from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In philology, the formation of words by the echoing or imitation of natural sounds, as those caused by the motion of objects, as buzz, whizz, or the characteristic cries of animals, as cuckoo, chickadee, whip-poor-will, etc.; onomatopœia.
Sorry, no etymologies found.
The group of words with a fl - sound in them, suggestive of a flame, or the associated group of flight and flutter, suggestive of the flapping of a bird's wing, make neat little packages in which gesture language and echoism both play a part.
(as of 1860) an extension of onomatopoeia from pure echoism into a device of rhetoric, namely, "the use of naturally suggestive words, sentences, and forms for rhetorical effect."
Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.