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

  • information governance

    Information governance is a holistic approach to managing corporate information by implementing processes, roles, controls and ...

  • enterprise document management (EDM)

    Enterprise document management (EDM) is a strategy for overseeing an organization's paper and electronic documents so they can be...

  • risk assessment

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

SearchSecurity

  • cracker

    A cracker is someone who breaks into someone else's computer system, often on a network; bypasses passwords or licenses in ...

  • Malware quiz: Test your knowledge of types and terms

    Malware trends are constantly evolving, but older techniques are still often used in cyber attacks today. Test your knowledge of ...

  • digital signature

    A digital signature is a mathematical technique used to validate the authenticity and integrity of a message, software or digital...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • risk mitigation

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

  • 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 ...

SearchStorage

  • storage virtualization

    Storage virtualization is the pooling of physical storage from multiple storage devices into what appears to be a single storage ...

  • erasure coding

    Erasure coding (EC) is a method of data protection in which data is broken into fragments, expanded and encoded with redundant ...

  • continuous data protection

    Continuous data protection (CDP), also known as continuous backup, is a backup and recovery storage system in which all the data ...

Close