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The Complete Vocabulary Builder Workbook



How to pronounce onomatopoeia (audio)

Dictionary definition of onomatopoeia

The use of words that imitate the sounds they describe.
"The onomatopoeia 'buzz' was used to describe the sound of the bees."

Detailed meaning of onomatopoeia

It is a literary device in which words are used that imitate the sounds they are describing. The word "onomatopoeia" comes from the Greek words "onoma" meaning "name" and "poiein" meaning "to make," so the term literally means "to make a name." Examples of onomatopoeia include words like "sizzle," "hiss," "buzz," "moo," "meow" and "quack" which are used to describe the sounds that those actions or animals make. Onomatopoeia can be used to create a sense of realism in a text, to set a mood, or to create a sense of sound effects in a story. It can make the text more engaging, interesting and it helps to create a mental image of the scene or action. It's also used to make the text more expressive and to make the reader a part of the story.

Example sentences containing onomatopoeia

1. "Boom" and "crash" are examples of onomatopoeia.
2. Children's books often use onomatopoeia to engage young readers.
3. The comic strip used onomatopoeia to emphasize the sound effects.
4. The poet employed onomatopoeia to bring the scene to life.
5. "Sizzle" and "pop" are onomatopoeic words associated with cooking.
6. The writer's use of onomatopoeia added a vivid layer to the story.

History and etymology of onomatopoeia

The noun 'onomatopoeia' has its origins in Greek, where 'onoma' means 'name' and 'poiein' means 'to make' or 'to create.' Therefore, 'onomatopoeia' literally translates to 'name-making' or 'word-making.' The etymology of 'onomatopoeia' perfectly encapsulates its meaning—a figure of speech where words are created to imitate or resemble the sounds associated with the objects, actions, or phenomena they describe. This linguistic device allows words to vividly represent auditory experiences by mimicking the actual sounds, such as 'buzz' for the sound of a bee or 'moo' for the sound of a cow. 'Onomatopoeia' illustrates how language can evoke sensory experiences and enhance communication through sound-mimicking words.

Quiz: Find the meaning of onomatopoeia

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Further usage examples of onomatopoeia

1. The cartoonist skillfully incorporated onomatopoeia into the illustrations.
2. The thunderstorm was described with onomatopoeia like "rumble" and "crack."
3. The poet's use of onomatopoeia created an immersive reading experience.
4. "Buzz" and "hum" are examples of onomatopoeia for insect sounds.
5. The sound of a bell ringing was represented through onomatopoeia.
6. The songwriter used onomatopoeia to capture the sound of raindrops.
7. Onomatopoeia can be found in various languages around the world.
8. The graphic novel used onomatopoeia to depict action sequences.
9. The author's onomatopoeic descriptions made the scene come alive.
10. The poet played with onomatopoeia to evoke the sensation of wind.
11. The advertising jingle employed onomatopoeia to make it catchy.
12. Onomatopoeia is often used in comic books to depict sounds.
13. The children's poem was filled with onomatopoeic words like "gurgle" and "splash."
14. The sound of a car engine revving was represented through onomatopoeia.



sound-imitation, silence, non-representational, non-echoic


GRE 4 (Graduate Record Examination), Interaction and Articulation, Creativity and Originality, Words and Language, Language and Expression 1

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