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Blog / 09.04.2021

Fancy a Portmanteau?

Fancy a Portmanteau?
Nicole Matthews
Content Marketing
2 min read

No, it’s not the latest red wine variety to hit the market!

Yes, it is a suitcase that opens into 2 sections, but it also describes a blend of words in which parts of multiple words are combined into a new word.

Think “brunch”, the simple and well-used word meshing breakfast and lunch together, or “spork”, the spoon and fork hybrid. As Humpty Dumpty once explained to Alice in Lewis Carroll’s book, Through the Looking-Glass, “there are two meanings packed up into one word”.

And why I am telling you this? Well, not just because I’m a self-diagnosed lover of language, but also because the portmanteau has on many occasions made its way into the business world in the form of a brand. “Velcro”, that fastener that we all know, love and use until it wears out (often at inopportune times), is actually physically made up of one piece of fabric with tiny hooks and the other with tiny loops and stems from the French word “velour” (velvet) and “crochet” (hook). Extremely clever! Microsoft, a very well know brand is also a portmanteau, combining the words “microcomputer” and “software”, and the list goes on…

Now, if I’ve peaked your interest or perhaps you’re just awkwardly curious about what the word nerd will share next, let me share with you

 

7 THINGS THAT I, AS A WORDAHOLIC, LOVE

(now, as a child, or even both)

 

  1. Scrabble – yes even Junior Scrabble if necessary
  2. Wordsearches - either the retro word search letter dice game, or the basic pen and paper variety which proved a saviour last year
  3. Crosswords – although the cryptic variety that my elderly aunt used to excel at, are still proving elusive to me
  4. Spelling bees –even though the word ‘address’ (the only word I got wrong in a Grade 5 test) still makes me question whether it’s 1 ‘d’ or double ‘d’ every time I write it
  5. The newspaper ‘target’ quiz – what a buzz I get out of this when I can glance at the square and the full-length word immediately jumps off the page!
  6. Puns – was so much fun working for a greeting card business working on the Humour range
  7. Foreign languages – Italian studied right through to Year 12 for this non-native Italian speaker, together with Year 10 French and Japanese learnt by osmosis from my kids’ studies,

Portmanteau Blog Images 2

together with a few of my pet grammatical hates:

  1. stationary to describe the stuff we write on, instead of stationery (particularly hard to read countless times in those years working in the stationery industry)
  2. complement versus compliment (although often we want a partner or a friend to do both!)
  3. “my team is versing (sic) your team”, often exclaimed by Saturday sport kids weekly (if only they realised that the archaic verb “verse” describes rhythm and poetry)

Portmanteau Blog Images Artboard 3

So, in the spirit of staying on-topic, the “moral of the story” (pardon the pun!) is that whether you could relate to some or all of the points above, the important thing to note is that as a content marketer and copywriter it’s relevant that I have these love/hate relationships with certain words and/or word-related things. It’s my area of expertise, my passion, my thing!

And here at 360South, we have a team of individuals who all bring their strengths and interests to the role that they love and do. We collaborate and combine these strengths (akin to a portmanteau) to arrive at our best work for each and every client who we create for. Choose us for your digital business needs and you’ll be delighted.

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