• Etymology

    Good Portmanteau vs Bad Portmanteau?

    What’s a portmanteau? The simple answer is two words, smashed together with the force of a charging elephant to form a new word (I choose my featured images well!). Lewis Carroll first coined portmanteau in Jabberwocky to describe words such as “chrotle” and “slithy.” Portmanteau merges two French Words, “porter” (to carry) and “manteau” (to carry). Portmanteaus have flooded languages ever since, though there are certainly the good portmanteaus and the bad portmanteaus. This, my friends, is what we will examine today. What are the truly great portmanteaus, and which ones should have never existed to begin with? Sharrow What is a Sharrow? A sharrow is a lane that is…

  • Etymology,  General geekiness

    Etymology Bites

    I fancy myself as an armchair etymologist, and thus I find myself in debates about the proper usage of words on a seemingly daily basis. Perhaps this comes from my background as an English major, or perhaps I just like to debate argue over semantics. Regardless, I seem to collect, from these debates, several “etymology bites.” In other words – a couple paragraphs worth of knowledge on a variety of words, phrases, and other language related things. These individual etymology bites amongst themselves do not constitute an entire article, and so up until now, I have refrained from writing anything more than a Facebook post on these given subjects. However,…