Wordsmith.org: the magic of words


About | Media | Search | Contact  


Today's Word

Yesterday's Word



Jun 5, 2022
This week’s theme
Portmanteaux (blend words)

This week’s words

How popular are they?
Relative usage over time

AWADmail archives

Like what you see here?
Send a gift subscription

Next week’s theme
British streets that became words
Bookmark and Share Facebook Twitter Digg MySpace Bookmark and Share

AWADmail Issue 1040

A Compendium of Feedback on the Words in A.Word.A.Day and Other Tidbits about Words and Language

Sponsor's Message: “Yes, it is!” This teen on a bicycle skids right in front of me on lower Thames, a rascally twinkle in his eye. He looks down at my OLD’S COOL t-shirt, snickers, and then looks back up at me dead in the eye. He shakes his headful of fusilli curls, contemptuously: “No, it isn’t.” Our old-school heavy-duty 100% cotton truth fits dads and grads to a tee. Polos and rugbys too. A fantastic gift! Shop Now.

From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Subject: Portmanteaux

In this week’s theme I invited readers to submit their portmanteaux, words coined by blending two or more words. Here’s a selection.

Putinvasion: An undeclared war.
-Trevor Jackson Nanaimo, Canada (jawdbc gmail.com)

I suffer from Raynaud’s disease and especially during winter my hands get cold and numb. Hence, I often ask my husband to warm my hands by making a handwich.
-Maja-Stine Foged, Vejle, Denmark (majafoged hotmail.com)

Snaux: Fake snow. Commercial artificial snow flakes or powder for use in craft and display projects.
-Beth Tuttle, St. Louis, Missouri (macbef swbell.net)

Here’s one we use in my family, suffricient (suffer + sufficient), to mean “enough suffering”.
-Mónica Ruiz, Aguascalientes, Mexico (monirumu gmail.com)

A friend coined Ds. (pronounced dizz) from Dr. and Ms. for a female doctor (in her case, a PhD).
-Liza Levy, Paris, Kentucky (sparkydoc3.14159 gmail.com)

I’ve always liked innuendiary: a comment thrown into a conversation to make it explode.
-Glenn Glazer, Felton, California (glenn.glazer gmail.com)

My husband likes to lie in bed in the evening to watch TV with his eyes closed. He calls it listwatchening because he’s watching by listening.
-Linda Washington, Big Bear City, California (lwash2 hotmail.com)

I use the term carcolepsy (car + narcolepsy) for those who quickly fall asleep as car passengers (not drivers!)
-Martha Brown, Santa Cruz, California (mtbrown17 gmail.com)

Eight years ago my late husband, Bruce Hiscock and I (Helen Dickerson) were married. This brought about many giggles as we invented ways to combine our last names. We, of course, left our last names unchanged. However, because we were traveling a lot for ski trips and bike trips, Bruce suggested we call ourselves The Stickershocks.
-Helen Dickerson, Poughkeepsie, New York (helen_dickerson hotmail.com)

Testilying: Testifying under oath.
-Michael Strong, Santa Cruz, California (mastrong ucsc.edu)

Please No Tresspooping
I recently saw this sign in a neighbor’s lawn: Please No Tresspooping.
-Dennis Berry, Sanibel, Florida (denniswayneberry yahoo.com)

Engrage: To stimulate use by triggering rage. When I was in television the local news mandate was: If it bleeds, it leads. In social media the algos “enrage to engage”. So, to engage users on social, the algos bend toward enragement. “My twitter feed engrages me every time I open the app, but I still open the #* %* app!”
-Cyril E. Vetter, Baton Rouge, Louisiana (cevetter hotmail.com)

Tirate, a blend of tired and irate: angry because exhausted. Similar to the widely used hangry (hungry and angry).
-Barbara Hoffman, New York, New York (bhoffman cov.com)

Momologue, an extended monologue directed at and for the entertainment of one’s mother. There came a time when I visited my elderly mother, over 100, and we reached a new stage. She no longer entered into conversation. I kept chirping along nonetheless -- about family events, her friends, etc. -- to fill the void.
-Jean Lambert, West Newbury, Massachusetts (j-lambert comcast.net)

