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Onomatopoeia is an interesting category of word, often popular with children. We will examine the definition of onomatopoeia, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

An onomatopoeia is a word that is formed by imitating the sound of the thing or action being described. Such words are often used by children while playing, and onomatopoeia are commonly found in comic books. Some onomatopoeia words are pow, moo, hiss, hum, hiccup and cough. Though now words in their own right, it is easy to understand the sounds that these words are imitating. It is interesting to note that while onomatopoeia exist in all languages, they are not the same across languages. For instance, English cats usually say meow, while in Japan cats say nyan and in France, cats say miaou. Obviously, cats sound the same the world over. It is the interpretation of the sound that a cat makes, that differs. Onomatopoeia is a mass noun or uncountable noun, which means there is no plural form. Related words are onomatopoeic, onomatopoeically. The word onomatopoeic is derived from Greek word onomatopoiia, which means word-making or creating names.


” ‘I swear to God, if this poet don’t use onomatopoeia in this poem, I’m never coming to this coffee shop again.’ ” (The Las Vegas Review-Journal)

“Incredibles 2” returns with its lovable cast of characters, top-notch voice talent, and a snazzy and snappy score that’s infused with the musical equivalent of onomatopoeia. (The Tribune-Review)

Gachaman, I learn, is a portmanteau of gacha, the onomatopoeia used to describe the noise of the city’s mechanical looms, and man (¥10,000 notes). (The Japan Times)

What makes the onomatopoeia so interesting is that we are hearing exactly the same noise, but producing wildly different interpretations of the words to represent those sounds. (The Guardian)