Words at Play

Portmanteau 2

A portmanteau is a suitcase that opens into two compartments.  In another sense a portmanteau is a word made up of two words joined together.  And finally, the word portmanteau is itself a portmanteau – being constructed from the French verb porter meaning “to carry,” and the French noun manteau meaning “cloak.”  The Oxford Dictionary blog lists, and defines, 11 words you probably don’t realize are portmanteaus – including “endorphin,” “napalm,” and “modem.”

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The Oxford Dictionary blog also lists some words that are used by the people who create the comic books and newspaper comic strips that we enjoy.  Though you may be a fan of the comics, you’re probably unfamiliar with the lingo used by their creators.

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Anacronyms, ananyms, backronyms, homophenes, and holophrases are examples of words for other words.  Mental Floss gives us 25 of them, their definitions, and examples of their use here.

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If you love words, you’ll love Lexicon Valley a podcast from Slate magazine.  It’s a doozy.

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Do you know that many animal names – including ape, buffalo, grouse, hound, and louse – are also verbs?  Richard Lederer at Verbivore lists 50 animal names and invites you to match them with their “beastly verbs.”

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Though I’ve never played them, The Word Blog lists what it believes to be the six best word games for your phone.

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