Friday, March 11, 2011


An onomatopoeia or onomatopœia (About this sound pronunciation (US) , from the Greek ὀνοματοποιία;ὄνομα for "name" and ποιέω for "I make", adjectival form: "onomatopoeic" or "onomatopoetic") is a word that imitates or suggests the source of the sound that it describes.Onomatopoeia (as an uncountable noun) refers to the property of such words. Common occurrences of onomatopoeias include animal noises, such as "oink" or "meow" or "roar". Onomatopoeias are not the same across all languages; they conform to some extent to the broader linguistic system they are part of; hence the sound of a clock may be tick tock in Englishdī dā in Mandarin, or katchin katchin in

What is Onomatopoeia?

The noun onomatopoeia is thought to has been first used in around 1577 AD. According to the Oxford Dictionary, the wordonomatopoeia originates from the Greek word onomatopoiiameaning 'word-making'. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary reports the onomatopoiia is derived from the Greek onoma 'name' andpoiein 'to make'.

Definition of Onomatopoeia

Onomatopoeia is the formation of a word from a sound associated with what is named (e.g., cuckoo, sizzle). However the word Onomatopoeia can also be used to describe the use of such words for rhetorical effect. For example, in the sentence 'The poet Tennyson used onomatopoeia as a linguistic device' (see example below).

Onomatopoeia and its derivatives

The adjective onomatopoeic can be used in the sentence 'Woof is an example of onomatopoeia'.

The adverb onomatopoeically is used in the sentence 'She lived her life onomatopoeically ...whoopy!'

Onomatopoeia in jokes

Onomatopoeia can be used as a linguistic device in many types of writings including jokes. Do you remember the old Knock-Knock jokes, even the name of this type of joke is another example of onomatopoeia.

What about the joke:
Knock-knock Who's there?
Boo who?
Don't cry, I was only joking

...you guessed it, another example of onomatopoeia

Onomatopoeia poems

Onomatopoeia is also used by poets to convey their subject to the reader. For example, in the last lines of Sir Alfred Tennyson's poem 'Come Down, O Maid', m and n sounds produce an atmosphere of murmuring insects:

... the moan of doves in immemorial elms,
And murmuring of innumerable bees.
Examples of onomatopoeia are also commonly found in poems and nursery rhymes written for children. Onomatopoeic words produce strong images that can both delight and amuse kids when listening to their parents read poetry. Some examples of onomatopoeia poems for children are:

Baa Baa Black Sheep
Old Macdonald


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