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Today's Word



May 29, 2017
This week’s theme
Portmanteau (blend words)

This week’s words

Texarkana (Texas + Arkansas)
Texarkana (Texas + Arkansas)

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with Anu Garg

In a recent issue of the National Geographic magazine I came across this sentence:

“A few gravel streets run past a school, church, post office, supermarket, hardware store, health clinic, gas station, washateria, ...”

“Whoa!” I thought. “What’s a washateria?” I had never seen this word, yet the writer used it without a gloss, indicating it’s a common word. Well, I was able to figure out its meaning from the spelling and the context. I guessed it must be a blend of wash + cafeteria, meaning a self-serve laundry or a laundromat (which is also a blend: launder + automatic) and that’s what it is.

Of the many ways to create a new word, making a blend is the favorite of marketers (camcorder: camera + recorder) and for good reason: it makes it easy to figure out what a product is.

This week we’ll see five words coined by blending other words. These words are also known as portmanteau.



verb tr.: To make a product or service available widely, but adapted for local markets.

A blend of global and localize. Earliest documented use: 1989.

“Communications have also been glocalized. Facebook, the global power on the rise, is an expression of this.”
Uri Savir; Glocalization; Jerusalem Post (Israel); Feb 24, 2012.

We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people. -John F. Kennedy, 35th US president (29 May 1917-1963)

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