The drag news for linguists

What a drag, the saying goes. To judge from the reviews, Adam Sandler in a dress in Jack and Jill is quite a drag, and not in a good way; some reviewers have suggested that Sandler’s performance might bring an end to the fine tradition of cross-dressing movies. But this isn’t a movie blog, or at least not mostly one. So on to the language stuff.

First, a recap from my recent posting on sandwich portmanteaus, in a comment from Victor Steinbok on condragulate. I supplied an Urban Dictionary entry —

From Rapaul’s [RuPaul’s] DragU show. Female contestants, guided by seasoned drag queens from Rupaul’s Drag Race, fight to be the fiercest drag queen. Rupaul congradulates (or condraguates) the contestant who finishes with top honors with this word. (link)

I noted that what makes this sandwich portmanteau especially interesting is that

DRAG for GRAD (representing standard spelling GRAT) is not just a substitution, but also a transposition.

Now Victor has written me about another, simpler, portmanteau, again from RuPaul:

This week on “RuPaul’s Drag Race” the seven remaining queens needed their library card and their best magazine cover look in “Dragazine”.

… For the main challenge the queens have to launch their own “dragazine”. (link)

That’s drag + magazine. (Note the -ag- overlap.)

The portmanteau has been around for a while, as in this quote from the Queer Music Heritage site:

I just love how creative many drag queens have been in selecting their names. It’s almost like a parlor game as I can picture a gaggle of them sitting around trading makeup hints and seeing who can come up with the best name. I wonder if the Imperial Court System has guidelines for that. Anyway, I love the ones that are play on words, and here are a few I’ve collected, many from the pages of the now defunct magazine, Dragazine. (link)

The writer goes on to list some favorite drag names (I mentioned a few here), including some phrasal overlap portmanteaus

Clare Booth Luce Change, Snow White Trash, Joan Jett Black

and a couple of artistic puns —

Tequila Mockingbird, Barbra Seville



2 Responses to “The drag news for linguists”

  1. Victor Steinbok Says:

    Opportunity missed: That Queer Music Heritage passage that referred to a “gaggle” of drag queens should have just called it a “draggle”.

  2. doing X « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] inspired by my recent posting on drag portmanteaus, I turn to do drag — a combination that’s not in the OED, but is […]

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