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is a new word formed by joining two others and combining their meanings; "smog" is a blend of "smoke" and "fog"; "motel" is a portmanteau word made by combining "motor" and "hotel". Essentially, the written equivalent of Frankenstein
The word itself is an obsolete term for a kind of suitcase that opens into two hinged compartments. It was first used to describe blends of words by Lewis Carroll
in Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There
, when Humpty Dumpty explains to Alice the word "slithy" from the poem "Jabberwocky
"Well, slithy means lithe and slimy... You see, it's like a portmanteau — there are two meanings packed up into one word."
Before first-letter acronyms were standard, this was thought to be just fantastic by up-and-coming political movements in the '30s, which is why we have the words StuKa, NaZi, GeStaPo, StaSi, GULag, ComIntern and SovNarKom. Consequently, fictional totalitarian governments often use them to play on these connotations. Portmanteaus are still common in Germany to this day, unlike America where three letter initialisms are the standard. In countries that don't use alphabets, like Japan, this is also still the standard, which is why Portmanteau Series Nickname
is full of anime show examples.
Incidentally, the original French word "portemanteau" is a portmanteau. "Porte" means carries and "manteau" means coat, so a portemanteau is something that carries your coat. In modern French the word means coat hanger instead of a type of suitcase.
See also Portmanteau Couple Name
, Portmanteau Series Nickname
, and We Will Use Wiki Words In The Future
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Animanga (Manga & Anime)
- Yaoi = yanma nashi ochi nashi imi nashi*. An alternate (joking) portmanteau for yaoi is "Yamete, oshiri itai!"*
- ROD the TV: Joker's codename is a portmanteau of his real name (Joe Carpenter). (Well, or maybe Joe Carpenter is a pseudonym derived from the codename...but either way, portmanteau.)
- In the Pokémonnote episode "Short and to the Punch", Clayton the martial artist insists on giving portmanteau nicknames to everyone and coining abbreviations for common phrases. For example, Ash and Buizel are referred to as Ashbui. This trait was carried over largely unchanged from the Japanese version.
- Many, if not all, of the Pokemon names are portmanteaus. Bulbasaur is "bulb" and "dinosaur". Charmander is "charred" and "salamander". Squirtle is "squirt" and "turtle". And we're not even past the starter choices of the first game yet!
- Digimon = Digital + Monsters.*
Cames (Card Games)
- Magic: The Gathering
- The fans do these with combos, like Land Tax (If your opponent gets more lands than you, you can search your library for three lands and put them in play.) + Armageddon (Destroy all lands.) = Taxageddon (for massive mana advantage and card advantage). Yawgmoth's Bargain (pay X life to draw X cards) + Heroes' Reunion (gain 7 life) = Heroes' Bargain (or two and a third Ancestral Recalls, which, to be fair, requires you run a three-color deck).
- Occasionally used for actual cards, such as "Blightning" and "Deadapult".
Fanfic (Fan Fiction)
Films — Laction (Live Action)
- In Dave, the title character makes up a girlfriend, describing her as an exotic princess: half Polynesian, half American "Amnesian".
- Parodied in Kung Pow!
"Killing is wrong. And bad. There should be a new, stronger word for killing. Like badwrong, or badong. Yes, killing is badong. From this moment, I will stand for the opposite of killing: gnodab
- As one might expect, The Trope Namer, Alice in Wonderland, is chocabloc full of portmanteau words, at least one of which, chortle, made it into common usage. The poem "Jabberwocky" is practically a compendium of portmanteau words, (brillig, slithy, wabe, outgrabe and that's just the first stanza) most of which did not make it into common usage, unless someone is feeling arch and wants to show off their vocabulary.
- In Nineteen Eighty Four, New Speak has a few of them, such as IngSoc, MiniLuv, and... NewSpeak.
- Enid Blyton used delumptious and scrumplicious, the two possible portmanteaux of delicious and scrumptious. This was also referenced in Goodnight Mister Tom.
- Some of the future animals in After Man A Zoology Of The Future are named this way, portmanteauing the extant species they're descended from with the species that currently fills their ecological niche (eg Rabbuck, for a rabbit the size of a deer).
- The Hunger Games has "muttations" (mutt+mutation, for genetically engineered beasts), "nightlock" (nightshade+hemlock, poisonous berries), "Communicuff" (a watch-like communicator that looks like a handcuff), "propos" (propaganda ads) and mockingjay (mockingbird+jabberjay - which was a genetically engineered bird - , a bird that is able to mimic music).
