2019 (UTC)
I concur with DTLHS. For "carriage", I would call the driver a coachman. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 01:58, 27 May 2019 (UTC)
I've seen "chariot" used to refer to carriage- and wagon- type vehicles in older texts (and something like this is present in the entry as sense 2), and of course many vehicles including cars could be called "chariots" in flowery poetic language, but yes, "chariot" (and "charioteer") would usually be interpreted as referring to sense 1, and would be poor terms to use in a modern text (if aiming for intelligibility to a modern audience) when referring to a google books:"carriage driver" or coach driver or coachman. - -sche (discuss) 05:58, 27 May 2019 (UTC)
coachee is an old slang term for this. Since carriages aren't modern tech I suppose it's okay to give an old slang word. Equinox 15:19, 27 May 2019 (UTC)
There are teamster and drayman, principally if freight is involved. DCDuring (talk) 15:32, 27 May 2019 (UTC)


I've got no idea what's happening here. I did a reversion (maybe accidentally; see my talk page) but now the editor has reverted it again and basically deleted the entire Basque section. I'm confused and a bit scared, and I want a hug. Equinox 15:23, 27 May 2019 (UTC)

It looks like it's all fine now. Consider yourself hugged. —Mahāgaja · talk 19:06, 27 May 2019 (UTC)

Lawn Guyland pronunciationEdit

Shouldn't the /n/ be a /ŋ/? According to New York accent, the development was /ŋ/ > /ŋɡ/. ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 10:17, 28 May 2019 (UTC)

That pronunciation doesn't really need to be there, since the New York accent is renowned for its long /ɔ/ ([ɔə]~[oə]). We seriously overemphasise cot-caught nonsense in our entries, and considering that the Lawn Guyland entry is specifically about an eye dialect spelling of Long Island based upon "exaggerated local dialect[al] pronunciation", what does the way someone out in Tucson, Arizona or California pronounces this specifically Long Island formation of "Long Island" matter? My word... Tharthan (talk) 19:29, 28 May 2019 (UTC)

come toEdit

"To regard or specify, as narrowing a field of choices by category. He's the best when it comes to detective fiction." Can we define this better? It doesn't mean "he's the best when it specifies detective fiction". Equinox 19:36, 28 May 2019 (UTC)

took a stab Leasnam (talk) 20:11, 28 May 2019 (UTC)
MWOnline has "to be a question of" ⇒ he's the best when is is a question of detective fiction, which seems OK to me.
A few of the definitions should be an embarrassment to anyone who takes the idiomaticity of phrasal verbs seriously. Most of these are instances of senses of come + prepositional phrases headed by to. DCDuring (talk) 20:21, 28 May 2019 (UTC)
I don't think "narrowing" is at all essential. When it comes to defining a word or indeed any form of writing, one needs to apply Occam's razor aggressively. DCDuring (talk) 20:25, 28 May 2019 (UTC)

Latin venioEdit

Is the perfect passive participle ventus or ventum? Ventus claims to be etymologically unrelated: "From Proto-Italic *gʷentos, from Proto-Indo-European *gʷm̥tós. Surface analysis is the perfect passive participle of veniō." Ventum claims to be the supine and not the perfect passive participle. According to the conjugation chart on venio, however, the perfect passive participle is ventum, which does not fit the typical formation pattern. 20:31, 28 May 2019 (UTC)

This is ultimately the kind of problem that will crop up if you try to use a dictionary for a language you are unfamiliar with: you won't follow the conventions. Both are the perfect passive participle; it depends whether you cite the, as I was taught, or the, which takes the same form as the supine. I can't speak to the PIE etymology, but everything else is perfectly consistent here. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 01:59, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
Does the participle ventus (venta, ventum) exist, other than in the neuter form?  --Lambiam 16:23, 29 May 2019 (UTC)

missing sense at bandEdit

What about a band of mineral in a rock? It's probably not limited to geology though. Ultimateria (talk) 22:20, 28 May 2019 (UTC)

