Archive for the ‘Portmanteaus’ Category

Four cartoons on familiar themes

November 10, 2021

… in recent days, covering a wide territory: in chronological order,

—  from 10/31, a Mother Goose and Grimm Psychiatrist cartoon with a Halloween theme and some puns

— from the 11/1 New Yorker, a Desert Crawl cartoon by David Sipress

— from 11/3, a Zippy strip with Zippylicious repetition (onomatomania)

— from 11/9, a Rhymes With Orange with a notable POP (phrasal overlap portmanteau)

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The scent of a pumpkin

October 17, 2021

It’s that time of the year again, you can smell it in the air: Pumpkin Spice Season. For some, a keenly arousing moment, as in this e-card (#1 in my 10/26/17 posting “Three more pumpkin-spicy bits”):


(#1) A POP (phrasal overlap portmanteau): verb pumpkin spice up = noun pumpkin spice + verb spice up  ‘make more interesting or exciting’

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Office zombies

October 12, 2021

The New Yorker daily cartoon for 10/11 by Navied Mahdavian and Asher Perlman commits an unusually long POP (phrasal overlap portmanteau):

“We both have work in the morning.”

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Masculinity comics 2

October 6, 2021

[Proviso: this posting is about, among other things, ritual insult — a kind of verbal play-fighting — but it doesn’t pretend to be an essay on the very large number of forms and functions of ritual insults (and, more generally, play-fighting), even in the modern U.S., much less in different  sociocultural contexts around the world and throughout history.]

Today, example 2 in a series of comics on masculinity for boys, a One Big Happy from the past (6/27/09):


(#1) Ruthie heaps formulaic insults on her brother Joe (including the kid insults stupid head, monkey face, and nachos for brains — poopy head, a stand-in for the stronger shit for brains, would be the classic kid insult) until she hits on something he really cares about

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The pengring

September 16, 2021

In the mail yesterday (in transit for a month from Italy), this neon purple penguin key ring — a pengring, portmanteau of penguin + ring — a little gift of friendship in difficult times, from Anna Thornton — morphologist Anna M. Thornton, Professor of Linguistics at Università Degli Studi Dell’Aquila,  the University of L’Aquila, Italy:


(#1) A hollow key ring, with the hollow good for holding the pendant penguin and so finding and wielding the keys on the ring, though this particular design is usually intended to make the pendant usable as a bottle opener; I don’t, however, think I’d want to risk scratching that handsome purple surface on a bottle cap (but then twist caps have widely replaced pry-off caps, so we all have less call for bottle openers)

And from this, excursions in many directions.

I note at the outset that the penguin is one of my totem animals; my house is a riot of penguiniana (and mammuthiana as well). Anna’s choice of penguin as gift creature was no accident.

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How does Wilderrama sleep at night?

September 4, 2021

From the tv series NCIS, Season 14 Episode 6, “Shell Game”, an exchange between the NCIS-Agent characters Tim McGee (played by Sean Murray) and Nick Torres (played by Wilmer Valderrama, whose name I am forever telescoping into the portmanteau-like Wilderrama) that turns on joking with senses of the interrogative adverb how — in McGee’s question “How do you sleep at night”, intended to convey modal + means how ‘by what means is it possible?’; and Torres’s response “On my back. Naked.”, conveying truth-functional + state how ‘in what state?’.


(#1) Torres and McGee in the NCIS episode “Love Boat”, Season 14 Episode 4

Then I turn to WV the man, as a hunk with a wonderful smile (two things I post about on a fairly regular basis), and as a performer with a notable actorial persona.

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The snow border collie

September 1, 2021

🐇🐇🐇 It was 8/30, and the comic strip Mother Goose and Grimm went POP!, exploded in a phrasal overlap portmanteau, the one in the title:


(with the snow-sliding dog seen doing an airborne trick in the second panel of the strip).

Not your everyday POP, because it works straightforwardly in pronunciation but works only imperfectly in spelling:

snowboarder + border collie = snow border collie

Distinct spellings, boarder vs. border, homophones in both AmE and BrE (but see below).

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The Triceramisu

August 24, 2021

A hybrid beast with a portmanteau name: Triceratops + tiramisu, that is, Tricera (tops) + (tira) misu:


(#1) A fine portrait of the beast, artist as yet unknown (it’s one of those cartoons that has been passed around on the net through many hands, with the artist’s identity suppressed; Google Images has been of no help, because it detects the tiramisu and then disregards everything else)

A fantastical creature with the body of a tiramisu and the extremities (head, tail, and four legs) of a Triceratops, the Triceramisu feeds from pools of espresso, fortified wines, and liqueurs in the fields of cocoa that abound in its native land of Portmantopolis; the creature lounges drowsily in the evenings in plate-like nests. The Triceramisu is irenic, amiable, and delicious, and has been known to offer itself as sustenance to other creatures in need of food. Because it’s inclined to spoil and to crumble, the Triceramisu is unfortunately (though gloriously) short-lived.

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Travails of blogging 8/18/21

August 18, 2021

The second in what I fear will become a continuing series: on the increasingly out-of-control software for weeding out comments spam on this blog. The first installment was my posting “Travails of blogging 6/21/21”, and I’ll start with that.

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The mirror of the manatee

August 5, 2021

In today’s Wayno/Piraro Bizarro — Wayno’s title: “The Mammal in the Mirror” (a play on the song title “Man in the Mirror”) — a manatee primps at his vanity, yielding the vanity + manatee portmanteau vanatee, and crossing genders as well as words (masculine manatee — “Man in the Mirror”, addressing himself as handsome, bristly body — at a conventionally highly feminine item of furniture, a vanity table, for applying makeup in the bedroom):


(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 4 in this strip — see this Page.)

I’ll start with the two contributors to the portmanteau and follow them where they lead, which is many surprising places.

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