Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Portmanteau

I'm a little late to the game, but there was an article by Ben Zimmer in last weekend's Wall Street Journal Review about the most overused, newly coined words of 2013. Words that made the list include cronut, doge (not of the Venetian variety), twerking, and selfies. I have a few problems with the words the author chose to include because I definitely have a friend who twerked pre-Miley Cyrus (I'm still friends with her despite it), and selfies have been part of the internet generation's lexicon since MySpace, digital cameras, and bathroom mirrors found each other circa 2005. It was a good article though, and the author and I both share "lean in" as our favorite buzzword of 2013, even though I admittedly misuse it 99% of the time (Note to self: taking a one-hour lunch break has nothing to do with leaning in.)

If anything, the article gives portmanteau, the word used to describe most of the buzzwords, its own buzzword status. The portmanteau, when not used to denote the original Louis Vuitton luggage piece, refers to the combination of two words and their definitions into one word. I started thinking about my favorite portmanteaux while I was on a run the other day (I dare my life to get more exciting), and I settled on fest because it was probably the first portmanteau to become a mainstay in my sartorial vocabulary. Runners up include groutfits and bloufits (a nod to my go-to colors for monochromatic lewks). I can't think of any more off the top of my head, so readers/my sisters, tell me your fav portmanteaux.

Image via Vogue

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