[on-uh-mat-uh-pee-uh, ‐mah-tuh‐] /ˌɒn əˌmæt əˈpi ə, ‐ˌmɑ tə‐/

the formation of a word, as cuckoo, meow, honk, or boom, by imitation of a sound made by or associated with its referent.
a word so formed.
the use of imitative and naturally suggestive words for rhetorical, dramatic, or poetic effect.
the formation of words whose sound is imitative of the sound of the noise or action designated, such as hiss, buzz, and bang
the use of such words for poetic or rhetorical effect

1570s, from Late Latin onomatopoeia, from Greek onomatopoiia “the making of a name or word” (in imitation of a sound associated with the thing being named), from onomatopoios, from onoma (genitive onomatos) “word, name” (see name (n.)) + a derivative of poiein “compose, make” (see poet). Related: Onomatopoeic; onomatopoeial.


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