In Lewis Carroll’s novel, “Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There” Carroll includes this poem, “The Jabberwocky”. Poor Alice! After stumbling in to an alternative world she encounters a book filled with poetry that can only be read by holding it up to a mirror. Frustrated by the nonsense words she finds in “The Jabberwocky”, she asks Humpty Dumpty for help. He explains,”Well, ‘slithy’ means ‘lithe and slimy’. ‘Lithe’ is the same as ‘active’. You see it’s like a portmanteau — there are two meanings packed up into one word”. Ahhhaa!
Thus the concept of portmanteau words was introduced to the world by the infamous Humpty Dumpty. That unlucky egg helped give us words such as Brexit (Britain and exit),spork (spoon and fork), and frenemy (friend and enemy).
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word ‘portmanteau’ as, 1.A large suitcase OR 2. A word or morpheme whose form and meaning are derived from a blending of two or more distinct forms (such as smog from smoke and fog).
More, more (I love this type of wordplay)?
- Bromance-brother and romance
- Email-electronic and mail
- Hangry-Hunger and and anger
- Croissandwich-croissant and sandwich
- Twerk- twist and jerk
- Affluenza- affluence and influenza
- Ginormous-gigantic and enormous
- Staycation- stay and vacation
- Labradoodle-labrador and poodle
What are some of your favorite portmanteaux?