Thursday, February 01, 2007
Word of the Day: Portmanteau
Portmanteau: 1) a large suitcase with two compartments. (Apparently very archaic and rare.) This is the definition I know, probably from reading 19th century novels. I think a traveller could carry pretty much anything in a portmanteau. I would carry gold in mine, if I had one. And if I had gold.
2) the combination of parts of two or more words into one, which yields a new meaning. e.g. Lunch and Breakfast into brunch, or smoke and fog into smog.
Lewis Carroll's poem, "Jabberwocky," famously uses lots of portmanteaus.
All of this makes me want to own an actual leather portmanteau, but it would have very little practical value. I wonder if I could keep files in it?
Yes, I learned most of this from wikipedia.
I also suggested this for the title of the new USC literary journal. I hope it wins, but maybe it's too French-sounding.