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How do I know if my word is valid?

Posted: Sun Jul 12, 2015 7:10 pm
by Gavin Chipper
I'm glad you asked. Countdown uses this free online dictionary to adjudicate words (it's certainly free in the UK anyway). Obviously there might be some doubt about whether certain mass noun plurals etc. are valid, but for headwords and your basic inflections, this is where you go.

The reason I'm posting this is that a lot of experienced posters (people who should know better) go into the spoilers thread having got some word at home and ask if it's valid. Well, where do expect the people you're asking are going to find out? They use the dictionary. The free dictionary that you can use yourself. So do it.

Re: How do I know if my word is valid?

Posted: Sun Jul 12, 2015 8:58 pm
by Adam Gillard
Is CLOVERS valid?

Re: How do I know if my word is valid?

Posted: Mon Jul 13, 2015 9:16 am
by Jon Corby
Also, VASELINE? Susie disallowed recently in a game, but then offered in Catsdown the other night. Has the dictionary changed in the interim? I don't understand. Good idea for a thread though Gev, people can check in here now to see if their word has been offered before.

Re: How do I know if my word is valid?

Posted: Mon Jul 13, 2015 12:02 pm
by Ian Volante
Mongooses?

Re: How do I know if my word is valid?

Posted: Mon Jul 13, 2015 6:38 pm
by samir pilica
RAMBURAS ?

Re: How do I know if my word is valid?

Posted: Sat Jul 18, 2015 12:35 pm
by Adam Dexter
Jon Corby wrote:Also, VASELINE? Susie disallowed recently in a game, but then offered in Catsdown the other night. Has the dictionary changed in the interim? I don't understand. Good idea for a thread though Gev, people can check in here now to see if their word has been offered before.
VASELINE is weird - it's marked as a trademark but it's lowercase. I would say the trademark supersedes the case, as many trademarks have a lowercase initial letter anyway (ebay to name but one - I have always thought of it styled as eBay but maybe I imagined it?).

That being said, if Apterous allows it, I would be offering it, whether it should be allowed or not. Paineder/est is a horrific example of this - no-one's going to throw away the 9 though.

Re: How do I know if my word is valid?

Posted: Sat Jul 18, 2015 9:48 pm
by Adam Gillard
Adam Dexter wrote:That being said, if Apterous allows it, I would be offering it, whether it should be allowed or not. Paineder/est is a horrific example of this - no-one's going to throw away the 9 though.
Innis and I made a suicide pact before our 30BC game in the event that the word LOSINGEST was available in a letters selection.

Re: How do I know if my word is valid?

Posted: Sat Jul 18, 2015 10:33 pm
by Gavin Chipper
Adam Gillard wrote:
Adam Dexter wrote:That being said, if Apterous allows it, I would be offering it, whether it should be allowed or not. Paineder/est is a horrific example of this - no-one's going to throw away the 9 though.
Innis and I made a suicide pact before our 30BC game in the event that the word LOSINGEST was available in a letters selection.
Innis ended up getting BENTER anyway.

Re: How do I know if my word is valid?

Posted: Thu Oct 08, 2015 1:07 pm
by Mark Kudlowski
Ian Volante wrote:Mongooses?
Valid. The plural of "mongoose" is "mongooses" and not "mongeese".

Re: How do I know if my word is valid?

Posted: Thu Oct 08, 2015 1:39 pm
by Mark Deeks
Adam Gillard wrote:
Adam Dexter wrote:That being said, if Apterous allows it, I would be offering it, whether it should be allowed or not. Paineder/est is a horrific example of this - no-one's going to throw away the 9 though.
Innis and I made a suicide pact before our 30BC game in the event that the word LOSINGEST was available in a letters selection.
This word is genuinely used a fair bit in American sport. Although WINNINGEST is moreso. I know it looks ridiculous, but it's actually fairly useful.

Re: How do I know if my word is valid?

Posted: Wed Nov 04, 2015 1:27 pm
by Stewart Gordon
You'd think that with an online dictionary you could just enter a word in the search box, and if it's a word then it'll find it, and if it isn't then it won't.

Sadly, it doesn't seem that this is the case with ODO. For instance, POETRIES brings up POETRY, even though Susie once told us there's no sense in which POETRY can become a count noun. And the plural of SALMON is explicitly given as "same" (I'll leave it up to you how to interpret that), but nonetheless SALMONS brings up SALMON. On the other hand, PETALOIDS and CURRYS don't find anything. Indeed, there are not only false positives but also false negatives, such as MATEYS.

Re: How do I know if my word is valid?

Posted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 9:01 am
by Clive Brooker
Stewart Gordon wrote:You'd think that with an online dictionary you could just enter a word in the search box, and if it's a word then it'll find it, and if it isn't then it won't.

Sadly, it doesn't seem that this is the case with ODO...
I'm sure that when the ODO was being put together there were many competing requirements. It's hard to imagine the needs of Countdown being the highest priority.

Re: How do I know if my word is valid?

