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sound symbolism

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noun Linguistics.
  1. a nonarbitrary connection between phonetic features of linguistic items and their meanings, as in the frequent occurrence of close vowels in words denoting smallness, as petite and teeny-weeny.
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Origin of sound symbolism

First recorded in 1875–80
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018