Posts tagged ‘Portmanteau’

August 27, 2014



The term artistamp (a portmanteau of the words ‘artist’ and ‘stamp’) or artist’s stamp refers to a postage stamp-like art form used to depict or commemorate any subject its creator chooses. Artistamps are a form of ‘Cinderella stamp’ (unofficial stamps, not valid for postage), but they differ from forgeries or bogus Illegal stamps in that typically the creator has no intent to defraud postal authorities or stamp collectors.

Artistamp creators often include their work on legitimate mail, alongside valid postage stamps, in order to decorate the envelope with their art. In many countries this practice is legal, provided the artistamp isn’t passed-off as or likely to be mistaken for a genuine postage stamp. When so combined (and sometimes, less strictly speaking, even when not so) the artistamp may be considered part of the ‘mail art’ genre (a populist artistic movement centered around sending small scale works through the postal service, initially developed out of the Fluxus movement in the 1950s and 60s).

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August 4, 2013


tammy faye

Televangelism [tel-i-van-juh-liz-uhm] is the use of television to communicate Christianity. The word is a portmanteau of television and evangelism and was coined by ‘Time’ magazine. Televangelists are Christian ministers who devote a large portion of their ministry to television broadcasting. The term is also used derisively by critics as an insinuation of aggrandizement by such ministers.

Televangelism began as a peculiarly American phenomenon, resulting from a largely deregulated media where access to television networks and cable TV is open to virtually anyone who can afford it, combined with a large Christian population that is able to provide the necessary funding. However, the increasing globalization of broadcasting has enabled some American televangelists to reach a wider audience through international broadcast networks, including some that are specifically Christian in nature, such as Trinity Broadcasting Network and The God Channel.

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March 10, 2013


Pharming is a portmanteau of farming and ‘pharmaceutical’ and refers to the use of genetic engineering to insert genes that code for useful pharmaceuticals into host animals or plants that would otherwise not express those genes, thus creating a genetically modified organism (GMO).

The products of pharming are typically recombinant proteins (or their metabolic products), which are proteins that result from the expression of recombinant DNA (molecular cloning in a laboratory brings together genetic material from multiple sources, creating sequences that would not otherwise be found in biological organisms). Recombinant proteins are most commonly produced using bacteria or yeast in a bioreactor.

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January 28, 2013


No climbing the Reichstag dressed as Spider-Man

Buildering (also known as urban climbing, structuring, or stegophily) is the act of climbing on (usually) the outside of buildings and other artificial structures.

The word is a portmanteau, combining the word ‘building’ with the climbing term ‘bouldering’. If done without ropes or protection far off the ground, buildering may be dangerous. It is often practiced outside legal bounds, and is thus mostly undertaken at night-time.

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October 7, 2012



truth in numbers

In a 2006 episode of the satirical news show ‘The Colbert Report,’ Stephen Colbert announced the neologism ‘Wikiality‘ (a portmanteau of the words ‘Wiki’ and ‘reality’) defined as ‘truth by consensus’ (rather than fact), modeled after the approval-by-consensus format of Wikipedia. He ironically praised Wikipedia for following his philosophy of ‘truthiness,’ in which intuition and consensus is a better reflection of reality than fact:

‘You see, any user can change any entry, and if enough other users agree with them, it becomes true. … If only the entire body of human knowledge worked this way. And it can, thanks to tonight’s word: ‘Wikiality.’ Now, folks, I’m no fan of reality, and I’m no fan of encyclopedias. I’ve said it before. Who is Britannica to tell me that George Washington had slaves? If I want to say he didn’t, that’s my right. And now, thanks to Wikipedia, it’s also a fact. We should apply these principles to all information. All we need to do is convince a majority of people that some factoid is true. … What we’re doing is bringing democracy to knowledge.’

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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.