Browse Definitions:
Definition

portmanteau

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

A portmanteau is a word created from two other words, or parts of words, that both contribute to its meaning. 

Portmanteaus (or portmanteaux) abound in information technology (IT), where new products and services come to market frequently and marketing experts suggest that a name should be descriptive of what it represents. 

Here's a sampling of technology-related portmanteaus: 

  • Cyborg, from cybernetics and organism, is a creature -- such as a human -- that is also part machine.
  • Pinterest, from pin and interest, is a social curation website for sharing and categorizing images found online.
  • Sexting, from sex and texting, is the act of sending or receiving sexually-explicit images and messages, typically between cell phones.
  • Webinar, from Web and seminar, is an educational, informative or instructional presentation that is made available online, usually as either video or audio with slides.
  • Kinect, from kinetic and connect, is a motion sensor add-on for the Xbox 360 gaming console that allows users to interact intuitively without a controller.

Lewis Carroll first used portmanteau to describe combination words. In “Through the Looking Glass,” Humpty Dumpty explained words like “slithy” (slimy + lithe) and “mimsy” (miserable + flimsy)  to Alice in the nonsense poem “Jabberwocky”: ‘You see it’s like a portmanteau—there are two meanings packed up into one word.’

Portmanteau is an archaic word for suitcase, made from the French words for carry (porter) and cloak (manteau). As such, the word portmanteau is a portmanteau itself.

 

See also: acronym, anacronym

This was last updated in September 2013

Continue Reading About portmanteau

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

SearchCompliance

SearchSecurity

  • copyright

    Copyright is a legal term describing ownership of control of the rights to the use and distribution of certain works of creative ...

  • keylogger (keystroke logger or system monitor)

    A keylogger, sometimes called a keystroke logger or system monitor, is a type of surveillance technology used to monitor and ...

  • password

    A password is an unspaced sequence of characters used to determine that a computer user requesting access to a computer system is...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

  • call tree

    A call tree -- sometimes referred to as a phone tree -- is a telecommunications chain for notifying specific individuals of an ...

  • mass notification system (MNS)

    A mass notification system is a platform that sends one-way messages to inform employees and the public of an emergency.

SearchStorage

  • CompactFlash card (CF card)

    A CompactFlash card (CF card) is a memory card format developed by SanDisk in 1994 that uses flash memory technology to store ...

  • email archiving

    Email archiving (also spelled e-mail archiving) is a systematic approach to saving and protecting the data contained in email ...

  • RAID (redundant array of independent disks)

    RAID (redundant array of independent disks) is a way of storing the same data in different places on multiple hard disks to ...

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • M.2 SSD

    An M.2 SSD is a solid-state drive (SSD) that conforms to a computer industry specification written for internally mounted storage...

  • NVMe (non-volatile memory express)

    NVMe (non-volatile memory express) is a host controller interface and storage protocol to enable a solid-state drive to use the ...

  • SSD RAID (solid-state drive RAID)

    SSD RAID (solid-state drive RAID) is a methodology commonly used to protect data by distributing redundant data blocks across ...

SearchCloudStorage

  • RESTful API

    A RESTful application program interface breaks down a transaction to create a series of small modules, each of which addresses an...

  • cloud storage infrastructure

    Cloud storage infrastructure is the hardware and software framework that supports the computing requirements of a private or ...

  • Zadara VPSA and ZIOS

    Zadara Storage provides block, file or object storage with varying levels of compute and capacity through its ZIOS and VPSA ...

Close