pterodactyl commented on the list nicknames-you-shouldn-t-give-to-an-axe-wielding-loincloth-wearing-barbarian-warrior-with-bulging-thews
List of the Day, 3 Nov 2013! Thanks, Wordnik!
December 3, 2013
pterodactyl commented on the list the-braggadocio-recipe
Hey ruzuzu, do you know where I could get a leaf from a palm tree? I'm asking for a frond.
October 24, 2013
pterodactyl commented on the list a-casual-observer-might-believe-incorrectly-that-i-am-an-elderly-time-traveling-british-woman
Right back atcha, ruzuzu! :-)
pterodactyl commented on the word hospital
Americans will say that someone is "in school" or "in prison", but not "in hospital". Instead, the usual phrasing is "in the hospital".I'm American, but I don't understand this. Britons say "in hospital" -- why don't we?I'd also be curious to learn which phrasing Canadians and Australians and New Zealanders use.
October 16, 2013
pterodactyl commented on the word herbivore
As if I didn't already have enough pet peeves about language, I seem to have developed a new peeve: People using "vegetarian" to mean "herbivore". For example: "That buffalo looks scary, but don't worry, he's a vegetarian!" or "Scientists have announced that the newly-discovered dinosaur was vegetarian".Here's my rant: It's impossible for an herbivore to be a vegetarian! An herbivore is a creature that cannot eat meat. A vegetarian is someone who could eat meat, but chooses not to. Therefore, herbivores can't be vegetarians -- only omnivores can!Grumble grumble grumble. Stupid people with their stupid words.
September 4, 2013
pterodactyl commented on the word mistweet
Spotted in a headline on FactCheck.org: GOP Mistweets Obamacare Survey Results.
July 27, 2013
pterodactyl commented on the word would
As I was browsing the Interwebs yesterday, I came across a list of advice to young people. It was titled "What I Wish I Would Have Known", and every item on the list began with "I wish I would have known that..."After I stopped banging my head against my keyboard, something occurred to me. The reason why this phrasing bothers me so much is that it combines two different indicators of the subjunctive mood: "I wish that I had" and "I would have", which is redundant. You don't need the extra indicator. You can just say "I wish I had known", and that's enough to establish the subjunctive. So, why do so many people feel the need to add "would have"?Well, maybe it's a similar phenomenon to the double negative. As I mentioned in another thread, many languages, and some dialects of English, use double negatives as negatives. ("I ain't no fool", for example.) The double negatives don't cancel each other out, and they aren't considered to be redundant. They just emphasize the negativity of the statement.By analogy, if "I ain't no fool" is a double negative, then maybe "I wish I would have known..." is a "double subjunctive"? Maybe it's not redundant... maybe the second subjunctive is for emphasis?I don't know. It's an interesting theory to think about, though.
July 11, 2013
pterodactyl commented on the list that-could-have-gone-better
List of the Day, 6/27/23! Thank you, Wordnik!
June 28, 2013
pterodactyl commented on the word survenue
Reesetee made a list of words like this: http://www.wordnik.com/lists/it-has-a-name
May 30, 2013
pterodactyl commented on the list words-in-which-u-is-pronounced-yu
Hi Ru2013! Some of these words have the "y" sound in some dialects but not in others. In my American dialect, "duke" does not have the "y" sound, but in a British dialect, it does. See the comments below for more. :-)
May 17, 2013
pterodactyl commented on the list well-known-places-youve-never-heard-of
Just spotted this article on the Wordnik Twitter feed: http://mentalfloss.com/article/30810/why-are-there-different-names-same-country
April 11, 2013
pterodactyl commented on the word exclamation mark
I just spotted this on the Wordnik Twitter feed: http://m.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/04/screamer-slammer-bang-and-15-other-ways-to-say-exclamation-point/274687/
April 6, 2013
I opted for "exclamation mark" over "exclamation point" on the grounds that the symbol in question is more than just a point -- it's a point with a vertical line over it. But that's just me being fussy. Is there some more reasonable reason to choose "exclamation mark"?
April 4, 2013
pterodactyl commented on the word livver
*sigh* If it only it were spelled "livver" -- then I could put it on this list
April 3, 2013
I don't usually use more than one exclamation mark, but when I do, I use an odd number of them!!! For example, three exclamation marks, or five!!!!! Or even seven, if I'm feeling particularly maniacal!!!!!!!For some reason, an even number of exclamation marks just looks wrong!!
pterodactyl commented on the word breaks
April 2, 2013
pterodactyl commented on the word every potential Wordnik list is an existing Wordnik list
See every potential wordie list is an existing wordie list.
March 25, 2013
pterodactyl commented on the list x-up-or-x-down
Holy cow, yarb! I didn't intentionally steal your list idea. I guess great minds think alike. And every potential Wordnik list is an existing Wordnik list. :-)
I'm not familiar with the phrase, 'zuzu, but then again, I'm not familiar with most cookery terms. I trust your judgment. Go for it. :-)
March 22, 2013
I've opened this list up to everyone. Any suggestions?
pterodactyl commented on the list here-i-dreamt-i-was-an-archetype
It's 3/22/13, and Wordnik just picked this list as List of the Day! Thanks, Wordnik! A hat tip to you guys and the good work you do!
pterodactyl commented on the word irregardless
Seanahan made a very good point, earlier in this thread. (Uh, six years earlier, actually. I'm kind of late to this discussion.) In some languages, double negatives are interpreted as negatives. In fact, some dialects of English do the same thing. You could say, for example, "That ain't no moon!" and it would mean the same thing as "That's no moon!"There's a larger question, which is whether it's better for a language to interpret double negatives as positives or as negatives. The former is more logical; the latter is more natural. I wish we could come up with a rule that's both logical AND natural, but I don't know what that would be.
February 10, 2013
pterodactyl commented on the list archaic-placenames
Great ideas, everyone! I opened the list up, so feel free to add to your heart's content.(Hi bilby!)
