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Series: vocabulary

Word of the Day

I’m currently reading How Picturebooks Work by Maria Nikolajeva and Carole Scott – no, not as a bit of light reading, but actually for grad school – and came across this word today:


in this sentence: “Tenniel also chose to illustrate such verbal images as the Mock Turtle, and nonsensical portmanteau constructions such as Rocking-horse-fly and Bread-and-butter-fly” (213). What a neat word, I thought to myself, I wonder what it means. One of the reasons I wondered that is because, (besides being slightly obsessed with anything Alice in Wonderland-related), to me it seemed like one of those words that originally meant one thing, but over time had come to have all sorts of other meanings, and was being used in one of those secondary meaning ways in this very passage.
And wouldn’t you know it? I was right.

Definition: 1. a case or bag to carry clothing in while traveling, esp. a leather trunk or suitcase that opens into two halves; 2. a word or morpheme whose form and meaning are derived from a blending of two or more distinct forms (as smog from smoke and fog)

Fascinating, no?

But it gets better!

I did a basic Google search for images, and the most amazing things popped up, one of which was this blog named Willy-nilly! At least one of you out there knows of my affection for the term “willy-nilly” (sometimes used in the phrase “willy-nilly style”), and now to discover a blog by the name, a blog which they, themselves, had already done a post on the word portmanteau, well, as you can imagine, this is a Red Letter Day in my book. Here’s an actual blog named Portmanteau, and here’s A.Word.A.Day’s more in-depth definition of the word, if you’re at all interested.

Just had to share. And now, back to those papers!


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One thought on “Word of the Day

  1. you should check out this website: has a really funny variation on a portmanteau there:PERVERB/ˈpəːˌvɜːb/ A portmanteau's when you smoosh two proverbs together into one phrase. good times 🙂

    Posted by Joe | October 12, 2009, 3:06 am

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Book review time! 
The Story of Diva and Flea
By Mo Willems + Tony DiTerlizzi
Loved this as a read-aloud for little ones that can sit still for longer picture books, or, as it's a beginning chapter book, great for ages 6-8 who are learning how to read more confidently by themselves.
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#indiesfirst @quailridgebooks #bookstagram #book #bookrecommendation #bookrec #bookrecs #bookworm #bookreview #books #booknerd #earlychapterbook #beginningreader #mowillems #tonyditerlizzi A love poem for my love. Happy National Poetry Month!
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#poemaday #love #lovepoem #nationalpoetrymonth #pabloneruda #wildlyread #poem #poetry Happy National Poetry Month!
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#poemaday #nationalpoetrymonth #haiku #kerouac #wildlyread #poem #poetry First day of full-time hours in my new job as a bookseller for an independent bookstore, and it's staff pick time! I fell in love with this book years ago, before the movie was even a dream. Though I'm not a fan of the movie tie-in cover, I'll gladly place this book in readers' hands. . . .
#indiesfirst #thelostcityofz @quailridgebooks @lostcityofz #bookstagram #book #bookrecommendation #bookrec #bookrecs #bookworm #bookreview #books #booknerd

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