Squicky, Sweird, and Slangilicious Words We Use Everyday (and Some That Shouldn’t Exist)

The other day, my friend Julie Glover wrote a post that included the newish word ginormous, and it made me think about blended words that we use everyday without realizing that someone made them up and used them until they caught on. The English language is a crazy, evolving thing. We use portmanteau words all the time.

Diana Beebe's Blog, Diana Beebe, science fiction, middle grade fantasy, fantasy, Mermaids Don't Do Windows
created on wordle.net

According to wikipedia, “The word comes from the English portmanteau luggage (a piece of luggage with two compartments), itself derived from the French porter (to carry) and manteau (coat), which is a false friend of the French compound word porte-manteau meaning coat rack.”

The online version of Encyclopedia Britannica, gives Lewis Carroll credit for coining the word “portmanteau” to describe the words he created in Through the Looking-Glass and “Jabberywocky.” This article at World Wide Words expands on Carroll’s creativity, as well as all the ways we blend words to find new words all the time.

People have been blending words for as long as language has existed.

Here are some portmanteau words that we use in English without thinking about their origins:

  • blog—web and log (maybe that one’s obvious)
  • brunch—breakfast and lunch
  • cankle—calf and ankle
  • contrail—condensation and trail (airplane trail)
  • cyborg—cybernetic and organism
  • druthers—would (‘d) and rather
  • grungy—grunt and dingy
  • podcast—iPod and broadcast
  • prissy—prim and sissy
  • motel—motor and hotel
  • Rolodex—rolling index
  • smog—smoke and fog
  • spork—spoon and fork utensil
  • taxicab—taximeter and cabriolet
  • vlog—video and log

These are newer words:

  • absitively—absolutely and positively (also: absotively)
  • brony—brother and pony (usually attributed to boys, teens, and men who find special humor in My Little Pony)
  • emoticon—emotion and icon
  • fantabulous—fantastic and fabulous (one of my favorites)
  • ginormous—giant and enormous
  • quillow—quilt and pillow (I got one of these clever quilts folded into a pillow for Christmas once)
  • Spanglish—English and Spanish (maybe not that new)
  • snuba—snorkel and scuba
  • tankini—tank top and bikini
  • turducken—A dish with turkey, duck, chicken combination (smaller birds inserted into the larger) for roasting.

Here’s one that Bluebonnet made up and is one of my personal favorites: sweird (from so weird or super weird).

Wiktionary.org has a fantabulously ginormous list of blended words. Click here to see it. You might be surprised to see how many words are really blended words.

The list also includes a ridiculous number of slangilicious creations. Some probably shouldn’t have ever been coined (and may scar you for life).

These are my new favorites that I’ve never heard before:

  • randumb—random and dumb (a non sequitur that is silly or stupid or foolish)
  • spamdalism—spam and vandalism (spammy ads clogging up a web page)
  • squicky—squeamish and icky

What blended words surprised you? Have you made up blended words? Share some new ones and their meanings.


14 comments on… “Squicky, Sweird, and Slangilicious Words We Use Everyday (and Some That Shouldn’t Exist)”

  1. Love this, Diana! I wasn’t aware of the origin of a few of these portmanteaus. I have personally adopted “scread”–which I first heard from the show Fairly Legal. It’s “scan” and “read” put together, like when you sorta read and sorta scan something. Which I do a lot.

    • Diana Beebe

      Thanks, Julie! You inspired me. I haven’t heard “scread” before. What a great word!

  2. LOL. I’m not sure that ginormous and spanglish are “new”. I’ve heard them since I was little. But yes, there quite a few of them now.

    • Diana Beebe

      Very true, Ryan! I suppose I’m just hearing them used a lot more than usual. 🙂

  3. Hi Diana. The French are so concerned with English influencing the French language that they have an institute for preserving French language and culture. When miscreant young French people started using the term “e-mail” in polite company they quickly declared that the proper word for decent French people would be “coreale” or something like that. Most the French folks that I meet are still using “e-mail” so the French may be losing ground just a tad.

    • Diana Beebe

      Yes, the French have been fighting the language battle for a long time. I always laughed to see “blue jeans” and “t-shirts” when I took French a lot of years ago. The language preservation people made up “ordinateur” (if memory serves me correctly) because they didn’t want to use the new word “computer.”

      I think you’re being kind with “just a tad”–LOL. They won’t win this fight either, is my guess. 😀

      Thanks for stopping by, Jay!

  4. Totally giggling over Brony ^_^ I still can’t believe that’s a thing. The boys who collected back when I was still active in the community were called: pony collectors…same as the rest of us 😉

    • Diana Beebe

      LOL. Smart guys!

      I’ve seen some local bronies. One high school guy has a BRONY decal under a white boy pony. *shakes head*

  5. Pingback: Zonkeys, Zorses, and other Zebroids | Diana Beebe's Blog

  6. Pingback: J is for Jackalope | Author Diana Beebe

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with an *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

© 2012-2018 Author Diana Beebe - All Rights Reserved
Site Design by Memphis McKay | powered by techsurgeons
Any and all material on this blog, unless otherwise stated, are the work, intellectual material, and property of the sole creator of this blog, namely Diana Beebe.

%d bloggers like this: