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Portmanteau Words
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Portmanteau Word
Source Words
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pixel picture, element ETAF Staff

The smallest piece or unit of visual information in a computer display or other kind of digital display system. A dot.

The word is a blend of the words picture and element. A pixel is a picture element.

ruckus ruction, rumpus ETAF Staff

A ruckus is a noisy commotion, a fracas, a rumpus, a heated contoversy.

A rumpus is a noisy or violent disturbance, a commotion, an uproar. A ruction is a distrubance, quarrel, or row. Without ruction, a ruckus would merely be a noisy commotion; with ruction, it's a noisy quarrel or row.

stuka Sturz, Kampfflugzeug ETAF Staff

A stuka is a German two-seated dive bomber with a single in-line engine, used by the Luftwaffe in World War II.

Stuka is a German portmanteau word consisting of Sturz, which means dive, and Kampfflugzeug, which means combat plane.

palimony pal, alimony ETAF Staff Authentic

Palimony is a benefit awarded to one of the partners in a romantic relationship after the breakup of that relationship following a long period of living together unmarried.

To qualify as alimony, the allowance must be paid to a spouse or ex-spouse. Therefore, if the partners in a breakup aren't or weren't spouses, alimony can't be granted. Palimony can take its place.

Palimony is a blend of the words pal and alimony. Since the non-spouse is someone who is not a spouse or an ex-spouse; the non-spouse is called a pal.

tractorcade tractor, cavalcade ETAF Staff Authentic

A procession or parade of automobiles or other motor vehicles. A portmanteau blend of motor and -cade, where -cade is a combining form extracted from cavalcade

sonar sound, navigation, ranging ETAF Staff Authentic

A method for detecting and locating objects submerged in water by echolocation. Also, the apparatus used in sonar. In Britain, called asdic, an acronym which stands for anti-submarine detection investigation committee.

campervan camper, van ETAF Staff Authentic A campervan is a recreational vehicle which can convert from a van to a sleeping camper.

teeny tiny, wee ETAF Staff Authentic

Teeny, which m tiny, is a blend of the words tiny and wee. When tiny isn't small enough, the blend with wee emphasizes the idea of tiny.

chugger charity, mugger ETAF Staff Authentic

A street fundraiser who collects donations on behalf of a charity. They may be a paid employee or a volunteer.

Medicare, Medicaid medical, care, aid ETAF Staff Authentic

Medicare is a U.S. government program of hospitalization insurance and voluntary medical insurance for persons aged 65 and over and for certain disabled persons under 65. Medicaid  is a U.S. government program, financed by federal, state, and local funds, of hospitalization and medical insurance for persons of all ages within certain income limits.

Medicare is a portmanteau word that blends medical and care. Medicaid is a portmanteau word that blends medical and aid.

twi-night, twi-nighter twilight, night ETAF Staff Authentic Twi-night is a baseball term pertaining to or noting a doubleheader in which the first game begins late in the afternoon and the second in the evening under lights. A twi-nighter is a twi-night doubleheader.
spam spiced, ham ETAF Staff Authentic

Spam is a canned food product consisting of a mixture of chopped pork shoulder and ham formed into a solid block. Spam is also the name of a kind of disruptive and unwanted email messages posted on computer networks.

The word spam, which is trademarked by Hormel, is a portmanteau word that stands for spiced ham. It's a contraction of spiced and ham.

In its other sense, spam is unsolicited commercial electronic messages in the form of e-mail, blogs, social networking sites, newsgroups, and cellular telephones.

Hormel's Spam and electronic spam are closely related. Hormel's Spam product was the inspiration for applying the name Spam to electronic messages. In what way does does the word Spam apply to spam? Hormel's Spam applies to spam electronic messages because the repeated electronic mass mailings evoke the same disgust and jaded boredom in many email recipients that repeated servings of the food product evoke in Spam eaters.

