Saturday, December 18, 2010

Word Mash-Ups

I like it when people blend two words into one.  Word mash-ups can be funny ("hellidays" is my personal favorite this time of year), or they can simply be pragmatic.  Example:  "Rusticle" is a word that's not in my handy-dandy doorstop dictionary, but it's commonly used to describe stalactite-like formations of rust, such as those found on the wreck of the Titanic:  icicle + rust = rusticle.  Makes sense, right?

Here's one that isn't truly a mash-up, but you can see how two words collided in the writer's brain to produce a totally incorrect word.  In an online story about the passing of film director Blake Edwards, the writer noted that Edwards:

"…brought to life 'The Pink Panther,' which spurned a number of sequels…"

To spurn means to reject, refuse or drive away.  However, it is possible for "The Pink Panther" to spur or spawn sequels.  Maybe the writer just couldn't decide which word to use and opted to use them both, thinking:  spur + spawn = spurn.

Too bad that particular mash-up doesn't work.

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