Today's Word of the Day is auto-biographical
1a : causing or tending to cause sleep b : tending to dull awareness or alertness
2 : of, relating to, or marked by sleepiness or lethargy
Example: The warmth of the fireplace combined with a hearty lunch to have a soporific effect on the writer.
The relevance of the illustration is that the Writers and Polishers, like many youngsters, first encountered this word in Beatrix Potter's The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies, which if you care to, you may enjoy all over again at The Free Library, here.
We at Write and Polish Central were perusing our Twitterfeed today (@WriteandPolish), and noticed followee @SimonPegg use the word "hangry," meaning the quality of being both hungry and angry at the same time (and, the latter *due to* the former). This word, formed out of parts of two others, and so taking on the meaning of both, has come to our attention several times in recent weeks. Mr. W&P has been fingered as one who is susceptible to this malady!
The practice of morphing two words into a single new word is called, officially and, we believe, rather dully, as a "blend." We much prefer the more widely known descriptor, "portmanteau." Author Lewis Carroll coined the term in Through The Looking Glass, as Humpty Dumpty explains to Alice in "Jabberwocky," "Well, 'slithy' means 'lithe and slimy'. 'Lithe is the same word as 'active'. You see, it's like a portmanteau - there are two meanings packed into one word." Similar Carroll creations include 'chortle' (built from 'chuckle' and 'snort') and 'galumph' ('gallop' + 'triumph').
'Portmanteau,' itself, is a portmanteau, from the French verb, to carry, 'porter' and noun, cloak, 'manteau.'
While 'hangry' has yet to become an accepted word on its own, many other portmanteau words have done so:
avionics (aviation + electronics), because (by + cause), brunch (breakfast + lunch), camcorder (camera + recorder), dumbfound (dumb + confound), email (electronic + mail), good-bye (God + be [with] + ye), hassle (haggle + tussle), infomercial (information + commercial), infotainment (information + entertainment), intercom (internal + communication), Internet (international + network), motorcade (motor + cavalcade), sitcom (situation + comedy), spork (spoon + fork)... anything + -verse...and on and on!
As you can see, many, but far from all, of these words came into being as a result of technology. Or, more specifically, they were not all born out of the technology of the last 20-30 years. Technological innovation, whose result is generally new things and processes and ideas, usually means that new words must be created to deal with all that newness. Many will be created whole-cloth. But others will be born from combining two pre-existing terms. One can imagine the invention of 'motorcade,' dated by the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) to 1913, in response to a technological evolution of nearly a century ago.
A much newer iteration of the creation of portmanteau words is the blending of the names of individuals (celebrities or fictional characters, usually) into a single proper name that refers to the couple as a single entity -- Bennifer (Ben [Affleck] + Jennifer [Lopez]), Brangelina (Brad [Pitt] + Angelina [Jolie]), Skate (Lost's Sawyer + Kate) or Lilden (Lily + Holden from As The World Turns).
Write and Polish Bloggers
Christie Manussier, principal Writer and Polisher, is the usual news reporter.
All Abbreviation Academic Acronym Adjective Adverb Anachronism Anagram Apostrophe Application Article Banished Biography Blend B.N.I. Boldface Brochure Bunnies Business Business Plan Capitalization Children's Literature Christmas Church Comma Common Mistakes Construction Contact Management Content Contest Cross-sell Databse Differentiators Donation Double Negative E-mail Entertainment Etymology Event Coordination File Format First Reference Flyer Fundraiser Giggles Gold Star Grammar Day Grant Proposal Haiku Health Care Homophones Hyphen Idiom Images Italics Law Firm Magazine Manual Marketing Maternity Leave Metaphor Myth News & Announcements Newsletter Non Profit Non-profit Noun Numbers Of Snakes And Presidents Parts Of Speech P.D.F. Plural Poetry Portmanteau Poster Powerpoint P.R. Preposition Press Release Projects Pronoun Proofreading & Editing Punctuation Quotation Marks Quotes Real Estate Recommended Reading Reflexive Research Resources Restaurant Retail R.F.P. R.I.P. Shakespeare Slideshow Social Media Spelling Style Manual Synonyms Syntax Template Tenses Testimonial Thesaurus Training Manual Translation Travel Twitter Underlining Verb Video Vocabulary Website Why The World Needs More Proofreaders Winter Word Of The Day Writers Writing Tip