  • Explore Spam, the food product, at Wikipedia's page on Spam (food): click here.
  • Explore spam, the electronic messages, at the Wikipedia page on Spam (electronic): click here.
  • Explore Spam, the Monty Python comedy sketch, at the Wikipedia page on Spam (Monty Python): click here.
  • See the original Monty Python Spam skit on YouTube: click here.
  • Explore Spam musubi, the Hawaiian dish made from salted rice with a slice of Spam. Visit the Wikipedia page called Spam musubi: click here.
  • Visit the Hormel Spam web site: click here.
  • Explore Spam in many of its dreaded and beloved aspects. Visit the SPAM web site: click here.
spork, forsp, forn spoon, fork ETAF Staff Authentic

A spork is an eating utensil combining features of a spoon and a fork.

The term Spork has been used by various manufacturers since the early 1900s and spork is trademarked, so the term is well-established.

For spork manufacturers who could be sued for infringing on copyrights, the Muse Of Language Arts suggests the following alternatives, which are not authentic: 1) forsp, and 2) forn.

Sorry, somehow, forsp and forn don't have the same pizazz as spork.

pulsar pulsating, star ETAF Staff Authentic

From the field of astrophysics and astronomy, one of several hundred known celestial objects believed to be rapidly rotating neutron stars that emit pulses of radiation, especially radio waves (gamma rays), with a high degree of regularity.

Pulsar is a portmanteau word combining pulsating and star.

quasar quasi-stellar radio source, star ETAF Staff Authentic

In the field of astrophysics and astronomy, one of over a thousand known extragalactic objects, starlike in appearance and having spectra with characteristically large redshifts, that are thought to be the most distant and most luminous objects in the universe. Also called quasi-stellar object.

Quasar is a portmanteau blend of the words quasi- and stellar in the term quasi-stellar radio source.

When quasars were discovered in the 1950s, speculation held them to be star-like sources of powerful radio waves, and the term stellar was blended with the term radio source in the portmanteau word that names them.

Today it's understood that a quasar is not a single object like a star; it's a compact, highly luminous region (an accretion disk) at the center of a very old, very distant massive galaxy that surrounds a supermassive black hole at its center.

bit binary, unit ETAF Staff Authentic From computers.
quark question, mark ETAF Staff Authentic

In the field of cablegrams and telegraphy, quark is a portmanteau word combining the words question and mark. In this context, the word quark is a name for the telegraphy code that represents a question mark symbol.

Quark is a standard English verb meaning to caw or croak. In this context it is not a portmanteau word.

In physics, a quark is any of the hypothetical particles and antiparticles which are believed to constitute all matter. It is not a portmanteau word.

The word entered the field of physics in 1963 when physicist Murray Gell-Mann gave the name quark to the then-hypothetical theoretical particles of matter which he had conceived.

Gell-Mann named his particles quarks because he associated them with a word in Joyce's masterpiece, Finnegans Wake.

Lines from a poem in Joyce's book read: Three quarks for Muster Mark!/Sure he hasn't got much of a bark/And sure any he has it's all beside the mark. These three lines come from a larger poem that's well worth reading. It's one of Joyce's many tours de force.

Many people believe that quark is a portmanteau word coined by Lewis Carroll. Research by The Muse Of Language Arts has not turned up any solid evidence to this effect.

bionics biology, electronics ETAF Staff Authentic

Bionics is the field in which devices and mechanical parts are designed and constructed by combining mechanical and electronic engineering to assist humans in performing difficult, dangerous, or intricate tasks, as by supplementing or duplicating parts of the body.

tigon, liger tiger, lion ETAF Staff Authentic

tigon, liger

A tigon is the hybrid offspring of a male tiger and a female lion. A liger is the hybrid offspring of a male lion and a female tiger.

The word tigon is a blend of the words tiger and lion, with the male tiger's name in the lead. The word liger is also a blend of the words tiger and lion, but with male lion's name in the lead.


Portmanteau Words Table

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