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Fun with Portmanteaus

Have you ever been hangry, used a spork, or ridden a moped?

Read on to discover more about portmanteaus and how to introduce these fun words to kids. And be sure to check out the fun printable game at the end of this post!

What in the World Is a Portmanteau?

I’m glad you asked!

A portmanteau (pôrt-mănʹ-tō) is a word that is created when the sounds and meanings of two different words are blended into one. For example, spork comes from a mash-up of spoon and fork. The word portmanteau itself comes from the French words for porter (which means to carry) and manteau, which means mantle, or coat. For a quick demonstration, watch the video below. (Our video team got a bit creative with this one!)

Here are a few more examples of portmanteaus:

examples of portmanteaus

Play with Portmanteaus

Portmanteaus are “made-up” words that have worked their way into our everyday language and that concept is pretty funny to children! When I talked about portmanteaus with my children when they were young, my daughter came up with sweems (sweet dreams) right on the spot, giggling at the idea.

Would you like to have fun playing with portmanteaus and build your child’s vocabulary all at the same time? Download our “Bingo Smash-Up!” game to play with your children!

Bingo Smash-Up portmanteau Download

How about you? Can you think of a portmanteau word? Please share in the comments below!

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Maria Lemos

says:

This is such a great program!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you, Maria!

Sabrina

says:

I am 35 and this is the first time I have ever heard of this word, although I know what the terms mean mentioned… Thanks
!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Glad we could help you learn something new, Sabrina!

Whitney P

says:

I didn’t realize that Portmanteau is the official term for combining words like spork! I’m going to have to download this resource- my daughter will love it!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Glad this helped you learn something new, Whitney. I hope your daughter has a lot of fun with this!

Beth C.

says:

My kids love making up their own words like this. Love this game! Thank you!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Beth!

Elena Taylor

says:

Certainly a new word for a concept I take for granted. Thanks.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Elena.

Lori Seger

says:

That is a neat idea for a game. I’m sure the kids will get creative making their own words.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I hope you and your kids have a lot of fun with this, Lori!

MistyB

says:

That’s a new word for me and my daughters :)
Great post

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you, Misty!

Nicole Green

says:

This is a new word for me. It’s great to learn something new everyday!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Glad we helped you learn something new, Nicole!

Megan

says:

Interesting post!

Elizabeth H

says:

I had never heard this term before. Interesting to learn something new

Will G

says:

I had never heard of Portmanteau.

Judith Martinez

says:

I did not know those had a special name!! How fun!

ANGELA J PRINGLE

says:

sign of the times reading!!!!

Missy

says:

We have played this with our kids. I didn’t realize there is an actual name for it!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Glad to help you learn something, Missy!

Angelia Bauer

says:

Looks like a fun way to learn!

Brina

says:

Looks like such a fun game!

Krisi Green

says:

This looks like such a fun game! Thank you!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Krisi!

Corky J Cavera

says:

We love playing with words. Have you ever hiccuburped?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’ve not heard of hiccuburped, Corky! But I knew exactly what it was as soon as a saw it. That’s a good one.

Martha S Willis

says:

We have fun with portmanteaus often. We like to make up new ones. Didn’t know what it was actually called until I read your post.

Sarah

says:

We do this all the time. I had no idea there was a word for it.

Shelly Bergman

says:

I learned a new word today! :) What a fun activity!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Glad you enjoyed it, Shelly!

SX

says:

Hilarious but wonderful for learning.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you!

Angela

says:

Where is the video?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m sorry you couldn’t see the video, Angela! It’s a hilarious one!

The video is in the blog post for me, so I am unsure what you are experiencing. Please try again, maybe using a different browser. You could also see the video on our YouTube channel. Here is the link: How to Create a Portmanteau…or Not!

Katie

says:

When she was two, my daughter said, “See you tomorning!”
Tomorrow + morning

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Oh, I love “tomorning!” What a great word, Katie.

Cora

says:

My little will have great fun with the bingo game. She loves playing with words.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you for letting us know your child enjoyed the game, Cora!

Katie

says:

When she was two, my daughter said, “See you tomorning!” tomorrow + morning

Brenda Grupe

says:

This is awesfun! (Awesome fun)

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I love awesfun! Thanks for the word, Brenda.

Donald Errol Knight

says:

Smingo= Smash-up + Bingo

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Love it!

Jay

says:

How fun! I love The Jabberwocky and crazy words :) My kids will enjoy the game, methinks: thank y’all!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Jay!

EDMON ADESAS

says:

thank you so very much I am Accustomed with the Term Blending and this is my first time to hear the word Portmanteau and I was surprise and the activities are so fun I love it and my learners would surely love it to thank you.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re very welcome, Edmon! Portmanteaus are just one of the many ways English can be fun to play with. ?

Masashi Ng

says:

Here are some examples of my known portmanteaus with their meanings:
frenemy=friend+enemy (Speech Part:noun) (Meaning:a person who pretends to be your friend but is in fact an enemy)
smog=smoke+fog (Speech Part:noun) (Meaning:a fog made heavier and darker by smoke and chemical fumes)
spork=spoon+fork (Speech Part:noun) (Meaning:a spoon-shaped eating utensil with short tines at the tip)
liger=lion+tiger (Speech Part:noun) (Meaning:a hybrid offspring between a male lion and a female tiger)
brunch=breakfast+lunch (Speech Part:noun) (Meaning:a late morning meal eaten instead of breakfast and lunch)
hypercane=hyper+hurricane (Speech Part:noun) (Meaning:a hypothetical class of an extreme hurricane formed by hot ocean water and can span over the continent)
motel=motor+hotel (Speech Part:noun) (Meaning:a roadside hotel designed primarily for motorists, typically having the rooms arranged in low blocks with parking directly outside)
moonbow=moon+rainbow (Speech Part:noun) (Meaning:a rainbow formed by moonlight)
Eurasia=Europe+Asia (Speech Part:noun) (Meaning:a large continent comprising Europe and Asia)
mornight=morning+night (Speech Part:noun) (Meaning:a darkness period during the early hours of the day after midnight and before dawn or morning)

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Such a great list of portmanteaus, Masashi. I’ve not heard of a few of them, such as mornight. I’m going to start using that one, because I’m up while it is still mornight every day!