You searched for “portmanteau”

There are 32 posts matching that query sorted by relevance.


Mimsy, chortle, and galumph: Alice in Wonderland and the portmanteau

…ing we want to the ‘aholic’ ending and people will know that we are referring to some form of addiction. More recently, there has been tweetaholic, kindle-aholic, startup-aholic, and facebookaholic. The sticking power of the portmanteau Generally portmanteaus with the greatest sticking power seem to be those which fill an existing gap in our lexicon. They describe experiences for which we lack words. Gleaning the meaning behind one requires that…

Read more »
What do you call a librarian on Tumblr?

What do you call a librarian on Tumblr?

…(why, thank you very much) handily gave us another example of the portmanteau word. For that is what Twitterati, netiquette, and tumblarian have in common, and it is a trend which is often seen across social media. The term ‘portmanteau word’ (or simply ‘portmanteau’) has an intriguing derivation. Although ‘portmanteau’ had long been in use in other senses, it seems to have first appeared, in this sense, in Lewis Carroll’s Through…

Zebra crossings: what zonkeys tell us about our love of hybrid words


…But I don’t know what else you would call it.” (1953 N.Y. Herald Tribune 2 Sept. 1/7). Less than two decades later, when the same type of hybrid was born at the Colchester Zoo in the UK in 1971, it received yet another portmanteau coinage, and was called a zedonk. With horses, things get even more complex: we have not only the obvious zorse, but also (depending on the breed), the zetland (from Shetland), the zony (from pony), and the list…

hate words

Which words do we love to hate?

…hment, and once upon a time fabulous was used only to describe things that related to fables – few would argue that the language is being debased if they hear that someone had a fabulous, wonderful, terrific day. A ginormous portmanteau is not everyone’s bag Ginormous also raised sufficient ire to be on the list, with several people complaining that it is a portmanteau word (or, as one commenter phrased it: ‘just a made-up combination of two…

Read more »

Video: what do you call a new word made by combining two other words?

Read more »

The Burds and the Bees

A word from...

…ed a number of times by others, in both intentional and unintentional error. Yet no matter whether one agrees with her politics or her persona, it is odd to so excoriate her for what amounts to a minor and relatively amusing portmanteau (a portmanteau is, among other things, a new word created by blending elements of two existing words – in this case refute and repudiate). She may not have quite the same linguistic flair exhibited by Lewis…

Read more »

From muggle to whizzpopper: invented words in children’s literature

…coining neologisms that dates back at least as far as Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice found there (1871). In Carroll’s story Humpty Dumpty explains one kind of neologism to Alice: what he called the portmanteau word (a neologism in itself), in which two meanings are packed into one word. In the poem Jabberwocky, for instance, the word slithey combines lithe and slimy while mimsy brings together flimsy and miserable….

Read more »

The language of fandom: from Twihards to Tolkienites

The language of fandom

…eone will have already given it a name. There is no clear rhyme or reason as to why certain fandom names follow one linguistic construction, while others adhere to completely different formations, but some patterns do arise. Portmanteau words are common for fandoms geared toward younger members. Diehard fans of Twilight have become ‘Twihards’, self-professed geeks who enjoy the television series Glee are ‘Gleeks’, and those who get a…