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Onomatopoeia

Onomatopoeia -- as the name suggests -- is a made up word. The word is from the Greek Language and is made up of two parts.


Onoma, meaning 'name' and poiew, meaning 'I make.'

Words such as buzz, splat, whoosh, and swish, are all examples of onomatopoeia.

Words made up as the result of using onomatopeia are often words which describe the sounds made by animals. These words are not the same in all languages.

For example, in English we say when a dog barks it goes 'bow wow.' However, in Greek the sound a dog makes is 'gov gov' or 'gav gav.' Both are examples of onomatopoeia and show how such words are different from place to place and even from region to region within the same language.


Other common English language examples include hiccup, bang, beep, splish, and splash. Notice that words which exist as the result of using onomatopoeia do not belong only to those sounds made by animals. Many include sounds associated with us humans and our machines.

Using onomatopoeia can be fun and many words pop in and out of the language as new words are cosntantly being added and dropped from the language. Words associated with technology like whir and beep are examples of onomatopoeia.

Words such as 'cuckoo' in English, or 'decaocto' in Greek, point to the onomatopoeia used in their formations to describe a type of bird. Many of us use it without even realizing it. So the next time you hear a bird 'chirp' or a bee 'buzz' be sure to remember where those words came from and what they mean.



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