Blame it on Lewis Carroll
Posted by languageandgrammar on June 17, 2009
A reader requested the following explanation: “…Perhaps you can tell me what word is used when a part of one word is combined with part of another word to form a whole new word.”
Well, the short answer would have been NEOLOGISM, which certainly would apply since a neologism can be a new word, a new meaning, or a new usage. Paul and I recently did an article for Forbes magazine for a special series on neologisms; we mostly talked about words for which the meanings have shifted rather than actual new creations——–but I digress in the name of self-promotion.
Neologism would be an appropriate general answer, but there’s a more specific answer that I think might apply. It’s called PORTMANTEAU. While a portmanteau was originally——and still is——-a leather bag with two compartments for carrying clothing while traveling, it is also two words that have been combined to make a new word that combines the meanings of both original words. The use of portmanteau in this way can be attributed to Lewis Carroll, who first used it toward the end of the 19th century. Wikipedia has a detailed history of the word portmanteau. For those interested in language, I recommend it.
5 Responses to “Blame it on Lewis Carroll”
Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.