Meaning: a large travel bag. Usually made from stiff leather, a portmanteau often divides into to large compartments suitable for carrying clothing.
Etymology: Portmanteau derives from two Latin words. The verb, portare means: to carry. Mantellum in Latin, is a cloak. Combine the two, run them through hundreds of years in the French language, and out comes portmanteau.
There is a second use of the word, portmanteau. Lewis Carroll, inspired by the dual nature of the travel portmanteau, coined the term, portmanteau word.
I doubt you are going to see the original meaning of portmanteau, but portmanteau words are all over the place. We use them daily.
A portmanteau word is a blending of two words. For example, when we combine smoke with fog, we get the portmanteau word, smog.
Here are more portmanteau words:
- motor + hotel = motel
- lion + tiger = liger
- Governor Elbridge Gerry + salamander = Gerrymander
- Europe + Asia = Eurasia
- Texas + Arkansas + Louisiana = Texarkana
- microcomputer + software = microsoft
- America + track = Amtrack
- Trans + America = TransAm
- Veritas (Latin for “truth”) + Horizon = Verizon
- spoon + fork = spork
- skirt + shorts = skort
Famous people sometimes become portmanteau words:
- Bill Clinton + Hillary Clinton = Billary
- Brad Pitt + Angelina Jolie = Brangelina
- Tom Cruise + Katie Holmes = TomKat
- Ben Affleck + Jennifer Lopez = Bennifer
Got any that I haven’t thought of? I would love to hear them! Contact me, or join the forum!