As I watch a baby crow and its parents in our big trees and on our roof and decks, mapa is my word for the parent who is feeding the young one. Since both parents look after the fledglings, it could be either one.
-Denise Nereida, Vancouver, Canada (nereidadenise191 gmail.com)

In my novel Personal Days (2008), a character talks about getting a deprotion, an ostensible promotion at work that “shares most of the hallmarks of a demotion”. My editor actually coined the phrase; alas, it did not catch on.
-Ed Park, New York, New York (thedizzies gmail.com)

Twalk (walk + talk): It’s what I do with friends instead of meeting for coffee/lunch, etc.
-Anne Kohlbry, Olympia, Washington (apkohlbry hotmail.com)

I had a writer friend whose husband would pick her up from our writers’ group and we’d say her hUber was coming.
-Karol Ruth Silverstein, West Hollywood, California (karolinas aol.com)

Chaucerbury Tales.
-Gail Reynolds, Dade City, Florida (reynolds9 fastmail.com)

Nostesia (nostalgia + amnesia): Remembering only the good stuff (or forgetting all the bad).
-Ginny Wallace, Jefferson City, Missouri (ginny.k.wallace gmail.com)

I am an online teacher and have the pleasure to teach a supersmart Chinese student named Amber. We did some lessons about some superstitions from around the world. She was five at the time. She said they were stupidstitions.
-Eunice Walker, Chesterfield, UK (eunicewalker mac.com)

Aphartheid: Forced isolation of an individual because of gas.
-John Pacheco, Gardner, Massachusetts (j_pacheco mwcc.mass.edu)

Smogation: Smog (already a blend) + vacation. It was coined back in Beijing in Dec 2016 when the smog levels were high so many schools were closed. Therefore, teachers were given an unexpected vacation but could not travel... a type of staycation? Caused by smog... hence smogation.
-Andy J. McIntosh, Suzhou, China (ajmci hotmail.com)

My husband combined malady and calamity to create malamity, a disastrous illness, such as when you get sick at a really inconvenient time or place. Example: “His stomach flu on safari was a malamity.”
-Joan Reisman-Brill, New York, New York (jreismanbrill gmail.com)

Ubiquidipity: When something totally unique that you came across serendipitously suddenly becomes ubiquitous.
-Amelia de Bie, Melbourne, Australia (amde0025 gmail.com)

One portmanteau I use all the time is queasy: quick + easy. And I take issue with any pushback of “But it is already a word with a radically different meaning.”
My version of queasy is great because it’s meta: the portmanteau itself is an instance of making things quick and easy -- who wants to use three words and four syllables to say something that could be expressed in one two-syllable word?
-Scott Jordan, Des Moines, Washington (scojo78 gmail.com)

Floordrobe (floor + wardrobe), a convenient place to keep clothes instead of hanging them up properly. Especially useful during prolonged change of season, when (for example) it’s too easy to put winter clothes away and then find that warmer summer days have not, after all, arrived.
-Griselda Mussett, Kent, UK (griseldacmussett gmail.com)

Our four-year-old came up with hornk (honk the horn). That was 53 years ago, and it’s been in our family vocabulary ever since. Many thanks for your word-er-ful lessons. (I had to hyphenate there, as my spell check program is insistent).
-Marilyn Hartman, Chapel Hill, North Carolina (marilynhartman1066 gmail.com)

A board member was addressing recruitment/retention. Instead of wasting any time on the matter, they addressed it as an issue of recrution.
-Paula Budnick, Wynnewood, Pennsylvania (pbudnick15 gmail.com)

When I was babysitting my three-year-old niece, she brought her shoes to me and asked if they were crockeyed. I think her wonderful mind merged crooked and cockeyed. She’s 64 now and it still makes me smile.
-Penni Fromm, Boca Raton, Florida (pennifromm yahoo.com)

I’m a Seattle native, living abroad in Barcelona! My portmanteaux is circumbobulate (discombobulate + circumnavigate). We travel a lot, and there’s a moment when you’re completely lost in a foreign city and you try to navigate to a destination, but you’re just going in circles.
-Denise Jones, Barcelona, Spain (dj.jonestown gmail.com)

