Portmanteau

(examples of portmanteau combinations or blended words)


Several examples of cramming two words into one as clothes are stuffed into a portmanteau (traveling bag) include the following:

  • “slithy” (lithe and slimy).
  • “mimsy” (flimsy and miserable).
  • “galumph” (gallop and triumph).
  • “chortle” (chuckle and snort).
  • “smog” (smoke and fog).
  • “maffluent” (mass affluent; groups of people who have become relatively affluent because of the value of their stock investments).
  • “motel” (motor and hotel).
  • “momentaneous” (instantaneous and momentary).
  • “splisters” (splinters and blisters).
  • “swifting” (shifting and switching).
  • “editated” (edited and annotated).
  • “splatter” (splash and spatter).
  • “squish” (squirt and swish).
  • “blurt” (blow and spurt).
  • “splutter” (splash and sputter).
  • “grumble” (growling and rumbling).
  • “flaunt” (flout and vaunt).
  • “flare” (flame and glare).
  • “squawk” (squall and squeak).
  • Additional blends, in no particular order, include:

  • “slanguage ” (slang and language).
  • “sextraordinary ” (sex and extraordinary).
  • “alcoholidays ” (alcohol and holidays).
  • “escalator” (escalade and elevator; where escalade comes from Italian through French, meaning “the act of scaling or climbing the walls of a fortified place by ladders”).
  • “electrocution” (electro and execution).
  • “gerrymander” (Gerry and salamander; the division of a county, etc., into electoral sections so as to gain advantage for a political party or racial group; formed from the name of Eldridge Gerry, governor of Massachusetts, who first employed the system in 1812).
  • “stagflation” (stagnate and inflation).
  • “cinemactress” (cinema and actress).
  • “sexperts” (sex and expert).
  • “Saniflush” (sanitary and flush).
  • “Bisquick” (biscuit and quick).
  • “Oldsmobility”.
  • “netizen” (net and citizen).
  • “netiquette” (net and etiquette).
  • “modem” (modulator and demodulator).
  • “pixel” (pix and element; picture element, basic unit of an on-screen image).
  • “shareware” (share and software; free trial software often requiring later payment).
  • “emoticon” (emotion and icon; an illustration conveying a mood; as when viewed sideways, this emoticon, :-) signifies happiness; while this emoticon, :-( represents the opposite feeling). There are hundreds of emoticons that have been created for all kinds of emotional expressions.
  • “brunch ” (breakfast and lunch).
  • “tatooth ” (tatoo and tooth; a reference to those who have implanted gold initials or diamonds, etc. on their teeth).
  • Some portmanteau, or blend, words even come with definitions:

  • “cinemaddicts”: People who see too many movies.
  • “cremains”: The ashes that remain after a body has been cremated. A blend of cremated and remains.
  • “interferiority complex”: A reference to a busybody or snoop.
  • “administrivia”: Complicated, nitpicking administrative procedures.
  • “palimony”: Another term for “alimony” for those who formerly lived together and who have gone their separate ways. A blend of pal and alimony.
  • “Renovated”: People who get quickie divorces in Reno, Nevada.
  • “infanticipate”: Expecting a baby.
  • “shamateurs”: Amateur athletes who receive money for their activities.
  • “alcoholiday”: A lost weekend as a result of excessive drinking.
  • “victicracy ”: The rule, or government, of victims. The blend of victim and cracy.
  • “videots”: Those who are hooked on television. A blend of video and idiots.
  • “webopedia”: The Internet, or world-wide web, of children or the world-wide web plus encyclopedia.

In addition to portmanteau words, these artificial combinations of words have resulted in additional nomenclatures; such as, blend words, brunch words, centaur words, or telescope words.


Lewis Carroll, in his "Through the Looking Glass", not only is given credit for changing portmanteau from “a bag for carrying clothing and other necessaries for travelling” to “a blending of two words into a new one”; but he also wrote poetry that includes many blends. His famous portmanteau poem is “Jabberwocky”, which is shown below.


Jabberwocky

—by Lewis Carroll
‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Bewre the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!”

He took his vorpal sword in hand;
Long time the manxome foe he sought—
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

“And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
He chortled in his joy.

‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

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