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The ubiquity of portmanteau[edit]

Why is it that 99% of Wikipedia pages link to portmanteau?!?! I am so tired of reading a Wikipedia page only to see YET AGAIN this stupid word linked over and over and over! Every single possible time! It's like some kind of in-joke with Wikipedia authors. Or maybe there is a drinking game? Take a drink every time you manage to include the word portmanteau in your wiki page or you read someone else's wiki page which contains the word portmanteau. Or maybe we have some OCD linguist going around marking up every single portmanteau in Wikipedia. "Oh my god, someone might read this word and not realise what a brilliant portmanteau it really is!"

...... Oh well... cheers. Carry on.

Hear, bloody, hear! 11:56, 11 September 2006 (UTC)
You, my friend, summed up my thoughts exactly. Here's another voice to the pleas to end this annoying portmanteau phenomenon! -- LodeRunner (talk) 17:22, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Normally I don't chime in on 'nitpicky' type comments, but I will definitely have to agree with this point! I'm glad I'm not the only one who noticed this. I swear there must be a "word a year" calendar somewhere that has "portmanteau" for 2006. There seem to be quite a few people who are extremely proud to know what this word means. Oh well, it's a very minor thing of course, but still a bit annoying. Technocratic 13:51, 22 September 2006 (UTC)

I checked this article just because I was wondering if there was some mention of this horrifying phenomenon. GRRRRRRRRR Korossyl 22:17, 23 September 2006 (UTC)

Me too - ChrisKennedy(talk) 09:05, 3 December 2006 (UTC)
Yes, please remove them when you notice them. In many cases they aren't even the correct usage. In general, also, if a word is so abnormal that it requires a link because otherwise no one will understand it, that's no good. —Centrxtalk • 10:40, 3 December 2006 (UTC)
Oh, thank G-d it wasn't just me who noticed this! Aiugh! Zero sharp 08:05, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

Ugh.. I really cannot stand to read the P-word one more time... 18:49, 25 May 2007 (UTC)

Thank you! This is such an annoying phenomenon. I absolutely remove links to this page if not directly related. Sbacle 11:57, 31 August 2007 (UTC)

Wow how noble of you... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:16, 5 September 2007 (UTC)

Perhaps I'm beating a horse that just won't die, but portmanteau [b]is certainly[/b] overused on Wikipedia. I think everybody is so annoyed by it that nobody wants to investigate why it is overused. It's just silly. Mvblair (talk) 18:36, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

Nonsense, portmanteau is portmantastic. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to mix up some more Arakebite and black. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:00, 8 October 2008 (UTC)

Is there also a page that defines compound words, and is linked to by the million entries that meet that criteria? I PROPOSE THAT A TEAM BE FORMED TO PURGE WIKIPEDIA OF REFERENCES TO PORTMANTEAU. All you have to do is go to the "what links here" list and move through the list.--Drvanthorp (talk) 17:57, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

I would support that. I can't believe the term "portmanteau" is referenced so often even though it is technical jargon that is being written by people who are not trying to make meaningful contributions to other articles, but rather by people who want to popularize the term (for whatever reason). The overkill of this word makes Wikipedia look silly, unecyclopedic, and overly pedantic. Mvblair (talk) 13:10, 21 May 2009 (UTC)
Yeah me too. There are currently about 2500 pages that link to "portmanteau"... (talk) 22:44, 4 December 2010 (UTC)
I would support that. What justification is there for the aggressive contamination of Wikipedia by the portmanteau crowd? Why are we pushing a marginal term that adds no value to the articles it infects, and uses them only for self-promotion? neil.steiner (talk) 23:01, 11 October 2012 (UTC)

I have tried what has been suggested here; however, it seems there is a highly pro-portmanteau movement. Whenever I attempt to change a page, it is reverted within seconds. I even tried to change the order of the disambiguation page, but I was told that the Lewis Carroll 'definition' was at the top for a reason. Do they want to make Wikipedia look like it's gone through the looking glass? Drinkybird (talk) 17:14, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

The secret is to discuss a wish for a wide-ranging change like this beforehand. Form a consensus, and then link to that agreed consensus from the summary of each change, so there is no doubt that what is being done is being done with wide-ranging and well-intended support. I suggest starting at Wikipedia Talk:Manual of Style. —Sladen (talk) 17:34, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

I have started conversations on several articles that link to the portmanteau word article.
And there is the discussion that has started on the Project Linguistics page
Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Linguistics‎#Portmanteaus Drinkybird (talk) 01:25, 4 June 2009 (UTC)

I absolutely agree, I am tired of seeing the word portmanteau linked on (almost) every Wikipedia page (it seems). Someone needs to make a bot that unlinks this word. Oh my goodness, imagine if every word on Wikipedia were linked to its definition! Okay, so that's extreme: but, imagine if every word that was not in every person's everyday usage were linked to its definition! Aiiieeeee! (No, really. Stop linking this word to the Wikipedia article, for the love of all that is holy.) -- Mecandes (talk) 21:37, 3 December 2009 (UTC).

I tried changing portmanteau to compound word on a page where portmanteau was wrongly used. It was reverted in 19 minutes. A part of me think would be a good idea to mention the term fashion word in the article (talk) 17:12, 2 December 2011 (UTC)

While I support the removal of incorrect occurrences, I am going to disagree with practically everybody here. I think many of the occurrences of "portmanteau" should remain for the reason they were put there: The words are portmanteaus. Many words are portmanteaus. I don't see the problem of stating the truth, even if it's fairly obvious, like "breakfast" being a portmanteau of "break" and "fast." I would genuinely appreciate any argument against the use of "portmanteau" in Wikipedia article that is not "it is annoying"; many things are annoying, like getting up early or stubbing your toe, but that does not invalidate them. To those who say that the word should not be used, I should like to remind you that language is not static. Language is always changing, and words are accepted if the language's speakers accept them. Merriam-Webster recognizes the word, as well as many other online dictionaries. I see no problem with using language accurately. Darkgroup (talk) 22:14, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

There is a difference between using language accurately and pushing a favorite term. Portmanteau is not a mainstream word anywhere but on Wikipedia, and its proliferation provides no value or benefit. Using Wikipedia pages for graffiti is unhelpful. neil.steiner (talk) 23:01, 11 October 2012 (UTC)

It's true that "portmanteau" is a correct description. It's also true that coin collectors can be correctly called "numismatists," blood pressure cuffs can be correctly called "sphygmomanometers," and house cats can correctly be called "felids." Puh-leeze. The use of "portmanteau" where "compound word," "blending," or other descriptions would do equally well is nothing more than an attempt to imply a high level of scholarship by using an uncommon word which sounds sophisticated -- and to some, sounds especially sophisticated simply because its origins are obviously French. There's nothing wrong with saying things simply and clearly -- and since I'm advocating that, I'll demonstrate the idea by restating my earlier point in that way. "Portmanteau" is pompous. It is pretentious. It is an unnecessary, highfalutin, "fifty-cent word." Its use in Wikipedia is clearly intended to imply high quality of content, but it conveys no meaning beyond what can be conveyed with simpler terms. And this intent is transparently obvious to any half-educated web surfer who stumbles into Wikipedia. "Portmanteau" must die. (talk) 19:43, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

Gentlemen. I believe that you are dealing with a Streisand effect here. The more you attempt to fight the ubiquity of portmanteau, ad portmementenauseum, the more it will xeroxerate (Portmanteau). — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:52, 20 November 2012 (UTC)

... Huh. I didn't even notice this discussion when I went and made several of these changes eliminating "portmanteau" a few days ago; they've stayed unreverted. Have the portmanteauists all faded away? 4pq1injbok (talk) 20:43, 6 March 2013 (UTC)

Let me put my vote in being sick and tired of articles linking to "portmanteau". In most cases, the fact that they are compound words are obvious and it doesn't need to be explained as a portmanteau. The original word is probably in most cases less confusing than calling it a word that nobody knows. In most cases, "portmanteau" would be better off removed in favor of simpler words like "combination".--ZXCVBNM (TALK) 09:44, 22 July 2014 (UTC)

On blends and portmanteaus[edit]

A number of inaccuracies need ameliorated. I began doing so, but it's getting late and I'm tired...!

1. A portmanteau doesn't fuse grammatical functions - it "fuses" morphemes.

2. In the context of linguistic definition, to refer to a "folk" usage of portmanteau is to appeal to the strictly linguistic conception of folk etymology as a "naive misunderstanding of a more or less esoteric word that makes it into something more familiar." (Algeo, The Origins and Development of the English Language.) This is not an appropriate qualification. A portmanteau may very well be a more popular (and is the older) term for the more jargonistic "blend", but it is not somehow a "naive misunderstanding" by virtue of its origin or popularity.

3. A portmanteau is used two ways: synonymously with blend, and to refer to "a factitious word" (OED) which is a blend in the Carrolian sense. For the first definition, this article need only link to the blend article; the rest of the article should describe, provide the etymology and give examples of portmanteau in its distinctive sense, eg by explaining why "Bennifer" is a portmanteau in this latter sense while "smog" isn't. (Bennifer is a neologism; smog was, but is now in common usage.)

I agree. In linguistics, a portmanteau is a word analyzed as representing two underlying morphemes (commonly two function words), while a blend is a neologism created by phonological merger of two words. For instance, the French du is a portmanteau that replaces de le, which is never used. On the other hand, smog is a blend created from smoke and fog, but it doesn't mean smoke fog. I think some of the contents of portmanteau should be moved to blend. - TAKASUGI Shinji 00:37, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

Definition from Merriam-Webster[edit]

[We have public-domain dictionaries available to us; can we please provide one of those definitions without an link to M-W?]


The Merriam-Webster definition of portmanteau gives two meanings:

  1. a large suitcase
  2. a word or morpheme whose form and meaning are derived from a blending of two or more distinct forms (as smog from smoke and fog)

Whoever removed this made other parts of the article make no sense! yuliya 00:03, 10 May 2006 (UTC)

List of examples[edit]

Leaving aside the fact that this is meant to be an article, and not just another interminable list, I'm removing some whith I don't think qualify as portmanteaus:

  • chocoholic from chocolate and alcoholic
  • WorkAholic (alt. workoholic - the suffix 'holic' means 'addict'.
"chocoholic" does not incorporate the meaning of "alcoholic". rather, it's a back-formation, extracting a suffic "-oholic" from "alcoholic" to mean addiction.
actually, in most cases alcoholism is a habituation, not an addiction. 17:17, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
Regardless, in the word "alcohol", "-hol" isn't just a suffix of "alco", the full word refers to the substance. There's no such thing as "chocohol" or "workahol", so "-holic" isn't a proper suffix. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:47, 9 March 2011 (UTC)
  • Sheriff
from what?
 Sheriff is from 'Shire' and 'Reeve'
That doesn't make Sheriff a portmanteau; that's a natural grammatical shortening, it's still "shire-reeve" it is just unstressed & so evolved through dialect. Nagelfar 16:54, 9 May 2006 (UTC)
  • byte from by eight
wrong, according to byte.
  • factoid
what is "-oid" from? As far as I can tell, it's a morpheme used to mean something a little like "pseudo-"
again, these are back-formations IMO. "-ware" is a suffix which was removed from "hardware" to coin "software"; this is just applying it to other roots.

why do these simple lists of examples have to balloon into all this? What's the point? We'll end up having to prune most of them off into a "list of portmanteaus", and wikipedia is not a dictionary. -- Tarquin 08:19 Oct 3, 2002 (UTC)

it's shear balloonacy! see for this and other examples of 'Lexical blending'.

