Blends: Practice in Identifying Word Parts

An Exercise in Unpacking Portmanteau Words

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.

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, Nordquist, Richard. (2016, March 16). Blends: Practice in Identifying Word Parts. Retrieved from Nordquist, Richard. "Blends: Practice in Identifying Word Parts." ThoughtCo. (accessed November 18, 2017).