This is a list of norms that govern how an entry should be formatted. This includes what sections are allowed and what contents are expected to be found in them. These rules reflect what editors think as best concerning the standard format of an entry.
While the information below may represent some kind of “standard” form, it is not a set of rigid rules. You may experiment with deviations, but other editors may find those deviations unacceptable, and revert those changes. They have just as much right to do that as you have to make them. Be ready to discuss those changes. If you want your way accepted, you have to make the case for that. Unless there is a good reason for deviating, the standard should be presumed correct. Refusing to discuss, or engaging in edit wars may also affect your credibility in other unrelated areas.
This is a simple entry for the word bed, and shows the most fundamental elements of an entry:
This example can be copied and used to start an entry or section of an entry.
Entries for terms in other languages should follow the standard format as closely as possible regardless of the language of the word. However, a translation into English should normally be given instead of a definition, including a gloss to indicate which meaning of the English translation is intended. Also, the translations section should be omitted.
For languages written in other scripts (Japanese, Gothic, etc.), we have romanization systems in place. It is required that each romanization entry contain at least one definition line starting with “#” in the wikitext.
Some languages do have characteristics that require variation from the standard format. For links to these variations see Wiktionary:Language considerations.
There are additional headings which you should include if possible, but if you don’t have the necessary expertise, resources or time, you have no obligation to add them, with the possible exception of “References”. The list below is not an exclusive list; other headings may be essential in some circumstances. An order for these headings is recommended, but variations in that order are also allowable.
A key principle in ordering the headings and indentation levels is nesting. The order shown above accomplishes this most of the time. A heading placed at one level includes everything that follows until an equivalent level is encountered. If a word can be a noun and a verb, everything that derives from its being the first chosen part of speech should be put before the second one is started. Nesting is a key principle to the organization of Wiktionary, but the concept suffers from being difficult to describe with verbal economy. If you have problems with this, examine existing entries, or ask questions of a more senior person.
In general, headings in this group do not depend on the meaning of the word. They give an environment that leads up to the word and its relation to other words, and allow us to distinguish it from others that may be similar in some respects. Order of headings:
These headings generally derive from knowing the meaning of the word. Order of headings:
The name of the entry is the term, phrase, symbol, morpheme or other lexical unit being defined.
For languages with two cases of script, the entry name usually begins with a lowercase letter. For example, use work for the English noun and verb, not Work. Words which begin with a capital letter in running text are exceptions. Typical examples include proper nouns (Paris, Neptune), German nouns (Brot, Straße), and many abbreviations (PC, DIY). If someone tries to access the entry with incorrect capitalization, the software will try to redirect to the correct page automatically.
The part of speech (POS) is a descriptor like “Noun” or “Adjective”; they are different types of terms, phrases, symbols, morphemes and other lexical units on Wiktionary. Each entry has one or more POS sections. In each, there is a headword line, followed by the definitions themselves.
Other headers can be proposed as new additions to the list. The use of nonstandard POS headers may cause an entry to be categorized in a cleanup category for further inspection.
The definitions are in the POS section, below the headword line. The definitions are organized as a numbered list. The numbers are generated by adding the number sign (#) at the start of each definition in the wikitext. The key terms of a definition should be linked to the respective entries.The vote “2006-12/form-of style” is relevant to this section, without specifying text to be amended in this document, so please see it for details.The vote “2010-08/Italicizing use-with-mention” is relevant to this section, without specifying text to be amended in this document, so please see it for details.
For definitions concerning matched-pair entries and their components, see .
For abbreviations, acronyms and initialisms (such as PC and SNAFU), the definitions usually use templates linking to the expanded forms of the abbreviation. For example, one of the senses in the entry PC may be a template that displays “Initialism of personal computer.” Do not capitalise words in the expanded form unless that is how the expanded form is usually written. (In the previous example, don’t write “Personal Computer”.) Where the expanded form is an entry that exists (or should exist) in Wiktionary, link to it. Otherwise, if an appropriate Wikipedia article exists, link to it. When the expanded form does not merit either a Wiktionary entry or a Wikipedia article, link it to its component words. You may expand the definition with a gloss if appropriate.
A context label identifies a definition which only applies in a restricted context. Such labels indicate, for example, that the following definition occurs in a limited geographic region or temporal period, or is used only by specialists in a particular field and not by the general population. Many context label templates also place an entry into a relevant category, but they must not be used merely for categorization (see category links, below). One or more labels may be placed before the definition:
Generally, every definition should be accompanied by one or more quotations illustrating that definition. Quotations are supplemented by example sentences, which are devised by Wiktionary editors in order to illustrate definitions. Example sentences should:
The goal of the example sentences is the following, which is to be kept in mind when making one up:
The “Description” section is placed in entries for symbols, containing a visual description of the current symbol.
