• yuppie is short for Young Urban Professional
  • DINKs is short for Dual Income, No Kids

For each of these two words: Is it an acronym or a portmanteau?

It sounds to me like they are not real acronyms, not being strictly one letter per word.

References appreciated.

  • 1
    @snailboat: Your answer looked to me like a possible answer. An hour ago I saw someone argue that it was portmanteau (and yet another who thinks it is acronym). That's why I posted this question. Feb 17, 2015 at 13:15
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    What is the argument for portmanteau? I don't see how anyone would consider either of them portmanteaus... they're both initial letter-based, which isn't anything like a portmanteau. Acronyms get pluralized all the time. And, not that it's the perfect source, but Wikipedia calls yuppie an acronym. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yuppie
    – Catija
    Feb 17, 2015 at 15:17
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    I would just call it an acronym, but I can picture someone arguing that it is a portmanteau of the acronym "YUP" and the word "hippie."
    – Adam
    Feb 17, 2015 at 16:16
  • See this same issue currently under debate in SE sister-site ELU: Of Yuppies and Yippies and Hippies
    – Little Eva
    Feb 18, 2015 at 12:31
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    Catchy title plus a little narrative--Madison Avenue "hooks". Yeah, I have no objective merely anecdotal, support to offer. It all boils down to whether or no one buys the contention that the suffix "pie" bears semantic relevance ie, is intentionally related to a predecessor. I believe this to be the case. Yuppies drew their membership from the Hippies and so needed to relate yet be distinct so the chose a name which does exactly that. Same is true for Yuppie which referred back to a "leftist" predecessor of whom Yuppies were the antitheses. The terms R clever & meaningful plays on each othr
    – Little Eva
    Feb 18, 2015 at 13:10

3 Answers 3


Neither of these are portmanteaux. To form a new word, a portmanteaux has to use parts of at least two words, more than their initial letters but less than the complete words (although it can use one of the words completely, but not all of them). If you can imagine a scale (with "0' on the left and "10" on the right), portmanteaux are in the middle range, abbreviations are on the far left and compound words on the far right.

With your examples, you would have to have something like "youbanfessional" or "duacomenoids" for them to be portmanteaux. Both "yuppie" and "DINK" are examples of initialisms. DINK is an initialism that is a strict acronym- it is made from the first letters of each word and is pronounced as a new word.

Because most people don't know of any other names with which to describe it, "yuppie" is sometimes referred to as an acronym or an abbreviation. It is neither since: 1) it is not strictly formed from the first letters of it's forming words although it is pronounced like an acronym, and 2) it is not an abbreviated form of a full word. It isn't a portmanteau because we know its forming words and it is not formed from parts of them. The word "yuppie" is a simple initialism.

I hope this helps.

  • I would just call it an acronym, but I can picture someone arguing that it is a portmanteau of the acronym "YUP" and the word "hippie."
    – Adam
    Mar 2, 2015 at 22:49

In the UK, there are pedestrian crossings called 'Pelican' crossings. They get their name because they are PEdestrian LIght-CONtrolled crossings. Similarly, 'Puffin' crossings are Pedestrian User-Friendly INtelligents crossings. Finally, another crossing, designed for both pedestrians and cyclists, is named the 'Toucan' crossing because the TWO CAN cross here. All are examples of contrived portmanteau words with three, four and two elements respectively.

  • Could you edit your post and also address OP's specific concern? OP was asking about "yuppie" and "DINKs" and what to call them.
    – Em.
    Oct 3, 2019 at 1:53

DINKs does seem to be an acronym to me, because the s at the end is only intended to express plurality. Yuppie is a bit different of a situation, because I don't think that it really fits either description well. It wouldn't be an acronym, for reasons you have already listed, and portmanteaus are usually more fluid than that. I would classify that as slang, because it's an abbreviated form of the phrase that doesn't really have a consistent form.

Generally if something doesn't fit the description of an acronym or portmanteau you can just call it an abbreviation. In the case of other vernacular things like Yuppie though, slang is usually best fitting.

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