January 31, 2013
pterodactyl commented on the word split infinitive
There's a poster in my workplace that says "The important thing is not to stop questioning". I agree with the sentiment, but the grammar drives me crazy. My brain parses it as "X is not Y", or "(The important thing) is not (to stop questioning)", and so every time I see it, I think "Well, then what is the important thing? Tell me! Don't leave me in suspense, you wretched poster!"This is why it's important to give people the freedom to split infinitives. Using a split infinitive, you can reword the sentence as "The important thing is to not stop questioning", which is nice and tidy and clear.
January 10, 2013
pterodactyl commented on the word invoilable
Hi Jody -- you may be looking for inviolable, with the I and the O the other way around.
December 18, 2012
pterodactyl commented on the word comball
Ruzuzu -- I read this as "cornball" at first, too. I had to read it over several times before I could see the actual spelling.
pterodactyl commented on the word Dodge
According to one theory, the phrase comes from the TV series Gunsmoke.
pterodactyl commented on the word floodgate
6:30 a.m.: Polls open in Ohio. Expect a floodgate of attention to surround this battleground state where the presidential candidates have invested enormous resources into winning its 18 electoral votes. --NPRA "floodgate of attention"? I don't think that metaphor works.
November 7, 2012
pterodactyl commented on the list pterodactyl-s-personal-phonetic-alphabet
I am older and wiser now, and I've realized that saying "p as in pterodactyl" exposes a person to relentless mockery. Thus, the penguin. :-)
October 25, 2012
pterodactyl commented on the list mony-mony
kalayzich, I wasn't originally thinking of monys inside of words, but I'm just so darned impressed with your suggestion that I'm changing the rules. Please, add to your heart's content! :-)
September 13, 2012
Mony itself? Sure!
pterodactyl commented on the word ogle
A quick informal poll: Do you pronounce this OH-gul, OGG-ul, or OO-gul? Or some fourth way?I've always said OGG-ul. Today I heard OO-gul for the first time, and OO-gul made me giggle.
August 19, 2012
pterodactyl commented on the word myrtle
If someone called me an "unimportant astringent", I would be sad. And also confused.
August 18, 2012
pterodactyl commented on the word jinrikisha
The Century Dictionary says that jinrikishas are "provided with springs". How thoughtful! I wonder who provided them?
pterodactyl commented on the word inexpressible
Time for me to put on a pair of inexpressibles and start my day!
August 11, 2012
pterodactyl commented on the word daddle
pterodactyl commented on the word 42
"While in London, Torres, 45, will make appearances as a global ambassador for McDonald's "Champions of Play" program."Dara Torres is 45? I thought she was 42. She must have built up some momentum.
July 28, 2012
pterodactyl commented on the list tunie-word-disassociation
Glad you like it! :-)
pterodactyl commented on the list us-states-that-are-also-rivers
Can anyone help add to this list?
July 21, 2012
pterodactyl commented on the list sick-animals
OncoMouse does electronica. Berzerk Llama Syndrome is a jam band that does twenty-minute improvisations. Cat Scratch Fever is a retro swing band. Duck Plague is one guy in a basement with a cheap synthesizer.
July 17, 2012
pterodactyl commented on the list words-to-describe-bad-arguments
July 13, 2012
pterodactyl commented on the list the-several-stages-of-wordie-addiction
You're not just talking to yourself, 'zuzu! :-)Of course, I don't speak Latvian, so my attentiveness doesn't help you. But maybe it's the thought that counts?
pterodactyl commented on the word Antarctica
Nonsense. You don't need formaldehyde to cook up a big ol' jar of marsupial preserves.
July 11, 2012
When I pronounce this word, my instinct is to leave out the C, and say"ant-AR-ti-cuh". But I know that that's not correct, so I have a little mental reminder that tells me to insert the C. Unfortunately, though, I tend to overcorrect and say "anct-ARC-ti-cuh", with an extra C before the first T.Interestingly, the C that gives me so much trouble is a relatively recent addition. I figure that some priggish linguist in the 17th century decided that the word had to conform to its ancient Greek roots, and now we're stuck with the C. It's a shame, really. "Antartica" would be much more simple to pronounce and spell.
July 8, 2012
pterodactyl commented on the word lectern
I find myself getting angry whenever I hear someone use the word "podium" to refer to a lectern. We already have a perfectly good word for lecterns, so why not just use it? Calling a lectern a podium seems so gratuitous and pointless.But, on reflection, it's not gratuitous. In all likelihood, people just don't know the word "lectern", and so they're using the only word they do know that describes the object in question. We can't fault them for that, can we?And I suppose I needn't worry that "podium" will soon have two meanings, because the original meaning of "podium" (an elevated platform for a public speaker to stand on) appears to be dead. Ask a typical English speaker what a "podium" is, and he or she will probably describe a lectern, not an elevated platform. And we have the word "dais" to describe elevated platforms, so I needn't worry that that particular concept will become nameless.It all makes logical sense when I type it out like this, but nevertheless, I know I'm still going to fret about it. :-/
pterodactyl commented on the word avuncular
I don't see why not. As best as I can tell, in order to be avuncular, all you have to do is behave like a stereotypical uncle. Anyone can do that, whether they're male or female.
July 4, 2012
pterodactyl commented on the word mayhem
For a word that means chaos and violence, "mayhem" is actually a rather tidy and dignified pair of syllables. With a capital M, Mayhem looks to me like the name of a small village in the English countryside, the kind of place that where you'd find carefully-trimmed window boxes and an interesting selection of doilies.
June 9, 2012
pterodactyl commented on the word codename
Ruzuzu, I've have that song stuck in my head for three days now, thanks to you! I hope you're happy! *mock glare*
June 6, 2012
pterodactyl commented on the list a-_____-walks-into-a-bar
Thanks, ruzuzu! This was actually one of the first lists I ever created!
pterodactyl commented on the list names-of-national-capitals-that-are-often-but-incorrectly-pronounced-with-emphasis-on-the-penultimate-syllable
Thanks, ruzuzu! I adore the fact that bilby was able to think of additional cities for this list!
