January 4, 2013

portmanteau

I just learned an interesting list of facts on the internet dictionary concerning 'portmanteaus' --- a word I never recall having heard before! (Love it when that happens....) Apparently, a portmanteau is basically a word made up of a combination of words. Like this:

This portmanteau abbreviation of "web log"--(we)blog--is simultaneously a verb, a noun, and a sphere: one "blogs" when writing their "blog" which is displayed in the "blogosphere." The noun form of blog is a website that functions as an online journal in which an author can display their personal opinions, experiences and insights. One "blogs" in the verb form when they add to this journal using online posts.

Maybe this isn't news to you, but what about this:

It would be a terrible shame if portmanteau were not itself a portmanteau. The word originally referred to a large traveling case made of stiff leather, derived from a combination of the French porter, meaning "to carry," and manteau, meaning "mantle" or "cloak." The word's literary significance is the work of the great neologist himself, Lewis Carroll. In Through the Looking-Glass, Humpty Dumpty explains to Alice that the strange compound words she hears in Wonderland are "like a portmanteau--there are two meanings packed up into one word."

So, I learned something totally new today! How about you? ;)

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