Is there something about the word Portmanteau? I’m already confident that there’s something fun & catchy about combining words, but I wonder if the fun factor of the term ‘Portmanteau’ (port-man-toh), cleverly re-coined by Lewis Carroll in Alice in Wonderland, has any impact on the adoption. I’m constantly evangelizing portmanteau, and often people have never heard of the term, or even that word combining had its own term. Sometimes the word combination catches attention, but other times, during my explanations, the term portmanteau is what piques curiosity. I think it’s fun to say, and despite the un-phonetic (is that a word?) spelling, it rolls off the tongue. Lewis Carroll, in his classic story, successfully identified a fun existing word and redefined it with a more exciting definition – he identefined (identified + defined) Portmanteau. I seem to be unable to stop myself from creating combinations that use ‘portmanteau’ as one of the wordponents (word components), so let’s explore this ridiculousness a bit more in depth.
As I portranteau (rant about portmanteau), I frequently come up with categories for them, and these categories are often portmanteau portmanteaux. An example of a portmanteau category is Sportmanteaux – portmanteaux about sports, and a perfect portmanteau, I might add. Want some more examples? Well, blog writing is not interactive enough to hear your response, so I hope you said/thought yes! Pitchuation – a pitching situation (baseball). Fanterference – fan interference, when a fan reaches onto the field to mess up a play (baseball). Runbelievable – an unbelievable run (football). You get the point – I like this category.
Although the title of this post is not a word combination, portmanteau portmanteau is a category – word combinations where one of the wordponenets is ‘portmanteau.’ Another category is acronymteau (or portmancronym) – a combination of two acronyms. The television channel MSNBC, I believe, is a combination of MS (Microsoft acronym) and NBC (National Broadcasting Company). Upon further review (read: overthinking it), MSNBC, as I just defined it, is really more accurately defined as a compound word version of an acronym, rather than a true word combination (or acronymteau). However, if MSN stood for Microsoft Network, it would fit my definition. Yes, I am a word nerdy enough to have a Sportmancronym: ESPNFL – watching the National Football League on the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network. One more quick example – Phrasemanteau (such as ‘cream of the crap’ – the best of the word)…but I’ve already posted about that. These may or may not count as categories, but also like to use Poormanteau, a poor combination of two words, and Portmanyteau, a combination of more than two words, such as turducken (turkey + duck + chicken). Beware of Portmantoverload…