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A portmanteau (pronounced \pȯrt-ˈman-(ˌ)tō\) is a new word formed by joining two others and combining their meanings; "smog" is a blend of "smoke" and "fog"; "motel" is a portmanteau word made by combining "motor" and "hotel".

The word itself is an obsolete term for a kind of suitcase that opens into two hinged compartments. It was first used to describe blends of words by Lewis Carroll in Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There, when Humpty Dumpty explains to Alice the word "slithy" from the poem Jabberwocky:

"Well, slithy means lithe and slimy ... You see it's like a portmanteau -- there are two meanings packed up into one word."

Before first-letter acronyms were standard, this was thought to be just fantastic by up-and-coming political movements in the '30s, which is why we have the words StuKa, NaZi, GeStaPo, StaSi, GULag, ComIntern and SovNarKom, which is why nobody uses them anymore (in Russia, some of these portmanteau acronyms survive). Consequently, fictional totalitarian governments often use them to play on these connotations. In countries that don't use alphabets, like Japan, this is still the standard, which is why Portmanteau Series Nickname is full of anime show examples.

Incidentally, the original French word "portemanteau" is itself a portmanteau. Porte means "carry" and manteau means "coat", so a portemanteau is something that carries your coat. In modern French the word means coat hanger instead of a type of suitcase.

See also Portmanteau Couple Name, Portmantitle, Portmanteau Series Nickname, Tropemanteau, and We Will Use Wiki Words in the Future.

Not to be confused with the things on the ends of Natalie Portman's feet.

Examples of Portmanteau include:

Anime and Manga

  • Yaoi = yanma nashi ochi nashi imi nashi.[1] An alternate (joking) portmanteau for yaoi is "Yamete, oshiri itai!"[2]
  • R.O.D the TV: Joker's codename is a portmanteau of his real name (Joe Carpenter). (Well, or maybe Joe Carpenter is a pseudonym derived from the codename...but either way, portmanteau.)
  • In the Pokémon episode "Short and to the Punch", Clayton the martial artist insists on giving portmanteau nicknames to everyone and coining abbreviations for common phrases. For example, Ash and Buizel are referred to as Ashbui. This trait was carried over largely unchanged from the Japanese version.
    • "Pokémon" itself is a portmanteau for "pocket monsters".
  • Digimon = Digital + Monsters.[3]


"Killing is wrong. And bad. There should be a new, stronger word for killing. Like badwrong, or badong. Yes, killing is badong. From this moment, I will stand for the opposite of killing: gnodab."


  • In Nineteen Eighty-Four, Newspeak has quite a few of them, such as IngSoc, MiniLuv, and... NewSpeak. This is a result of a deliberate effort at compacting and minimizing language, the better to restrict the ability of its speakers to think critically.
  • Enid Blyton used delumptious and scrumplicious, the two possible portmanteaux of delicious and scrumptious. This was also referenced in Goodnight Mr. Tom.
  • Some of the future animals in After Man: A Zoology of The Future are named this way, portmanteauing the extant species they're descended from with the species that currently fills their ecological niche (eg Rabbuck, for a rabbit the size of a deer).
  • The Hunger Games has "muttations" (mutt+mutation, for genetically engineered beasts), "nightlock" (nightshade+hemlock, poisonous berries), "Communicuff" (a watch-like communicator that looks like a handcuff) and "propos" (propaganda ads).
  • One of the many word games employed by James Joyce in Finnegans Wake is the use of portmanteaus created to facilitate both the dreamlike setting of the novel as well as to facilitate its polylinguistic punning.

Live-Action TV

Kate: Yeah, is pathetisad a word?
Drew: Hey, whatever BeerStud3 and HoneyBee23 do is their own business.
Kate: Beer stud? Forget pathetisad, is weirdork a word?
Drew: I don't know, is sarcastabitch a word?


  • Gorillaz' "Fire Coming Out of the Monkey's Head" describes the noise of a volcanic eruption as a "castrophony"—possibly a catastrophic cacophony.
    • Alternatives would also include "symphony".
  • Horned Necrocannibals (Рогатые Трупоеды) have a song named "Vengeanscythe". It's about a vengeful, as far as one can tell, deadman. With a scythe.
  • The Mars Volta use portmanteaus a lot in their album titles like Amputechture (Amputate-Technology-Architecture) and Noctourniquet (Nocturne-Tourniquet)

New Media

Professional Wrestling

  • Edge and Christian were infamous for doing this sort of thing. The best example was ramipercussions, a combination of ramifications and repercussions. Also, due to the Triple H-led Corporation / D Generation X alliance being alternately called the "McMahon-Helmsley Faction" and the "McMahon-Helmsley Regime", they called it the "Fac-gime".
  • Some tag team names are Portmanteaus, such as Lay Cool, comprised of Layla and Michelle McCool.

