Writing for Business - A Whatis.com Blog

Oct 29 2012   11:27AM GMT

Combined words and Lewis Carroll



Posted by: Ivy Wigmore
Tags:
CIO
grammar quiz
grammatical terms
Lewis Carroll
word meaning

Which is correct?

What do you call words like phablet,  Kinect and electrocute, that are each made up of parts of two words?
a. retronyms
b. portmanteaus
c. anacronyms

Bonus questions: What two words are each of those made from?
a. phablet = ______ + ________
b. Kinect = _______ + ________
c. electrocute = _______ + _______

Answer: b.

Bonus questions:
a. phablet = phone + tablet
b. Kinect = kinetic + connect
c. electrocute = electric + execute

Explanation:

Lewis Carroll used the “portmanteau” to describe combination words in “Through the Looking Glass.” A portmanteau is an archaic word for “suitcase,” itself  a portmanteau created from the French words for carry (porter) and cloak (manteau).

In “Through the Looking Glass,” Humpty Dumpty explained words like “slithy” (slimy + lithe) and “mimsy” (miserable + flimsy) in the nonsense poem “Jabberwocky” to Alice:

‘You see it’s like a portmanteau—there are two meanings packed up into one word.’

Read more about portmanteaus.

Read more about retronyms and anacronyms.

Follow me on Twitter @tao_of_grammar

 Comment on this Post

 
There was an error processing your information. Please try again later.
Thanks. We'll let you know when a new response is added.
Send me notifications when other members comment.

REGISTER or login:

Forgot Password?
By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Forgot Password

No problem! Submit your e-mail address below. We'll send you an e-mail containing your password.

Your password has been sent to: