Thursday, August 13, 2009

sporks and brangelinas

a portmanteau is a sort of "frankenword;" two or more words combined together to amalgamate their individual attributes with functional (and sometimes humorous) intent. the joke here is that "frankenword" is itself a portmanteau, adding the patched-together qualities of frankenstein's monster to a word.

etymological excerpt from wikipedia:

The usage of the word "portmanteau" in this sense first appeared in Lewis Carroll's book Through the Looking-Glass (1871), in which Humpty Dumpty explains to Alice the coinage of the unusual words in Jabberwocky:

"‘Slithy’ means ‘lithe and slimy’... You see it's like a portmanteau—there are two meanings packed up into one word"

"‘Mimsy’ is ‘flimsy and miserable’ (there's another portmanteau ... for you)".

other common portmanteau words include spork, bridezilla, labradoodle, brangelina, and wikipedia! (don't let your mind melt while reading the wikipedia entry on wikipedia)

1 comment:

  1. Andrew I love this blog! It is all so fascinating to me as an English major - you are teaching me valuable subtleties and nuances of words that I should probably know in my profession. Keep it up! :) I especially love the humor you throw in (quantilfy - awesome).