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In morphology, the term blend is used for a lexeme that was deliberately created out of two (or more) base words by (often irregularly) deleting parts of the bases.

  • "A blend is here defined as a deliberate creation of a new word out of two (or rarely more) previously existing ones in a way which differs from the rules or pattterns of regular compounding." (Ronneberger-Sibold 2006:157)

It can therefore be descroibed as an improductive type of word formation by which a new word is formed out of the initial phoneme(s) of one word and the final phoneme(s) of another.

Term properties

The word-creation technique by which blends arise is called blending.


  • English guesstimate from estimate + guess, Spanglish from Spanish + English, smog from Smoke + Fog
  • German Bistrothek from Bistro + Diskothek



According to the OED, the word blend goes back to the early 20th century.

  • "Blend-words, amalgams, or fusions may be defined as two or more words, often of cognate sense, telescoped as it were into one." (Pound 1914:1)
  • "Words of the type of electrocute..are often called portmanteau words, or better, blends." (Baugh 1935:377)


It is often argued that this type of word-formation does not belong to the I-language.


Utrecht Lexicon of Linguistics


  • Baugh, A.C. 1935. Hist. Eng. Lang. x. (from OED s.v. blend)
  • Cannon, Garland. 1986. Blends in English word-formation. Linguistics 24:725-753.
  • Pound, L. 1914. Blends: Their Relation to Eng. Word Formation i. (from OED s.v. blend)
  • Ronneberger-Sibold, Elke. 2006. Lexical blends: Functionally tuning the transparency of complex words. Folia Linguistica 40.1-2:155-181.

Other languages

German Wortverschmelzung