Portmanteau words are formed by combining elements of two or more words. A part of each word is combined with part of another word or words to form a new word.
E.g. Motel = motorist + hotel
Though similar to contractions, it is different from English contractions in which words that come one after the other are shortened using an apostrophe (‘).
E.g. could not = couldn’t, do not = don’t
In case of portmanteau words, two different words are related to form a new word with a new concept. This is again different from compound words. In compound words two different words are placed together to form a new word.
E.g. blackboard, handbag, ice-cream, snowball, hailstorm
Origin of Portmanteau words
Portmanteau words were first introduced by Lewis Carroll in ‘Through the looking glass’ where Humpty Dumpty explains the meanings of freshly coined words like mimsy = miserable + flimsy, silthy = slimy + lithe.
Examples of Portmanteau words
Bacne = back + acne – pimples on ones back.
Biopic = biography + picture – a film on the life of a particular person, typically a public or historical figure.
Brexit = Britain + exit – withdrawal of United Kingdom from the European Union.
Brunch = breakfast + lunch – a combination of breakfast and lunch.
Bollywood = Bombay + Hollywood – Film industry in Mumbai.
Blaxploitation = black + exploitation – an ethnic subgenre of the exploitation film that emerged in the United States during the early 1970s.
Blushing = blood + rushing – red in face from embarrassment or shyness.
Chillax = chill + relax – to calm down.
Chortle = chuckle + snort – laugh in a noisy gleeful manner.
Cosplay = costume + role play – the practice of dressing up as a character from a film, book.
Dramedy = drama + comedy – a comedy having dramatic moments.
Edutainment = education + entertainment – video games and T.V. programmes which are educational and enjoyable.
Electrocute = Electric + execute – injure or kill someone by electric shock.
Fantabulous = fantastic + fabulous – excellent.
Foryo = frozen + yogurt – a frozen dessert made of yogurt.
Frankenfood = Frankenstein + food – genetically modified food
Frenemy = friend + enemy – a friend who acts like an enemy
Ginormous = gigantic + enormous – very big, huge
Hangry = hunger + angry – one who is angry due to hunger.
Horrendous = horrible + tremendous – extremely horrifying and unpleasant.
Infomercial = information + commercial – an advertisement aimed at educating the customer
Interrobang = interrogation + bang – a combination of question mark and exclamation mark. One on top of the other.
Jangle = jingle + dangle – sound made when metals hit against each other.
Mockumentary = mockery + documentary – a short film that spoofs the documentary form.
Moped = motor + pedal – light motorcycle with engine capacity less than 50 cc
Never = not + ever – not in past present or future.
Newscast = news + broadcast – broadcasting of news in television or radio.
Podcast = iPod + broadcast – a recording of audio or video that can be downloaded from the net.
Prequel = previous + sequel – a work that forms part of a back-story to the preceding work
Screenager = screen + teenager – a teenager obsessed with screen entertainment.
Shopaholic = shop + alcoholic – one who is addicted to shopping.
Sitcom = situational + comedy – situations made into comedic stories lasting for about 30 minutes.
Smog = smoke + fog – a fog made heavier and darker by smoke and chemical fumes
Spork = spoon + fork – a spoon with fork like edge.
Telethon = television + marathon – a very long television programme.
Wikipedia = wiki + encyclopedia – online encyclopedia made by collaborative efforts.