Browse Definitions :
Definition

portmanteau

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

SearchCompliance
  • pure risk

    Pure risk refers to risks that are beyond human control and result in a loss or no loss with no possibility of financial gain.

  • risk reporting

    Risk reporting is a method of identifying risks tied to or potentially impacting an organization's business processes.

  • risk assessment

    Risk assessment is the identification of hazards that could negatively impact an organization's ability to conduct business.

SearchSecurity
  • encryption key

    In cryptography, an encryption key is a variable value that is applied using an algorithm to a string or block of unencrypted ...

  • payload (computing)

    In computing, a payload is the carrying capacity of a packet or other transmission data unit.

  • script kiddie

    Script kiddie is a derogative term that computer hackers coined to refer to immature, but often just as dangerous, exploiters of ...

SearchHealthIT
SearchDisasterRecovery
  • What is risk mitigation?

    Risk mitigation is a strategy to prepare for and lessen the effects of threats faced by a business.

  • fault-tolerant

    Fault-tolerant technology is a capability of a computer system, electronic system or network to deliver uninterrupted service, ...

  • synchronous replication

    Synchronous replication is the process of copying data over a storage area network, local area network or wide area network so ...

SearchStorage
Close