Monday, November 9, 2009

"Serve The Port, Man! Doh!"

A "Portmanteau word" is a phrase used to describe a linguistic blend, namely "a word formed by blending sounds from two or more distinct words and combining their meanings."

Such a definition of "portmanteau word" overlaps with the grammatical term contraction, and linguists avoid using the former term in such cases. As an example: the words do + not become the contraction don't, a single word that represents the meaning of the combined words.

A distinction can be made between the two by noting that contractions can only be formed with two words that would otherwise appear in sequence within the sentence, whereas a "Portmanteau word" is typically formed by combining two or more existing words that all relate to a singular concept which the new portmanteau is meant to describe. An example being the well-known portmanteau word "Spanglish", referring to speaking a mix of both Spanish and English at the same time.

According to the The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, the word portmanteau comes from French porter, to carry + manteau, cloak (from Old French mantel, from Latin mantellum).

Many neologisms are examples of blends, but many blends have become part of the lexicon. In Punch in 1896, the word brunch (breakfast + lunch) was introduced as a "portmanteau word." In 1964, the newly independent African republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar chose the portmanteau word Tanzania as its name. A spork is an eating utensil that is a combination of a spoon and fork.

Here are a few portmanteau words we all know...

Brunch = breakfast + lunch

Camcorder = camera + recorder

Chortle = chuckle + snort

Guestimate= guess + estimate

Heliport + helicopter + airport

Laundromat = laundry + automat

Motel= motor + hotel

Motorcade= motorcar + cavalcade

Newscast = news + broadcast

Oxbridge = Oxford + Cambridge

Paratroop = parachute + troop

Sci-Fi= science + fiction

Telecast= television + broadcast

Televangelist= television + evangelist

and a few more I "came across"...

antediluviantiquated = antediluvian + antiquated

arcticy = arctic + icy

babblecture = babble + lecture

ballyhoopla = ballyhoo + hoopla

blurbanize = blur + urbanize

breezephyr = breeze + zephyr

clapplause = clap + applause

depicture = depict + picture

drumble = drum + rumble

flashowy = flash + showy

fundertaking = fun + undertaking

gooze = goo + ooze

gyrateeter = gyrate + teeter

headministrator = head + administrator

humoriginality = humor + originality

legerdemaincantation = legerdemain + incantation

longhandwriting = longhand + handwriting

outrageousurious = outrageous + usurious

penclosure = pen + enclosure

pushove = push + shove

pushuffle = push + shuffle

scramblend = scramble + blend

shoutcry = shout + outcry

sirenchantress = siren + enchantress

stoperation = stop + operation (for Congress)

stoven = stove + oven

stupidiot = stupid + idiot

swerveer = swerve + veer

taxidermistuffer = taxidermist + stuffer

whimpulse = whim + impulse

And then my wife, Judy added...


She says, "This is a form of clothing storage that does not require dressers, closets, or hangers. The clothing is stored on the floor and the user simply pulls out the desired item. This could also be called a walk-on closet."

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