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What’s your favourite ‘Alice’ portmanteau?

Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall - English HumourEarlier this year we asked our regular blog contributors about their favourite portmanteau words. We received numerous entries, from chillax and flexitarian to vitamin and spam. The term chortle also made an appearance and it was not the first time that a word invented by Lewis Carroll made it into someone’s list of most favourite words!

Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass are two stories that are well-known for their creative use of language. The latter is famous for its nonsense poem ‘Jabberwocky’, which contains so many made-up words that Alice has difficulty understanding its meaning. When Humpty Dumpty tries to explain, he uses the term portmanteau to describe these new word blends:



Well, “slithy” means “lithe and slimy”. “Lithe” is the same as “active”. You see it’s like a portmanteau – there are two meanings packed up into one word.

By merging two or more existing words into one, Carroll created many strange and wonderful blends in his works. As part of the 150 years of Alice celebrations, we’ve selected seven of our favourite Alice portmanteaus – can you guess what they mean?

portmanteau: words used:
burble bleat murmur warble
chortle chuckle snort
frabjous fair fabulous joyous
frumious fuming furious
galumph gallop triumphant
mimsy flimsy miserable
slithy lithe slimy

Which Alice portmanteau word do you like best? Which one do you think is the most creative combination, sounds the most wonderful, or is the most fantastical?

Vote for your favourite for a chance of winning an Alice book collection!

To participate, visit the English Humour page on Macmillan Dictionary.

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