Short shot #21: portmanteau crop

I don’t collect all the  examples of portmanteau words that come past me, but I do try to note ones that strike me as having special interest (general discussion, with some examples, here and here).

The November 16 New Yorker has a couple: the Frillies for the Phillies, and the German Ostalgie.

Frillies is a combination of frilly and Phillies (the Philadelphia Phillies, the city’s major-league baseball team). The portmanteau comes to us from the New York Post, chortling over the New York Yankees’ win over the Phillies in this year’s World Series and mocking the Phillies with the feminine frilly, using a classic tactic in male-on-male insult, feminizing the object of the insult. (Ian Parker, “Perfect Paper”, p. 23)

Ostalgie, combining Ost ‘East” and Nostalgie ‘nostalgia’, is a neologism referring to “the pining of some East Germans for their simpler, cozier former lives under state socialism” (George Packer, “November 9th”, p. 22).

Now one that works in both French and English: fauxteur. According to Michael Quinion in World Wide Words #661, 10/17/09:

The Urban Dictionary defines it as “A filmmaker, usually a director, who makes cheesy, derivative, or unoriginal movies.” So it’s clearly a combination of “faux” and “auteur”. It has been around at least since 2005. The New York Times suggested in 2006 that it was a coinage of the Web site defamer.com.

Finally, one I heard on NPR a few days ago, though it seems it’s been around for a while: cyberchondria (cyber- + hypochondria). Lots of ghits for this one. Here’s a brief discussion from a NYT piece by John Markoff, “Microsoft Examines Causes of Cyberchondria” (11/24/08):

On Monday, Microsoft researchers published the results of a study of health-related Web searches on popular search engines as well as a survey of the company’s employees.

The study suggests that self-diagnosis by search engine frequently leads Web searchers to conclude the worst about what ails them.

Well, not finally. Cyberchrondria suggested to me that cyberteria might be out there as well, and indeed it is, in several senses. It can refer to an internet café, to a commercial site offering a range of audio/visual or other electronic equipment, to the panoply of material available on the web, and no doubt many other things. A versatile neologism.

5 Responses to “Short shot #21: portmanteau crop”

  1. mollymooly Says:

    The was an internet café in Dublin about 10 years ago called Cybernia. The web tells me “Cybernia” is also a 1972 SF novel and its eponymous town, but I doubt author Lou Cameron derived the name from Hibernia.

  2. h. s. gudnason Says:

    “Cybersteria” is out there as well.

  3. Dan Scherlis Says:

    On Saturday I’ll be speaking at an annual Internet tech conference at Harvard Business School: Cyberposium.

    This instance is properly called “Cyberposium 15”, which is consistent with the mid-1990’s vibe of the word.

    http://www.cyberposium.com in case you doubt me.

  4. Claire Crawford Says:

    Frillies, huh? Damn Wankees!

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

    […] AZBlog, 11/17/09: Portmanteau crop (link) […]

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