May 28, 2012
pterodactyl commented on the user pterodactyl
Yes, it's wight next to it.
April 27, 2012
Yep! "Pterodactyl" literally means "wing-finger". (Or "finger-wing". Latin is not my strong suit.)
April 26, 2012
pterodactyl commented on the word what time
Is this a grammatical error?"What time should I pick you up?"Prescriptive grammarians would probably say yes, it is an error, because it's missing the word "at". It should be "What time should I pick you up at?" or "At what time should I pick you up?"If these grammarians are also copy editors, they might suggest the phrasing "When should I pick you up?", which avoids the "what time" construction entirely. After all, English already has a perfectly good word for asking questions about time ("when"), so, the editors might say, why not just use it?Actually, I think there's a jolly good reason to use "what time" instead of "when". I don't think they mean the same thing.My idea is that people use "what time" to refer to time on a clock, as opposed to time on a calendar. For example, if you ask someone "When did you arrive in London?", they might answer "Last Thursday", which isn't helpful if what you're really inquiring about is the arrival time of their train. So, instead, you can ask "What time did you arrive in London?", a question to which "Last Thursday" is not a sensible response.If I'm right about this, then "what time" is a two-word idiom that functions as one word, rather like "how much" or "how many" or the Spanish "por qué".Huh. So, if it is an idiom, does this explain the absence of "at"?
April 14, 2012
pterodactyl commented on the word Hawai'i
Good point. Yeah, that would probably explain the spelling. But it wouldn't explain the pronunciation. Why don't we pronounce the glottal stop?
pterodactyl commented on the word emu
Great, thanks! I had been stricken with indecision about which pronunciation to use (they're both equally prevalent in American English), but this decides the issue. From now on, I shall emulate the elocutions of the emu experts.
April 11, 2012
pterodactyl commented on the word second
Then our work here is done. *evil laugh*
April 10, 2012
pterodactyl commented on the word spelt
This page is amazing. How did I not know about this before?*laughing out loud*
How is this pronounced in Australian English? "ee-moo" or "ee-myoo"?
Interesting! If I heard someone say "second rug test", and pronounce the D, I would almost certainly mishear it as "second drug test". I'm so used to not hearing a D in "second" that my brain would automatically assume that the D is part of the following word.
April 8, 2012
I've been saying this word for years, but I've only just now realized how bizarre its pronunciation is.The issue is the final consonant. The word is spelled with a final D, but it's not pronounced with a final [d]. If you try pronouncing the word with a final [d], it sounds wrong.At first I assumed that the final consonant was a [t], as part of a "-NT" ending. But Ts are articulated with the tip of the tongue, and when I say "second", my tongue only articulates the N. I mean, [n] and [t] are both alveolar consonants, but when I say "second", my tongue goes up to the alveolar ridge just once, for the [n], and just kinda stops there.So, then I started thinking that maybe the "d" was just totally silent, and that the word is pronounced to end on the [n]. But that's clearly wrong, because if you try pronouncing "secon", it sounds different, and easily distinguishable from "second".I hesitate to even suggest this, because it sounds so weird, but I'm starting to think that the final consonant in "second" is an [n] and a [ʔ] (a glottal stop) pronounced simultaneously.What do you guys think?
April 7, 2012
pterodactyl commented on the list not-much
"A trice" is nice! Feel free to add it to the list!
March 8, 2012
pterodactyl commented on the list tunie-mark-rothko-song
You're welcome! Glad you like it!This is, honestly, one of the most beautiful songs I know. It's sad, and pensive, and the lyrics are just exquisite. I highly recommend listening to it.
March 2, 2012
pterodactyl commented on the word semantic satiation
Ooh, thanks, ruzuzu, for bringing this useful phrase to our attention!This would be a good candidate for reesetee's "It has a name?!" list.
February 29, 2012
pterodactyl commented on the word specular highlight
Wordnik's "Visuals" feature really comes in handy here.
February 17, 2012
pterodactyl commented on the word spat
I keep hearing "spit" used as its own past tense (e.g. "Yesterday I spit a watermelon seed nearly twelve yards") and I think to myself What's wrong with "spat"? We have a perfectly good past tense form available to us -- why aren't we using it?It can't just be because "spat" is an irregular past tense. If that were the problem, then we'd be seeing an equivalent drop-off in other irregular past tenses, like "taught" or "wept", but nobody is going around saying "I weep last Saturday, because my girlfriend teach me the meaning of the word 'dump'." It sounds ridiculous, right? So why doesn't it sound equally ridiculous to say "Yesterday I spit a watermelon seed"?
January 26, 2012
pterodactyl commented on the word travesty
Excellent point about the cross-pollination from tragedy! I'd argue that most people who use "travesty" as a short form of "travesty of justice" aren't aware that that's what they're doing. I figure it started with a bunch of people who DID intentionally shorten "travesty of justice", and then a second bunch of people who didn't know the meaning of the word "travesty" (i.e. "mockery") heard the word being used by the first bunch, and inferred from context that it meant "disgusting state of affairs".Does that sound like a plausible sequence of events?
January 19, 2012
pterodactyl commented on the word lend
This word seems to be dying out, in favor of "loan" (as a verb). This could be because "lend" is an irregular verb, or because people prefer to use the same word ("loan") as both the noun and the verb. Or, most likely, for both reasons.I'm sad about this. I Iike the word "lend", and I'd hate to see its demise. Why should we make "loan" do double duty, when we already have a lovely little verb to do the job?
