Today’s word-tastic topic is cran-morphing, the practice of dismantling words and glueing parts of them on to other words. Word-tastic is an example of this that I just made up – it combines the word word with -tastic from fantastic. Another popular cran-moph is -gate, as in Irangate, Dianagate and Whitewatergate. This comes from the Watergate Scandal, named after a hotel in Washington D.C.
Cran-morphs or cranberry morphs usually only mean something in relation to the words from which they have been detached. All those whatever-gates usually have nothing to do with gates, though you could construct a folk etymology along these lines – this cran-morph is associated with scandals and cover-ups which involve the revealing of secrets. The opening of a gate could be linked to the discovery of those secrets.
Other cran-morphs include:
- -tabulous, from fantastic and fabulous, as in fantabulous and blog-tabulous
- -holic, from alcoholic, as in shopaholic, chocoholic and biblioholic
- -thon, from marathon, as in telethon, shopathon and eatathon
- -licious, from delicious, as in magalicious
- -nomics, from economics, as in ergonomics, Clintonomics, cybernomics and Enronomics
Details of the origin of the term cran-morphing can be found on Language log.
For more whatever-gates, see Wikipedia.