Anglitarian: A word I came up with to describe my church, which was founded in Boston by Anglicans during colonial times, but which has subsequently become Christian Unitarian in affiliation.
-Ray Hardin, Boston, Massachusetts (xray73 gmail.com)

Adamentia (adamant + dementia): The state of being insistently incorrect when describing a historical event. Commonly used by spouses.
-Lisa Thors, Brookline, Massachusetts (lisathors comcast.net)

My son-in-law, James Hyde, accidentally combined devious and deceitful into deceivious several years ago. This new word quickly became a staple in my bag of useful words, inasmuch as the meaning is instantly grasped.
-William C. Zoller, Sarasota, Florida (zozz1 mac.com)

Right on cue there are national stories about President Biden and Jill Biden fexting or fighting/arguing via text messages. Googling the word shows that the word exists with several different meanings which would not be suitable for a family-friendly website. However, I believe as Jill Biden and the President use the word, it is a new coining.
-Abraham Marcus, New York, New York (acmarcus gmail.com)

My favorite is the Japanese loanword karaoke because of the circuitous route the word has taken to be formed of Japanese and English parts. Kara means empty, as in karate (empty hand). Oke is a shortened form of ookesutora, a transliteration of English orchestra, an English loan word in Japanese. So that part of karaoke has crossed the Pacific from the US to Japan and back again.
I lived in Japan as a translator in the 70s when karaoke was just becoming popular, and sometimes inflicted my rendition of Japanese folk songs on unsuspecting patrons at izakaya in Tokyo.
-F. Avery Bishop, Redmond Washington (fabishop outlook.com)

My daughter came up with decoramental for decorative and ornamental. She used it to describe a balcony inside our local Olive Garden restaurant that contained a fancy little table and chairs that could not possibly be used by customers. It also works as a term for “over-decorated to the point of insanity”.
-Janet Wooters Popish, Grand Junction, Colorado (jcwpopish yahoo.com)

Blursing (blessing + curse). I use it when there is a gift that comes with a challenge or an event that has both positive and negative aspects. Several years after the death of my parents, my siblings and I were contacted by a company that searches for unclaimed funds and learned that there was a large amount of money in some stocks we did not know about. We were delighted and excited about the blessing of extra money. Of course, the company took its share of the funds for finding the funds and then the Internal Revenue Service decided that a significant amount of the funds were due the government. We had to employ a tax attorney to help with the discrepancy and after many letters and anxiety, we each received a tiny fraction of the funds and the IRS now scrutinizes everything we do. That was a true blursing.
-Julia Zanon, Denver, Colorado (juliazanon comcast.net)

I have NOT come up with this word. But I love it so much -- and my cats Luna and Guinness do, too -- that I wanted to be sure you know about it. Incapussitated is a combination of “incapacitated” and “puss” and refers to your inability to move when a cat has settled on your lap. “I told my husband, ‘You’ll have to answer the door, please. I’m incapussitated.’”
-Loretta Carlson, Bear, Delaware (lscarlson mac.com)

From: Ed Novak (efxnovak gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--coopetition

I coached a robotics team in Dean Kamen’s FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) robotics competition and we won the Coopetition Award one year. I was more proud than if we had won the whole competition!

Ed Novak, Lynchburg, Virginia

Email of the Week -- Brought to you buy OLD’S COOL -- Look 10 lbs smarter.

From: Kiko Denzer (handprint cmug.com)
Subject: coopetition

I recently drove a vanload of teenagers to my first Ultimate Frisbee tournament. In my alternative college, Ultimate was the only team sport on the menu -- but I never played, and always thought it was just soccer with a disc.


As a kid, I played ice hockey, and raced whitewater slalom in college, but unlike almost any other organized sport I know, Ultimate really is about joy and comradeship -- what they call “The Spirit of the Game”.