January 18, 2012
I think this is one of those words whose dictionary meaning doesn't match its common meaning. The dictionary meaning is "mockery" or "grotesque parody", but when I hear it, it usually means something like "disaster" or "disgusting state of affairs" or "offensively bad situation". The tweets on the right side of this page all support this latter definition.My best guess is that travesty used to mean "mockery", but the meaning has drifted over time. I wonder how long it will be before the major dictionaries update their definitions?
pterodactyl commented on the user ruzuzu
What's all the fuss about <3' secret messages? Ah! I see! Can it really be as simple as hiding messages behind' hearts?
January 14, 2012
*giant reptilian hug* I missed you too, ruzuzu!(Thinks: Oooh! I just typed five syllables in a row that have the same vowel sound!)
January 8, 2012
pterodactyl commented on the list white-winter-hymnal
Love the title, love the list!
pterodactyl commented on the word apricity
I feel sad when I see "museum pieces" like this word which would be gorgeous words if anyone actually used them. I feel that we ought to smash the glass of the museum display case, snatch the word, and absquatulate with it, then slowly introduce it into the wild and work to establish a breeding population.
pterodactyl commented on the word epizeuxis
Examples here.I love, love, love this word!
After several months of rejecting my password and giving me an error message, Wordnik has finally decided to allow me back in. Hurrah! Let the listing recommence!
pterodactyl commented on the word actress
Why do we still use the word actress when most -ess words (e.g. stewardess, authoress, shepherdess, waitress) are considered improper or quaint? My guess is that it's because the sex of a steward, author, shepherd, or waiter is irrelevant, but an actor's sex actually matters, because it determines which roles he or she will be hired to play.The same explanation also works for goddess. In religious studies and mythology, the fact that a goddess is female is actually quite relevant to her character, so it's not sexist to draw attention to the fact.That's my theory, anyway. I could be wrong.
pterodactyl commented on the word new interface
Thanks, Erin! :-)
August 4, 2011
I noticed the same thing on some of my lists, dontcry, and at first I was horrified. All our beautiful comments, gone! But then I spotted a comment from Erin on the Feedback page, saying that the comments feature is in "drydock" right now for repairs and revamping. I figure that means that our comments will be returning soon.Incidentally, I just checked the Feedback page right now and found it completely comment-less, but I presume that's just another symptom of the "drydocking".
August 1, 2011
pterodactyl commented on the list lesser-known-meteor-showers
Heh... you can tell that this list dates back to the Wordie days. The names of meteor showers are supposed to be capitalized (e.g. "the Perseids", "the Leonids", "the Geminids") but Wordie didn't support capitalization.Ah, memories of Wordie...
July 19, 2011
Sounds like it. If you'd seen the Fervids, you'd remember them. :-)
pterodactyl commented on the word Oxford comma
"People — people like me — love the serial comma. They rely on it. They feel like society's abandonment of it is a sign that all has gone haywire. They feel about it the way other people feel about newspapers, green spaces, or virtue."--"Going, Going, And Gone?: No, The Oxford Comma Is Safe ... For Now", by Linda Holmes, from NPR's Monkey See blog
July 1, 2011
pterodactyl commented on the word good to go
I'm usually quite mild-mannered, but this phrase makes me grind my teeth together."Good to go!" Ugh! It's just so... so... smarmy.
June 30, 2011
pterodactyl commented on the word aqueduct
Looks like the new Wordnik font is not kind to IPA symbols. :-(
A quick unscientific survey: Do you say /ækwədʌkt/ or /ɑkwədʌkt/? In other words, does the first vowel rhyme with "yeah" or with "blah"?I just realized that I use /æ/ for "aqueduct" but /ɑ/ for "aqua", which seems terribly inconsistent of me.
pterodactyl commented on the word fell swoop
Serial ruthlessness is certainly an option (albeit a terrible one). But there's something very final about "fatal" and "deadly".
June 29, 2011
pterodactyl commented on the word @FreeBilby
They're giving out free bilbys? Hooray! I'll take three!
June 22, 2011
pterodactyl commented on the list tunie--whats-your-english
Do we still have a master list of Tunies? If so, here's another one for it.
pterodactyl commented on the list the-request-line
I want to thank Mr. Helster, and Wordnik, for providing this service. I love being able to get pronunciations on demand, and I'm amazed that we get this service for free. Thank you! I really appreciate it!
June 21, 2011
pterodactyl commented on the user feedback
Bug: When I click on a tag, I'm taken to the corresponding word page, not the corresponding tag page. For example, the word "robin" is tagged "bird", but when I click on "bird", it takes me to bird.
I see what you guys are saying about the images, and I think you're right to say that we old Wordie regulars don't come to Wordnik to find images. Still, I quite like the position of the images in the new interface, and I hope they stay there.Print dictionaries usually have illustrations, and each illustration is usually positioned right next to its corresponding definition. Seeing these two things side by side helps you grok what the word means. I like the idea of having the same thing in Wordnik.I also like the potential for serendipity. For example, earlier today, I looked up the word "afterglow". I had been thinking of it as an emotion, but then I stumbled into the images section of the page, which got me thinking about the connection between the metaphorical and literal meanings of the word. It was a pleasant rumination, and a serendipitous moment, and it wouldn't have happened if I'd been using the old interface.Just my two cents. Feel free to disagree with me.
I agree with sionnach and bilby about the Feedback page. Maybe put a link to it on the home page?Also, I just tried to create my first new list since the rollout of the new interface, and I see what bilby was saying about the content of the add box not autoclearing. I have to delete my last word from the box before I can add a new word. It makes me sad. :-(
June 20, 2011
I second ruzuzu's comment on the Feedback page. The reverse dictionary is teh alsome.
June 18, 2011
Would it be helpful if we collected all of our comments about the new interface on one page? I'm worried that we'll clutter up the Feedback page at the rate we're going.I've left some comments at new interface. Y'all are welcome to join me over there.
I posted my previous comment about twenty seconds ago, and yet Wordnik says I posted the comment "about 9 hours ago". Perhaps this bug is associated with the new interface?