Shareware, Adware, spyware, nagware are not backformations. For example, shareware is not simply 'the morpheme 'Ad' plus the morpheme Ware' - it is the word advertisement plus the word software. Otherwise for example Adware would be any 'ware' which is used by people in the advertising industry - instead of specifically 'software' containing advertisements. for this reason they fit the classic portmanteau definition.


Would anyone object if I got rid of the massive list of examples and trimmed it down to about three? -Martin

Nope. Keep the best ones. Ditch the dull & contentious ones. Wikipedia is not a collection of lists ... -- Tarquin 22:18 Dec 13, 2002 (UTC)

In an act of cowardice I moved it to List of portmanteaus. Martin

I removed Internet, as the word is a portmanteu, but incorrectly stated. The proper words would be interconnected and network. The etymology is internetwork as per U.S. Department of Defense 1986. An internetwork refers to an interconnected system of networks, especially computer networks. Being international has no relevence to the term. --sysg0d

Jabberwocky discussion[edit]

I could have sworn the words in "Jabberwocky" were derived from Old English. If they are truly portmanteaus, they need an explanation of which words they combine because it certainly isn't obvious. Tokerboy 01:41 Oct 20, 2002 (UTC)

In a letter he wrote "... as to 'burble', if you take the three verbs bleat, murmer, and warble, then select the bits I have underlined [here italicized], it certainly makes 'burble', though I am afraid I can't distinctly remember having made it in that way." Elsewhere, I remember he wrote that "slithy" was a combination of slimy and lithe. The other words have various reasons for existence, as it were, but I don't think many of them are portmanteaus. Unless someone knows better, that list can be deleted, I think, with the relevent parts incorporated into some other list, or (probably better) into the beginning of the article. I don't fancy doing it, however... --Camembert

The Portmanteau words in Jabberwocky are the 'original' Portmanteau words. It was in describing this poem that the term itself was first coined. (They aren't old english words although Lewis Carrol intends to convey the impression that they are). Check out the relevant text at [(old)] "" [or (new) ""], or read Through the Looking Glass.


The external link was bad. Please test it and see if it should not be removed. Fred Bauder 15:28 Dec 13, 2002 (UTC)

From french ?[edit]

Is there any link with the french word porte-manteaux which literally means Jacket-Holder ?

Yes, there is. That word refers to a kind of suitcase with two storage spaces. The idea of a portmanteau word comes from the idea of packing two meanings into one word.
No there is not. They share an origin, but the term comes from the English word, which refers to a suitcase with two storage spaces, which comes from the French porter and manteau. The French word meants coat rack/coat tree or coat hanger.
You seem to think port(e)manteau is itself a portmanteau (excuse me if you don't). It isn't. It's a 'verb-noun compound', like asciugamano or pickpocket. 15:38, 26 September 2007 (UTC)
Funny, in French (from France) they say "mot-valise"... fr:mot-valise
I would like to insist on the fact that in French, portemanteau (as in the suitcase or the coat rack), is spelled portemanteau and not porte-manteaux. As a native French speaker and the owner of a Quillet-Flamarion 1956 dictionary (which allows me to check for former uses and spellings of the word), I am often offended by the way non-English languages are tramped upon by people who don't even take the time to check their sources.
Yup, I'm French :P ! It is written "portemanteau" in dictionaries, but lots of people write it "porte-manteaux". There is no good or bad writing, I think we can say that both writings are correct. That is how languages evolve ! ;) --Totophe64 21:23, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
See Talk:Portmanteau#Plural, below. The spelling porte-manteaux is more conservative. -SM 22:36, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

Compound Word?[edit]

Are "portmanteau" and "compound word" synonymous? My inclination is no, that portmanteaux may drop intervening syllables or letters (as in "smog" and "brunch") while compound words never do (as in "rainbow" and "baseball").

--zandperl 04:49, 6 Dec 2004 (UTC)

No, not at all. Your inclination is very much on the right track. Compounds are words that are formed by combining two or more complete, inflected words, following conventional rules. Blends (in the strict linguistic sense defined in the article) are formed by combining content words, but they are distinctive in that they are combined in very unconventional ways, that usually strike one as "clever". 02:30, 1 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Perhaps a section that contrasts the difference between portmanteaux and compound words should be added to the article?

Brand names[edit]

Wikipedia is not a corporation. Ergo, its name can't be an example of "corporate brand name". Ditto for Wiktionary. So I suggest we remove one of (or both) these examples and add a real corporate brand name instead (can't think of a good example now). Paranoid 10:11, 10 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Massive pruning[edit]

Some of you may have noticed that there are now only five examples of frankenwords in the article. Don't freak out, portmanteau contributors. Your contributions have not vanished into oblivion. I have relocated them all at the List of portmanteaux page. Please also make any new contributions there.--------Kelisi 2005/2/5

Your List of portmanteaux page just redirects back to the Portmanteau. In the entire article I cannot find a single example of a portmanteau, only examples of blends. Not very useful in an article about portmanteaux. I think a clear section defining the difference between a P. and a blend, giving examples of each, is in order to set the record straight once and for all. NinjaKid (talk) 16:26, 28 February 2008 (UTC)


What the hell is that? Can anyone who knows write at least a stub on it? Because currently, frankenword redirects here, but this article does not explain what a frankenword is. Lev 11:35, 2 Mar 2005 (UTC)

[Just in case you're curious:]

This article actually used to explain the term frankenword, but somewhere along the line it was taken out. I have put it back in. Please, nobody take it out! 22:10, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

Frankenword is not an perfect synonym of portmanteau. Frankenword connotes a word with an awkward or offputting sound or concept (e.g. infotainment, feminazi or stalkerazzi) unlike portmanteau which may be melifluous or clever. The difference is explained in this good article.[1] Could some some cunning linguist with a little time add a paragraph making this distinction? H Bruthzoo 00:56, 8 November 2006 (UTC)


You can't really say that slithy is not a portmanteau, since it is the first example of a portmanteau Carroll ever gave. It seems he preferred "creative" portmanteaus to "regular" ones such as smog. For example, in the preface to The Hunting of the Snark, he explains the concept using fruminous, formed from fuming and furious. -Lev 20:44, 3 Mar 2005 (UTC)

implying that slithy is a portmanteau of what?

Just as Alice did, I once thought this Carroll carol a lazy & pleasantly creative use of meaningless sounds, but now see it as an artful use of the vague cultural meaning of sounds in the context of syntactically structured but undefined words.--Wikidity (talk) 00:37, 4 October 2014 (UTC)

Article breakup backwards[edit]

I don't dislike the idea of the article breakup, but methinks it went the wrong direction. The linguistics meaning seems to be the one that should get the predominant coverage under portmanteau, as it has a lot more content, and it has a lot more potential content. — Stevie is the man! Talk | Contrib 21:50, 12 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Further, it appears that most articles referring to this term mean to link to the linguistics meaning, and this now means that a lot of cleanup is in store unless we transpose the breakup. — Stevie is the man! Talk | Contrib 22:00, 12 Mar 2005 (UTC)

OK, you have a point there. I did the breakup in this way in order to avoid parentheses. So do you propose to move the travelling case to Portmanteau (travelling case) and the portmanteau word back to portmanteau with a disambig note linking to Portmanteau (travelling case)? - Lev 20:52, 13 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Sounds great to me. Thanks! Also please change portmanteau word to redirect to portmanteau. — Stevie is the man! Talk | Contrib 21:00, 13 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Portmanteaus vs. Syllabic abbreviations[edit]

Any objections to removing all syllabic abbreviations from the List of portmanteaus? - Lev 20:30, 14 Mar 2005 (UTC)

  • On the contrary, syllabic abbrevations are NOT portmanteau, which are semantic in nature, not phonetic (i.e., mix the meanings of the two words, don't just mix them so it's easier/quicker to pronounce). The previous example in french (+les = aux) was not a portmanteau at all. Besides, it was in french, so it was kind of irrelevant here (no offense to the french - I'm french myself). Changed back to the classic example of infotainment.
Agree. According to the Abbreviation article, "A syllabic abbreviation (SA) is an abbreviation formed from (usually) initial syllables of several words, such as Interpol for International police" and "SAs should be distinguished from portmanteaux." Therefore, the example of 'Nabisco' should be removed from the Portmanteau article, as well as other examples which are simply phonetic and qualify as SA's.
I have entirely excised the final sentence of the section Standard English: In New York, some of their suburbs are more known by their portmanteau, including TriBeCa and SoHo. Woeful construction aside, TriBeCa and SoHo are syllabic abbreviations--not portmanteaux--and they are neighborhoods in lower Manhattan--not suburbs of New York City. Patronanejo (talk) 22:58, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Syllabic abbreviation (or just abbreviation) vs portmanteau for East Asian languages. The Tokyo University example seems more of a syllabic abbreviation example than a portmanteau example. To-dai is just combination of the first syllables of the two words. It can even be classified as abbreviation as it can be argued that each syllable is actually like an alphabet. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Edpark88 (talkcontribs) 15:28, 22 June 2009 (UTC)
Two monosyllabic characters of the hiragana "alphabet" are required to construct -dai: だ (da) and い (i). Whenever you see two vowels together in Japanese, you can assume two morphemes are represented. Patronanejo (talk) 23:25, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Same with the example put for Indonesian: golput is just a syllabic abbreviation for golongan putih. Should be removed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:01, 4 February 2010 (UTC)

Linguistics Meaning[edit]

This article doesn't define how linguists use the word, it merely says how they do not. I would like it if someone who knows could fill in how they do use it. Thanks. Luqui 07:59, 2005 May 2 (UTC)

Original Meaning[edit]

The article doesn't state the original meaning of `portmanteau', i.e. a suitcase which opens into two compartments.


Is this a pormenteau word? It's pseudonym + anonymity. (Very possibly a Frankenword, really.) Do please let me know -- I've just done a major edit on Pseudonymity, and I'd like to feel confident identifying the term as P. Best regards. Bryan 02:42, 1 November 2005 (UTC)

No, I believe the -ity is just a natural inflection of the word to make a noun for the condition of being pseudonymous. For what it's worth, you may get a better response at Wikipedia:Reference desk/Language. —HorsePunchKid 03:18, 1 November 2005 (UTC)
I would also say no. Both are modifications of a root nym, which, while not a word, does mean name. Both pseudo and an are standard prefixes in English, and ity is a standard suffix, so pseudonymity = prefix-root-suffix, not a portmanteau. -- stillnotelf has a talk page 02:37, 3 November 2005 (UTC)


The plural can be spelled either way. I googled both -x and -s along with the word linguistics just to make sure i didn't end up with anything irrelevant and the s got 720 and the x got 630 hits. And I saw a dictionary site that explicitly said either was fine. Dave 01:14, 11 December 2005 (UTC)

the -x in portmanteaux is from the inflection of the underlying French, and so arguably more correct, like cacti, bureaux, fora, phenomena, criteria, appendices, biscotti as well as the uninflected plurals of Asian languages bonsai, shumai. -SM 19:21, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
Arguably, but not very well. The word in french is a compound, anyway, so it doesn't pluralize in the regular way. And also, catus doesn't come from Latin, so there's no way it should be on that list. Cacti was created by a fun leveling process. Same with octopus/octopi. Dave 20:47, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
...and don't get me started on "virii"! HorsePunchKid 2005-12-15 08:14:29Z
Dave, I'll admit, your point was sound enough that you sent me scurrying to my Micro Robert. It has [whew!] des portmanteaux. However, it seems to hedge on other compounds, like des porte-drapeau(x) and des porte-couteau(x), perhaps still new enough to retain the hyphen, and so the option. I probably got stuck on cactus, though Webster's Collegiate gives the root as Κακτος (but not present in Liddle & Scott's Greek-English Lexicon), and the Wiki instagreek declensorator suggests Κακτοι, so maybe not so completely contrived. Finally, I'll share with HorsePunchKid my latest sighting (in a post somewhere) of ignorami =)-SM 20:20, 20 December 2005 (UTC)

Carrol or the Linguists[edit]

If Carrol invented the word then his meaning should come first with an explanation. Is it fair to call those words fitting his definition to be false portmanteaux?--Gbleem 22:22, 11 December 2005 (UTC)

Yes. Lots of words change meanings over time, and examples that fit the original meanings then don't fit anymore. Also, since the definition on the page now fits the current scientific usage, I think it should stay as it is. Dave 22:40, 11 December 2005 (UTC)
Your point is valid, but perhaps "false" could be replaced with "in Carroll's original sense"? 23:36, 3 January 2006 (UTC)

What about the Italian/musical word portamento, which means to glide from one note to the next (effectively joining the two)? In this case it seems more likely that the root is the Italian verb "portare" (to carry) than an English adaptation of a French word...I really think there's more going on here than this Lewis Carroll business. Here's hoping someone does some deeper research on it as I haven't find anything yet. **In any case, there should be a citation for the statement about Carroll coining the term. 07:16, 18 November 2006 (UTC)


Are there any synonyms for this word? --Dara 04:22, 20 December 2005 (UTC)

Unclear sentence[edit]

Carroll used such words to humorous effect in his poems, especially Jabberwocky, which Humpty Dumpty is explaining to Alice.

