(The Blog)

And now for a few words about words (and many other things)...

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Entries in literary devices (1)


A Topic for Brunch: The Portmanteau

Brunch: It’s not breakfast, it’s not lunch; it’s neither, and both. I’m not talking about what you order—that’s totally up to you*—but the word itself, which falls into one of my all-time favorite linguistic-concept categories: the portmanteau.

*Seriously, though, you’re getting the steak tartare? For brunch?

The portmanteau: many wonderful new words wait within.Originating from the French portemanteau—a traveling case large enough for a cloak—it signifies a word that is a blend of two other words, with certain parameters: the new word that emerges must not be merely the two original words stuck together side-by-side, and it must mean something different from either of the original words taken alone or both taken together. That is, it is a word cloaked in the meaning of the other two.

One of the great joys of reading, of course, is discovering new words, and it was while reading Amanda Nelson’s post this week that—in addition to agreeing with all of her sentiments—I was pleased to discover “mombies” and to be reminded how much fun words like that can be.

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