Portmanteau words: brunch, smog and more

Image by Peter H from Pixabay

PORTMANTEAU is an English term that originates from the French words: porter (carry) and manteau (cloak). It literally refers to a large travelling case, usually made of leather.





A Portmanteau word is a blend of two words that creates another word with a new meaning. A popular example is brunch (a combination of the words breakfast and lunch). The author Charles L. Dodgson, who was known by his pseudonym “Lewis Carroll”, coined this term to refer to the words he invented, such as mimsy, a combination of “miserable and flimsy”.

Here is a series of portmanteau words used in the context of recent news headlines.


Britain + Exit. 

Don’t tune out yet: Britain’s Brexit odyssey is far from over
OpinionThe GuardianJan 31, 2020


Smoke + Fog. 

As government flounders, locals band together to fight smog

Bangkok PostJan 25, 2020

Malicious + Software

Malware levels fell at the end of 2019

ITProPortal18 hours ag


Situation + Comedy

The Good Place Became the Last Great Sitcom on Network TV.

TIMEJan 23, 2020

Al desko

This combination of words comes from eating “al fresco” (in the open air) and “at your desk” in the office.

Al desko eating raises workplace worries

The Canberra TimesJan 23, 2020

Man + Explaining. When a man explains something to a woman in a patronising way.

No escape from the minefield of mansplaining

The TimesJan 24, 2020


Screen + Teenager. Teenagers who spend too much time looking down at their screens.

TONIGHT: ‘Screenagers‘ explores technology’s teen impact

Jackson Hole News&GuideOct 23, 2019

Information + Entertainment. Information presented in an entertaining format. Also called soft news.

In-vehicle Infotainment Market Worth $54.8 Billion by 2027 …

PRNewswire (press release)Jan 27, 2020

Friend + Enemy. So, not a good friend at all, more like an enemy.

‘Morbius’ trailer gives us first, horrific look of Spider-Man frenemy

The Star OnlineJan 13, 2020

Work + Alcoholic. Addicted to work.

Workaholic Epidemic: 4 In 10 Adults Just ‘Can’t Stop’ Working

Study FindsJan 6, 2020


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