Brexit is actually a pretty good word.

You know why? Because it makes it quicker and easier to get a point across. Collapse it back into its original form and it means ‘British exit from the European Union’, which takes far longer to say. And as long as your audience will definitely know what it means, why use six words when you can use one?

A good portmanteau should be about substance, not style

Some people seem to be coming up with them just because they think it’s clever and in vogue. So let’s have a quick run through some good and bad ones.

PortmantOKAY: ASMRtist

An ASMRtist is a person who makes ASMR videos on YouTube (videos designed to relax you or help you sleep). This portmanteau came into being because it was awkward to describe these people.

Originally they were called ‘ASMR content creators’, which is a bit long and corporate sounding. They were also called ‘ASMR artists’, which is a bit of a mouthful because of the double ‘arr’ sound. [I can’t think of a good pirate joke to go here]

So some clever sausage decided to cut and shut the two words, giving birth to ‘ASMRtist’. It’s quick, it’s unique and it’s easy to say. Lovely!

PortmanNO: Regrexit

I see the idea here, but it doesn’t fit neatly enough into a sentence to save anyone any time.

Probably the quickest way you can fit it into a meaningful sentence is: “I have regrexit.” Or as a verb: “I’m really regrexiting.”

They both sound pants, for starters. And they’re barely any shorter then the plain English version: “I regret voting leave.”

So that’s a no from me. This word came about just from people trying to be clever. It has no practical value in my eyes.

PortmantOKAY: Brunch

What’s easier? ‘Meal between breakfast and lunch’ or just ‘brunch’?

This is the art of the portmanteau, beautifully executed. And I reckon some people out there suffered to make this one happen. Imagine being the first person to say “I’m just gonna grab some brunch.”

If I heard that for the first time, I’d probably be like “dude, you’re just trying too hard at life.” But I’d like to think I’d give it some thought and then wholeheartedly rubber stamp it.

It’s quick, it’s easy. Everyone knows what it means. Everyone’s happy.

PortmanNO: Chillax

I have beef with this word. For one simple reason: it’s made up of two words that mean the same damn thing!

Allow me to quickly create a few more new words, based on the same principle. And you tell me how much use they’d be in your day to day life.

  • Dound (dog and hound)
  • Fruddy (friend and buddy)
  • Stroad (street and road)

No? No takers? That’s because ‘chillax’ is all style and no substance. It was made up by some guy just trying to sound cool. And there’s nothing less cool than trying to sound cool.

So what’s the lesson here?

Using frivolous portmanteaus is no different to using long or obscure words just to show off. It just makes you sound pretentious and silly.

If you tell me you’re meeting up with an ASMRtist for brunch, you’ve saved us both some time. If you try to tell me you’re meeting up with a person who makes ASMR videos on YouTube to have a meal between breakfast and lunch, I might start glancing at my watch.

If you tell me you’re trying to chillax and forget about your terrible sense of regrexit, you know what I’ll say.

Dude, you’re trying way too hard at life.