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A place to ask for help on finding quotations, etymologies, or other information about particular words. The Tea room is named to accompany the Beer parlour.

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Oldest tagged RFTs

February 2020

unitless measure

I haven't had time to research this topic, but although the strange and confusing term unitless measure is apparently often used in definitions in Wiktionary, we don't yet have an entry for it, and "Category:en:Historical numbers" and "Category:Historical numbers" are misleadingly named because the number 12 is a different term and concept than the term dozen, and the latter never replaced it in many contexts, e.g. was never used in counting.

Less confusing and apparently more common than unitless measure are unit of quantity and unit of amount, but these apparently sometimes mean unit of measurement. Apparently editors are so unsure what to call terms such as dozen, score, and great gross that they usually only say what number they correspond to and don't say what they are (despite putting them in the categories mentioned above).

The situation is equally bad in Wikipedia, where there are essentially articles only in Swedish and Finnish and these terms are if at all only discussed in other languages in articles on old weights and measures, though they are neither. --Espoo (talk) 10:06, 1 February 2020 (UTC)

They are nouns of quantity, but do we have to state that? We could put them in categories, like Swedish nouns of quantity, if that is important. What about using “A group of N items of the same kind” for defining the noun senses? We could even create a template for that that also puts them in the appropriate category.  --Lambiam 13:17, 5 February 2020 (UTC)


"A homosexual woman or (less common) a homosexual female of a non-human animal species; one who is (near-)exclusively sexually or romantically attracted to other women." Doesn't this seem a bit wordy and overcomplicated? If you're "BRACKET near CLOSE BRACKET attracted" then aren't you just a near-lesbian? We don't define "stupid" as someone whose brain is "(near-)exclusively less intelligent". Gender obsession is turning simple sentence entries into convoluted ambiguities that don't help learners. Equinox 11:06, 1 February 2020 (UTC)

Honestly I'd just define it as "a homosexual woman" (or "a gay woman" if homosexual is offensive now, I haven't checked this week's rules). Would we really be losing anything by making that switch? Equinox 11:07, 1 February 2020 (UTC)
Animals were added to the noun in diff. I see the editor who undid your combining of those aspects into "female" has now split them into separate definition-lines and RFVed the "animal" one; I listed it at WT:RFV. (But pace your edit summary, surely the intent was not to "avoid offending animals" but to make use of the term to refer to animals interpretable to humans.)
For "near", which I've changed to "mostly or" to match the adjective: compare the discussion on Talk:lesbian and citations I added last month to the citations page. Since my comment on talk last year, I've come to be more firmly behind retaining the "mostly or exclusively", on the basis of examples like those cited there and on the cites page. (I'd also like to find more early examples, as I've seen it said that early uses were even broader; cf my comment on Talk:lesbianism. However, as with trying to cite the broad use of "gay", it's hard to find unambiguous citations.) - -sche (discuss) 16:36, 1 February 2020 (UTC)
Speaking of older usages, we'll have a gay old time on the isle of Lesbos. They're all Lesbians! 10:49, 9 February 2020 (UTC)
Gosh, what a queer place! Mihia (talk) 10:01, 11 February 2020 (UTC)
"surely the intent was ... to make use of the term to refer to animals interpretable to humans" Good guess, but my actual intent was to include lesbian trans women in the definition. ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 12:37, 11 February 2020 (UTC)
Ah. Well, I appreciate that aim and I think the entry as it stands now with the noun "female" changed to "woman" is an improvement (including in other ways), but I would say "female" also encompasses trans women (cf. our definitions of it). Indeed, compare the discussion of woman below, which we (and various other dictionaries) define as "adult female human" or "adult female person": transphobes often use that exact wording because they think it excludes trans women, but most trans women I know—while certainly objecting when transphobes use the wording as a shibboleth or [dog-]whistle for transphobia—don't consider the definition to actually/successfully exclude them; it's easy to find examples of both the noun and adjective female (and trans female) in reference to trans women. (Yes, some people try to use female more narrowly/exclusionarily, but many of those people who gatekeep who is female/male or a woman/man also gatekeep who is American [no Muslims!] or who is Christian [no Catholics! or no Protestants!], who is a true Scotsman, etc, and other people gatekeep who is [really] progressive or a true communist or who counts as white or black or Jewish, and we wouldn't want to add separate "Catholic-only" and "Protestant-only" definitions for Christian, etc etc, to cover all that; better to have one inclusive sense. Hmm, perhaps that logic means the new senses just added to woman and man should be merged, too...) - -sche (discuss) 18:22, 11 February 2020 (UTC)

snore like a chainsaw, snore like a buzzsaw, snore like a freight train

Lexicalised? Worth entries? Canonicalization (talk) 12:09, 1 February 2020 (UTC)

I would say no. Mihia (talk) 18:16, 7 February 2020 (UTC)

drive home

Aren't senses 1 and 3 identical? Canonicalization (talk) 12:48, 1 February 2020 (UTC)

It looks like it. I think 3 can be removed. Ultimateria (talk) 02:43, 3 February 2020 (UTC)
Sense 3 should be merged into sense 1. --Danielklein (talk) 23:03, 26 February 2020 (UTC)

ערך- Yiddish

The entry says "only used in בערך" but I have seen in the Najer Folksblat "אן ערך" which I'm fairly certain is common too. Are these identical in meaning, two versions of the same word, or something else entirely. As always, I am eternally grateful for assistance. EDIT: אַן ערך is actually already an entry, so I'm just unsure of how to link it to ערך, if anyone could help with that.


Chaimish (talk) 14:53, 1 February 2020 (UTC)

That's how I originally had it (pointing to the an version), and then it was changed. I suppose the current version should be fine. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 01:09, 3 February 2020 (UTC)
Yep that seems fine to me, although maybe we should change it to "only used in derived terms", or something like that, and just add the derived terms in a list so that it's future proof. Then we could add on an erekh (without measure, infinite, very much. Different from on an erekh (without approximately -)), le-fi erekh (comparatively), in dem erekh (approximately again). Yes we could add them as it currently stands, but I feel like it would be neater. I submit to your knowledge of Wiktionary formatting guides and will be happy to do what is needed upon yours, or another's, decision from more experience.—Chaimish (talk) 16:38, 4 February 2020 (UTC)
@Chaimish: I haven't heard all those used, so thanks for having a list at the ready. I see your point, so feel free to change the definition to something like {{n-g|Only used in set phrases.}} and stick everything in a 'Derived terms' section. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 16:45, 4 February 2020 (UTC)
@Metaknowledge: Entry is done, I'll add the entries for the derived terms another day. As for adding correct transcriptions/glosses, I can't find out how at the moment. I'll look again later, but if someone else wants to do it, I won't complain. Secondly, בערך is on a page called בעערך. It has to be moved, but on mobile this seems impossible I guess? I'll do it when I can access a computer but again, not complaining if someone else wants to do it. In any case, thanks for the guidance and reply, always a pleasure doing business with you.—Chaimish (talk) 18:40, 4 February 2020 (UTC)
@Chaimish: I fixed the formatting there, take a look for future reference. (And I moved the misspelt entry.) —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 18:50, 4 February 2020 (UTC)

pots and pans

Worth an entry? Canonicalization (talk) 17:59, 1 February 2020 (UTC)

Seems pretty SOP to me. How is it different from [[pots]] [[and]] [[pans]]? —Mahāgaja · talk 20:01, 1 February 2020 (UTC)
It can generally mean "cookware", as in "I'm moving out of my apartment into my first house; I need to buy some pots and pans." which would include other items related to cooking as well like colanders, ladels, stirring spoons, etc. Leasnam (talk) 20:39, 1 February 2020 (UTC)
Plausible but I would like some sort of evidence. I mean, if I say "I need to buy some knives and forks" I might also be getting other cutlery like spoons, and a potato peeler, but I dunno if that's idiomatic, it's more like people can't be bothered to reel off the entire list of boring cutlery. Equinox 00:34, 2 February 2020 (UTC)
Here it's used as a single unit [pots and pans] not as [pots] and [pans] [[1]]; kinda the same here [[2]]. I'm not necessarily going to bat for an entry, but I am kinda leaning towards the possibility of one. I mean we do have fish and chips js Leasnam (talk) 04:12, 2 February 2020 (UTC)
I wouldn't say "fish and chips" is a very good comparison, given how that phrase refers to a meal composed just of those two objects, whereas "pots and pans" (and "knives and forks") is shorthand for a collection of numerous different things. That being said, "pots and pans" as shorthand is much more common than arbitrary pairs like "knives and forks" and could likely warrant its own page. -- 15:31, 3 February 2020 (UTC)
Wot not mushy peas? Mihia (talk) 21:53, 7 February 2020 (UTC)
I think it would be a good entry. It would be rare to hear it in the order: "pans and pots". John Cross (talk) 07:49, 11 February 2020 (UTC)
Yes, worth an entry. Not to forget: "If 'if's and 'an's were pots and pans, there'd be no need (/work) for tinkers (hands)". See also https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/47182/origin-of-the-idiom-if-ifs-and-buts-were-candy-and-nuts. PJTraill (talk) 21:05, 20 February 2020 (UTC)


User:LICA98 just added the information "illative singular of pubi" (in Estonian) to the page puppi, and sure enough, that's exactly what the page pubi says. However, when I studied Estonian, my teacher said that the words klubi and pubi do not have illatives kluppi and puppi, but instead according to her, klubisse and pubisse must be used. (It is possible that she only said that of one of those two words, but I'm pretty sure both of them came up at some time). So who's correct, my Estonian teacher or Wiktionary's templates? (And yes, kluppi is mentioned as an illative form of klubi)

I've made similar additions in the past myself too, but for this reason I've been a bit hesitant. For example, I'd like to add illative singular of side 'communications, post office' to the page sidde but I'm not sure if such a form exists... Mölli-Möllerö (talk) 12:14, 2 February 2020 (UTC)

ÕS lists pubi under type 17, which it describes in detail here. Similarly, klubi is also listed under type 17, but has a further note "<17: kl`uppi ja klubisse>", so it seems both are fine. — surjection?〉 23:32, 4 February 2020 (UTC)
"sidde" is most definitely not a word. A short illative, if it existed for this word, would be "sitte", but it is not used afaik and I've never heard it. dd/gg/bb do not exist in Estonian. I'll fix the "pere" template later today. "kluppi" is definitely seen, maybe informal/slangy, but I've never heard "puppi". Strombones (talk) 15:47, 4 March 2020 (UTC)
Taking a look at it, many type-pere nouns (such as vähe) have wrong short illatives. The current code handles cases with long vowels, such as piiga and the most common words that have a short illative, such as pere, but everything else is wrong. A robust solution would be to just specify the short illative (if it exists at all, most pere-type nouns do not have a short illative). Would take a while to fix all the entries though, so idk. Worth noting though that only a minority of pere-type nouns have a distinct short-illative at all. And it's irregular, an example would be "pogri" (colloquial word for "jail", often seen in its short illative: "pokri"), while "mügri", meaning "water vole", does not have a short illative. Strombones (talk) 16:13, 4 March 2020 (UTC)

pomp and show

Lexicalized? Worth an entry? Canonicalization (talk) 16:00, 2 February 2020 (UTC)

by all that is holy, by all that is right and fair, right and fair

Worth entries? We have an entry for for the love of all that is holy. Canonicalization (talk) 17:00, 2 February 2020 (UTC)

Yep, make 'em --AcpoKrane (talk) 11:39, 7 February 2020 (UTC)
I'm not sure that I really agree. "by all that ~" is a standard pattern that has large numbers of possibilities, of which the ones cited do not seem especially notable examples, and I don't see why "right and fair" is anything more than "right" and "fair". I am not a huge fan of the present entry at for the love of all that is holy either. Mihia (talk) 01:47, 8 February 2020 (UTC)

in all conscience

Sense 1: "certainly". certainly in what sense? Canonicalization (talk) 17:01, 2 February 2020 (UTC)

If you request verification, you should list it at RfV.  --Lambiam 13:24, 5 February 2020 (UTC)

drop the act

Worth an entry? Canonicalization (talk) 18:46, 2 February 2020 (UTC)

dead weight

We have an adverb section with the following usex: "He rolled the red in dead weight, and now he's nicely on the blue". Unless roll in is a transitive phrasal verb with the red as a direct object, dead weight is not an adverb but a noun in a prepositional phrase. Canonicalization (talk) 20:12, 2 February 2020 (UTC)

I don't know snooker terms, but roll in does appear to be a transitive phrasal verb here (as in roll into the pocket). Ultimateria (talk) 17:20, 4 February 2020 (UTC)
I don't think so.
Also, if the citation or usage example is ambiguous, get rid of it. DCDuring (talk) 23:53, 4 February 2020 (UTC)
What sense of weight should be assigned to weight in the definition? DCDuring (talk) 23:56, 4 February 2020 (UTC)
No – as you speculated, "roll in" here is, in fact, a transitive phrasal verb with "the red" as a direct object. This adverbial use of "dead weight" is fairly common in snooker, where it just indicates that the object ball is moving very slowly when it reaches the pocket, and drops in from its own weight rather than being banged against the back of the pocket. Ƿidsiþ 13:38, 5 February 2020 (UTC)

shadow government

Sense 3, "A family of conspiracy theories based on the notion that real and actual political power resides not with publicly elected representatives but with private individuals who are exercising power behind the scenes", doesn't sound substitutable. How can a shadow government be a "family of conspiracy theories"? Canonicalization (talk) 20:32, 2 February 2020 (UTC)

I revised it in an effort to make it more substitutable. - -sche (discuss) 20:16, 4 February 2020 (UTC)
Are senses 2 and 3 sufficiently different to make a distinction?  --Lambiam 12:32, 5 February 2020 (UTC)
Hm, probably not; I've combined them. - -sche (discuss) 23:13, 7 February 2020 (UTC)


Are the two senses distinct? Also, labelling one "now historical" and the other "historical" is silly. (IMO both should just say "historical". Any(?) or almost any "historical" sense is only "now historical", at least the way we seem to use that term, to label words that were used while the thing they describe still existed. We don't, for example, label Ancient Rome "historical", even though by the glossary definition it fits...) - -sche (discuss) 00:22, 4 February 2020 (UTC)

When the entry was created, the first sense read, “A council of workers in late Imperial Russia.” (my emphasis by underlining). That was a clearly different sense. The term is used in this pre-Bolshevik sense e.g. here. Someone must have thought, though, this definition was a mistake: the very next edit, only a few hours later, changed “late Imperial Russia” into “the former Soviet Union”.  --Lambiam 12:19, 5 February 2020 (UTC)

Japanese vs , etc. - both current?

There's a duplication of contents at and and many others. I know that not all kyūjitai can be considered "dated/obsolete" and can be completely superseded by the shinjitai forms, so both are equal in case and ? When {{ja-kyujitai spelling of}} is used, it's normally to also to indicate that () (kuru) is now the main form and () (kuru) is the older spelling and the shinjitai article contains most of the information, so that no duplication occurs and no need for synching. Should the treatment be different if the kyūjitai form is still in use and not considered dated/obsolete? @Eirikr, Dine2016, TAKASUGI Shinji. If that's the case, any change to {{ja-kyujitai spelling of}} is required? --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 00:54, 4 February 2020 (UTC)

We can still treat kyujitai in use as soft redirects, and we should avoid duplication. The solution is simply an explanatory usage note (and I have seen 龍 used in Japan, but I think only in the context of Buddhist sites). —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 00:57, 4 February 2020 (UTC)
@Metaknowledge: I agree that we should still use kyūjitai as soft redirects - regardless whether they are just current alt forms or mostly fell out of use after 1947 reform, and we should avoid duplication but I think the template could use an additional piece of info advising something along the line that it's still in modern use or, categorise the dated spellings appropriately and no cat for spellings still in use. I'm also aware that not all cases can be straighforward but it's a matter of discussing and deciding. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 01:13, 4 February 2020 (UTC)
  • This strikes me as a potentially tricky one. Dictionaries seem to treat these as equivalents, simply as shinjitai 竜 and kyūjitai 龍. But both characters are in current usage, and there do seem to be subtle differences in usage that I'm having trouble nailing down. @Shinji, @Eryk, can either of you shed any light on this, as native speakers? ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 20:15, 4 February 2020 (UTC)
This kyūjitai is current contrary to its classification and may be one of the most common amongst them. Not a few people including me may think that the more strokes a kanji has, the more proper, dignitized and cooler impression it gives off. We could apply this (lacking logic and somewhat silly) idea also to a pair vs , which is a component of my surname (where the two types of character are used interchangeably except for official documents) and I usually use the latter for self-dignitizing purpose. Hiroyuki Sasahara, a linguist specializing in usage of kanji, remarks that 龍 is regarded as more fascinating than the other in terms of naming ([3]) in Japan. --Eryk Kij (talk) 21:27, 4 February 2020 (UTC)
@Eirikr, エリック・キィ: Thank you both. I actually thought that the label kyūjitai or "dated" shouldn't apply to names (personal or geographical) or part of names, which are known to use any possible characters in use with little or known restrictions. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 21:42, 4 February 2020 (UTC)

{{ja-gv}} can be used to avoid duplication. Unlike {{ja-see}}, it copies all readings on the lemma entry. --Dine2016 (talk) 06:24, 5 February 2020 (UTC)

@Dine2016: I like that but it's a bit more complicated as a variant glyph, since it's also used still. I guess maybe we can treat each sense separately. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 00:24, 6 February 2020 (UTC)
In most cases kyūjitai have become obsolete, but in the case of , it has survived as a variant character (ex. 龍が如く, 龍虎の拳). It’s not obsolete. — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 13:24, 5 February 2020 (UTC)
@TAKASUGI Shinji: Yes, that's what I mentioned when saying "Should the treatment be different if the kyūjitai form is still in use and not considered dated/obsolete". Could you please expand your response and comment whether we duplicate the contents in both and ? Or use {{ja-gv}} on one when the senses are identical and treat them as variant spellings? --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 00:24, 6 February 2020 (UTC)
I prefer {{ja-gv}} to {{ja-kyujitai spelling of}} in this particular case, with as a main entry. — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 08:15, 6 February 2020 (UTC)
@Shinji, are there any senses or usage details that are specific to one form or the other? My own informal survey suggests that there might be, but I cannot tell for sure. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 23:21, 8 February 2020 (UTC)
As far as I know, the use of 龍 is more limited. It is used in personal names or as a stand-alone character for the dragon, especially for the oriental dragon as opposed to the western dragon. They write almost always 恐竜(きょうりゅう) (kyōryū), 竜巻(たつまき) (tatsumaki) and 竜田(たつた)() (tatsutaage) using 竜. — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 06:02, 11 February 2020 (UTC)

unmitigated hyperbole

In uses like “unmitigated disaster”, the adjective unmitigated does IMO not simply mean “not mitigated” but serves as an intensifier, like total. Most failures declared to be “total” could have been worse than they were, so they were not total in a literal sense. I think the same holds for many so-called “unmitigated” disasters. Add a second sense (like at total)? Also, doesn’t the given quotation (featuring a “most unmitigated cad”) belong more to the hyperbolic sense?  --Lambiam 13:38, 5 February 2020 (UTC)

I agree. I would say that the intensifier sense has developed enough of a separate identity to merit a separate definition. I also agree that the "unmitigated cad" quotation probably should be moved to that. Mihia (talk) 18:12, 7 February 2020 (UTC)

gaiwan, chawan

gaiwan was a simple alt form of chawan: now it has been expanded into its own entry. Is that right? I would prefer alt form if they are the same thing: less work to maintain and synchronise. Equinox 23:44, 5 February 2020 (UTC)

Well, they have different etymons, and separate Wikipedia articles which say that the chawan is just a bowl (with no lid), and is the older device, being replaced later by a gaiwan which had a lid and sometimes a saucer. It appears they're similar but indeed distinct (which in turn means they shouldn't list each other as synonyms, but only coordinate terms or see alsos or something.). - -sche (discuss) 02:48, 8 February 2020 (UTC)

Translingual Mammalia

Translingual entries shouldn't have translation tables, right? — surjection?〉 08:57, 6 February 2020 (UTC)

Never mind, just saw Wiktionary:Votes/pl-2016-01/Translations of taxonomic names. Still, I'm not sure if this is the best way to handle this, but that should be discussed in WT:BEER instead. — surjection?〉 09:30, 6 February 2020 (UTC)


Recently added to wench is a citation of a lyric from the Beastie Boys' "Rhymin and Stealin":

We got wenches on the benches, and bitties with titties / Housing all girlies from city to city

I must admit, I always used to hear this as "Hustling" not "Housing". Lyric sites give "Housing", but on the other hand lyric sites sometimes contain the most ridiculous errors. My re-listen of it was inconclusive. If the lyric indeed is "housing", then does anyone know in what sense? Is it a sense that we are missing? (Also pinging @Sgconlaw who added the relevant line.) Mihia (talk) 20:44, 7 February 2020 (UTC)

to (2)

Preposition definition #2:

Used to indicate the indirect object.
I gave the book to him.

