Fun_People Archive
13 Feb

Date: Mon, 13 Feb 95 00:43:29 PST
From: Peter Langston <psl>
To: Fun_People
Subject: Portmanteaux

From: Anu Garg <>

Finally I got around to compiling a follow up to portmanteau week. Here
is a compendium of few other portmanteaux, home-brewn and otherwise.

Karen Traylor of informed:
   Deirdre's mom uses buffled, a combo of buffaloed and baffled to indicate
   to be confused by someone who is snowing you.

Anne R. Carroll and Bruno M. Franck of sent this message:
   In case you don't have these already...please let me know if you'd prefer 
   your life not be clutted (oops, a typo, but in the same category; here, 
   cluttered and with such additions:
   gritch, gritchy: from grumble + bitch; used by adults with adults, usually 
   in a somewhat light-hearted manner, as in, "Don't be so gritchy!"

   half-hazard, half-hazardly: from haphazard + half-hearted; used to describe 
   something that is poorly thought out and weakly executed; a client of mine 
   used it (as a slip of the tongue in his case) to describe a federal 
   clean-up effort

David Cronkite from cited styleme (stylistic element) used in
_The Open Work_ by Umberto Eco.

Portmanteaux are an efficient way to convey the information in a compact
manner.  No wonder they are generously used where ever new words are needed
to be coined.

Computers have pixel, Cobol, bit, Fortran, Prolog, to name a few.

Biology has spawned many too: there is liger (an offspring of male
lion and a female tiger) and tigon (tiger + lion). I have also heard
of yow (yak + cow).

Meteorology: smoke, for some reason, has tendency to combine with anything
it can lay its hands on. So we have smog, smice, smist and smaze (smoke + fog,
ice, mist, haze).

Chemistry: large number of compounds are named using portmanteau technique.
e.g. viosterol (ultraviolet + sterol)

Portmanteaux are used quite often in creating names for businesses and
products as in Microsoft (microcomputer + software), Digiphone (digital
+ telephone).

Some of my favorites are:

californicate: using one US state's policy in the other, as in Don't
californicate with Oregon.  [Some people use this to mean "fuck up in the
way Californians do" e.g. "Don't Californicate Oregon's beaches!" -psl]

Cocacolonization:  implying major influence of American culture over a country.

confusage: confuse + usage

Finally, a note on the word "slosh" which made an appearance during
portmanteau week. Charles Lyne ( and Nigel Winters (
pointed out two colloquial usages of the word in UK:
1. to hit violently, as in "Johnny got sloshed by the teacher."
2. to get drunk, e.g. "He was so sloshed, he could hardly stagger out
of the pub!".

[=] © 1995 Peter Langston []