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Is it the word "between", but truncated, or a portmanteau of "in between" and "teen"?

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If it means tweenager then it's a truncation of a portmanteau word. –  Andrew Leach Jul 29 '13 at 6:31
    
Tween is also a word used in computer animation. Here is a definition from About.com: "Tween" is actually short for "in-between", and refers to the creation of successive frames of animation between key frames. animation.about.com/od/glossaryofterms/g/tween_def.htm –  Shoe Jul 29 '13 at 9:35

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

Here's Merriam-Webster's definition of portmanteau:

word or morpheme whose form and meaning are derived from a blending of two or more distinct forms (as smog from smoke and fog)

Here's The Free Dictionary's definition of tween:

A child between middle childhood and adolesence, usually between 8 and 12 years old. [Blend of teen and between.]

The OED says tween is short for tween-age, after teen. For tween-age, they say it's an alteration of teenage after 'tween (a form of between).

So, yes, tween can be considered a portmanteau of "[in] between" and "teen".

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