In the event that a common, recognized, and understood onomatopoeia for a sound does not already exist, how would you phrase the creation of an onomatopoeia for the sound?

Essentially the word onomatopoeize would fit the bill, but I can't find that in a dictionary.

You can see examples of onomatopoeize being used online if you Google it, but as of today there are only 75 hits for that word. This leads me to believe that other people have also struggled to find a verb for this and have "created" onomatopoeize as it is easy to deduce what the intent of the term is even though it isn't a "real" word.

An example of this is on Consumerist's article "Coca-Cola Blāk Effervescent Coffee Crap Debut":

The macron over Blāk was specially designed by Coca-Cola scientists to help onomatopoeize the sound you’ll make after drinking the concoction.

Is there a proper, non-colloquial English word for this concept?


If you need it, use onomatopoeize. The suffix -ize is a productive suffix in English. People neologize words for their needs and they are not always in dictionaries. As for the phrase, you already found one: to make an onomatopoeia.

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There is no verb form of onomatopoeia, I think imitate can express the concept you are referring to:

  • to make or be like; resemble or simulate.
  • The macron over Blāk was specially designed by Coca-Cola scientists to help imitate the sound you’ll make after drinking the concoction.
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  • Mimic is another synonym. – Rich Nov 24 '15 at 16:19
  • The only reason I don't like imitate as compared to onomatopoeize or to make an onomatopoeia is that the meaning of imitate is looser, and can be interpreted in a more broad sense. For example, I can imitate a mime; that definitely wouldn't involve an imitation of the sound made, nor is it a valid replacement of the idea of expressing a sound by making an onomatopoeia. It has a more general understanding, rather than the specific intent of to make an onomatopoeia. – RJ Cuthbertson Nov 24 '15 at 20:38
  • Ok, but you asked for "a proper non-colloquial English word" !!! Anyway it is ok if that is what you are looking for. – user66974 Nov 24 '15 at 20:40

Some people have already coined "onomatopoeify" and "onomatopoeiafy". I prefer the former, although neither has any significant usage.

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  • Interesting. Side note, Russian Circles rock! – RJ Cuthbertson Nov 24 '15 at 20:32

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