Definition of onomatopoeia in English:


Line breaks: ono¦mato|poeia
Pronunciation: /ˌɒnə(ʊ)matəˈpiːə


[mass noun]
  • 1The formation of a word from a sound associated with what is named (e.g. cuckoo, sizzle).
    More example sentences
    • 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.
    • I've been thinking recently about onomatopoeia: the sound words we use to describe actions.
    • The sounds of living, onomatopoeia and words, were the purpose of that voice.
  • 1.1The use of onomatopoeia for literary effect.
    More example sentences
    • Paradise Lost is also, of course, filled with mimetic sound effects, onomatopoeia and mimetic syntax, which only work if the poem is sounded.


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

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