‘globaloney’: meaning and origin

USA, 1943—nonsensical or absurd talk or ideas concerning global issues—blend of ‘global’ and ‘baloney’—coined by Clare Boothe Luce in her maiden speech to the House of Representatives

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‘dumbsize’: meaning and origin

USA, 1992—to reduce staff numbers to levels so low that work can no longer be carried out effectively—portmanteau, coined by the Trends Research Institute, combining the adjective ‘dumb’, meaning ‘stupid’, and the verb ‘downsize’

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notes on ‘shopaholic’ and ‘shopaholism’

‘shopaholic’ (USA, 1972): a blend of ‘shop’ and ‘alcoholic’; designates a compulsive shopper—‘shopaholism’ (USA, 1983): denotes the state or fact of being a compulsive shopper

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‘adultescent’ and its synonyms

blend of ‘adult’ and ‘adolescent’: adult who has retained the interests, behaviour or lifestyle of adolescence — origin USA, first attested in 1945

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history of the portmanteau word ‘brunch’

    A blend of breakfast and lunch, the noun brunch denotes a late morning meal eaten instead of breakfast and lunch. It originated, apparently in the late 19th century, as Oxford University slang and is first recorded in Lunch at Oxford, by Margaret B. Wright, published in The Independent (New York) of Thursday 22nd […]

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How ‘magpiety’ was invented… and reinvented.

A blend of magpie and piety, the word magpiety was originally invented by the English poet and humorist Thomas Hood (1799-1845) to denote talkativeness, garrulity, especially on religious or moral topics and affected piety. This author first used the word in Jarvis and Mrs. Cope, published in The New Sporting Magazine of March 1832; the poem thus begins: JARVIS AND MRS. COPE. A decidedly serious […]

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