As soon as I saw that there was a new Wordnik interface, I was ready to hate it. I loved the old interface so much, I just assumed that any change would be bad.Turns out I was wrong. Now that I've had a chance to play around with the new interface, I find I quite like it. The colors, especially, are a welcome addition. And I'm pleased to see that you kept the most important part of Wordnik's visual layout: lots and lots of white space. Bravo, Wordnik gnomes! Well done!I do have one minor complaint. Across the top of each word page is a navigation menu, consisting of the words "Love", "Define", "Relate", "List", "Discuss", "See", "Hear", and "Share". I'm glad that these navigation links are present, but I think the words that were chosen to represent each link are cryptic and confusing. (Why all verbs?) When I first saw them, I had no idea what they did, and so I was afraid to click on them.My suggestion is that you get rid of these verbs and replace them with the names of the sections that they link to. Thus, the words across the top would read "Love", "Definitions", "Related Words", "Lists", "Comments", "Visuals", "Audio", and "Share". That way, people could tell what they do.
Thanks, Erin! Whatever you guys did, it worked. All the links are working just fine for me now.EDIT: ...except for "you don't beep at a polar bear match". I still can't get to that one.
Oh dear! I can't view any word pages! I want to see the new interface, but no matter which word I try, I just get the "Trouble delivering that page" message.I can view list pages just fine, though.I'm using Firefox on a Mac, if that helps.EDIT: Okay, seems I can view word pages if I get to them by clicking on a link in a list, or by using the search box. I just can't get to them from the links on the Community page.
No, ruzuzu, I don't -- would you care to do the honors? :-)
June 9, 2011
pterodactyl commented on the word comfortable
June 5, 2011
pterodactyl commented on the word I dislike ampersands
Well, more ampersands for the rest of us, then!*hands out ampersands to everyone but frogapplause*
I still think there's metathesis going on, even for a non-rhotic speaker. In non-rhotic dialects, the "r" is not spoken, but it's still present in the speaker's mind, as an unspoken phoneme... right? (I could be wrong about this, but I'm pretty sure that's how it works.) And if that's so, then it seems plausible that a group of RP speakers might experience metathesis with those two phonemes, the /t/ and the /r/, even though one of them is never spoken.
I looked up metathesis on Wikipedia, and found that "comfortable" is one of the examples they give to demonstrate metathesis in English. Wikipedia isn't all-knowing, but it's usually right, so I think this provides some fairly strong support for rolig's first hypothesis. Well done, rolig!Anyone have any alternative hypotheses to contribute?
June 4, 2011
pterodactyl commented on the word pedum
Given the name of the genus, I imagine that these bivalves evolved specifically to provide percussive rimshots whenever someone tells a lousy joke.Let's test it out!"Man, when I found out I was the only one who could see the tags on 'pedum', I sure felt sheepish!!!"*pedum-tshhh*
No tags, blafferty? Huh. On my computer, I see three tags ("ecclesiastical", "latin", and "sheep").
Who put the "ter" in "comf-ter-bull"?Given the spelling, you'd expect this word to be pronounced like "comfort" with the "-able" suffix on the end, but it's not even close to that. The T and the R aren't even in the proper order.I'd be interested to hear whether there's a particular rule of linguistics that explains this shift in pronunciation. Rolig? Qroqqa? Anyone?
pterodactyl commented on the word blog
Would you use the word "blog" to mean "blog entry"?For a while now, I've seen people using the word in this way. For example, they might say "I wrote a blog this morning, and I'll probably write another one after dinner". This usage makes me cringe. It's the kind of thing you'd hear from people who might also talk about "watching a YouTube" or "reading the Wikipedia" -- i.e. people who aren't tech-savvy.But now, more and more, I'm seeing people who ARE tech-savvy using "blog" to mean "blog entry". I still hate it, but I recognize that in a living language, words' meanings can change. Do you think that's what's happening with "blog"?
June 1, 2011
pterodactyl commented on the list lost-for-word
Perhaps we should coin "tastealike", by analogy to "lookalike"?
May 25, 2011
pterodactyl commented on the list snose-words
Excellent list, blafferty! Bravo!
May 24, 2011
pterodactyl commented on the word hosterage
Well done, sionnach!*raises glass in recognition of the Fox's outstanding skills*
pterodactyl commented on the word twirl
Excellent point, rolig. And bilby, I think you're absolutely right -- the phenomenon that rolig describes is definitely related to phonesthemes.I have some phonestheme lists, in case anyone's interested.
I recently tagged a bunch of words with "pterodactyl is a windbag", to indicate pages on which I blather on at great length. (There are rather a lot of them.) After I finished tagging, I realized that this tag would actually work better as a list, so I created a new list titled "pterodactyl is a windbag" and added all the appropriate words to the list. Then I went through them one-by-one to remove the tag.However, I can't remove the tag from the word "Hawai'i". I click the little X next to the tag, but nothing happens. I've tried it in both Firefox and Chrome, on my Mac computer. Can you help?
May 22, 2011
pterodactyl commented on the word perfect
There's an unwritten rule in English that when you insert an expletive into another word, it must precede a stressed syllable. So, for example, you can talk about "Phila-fuckin'-delphia", because "del" is a stressed syllable, but you cannot talk about "Philadel-fuckin'-phia", because "phi" is not a stressed syllable.So "Per-fuckin'-fect" is out. I think the closest permissible equivalent is "Fuckin' perfect!", which I do hear occasionally.
pterodactyl commented on the word Words that delight me
And still my longest!
May 19, 2011
pterodactyl commented on the list other-whip-cracking-action-heroes
pterodactyl commented on the list things-clouds-do
Thanks, rolig! I'm glad you like it!It's funny how Wordnik works. This was one of the first lists I ever created, way back in the Wordie days, and it's been sitting quietly unnoticed since then. Then suddenly it receives a flurry of attention... attention that comes out of the blue... like clouds...
