Sporks Authority | Bleader

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Sporks Authority

Posted By on 05.24.11 at 06:45 PM

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  • goblinbox (queen of ad hoc bento)@flickr
Just when it was becoming apparent that the end of the world was not nigh, the Internet begat unto my computer screen two screeching horsemen of the linguistic apocalypse: I’m talking about a couple of creations that are not just astoundingly ugly as words, but pretty unsettling as concepts, too. Consider:

Junderpants.

The chork.

Junderpants are, of course, a relative of jeggings, and I suppose the chork, a combination chopstick-fork brought to our attention in Seth Zurer’s report from the National Restaurant Association trade show (where such innovations are showcased), could be thought of as a descendant of the spork—but should not be confused with the knork, the spife, the sporf, or for that matter the skort.

I thought about this. Possibilities for portmanteau began to seem unending—would a combination jeans-sock be called a jock?—and examples began to appear everywhere: did you know, for instance, that Verizon is a combination of the Latin word “veritas” and “horizon”? I learned that on Wikipedia, which itself claims to be a portmanteau by virtue of its appending part of the word “encyclopedia” to the word . . . “wiki.”

Further exploration down this particular rabbit hole led to—a rabbit hole. The word portmanteau was first used as a linguistic descriptor by Lewis Carroll; in Through the Looking-Glass, Humpty Dumpty tells Alice that’s what you call words like “slithy” (“lithe” and “slimy”) and “mimsy” (“miserable” and “flimsy”).

It also means, according to Merriam-Webster, “a large suitcase."

Always happy to be of service here on the Bleader.

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