Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Portmanteau Words

Veronica from Traverse City, Michigan, asked for the name of words that are formed by mashing them together. Traditionally, they are called blends. Thanks to Lewis Carroll (Through the Looking Glass), they are also called portmanteau words because two meanings are packed together, as if in a valise.

Some of them are so common that we no longer see them as two words blended together. This is true of goodbye (God be with ye), smog (smoke + fog), and motel (motor + hotel).

The internet (international + network) has produced many blends. Among them are webcast, podcast, webinar, netiquette, bit, netizen, digerati, emoticon, shareware, malware, and sexting. Crossbreeding has given us labradoodle, cockapoo, jackalope, liger, and beefalo. Showbiz (show + business) has contributed docudrama, biopic, edutainment, infotainment, mockumentary, simulcast, and sitcom.

Other blends frequently encountered include affluenza, avionics, brainiac, bromance, chillax, cremains, guesstimate, metrosexual, sexploitation, stagflation, and workaholic.

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