Do you want to learn more about onomatopoeia? Then you've come to the right place! This article will teach you everything you need to know about what it is and how to use it in your writing.
This guide is part of our free online Grammar Book.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines onomatopoeia as:
- "the naming of a thing or action by a vocal imitation of the sound associated with it".
The word comes from the Greek onoma meaning 'word,' and poiein meaning 'make.' As the name gives away, an onomatopoeia makes a new word, and it does that by imitating a sound. So if you wanted to make your own onomatopoeia, you could; listen to what you hear and try to spell it out into a word. Although chances are, it already exists.
So are onomatopeias listed in the dictionary?
Here are some examples of onomatopoeia you've probably heard before:
Onomatopoeias are most commonly used as nouns, adjectives, and verbs. Let's take a look at some examples of each.
Here are some examples of onomatopoeias used as nouns:
There was a big crash.
The lion let out a loud roar.
I have a scratch on my arm.
Now some examples of adjectives:
I love crunchy peanut butter.
We need to fix these squeaky hinges.
The squealing pig rolled around the mud with delight.
And here are some examples of onomatopoeic verbs:
She pulled over as she'd heard a rattling sound in her car.
Don't you aha me!
Do you have to whistle so loudly?
An exclamation point often follows onomatopoeias when used as standalone words (for example, in comics).
Onomatopoeia is a literary device often employed in great writing, but why should you use them?
Onomatopoeia is fun to read, but it's also fun to write!
Now we've covered what onomatopoeia is, as well as how and why to use it in your writing; let's take a look at some more examples of this literary device in a sentence.
This social media post is getting a lot of clicks.
My son got gifted lots of squishy toys for his birthday.
I didn't get any sleep last night as there was a bee buzzing around my ear most of the night.
There's no better feeling than sitting by a crackling fire.
The balloon popped under the pressure.
Did you hear that dog howling all night?
Don't you snap your fingers at me!
Now she can talk she just chitter-chatters all day long.
Let's hurry, the clock is ticking, tick-tock!
I've got the hiccups again.
That concludes this article on onomatopoeia and how to use it in your writing. I hope you found it helpful.
Let's summarize what we've learned:
If you enjoyed this article, check out our Grammar Book, a free online database of grammar articles like this one. You'll get all your grammar questions answered there.