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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2003

    Onomatopoeia, Portmanteau, etc.

    Words that imitate a real sound like chirp and thud are called Onomatopoeia; taking parts of two or more words to form a new word like brunch (breakfast & lunch) and motel (motor & hotel) are called portmanteau. Is there a name for words borrowed from foreign languages like kowtow (from Chinese) and aqua (from Spanish).

    You can apply your own imaginations and associations to memorize words. For example, I associate frolic (behave playfully) to leaping and hopping like a frog on the floor. Is there a name for this memorization by association?

    You can also chop up a word for memorization. Since I already know nightmare, it is easy for me to remember the word mare too, by simply taking the word nightmare apart. Is there a name for this method too? Chopped-up words?

    Thank you and have a great day.


  2. #2
    RonBee's Avatar
    RonBee is offline Moderator
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    It seems that you pretty much answered your own questions. :wink:

    The only word I know for words borrowed from foreign languages is borrowings.

    Portmanteau words

    A portmanteau word is a word formed by the blending of two or more other words. The word comes from Alice in Wonderland and appears as Alice asks Humpty Dumpty to explain slithy from the opening line of Jabberwocky.* He tells Alice, "Well 'slithy' means lithe and slimy. You see, there are two meanings packed into one word."

    The above is from Dickson's Word Treasury by Paul Dickson. Following are some examples of portmanteau words (from the book):
    bash = bat + mash
    bit = binary + digit
    blot = black + spot
    brunch = breakfast + lunch
    flare = flame + glare
    motel = motor + hotel
    napalm = naphthene + palmitate
    pixel = picture + element
    slosh = slop + slush
    smog = smoke + fog
    transistor = transmitter + resistor

    *"Twas brillig and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe."

  3. #3
    Tdol is offline Editor,
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    Re: Onomatopoeia, Portmanteau, etc.

    A new portmanteau word that I saw is particularly cute and only orthographic:

    Pharms (GM Farms)

    I like it.

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