Once Upon a Nonce
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?
Answer: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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