[ pawrt-man-toh, pawrt-man-toh ]
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noun,plural port·man·teaus, port·man·teaux [pawrt-man-tohz, -toh; pawrt-man-tohz, -toh,]. /pɔrtˈmæn toʊz, -toʊ; ˌpɔrt mænˈtoʊz, -ˈtoʊ,/.
  1. Chiefly British. a case or bag to carry clothing in while traveling, especially a leather trunk or suitcase that opens into two halves.

  2. Linguistics.

    • Also called port·man·teau word . a word that combines the form and meaning of two or more other words; a blend.

    • Also called port·man·teau morph . a phonological unit of more than one morpheme, as French au (to the) from à to + le masculine article, which realizes a preposition and the definite article; a single morph that is analyzed as representing two underlying morphemes.

  1. something that combines or blends several items, features, or qualities: I've gathered a portmanteau of ideas from my colleagues.

  1. combining or blending several items, features, or qualities: a portmanteau film with two good stories.

Origin of portmanteau

From French portemanteau literally, “(it) carries (the) cloak”; see port5, mantle;def. 1 was first recorded in 1575–85, and def. 2a in 1871 in Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll.

Words Nearby portmanteau

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How to use portmanteau in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for portmanteau


/ (pɔːtˈmæntəʊ) /

nounplural -teaus or -teaux (-təʊz)
  1. (formerly) a large travelling case made of stiff leather, esp one hinged at the back so as to open out into two compartments

  2. (modifier) embodying several uses or qualities: the heroine is a portmanteau figure of all the virtues

Origin of portmanteau

C16: from French: cloak carrier, from porter to carry + manteau cloak, mantle

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012