What the Heck is a Streptonym?
It has nothing to do with germs...
One of my recent gags for Dan Piraro's comic Bizarro was based on a form of wordplay where two phrases are linked by a common word to form a new, surprising combination:
Last month, Dan did another comic using this same device, linking three famous names to create a rather frightening imaginary creature:I quite like both comics, and have encountered (and used) the same form of wordplay many times. I wondered what it might be called, and was unable to find a satisfying answer. It's not a pun, a spoonerism, or a malapropism. What is it exactly?
Jeopardy uses it in a category they call "Before & After." While descriptive, I find the name to be lacking elegance. The Website wordnik calls these constructions "sweet tooth fairies." This also feels flat, as it simply uses an example of a thing to name the thing.
So, I've come up with my own name for a sequential mashup of unrelated phrases: streptonym.
This neologism combines the Greek prefix strepto-, which means "bent," "twisted," or "resembling a twisted chain," with the suffix -onym, meaning "name" or "word" (also from the Greek). In addition to describing the technique, it utilizes it, with the common letter o as the linkage point. Taking a small liberty with the definition of "twisted," a good streptonym should also have a humorous twist.
Initially, I used the plural form, as the term refers to a series of words, but now I prefer the singular (streptonym) to refer to the chain of words as a unit.