Portmanteau, then clip, then analogize

From Victor Steinbok, a link to this piece by Briana Rognlin entitled “Fitspo: The New Health ‘Inspiration’ Is Just Thinspo In Sheep’s Clothing”, which begins:

“Thinspo” content—images and articles “inspiring” readers to persist at disordered eating and dieting for the sake of being thin— has slowly been getting pushed off social media sites and shamed for its damaging effect on women’s body image and mental health. In its wake, a new brand of body-negative, obsession-spurring “inspiration”—called “fitspo”—has begun cropping up on Facebook, Pinterest, and Tumblr. But with the goals of achieving fitness and health, instead of thinness, it’s unclear when fitspo is a great way to stay motivated, or when it’s just thinspo in sheep’s clothing.

There’s a slideshow on the site, and further discussion of women’s body images, but my interest here is the words thinspo and fitspo.

It all seems to have started with thinspiration, a portmanteau of thin and inspiration (note the overlapping -in-), which was then clipped to its initial material, but with the useful extension -o tacked on to make a more easily pronounceable word; -o is especially prominent in Australian slang (arvo ‘afternoon’, dero ‘tramp’ < derelict, reffo ‘refugee’, etc.), but it’s available for other varieties as well. Then, thinspo gave rise to thinsporation as a spelling for the full word. The clipped variant is now the predominant one, with the respelled full variant as the rarest; in raw ghits:

thinspo: 4,840,000
thinspiration: 2,430,000
thinsporation: 223,000

Then fitspo was created on the model of thinspo, with fit for thin; the stats for fit- words are much like those for thin- words:

fitspo 1,070,000
fitspiration 335,000
fitsporation 16,700

The orthographic similarity of  fitspo and fitsporation has led at least one person on Urban Dictionary to assume that fitspo is short for fitsporation.

To judge from Google Books hits, thinspiration and thinspirational go back only to the early years of this century.


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