In "I gave him the book", "him" is the indirect object, but when the preposition "to" is used, it isn't an indirect object any more, is it? Or is it? Before I go and change this, perhaps someone else could opine. Mihia (talk) 22:00, 7 February 2020 (UTC)

Yes. I think indirect object is a grammatical role, not a semantic one, at least for English. It would be nice if we could include a reference to [[indirect object]], if not in the definition, then under a 'See also' header in the PoS section. DCDuring (talk) 00:15, 8 February 2020 (UTC)
In order to kill two birds with one stone, so to speak, I have merged this sense with the problem sense "For the purpose of" previously discussed at Wiktionary:Tea_room/2020/January#to, under the definition "Used to indicate the target or recipient of an action". I am not totally happy with the somewhat vagueness or wide inclusiveness of this, but OTOH I believe it is better than what we have at the moment, which is two faulty definitions. If anyone sees a better way to deal with these two entries, please go ahead. Mihia (talk) 23:09, 8 February 2020 (UTC)

coming out of one's ears

Not defined like a verb. Canonicalization (talk) 12:25, 8 February 2020 (UTC)

I made the definition the same PoS as the lemma. Mihia (talk) 23:42, 8 February 2020 (UTC)

French translation of escalate (technical support sense)

I confirmed that "to escalate a ticket" is "escalader un ticket" with a French colleague who works in IT. Kodar has said this is incorrect and changed it to "faire remonter". The phrase "escalader un ticket" does seem to have some usage online:

  • "Enfin vous avez la notion de « Groupes » qui sert dans les workflows par exemple pour escalader un ticket vers un groupe d'agents au lieu d'un agent." source
  • "Pour activer la possibilité à vos agents et/ou experts d’escalader un ticket, il suffit d’activer le toggle d’escalade." source
  • "Réceptionnaire : quel est le point de contact à qui escalader un ticket d’incident ou une demande portant sur le service d’opérations, par exemple, le centre de services de l’infogérant (la description du service contient les informations pratiques pour le contacter : numéro de téléphone, adresse électronique, etc.)" source

What do others think? --Thrasymedes (talk) 15:20, 8 February 2020 (UTC)

Compared to English, many French speakers tend to be much more conservative and judgemental with regard to “innovations”, following the lead of the Académie française, the official authority on all aspects of the French language, and condemn this as an Americanism. In English, escalate can be used both in a sense similar to rise and to raise. In “approved” French, escalader has only the sense of rise: it is the subject that goes up. But in escalader un ticket, the object goes up. Here at Wiktionary we follow actual usage, not authority, but we should not be shy to point out that certain uses are proscribed. One can use {{label|fr|proscribed}}, which links to Appendix:Glossary#proscribed, but I prefer a usage note with a more specific exposition of the issue.  --Lambiam 10:56, 9 February 2020 (UTC)
It seems to be attested indeed, but I somehow doubt it's durably attested.
To echo Lambiam's point, I (as a native French speaker) confirm that I consider it an abomination. Anyway, judging by the quality of the quotes above, it's clear that purity of language is not the primary concern of their authors. Canonicalization (talk) 10:58, 9 February 2020 (UTC)
Thank you both for the thoughtful comments. Perhaps there is not enough usage in French to justify that translation yet. It seems to me to be unnecessary business jargon in English too, but it probably has enough usage in English to deserve a mention here. The COED, 12th edition (2011), has only (1) 'increase rapidly' and (2) 'become more intense or serious' for the meanings of escalate, however, so I do not think the technical support meaning is well-established in English either (though perhaps it is related to COED meaning 2). Regarding the new translation, what exactly does faire remonter mean? I have looked online, but it seems difficult to translate. Is it worth creating an entry? --Thrasymedes (talk) 19:20, 9 February 2020 (UTC)
In this usage, faire means "to cause" and remonter means "to increase/ascend again", so it seems fairly transparent to me. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 20:19, 9 February 2020 (UTC)
Sorry. --Thrasymedes (talk) 20:31, 9 February 2020 (UTC)
First of all, thanks for mentioning this issue. I really much like the fact that Wiktionary is built upon consensus. Then, I personally work as an IT engineer and I hear colleagues on an everyday basis using English words in the middle of their sentences, making even grammar mistakes at the same time (e.g. « Est-ce que tu as push le code ? » - I would, at least, expect the coined word « pushé » in that case...). « Escalader » in French, as far as I know, only applies to cases when you physically end up at a higher position, as already said. So I would be glad that the translation remains as I had corrected. --Kodar (talk) 9:19, 12 February 2020 (UTC)
That's OK. We're only trying to find the truth here. In summary, it seems that some French speakers, like my colleague and the writers above, say escalader for a ticket in IT, but this not grammatically correct since escalader only applies to the subject physically going higher. It is a lesson for me that it is not always sufficient to speak to only one native speaker about the French language! Thank you too.
About faire remonter, what I mean is, although the literal meaning is "cause to increase/ascend again", the translation seems to vary a lot depending on the context, e.g.:
  • "Bien que le gouvernement se soit engagé à faire remonter le ratio au niveau réglementaire" fr → "Although the Government undertook to raise the ratio to the statutory minimum" en
  • "Ces astéroïdes pourraient subir des effets gravitationnels à l’approche de la Terre ou des autres planètes telluriques (des effets de marée) tendant à faire remonter à la surface la matière interne" fr → "These asteroids could undergo gravitational effects with the approach of the Earth or another telluric planet (tidal effects) tending to dredge up on the surface the internal material" en
  • "Faire remonter l’affaire à un plus haut niveau hiérarchique" fr → "Referring the issue to a higher echelon" en
  • And now we have "faire remonter un ticket", which means "escalate a ticket".
For this reason, I thought an entry might be useful. --Thrasymedes (talk) 11:17, 13 February 2020 (UTC)
@Thrasymedes I can see why you would want an entry, but I still think it's SOP. There are two reasons for the variation in translations: (1) the construction faire + [infinitive verb] doesn't have a direct equivalent in English (not one that is equally versatile, anyway) despite being perfectly transparent in French, and (2) remonter has several definitions, which are not all translated by the same verbs in English. Thus, I don't think the translations are a reliable indicator of the transparency or lack thereof in this case. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 22:20, 18 February 2020 (UTC)
From the above, I note we are also missing le workflow :D Equinox 19:24, 9 February 2020 (UTC)

all-out strike

Worth an entry? Sounds rather SOP to me, but two other dictionaries have it:

Canonicalization (talk) 11:34, 9 February 2020 (UTC)

I'm skeptical about its being attestable in US English.
Is all out or all-out attestable in a relevant sense? Certainly all and out in the relevant senses are. DCDuring (talk) 14:02, 9 February 2020 (UTC)


SOP? -- Huhu9001 (talk) 14:19, 9 February 2020 (UTC)

Not if the usage example is right. A computer can't act literally selfishly. —Mahāgaja · talk 14:44, 9 February 2020 (UTC)
It is a choice of words. 勝手 literally means "considering only one's own condition, ignoring others' will". The computer just booted "on its own" (without human order or permission). -- Huhu9001 (talk) 16:52, 9 February 2020 (UTC)
It's just the normal adverbial form of katte na, IMO. —Suzukaze-c 20:49, 9 February 2020 (UTC)
Perhaps convert this to a "form of" entry? ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 16:07, 10 February 2020 (UTC)

No, they are different. As Mahāgaja said, you can say パソコンが勝手に再起動する (“by itself without permission or order”) but you can’t say *このパソコンは勝手だ (“selfish”). — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 00:44, 20 February 2020 (UTC)

@Shinji, isn't that more a property of 勝手? More specifically, that certain adjectival senses can only apply to subjects with actual agency or animacy? By way of comparison, I note that resource aggregator site Kotobank has nothing for 勝手に, and three entries for 勝手 that all also include examples of 勝手に usage. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 23:38, 6 March 2020 (UTC)
"このパソコンはいつも勝手な動きを取る" How about this? -- Huhu9001 (talk) 04:50, 7 March 2020 (UTC)
@Eirikr, Huhu9001: “勝手な動き” is a little awkward but seems OK.
  • ところが、個々の装置の勝手な動きが集まると、インターネット全体では、とても面白い振る舞いが見られることがわかってきました。 [4]
So I change my opinion here. But you still can’t say *この動きは勝手だ, so we need some clarification, such as Only attributive or adverbial. — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 01:41, 8 March 2020 (UTC)

Isaac Bonewits' definitions of magic

Isaac Bonewits had a Bachelor of Arts in Magic and Thaumaturgy; University of California, Berkeley and do wouldn't his definitions of magic be valid?-- 17:04, 9 February 2020 (UTC)

For context, this is about recent edits on thaumaturgy and magic, with some questionable added definitions. — surjection?〉 17:14, 9 February 2020 (UTC)
Questionable how? Certainly a Bachelor of Arts in Magic and Thaumaturgy from the University of California, Berkeley would qualify one as at least on entry level expert in the field and make their definitions count for something.-- 17:24, 9 February 2020 (UTC)
We require independent uses. Find someone else who isn't Isaac Bonewits who has used the words in the same way. DTLHS (talk) 17:25, 9 February 2020 (UTC)
What about Wikipedia:USESPS which expressly states "Self-published sources can be reliable, and they can be used (except for claims about living people). Sometimes, a self-published source is even the best possible source, such as when you are supporting a direct quotation. In such cases, the original document is the best source because the original document will be free of any errors or misquotations introduced by subsequent sources."?-- 17:43, 9 February 2020 (UTC)
Wiktionary is WT:NOT Wikipedia. Wiktionary's inclusion criteria are fundamentally different in nature and are documented on WT:CFI. For an English word, you would need to show at least three books (or journal articles, etc) by different authors using a word with the meaning you claim (and if they could still readily be interpreted as the broader/usual definition, a neologistic narrow re-definition, if taken to be merely an attempt to re-interpret the same basic sense, might still not be added as a separate sense). - -sche (discuss) 18:17, 9 February 2020 (UTC)
No, a BA does not make one an authority at all and having one does not mean one can make up their own dictionary definitions (which are based on common usage, not personal views, and should be concise and clear). — Mnemosientje (t · c) 17:29, 9 February 2020 (UTC)
I take it you have never read an anthropology paper that uses the word "Culture" :-) Seriously, a university degree is certainly better then someone with no degree at all. Never mind the popular use the definitions are getting. I mean gay doesn't just mean happy anymore.-- 17:43, 9 February 2020 (UTC)
Nope. Terms mean what the people who use them mean when they use them. Our only authority for definitions of well-documented languages such as English is usage. Period.
You're certainly not afflicted by false modesty, nor any reticence about plugging yourself or your books in places where you have no right to. So far, you haven't sunk to the level of a spammer, but you're not far off. Blatant and shameless self-promotion is an abuse of your editing privileges, and will lead to your being blocked. Chuck Entz (talk) 22:14, 9 February 2020 (UTC)
This is not Bonewits; w:Isaac Bonewits died a few years ago.--Prosfilaes (talk) 04:28, 10 February 2020 (UTC)
Everyone has a BA. Mine is in English so presumably you have to listen to me when it comes to Wiktionary? Equinox 22:17, 9 February 2020 (UTC)
First, we don't have the right to just take Bonewits' definitions. That's getting into copyright infringement range. Second, definitions like this are nigh useless to us. We should not copy or even stress about the definition of science from a scientist or philosopher of science, and ultimately I think internal definitions of science are going to be more coherent and useful than something like magic.--Prosfilaes (talk) 04:34, 10 February 2020 (UTC)


"An adult female human"? I know this might spill out in awkwardness all over the place, but "elf woman", "halfling woman", "gnome woman", "kitsune woman" and "goblin woman" are trivially citable, "dwarf woman" is only harder in that the fantasy sense has to be separated out, I can find cites for "hobbit woman", "lizard woman" (in the sense of a lizardfolk), "insectoid woman", etc. I don't know how to rewrite it, but it's clearly not limited to humans.--Prosfilaes (talk) 04:56, 10 February 2020 (UTC)

I suspect we need more than one sense. Woman sometimes refers to a female of any age, but other times specifies an adult; sometimes, like you say, it includes non-human females, but other times it refers to human ones as contrasted with non-humans. (Compare girl's many senses, which may still also need tweaking. Boy and man are likewise sometimes age- or human-specific and sometimes not.) Merriam-Webster and Dictionary.com go with "adult female person", which could cover application to non-humans (or at least shunt the issue over to person); "female of any age" should perhaps be a separate sense. - -sche (discuss) 07:31, 10 February 2020 (UTC)
How about "person" or "individual"? Also, for non-human examples, maybe Wonder Woman (Amazons are [demi]goddesses, not humans, right?) or Superman's cousin Power Woman (usually appears in DC Comics as Power Girl, but not always). 07:58, 10 February 2020 (UTC)
Should we have an "especially" clause, like "an adult female person, especially a human" (and on man, "an adult male person, especially a human")? That would cover cases where the words (especially man) denote humans specifically as contrasted with non-humans. OTOH, it might be awkward/confusing/unnecessary (Merriam-Webster evidently considers it unnecessary; Dictionary.com on the other hand does specify "human" in a separate, poorly distinguished sense, "female human being, as distinguished from a girl or a man"). - -sche (discuss) 18:07, 10 February 2020 (UTC)
The prompting of this was lesbian: "A homosexual woman", as I was thinking about whether lesbian anthropomorphic animal characters would count as "women". I guess age-specific issues are there too; sexual orientation in children is debated, but we certainly can find enough examples of teen lesbians.--Prosfilaes (talk) 08:40, 10 February 2020 (UTC)
I don't know how much it applies here, but bear in mind that adding an adjective can actually change the normal "definition" meaning of a word: you could also say "Martian woman", which makes her no longer a "human", or "toy gun", which makes it no longer a (real) weapon, or "giant hamster", which makes it no longer a small animal, and so on. Equinox 14:59, 10 February 2020 (UTC)
True. I can also find "bare" examples like "one of the (dwarves|elves), a woman, ...", though it's harder to search for given how much chaff there is in the form books that mention human women and elves/dwarves/etc. - -sche (discuss) 18:07, 10 February 2020 (UTC)
I'm pretty sure a "giant hamster" is still a hamster, whether it was giant by simple mutation, selective breeding, or amazing kablamo enlarging ray. In this case, I feel that woman applies to any adult female person, though there's some clear cites where "elf woman" does seem to be disjoint from "woman", and it's hard finding elf+woman that isn't literally "elf woman".--Prosfilaes (talk) 12:11, 11 February 2020 (UTC)
I had a go at revising woman and man to account for the non-human uses mentioned above. I was and remain on the fence about whether it's better to have a separate sense or merely expand the first sense, but I went with a separate sense because man in particular seems to often denote a human or Homo sapiens in particular, and I also noticed that man already had a "supernatural" sense, marked obsolete (for references to God or the devil as a man), which I added the elf-encompassing sense into, removing the "obsolete" label since one can still find references to God as a man as well as to God as a woman. Please revise or discuss further if there are still issues. I have not yet added a sense for any female/male regardless of age, but probably will if I find more and better citations of it. - -sche (discuss) 18:49, 11 February 2020 (UTC)


Classified as an adverb:

(colloquial) In prison.
He's inside, doing a stretch for burglary.

I can get that "inside" is an adverb in e.g. "He was sent inside", but is it an adverb in "He's inside"? Mihia (talk) 20:42, 10 February 2020 (UTC)

Wikipedia calls it a “prepositional adverb”. The synonymous prepositional phrase in prison is an adverbial phrase. Compare He’s here, doing his thing, in which here is an adverb.  --Lambiam 08:40, 11 February 2020 (UTC)
According to that Wikipedia article, prepositional adverbs "modify the verb". Does "inside" in "He's inside" modify the verb "is"? Mihia (talk) 10:02, 11 February 2020 (UTC)
FWIW, I parse that as an adjective. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 17:52, 11 February 2020 (UTC)
  • What I have done for now is just changed the example to one that seems to me to be more clearly adverbial. Mihia (talk) 18:34, 11 February 2020 (UTC)
    • Avoiding controversial examples is good, but many locatives and some temporals (whether considered adverbs (here), prepositional phrases (at home), or nouns (home), usually considered adverbial) can also follow forms of be and sometimes other copulas. In the case of English prepositional phrases, we decided to allow them their own header to eliminate the duplication of semantic content. CGEL does one better by putting many of what we call adverbs into the class of intransitive prepositions. DCDuring (talk) 19:19, 11 February 2020 (UTC)
As I may have mentioned somewhere before, I feel uneasy about recognising intransitive prepositions, partly on basic principle and partly because I feel it may be too radical a departure from what the great majority of our readers and users are familiar with. On the other hand, I also feel unhappy that "inside" in "He's inside" is either an adverb or an adjective, so I don't have any good suggestion. (I think that allowing "prepositional phrase" was a good decision by the way.) Mihia (talk) 20:19, 11 February 2020 (UTC)
By the way, if you would prefer to restore the original "He's inside" adverb example alongside the new one that I added, please go ahead. Mihia (talk) 20:58, 11 February 2020 (UTC)

clown-car primary

I think the spelling clown car primary is more common in news media, although the spelling with hyphen seems citable as well. Should the lemma be moved? The definition could also use some work. ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 12:01, 11 February 2020 (UTC)

This seems more encyclopedic than lexical, though it doesn't seem very encyclopedia-worthy either. The phrase seems quite NISoP: clown car (used attributively) + primary. Not every cute, topical turn of phrase deserves an entry. In fact, few do, IMHO. DCDuring (talk) 19:25, 11 February 2020 (UTC)
@DCDuring Feel free to RFD it; it seems citable in both spellings, so RFV probably isn't worth your time. ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 12:13, 21 February 2020 (UTC)
I have never heard of this, but the present definition seems more specific than could reasonably be understood from "clown-car" + "primary". If the definition is correct then keep. Properly the phrase should be hyphenated. The fact that it may often be seen unhyphenated is zero surprise since these days nobody understands hyphens. Mihia (talk) 02:15, 15 February 2020 (UTC)
By the way, the definition at clown car reads "A circus clown routine in which an implausibly large number of clowns climb into or out of a small car." Is the primary definition of "clown car" the routine, or is it actually the car? Mihia (talk) 02:19, 15 February 2020 (UTC)
The routine. I remember it as a college-kid prank to have six or ten people (NOT wearing clown costumes) get out of a car while stopped at a traffic light, run around the car in different directions and then get back in before the light changed. The term is used to refer to all kinds of silly-seeming bits of frantic activity by multiple actors, animate or inanimate.
This is yet another example of a phrase based on a cute metaphor that some contributor has to memorialize, without first examining other uses of the key term used in the metaphor. DCDuring (talk) 06:55, 15 February 2020 (UTC)
Yep. "Clown[-]car primary" isn't a thing. "Clown[-]car[ing]" is a thing, being used as a descriptive modifier of "primary". It's the same case as, say, "buck-toothed grandma". — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 01:40, 21 February 2020 (UTC)


omohyoid is an English word but (since recent edits by a Chinese user who ignores me on talk) it's in a bunch of Latin categories (generated from ety templates). What's the best fix? Equinox 19:30, 11 February 2020 (UTC)

Hoping that's fixed it -- and that the Chinese editor lets it be. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 21:20, 11 February 2020 (UTC)
I'm going through the editor's other contributions which also use some language codes incorrectly, producing bad categorization. - -sche (discuss) 22:13, 11 February 2020 (UTC)


Seems to me that this is a normal use of the slash symbol, rather than a single term in its own right. Equinox 00:25, 12 February 2020 (UTC)

Given the inflections, I don't think that's the case. It isn't "copies/pastes" or "copied/pasted", but "copy/pastes" and "copy/pasted". If it were merely a normal use of the slash, one would expect the former rather than the latter. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 01:15, 12 February 2020 (UTC)
Weird but I suppose you have a point. What other phrases work this way? Equinox 09:17, 14 March 2020 (UTC)
Seems like the opposite of the sleptwalked phenomenon where people try to treat a compound verb (whose first member is actually a noun) as two verbs and inflect them separately. —Mahāgaja · talk 11:02, 14 March 2020 (UTC)
Ugh, and that leads me to notice sleptwalk. (Are we sure that one's common enough to mention on the headword line stead of in a usage note anyway? I know some rare forms get moved out of the headword line, like low as a form of laugh.) - -sche (discuss) 19:40, 14 March 2020 (UTC)
I highly doubt it—the entries for all the irregular forms say that they're rare—so I've moved the information to a usage note. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 02:59, 15 March 2020 (UTC)
bar/resto seems to (at least, google books:"bars/restos" only turns up "bars, restos", while google books:"bar/restos" turns up "bar-restos", which implies the plural of the slashed version, bar/restos, would also exist). Talk:cunt/whore was alleged to, with one (1) citation where it does, but failed RFV because there were no more. Looking through Category:English terms spelled with /, I'm not sure how many of the other entries do... glucose/fructose's one citation is mention-y and the term is listed as uncountable, so how do we know? Likewise with Chantilly/Tiffany. Meh. (And some of the definitions at three-quarter brother look like they could be combined, as an aside.) - -sche (discuss) 11:04, 14 March 2020 (UTC)

sic transit gloria mundi

The macrons in the page sic transit gloria mundi after the word "Phrase" are invisible, and the pronunciation is also wrong (the pronunciation assumes all vowels to be short, which they're not). I don't know how to fix this, as the source code looked reasonable, but the templates don't seem to work right. Mölli-Möllerö (talk) 07:54, 12 February 2020 (UTC)

Fixed. For the IPA: how could the template know which vowels are long on its own? You have to tell it.
For the headword line: I don't know why {{la-phrase}} is stupid, and it's helpfully undocumented. I just replaced it with a template that isn't stupid, although that's not generally the best way to handle these things. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 08:07, 12 February 2020 (UTC)

found object, found art

By what stretch of the imagination would found art be a holonym of found object? Is there a basis for this? "Holonymy defines the relationship between a term denoting the whole and a term denoting a part of, or a member of, the whole." Neither term is known, based on anything other than editorial whim, to be "a part of, or a member of" the other. Bus stop (talk) 14:17, 12 February 2020 (UTC)

Found art is the set of artworks, in general, consisting of found objects; so by definition found objects are part of found art; so of course it's fine. For anyone who hasn't been following this bit of drama, "Bus stop" hates the phrase found art and has been repeatedly trying to delete or remove it, and having failed there is now trying to undermine it by other means. He/she is wrong. Equinox 14:22, 12 February 2020 (UTC)
You are saying that "Found art is the set of artworks, in general, consisting of found objects" but you don't know that to be the case. Bus stop (talk) 14:29, 12 February 2020 (UTC)
Have you look at the "found art" entry, where I specifically took care to add citations proving it? You need to read the most basic newbie stuff of Wiktionary because you are embarrassing yourself. This entry will stay. And I wasn't going to mention it but I've got a little bet with another Wiktionary user that you will be banned before the start of March. I've got 15 quid on it. Equinox 15:18, 12 February 2020 (UTC)
Who said anything about deleting anything? I don't know what you mean when you say "This entry will stay." Bus stop (talk) 15:38, 12 February 2020 (UTC)
Are all found objects used as part of found art? Does that matter to whether or not "found art" can be a holonym or is better as a "see also"? Meh. As an aside, there are a number of other "found _" terms, currently listed on found (but do we normally have ====Derived terms==== sections on inflected form of entries? is there a better place for these?). - -sche (discuss) 22:18, 12 February 2020 (UTC)
Thank you, -sche, for calling attention to the found page, and especially the "Derived terms" section of that page. Found footage, found literature, found music, and found poetry are focussed applications of the concept of the found object, meaning that they address specific creative pursuits. Found art is basically a variation on the term found object, as would be terms such as "found object art" or "found materials"—if Wiktionary had entries for those terms. By the way, these are terms in use. There are over a million Google hits for "found materials" and one can hear sophisticated art aficionados refer to "found materials". (There are 1.5 million g-hits for "found object art". "Found literature", for which we have an entry, barely has 100,000 hits.) But it—"found art"—would just be a variation on the core term which inevitably is "found object", which is not only a translation of the original French term, but more importantly is the term that all the best quality sources seize upon to serve as an umbrella term under which to expound on the meaning of the underlying concept originated by Marcel Duchamp. I am referring to museums of contemporary art and glossaries of art terms both online and in print—they all converge on only one term and that is "found object". Bus stop (talk) 18:42, 13 February 2020 (UTC)
Can we change "Holonym" at found object to "Related term" or "Alternative form" or "Derived term"? Can Users DTLHS and Equinox weigh in on that? My opposition is to the term "Holonym", which I do not think correctly describes the relationship between terms such as "found object" and "found art". Bus stop (talk) 15:35, 15 February 2020 (UTC)
User:Equinox—how many more places are you going to pursue this issue?[5][6][7] I've tried to engage in rational discussion with you but that has proven exceedingly difficult. The term "found" has a special meaning in respect to art beginning in the first half of the 20th century. Wiktionary can properly cover this subject. It wouldn't be hard to do. But it would take an overhaul of the subject, beginning with the French term of origin, and progressing through its various uses. Importantly, the term "found" doesn't vary in meaning in each of its uses. There is no more a need for an entry on "found art" than there is a need for an entry on "found materials". In this video, at 14:55, Ivan Karp uses the term "found materials". It is the word "found" that matters, when it is used in relation to art. Bus stop (talk) 19:50, 20 February 2020 (UTC)
Six. Equinox 06:01, 25 February 2020 (UTC)

soaked to the bone translations

Should we do anything with these genocide victims? [8] Equinox 15:17, 12 February 2020 (UTC)

