Blends: Practice in Identifying Word Parts

An Exercise in Unpacking Portmanteau Words

spork
The word spork is an example of a blend (or portmanteau word). (Esther Jung/Getty Images)

A blend is a new word formed by merging the sounds and meanings of two other words. Pixel (pic + element), bash (bat + mash), and glimmer (gleam + shimmer) are examples of such neologisms.

Another term for blend is portmanteau word: two words packed together to create a new word that combines the sense of each. In this exercise, you'll practice unpacking these portmanteau words to see how they're put together.

Instructions:
For each item below, identify the two words that have been combined to form a blend or portmanteau word. When you're done, compare your answers with those on page two.

 

  1. Edutainment = __________ + __________
    "Working moms and dads feel that they aren't spending enough time with their children. They feel guilty. At the same time, they know that edutainment is a way of keeping the kids occupied. They purchase edutainment, in part, to repay a time debt they feel they owe their children."
    (Michael Wolf, The Entertainment Economy: How Mega-Media Forces Are Transforming Our Lives, 2010)
  2. Fantabulous = __________ + __________
    "'Maybe we can stay in one of those fantabulous little cabins I saw at the end of the Golden Gate Bridge,' said Winslow. 'People drive by and hand money to the people living inside.'"
    (Douglas Evans, The Elevator Family, 2009)
  3. Ginormous = __________ + __________
    "Ginormous companies have hundreds or even thousands of manufacturing facilities, branch offices, and service centers throughout the world."
    (Nancy Lublin, Zilch: The Power of Zero in Business, 2010)
  1. Moped = __________ + __________
    "My moped hit a wet pothole and over it went, pulling me along through the mud before we both came to a grinding halt. I lay in the mud in the pouring rain and realized that I really needed to reevaluate my life."
    (Clare Naylor and Mimi Hare, The First Assistant, 2006)
  1. Sitcom = __________ + __________
    "In the nearly fifty years since television was introduced into American homes, the sitcom has emerged as a popular form of programming by providing people with something to laugh at. But the sitcom also has helped shape the country's collective image of itself."
    (James H. Wittebols, Watching M*A*S*H, Watching America, 1998)
  2. Slanguage = __________ + __________
    "Winchell finessed his way around potential libel suits by creating his own 'slanguage,' a vernacular of the streets, breezy and colloquial. He wrote of secret lovebirds who were 'Adam-and-Eveing it' and of a man who felt 'that way' about a woman as they awaited 'the blessed event.'"
    (Gary M. Pomerantz, The Devil's Tickets: A Night of Bridge, a Fatal Hand, and a New American Age, 2009)
  3. Spork = __________ + __________
    "I settled down to eat. My utensil--a spork--came wrapped in plastic that also held a little, bitty napkin and a straw. Fascinating."
    (Mrs. Q, Fed Up with Lunch: How One Anonymous Teacher Revealed the Truth About School Lunches, 2011)
  4. Staycation = __________ + __________
    "I was taking a staycation, which was great. But it was because I had no money, which was less great. Still, this provided an opportunity to finally hang the pictures that had been collecting dust in my closet for a year and to take care of important tasks such as alphabetizing my favorite cereals."
    (Rupinder Gil, On the Outside Looking Indian, 2011)
  1. Sunbrella = __________ + __________
    "Parishioners descend the steps in twos and threes. The sun is bright. Colors are vibrant. All are speaking about the service.

    "'How lovely that he thought of Savannah as a paradise,' one gentleman said to a lady wearing a soft, flowing green dress, carrying a sunbrella. She probably would not have called it that, but Prudence did."
    (Eric Selby, The Purging, 2008)
  2. Testilying = __________ + __________
    "The police perjury, nicknamed 'testilying,' was believed to be a by-product of the stand-together police culture that was responsible as well for the blue wall of silence. They were, in effect, branches of the same tree."
    (Dick Lehr, The Fence: A Police Cover-up Along Boston's Racial Divide, 2009)

Here are the answers to the exercise on page one: Blends: Practice in Identifying Word Parts.

  1. Edutainment = education + entertainment
  2. Fantabulous = fantastic + fabulous
  3. Ginormous = gigantic + enormous
  4. Moped = motor + pedal
  5. Sitcom = situation + comedy
  6. Slanguage = slang + language
  7. Spork = spoon + fork
  8. Staycation = stay (at home) + vacation
  9. Sunbrella = sun + umbrella
  10. Testilying = testify + lying
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Your Citation
Nordquist, Richard. "Blends: Practice in Identifying Word Parts." ThoughtCo, Mar. 16, 2016, thoughtco.com/blends-practice-in-identifying-word-parts-1692395. Nordquist, Richard. (2016, March 16). Blends: Practice in Identifying Word Parts. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/blends-practice-in-identifying-word-parts-1692395 Nordquist, Richard. "Blends: Practice in Identifying Word Parts." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/blends-practice-in-identifying-word-parts-1692395 (accessed November 18, 2017).