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A portmanteau word is a word blending (in fact, linguists now use the noun blend[1]) the sounds and combining the meanings of two other words, e.g. "brunch" from breakfast and lunch,[2] first used by the magazine Punch in 1896. Other examples include teflpedia, from TEFL and encyclopedia or emoticon, from emotion and icon. Earlier examples include tragicomedy (from the 16th century), motorcade (19th century), and more modern ones include staycation[3] and guesstimate[4] (20th century), podcast and chillax (21st century).[1]

Other typical examples include terms such as Spanglish or Franglais to refer to the frequent use bilingual speakers make of words and expressions from one language while speaking the other.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Crystal, David. The Story of English in 100 Words. Profile Books (2012)
  2. askoxford.com
  3. Merriam-Webster, staycation, retrieved 23rd September, 2012.
  4. Oxford Dictionaries, guesstimate