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Once Upon a Nonce

Rebus brain teasers use words or letters in interesting orientations to represent common phrases.


Puzzle ID:#48616
Fun:** (1.81)
Difficulty:*** (2.52)
Submitted By:BadBunnee02*th***




Two long-standing organizations were recently honored in the town of Lingoville-by-the-sea for their amalgamation into one organization with scripted plaques reading:

YMCA & YWCA : "WoMancipation"

What's the rebus?


a word to the wise (the "Y's")

The honoring of the two "Y's" was because, after many years of success, the two organizations were now sharing programs and accepting memberships regardless of age, gender, race, or religion.*

BBjr, also a prominent citizen of Lingoville and owner of a thriving business (BB's WordUp Emporium) selling alphabet letters and characters and customizing words and phrases for his Lingoville clients, was asked to derive the script for the plaques.

What BBjr has, here, so cleverly constructed, is a portmanteau word as (also) a nonce word.

A "portmanteau" word is one that is "invented" by combining parts of two or more other words. Such as; "bit" (binary + digit), blog (web + log), brunch (breakfast + lunch), and chunnel (channel + tunnel), just to take a few from the top of any list of such on the web.

Also, a portmanteau (sometimes called a "blend" word) need not follow the slavish rule (such slavishness finding its way into other language areas, also) of rigidly taking the first syllable (or phoneme) only of the first word and combining it directly with the last syllable (or phoneme) only of the second word.

"Tanzania" (Tanganyika and Zanzibar), and "gerrymander" (Mr. Gerry and salamander) are examples.

A "nonce" word is an invented word - usually by a writer or speaker - intended to express a singular idea and to be used only once.

Sometimes, these "loner" words find themselves into the general lexicon; such as "Quark" (James Joyce, "Finnegans Wake") which, since, has become part of the standard lexicon (it's a sub-atomic particle).

So, here, BBjr has "invented" a portmanteau nonce-word, "WoMancipation" (portmanteau of "woman", "man", and "emancipation"), to singularly express the appreciation of the Lingoville community to the two Y's.

This is, of course, the privilege of any writer or speaker and is - usually - respected as such by editors and publishers if critical to the material being written or spoken.

Especially so, in this case (the rebus) because the "word" itself is meaningful only so far as it contributes a string of letters that is "word-like" to express the notion of a "word to the wise".

"A word to the wise" is an idiom signifying instances where a single word or comment, or short statement or phrase, will be sufficient to lead a wise person or persons to the conclusion so desired or suggested by the speaker or writer.

Example: "BBjr's use (manipulation) of portmanteau and nonce privileges should serve as a word to the wise that the word itself ("WoMmancipation") is of little consequence (even if not, and probably never will be, a "standard" word) to the making of this rebus."

*Some Y's still operate as YMCA's and YWCA's but others have taken new names and logos such as "Family Y", "The Y", "YM/YWCA", etc.


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Apr 18, 2011

I think that answer was a bit too long - he went from the answer to the teaser to portmenteus!
Apr 19, 2011

Heads up, WB.
The answer IS a portmanteau
That's what "makes" the rebus.

And, as far as the answer being "too long", I guess there are a couple of options necessary, here, to call to your attention, also.

So, "heads up", again.

01. Editors are capable (and so empowered) to reduce the amount of verbiage anywhere on this website. Apparently they considered this answer OK in this regard. So, let's let them do their work unfettered.

02. You are certainly welcomed to stop reading any time your attention span so dictates. If you choose to not learn something about the use of literary devices such as "nonce" words and "portemanteau" derivatives, that is certainly your privilege.

Thank you for your visit and your comments. Come any time.
Apr 28, 2011

I like know the thought process that one uses to come to a conclusion. Well thought out rebus. Well done.
Apr 28, 2011

Hi, TT -
Send me a personal message with any specific questions you might have and I'll do my best to answer.

Just click my name (to the left here) and then look to the far right on the next window you get and you should see "send message".

Thanks for your visit and your comments.

May 04, 2011

BB, like your stuff. check out daily rebus puzzles at

Blog I just started a couple months ago.

May 04, 2011

KlooDoo ...

Just checked out your webbie.


Too bad we can't do stuff like that here on Braingle !!!!!!

Jul 17, 2011

I would have never got it. But your answer was pretty informative and an interesting read. Now I'll go check out your other teasers.
Nov 23, 2011

What That explanation was waaaaaay too long
Dec 17, 2011

that answer was so long and so sientific that i had to skip it

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