This sentence really makes no sense at all. Neither Humpty Dumpty nor Alice appear in Jabberwocky and the clause on the end is incomplete at best. I'm not exactly sure what this is trying to say.

Nevermind, I get it now... In Through the Looking-Glass, HD is explaining to Alice what Jabberwocky meant. *slaps forehead* I've tried to make the sentence clearer. -- Shinmawa 09:20, 23 December 2005 (UTC)

Bumper year[edit]

I dropped this from the article: "2005 was a bumper year for the overuse of media portmanteaux. Examples include: Brangelina (for Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie); TomKat (Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes); and Scalito (Samuel Alito and Antonia Scalia)."

"2005 was a bumper year", says who? Or is this original research consisting of the subjective impressions of the writer? "overuse" is judgemental and doesn't belong regardless. Referring to usage in a specific year like this also violates the style recommendations (don't include stuff that'll get old fast). I don't feel this paragraph added anything to the article. --BluePlatypus 18:31, 13 January 2006 (UTC)

Aha.. apparently a recent edit by an anonymous user. Should've simply reverted it, I guess. --BluePlatypus 18:33, 13 January 2006 (UTC)
Brangelina is such an awful word it should never be given publicity in any form --Totorotroll (talk) 13:21, 30 May 2008 (UTC)


Responding to an anon IP's change of the example of a portmanteau word from French aux to English infotainment, infotainment doesn't exemplify a portmanteau in the technical sense. In the field of linguistics, infotainment isn't a portmanteau. Rather, it is a blend. A portmanteau has to have function word status (it has to fulfill grammatical roleswords like the, and, etc.without adding meaningful content to the sentence. Contractions (in any language) are great examples of portmanteaus. The difference the anon IP tried to reference between "phonetic contractions" and "semantic contractions" can hardly be said to exist when the single phoneme /o/ can carry all the information that is there in aux.

sorry, forgot to signDave 00:15, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
I am the Anon IP. Point taken: although the Merriam-Webster considers that blends and portmanteaus are just blends (giving as examples brunch and smog respectively), I trust your opinion. I think that (as Merriam-Webster does) the article should consider the folk usage as the primary meaning of the word, and point out that in linguistics the meaning is different (instead of the other around). Also, maybe an example in English would be appropriate, instead of 'aux' which is not very enlightening for non-french-speaking people.
Nooooo. Simple contractions are not portmanteau words, they are contractions. Infotainment and watergate are portmanteau words. French aux is not an example. -SM 22:38, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
Same Anon IP here. I agree. That "+les=aux" business seems ridiculous to me, Infotainment is really the archetype of portmanteaux. The fact that in specialized linguistic circles the meaning of the word is different doesn't seem relevant to me. My background isn't in linguistics so I'll let someone else decide though.
I agree: à+les > aux is completely irrelevant and misleading here. That's a completely different concept (not only since 'aux' does not contain any letter from 'à'+'les'...). — MFH:Talk 22:24, 27 October 2006 (UTC)

Confusion of meanings[edit]

There seems to be confusion between the French meaning of the word porte-manteau (sp?) ("coat-rack") and the English meaning ("large suitcase"). The Etymology section kind of fluctuates back and forth, ending with the strange "Portmanteau" is rarely used for its original meaning in current English, that type of travelling case having fallen into disuse." - whereas travelling cases hadn't been mentioned. It looks like Carroll *was* referring to a suitcase when he talked about meanings being "packed together". Whereas our folk etymology refers to coat racks: "In modern French, a "portemanteau" (from "manteau" (coat) and the verb "porter", to carry) is a coat rack: it gathers at a single location the different coats of different people, hence the linguistic idea of fusing different words into one."

Can someone attempt to straighten this one out? A link to portmanteau (suitcase) would probably help too...Stevage 17:47, 12 April 2006 (UTC)

I agree. If no one else does it, I'll have a go. -- Beardo 06:03, 8 May 2006 (UTC)
Another meaning, although related to "coat rack" is mentioned in my Norwegian dictionay. There a portmanteau is a person in the service of a king whose duty it is to carry the king's coat, a human "coat rack" in other words. __meco 06:16, 8 May 2006 (UTC)
Hi, I saw a recent version of Alice in Wonderland recently and Humpty Dumpty was asked by Alice what SlimeIsh is (I think), He said "it is like a portmanteau" (like the suitcase with two halves that can be used) and then later when she asked about another word, he said "it is also a portmanteau word"... So I know what the two are.. who figured it out first is the question...

Cheers Gregorydavid 06:24, 8 May 2006 (UTC) PS now we need to rename the articles correctly..

Pormanteau vs Blending[edit]

Don't you think that portmanteau is just another name for blending, consequently they both refer to the same linguistic phenomenon. I suggest that the single article be created for blending and portmanteau, with the reference to various names suggested by scholars (blending, portmanteau, telescoping ...)

I think that blending the articles would be a good idea. Stephen Turner (Talk) 21:48, 10 May 2006 (UTC)
Agreed. Nmacri (Talk) 21:06, 14 May 2006 (CST)
In my browsing of wikipedia, I think this deserves its' own page. [2] It's certainly worthy. --Thoughtfix 18:59, 18 May 2006 (UTC)

portmateau when partially a proper noun, capitalized?[edit]

If the first element of a portmateau is a proper noun but the portmateau itself isn't, do you capitalized it? The example where I get my concern is the word Japanoise, a music genre composing the words Japanese & noise. Nagelfar 16:51, 9 May 2006 (UTC)


I'm deleting the note about the "portmanteau" function on synths, because what it describes is called a portamento on a string instrument and really anywhere else in music, and I'm pretty sure that that author confused the two words. I don't know synths too well, though, so correct me if I'm wrong.

Wikipedia not a portmanteau?[edit]

I perhaps am wrong, but I have always believed that for a word to be an actual portmanteau it is comprised of parts of both words from which it originated, but not contain the entire of either:

spoon - fork --> spork
breakfast - lunch --> brunch
cellular - telephone --> cellphone etc.

And, for this reason I would have believed that Wikipedia is infact not a portmanteau, based on its definition here which states:

which means it contains the entire word "wiki", not just a part of it. Thoughts? - Glen Stollery 21:06, 11 June 2006 (UTC)

Check out the description of the formation of portmanteau itself -> porter + manteau. Clearly if the word defining the term is formed this way then we can't be too perscriptive. - Peripitus (Talk) 09:01, 12 June 2006 (UTC)
Isn't it "wiki-wiki" anyway?  TheKMantalk 13:55, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
Can't be too prescriptive, either. - Conartis (Talk) 05:14, 05 September 2007 (UTC)
I think that if at least one of the parts is a part of a word then it is a portmanteau. Hence portmanteau itself and wikipedia (pedia being the second part of encyclopedia. Thanks! 18:04, 2 July 2006 (UTC)
and 'aux' is not !! — MFH:Talk 22:25, 27 October 2006 (UTC)

Bennifer: the first celebrity couple portmanteau?[edit]

Surely 'Pickfair' was the first example? Originally the name of the mansion of Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks Snr it was thereafter used in the press as shorthand for the couple.

I think that section of the article should be trimmed a bit. It's a little too fan-obsessive. Mentioning the practice and giving an example or two is fine, but let's save the list for a list. Elijahmeeks 15:48, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
I'm only able to find it mentioned on TV Tropes and some less-than-authoritative blogs, but supposedly when King Leopold of Belgium hooked up with dancer Cleo de Merode in 1895, the era's equivalent of modern tabloids called them "Cleopolde". — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:47, 1 August 2014 (UTC)

Celebrity couples & pairing name[edit]

Why are imaginary TV show couples listed under celebrity couples? Shouldn't they have their own subheading, since imaginary characters are not exactly celebrities? Also, as a Luka/Abby fan since the very beginning, I can most definitely state that that pairing was called Luby back then, at least in its first incarnation - just one B there.

VjeraNadaLjubav 17:07, 25 June 2006 (UTC)

Paragraph Edit/Removal[edit]

I am wondering about the following paragraph from the article:

Lewis Carroll, cited in the entymology section, uses the word portmanteau to mean suitcase, the English portmanteau, not coat rack, French porte-manteau. The fact that suitcase, not coat-rack, is the correct etymology is vividly clear when one considers that Carroll uses the words "packed up," and "two" (the original portmeanteau was a two compartment, folding item). The linguistic portmanteau represented by the word webinar clearly has nothing to do with a coat rack, as a coat-rack has nothing to do with packing meanings together.

Am I the only one who feels that this paragraph requires either editing or removal? Clearly nobody knows exactly what Carroll had in mind when he wrote portmanteau and so one theory is just as relevant as another. I could argue easily, for example, that Carroll was referring to the French porte-manteau in that the word itself is composed of two distinct words -- that it is a word with two meanings "packed up" into one.

This is a POV issue and, in addition, also has a tone that is a bit too... hostile, in my opinion. Any objections to my editing/removing it? -Sarfa 20:15, 25 July 2006 (UTC)

gulag right here?[edit]

isnt' gulag a syllabic abbreviation rather than a portmanteau as well? 16:27, 17 October 2006 (UTC)


Is it just me, or is portmanteau used a lot in wikipedia articles? I wonder what they would use on french wikipedia? JE at UWO U/T 06:08, 11 November 2006 (UTC)

I agree with Je_at_uwo that "portmanteau" aficionados have run amok on Wikipedia. Calling COMSEC a portmanteau adds no value to that particular article, and instead detracts from its introductory statement. No more advocacy, please. neil.steiner (talk) 22:09, 26 September 2011 (UTC).


Removed this text In religion, "Godisnowhere" has been used by a Denver, CO based Christian evangelism team since 1996. from the article. While it does have two different combinations, neither of those combinations are actual portmanteau.