May 18, 2011
pterodactyl commented on the word Tim Tam
I just had my first Tim Tam. It made me want to hug an Australian.
pterodactyl commented on the list why-i-spend-so-much-time-on-wordie
Rereading my comments from two years ago, I wonder why I restricted this list to short pages. Long stuff can be amusing, too.I'm going to celebrate this epiphany by adding "teeth" to this list.
pterodactyl commented on the word very
I agree with the conventional wisdom that "very" is a sign of poor writing, but until today, if you had asked me why I felt that way, I couldn't have told you. "It just looks wrong," I would have said, wringing my hands anxiously. "Stop asking me difficult questions!"Now, though, I have a theory. I will explain my theory with an example. Let's say I'm trying to communicate to you the information that reesetee's desk is large. I want you to picture, in your mind, a standard office desk, and I want you to contrast reesetee's desk with that prototypical desk, and I want you to realize that reesetee's desk is by far the larger.How can I make this happen? Well, I could just say "reesetee's desk is large" -- but this doesn't go far enough. You hear me say "reesetee's desk is large", and you understand that reesetee's desk is at least somewhat larger than the average desk, but you don't grasp the elephantine immensity of this particular piece of office furniture. I mean, really, you could land a fighter jet on this thing. Merely saying "reesetee's desk is large" is woefully inadequate.Aha!, I think. Perhaps I can increase the size of your mental image by specifying that it's a "very large" desk, instead of just a "large" desk. And indeed, when you contrast the two terms, you find that "very large" is, in fact, larger than just plain "large".But that's the problem. Before, when I talked about a merely "large" desk, you contrasted this concept of a large desk with your mental image of a typical desk. But the word "very" invites a different kind of contrast. When I talk about a "very large" desk, I'm saying "Hey, it's not just large, it's very large!", and so you don't contrast "very large" with "typical", you contrast "very large" with "large".That's my theory. That's why "very large" is bad writing. When I say "very large", I'm suggesting a contrast to large things, instead of a contrast to typically-sized things. That's a much weaker contrast. It's not going to grab anyone's attention.The solution, as I see it, is to use a different word that's inherently stronger. For example, when chained_bear brought up the subject of reesetee's desk, reesetee said "I mean, it's enormous." It works. You read the word "enormous", and you contrast this enormous desk to a typically-sized desk, and you go "Whoa".Alternatively, instead of using a stronger word, you could use a descriptive phrase. So, for example, I could tell you that when you look at reesetee working at his desk, he seems to have a lovely reddish tinge, because the light that reaches your eyes has to climb out of the desk's gravity well.It works. You get what I'm saying.It's a big desk.
pterodactyl commented on the word Every potential Wordnik list is an existing Wordnik list
May 16, 2011
pterodactyl commented on the list side-effects-may-include
Good heavens! Every potential Wordnik list is an existing Wordnik list!
pterodactyl commented on the word frivolous misuse of Australians
See "whilst", where bilby accused frogapplause of inciting the public to this.
May 15, 2011
See also strev's excellent list set phasers to..., from which some of these were pilfered.
pterodactyl commented on the word for your safety please do not read this page
See the tag. And then back away slowly.
pterodactyl commented on the word whilst
As an American, let me just stand up and say that I hate the American style. It seems dishonest to place anything inside quotation marks that isn't actually part of the quote.I suspect that this skulduggery has its origins in colonial times, when the king imposed a tax on periods and commas, and so the Americans had to smuggle them into the colonies wrapped inside innocent-looking quotation marks.
It's too late, bilby. I listened to frogapplause, and now I feel a need to do something frivolous with Australians.
Oh dear. Whilst we're standing around talking about words, dontcry is eating all the cookies!
May 14, 2011
"Whilst" is definitely more common in the UK than in the US, but would you go as far as to call it "standard"? I read a lot of British books and listen to a lot of British radio, and I don't hear "whilst" very often.Any Brits around who might give us an insider's perspective?(I'm also curious to hear what the Aussies think!)
This word makes me giggle.
May 13, 2011
Isn't it great? I've probably watched the video several dozen times now.
May 12, 2011
pterodactyl commented on the word googled
Wiktionary (1 definition) –verb simple past tense and past participle of "google".
May 11, 2011
pterodactyl commented on the list identify-the-wordienik
May 7, 2011
Three cheers for gangerh and his hard work! Hip hip...
*passes the gold tiara to yarb*
*hugs ruzuzu* I'm happy to share second place with you, ruzuzu! Let's get matching silver tiaras!
pterodactyl commented on the word meh
"'Meh' is the schwa of emotions." --Jonathan Coulton
In case anyone's curious, I chose "distingue" for my word not because it describes me (it doesn't), but because I'm the only ITW player who lists it (in this list, based on this song from my childhood).
May 4, 2011
Wooooooo! Third place!*does the Dance of the Happy Pterodactyl*Can I have a bronze tiara?
Shall we now share our secret words, and our reasons for choosing them, or shall we wait for gangerh to divulge them all simultaneously in one big wodge?
Yarb, I saw the same connection as you did, and I came very close to guessing "boggy" for sionnach, but then I changed my mind at the last minute and guessed "sinistral". Turns out he's "boggy" after all, which means I was wrong for the right reason, which is the inverse of being right for the wrong reason, which is much more satisfying than being wrong for the wrong reason.
pterodactyl commented on the list complex-emotion--single-word
Brilliant list! How about nostalgia, malaise, or dysphoria?
May 3, 2011
pterodactyl commented on the list ruzuzus-big-ass-list
"assess" sounds like it means a female donkey.
April 30, 2011
pterodactyl commented on the list is-that-a-cigar-in-your-pocket
I love the title of this list!
pterodactyl commented on the word tail-waggingly
Ooh, this is perfect for one of my lists...
April 27, 2011
pterodactyl commented on the word esquivalience
I read it. It's good!
