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Created by: Team English - Examples.com, Last Updated: June 10, 2024


A portmanteau is a linguistic blend of words, in which parts of multiple words or their sounds are combined into a new word, as in the word brunch, from breakfast and lunch. This term originally referred to a suitcase that opened into two equal sections. In the context of language, the concept was popularized by Lewis Carroll in “Through the Looking-Glass,” where Humpty Dumpty explains to Alice the practice of combining two words to make a new one, like slithy (slimy and lithe) or mimsy (miserable and flimsy). Portmanteaus are commonly used in everyday language and are particularly popular in brand names and modern digital communications, encapsulating complex concepts or descriptions in a succinct and creative way.

What is Portmanteau?

A portmanteau is a linguistic blend of words in which parts of multiple words are combined into a new word, as in the word “brunch,” which comes from “breakfast” and “lunch.” The term is also used to describe a suitcase that opens into two equal sections. The concept of a portmanteau in language was popularized by Lewis Carroll in “Through the Looking-Glass,” where characters like “slithy” (slimy + lithe) and “mimsy” (miserable + flimsy) appear.

Portmanteau words list

  1. Brunch (breakfast + lunch)
  2. Motel (motor + hotel)
  3. Guesstimate (guess + estimate)
  4. Smog (smoke + fog)
  5. Spork (spoon + fork)
  6. Infomercial (information + commercial)
  7. Blog (web + log)
  8. Ginormous (gigantic + enormous)
  9. Email (electronic + mail)
  10. Frenemy (friend + enemy)
  11. Glamping (glamorous + camping)
  12. Chillax (chill + relax)
  13. Cronut (croissant + doughnut)
  14. Mockumentary (mock + documentary)
  15. Listicle (list + article)

Portmanteau in a sentence

Here are several sentences using portmanteau words to illustrate how they are commonly employed in everyday language:

  1. Ginormous: The pizza was ginormous, easily enough to feed the entire party.
  2. Edutainment: The museum’s new exhibit is designed to offer edutainment, blending learning with fun interactive activities for kids.
  3. Affluenza: The lawyer argued that his client suffered from affluenza and was unaware of the consequences of his actions.
  4. Mansplain: I was frustrated when he began to mansplain the rules of the game to me, even though I had been playing it for years.
  5. Frappuccino: On a hot day, a cold frappuccino from the coffee shop is my go-to treat.
  6. Workaholic: My uncle is such a workaholic that he rarely takes vacations or even weekends off.
  7. Shopaholic: Her closet is full of clothes with tags still on them; she’s a true shopaholic.
  8. Bromance: The movie focused on the bromance between the two lead characters, highlighting their deep and platonic friendship.
  9. Bitmoji: I updated my Bitmoji to reflect my new hairstyle, and it looks just like me now!
  10. Televangelist: The televangelist’s broadcast reaches millions of viewers around the world each Sunday.

Uses of Portmanteau

Uses of Portmanteau

Portmanteau words are not only linguistically interesting but also serve several practical functions in communication and culture. Here are some key uses of portmanteau words:

1. Efficiency in Communication

Portmanteaus provide a way to convey complex ideas or descriptions in a single word. For example, “smog” (smoke + fog) quickly tells you it’s a type of air pollution consisting of both smoke and fog.

2. Creativity and Playfulness

These words often add a playful element to language, making it more engaging and inventive. Words like “brunch” (breakfast + lunch) or “glamping” (glamorous + camping) add a whimsical touch to everyday vocabulary.

3. Marketing and Branding

In branding, portmanteaus can create memorable, catchy names for products, services, or companies that are sticky and distinct, such as “Microsoft” (microcomputer + software) or “Netflix” (internet + flicks).

4. Cultural Commentary

Portmanteau words can reflect societal trends and issues, offering a way to discuss contemporary phenomena succinctly. “Brexit” (Britain + exit) encapsulates a complex political event in one term.

5. Adaptability and Evolution of Language

Portmanteaus demonstrate the adaptability of language, showing how it evolves to accommodate new technologies, concepts, or social changes. Words like “email” (electronic + mail) and “blog” (web + log) are responses to new digital realities.

6. Descriptive Power

They can more precisely describe objects, actions, or phenomena that are hybrids of two distinct concepts, like “motel” (motor + hotel), which specifically refers to hotels designed for motorists.

