Every morning one comes across a ‘word of the day’ either at a coffee shop or newspapers, sometimes one wonders what the heck does that actually mean.

One such word which is counfounding many people is ‘Malamanteau‘. There are many reasons why new words are created, but “malamanteau” is unique. Malamanteau is an extremely cromulent word. ‘Malamanteau’ has left even financial industry creative types and English professors both saying “Huh?”

 

According to XKCD webcomic, ‘A malamanteau is a neologism for a portmanteau created by incorrectly combining a malapropism with a neologism. It is itself a portmanteau of malapropism and neologism (of malapropism and portmanteau). In a less strict definition, a portmanteau of a malapropism with another word can also be considered a malamanteau’. Confused??  The definition of malamanteau makes a lot more sense when you break down the basic parts of the definition. Ok, let me break it down into simpler pieces:

Defnitions:

Neologism: A neologism is a newly coined word or phrase that may be in the process of entering common use, but has not yet been accepted into mainstream language.

Portmanteau: A portmanteau is used to describe a linguistic blend, namely a word formed by blending sounds from two or more distinct words and combining their meanings in one new word. In linguistics, a portmanteau is defined as a single morph which represents two or more morphemes.

Malapropism: Malapropism means to use a word in place of another word that makes the same sound, but doesn’t deliver an appropriate meaning, for example, odorous for odious, comprehended for apprehended, auspicious for suspicious and benefactors for malefactors. All these are Malapropos of each other.

Hence, combining the definitions of the above defined words, malamanteau is a portmanteau of portmanteau and Malapropism, whereas malamanteau is also a Malapropos of portmanteau.

Examples: 

  • Somebody describes his misunderstanding of what someone was saying by stating, “I misconscrewed it up.”
  • Someone explains his inability to talk while being upset by saying he was “flustrated.”
  • George W. Bush’s inadvertent malamanteau “misunderestimated” has entered common usage.
  • Someone describes being misinformed as “being miscommunicado”, a mixture of miscommunicate and incommunicado.

Neologistic Factoids:

  • Every time you say, Malamanteau, God kills a Wikipedia editor.
  • If you say a malamanteau three times in a row, Bloody Malamary will appear and link you to the Wikipedia page on portmanteaus.
  • Bloody Malamary wears a Mala Manteau jacket, and enjoys sandwiches made with a specific mix of marmalade and marmite, known as Pacifimite.
  • During 2010, investigators managed to make significant breakthroughs in their attempts to track down and apprehend Bloody Malamary, due to reference information about malamanteaus that was published on Wikipedia.

The wikipedia page for such a word doesn’t exist and redirects the reader to the XKCD webcomic page at Wiki. Wanna try, google Malamanteau !!

Advertisements