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".

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7answers
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English counterpart to Japanese signal word, “Dokkoisho”

What is an English counterpart to the Japanese signal word, “Dokkoisho” uttered unconsciously in such case as sitting down on the bench? When you get old, it becomes tough to move your body. We ...
28
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5answers
34k 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 ...
16
votes
7answers
605 views

Name for music that imitates speech

I have searched and asked others for the answer to this but have come up dry: what is the name or technique in music where musical notes approximate/imitate speech? Note that I am not talking about ...
15
votes
2answers
590 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

Fail trumpet onomatopoeia

There are several sound clips that are widely understood to mean "(epic) fail". I think the most famous one is the one with the oboe or trumpet... 4 notes with declining pitch, the last one being ...
11
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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 ...
11
votes
3answers
585 views

What do “Yeep” and “Go yeep” mean?

Today’s New York Times carries the article titled “Veeps go yeep! Nation nods,” which is followed by the following statement: “Obama versus Romney on Tuesday! That will be far more important than ...
10
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7answers
8k 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?
10
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3answers
363 views

Do onomatopoeic words lose their onomatopoeic character?

Wikipedia mentions that: Some languages flexibly integrate onomatopoeic words into their structure. This may evolve into a new word, up to the point that it is no longer recognized as ...
9
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1answer
8k views

What is an onomatopoeia for heavy breathing?

The only one I can think of is "huff," but this isn't very good. I'm trying to find onomatopoeia for the way a person breathes just after they've been running hard.
8
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2answers
5k views

What is the expression for coughing at the beginning of an utterance officially called?

I was wondering what is the name for the introductory "coughing" in English, i.e. when somebody clears their throat to start their utterance. For example: "Ekhm... Welcome! How can I help you?" ...
7
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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 ...
6
votes
3answers
276 views

Coughing captured in writing

My native language is German and although many people find German to sound like a coughing fit, the language totally lacks an onomatopoeia for coughing (real coughing). Nor can I think of one in ...
6
votes
1answer
340 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: ...
5
votes
2answers
595 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
364 views

Writing out heartbeat sound

Is it correct to write out the sound of a heart beat as lub dub or are there other variations that are also acceptable?
4
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4answers
12k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
505 views

Etymology of lisp

A lisp is a "a speech defect in which s is pronounced like th in thick and z is pronounced like th in this". Its etymology reads: Old English wlispian (recorded in āwlyspian), from wlisp ...
4
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2answers
2k views

Name for a word whose sound is contrary to its meaning

As onomatopoeia means words that sound like what they mean, is there a word which means words that sound contrary to what they mean? Pulchritude is an example of such a word.
3
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3answers
349 views

Onomatopoeia in “O madness of discourse”

While writing a commentary for Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida, my classmate and I got into a small quarrel over the classification of an onomatopoeia. We were wondering, for the line “O madness ...
3
votes
1answer
246 views

is onomatopoeia itself onomatopoeic? [closed]

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 ...
3
votes
2answers
394 views

Is “kekeke” considered an English word?

"kekeke" is somewhat of an alternative to "hehehe" or "huehuehue". From Urban Dictionary: This is an onomatopoeia for laughter. Its origin is the Korean onomatopoeia ㅋㅋㅋ, in which ㅋ stands for the ...
2
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4answers
123 views

Is “mellifluous” onomatopoeic?

mel·lif·lu·ous /məˈliflo͞oəs/ Adjective: (of a voice or words) Sweet or musical; pleasant to hear. As in the title: is "mellifluous" onomatopoeic or is the definition of onomatopoeia ...
2
votes
1answer
109 views

Onomatopoeia for throat clearing

Clearing one's throat is a nice way to signal that special attention is needed. For example, two colleagues are making fun of their boss as she walks right by. She listens for a second and then ... ...
1
vote
4answers
12k 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
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3answers
265 views

Onomatopoeia for stomach growling?

I've been thinking. How do I put the sound of growling stomach into words? I'm also curious about the Onomatopoeia for chewing food and swallowing water.
1
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3answers
1k views

Is “hooray” generally considered to be onomatopoeic?

Is this word onomatopoeic, just an interjection, both, something else?
0
votes
4answers
3k views

What Sound (onomatopoeia) does a launching Rocket make? [closed]

I searched all the internet and comics but couldn't find any onomatopoeia for Rocket blasting into space. Any ideas?
0
votes
1answer
54 views

Onomatopoeia/interjection for snatching something?

E.g. "the dog went [?snatch?] and away it ran with the Frisbee". The word indicates a sudden and unexpected move made to catch or grab something.
-2
votes
1answer
170 views

Onomatopoeia for Physical Objects [closed]

Here's something I was thinking about the other day: is there a word like "onomatopoeia" that can be used to describe words that sound like what they describe? This can include, for example, seeing a ...