Wiktionary:Entry layout explained

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An entry or definition page contains every piece of dictionary information that directly relates to a specific word or phrase. The rules about organization are somewhat complex, but they result in articles that are easy to read.


While the information below may represent some kind of "standard" form, it is not a set of hard rules. You may try different ways of organizing a page but other users might revert those changes. They have just as much right to do that as you have to make them. Be ready to talk about those changes. If you want your way to be accepted, you have to have a good reason for it. Unless there is a good reason, the standard will be followed.


Entry name[change]

The name of the entry is that of the word or phrase that you are defining. The entry name will usually begin with a lowercase letter. The entry name will likely begin with an uppercase letter if it is a proper noun or an abbreviation.

The basic parts of an entry[change]

  • Part of speech: All words in a dictionary belong to a different part of speech. Some examples of a part of speech are 'noun', 'verb', 'adjective', 'proper noun', 'preposition', 'article', etc. It is a level two heading. This is followed on the next line by the appropriate tag, for example a verb would be written like this:
== Verb ==
  • Definition: This is where you give your definition. You should put this symbol before your definition: #. Generally, explanations (as if you're speaking to someone) are better than traditionally terse dictionary definitions. If the word appears in the definition, it should be in bold. Any important words in the definition may be linked. Also, nouns should be labeled as countable or uncountable, and verbs labeled as transitive or intransitive.

For example, do this:

# {{countable}} A '''straw''' is a thin [[hollow]] [[tube]] that you drink through.

to produce this:

  1. (countable) A straw is a thin hollow tube that you drink through.

DO NOT do this:

# A thin hollow tube that you drink through.
  • Examples: Examples follow each definition. These sentences should exemplify the word and how it is used rather than simply include the word. When the word appears in the example, it should be in bold. Examples should be in italics.

A very simple example[change]

This is a simple entry for the word bed, and shows the most basic parts of an article.

This example can be copied and used to start an article or section of an article.

== Noun ==
# A '''bed''' is a piece of [[furniture]] to [[sleep]] on.
#: ''He woke up at 6:00 and got out of '''bed'''.''

Other headings[change]

There are other headings which you may include if you think they are useful, but if you don’t have the necessary ability, resources or time, you do not have to add them. The example below uses many of the most common heading and templates but other headings may be used in some situations. The order listed below for these headings is recommended, but variations in that order are also allowable.

Example of a more complex article[change]

A typical article that has many parts could be formatted like this:


=== Other spellings ===
* [[other]]

=== Pronunciation ===
* {{enPR|pronunciation}}
* {{IPA|pronunciation}}
* {{SAMPA|pronunciation}}
* {{audio|filename|Audio (UK)}}
* {{audio|filename|Audio (US)}}
* {{hyphenation|hy|phen|ation}}

==== Homophones ====
* [[homophone]]

== Noun ==
# {{countable/uncountable}} Meaning 1 of '''sample'''. {{synonyms|synonym1|synonym2}} {{antonyms|antonym1|antonym2}}
#: ''Example of '''sample'''.''
# {{countable/uncountable}} Meaning 2 of '''sample'''.
#: ''Example of '''sample'''.''

=== Usage notes ===
=== Related words ===

== Verb ==
# {{transitive/intransitive}} Meaning 1 of '''sample'''.
#: ''Example of '''sample'''.''

=== Usage notes ===
=== Related words ===

[[Category:Category name]]

An important part of ordering the headings and indentation levels is "nesting". The order shown above does this most of the time. A heading placed at the 2nd level includes everything that follows until another 2nd level heading is used. If a word can be a noun and a verb, all of the definitions and examples relating to the noun should be placed in the noun section, not the verb section. Nesting is important but is difficult to describe with words. If you have problems with this idea, you should look at other articles, or ask someone who has been here longer than you.


A typical pronunciation section may look like the following example based on the word portmanteau.

=== Pronunciation ===
* {{UK}} {{IPA|/pɔːtˈmantəʊ/}}, {{SAMPA|/pO:t"m{nt@U/}}
* {{US}} {{SAMPA|/pOrt"m{ntoU/}}
* {{audio|en-us-Portmanteau.ogg|Audio (US)}}

The country [(UK), (US), (Australia), etc.] is first if there is regional variation, followed by the pronunciation system (such as IPA or SAMPA, listed in alphabetical order), then the pronunciation. (See Wiktionary:Pronunciation key for an outline of these two systems.) The phonetic transcriptions are normally placed between diagonal strokes (/ /).

If the country is not specified, the pronunciation section may look like the following example based on the word liquid. In this case, each pronunciation system (such as IPA or SAMPA) gets its own line and will again be listed in alphabetical order.

=== Pronunciation ===
* {{enPR|/lɪk'wɪd/}}
* {{IPA|/ˈlɪkwɪd/}}
* {{SAMPA|/"lIkwId/}}
* {{audio|en-us-liquid.ogg|Audio (US)}}

While it is generally better to use one of these established systems of pronunciation, it is not wrong to use another way if that’s all you know and there is an important point to be made. For the word reject, one could have /RE-ject/ and /re-JECT/ to show the difference between the pronunciations of the noun and verb forms. It may not be standard, but it is not wrong. Whenever possible, though, these pronunciations should be replaced with one in a system, such as IPA.

Ideally, every entry should have a pronunciation section, and perhaps a sound sample with it. However, pronunciations vary widely between dialects, and non-linguists often have trouble writing down pronunciations properly. UK English pronunciations should give the Received Pronunciation of the entry.

For audio pronunciations, upload the Ogg file to Commons and link here using Template:Audio.