My guesses:bilby -- harlequinblafferty -- ascianchained_bear -- wodgedontcry -- tear-resistanterinmckean -- calepineriennefbharjo -- playfulfrindley -- mediævalfrogapplause -- alexisgangerh -- emordnilaphernesheir -- heartstringspluckermollusque -- systematicoroboros -- proteanPossibleUnderscore -- chrestomathicProlagus -- prodigalpterodactyl -- esquivaliencereesetee -- slopsellerruzuzu -- lunetteseanahan -- hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophilesionnach -- sinistralWordnicolina -- greenhornWordplayer -- queasyyarb -- aaaaaaargh!I started out methodically, using the spreadsheets, looking up words, and generally being systematic*. That didn't last long. Most of these are wild, pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey stabs in the dark.*Not a hint regarding the word "systematic".
*applauds frindley's knowledge of Andrew Clement books*
pterodactyl commented on the list things-that-rhyme-with-chicken-noodle-soup
"Cock-a-doodle-doo" makes me smile, but it is, at best, a false rhyme. Is that okay, elgiad007?
April 26, 2011
pterodactyl commented on the word tenalach
I love the definition of this word. So poetic and beautiful!But I do have to agree with yarb about "literally"."You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." --The Princess Bride
*coughs politely* Erm... we can still see your profile.
April 20, 2011
pterodactyl commented on the word fetch
The fetch is an attendant spirit that is bound to someone through the process of their naming until their death. The fetch is held "to appear as an animal resembling one's disposition or as a member of the opposite sex".
pterodactyl commented on the word front the money
I'm an AmE speaker, and I've never heard the phrase "front the money".
April 19, 2011
pterodactyl commented on the word perspicuity
What a perspicacious observation.
pterodactyl commented on the word hypercorrection
I just came across an interesting sentence in an article I was reading:"The problem with library data are that it is not as robust as other data to which users have become accustomed."Would this be an example of hypercorrection?A lot of people instinctually write"the data is", rather than "the data are". If you're one of those people, and if you think that "the data is" is incorrect, you have to train yourself to replace every instance of "the data is" with "the data are".In this case, though, that automatic replacement rule gets it wrong, because the singular "is" that you're replacing actually refers to the singular noun "problem". If you want to treat "data" as a plural, it'd be better to write"The problem with library data is that they are not as robust..."Or, you could just do as I do and treat "data" as a singular mass noun.
pterodactyl commented on the word jumper
I've run across the word "jumper" before in British novels, and I was able to infer from the context that it was some kind of article of clothing, but I could never figure out exactly what kind of article of clothing. If you had told me that a "jumper" was a kangaroo costume, I might very well have believed you.
April 16, 2011
pterodactyl commented on the list irish-english-thats-not-in-american-english
Fascinating list. Thank you!
Just sent my email to you, gangerh! Let me know if you didn't get it.
April 15, 2011
pterodactyl commented on the word telson
So this would be the segment after the last commercial break but before the start of the next crustacean?
April 14, 2011
pterodactyl commented on the word howdy dzoboy!
Heavens, no, I don't mind at all!(sorry for the tardy reply)
pterodactyl commented on the user sdb
And now, Wordnik has comments dated "over 3 years ago".
pterodactyl commented on the word tautology
"Listen up! The first rule of Tautology Club is the first rule of Tautology Club!"
pterodactyl commented on the list fads
I'm delighted to see the love for Connie Willis, one of my favorite authors. Bellwether is an excellent book. For the word-lovers in the crowd (i.e. all of you), I recommend Willis's short story "Blued Moon". I even made a list to go with it.
April 13, 2011
pterodactyl commented on the word water-pump
April 9, 2011
pterodactyl commented on the list civics-lesson
I'm starting to see a pattern emerging. In many of these words, the "soft C" comes immediately after the "hard C", forming "cc" that sounds like "ks" (or "x", if you prefer).accelerate, accent, vaccine, flaccid, eccentric, coccyx... I think this calls for another list.Can anyone think of more words that would go on such a list?
April 5, 2011
Also... "Lots of words"? You're right, it's not as ambitious as "All the words", but I think ambition is a feature, not a bug. Go for the gusto!
April 2, 2011
Thumbs up for the current arrangement: "All the words" in the page title, and "A dictionary, thesaurus, word community, and more" as the tagline. It makes sense that the slogan and the tagline don't have to be the same. Well done!
I'm with Prolagus and mollusque. The new tagline may be more technically accurate, but it has none of the pizzazz of the old tagline. Please bring back "All the words"!
Some positive feedback for the Wordnik team: I used to use the website of one of your competitors (coughcoughwww.m-w.comcoughcough) to look up words, but now I've switched almost entirely over to Wordnik for my dictionary needs. Why? Well, I discovered that my preferred browser, Firefox, has a feature called "Smart Keywords" that makes web searches twice as easy. It's so amazing, I don't know how I've lived without it. And your competitor's website is not compatible with it.Using Wordnik with Firefox's Smart Keywords means that now, if I want to look up the word "wodge", all I do is type "wk wodge" in my address bar, and bang, I'm there.Thanks, Wordnik, for having such a compatible interface!
April 1, 2011
pterodactyl commented on the word species
"The lens's focal length is 50 millimeters." What do you guys think of this construction? "Lens" is another singular word that ends in S, but unlike "species", its has a plural that's different from the singular.
March 30, 2011
I was under the impression that you can only use the s' construction on possessive plurals, and indeed, that the whole point of s' is to indicate a possessive plural. For example, consider "The cat's eyes glinted in the dark" and "The cats' eyes glinted in the dark". The placement of the apostrophe tells you how many cats there are.I could easily be wrong, though. Anyone care to find an authoritative source?
pterodactyl commented on the word harrassed
Does anyone here put emphasis on different syllables for "harassed" and "harassment"?
March 24, 2011
For me, it's "huh-RAST". The first vowel is a schwa, and it's not even close to the vowel in "hat".
pterodactyl commented on the word the argyle cold weather stabilization process
Oroboros, were you by any chance referencing this study?