Yeah... in cases where the language can't shorten its phrase for soaked to the bone to just the to the bone part, I would preserve the translations in to the bone#Translations with qualifiers. This has been necessary in other cases where we've lemmatized a different part of speech for some cross-linguistically common idiom than other languages — usually, where we've shortened it do drop a verb or noun other languages can't, like how some of the translations for of one's word are of the noun "man of one's word". - -sche (discuss) 17:20, 12 February 2020 (UTC)
Or, in this case, I see they can just be moved to soaked to the skin. - -sche (discuss) 17:29, 12 February 2020 (UTC)

turn around

Sense 1 is too specific: "to physically rotate horizontally 360 degrees". The usex is for trying on clothes, which is precisely the only time I think "turn around" means "rotate 360 degrees". If you're driving and you turn around, it's definitely a 180. Should these be two senses, or should 1 be broadened? Ultimateria (talk) 18:56, 12 February 2020 (UTC)

I assume that “rotate horizontally" is meant to mean, “rotate around a vertical axis”. “To make a U-turn” is IMO opinion a different sense (and the literal sense giving rise to the figurative sense of assuming the opposite opinion of what one held before). This is a half turn, but also a change in the direction of motion. And when a person is said to turn around in a narrative, it is typically a half turn ([9], [10], [11]). This is then a change in the direction the person is facing and looking; no further motion is implied. In “The world turns around once every twenty-four hours”, we see a clear case of whole (360°) turns. (Whether the world rotates “horizontally” is a whole nother question.) Finally, there is a whole class of uses where the amount of rotation is indeterminate ([12], [13], [14]). In the last example, it is dubious that the axis of rotation has a vertical orientation.  --Lambiam 20:15, 12 February 2020 (UTC)

girlfriend in Russian

Moved from Talk:girlfriend#Russian:

User:Atitarev, maybe you can help with this question. Can the word "подруга" be used to translate "girlfriend" in the sense of "a female partner in a romantic relationship"? My Russian textbook says it is only used for a female friend of a female, and that for a female friend of a male one uses a word such as "знакомая" or "знакомая девушка". (Please ping me.) Eric Kvaalen (talk) 08:22, 13 February 2020 (UTC)

@Eric Kvaalen: Yes, подру́га (podrúga) CAN also mean "girlfriend" in the sense of "a female partner in a romantic relationship" but it's not explicit, it just what people MEAN when they say it. There's no perfect equivalent for this sense in Russian, they are either very generic like подруга/подружка/приятельница, too explicit like возлю́бленная (vozljúblennaja, beloved) or even worse любо́вница (ljubóvnica, lover), that's why гёрлфре́нд (gjorlfrɛ́nd) is the closest one but not everyone accepts it yet. BTW, if someone says "это моя девушка", literally "this/that is my girl", it can only mean "it's my girlfriend". This usage is with mostly with possessives "my/your/his", etc. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 09:00, 13 February 2020 (UTC)
Thanks, Anatoli. So is my Russian textbook out of date (1989)? If I have a female friend who's not my girlfriend, do I call her a подруга, or what? Eric Kvaalen (talk) 11:11, 13 February 2020 (UTC)
@Eric Kvaalen: The word is ambiguous and there is no way around it. It all depends how you say it and what you mean when you say it. Russian is not unique on this issue. You will here different opinions on the topic and I don't think the textbook is out of date. What is their translation or explanation? --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 19:20, 13 February 2020 (UTC)

Anatoli: It says (Russian for Everybody, edited by V. Kostomarov):
подру́га is only the girl firend of a girl, not of a fellow. For the girl friend of a fellow the most common expression is знакомая (девушка) (Note that the plural is regular — подру́ги.)
Eric Kvaalen (talk) 19:35, 13 February 2020 (UTC)
@Eric Kvaalen: I think the author is trying to help foreigners avoid getting into awkward situtions.
  1. "подруга" is used by females more frequently to mean their friends. This is not exclusive to females
  2. "подруга" if used by a male may mean both "friend" or "girfriend"
  3. знако́мая (znakómaja) simply means acquaintance but you can use it to avoid ambiguity.
You can get a better feel of the language if you expose yourself more. A dictionary may not be enough. Let me know if you still have questions. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 21:09, 13 February 2020 (UTC)
Спасибо, Анатолий. У меня одна русская подруга, с которой мы пишем по-русски. Но мы говорим обычно по-английски… Eric Kvaalen (talk) 06:52, 15 February 2020 (UTC)
Пожалуйста, Эрик. Позволь мне исправить тебя немного. Я бы сказал "с которой мы переписываемся по-русски" или "мы пишем друг другу по-русски". --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 08:41, 15 February 2020 (UTC)
Хорошо. Ещё раз, спасибо, Анатолий. Eric Kvaalen (talk) 09:30, 15 February 2020 (UTC)
The author may have had the noble aim to help foreigners avoid getting into awkward situations, but by not being entirely clear could actually cause them. Russian speaker: "Is Olga your подруга?". Male foreigner, having studied Kostomarov, "No, she is a знакомая." This while Olga is what we would call ”his girlfriend”. In English the ambiguity is avoided by contrasting “my girlfriend (romantic) with “a girlfriend of mine” (not romantic).  --Lambiam 10:11, 15 February 2020 (UTC)
Somewhat tangential: I see at подру́га (podrúga)#Related_terms a link to "друг (drug)(drug)", but should this not refer primarily to the sense "friend"? Or is that considered adequately covered by the link in "masculine друг (drug)" (which is easily overlooked if you are looking at #Related_terms)? PJTraill (talk) 20:30, 20 February 2020 (UTC)
That question wasn't very comprehensible to me, but I am guessing that you are unaware that the 'Related terms' header is for etymologically related terms. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 20:34, 20 February 2020 (UTC)

he-man, heman, Heman, He-Man

Is w:He-Man part of he-man's etymology, or vice versa? Either way, i think some kind of disambiguation link is necessary, but not the {{wikipedia}} or {{pedia}} template, because the Wikipedia article does not expand upon Wiktionary's definition, it refers to a specific example. w:He-Man (disambiguation) also refers to an unrelated example of the same name, while w:Heman (disambiguation) has the author of Psalm 88 in the Hebrew Bible, whose article says, 'Heman' is a Jewish name (Hebrew: הימן) meaning 'Faithful'. 10:27, 14 February 2020 (UTC)

The toy/animation franchise character's name is based transparently on a term already in wide use for more than half a century at the time. There's no need to mention character names or titles of works based on ordinary words and phrases in the entries for those words and phrases. I would hate to clutter entries like joker and Irishman, not to mention twilight, it, them, etc. with movie references. Chuck Entz (talk) 06:51, 15 February 2020 (UTC)
i wouldn't have guessed the term pre-dated the character. Neat! Your point is good, although i wonder if i'm not the only one who thought calling someone a he-man was a metaphorical reference to He-Man, whereas even the most die hard fans of your other examples know that the movies aren't the primary topic. (The primary meaning of joker, obviously, is the comic book character.)
i'm joking. i'm a joker. i'll shut up now. 23:05, 15 February 2020 (UTC)


The pronunciation of alimony is listed as /ˈæ.lɪ.mə.ni/ for UK and /ˈæ.lɪ.moʊ.ni/ for US. Is this correct? I've long thought that since an English word cannot end in the phonemes /æ/ nor /ɪ/, so those phonemes couldn't appear syllable-finally. Thus, before I looked at another dictionary, I'd have expected the American pronunciation to be /ˈæl.ɪm.oʊ.ni/. This dictionary: https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/alimony lists the following pronunciations: /ˈæl.ɪ.mə.ni/ for UK and /ˈæl.ə.moʊ.ni/ for US, so the /l/ is in the first syllable in both accents (but the /m/ is in the third in both), but the vowel in the second syllable is different in that dictionary's American pronunciation than here. By the way, the Finnish Wiktionary lists this as an American English word. Is there any merit to that claim? Mölli-Möllerö (talk) 10:41, 14 February 2020 (UTC)

There is considerable linguistic evidence that single consonants after stressed checked vowels in English are actually ambisyllabic; i.e. the /l/ in alimony is simultaneously the coda of the first syllable and the onset of the second (just like a geminate consonant, but without the longer duration). Since there's no convenient way of indicating that in an IPA transliteration, different conventions can be found: (1) transcribe ambisyllabic consonants as belonging to the preceding syllable (e.g. /ˈæl.ɪ.moʊ.ni/); (2) transcribe them as belonging to the following syllable (e.g. /ˈæ.lɪ.moʊ.ni/); (3) since syllable boundaries in English are murky at best, don't transcribe them at all (e.g. /ˈælɪmoʊni/). I personally prefer option 3, but if marking syllable boundaries is insisted upon, then I prefer option 1. —Mahāgaja · talk 13:04, 14 February 2020 (UTC)
As to the final question, here are some uses that are undoubtedly British English: [15], [16], [17].  --Lambiam 16:49, 14 February 2020 (UTC)

Errors in Template:et-conj-nägema

There are errors in the template Template:et-conj-nägema. The da-form ending is "ha" not "haa" and the des-form ending s "hes" not "haes". I don't know if there are other errors in that. 15:27, 14 February 2020 (UTC)

Pinging user Strombones.  --Lambiam 10:18, 15 February 2020 (UTC)
Fixed.Strombones (talk) 13:04, 15 February 2020 (UTC)

head over heels

Our third sense says "hopelessly smitten". That's wrong; that would be a definition for head over heels in love. Canonicalization (talk) 09:15, 15 February 2020 (UTC)

However, I don't know what to make of a sentence such as "I immediately fell head over heels for Don". The verb is fall for; head over heels is an adverbial modifier, but I think none of our definitions fits ("fall madly/hopelessly for someone"?) Canonicalization (talk) 09:47, 15 February 2020 (UTC)
Why “however”? The sense of fall for here is “to fall in love with”. Using the synonym “madly”, the sentence means: “I immediately fell madly in love with Don”. I find it more difficult to place “head over heels in trouble”. The sense seems to be merely “utterly”.  --Lambiam 10:33, 15 February 2020 (UTC)
Lexico:head over heels[18] has this as sense 2, and they have an example where "in love" is missing; Collins[19] says "If you are head over heels or head over heels in love, you are very much in love" and has an example sentence where "in love" is missing. For non-native speakers, I very much recommend careful work with sources to supplement their hunches. --Dan Polansky (talk) 13:44, 15 February 2020 (UTC)
All right, you've/I've (see the edit history) restored the sense, and I will RFV it right now. Lexico's example sentence ("I immediately fell head over heels for Don") doesn't fit with the proposed sense. Collins is a different story. Canonicalization (talk) 13:57, 15 February 2020 (UTC)
It does, if you separate "hopelessly" from "smitten", that is, "I immediately fell head over heels for Don" can be rephared as "I immediately hopelessly fell smitten for Don", which sounds odd until we replace "smitten" with "in love", and we get "I immediately hopelessly fell in love for Don. --Dan Polansky (talk) 14:11, 15 February 2020 (UTC)
Except that, as far as I know, you don't fall in love *for someone, but with someone. That's why I wrote above that you have to start the analysis from fall for. See my reasoning over at Wiktionary:Requests for verification/English § head over heels. Canonicalization (talk) 14:52, 15 February 2020 (UTC)
Let's continue in WT:RFVE#head over heels as for the sense that you want to have deleted. I placed some attesting quotations there, and let's read your response there, and any objections to these quotations. --Dan Polansky (talk) 14:59, 15 February 2020 (UTC)

Given the evidence provided at RFV, I was wrong, and shouldn't have removed that sense peremptorily. However, the entry needed some cleanup, and I think it's clearly in a better state now. Canonicalization (talk) 14:56, 15 February 2020 (UTC)

to distraction (love to distraction?)

As in They love each other to distraction. Worth an entry? We already have drive to distraction, should it possibly be moved there (I don't think so)? Canonicalization (talk) 09:21, 15 February 2020 (UTC)

Are you sure it's attestable? I've not heard it. DCDuring (talk) 14:59, 15 February 2020 (UTC)
Yes: google books:"loved him to distraction". An example. Canonicalization (talk) 15:04, 15 February 2020 (UTC)
Alone among OneLook references Oxford has to distraction "(in hyperbolic use) intensely. / ‘she loved him to distraction’". That seems entryworthy whatever the longer expression from which it may be derived. DCDuring (talk) 16:08, 15 February 2020 (UTC)
I agree with the suggestion made by DCDuring that we need a Wiktionary entry for "to distraction". Bus stop (talk) 16:19, 15 February 2020 (UTC)
Our 'jiffy test' would suggest that, if driven to distraction was the first common MWE to include to distraction with its current meaning, then driven to distraction merits an entry. IMO, all the other expressions using this sense of to distraction should have a much higher bar to clear, such as being the most common MWE in current use that includes to distraction. DCDuring (talk) 17:05, 15 February 2020 (UTC)
I think I agree completely. I would paraphrase what I think you are saying like this—the core phrase warrants an entry, and the first and most common usage of that core phrase warrants an entry—but that all subsequent usages may not warrant entries. Bus stop (talk) 17:24, 15 February 2020 (UTC)
Not quite. The idea is that the longer expression came first, so the "core expression" was derived from it. Once the "core expression" existed, it would be presumed to be the source of the other expressions. Chuck Entz (talk) 18:07, 15 February 2020 (UTC)
But how do you know "the longer expression came first"? Bus stop (talk) 18:09, 15 February 2020 (UTC)
The "jiffy test" (WT:JIFFY) requires that determination to be made before you can apply it. It's not always easy to determine, and one can be mistaken- but if someone says the jiffy test applies they're also saying that the longer expression came first. Chuck Entz (talk) 18:21, 15 February 2020 (UTC)
I would agree that drive to distraction probably preceded "love to distraction". I am undecided whether or not there should be an entry for "love to distraction". Bus stop (talk) 18:40, 15 February 2020 (UTC)

fall in love

Senses one and two are identical. The presence or absence of a complement doesn't warrant splitting. Canonicalization (talk) 11:41, 15 February 2020 (UTC)

I note some other verbs that behave the same way, such as "agree", "disagree", "argue" and "quarrel", e.g. "Mary and John disagreed" can mean "Mary and John disagreed with each other". We don't have separate "reciprocal" senses for any of the other ones I checked. Should we? I mean, is "Mary and John disagreed (with each other)" a different sense of "disagree" than "Mary and John disagreed (with a third party)", or do we treat this as just a regular feature of English? Note that we can say e.g. "Mary and John got on" to mean they got on with each other, but we cannot say "Mary and John put up" to mean that they put up with each other. All this may be beyond the scope of a dictionary, however. Mihia (talk) 12:18, 15 February 2020 (UTC)


Do we need so many senses? Canonicalization (talk) 12:01, 15 February 2020 (UTC)

Which one would you remove? Bus stop (talk) 15:40, 15 February 2020 (UTC)
Merge 6 and 7 and probably 2 and 3. DCDuring (talk) 16:00, 15 February 2020 (UTC)
I think the word is very broad in meaning. I think these 8 senses provide shades of meaning and show how the word can be used. Yes, 6 and 7 could be said to be the same, but how would we know that a reply to a question and a musical rendition could both be described as "mechanical"? Also, "mechanics" as a branch of physics (def. 2) is very different from the "mechanics" of machine construction (def. 3). Bus stop (talk) 16:13, 15 February 2020 (UTC)
And having both still wouldn't tell you that a consultant's presentation or a painter's brushstrokes could be mechanical. DCDuring (talk) 01:32, 17 February 2020 (UTC)
This gets at something I've been thinking about with regard to other entries, e.g. take and its two "consume" subsenses: is it better to distinguish subsenses like that (as other big dictionaries do) because they exist, or merge them because they're not contrastive with each other and both types of usage could be adequately defined by a combined definition? - -sche (discuss) 23:23, 16 February 2020 (UTC)
Looking at the two senses of take, I would say the first is current and the second dated or archaic. Accordingly, I suppose they should remain separate. IOW, they are lexically distinguishable based on my idiolect and might be so distinguishable for our purposes, given some objective evidence. DCDuring (talk) 01:32, 17 February 2020 (UTC)


This apparently has a special meaning in astronomy: "Of the lower-frequency region of the (typically visible) part of the electromagnetic spectrum which is relevant in the specific observation". Is it the sense used in red dwarf? Is it used with other nouns than dwarf? Canonicalization (talk) 17:23, 15 February 2020 (UTC)

Sure, red giant, red clump, arguably redshift... —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 20:24, 15 February 2020 (UTC)


Is this sense needed? I feel like you could add a similar definition to every noun in that case.

  1. (music, inexact) A musical instrument similar to the banjo.

--Lundgren8 (t · c) 22:37, 16 February 2020 (UTC)

Citations of whatever this is intended to cover would help us answer what to do. Like, if it's only that we currently define a banjo as round but google books:"square banjo" is attested (it is), then I've prefer to just tweak our definition to say "typically round" (for example), like Wikipedia does. I just did that. - -sche (discuss) 23:20, 16 February 2020 (UTC)
This is where the sense was split off, with some useful details being discarded in the process. Chuck Entz (talk) 23:28, 16 February 2020 (UTC)
Aha, and "doshpuluur" was moved to being a synonym when it would only be one example (a hyponym). I've partially re-revised the entry. More citations might help show how best to revise the sense further and/or recombine it. - -sche (discuss) 23:38, 16 February 2020 (UTC)


Where this says "In white French", can I change that to "In European and North American French"? (Or even just "In European and Canadian French", as I'm not seeing either businessman or tennisman in dictionaries of Louisiana French?) Also: given the contrast the entry makes with "sub-Saharan Africa", what is the situation in North Africa? - -sche (discuss) 03:23, 17 February 2020 (UTC)

(Yes check.svg Done. - -sche (discuss) 18:56, 18 February 2020 (UTC))


I have zero intentions to involve in the edit warring I am being dragged to on this entry, nor am I willing to edit war on any WMF platform. Therefore, I have decided to open this matter for discussion. As far as I am concerned, reverting an edit that is well justified (as M. I. Wright (talkcontribs) agrees in the correspondent discussion on his talk page) without giving proper rationale is highly discouraged in Wiktionary and, if continued, might be an instance of vandalism. Long story short, as mentioned in the correspondent edit summaries, the demographics of Arab speakers clearly predicts a disproportionate usage of two senses of لوط‎: the Biblical figure and the Islamic one, which are admittedly distinct enough to worth a note. Further, for an anglophonic speaker, such note might help eliminate cultural bias or eurocentrism. Some users/visitors, however, might view this stance as drawing attention to a specific culture and hence is a deviation from the cherished multiculturalist environment of WMF. To this I would remind that objectivism is as well a cornerstone thereof. Assem khidhr (talk) 13:04, 17 February 2020 (UTC)

I think the issue is that "Lut" and "Lot" are held to be the same figure. Your usage note said لوط "can be used to refer to either the Islamic or the Biblical figure, [but] the former sense is more common among Arab speakers" as if the two were different figures. What seems to be the case is merely that Muslims view the figure as having the attributes laid out in the Quran and Arabic-speaking Christians or Jews would view him as having the attributes laid out in the Hebrew Bible, like is also the case with other prophets who are held to be the same between, but ascribed somewhat different attributes in, the Hebrew Bible vs the Quran, like نوح and موسى. I see that عيسى does have a note about Islamic vs Christian usage, but it's about the fact that two different words are used. For figures like Lut/Lut of Noah/Nuh, perhaps we should just add links to Wikipedia's "X in Islam" articles...? - -sche (discuss) 16:48, 17 February 2020 (UTC)
I agree. It is to be expected that different but related religions hold different views concerning the same entity. Unitarian Christians have a different view on the nature of Jesus than Trinitarian Christians. But this does not mean we should distinguish between the Unitarian figure and the Trinitarian one.  --Lambiam 18:18, 17 February 2020 (UTC)
I would, however, add that in cases where both a different word/form is used and different attributes are meant, usage notes or different definitions can be appropriate; عيسى and يسوع have slightly different definitions and usage notes; Mahound has a definition that explains its connection to but also major differences from Muhammad. - -sche (discuss) 19:10, 17 February 2020 (UTC)
@-sche, Lambiam: I do agree with your suggested middle ground. Also, I was and am totally open to fine-tuning the wording of my usage note, for example replacing figures with narratives or any other solution that would emphasize the fact that it is the same historical character. However, adding a Wikipedia link versus a usage note is after all a matter of Wiktionary convention which I don't claim to be all aware of. Finally, I'm happy with your positive attitude and objectivist theme. Keep the good work up! Assem khidhr (talk) 20:13, 17 February 2020 (UTC)

musubi, spam musubi

@TAKASUGI Shinji, Eirikr, can you (or anyone else familiar with Japanese/food) look at these entries? The definition of musubi was edited last October. The entries claim that English usage of musubi is a back-formation from the Hawaiian dish of spam musubi, which until today claimed "the original Japanese meaning [of musubi] is not recognized in English". But phrases like google books:"nori musubi" seem to be attested. Is nori musubi (ever) called by that name in Japanese? Does musubi exist as a word for a food (onigiri?) in Japanese? Please revise the English and/or Japanese definitions and/or etymologies if necessary. - -sche (discuss) 21:33, 17 February 2020 (UTC)

You can find 海苔むすび (nori musubi) in the results of this GBS; although all are snippet view, in most the context suffices to identify that nori-wrapped rice is meant.  --Lambiam 22:36, 17 February 2020 (UTC)
This suggests that we're missing a sense at むすび (and, of course, that the etymology given for English musubi is wrong), unless Japanese indeed borrowed the usage from Hawaiian English, which seems unlikely. - -sche (discuss) 22:39, 17 February 2020 (UTC)
According to the KDJ entry, the Japanese term musubi has had the sense of "a ball of rice compressed with both hands" as a synonym for お握り (onigiri) since at least 1715. The Hawaiian English term spam musubi is clearly just that subset of musubi that happens to contain spam.
I will update the etym at English spam musubi to correct the mistake there regarding Japanese 結び (musubi).
As to whether the mainstream English term musubi entered the lexicon directly from Japanese 結び (musubi) or indirectly via Hawaiian English, or whether the Hawaiian English angle is even significant for etymology purposes, I have no clear idea. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 22:53, 17 February 2020 (UTC)
Not very relevant here, but to be clear, Wakablogger was blocked on his request and not for misconduct, and does speak Japanese. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 19:01, 18 February 2020 (UTC)

Japanese わすれかける

Pinging @Suzukaze-c as the entry creator.

  • This looks like SOP to me. かける (kakeru) as an auxiliary or the second half of a compounded verb basically imparts the meaning "to start to [do the action of the first verb]".
  • わすれかける (wasurekakeru) means "to start to forget something", rather than "to almost forget something". While the latter implies that the agent is successfully not forgetting, the former implies that an outcome of actually fully forgetting is still a possibility.

Our current entry at かける (kakeru) probably needs reworking.

Our current entry at わすれかける (wasurekakeru) probably needs deleting, as an SOP non-idiomatic compound. Most monolingual dictionaries that I've consulted don't include this, presumably as it's an SOP construction. See the lack of entries at Kotobank, and the paucity of resources that list this at Weblio.

If we are to keep this entry, it should be converted to a soft-redirect using {{ja-see}}, and point users to 忘れかける instead.

-- ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 23:29, 17 February 2020 (UTC)

I would not be bothered by corrections or deletion. —Suzukaze-c 00:14, 18 February 2020 (UTC)


Is this a very common misspelling? -- Huhu9001 (talk) 08:22, 18 February 2020 (UTC)

  • To clarify Huhu9001's post, the key difference here may be hard to see visually at first glance -- the middle character in the lemma form 駄洒落 (dajare, bad pun, dumb joke, dad joke) is (“solemn; steep, high”), while the middle character in the alternative form is (“sake, alcohol”). Note the extra horizontal stroke along the bottom of the second character.
@Huhu9001, the "misspelling" is not so much a mistake, and instead is itself a kind of intentional visual dajare, adding in the implication that this is a dumb joke made when one has been drinking. This form is not uncommon: see google:"駄酒落"+"は" (including the to filter specifically for Japanese results), even the stricter google books:"駄酒落"+"は" produces thousands of hits. ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 17:37, 18 February 2020 (UTC)
I see. -- Huhu9001 (talk) 07:28, 19 February 2020 (UTC)

iovesat: "sweared"

"Sweared" should be "swore", right? (Or "sworn"?) Or is there a present-tense form to lemmatize? I'm mentioning this here rather than just fixing it, as I suspect the editor could have contributed other nonfluencies. - -sche (discuss) 21:17, 18 February 2020 (UTC)

Strong verbs tend to be slowly transformed into weak verbs. This website appears to be anticipating the eventual outcome. Actually, there is a long trail of attested use of the weak forms that may not bode well for its enduring strength: [20] [21] [22] [23] [24] [25] [26] [27] [28] [29] [30] [31] [32]. Some are meant to imitate children’s or illiterate speeach, but surely not all.  --Lambiam 18:13, 19 February 2020 (UTC)
Interesting, but since a nonstandard form should not be a gloss here, I've boldly revised the entry, taking a guess that "swore" and not "sworn" was meant. - -sche (discuss) 18:39, 19 February 2020 (UTC)


Is concassed#Adjective just the past tense of concasse#Verb? I can't find google books:"(very|so|more|most|become) concassed" or other collocations that could help show it to be adjectival; however, I can only find the present-tense forms of concasse in reference to tomatoes (which are deseeded, deskinned and chopped), whereas I can find concassed/concasséd in reference to many things (which are just chopped). So, whether concassed is an adjective or form of concasse#Verb determines what concasse's definition is. - -sche (discuss) 05:56, 19 February 2020 (UTC)


Recent edits by an anon have conflated religion with the law – I vehemently oppose these changes, but I want input from the community. Is fornication first and foremost a term used in a religious and legal context? Is the term always used to mean "illicit sex" or can it be used in, for instance, biology? I'm also having difficulties with the wording of the second sense "[…]between two persons not married at all" – is there such a thing as partially married? --Robbie SWE (talk) 10:19, 19 February 2020 (UTC)

Some may make a legal distinction between the terms adultery and fornication, but surely this is not universal but depends on the jurisdiction. In English translations of the Bible the term is used with more meanings. See both the legal use and the Biblical uses in the 1828 Webster’s.  --Lambiam 15:15, 19 February 2020 (UTC)
Based on the etymology (ultimately from Latin fornix (brothel)), it would be a malapropism for a biologist to describe animal mating as fornication (excepting a tongue-in-cheek description of an affair in a usually monogamous species).  --Lambiam 15:26, 19 February 2020 (UTC)
@Robbie SWE Well, canonical and worldly law? Partial marriage perhaps wedlease, which is only accepted by Shiites and not by Sunnis and is thus partial (and as one knows muslims have it hard to keep religion and state law apart); or if a marriage is valid in one country but not in the other which happens sometimes with private international law, for example according to the new and controversial Art. 13 III EGBGB in the FRG if one party is not sixteen but the marriage is valid according to another country’s law. The intercourse probably wouldn’t be called fornication only because of this? The definition should probably be seen as depending on social norms, which may or may not be codified by law or prescribed also by religion. It’s the old distinction ius, mos, fas. Anon has indead improved the article, for what was there before hardly caught the use. Fay Freak (talk) 15:30, 19 February 2020 (UTC)
@Fay Freak, well that's where I'm having an issue – it's generalising and it makes it seem like the term is used in a specific way universally. We've had similar issues before with other terms and it is not up to Wiktionary to list every specific instance of use. --Robbie SWE (talk) 18:54, 19 February 2020 (UTC)
Citations would be a big help. The first definition has only a mention in its support. The second has only 17th century cites. It would be useful to have 20th and 21st century cites. DCDuring (talk) 19:28, 19 February 2020 (UTC)
Oxford has it being either formal or humorous. We seem to omit architectural senses that Century 1911 had and the sense "idolatry" that some dictionaries have. It would be interesting to see what the OED has. DCDuring (talk) 19:37, 19 February 2020 (UTC)
OED, 1st edition. It too has the architectural sense, under a different etymology.--Prosfilaes (talk) 23:01, 19 February 2020 (UTC)
Supposedly, the fornix meaning "vault" came to apply to "brothels", which were in vaulted spaces in cellars. Does that make it a separate etymology? DCDuring (talk) 02:31, 20 February 2020 (UTC)
If one of them came through Old French, and the other directly from Latin, as the OED seems to imply, yes.--Prosfilaes (talk) 09:38, 20 February 2020 (UTC)
@Robbie, "not married at all" meant "not married to anyone" - the intended distinction was between sex where the people involved are not married at all (to each other or anyone else), vs where people are not married to each other, but are married (thus making the sex adultery). I'm not convinced the two are distinguished from each other well enough to merit separate senses, especially since the "extended" sense ("any illicit sex") could be ascribed to either or split off as a third sense if we were being splittist. I boldly revised the entry to combine the two "illicit sex" definitions. For the other sense, "sex (in general)", we may need to tag in Kiwima for her top-notch citing skills... it's the only sense I was familiar with until now(!), but it's really hard to find sentences where the narrower interpretation ("unmarital/illicit sex") is explicitly ruled out; the same goes for fornicate; it seems like you'd have to find cites of people specifying that they were fornicating with their spouses in order to rule out the narrower sense, even though a lot of (e.g. humorous) uses that never mention legality or marital status probably just mean this sense ("sex"). I did find one cite where a person having sex with a beast is called fornication, btw. - -sche (discuss) 05:03, 20 February 2020 (UTC)


鸡鸭, literally "chicken duck", is defined as a Min Nan form for poultry, with 家禽 being the Mandarin equivalent. A native Mandarin-speaking friend says 鸡鸭 is used in Mandarin with the restricted meaning of only chickens and/or ducks exclusive of geese. Can somebody confirm this use? If it's widespread, we should have another definition. Vox Sciurorum (talk) 13:25, 20 February 2020 (UTC)

Well it's literally "chicken [and] ducks". It may not be a word in Standard Chinese. It is not in any dictionary I have access to, including the 漢語字典. ---> Tooironic (talk) 04:09, 21 February 2020 (UTC)

сверхъестественный: Text variants in quote from The Master and Margarita

Abstracted from Talk:сверхъестественный

A quote in сверхъестественный is either inaccurate or from a different edition

Anatoli says Bulgakov only wrote one version, so perhaps someone quoted (rashly!) from memory. PJTraill (talk) 20:58, 20 February 2020 (UTC)

You can see the two versions in printed book form here: the one with помещались and the one with украшали. I have not attempted to examine the source of the discrepancies.  --Lambiam 14:44, 21 February 2020 (UTC)
The English translation (follow the second GBS link above) contains the following section: Note on the Text — The text used for this translation, approved by the Bulgakov estate, is found in M.A. Bulgakov, Izbrannye proizvedeniia [sic] v 3-kh tomakh (Moskva: ‘Natasha’, ‘Literatura’, ‘Algoritm’, 1996), reproduced in Mikhail Bulgakov, Izbrannye proizvedeniia v 2-kh tomakh (Moskva: RIPOL Klassik, 2004). The section History of the Wikipedia article on The Master and Margerita gives an account of various versions, the variations being mostly due to censorship.  --Lambiam 15:23, 21 February 2020 (UTC)


The second definition is "(Commonwealth of Nations, politics) Misspelling of honourable.". Surely that's redundant at best if honourable is already listed under the alternative forms? ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 12:11, 21 February 2020 (UTC)

AFAICT you are right. The fact that we have adjective definitions at both entries, and different adjective definitions to boot, is bad. Brits also use "honourable" to mean "worthy of respect" (as our definition at "honorable" puts it), and Americans also use "honorable" as an honorific (see also google books:"the right honorable", where many uses are clearly intentional and not misspellings). I'll see if I can clean this up. - -sche (discuss) 09:32, 22 February 2020 (UTC)


Use in computer science

The term "idempotent" is used with configuration management systems (Puppet, Chef, Ansible, etc.) mostly meaning that when the configuration management job is run on a system that the system matches the specification. When the job is run again no changes should be made and the job should complete quickly because the system already matches the specification (unless the specification or the system have been changed, of course).

I will try to find some good references on this.

WilliamsJD (talk) 16:04, 21 February 2020 (UTC)

Not definitions from references, uses of the word with the meaning in question. DCDuring (talk) 16:42, 21 February 2020 (UTC)
That just seems to be 1. (mathematics, computing) Said of a function: describing an action which, when performed multiple times on the same subject, has no further effect on its subject after the first time it is performed.--Prosfilaes (talk) 22:09, 21 February 2020 (UTC)
Which is actually a special case of sense 2.  --Lambiam 23:04, 21 February 2020 (UTC)
I agree that it is very similar to 1. (mathematics) but it has a unique meaning among the DevOps community (if there is such a thing) that includes not changing anything if the job is run again and the conditions have not changed. The fact of the conditions not changing I think makes it unique from the mathematics definition.
Here is a case I just ran into where it is used in context:
The yum module does not support clearing yum cache in an idempotent way, so it was decided not to implement it, the only method is to use command and call the yum command directly, namely “command: yum clean all” https://github.com/ansible/ansible/pull/31450#issuecomment-352889579
(Thanks for your patience with me, I'm new on Wiktionary, having been more of a Wikipedia and MediaWiki guy myself. More used to commenting on talk pages.) WilliamsJD (talk) 16:30, 23 February 2020 (UTC)


I've added a valid sense ("to shoot a ball"), which is found in many contemporary dictionaries and widely attestable in standard texts. I've also added a viewable quote from google.books. Nevertheless I have my edit deleted by an IP from Saudi-Arabia, who spends all his days deleting stuff in Arabic entries that he doesn't like. In this case, I think, loanwords. I won't try to reason with him again, which I've done several times and which is pointless. If necessary, the entry should be protected. Thank you in advance for your help. 17:38, 21 February 2020 (UTC)


Are the two senses of camwhore really different, or is it a single meaning that can be offensive or not? (Cf. usage note on girl.) Vox Sciurorum (talk)

Nah. I combined them. Ƿidsiþ 07:48, 22 February 2020 (UTC)

Pronunciation of Katze

English Wiktionary says the German word Katze is pronounced /ˈkʰɑtsə/. German Wiktionary[33] says [ˈkat͡sə]. Is this a real conflict or my failure to understand the difference between slashes and braces? Vox Sciurorum (talk) 16:37, 22 February 2020 (UTC)

@Vox Sciurorum: The IPA lacks a sign for the open central unrounded vowel, which every ⟨a⟩ is in the standard pronunciation of German, unlike of most other languages. The International Phonetic Association deemed a dedicated sign unnecessary because no language distinguishes a open central unrounded vowel from a front or back one, or some obscure physical reasoning. Fay Freak (talk) 17:07, 22 February 2020 (UTC)
What about the aspirated vs. unmarked k and unlinked vs. linked ts? Vox Sciurorum (talk) 18:15, 22 February 2020 (UTC)
The German Wiktionary links /ts/s to show it's one sound (formerly, they used the deprecated symbol ʦ for that); our entries usually forgo that AFAIK, although it's not wrong. Aspiration is not normally marked in our broad transcriptions of German AFAIK and it's amusing that our broad transcription marks it where they don't even mark it in their narrow transcription. I've removed it. I also commented out /ɑ/ after reviewing other German entries and confirming that our general practice seems to be to use /a/; a decision on what symbol to use should be made centrally; random entries should not deviate and imply that Katze has a different vowel from e.g. Katzenjammer. - -sche (discuss) 18:37, 22 February 2020 (UTC)

"going off the rails"

Should off the rails mention "going off the rails"? It does not. That may be an omission. Perhaps that entry somewhere should mention the longer phrase "going off the rails". Bus stop (talk) 19:40, 22 February 2020 (UTC)

It says in the Usage Note "Most commonly used with the verb to go'", which I would think is probably sufficient, although it could also be reinforced by usage examples. Mihia (talk) 21:14, 22 February 2020 (UTC)


It seems we are missing the sense as in "IELTS band score", no? ---> Tooironic (talk) 00:07, 23 February 2020 (UTC)

Scope of synonymous Thai grammar terms มาตรา and แม่

@ludexvivorum, Miwako Sato, Octahedron80

What languages do the Thai grammar terms มาตรา (mâat-dtraa)กก and แม่กก apply to? I've seen the latter term used in Thai, Northern Thai (Lanna script) and mid-20th century Lao (Lao buhan(?) with tone marks, describing Lao in the Lanna script). I find it very hard to believe that they wouldn't be used in a Thai grammatical analysis of Northern Thai or Lao. I don't have any Tai-language grammar texts in the Khom script.

I strongly suspect that they would be used in a Thai description of languages with roughly similar phonologies. However, the lists of consonants then fail for languages that also have final /l/, /r/, /s/, /c/ or /ñ/. I therefore propose to qualify at least some of the lists in the definitions by 'in Thai'. The immediate example of such a language is Northern Khmer, especially as written in the Thai script. (There is also the issue that final so so in Thai is quite likely to be pronounced /s/, as in ก๊าซ (gáat).) --RichardW57 (talk) 13:03, 23 February 2020 (UTC)

แม่X, and later called มาตราX, are the names especially invented for teaching Central Thai (or Siamese) for centuries. The concept of แม่X originated in the reign of "King Narai the Great" of Ayutthaya Kingdom (as it said in จินดามณี). So, other dialects or Lao did not have the concept at first; they imported from Thai. List of แม่X/มาตราX can be seen in แม่/มาตรา definitions. Todays, we do not much say about it. There are also loanwords that do not fall into any traditional แม่X. (We could call new endings as แม่กล for -l, แม่กส for -s, etc but no one would accept.) How to spell words correctly is more important. --Octahedron80 (talk) 15:11, 23 February 2020 (UTC)

all set

I wonder whether an American editor might be able to take a look at this. Presently the definition reads:

  1. (idiomatic) Thoroughly ready, prepared, equipped, satisfied, or content.
    I'm all set to leave for my vacation.
    We don't need any more food; we're all set.

Previously it had a "US" label, which I removed on the grounds that e.g. "I'm all set for my vacation" (or "holiday" as we would say) is ordinary BrE too. Then I was about to question the "content" sense, but looking further into this, it seems that there may be various US-specific senses, including perhaps "content", that need to be split out. For example at [34] they give the definition "used for saying that you do not need anything, especially food, when someone offers you something", which is unfamiliar to me in BrE, and at [35] are examples and senses such as "Are you all set with that?", said to be used e.g. while pointing to an unfinished meal, and "not requiring assistance", neither of which I recognise as being used in BrE. As far as I can think, in BrE, we use "all set" just to mean "ready and prepared" or "ready to do something that one has prepared for". I am reluctant to fiddle with these potential US-specific senses as I am not familiar with them; I wonder whether someone else may be able to take a look and do whatever is needed? Mihia (talk) 18:58, 23 February 2020 (UTC)

Not an expert on any variety of English, but I think that, furthermore, the way the sense of “satisfied, content, not needing assistance” is used in AmE does not warrant the modifier “thoroughly”.  --Lambiam 14:15, 24 February 2020 (UTC)
I've removed "thoroughly". I associate all these senses as branching off the main meaning of "ready"; in example 2 I think it's heavily implied that the party is not just done eating but ready to leave. I don't think "satisfied" or "content" really applies. The comment by lmpr8r at your second link sums up its uses perfectly. Ultimateria (talk) 23:04, 24 February 2020 (UTC)
All adds the notion of completely or thoroughly to set, though I am not sure that it is therefore SoP. DCDuring (talk) 04:42, 25 February 2020 (UTC)
@Ultimateria: Thanks, so do you think that we should delete the senses "satisfied" and "content"? It seems to me, from the content that I linked to, that there definitely are US-only (or at least non-British) usages, such as the ones I mentioned. For example, in Britain we would not (AFAIAA) ask "Are you all set with that?", where "that" refers to a meal, to mean have you finished with that and are you all set (i.e. ready) to leave, or use "all set" to mean that we do not require assistance from a salesperson etc. If these senses are not adequately covered by "satisfied" and "content", then can we devise better definitions? Mihia (talk) 21:03, 25 February 2020 (UTC)

@Mihia: Here's a first draft, trying to include but consolidate everything in that Stack Exchange comment:

  1. Ready, prepared.
    I'm all set to leave for my vacation. [existing usex]
    Is everything all set for the wedding?
  2. Not wanting something, especially more of something offered or to continue using something; finished; done with.
    -Do you folks want any dessert or coffee? -No, we're all set.
    -Are you all set with that? [A waiter offering to take an empty plate at a restaurant]
    -Can I use those scissors now? -Yeah, I'm all set.
  3. Not requiring initial or further assistance.
    -Can I help you with anything? -Nah, I'm all set.
    Are you all set, or do you need help getting down the stairs?
    I just had to change your brake pads. You're all set now.

I'm not very sure about "It's all set" for "keep the change" because I'm in my 20s and I don't use cash ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. You would label senses 2 and 3 with US, right? Ultimateria (talk) 17:35, 26 February 2020 (UTC)

I might combine 2 and 3 into one sense like "Not requiring initial or further assistance with, additions to, or use of something"; notice how similar in form and (seemingly) meaning the "Do you folks want any dessert or coffee? / No, we're all set" vs "Can I help you with anything? / Nah, I'm all set" usexes are. I don't believe I'm familiar with "Can I use those scissors now? / Yeah, I'm all set" = "I'm done with them" type use, but it may just be slipping my mind. - -sche (discuss) 05:29, 27 February 2020 (UTC)
@Ultimateria: Thanks, that looks great to me. Yes, as far as I know, senses 2 and 3 should be labelled US, and sense 1 is universal. I am neutral on whether senses 2 and 3 should be combined, as I am not really familiar with these uses. Mihia (talk) 18:30, 27 February 2020 (UTC)
Oh, just one other small thing, the final usex, I just had to change your brake pads. You're all set now, may be slightly confusing under a "US" label, as this could be said in BrE too, with a sense like "all set to resume use of the car / get on your way / etc." I would be inclined to delete that one. Mihia (talk) 19:01, 27 February 2020 (UTC)
@Mihia: I've added the combined sense proposed by User:-sche (what can I say, you're a good lexicographer :]), and I've left out the brake pad usex at your recommendation. I insist on the "I'm done with them" sense, but it might be regional. Ultimateria (talk) 19:20, 27 February 2020 (UTC)
Thanks very much for sorting that out. Mihia (talk) 22:04, 27 February 2020 (UTC)


I have created the page for Proto-Slavic *rana. Can someone help with adding etymological information and descendants?

I am unfamiliar with all the templates used to create etymological links between things. The Vasmer entry gives several cognates, and appears to link it to Sanskrit व्रण (vraṇa) (though with a final /s/) and to Albanian varrë. At the Albanian page, the PIE antecedent is given as *wer(H)-, and there is also an entry given for Avestan.

By the way, with *rana created, I believe that accentual tables at w:Proto-Slavic#Nouns are finally complete with entries on Wiktionary. I guess you can say that the existence of missing entries there has been a bit of a... sore... spot. :P BirdValiant (talk) 20:33, 23 February 2020 (UTC)

An IP user helped out a lot: [36] Whoever that was, thank you :) BirdValiant (talk) 22:36, 23 February 2020 (UTC)
A related issue is that Belarusian рана (rana) now needs to have two etymologies/senses: one for "early" and one for "wound", because the two are homonyms, see: [37]. BirdValiant (talk) 21:45, 23 February 2020 (UTC)
I have done that, but now the Belarusian entry needs a noun inflection table. BirdValiant (talk) 22:33, 23 February 2020 (UTC)


As pointed out on talk, the usage notes could use rewriting to be shorter and clearer. - -sche (discuss) 08:40, 24 February 2020 (UTC)

Proto-Indo-European *tauros (mountain, hill)

Do you think we have enough evidence to create this entry when considering

I'm assuming it would be a late substrate loan considering how it seems geographically confined to those areas. Tauern's page talks a little more about this root. DJ K-Çel (talk) 14:03, 24 February 2020 (UTC)

No. The English and German words have the wrong initial, and indeed the current etymology of the English word derives it from the turris. --RichardW57 (talk) 21:43, 2 March 2020 (UTC)


A little puzzle. Is there a (reasonably neat) substitutable definition of "for" in the sense of "in exchange for" that does not include the word "for"? I sure as hell can't think of one. Mihia (talk) 15:22, 24 February 2020 (UTC)

The very shortest, simplest words often require the use of longer, more complex words. But even with that, I can't think of such a definition off hand. I'd try to come up with a non-gloss definition. DCDuring (talk) 04:47, 25 February 2020 (UTC)

New sense of big ?

I'm sure we've all pretty much heard of big pharma by now, but now there's big insurance, big soap, etc...is this a new sense of big with connotations in addition to just merely large size ? Leasnam (talk) 15:52, 24 February 2020 (UTC)

...think Imperial Death Star :D Leasnam (talk) 15:52, 24 February 2020 (UTC)
Big Science is another. I'm not sure it connotes all that much beyond everyday senses of big (large; popular; influential). Equinox 17:19, 24 February 2020 (UTC)
Big business, big data, big government, big money, big tobacco, and, of course, Big Brother and Big Blue. It is the same big as in too big to fail. Indeed connotes being “large” and “influential“, but – even more importantly – “extremely powerful”, and not so much (in these uses) “popular” in the sense of being the darling of the general populace. So perhaps a split of that sense is indicated.  --Lambiam 22:25, 24 February 2020 (UTC)

trick (prostitution)

We define this as both "an act of prostitution (generally used with turn)" and "a customer to a prostitute". (We also have turn tricks.) Are these really distinct? I mean, aren't the tricks that one "turns" actually the customers, rather than abstract sex acts? How can we be sure? Equinox 01:48, 25 February 2020 (UTC)

After digging through a lot of chaff about magic tricks, I managed to find sense 1 also used with "perform", although the uses form a kind of continuum, one end of which ("'live shows', in which girls perform tricks with their private parts") bleeds into the more general senses of the word. Incidentally, one of the citations seems to use it to refer to a sex act performed by someone before they became a prostitute. I revised the definition a bit to also define it as "a (paid) sex act". - -sche (discuss) 03:35, 25 February 2020 (UTC)
However, I'm not sure "turn tricks" is using the "act" sense of "trick"; I think you're right that it's more a reference to customers. Perhaps the usex about "turning ten tricks a day" and the {{qualifier}} referring to "turn tricks" should be moved to the "customer" sense. (Perhaps the link to "turn tricks" should not be next to any sense at all, but just present as a related/derived term.) - -sche (discuss) 03:43, 25 February 2020 (UTC)
So in your two citations "perform tricks" specifically means "have sex"? I can't tell for sure, but I suppose so. (Evidently it's not pulling rabbits from hats.) Equinox 03:51, 25 February 2020 (UTC)
I think the Lindquist cite, and Petrakis cite on Citations:trick, are reasonably clear in referring to performing some kind of sexual act(s), and the Draskoczy cite makes clear that it's something more than (or at least, distinct from) stripping.
Btw, I also see references to google books:prostitutes "doing tricks" (in cars, etc), but one can "do" a person as well as an act so it's not clear which sense those are. And I find examples of prostitutes "doing sexual tricks", which can't mean "clients", but in those cases someone could argue it's just something like our "an entertaining difficult physical action" sense. - -sche (discuss) 05:23, 25 February 2020 (UTC)
Although not 100% unambiguous, I think here and here “doing tricks” refers to the acts, not the johns.  --Lambiam 11:36, 25 February 2020 (UTC)

reunite: passive when used as a transitive verb

Collins labels its use as [be VERB-ed + with]

Longman labels it as: Reunite is usually passive when used as a transitive verb; "be reunited with somebody" (likewise there's an entry for the idiom be entwined (with something) , for which Wiktionary offers a note "Particularly used in attributive form *entwined*.")