Various other dictionaries have something like "a stripe or elongated area of a different color, texture, or composition than its surroundings." DCDuring (talk) 02:14, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
We should merge sense 2 into such a sense; it's laughable to limit it to architecture even when only discussing stripes used for ornamentation. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 02:15, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
What about band in "absorption band of liquid water"? That doesn't obviously fit the definition I referenced above, except by some fairly obscure metonomy. Or is it just a "stripe" in a visual display? DCDuring (talk) 02:27, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
That's our sense 6. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 02:36, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
Substituting 6 gives us "absorption part of the electromagnetic spectrum of liquid water". This is suggestive of bad wording or of it being the wrong definition.
Several other dictionaries and, indeed, us have definitions for absorption band.
On substituting our definition we get "one of any number of ranges of wavelengths of EM radiation absorbed by a substance of liquid water." which doesn't work very well.
On substituting MWOnline's definition we get "a dark band in an absorption spectrum of liquid water". That's almost right except for "an" instead of "the". DCDuring (talk) 02:59, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
"A part" isn't very descriptive and would be better as "a range of frequencies or wavelengths". My American Heritage Dictionary is even more generic, saying, "a range of some physical variable, as of radiation wavelength or frequency." -Mike (talk) 05:27, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
It's interesting to me that separate definitions may be necessary for things that are based more or less directly on sense perception vs. those that are more conceptual. But there is overlap. DCDuring (talk) 12:13, 29 May 2019 (UTC)

Quick question about doubletsEdit

Are transfer and translate doubles? They originate from different forms of the same Latin verb. 00:45, 29 May 2019 (UTC)

No. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 01:49, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
translate is formed from lātus, which is a suppletive form of ferō (like English went and go), thus it has a separate etymology. Leasnam (talk) 01:54, 29 May 2019 (UTC)


This word was noticed by WP's Typo Team; in at least some uses on Wikipedia and on google books:"pedical" it seems to be a misspelling / misconstruction of pedicle, but in other cases it looks like this could be a valid separate word—is it, and if so, what's it mean? - -sche (discuss) 08:38, 29 May 2019 (UTC)

  • Misspelling of pedocal? SemperBlotto (talk) 08:42, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
    • The botanical and zoological ones seem to be pedicel, which is a small stalk. Chuck Entz (talk) 09:12, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
    • There are also hits for pedical syrup, which is not a pisspelling of medical but an Egyptian brand name styled PediCal, a syrup for (mainly) pediatric use containing calcium.  --Lambiam 16:32, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
Thanks, all. - -sche (discuss) 02:47, 31 May 2019 (UTC)

would meaning shouldEdit

Is would used with the meaning of should in statements such as the following? A co-worker is having a girl. Thought we'd congratulate him --Backinstadiums (talk) 11:04, 29 May 2019 (UTC)

No. It's "we would". DTLHS (talk) 16:34, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
@DTLHS: Which meaning of would is used here then? --Backinstadiums (talk) 17:09, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
I would say sense 2.4. DTLHS (talk) 17:13, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
@DTLHS: This is the context --Backinstadiums (talk) 17:34, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
I can't discern a clear expression of the basic use to express intent or plan among our definitions. It's a bit much to expect users to infer that from by reference to [[will#Verb, given all the definitions that we do take the trouble to lay out. DCDuring (talk) 04:22, 31 May 2019 (UTC)

Usage notes in hundred, thousand, severalEdit

I think the usage notes in hundred, thousand, several, etc. should mention the optional use of of, as in thousands more definitions --Backinstadiums (talk) 16:05, 29 May 2019 (UTC)

