Combining Idioms. Portmanteau style

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Vaskafdt
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Combining Idioms. Portmanteau style

Postby Vaskafdt » Wed Sep 08, 2010 7:49 pm UTC

Greetings.

a small question i thought I'd ask here

Portmanteau: A blend of two (or more) words or morphemes and their meanings into one new word.

I would like to know if there is a word for a blend of two (or more) idioms or common phrases and their meanings into one new idiom.

example:
I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. - something that you say in order to tell someone that you will not worry about a possible problem but will deal with it if it happens
burn bridges: - to cutoff the way back to where you came from, making it impossible to retreat.
Blends into:
I'll burn that bridge when I come to it. - meaning I will make this problem completely unsolvable once it arises. (or something like that)


hope there is a word for that.

thanks
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Re: Combining Idioms. Portmanteau style

Postby unlofl » Thu Sep 09, 2010 12:11 am UTC

I know I've heard "I'll burn that bridge when I come to it" before and love it. I suppose we could create a portmanteau? a "portmantidiom"?

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Re: Combining Idioms. Portmanteau style

Postby poxic » Thu Sep 09, 2010 12:38 am UTC

Mixed metaphor?
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Re: Combining Idioms. Portmanteau style

Postby Qaanol » Thu Sep 09, 2010 2:05 am UTC

Portmidiom. If it wasn’t before, it is now.

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Re: Combining Idioms. Portmanteau style

Postby meatyochre » Thu Sep 09, 2010 3:14 am UTC

How many roads must a man walk down before he takes the road less traveled by?

I believe mixed metaphors is the proper term for this. It's fun!
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Re: Combining Idioms. Portmanteau style

Postby Zamfir » Thu Sep 09, 2010 8:31 am UTC

Orwell wrote a piece about the problems of mixing and metaphores, and a lot more http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/orwell46.htm

His famous example was The fascist octopus has sung its swansong

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Re: Combining Idioms. Portmanteau style

Postby unlofl » Thu Sep 09, 2010 7:23 pm UTC

I still think the word "Portmidiom" has a place.

"If we can hit that bullseye then the rest of the dominoes will fall like a house of cards... Checkmate."
-- Zapp Brannigan


This combines several idioms ("hit the bullseye", "the rest of the dominoes", "fall like a house of cards", "Checkmate" outside the context of chess), and it successfully combines the meaning of the idioms into a new meaning. It combines the images of "strike", "chain reaction", "collapse", and "win" for an amusingly vague image of a single precise blow triggering a chain of events and mass destruction. It is a portmidiom. However, a mixed metaphor does not have to use idioms, in which case it cannot be a portmidiom. This would be your average, bad mixed metaphor.

Milking the temp workers for all they were worth, the manager barked orders at them.
(taken from: http://www.infoplease.com/cig/grammar-s ... short.html)


Which is just ugly, and doesn't combine the ideas at all. And still other portmidioms lack any of the comic value I like to associate with the category.

Unless we tighten our belts, we'll sink like a stone.
(also taken from: http://www.infoplease.com/cig/grammar-s ... short.html)


It seems to work; two idioms, combined to create a new meaning makes it a portmidiom ("we have to spend less or we will go bankrupt".) But I wouldn't call it a terribly good one, it just isn't amusing.

There is still the other issue of whether idioms and mixed metaphors are in fact overlapping categories. While a metaphor uses imagery to convey a meaning, idioms may be defined as phrases violating the principle of compositionality, where the literal meaning of the words doesn't even abstractly relate to their understood meaning. This type of idiom must be learned like an individual word, having its own unique meaning. Many accepted idioms do in fact contain some bit of metaphor, such as "hit the road" or "pound the pavement" which could be associated with walking. Orwell would agree with a more general definition of idiom, pointing out that through mindless repetition of certain cliches, writers are "perverting the original phrase" and gradually changing its meaning over time; doesn't "hit the road" make you think of getting in a car? Was it originally associated with walking? What was once a good metaphor can become overused, confused, and gradually have its meaning displaced with a new one, completely unrelated to the original words.

At the present time I will admit that I do concur with Orwell, it seems highly probable that currently observed trends in increased usage of electronic communication will cast a dark shaddow over any hopes for a greater number of popular, creative implementations that follow what is widely regarded by experts to be a precise and demonstrably useful implementation of the English language.

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Re: Combining Idioms. Portmanteau style

Postby goofy » Thu Sep 09, 2010 8:51 pm UTC

unlofl wrote:IAt the present time I will admit that I do concur with Orwell, it seems highly probable that currently observed trends in increased usage of electronic communication will cast a dark shaddow over any hopes for a greater number of popular, creative implementations that follow what is widely regarded by experts to be a precise and demonstrably useful implementation of the English language.


Which experts? Expert David Crystal argues the opposite.

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Re: Combining Idioms. Portmanteau style

Postby Iulus Cofield » Thu Sep 09, 2010 11:00 pm UTC

I think these are great, although I think "idmanteau" flows off the wet sprocket more easily than "portmidiom."

