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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

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Coined by Lewis Carroll in 1872, based on the concept of two words packed together, like a portmanteau (a travelling case having two halves joined by a hinge).

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.

Through The Looking Glass ( Chapter VI. Humpty Dumpty)


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.



See also

Simple English

A portmanteau is a word that comes from mixing the sounds of two (or more) other words together.


Portmanteau originally meant a type of suitcase with two separate parts for storage. The first use as a word combination appeared in Lewis Carroll's book Through the Looking-Glass where Humpty Dumpty explains that some of the unusual words in Jabberwocky are combinations of other words packed together into one word, as two parts of a Portmanteau suitcase are packed together.


Portmanteau itself is an example, combining the French words for carry (porter) and coat (manteau) into a coat carrier. Wikipedia is a portmanteau of wiki (Hawaiian for fast) and encyclopedia.


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