"Portmanteau" vs. "portmanteau word"[edit]

The article states that the original phrase "portmanteau word" has "since been abbreviated to simply 'portmanteau' as the term (and the type of words it describes) gained popularity" (and, indeed, redirects to This being the case, in the interest consistency, shouldn't the latter be used to refer to the concept in question across wikipedia? Frankly, this site is the only place I've personally ever seen the extended phrase used, and while I'll readily admit that such anecdotal evidence is ridiculously weak, the article in question agrees; so why use the awkward-sounding, anachronistic version rather than the more concise, generally-accepted one? 22:41, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

"Portmanteau" still exists as a word in its original meaning, as a "large leather suitcase that opens into two hinged compartments" — which is where Lewis Carroll borrowed the term, "portmanteau word," from. This type of suitcase in turn took its name from "porter" ("to carry") and "manteau" ("a cloak"). logologist|Talk 00:09, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

I couldn't agree more. I am a Linguistics professor and I myself have never personally heard the term "portmanteau word" before! This seemed a little strange to me and I took the liberty of editing the "Meaning" section rather heavily. I feel it is much, much improved. Logologist, the fact that the word itself has a literal meaning in French is entirely irrelevant. There should be parenthesis around the "word" part, it should not be modified incorrectly to have it's own page. (talk) 04:09, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

I am very disturbed that a 'Linguistics professor' writes it's for its (above). This somewhat lessens his or her academic authority :-} Smerus (talk) 04:55, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

Indeed. Well, I'm not a Linguistics professor, but I do have a degree in Linguistics, and at my school we always used the term "portmanteau word" unless we were discussing morphology (which was not discussed very often outside of survey classes). Webbbbbbber (talk) 23:25, 28 October 2008 (UTC)


A few days back, FuriousBall added the portmanteau "skexy" in the opening paragraph. Until it becomes a real word, I don't think it belongs here. -- A. 01:16, 31 March 2007 (UTC)


Why is there no mention of The Chunnel? -- A. 05:09, 05 September 2007 (UTC)

You can't included every example NinjaKid (talk) 22:39, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia sure loves the word "portmanteau."[edit]

This word is in an insane number of Wikipedia articles. Wikipedia LOVES this word. It wants to have babies with it! Literally.—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:37, 7 May 2007

The tendency to reference uncyclopedia articles here is evident in an insane number of Wikipedia users. Wikipedia/uncyclopedia users LOVE cross-references. They want to have babies with cross-references! Literally. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Mr Bucket 18:10, 17 June 2007 (UTC), in the same edit as the comment that followed it.
The following 'graph was added by its author without indentation. Double indentation added by Jerzyt 20:09, 22 June 2007 (UTC), who believes that the author of it intended it as a meta-comment -- specifically, as a comment by the author of the preceding 'graph, explaining that preceding 'graph.
I did my best. See "Wikipedia's Boner for Portmanteaus" in this article--Mr Bucket 18:11, 17 June 2007 (UTC)—The preceding comment was added by Mr Bucket -- actually at 18:10, 17 June 2007 (UTC) -- in the same edit as the comment that preceded it; the same user added the standard-format sig a minute later.
VERBOSITY —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:27, 28 October 2007 (UTC)


While it started slow, there are now hundreds of examples of the use of "Vietraq" to be found using a Google search. It is pretty widespread online and is a valid example of a portmanteau. Michaelh2001 18:52, 21 June 2007 (UTC)


I've removed quark and operad. While one theory of the origin of quark is a portmanteu it is by no means conclusive. Operad as stated on its page was thought up out of nothing. Graemec2 12:31, 27 June 2007 (UTC)


How about:

Portmanteaus and blends again[edit]

Any progress on sorting out the situation with this page and blend? At the moment, they are largely covering the same ground; with this page occasionally switching to referring to portmanteau in the more technical linguistic sense - a blend strictly of two function words.

My perception is that the commonly-used meaning of portmanteau is the one shared between this article and blend; with the other meaning a niche linguistics term. This page at least mentions that there are two different meanings, though the intro is far from clear on what the difference is (isn't "a word or morpheme that fuses two or more words or word parts to give a combined or loaded meaning" more or less the same thing as "a word formed by combining both sounds and meanings from two or more words"?), and the distinction that portmanteau is sometimes only used to refer to blends of function words isn't introduced until later. Blend, on the other hand, gives the impression that only blend is acceptable to refer to non-function-word blends, with portmanteau being purely for function words. At least in common usage, I don't think this is true.

At the moment I think people are being thoroughly confused - Oxbridge has just had a mention switched from portmanteau to blend, on the basis that the blend page says that it is not strictly a portmanteau (as it is not composed of function words); whereas I think that, in the common usage, Oxbridge is a clear portmanteau - the function-word-only definition seems to be a rarely-used one.

Any suggestions for sorting this out? It looks like we have two separate terms; one should probably be at portmanteau (which I think is the common usage) with a redirect at blend, and the other at portmanteau (linguistics). The current situation is confusing me, at least. TSP 16:52, 20 September 2007 (UTC)

As I have written before, portmanteaux and blends are different in linguistics. The French du is a portmanteau of de + le, while smog is a blend of smoke and fog. The important difference is that the former works as the original function words; du is grammatically the same as de le, while the latter works as a single content word. If you prefer calling blends portmanteaux, we should merge portmanteau and blend, and create a new page for grammatical portmanteaux as you said and move some of the contents of Contraction (grammar) there. Not all contractions are grammatical portmanteaux. - TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 04:43, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
We should do something like that, because I clearly see the concerns TSP has brought up as well. Flyer22 (talk) 20:36, 15 February 2008 (UTC)
Finally, I have done the separation of portmanteau and blend. - TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 02:23, 16 February 2008 (UTC)


Shouldn't Bootylicious be mentioned in the popular culture section? Or is this not a valid application of a portmanteau? --MaTrIx (talk) 08:12, 28 November 2007 (UTC)


Is this picture appropriate for the heading of portmanteau? It seems more like an advertisement for an artist's work, while its relevance to or classification as portmanteau is itself debatable. Lapunkd (talk) 22:29, 8 January 2008 (UTC)

i agree. it is a portmanteau, but a very poor one. a good portmanteau would link two immanently meaningful words. Factotum (talk) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:24, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

I have deleted the picture. - TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 02:23, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

This Page is Wrong[edit]

This page is completely wrong and needs to be removed as OR. The Lewis Carroll quote says it is "like" a portmanteau, which is a bag. There are no such things as portmanteau words. The word is, in 99% of the uses, always used for a bag, and only used by websites who are misreading Lewis Carroll as anything but the bag. No legitimate recognized dictionary accepts it as anything but a bag. Lewis Carroll didn't accept it as anything but a bag. Ottava Rima (talk) 04:19, 1 March 2008 (UTC)

Did you read the OED on the subject before making this sweeping statement? It recognises the figurative sense of portmanteau, and also fails to acknowledge the distinction some people on this page would like to make between portmanteau and blend:
3b. A word formed by blending sounds from two or more distinct words and combining their meanings. Also more generally: a term or phrase which encompasses two or more meanings.
3c. Linguistics. A morph which represents two or more morphemes simultaneously.
Its first citation of "portmanteau" in the 3b sense is Lewis Carroll from 1871: "'Mimsy' is 'flimsy and miserable' (there's another portmanteau for you)". Punch used it about "brunch" in 1896. The first citation of "blend" in this sense is from 1909. The 3c sense dates from 1947.
In short, I'm afraid disallowing portmanteau is OR.
Stephen Turner (Talk) 10:40, 21 March 2008 (UTC)
Also, a later quotation in the OED cites "motel" as an example of a portmanteau. Stephen Turner (Talk) 11:05, 21 March 2008 (UTC)
You seem unable to understand the distinction between blend (the larger group) and portmanteau (a specific type of blend). I suggest you actually read the blend page for said distinction. And you also fail to understand what the term "figurative" means. It doesn't mean IS. It means used figuratively. Figuratively does not fit Wikipedia standards, or you would have people saying, for instance, that George Bush is like a monkey. Is he a monkey? NO. Thus, he cannot be described as such. Ottava Rima (talk) 15:16, 21 March 2008 (UTC)
I understand the distinction you're trying to make, but the OED simply doesn't agree with you. The Lewis Carroll quotation about "slithy" uses "like", but the one about "mimsy" doesn't. And Punch from 1896 uses "portmanteau" in the sense of "blend" too. Please check these sources rather than just making assertions about how you understand the word. Stephen Turner (Talk) 15:44, 21 March 2008 (UTC)
And a contradiction between the Carroll uses is important. If he uses "like" in the previous version, that shows it is originally an analogy. Furthermore, the image in both cases invokes the image of the suitcase, as the OED even shows since there was analogies to it blending items before. Ottava Rima (talk) 17:09, 21 March 2008 (UTC)

Even ignoring how Carroll used it, the OED cites other examples in precisely the sense you object to back to 1882. Have you read the OED entry? Stephen Turner (Talk) 17:47, 21 March 2008 (UTC)

Actually, the OED cites other uses of it in print, and that use does not necessarily make it correct or not. Thus, you cannot use it as a reliable source as a definition, only as an instance. Ottava Rima (talk) 18:37, 21 March 2008 (UTC)

For the record, Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged [3] cites "portmanteau word" as being identical in meaning to "blend." The Collegiate dictionary, same site [4] gives a definition of "portmanteau" as "a word or morpheme whose form and meaning are derived from a blending of two or more distinct forms." (Please note that these are subscription services and so may not be generally available for free viewing.) --Dajagr (talk) 20:36, 21 March 2008 (UTC)

Webster's Dictionary is not a linguistics certified dictionary, and is not an appropriate source to define words in terms of linguistics. In the field of linguistics, the two terms are distinct, and "portmanteau words" are a specific type of blends with very specific rules. Ottava Rima (talk) 21:16, 21 March 2008 (UTC)

So wait, are we deleting the article or not? Because I could nominate it for deletion right now if you want. Is that what we've agreed on? Calgary (talk) 08:37, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

Who exactly is the we here? This discussion seems to have died the death under its own inanition, with no comments for nearl;y 4 months. That seems to indicate there is no urge to delete save from 8va Rima.Smerus (talk) 09:28, 14 July 2008 (UTC)


The article states It is a common misconception that the word portemanteau was used as slang by Lewis Carroll to describe his use of combing two or more words or word parts to give a combined or loaded new meaning. This is based off of a misreading of a passage in 'Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There'when Humpty Dumpty explains to Alice words from the Jabberwocky, saying, “Well, slithy means lithe and slimy ... You see it's like a portmanteau—there are two meanings packed up into one word.” Instead of reading the sentence as an analogy, many have seen it as a statement. The dropping of the word "like" has lead to this misreading.

Undoubtedly, some people have the history of this word wrong. But what is the evidence that this is a "common" misconception? The idea of a "portmanteau word" is often traced to that passage about Humpty-Dumpty in Through the Looking-Glass -- I've seen this in a number of books about words. But does the article really need a long paragraph to debunk a "misconception" whose existence has not been established? Daqu (talk) 05:16, 20 March 2008 (UTC)

It was a common misconception because it shows up in a few pieces of literature until the 70s, where Linguistics defines such words that were thought to follow Carroll as "blends". Remember, Carroll is not an expert, and humpty dumpty wouldn't be one either. He is a character, and could be completely misleading others. Ottava Rima (talk) 17:16, 21 March 2008 (UTC)

Attempted synthesis[edit]

I may be foolishly wading into a controversy here. In fact, I almost certainly am. But I've attempted to rewrite the page to recognise both senses of "portmanteau", the specialist linguistic one and the popular one. As I commented in the section This Page is Wrong just above, the OED recognises both senses and provides citations for them. The popular sense is older and includes the original use of portmanteau (as a type of word) and the original use of brunch.

It seems clear to me that the page has lost NPOV recently, condemning the popular sense of portmanteau as a "misconception" and a "misreading" despite its long history and its use in reliable sources. I've tried to be more balanced, explaining both the meanings while being clear that linguists use the words "portmanteau" and "blend" in more specific and distinct senses. I hope I've succeeded in this.