- The Mysterious Benedict Society. "We're the Winmates! Because we're inmates...that win. It's a portly man's toe or whatever you call it."
- Cyborg ("Cybernetic" + "Organism") popularized (but not invented) by the 1973 Martin Caidin science fiction novel of the same name, which also popularized "bionic" from "biology" and "electronic"
Laction TV (Live Action)
- There was a bit on Arrested Development where Tobias prints business cards declaring himself a cross between an analyst and a therapist... an "analrapist".
- In another episode GOB and Tobias try to start a business together, as Gobias Industries.
- One experiment in Better Off Ted is referred to as a disasticle (disater + debacle).
- The Colbert Report is fond of these.
- Look Around You: "Thanks, ants. Thants."
- Will in The Inbetweeners calls Neil's dad a "bumder", which he later explains to be a mix of bummer and bender.
- The Future Is Wild, being a Spiritual Successor to After Man (above), uses a similar naming system.
- This exchange from The Drew Carey Show regarding Drew's cyber-date is full of them.
Kate: Yeah, is "pathetisad" a word?
Drew: Hey, whatever BeerStud3 and HoneyBee23 do is their own business.
Kate: Beer stud? Forget "pathetisad", is "weirdork" a word?
Drew: I don't know, is "sarcastabitch" a word?
- Gorillaz' "Fire Coming Out of the Monkey's Head" describes the noise of a volcanic eruption as a "castrophony" — possibly a catastrophic cacophony.
- Alternatives would also include "symphony".
- Horned Necrocannibals (Рогатые Трупоеды) have a song named "Vengeanscythe". It's about a vengeful, as far as one can tell, deadman. With a scythe.
- The Mars Volta use portmanteaus a lot in their album titles like Amputechture (Amputate-Technology-Architecture) and Noctourniquet (Nocturne-Tourniquet)
Nedia (New Media)
Prestling (Pro Wrestling)
- Edge and Christian were infamous for doing this sort of thing. The best example was ramipercussions, a combination of ramifications and repercussions. Also, due to the Triple H-led Corporation / D-Generation X alliance being alternately called the "McMahon-Helmsley Faction" and the "McMahon-Helmsley Regime", they called it the "Fac-gime".
- Some tag team names are Portmanteaus, such as Lay Cool, comprised of Layla and Michelle McCool.
- Ryback combines this with a Development Gag. His first name is Ryan, and he wrestled in the indies as Ryan "The Silverback" Reeves.
Tablames (Tabletop Games)
- Dungeons & Dragons
- Multiclass character builds in are occasionally named like this, from the bardbarian (bard plus barbarian) to the sorcadin (sorcerer plus paladin).
- Gnolls in the first edition were conceived as a hybrid of gnomes and trolls, but have since become their own thing.
- And then there's Mystara's "Thoul", an hybride of ghoul, hobgoblin and troll.
- The Clans from BattleTech shun the use of contractions, yet will combine other words like quaiff (query affirmative) and quineg (query negative).
- The Reporting Name for the Timber Wolf came from an Inner Sphere MechWarrior's targeting computer jumping from Marauder (MAD) to Catapult (CAT) repeatedly in an attempt to identify it. Hence, Mad Cat.
Vidgas (Video Games)
Webimation (Web Animation)
- Reynaldo The Assassin gives us "dadsassin" (a dad who is an assassin) and "swordsassin" (an assassin with a sword).
- The A.I. used by Freelancers in Red vs. Blue are named by a portmanteau of the A.I.'s Greek letter designation and their respective agent's real name. For instance, Omega + Allison = O'Malley.
- The characters in Homestar Runner use these so much and so casually, they're practically part of the local dialect. The Strong Bad Email "dictionary" even hangs a lampshade on this fact by creating a dictionary of Strong Badian English, introducing several new portmanteaus in the process. Their wiki has a list. And the mash-ups of various phrases, such as: "All contestants will receive a year's supply of our home game."
- Teen Girl Squad: "Grood. I mean good. And great. Great and good."
Webmics (Web Comics)
Webriginal (Web Original)
Westimation (Western Animation)
Realife (Real Life)
- Real life has an equivelent called "compount words". However, letters are not taken out of the words themselves, they are just slammed together. Some examples are "lifetime" (life time), "pickpocket" (pick pocket), and "windmill" (wind mill).
- Oxymorons are like compound words, except the words are the exact opposite of eachother. However, the words have nothing to do with the context of the word itself. Some examples are "ballpoint" (ball point), "begone" (be gone), and even the word "oxymoron" (oxy moron).