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I’ve never been sure if I love words because I’m a writer, or if I became a writer because of my love for words. Either way, as long as I can remember I’ve been fascinated by words, their origins, their shades of meaning, the way they roll off the tongue, their rhythm … well, you get the idea. I’m a word freak. So I’m always thrilled when I discover a new one, or at least one new to me.

This one’s a portmanteau, which is essentially a word that “is a combination of two (or more) words or morphemes into one new word.” “Blog” is one you probably use every day. Other examples include “breathalyzer,” “brunch,” “camcorder,” “ginormous,” “motel,” “smog” and “spork.” Some catch on, while others don’t quite make it into everyday usage. There are a lot of portmanteaus in computing and the internet, and Wikipedia has a long list of them.

One of my favorite magazines is Mental Floss, which is a great one for feeding your inner trivia geek. They recently had a blog post entitled 12 Really Forced Portmanteaux That Didn’t Catch On that included some that you can easily see why they didn’t become popular. Words like “locorestive” (Inclined to remain in one place) or “saccharhinoceros” (A lumbering person with an excessively effusive or affectedly sentimental manner) don’t exactly roll off the tongue. Some of the portmanteaus on the list are downright funny.

But here’s the one that caught my eye: alcoholiday, combining alcohol and holiday. It was defined as “leisure time spent drinking” when it first “appeared in a 1913 New York Times story titled ‘New Arrivals in Portmanteau Land.'”

It may not be the most elegant word, but there are certainly holidays that fit that description to a tee. St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo and New Years’ Eve seem obvious alcoholidays. And our Independence Day, Labor Day, Memorial Day and even Halloween could easily be included.

Maybe it’s time to bring back alcoholiday?

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