“If the facts are against you, argue the law. If the law is against you, argue the facts. If the law and the facts are against you, pound the table and yell like hell.”Attributed to Carl Sandburg
Which ones do you already use?
02022020: A very special day.
Some folks believe that Super Bowl Sunday ought to be a national holiday. Not only should the day itself be a holiday, they argue, but it should be observed on the day after
the Super Bowl so that those who indulge in too much revelry on Sunday can get Monday off with pay (if they should be so fortunate) and without guilt. Ha! The arguments go back and forth, pro and con; after a while they sound like so much blah-blah-blah-blah, with a yada-yada-yada thrown in for good measure. Boring. It gives me a headache.
Now, if you want to talk about a different national holiday I can get behind, it would be February 2, 2020, but for a different reason. Continue reading “Should Palindrome Day Be a National Holiday?”
For your edutainment.
Lewis Carroll, author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, coined a term for words created by combining the sounds and meanings of two (or more) different words: he called it a portmanteau [port-MAN-toe] word. The next time something tickles your funny bone and makes you chuckle and snort, you can thank Mr. Carroll for the descriptive word chortle. He also gave us galumph (gallop + triumph, or a triumphant gallop). I challenge you to work those words into a meaningful conversation tomorrow with a loved one, teacher, or client. They will be impressed.
A portmanteau word is created when smoke is blended with fog (=smog), when gigantic is combined with enormous (=ginormous), when information is combined with commercial (=infomercial), when education is combined with entertainment (=edutainment), and when Oxford is combined with Cambridge (=Oxbridge).
Now that we’ve been enlightened by this life-changing term, portmanteau word, here’s a list of ten more, used somewhere in the world every day:
- aerobicize (aerobic + exercise)
- blog (web + log)
- brunch (breakfast + lunch)
- docudrama (documentary + drama)
- emoticon (emotion + icon)
- fantabulous (fantastic + fabulous)
- motel (motor + hotel)
- simulcast (simultaneous + broadcast)
- televangelist (television + evangelist)
- Vitameatavegamin (a portmanteau word on steroids: vitamins + meat + vegetables + minerals. From I Love Lucy, season 1, episode 30.)
Your turn. Please share a portmanteau word you’ve used or have heard used. If it’s your own made-up word, that’s great—as long as it’s one you have actually used with real people. Kindly observe proper netiquette (Internet + etiquette) at all times. Δ
 Linguists use the term blend.
 The source for most of the information in this post is Bryan A. Garner, Garner’s Modern American Usage (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), 644.
© 2016 by Dean Christensen. All rights reserved.