follow Dictionary.com

It’s about time. We are now on Instagram!

onomatopoeia

[on-uh-mat-uh-pee-uh, ‐mah-tuh‐] /ˌɒn əˌmæt əˈpi ə, ‐ˌmɑ tə‐/
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
1570-1580
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
Related forms
onomatopoeic, onomatopoetic
[on-uh-mat-uh-poh-et-ik] /ˌɒn əˌmæt ə poʊˈɛt ɪk/ (Show IPA),
adjective
onomatopoeically, onomatopoetically, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for onomatopoeic
  • Words that achieve onomatopoeic perfection, that live in a specific situation in which no other word will do.
  • They will choose their own sound and begin brainstorming onomatopoeic words and mood words.
British Dictionary definitions for onomatopoeic

onomatopoeia

/ˌɒnəˌmætəˈpiːə/
noun
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
Derived Forms
onomatopoeic, onomatopoetic (ˌɒnəˌmætəpəʊˈɛtɪk) adjective
onomatopoeically, onomatopoetically, adverb
Word Origin
C16: via Late Latin from Greek onoma name + poiein to make
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for onomatopoeic
adj.

1860, from French onomatopoéique or else from onomatopoeia + -ic.

onomatopoeia

n.

1570s, from Late Latin onomatopoeia, from Greek onomatopoiia "the making of a name or word" (in imitation of a sound associated with the thing being named), from onomatopoios, from onoma (genitive onomatos) "word, name" (see name (n.)) + a derivative of poiein "compose, make" (see poet). Related: Onomatopoeic; onomatopoeial.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Article for onomatopoeic

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

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for onomatopoeia

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for onomatopoeic

18
0
Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for onomatopoeic