PortMONTHeaus: when portmanteaus and the calendar year collide
Once, portmanteaus combined a relatively straightforward matrimony of two words – and while I’m not a huge fan of them, they weren’t half as daft as some of them are today. Sheffield’s Meadowhall shopping centre, I’m looking at you: your ‘Land of Shopportunity’ slogan from a few years back… No, just no.
Brunch (breakfast and lunch, for those not in the know), I don’t mind, though. And whoever came up with spork (half spoon, half fork) can be pardoned, given that this seemingly silly but actually pretty practical invention offers exactly what it says on the tin. And if you happen to be eating soup with noodles (‘soodles’, anyone?! Wait, copyright that. I’m not having anyone else take the glory) the spork is absolute magic in gadget form.
And now – as we roll on through 2018 – a rather specific kind of portmanteau has more than made its way into public consciousness. One might call it a ‘portMONTHeau’…
In short, I’m talking about a traditional portmanteau, but with the addition of a shortened version of one of the twelve calendar months. Think ‘Veganuary’ (in which people vow to go meat and dairy-free in January), ‘Stoptober’ (saying no to cigarettes in October), and ‘Movember’ (sporting a moustache throughout… you guessed it… November).
We’re now so used to seeing months dedicated to specific events and pursuits that no one bats an eyelid when someone mentions they’re channelling the Bee Gees for ‘Decembeard’. Yep, that’s a thing – and it’s probably the best portmontheau-related wordplay I’ve seen yet.
So, why is this variety of portmanteau quite so popular? Well, it’s catchy, isn’t it? And if going au naturel with your facial hair helps raise awareness of an important cause like bowel cancer, then it’s job done for the creator of such a campaign.
Here are just a few of my favourite ‘portmontheaus’:
This portmanteau originated here in the UK: the ‘Ape-ril’ movement, set up by the Sumatran Orangutan Society. Urging supporters worldwide to ‘unleash their inner apes’ throughout the month, it sounds like an April Fool, but isn’t, surprisingly. The initiative focuses on sponsoring people to dye their beards orangutan-orange. Fair (or should that be hair?) enough.
Here’s one I can definitely get on board with, since no one’s other half should possess 30+ pairs of socks in the same, tired-old shade of grey. During ‘Sock-tober’, then, sock hoarders are invited to clear them out and buy new ones. I for one can’t wait to see a bit of variety where that sock drawer is concerned.
It seems all my frock-based dreams have come at once. You don’t need to encourage me to slip on a skirted number – I’m all for it. And if it helps raise money for charity, all the better.
And here’s a few ‘portmontheaus’ that should exist… or perhaps not!
A month dedicated to Batman? I propose four weeks of good neighbourly deeds in and around your own city – for charity, too. I know more than a few budding superheroes who’d get involved with that.
Dissatisfied with the joviality of May Day? Why not celebrate ‘Dis-may’! A month where you’re free to turn that smile upside down, and let yourself revel in dismay at all things bright and beautiful – no questions asked.
Grab a marker pen, draw on some biceps – and maybe even a six-pack for good measure – and head down to the gym to taunt your local muscle men. You know ‘Bicep-tember’ makes sense.
Okay, this one’s a bit of stretch wordplay-wise, but hear me out. A whole month of truth-telling – no lies in July, geddit? From little white lies to tall tales, porkies are a no-no for the entirety of July… Truth will out, or so they say.