A portmanteau (, ) or portmanteau word (from "portmanteau") is a blend of wordsGarner's Modern American Usage
, p. 644.
in which parts of multiple words are combined into a new word, as in ''smog'', coined by blending ''smoke'' and ''fog'', or ''motel'', from ''motor'' and ''hotel''. In linguistics, a portmanteau is a single morph that is analyzed as representing two (or more) underlying morphemes. A portmanteau word is similar to a ''contraction'', but contractions are formed from words that would otherwise appear together in sequence, such as ''do'' and ''not'' to make ''don't'', whereas a portmanteau is formed by combining two or more existing words that all relate to a single concept. A portmanteau also differs from a compound, which does not involve the truncation of parts of the stems of the blended words. For instance, ''starfish'' is a compound, not a portmanteau, of ''star'' and ''fish'', as it includes both words in full.


The word ''portmanteau'' was introduced in this sense by Lewis Carroll in the book ''Through the Looking-Glass'' (1871), where Humpty Dumpty explains to Alice the coinage of unusual words used in "Jabberwocky".Fromkin, V., Rodman, R., and Hyams, N. (2007) ''An Introduction to Language'', Eighth Edition. Boston: Thomson Wadsworth. . ''Slithy'' means "slimy and lithe" and ''mimsy'' means "miserable and flimsy". Humpty Dumpty explains to Alice the practice of combining words in various ways: In his introduction to ''The Hunting of the Snark'', Carroll again uses ''portmanteau'' when discussing lexical selection: In then-contemporary English, a portmanteau was a suitcase that opened into two equal sections. According to the OED Online, a portmanteau is a "case or bag for carrying clothing and other belongings when travelling; (originally) one of a form suitable for carrying on horseback; (now esp.) one in the form of a stiff leather case hinged at the back to open into two equal parts". According to The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (AHD), the etymology of the word is the French , from , "to carry", and , "cloak" (from Old French , from Latin ). According to the OED Online, the etymology of the word is the "officer who carries the mantle of a person in a high position (1507 in Middle French), case or bag for carrying clothing (1547), clothes rack (1640)". In modern French, a is a clothes valet, a coat-tree or similar article of furniture for hanging up jackets, hats, umbrellas and the like. An occasional synonym for "portmanteau word" is ''frankenword'', an autological word exemplifying the phenomenon it describes, blending "Frankenstein" and "word".

Examples in English

Many neologisms are examples of blends, but many blends have become part of the lexicon. In ''Punch'' in 1896, the word brunch (breakfast + lunch) was introduced as a "portmanteau word." In 1964, the newly independent African republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar chose the portmanteau word Tanzania as its name. Similarly Eurasia is a portmanteau of Europe and Asia. Some city names are portmanteaus of the border regions they straddle: Texarkana spreads across the Texas-Arkansas-Louisiana border, while Calexico and Mexicali are respectively the American and Mexican sides of a single conurbation. A scientific example is a ''liger,'' which is a cross between a male lion and a female tiger (a ''tigon'' is a similar cross in which the male is a tiger). Many company or brand names are portmanteaus, including Microsoft, a portmanteau of ''microcomputer'' and ''software''; the cheese ''Cambozola'' combines a similar rind to ''Camembert'' with the same mould used to make ''Gorgonzola''; passenger rail company ''Amtrak'', a portmanteau of ''America'' and ''track''; ''Velcro'', a portmanteau of the French (velvet) and (hook); ''Verizon'', a portmanteau of (Latin for truth) and ''horizon''; and ComEd (a Chicago-area electric utility company), a portmanteau of ''Commonwealth'' and ''Edison''. ''Jeoportmanteau!'' is a recurring category on the American television quiz show ''Jeopardy!'' The category's name is itself a portmanteau of the words ''Jeopardy'' and ''portmanteau.'' Responses in the category are portmanteaus constructed by fitting two words together. Portmanteau words may be produced by joining together proper nouns with common nouns, such as "gerrymandering", which refers to the scheme of Massachusetts Governor Elbridge Gerry for politically contrived redistricting; the perimeter of one of the districts thereby created resembled a very curvy salamander in outline. The term gerrymander has itself contributed to portmanteau terms bjelkemander and playmander. Oxbridge is a common portmanteau for the UK's two oldest universities, those of Oxford and Cambridge. In 2016, Britain's planned exit from the European Union became known as "Brexit". Many portmanteau words receive some use but do not appear in all dictionaries. For example, a ''spork'' is an eating utensil that is a combination of a spoon and a fork, and a ''skort'' is an item of clothing that is part skirt, part shorts. On the other hand, ''turducken'', a dish made by inserting a chicken into a duck, and the duck into a turkey, was added to the ''Oxford English Dictionary'' in 2010. Similarly, the word ''refudiate'' was first used by Sarah Palin when she misspoke, conflating the words ''refute'' and ''repudiate''. Though initially the word was a gaffe, it was recognized as the ''New Oxford American Dictionary''s "Word of the Year" in 2010. The business lexicon is replete with newly formed portmanteau words like "permalance" (permanent freelance), "advertainment" (advertising as entertainment), "advertorial" (a blurred distinction between advertising and editorial), "infotainment" (information about entertainment or itself intended to entertain by its manner of presentation), and "infomercial" (informational commercial). Company and product names may also use portmanteau words: examples include ''Timex'' (a portmanteau of ''Time'' eferring_to_[[Time_magazine.html" style="text-decoration: none;"class="mw-redirect" title="Time_magazine.html" style="text-decoration: none;"class="mw-redirect" title="eferring to [[Time magazine">eferring to [[Time magazine">Time_magazine.html" style="text-decoration: none;"class="mw-redirect" title="eferring to [[Time magazine">eferring to [[Time magazineand [[Kleenex), [[Renault's ''[[Renault Twingo|Twingo'' (a combination of ''twist'', ''swing'' and ''tango''), and [[Garmin (portmanteau of company founders' first names [[Gary Burrell and Min Kao).


