The impulse to blend words always amuses me. This winter, we had the Snowpocalypse. MRP readers are familiar with the Four Grammarians of the Apostrophocalypse. And there’s the irresistible urge to put the suffixes -gate, -licious, or -holic at the end of pretty much any word. Here in the Boston area, the onset of what some are calling the Aquapocalypse (and others, H2OMG) reminded me of Jan Freeman’s column the other week on “frankenwords.”
Reminding us that words we take for granted, such as bureaucrat, electrocute, and starvation are as blended as words such as chocoholic, humorectomy, and danceathon, Freeman writes:
“Today the air is thicker than ever with such verbal fireflies, though most will glow only briefly. And what’s “acceptable” has become a matter of taste — or age. We may groan at irritainment and adultescent, but miniskirt and glitterati, now over 50, are old friends. Like our censorious forebears, we love some blends and hate others, call some adorable and others ugly. What we don’t do, in the 21st century, is condemn them as crimes against Latin and Greek.”
Read “Frankenwords: How We Came to Love our Unholy Creations.” Would it just be too much to call thousands of gallons pouring into the Charles River from a burst pipe Watergate?