For the record, I am not categorically anti-portmanteau. I think affluenza and gundamentalist are inspired. I admire the speedy, seamless blend of Travelocity. I appreciate Lewis Carroll’s contributions to the genre.
But few commercial portmanteaus rise to those heights. Instead, what we see is a lot of chop-and-jam (or perhaps choja, as the blend trend would have it).
Last year, for example, saw the debut of Burger King’s Satisfries, a combo of “satisfy” and “fries” that satisfied no one. (It doesn’t help that the word sounds almost exactly like “saddest fries.”) Sonic Drive-In tortured phonetics with Spicedictive, a distinctly nonaddictive word. The New York Times devoted many column inches to a bourbon-rye blend called Bourye, which I see as Bour Ye and want to pronounce like “Hear ye, hear ye!”
Also in 2013, Subway introduced the Flatizza (flatbread/pizza), which invites adolescent chortling* about flat tits.
Image via A Walk in the Words, who called Flatizza “a phonetically problematic portmanteau.” Indeed.
And I’m sorry to say that we are far from finished with this tired trend. Today marks the rollout of Framily, from Sprint.
“You don’t have to be family to be Framily.” (“That is not a typo,” advised Lifehacker.)
“Up to 10 friends, family and others,” it says up there. Why not go all in and call it Framiloth?
Maybe “Framily” will catch on as shorthand for Friends and Family. (And maybe, somewhere out there, there’s a burning demand for a 10-line mobile plan.) But I’m doubtful. The Framily name elicits winces and groans, not smiles. An undercooked hybrid, it’s the turducken of telecom.
(Hat tip: Karen Wise.)
* Now, that is a good portmanteau.
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