Players referee their own disputes; protocols include listening to your opponent and looking for a win/win solution. All abide by the idea that fairness and fun are more important than winning or losing: no bending of rules to win a point; no politicization of calls; for the game to go on, players have to agree. At the end, there’s a “spirit circle” where all sit down together, review the game, and call out highlights of play and sportsmanship on both sides. Players give each other goofy tokens, or spirit gifts that get passed around with laughter and smiles. There’s no scoreboard, so when I got to the sidelines and asked “who’s ahead?” even the coaches weren’t keeping tabs, and the players were focused on throwing, catching, running, and diving (for some really spectacular grabs!) Three kids from other teams and towns joined in pretty much seamlessly. Wow.

Kiko Denzer, Blodgett, Oregon

From: Richard M (uncle.ricky54 gmail.com)
Subject: portmanteaux

In the 1966 Cold War comedy The Russians Are Coming, the Russians are Coming, Alan Arkin plays Lt. Rozanov, whose first language is not English, and uses both “misfortunately” and “sinceriously” in scenes with “Whitaker Walt” (Carl Reiner). I’ve especially used the latter ever since.

Richard Mann, Hampton Roads, Virginia

Frenemies - Takes One to Know One
From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: frenemy and glamazon

Who can forget, in one of the pre-2016 election GOP debates, Trump disparaging Ted Cruz’s wife’s looks, coming just short of calling her “ugly”? Cruz took umbrage, reacting as the faux gallant hubby with “How dare you insult my beautiful wife, Heidi?” After Trump won the election, Cruz seemingly buried the hatchet, falling in lockstep with his (Trump’s) other loyal frenemies. Even post-Jan. 6 insurrection, Cruz initially admonished Trump on the Senate floor, but soon after, had a change of heart, joining the Big Lie conspiracy crowd.

Glam Queen
Who’d of thunk it? That our planet’s most famous glam queen, the statuesque and outrageous RuPaul had her own signature unisex fragrance, Glamazon? The creator and host of the reality TV show “RuPaul’s Drag Race”, and winner of four Primetime Emmy Awards, once asserted, “We are born naked, and the rest is drag!”

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California


This week’s theme: Portmanteaux (blend words)
1. Frenemy
2. Glamp
3. Insinuend
4. Coopetition
5. Glamazon
= 1. Men’s fake bond
2. Camp with luxuries
3. Demonized opinion
4. Ethos-type agreement
5. Tall strong woman
     This week’s theme: portmanteaux (or blend words)
1. Frenemy
2. Glamp
3. Insinuendo
4. Coopetition
5. Glamazon
= 1. foe backed me
2. R&R on song--heated tent, grill
3. sly hint
4. RAW opponents unite
5. “Maximum” woman oozed poise
     This week’s theme: Portmanteaux (blend words)
1. Frenemy
2. Glamp
3. Insinuendo
4. Coopetition
5. Glamazon
= 1. Meet sympathizer
2. Fop adores luxe camping tent
3. Hint maligns
4. Union
5. Endowed woman -- best looker
-Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com) -Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com) -Julian Lofts, Auckland, New Zealand (jalofts xtra.co.nz)

Make your own anagrams and animations.



“Do you like him?” “Hell, no! It’s pretence.”
“That’s dissembling.” “But in my defence,
As my frenemy he
May just elevate me.”
“Now the grovelling and fawning make sense.”
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

Our senators are, you do see,
Collegial by tacit decree.
So, Schumer must schmooze
With frenemy Cruz.
Strange bedfellows senators be.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

My friends I keep close -- yes, you bet!
My frenemies still closer yet.
I take Sun Tzu’s advice --
Though my quote’s not precise,
His wisdom I’ll never forget.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

“Over Cuba you’ll have no hegemony,”
To Khrushchev said President Kennedy.
“And to missiles -- no dice!
But you seem very nice;
Can I call you sometimes, as a frenemy?”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


“I prefer to sleep rough,” said the tramp,
“Open air with the moon for a lamp;
But, just for a break,
Now and then I’ll forsake
The wilds for a luxury glamp.”
-Duncan Howarth, Maidstone, UK (duncanhowarth aol.com)

“Mother Nature? Oh, yes, she’s a vamp!
Her allure once seduced me to camp.
But that fateful first date,
Left me feeling love/hate,
Until luxury loomed. Now I glamp.”
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

“You said we were going to glamp,”
says she, “but it’s cold here, and damp.
If you want me to stay,
I’m sorry to say
That this site you will need to revamp!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

“Let’s rough it,” her boyfriend suggested.
“But, sweetheart,” she strongly protested,
“I’d much rather glamp
Than ever go camp
In tents all mosquito-infested.”
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Why shiver, eat beans, and be damp?
Don’t rough it; instead, you could glamp!
A grilled steak is quite nice
With some champagne on ice;
In your tent, have a nubile tramp.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


“You’re so skilled in the sword-play of Kendo,
Your thrusts building up to crescendo --
The best climax in Asia,”
Or so said the geisha,
Perhaps with some insinuendo.
-Duncan Howarth, Maidstone, UK (duncanhowarth aol.com)

“She’s adept at provoking a spat.
Has her insinuendos down pat.
We’re all targets. Her snarks,
And her cutting remarks ...
She’s the number one neighbourhood cat.”
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

Insinuendos, no matter how tart,
Should never be taken to heart.
They’re snide little slurs
Made by envious curs
Saying limericks aren’t great art.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

“Unless I perhaps misconstrue
your remark, it’s completely undue.
This insinuendo,”
says she, “means the end o’
our friendship. I bid you adieu!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

She showed her disgust with a sneer.
Her insinuendo was clear.
He easily guessed
She wasn’t impressed --
“Let’s eat somewhere else then, my dear.”
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

My poor daddy was sad all his life --
He suffered with scorn from his wife
It reached its crescendos
With her insinuendos
That cut the poor guy like a knife!
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

What started as insinuendo
Has built rapidly to a crescendo.
For psychologists gush
That your brain turns to mush
Playing video games by Nintendo.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


Election is over. Who won?
Congressional session’s begun.
‘Twould take a magician
for coopetition
to function. Aren’t politics fun!
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

His rival approached him and said,
“Why don’t we join forces instead?
I have a suspicion
That coopetition
Means both of us could get ahead.”
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Said Satan to Yahweh, “Perdition
Could make a great coopetition.
Are they sinning with glee?
Why, just send ‘em to me!
Here it’s hotter than nuclear fission.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


“Glamazonian women are best.
I choose them and leave you with the rest.
Tall and poised, with great style.
All combine to beguile ...
Am I man enough, though? That’s the test.”
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

The girl was full-figured and tall.
No gowns seemed to fit her at all.
This clever young glamazon,
putting pajamas on,
set a new style at the ball.
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

A glamazon stunning and tall
Impressed a young suitor named Paul.
I’m sad to report
Since he was so short
That gal never saw him at all.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Those elegant women who win
Miss America trophies: they’re thin,
They’re glamazons: chic
They’re tall and they’re sleek
Not a club that I’ve ever been in!
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

She stood statuesque six foot one.
Her beauty was one that could stun.
Although a great glamazon,
In high pitch did yammer on,
So number of boyfriends was none.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“From Egypt to Persia and Babylon,
With this hat I’ll be seen as a glamazon,”
Nefertiti declared.
So she bought it, and fared
Rather well, for she sure had her dazzle on.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


“Give your money to Jesus before insinuendo ye gullible sheep!” shouted the preacher at the tent meeting.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

To get repairs made in her apartment, she had signed a coopetition to management.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

His girlfriend ordered all her beauty supplies online, so he called her his little glamazon.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

A Sign of the Times
From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: A Sign of the Times

In the wake of the horrific slaughter of 4th and 5th graders and their teachers in Uvalde, TX, our schools, instead of being sanctuaries of learning, have devolved into danger zones, where innocent kids can become the targets of gun-toting attackers, many not much older than the victims. It could be argued that the ‘50s in America were the best of times. The 2020s, possibly the worst.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

What can be added to the happiness of a man who is in health, out of debt, and has a clear conscience? -Adam Smith, economist (5 Jun 1723-1790)

We need your help

Help us continue to spread the magic of words to readers everywhere


Subscriber Services
Awards | Stats | Links | Privacy Policy
Contribute | Advertise

© 1994-2023 Wordsmith