Unlike for example gather, Oxford English Dictionary shows the entry for reunite labeled as passive

What is the reason behind using reunite in so-called "passive" even in a sentence where there's no semantic agent and meaning? --Backinstadiums (talk) 13:38, 25 February 2020 (UTC)

Because passive in English dictionaries is about the grammar, not imputed semantics. DCDuring (talk) 03:04, 26 February 2020 (UTC)
@DCDuring: Can you elaborate your point a bit please? --Backinstadiums (talk) 08:50, 26 February 2020 (UTC)
DCD has answered the question why the dictionary calls it passive, but not why English should prefer the passive voice in a situation that is semantically not passive. (See also Deponent verb on Wikipedia.) It is not entirely clear to which of these two fundamentally different questions an answer is being sought. Actually, uses of reunite in the active voice are common enough; if you think of reunited as an adjective, the issue kinf of disappears.  --Lambiam 20:35, 26 February 2020 (UTC)
@Lambiam: Could it be that it was labeled as passive instead of adjective because of the attestations of the prepositional intransitive active voice? I cannot find similar examples to check whether there's a pattern here --Backinstadiums (talk) 16:50, 27 February 2020 (UTC)
I don’t think so. The subjects of the sentences under OED sense 1 that use the active voice have the same semantic role as the subjects of the examples that use be+ reunited, regardless of any prepositions. Here are some sentences for consideration.
  • After having been looking forward for so long to reunite with her children, last night she was, at long last, reunited with both of them.
  • The family was reunited after the war, unlike so many others who could not reunite.
  • The band will reunite for a world tour, but they will not remain reunited indefinitely.
 --Lambiam 21:37, 27 February 2020 (UTC)
@Lambiam: Shouldn't the first one say "looking forward for so long to reunitING with"? What other verbs behave in a similar way? --Backinstadiums (talk) 09:56, 28 February 2020 (UTC)
Yes, you’re right, grammarians frown upon this. It is common enough, though. English has two ways of making verbal nouns: gerunds, made by adding a suffix -ing to the verb stem (as in “seeing is believing”), and to + infinitive (as in “to understand all is to forgive all”). The second way has many restrictions; it cannot be used after a preposition, and also not in combination with an adjective or determiner. Uses of “look forward to INF” are nevertheless fairly common, perhaps because of the semantic similarity with “want to INF”, “wish to INF”, “desire to INF”, “hope to INF” and “expect to INF”.  --Lambiam 17:14, 29 February 2020 (UTC)


There seems to be an excessive number of quotations in Etymology 3, the obsolete meaning. Needs cropping or some to be moved to Citations:strain or Middle English section(?). --AcpoKrane (talk) 17:47, 25 February 2020 (UTC)

You mean Etymology 2 ? Leasnam (talk) 21:48, 25 February 2020 (UTC)
It is 3 now. I have moved it to the end as it contains only obsolete meanings. Mihia (talk) 21:59, 25 February 2020 (UTC)


There's no way it's pronounced /ˈpaːsɪz/ in Boston, right? Ultimateria (talk) 19:12, 25 February 2020 (UTC)

In the traditional Boston accent (now getting rarer and rarer), it certainly is. —Mahāgaja · talk 19:38, 25 February 2020 (UTC)

freebirth, freebirther, freebirthing

Considering that the movement behind the practice of "freebirthing" is strongly linked to quackery, is it worth adding a note about the obvious positive spin that is present in these terms? ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 10:48, 26 February 2020 (UTC)

It is worth noting that the tern freebirth was coined by Jeannine Parvati Baker, who used the term both as a noun and as a verb (so freebirther is the agent noun freebirth +‎ -er, and freebirthing is the gerund).  --Lambiam 21:15, 26 February 2020 (UTC)
Is it needed? "A childbirth delivered without medical assistance or the attendance of a midwife." is a neutral definition, and the bias of free + birth is pretty clear to any English speakers (or from the etymology).--Prosfilaes (talk) 06:34, 27 February 2020 (UTC)
What note do you propose to add? What do we have references to support? If, for example, a term were chiefly used by non-medical proponents of the practice, and medical professionals / other people used another term, I suppose usage notes could say something like that (with references). (In a much more extreme case, we have a note about Nazi use of will to power.) - -sche (discuss) 09:22, 27 February 2020 (UTC)

on <program-name>

on has a definition: Used to indicate a means or medium.

  • I saw it on television.  Can't you see I'm on the phone?

This is the closest definition to "on The Goon Show", etc. with the name of a television or radio program but it doesn't seem exactly the same to me because the medium of television or radio seems different from a specific program. Do we need another definition or does that one cover it? --Danielklein (talk) 22:50, 26 February 2020 (UTC)

To me “Trump is on the radio” and “Trump is on the phone” feel like different senses of on, but “Trump is on the radio” and “Trump is on the Howard Stern Show” feel like the same one.  --Lambiam 10:23, 27 February 2020 (UTC)
Whenever I get such a feeling I lie down until it goes away.
But seriously, it is little help to proliferate senses in an already overlong entry. I've added three more usage examples, which include a broader range of "media". We may be missing examples of other "means".
Dictionaries are relatively little help in distinguishing cases in which, say, in rather than on applies (in the script; in the play; but on the TV show). That is, the can readily help users decode text, but not help as much with encoding. DCDuring (talk) 12:43, 27 February 2020 (UTC)

defining Qur'an (vs Aeneid, Christianity, or French) as "a specific version of that text"

We define Qur'an as a proper noun, "The Islamic holy book", but also as a common noun, "a specific version [...] or copy of the above-mentioned book". We do likewise at Bible and a few other books. Why? We don't do this at Aeneid or Iliad, though they function the same way: we are fine letting one sense handle both someone reading the Aeneid [proper noun?] and buying multiple Aeneids [common nouns? copies or different translations]. We don't do this with languages, we let one sense handle someone studying Latin [as a whole] or comparing the Latin of Cicero to the Latin of the Vatican today [varieties]. We don't do it with religions themselves, though one can believe in Christianity / Islam [proper noun / belief system in general] or believe in a Christianity or an Islam [variety] that is intolerant of foobar. It's not as if the common noun section is needed to handle countability, since we already admit that both Qur'an#Proper_noun and Bible#Proper_noun can be pluralizable, as we do for Islam, etc. To my surprise, we don't list plurals for many languages, though most have attestable plurals and I just added e.g. French's. Should we delete the "a specific version of..." senses, or what am I missing? - -sche (discuss) 05:17, 27 February 2020 (UTC)

Maybe it's just a matter of what's common. I would say "I have three Bibles/Qur'ans on my bookshelf" but I probably wouldn't say "I have three Aeneids on my bookshelf". Instead I'd say "I have three copies of the Aeneid on my bookshelf". But I agree that the former isn't ungrammatical, just less common (at least in my idiolect). At any rate that judgment could be the reason why we have the "specific version" sense listed for some works but not others. —Mahāgaja · talk 09:15, 27 February 2020 (UTC)
I agree with -sche, personally. It should not be separate senses. (I also feel the same way about things like coffee meaning "a drink" and also "a serving of that drink" as a separate sense. This is daft: it's a function of how the language works.) Ƿidsiþ 10:29, 29 February 2020 (UTC)
I agree with -sche. It seems a bit like defining Andrew as both "A male given name" and "An individual with this name." Andrew Sheedy (talk) 22:17, 1 March 2020 (UTC)

ataúd meaning an outdoor roasting/smoking oven

I stumbled across a book about Texan 'Mexican' cuisine which mentions that ataúd can also be a kind of oven for roasting/smoking food outdoors (compare a caja china). Sure enough, if you do a Google Image search for e.g. ataúd horno, there are lots of pictures of the thing in question being referred to as an ataúd. I can even find one book which I think is using it this way (by an author from...Asturias?):

  • 2019, Víctor Manuel, El gusto es mío, AGUILAR (→ISBN):
    El lechón al ataúd tiene diferentes versiones, pero siempre es un cochinillo pequeño que se puede hacer al horno, a la parrilla o empalado si es un asadero de pollos. Este previamente se impregna unas horas de achiote, jugo de limón y sal. []

Can anyone find two more? I've tried every collocation I can think of with horno/hornear, asador, lechón, etc, but there's too much interference from the more common meaning of "coffin". - -sche (discuss) 06:16, 27 February 2020 (UTC)

[38], [39].  --Lambiam 10:09, 27 February 2020 (UTC)
Thanks, that also alerted me to some collocations with which I was able to find more. I've added the sense. - -sche (discuss) 10:05, 29 February 2020 (UTC)

Etymology of सृगाल and the root *śr̩gʰu-

Over at सृगाल, we find the following Etymology section:

«Several etymologies have been proposed: literally "howling"; or from Proto-Indo-Iranian *śr̩gʰu- (Blažek)[1]; or from Proto-Sino-Tibetan *s-k-jwal (“wild canine”).[2]»

Apparently, *śr̩gʰu- means "Blažek". Except, what does that mean? It seems to be a name… proponent of the theory? But the reference is by Michael Witzel, not by a Blažek… is it «Blažek apud Witzel», meaning that Witzel paper cites Blažek's proposal? Then why not refer to a Blažek work? Is that proposal not recorded in writing before the Witzel paper? And in the end, what does *śr̩gʰu- mean? Was it created specifically for the Sanskrit word, or are there other descendants? Which?

MGorrone (talk) 15:12, 27 February 2020 (UTC)


Hi. I found this delightful, clunky synonym for "bitter" today. We have "amarus" as the root word. I don't have the skill to add a good entry. Is anyone willing? Thanks.

Apparently Yes check.svg Done: we have an entry now. Equinox 00:45, 28 February 2020 (UTC)


This is interesting. It's a slang word for a Microsoft Xbox One console. After recent edits, there are three separate etymologies (from one, bone, etc.) by which people arrived at this slang term, but they all have the same meaning (i.e. an Xbox One console)! I've never seen anything like that on here before. When the meaning is the same I'd be inclined to merge the etys and just say "variously from X, Y, and Z" origins but I suppose they are technically separate etys. Thoughts? Equinox 00:43, 28 February 2020 (UTC)

What a fascinating entry! I agree they should be merged here, if the meaning, pronunciation, and inflections are all the same—there's no way to distinguish a citation of one from a citation of another! (Indeed, I wonder to what extent there were three independent origins, versus just competing ideas about or re-interpretations of what the origin was—especially in the case of "X+bone" vs "X+throw a bone".) I don't recall seeing three competing or combining etymologies before, but merging is consistent with e.g. beardo, misfire (and mis-, though that might need to be sourced...), flan (even before my recent edits), capon, and thrush (a combination of two Old English etymons which themselves apparently both come from one PIE form). - -sche (discuss) 01:41, 28 February 2020 (UTC)
Or, at least the last two should be merged; the first might have a different pronunciation ("X B one"?), although that could still be handled with sense-specific pronunciation info as is done for e.g. use, if someone wants to merge them all. - -sche (discuss) 16:29, 28 February 2020 (UTC)
Is the first etymology (Xbox + One) really also a "synonym of Xbox"? Ultimateria (talk) 17:18, 28 February 2020 (UTC)
Good point. The Xbox One wasn't the first console in the Xbox range (that was just called "Xbox"). Equinox 22:22, 28 February 2020 (UTC)
Yeah, I was sceptical of that sense, but I figure it may well exist in lax usage, like lax usage of Java to mean "either Java or Javascript, whatever". - -sche (discuss) 10:04, 29 February 2020 (UTC)


The English God page has a number of issues (particularly in the Christian definitions, definitions 2 and 3):

1.) I would say that the reason that Christians use the word "God" when referring to the Father and the Son is not so much a matter of shortening as it is a matter of trinitarian theology: the Father is God and the Son is God, so both are called "God". (Same with the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is called "God" not by shortening, but simply because the Holy Ghost is God.)

2.) The second definition (the one pertaining specifically to God the Father) is poorly worded. Is it saying that Christians believe that the Trinity is the God of the Old Testament? Or is it saying that Christians believe that the God the Father is the God of the Old Testament? (If the latter, I think many Christians would object. Many Christians hold that the God of the Old Testament was the pre-incarnate Christ.)

3.) Neither of these two Christian definitions seem particularly useful in my opinion.

4.) The most useful Christian definition is one that's not even listed (though it is briefly mentioned in the final paragraph of the usage notes). "God", in Christian usage, should be defined in two respects: 1.) as a name or word which refers to the Holy Trinity (i.e. the divine essence or divine nature), and 2.) as a name or word which refers to each of the three divine hypostases or persons (Father, Son, and Holy Ghost) even when considered separately.

5.) Another (unlisted) definition is the philosophical definition (used in philosophy of religion and natural theology), wherein "God" is a name or word which refers to an infinite transcendent being who is (or has) all of the divine attributes (e.g. omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, etc.). This is a definition which I think is noteworthy enough to be listed; whereas all the other definitions make explicit reference to religion, this philosophical definition has nothing to do with religion per se.

2601:49:C301:D810:C51B:B67B:6850:F7EB 20:53, 28 February 2020 (UTC)

Re point 5: if it's used in "philosophy of religion" and "natural theology" then evidently it is a religious context. Equinox 22:23, 28 February 2020 (UTC)
I made the two Christian senses subsenses, for now of the current sense 1. I am inclined to agree a sense should be added (presumably after the existing sense 1?) for the Christian God "overall", at which point the two subsenses should be moved to being subsenses of that...but the Christian God is widely considered to be the same deity as the Jewish and Muslim God, and neither of them can be defined as a Trinity, so the wording of the sense would have to be careful, but could still be doable and a good idea. (Regarding not having separate senses for the Jewish vs Christian views of God even though they ascribe him some different attributes, compare #لوط, above.) I think it's useful to have a specific subsense distinguishing God the Father, since many bare uses of "God" are in reference to him, even in a way that's contrastive with the other (sub)sense, like in a sentence saying God let his son Jesus be crucified, where God means only the Father and not Jesus. The "Mother of God" cite/usex (where Mary can be seen as the mother of only Jesus, not of the Father who supposedly existed eternally) suggests the other subsense may exist distinctly/contrastively enough to merit its own subsense, too. But you're right that there should be some sense to cover e.g. references to the Holy Ghost as God. - -sche (discuss) 22:55, 28 February 2020 (UTC)
I expanded the first sense to say "especially the deity of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam", and expanded the Father subsense to mention that he's still around in the New Testament. I think this at least partially (whether or not satisfactorily to you) addresses points 1-4. I am familiar with the usage described in point 5 but not convinced it's distinct from our sense 1 (though sense 1 could be expanded to mention use in philosophy, if appropriate). - -sche (discuss) 10:02, 29 February 2020 (UTC)
That's better :)
Regarding the philosophical definition, maybe I'm just splitting hairs, but the distinction I'm making is that the word "God" (in philosophical contexts) does not refer (at least not necessarily) to the single deity of any monotheistic religion nor to the single male deity of any bitheistic religion.
(Despite the name, "philosophy of religion" has nothing to do with religion. "Philosophy of religion" is an academic discipline which is completely distinct from "religious studies" (the study of religion and religious beliefs). "Philosophy of religion" also does not presuppose any religious beliefs (as is the case with "theology"). Philosophers of religion argue for or against the existence of God, and also discuss related topics (such as the "problem of evil", etc.), without making reference to religion or religious beliefs. So whether or not the word "God" in philosophical contexts refers to the same God as the God signified by the word "God" in religious contexts is beside the point. Though I do admit that the philosophical arguments, when carried over into the realm of theology, are aimed at religious belief.)
2601:49:C301:D810:C51B:B67B:6850:F7EB 13:27, 29 February 2020 (UTC)
I don't think the philosophical definition falls under the first sense, except perhaps as used in philosophy of religion, since it is used completely outside of (though not without influence from) religious systems. Spinoza, for instance, held that there was only one substance, comprising everything that exists, which he termed alternately "God" or "Nature". He was excommunicated by his Jewish community for his atheistic views... Aristotle also wrote about a God in his metaphysics that sounds suspiciously like the Christian definition of God, but he predated Christianity and had no contact with Judaism (that I am aware of). I would define it as something like: "(by extension [of sense 1], philosophy) An infinite and eternal being, typically possessing such attributes as omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience, and self-sufficient existence." Andrew Sheedy (talk) 04:52, 1 March 2020 (UTC)
Here I read, “Deism is simply a belief in God, often identifying God as the creator of the Universe but not necessarily as a dualist sort of creator.” Or, in the words of Thomas Paine, “I believe in one God, and no more”. Which sense of the term God is implied here? Is Deism a religion?  --Lambiam 12:04, 1 March 2020 (UTC)
I think Deism is religious, but not a religion. It would probably fall under the philosophical sense I proposed, perhaps with an additional context label, and maybe tweaked wording. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 22:08, 1 March 2020 (UTC)
I would say that whether or not deism counts as a religion, or is even "religious", really depends on how you define "religion". I don't entirely agree with the definitions on the religion page, but by those definitions it doesn't seem to be, since it has no rituals. (Deism itself is based in the belief that God created the world but does not interact with it. Hence deism's lack of religious texts, lack of prayer, lack of rituals, and lack of basically everything that makes religion a "religion" as opposed to a mere "belief system".)
But insofar as deism professes a belief in the existence of an intelligent creator, or even any sort of first cause at all, I would say that this falls under the proposed philosophy definition. (But also, I think it needs to be understood in its historical context. Christianity was the dominant religion in the west, so I think when deists used the word "God" they were probably just referring to the same God that the general public already believed in. If this is the case, then it falls under the religious definition regardless of whether or not deism is a religion.) 2601:49:C301:D810:D9A0:98C:3F36:6E15 16:17, 9 March 2020 (UTC)
With regard to the proposed philosophy definition, one change that I would make would be to emphasize the fact that God is a "necessary" (i.e. non-contingent) being. Because that's how the arguments for God's existence are set up (at least the cosmological arguments). They begin by asserting that contingent beings (such as trees, cats, humans, etc.) are observed to exist; then they argue that the existence of contingent beings is incompatible with the non-existence of a necessary being (and thus a necessary being is also known to exist), and then they assign the name "God" to that necessary being.
Though, this could get messy because some people believe in the existence of this same necessary being but do not call it "God". 2601:49:C301:D810:D9A0:98C:3F36:6E15 16:15, 9 March 2020 (UTC)


Why does this redirect to Old Saxon ondradan? Isn't this (or bedyrnan/bediernan) the Old English cognate to Old Saxon bidernian?

Cf. "Dēore wæs hē dryhtne ūrum; ne mihte him bedyrnde weorþan". Tharthan (talk) 23:10, 28 February 2020 (UTC)

I've deleted the bad, weird redirect. Feel free to recreate the page with valid content. - -sche (discuss) 10:02, 29 February 2020 (UTC)

Pronunciation of on't

What's the pronunciation of on't? Apparently, there's only one label for two different phonological contractions --Backinstadiums (talk) 00:49, 29 February 2020 (UTC)

I believe it's a single syllable, like in't. So that would typically be /ɒnt/ (UK), /ɑnt/ (US). Equinox 00:52, 29 February 2020 (UTC)
“You taught me language, and my profit on’t / Is, I know how to curse.” (The Tempest, Act I Scene 2.)  --Lambiam 11:16, 1 March 2020 (UTC)
@Equinox: What about hae? LPD gives /hEi/ for some hae, but OED gives ta for to hae/have. Also, the pronunciation of both meanings of i'?
“To hain is to hae.” (Scots proverb.) The OED version raises the question, what is the pronunciation of ta? /ta/? I’m fairly sure a Scot will pronounce the proverb with one syllable for each word.  --Lambiam 11:16, 1 March 2020 (UTC)
@Lambiam: Also, the pronunciation of both meanings of i'?--Backinstadiums (talk) 15:04, 2 March 2020 (UTC)
Since they were formed by apocope from /ɪn/ and /ɪt/, I expect /ɪ/ in either case – but when the pronunciation of the unclipped words would have been /ən/ or /ət/, one should expect /ə/. I am not aware of actual uses of i’ meaning “it”. The editor adding this gave the edit summary+English - in or is”, which does not inspire much confidence in the correctness of the second sense.  --Lambiam 15:45, 2 March 2020 (UTC)

Fourth Point of Contact

"Fourth Point of Contact" can be found at Appendix:Glossary of military slang but "Search Wiktionary" does not seem to help with finding it. Using Google does locate it but perhaps it warrants its own entry or a redirect. It has slang significance and no doubt plenty of attestations. Bus stop (talk) 03:52, 29 February 2020 (UTC)

Hmmm. It might be nice for us to have some kind of expanded or supplemental search when a search in principal namespace fails. At the very least :Citations, :Appendix, and :Thesaurus should be included in such search. DCDuring (talk) 04:31, 29 February 2020 (UTC)
I found enough citations that I created the entry: fourth point of contact. Hard redirects are not normally used in cases like this. Soft redirects using {{no entry}} could point users to the appendix (and do for e.g. formulaic, unattested SI units), but have drawbacks (the bluelink makes it harder to track, e.g. in lists of wanted entries, that an entry has not been created), so should be used with care. I think adjusting the default search to include more namespaces, or to run a second search on more namespaces if the first fails, is something to propose on Phabricator if there's consensus for it here (probably something to ask about in the Grease Pit),rather than something we control locally. - -sche (discuss) 09:53, 29 February 2020 (UTC)
I would not want to alter the default search, only to make available a supplemental search with the namespaces mentioned above in the event that search in primary namespace failed to find an entry. One can already select additional namespaces for a given search, but this does not help someone not familiar with the way we use these other namespaces. There would seem to be a BP issue: Are we willing to offer users such an option? and a GP issue: Are we able to do it ourselves? I mentioned it here because we have a real use case. DCDuring (talk) 12:26, 29 February 2020 (UTC)
I found it interesting that this YouTube video at 2:50 includes a caption for the words "Shove it up my fourth point of contact". I had never heard the terminology before and it sent me searching for the significance of the phrase. Bus stop (talk) 17:05, 29 February 2020 (UTC)

can't even

Is the slang sense ever used with other pronouns than I? @Mahagaja? Canonicalization (talk)

I think so, certainly in indirect speech, e.g. "She says she can't even". —Mahāgaja · talk 13:13, 29 February 2020 (UTC)
Found online: "When the week leaves you feeling like you just can't even... FRIDAY ARRIVES", and "When your emotions are so fucked up that you just can't even." Equinox 14:26, 29 February 2020 (UTC)
“But these companies — countries that have been really — they can’t even — I don’t blame them, I blame our people.” I mean, he sure can produce a stream of words, but he can’t even.  --Lambiam 10:38, 1 March 2020 (UTC)


A couple of red flags here (ho ho). Sense 1 is the national (or other) emblem but is described as "a piece of cloth", though of course in reality it's still the national flag if it's on a vinyl bumper sticker or anything else. Sense 2 tries to deal with this: "An exact representation of a flag (for example: a digital one used in websites)", but falls into the trap where we would have to define "ship" as "a representation of a ship, e.g. a small model in a bottle".

