Learn English – Use and meaning of o between words in blends


First things first: I'm italian, so please apologize me for my poor english.

While trying to create a name for a thing, I got curious by the question in the title. Many English words (new and old ones, blends or compounds) spot an o between the two words wich are built from. For example I've found herbopedia, foodopedia, carorama, and so on. By the way, I've found even foodepedia and Google (for what it's worth) seems to think it's better than foodopedia.

Now, I know what -rama and -pedia stand for, so no problem here. And I know that usually an o' between two words means of, like in will o' the wisp is William of the wisp.
But if this being the case it should be "pediaofood", that sound pretty ridicolous. Even more, seems that foodopedia and foodepedia are equivalent…so? Where those vocals come from, and what is their meaning?

Thx all 🙂

Best Answer

In the case of the examples you mention, the 'o' does not get inserted to combine, for example, 'herb' and 'pedia', but is part of -opedia and is a portmanteau abbreviating 'herb encyclopedia'.

The reason Google prefers foodepedia is because Foodepedia as a website has significant exposure, whereas foodopedia does not. Foodopedia would be the more direct portmanteau of 'food' and 'encyclopedia', but presumably sounded less attractive to the site creators.

You are correct that 'o' is short for 'of' in examples like "will o' the wisp" or "cat o' nine tails".