In linguistics, a blend is a word formed from parts of two other words. These parts are sometimes, but not always, morphemes.


Blends deal with the action of abridging and then combining various lexemes to form a new word. However, the process of defining which words are true blends and which are not is more complicated. The difficulty comes in determine which parts of a new word are "recoverable" (its root can be distinguished). [ [ Blends] ]

There are many types of blends, based on how they are formed. Algeo, a linguist, proposed dividing blends into three groups [ [ Blends] ] :
# Phonemic Overl

# Clipping: the shortening of two words and then compounding them
# Phenomic Overlap and Clipping: shortening of two words to a shared syllable and then compounding

However, classification of types of blends is not standard among all linguists.


Most blends are formed by one of the following methods:

# The beginning of one word is added to the end of the other (see portmanteau word. For example, "brunch" is a blend of "breakfast" and "lunch". One of the two may be a whole word if it is short. This is the most common method of blending. A monosyllabic word is divided into its onset and rime if necessary. A blend of this type typically has the same number of syllables as the second word.
#* broccoli (3) + cauliflower (4) → broccoflower (4)
#* breakfast (2) + lunch (1) → brunch (1)
#* camera (3) + recorder (3) → camcorder (3)
#* education (4) + entertainment (4) → edutainment (4)
#* information (4) + commercial (3) → infomercial (4, exception)
#* motor (2) + hotel (2) → motel (2)
#* simultaneous (5) + broadcast (2) → simulcast (3, exception)
#* smoke (1) + fog (1) → smog (1)
#* spoon (1) + fork (1) → spork (1)
#* stagnation (3) + inflation (3) → stagflation (3)
#The beginnings of two words are combined. For example, "cyborg" is a blend of "cybernetic" and "organism".
# Two words are blended around a common sequence of sounds. For example, the word "Californication", from a song by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, is a blend of "California" and "fornication".
# Multiple sounds from two component words are blended, while mostly preserving the sounds' order. Poet Lewis Carroll was well known for these kinds of blends. An example of this is the word "slithy", a blend of and "slimy". This method is difficult to achieve and is considered a sign of Carroll's verbal wit.

When two words are combined in their entirety, the result is considered a compound word rather than a blend. For example, bagpipe is a compound, not a blend, of "bag" and "pipe."

Blending of two roots

Blending can also apply to roots rather than words, for instance in Israeli Hebrew. "Israeli דחפור "dakhpór" ‘bulldozer’ hybridizes (Mishnaic Hebrew>>)Israeli דחפ √dħp ‘push’ and (Biblical Hebrew>>)Israeli חפר √ħpr ‘dig’ [...] Israeli שלטוט "shiltút" ‘zapping, surfing the channels, flipping through the channels’ derives from (i) (Hebrew>)Israeli שלט "shalát" ‘remote control’, an ellipsis – like English "remote" (but using the noun instead) – of the (widely known) compound שלט רחוק "shalát rakhók" – cf. the Academy of the Hebrew Language’s שלט רחק "shalát rákhak"; and (ii) (Hebrew>)Israeli שטוט "shitút" ‘wandering, vagrancy’. Israeli שלטוט "shiltút" was introduced by the Academy of the Hebrew Language in [...] 1996. Synchronically, it might appear to result from reduplication of the final consonant of "shalát" ‘remote control’. Another example of blending which has also been explained as mere reduplication is Israeli גחלילית "gakhlilít" ‘fire-fly, glow-fly, Lampyris’. This coinage by Hayyim Nahman Bialik blends (Hebrew>)Israeli גחלת "gakhélet" ‘burning coal’ with (Hebrew>)Israeli לילה "láyla" ‘night’. Compare this with the unblended חכלילית "khakhlilít" ‘(black) redstart, Phœnicurus’ (<<Biblical Hebrew חכליל ‘dull red, reddish’). Synchronically speaking though, most native Israeli-speakers feel that "gakhlilít" includes a reduplication of the third radical of גחל √għl. This is incidentally how Ernest Klein [See p. 97 in Klein, Ernest (1987), "A Comprehensive Etymological Dictionary of the Hebrew Language", Jerusalem: Carta.] explains "gakhlilít". Since he is attempting to provide etymology, his description might be misleading if one agrees that Hayyim Nahman Bialik had blending in mind." [See p. 66 in Zuckermann, Ghil'ad (2003), [ "Language Contact and Lexical Enrichment in Israeli Hebrew"] , Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 1-4039-1723-X.]

"There are two possible etymological analyses for Israeli Hebrew כספר "kaspár" ‘bank clerk, teller’. The first is that it consists of (Hebrew>)Israeli כסף "késef" ‘money’ and the (International/Hebrew>)Israeli agentive suffix ר- "-ár". The second is that it is a quasi-portmanteau word which blends כסף "késef" ‘money’ and (Hebrew>)Israeli ספר √spr ‘count’. Israeli Hebrew כספר "kaspár" started as a brand name but soon entered the common language. Even if the second analysis is the correct one, the final syllable ר- "-ár" apparently facilitated nativization since it was regarded as the Hebrew suffix ר- "-år" (probably of Persian pedigree), which usually refers to craftsmen and professionals, for instance as in Mendele Mocher Sforim’s coinage סמרטוטר "smartutár" ‘rag-dealer’." [See p. 67 in Zuckermann, Ghil'ad (2003), [ "Language Contact and Lexical Enrichment in Israeli Hebrew"] , Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 1-4039-1723-X.]

Lexical Selection

Blending may occur with an error in "lexical selection", the process by which a speaker uses his semantic knowledge to choose words. Lewis Carroll's explanation, which gave rise to the use of 'portmanteau' for such combinations, was:

Humpty Dumpty's theory, of two meanings packed into one word like a portmanteau, seems to me the right explanation for all. For instance, take the two words "fuming" and "furious." Make up your mind that you will say both words ... you will say "frumious." [Lewis Carroll, "Alice in Wonderland".]

The errors are based on similarity of meanings, rather than phonological similarities, and the morphemes or phonemes stay in the same position within the syllable [Fromkin, V., Rodman, R., and Hyams, N. (2007) An Introduction to Language, Eighth Edition. Boston: Thomson Wadsworth. ISBN 1-4130-1773-8] .


Some languages, like Japanese, encourage the shortening and merging of borrowed foreign words (as in gairaigo), because they are long or difficult to pronounce in the target language. For example, "karaoke", a combination of the Japanese word "kara" (meaning "empty") and the clipped form "oke" of the English loanword "orchestra" (J. "ōkesutora" オーケストラ), is a Japanese blend that has entered the English language. (From the article gairaigo.)

Many corporate brand names, trademarks, and initiatives, as well as names of corporations and organizations themselves, are blends. For example, Wiktionary, one of Wikipedia's sister projects, is a blend of "wiki" and "dictionary". Also, Nabisco is a blend of the initial syllables of "National Biscuit Company."

See also

* Amalgamation (names)
* Clipping (morphology)
* Compound (linguistics)
* Contraction (grammar)
* Phono-semantic matching
* Portmanteau word
* Syllabic abbreviation


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