What is a portmanteau word?

Posted on March 31, 2005 at 01:03 AM

We use these words every day, yet most probably don't realize that there is an actual term used to describe them, these "words" that have invaded our lexicon. Linguists refer to them as blend words, but words like brunch, smog, or fantabulous are also known as portmanteau words.

Here is a small sample of words contained in a list of portmanteau words found on wikipedia.

affluenza = affluent + influenza

chortle = chuckle + snort (first penned by Lewis Caroll in his famous nonsensical poem the Jabberwocky)

swatch = swiss + watch (we all had one at some point in time)

spork = spoon + fork (I've seen some sporks with a serrated knife-like edge. So would that make it a snorfk?)

fugly = fucking + ugly

blog = web + log (what you're reading right now)

turducken = turkey + duck + chicken (Madden made it famous)

shart = shit + fart (something everyone's done but wouldn't dare admit. If you have, be proud, and order yourself an "I think I just sharted" t-shirt)

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