Chillax, this is not another article about Brexit – the word just happens to be a great example of a portmanteau – one formed by combining two different words (in this case, Britain and exit) to create a new entity. Melding them together, as it were (ah! There’s another – blending melt and weld).
A portmanteau originally just meant a kind of combination suitcase/suit carrier, appropriately combining the French words for carry and cloak. Why did this particular portmanteau become the name for all others? No need to nip down the Chunnel and ask, as Humpty Dumpty has the answer.
In 1871 Lewis Carroll in Through the Looking-Glass had the unfortunate egg explain to Alice the apparently nonsense words in his poem Jabberwocky :
“Well, slithy means lithe and slimy. You see, it’s like a portmanteau – there are two meanings packed up into one word.”
I’m still not sure what borogoves or mome raths are, or indeed what was brillig, but to realise that the father chortling in his joy was in fact chuckling and snorting – was joyous indeed. Galumphing is another word that first appeared here, instantly conveying its meaning.
Metrosexuals are enjoying bromances, finding each other by gaydar, or worrying about their frenemies. We dress in skorts or jeggings (but with shoe-boots on our feet, as neither shoots not booze really works). We head off to watch a Bollywood movie, or ‘The Bionic Man’, but may experience anticipointment if it turns out to be craptacular. The stars in such movies, once coupled up, get blended themselves – Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie became Brangelina. They’ve split up now, so I guess that makes it a Brexit – oh.
While Brad and Angelina have sought to keep their children out of the spotlight during the split, social media is filled with other parents publicising their offspring’s every move – sharenting. All too evailable, if you ask me. But perhaps they suffer from pregnesia and need reminding what their kids look like. Kids who will no doubt follow suit and become screenagers.
Onomatopoeic words are also fun. Literally ‘word making in Greek, this describes a word that sounds like what it is. When I was first told this, I replied “Like orange?” To much hilarity. But No, it’s words like splash, boing, and bang. Our recording studio has a delightful audio frequency chart denoting the sound spectrum, packed with fabulous Onomatopoeia such as sizzle, honk, and pluck, as well as fatness, warmth and bottom.
Oranges actually caused a lot of childhood hilarity. My favourite joke was:
Joker: Ask me if I’m an orange – Jokee: Are you an orange? -Joker: No
The fun continues in adulthood, as I tried a new exercise class: Laughter Yoga. A mini-lecture at the start told us how the concept was invented by an Indian guru married to a yoga instructor. He found that laughter exercises the stomach muscles and produces endorphins which make us feel good, so he tried to produce a funny programme to make people laugh. They got bored (maybe his jokes weren’t orange enough), so he took inspiration from laughing, playing children, threw in a bit of breathing from his wife to add the yoga tag – and created something exactly like the ‘movement’ classes I did in primary school, where teachers put us in the gym hall and told us to pretend to be a plane, or wave our arms in the air shouting YES! My belly did feel exercised and as though I’d had a good laugh afterwards, but I could have achieved that by calling a friend for a chat. Or reading the latest motivational poster at the gym, which (admirably) encourages the social aspect of working out: GIRLS WHO SWEAT TOGETHER, STICK TOGETHER’ .Sounds a bit slithy.
Jezebel hosts a quiz every Wednesday 8pm at Talalaland (ooh! There’s another one!) Tala Square