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noun port·man·teau \pȯrt-ˈman-(ˌ)tō\

Definition of portmanteau





play \-(ˌ)tōz\
  1. 1 :  a large suitcase

  2. 2 :  a word or morpheme whose form and meaning are derived from a blending of two or more distinct forms (as smog from smoke and fog)

Examples of portmanteau in a sentence

  1. <carried her possessions with her in an old portmanteau>

Did You Know?

In Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass, Alice asks Humpty Dumpty to explain words from the nonsense poem "Jabberwocky" and is told that slithy is "like a portmanteau-there are two meanings packed up into one word." Although slithy hasn't caught on (it's made up of slimy and lithe, according to Humpty Dumpty), another portmanteau invented by Carroll has in fact found a place in the language: chortle (supposedly from chuckle and snort). English includes other portmanteaus, too, such as brunch (breakfast and lunch) and dramedy (drama and comedy). Following Carroll's lead, English speakers have come to call these fairly common words by the not-so-common name for a type of traveling bag with two compartments. The technical (and simpler) term for such words is blend.

Origin and Etymology of portmanteau

Middle French portemanteau, from porter to carry + manteau mantle, from Latin mantellum — more at port

First Known Use: 1579

Other Grammar and Linguistics Terms



adjective port·man·teau

Definition of portmanteau

  1. 1 :  combining more than one use or quality

  2. 2 :  being a portmanteau <a portmanteau word>


First Known Use of portmanteau


Other Grammar and Linguistics Terms

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