Posted by: Jack Henry | July 28, 2016

Editor’s Corner: Portmanteau

I learned a new word, smombie (thank you, Ron Fauset). Smombie is short for smartphone zombie. Smombies are people who are totally unaware of their surroundings. They walk around entirely absorbed in their smartphones (

The word smombie made me think of word blending, or portmanteaus. A portmanteau is “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).” Portmanteau also means a trunk or suitcase that opens into two parts. The word portmanteau comes from porter “to carry” + manteau “cloak.”

Several websites give credit to Lewis Carroll for creating blended words and for calling these words portmanteaus (named after the two-part suitcase). You may recall Humpty Dumpty explaining words from the “Jabberwocky” poem to Alice in Through the Looking Glass. Humpty Dumpty compares the word slithy (slimy + lithe) to a portmanteau.

“You see it’s like a portmanteau—there are two meanings packed up into one word.”

Here are some more examples of portmanteaus. Don’t get mad at me, I didn’t make them up.

brunch: breakfast + lunch

bromance: brother + romance

carjack: car + hijack

chocoholic: chocolate + alcoholic

cosplay: costume + play

cronut: croissant + donut

emoticon: emotion + icon

Frappuccino®: frappé + cappuccino

frenemy: friend + enemy

froyo: frozen + yogurt

glamping: glamourous + camping

hangry: hungry + angry

mocktail: mock + cocktail

mockumentary: mock + documentary

moped: motor + pedal

motel: motor + hotel

Spanglish: Spanish + English

spork: spoon + fork

staycation: stay + vacation


Jackie Solano | Technical Editor | Symitar®

8985 Balboa Ave. | San Diego, CA 92123 | Ph. 619.542.6711 | Extension: 766711

Symitar Documentation Services

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