Posted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 9:41 am
by Gavin Chipper
Clive Brooker wrote:
Stewart Gordon wrote:You'd think that with an online dictionary you could just enter a word in the search box, and if it's a word then it'll find it, and if it isn't then it won't.

Sadly, it doesn't seem that this is the case with ODO...
I'm sure that when the ODO was being put together there were many competing requirements. It's hard to imagine the needs of Countdown being the highest priority.
I can imagine. The Countdown community would have just been a small bunch of people requiring consistency from a dictionary. There would have been other people of higher priority demanding inconsistency.

Re: How do I know if my word is valid?

Posted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 1:06 pm
by Stewart Gordon
Clive Brooker wrote:I'm sure that when the ODO was being put together there were many competing requirements. It's hard to imagine the needs of Countdown being the highest priority.
What other requirement would have competed with this one, exactly?
Gavin Chipper wrote:I can imagine. The Countdown community would have just been a small bunch of people requiring consistency from a dictionary.
It isn't just the Countdown community that would benefit from such consistency. It would be anybody wanting to use it as a dictionary for any word game, or indeed any random member of the public wanting to know whether something's a word or not.

Re: How do I know if my word is valid?

Posted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 5:36 pm
by Stewart Gordon
Adam Dexter wrote:VASELINE is weird - it's marked as a trademark but it's lowercase. I would say the trademark supersedes the case, as many trademarks have a lowercase initial letter anyway (ebay to name but one - I have always thought of it styled as eBay but maybe I imagined it?).
Is the rule that the word must start with a lowercase letter, or that the word must be composed entirely of lowercase letters?

(It's weird that we play the game with uppercase letters and yet have this rule. But then again, the same is true of many other games....)

Re: How do I know if my word is valid?

Posted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 6:21 pm
by Gavin Chipper
Stewart Gordon wrote:
Clive Brooker wrote:I'm sure that when the ODO was being put together there were many competing requirements. It's hard to imagine the needs of Countdown being the highest priority.
What other requirement would have competed with this one, exactly?
Gavin Chipper wrote:I can imagine. The Countdown community would have just been a small bunch of people requiring consistency from a dictionary.
It isn't just the Countdown community that would benefit from such consistency. It would be anybody wanting to use it as a dictionary for any word game, or indeed any random member of the public wanting to know whether something's a word or not.
My post was sarcastic. I don't think Clive's was though.

Re: How do I know if my word is valid?

Posted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 6:34 pm
by Gavin Chipper
Stewart Gordon wrote:
Adam Dexter wrote:VASELINE is weird - it's marked as a trademark but it's lowercase. I would say the trademark supersedes the case, as many trademarks have a lowercase initial letter anyway (ebay to name but one - I have always thought of it styled as eBay but maybe I imagined it?).
Is the rule that the word must start with a lowercase letter, or that the word must be composed entirely of lowercase letters?

(It's weird that we play the game with uppercase letters and yet have this rule. But then again, the same is true of many other games....)
According to this Apterous ticket, it has to be all lower case.

Re: How do I know if my word is valid?

Posted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 7:57 pm
by Philip Wilson
Stewart Gordon wrote:
Adam Dexter wrote:VASELINE is weird - it's marked as a trademark but it's lowercase. I would say the trademark supersedes the case, as many trademarks have a lowercase initial letter anyway (ebay to name but one - I have always thought of it styled as eBay but maybe I imagined it?).
Is the rule that the word must start with a lowercase letter, or that the word must be composed entirely of lowercase letters?

(It's weird that we play the game with uppercase letters and yet have this rule. But then again, the same is true of many other games....)
Perhaps the rule specifies proper nouns rather than whether the word starts with or contains any capitals, so then the question would be: Is eBay a proper noun?

Re: How do I know if my word is valid?

Posted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 9:17 pm
by Philip Wilson
Apparently it isn't! I still wouldn't want to risk it though!

Re: How do I know if my word is valid?

Posted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 9:40 pm
by Gavin Chipper
Philip Wilson wrote:Apparently it isn't! I still wouldn't want to risk it though!
According to what? But anyway in the Apterous discussion (for non-members who might not be able to read it) it was confirmed that words have to be all lower case to be allowed.

Re: How do I know if my word is valid?

Posted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 9:53 pm
by Philip Wilson
Gavin Chipper wrote:
Philip Wilson wrote:Apparently it isn't! I still wouldn't want to risk it though!
According to what? But anyway in the Apterous discussion (for non-members who might not be able to read it) it was confirmed that words have to be all lower case to be allowed.
According to the link in the first post in the thread.

Re: How do I know if my word is valid?

Posted: Fri Nov 06, 2015 12:11 am
by Gavin Chipper
Right - I'm confused by this thread now. Was this:
Philip Wilson wrote:Apparently it isn't! I still wouldn't want to risk it though!
a response to this:
Philip Wilson wrote:Perhaps the rule specifies proper nouns rather than whether the word starts with or contains any capitals, so then the question would be: Is eBay a proper noun?
?