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Re: Combining Idioms. Portmanteau style

Postby Vaskafdt » Fri Sep 10, 2010 2:56 pm UTC

yea. those are great.. and i guess mixed metaphor is the right term.. a shame there isn't some obscure portmanteau for it :(.


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Re: Combining Idioms. Portmanteau style

Postby folkhero » Sat Sep 11, 2010 7:11 am UTC

unlofl wrote:
"If we can hit that bullseye then the rest of the dominoes will fall like a house of cards... Checkmate."
-- Zapp Brannigan

And his more recent:
Brannigan wrote:We fought like hell, sir, but in the end, we caved like a house of soufflé cards.


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Re: Combining Idioms. Portmanteau style

Postby Sprocket » Thu Sep 16, 2010 10:04 pm UTC

Iulus Cofield wrote:I think these are great, although I think "idmanteau" flows off the wet sprocket more easily than "portmidiom."

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Re: Combining Idioms. Portmanteau style

Postby Iulus Cofield » Fri Sep 17, 2010 1:22 am UTC

Yes, I'd like you to say both and tell us which you prefer.

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Re: Combining Idioms. Portmanteau style

Postby krogoth » Fri Oct 01, 2010 3:10 am UTC

Just wanted to say how much I like the saying, *burn that bridge when I come to it" so much. I have gone back in time to use it.


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Re: Combining Idioms. Portmanteau style

Postby Iulus Cofield » Fri Oct 01, 2010 3:47 am UTC

I recently heard, "Does the Pope shit in the woods?"

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Re: Combining Idioms. Portmanteau style

Postby Keand64 » Wed Oct 06, 2010 1:17 am UTC

krogoth wrote:Just wanted to say how much I like the saying, *burn that bridge when I come to it" so much. I have gone back in time to use it.

Rules for "Individual XKCD Comic Threads" -> "Atheists" discussion (#774)-> first page half way down.

I concur completely... at least, I love 'I'll burn that bridge when I come to to"...notsomuch on the rest of your say.
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Re: Combining Idioms. Portmanteau style

Postby Sir Novelty Fashion » Sun Oct 10, 2010 2:33 pm UTC

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Re: Combining Idioms. Portmanteau style

Postby Dean36 » Sat Jul 16, 2016 12:54 am UTC

I realise this is an old thread, but someone linked from elsewhere in a discussion about the same subject so I thought I'd pop the answer in here as well; The word is 'Dundrearyism' after the character Lord Dundreary from the play Our American Cousin, who employed them. Such as 'birds of a feather gather no moss'. The seventh Doctor from Doctor Who used them in his earlier stories too. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lord_Dundreary

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Re: Combining Idioms. Portmanteau style

Postby CharlieP » Mon Jul 18, 2016 12:25 pm UTC

Combined idioms? Are you winding my leg up?
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Re: Combining Idioms. Portmanteau style

Postby Dean36 » Tue Jul 19, 2016 5:08 am UTC

There's also the more recent word 'Malaphor' also means the same thing, apparently coined in 1976, but looks like it's only become popular in the last ten years or so. https://malaphors.com/about/

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Re: Combining Idioms. Portmanteau style

Postby MWak » Mon Aug 08, 2016 9:21 pm UTC

Vaskafdt wrote:yea. those are great.. and i guess mixed metaphor is the right term.. a shame there isn't some obscure portmanteau for it :(.


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Re: Combining Idioms. Portmanteau style

Postby ahammel » Tue Aug 09, 2016 2:22 am UTC

Vaskafdt wrote:I would like to know if there is a word for a blend of two (or more) idioms or common phrases and their meanings into one new idiom.

Aubreyism?
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Re: Combining Idioms. Portmanteau style

Postby Bloopy » Tue Sep 06, 2016 4:50 am UTC

Coincidentally, someone's set up a website to generate this sort of thing, and it's hilarious: The Idiomatic.

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Re: Combining Idioms. Portmanteau style

Postby ConMan » Tue Sep 06, 2016 5:58 am UTC

I've used both "Burn that bridge when I get to it" and "Is a bear Catholic?/Does the Pope poop in the woods?", although I don't think anyone noticed when I did. There was also a sketch in a school drama night I was in that used the line "Let's make like a tree and blow this popsicle stand", which to this day I love. I like both idmanteau and the broader malaphor as words to describe the phenomenon. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go see a man about a dog with two tails.
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Re: Combining Idioms. Portmanteau style

Postby ahammel » Tue Sep 06, 2016 2:11 pm UTC

ConMan wrote: Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go see a man about a dog with two tails.

And bark yourself?
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Re: Combining Idioms. Portmanteau style

Postby Derek » Tue Sep 06, 2016 8:26 pm UTC

Bloopy wrote:Coincidentally, someone's set up a website to generate this sort of thing, and it's hilarious: The Idiomatic.

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Re: Combining Idioms. Portmanteau style

Postby Dthen » Mon Sep 12, 2016 11:24 am UTC

This thread has made my day. I'm just going to sit here giggling quietly to myself.
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