Les Beaux* Portmanteaux

A couple of days ago, I was tickled by Jack’s conception of ‘language sandwich’ in Emma Donoghue’s Room where he made up two-fold words like ‘hugermous’ (from huge and enormous). Just a night before, I tweeted something about ‘extrhausted’ (from extra and exhausted) to give more weight on the worn-out state. Later, Nico Novito enlightened me by popping-up with the correct label for such self-made products and it’s called ‘portmanteau’!
(Originally a French word, we could guess?)

A portmanteau, as elucidated on Wikipedia, is a blend of two (or more) words or morphemes into one new word–usually both sounds and meanings. Take smog, for instance, was coined by collaborating smoke and fog. Funny thing, ‘portmanteau’ is also a portmanteau, derived from the word port(e) in French (means ‘door’) and ‘manteau’ (means jacket)!
(Surprising how semantics can always surprise you, eh?)


“Hey, Mom, I can’t eat my breakfast without the spork!”
(Spoon and fork, that is correct.)

The following examples are probably familiar to our ears (although a bit rarer to our eyes):

  • Blaccent: black and accent (when a non-black tries to sound black)
  • Bootylicious: booty and delicious (who doesn’t know this Destiny’s Child song?)
  • Bromance: bro(ther) and romance
  • Brunch: breakfast and lunch (the regular two-in-one meal for mahasiswa)
  • Camcorder: camera and recorder (a very helpful appliance)
  • Cocacolonization: Coca-Cola and colonization (a phenomenon that is also learned as an issue of international relations)
  • Cyborg: cybernetic (whatever that means) and organism
  • Linguogasm: lingua and orgasm (the sensation that comes up when you’re awed because of the hidden maze inside languages!)
  • Frenemy: friend and enemy (SBY might want to borrow this one in explaining our foreign policy, don’t you think?)
  • Mathlete: math and athlete (two subjects that would make a guy experting in both as some sort of god for the ladies)
  • Newscast: news and broadcast

How did you guys find it? Interesting? I believe that in the world of language, another word for ‘art’ is ‘portmanteau’. It may also be referred as the art of ‘creating’ with language. (Bear in mind that it’s ‘with’ language and not exactly the ‘language‘ because unless you’re the government in charge of a newborn nation like Soekarno or Ataturk, you can never ‘create’ language.) Good night!

*Credits to Adisty for the correction and interesting facts 


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