• Print

Deriving from the Greek for 'true' (eteos/etymos) and 'word' (logos)

Curious about the origin of a word or term? Send it to us and we shall go forth and investigate.


A portmanteau or blend word is a combination of two or more words and their definitions. A classic example of a portmanteau is smog, being a combination of smoke and fog. Interestingly, the word smog, along with its definition, has been adopted into many languages which had hitherto not had a term of their own to describe the concept of a combination of smoke and fog.

Other examples of portmanteaux include Oxbridge, brunch, chortle, turducken, Brangelina and that amazing all-purpose utensil, spork.

The word portmanteau itself is a blend word, derived from the French portemanteau, a combination of porter (to carry) and manteau (cloak). Portmanteau is the name for the type of suitcase that opens into two equal compartments, and has been used to mean 'blend word' since the 19th century.