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.


hederka said...

I was unaware of the second meaning...but I think it would be a good title for a literary journal.

JohnFox said...

I agree - pretty inventive title for the literary journal. Although right now I think the boring sounding (yet practical and professional) Southern California Review is in the lead.

Wow. Just powering on through those stories huh? Or at least you have to, with the amount of time you got left. Good luck!

Murnen said...

You should start your own literary journal fine sir. Institutional patronage be damned.