I can see that it makes no sense at all

I have a pet peeve.  Well, I have many pet peeves (like the one I go on about the most: off leash dogs in on leash areas), but today I am focusing on words created by taking part of a word and mushing it with part of another word to create a stupid new word.  Yes, I know all about portmanteau, the art of combining words into brilliant new words that convey both original meanings, blah blah blah.  I appreciate a fine portmanteau.  I love eating brunch.  My pet peeve is portmanteau abuse.

Portmanteau was used by Lewis Carroll in Through the Looking-Glass. Humpty Dumpty explains Jabberwocky Alice: slithy means lithe and slimy and mimsy is flimsy and miserable. He says, "You see it's like a portmanteau - there are two meanings packed up into one word".

Some blends are witty and inspired; most are not as clever as the inventors and bandwagon jumpers believe them to be.  Popular writing is saturated with pointless mash-ups posing as clever additions to the English language.  Not every celebrity couple needs a blended name.  Not every weather event is an aggedon or ocalypse.  Not ever scandal is a gate.  Not every vice is an oholism or a gasm.  Not ever word requires a masculine version with bro or man or m.  Not everything twitter related word needs to begin with tw.  The running lexicon has not been left untouched.  I have long advocated against rampant misuse of ending every long-lasting event with athon.  Danceathon.  Bikeathon.  TVShowathon.

Today in my twitter feed from @runnersworld:

How many of you have taken a “runcation”? To where? http://ow.ly/6SLNY  @DeanKarnazes wants to know.

I propose that too many unsuspecting words have been mercilessly sliced and diced and recombined in a cruel and useless manner.  Runcation.  I rest my case.

Title: Stealers Wheel – Stuck in the Middle With You. 1972.


21 responses to “I can see that it makes no sense at all

  1. Rork would make more sense. Enjoyable rork, but still rork.

  2. Runcation is almost as bad as staycation.

  3. I hate those frankenwords too!

  4. I also find something really pompous and irritating about that last bit, “@DeanKarnazes wants to know.” Kinda makes me wanna rork.

  5. Fugly words are great time savers!

  6. In the heat of August when I was commuting to work by running there in the mornings, a co-worker told me I was a runmuter. Blah.

  7. Surely it’s got to be a selective hatred lol? I’m quite a fan of “athlon” but share your hatred for the “gate” abuse! What about nonsense words like “zoid”? As in “freakazoid” or “sleepazoid”. They’re non-words anyway so are free to be abused right 😉

    The Germans have been creating new words by merging words for centuries. It’s not necessarily a savaging of a language, it’s just new to English…

    • Definitely a selective dislike. I like useful and clever combos, especially the German ones that convey far more than the combined meaning. I dislike useless and stupid combos created for the sake of “inventing” a cutesy new word because it’s the cool thing to do.

  8. How about people who throw on ‘-ism’ to everything and call it a day? Pure laziness. As if it takes that much more time to think of the proper way to construct a sentence to properly use the original word.

  9. Pimpleton. Tomfuckery. Backne. Flabdominals. Slunt. Bint, Shart deco. I have others, but it’s late and I forget them.

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