Dear Editor:

A portmanteau word is a linguistic stitching together of words. Some call them Frankenwords, but some words just enjoy pooling together. This letter is called a “listicle” (list + article) Basically it’s an article assembled from a list of portmanteau words.

Many portmanteaus we take for granted without considering how they came to be. For example, the longest amount of time we go between meals is between supper and breakfast. This is literally a fast. So, that first meal of the day evolved from the verbs “break” + “fast” into the word breakfast. That makes total sense, just as “brunch” (breakfast + lunch) again makes sense.

So, for your consideration, suppose you like breakfast but skip lunch; the next meal might be called “lupper” (lunch + supper). Then there are those who like a little something after supper late at night; this might be called “nightnoshing or “nocturnibbles,” “kitchensnitchin,” “fridgeforaging,” “Draculasnackula” … somebody stop meeeeeee.

Anyone can make up a portmanteau. Some catch on and go viral and become part of the lexicon; others just don’t excite our imagination. For example, “slacktivist (slacker + activist), someone who tries to do good without getting out of their chair. I know “Billary” (Bill + Hillary) is a portmanteau some wish would just go away (in more ways than one). But, others have sticking power like “Dino and Rino” (Democrat/Republican in name only). “Sitcom” (situational + comedy) is another good example.

It’s fun making up portmanteaus. Some days I wake up feeling clever and the Frankenwords come easy and I feel I am communicating in an entertaining way. Other days, I sound like I’ve lost control, like some jabbering old “crunk” (crazy+drunk). It’s a “crapshoot.” That portmanteau is self-explanatory.

When I take my dogs for a walk sometimes people stop me to make complimentary remarks. Humbly, I say, “Thank you,” (sadly, adding) “not too smart, but kinda cute.” (Comedic pause.) Then I say, “Oh you meant my dogs … they are too.” Yeah, absolutely “adorkable” (adorable + dorky)

In a “Seinfeld” episode back in 1997, George’s father invents the word “festivus” (a festival + for the rest of us). It was his word for the holiday season that was not burdened with a religious declaration and ubiquitous commercialization purely for financial gain. As a secularist I like the sentiment of an impartial blending of all the seasons holidays into one expression. “Happy Festivus” says it all.

Of course there are some ugly portmanteaus, like “electrocute” (electric + execute) and “libtard” (liberal + retard). The good, the bad, the ugly, the list is “ginormous” (gigantic + enormous), but I’m getting “hangry” (hungry + angry) especially after that “libtard” definition.

So, goodbye for now, which is a portmanteau that blends God and be and ye and means “God be with ye,” and a happy Festivus to you.

“Tinker” Paul Silver,

Howard