Is this a portmanteau, contraction, or perhaps both?

I have chosen to edit this post because it apparently has offended some of the more sensitive among us. While, personally, I feel this should prompt discourse rather than down votes, I do not wish to offend people who unwittingly stumble upon this question.

I was contemplating a word that is a contraction of two words. Click here if you wish to know the word in question – but be warned it is mildly offensive to some.. (Try as I might, I cannot think of a non-vulgar example that blurs the line so effectively. See further for details.)

This word does not use an apostrophe to denote its contraction. Rather it has borrowed the morphology of half of each word to make a new whole. The new whole, however, has a bit of synergy that the words themselves convey but perhaps not to the same degree. (Thanks to Bradd Szonye for helping me phrase that properly.)

Is this strictly a portmanteau as is suggested in the linked definition above?

My question is: Would a word like this be considered a portmanteau or a contraction? Or perhaps both?

Does the synergy of meaning make it a portmanteau, or does the ability of both words standing alone to convey similar meaning make it a mere contraction?


The Wikipedia article linked in your question has a discussion of this point:

This definition overlaps with the grammatical term contraction, but a distinction can be made between a portmanteau and a contraction by noting that contractions are formed from words that would otherwise appear together in sequence, such as do and not, whereas a portmanteau word is formed by combining two or more existing words that all relate to a singular concept which the portmanteau describes.

Thus, a portmanteau is a kind of contraction, but it has features that other contractions do not: It combines grammatically unrelated words to create a new semantic concept, whereas a typical contraction is simply a convenience of pronunciation.

Note that this is a common distinction but not a defining one. The defining trait of a portmanteau is simply that it combines distinct morphemes into a new morpheme with blended phonetic and semantic elements. The whole is more than the sum of its parts, unlike a contraction like didn’t that simply means did not. Portmanteaus also allow you to combine grammatically diverse words, but some (like fucktard) don’t need to.

Source : Link , Question Author : David M , Answer Author : Bradd Szonye

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