onomatopoeia

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See also: onomatopœia

English[edit]

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A sign in a shop window in Milan uses onomatopoeia.

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Etymology[edit]

From Ancient Greek ὀνοματοποιία (onomatopoiía, the coining of a word in imitation of a sound), from ὀνοματοποιέω (onomatopoiéō, to coin names), from ὄνομα (ónoma, name) + ποιέω (poiéō, to make, to do, to produce).

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Noun[edit]

onomatopoeia (countable and uncountable, plural onomatopoeias or onomatopoeiae)

  1. (uncountable) The property of a word of sounding like what it represents.
    • 1553, Thomas Wilson, Desiderius Erasmus, Arte of Rhetorique[1], Oxford: Clarendon Press, published 1909:
      A woorde making called of the Grecians Onomatapoia, is when wee make wordes of our owne minde, such as bee derived from the nature of things.
  2. (countable) A word that sounds like what it represents, such as "gurgle" or "hiss".
  3. (uncountable, rhetoric) The use of language whose sound imitates that which it names.

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