Why Portmanteau Words Can Help In Your Word Count

The number of words in an article can matter more than you’d imagine. Whether you’re tasked to write an essay in school, or writing for the public media, you might need to reach a certain word count.

Setting a word limit by your teacher or professor ensure a fair playing field among the students. Therefore, writing within the word limit set will not cost you that 1 or 2 marks taken away. On the other hand, if you’re writing for the public media, always stay within the word limit given. Word count is especially strict as space is costly for newspapers and magazines. Don’t give their editors a chance to remove parts of your work just to work within the word limit.

There are many different ways of reducing your word count in your writing. And here’s the best-kept one, which no one has told you about: using portmanteau words.


So, What Are Portmanteau Words?

A portmanteau word is a word made up of two different words to create a new meaning. The new word is a blend of the sounds and meaning of the two words used. The most well-known portmanteau word that you should be familiar with, is brunch, a combination of breakfast and lunch. Which also has a new meaning – a meal that is eaten after breakfast but before lunch, or more commonly used when one combined both meals into one meal.

Portmanteau words are widely-used in modern day English, and new ones are popping up every other day! You may be just using them in your conversation over brunch!

Fun fact: Did you know that Portmanteau is a portmanteau word itself? It is a blend of French words porter and manteau, with means to carry and a cloak respectively. This word was first used in this sense by Lewis Carroll in his 1871 book Through The Looking-Glass.


18 Famous Portmanteau Words

  1. Bromance – Brother + Romance

Meaning: A close friendship between two men.

  1. Brunch – Breakfast + Lunch

Meaning: The meal eaten after breakfast but before lunch.

  1. Chillax – Chill + Relax

Meaning: Calm down and take a rest.

  1. Cineplex – Cinema + Complex

Meaning: A cinema with several screens.

  1. Cosplay – Costume + Play

Meaning: Dressing up as pop culture characters, especially one in Japanese manga or anime.

  1. Dumbfound – Dumb + Confound

Meaning: Greatly astonish or amaze.

  1. Electrocute – Electric + Execute

Meaning: Harm someone by electric shock.

  1. Emoticon – Emotion + Icon

Meaning: Use of characters to express feelings.

  1. Flare – Flame + Glare

Meaning: Sudden brief burst of bright flame or light.

  1. Glamping – Glamour + Camping

Meaning: Camping in luxury.

  1. Internet – International + Network

Meaning: The global computer network providing information.

  1. Malware – Malicious + Software

Meaning: A software that is specifically designed to damage a computer system.

  1. Motel – Motor + Hotel

Meaning: Accommodation primarily for motorists.

  1. Netizen – Internet + Citizen

Meaning: An Internet user.

  1. Skort – Skirt + Shorts

Meaning: A pair of shorts that looks like a skirt.

  1. Shopaholic – Shop + Alcoholic

Meaning: A compulsive shopper.

  1. Spork – Spoon + Fork

Meaning: A hybrid cutlery that works both like a spoon and a fork.

  1. Workaholic – Work + Alcoholic

Meaning: A compulsive worker.


Using Portmanteau Words In Your Writing

Portmanteau words can help in reducing your word count when you realise that you’re just a few words over your word limit. Some Portmanteau words may not be official, so remember to check the word in the official Oxford or Cambridge dictionaries and you’ll be good to go!

Tip: You can check your word count using our word counter tool and edit your writing on the go!

What are some of the portmanteau words you use in your daily conversations? Share with us in the comments below!