Stephen Turner (Talk) 12:03, 21 March 2008 (UTC)

You're absolutely right. The claim that the Carroll sense of portmanteau is somehow an "error" or "misreading" is completely original research. It's perfectly common and acceptable usage. Thanks for catching this. Nandesuka (talk) 12:19, 21 March 2008 (UTC)
Nandesuka, it is an error, because he uses the term "like". This is why linguistics use the term blend and not Portmanteau words. Carroll was analogizing his words to a suitcase. The definitions are connected. Ottava Rima (talk) 17:07, 21 March 2008 (UTC)

Dictionaries vs encyclopedias[edit]

There seems to be some confusion here. The wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a dictionary. One of the main differences between an encyclopedia and a dictionary is that an encyclopedia has an entry/article on a particular topic, whereas a dictionary has an entry on a particular word.

In this article, this means that information on the use of portmanteau where it refers to the rights and wrongs of it being about putting multiple words together, must go into a different article than use of the portmanteau to refer to a bag.- (User) WolfKeeper (Talk) 17:53, 21 March 2008 (UTC)

See: Wikipedia:Wikipedia_is_not_a_dictionary#The_differences_between_encyclopedia_and_dictionary_articles for more details.- (User) WolfKeeper (Talk) 17:57, 21 March 2008 (UTC)

Actually, that is completely backwards. Since portmanteau is the image of a back when used in the term, the encyclopedia would require the two to be put together to see how it moves from one aspect to another. By separating the terms, you are defining it as a dictionary would. There is no distinction between the terms, and you have created a page that only reflects Wikitionary. You have also broached OR by removing valid information and making such a distinction. Ottava Rima (talk) 17:59, 21 March 2008 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but that self-evidently isn't the case. By all means extend this article to mention and reference the derivation of the word from the bag, and so forth though. But this article is about words, whereas portmanteau (suitcase) is simply about a type of suitcase. They are distinct, although related concepts, and the policies says that distinct concepts require distinct articles.- (User) WolfKeeper (Talk) 18:09, 21 March 2008 (UTC)
You really can't have a section 'other uses' in the wikipedia where it refers to a word rather than a subject. It's just wrong to do so in an encyclopedia, that's done via disambiguation pages. The unit of the wikipedia is the article, and the article is on a single subject. Feel free to extend either article though, and by all means point out if this is eroneous (and reference it well), and include derivations etc.- (User) WolfKeeper (Talk) 18:16, 21 March 2008 (UTC)
There is only one subject. Portmanteau is a suitcase that closes to mix two sides into one. The image is what Carroll uses. Thus, you cannot separate them. However, you have used OR to split the two into their definitions, which forms a dictionary. That is self evident, that is OR, and that is breaking multiple Wikipedia policies. This is an encyclopedia. This is not a dictionary. This is not a place for you to separate one object into various functions and to create multiple entries for each. Ottava Rima (talk) 18:35, 21 March 2008 (UTC)
You are very wrong. Portmanteau as a suitcase is one topic - Portmanteau as used linquisticly is a very different topic. Two wikipedia articles and a disamb page. TheRedPenOfDoom (talk) 18:39, 21 March 2008 (UTC)
Except that Lewis Carroll said that his words were "like a Portmanteau", which means that his words are like a suitcase, and not a portmanteau using it as a separate words. Since the origin is in the term for suitcase, the two pages MUST be connected together. You cannot link to another page with a disambig in order to say "The term portmanteau comes from the term portmanteau which can be found at portmanteau (suitcase)". Not only is that absurd, it goes against all principles of Wikipedia. Ottava Rima (talk) 18:49, 21 March 2008 (UTC)
But if they are like each other, then they aren't each other. So they need separate articles. Even the wiktionary has separate separate articles.- (User) WolfKeeper (Talk) 18:56, 21 March 2008 (UTC)
Following traditional rules of logic, your sentence doesn't pan out to the conclusion you claim. Since the one is like the other (they aren't mutally alike), and the one requires the other, you cannot separate its definition from the original definition, especially seeing as how they share a similar name. Since both are small pages, there is no need to yet fork the topic. That is standard Wikipedia policy. Ottava Rima (talk) 19:56, 21 March 2008 (UTC)
Nonsense. They aren't the same, and thus they need separate articles. You can't pick and choose which policy you should use; you have to follow all of them; that the wikipedia is not a dictionary is fundamental.- (User) WolfKeeper (Talk) 02:27, 22 March 2008 (UTC)

Lost luggage![edit]

The article Portmanteau (suitcase) seems to have been lost somewhere in a series of re-directs. TheRedPenOfDoom (talk) 18:31, 21 March 2008 (UTC)

Since Lewis Carroll used the term as a suitcase (hence, the word "like"), there is only one entry needed for it, since it is the same term. Ottava Rima (talk) 18:36, 21 March 2008 (UTC)
You can keep repeating that all you want but you are still wrong.TheRedPenOfDoom (talk) 18:42, 21 March 2008 (UTC)
Okay, so, if I am wrong, did Carroll make up the term Portmanteau, even though he mentions it as a suitcase, which would prove beyond all doubt that he heard of the term and was referring to it? Ottava Rima (talk) 18:50, 21 March 2008 (UTC)
Whether Dodgson intended to "coin" a word is irrelevant here. What's relevant is the common usage, as documented by reliable sources -- sources such as the OED. Nandesuka (talk) 20:32, 21 March 2008 (UTC)
The OED doesn't deal with common usage. And common usage deals with the suitcase, which the primary definitions even state. Notice the word "figuratively" on OED. That means not exactly something, but metaphorically. I.e. the word "like", and thus, you would need to attach it to the primary definition to see how it is "like" something. This is basic English language theory. Ottava Rima (talk) 21:15, 21 March 2008 (UTC)

I am not sure why you keep trying to insist that a word cannot have two (or more) meanings, even if there was originally one source for the word. Take Spam for a recent example. Originally spam/portmanteau had one meaning. Now it has more. When people use spam/portmanteau, 90% of the time they are clearly referring to one meaning or another- not both. TheRedPenOfDoom (talk) 21:24, 21 March 2008 (UTC)

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. At this point, Ottava, since you are claiming that both the OED and several other dictionaries are wrong, you are making an extraordinary claim. The burden of proof here to demonstrate that portmanteau is not used in the way this page documents, is on you. Nandesuka (talk) 21:24, 21 March 2008 (UTC)
Extraoridinary claims? I'm sure you claim such based on a reading error. Look at the OED citation yourself and you will see the word "figuratively". The OED does not support what you claim, and you are quite wrong to make such claims. Lewis Carroll said the words were like a suitcase. He is using the image of a suitcase. He is expanding on the idea of a suitcase. The dictionary use of "figuratively" only verifies that. By Wikipedia standards, you cannot separate the two, unless you are a) making a dictionary definition and b) using OR that contradicts all sources. Ottava Rima (talk) 21:35, 21 March 2008 (UTC)
You've dodged this question a few times, so now I'd like a plain "yes" or "no" answer: have you actually read the OED definition? Because at least in the edition I'm looking at, it doesn't say what you claim it says. Nandesuka (talk) 01:04, 22 March 2008 (UTC)

Suggestions for Improvement[edit]

Okay, I've reviewed this article's history and talk pages carefully. It began with my intention to create a list of portmanteau words, before realizing there was a redirect, which meant I had to delve into the history and talk pages to see what the contents of that page had been and why it was no more. In the process, I found Category:Portmanteaus, which is fine, but I also noticed that edit warring seems to have prevented this article from addressing:

  • the significance of "portmanteau" as used by Carroll; the only indication in the article that he was using the suitcase as a metaphor is in the wikilink within the quotation
  • a clear delineation of the difference between the proper linguistics definition and the popular definition IF ONE EXISTS — in my linguistics studies, I have not seen any indication that one does. Sources, anyone?

I agree that characterizing the use of "portmanteau word" as based on a misconception is silly. I agree with the separation of the suitcase article and the word article. I do not support merging this article into Blend, because "portmanteau" obviously has a significant literary context and its place in popular culture will detract from the strictly linguistic-based article on blends.Elle (talk) 02:37, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

I find's to be without assumption of good faith on my part. The inclusion of a particular example is not propaganda in itself. Therefore, I have restored that example. He also removed the source I'd added, and I'd picked that example based on that article. This is what the talk page is for, folks.Elle (talk) 19:27, 25 March 2008 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Seaj11 (talkcontribs)

Reliable source?[edit]

I removed the following from the article

Portmanteaus are frequently used for proper names as well as common nouns, sometimes producing epithets such as "Scalito" (referring to Samuel Alito and Antonin Scalia). Here, the purpose for blending is not so much to combine the meanings of the source words but "to suggest a resemblance of one named person to the other" and the effect is often derogatory [1].

Source appears to be a blog and not a reliable source. TheRedPenOfDoom (talk) 20:02, 25 March 2008 (UTC)



That doesn't mean the information isn't true. You could find a different source, but as far as statements go, that one is no more extreme or biased than any other statement in this article, and I see no reason you would delete it besides personal ones. After all, blog entries and news articles are cited in many articles. What is it about this article that brings out Wikipedia's deletionists? Just because I'm not in this league doesn't mean my contributions aren't valuable. And remember to assume good faith. I am familiar with WP's RS policy and I do not believe that including a link to a discussion of portmanteaus is doing any sort of disservice to WP. Now if I were making a statement about the history of portmanteaus and citing a blog entry that did not cite sources, that would be grounds for removal. But the blog entry is in question is from an academic blog co-written by several linguists, and the entry does cite sources.Elle (talk) 22:03, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
Hello. Wikipedia is not about 'true' it is about 'verifiable'. Wikipedia bases verifiablity on information coming from reliable sources- and in general, blogs, because they do not have any type of peer review or editorial board oversight, are not considered reliable sources. You may be able to successfully convince editors that this particular blog, becuase of the nature of the people who write it, should be considered a reliable source for this matter.
Because the site did not appear to meet RS criteria, and the material presented was duplicative of non-controversial material already in the article, I removed the material and placed it here for discussion.
As for providing a link to a discussion of portmanteaux, Wikipedia is not a collection of links to interesting sites. You may however be able to convince editors on this talk page that the link is an appropriate external link.
I look forward to discussing this matter. TheRedPenOfDoom (talk) 22:17, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

Worldwide View[edit]

This edit [[5]] and this edit [[6]] removed some examples from other languages. While this IS the English WP article, I believe that including at least a few global examples is beneficial to the article. I am particularly intrigued by the place name examples that appear to be as strong and unique tradition as "BLANK-gate"s are becoming in English. (although limiting the number of place names a bit might be in order.)

