A portmanteau is when two or more words blend together to make a new word. Often, this new word fills a void in the lexicon. For example, people needed a name for the pollution that clings to city skies. So they came up with smog, which is a mashup of smoke and fog.
Spork is another neat one. Is there really a better term to describe that combo spoon and fork found in school cafeterias across the nation?
In both smog and spork, the two words used to form the portmanteau help describe the new word, which is a quality of portmanteaus.
Also, most of us are familiar with these terms and may recognize that they are portmanteaus, perhaps because they are newer to our vocabulary. However, there are many older words that we may not recognize are indeed portmanteaus. A few of my favorites are bash (bang + smash), flounder (flounce + blunder), and meld (melt + weld).
List of portmanteaus
Here’s a list of portmanteaus. Some are pretty funny (glob); some are more well known (motel); and some are so rooted in our language that many may not be aware they even are portmanteaus (pixel). Enjoy!
|advertorial||advertisement + editorial|
|alphanumeric||alphabetic + numeric|
|bash||bang + smash|
|bionic||biology + electronic|
|biopic||biographical + picture|
|blog||web + log|
|bodacious||bold + audacious|
|breathalyzer||breath + analyzer|
|carjack||car + hijack|
|Chunnel||channel + tunnel|
|cyborg||cybernetic + organism|
|dumbfound||dumb + confound|
|emoticon||emotion + icon|
|flounder||flounce + blunder|
|genome||gene + chromosome|
|glitz||glamour + ritz|
|glob||gob + blob|
|guesstimate||guess + estimate|
|hazmat||hazard + material|
|intercom||internal + communication|
|internet||international + network|
|malware||malicious + software|
|meld||melt + weld|
|modem||modulator + demodulator|
|motel||motor + hotel|
|motorcade||motor + cavalcade|
|newscast||news + broadcast|
|paratrooper||parachute + trooper|
|pixel||picture + element|
|prissy||prim + sissy|
|pulsar||pulsating + star|
|quasar||quasistellar + radio|
|simulcasting||simultaneous + broadcasting|
|sitcom||situation + comedy|
|skort||skirt + short|
|smog||smoke + fog|
|spork||spoon + fork|
|telethon||telephone + marathon|
|transponder||transmitter + responder|
|wifi||wireless + fidelity|
Make your own portmanteaus
In my research, I discovered a super cool website, called Portmanteaur, where you can create your own portmanteaus. Simply enter a couple words into the text box and—voila—a list of portmanteaus of your words appear. (It’s magic.)
Let me know what portmanteaus you make in the comments.
This post was written by Erin Servais of Dot and Dash, an author-services company focusing on women authors.
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