7. Linguistic Economy

Using portmanteau words can save space in writing and speech, making communication more concise. This is especially useful in media like advertising or Twitter, where brevity is crucial.

8. Emotional Expression

Some portmanteaus are used to express complex emotions or relationships in a succinct way, such as “frenemy” (friend + enemy), which conveys a relationship that is both adversarial and friendly.

9. Technical Language

In technical fields, creating portmanteaus can help describe new inventions, processes, or phenomena that blend existing concepts, such as “biopic” (biographical + picture) in film terminology.

10. Social Media and Internet Slang

The digital age has accelerated the creation of portmanteaus, particularly in internet slang, where users often blend words to create terms that resonate across digital communities, such as “netiquette” (internet + etiquette).

Examples of Portmanteau

  • Motel: Blend of “motor” and “hotel.”
  • Braveheart: Blend of “brave” and “heart.”
  • Tofurky: Blend of “tofu” and “turkey.”
  • Podcast: Blend of “iPod” and “broadcast.”
  • Jeggings: Blend of “jeans” and “leggings.”
  • Breathalyzer: Blend of “breath” and “analyzer.”
  • Glamazon: Blend of “glamour” and “Amazon.”
  • Electrocute: Blend of “electric” and “execute.”
  • Mansplain: Blend of “man” and “explain.”
  • Bromance: Blend of “brother” and “romance.”
  • Netflix: Blend of “internet” and “flicks.”
  • Gerrymander: Blend of “Gerry” (Elbridge Gerry, a politician) and “salamander.”
  • Motorcade: Blend of “motor” and “cavalcade.”
  • Televangelist: Blend of “television” and “evangelist.”
  • Fursona: Blend of “fur” and “persona.”
  • Cyborg: Blend of “cybernetic” and “organism.”
  • Blog: Blend of “web” and “log.”
  • Mathlete: Blend of “mathematics” and “athlete.”
  • Sitcom: Blend of “situation” and “comedy.”
  • Spam: Blend of “spiced” and “ham.”

25 Portmanteau Words

  • Animatronics (Animated + Electronics)
  • Cosplay (Costume + Play)
  • Edutainment (Education + Entertainment)
  • Spork (Spoon + Fork)
  • Hangry (Hungry + Angry)
  • Glamping (Glamorous + Camping)
  • Brinner (Breakfast + Dinner)
  • Frappuccino (Frappe + Cappuccino)
  • Labradoodle (Labrador + Poodle)
  • Oxbridge (Oxford + Cambridge)
  • Phablet (Phone + Tablet)
  • Velcro (Velvet + Crochet)
  • Telethon (Television + Marathon)
  • Webinar (Web + Seminar)
  • Affair (Adult + Fair)
  • Avionics (Aviation + Electronics)
  • Biopic (Biographical + Picture)
  • Bollywood (Bombay + Hollywood)
  • Emoticon (Emotion + Icon)
  • Hangry (Hungry + Angry)
  • Liger (Lion + Tiger)
  • Modem (Modulator + Demodulator)
  • Pixel (Picture + Element)
  • Pixelated (Pixel + Dilated)
  • Sitcom (Situation + Comedy)


What is another word for portmanteau?

Another word for “portmanteau” is “blend.” Both terms refer to words formed by combining elements of two or more existing words to create a new word with a combined meaning.

What is the purpose of creating portmanteau words?

Portmanteau words are often created to express complex ideas or concepts concisely. They can also be used to describe new phenomena or trends in a catchy and memorable way.

Can anyone create a portmanteau word?

Yes, anyone can create a portmanteau word by blending existing words together. However, for a portmanteau to gain widespread usage, it usually needs to resonate with people and effectively convey its intended meaning.

Are portmanteau words found in all languages?

While portmanteau words are more common in some languages than others, they can be found in many languages around the world. Different languages may have their own unique rules for forming portmanteau words.

Do portmanteau words ever become official parts of the language?

Yes, many portmanteau words eventually become widely accepted and integrated into the lexicon of a language. Once a portmanteau gains enough usage and recognition, it may be added to dictionaries and considered a standard part of the language.

Are there any famous examples of portmanteau words?

Yes, there are numerous famous examples of portmanteau words, including “brunch” (breakfast + lunch), “smog” (smoke + fog), and “motel” (motor + hotel), among others.

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