I think we should somehow make sense 1 the general abstract one, where a flag is a sort of "pattern of colour" having a certain meaning, regardless of the material it appears on.

And separately, what's this other sense trying to say? "The use of a flag, especially to indicate the start of a race or other event." How is that used in a sentence? Equinox 14:20, 29 February 2020 (UTC)

I agree. Another idea would be to simply tack something like "or a representation thereof in aqnother medium" onto the existing "piece of cloth" sense, but I like your wording about a "pattern of colour", tackling the issue directly, a lot better. I might add "and sometimes symbols or words" or something for flags like Mozambique's and Brazil's which have symbols and words. Re "the use of a flag": I'm guessing it's for something like "the drivers went [i.e., started driving] at the flag". If that's the case, I'm not sure it's separate, since runners can go "at the gun", "at the bell", etc. And/or perhaps it's for a driver, player, etc who "objected to the flag" (that was thrown or flown to indicate some foul or hazard on the racetrack). In both cases, I'm not sure that's a different sense. - -sche (discuss) 18:14, 29 February 2020 (UTC)
We define white flag, sense 1, as: “A flag with a white color ...”. What sense of flag is meant here? Could it be a vinyl bumper sticker with a particular “pattern of colour”? As to national flags, not only do they have a pattern of colours, symbols and words, but they can also have a defining shape. I think, though, that fixating on national flags is not productive. See for example blue peter, defined as: ‘A blue signal flag with a white rectangle in the centre, signifying "P".’ Some flags only have a right to material existence in the original sense of a piece of cloth that can be flown and flutter in the wind, but one can of course nevertheless make imitations of such flags in paper or other materials and call these imitations flags. Other flags have no aspiration beyond a paper existence, like Mexican papel picado. Flags can be symbols of something, whether a state or a nautical signal, and then they have a characteristic design. That design can be replicated in all kinds of media, and also be named, metonymically, a flag.  --Lambiam 09:32, 1 March 2020 (UTC)

invisible primaries/money primaries

Do these plural nouns actually exist? I wasn't able to find any attestation to these plural forms in ngram, or through even a simple Google search. Maybe there's some more complicated method I haven't tried, but I feel like "invisible primary" and "money primary" are uncountable. Imetsia (talk) 15:13, 29 February 2020 (UTC)

Uncountable doesn't mean "no plural is used": it means you say SOME (rice, sugar) not A/AN (apple, dog). And yes I found plurals. Equinox 15:41, 29 February 2020 (UTC)

the whole while

Is this idiomatic? Sounds odd to me. I would expect "the whole time". Equinox 15:41, 29 February 2020 (UTC)

I've added some cites. I can find some people (including, apparently, a former government minister) using it together with British spellings like realise, both in books and on twitter, so it doesn't seem to be just American, either. - -sche (discuss) 18:31, 29 February 2020 (UTC)
It's labelled as Noun , but is it ? Seems very adverbial-phrasey to me (compare all the while) Leasnam (talk) 00:34, 1 March 2020 (UTC)
Well, it's like "all week" or "half the day". Clearly is a noun but probably mostly used in adverbial contexts... Equinox 02:58, 1 March 2020 (UTC)
I suppose I didn't state my case fully :D This feels like an entry created as a translation. If that is true then I still think "the whole time" would be a better one because (IMO, haven't checked figures TBH) it's far more common. If I didn't think "the whole while" existed at all I would have RFVed it. Most GBooks results are not for this, though: they seem to be largely along the lines of "NP VP the whole, while..." i.e. at the same time. Equinox 02:58, 1 March 2020 (UTC)
Created as a translation? A translation of what? (And did you mean “idiomatic” in the sense of “how native speakers speak” or in the sense of “having a non-literal meaning”?) Since while means “a period of time”, the whole while means “the whole period of time”. To me it looks like a NiSOP. You can also find uses of the whole damn while.  --Lambiam 08:02, 1 March 2020 (UTC)
A translation of I-don't-know-what, but (since as you say it's pretty much SoP) that might have been a rationale. (However, the creator seems to be a Spanish speaker and todo el tiempo did not exist until a year later.) By "idiomatic" I meant something like "set phrase", in the way that "he does it all the time" is idiomatic but "he does it throughout the time" isn't. Yes it seems sum-of-parts to me too, though I've become less antsy about this and frankly you can put anything into anything (absobloodylutely, etc.). Equinox 08:41, 1 March 2020 (UTC)
Ah, I see your point now, sorry. I'd say it's "idiomatic" in the first sense, that it's a fluent/natural phrase, though less common than "the whole time" (about 1% as common, in Ngrams). I've heard (and see cites of) the phrase in dialects, supporting my sense that it's native to English and not just a calque of another language. But as far as being "idiomatic" in the CFI sense, it seems just as transparent/SOP as the whole time, which we don't have (though Merriam-Webster does), so I guess we should RFD this one... - -sche (discuss) 08:33, 1 March 2020 (UTC)
We also have all the while, which seems to me to have a similar status (and is used in 1892 in a famous work by Plutarchus), DCDuring (talk) 11:49, 2 March 2020 (UTC)

Extra-rhotic pronunciation of familiar: to add or not to add?

I came across a r/boneappletea video long ago which contained a post which suggested there is a pronunciation of familiar with an extra r after the first a, something like /fǝr'mi:l.i.ǝr/ or /fǝr'mi:l.jǝr/, or perhaps -mıl-. Where is this pronunciation used? How widespread is it? Is it proscribed? Should we add it to the entry here?

MGorrone (talk) 23:20, 29 February 2020 (UTC)

That pronunciation sounds familiar to me... I'm pretty sure I've heard it a number of times here in Canada (with /-mıl-/), but it's not standard. Andrew Sheedy (talk) 01:55, 1 March 2020 (UTC)
We already list a US pronunciation /fɚˈmɪl.jɚ/; it was added in 2016 with edit summary (note the weird alternative pronunciation "fermilier"). You can find plenty of attestations of the corresponding eye dialect spelling fermilyer.  --Lambiam 07:47, 1 March 2020 (UTC)
Oops, must've missed it. The -mi:l- guess was because the boneappletea respells it as "for meal your". MGorrone (talk) 14:05, 1 March 2020 (UTC)
Not sure the context of the video, but accents with the fillfeel merger would not distinguish fermilyer and fermeelyer. — Eru·tuon 18:47, 1 March 2020 (UTC)


An additional quotation for the figurative use might be "And it's also the place where he, often gleefully, tries to skewer his political opponents." Bus stop (talk) 19:00, 1 March 2020 (UTC)

"skate through the cracks"

"Superman was almost like Batman in this regard, taking on the little problems and making sure that people who would otherwise skate through the cracks in a damaged legal system got what they deserved."[40]

"The failure to pay attention to prosecutors, that’s the one I find hardest to understand—why they’ve been able to skate through the cracks for so long."[41]

"Criminals like that neighbor skate through the cracks in the system forever, simply because it's far too much effort for the system to deal with them."[42]

"You want a few frivolous douchebags to skate through the cracks so that truly meritorious cases have a chance?"[43]

It seems to be a real term with a fixed meaning. At the least a Google search should take one to Wiktionary. It seems to me that it relies on the combined meanings of "skating", implying "with ease", and "cracks", essentially "loopholes" or "oversights". Bus stop (talk) 22:59, 3 March 2020 (UTC)

To me it seems as if it is based on a mishearing of escape through the cracks. Skate through the cracks cannot be found at Google NGrams, whereas escape through the cracks can. The usages found in the blogosphere wouldn't count as attestation. DCDuring (talk) 11:55, 4 March 2020 (UTC)
I hadn't thought of any of that. Good points. But the instance from The Atlantic seems to be spoken by John Pfaff. Do his educational credentials make his language-usage more noteworthy? Bus stop (talk) 16:21, 4 March 2020 (UTC)

March 2020

formatting question

Is -ite#Suffix supposed to be all italicized like that? i don't recognize the [templates? coding?] used, so don't know how to edit them not to be italicized. -- 07:21, 1 March 2020 (UTC)

It looks a bit strange, but it is in line with the usual styling. The definitions are so-called non-gloss definitions, which are rendered in italics. And the examples – in this case just words, not sentences – are supposed (per Wiktionary:Entry layout#Example sentences) to be italicized, with the defined term boldfaced. The last bit had not been done, but I have now fixed that.  --Lambiam 18:39, 1 March 2020 (UTC)

material Derived terms

Does Wiktionary really want pages for material girl and material world, or did someone add those to material#Derived terms as a joke? -- 07:21, 1 March 2020 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done Deleted (although Madonna is excellent). It's possible that these came from some sort of statistical analysis of texts to find common collocations, but more likely some nutter put them in. Equinox 08:23, 1 March 2020 (UTC)

Hyphenation of Hungarian Ilona

According to the page Ilona, the Hungarian pronunciation is [ˈilonɒ] (and that's about what it sounds like in the audio file), but the hyphenation is "Ilo‧na". The pronunciation in the audio file clearly has three syllables (and so does the IPA guide [ˈilonɒ] also suggest), so there should be one more syllable boundary in the hyphenation as well. I don't know where it would be (I‧lo‧na or Il‧o‧na), and if the reason for the lack of another ‧ is that "you are not allowed to leave a single letter on a different row as the first vowel in the word is a syllable in itself", then the same should apply to the Finnish hyphenation of the same name as the rule mentioned in quotes exists in the orthography of Finnish. Mölli-Möllerö (talk) 12:41, 1 March 2020 (UTC)

@Mölli-Möllerö: It is correct that Ilona is a three-syllable word, its syllabification is I‧lo‧na, but its hyphenation is Ilo‧na. From Appendix:Hungarian hyphenation: "Although not incorrect, it is not recommended to leave a single vowel at the end or the beginning of a line". Panda10 (talk) 00:50, 2 March 2020 (UTC)
OK, but the same is true for Finnish (see http://www.kielitoimistonohjepankki.fi/haku/tavutus/ohje/153 where it says ome-na, not o-mena). Why are the Finnish words omena and Ilona hyphenated here with their initial vowels separated if that exact rules apply to both Finnish and Hungarian? Mölli-Möllerö (talk) 09:30, 2 March 2020 (UTC)
I saw this rule in action “by example“ in a list of “correctly hyphenated words”, among which we find alal-la, evaïl-la, ivai-le-vin, oli-vat, unel-mien-sa, and yleen-sä. So we should consider the given Finnish hyphenation incorrect.  --Lambiam 18:58, 2 March 2020 (UTC)
OK, I tried to fix this problem by editing Module:fi-pronunciation so that it says "Syllabification" instead of "Hyphenation". Then it would be correct. I didn't do that to other Finnish syllabification/hyphenation-generating modules though. Mölli-Möllerö (talk) 10:35, 3 March 2020 (UTC)
I may as well also add that this kind of "incorrect" hyphenations such as I-lo-na (for either language) are still necessary at least in song lyrics (usually all syllables are separated into separate notes with a hyphen) and possibly also in books for small children learning to read. (I'm not sure if this information is relevant for this discussion, but it may well be so I decided to post it.) Mölli-Möllerö (talk) 10:37, 3 March 2020 (UTC)
Creating an unambiguous "hyphenation" is probably possible alongside the "syllabification", and to merge the two for words for which they are identical. — surjection?〉 11:07, 3 March 2020 (UTC)

Is Russian п for paragraph not an abbreviation?

Should not Russian п & пп in the sense of paragraph(s) be described as abbreviations? (A quote and table of declension would be useful if not.) PJTraill (talk) 19:01, 1 March 2020 (UTC)

I see that it does say it is an abbreviation under Etymology, perhaps that is adequate. PJTraill (talk) 19:03, 1 March 2020 (UTC)
But it is, confusingly, not uniform with entries such as м#Russian, where we see "abbreviation of метр (metr, “meter”)". PJTraill (talk) 10:26, 2 March 2020 (UTC)


  1. When a group of people form a circle, holding hands, by which sense of circle is this covered?
  2. The definition of circle in a Wiccan sense is circular by defining it using the term circle. Not being familiar with Wiccan rituals, it is unclear to me which sense is meant.

 --Lambiam 08:38, 2 March 2020 (UTC)

I added a new definition that should cover (1):
Any shape or arrangement of objects that approximates to or resembles the geometric figures.
Children, please join hands and form a circle.
I'm not sure, though, whether we need quite so many numbered definitions as are in the article. For example, it would be good to have examples for the "Orbit" sense to show how this is distinct from all the others. Mihia (talk) 21:05, 2 March 2020 (UTC)
I'm often uncomfortable with "a representation or approximation of" type senses, but we already have a lot of them (and our geometric definition is very math-y), so, meh. It'd probably be good to try and group the senses that are more clearly just "a representation of..." at some point; maybe I'll do that later. I doubt the "Wicca" sense, once the definition is cleaned up, is specific to Wicca; I expect the actual meaning , once better defined, is broader and used in other witchcraft and paganism and fantasy references to wizards and conjuring. - -sche (discuss) 21:13, 2 March 2020 (UTC)
In my opinion, given the precise geometric definitions that the article probably rightly begins with, the "approximates to or resembles" wording is correct and appropriate (and better than "representation"). Mihia (talk) 21:52, 2 March 2020 (UTC)
Let's circle back to the definition of a circle; i'm too distracted by "approximates to", which sounds wrong to me. Maybe it's one of those UK/USA/Australia/etc differences?
The icosihenagon approximates to a circle.
The icosihenagon approximates a circle.
-- 23:15, 3 March 2020 (UTC)


I don't think the current definitions at authoritarian cover use in e.g. political science particularly well, [44] [45] [46] absolute/tyrannical obedience and dictatorial seem much too strong for a part of a spectrum that also includes democratic authoritarians. Interestingly many on-line dictionaries at OneLook don't include this sense well either. The print edition of the OED has something like "supporting the principle of authority over individual freedom" (paraphrase), which would not be the best definition but covers it at least. Maybe Favouring enforcement of conformity over individual freedom; illiberal would work? ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 10:35, 2 March 2020 (UTC)

What about defining the political sense by relating it to authoritarianism, e.g. by “Espousing, or characteristic of, authoritarianism”? The definition of authoritarianism, already less absolute, is more easily tweaked, and also tells the reader that Wikipedia-logo.png English Wikipedia has an article on: authoritarianism where they can go for more background.  --Lambiam 15:29, 2 March 2020 (UTC)
Most other dictionaries don't chicken out that way, though they do have recourse to their entries on authority. We don't have any evidence of authoritarian being backformed from authoritarianism. To the contrary the ism does not appear in Century 1911 whereas authoritarian does.
I think conformity does not necessarily require the the conformers conform to authority. One could conform, for example, to unauthored social, market, or environmental pressure. DCDuring (talk) 16:09, 2 March 2020 (UTC)
I revised the entry a little to say "excessive" obedience rather than "absolute" obedience, but it still needs more work. - -sche (discuss) 21:18, 2 March 2020 (UTC)
Using excessive in the definition excludes neutral, descriptive use. Is it always now pejorative and has it always been pejorative? DCDuring (talk) 04:26, 3 March 2020 (UTC)
@DCDuring I have replaced excessive with strict (a feature in the Oxford dictionaries' definitions that I like); is that an improvement? ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 08:39, 4 March 2020 (UTC)
Sure. It's a good word that hadn't occurred to me. If you think authoritarianism id bad, you probably think strictness is bad too. And if you think strictness has its place, you might be open to that possibility for auheoritarianism. DCDuring (talk) 11:41, 4 March 2020 (UTC)

miskeit: new entry

  • From Yiddish mieskeyt: ugliness, an ugly person or thing
  • from mies ugly, loathsome 19:16, 2 March 2020 (UTC)

See mieskeit, which redirects to the Yiddish מיאוסקייט. grendel|khan 18:50, 3 March 2020 (UTC)
That falls afoul of our redirect policies, and probably ought to have an English entry. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 18:53, 3 March 2020 (UTC)
Done; see mieskeit. grendel|khan 20:21, 3 March 2020 (UTC)

black (as in "black birch, etc", and as in "obscure")

Following "white", which handles "white birch" and "white grapes" under one sense, I merged "having dark hair, armor, etc: black knight" and the taxonomic sense. (I mention that in case anyone wants to make a case that that wasn't the right decision.) Along the way, I noticed we have a sense "Obscure." with no examples of use. We also have a sense "relating to an initiative whose existence or exact nature must remain withheld from the general public" for "black projects". Are these distinct or should they be merged? I can find a few uses of "black" that seem to mean something like "occult, concealed with the general public", which may be what "obscure" was trying to get at, like:

  • 2014, J.R.R. Tolkien, Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (→ISBN), page 168:
    But a hel-rúne was one who knew secret black knowledge – and the association of hell with the dead shows that the gloss in O.H.G. 'necromancia' is very close.

I'm not sure if it makes sense or not to put CIA black ops and black occult knowledge under one sense, though. Also: other dictionaries have a sense for "black propaganda", but I don't know if "black" ever has that sense outside the phrase "black propaganda". - -sche (discuss) 20:42, 2 March 2020 (UTC)

I combined the "black projects" and the uninformative, uncited "obscure" senses (and added the Tolkien quote to the now redefined, combined sense), because both the Tolken site and the "black projects" usex amount to "kept secret from most people", but it feels odd to combine them and if there's a way they could be sensibly distinguished, I'm all ears. - -sche (discuss) 06:35, 3 March 2020 (UTC)
There is also the use as in black room, which however perhaps deserves an entry on its own.  --Lambiam 15:59, 3 March 2020 (UTC)
Hmm, good point. "Black room", "black site", "black operation"... I'm going to resplit and rework the defs, fronting "clandestine" in one, and "occult" in the other. (The collocations could still have their own entries, since "clandestine room" is not enough to fully understand a "black room", etc.) - -sche (discuss) 18:02, 3 March 2020 (UTC)
Relatedly: the usage notes at black magic suggest another sense which should have its own definition line (as it does at black art). Indeed, the sense is in line with the "occult" sense of black I gave another citation/collocation of above, which suggests that it exists, but may be hard to find amid the citations of the other sense. and I've managed to find citations. - -sche (discuss) 18:32, 3 March 2020 (UTC)

stave (verb)

The entry looks like it still carries a lot of baggage from the original definitions bulk loaded at start-up. So, my question is, should we eliminate verb definitions 2,3,4, and probably 5, as they are covered under the phrasal verb entries at stave in and stave off? It's that "stave" on its own does not have these meanings. In all cases either in or off is a requirement (being phrasal verb definitions) rather than an "often followed by" usage note. Thanks. -- ALGRIF talk 11:30, 3 March 2020 (UTC)

Permalink to referenced version.
The challenged definitions at [[stave]] should be RfVed. Can we be sure about the absence of historical use without in or off? DCDuring (talk) 11:38, 3 March 2020 (UTC)
Definition 2 has two citations that don't fit the phrasal hypothesis, one without in and one in which in seems to be part of in pieces. DCDuring (talk) 11:46, 3 March 2020 (UTC)
Sense 5 is labelled intransitive, but the only example shows transitive use, and seems to illustrate essentially the same as sense 2 or obvious figurative extension thereof. Mihia (talk) 18:26, 3 March 2020 (UTC)
There is an intransitive use at [47]: "... we struck upon a rock, the boat staved to pieces ...". Mihia (talk) 18:32, 3 March 2020 (UTC)
A small number of examples of sense 4 without "off" can be found by Googling for e.g. "stave evil", "stave attacks" (obviously need to check that the "off" isn't delayed). It is hard to be completely certain that none are typos/slips, though Chambers Dictionary gives the example "staved her hunger with an apple" [48]. Mihia (talk) 18:40, 3 March 2020 (UTC)
Trouble is, Chambers does not reference that usex with a source. When I try Google books etc. I only get results with "staved off". ALGRIF talk 12:57, 7 March 2020 (UTC)
Of various likely phrases that I tried, "stave hunger" yielded the most off-less results in Book Search:
There are smatterings of other examples from Book Search, e.g.:
Mihia (talk) 15:05, 9 March 2020 (UTC)
  • I made some changes to address some of the above points. Mihia (talk) 20:28, 9 March 2020 (UTC)
    • Much better. Thank you. -- ALGRIF talk 16:23, 12 March 2020 (UTC)

Template use on commend.

(@Sgconlaw may know more about this, as they wrote the original template.) In commend, there was a Dryden quotation requested; it turned out to be from his Dedication to the Æneid, which we have his translation of in {{RQ:Dryden Virgil}}. However, it still says that it's by Virgil, translated by Dryden, which isn't quite correct. Should we add a parameter to the template for non-translated matter, and switch out the author and translator parameters there, or make a separate quotation template, or just leave it kinda incorrect? grendel|khan 19:00, 3 March 2020 (UTC)

For now, you should do it manually or request a cleanup, using {{rfc}}.
Also, since we are interested in the selection of the English word, not the Latin word translated by the English word, we should treat the translator as the 'author' of the translated work and the date of the authoring or publication of the translation as the emboldened date that leads off the citation. DCDuring (talk) 20:00, 3 March 2020 (UTC)
We are interested in the Latin word too, and in the fact that the work is a translation. If one can display the original author and title it should be displayed. Fay Freak (talk) 12:41, 4 March 2020 (UTC)
I'm confused by the preceding two comments. If the quotation is from the Dedication rather than from the portion of text that was originally authored by Virgil, why would there be a Latin word or any translation from Latin in the case of the quotation found on the page for commend? Did Dryden not just write the Dedication in English to begin with? Or are DCDuring and Fay Freak now talking about whether to change the template for the whole work, which is used on other pages?--Urszag (talk) 13:34, 4 March 2020 (UTC)
It would presumably be complicated to display different things in this respect depending on whether the dedication or the main text is quoted. Fay Freak (talk) 14:39, 4 March 2020 (UTC)
I'm sorry I introduced the canard about translation. I've been working on citations and have been annoyed to find things like cites of Homer and Dante as English authors and vented my spleen instead of paying attention to the specifics. DCDuring (talk) 23:00, 4 March 2020 (UTC)

I don't know how to edit the template so I am posting this note here: On the page https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%E8%AE%A0 there is html "{{n-g|" visible that should not be visible. "For pronunciation and definitions of 讠 – see 訁 (“{{n-g|Left radical form of Kangxi radical ; Kangxi radical ”). (This character, 讠, is the simplified form of 訁.)"

