from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The formation or use of words such as buzz or murmur that imitate the sounds associated with the objects or actions they refer to.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A word formed in imitation of the sound of the thing it signifies; an imitative word. See the extract.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun uncountable The property of a word of sounding like what it represents.
  • noun countable A word that sounds like what it represents, such as "gurgle" or "hiss".
  • noun uncountable, rhetoric The use of language whose sound imitates that which it names.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun using words that imitate the sound they denote


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Late Latin, from Greek onomatopoiiā, from onomatopoios, coiner of names : onoma, onomat-, name; see nŏ̄-men- in Indo-European roots + poiein, to make; see kwei- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Ancient Greek ὀνοματοποιία (onomatopoiia, "the coining of a word in imitation of a sound"), from ονοματοποιέω (onomatopoieo, "to coin names"), from ὄνομα (onoma, "name") + ποιέω (poieo, "to make, to do, to produce").


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  • I like the word onomatopoeia, and not just because I still remember how to spell it from third grade spelling classes.

    Zip! Crash! Bang! Janice Hardy 2010

  • If the "pteetsee" part of that means bird or birds milk, I think it's a great bit of onomatopoeia, just like that the Chinese word for 'cat' sounds a lot like the noise a cat makes.

    Birds Milk Cake Becca 2009

  • This morning it was Krumphau - the "Crooked Cut", though I like to imagine a certain onomatopoeia in the term.

    Krumphau zornhau 2005

  • The masthead is in a font that is made to look cracked, this links to the idea of onomatopoeia that 'kerrang' sounds like the crashing sound of a symbol, connoting again the style of music the magazine is based on.

    Recently Uploaded Slideshows guestb26673 2010

  • Flag is thought possibly to be an onomatopoeia, which is to say flap sounds a bit like a flag flapping.

    podictionary - for word lovers - dictionary etymology, trivia & history 2009

  • Still, there was time enough for them to shout out the sounds of letters in chorus everyday and to memorize the words "onomatopoeia" and "metaphor."

    Turning schools into robot factories 2010

  • BRIC À BRAC (a French word, formed by a kind of onomatopoeia, meaning a heterogeneous collection of odds and ends; cf. _de bric et de broc_, corresponding to our "by hook or by crook"; or by reduplication from

    Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 4, Part 3 "Brescia" to "Bulgaria" Various

  • My favorite word at the time was onomatopoeia, and the boys got a big kick out of the pee sound in that.

    The Dark Side of Innocence Terri Cheney 2011

  • My favorite word at the time was onomatopoeia, and the boys got a big kick out of the pee sound in that.

    The Dark Side of Innocence Terri Cheney 2011

  • Finally he took his stance, wig-wagged his butt a bit, then weighed into the ball-a nice clean stroke, the solid thwock, if I maybe allowed just one little onomatopoeia.

    At the Pine-Woods Golf & Poetry Club Con Chapman 2011


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  • A friend in elementary school told me a way to remember how to spell this and I never forgot it:

    O No Ma! Topo E-I-A!


    May 10, 2007

  • Also the name of a rather grisly Marvel Comics villain. His only utterances are onomatopoeias.

    Try it sometime.

    October 10, 2007

  • Greek catch-all for short stories about wayward pulses. Derived from the genre classic which begins: "On a mat a pea, a lentil and a foppish adzuki sat swigging rumble juice."

    November 22, 2007

  • I love the sound of this word. It makes me think of a gangster talking to someone gagged and tied on the floor....."Whatsa matta with you a? ona mata pee-ya!

    Okay, I know it's dumb, but it makes me chuckle every time I think about the word.

    December 27, 2007

  • If onomatopoeia is using words that imitate the sound they denote, then what is the word for words that make you look like the appearance they denote when you say them, e.g. moue, that special kind of disdainful French pout.

    April 1, 2008

  • The longest common word containing only four consonants.

    --Will Shortz's intro to "Wordplay: A curious dictionary of language oddities" by Chris Cole.

    May 17, 2008

  • Personally, onomatopoeia became very easy to spell once I imagined it as

    O no, 'mato! Poe-i-a

    (has a hellomoto sort of ring to it; 'mato as in tomato, Poe as in Edgar Allen-)

    July 11, 2008

  • how do i find an ono-- of a word in here,please?

    October 23, 2009

  • A lesson on this word is not something you'd expect to find in a comic marital drama-- yet, that's exactly what happens in Lucinda Coxon's Happy Now? in whih the main character's husband is a lawyer-turned English teacher who cares deeply about word use and punctuation-- a quick recap of student submission of Onomatopoeia examples like bang, crash and wallop (which he questions)-- he moves on to the well-placed comma. For more about the play seem my review at

    February 12, 2010