onomatopoeia

[on-uh-mat-uh-pee-uh, ‐mah-tuh]
noun
1.
the formation of a word, as cuckoo, meow, honk, or boom, by imitation of a sound made by or associated with its referent.
2.
a word so formed.
3.
the use of imitative and naturally suggestive words for rhetorical, dramatic, or poetic effect.

Origin:
1570–80; < Late Latin < Greek onomatopoiía making of words = onomato- (combining form of ónoma name) + poi- (stem of poieîn to make; see poet) + -ia -ia

onomatopoeic, onomatopoetic [on-uh-mat-uh-poh-et-ik] , adjective
onomatopoeically, onomatopoetically, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To onomatopoeia
Collins
World English Dictionary
onomatopoeia (ˌɒnəˌmætəˈpiːə)
 
n
1.  the formation of words whose sound is imitative of the sound of the noise or action designated, such as hiss, buzz, and bang
2.  the use of such words for poetic or rhetorical effect
 
[C16: via Late Latin from Greek onoma name + poiein to make]
 
onomato'poeic
 
adj
 
onomatopoetic
 
adj
 
onomato'poeically
 
adv
 
onomatopo'etically
 
adv

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Etymonline
Word Origin & History

onomatopoeia
1577, from L.L., from Gk. onomatopoiia "the making of a name or word" (in imitation of a sound associated with the thing being named), from onomatopoios, from onoma (gen. onomatos) "word, name" (see name) + a derivative of poiein "compose, make" (see poet).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

onomatopoeia

the naming of a thing or action by a vocal imitation of the sound associated with it (such as buzz or hiss). Onomatopoeia may also refer to the use of words whose sound suggests the sense. This occurs frequently in poetry, where a line of verse can express a characteristic of the thing being portrayed. In the following lines from Sylvia Plath's poem "Daddy," the rhythm of the words suggests the movement of a locomotive: An engine, an engine Chuffing me off like a Jew.A Jew to Dachau, Auschwitz, Belsen.

Learn more about onomatopoeia with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source
Example sentences
The onomatopoeia signaling that serious money can be made here provokes furious tapping and scribbling.
Discuss rhyming, alliteration and onomatopoeia to encourage interesting names for bars.
Related Words
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature