Manecdotes and brobituaries

Having stumbled into the world of playful portmanteau formation via several portmansnow words, I was reminded of quotes from and references to Daniel Maurer’s recent book Brocabulary. Back in September, Alex Beam began his Boston Globe column on the book this way:

Daniel Maurer, author of “Brocabulary: The New Man-i-festo of Dude Talk” is merchandising the words “brobituary” and “manecdote.”

“Brobituary” is the all-too-apropos term for the valedictory speeches a man hears at his wedding. Full of praise and good feeling, they signal that the portion of his life worth living has come to an end.

A manecdote is a story that emphasizes one’s manliness. Like the time I talked about repairing the garage door. Which I still haven’t done.

The HarperCollins site for the book is entertaining; it even has a video illustrating six playful portmanteau words, among them breastimate (breast + estimate), masturdate (masturbate + date), and blowjobligation (blowjob + obligation). The text even has a couple of portmanteaus that aren’t off-color (guydol = guy + idol, dudescussion = dude + discussion). But the book is mostly a frat-house riff on ostentatiously playful nonce-words for “women as objects, humorous bodily functions, and drinking with the guys” (as one reviewer put it); there is, of course, no scholarship, and not even an index.

The spirit of the book is conveyed well by the text supplied by the publisher (on

Product Description
Bro-cab-u-lary (n.): A revolutionary new lexicon for bonding with your bros

Put down your BlackBerry, you PDA-hole, and cancel that masturdate it’s time for Brocabulary: a bawdy new dicktionary. This crucial addition to your guybrary will put you in the testosterzone, whether you’re being fandiloquent at the game or barticulating during a fargone-versation. Find out how to:

  • Define your stripping point (the precise number of Jäger shots that make a woman want to get naked with you).
  • Elect yourself the next Abraham Drinkin’ and make an Inebriation Proclamation (“Four whores and seven beers ago . . .”).

Stop brocrastinating! It’s time to become everyone’s guydol by leaving your mark on dudescussions for generations to come.

About the Author
Daniel Maurer is a manthropologist and an editor of New York magazine’s award-winning food and nightlife blog Grub Street. His writing has appeared in the New York Times,, McSweeney’s, and Metro. He lives in New York.

If you’re looking for something more measured, try the coverage of man- words by Mark Peters in the Boston Globe or the entry on them in “Among The New Words”, by Glowka et al., American Speech, vol. 82 (2007), no. 3, p. 284. Or check out the entries in Peters’s Wordlustitude blog and Grant Barrett’s Double-Tongued Dictionary site (both of which have lots of stuff besides portmanteau words).

The appearance of dicktionary in the product description reminded me of another family of portmanteau words: cocktacular, cocktastic, cockalicious; dicktacular, dicktastic, dickalicious (cock / dick + spectacular / fantastic / delicious). All are in the Urban Dictionary. Some of them have uses related to sex, but mostly they seem to be generically positive adjectives (with cock or dick in there purely as attention-getters). 

Then there’s Dickalicious, an “edible penis arousal gel”, available in four flavors: banana, strawberry, raspberry, pina colada.

[With some misgivings, I’ve leaving this posting open for comments. Please don’t just offer more portmanteau words (especially man- or bro- words); there are lists of these all over the place, and new ones are constantly being invented. To appreciate the endlessness of such collections, see the discussions of -dar words on Language Log, here, here, and here.]

10 Responses to “Manecdotes and brobituaries”

  1. The Great Books « Arnold Zwicky’s Blog Says:

    […] Great Books By arnoldzwicky Since I mentioned Alex Beam in connection with the Brocabulary book, let me say a few words about his recent book A […]

  2. Inventory of portmanteau postings « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] AZBlog, 12/27/08: Manecdotes and brobituaries (link) […]

  3. Libfixes « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] (-ness and -ity, for instance, as here), but others are portmanteaus (some playful portmanteaus here), and others have the liberated elements that Quinion calls “combining forms” (but also […]

  4. Postings on playful word formation « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] 12/27/08: Manecdotes and brobituaries (link) various playful […]

  5. Inventory of libfix postings « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] 4. PRE bro- and man- (plus an assortment of portmanteaus) AZBlog 12/27/08: Manecdotes and brobituaries (link) […]

  6. Dubious portmanteaus « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] + romance), on the model of bromance (see “Manecdotes and brobituaries”, here), but pronounced like romance in Elmer Fuddese (so that the woman element is concealed in […]

  7. Isn’t it bromantic? « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] come up on this blog a number of times, starting with “Manecdotes and brobituaries” (here). (And was paired with male-odrama […]

  8. A little libfixfest « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] here), the bro- of bro-friendly,(see “Manecdotes and brobituaries”, here), and the long-standing combining form -ology/-ologist in […]

  9. man-bro-guy- « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] of this is new — linguabloggers have been on the case for several years now (my contribution here, with links to some other sources) — but it’s entertaining to have the men’s […]

  10. On the portmanteau watch « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] the phallic -tastics (and -taculars and others), here: The appearance of dicktionary in the product description reminded me of another family of […]

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