Care for a bowl of linguistini?

Linguistini is a portmanteau, a single word made by blending two others together. Stick with me, this is going to be fun.

Merriam-Webster offers smog as an example. Smoke and fog blended together. Linguistini is mine, a flavorful blend of the study of human speech and a flat pasta noodle. (Linguistics and linguine, or linguini.)

Some of these catch on, others don’t. Perhaps you have heard of the word chortle. Perhaps not. But it’s there in good ol’ Merriam-Webster’s dictionary. It was first used by a gentleman, well, by an egg, actually, named Humpty Dumpty. In Lewis Carroll’s classic Through the Looking Glass, Humpty explains it himself:

“Well, ‘slithy’ means ‘lithe and slimy’. ‘Lithe’ is the same word as ‘active’. You see, it’s like a portmanteau – there are two meanings packed into one word.”
As is fitting, portmanteau itself is a blend word, originating from the French word portemanteau, a compound formed from the verb porter (to carry) and the noun manteau (cloak).

Humpty  image courtesy of WikiMedia

So let’s have some fun with portmanteaus. If you’d like to see a good list of some that are already around, take a look at these. Now, I bet you can remember a time in your life when two (or more) words just blended together perfectly, and you praised yourself highly. If not, let’s see what you can come up with. Come on, you’re staring at one right now, my blog. (Web + Log = Blog)

Let’s hear ’em, let’s have linguistini for lunch today!


About Les O'Riley

A technical writer by trade, I was laid off during the recession. I am currently finishing my Master's degree in Occupational Safety & Health. I am the Safety Lab Graduate Assistant for Southeastern Oklahoma State University.
This entry was posted in 2009 October and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Care for a bowl of linguistini?

  1. Mary says:

    Personally, I don’t think that you are ready for me. Ha!!! I’m don’t have a blended word for you, but I have a comment. I don’t like abbreviation, basically because sometimes I have to stop and figure out what the word is supposed to by. I don’t like the way they are writing the phone numbers now.
    There are a few others but I’ll leave it at that. Recently I checked out a new book from the library. there wasn’t any punctuation in the whole book except periods. When there was conversation it said, he said or she said. There were capitol letters at the first of a sentence.
    Phil would be a prime candidate for texting because he has written with abbreviations for years, due the fact that he work for a company that did. But he is not into electronics so he will never try that new way of communication.
    Now, Lester, you can delete this if you don’t want it to be on your blog.

    • Les says:

      Ha! Thanks, Mary, for the comment. That’s what makes this so interesting, different opinions on everything. Portmanteaus are actually real, whole words. It’s just that they were created from a couple or a few. Your points are practically another subject for a completely new post. I’ll have to explore your thoughts more in depth. You would be horrified if you saw so much as one full sentence (if it’s even still called that) in “texting” version. I’ll save that topic for another post.

  2. Jerry says:

    Fun and interesting article Les. I’ll see if I remember some that I’ve tormented…uh shared with my wife over the years.

  3. Jerry says:

    Oh. I just remembered. These aren’t mine, but the heavy metal group Extreme’s second album had a Portmanteau name; Pornograffitti. Beside the title track, there was another portmanteau song titled Decadancin. And their third album included the song Politicalamity.

    It was funky heavy metal with insightful lyrics and surprisingly spiritual themes. I highly recommend it.

    And I still can’t think of any new ones. But in the immortal words of the Governator, I’ll be bahk!

  4. Carl Stapf says:

    These are just a few that I use for fun:

    Swy Flatter – A reverse of the first two letters. – Fly Swatter – It keeps the flys from knowing what you are talking about…

    Papa Foxtrot – A nickname I gave myself as my last name ends with PF.

    LOLAK – Lots of Love And Kisses.

    Starborg – A mixture of Star Trek and The Borg.

    A S H Receptacle – ASH Tray

    More to Come – MORECOME.

  5. Carl Stapf says:

    I’m astounded, aghast that you would have the audacity to suggest that!

  6. Carl Stapf says:

    Ladies and Gentlemen, Hobos and Tramps, Cross-eyed mosquitos and bow legged ants. I come before you stand behind you to tell you something I know nothing about.
    (Good start for a political speech)

  7. Jerry Barrax says:

    Hey, they left “Metroplex” off the Official portmanteau list. (Metropolitan area + complex)

    Carl, I think Swy flatter is a spoonerism.

    • Les says:

      They sure did. They have multiplex, but not metroplex. Come on, guys! The one on that list that makes me sad to think about is naphthene + palmitate = napalm. I didn’t know that was a portmanteau. In fact I never even knew what a portmanteau was until the other day. But that’s beside the point. The word napalm was sure used and heard a lot during Vietnam, eh? To think that such things were spoken of as “progress.”

    • Les says:

      So true! Carl, Jerry: Here’s a nice set of spoonerisms from Wiki, but let’s save this for another post this week. I think we’ll have fun with that one. In the meantime, if anyone doesn’t know what a spoonerism is, look it up. They’re fun. Here we go:

      ~ “Three cheers for our queer old dean!” (dear old queen, referring to Queen Victoria)
      ~ “Is it kisstomary to cuss the bride?” (customary to kiss)
      ~ “The Lord is a shoving leopard.” (a loving shepherd)
      ~ “A blushing crow.” (crushing blow)
      ~ “A well-boiled icicle” (well-oiled bicycle)
      ~ “You were fighting a liar in the quadrangle.” (lighting a fire)
      ~ “Is the bean dizzy?” (dean busy)

  8. Jerry Barrax says:

    This is pretty silly, but it’s my own made up portmanteau word:
    A word describing the tendency of one or both motorists to glance at each other when one passes another on the highway.

  9. Barb says:

    This is great Les! I use made-up words all the time, but they aren’t as elegant as the ones you have listed.
    They mostly describe body parts like: nosehole and clawpaw.

    I tried to give someone Jerry’s Passaglancis yesterday, but they stared back. I’ll have to try out a new word.

    • Les says:

      Good Morning, Barb ~ Having 3 kittles, I especially like your word clawpaw. How did you derive that one? Lately Iris has been enjoying her coffee with just a bit of dark Hersey’s cocoa in it. If it becomes somewhat of a regular thing, we’ll have to start calling it a choffee. This way I can ask her if she’d like some coffee or a choffee. So, tell me about clawpaw.

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