Definition of onomatopoeia
- a study of the poet's onomatopoeia
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Buzz and hiss are examples of onomatopoeia.
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Onomatopoeia came into English via Late Latin and ultimately traces back to Greek onoma, meaning "name," and poiein, meaning "to make." ("Onoma" can be found in such terms as "onomastics," which refers to the study of proper names and their origins, while "poiein" gave us such words as "poem" and "poet.") English speakers have only used the word onomatopoeia since the mid-1500s, but people have been creating words from the sounds heard around them for much longer. In fact, the presence of so many imitative words in language spawned the linguistic Bowwow Theory, which postulates that language originated in imitation of natural sounds.
: the creation of words that imitate natural sounds
Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about onomatopoeia
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