BREXIT – sorry, excuse me?
The modern world or maybe just the UK seems almost obsessed with the creation of catchy names to shorten events, relationships and well pretty much anything. Who even thinks these things up and who knew this was actually a thing? Well, this “thing” is called a portmanteau. The definition of which is “a word blending the sounds and combining the meanings of two others, for example, motel, brunch or podcast.
There are many famous cases where the portmanteau has become a real term, Today who can deny hearing the term BREXIT, the friendly name for Britains Exit from the European Union. We often here the alternative to BREXIT but this usually refers to the alternatives to Britain leaving the EU, The real alternative to BREXIT is a rather long-winded phrase so its hardly surprising someone decided that the term should also suffer the romanticising approach and offer a shortened and dare we say attractive alternative name. Can’t deny its catchy but come on, it is so damn annoying don’t you think?
In the past, we have had famous people become the target of these strange wordy shortenings, like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie – which seemed to be perfectly
normal until someone came up with Brangelina which to date returns over 1.7m results on Google, somewhat insignificant compared to the 503m results for BREXIT. It is quite ironic that the word portmanteau only returns 2.3m results in a google search.
Would it surprise you to know that the first recognised version of a portmanteau occurred as early as 1871 when Lewis Carroll referred to the unusual words in “Jabberwocky”, also penned by Carroll, specifically defining the origins of Slithy(slimy and lithe) and Mimsy(Miserable and flimsy.Where does this leave us? Well, its safe to say that even though some of us find these collective coinages as mimsy as a borogrove, they are both annoying and whimsical at the same time and definitely here to stay.