Does anyone else have any comments? TheRedPenOfDoom (talk) 17:35, 27 March 2008 (UTC)

The thing is, the (inevitably) random addition of examples from other languages (or indeed additional citations in English) risks making the article a prime example of rambling WP:OR. One way round this would be for someone to start an article List of portmanteau words (the title for which is currently a mere redirect),which could perhaps have sub-headings for different languages, and then folk could add examples (preferably each accompanied by a brief explanation) to their heart's content. And there is nothing preventing an article List of portmanteau place-names if anyone can be bothered. The lists could be cross-referenced within the main article, which would retain its 'encyclopaedic' role of explaining the term.--Smerus (talk) 20:39, 27 March 2008 (UTC)

Synonym portmanteaux?[edit]

Is there a special term to describe portmanteaux formed from synonymous words, e.g. guesstimate, chillax, confuzzled. Their recent appearance in colloquial English seems to be of note, even if their linguistic value is minimal. Aspirex (talk) 07:50, 9 April 2008 (UTC)

Isn't it confuddled (confused + befuddled)? Good point, though. Although I have a feeling that if you were to look for it, you could find very old examples of this happening. Just an inkling, though. Fishal (talk) 16:07, 28 April 2008 (UTC)

RFC: Portmanteau versus blend in lead sections[edit]

You wrote (in the template—it hasn't showed up on this page): Many pages, following a common Wikipedia practice for years, use the word portmanteau in the lead section when blend appears to be more correct from a linguistic point of view, as well as more understandable for an average reader. Should these lead sections be changed?
I think "portmanteau" is correct, or equally correct. Linguists now seem to use it to mean something different, but the original use of the word, as well as the citations in the OED, make "portmanteau" a proper term to use in the sense it's usually used in Wikipedia. I'm not sure which is "more understandable for an average reader". I suppose "blend" could be more obvious if you've never heard either term before, but I've always thought of "portmanteau" as the normal word to describe this construction. As long as "portmanteau" is linked, I don't see any reason to change it. Stephen Turner (Talk) 19:18, 28 April 2008 (UTC)
Per WP:NOTLEX, we don't get to make up the meaning of the word (not that Stephen was doing that). Websters, both current versions of which are recommended by AP Style, gives "A word formed by merging the sounds and meanings of two different words, as chortle, from chuckle and snort." AMHER's definition is similar. Wikipedians sometimes assert that even if most readers don't know what the word means, that doesn't matter if Wikipedians like it, know it and use it; sometimes this results in WP:JARGON and in violations of WP:NOTLEX, but if not, then I'm okay with this viewpoint. But this word is not common, and the proof that Wikipedians aren't familiar with the word is that they constantly get it wrong. Of the first 4 entries in Special:WhatLinksHere/Portmanteau_word, 3 get it wrong:
  • Advanced Encryption Standard: "...the name "Rijndael", a portmanteau of the names of the inventors." (merging the meaning of the two people?)
  • Debian: "He formed the name "Debian" as a portmanteau of the first name of his girlfriend (now wife) Debra and his own first name." (same mistake)
  • Gerrymander not only gets it wrong (part Elbridge Gerry and part salamander?), but even worse, it implies that "blend" means the same thing, because the link is [[Portmanteau word|blend]].
So I have to agree with the RfC. I'll make sure GA and FA article reviewers are up to speed on this. This is a possible candidate for WP:WORDS, although that guideline doesn't currently deal with this kind of problem. - Dan Dank55 (talk)(mistakes) 20:07, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
I regret not being able to agree with the RfC. I strongly suspect that Lewis Carroll's term is more widely used and understood than the current fashion in liguistics; and I'm fairly sure it will last longer. We are not written for specialists, and in this case, it's just as well. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:51, 4 May 2008 (UTC)
The RfCstyle question is, "Should these lead sections be changed?" I wouldn't want to unleash a bot on this, but can I get agreement that in GAs and FAs, at least, we're supposed to do something about words that are misused, according to the common dictionaries? Doesn't "blend" seem like a good choice for an alternative, since it's comprehensible both to linguists and to most editors? - Dan Dank55 (talk)(mistakes) 01:02, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
My reasoning behind the RfC is that a non-expert can guess the meaning of the word blend without being familiar with the works of Lewis Carroll. Fishal (talk) 02:07, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
I think of "portmanteau" as a normal word, in fact the more common word for this construction. I've certainly known it since I was a child. We shouldn't mandate against a perfectly proper word. Let's save our energy for things which are genuinely bad style (see WP:CREEP). Stephen Turner (Talk) 07:37, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
Anyone who reads Lewis Carroll will have seen it, as a word in a book for children (and adults!). Speaking of Lewis Carroll, I don't think Humpty Dumpty ever read WP:NOTLEX: " 'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean - neither more nor less.' " - Dan Dank55 (talk)(mistakes) 12:49, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
Do we at least have "consensus" on the dictionary definition? Does anyone want to pull in extra dictionaries or definitions to challenge the one from American Heritage and Websters? - Dan Dank55 (talk)(mistakes) 04:07, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
The OED should really be included. It has "A word formed by blending sounds from two or more distinct words and combining their meanings. Also more generally: a term or phrase which encompasses two or more meanings." Its citation for the second sentence is rather outside what I normally think of as a portmanteau: "1991 Internat. Affairs 67 230 The term ‘regional security’ is usually used as a portmanteau to cover at least three different elements of security." But the main definition is rather similar to the one you gave from Websters: a portmanteau should combine meanings not just sounds.
Stephen Turner (Talk) 08:52, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
  • Personally (and prior to reading this discussion), I would have no only a little idea what "blend" means outside of a linguistic context. Even within a linguistic context, I would be left wondering how it differs from a portmanteau, the additional "blending" of meanings aspect being unfamiliar to me. (In other words, I always thought a portmanteau was a lexical construction rather than both lexical and semantic.) I should also point out that language is described by dictionaries, not defined by them. If usage of the word portmanteau has evolved to encompass all sorts of lexical blends, then by golly that's what it means, regardless of how long it takes the OED to catch up. Powers T 14:46, 12 May 2008 (UTC)
I wouldn't be opposed to forking this discussion into AmEng and BrEng components; I'm not qualified to talk about British dictionaries, although the OED is of course famously stuffy. We're going to have a thread on WT:MoS soon about journalistic values vs academic values, and how to make the call on Wikipedia when the two are in conflict. In those cases where journalistic values win out, things get a lot easier. Chicago and AP Stylebook represent the majority view, and almost always the consensus, of hundreds of thousands of writers, and they give Websters as their first choice, although AMHER is also widely cited. That doesn't mean Websters is right, but we should trust them for the same reason we should trust consensus on Wikipedia. Their process has had much in common with the wiki way, for a lot longer than we've been around. - Dan Dank55 (talk)(mistakes) 20:03, 12 May 2008 (UTC)
Is a blend different from a portmanteau? It seems to me that the two are absolutely synonomous, with the former having a rather more pedestrian name. Fishal (talk) 22:48, 12 May 2008 (UTC)
They were different when Portmanteau and Blend were separated on 2008-02-15. Since then the former has been edited by non-linguists to include blends again. - TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 00:59, 13 May 2008 (UTC)

←I gave Websters above. EB, at "Back-formations and blends", gives:

Blends fall into two groups: (1) coalescences, such as “bash” from “bang” and “smash”; and (2) telescoped forms, called portmanteau words, such as “motorcade” from “motor cavalcade.” In the first group are the words clash, from clack and crash, and geep, offspring of goat and sheep. To the second group belong dormobiles, or dormitory automobiles, and slurbs, or slum suburbs. A travel monologue becomes a travelogue and a telegram sent by cable a cablegram. Aviation electronics becomes avionics; biology electronics, bionics; and nuclear electronics, nucleonics. In cablese a question mark is a quark; in computerese a binary unit is a bit. In astrophysics a quasistellar source of radio energy becomes a quasar, and a pulsating star becomes a pulsar.

- Dan Dank55 (talk)(mistakes) 02:56, 13 May 2008 (UTC)

That's quite different from the way it comes across in most articles on Wikipedia. Fishal (talk) 12:28, 13 May 2008 (UTC)

Both definitions in lede[edit]

There are two definitions in common use: the broad one (synonymous with blend), coined by Lewis Carroll, and the narrow linguistic one (as in “a le” → au).

This is a contentious debate (WP:CONTROVERSY), as noted by above discussion and history of edits, all the more so because of the extensive list of articles that link to it – I suggest that as per WP:NPOV, we list both senses, prominently, in the lede.

I’ve done so (in this edit), with extensive citations – does this look like an acceptable form?

Nbarth (email) (talk) 01:45, 21 June 2008 (UTC)
Portemanteau and blend were seperate articles from the viewpoint of linguistics. Now that Wikipedians prefer calling smog portemanteau, we should merge the two articles, and split the linguistic definition of portemanteau to portemanteau (linguistics). - TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 01:25, 26 June 2008 (UTC)

There is no call to merge, which would confuse. The article as it stands has a reference to the linguistic definition. ('Portmanteau' btw without an 'e' after the first 't').This seems sufficient.Smerus (talk) 11:27, 26 June 2008 (UTC)

Wait a second. You are one of those who have merged blend into this article. The 2008-03-11T10:30:02 version didn't contain blends; readers were redirected to blend. If you want to explain blends here, you should properly merge the article of blend here and make it a redirect. And I'm sorry for my correct French. - TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 15:37, 26 June 2008 (UTC)
I would prefer to address both senses in this article, because it's really two closely related meanings of the same word. It doesn't seem to me that there's enough material in the combined article to make it worth splitting. I think the linguistic meaning may be rather underplayed at the moment, however. Stephen Turner (Talk) 16:51, 26 June 2008 (UTC)


1. corrected typo in Carroll quote. "fumious" to "frumious", which is correct.

2. I believe the appending of "-gate" to scandals dates to whitewater, not watergate. Some clever editor first appended -gate to whitewater, making it whitewatergate. It is only since then that we are plague by this suffix. Can someone check this and make the relevant change in the page? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:20, 7 February 2009 (UTC)

Real words[edit]

Surely there's a limit to these words as actual words or made up stuff. Cellphone is generally accepted but I assume stuff like telethon can't possibly be considered an actual word, right? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Megapeen (talkcontribs) 04:22, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

'portmanteau' a portmanteau word?[edit]

The word 'portmanteau' is itself a 'portmanteau word'

Is it? Seems like a compound to me. (talk) 03:10, 6 July 2009 (UTC)

I had thought that the claim was sourced but it turned out to just be a footnote of a Wikipedian conjugating the french. I have removed the claim and related content as original research. Thank you for pointing it out.-- The Red Pen of Doom 03:39, 6 July 2009 (UTC)


I'm surprised that neither the article or its talk mentions "Bakerloo", as in London's Bakerloo line. Few people realise that this is a portmanteau word; it is derived from "Baker Street and Waterloo Railway", which opened in March 1906. It's not just a case of the portmanteau being much more well-known than the original name; but in July 1906, the portmanteau was adopted officially by that railway - they dropped the original name completely in 1910. So, I want to add a note; but judging by all the discussion above, it'll get trampled on. Where is the best place for it? --Redrose64 (talk) 15:44, 11 August 2009 (UTC)


what is it called when you have a word inside a word for example fan-f******-tastic? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Benjabby (talkcontribs) 19:34, 1 September 2009 (UTC)

One term is "expletive infixation"... AnonMoos (talk) 19:44, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
The answer to this was given by Stephen Fry during an episode of QI - I think in either the "B", "C" or "D" Series. --Redrose64 (talk) 19:46, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
I was taught in school that it was called an infix (compared to prefix or suffix). We briefly discussed it in a History of the English Language class I took in college. I would concur that "expletive infixation" would be the most precise term. Wilhelm Meis (Quatsch!) 06:20, 2 September 2009 (UTC)

portmanteau v contraction[edit]

"An example being the well-known portmanteau word "Spanglish", referring to speaking a mix of both Spanish and English at the same time. In this case, there is no logical situation in which the speaker would say "Spanish English" in place of the portmanteau word in the same way they could say "do not" in place of the contraction "don't", or "we are" in place of "we're"."

