A few editors at work recently led a training session on editing. They included this video by Anne Curzan from the University of Michigan and then led a discussion on portmanteau words. (If you enjoy learning about the English language and you’ve not watched any Anne Curzan videos then I heartily recommend them to you. Her TED Talk is excellent.)
Before this training session I didn’t know what a portmanteau was, nor did I know about portmanteau words. However, I use and make up new portmanteau words all the time, usually when I’m joking around. (Have you ever had a panconwich? It’s a pancake bacon sandwich, and they’re delicious.)
Here’s a list of portmanteaus that we used in our training session. As is mentioned in the video, some of these fill a void in the English language (adorkable, ginormous), while others are just a shorthand way of saying two words (cyborg, bit). You may be surprised by some of these.
- Biopic = biography + picture
- Brangelina = Brand + Angelina
- Fanzine = fan + magazine
- Cronut = croissant + doughnut
- Spork = spoon + fork
- Turducken = turkey + duck + chicken (this is likely the ingredients of McNuggets, which is another portmanteau)
- Fracket = fraternity + jacket
- Guyliner = guy + eyeliner
- Jeggings = jeans + leggings
- Mizzle = mist + drizzle (not to be confused with fo shizzle or off the hizzle, neither of which are portmanteaus)
- Snark = snide + remark
- Skype = Sky + peer to peer (I didn’t get this one either)
- Sporgery = spam + forgery
- Sheeple = sheep + people
- Wallaroo = wallaby + kangaroo
- Rom-com = romantic + comedy
- Flavorite = flavor + favorite
- Meld = melt + weld
- Motorcade = motor + cavalcade
- Satisficing = satisfying and sacrificing (watching Anne Hathaway movies is satisficing. My wife is happy while I just grin and bear it.)
- Bit = binary + digit
- Netiquette = Internet + etiquette
- Prancercise = prance + exercise
- Pinterest = pin + interest
- Cyborg = cybernetic + organism
I was talking with a friend today and we made up a new portmanteau: rejuvadraining. It’s how you feel after you work at a writers’ conference, both rejuvenated and drained at the same time.
What other portmanteaus can you think of? Have you ever made one up?
Leave them in a comment below.