From Victor Steinbok yesterday:

I found two trademarked portmanteaus in the June 1976 issue of Better Homes and Gardens. One is Porta-Pack for small packages of pre-moistened wipes (as we call them now) from Wet Ones. The other is Fleafestation, which a Sergeant Sentry IV (Flea) Collar is supposed to prevent.

Two different sorts of portmanteaus, but both interesting.

Portmanteau Ns are parallel to N-headed composites — N+N compounds and Adj+N expressions with non-predicating Adj. Like composites, they come in many different subtypes. Many classic portmanteaus like smog are semantically parallel to dvandva, or copulative, compounds (smoke-fog ‘something that’s both smoke and fog’). Others are semantically like composites that have been “telescoped”: gaydar corresponding to gay radar ‘radar for gay people, radar to detect gay people’, guyliner corresponding to guy eyeliner ‘eyeliner for guys (to use)’. There’s more.

Porta-Pack, roughly ‘portable pack/package/packet’, and fleafestation ‘flea infestation’ are both of the telescoping type, but the first involves an element, porta-, that functions like a clipping (of portable), combines with N heads, and now looks like a libfix. The second is a more conventional telescoping, with a first N element that replaces the prefix in- in infestation; this example has served as the basis for some other N-festation words (all with monosyllabic N), though in small numbers, so that -festation doesn’t seem to have achieved libfix status.

Both are easily attested on the web.

porta-. Just with second element –pa(c)k, porta- is widely used:

A Portapak is a battery powered self-contained video tape analog recording system that can be carried by one person. (link)

The Porta Pack is a backpack designed to carry the original three-piece Cambridge SoundWorks speaker system. (link)

Brady’s B-500 repositionable vinyl cloth porta-pack books are a convenient way to ensure the wire markers you need are always on hand. (link)

Hoover Porta Pack Carrying Bag w/Straps: Convenient carrying bag for the PortaPower™ Lightweight Vacuum Cleaner (sold separately). (link)

But that’s only the beginning of porta-‘s versatility. You’ve probably already thought of Porta-Potties. From the Wikipedia entry for portable toilet:

Portable toilets are referred to colloquially as P-Pot, Porta-John, PortaJane, Port-O-Let, Port-a-Loo, Portaloo, Porta-Potty, Tidy John, Biffs, Johnny-On-The-Spot, and Toi-Toi – some of which may be trademarked – and more formally as a “Portable Sanitation Unit”.

Then a sampling of some other commercial uses:

Porta-Bote: The World’s Most Portable Folding Boat (link)

Porta-Jib: The World’s Most Versatile Camera Support Equipment [Portable jib arm systems] (link)

Porta-Nails™ is a leading manufacturer of hardwood floor fastening tools, private label specialty tools and specialty woodworking tools for the US and international markets serving the wood flooring, home construction, home refurbish and woodworking industries. PNI’s premier products, the Porta-Nailer and Portamatic tongue and groove flooring nailers are renowned by professionals and do-it-yourselfers worldwide.  [note Portamatic] (link)

Koss Porta Pro stereophones high quality sound sets a sound performance standard for portable listening. (link)

And, from the world of generic nouns, the porta crib, porta-crib, or portacrib, sold in many brands.

-festation. Plenty of examples for fleafestation, among them:

Borax on the carpet cured a fleafestation for me once, I used borax because I had a cockatiel, the fleas stayed gone for as long as I was there. (link)

[on using Sevin dust] Fleas are the most persistent and if you get fleafestation you will not be a happy camper for they are hard to get rid of. (link)

Bummer. As a veteran of a severe fleafestation
some 8 years ago, I can heartily sympathize. Diatomaceous Earth and Borax are both good (link)

Then very small numbers of examples for other Ns as first element; these seem to be nonce creations:

[rat] We live in a large urban area, and while such things are not as common as in the rurals, there are certain sections where “ratfestation” is a problem. (link)

[rat] Cat’s church is still clearing out the fecal matter from the “Ratfestat­ion”, a celebration of vermin as talisman to god’s word. (link)

[tick]  I looked at the dog, uncertain as to how two grown men missed the tickfestation, and I saw clusters of seed ticks, like tiny clumps of grapes all over her body, in particular her face and ears. (link)

[mouse] Get the trap, eat the cheeze, catch a meesie for dinner, lol, when I lived in California we had a “Mousefestation”, traps were used, REFRIED BEANS on the trigger were the secret weapon here (link)

[moth] In related unwanted household guest news, we are at the tail end of mothfestation 2010. I have nothing against moths, but larvae… *shudder* (link)

[fly] OMG. Hopefully that won’t be the next phase of our flyfestation. YIKES (link) [this one has Flypocalypse as well]

[bug, in the computer sense] Backup any relevant data, delete the primary partion, low level format the drive, and reinstall the operating system and any applications if the user still has the original disks. Voom, brand new and very fast, until the next bugfestation. (link)

Sadly, porta-festation or portafestation ‘infestation of portable things’ or ‘portable infestation’ seems not to be attested.


2 Responses to “porta-festation”

  1. Telescoped portmanteaus « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] infestation’ (found while looking for more -festation words like fleafestation — see here) and teenius ‘teen genius’ (found by Victor Steinbok). Both are deliberately playful, […]

  2. Pairmanteaus « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] come in various flavors. As I said in connection with fleafestation for flea infestation, here: Many classic portmanteaus like smog are semantically parallel to dvandva, or copulative, compounds […]

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