The example is simply outright wrong. If "Spanglish" is not used, "Spanish English" is a perfectly good alternative. Spanish is an adjective as well as a noun. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:34, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

Dubious division of examples[edit]

The examples given from the English language are divided into "standard" and "non-standard" English words. I would like to know what the rationale is for calling a commonly used word like spork "non-standard" -- as far as I know there is no such thing as "regular English". Maybe the headings for these sections could be changed to be less misleading? Supremeedible (talk) 01:00, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

Presumably "non-standard" is intended to mean "words which still somewhat felt to be neologisms and/or nonce-forms and/or entertainment industry jargon"... AnonMoos (talk) 22:15, 21 January 2010 (UTC)

Should this page be deleted??[edit] —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:58, 11 August 2010 (UTC)

Doesn't look like a dictionary definition to me... AnonMoos (talk) 04:32, 12 August 2010 (UTC)
Agreed. Perhaps the lead needs to transition to the body a bit better, but this is definitely not dicdef. Mystache (talk) 18:25, 13 August 2010 (UTC)

It is not a definition, but it is an article about a word, something that the linked policy warns against. Per this article, the word portmanteau may refer to a blend, a contraction, or a portmanteau morpheme. On the other hand, I don't think there is any possibility of achieving consensus to merge some or all of those pages, or to delete this one. Cnilep (talk) 02:53, 23 February 2011 (UTC)

It's not really about the word portmanteau (or not very much), the article seems to be about putting words together in a particular way. It's probably synonymous with blend though, so you could quite reasonably argue it's a duplicate and merge it, or treat it as a subarticle. (talk) 03:23, 23 February 2011 (UTC)

Total rewrite required (AGAIN!)[edit]

Looks like the semi-literate dickwit who wrote what appears to be ALL the stuff on morphemes, cranberry morphemes and many others, confusing generations of students, and then suddenly disappearing, applied his magic to this dog's breakfast as well. I have given my promise to a Barnstar Commandant to review and edit ALL his drivel, even though this is not my field. (It's ironic and pathetic, at the same time, that someone who is writing on linguistics should be singularly inept in expressing himself.)

To start with, how is it that no one has yet noted that it is incumbent on anyone beginning such an article to properly define the word which is its subject? "Portmanteau" was NOT coined by Lewis; he used the pre-existing word "portmanteau" which comes from the French, and means, very simply, a big bag. In this wonderful way, Lewis explained to a small child, that you could get words that were quite different, and put them into this bag, you see, thus combining them creatively. There, isn't that something a 7 year old could understand? But no mention of this here, except paragraphs down. Instead, we get an enormously well-masticated treatise on how do and don't are contractions, and Spanglish is not. Yeah, we get it, already. (Though, and this is odd, of the close to a hundred portmanteaus in WP's list of them, Spanglish was NOT included, until I put it in a couple of days ago, along with Franglais and Chinglish. Bloody odd.

And take this line:

Examples of "portmanteau" in this sense appeared in Lewis Carroll's book Through the Looking-Glass (1871),

The cove what wrote this told us just a few lines above, that the bloody PLURAL of portmanteau is portmanteaus or portmanteaux or portmanteau words. What, for us, but not for him? Or he just doesn't know how to use plurals himself. Which would be closer to the mark. And why is it in quote marks now? I wouldn't write: examples of "verbs" include run and sit, would you? And why "in this sense"? How does that bear on anything? You mean in case we thought it was all about real bags? And the "appeared" should read "first appeared" if that was the case, or otherwise just "appear", as all these works are still in print. I've hardly ever seen so many schoolboy howlers packed so firmly cheek to jowl. It goes downhill from there.

And how come I seem to be the ONLY person picking this stuff up? Shheesh… And that's just the start. I could go on an on...But I promised Commandant Barnstar that I would get on with cleaning the Augean stables, otherwise I don't get invited to the Barnstar clubhouse for a sherry and cigar. Myles325a (talk) 10:10, 29 November 2010 (UTC)

That's wikt:Augean not wikt:Aegean. Sheesh. DCDuring (talk) 16:02, 6 July 2011 (UTC)
OPmyles325a back live. Yep, I make zee liddle boo boo, which I have now corrected. One letter the diff, and yet it means so very much. Thanks. Myles325a (talk) 04:29, 7 July 2011 (UTC)
Just wanted to comment on the Lewis part real quick. From what I've read, he is often credited as having coined portmanteau -- blending words -- or as having popularized it. The source in the article citing him is from the Oxford English Dictionary. And there are news sources that sometimes credit him as well, such as this one. Flyer22 (talk) 19:41, 28 December 2010 (UTC)


Is there a specific term to describe portmanteaus such as "Innovelty", a portmanteu of words with a common component ("innovation" and "novelty" both come from Latin "novus")? If so, could someone add this informationto the article? (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 17:12, 11 July 2011 (UTC).

Another Hebrew word[edit]

רמזור - Ramzor (Traffic light) Yaron Shahrabani (talk) 10:48, 14 July 2011 (UTC)


Accoding to the hyakkajiten, the 'hundred sections dictionary' ( the word karaoke, カラオケ, is not a portmanteau of karappo, 空っぽ, and ookesutora, オーケストラ, but the abbreviation of kara no ookesutora, 空のオーケストラ, meaning the void (kara) orchestra (ookesutora), 'no' being the 'case particle', kakujyoshi 格助詞 that links the determinant to the determined. To be sure, the character, kanji, for 空空 has to be appraised as a name, 名, thus the justification to the determinant-determined relation. While karappo, 空っぽ, is usually written in hiragana, thus からっぽ, that is without the kanji '空', which can be read as 'kara' but presents various other readings f.i. utsu, utsuo, utsuse, uro etc. etc., a reconstruction of karaoke, カラオケ, from the two hiragana words karappo, からっぽ, and ookesutora, オーケストラ, would probably indicate its vernacular origin. On the one hand these abbreviations originate mostly from the process of omission of the second phonem of each word in a 2 words compound-word, therefore in this case: kara-ppo + ooke-sutora: kara(o)oke. The long vowel 'oo' is reduced in order to maintain the pattern of 2 moras per word (Duanmu, 2007). On the other hand this would represents an example of the westernization cultural phenomena in Japanese consumer society, happened after world-war II in concomitance with the American occupation of the country (1945-52). Duanmu, San. 2007, “A two-accent model of Japanese word prosody,” Toronto Working Papers in Linguistics 28: 29–48. — Preceding unsigned comment added by DanielCaramanna (talkcontribs) 08:51, 20 July 2011 (UTC)

Spanish portmantau morphs[edit]

In the chart with different portmanteau morphs, most of the contractions in Spanish shouldn't be called like that. 'Al' and 'del' are ok, but, for example, 'paraguas' (and not 'paragua') is a compound from 'parar' ('stop') and 'aguas' ('water') in a very literal way. I wouldn't consider it a portmanteau word, but it's acceptable.

What's not acceptable is the consideration of 'conmigo' ('with me') and 'contigo' ('with you') portmanteau morphs. These pronouns come from Latin, as many other words in Spanish. The form for the 1st person singular in the Ablative case was 'me'; along with the preposition 'cum' and after many years 'cum me' became 'mecum', which meant exactly the same but was easier to pronounce. As years passed, Spanish people that spoke Latin couldn't see that the preposition 'cum' was there, so they decided to say 'cum mecum'. This, after many years, became 'conmigo' in Spanish, but the process is so complex that I wouldn't even consider the decision of saying that it is a pormanteau word.

I'm a Spanish girl studying English, so please don't be mad at me for the mistakes I make. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:54, 20 October 2011 (UTC)


As a noun. The earliest reference I have read of this word is Dickens "The Curiosity Shop" 1841. It is as follows, "with a portmanteau strapped to his back". I would differ that this is just a bag or suitcase. I believe is the first reference to a "backpack". Chapt 45 last page.

A portmanteau (from French porter "to carry" and manteau "a type of coat") This is Miriam Webster. The telling tale here is "coat". One does not carry a coat by it's handle, you wear it. It is not a "carry sack" or "carry bag" A coat fits ON you, therefor it is a wear coat that carries, a "backpack". That is my story and I am stickin to it. Not bad from a guy in Northern Arkansas. LOL — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:51, 24 October 2011 (UTC)


'In 2009, John and Edward Grimes (twins) followed the growing trend for celebrity portmanteau names when they entered the sixth series of The X-Factor (UK) under the name "Jedward."' The twins actually entered the show under the names "John and Edward", as seen in their initial audition clip — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:49, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

Portmanteau as a "morph"[edit]

In the article's intro it is written that "In linguistics, a portmanteau is defined as a single morph which represents two or more morphemes". In the refs given (specifically ref #5) a "morph" is defined as "the phonetic realization of a morpheme". However, a portmanteu is more than just the phonetic realization of a morpheme; it is a type of morpheme itself and therefore should not be defined as a "morph". — Preceding unsigned comment added by Lonwolve (talkcontribs) 04:52, 19 November 2011 (UTC)

Cyberpunk & technobabble[edit]

These two terms are being called portmanteaus in their respective article. Cyberpunk from cybernetics and punk and technobabble from technology and babble. While I agree it could be argued that they are portmanteaus I find it far more likely that cyberpunk is a derivation from cyber + punk while technobabble is a derivation from the prefix techno + babble. What does everyone else think? (talk) 23:31, 30 November 2011 (UTC)


This is an acronym, in which the letters are written as they are pronounced. (talk) 15:20, 9 December 2011 (UTC)

Portmanteau was used by President George Washington on 12 January 1797 in a letter to Lt. Colonel Benjamin Walker, Washington letter is in reference to a British circulated rumor after the Battle for Ft. Lee. The rumor was that William Lee, George Washington's manservant and George Washington's personal baggage "Portmanteau" were captured.

George Washington uses the word portmanteau to describe a 'gentleman personal baggage' "it contained only a few stockings and shirts"

George Washington and slavery: a documentary portrayal By Fritz Hirschfeld pg 102 — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:55, 24 January 2012 (UTC)

Reference is incorrect. "The name also combines the word lien (link)"[edit]

No this word "Francilien" does not combine the word "lien" (link).

1. "Transilien" = "Transports" + "Franciliens" : true.

2. but about "Francilien", a person living in "Île-de-France" you have to note this : "ilien=Îlien" is for "Islander". "Francilien" = "France" + "Îlien" (Islander) : that explains "Île-de-France" (Island of France > France Islander) ; and absolutly not "France" + "lien" (link). So this point "The name also combines the word lien (link)" should be fixed. Thanks.



How is the article improved by including this example?

Portmanteaux are also commonly utilized in avant-garde scientific and literary theory; the word "stragmatics," for example, is increasingly employed in the context of posthuman factors research to address the strategic pragmatics of pragmatic strategies (i.e., strategies that are intrinsically realized by being arrived at by pragmatic means).

Surely there are many better examples out there for "avant-garde" scientific and literary theory terms. The amount of wording spent defining the term is completely disproportionate to its contribution to the audience's understanding of portmanteaus. I mean, it's the longest explanation in the entire examples section (from a brief glance) while remaining mind-numbingly convoluted. This page is the top google result for "stragmatics" (of only 350, wow!). Is this page really an appropriate place for the editor to squeeze in their favorite pet term? (talk) 19:07, 22 May 2013 (UTC)

The page has too many examples, as it is - I have removed several then, after considering your comment, removed stragmatics - it does seem unnecessary and excessive. - DavidWBrooks (talk) 00:16, 23 May 2013 (UTC)

Linking portmanteau and MOS[edit]

In wiki articles on portmanteau words, do we link portmanteau or not?

Do we change this back, if other editors add/remove it?

Is there a clear statement anywhere in MOS about this?

