A “portmanteau” is a new word formed by joining two other words and combining their meaning.
Some common “portmanteaus” used in everyday English are:
brunch - a combination of breakfast and lunch, usually eaten late morning.
smog - a type of air pollution made up of smoke and fog
Spanglish – when a person speaks a mix of both Spanish and English
emoticon – an icon that shows an emotion i.e smiley face
One of my favourite new “portmanteaus” which I read yesterday in a British newspaper is:
“Merkozy” – the scary combination of the German chancelor Angela Merkel and the French president Nicolas Sarkozy.
And the plural?
As the word “portmanteau” clearly comes form the French language (it’s Franglais!), there is a bit of a debate about its plural form. If we follow the English rules, it becomes “portmanteaus”. However, if we keep the word in its original French form it becomes “portmanteaux”. Both forms are accepted in English.
Why not leave a comment below with your favourite “portmateau”? Even better, invent your own new “portmanteau” and tell us about it.