bac(k)ne, buttne, etc.

From Dean Allemang two days ago, a report of the portmanteau bac(k)ne ‘back acne’ and the related buttne ‘buttocks acne’, which turn out to be the leading edge of formations in -ne /ni/ ‘acne’.

The story begins with backne / bacne, a textbook portmanteau, with the /æk/ of back and the /æk/ of acne shared by the two contributors to the portmanteau. Lots of ghits.

Then comes buttne, a portmanteau without overlap (though butt and back are phonologically similar), but with -ne still conveying the meaning of acne. Some examples:

Bacne? Buttne? What to Do About Zits
Where the Sun Doesn’t Shine
As you strive to get bikini ready this summer, you may find yourself focusing less on how to tone up flabby thighs and more on unsightly skin issues like “bacne” … or dare we say it, cleavage zits!(link)


Backne, buttne, yuckne: Clear up that acne before swimsuit season! (link)

(Semantic note: when acne is explicitly paired with backne or buttne, by contrast it has the meaning ‘facial acne’; but otherwise it maintains the broader meaning, as in the continuation of the second quote above:

Sure, acne most commonly plagues the face, but other body parts — the back, chest, butt and arms — aren’t immune to these nasty eruptions.

The narrower meaning is the prototypical case; this sort of broader vs. narrower ambiguity is very common indeed in lexical semantics.)

Now we have an emerging element -ne ‘acne’, combined with a first element denoting a body part. So we get to chestne, a portmanteau with a respectable number of hits:

How To Get Rid Of Chestne (And Backne) (link)

Chestne and How to Get Rid of It
Chest Acne Can Be Solved (link)

i have acne on my chest and back. How do i get rid of it, QUICK? (link)

And then, in smaller numbers, legne, armne, neckne (and possibly others):

If pimples on the back are backne, might we dub this… legne? (link)

Reallyyyyy bad Body Acne
Yeah, not only bacne but neckne, armne, legne, …..
I have acne all over and it’s getting worse now that summer is arriving.. (link)

Urban Dictionary and other do-it-yourself on-line dictionaries provide chacne ‘chin acne’ (with chin reduced to ch-) and sackne ‘scrotal acne’.

(The element -ne hasn’t yet achieved full libfix status: the first element is now phonologically open, but the -ne itself maintains its semantic status, denoting a type of acne; compare clear libfix cases like -gate ‘scandal’ and -mageddon ‘disaster’, where the element in question has developed a specialized meaning on its own.)

The DIY dictionaries also have a different sort of acne portmanteau: chimples, used for ‘chin pimples, chacne’ and also for ‘chest pimples, chestne’.

Time to take a shower.


2 Responses to “bac(k)ne, buttne, etc.”

  1. Rick Sprague Says:

    I wondered if “kneene” occurred, so I googled it. Turns out it’s a family name I never heard of, so 14K ghits, but a quick skim didn’t find any occcurrences of the “knee acne” sense. Maybe it’s blocked by the childish repetitiousness, or the similarity to ninny, or (probably) just low rate of incidence.

  2. Jym Says:

    ✧ There’s a country singer famed for having No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems, and his name is Chesney. I guess he wears a concealer on that ches, what with the no shirt and all.

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