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As I note, is the word onomatopoeia itself onomatopoeic? Or does the use of the word not quite follow the rules?

I recall being engaged in a spirited debate about this in my high school days—I cannot recall which side I was on, mind. Nor can I recall who won, or if it was merely settled by accusations of slander at the respective parties' parenthood.

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closed as not a real question by Carlo_R., FumbleFingers, Mark Beadles, yoozer8, Kris Dec 21 '12 at 6:04

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

It's metaonomatopoeic. – John Lawler Dec 20 '12 at 19:39
Which is of course hypermetaonomatopoeic in turn. – MετάEd Dec 20 '12 at 19:57
No, but the word metaphor is ... a metaphor. Get it? Wild, huh? Is your mind blown yet? – Mitch Dec 20 '12 at 20:28
...in what sense could onomatopoeia possibly be onomatopoeic? What on earth is the "sound" it might represent? – FumbleFingers Dec 20 '12 at 23:30
What exactly do you think onomatopoeic means? – Mark Beadles Dec 20 '12 at 23:39


Onomatopoeia is when the sound of a word evokes its meaning. How exactly does the sound of the word onomatopoeia suggest its the meaning? This question sounds like a good way for high schoolers to waste some time, but there's no serious question about the answer.

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well, (and now i might recall where i was in this particular debate) - if you know what onomatopoeia means, how doesn't the soud of the word suggest its meaning? In fact, the sound of the word is directly tied to its meaning, no? – bharal Dec 20 '12 at 21:22
The word's etymology confirms this answer and refutes your assertion that the word is based on a sound. – JLG Dec 20 '12 at 21:51
What sound does an onomatope actually make? – Blessed Geek Dec 21 '12 at 0:37
An onomatope makes a "barroooo, baroooo" sound, but that just seems a bit OT. – bharal Dec 21 '12 at 1:14
@bharal then you got the very definition of onomatopoeia wrong. An onomatopoeia is all about the word being based on a sound etymologically. By your definition, every word is an onomatopoeia. In which case there is no need for the term onomatopoeia in the first place, because you can just use the term word. – RegDwigнt Dec 21 '12 at 22:59

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