Not unique to those numbers. There were one, two, three, four, five, eighteen, seventy-six of them. Equinox 18:16, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
@Equinox: those numbers are not grammatically plurals, thousands/hundreds more definitions --Backinstadiums (talk) 18:18, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
A hundred IS NOT a grammatical plural, nor is thousand, as our entries clearly indicate and as do the entries in other dictionaries. Several (like all, some, few, many, more) is a determiner (specifically, a quantifier) in, which CAN be used as a grammatically plural nominative. (Any is similar, though not quite the same.)
Perhaps we should refer users to some or all of w:Partitive, of#Preposition, or partitive. DCDuring (talk) 20:46, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
@DCDuring: I meant they are not in the plural, unlike the examples "thousands/hundreds more + plural noun" --Backinstadiums (talk) 21:49, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
But there are quite a few words (in principle an infinite number) that work in partitive constructions in both the singular and the plural (quintillion, score, pair, ten, dozen, triplet, couple). Also, bringing the determiner several into the discussion made it quite unclear what you were getting at, unless you were talking about partitive constructions in general. What were/are you talking about exactly? DCDuring (talk) 22:33, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
Yes. There are billions and billions of them. Chuck Entz (talk) 03:27, 30 May 2019 (UTC)

OP: the usage notes, which I happened to come across yesterday, only appear in hundred, thousand, etc., so I mentioned such terms as exemples. Should they be deleted because "billions and billions of them"? I do not think so. All I propose is adding a bit more of info, such as the optional use of of, as in thousands more definitions --Backinstadiums (talk) 09:49, 30 May 2019 (UTC)

Why are you limiting this valuable information to just two of the entries that need them? I just recollected brace as another such term. I couple provide you with rules to identify many of them and with lists of some of the more idiosyncratic ones.
And after having covered this aspect of partitivity you could cover more aspects, such as how it works for uncountable nouns.
An alternative would be to have usage examples at selected words often used in partitive constructions and also to reference w:Partitive at [[of]]. This provides one excellent means for the great mass of users (the usage examples) and another for those of a more theoretical turn of mind (the WP article). DCDuring (talk) 20:36, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
The main point is that this is a characteristic of a whole class of nouns that act as quantifiers of count nouns. This can be repeated with pretty much any such noun, or with made-up ones, such as a "blimvort", which I hereby declare to be a group of 37 "grothwungs": "blimvorts of grothwungs" vs. "blimvorts more grothwungs". Putting a usage note in every such noun is like saying we should have a note in every unit of measure that "of" can be optional, as in "three teaspoons of hemolymph" vs."three teaspoons hemolymph". Chuck Entz (talk) 05:27, 1 June 2019 (UTC)

all asEdit

all as, appearing in all's, does not have an entry of its own; what does it mean? --Backinstadiums (talk) 18:40, 29 May 2019 (UTC)

I don't think this is explained with any existing sense at as. @-sche didn't you work on that page? DTLHS (talk) 20:14, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
Conjunction, sense 5? Canonicalization (talk) 20:39, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
Exactly so. all as = all + as ("that"). DCDuring (talk) 20:48, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
Yes; this is also explained at -'s#English (sense 6, with "all's" as a usex). If "all as" is also used this way it could be added as a usex at as. (This is not limited to "all", obviously; e.g. "it's my father as said it".) The second half of the definition at all's should probably be dropped. - -sche (discuss) 22:10, 29 May 2019 (UTC)


Is the goldsmithing sense a synonym of carat? Equinox 21:28, 29 May 2019 (UTC)

I think the term goldsmithing in the definition should be replaced by a label: gemology, jewlery-making if labels are of contexts; gems, jewelry, precious stones if labels are topics. There may be or have been a connection between the weight sense as applied to gems and the purity sense applied to gold, but nowadays the terms don't seem to have a practical connection. DCDuring (talk) 04:14, 30 May 2019 (UTC)
Online Etymology Dict explains. I guess karob is just used for gems, though the Greek for carob/karob is the source of both the gold and gem modern senses. DCDuring (talk) 04:20, 30 May 2019 (UTC)
Sort of. I mean, sense 2 of carat seems to cover it, albeit poorly. (And carats were initially based on carob beans' weight, in theory or myth and perhaps even in fact, so the extent to which the two etymology sections of karob are justified is debatable. The definitions at carat might benefit from improvement if the definition at karob were to be reduced/moved. - -sche (discuss) 22:15, 30 May 2019 (UTC)