Tabletop Games

  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • Multiclass character builds in are occasionally named like this, from the bardbarian (bard plus barbarian) to the sorcadin (sorcerer plus paladin).
    • Gnolls in the first edition were conceived as a hybrid of gnomes and trolls, but have since become their own thing.
    • And then there's Mystara's "Thoul", an hybride of ghoul, hobgoblin and troll.
    • One of the villains in the classic AD&D module Vault of the Drow is Belgos, a drow vampire; clearly, this is a portmanteau of Bela Lugosi.
  • Magic: The Gathering
    • The fans do these with combos, like Land Tax (If your opponent gets more lands than you, you can search your library for three lands and put them in play.) + Armageddon (Destroy all lands.) = Taxageddon (for massive mana advantage and card advantage). Yawgmoth's Bargain (pay X life to draw X cards) + Heroes' Reunion (gain 7 life) = Heroes' Bargain (or two and a third Ancestral Recalls, which, to be fair, requires you run a three-color deck).
    • Occasionally used for actual cards, such as "Blightning" and "Deadapult".
  • The Infernoids in Yu-Gi-Oh!, Fiend Type monsters that look like robots, the name combining "Infernal" and "Android".

Video Games

  • Diablo II
    • The strategy guides and developer comments refer to the Amazon character as a "spearazon" or a "bowazon", depending on which skill tree the player specializes in.
    • There's also a Paladin build focused on Holy Freeze and Zealot, called Freezealot.
  • World of Warcraft also has the Healadin and Retadin paladin builds.
  • Pokémon
    • Most Pokémon names are Portmanteaus. Example: Treecko = tree + gecko.
    • "Pokémon" is in itself a Portmanteau. (Pocket + Monsters)
  • The game Worms 4: Mayhem uses poxels. Poxel is a portmanteau of polygon and voxel, which is a portmanteau of volume and pixel, which is a portmanteau of picture and element. In other words, it's a polygon volume picture element.
  • The Gymnatorium from Backyard Basketball is a portmanteau of gymnasium and auditorium.
  • Samurai Shodown is a sort of half-example: "shodown" is meant to be a combination of "showdown" and "shogun," but the end result is phonetically identical to one of the words that make it up.
  • Somari is what you get when you combine Sonic the Hedgehog and Mario.
  • What happens when you take the setting of Dissidia Final Fantasy to the Nintendo 3DS, and then you shift the genre from a Fighting Game to a Rhythm Game? You get "Theatre + Rhythm", both words blended into the title of the new game: Theatrhythm Final Fantasy.
  • Game developer Westone Bit Entertainment (of Wonder Boy fame) took its name from a combination of its two founding members' surnames: Ryuichi Nishizawa (Nishi = West) and Michishito Ishizuka (Ishi = Stone).
  • Huxter in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel gave himself the title of "Merif" as a mixture of mayor and sheriff. It sounded better in his head.

Web Animation

  • Reynaldo the Assassin gives us "dadsassin" (a dad who is an assassin) and "swordsassin" (an assassin with a sword).
  • The A.I. used by Freelancers in Red vs. Blue are named by a portmanteau of the A.I.'s Greek letter designation and their respective agent's real name. For instance, Omega + Allison = O'Malley.
  • The characters in Homestar Runner use these so much and so casually, they're practically part of the local dialect. The Strong Bad Email "dictionary" even hangs a lampshade on this fact by creating a dictionary of Strong Badian English, introducing several new portmanteaus in the process. Their wiki has a list. And the mash-ups of various phrases, such as: "All contestants will receive a year's supply of our home game."
  • Teen Girl Squad: "Grood. I mean good. And great. Great and good."

Web Comics

Tagon: Sergeant Schlock used that information to "eliminate" the doctor responsible for the project and... "dispose" of the body.
Schlock: Ennesby gave me a shorter word to say all that, sir. "Assassineated".

Utahraptor: It's kind of a frothy mixture of nostalgia and regret, right?
T-Rex: Exactly!

Web Original

Western Animation

"If you don't like violence, why did you become a barbarian?"
"I didn't know what the word meant. I thought it was a librarian who also cut hair."

  1. "No plot, no resolution, no meaning"
  2. "Stop it, my ass hurts!"
  3. Digimon are the champions.