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Like all languages, the English language is constantly evolving, changing and having new words added. One of the ways new words are added to English is by creating “blended words.” These are some of my favorite English words!
Blended words are a lot of fun if you ask me. To make a blended English word you take two existing words and combine the letters in a way to make a new word. The new word then represents a combination of the sounds and meanings of the two original words, but has its own unique meaning too!
Making blended words sounds like fun right? Some blended words in English are so common, most native English speakers forget they are a combination of two existing words. A lot of blended words in English started out, or still remain, slang/informal words, but some blended words have worked their way into dictionaries and common use.
One of the reasons I like blended words so much is because they show linguistic creativity! Blended words are symbols of how languages grow, change, and reflect current culture.
Here are is a list of common blended words in English:
blog (web + log) = a regularly updated website, typically one run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style – this is a BLOG!
brunch (breakfast + lunch) = a large meal eaten at a time between breakfast and lunch, replacing the two meals with one instead. (Eating brunch is very common on weekend days in America.)
cyborg (cybernetic + organism) = a hypothetical human being with physical abilities that are beyond a normal human because mechanical elements have been built into the body.
emoticon (emotion + icon) = keyboard symbols used to represent facial expression such as : – ) = 🙂
frenemy (friend + enemy) = a person who is a friend even though there is an underlying dislike or rivalry in the relationship
glamping (glamorous + camping) = high class camping, often in cabins or indoor structures, instead of tents, with many modern amenities, such as electricity, running water, cable TV and internet
humongous (huge + monstrous) = very big, both of these words mean large so putting the two words together indicates that something is extremely big
Internet (international + network) = the global communication network that allows computers around the world to connect and share information
mocktail (mock + cocktail) = a cocktail that has no alcohol in it, mock = fake, so this is like a fake cocktail
motel (motor + hotel) = a building with accommodations, meals, and other services for travelers, often (or originally) found along motorways or highways as opposed to in towns
smog (smoke + fog) = air pollutant often found in large cities
Spanglish (Spanish + English) = a mix of words and idioms from both Spanish and English, often used by people who know both languages well
spork (spoon + fork) = an eating utensil that is shaped like both a spoon and fork, often has a rounded spoon shape with short prongs at the end like a fork
staycation (stay + vacation) = a budget-friendly alternative to a vacation in which people stay at home during their time off from work
All of these words are somewhat resent additions to the English language, they are newly made words, from two existing words. This doesn’t mean though that we can all make up our own blended words and expect people to know what we are talking about. For example, I could make up the word: shandal (shoe + sandal), but no one would know what I’m talking about because it just isn’t an accepted or used blended word in English. So, for know we have to just use those blended words that are already out there (like those listed above) and wait to see what others develop over time. Who know, maybe shandal will someday be added to the list!