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What is a portmanteau?

This blog post was inspired by Shawn MacKenzie who taught me the word “portmanteau.”

Delmarva

The Delmarva Peninsula

I knew bits of my vocabulary included portmanteaus – like smoke and fog make smog. But I didn’t know they were called portmanteaus.

Here’s the Wikipedia explanation of a portmanteau. And surprise! Wikipedia is a combination of Wiki and encyclopedia.

In case you are wondering what a “wiki” is (I was) – a website developed collaboratively by a community of users, allowing any user to add or edit content.

On to the portmanteaus!

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Places

Delmarva – from Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. I grew up here!

I don’t get this one because they don’t share a border – Pennsyltucky, from Pennsylvania and Kentucky. Must be cultural. Can anyone explain this one?

Animals

Gratuitous cute kitty

Gratuitous cute kitty

Liger, which is a cross between a male lion and a female tiger. And to complicate things, a tiglon or tigon is a cross in which the male is a tiger.

Wholphin – From whale and dolphin. I’m sorry, what? These guys are participating in way too much underwater sexting (from sex and texting).

Labradoodle. From Labrador Retriever and Poodle.

Online stuff

Blogs – so many of us write them; do we know from whence they come? From web and log.

Netiquette – net and etiquette. I’ve blogged about this a few times, eh?

A relatively new thing, quite addictive – Pinterest, from pin and interest.

Food and such

Brunch – from breakfast and lunch.

And from having too many mimosas at brunch – breathalyzer, from breath and analyzer.

A spork is a cross between a spoon and a fork. This spork thing – I think it’s sort of stupid. If I want a spoon, I grab a spoon; if I want a fork, I grab a fork.

Arfé, from art and café – this one begs me to say, “Excuse me, I arféd.”

Products

Prevacid, from prevent and acid – in case you plan on visiting a really bad arfé or a nasty all-you-can-eat brunch.

Talking street DSC00642

Slanguage, from slang and language.

Chillax – from chill and relax. I thought my son coined this one. He does it so well.

Companies

Amtrak, from American and track.

Intel, from integrated and electronics.

One of my faves

Snark or snarky – from snide and remark.

Miscellaneous

Chortle – from chuckle and snort (coined by Lewis Carroll!). And a huge jump (time-line wise) from Carroll to …

Cyborg – From cybernetic and organism

Going old school

Motown a combination of motor and town. The Supremes, The Four Tops, Marvin Gaye, Martha and the Vandellas, Jr. Walker and the All Stars.

Dude! Do you see what I see?

Dude! Do you see what I see?

The Temptations. Didn’t they use funkadelic? From funky and psychedelic? See The Temptations, a great YouTube video, from Ed Sullivan’s Really Big Shooo.

See a list

Would you like a list of portmanteaus? Wiki comes through again!

Origin of portmanteau

Middle French, portemanteau, from porter, to carry plus manteau, mantle. First known use: 1579.

Do you have a favorite portmanteau or two?

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