A supervisor used this term to illustrate a difference in data, e.g., actual v. projected manhours. It is a word blend of “disparity” and “discrepancy”. Single word blend malaphors are unconscious blends of words to make an unintentional new word. The word sounds or looks correct at first blush, but then on closer examination is incorrect. Examples found on my website include “Buckminster Palace” (Buckingham and Westminster, and/or possibly Buckminster Fuller) and “split-minute decision” (split second and last minute). A word blend malaphor is different than a portmanteau. First, portmanteaus are intentional word blends while word blend malaphors are unintentional. Also, a portmanteau is a combination of two (or more) words or morphemes, and their definitions, into one new word. A portmanteau word generally combines both sounds and meanings, as in smog, coined by blending smoke and fog. More generally, it may refer to any term or phrase that combines two or more meanings, for instance, the term “wurly” when describing hair that is both wavy and curly. Check out my website for more word blend malaphors by typing in “word blend” in the search function.

Note: the word “disparency” does appear in Wiktionary but in no other dictionary I could find. The word blend malaphor has perhaps become so common in recent times as to become a part of the English lexicon. However, for now, I call this a bonafide malaphor! A big thanks to Skip Kennedy for sending this one in!


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