(Pinging Erutuon and Wyang.)  I suspect that the problem stems from Module:zh in that it (function replace_gloss?) is not prepared to cope with a definition of the form {{n-g|Left radical form of [[Kangxi radical]] #149 {{zh-l|言*}} }}. But my Lua skills do not suffice for me to grok what is going on.  --Lambiam 13:18, 5 March 2020 (UTC)

Why is the symbol in the title displayed more like ≈ with a / stuck to it (≈/) on the right than the smaller version of the symbol? The smaller version seems to be displayed properly. Is it a problem with the fonts (e.g. serif fonts vs sans-serif fonts), or is it just my browser's display issue? Does anybody else have this issue? I am using Chrome and set the default serif font to 'Times New Roman' and the default sans-serif font to 'Product Sans'. Merrick919 (talk) 13:48, 4 March 2020 (UTC)

It looks OK for me; the font used for these first headers in my setup seems to be Georgia.  --Lambiam 11:49, 5 March 2020 (UTC)
That was on Firefox; with Chrome it still seems to be Georgia, but the symbol looks wrong everywhere on the page; the slash sticks out farther at the upper side, as if the character is obtained by sloppy overprinting. (It still goes more-or-less through the middle, though.) Using Firefox, the symbol is rotation-symmetric. Moreover, using Chrome, in the first header the parallel wiggles slant upwards, but not elsewhere on the page, where the font looks like Helvetica. The same is the case for the symbol.  --Lambiam 12:20, 5 March 2020 (UTC)
Since you ask, I use custom CSS to specify Gentium Book Basic, and the symbol looks fine. (I find Times New Roman rather ugly, particularly the horrible “e, which I believe is quite unnecessary, being designed to avoid problems with high-speed newspaper printing.) PJTraill (talk) 12:06, 5 March 2020 (UTC)
Yes, I have the problem (latest Chrome on Windows 10 Pro). Equinox 14:29, 5 March 2020 (UTC)
You may wish to consider using another browser and operating system. Tharthan (talk) 13:45, 6 March 2020 (UTC)
Wow, if someone doesn't like the wallpaper do you suggest they move house? Equinox 16:11, 6 March 2020 (UTC)
It's probably a font issue. You can figure out the font by using the browser's developer tools. (The browser does not always use the default serif or sans-serif font, or the fonts specified in various CSS rules that apply to the header.) To find the actual font, in Firefox you right-click on the header, press "Inspect element", and go to the "Fonts" tab. In Chrome, you right-click on the header, press "Inspect", and scroll to the bottom of a frame that contains the actually-used CSS properties (see a more helpful explanation here).
For me, in Firefox the character has the slash in the middle (it is displayed in the font FreeSerif), in Chrome the slash is on the right (the font is Tinos). Another font that has the slash on the right is Arimo, which Chrome uses for the character in the Wikipedia article. So it looks like this is intentional on the part of the font developers. — Eru·tuon 19:35, 5 March 2020 (UTC)
In Chrome the font info given by "Inspect" for the first header is "Georgia — Local file (2 glyphs)". The other occurrences have "Helvetica" but are otherwise the same. So the character is apparently constructed by superimposing two glyphs – with offsets that are off.  --Lambiam 22:09, 5 March 2020 (UTC)
@Lambiam: Interesting – I didn't notice the "2 glyphs" bit. So apparently Chrome is displaying U+2249 ≉ as the equivalent combination of two characters, U+2248 ≈ + U+0338 ◌̸, because the font selected by the CSS doesn't have a U+2249 glyph, whereas Firefox is instead selecting a different font that actually has a U+2249 glyph. I like Firefox's decision here better. — Eru·tuon 22:44, 5 March 2020 (UTC)

cancel culture

Although the page for cancel culture is less than a year old and marked as a "hot word", the phrase itself has more than a year of history. [49]. Can it be made not hot? Vox Sciurorum (talk) 14:48, 4 March 2020 (UTC)

Where are the citations? DCDuring (talk) 23:03, 4 March 2020 (UTC)
I didn't pay enough attention to the page -- it addressed the phenomenon as an old one (in Internet years) but it doesn't have those exact words from more than a year ago. The New York Times does. An article dated June 28, 2018[50] says "Aisha Rimi, who works at the London School of Economics and has blogged about cancel culture, said: 'When someone’s canceled on black American Twitter, they tend to be canceled on black U.K. Twitter.'" (The hyperlink in the original of that sentence is a 404, but may have once pointed to an even older use.) Vox Sciurorum (talk) 23:26, 4 March 2020 (UTC)
A search found a blog post turning one year old in a couple days.[51]. Do we trust the dates to be accurate for blogs? I trust NYT to keep its archives in order. Vox Sciurorum (talk) 23:45, 4 March 2020 (UTC)
It would be nice if we could find three cites that are clearly uses in addition to those that define the term, which are typically mentions. The citations that offer definitions can be helpful. I'm a bit confused about the scope of the term. Calling for a boycott seems different from an implicit threat of violence to cause withdrawal of an invitation to speak. Are both part of cancel culture, in our definition and in the real world? DCDuring (talk) 00:05, 5 March 2020 (UTC)
I was trying to establish the age of the term but it's worth discussing the definition too. As NYT stated on 2019-10-31[52] it is "still nebulously defined." The problem is the phrase "cancel culture" is derogatory or at least critical and only used by opponents of whatever it might be. You don't have self-proclaimed cancel culture warriors the way you have social justice warriors who dislike SJW or Democrats who dislike Democrat as an adjective. On the conservative publication The Federalist we read "Cancel culture is, after all, almost entirely a product of progressive activists seeking to punish anyone who doesn’t agree with them, doesn’t support their agenda, or holds views they find offensive."(2019-10-31, [53]) This was in response to Barack Obama's criticism of a trend he disapproved of but did not call cancel culture. Libertarian Reason has "it represents a major victory for the online mobs of cancel culture."(2019-06-17, [54]) As a form of boycott, cancel culture at least includes a secondary boycott. Let me see if I can find more non-definition uses. Vox Sciurorum (talk) 14:53, 5 March 2020 (UTC)
I found the one cite from someone who paticipated in cancel culture but seems ambivalent about it.
i have always found fascism somewhat vaguely defined, except that it is a pejorative. DCDuring (talk) 04:40, 6 March 2020 (UTC)

咪 Chinese etymology 1 definition sense 3 reads "(咪咪(mīmī))by girl’s chest". I guess this is an attempt to invoke sense 4 of 咪咪, slang for boobs, but it doesn't make sense as written. I don't want to correct it without knowing if my guess is right. Vox Sciurorum (talk) 20:53, 4 March 2020 (UTC)

@Vox Sciurorum: Fixed. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 00:18, 6 March 2020 (UTC)


Sense: (transitive) To direct, as words, to (anyone or anything); to make, as a speech, petition, etc. to (any audience).

    • (Can we date this quote by John Dryden and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      The young hero had addressed his players to him for his assistance.
    He addressed some portions of his remarks to his supporters, some to his opponents.

The Dryden quote and the usage example would seem to be for different definitions. I did not find another definition under which the usage example seemed to fit. I am too tired to deal with this now. DCDuring (talk) 04:19, 5 March 2020 (UTC)

Hah, this is due to a typo; “the young hero had addressed his prayers to him for his assistance”. I don't think Webster is to blame, for it is correct in the 1911 edition.  --Lambiam 11:20, 5 March 2020 (UTC)
Thanks. I was evidently too tired to notice the possible problem and check the original. This is another reason why we should incorporate links to source text into our cites: one chance to check when we add the link, another chance for any subsequent skeptical user. If the link had been there I would have checked. BTW, I have discovered instances of quotation discrepancies bween Webster 1913 or Century 1911 and Google Books texts. Most of the time none of the editions scanned by Google contain the text of the quotation. DCDuring (talk) 14:14, 5 March 2020 (UTC)
I've changed parentheses and typography a little. It makes more sense to me, but do the changes make it better for others?
To direct, as words, (to anyone or anything); to make, as a speech, petition, etc. (to any audience).
DCDuring (talk) 14:45, 5 March 2020 (UTC)

Captain Planet

The 2007 citations refer to, respectively, Captain Planet the TV show, and Captain Planet its hero. They are not the generic sense as claimed. Equinox 14:29, 5 March 2020 (UTC)

Agreed, I'd remove them. Ultimateria (talk) 19:03, 5 March 2020 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Done I have "been bold". Equinox 19:45, 6 March 2020 (UTC)

Japanese on

Currently the Japanese section has two etymology sections, with two separate pronunciation sections within each.

Etymology 1 (Middle Chinese)
Pronunciation 1 [sáꜜkù]
Pronunciation 2 [sàkú]
Etymology 2 (Old Japanese)
Pronunciation 1 [tsùkúríꜜ]
Pronunciation 2 [zukuri]

Am I correct in thinking that this is dispreferred? I thought that different forms (even with the same history) are listed as separate 'Etymology' sections?

@Eirikr, TAKASUGI Shinji, Nibiko, Atitarev, Suzukaze-c, Poketalker, Atitarev, Britannic124, Huhu9001

Cnilep (talk) 01:31, 6 March 2020 (UTC)

If two words with the same spelling have different etymologies, they must be separate. Middle Chinese and Old Japanese are totally different. — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 04:14, 6 March 2020 (UTC)
  • @Cnilep, that is our standard approach for years now. A single grapheme in Japanese may represent umpteen different distinct lemmata, each with separate etymologies and related data. Standard m.o. has been to split out each separate lemma to its own etymology header, with pronunciation and other data under that. For a somewhat extreme example, see also 柄#Japanese, which has nine separate lemmata with their own etymology sections.
Occasionally, as seen at 作#Japanese, two closely related and nearly-homophonous lemmata might have the same grapheme and etymology but slightly different senses depending on the pronunciation. In these cases, we often keep to a shared ===Etymology=== header and split out at the pronunciation level. Duplicating the etymologies just seems like a waste of space and effort, and introduces the maintenance hassle of keeping the information in the shared-but-separate etymology sections identical and ensuring that divergences don't creep in over time.
HTH, ‑‑ Eiríkr Útlendi │Tala við mig 23:28, 6 March 2020 (UTC)
Thank you, that makes sense. Cnilep (talk) 01:26, 7 March 2020 (UTC)

Appendix:Capital letter in cat:X lemmas

Almost all the sections on the linked page are categorised as lemmas, except for the Vietnamese which is under dated terms. Are the lemma/term categories really supposed to contain content like this? Right now they all show up under the letter C in the list of pages, that is surely an odd way of presenting it. ←₰-→ Lingo Bingo Dingo (talk) 11:11, 6 March 2020 (UTC)

outlander as compared to barbarian

In diff, a note was added saying "outlander" is "used often as a 'softer' or neutral synonym to barbarian, which usually has a pejorative negative connotation". For referring to real peoples in the world today, it seems like "barbarian(s)" is not used much except to be derogatory, and the "neutral" word is "foreigner(s)" or the name of whatever people are being referred to ("Bedouins", "Africans", whatever); it seems like "outlander" would not be "used often" or be a "synonym". However, searching Google Books for the two terms makes me think outlander might've been used in the claimed way in the past(?), and may still be used that way in fiction like Outlander (novel) and A Song of Ice and Fire, so maybe the usage note should say "In fiction,..."? Thoughts? - -sche (discuss) 19:42, 6 March 2020 (UTC)

outcomeling, etc

Also, many of the synonyms listed [at outlander] need qualifiers (in their own entries and in this one) if they are rare, archaic, etc. - -sche (discuss) 20:12, 6 March 2020 (UTC)

sleep with one eye open

We define it thus: "To remain vigilant at all times, so as to avoid being caught off guard". Isn't it a bit off the mark? {{R:Lexico}} has "Sleep very lightly, aware of what is happening around one". PUC 21:23, 6 March 2020 (UTC)

Perhaps both senses exist. Attestations of the vigilance sense: [55], [56], [57]. I haven’t searched for uses indicating a more general light-sleep sense.  --Lambiam 05:09, 7 March 2020 (UTC)
It might be better/easier to have one sense that mentions both possibilities than try to tease out whether most citations are saying a person is vigilant due to remaining awake, or due to sleeping only lightly. (This is similar to what The Free Dictionary does.) Something like "To remain awake or sleep lightly, being constantly vigilant and aware of what is happening."? - -sche (discuss) 08:26, 7 March 2020 (UTC)
The idiom in the sense “to remain vigilant” is figurative and does not imply actual sleeping, however lightly. Many uses, like seen here, are about maintaining constant vigilance, which can be done by a group of people taking turns of guard duty.  --Lambiam 05:44, 8 March 2020 (UTC)
I see your point, though it seems like a group of people taking turns at guard duty is a group which is (as a group) "only partially asleep". At the moment I've just added an "especially", but perhaps it should be weakened further to "for example by remaining partially awake or sleeping only lightly so as to [...]". - -sche (discuss) 08:32, 16 March 2020 (UTC)

grapevine, vine, grape,

the last with the header “vine”, are three translation tables at least to be merged into one, but I am not judgmental enough to decide the end. Fay Freak (talk) 00:43, 7 March 2020 (UTC)


I feel there is a meaning missing here, which is for a devotional (religious) event, i.e. religious service. — surjection?〉 23:32, 7 March 2020 (UTC)

Do you mean as a noun? Can you give an example of use?  --Lambiam 05:27, 8 March 2020 (UTC)
Yes, I'm referring to a noun. There are many examples when saerching for "a devotional" on Google, particularly for "lead a devotional". — surjection?〉 11:23, 8 March 2020 (UTC)
Many dictionaries appear to define it as “a short religious service”. I did not see the musical sense in a brief OneLook examination.  --Lambiam 18:40, 8 March 2020 (UTC)


What's the intended distinction between defs 1 and 2, "(linguistics) A syntactic string of words that forms a part of some larger syntactic unit; a construction.[1]" and "A sequence of linguistic units in a syntagmatic relationship to one another.[1]"? The (nonstandard) references after the def imply the OED considers them distinct. 2 also seems circular, since syntagmatic means "pertaining to a syntagma. - -sche (discuss) 20:19, 8 March 2020 (UTC)

Merged. If anyone thinks that was the wrong course of action, pipe up. - -sche (discuss) 21:24, 11 March 2020 (UTC)

Is there another reading mǐn for this character/word, particularly when reduplicated as 繩繩? In this recitation from the Shījīng the reader pronounces it as such, and running a Google search for ‘繩 min’ turns up some discussions where (if I’m understanding them correctly) people say it should be read that way. On the other hand, Karlgren gives it as sheng sheng in his transcription of the Shījīng. — Vorziblix (talk · contribs) 21:54, 8 March 2020 (UTC)

@KevinUp, JustinrleungSuzukaze-c 02:36, 9 March 2020 (UTC)
Yes, it is a duōyīnzì (shéng, yìng, mǐn). See the relevant entry in the 古漢語字典. ---> Tooironic (talk) 04:32, 10 March 2020 (UTC)
Thanks! I see it’s been added at our entry too. — Vorziblix (talk · contribs) 05:33, 11 March 2020 (UTC)

pure (noun meaning dung)

Under Etymology 1 we have "Feces, especially dog feces gathered in pre-20th-century England for use in the tanning of leather." and under Etymology 2 "Alternative form of puer" with puer defined as "Dung (of dogs, fowls, etc) used in tanning, after applying lime, to soften skins." I know very little about etymologies, but I find it improbable that this particular same sense of the same word has two unrelated origins. --Droigheann (talk) 00:56, 9 March 2020 (UTC)

Fixed. The Etymology 1 section was obviously added by someone who was unaware it was already covered by Etymology 2. In the meanwhile, I noticed that there's a translation table for the (Northern) adverb section. This should probably be combined with the translations for a term with the same meaning using {{trans-see}} Chuck Entz (talk) 02:56, 9 March 2020 (UTC)

stave (2)

Is anyone familiar with verb sense 6?:

  1. (intransitive) To walk or move rapidly.

I have never heard of it. It is in M-W, but not in several British dictionaries that I checked. Some sort of label may be in order. Is it specific to AmE? Is it in modern use? Google Book Search for "staving down" yields some relevant hits ("staving down the street" etc.) but most of them seem to be old. Mihia (talk) 11:54, 10 March 2020 (UTC)

DARE has "also with around, out, rarely with it: To rush, stride vigorously; to work hard; to storm about—freq in v phr rip and stave. [Engl. and Scots dial] chiefly Sth, S Midl"
last cite in DARE How to talk Yankee (1979).
It might be obsolete by now. DCDuring (talk) 14:01, 10 March 2020 (UTC)
I'm a bit confused by "[Engl. and Scots dial] chiefly Sth, S Midl". What country does "Sth, S Midl" refer to? Is it the US, do you think? Also, does DARE happen to have any info about the etymology of this sense? M-W has it under the same main heading as the other senses, but I was wondering whether it might be a different word altogether, as I don't see the connection. I could be wrong though. Mihia (talk) 14:56, 10 March 2020 (UTC)
The bold regional abbreviations are for the US: South (presumably centered on Georgia) and South Midland (presumably centered on Arkansas and Tennessee) [I'll check on those tomorrow.]. DARE is not so strong on Etymology. I think "Engl. and Scots dial" is their attempt. "South Midlands" is strongly influenced by migration from Scotland and the north of England. "South" is more influenced by migration from the south of England. DCDuring (talk) 04:07, 11 March 2020 (UTC)
Anyway, AFAICT this sense is not in general modern use, so I have added the label "old-fashioned or dialect". Mihia (talk) 20:48, 16 March 2020 (UTC)
BTW, for DARE, Sth includes all of Florida and parts of many states from southern Delaware to eastern Texas. Generally the included parts are the lowlands. S Midl includes all of Arkansas, Tennessee, and Kentucky and adjoining parts of almost all neighboring states as well as parts of Maryland. They have 37 different overlapping regions for which they have abbreviations. DCDuring (talk) 15:39, 17 March 2020 (UTC)


The current definition of synharmonic is the epitome of lexicographical uselessness --Backinstadiums (talk) 17:40, 10 March 2020 (UTC)

Why don't you actually do some work, instead of taking all our time by asking questions on talk pages, and create the red link then? Equinox 20:19, 10 March 2020 (UTC)
English Wikipedia has an article on:
To start you off, try searching Google Books for "synharmony": it is a term in linguistics. Also look at synharmonic vowel. See what you can do, eh? Equinox 20:20, 10 March 2020 (UTC)

“Mordor” metaphorically used a proper noun?

I see that Mordor only mentions Tolkien’s sense in the etymology, and gives under Proper Noun a metaphorical sense which does not conform to the definition at proper noun. Should not Tolkien’s sense be listed under Proper Noun and the metaphorical sense under plain Noun? PJTraill (talk) 23:14, 10 March 2020 (UTC)

Gender behavior of cities vs. states/provinces/cantons/oblasts/etc. in different languages

At least in Portuguese, it appears that when a city and a state have the same name, the city is sometimes feminine while the state is masculine. One example: Hamburgo (Hamburg). This makes a certain amount of sense, as cidade (city) is feminine while estado (state) is masculine. In this same case, however, both the equivalent state and city in Spanish are masculine, perhaps based on the final -o. Does anyone know (a) is there a general rule in Portuguese about cases like these? (b) are there any other languages that have gender splits like this? (c) any rules of thumb for proper noun genders (particularly toponyms) in various major languages? Pinging some random people @Lambiam, Ultimateria, Canonicalization who it seems might know. Benwing2 (talk) 01:52, 11 March 2020 (UTC)

@Benwing2: Russian place names are also partially based on the sense. Cities that "look" masculine or feminine are masculine or feminine, otherwise, they are masculine because го́род (górod) is a masculine, countries that "look" masculine or feminine are masculine or feminine, otherwise, they are feminine because страна́ (straná) is a feminine. It's a general rule. Мана́гуа (Manágua) is a masculine, Никара́гуа (Nikarágua) is a feminine. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 02:47, 11 March 2020 (UTC)
@Atitarev Thanks. However, I'm not quite sure what you mean by "look masculine or feminine"; to me as a non-native speaker, Мана́гуа (Manágua) and Никара́гуа (Nikarágua) look at least somewhat feminine because they end in -а. Maybe you mean that places that look more or less Slavic in nature take gender according to their ending, while others take gender according to their type (city = masculine, state = feminine, etc.)? Or is it that what matters is whether it's declinable? Both Мана́гуа (Manágua) and Никара́гуа (Nikarágua) are indeclinable. BTW I found a Russian example that is masculine as a city, feminine as a prefecture (in Japan, similar to a province): Ао́мори (Aómori). Benwing2 (talk) 02:59, 11 March 2020 (UTC)
@Benwing2: Yes, Мана́гуа (Manágua) and Никара́гуа (Nikarágua) are indeclinable and don't really look feminine or masculine to Russians despite the ending "-а". Yes, Ао́мори (Aómori) is a good example that shows that the gender is driven by senses when the word form doesn't look like belonging to a specific gender. --Anatoli T. (обсудить/вклад) 03:17, 11 March 2020 (UTC)
Spanish can't really be automated. From my favorite grammar resource:
  • There are no fixed rules
  • Names of countries ending in -a with no diacritic tend to be feminine, and all other countries tend to be masculine
  • Names of cities ending in -a, regardless of diacritics, tend to be feminine
  • All other cities tend to be masculine, but the feminine is very common due to influence from ciudad
  • todo and toda are used interchangeably before a city name, e.g. todo Bogotá/toda Bogotá ("all of Bogota")
Unfortunately these are just guidelines; the key phrase here is tend to. Ultimateria (talk) 05:35, 11 March 2020 (UTC)
German city and land names are neuter. Even a name like Darmstadt, which is almost certainly equivalent to a compound with the feminine noun Stadt, is neuter, as seen e.g. in das Darmstadt der Gegenwart. Likewise, it is der Bach (masculine) but das Ansbach, and die Burg (feminine) but das Augsburg. This does not extend to names for regions (der Balkan). For plural proper nouns (Bahamas, Vereinigte Staaten) it is not possible to determine a gender. Dutch appears to behave the same.  --Lambiam 09:36, 11 March 2020 (UTC)
For Greek it appears that names that look masculine or are semantically masculine (e.g. Πύργος (Pýrgos)) are also masculine as a proper noun, those that look feminine or are semantically feminine (e.g. Σάντα Λουσία (Sánta Lousía)) are feminine, and those that look neuter or are semantically neuter (e.g. Πεκίνο (Pekíno)) are neuter. However, Μπαρμπάντος (Barbádos) looks masculine but is neuter, so this is not a hard and fast rule. It also leaves a large number of foreign names that do not look like anything undecided. Most are neuter, but there are plenty of exceptions. Why, for instance, is Ρουέν (Rouén) feminine? In French, Rouen is male (although its Latin etymon is feminine).  --Lambiam 12:55, 11 March 2020 (UTC)

chinaman (in playing cricket)

Please see and comment at Talk:chinaman if you are familiar with cricket. It seems like, despite a usage note claiming they're contranyms, two of the definitions mean the same thing (as presently defined). - -sche (discuss) 02:43, 12 March 2020 (UTC)

3 Shakespeare quotes

Hey all. I've been working on dating our Shakespeare quotes over the last few months. As of right now, there are just 3 undated Shakespeare quotes, according to Category:Requests for date/Shakespeare. One is for crack - "vainglorious crack", which I can't find. The others are for the words cool and event, which I can't edit as they're protected pages and I'm a n00b. If anyone can find the "vainglorious crack" quote (perhaps with a spelling variation) or add the dates to the other ones, I'd be superpleased, as it would mean I have completed yet another immense Wiktionary task. Alternatively, unprotect cool and event, and I'll do it myself. --Alsowalks (talk) 11:06, 12 March 2020 (UTC)

The issues in “crack”

Perhaps we can find out from the exceedingly prolific @Equinox, who made this edit adding the sense and quotations, where they got them from? I doubt that the quote is genuine: I have tried searching with Advanced search in Open Source Shakespeare for "vainglorious" and "cracks" phonetically; for the former I only find "what need these feasts, pomps and vain-glories while the latter has 66 hits (including relatively distant words such as "carcass"), none of which are even close. That the Burton quote for the same sense is also undated and does not appear in a web search strengthens my suspicion.