Thanks! Andy Dingley (talk) 09:05, 10 June 2013 (UTC)

I've never found a clear statement, which is probably just as well since it seems too minor and subjective a question for an MOS ruling. Despite the long-running debate as these Talk pages demonstrate) about whether/when to describe other words as portmaneaus and then link to this article, it's not really that important an issue; changes made either way don't really alter articles much, even if they make some of our blood pressures rise. I think we'll just have to live with an inconsistent, and often-changing, usage throughout English wikipedia. (What do they do in the French wikipedia, I wonder?) - DavidWBrooks (talk) 17:41, 10 June 2013 (UTC) (an anti-portmanteau-ian, mostly)

not german[edit]

"Kissambushed" and "Phalluspistol" are english, and the latter isn´t even a portmanteau. -- (talk) 02:23, 23 June 2013 (UTC)


What about Croatian? if any Croatian is famous for portmanteau use into its extremes. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:51, 17 July 2014 (UTC)

Suggestions for improvement[edit]

Certain sections of this article seem to be lacking in references - specifically, in the sections "Meaning," "Standard English," "Non-standard English," and all of the subsections under "Other languages." There are also certain statements in various sections that seem unnecessary/not neutral enough (namely, "Meshing says "I am you and you are me," states one expert." under the section "Name-meshing" and the conclusion that "Tibetan is rich with portmanteaus.", which does not have any references to back up its claim.) Finally, the subsections "Bulgarian" and "Indonesian" could use some editing in regards to grammaticality. (For example, "In Bulgarian language the most common use of portmanteau is as a part of an advertisement campaign." might be better phrased as "In Bulgarian, portmanteaux are most commonly used as parts of advertisement campaigns." Again, this statement may need a reference to back up its claim and justify the subsequent descriptions of specific Bulgarian ad campaigns.) Stephmau (talk) 03:05, 18 September 2014 (UTC)

Regarding the meshing bit, I think that it's fine to defer to an expert's opinion. It's not as though we are stating that this expert's opinion is the be-all and end-all. Flyer22 (talk) 03:08, 18 September 2014 (UTC)

Standard English[edit]

The "Standard English" section contains many dubious examples. --Zfish118 (talk) 18:13, 5 July 2015 (UTC)

Which ones? It may have too many examples, but none seems dubious to me. - DavidWBrooks (talk) 00:13, 6 July 2015 (UTC)

Clean up the graffiti[edit]

There is nothing wrong with the portmanteau page existing on Wikipedia, but there is also no reason for the promiscuous proliferation of portmanteau links everywhere else. This word has only literary value outside of Wikipedia. What is the benefit in "explaining" a compound word with another word which has no usage in common English and which would itself be incomprehensible to most readers if not linked back to this page? When I paint a picture and frame it and share it with others, I can call it art. When I stamp it in neon colors over every wall and door and tree, it becomes an unsightly mess, and detracts from the concise introductory description of many Wikipedia articles without adding a shred of value. I propose that we put an end to the vandalism once and for all, while allowing the portmanteau camp to do whatever they wish with this page. If you agree, please say so. If you know the appropriate way to go about doing this on Wikipedia, please advise. neil.steiner (talk) 03:25, 31 July 2015 (UTC)

Go ahead and remove links if you find them inappropriate - as I do. I agree that the word is almost always useless in other articles, conveying nothing to the reader, but this is wikipedia where individual editors acts (mostly) as they wish. There's no way to change all the links in other articles, except by just doing it. Go to the "what links here" tool and get to work!- DavidWBrooks (talk) 11:35, 31 July 2015 (UTC)
I have just removed them from four articles - three I changed to "combination" and one I removed as unnecessary. Your turn! - DavidWBrooks (talk) 11:38, 31 July 2015 (UTC)
I've seen a couple pages with "portmanteau" in the "see also" section, which seems reasonable. I have left those. - DavidWBrooks (talk) 11:54, 31 July 2015 (UTC)
  • I just found this discussion by looking through DavidWBrooks' edit history to see if I could find a rationale for his recent edits. Prior to this I had reverted one of his edits as an unexplained delinking which seemed to run contrary to the spirit of WP:WIKIFY. From reading this thread, though, it now seems to me like the rationale for these edits is summed in WP:OVERLINK. Is that accurate? If so, I'm not sure I agree with changing the word in addition to delinking it. Isn't a "portmanteau" a specific kind of "combination"? What is the rationale for broadening/generalizing the sentences using the word? Either way, it would be helpful if editors making these changes would use edit summaries pointing to this discussion for the benefit of other editors who might not otherwise understand. Thanks in advance. -Thibbs (talk) 19:29, 31 July 2015 (UTC)
Yes, I should use edit summaries, you're correct. I was being lazy. I apologize.
The argument is not about overlinking, the argument is about putting unnecessary, confusing verbiage in the article. "Portmanteau" is jargon that conveys nothing to the average reader; putting it in most stories interferes with the point of the article, which is to inform about the topic.
If the article concerns grammar or lexicogrpahy or language in some way then its use is appropriate, but sticking a word like "portmanteau" in the middle of an article about a video game is bad writing. Changing it to "combination" or "made by combining" or some general terminology like conveys the meaning without interfering with the reason for the article.
This issue has been debated for many years, as you'll see above. - DavidWBrooks (talk) 19:50, 31 July 2015 (UTC)
Looking at the top of this talk page, I see that the very first comment, made before the time/date stamp system was in effect, concerns the pointless ubiquity of the word! Portmanteau-love seems to have been birthed not long after wikipedia itself. - DavidWBrooks (talk) 21:05, 31 July 2015 (UTC)
However, looking at the history of this Talk page I find that there were many older comments as far back as 2002 which have somehow disappeared and which did not concern the word's prevalence, so I'll have to roll back my previous comment. (Man, I should really get back to work ...) - DavidWBrooks (talk) 21:10, 31 July 2015 (UTC)
Yeah, the more I look above the deeper grows the rabbit-hole. Seems like there's no clear consensus on whether the term should be linked or not, but that's probably because this is the talk page for the article on the concept instead of a MoS talkpage. Anyway even if we accept that the term is jargon which a layman might find confusing, I'm not sure I agree that its use should be limited to articles concerning language. In the example I linked above where I had reverted, the article is indeed about video games, but the subsection where you made the change is specifically about the name of the device (in this case a portmanteau of two English words for a Japanese-only product). It seems like it would make sense to use precise language-related terminology when discussing the name even though it's only the topic of the subsection instead of the entire article. The purpose of wiki-linking a term is to explain it to laymen, so reader confusion shouldn't be a major concern. -Thibbs (talk) 23:19, 31 July 2015 (UTC)
We'll have to disagree. My argument is that article sections about the name of a device or place or company, like the one you mention, exist (with rare exceptions) only to inform us of the words that the name is taken from. The grammatical mechanism of the combination is irrelevant, and confusing people with a WP:Jargon term about that mechanism is bad encyclopedia-ification ... especially since there's often argument about whether a combination is actually a portmanteau or a blend or a something else. Precision is not a good thing if it introduces confusion or uncertainty. Clarity for readers is the goal.
And just to be clear, the argument isn't about linking. If the word is used in an article, it should be linked because nobody knows what it means. The argument concerns whether the word should be used at all. - DavidWBrooks (talk) 00:26, 1 August 2015 (UTC)
There is no need to go around removing the word portmanteau or its plural form from Wikipedia articles. Keep WP:Activism in mind. This is the Portmanteau article and it should be linked in other Wikipedia articles where reasonable; otherwise, we end up with an article that is a WP:Orphan. A reader can learn about word blending at the Portmanteau or Blend word article. Flyer22 (talk) 00:42, 1 August 2015 (UTC)
I'm not just removing it - I'm rewriting some articles to improve them. That's what editors do, right? And this won't be an orphan article; there are plenty of places where portmanteau is legitimately discussed or mentioned. Dom Tower of Utrecht, Tamil Nadu and Bogota, New Jersey, to grab three quickies, aren't among them. - DavidWBrooks (talk) 00:59, 1 August 2015 (UTC)
That you are doing any improving by removing the word portmanteau is your opinion. Why don't you take this to Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style and see how many agree with you? Or, hey, I could take it there. And/or start a WP:RfC on it? Take it to the WP:Village pump? Flyer22 (talk) 01:19, 1 August 2015 (UTC)
Should we discuss this at the MoS or a Village pump? I'd be willing to participate if others were interested as well. It might save time down the road given how this seems to be a recurrent issue. Any interest? -Thibbs (talk) 18:38, 1 August 2015 (UTC)
You know, scratch that. I was just now looking for prior discussions on the topic and found a few (1, 2, 3, 4) before discovering this edit... Anything that has an entry on WP:LAME is probably best to simply avoid. -Thibbs (talk) 00:27, 2 August 2015 (UTC)

A challenge to the portmanteau camp[edit]

Kindly explain what benefit you bring to Wikipedia by pushing your word all over the wiki landscape. neil.steiner (talk) 03:25, 31 July 2015 (UTC)

Kindly read WP:Activism. Wikipedia is not the place for you to go on a crusade removing a word because of a WP:IDON'TLIKEIT rationale. Flyer22 (talk) 00:45, 1 August 2015 (UTC)
Kindly read WP:Jargon. Wikipedia is not the place to clutter up articles with a word because WP:ILIKEIT rationale. - DavidWBrooks (talk) 01:01, 1 August 2015 (UTC)
No thanks. I'm already familiar with that guideline, just like the WP:Activism, WP:IDON'TLIKEIT and WP:ILIKEIT WP:Essays. A legitimate word does not become jargon just because you don't like it. And, yes, yes, jargon does not become a legitimate word just because I like it. I never stated that it did. But your mission to almost completely eliminate this word from Wikipedia will not work unless you can get an iron-clad, wide-scale WP:Consensus for it. And being on a crusade to remove it is indeed WP:Activism. Flyer22 (talk) 01:15, 1 August 2015 (UTC)
The weird prevalence of "portmanteau" in wikipedia has long been recognized as a minor activism of its own, a quirky example of the inherent weaknesses of a group-writing exercise like this (xkcd, as always, is clever about it: [[7]]). This discussion reminds me, however, that I have thrown up my hands several times over the years about this overuse, which certainly isn't worth my time - nor yours, for that matter. neil.steiner's passion made me forget myself! - DavidWBrooks (talk) 01:34, 1 August 2015 (UTC)
I see your point there. Flyer22 (talk) 01:39, 1 August 2015 (UTC)

I wish there really was portmanteau camp, I would stay there all summer. Chillum 01:36, 1 August 2015 (UTC)

I might ask the same question that neil.steiner does. Xkcd and DavidWBrooks are right too. (Another word Wikipedia loves is "eponymous".) And I don't know why this article even exists: it seems a well-intended but mistitled fork of the article Blend word. (As the "Portmanteau" article itself says, "In linguistics, a portmanteau is defined as a single morph that represents two or more morphemes"; which makes me wonder in what it is that "portmanteau" is defined as a blend.) Is it perhaps that the "Blend word" article is intended for high/middlebrow readers, and the "Portmanteau" article for middle/lowbrows? If so, this is odd: I don't recall encountering an analogous divergence within Wikipedia. -- Hoary (talk) 02:11, 28 December 2016 (UTC)

A modest proposal[edit]

I have an idea how to solve the problem surrounding "portmanteau" on Wikipedia. See Talk:Blend word#Ambiguity?. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 01:49, 10 January 2016 (UTC)


Disambiguate near homophone (rhyme) in music. --Wikidity (talk) 03:39, 29 January 2016 (UTC)

Misunderstanding of Lewis Carroll[edit]

I think this article's section about the origin of the word misunderstand's the original instance. Carroll was not coining the term. He didn't assert that this type was word was called a portmaneau. He was using the exsting meaning of portmanteau to describe how the word worked. The new word was a metaphorical portmanteau, rather than an actual thing called a portmanteau. -Llewdor (talk) 15:58, 22 June 2016 (UTC)

I don't read it as saying it he coined the term - rather than he used it as a metaphor, which has been used by other people since then. - DavidWBrooks (talk) 16:32, 22 June 2016 (UTC)