March 21, 2011
pterodactyl commented on the word dr
Also, I'm pretty sure that "jream" is the standard American pronunciation. Here's an example, courtesy of the Everly Brothers. They sing those J's loud and clear.
Hi yarb! Yup, I'm male, and I have the receding hairline to prove it. As ruzuzu would say, if she were not a she: I'm a buoy, not a gull.
pterodactyl commented on the word chaparral
Here, ruzuzu, try this link. I guarantee you will never hear the word "chaparral" the same way again. :-)
March 19, 2011
pterodactyl commented on the word crokinole
"Royalty, lord it looked good on me / Buried in silk in the royal boudoir or going nuclear free / Or playing crokinole with the Princess of Monaco / Telling my jokes to the OPEC leaders, getting it all on video" -- "King of Spain", by Moxy Früvous
pterodactyl commented on the word crudité
"All alone by the table of food in my wrinkled suit and my borrowed tie / Only thinking of something to say in the moment after the girl walks by / Everyone else is having fun or else pretending to/ I eat another crudité..." -- "Big Bad World One", by Jonathan Coulton
Many years ago, I noticed that I pronounced "dr" ([dɹ]) as "jr" ([dʒɹ]). For example, I pronounced "dream", "dribble", "drunk", and "drive" as if they were spelled "jream", "jribble", "jrunk", and "jrive".I didn't like this. It seemed unnecessarily complicated. So, I stopped. Ever since then, I've pronounced "dr" as [dɹ]. I suppose I thought I was being terribly clever, and that everyone else was bound to admire me, and join me, and give me the keys to the city and a ticker-tape parade. What's actually happened is that no one's noticed I'm doing it. In that regard, it's rather like crossing my 7's. I've been crossing handwritten 7's since I was a small boy, and nobody seems to care one way or the the other.Now, as I type this, I realize that my smug linguistic superiority has a crack in it. All these years, while I was scrupulously pronouncing "dr" as "dr", I blithely continued pronouncing "tr" as "chr" ([tʃɹ], e.g. "chricycle", "chrilobyte", "The Chrubble with Chribbles"). It's the just the unvoiced version of the same thing, and for consistency's sake, ought to be handled the same way. I feel a bit foolish, and I'm not sure how to proceed. Should I extend my solitary crusade to "tr"? Should I revert to the common pronunciation for "dr"? Or should I just stop overthinking this?
March 18, 2011
pterodactyl commented on the word Zeitgeist
Hi jennarenn and frindley! Wonderful to see you again!
March 14, 2011
I've opened the list to everyone. Have fun!(This is my new Wordnik philosophy: Open lists are more fun than closed lists. I intend to go through my old closed lists and open 'em up someday soon.)
March 12, 2011
pterodactyl commented on the list set-phasers-to
Eddie Izzard discussed this exact topic in one of his stand up shows. You can see it here, at the 6:36 mark.
pterodactyl commented on the list remarkable-wikipedia-categories
Have you guys seen the Wikipedia:Unusual articles page?
March 6, 2011
pterodactyl commented on the word luncheon
I just read reesetee's sausage comment, over a year after he wrote it, and laughed so hard I nearly choked on my food. Note to self: lunching while reading Wordnik can be hazardous to your health!
March 5, 2011
Hi, hernesheir! Hope you're having a wonderful day!
pterodactyl commented on the word BLT on a roll
I think "on a roll" is more standard. Compare "ham on rye", "beef on weck".
pterodactyl commented on the word unch
Unch derives from the French l'uncheon, meaning "the elegant midday meal that is eaten on an unchecked tablecloth".
pterodactyl commented on the word pain au chocolat
*leans away from the microphone, toward the chocolate pain, to breathe in the delicious aroma*
February 26, 2011
pterodactyl commented on the word caramel
I was raised saying "car-mull", but at some point, I made a conscious decision to switch over to "care-a-mull". I figured, hey, if both pronunciations are acceptible, I may as well use the one I like better.
February 22, 2011
pterodactyl commented on the word caramel apple
Also, see the pronunciation discussion on caramel.
I've heard of toffee apples, but like ruzuzu, I can't imagine what they'd be. I picture toffee as a hard, brittle substance, quite unlike the soft caramel of a caramel apple.
I think the change is for the best. I loved "Watch your language" (such a delicious double meaning), but "Community" seems a more accurate description of what we're doing. It'll be easier for newcomers to understand.Plus, I feel like by calling us a community, the Wordnik admins are giving their blessing to our tomfoolery and in-jokes. I must admit that at times I've worried about that. I mean, here Erin and John and the rest are trying to build a functional website, and we're hanging around tossing fufluns at people. Can you imagine Erin having to explain to a venture capitalist what a "fuflun" is?So, I feel relieved when I see the admins call us a "Community". It's like they're telling us that we have free license to be silly. :-)
February 20, 2011
pterodactyl commented on the word airplane breakfast
I take umbrage at the imperative command on the pouch. It's so judgmental. "You," it says to me, "are a dirty, mangy, flea-ridden lout. You are unworthy to be in the presence of even this mediocre sandwich. Go! Refresh yourself! And do not return until you do!"
February 18, 2011
pterodactyl commented on the word water fountain
*dons mask, snorkel, and swim fins, then "falls" into chocolate fountain*
You don't need a good reason to fall into a chocolate fountain. You do, however, need a good reason to get out of one.
pterodactyl commented on the word monocled raconteur
Brackets around "squinched", please. :-)
I've clearly set off a bubbling storm of controversy with my question, so, in an effort to bring peace to all sides, I propose we coin a new phrase to refer to these devices. You know, something that everyone can agree on.How about "aqueous refreshment dispenser"? This would allow us to say things like "I say, old fellow, can you direct me to the nearest aqueous refreshment dispenser?", a turn of phrase that fits well with the monocle and bowler hats that we're all wearing.
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