Posted by: episystechpubs | June 19, 2013

Editor’s Corner: The Portmanteau

Portmanteaux (or Portmanteaus)
If you took French in school, you probably learned this word in the “travel vocabulary” part of class, but most English classes cover this word, too. Here’s how Merriam-Webster describes a portmanteau:

1: a large suitcase
2: a word or morpheme whose form and meaning are derived from a blending of two or more distinct forms (as smog from smoke and fog)

Middle French portemanteau, from porter to carry + manteau mantle [KC – “something that covers, enfolds, or envelops] from Latin mantellum

Now for just a few examples from Wikipedia:

General disclaimer: Please send all grumbles, grievances, and protests regarding these terms to Wikipedia; compliments, commendations, and acclamations can go to 🙂

  • mizzle, from mist and drizzle
  • snark, from snide and remark
  • tofurkey, from tofu and turkey
  • bit, from binary and digit
  • emoticon, from emotion and icon
  • codec, from coder and decoder
  • modem, from modulator and demodulator
  • pixel, from picture and element
  • spork, a spoon and a fork
  • Brangus, from Brahman and Angus breeds of cattle (progeny of)
  • Puggle, Pug and Beagle (progeny of)
  • Benelux, from Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg
  • Tanzania, from Tanganyika and Zanzibar
  • Texarkana, from Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana

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