Two proper names can also be used in creating a portmanteau word in reference to the partnership between people, especially in cases where both persons are well-known, or sometimes to produce epithets such as "Billary" (referring to former United States president Bill Clinton and his wife, former United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton). In this example of recent American political history, the purpose for blending is not so much to combine the meanings of the source words but "to suggest a resemblance of one named person to the other"; the effect is often derogatory, as linguist Benjamin Zimmer states. By contrast, the public, including the media, use portmanteaus to refer to their favorite pairings as a way to "...givpeople an essence of who they are within the same name." This is particularly seen in cases of fictional and real-life "supercouples". An early known example, Bennifer, referred to film stars Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez. Other examples include Brangelina (Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie) and TomKat (Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes). "Desilu Productions" was a Los Angeles, California-based company jointly owned by couple and actors Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball. Miramax is the combination of the first names of the parents of the Weinstein brothers. On Wednesday, 28 June 2017, The New York Times crossword included the quip, "How I wish Natalie Portman dated Jacques Cousteau, so I could call them 'Portmanteau'". Holidays are another example, as in Thanksgivukkah, a portmanteau neologism given to the convergence of the American holiday of Thanksgiving and the first day of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah on Thursday, 28 November 2013. Chrismukkah is another pop-culture portmanteau neologism popularized by the TV drama ''The O.C.'', merging of the holidays of Christianity's Christmas and Judaism's Hanukkah. In the Disney film ''Big Hero 6'', the film is situated in a fictitious city called "San Fransokyo", which is a portmanteau of two real locations, San Francisco and Tokyo.

Other languages


The French linguistic term , literally a "suitcase-word", is a relatively recent back-translation from English, attested only since 1970. Although the French language in France is regulated by the Académie française (which has had a conservative attitude to neologisms), portmanteau words such as (frenglish) are produced. Authors have used the technique in literature (e.g. Boris Vian) and companies and other entities to create brands such as ''Transilien'' ( , Île-de-France transportation system). Recent portmanteau examples are Douzelage (from welveand winning and (from japanese"and inanity". The French language in Quebec, Canada, also has a regulatory body, the Office québécois de la langue française (OQLF). It tends to produce neologisms to replace anglicisms. It created the portmanteaus (e-mail) from (mail) and (electronic), and (online chatting) from (keyboard) and (chatter), for example.

Modern Hebrew

Modern Hebrew abounds with European mechanisms such as blending: Along with CD, or simply (''Disk''), Hebrew has the blend (''taklitor''), which consists of (''taklít'', Phonograph record) and (''or'', light). Modern Hebrew is full of portmanteau blends, such as the following: * (''arpíakh'', smog), from (''arafél'', fog) and (''píakh'', soot) * (''midrakhov'', pedestrian-only street), from (''midrakhá'', sidewalk) and (''rekhóv'', street) * (''makhazémer'', musical), from (''makhazé'',theatre play) and (''zémer'', singing erund Other blends include the following: * (''migdalór'', lighthouse), from (''migdál'', tower) and (''or'', light) * (''karnàf'', rhinoceros), from (''kéren'', horn) and (''af'', nose) * (''ramzór'', traffic light), from (''rémez'', indication) and (''or'', light) Sometimes the root of the second word is truncated, giving rise to a blend that resembles an acrostic: * (''tapúz'', orange (fruit), from (''tapúakh'', apple) and (''zaháv'', gold), as well as (''tapúd'', potato) from (''tapúakh'', apple) and (''adamah'', soil) but the full is more common in the latter case.


