A word that phonetically imitates or suggests the source of the sound that it describes. Common occurrences of onomatopoeias include animal noises such as "oink", "meow", "roar" or "chirp", or human sounds like "yawn", "gulp" or "mwah".

learn more… | top users | synonyms

27
votes
5answers
29k views

How did the letter Z become to be associated with sleeping/snoring?

In cartoons and comics it's not uncommon to see a series of Zs to indicate that a person is in deep slumber, such as in the following political cartoon. How and when did the letter Z become to be ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

What part of speech are non-human “interjections” like “oink” and “bang”?

As a spin-off from this comment: If a human exclaims something like "ouch!", I believe it's considered an interjection. But if a pig exclaims "oink!", what is the part of speech? And if a bell goes ...
10
votes
7answers
6k views

Word for the sound made while vomiting

Which word can I use to describe the sound somebody makes while vomiting? Is burp the right word for it?
4
votes
4answers
10k views

What is the proper convention for writing onomatopoeia?

Say I'm attempting to write a sound, as in 'poof', 'thud', or 'clank'. What's the correct convention to write something like this? Is there one, or is it a grey area as long as it's clear to the ...
15
votes
2answers
535 views

Is corrosion an onomatopoeia?

I mean, obviously "corrosion" isn't actually onomatopoeic, because corrosion doesn't make a sound (or at least not one that humans can hear). Yet it seems to me that the word corrosion sounds like its ...
6
votes
1answer
272 views

Onomatopoeia for foxes

"What does the fox say?" Onomatopoeia, and Alien Languages claims there's no onomatopoeia for foxes: But you don't find fox onomatopoeia in this context. Foxes tend to do one of two things: ...
6
votes
5answers
1k views

To what extent do English words sound like what they describe?

Is it true that the way languages develop causes the tonal qualities of the words to have a tendency to match the nature of the thing the word stands for? I am not talking just about obviously ...
5
votes
2answers
520 views

Onomatopoeia Across Languages

Every language has its stock of onomatopoeic expressions, but they vary across nationalities and cultures. For example, the American “bow wow” (a rapper’s name) has its Japanese equivalent in ...
1
vote
4answers
10k views

Interjection for the sound of a bell

I saw this other question, but it's not quite what I'm asking. A bell makes a sound. How would you write that sound in English? As an interjection, e.g. "boom!" I'm sure it varies with the type and ...
1
vote
3answers
1k views

Is “hooray” generally considered to be onomatopoeic?

Is this word onomatopoeic, just an interjection, both, something else?