Posts tagged ‘Portmanteau’

October 1, 2012


Chimerica by Michael Cho

Chimerica is a neologism and portmanteau coined in 2006 by historian Niall Ferguson and economist Moritz Schularick describing the symbiotic relationship between China and the United States, with incidental reference to the legendary chimera. In 2010, anticipating the risk of tensions between the two nations escalating into a currency war, Ferguson published a paper forecasting that Chimerica would soon unravel.

They argue that saving by the Chinese and overspending by Americans led to an incredible period of wealth creation that contributed to the global financial crisis of 2008–2009. For years, China accumulated large currency reserves and channeled them into U.S. government securities, which kept nominal and real long-term interest rates artificially low in the United States.

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August 9, 2012


Rush Limbaugh

Feminazi is a term popularized by radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh to describe ‘an extreme or militant feminist.’ In 2004, Limbaugh named feminist activists Gloria Steinem, Susan Sarandon, Christine Lahti, and Camryn Manheim as ‘famous feminazis.’

Feminazi is a portmanteau of the nouns feminist and Nazi. The term is used pejoratively by some U.S. conservatives to criticize feminists that they perceive as extreme.

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July 12, 2012


Thomas Vander Wal

A folksonomy [fohk-son-uh-mee] is a system of classification derived from the practice and method of collaboratively creating and managing tags to annotate and categorize content; this practice is also known as collaborative tagging, social classification, social indexing, and social tagging. Folksonomy, a term coined by Thomas Vander Wal, is a portmanteau of folk and taxonomy.

Folksonomies became popular on the Web around 2004 as part of social software applications such as social bookmarking and photograph annotation. Tagging, which is one of the defining characteristics of Web 2.0 services, allows users to collectively classify and find information. Some websites include tag clouds as a way to visualize tags in a folksonomy. A good example of a social website that utilizes folksonomy is ’43 Things.’ However, tag clouds visualize only the vocabulary but not the structure of folksonomies, as do tag graphs.

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July 3, 2012


Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Cinespia is an organization that hosts on-site screenings of classic films in and around Los Angeles, California. Launched in 2002, Cinespia shows films from the 1930s through the 1990s mostly in open-air settings at historic locations. Its most popular series runs weekly between May and August on Saturday (and occasionally Sunday) nights at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. In addition, it screens films, both contemporary and canonical, at other locations throughout the year.

The series was the brainchild of John Wyatt, a set designer then in his mid-twenties. A student of influential film lecturer Jim Hosney at the Crossroads School in Santa Monica, Wyatt initially formed an Italian cinema club with friend Richard Petit, which evolved into Cinespia. The name is a portmanteau of the Italian word for film, ‘cine,’ and the third person singular conjugation of the verb ‘spiare,’ meaning ‘to observe,’ or more commonly, ‘to spy.’ Conjoined, cinespia was intended to suggest a film enthusiast or ‘watcher of films,’ although the actual term for film buff in Italian is ‘cinofilo.’ Cinespia, by contrast, means literally ‘he spies in the movie theater’ or ‘cinema spy.’

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June 3, 2012



A wobbulator is an electronic device primarily used for the alignment of receiver or transmitter intermediate frequency strips. It is usually used in conjunction with an oscilloscope, to enable a visual representation of a receivers passband to be seen, hence, simplifying alignment; it was used to tune early consumer AM radios. The term ‘wobbulator’ is a portmanteau of wobble and oscillator. A ‘wobbulator’ (without capitalization) is a generic term a frequency-modulated RF oscillator, also called a ‘sweep generator.’

A wobulator was used in some old microwave signal generators to create what amounted to frequency modulation. When capitalized ‘Wobbulator’ refers to the trade name of a specific brand of RF/IF alignment generator. The Wobbulator was made by a company known as TIC (Tel-Instrument Company). The Wobbulator generator, designated model 1200A, when connected to an oscilloscope and television receiver under test, would display a representation of the receiver’s RF/IF response curves with ‘markers’ defining critical frequency reference points as a response curve on the oscilloscope screen. Such an amplitude-versus-frequency graph is also often referred to as a Bode (pronounced ‘bodee’) plot.

May 11, 2012



Infornography is a portmanteau of ‘information’ and ‘pornography’ used to define an addiction to or an obsession with acquiring, manipulating, and sharing information. People ‘suffering’ from infornography enjoy receiving, sending, exchanging, and digitizing information.

The definition (without explicitly using the term itself) is also greatly applied in many cyberpunk settings, where information can almost be considered a currency of its own, in a sense facilitating the development of an alternate world for ‘escapism.’ Megacorps, hackers, and other kinds of people use information to thrive; they can subtly be called infornographers.’

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April 29, 2012


shahs of sunset

Tehrangeles [te-ran-juh-luhs] is a portmanteau deriving from the combination of Tehran, the capital of Iran, and Los Angeles. It is used when referring to the large number (up to 800,000) of former Iranian nationals and their descendants residing in the Los Angeles metropolitan area; it is the largest such population outside of Iran. In common usage, it usually refers to the proportionally larger Persian-American subset of Iranian immigrants, many of whom are second generation citizens.