Then you say it's according to the first link in the thread. This thread? So this link? Or maybe the entry for Proper Noun (where it says a proper noun has an initial capital letter)? If you meant that, you've been a bit cryptic about it, especially since you posted your conversation with yourself immediately after the clarification I gave saying it wouldn't be valid. From the Apterous link:
Just on iPad, eBay.... contestant guidelines state explicitly that words containing capitals are not allowed. eBay is the example cited.
So unless you think this is a lie, it's case closed, regardless of what the definition of a proper noun is according to Oxford dictionaries. There's no "I still wouldn't want to risk it though" about it. It's simply not valid!

Re: How do I know if my word is valid?

Posted: Fri Nov 06, 2015 9:27 am
by Clive Brooker
Gavin Chipper wrote:My post was sarcastic. I don't think Clive's was though.
Correct. My point was that an online dictionary for general use probably wants to do things like pushing you towards what it thinks you meant if you enter an invalid word. It will also devote a lot of its energy to the meanings of the words it lists, something Countdown has little interest in, and perhaps the minute detail about exactly what derivatives are or aren't valid will be seen as a lesser issue.

Consistency is obviously good, no dispute there. However, it isn't always black and white. With comparatives and superlatives, for example, the fact that the dictionary doesn't specify the -ER or -EST form is often guidance as much as anything.

Re: How do I know if my word is valid?

Posted: Fri Nov 06, 2015 12:34 pm
by Philip Wilson
Gavin Chipper wrote:Right - I'm confused by this thread now. Was this:
Philip Wilson wrote:Apparently it isn't! I still wouldn't want to risk it though!
a response to this:
Philip Wilson wrote:Perhaps the rule specifies proper nouns rather than whether the word starts with or contains any capitals, so then the question would be: Is eBay a proper noun?
Yes it was a response to: 'is eBay a proper noun?' and apparently it isn't because it's a verb.

Gavin Chipper wrote:Then you say it's according to the first link in the thread. This thread? So this link?
Yes, this thread, and that link.
Gavin Chipper wrote:Or maybe the entry for Proper Noun (where it says a proper noun has an initial capital letter)? If you meant that, you've been a bit cryptic about it, especially since you posted your conversation with yourself immediately after the clarification I gave saying it wouldn't be valid. From the Apterous link:
Just on iPad, eBay.... contestant guidelines state explicitly that words containing capitals are not allowed. eBay is the example cited.
So unless you think this is a lie, it's case closed, regardless of what the definition of a proper noun is according to Oxford dictionaries. There's no "I still wouldn't want to risk it though" about it. It's simply not valid!
Nope, it wasn't a response to that, but sorry for being cryptic anyway. However if everyone knew or remembered every rule nobody would ever risk anything, and they do. So just to clarify what I meant, if the letters E B A and Y were in the selction and I couldn't see another word that was either safer or longer [unlikely situation I guess with those letters, but anyway] even if I knew eBay was a verb and not a proper noun, I wouldn't risk it because it has a capital letter, albeit not at the beginning.
I know it was a bit confusing answering my own post, sorry for that, but I remembered after wondering if eBay is a proper noun that I could look it up and find out! Dohhh :roll:

Re: How do I know if my word is valid?

Posted: Fri Nov 06, 2015 1:40 pm
by Jon Corby
But eBay isn't eBay, it's just ebay. So now what?

Re: How do I know if my word is valid?

Posted: Fri Nov 06, 2015 2:05 pm
by Gavin Chipper
Jon Corby wrote:But eBay isn't eBay, it's just ebay. So now what?
It's in the dictionary as "eBay". If it was just "ebay", I'd say it's valid.

Re: How do I know if my word is valid?

Posted: Fri Nov 06, 2015 4:35 pm
by Jon Corby
The dictionary is shit. What's happening at COLIN this year regarding word validation?

Re: How do I know if my word is valid?

Posted: Fri Nov 06, 2015 4:44 pm
by Ben Wilson
Jon Corby wrote:The dictionary is shit. What's happening at COLIN this year regarding word validation?
Probably the apterous dictionary, as with last year.

Re: How do I know if my word is valid?

Posted: Fri Nov 06, 2015 4:44 pm
by Jon Corby
Ben Wilson wrote:
Jon Corby wrote:The dictionary is shit. What's happening at COLIN this year regarding word validation?
Probably the apterous dictionary, as with last year.
Was there an electronic terminal for electronically checking the validity of words electronically? I don't recall.

Re: How do I know if my word is valid?

Posted: Fri Nov 06, 2015 4:46 pm
by Ben Wilson
Jon Corby wrote:
Ben Wilson wrote:
Jon Corby wrote:The dictionary is shit. What's happening at COLIN this year regarding word validation?
Probably the apterous dictionary, as with last year.
Was there an electronic terminal for electronically checking the validity of words electronically? I don't recall.
I had an app on my phone and iPad that did it last year so I can act as 'final authority' in case there's any disputes.