Malamanteau

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A 'malamanteau ' (pronounced ˈɛɪjaˌfjatl̥aˌjœkʏtl̥) (plural malamanteaux) is a neologism for a portmanteau created by incorrectly combining a malapropism with a neologism[citation needed]. It is itself a neologism, a malapropism and a portmanteau (of malapropism and portmanteau). In a less strict definition, a portmanteau of a malapropism with another word can also be considered a malamanteau[citation needed]. The contained malapropism must be typically a very common one, probably one most people are not aware of, in order to be able to regain the meaning of a malamanteau.

A malamanteau often is created when somebody tries to use a neologism (alternatively, an idiom) but mistakenly confuses a word with another one. However, unlike a malapropism or an eggcorn, the fumbled word is not completely replaced, but merely transfixed to the new one. A famous example is: "misunderestimate" which was popularized by the 43rd President of the United States, George W. Bush[citation needed]. Probably it was intended to be "underestimate" but mistakenly jumbled with "misunderstand."[citation needed]

[edit] Examples

  • Somebody describes his misunderstanding of what someone was saying by stating, "I misconscrewed it up."
  • Someone explains his inability to talk while being upset by saying he was "flustrated."
  • A meaningful malamanteau is "ambiviolent," as in: "Beatrix Kiddo in Kill Bill was ambiviolent. She didn't know who to kill first."
  • George W. Bush's inadvertent malamanteau "misunderestimated" has entered common usage.[citation needed]
  • Someone describes being misinformed as "being miscommunicado", a mixture of miscommunicate and incommunicado.
  • In Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys, the word "absatively" is described as "a car crash between absolutely and positively".
  • Sarah Palin's inadvertant Twitter containing "refudiate", being a combination of "refute" and "repudiate".

[edit] References

http://ask.metafilter.com/67192/How-to-define-this-language-mistake#1006932

http://xkcd.com/739/

http://wordsquirt.com/Word/View/Malamanteau/dbb34d48-e565-4012-bcc8-56718f351712

http://www.bbcnewsamerica.com/malamanteau-wikipedia.html

[edit] Footnotes

A malamanteau is also a word that severely flustrated xkcd fanboys on Wikipedia, causing flame wars and gnashing of teeth. Even slashdot and reddit both have created entries for the conflict.