A while back we introduced the concept of portmanteau words, formed by merging two word's sounds and meanings (from portmanteau, a two-compartment suitcase), and later had a theme of them. This week we'll present more portmanteau words, starting with a cinerary ("ash") word that also fits last week's "burial" theme.
cremains – the ashes that remain after cremation of a corpse
[blend of cremated and remains]
Here's a recent example showing a sense of humor.
A 1910 law bans human burials and interments within city boundaries. Anyone even keeping an urn at home faces a $1,000 fine and six months in jail. The change will allow small columbaria.
Northbrae Community Church wanted about 400 drawers for ashes. The Planning Commission agreed to allow columbaria holding up to 400 niches for cremains. The church has not yet set a price for an eternity in North Berkeley, but in Oakland, cremains niches range from $1,300 to $6,000.
"Of course I'd spend eternity in Berkeley. Why not? There's always something new happening," said a planning commissioner, with the slightest hint of sarcasm.
– San Francisco Chronicle, Feb. 8, 2009 (ellipses and minor bracketing omitted)
One of my students in class today asked me the meaning of a word. We were looking at various advertising leaflets for local attractions and he was reading one for "Cadbury World" (a museum about chocolate).
The word he had found? It will make instant sense to any native speaker but puzzled the entire class - "stickylicious".
"No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money." Samuel Johnson.
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There was a movement at the turn of the century that believed that urban graveyards were the source of plague and pestilence. That's when cremation started becoming popular (it had been seen as intolerably pagan), when cemeteries began requiring airtight burial vaults for coffins, and when urban graveyards were dug up and moved outside of town (to Colma, for example).
A linguist notes that portmanteaux have proliferated.
– Geoffrey Nunberg, The Way We Talk Now
tankini – a women's two-piece swimsuit with a bikini bottom and a tank top [tank + bikini]
frappuchino – iced cappuccino [italian freddo cold + cappuccino]
fantabulous – excellent; wonderful [fantastic + fabulous]
Why so many portmanteaux? Our linguist from yesterday comments.
rollicking – boisterously carefree, joyful, or high-spirited
verb form: rollick – to romp; to frolic
[Origin uncertain, but many speculate that this is a blend of romp + frolic, or similar. Isn't that pretty obvious?]
– Phineas Mollod and Jason Tesauro, The Modern Gentleman: A Guide to Essential Manners, Savvy & Vice
Again, you have among you a sneaking individual known as the slave-dealer. You despise him utterly; you do not recognize him as a friend, or even as an honest man. Your children must not play with his; they may rollick freely with the little negroes, but not with the slave-dealer's children. It is common with you to join [shake] hands with the men you meet; but with the slave-dealer you avoid the ceremony,—instinctively shrinking from the snaky contact. Now, why is this? You do not so treat the man who deals in cotton, corn, or tobacco.
– Abraham Lincoln, speaking in Peoria, Illinois, Oct. 16, 1854 (ellipses omitted from all quotes today)
Bollywood – the popular film industry of India
[blend of Bombay (former name of Mumbai, where India's film industry is based) and Hollywood]
– Time Magazine, Bollywood's Viral Videos, Feb. 14, 2008
Don't forget Dollywood, Dolly Parton's theme park in Pigeon Forge, TN.
Give a man a fish and he can eat for one day; give a man a fishing pole and he will find an excuse to never work again.
Nollidj is power.
Tollywood - Andhra Pradesh cinema (Telugu + Hollywood, Telugu being the language)
Kollywood - Tamil Nadu cinema (Kodambakkam + Hollywood, Kodambakkam being an area of Chennai)
Ollywood - Orissa cinema (Oriya + Hollywood)
Mollywood - Kerala cinema (Malayalam + Hollywood) I've seen this one, but it's not as common as the others
and so onThis message has been edited. Last edited by: goofy,
One more portmanteau, which I happened to spot in the newspaper today.
recessionista – a person who dresses stylishly on a tight budget
[blend of recession and fasionista]
[Note that word has "fashion" as part of its meaning. That's why I consider it "blend" word, rather than just recession with an -ista ending.]
– Chicago Tribune, March 1, 2009