World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Blend word

Article Id: WHEBN0004063117
Reproduction Date:

Title: Blend word  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Portmanteau, Ebonics (word), Oxbridge, Acronym, Clipped compound
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Blend word

In linguistics, a blend word or a blend is a word formed from parts of two or more other words. These parts are sometimes, but not always, morphemes.


Blends deal with the action of abridging and then combining various lexemes to form a new word. However, the process of defining which words are true blends and which are not is more complicated. The difficulty comes in determining which parts of a new word are "recoverable" (have roots which can be distinguished).[1]

There are many types of blends, based on how they are formed. Algeo, a linguist, proposed dividing blends into three groups:[1]

  1. Phonemic Overlap: a syllable or part of a syllable is shared between two words
  2. Clipping: the shortening of two words and then compounding them
  3. Phonemic Overlap and Clipping: shortening of two words to a shared syllable and then compounding


Most blends are formed by one of the following methods:

  1. The beginning of one word is added to the end of the other (see portmanteau). For example, brunch is a blend of breakfast and lunch.
    • simultaneous (5) + broadcast (2) → simulcast (3, exception)
    • smoke (1) + fog (1) → smog (1)
    • spoon (1) + fork (1) → spork (1)
  2. The beginnings of two words are combined. For example, organism.
  3. Two words are blended around a common sequence of sounds. For example, the word Californication, from a song by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, is a blend of California and fornication, and the word motel is a blend of motor and hotel
  4. Multiple sounds from two component words are blended, while mostly preserving the sounds' order. Poet Lewis Carroll was well known for these kinds of blends. An example of this is the word slithy, a blend of lithe and slimy.

A blended word may undergo further modification in form or meaning over time, and the meanings of its parts can become obsolete. Malinger may have developed from a blend in old French of malade (ill), maigre (meager) and haingre (haggard).[2] When two words are combined in their entirety, the result is considered a compound word rather than a blend. For example, bagpipe is a compound, not a blend, of bag and pipe.

Blending of two roots

Blending can also apply to roots rather than words, for instance in Israeli Hebrew:

  • "Israeli דחפור dakhpór ‘bulldozer’ hybridizes (Mishnaic Hebrew>>)Israeli דחפ √dħp ‘push’ and (Biblical Hebrew>>)Israeli חפר √ħpr ‘dig’[...]
  • Israeli שלטוט shiltút ‘zapping, surfing the channels, flipping through the channels’ derives from
    • (i) (Hebrew>)Israeli שלט shalát ‘remote control’, an ellipsis – like English remote (but using the noun instead) – of the (widely known) compound שלט רחוק shalát rakhók – cf. the Academy of the Hebrew Language’s שלט רחק shalát rákhak; and
    • (ii) (Hebrew>)Israeli שטוט shitút ‘wandering, vagrancy’. Israeli שלטוט shiltút was introduced by the Academy of the Hebrew Language in [...] 1996. Synchronically, it might appear to result from reduplication of the final consonant of shalát ‘remote control’.
  • Another example of blending which has also been explained as mere reduplication is Israeli גחלילית gakhlilít ‘fire-fly, glow-fly, Lampyris'. This coinage by Hayyim Nahman Bialik blends (Hebrew>)Israeli גחלת gakhélet ‘burning coal’ with (Hebrew>)Israeli לילה láyla ‘night’. Compare this with the unblended חכלילית khakhlilít ‘(black) redstart, Phœnicurus’ (<gakhlilít includes a reduplication of the third radical of גחל √għl. This is incidentally how Ernest Klein[3] explains gakhlilít. Since he is attempting to provide etymology, his description might be misleading if one agrees that Hayyim Nahman Bialik had blending in mind."[4]

"There are two possible etymological analyses for Israeli Hebrew כספר kaspár ‘bank clerk, teller’. The first is that it consists of (Hebrew>)Israeli כסף késef ‘money’ and the (International/Hebrew>)Israeli agentive suffix ר- -ár. The second is that it is a quasi-portmanteau word which blends כסף késef ‘money’ and (Hebrew>)Israeli ספר √spr ‘count’. Israeli Hebrew כספר kaspár started as a brand name but soon entered the common language. Even if the second analysis is the correct one, the final syllable ר- -ár apparently facilitated nativization since it was regarded as the Hebrew suffix ר- -år (probably of Persian pedigree), which usually refers to craftsmen and professionals, for instance as in Mendele Mocher Sforim’s coinage סמרטוטר smartutár ‘rag-dealer’."[5]

Lexical selection

Blending may occur with an error in lexical selection, the process by which a speaker uses his semantic knowledge to choose words. Lewis Carroll's explanation, which gave rise to the use of 'portmanteau' for such combinations, was:

Humpty Dumpty's theory, of two meanings packed into one word like a portmanteau, seems to me the right explanation for all. For instance, take the two words "fuming" and "furious." Make up your mind that you will say both words ... you will say "frumious."[6]

The errors are based on similarity of meanings, rather than phonological similarities, and the morphemes or phonemes stay in the same position within the syllable.[7]


Some languages, like Japanese, encourage the shortening and merging of borrowed foreign words (as in gairaigo), because they are long or difficult to pronounce in the target language. For example, karaoke, a combination of the Japanese word kara (meaning empty) and the clipped form oke of the English loanword "orchestra" (J. ōkesutora オーケストラ), is a Japanese blend that has entered the English language.

Many corporate Wiktionary, one of WorldHeritage's sister projects, is a blend of wiki and dictionary.

See also


  1. ^ a b Gries, Stefan Th. (2004). ? A quantitative analysis of blend structure in English"breakfunch"Shouldn't it be . Linguistics 42 (3): 639–667.  
  2. ^ Harper, Douglas. "Malinger". 
  3. ^ Klein, Ernest (1987). A Comprehensive Etymological Dictionary of the Hebrew Language. Jerusalem: Carta.  See p. 97.
  4. ^   See p. 66.
  5. ^ Zuckermann 2003, p. 67.
  6. ^ Carroll, Lewis (2009). Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. Oxford: Oxford University Press.  
  7. ^ Fromkin, Victoria; Rodman, R.; Hyams, N. (2007). An Introduction to Language (Eighth ed.). Boston: Thomson Wadsworth.  
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.