Word Geek – Onomatopoeia

Onomatopoeia - Sizzle

The word onomatopoeia means ‘imitation of sounds’ and is used to identify words which imitate the sound of the word they themselves describe. Classic examples include ‘whoosh’, ‘boom’, ‘cuckoo’ or ‘sizzle’.

The word ‘onomatopoeia’ comes from the Greek word onomatopoiia, made up onomat meaning ‘name’ and poios meaning ‘making’. It seems, however, that despite the word being of Greek origin, modern Greek rarely uses this word to refer to what we call in English onomatopoeia, instead using echomimetic, from echo meaning ‘sound’ and mimetic meaning ‘imitating’.

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