from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A large leather suitcase that opens into two hinged compartments.
  • noun A word formed by merging the sounds and meanings of two different words, as chortle, from chuckle and snort.
  • noun A word or part of a word that is analyzable as consisting of more than one morpheme without a clear boundary between them, as French du “of the” from de “of” and le “the.”
  • adjective General or generalized.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A case used in journeying for containing clothing: originally adapted to the saddle of a horseman, and therefore nearly cylindrical and of flexible make.
  • noun A trunk, especially a leather trunk of small size.
  • noun A hook or bracket on which to hang a garment, especially one which holds a coat or cloak securely for brushing.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A bag or case, usually of leather, for carrying wearing apparel, etc., on journeys.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A large travelling case usually made of leather, and opening into two equal sections.
  • noun Australia, dated A school bag; often shortened to port or school port
  • noun linguistics A portmanteau word.
  • adjective used only before a noun, of a word, etc. Made by combining two (or more) words, stories, etc., in the manner of a linguistic portmanteau.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a new word formed by joining two others and combining their meanings
  • noun a large travelling bag made of stiff leather


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[French portemanteau : porte-, from porter, to carry (from Old French; see port) + manteau, cloak (from Old French mantel, from Latin mantellum). N., senses 2a and b, in reference to Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking-Glass, in which Humpty Dumpty explains slithy and other made-up words in the poem “Jabberwocky” to Alice as follows: “Slithy” means “lithe and slimy” … You see it's like a portmanteau—there are two meanings packed up into one word.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From French portemanteau, literally porte ("carry") + manteau ("coat")

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Coined by Lewis Carroll in Through The Looking Glass to describe the words he coined in Jabberwocky.


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  • smoke + fog = smog

    hobo + robot = hobot

    December 3, 2006

  • I don't want anyone thinking were robosexuals, so if anyone asks, your just my debugger.

    December 6, 2006

  • Good news, everyone! I've taught the toaster to feel love!

    December 12, 2006

  • most overused word on wikipedia!

    December 23, 2006

  • I had a weird dream last night involving a fake Louisiana steamboat named the Portmanteau. I blame this site for invading my subconscious.

    December 26, 2006

  • Originally a suitcase opening up into two separate compartments. Lewis Carroll was the first to apply it to words, via Humpty Dumpty discussing slithy in Jabberwocky. Other nice examples are spork and chortle (the latter also due to Carroll).

    January 7, 2007

  • Still a productive method for word formation - latest example: digistraction ... something we all suffer from, more or less

    April 20, 2007

  • One hundred served!

    July 14, 2007

  • Hobot--I like the image. Imagine an unemployed robot coming to your door wanting to chop wood for his supper. That's time travel.

    July 14, 2007

  • Officially starting a tagging movement to use this word as a tag for appropriate words.

    October 21, 2007

  • Words like mimsy or chortle may be acceptable applications but most often this results in disgusting amalgamations such as "chillaxing" or that most irritating practice of combining the names of celebrity couples to form a word that somehow represents the relationship.

    February 24, 2009

  • I rather like "chillax". Reminds me of languid summer nights on my friend's rooftop listening to Marley and drinking gin&tonics.

    Feminazi is pretty deplorable. And way too broadly applied.

    Any opinions on infotain, imagineer or Blacksploitation?

    March 2, 2009

  • "There were several ways of answering it, and he gave considerable thought to each one during the watches of an agitated night. That on which, when morning came, he finally decided was to pitch some clothes into a portmanteau and jump on board a boat that was leaving that very afternoon for St. Augustine."

    - Edith Wharton, 'The Age of Innocence'.

    September 19, 2009

  • Watson used this word when he was talking about Holmes moving to their new Baker Street apartment and bringing all his things with him.

    May 29, 2012