First things first: I'm italian, so please apologize me for my poor english.

While trying to create a name for a thing, I got curious by the question in the title. Many English words (new and old ones, blends or compounds) spot an o between the two words wich are built from. For example I've found herbopedia, foodopedia, carorama, and so on. By the way, I've found even foodepedia and Google (for what it's worth) seems to think it's better than foodopedia.

Now, I know what -rama and -pedia stand for, so no problem here. And I know that usually an o' between two words means of, like in will o' the wisp is William of the wisp. But if this being the case it should be "pediaofood", that sound pretty ridicolous. Even more, seems that foodopedia and foodepedia are equivalent...so? Where those vocals come from, and what is their meaning?

Thx all :-)

  • I don't think they add meaning, I suspect it's just for the sake of euphony. It makes the words easier to say by eliminating a 'stop' in the middle.
    – Jim Mack
    Commented Feb 3, 2015 at 11:25
  • Thanks, Jim. I'd upvote your comment, but it seems it's not allowed here on ESE :-)
    – motoDrizzt
    Commented Feb 4, 2015 at 9:05

1 Answer 1


In the case of the examples you mention, the 'o' does not get inserted to combine, for example, 'herb' and 'pedia', but is part of -opedia and is a portmanteau abbreviating 'herb encyclopedia'.

The reason Google prefers foodepedia is because Foodepedia as a website has significant exposure, whereas foodopedia does not. Foodopedia would be the more direct portmanteau of 'food' and 'encyclopedia', but presumably sounded less attractive to the site creators.

You are correct that 'o' is short for 'of' in examples like "will o' the wisp" or "cat o' nine tails".

  • Likely "Foodepedia" appeals to "foodies" -- people who are "into" organic, "locally sourced", or otherwise exceptional foods.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Feb 3, 2015 at 16:46
  • Lol. After reading your answer, I think it must have been the dumbest question I've ever done in my life :-D To my excuse I must say that in Italian language "pedia" is a suffix with a so strong identity that for no reason at all I'd ever thought to split encyclopedia in 'encycl' and 'opedia'. Thx again :-)
    – motoDrizzt
    Commented Feb 4, 2015 at 9:04

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