A few portmanteaus are in use in modern Irish, for example: * Brexit is referred to as (from , "Britain", and , "leave") or (from , "England," and , "out") * The resignation of Tánaiste (deputy prime minister) Frances Fitzgerald was referred to as (from , "goodbye" and ''Tánaiste'') * . an Irish-language preschool (from , "infants," and , "band") * The Irish translation of ''A Game of Thrones'' refers to Winterfell castle as (from , "winter," and , "exposed to winds") * (from English ''jail'' and , "Irish-speaking region"): the community of Irish-speaking republican prisoners.


There is a tradition of linguistic purism in Icelandic, and neologisms are frequently created from pre-existing words. For example, ''Tölva'' ("computer") is a ''portmanteau'' of ''tala'' ("digit; number") and ''völva'' ("oracle or seeress").


In Indonesian, portmanteaus are often used as both formal and informal acronyms and referrals. Many organizations and government bodies use them for brevity. Journalists often create portmanteaus for particular historical moments. Examples include: Formal and journalism uses: * ''Golput'': voters who abstain from voting, from ''Gol''ongan ''Put''ih, "blank party" or "white party". * ''Jagorawi'': a motorway connects the cities of ''Ja''karta, Bo''gor'' and Ci''awi''. * ''Japek'': a motorway connects the cities of ''Ja''karta and Cikam''pek''. * ''Cipali'': a motorway connects the village of ''Ci''kopo and the district of ''Pali''manan. * ''Cipularang'': a motorway connects the cities of Cikam''pek, ''Pu''rwakarta and district of Pada''larang''. * ''Padaleunyi'': a motorway linking the district of ''Pada''larang and Ci''leunyi''. Also it's the part of Purbaleunyi which connects the city of ''Pu''rwakarta, ''Ba''ndung and the district of Ci''leunyi''. * ''Jabodetabek'': the neighboring cities of Jakarta, consisting of ''Ja''karta, ''Bo''gor, ''De''pok, ''Ta''ngerang, ''Bek''asi, and sometimes ''Pun''cak and Cian''jur'' (Jabodetabekpunjur). * The Suramadu Bridge connects the cities of ''Sura''baya and ''Madu''ra * "Malari": refers to "Malapetaka 15 Januari" – a social riot that happened on 15 January 1974. * Military units, e.g. ''Kopassus'' army special forces unit, from ''Ko''mando ''Pas''ukan Khu''sus'', "special forces command". Another example is the ''Kopaska'' navy frogman unit, from ''Ko''mando ''Pas''ukan ''Ka''tak, "Frogman Command". * Governmental bodies, e.g. "Kemdikbud", refers to "Kementerian Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan" (Education and Culture Ministry), where the ministry leader is called "Mendikbud", "Menteri Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan" (Minister of Education and Culture). * ''Brexit'': an exit motorway junction linking the Trans-Java Toll Road and the east side of Brebes. Informal uses, for example: * ''Asbun'' = ''As''al ''bun''yi: carelessly speaking * ''Mafia'' = ''ma''tematika + ''fi''sika + kimi''a'': math, physics, and chemistry, three school subjects that are often related with arithmetic * ''Caper'' = ''ca''ri ''per''hatian: attention seeker * ''Warnet'' = ''war''ung inter''net'': internet cafe * ''Alay'' = ''a''nak ''lay''angan: unfashionable people * ''Copas'' = ''Co''py ''pas''te: copying other people's work without permission * ''Ropang'' = ''ro''ti ''pang''gang: toasted bread * ''Nasgor'' = ''nas''i ''gor''eng


A very common type of portmanteau in Japanese forms one word from the beginnings of two others (that is, from two back-clippings). The portion of each input word retained is usually two morae, which is tantamount to one kanji in most words written in kanji. The inputs to the process can be native words, Sino-Japanese words, gairaigo (later borrowings), or combinations thereof. A Sino-Japanese example is the name for the University of Tokyo, in full . With borrowings, typical results are words such as , meaning personal computer (PC), which despite being formed of English elements does not exist in English; it is a uniquely Japanese contraction of the English . Another example, , is a contracted form of the English words and . A famous example of a blend with mixed sources is , blending the Japanese word for and the Greek word . The Japanese fad of egg-shaped keychain pet toys from the 1990s, Tamagotchi, is a portmanteau combining the two Japanese words tamago (たまご), which means "egg", and uotchi (ウオッチ) "watch". The portmanteau can also be seen as a combination of tamago (たまご), "egg", and tomodachi (友だち), which means "friend". Some Anime titles also are portmanteaus, such as ''Hetalia'' (ヘタリア). It came from He''ta''re (ヘタレ), which means "idiot", and I''ta''ria (イタリア) which means Italy. Another example is ''Servamp'', which came from the English words Ser''va''nt (サーヴァント) and ''Va''mpire (ヴァンパイア).


