I came across a new word while browsing the internet this week.
Amongst the puppy pictures, cat videos, political discord and passive aggressive trolling, there it was:
Yep. Someone has crudely mashed together the words ‘author’ and ‘entrepreneur’ to describe writers who market their novels (I assume, there was no definition attached).
Although I’ve no problem with the term authorpreneur in isolation, it does worry me as part of a growing trend.
These days, portmanteaus are everywhere.
And they are one of my most-hated linguistic tools.
Because they’re lazy, gimmicky and trade genuine communication for marketing appeal.
Of course, portmanteaus have been around for a while (for a very early example see ‘dumbfounded’, which dates back to the mid 17th century) but they seem to have taken on new impetus in recent years.
- Phablet (phone + tablet)
- Belfie (butt + selfie)
- Sharknado (shark + tornado)
- Brangelina (Brad + Angelina) *repeat ad nauseum for every celebrity couple
- Chillax (chill + relax)
And my own industry hasn’t been immune:
- Advertorial (advertising + editorial)
- Listicle (article + list)
- Edutainment (education + entertainment)
- Infotainment (information + entertainment)
- Newscast (news + broadcast)
Portmanteaus have their place. I used to enjoy them as examples of fun wordplay (#grammarnerd)
But it’s gone too far. Now we’re just too lazy to use two full words, and it has to stop.
So here’s my plea to the younger generation: please respect the English language. It’s not funny, or original to join two words together like a cut-and-shut car job.
It’s tired, it’s old and it’s time to give up. When Tumblr starts making memes, you know you’re at peak portmanteau: