Portmanteau word (blend): A word coined by combining two other words, encompassing the original meanings of both component parts. In linguistics, the term blend is generally used.

Lewis Carroll invented the term portmanteau word in Through the Looking-Glass (1872), using Humpty Dumpty to explain a neologism from “Jabberwocky” (1871), one of his own poems: “Well, ’slithy’ means lithe and slimy… . You see it’s like a portmanteau — there are two meanings packed up in one word.” (A portmanteau is a suitcase that opens up into two compartments.)

Portmanteau words surface in fiction and nonfiction alike. James Joyce used them extensively in his novel Finnegans Wake (1939) — ethiquetical, for instance, combines ethical and etiquette. In his nonfiction book Playing the Future (1996), Douglas Rushkoff coined the term screenagers to refer to teenagers raised on television, movies, and computer games. Many portmanteau words have become commonplace in English vocabulary, such as smog, coined from smoke and fog; brunch (breakfast + lunch) and squiggle (squirm + wiggle).

FURTHER EXAMPLES: Contemporary portmanteau words include spork (a spoon and fork combined in a single utensil, usually plastic), splurchase (a splurged-on purchase), and Spanglish (a “tossed salad” of Spanish and English). Brexit is a portmanteau word coined in advance of the 2016 referendum calling for Great Britain’s exit from the European Union.