In Brazilian Portuguese, portmanteaus are usually slang, including: * ''Cantriz'', from ''cantora'' (female singer) and ''atriz'' (actress), which defines women that both sing and act. * ''Aborrescente'', from ''aborrecer'' (annoy) and ''adolescente'' (teenager), which is a pejorative term for teenagers. * ''Pescotapa'', from ''pescoço'' (neck) and ''tapa'' (slap), which defines a slap on the back of the neck. In European Portuguese, portmanteaus are also used. Some of them include: * ''Telemóvel'', which means mobile phone, comes from ''telefone'' (telephone) and ''móvel'' (mobile). * ''Cantautor'', which means Singer-songwriter, and comes from ''cantor'' (singer) and ''autor'' (songwriter).


Although not very common in Spanish, portmanteaus are finding their way into the language mainly through marketing and media efforts, such as in Mexican Spanish 'cafebrería' from 'cafetería' (coffee shop) and 'librería' (bookstore), or Teletón from 'televisión' and 'maratón'. However, it is very frequent in commercial brands of any type (for instance, "chocolleta", from "chocolate" + "galleta", (cookie), and above all family-owned business (of small size, for instance: Rocar, from "Roberto" + "Carlos", and Mafer, from "Maria" + "Fernanda"). Such usages are prompted by the registering of a distinguishable trademark, but with time, commonly, a specific trademark became the name of the all similar products, like in Cola Cao, a name which is very common to use to refer any similar product. Other examples: * ''Cantautor'', which means Singer-songwriter, and comes from ''cantante'' (singer) and ''autor'' (songwriter). *''Mecatrónica'' and ''Ofimática'' two Neologisms that are blends of ''mecánica'' (mechanical) with ''electrónica'' (electronics), and ''oficina'' (office) with ''informática'' (informatics) respectively. *''Espanglish'', interlanguage that combines words from both Spanish (''Español'') and English. *''Metrobús'', blend of ''metro'' (subway) and ''autobús.'' *''Autopista'', blend of ''automóvil'' (car) and ''pista'' (highway). *''Trabalenguas'', which means tongue twister, from ''trabar'' (tangle up, jam) and ''lengua'' (tongue). *Company names and brands with portmanteaus are common in Spanish. Some examples of Spanish portmanteaus for Mexican companies include: The Mexican flag carrier Aeroméxico, (Aerovías de México), Banorte (Bank and North), Cemex (Cement and Mexico), Jumex (Jugos Mexicanos or Mexican Juice), Mabe (from founders Egon MAbardi and Francisco BErrondo), Pemex (Petróleos Mexicanos or Mexican Oil), Softtek (portmanteau and stylization of Software and technology), and Telmex (Teléfonos de Mexico). Gamesa (Galletera Mexicana, S.A. or Mexican Biscuit Company, Inc.) and Famsa (fabricantes Muebleros, S.A.) are examples of portmanteaus of four words, including the "S.A." (Sociedad Anónima). *Many more portmanteaus in Spanish come from Anglicisms, which are words borrowed from English, like ''módem'', ''transistor, códec, email, internet'' or ''emoticon.'' A somewhat popular example in Spain is the word Gallifante, a portmanteau of Gallo y Elefante (Cockerel and Elephant). It was the prize on the Spanish version of the children TV show Child's Play (Juego de niños) that ran on the public television channel La 1 of Televisión Española (TVE) from 1988 to 1992.

Portmanteau morph

In linguistics, a blend is an amalgamation or fusion of independent lexemes, while a ''portmanteau'' or ''portmanteau morph'' is a single morph that is analyzed as representing two (or more) underlying morphemes. For example, in the Latin word ''animalis'' the ending ''-is'' is a portmanteau morph because it is used for two morphemes: the singular number and the genitive case. In English two separate morphs are used (''of an animal''). Other examples include French ''à le'' → ''au'' /o/, and ''de le'' → ''du'' /dy/.

See also

* Amalgamation (names) * Hybrid word * List of geographic portmanteaus * List of portmanteaus * Syllabic abbreviation



External links

{{Wiktionary|portmanteau|portmanteau word|Category:English blends
an online portmanteau generator
a tool for making portmanteaus
Portmanteau tool – Invent new words
(with definition) Category:1870s neologisms