Do you know what a portmanteau is? If you said suitcase, you are correct, but the word also has another meaning. Lewis Carroll in Through the Looking Glass explains that his word “slithy” is a combination of slimy and lithe, like a portmanteau it is two meanings packed into one word. Portmanteau is a fancy way of saying word mash-up. (Fun fact: Carroll also coined the term snark, combining snide and remark, a wildly popular term in this heated political climate.) Words like brunch and smog have been part of our vernacular for decades, but with technology rapidly taking over our lives, our lexicon is exploding with new word mash ups. You don’t participate in an online seminar, you participate in a webinar. An internet broadcast is a webcast. It would seem “web” is quite conducive to the mash-up.
The academic elite are known as the literati, celebrities, the glitterati, so naturally it’s just a short leap to the “twitterati” like Charlie Sheen and Lady Gaga. There is also now, thanks Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, the digerati, not quite as euphonious but the meaning is clear. If you have good internet manners, you possess netiquette. Sexting, for example, would not be good netiquette. Sexting, as Tiger Woods and Brett Favre are well aware, however, is an excellent example of a sexcapade. The term is new but the trick is as old as the hills. Any co-ed knows if you return to your dorm and there a towel or necktie on the door knob, your roommate needs some, eh hem, privacy. You’ve been sexiled. You’re best just to have a beer with a buddy and watch a game, you know, a bromance.
Did you miss lunch because of a work meeting and now you are snippy? You’re hangry. A spork claims to be both a spoon and a fork when actually it’s neither. A more accurate descriptor would be a foon, that at least sounds useless. In any event you can’t eat your croissandwich with it. And don’t get me started with dogs. Why buy just a lab or poodle when you can have both. The animal kingdom doesn’t stop there. A grolar bear is born when our arctic friends mate with a grizzly. A buffalo and a cow make a beefalo. Can you guess the parents of a wallaroo? Children have spent hours hunting for the elusive jackalope, the horned rabbit that roams the woods of the great northwest. And viewer of the Syfy channel know all too well that a sharktopus exists and is prone to attacking cruise ships and, depending on the special effects budget, low flying planes.
Well, I’m off to the movies. I don’t know if I will see a dramedy or a romcom, I just hope it’s not craptastic.