This area is now officially recognized by the City of Los Angeles as ‘Persian Square.’ The Persian community in the L.A. area originally centered in the Westwood neighborhood of west Los Angeles, often referred to as Little Persia or Persian Hills/Persian Square. Immigration to the area increased several-fold due to the events surrounding the 1979 Iranian Revolution. Westwood Boulevard became known for its many Persian shops and restaurants; and the Persian expatriate community of Los Angeles entered all forms of media including magazines, newspapers, radio and television stations.

April 4, 2012

Gun Fu

gun kata

a better tomorrow

Gun fu, a portmanteau of ‘gun’ and ‘kung fu,’ is the style of sophisticated close-quarters gunplay seen in Hong Kong action cinema and in Western films influenced by it. It often resembles a martial arts battle played out with firearms instead of traditional weapons. It may also be described by other terms such as ‘bullet ballet,’ ‘gun kata,’ or ‘gymnastic gunplay.’

The focus of gun fu is both style and the usage of firearms in ways that they were not designed to be used. Shooting a gun from each hand, shots from behind the back, as well as the use of guns as melee weapons are all common. Other moves can involve shotguns, Uzis, rocket launchers, and just about anything else that can be worked into a cinematic shot. It is often mixed with hand-to-hand combat maneuvers. Gun fu has become a staple factor in modern action films due to its visually appealing nature (regardless of its actual practicality in a real-life combat situation). This is a contrast to American action movies of the 1980s which focused more on heavy weaponry and outright brute-force in firearm-based combat.

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April 3, 2012


Mockney (a portmanteau of ‘mock’ and ‘Cockney’) is an affected accent and form of speech in imitation of Cockney or working class London speech, or a person with such an accent. A stereotypical Mockney comes from a middle or upper-middle class background in England’s Home Counties (the counties encircling London).

Mockney is distinct from Estuary English by being the deliberate affectation of the working-class London (Cockney) accent. A person speaking with a Mockney accent might adopt Cockney pronunciation but retain standard grammatical forms where the Cockney would use non-standard forms (e.g. negative concord / double negative). The first published use of the word according to the Oxford English Dictionary was in 1989.

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March 12, 2012



BarCraft is a portmanteau name for watching ‘StarCraft’ at bars. This phenomenon popped up in the spring of 2011 in the United States, with the start of North American Star League. It is often attributed to Team Liquid user ‘primadog,’ the redditor ‘_Oskar,’ and the Chao Bistro in Seattle. In May 2011, the user o_Oskar posted a topic on reddit saying that on the 11th of that month, people could go to Chao in Seattle to watch that day’s North American Star League games while drinking a few beers and enjoying the company of other ‘StarCraft’ fans.

Since then, the BarCraft phenomenon has grown exponentially, with BarCrafts in the United States, Canada, Sweden, Australia, and many more countries around the world, covering a variety of eSports events, not just StarCraft. New initiatives have recently sprouted from the barcraft trend. Namely, barcrafts have been used to raise money for the charity Child’s Play. Additionally, while not a charity in the strictest sense, One Nation of Gamers -a network of barcrafts composed of volunteers- pools all the money they raise to fund online starcraft tournaments for the community to watch.

February 9, 2012



A squircle [skwer-kul] is a mathematical shape with properties between those of a square and those of a circle. It is a special case of superellipse. The word ‘squircle’ is a portmanteau of the words ‘square’ and ‘circle.’ A shape similar to a squircle, called a rounded square, may be generated by arranging four quarters of a circle and connecting their loose ends with straight lines. Although constructing a rounded square may be conceptually and physically simpler, the squircle has the simpler equation and can be generalized much more easily. One consequence of this is that the squircle and other superellipses can be scaled up or down quite easily. This is useful where, for example, one wishes to create nested squircles.

Squircles are useful in optics. If light is passed through a two-dimensional square aperture, the central spot in the diffraction pattern can be closely modeled by a squircle (also called a supercircle). If a rectangular aperture is used, the spot can be approximated by a superellipse. Squircles have also been used to construct dinner plates. A squircular plate has a larger area (and can thus hold more food) than a circular one with the same radius, but still occupies the same amount of space in a rectangular or square cupboard. The same is true of a square plate, but there are various problems (such as wiping up sauce) associated with the corners of square plates.

January 26, 2012


disco biscuits


Livetronica, a portmanteau of the words ‘live’ and ‘electronica,’ is a sub-genre of the jam band movement that blends such musical styles as rock, jazz, funk, and electronica. It consists primarily of instrumental music. The terms ‘Jamtronica’ and ‘Trance fusion’ are also used to refer to this style of music.

Artists like the Disco Biscuits, Lake Trout, and The New Deal are credited as founding fathers of the genre, but recently up-and-coming bands such as The Werks, Pnuma Trio, and the Histronic of Minneapolis have started to inject new life and young blood into the scene.