Monday, February 1, 2016

Portmanteau, Divorce, and Mediation

I was reading the New York Times recently and saw the word, “portmanteau.”  I was not familiar with the work and looked it up on my trusty iPhone.  First definition was “a large trunk or suitcase, typically made of stiff leather and opening into two equal parts.”  The definition did not make sense and I read further.  “Consisting of or combining two or more separable aspects or qualities.” That was closer.  Next, “a linguistic blend of words or their sounds and their meanings are combined into a new word.”  Examples are smog for smoke and fog or spork for spoon and fork.  The list is endless.  The only legal term which comes to mind is “palimony” from pal and alimony.  The term was made famous in the Lee Marvin case.  It was coined by celebrity divorce attorney Marvin Mitchelson in 1977 when his client Michelle Triola Marvin filed an unsuccessful suit against the actor Lee Marvin.  Michelle Triola sought support from Lee Marvin even though they had not married.   She lost.  I am not aware of any other divorce or mediation portmanteau words but can create some.  Diviation for divorce mediation. Not sure we want this one.  Advesorce for adversary divorce. Chort for child support.  Collaborce for collaborative divorce. Aldilution for alternative dispute resolution.  Don’t think any of these will catch on!
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