the formation of a word, as cuckoo, meow, honk, or boom, by imitation of a sound made by or associated with its referent.
a word so formed.
the use of imitative and naturally suggestive words for rhetorical, dramatic, or poetic effect.
- on·o·mat·o·poe·ic, on·o·mat·o·po·et·ic [on-uh-mat-uh-poh-et-ik], /ˌɒn əˌmæt ə poʊˈɛt ɪk/, adjective
- on·o·mat·o·poe·i·cal·ly, on·o·mat·o·po·et·i·cal·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use onomatopoeia in a sentence
He seemed as much taken aback as if he had found a tribe of Cherokees studying onomatopoeia in English verse.
All words which were spontaneously acquired seemed to be instances of onomatopoeia.
onomatopoeia, formations of words resembling in sound that of the things denoted by them.The Nuttall Encyclopaedia | Edited by Rev. James Wood
Mao, the term for a "cat," is obviously an example of onomatopoeia.China and the Chinese | Herbert Allen Giles
This correspondence of sound and sense is called onomatopoeia.The Principles of English Versification | Paull Franklin Baum
British Dictionary definitions for onomatopoeia
the formation of words whose sound is imitative of the sound of the noise or action designated, such as hiss, buzz, and bang
the use of such words for poetic or rhetorical effect
- onomatopoeic or onomatopoetic (ˌɒnəˌmætəpəʊˈɛtɪk), adjective
- onomatopoeically or onomatopoetically, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012