List any homophones of the word in alphabetical order, wikifying each one. For example, the Pronunciation section of the English word right contains

==== Homophones ====
* [[rite]]
* [[wright]]
* [[write]]

which are the English words that sound identical to "right".

If a word is a homophone in a particular dialect of English, it may be added provided the dialect is referred to (for example, ride is a homophone of right in accents with flapping, and beater is a homophone of beta in non-rhotic accents). Examples (for beater and right, respectively):

==== Homophones ====
* [[beta]] (''in [[non-rhotic]] accents'')
==== Homophones ====
* [[rite]]
* [[wright]]
* [[write]]
* [[ride]] (''in accents with [[flapping]]'')

The following must not be added to the homophones section:

  • Words that are "nearly" homophones or rhymes (for example, for "right", the words "white" or "light");
  • Words that are homophones if they are mispronounced in some way (eg, for "miss", the word "myth" when pronounced with a lisp);
  • Foreign words. These are unlikely to be true homophones (eg, Italian tipi (meaning "types") is not a homophone of English tepee; the sounds of the vowels and consonants are similar but different).

(Note that the term used here is homophone; the term homonym used by some is not clear because it can mean either "homophone" or "homograph".)

The article core[change]

The part of speech or other descriptor[change]

This is a level 2 header. This header most often shows the part of speech, but is not restricted to "parts of speech" in the traditional sense. Many other descriptors like "Proper noun", "Idiom", "Abbreviation", "Symbol", "Prefix", etc. are acceptable.


We give a word's inflections without indentation in the line below the "Part of speech" header. There is no separate header for this. Templates can be used. {{noun}} will automatically give the noun and the plural (by simply adding an s.) Most other inflected forms will also be automatically included. For example, on the page for jump {{verb}} will produce jump, jumps, jumped, jumped, jumping.


The definitions are the most important piece of dictionary information but do not have their own header. They are simply added in one big block, line after line, each beginning with a number sign (#). Each definition may be treated as a sentence: beginning with a capital letter and ending with a full stop. The key terms of a definition should be wikified. In general explanations are preferred to traditional terse definitions. Try to use only words and derived forms of the words in the BNC 1000 or the BE 850 lists.

Synonyms and antonyms are added at the end of the relevant definition with the tags {{synonyms}} or {{antonyms}}. Use a pipe | character before each word, like this: {{synonyms|good|right|true}}.

Do NOT try to be exhaustive. Include simple, useful synonyms only.

Headings after the definitions[change]

These headings generally derive from knowing the meaning of the word.

Usage notes[change]

This section, whether identified by a heading or indent level may come anywhere. It should follow as closely as possible after the point that needs explaining. Curb the tendency to be long winded in this section; brief explicit notes tend to be more effective. These notes should not take the place of restrictive labels when those are adequate for the job. Be prepared to document these notes with references. Remember to describe how a term is used, rather than try to dictate how it should be used from your point of view.

Related words[change]

In this section, list words that are direct derivatives of the entry word. For example, the noun driver is derived by adding the suffix -er, to the verb to drive. If you know what part of speech the word is derived from, place the header under that part of speech with a level 3 heading (===Related words===). If you do not know which part of speech the word is derived from, place the header with a level 2 heading (==Related words==).

In this section you should also list words that have strong etymological connections to the entry word but are not derived words. Each word listed should be linked. For example, rise and raise should link to each other.


See also: Help:How to use images

Images are very helpful in giving definition to a word, especially since users not very familiar with English can still easily understand photos and graphics. To place in image on a page, the following code should be used in most cases:
[[File:Image name.jpg|thumb|Caption]]


Size and positioning[change]

For the most part, images should be positioned on the right side of the page and with a maximum size of 200px. The code [[File:Image name.jpg|thumb|Caption]] can be used to do this automatically.


Captions should begin with a capital letter and should not use a period/full stop ( . ) unless the caption has more than one sentence. You may also link to another article in a caption.

Some examples of captions and how to make them better:

Not good Better
a dog A dog
A map showing India. A map showing India
things in a plastic bag Things in a plastic bag
A map of the state of São Paulo. The city of São Paulo is shown in red. A map of the state of São Paulo. The city of São Paulo is shown in red.

Meta data[change]

This refers to material which is edited in a regular edit box, but which does not appear in the main body of the article when it is read. In some cases where it appears depends on your user preferences, especially the skin that you have chosen.

Category links[change]

A Wiktionary category is a group of related articles which are listed in 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 article in a category, simply add a category tag to the article thus:

[[Category:Category name]]

Note that in Simple English Wiktionary, most of the part of speech categories are included in the part of speech templates, (e.g., {{noun}}), so there is no need to repeat this at the bottom.

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. It is recommended that it go near the bottom of the edit box, above the interwikis if any. By putting these tags in a consistent place it makes them easier to find when you need to edit them in a longer article. If the category link appears red that category page has not yet been described, but all items that have been put into that category will be listed there. You should edit the category page, notably by adding a brief description of the category and adding a tag to place it in a higher-level category.

The list of articles on a category page will be alphabetized in the strict Unicode order of the titles unless you dictate otherwise. One effect of this is that all English articles beginning with a capital letter will be listed before any that begins with a lower case letter. You can fix this problem with a piped link. By placing [[Category:Drugs|*]] or [[Category:Drugs| ]] in the article drug will force that term to be at the top of the list since Unicode lists the asterisk before any letter, and lists a blank space before any symbols. Words that define a category name should be “piped” in this way. Similarly, putting [[Category:Drugs|aspirin]] in the article Aspirin will force it to be alphabetized among words that begin with a lower case letter.

The category name should always begin with a capital letter. This takes advantage of Unicode sorting to create separate lists for each foreign language that is represented within the broader set of categories. Foreign language categories can begin with the language code in lower case.

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.