Definition of portmanteau in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˌpôrtˈmantō/

noun (plural portmanteaus /-tōz/ or portmanteaux /-tōz/)

1A large trunk or suitcase, typically made of stiff leather and opening into two equal parts.
Example sentences
  • Luggage labels are those elegant, postcardlike stickers that first adorned the portmanteaus of the well traveled back in the late 19th century.
  • One they'd reached the carriage, the portmanteaux were tied in place, civil goodbyes were said between the royal family and the Davis girls, and the women stepped inside their carriage.
  • Sancho Panza thinks they had better bring the two portmanteaus back to Ireland as quietly as possible.
2 (also portmanteau word) A word blending the sounds and combining the meanings of two others, for example motel (from ‘motor’ and ‘hotel’) or brunch (from ‘breakfast’ and ‘lunch’): podcast is a portmanteau, a made-up word coined from a combination of the words iPod and broadcast a portmanteau word combining smoke and fog
Coined in this sense by Lewis Carroll in Through the Looking Glass (1871)
More example sentences
  • The school student may be too naive to know that karaoke is a portmanteau word blending two Japanese words: ‘kara’ meaning empty (as in karate meaning empty hand) and oke (short for okesutora meaning orchestra).
  • A portmanteau word combining smoke and fog, the term was popularized by H. A. Des Voeux in his report to the Manchester Conference of the Smoke Abatement League of Great Britain in 1911.
  • It's a portmanteau word combining dodgy and hotpot, and means a talking horse - another term in the lexicon - which should be avoided by punters at all costs.
2.1 [as modifier] Consisting of or combining two or more aspects or qualities: a portmanteau movie composed of excerpts from his most famous films
More example sentences
  • There is a conscious, even contrived lack of consequence to this Argentinian portmanteau movie using non-professionals, about three individuals making their vulnerable way across Patagonia.
  • This portmanteau movie is a companion piece to the one that appeared here in September.
  • Shot on digital video, this juxtaposes the lives of three women in a portmanteau movie which arguably goes about its business with less fuss than The Hours.


Mid 16th century: from French portemanteau, from porter 'carry' + manteau 'mantle'.

Words that rhyme with portmanteau

canto, Esperanto, manteau, panto

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: port·man·teau

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