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.

Please create a username to comment.

SearchCompliance

  • risk assessment

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

  • PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard)

    The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a widely accepted set of policies and procedures intended to ...

  • risk management

    Risk management is the process of identifying, assessing and controlling threats to an organization's capital and earnings.

SearchSecurity

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • call tree

    A call tree is a layered hierarchical communication model that is used to notify specific individuals of an event and coordinate ...

  • Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS)

    Disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) is the replication and hosting of physical or virtual servers by a third party to provide ...

  • cloud disaster recovery (cloud DR)

    Cloud disaster recovery (cloud DR) is a combination of strategies and services intended to back up data, applications and other ...

SearchStorage

  • RAM (Random Access Memory)

    RAM (Random Access Memory) is the hardware in a computing device where the operating system (OS), application programs and data ...

  • business impact analysis (BIA)

    Business impact analysis (BIA) is a systematic process to determine and evaluate the potential effects of an interruption to ...

  • M.2 SSD

    An M.2 SSD is a solid-state drive that is used in internally mounted storage expansion cards of a small form factor.

Close