Wednesday, September 28, 2016

A New Term: Forcemanteau

Somewhere in my almost nine years of blog posts, I know I've written about business names or signs I saw where someone thought they were being clever by grafting two words together. The result, in these unfortunate cases, turns out not to be clever but pathetic... trying too hard, unintelligible, or worse.

Well, I just found out that someone has created their own clever word for those instances: forcemanteau, a play on the term portmanteau. Examples of portmanteaus (portmanteaux?) we no longer notice include smog and motel. More recent ones are infomercial and turducken.

Here are a couple of examples of forcemanteaus from the ever-great Twitter account of Minneapolis writer Chris Steller:

I know it's  hard to see in the photo, but along the top of the van it says "Have a Paws-tastic Day!" Which is mostly stupid, not really cringe-worthy.

While this business name, Eyenique Vision, makes my face squinch up in pain. I'm not kidding.

The hashtag #forcemanteau was started by Art Allen (Twitter account: @punconsultant). Examples he identifies include sharknado and bridezilla. But it looks like the term came from local writer Christeta Boarinia in this Daily Planet article from 2013.

However it got started, I think it's a useful word, and if, in the future, I spot one, I plan to use that hashtag so we can build the library of forcemanteaus for Twitter eternity.

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