portmanteau word

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First used by Lewis Carroll in 1871, based on the concept of two words packed together, like a portmanteau (a travelling case having two halves joined by a hinge).



portmanteau word (plural portmanteau words)

  1. (linguistics) A word which combines the meaning of two words (or, rarely, more than two words), formed by combining the words, usually, but not always, by adjoining the first part of one word and the last part of the other, the adjoining parts often having a common vowel.
    Synonyms: amalgamation, blend, (dated) brunch word, frankenword, portmanteau, portmantologism, telescope word
    • 1871 December 27 (indicated as 1872), Lewis Carroll [pseudonym; Charles Lutwidge Dodgson], chapter VI, in Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There, London: Macmillan and Co., →OCLC:
      Well, “slithy” means “lithe and slimy”. “Lithe” is the same as “active”. You see it’s like a portmanteau – there are two meanings packed up into one word.
    • 2018, James Lambert, “A multitude of ‘lishes’: The nomenclature of hybridity”, in English World-Wide[1], page 10:
      One reason for the popularity of portmanteau words in naming language hybrids may be the fact that the names themselves embody a type of hybridity.


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