Daily Archives: 21 March, 2012

Portmanteau – is circularly self-defining. It too is a portmanteau.


A portmanteau word is a combination of two words that morph into one new word. Typically it combines both sounds and meanings. For example, ‘smog‘ is a portmanteau, it is a combination of smoke and fog.

Portmanteaus became very famous from the story of “Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There.” It was the first time that the word portmanteau was used in the new sense. In the book, Humpty Dumpty explains to Alice how words are melded in the poem “Jabberwocky.“…

You see it’s like a portmanteau — there are two meanings packed up into one word.

…and later in the Introduction to his poem ‘The Hunting of the Snark‘ Lewis Carroll explains…

Humpty Dumpty’s theory, of two meanings packed into one word like a portmanteau, seems to me the right explanation for all. For instance, take the two words “fuming” and “furious”. Make up your mind that you will say both words, but leave it unsettled which you will say first … if you have the rarest of gifts, a perfectly balanced mind, you will say “frumious”.

Interestingly, the word portmanteau itself is a portmanteau. It comes from the French porter + manteau which mean To Carry a Cloak. Before Through the Looking Glass, a portmanteau referred to a suitcase in English and in modern French, a porte-manteau is a clothes valet, a coat-tree, hat stand or similar article of furniture for hanging up jackets, hats, umbrellas and the like.

On This Day…1960

On This Day... 21 March 1960

On this day in 1960 Ayrton Senna da Silva was born in São Paulo, Brazil.

Ayrton Senna da Silva was a Brazilian racing driver who won the Formula One world championship three times, he is generally regarded as one of the greatest F1 drivers to have raced.

Senna died on lap 7 of the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix after slamming into the wall after his Williams-Renault left the track under braking on the high-speed Tamburello corner.

The race weekend at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari circuit at Imola, Italy had already claimed the life of Austrian rookie driver Roland Ratzenberger who died after crashing in qualifying and Senna’s compatriot, Rubens Barrichello, was seriously injured sufferring a broken nose and arm when his Jordan became airborne at the Variante Bassa chicane violently slamming into the tyres and fence also during the qualifying session.

Within two minutes of crashing, Senna was extracted from his race car. Initial treatment took place by the side of the car, with Senna having a weak heartbeat and significant blood loss. Because of Senna’s poor neurological conditionan on site tracheotomy was performed Senna was airlifted to Bologna’s Maggiore Hospital, where he was declared dead hours later.

It is believed that the right suspension frame of Senna’s Williams-Renault was sent stabbing back into the cockpit, striking Senna on the right side of his helmet, forcing his head back against the headrest and causing fatal skull fractures and brain injury. A piece of the upright attached to the wheel partially penetrated his helmet causing trauma to his forehead. In addition, it appeared that a jagged piece of the upright assembly, most likely a tie rod, penetrated the Bell helmet visor, which was a new, thinner version, above his right eye. Senna also suffered a burst temporal artery.

Dad Joke of the day

Q – What’s the difference between an American student and an English student?
A – About 5000 kilometers.

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