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First used by Lewis Carroll in 1871, based on the concept of two words packed together, like a portmanteau (a travelling case having two halves joined by a hinge).


portmanteau word (plural portmanteau words)

  1. (linguistics) A word which combines the meaning of two words (or, rarely, more than two words), formed by combining the words, usually, but not always, by adjoining the first part of one word and the last part of the other, the adjoining parts often having a common vowel; for example, smog, formed from smoke and fog.
    • 1871, Lewis Carroll, “VI. Humpty Dumpty”, in Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There:
      Well, “slithy” means “lithe and slimy”. “Lithe” is the same as “active”. You see it’s like a portmanteau – there are two meanings packed up into one word.



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