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Alternative forms[edit]


Etymology 1[edit]

From French portemanteau, literally porte ‎(carry) + manteau ‎(coat)


portmanteau ‎(plural portmanteaus or portmanteaux)

  1. A large travelling case usually made of leather, and opening into two equal sections.
    • 1667, Charles Croke, Fortune's Uncertainty:
      Rodolphus therefore finding such an earnest Invitation, embrac'd it with thanks, and with his Servant and Portmanteau, went to Don Juan's; where they first found good Stabling for their Horses, and afterwards as good Provision for themselves.
    • 1859, Charles Dickens, The Haunted House:
      He brought down with him to our haunted house a little cask of salt beef; for, he is always convinced that all salt beef not of his own pickling, is mere carrion, and invariably, when he goes to London, packs a piece in his portmanteau.
  2. (Australia, dated) A school bag; often shortened to port or school port

Etymology 2[edit]

Coined by Lewis Carroll in Through The Looking Glass to describe the words he coined in Jabberwocky.


portmanteau ‎(not comparable)

  1. (used only before a noun, of a word, story, etc.) Made by combining two (or more) words, stories, etc., in the manner of a linguistic portmanteau.
    • 2002 December 14, Nicholas Lezard, “Spooky tales by the master and friends”, in The Guardian (London), page 30:
      The overall narrator of this portmanteau story - for Dickens co-wrote it with five collaborators on his weekly periodical, All the Year Round - expresses deep, rational scepticism about the whole business of haunting.
    • 2002 December 11, Nick Bradshaw, “One day in September”, in Time Out, page 71:
      We're so bombarded with images, it's a struggle to preserve our imaginations.' In response, he's turned to cinema, commissioning 11 film-makers to contribute to a portmanteau film, entitled '11'09"01' and composed of short films each running 11 minutes, nine seconds and one frame.

Derived terms[edit]


portmanteau ‎(plural portmanteaus or portmanteaux)

  1. (linguistics) A portmanteau word.

See also[edit]