Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

What is the term for a common or potential pun of another word using a misspelling? For example, I thought the made-up word bikery was a funny sort of play on the word bakery. What, therefore, would bikery be called in relation to bakery?

share|improve this question

1 Answer 1

up vote 10 down vote accepted

A portmanteau combines parts of two different words (in this case, "bike" and "-kery", from "bakery") to form a new word.

Wikipedia has a long list, including such words as "cyborg" ("cyb-ernetic" + "org-anism"), "gaydar" ("gay" + "ra-dar"), and "mockumentary" ("mock" + "do-cumentary").

Some portmanteaus—like those above—become regular words in the language, and can assume either less-formal status ("gaydar"), or completely formal status ("cyborg"); the only distinction is where and how people decide to use them.

So in this case, you've simply noticed an informal portmanteau that "didn't stick."

You could also call it one type of a "linguistic blend" in formal speech, but that would be less specific relative to this example. Essentially, that's what the "pun" of your title indicates.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.