Definition of onomatopoeia in US English:

onomatopoeia

noun

  • 1The formation of a word from a sound associated with what is named (e.g. cuckoo, sizzle).

    • ‘Even in its expression it aims at excellence by means of word-play, onomatopoeia, and so forth.’
    • ‘Let's just say there's an element of onomatopoeia in the phrase.’
    • ‘You talk about the ‘undercurrent of muddlement’ and I love the way you've used the word ‘muddlement’, because ‘muddlement’ almost has an onomatopoeia; there is muddlement in ‘muddlement’.’
    • ‘The Latin word was tussis, with its own form of onomatopoeia, giving modern words like toux, tosse (Italian and Portuguese), and toz (Spanish).’
    • ‘It may have imagery, alliteration, and/or onomatopoeia if desired by the writer.’
    • ‘I've been thinking recently about onomatopoeia: the sound words we use to describe actions.’
    • ‘Some people just use onomatopoeia, while others insist on miming the playing of drums and crashing of cymbals.’
    • ‘If you're sceptical about the role played by sound symbolism and straight-out onomatopoeia in word origins, Liberman marshals some impressive evidence in its favour.’
    • ‘There is a penchant for onomatopoeia in this poetry that insists on the glottal while pushing toward an uncanny, tin-canny tune: gling and ting, KABOOM and kerpow, dzziitt, shh sh, tsk tsk.’
    • ‘‘Zing’ was the only proper onomatopoeia one could ever really come up with.’
    • ‘Yet the aural discipline plays a major part in poetic meaning, in ways that go far beyond mere onomatopoeia.’
    • ‘It combines - appropriately in four letters - the notion of ripping, rooting, offing and torting in mellifluous onomatopoeia.’
    • ‘The sounds of living, onomatopoeia and words, were the purpose of that voice.’
    • ‘I asked his teacher when they studied onomatopoeia.’
    • ‘From time to time, of course, name and music fuse, and you get a kind of etymological perfection that's somehow close to onomatopoeia.’
    • ‘The book is largely wordless, relying instead on a symphony of onomatopoeia.’
    • ‘It's obvious I'm horribly out of place: I don't know what onomatopoeia means, I don't like metafiction, I haven't read any of the Brontë sisters, and I don't care about the correct placement of semi-colons; I'm on edge.’
    • ‘What he admired in these poets was their inventive use of word and sound in every device of onomatopoeia, alliteration, pun and palindrome.’
    • ‘Did you ever consider approaching your linguistics department with a master's thesis solely dedicated to onomatopoeia?’
    • ‘This seems like the sort of place that would take onomatopoeia too far.’
    1. 1.1 The use of onomatopoeia for rhetorical effect.
      • ‘Paradise Lost is also, of course, filled with mimetic sound effects, onomatopoeia and mimetic syntax, which only work if the poem is sounded.’
      • ‘The only words that appear are a few onomatopoeia such as ‘ring,’ ‘poff’ and ‘boom.’’
      • ‘It's interesting to me that in your work, apart from an obvious concern about ethics per se here, the text itself almost becomes cyborgian, almost becomes genetically modified and that's what you're talking about - the onomatopoeia.’
      • ‘One remarkable piece appears to be a superhero story, but all the words, including the onomatopoeia, read together as a short memoir of the author's childhood.’

Origin

Late 16th century: via late Latin from Greek onomatopoiia ‘word-making’, from onoma, onomat- ‘name’ + -poios ‘making’ (from poiein ‘to make’).

Pronunciation