One of the fun things about language is that it’s always changing and evolving. New words emerge (pop up, are new) all the time – especially in English with the influence of non-native speakers on English. These new words allow us to say more, or say things more specifically, in an efficient way. In every case, new words change the way in which we communicate with each other. Some of the most fun new words are called blended words. Blended words in English may also be called portmanteaus.
Blended words are essentially just two words mixed together to give us one, new word. This week we’ve compiled (put together, collected) some of our favorite blended words in English for you to peruse (look over casually). Some of them may surprise you!
Brunch is a combination of the words breakfast and lunch, and arguably (debatably, with possible discussion) the best meal of the day.
If you go out for brunch, you will probably go between 11am and 2pm (Telling Time in English), and the restaurant will have a combination of breakfast and lunch foods on the menu. Brunch is a great addition to any weekend, and one of the great blended words in English that has been adopted by (loaned to) many other languages!
- Do you want to go to brunch on Sunday? I can reserve a table for noon.
- We make a Mother’s Day Brunch every year in the afternoon.
Have you ever been hungry and ended up in a bad mood or feeling irritated? Then, once you eat, you feel better again? You very well may have been hangry, which is a portmanteau of hungry and angry.
- I’m pretty hangry – please don’t talk to me until I get some sugar in my system!
- The baby’s hangry…we better feed him before he starts crying!
- Can we have dinner soon? I’m getting hangry.
This one surprised me when I read about it! The word blog is a mix of the words web and log.
When the Internet came into everyday life, people started documenting their lives online, and the web log, or blog, became a way of expressing yourself through writing and sharing it with others online.
Now you have an interesting tidbit to share when you’re talking about your favorite blog!
- What’s the best blog you’ve read recently?
- She started her blog in high school and now it has 1 million subscribers!
If you’ve ever used the word humongous, you may not have known that it is one of the most common blended words in English. In fact, it’s a mix of the words huge and monstrous.
Since both of these words mean something very, very big, if something is humongous it is extremely big.
- I was at the Grand Canyon last week. I didn’t realize how humongous it is!
- We have a humongous exam on Friday and I’m so nervous about it!!
Did you know that Internet is, itself, a blended word in English? It is! The word Internet is a blend of the words international network.
The Internet has really connected people around the globe (world) and made our modern world what it is today, so the international network has really lived up to its name (done what it the name says it would).
- What do you like to do on the Internet?
- Can you connect to the Internet? My WiFi connection is pretty bad.
Sometimes when you have vacation time, you just want to stay home and hang out there. Being home and just relaxing can be a lot less stressful than going away. This is where the portmanteau of stay and vacation comes into play: staycation.
A staycation can be just as good as traveling somewhere, so maybe your next vacation will be a staycation.
- What are you going to do during your staycation next week?
- We are taking a staycation the last week before school starts.
Did you know that the word motel is also a portmanteau? It’s a combination of the words motor and hotel. Motels are usually located along a highway or route where there are a lot of cars travelling, but no cities or towns nearby.
Where do you stay when you’re on vacation? Do you stay in a hotel, motel, or somewhere else?
- Is there a motel where we can stay around here?
- We can book a motel spontaneously along the highway when we get tired.
Sometimes you may not know the exact answer, and that’s where this blended word comes in handy. Guesstimate is a combination of guess and estimate.
- Do you know the answer? Or do you have a guesstimate?
- I would guesstimate that the packages will arrive in two weeks.
Have you ever used some of these blended words in English? Are there any other portmanteaus you know about? Share them with us in the comments below!
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Erin Duffin lives in Hamburg, is an English teacher, blogger, yoga instructor, and would guesstimate that you probably didn’t know the origins of most of these blended words in English!