Several descendants, including Sanskrit देग्धि (dégdhi, to knead), require unpalatalized *dʰeygʰ-. I think we're dealing with two roots, *dʰeygʰ- (to smear, knead)[R 1] and *dʰeyǵʰ- (to form, build)[R 2]. @Rua, JohnC5, Erutuon --{{victar|talk}} 18:07, 30 May 2019 (UTC)

  1. ^ Beekes, Robert S. P. (2010), “θιγγάνω”, in Etymological Dictionary of Greek (Leiden Indo-European Etymological Dictionary Series; 10), with the assistance of Lucien van Beek, Leiden, Boston: Brill, →ISBN, page 549
  2. ^ Rix, Helmut, editor (2001), “*dʰei̯g̑ʰ-”, in Lexikon der indogermanischen Verben [Lexicon of Indo-European Verbs] (in German), 2nd edition, Wiesbaden: Dr. Ludwig Reichert Verlag, →ISBN, pages 140-141

Labelling of gender neutral pronounsEdit

Shouldn't we be labelling gender neutral pronouns like sie, hir, ey, shi, per, co, etc. as nonstandard ? Leasnam (talk) 03:04, 31 May 2019 (UTC)

I agree they need some kind of label. For a while many of them were labelled "neologism", but that's not really right since many have been around since the 1990s or even the 1850s. What about creating a "neopronoun" label linked to a glossary entry specifically about that concept? It could categorize too (as "neopronouns", "nonstandard pronouns" or something). Although, that runs into some of the same issues of not being "neo". (Another idea would be to create a {{lb|en|nonstandard pronoun}} label that displayed the same as "nonstandard" but allowed for distinct categorization.) Many should probably also be labelled "rare" or "uncommon". - -sche (discuss) 03:29, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
I added a "neopronoun" label. Display and/or categorization could easily be changed if something else would be better. (For example, the display could be changed to "neopronoun, nonstandard" or just "nonstandard", or categorization of neopronouns into their own category could be enabled,...) - -sche (discuss) 20:18, 6 June 2019 (UTC)

the finer thingsEdit

The usage note in finer things reads: Always preceded by the definite article "the". Why isn't the entry then the finer things? Secondly, this comparative seems to have a superlative meaning, is it to be found in -er --Backinstadiums (talk) 15:21, 31 May 2019 (UTC)


How come google returns so many results of "in every way fathomable" alongside the more natural order "in every fathomable way"? --Backinstadiums (talk) 16:27, 31 May 2019 (UTC)

Normal variation in use between two semantically equivalent constructions. Not specific to way or fathomable. Try not to read too much into minor differences in word order. Chuck Entz (talk) 19:12, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
A very similar situation can be seen with "in every possible way", which can also be found as "in every way that's possible" and "in every way possible". Leasnam (talk) 19:58, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
I don't think we really need to map out every conceivable permutation. Chuck Entz (talk) 03:11, 1 June 2019 (UTC)
No we certainly don't; however, the mapping out of the permutations shows how the relationships are traced: "every possible way" => "every way that's possible" => "every way [that's] possible" => "every way possible". You know I just had to ;) Leasnam (talk) 03:48, 1 June 2019 (UTC)

Template:female equivalent ofEdit

Shouldn’t that be “feminine equivalent of”?  --Lambiam 11:37, 1 June 2019 (UTC)

It looks like the template was intended to be about natural gender, not grammatical gender. Female is a better fit for natural gender in my idiolect, but I don't know whether others see it that way. DCDuring (talk) 15:45, 1 June 2019 (UTC)
A look at the edit history and related BP discussion shows this to be something of a dispute. - -sche (discuss) 20:07, 1 June 2019 (UTC)