What is this weak form of pun called?
May 27, 2013 11:00 AM   Subscribe

You know the kind: "DemoCRAPS" and "RepubliCONS" I find these constructions incredibly tiresome and would like to address them with a technical term. What are these forms of speech called?
posted by salishsea to Writing & Language (19 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:08 AM on May 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Satiric misspelling.
posted by Talez at 11:08 AM on May 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

I believe they're technically portmanteaux, though that doesn't necessarily imply a pejorative term.
posted by jingzuo at 11:14 AM on May 27, 2013

Best answer: Ugh. I hate those too. My first thought would be to call them portmanteaus, but they aren't really combining two terms to define a new word, just modifying a word to express an opinion about it.

If a new word needs to be coined for them, it seems only appropriate to use the method on itself. I nominate "pseudonumbs", pseudonyms that have a numbing effect on the brain.
posted by Tsuga at 11:20 AM on May 27, 2013 [15 favorites]

posted by jamjam at 11:57 AM on May 27, 2013 [20 favorites]

I was thinking portmandon't.
posted by trunk muffins at 11:57 AM on May 27, 2013 [16 favorites]

nom de merde? neggcorn?

Seems like punning epithet would cover it.
posted by fleacircus at 12:13 PM on May 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:21 PM on May 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

See also: Lie-berals, Dalton McGuilty...

I would call it lazy passive aggression! I find the writers of these "jokes" normally sprinkle them into a perfectly regular sentence, presumably in the hopes that you will notice their distain for a particular group, while (in their mind) not detracting from their political argument.
posted by cranberrymonger at 12:28 PM on May 27, 2013

Response by poster: And like the actual practice, I like it the first time I hear it and then it grows wearying..."pseudonumbs" is funny, but I'm wondering about not fighting fire with fire. Are these really portmanteaux? If so, is there a standard to a portmanteau which would indicate that "RepubliCON" is a stupid one while "spork" is more useful and "smog" is excellent?
posted by salishsea at 12:29 PM on May 27, 2013

I just went through the Wikipedia entry for portmanteau. Sadly, it seems there are a lot of examples that meet the criteria but are even more annoying than RepubliCON. E.g. the dreaded Brangelina.
posted by cranberrymonger at 12:36 PM on May 27, 2013

I would just add a value-laden adjective to the value-neutral portmanteau. “Puerile portmenteaux” maybe.
posted by hattifattener at 12:42 PM on May 27, 2013

Don't the perpetrators just call this "punning"?
(Not sayin' they're correct to do so)
posted by Rash at 12:44 PM on May 27, 2013

Best answer: Like talez, I've always thought of these ("amerikkka" "rethuglican") as satiric misspellings.
posted by 41swans at 12:58 PM on May 27, 2013

I think these are 'names' as in 'calling someone names'. Like if you have a friend named Lucas and you call him Mucus. Maybe just 'insulting names' or 'insulting nicknames' for a more clear term?
posted by capricorn at 1:12 PM on May 27, 2013

Best answer: Sounds like a type of dysphemism to me, though that term covers broader, non-punny usages, as well. (My favorite example of a dysphemism, not cited in the Wiki article: "Zombie Jesus Day" for Easter.)
posted by rhiannonstone at 1:21 PM on May 27, 2013 [2 favorites]

"Demicrap" and "Republicon" both seem to fit WP's definition of satiric misspelling, although calling them satire gives them too much credit in my mind. But it seems like they're part of a larger category of words used in replace of the standard term for an entity to express contempt for it, that would include, e.g., "feminazi" or "commander in thief". "Feminazi" is constructed like a portmanteau, but it's not referring to a new class of thing, just insultingly referring to the same entity as one of the source words.
posted by Tsuga at 1:32 PM on May 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

posted by dfan at 1:36 PM on May 27, 2013 [4 favorites]

posted by John Cohen at 9:50 PM on May 27, 2013

« Older Where can I find t-shirts and shorts that have...   |   Where to have my car windows tinted in Houston? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.