In the same edit, Equinox also added the senses
  • crackpot with an still undated quote from Addison
  • quality of a breaking voice with a genuine quote from Cymbeline
  • lively child with a genuine quote from Coriolanus.
  • mental flaw (still no quotes)
  • breach of chastity, which later acquired a genuine quote from Cymbeline
  • instant (still no quotes)

PJTraill (talk) 13:33, 12 March 2020 (UTC)

There's a Spenser quote with the phrase in dictionaries going all the way back to Samuel Johnson- misattribution? Chuck Entz (talk) 13:54, 12 March 2020 (UTC)
It was indeed Spenser, and I have fixed that, but I commented out my modern translation in case I had overlooked a significant shift in sense; perhaps somebody can check and release it? PJTraill (talk) 14:51, 12 March 2020 (UTC)
See following sub-section for comments on translation
Burton quote also fixed (but it was a verb, not a noun). PJTraill (talk) 16:35, 12 March 2020 (UTC)
Addison quote also fixed. PJTraill (talk) 23:22, 12 March 2020 (UTC)
Hello PJ! I will admit I did a lot of fairly copy-pastey dictionary work but I did always cast an eye over it and try to improve it where possible. A lot of my stuff came from Webster's 1913, and sometimes the sources cited are, unfortunately, other dictionaries (e.g. most Scots words come from Jamieson). There's been no fakery though so if you can't find a word in as everyday a source as Shakespeare then it is probably just spelled or hyphenated differently. Equinox 09:34, 14 March 2020 (UTC)

Translation of 16/17th century quotes

Reactions to possible translation of quote from Spenser

I don't think we should be translating Spenser any more than we should be translating Shakespeare or quotes with thick Irish accents. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 15:40, 12 March 2020 (UTC)

Template:RQ:Spenser_Faerie_Queene provides |translation=, as do the Burton and Shakespeare templates. I fear you may be overestimating the ease with which modern readers can understand old-fashioned English and/or underestimating the extent to which meanings can have shifted since the texts were written. Do you not feel that we should ensure that readers can readily understand the quotations? PJTraill (talk) 16:35, 12 March 2020 (UTC)
Quotations are present to illustrate (or merely attest to) the usage of a word. This is not like a Shakespeare class for undergraduates who need to analyse Hamlet's motives: our goal is purely lexicographical, not literary. And if people can't understand the obsolete words, this is a dictionary... they can look up them up. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 16:40, 12 March 2020 (UTC)
Some EME cites and, especially, MWME cites need translations, explanations, or footnotes to validate the relevance of the quote to the definition. Perhaps sometimes these can be dispensed with if there is a link to a well-footnoted edition of the word cited. DCDuring (talk) 17:42, 12 March 2020 (UTC)
@DCDuring Thanks for your comments; am I right in thinking EME=Early Middle English (1150–1300/1350)? I am not sure what you feel about translating of the rather later quotes in question. And what is MW? Please excuse my unfamiliarity with these abbreviations! PJTraill (talk) 22:18, 12 March 2020 (UTC)
@Metaknowledge (Perhaps this discussion belongs in Wiktionary Talk:Quotations or the Beer parlour.) I had already taken a look at WT:Quotations, but it does not currently give guidelines for when translations are desirable for older forms of English. What is does assert (in the first paragraph) is that citations both attest to a word/sense and illustrate how it is used. For the latter, a translation does seem useful; I like to feel that we can help the casual but interested user understand how a word is or was used, and indeed I prefer to err on the side of helpfulness. The user can look things up, but that is slow and cumbersome, especially as we are (subject to discussion) discouraged (Please note / 9) from linking words in citations . Perhaps a more precise specification of the purpose (not only of citations, also of Wiktionary itself, at a high level) and target users would be helpful, but I have yet to find that (e.g. here). PJTraill (talk) 22:18, 12 March 2020 (UTC)
Sorry, EME is Early Modern English, includes Shakespeare, MW should have been ME Middle English, from old English to ~1450 or ~1470. Some EME is easy for normal users to misunderstand. ME is often hard to understand. DCDuring (talk) 04:28, 13 March 2020 (UTC)
...Again I will admit I trusted Webster's 1913 dictionary a bit too much, before I realised that he sometimes manipulated spellings. This usually only matters with very old words that we would count under Middle English (basically Chaucer!) and I think a lot of them have since been fixed up, sometimes by myself. Equinox 09:38, 14 March 2020 (UTC)
It can be much worse than that. Webster 1913 “quotes” Dryden as writing:
Turnus addressed his men to single fight.
This is what Dryden wrote:
Then Turnus, from his chariot, leaping light, Addreſs’d himſelf on foot to ſingle fight.
Go figure.  --Lambiam 10:36, 14 March 2020 (UTC)

live from paycheck to paycheck

Can this be considered an alternative form of live paycheck to paycheck? PUC 19:29, 12 March 2020 (UTC)

Yes; it has the same meaning.  --Lambiam 04:57, 14 March 2020 (UTC)

behind every successful man there stands a woman

I don't think "behind every successful man there stands a woman" means any more than the sum of its parts. Vox Sciurorum (talk) 13:04, 13 March 2020 (UTC)

It could mean that all successful men have a female stylist, spin doctor or reputation manager. From the parts it is IMO not obvious that that woman is their partner. It could also have meant that successful men have ambitious partners who are the drivers of the men’s ambitions. Instead, it references the publicly invisible support offered by women, making the men’s commitment to success possible.  --Lambiam 18:41, 13 March 2020 (UTC)
(Well, "all men are pigs" could mean they are the victims of mythological Circe...) Anyway the current definition doesn't state that the support is "publicly invisible"; should it be added? Equinox 18:47, 13 March 2020 (UTC)
Yes; moreover, I think it will be worthwhile to make clear that the intention of the phrase is not so much to make a factual observation, but to acknowledge the support that normally remains behind the scenes.  --Lambiam 10:26, 14 March 2020 (UTC)

Brackets and the use/mention distinction in attesting prosopopoeia.

In this edit, @DCDuring removed brackets (currently defaulted to on) for a quote from Langley's Rhetoric dictionary. When are they needed? Should they be defaulted to off, if the definitional rhymes are considered a use rather than a mention? As the question is nontrivial, it was suggested that I follow up here. grendel|khan 23:09, 13 March 2020 (UTC)

Although the doggerel to illustrate the term is made up, I deem it to be an actual (even if not very illuminating) use. If most quotes are such definitional rhymes, it is better (IMO) to make off the default.  --Lambiam 10:16, 14 March 2020 (UTC)

relate, verb

We have "(transitive) To give an association" and then "(transitive) To make a connection or correlation between one thing and another". The second one has a citation saying "The use of video made it possible to relate the talk to the answers given to particular problems in the test". How can we distinguish these two senses? What is the difference? Equinox 13:12, 14 March 2020 (UTC)

I can’t think of a pair of uses that would discriminate the two. Dictionary.com has a combined sense “2  to bring into or establish association, connection, or relation: to relate events to probable causes.”  --Lambiam 07:41, 15 March 2020 (UTC)

Portuguese dia as an adverb

In the Portuguese entry for dia, its meaning as "on the [...]th" is given as an adverb. I was going to move it to the noun section and explain that no is omitted, so no dia 5 = dia 5. We say o evento ocorreu hoje, o evento ocorrerá amanhã, but not o evento ocorreu dia — it has to be dia primeiro, dia dois or something. So, should it be kept as an adverb or should we move it so it's classified as a noun? A more wacky analysis would be seeing it as a preposition. Spargia (talk) 17:53, 14 March 2020 (UTC)

[EDIT] Semana passada, esse sábado and other noun phrases are used without a preposition. There's no case for dia as an adverb — everything indicates it should be classified as a noun. Spargia (talk) 18:02, 14 March 2020 (UTC)
In English you can use such noun phrases as adverbs: “One day, he would tell everyone he would prosecute it to the bitter end. The next day, he would reassure the peace party that he was in favor of immediate moves to terminate hostilities.”[58] Or, “My mother was the daughter of a king ; Who died the very minute I was born”.[59] French is similar: “Le lendemain nous en partîmes.” I guess the same applies to Portuguese.  --Lambiam 11:12, 16 March 2020 (UTC)
Yeah, that's true. But dia isn't being used as an adverb, it's the whole phrase (dia primeiro de fevereiro) that acts as an adverb. Dia there is just short for no dia (lit. in the day) — you can say no dia primeiro as well. Spargia (talk) 19:09, 16 March 2020 (UTC)

CAT:English terms spelled with ’

Should these be using as opposed to '? @Geographyinitiative — justin(r)leung (t...) | c=› } 18:21, 14 March 2020 (UTC)

See Talk:Jo-ch’iang. Of course they should be using '. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 23:33, 14 March 2020 (UTC)
Also worth noting that this special apostrophe isn’t even correct for Wade-Giles; in Wade-Giles it properly faces the other direction (i.e. Jo-ch‘iang). Wade derived it from the Greek rough breathing mark and had it curve the same way. — Vorziblix (talk · contribs) 02:17, 15 March 2020 (UTC)

safe travels! (interjection)

Worth an entry? PUC 21:34, 14 March 2020 (UTC)

I think so. It doesn't seem like an elision of anything SOP that most people would say, since a single trip is rarely referred to as "travels" (at least in my experience). Andrew Sheedy (talk) 03:06, 15 March 2020 (UTC)
Both “I wish you safe travels” and “We wish you safe travels” have several GBS hits. One can also wish that “God grant you safe travels”.  --Lambiam 07:21, 15 March 2020 (UTC)


Equinox has deleted the page piebakings twice now. piebaking as a noun is an alt form of pie baking. There is also another form pie-baking. Both "pie baking" and "pie-baking" have attested plurals. "piebaking" is, however, a rarer form, and there is no attested plural on a durably archived source. This has gone through Requests for Verification, at which time I made the argument that it was excessive to delete the plural of an alternate form when two other forms of the same word allow the plural. As there was no disagreement, we allowed piebakings to remain. I am not comfortable with @Equinox simply deleting the plural with no discussion. There are many other nouns with alternative forms in Wiktionary that have unattested plurals except in the main lemma, just as there are many verbs that do not have attestations of all inflections, and yet we allow the inflections to have entries. What makes this one so special? Kiwima (talk) 04:15, 15 March 2020 (UTC)

Adverb: lie deep

In the example for the adverbial use of deep, "lies deep", deep must be an adjective lie being a copular verb --Backinstadiums (talk) 17:39, 15 March 2020 (UTC)

Because "lie" can be a copular verb doesn't mean it cannot take an adverb too. For example, "lie quietly". However, in this case I believe you are probably correct. Mihia (talk) 23:27, 15 March 2020 (UTC)
@Mihia: shulda said "the meaning of lie used in this example" being copular --Backinstadiums (talk) 00:11, 16 March 2020 (UTC)
Oh yes, sorry, I see what you meant. Mihia (talk) 01:28, 16 March 2020 (UTC)
In a sentence like “materials must lie flat on the table”, flat clearly functions as an adverb: this library regulation prescribes the manner of lying. It does not aim to constrain the shape of the books. In the quotation, “Hepaticology ... lies deep in the shadow ...”, we are not told copularly that hepaticology itself is deep; what is deep here is the position hepaticology finds itself in, a position so deep that it is overshadowed. Therefore I think also in this example the sense is adverbial.  --Lambiam 10:30, 16 March 2020 (UTC)
Hmmm. Looking again at the "deep" example, I think that the copular nature, or otherwise, of "lie" may be somewhat of a red herring, since "lies deep in the shadows" is "lies + deep in the shadows", not "lies deep + in the shadows", so the question is really about the role of "deep" in the phrase "deep in the shadows". Since "deep" in that phrase seems to describe "to what extent" or "how far", yes, I think it is an adverb -- though in fact not because of any relationship with "lie". Mihia (talk) 20:25, 16 March 2020 (UTC)


"Tending to derogate, or lessen in value of someone". Is this grammatical?

Also, those glosses don't particularly help me in understanding the first quote. PUC 18:20, 15 March 2020 (UTC)

Glad to see someone has already fixed that grammar and given clearer glosses (though looking up derogate made pretty clear that detract was meant in the first quote (Acts [] derogatory from the power of subsequent Parliaments[]). I am, however, still unhappy with the way the new formulation “(usually with to) Tending to derogate, or lessen the value of someone; expressing derogation; detracting” lumps together the older rather technical usage and the more modern sense more or less equivalent to “insulting”. In the first two quotations the word seems to mean “reducing the powers (of)”, while in the third it means “hurtfully expressing a low opinion (of)”, which sound to me like two distinct senses. (I thought at first there were three, but it transpired that the Macaulay quote, which I extended to clarify this, did not mean “injurious to the reputation (of)”.) I think that the problem is partly that derogate itself has some five senses, only some of which are mentioned here; ideally we would give as many senses here, or at least quotations for all of them. PJTraill (talk) 21:59, 15 March 2020 (UTC)
Add cites for the senses that seem to be missing and then add the senses. I wouldn't stick too close to the verb definitions when wording the adjective definitions. DCDuring (talk) 02:14, 16 March 2020 (UTC)

Category:English rhyming compounds

As was noted on the talkpage, there's a bit of scope creep going on here, with words being included (sometimes by me) that are definitely not compounds; for example hit it and quit it or wham, bam, thank you ma'am. Any ideas for a new category name? PUC 18:25, 15 March 2020 (UTC)

If you are intending to split the cat, perhaps Category:English rhyming phrases?  --Lambiam 10:00, 16 March 2020 (UTC)


How about marking this term as a hot word? Also, the definitions could probably use some tidying. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 22:56, 15 March 2020 (UTC)

I guess you are talking about sense #3. I'm not sure this is purely "a newly coined term, or newly adopted sense of an existing term". Google hits for e.g. "country was in lockdown" yield results predating the present situation. Mihia (talk)
I think the only thing new is the reason for imposing a lockdown, which doesn't strike me as part of the definition. Basically, this sort of lockdown is merely a severe restriction on the movement of people within the area in question. Whether you're doing it to prevent forces from gathering to oppose you, to keep people separate to avoid conflict between them, or to prevent spread of a disease by keeping people from coming into contact with one another, you're still doing basically the same thing: restricting the movement of people in an area to keep them apart. Also, I heard someone just this morning refer to a senior care facility being in lockdown because of coronavirus, so it's not just "large areas of a nation or a whole nation". Chuck Entz (talk) 00:03, 16 March 2020 (UTC)
I've had a go at folding the "new" sense into the existing sense. The process of doing so highlighted some shortcomings of the first def (e.g., a lockdown can happen amid and not just after a disturbance), which I tried to fix. - -sche (discuss) 09:12, 16 March 2020 (UTC)

Frankish is a etymology-only reference to Proto-West-Germanic ?

Am I correct to understand that Frankish terms should link to Proto-West-Germanic ? At eschançon, the Frankish term is red-linked. Leasnam (talk) 01:39, 16 March 2020 (UTC)

@Leasnam: Wiktionary:Votes/2020-01/Make Frankish an etymology-only variant of Proto-West GermanicΜετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 18:13, 16 March 2020 (UTC)
Ok, it looks as though it passed. But Frankish terms in etymologies are not linking to their Proto-West-Germanic entries (see eschançon above). Are we still anticipating the completion of this ? Leasnam (talk) 20:43, 16 March 2020 (UTC)
Yes. All the Frankish entries and categories have to be out of the way first, or they will get errors when the language code is modified. —Rua (mew) 20:46, 16 March 2020 (UTC)
Ah, okay, gotcha. Thank you ! :) Leasnam (talk) 23:49, 16 March 2020 (UTC)

antistasis and antanaclasis are mutual hyponyms?

The former lists the latter as a hyponym, and the latter lists the former. I think the proper answer is that antanaclasis refers to the repetition of a word with a different sense, and antistasis with an opposite sense; thus, antanaclasis is the hypernym and antistasis the hyponym. Does this seem right?

So, for example, Franklin's "We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately." is an example of antanaclasis, but not of antistasis, while Thurber's "Why do so many people who can't write plays write plays?" is an example of both? These examples of antistasis don't seem to strictly follow the pattern; maybe the meaning has drifted a bit, as suggested in the second sense? grendel|khan 04:04, 16 March 2020 (UTC)

Opposite” is too strong; the second sense merely has to contradict the first one. Here it is described as “a new, especially contrary sense”. But in the example that follows (“he sitteth on the right hand of the man who sitteth on the right hand of The Man”), the sense is actually not contrary but merely different – although different in a contrastive way. So, as the terms are used, they are practically synonyms. But antistasis seems less appropriate in case of a mere pun, as in “Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana.” A beautiful characterization is found here: after somewhat blandly defining the antistasis trope as “the repetition of a word—the ‘same’ word—in a different context”, the text goes on to describe how a term may invoke a network of associations, concluding with, “Antistasis invites such connections by invoking ‘the same’ in a way that reveals difference.”  --Lambiam 09:57, 16 March 2020 (UTC)

разведёнка usage example translation barely comprehensible

I can make only limited sense of the translation of the usage example at разведёнка:

На у́лице не даду́т прохо́да языка́тые кержа́чки, что поедо́м едя́т дереве́нских «бро́шенок» и «разведёнок», и те ходя́т к ре́чке полоска́ть бельё ноча́ми. ― Sharp-tongued battleaxes nagging the village women who were "deserted" by men and the "divorcées" won't let them pass outside and they go to the river to wash linens at night.

Could someone who understands the original please improve the English? As it stands it does little to help English native speakers to understand the word and its connotations. It would also be good to have some etymology. PJTraill (talk) 15:33, 16 March 2020 (UTC)

This is the best I could make of it, but my Russian skills are rather limited and the language use is on the colloquial side:
On the street, passage will not be allowed by the sharp-tongued Kerzhachki [Old Believer women], who have village “broshenkas” [abandoned women] and “divorcées” for a meal, and those [who] go to the creek to rinse their wash at night.
All I get from this is that divorcées are looked down upon by these Kerzhachki who apparently think themselves superior to simple villagers. I don’t know if разведёнка (razvedjónka) is already by itself somewhat derogatory, but брошенка (broshenka) is (according to Wikislowar).  --Lambiam 22:27, 16 March 2020 (UTC)

Origin of the word which names the animal - Grouse.


I have been reading the English words from Old Germanic in the root of GhREh-. I see that the adjectives listed here are:



GRÍSAZ > GRÍS > *GRISE* (like rice, grey or terrible, perhaps hidden like a ghost)

GREThOS > GRÉDAZ > GRAED > *GRAD, GRADE* (not in use, grass)


and finally,

GRÓSÓ > GRÓSA > *GRUS* > *GROUS, GRAUS* (like house)

Is it possible that the final, (from Grósó), becomes in some way the English for Grouse? I cannot immediately see the definitions for the German or Dutch.

The Pheasant Grouse can be grey in colour, The Pheasant Grouse is herbivorous, The Pheasant Grouse lives in greyish, greenish places?

The words between stars **, are speculative; representing something that appears to me, similar to a modern form.

19:08, 16 March 2020 (UTC)

flatten the curve

Worth an entry? (I ask only on grounds of SOPpiness, not novelty; I found this attestation from 2014: “We have managed to flatten the curve of HIV prevalence, but now we must look inwards and seek local solutions”.) —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 01:53, 17 March 2020 (UTC)

But graphical curves representing all sorts of things can be flattened, and attestably so. DCDuring (talk) 03:09, 17 March 2020 (UTC)
So what? I'm talking about the epidemiological sense. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 04:10, 17 March 2020 (UTC)
This is old epidemiologist parlance (as seen used here in 1920) that has now become commonplace. What is new and makes this idiomatic is that you don’t have to specify which curve (unlike in the 1920 and 2014 use). One could even argue that “the curve” is the idiomatic part. It may however still be too hot to deserve inclusion; will this survive for a year?  --Lambiam 13:15, 17 March 2020 (UTC)
I tend to agree with this: "What is new and makes this idiomatic is that you don’t have to specify which curve (unlike in the 1920 and 2014 use)". PUC 13:56, 17 March 2020 (UTC)
I tend not to. There is a tendency here to be recentist (especially, dare I say, in relation to the current COVID-19 pandemic). If there is a particular state of affairs in a country or in the world, one will naturally find sources referring to, say, "the pandemic" or "the war" or "the President", assuming that readers will know the context and correctly identify which pandemic, war or President is referred to. I think it may be too early to assess whether the current state of affairs is significant enough for a term like flatten the curve to refer unambiguously to the COVID-19; contrast, say, Holocaust. Otherwise, we will end up having to add to a word like pandemic as additional senses every major pandemic that has taken place. — SGconlaw (talk) 19:27, 17 March 2020 (UTC)
But note that the term can be defined (and now has been defined) without reference to any specific pandemic or epidemic.  --Lambiam 03:42, 18 March 2020 (UTC)
I have no objection to that. What I would object to is any specific sense that refers to the current COVID-19 outbreak. — SGconlaw (talk) 05:28, 18 March 2020 (UTC)
@Lambiam, PUC, Sgconlaw: Like it or not, an anon has now created the entry. If anyone wants to refine it or send it to RF(V|D), be my guest. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 00:13, 18 March 2020 (UTC)

for crying out loud

For what is this a euphemism? What was wrong with it being in Category:English oaths? DCDuring (talk) 14:39, 17 March 2020 (UTC)

For such a non-vulgar, non-euphemistic expression, is it accurate and helpful to language learners to have vulgar expressions and euphemisms as unqualified synonyms? DCDuring (talk) 15:45, 17 March 2020 (UTC)
Why isn't it a euphemism? According to our (slightly clumsily written) entry, "euphemism" means "The use of a word or phrase to replace another with one that is considered less offensive, blunt or vulgar than the word or phrase which it replaces." In this case, "for crying out loud" replaces "for Christ's sake". Why doesn't that fit the definition? Mihia (talk) 18:40, 17 March 2020 (UTC)
  • I think it stands for for Christ's sake, which is fine if the minister uses it in a sermon to admonish us all to love our neighbours for Christ's sake, but may be considered less appropriate by said minister if we yell it at a neighbour we don’t love so much. We label jeeze as (mildly blasphemous).  --Lambiam 18:59, 17 March 2020 (UTC)

[a] [cappella]

a is an English word. Plausibly, someone reading English might not realize a cappella is not one cappella. Would it be acceptable to add an English section to the cappella entry? if so, what form should it take? Perhaps...


Usage note

...or something like that? or a hatnote, like capella has See also... a capella? i know what i'm suggesting is slightly redundant to cappella#Related_terms, but that's part of cappella#Italian, and someone reading English might not even look at the Italian section. -- 05:30, 18 March 2020 (UTC)

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