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[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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  • Onomatomania

    noun a passion or compulsion for certain words or names and their supposed significance; also, a need to recall a certain word onomatomania on·o·mat·o·ma·ni·a (ŏn’ə-māt’ə-mā’nē-ə, -mān’yə) n. An abnormal concentration on certain words and their supposed significance or on the effort to recall a particular word.

  • On-tick

    [tik] /tɪk/ noun, Chiefly British Informal. 1. a score or account. Idioms 2. on tick, on credit or trust: We bought our telly on tick. /tɪk/ noun 1. a recurrent metallic tapping or clicking sound, such as that made by a clock or watch 2. (Brit, informal) a moment or instant 3. a mark (✓) […]

  • Onto

    [on-too, awn-; unstressed on-tuh, awn-] /ˈɒn tu, ˈɔn-; unstressed ˈɒn tə, ˈɔn-/ preposition 1. a place or position ; upon; on: to get onto a horse. 2. Informal. in or into a state of awareness about: I’m onto your scheme. adjective 3. Also, surjective. Mathematics. pertaining to a function or map from one set to […]

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