The first header below the language heading is usually the level 3 “Etymology” header. The etymology is given right below the header without indentation. Etymology essentially shows where the word comes from. This may show the forms in other languages that underlie the word. For many modern words it may show who coined the word. If a word is derived from another in the same language by a regular rule, such as formation of an English adverb by adding “ly”, it is not necessary to repeat the complete details of the word’s origin on the page for the derived word.
Sometimes two words with different etymologies belong in the same entry because they are spelled the same (they are homographs). In such a case there will be more than one “Etymology” header, which we number. Hence for a word like lead the basic header skeleton looks like this:
Note that in the case of multiple etymologies, all subordinate headers need to have their levels increased by 1 in order to comply with the fundamental concept of showing dependence through nesting.The vote “2007-10/style for mentioned terms” is relevant to this section, without specifying text to be amended in this document, so please see it for details.
The “Pronunciation” section includes the transcriptions, audio pronunciations, rhymes, hyphenations and homophones.
A typical pronunciation section may look like the following (simplified) example based on the word symbol:
Quotations are generally placed under the definition which they illustrate. If there is more than one being provided, or where this is not possible (e.g., a very early usage that does not clearly relate to a specific sense of the word), a separate section should be used. Quotations here are formatted normally but without definition numbers.
This is a list of words that have similar meanings as the word being defined. They are often very inexact.
Where several definitions of the headword exist, synonyms can be given in a separate list for each meaning:
To avoid identical lengthy lists of synonyms in many entries a single reference can be made in each to a common Thesaurus page:
The choice between the two formats is subject to editorial discretion.
The following headers are available to define sections containing semantically related words other than synonyms: Antonyms, Hypernyms, Hyponyms, Meronyms, Holonyms, Troponyms, Coordinate terms, See also.
Each of these sections is formatted exactly like the Synonyms section (see above).
List terms in the same language that are morphological derivatives. For example, the noun driver is derived, by addition of the suffix -er, from the verb to drive. If it is not known from which part of speech a certain derivative was formed it is necessary to have a “Derived terms” header on the same level as the part of speech headings.
List words in the same language that have strong etymological connections but aren’t derived terms. Each such term should be wikified. For example, datum and data should point to each other in this section since the latter is the plural of the former, and the plural form is not obtained by morphological derivation but was taken directly from Latin (where it is a morphological derivation). Another example is the pair of nouns pendant and pennant. These should cross-reference each other as they have very similar (arguably identical) etymologies in some subsenses.
List terms in other languages that have borrowed or inherited the word. The etymology of these terms should then link back to the page.
Other observations may be added, under the heading “Trivia”. Because of the unlimited range of possibilities, no formatting details can be provided.
The “See also” section is used to link to entries and/or other pages on Wiktionary, including appendices and categories. Don’t use this section to link to external sites such as Wikipedia or other encyclopedias and dictionaries.
The “References” section contains reference works where users can verify the information available on our entries. This improves the reliability and usefulness of Wiktionary. References are especially encouraged for unusual or disputable claims in etymologies — such as the etymology of windhover — or usage notes.
This is material which is edited in a regular edit box, but does not appear in the entry when it is read. In some cases where it appears depends on your user preferences, especially the skin that you have chosen.
A Wiktionary category is a group of related entries which are listed on a category page. Sub-categories may also appear on that page. Categories and lists under various names may seem very similar, but the way they are built is very different; in most cases, but especially in open-ended lists, they complement each other.
To include an entry in a category, simply add a category tag to the entry thus:
The link will appear at the bottom of the page in some skins and at the top in others, regardless of where it is placed in the edit box. Category links are placed one per line at the end of the appropriate language section. Putting these tags in a consistent place makes them easier to find in a longer entry’s edit field. A category link appears red if its category page has not yet been described, but categorized entries will appear there. You should edit a new category page, usually to add a brief description of the category and adding one or more tags to place it in a higher-level category.
By convention, it is preferable to use the plural for most category names that are nouns. This will avoid having a category divided in two when some use the plural and some use the singular.
Lemma entries, whether English or non-English, can contain relevant images. Constraints:
Further constraints may apply on a case-by-case basis, as decided by editors.