Book Review: Portmanteau A-Z

While the dictionary may describe a portmanteau as a word or morpheme whose form and meaning are derived from a blending of two or more distinct forms, what it doesn’t tell you is how much fun and how pervasive they are. Everyone is familiar with the combination of smoke and fog equals smog, but how many readers can guess the meaning and root words behind “stumblesharf,” “tinklemurk” or “politricks?”

The author has listed a portmanteau for each letter of the alphabet accompanied by a charmingly simple drawing illustrating the point. This slender book will delight those with an interest in the English language and how it evolves or anyone with a sense of word whimsy. If you still cannot guess, “stumblesharf” is the stubbly hair that sprouts within minutes of using a cheap disposable razor, appearing on legs, in armpits and on other various other body parts. It comes from stumble + stu(b)ble + shar(p), you will have to get a copy of the book to find out what a “tinklemurk” is and politricks should be a snap to guess.

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