Vocabulary 15 - Onomatopoeia 1
Haven’t we all heard of the most famous song and nursery rhyme, ‘Old MacDonald Had a Farm’? In that song we have the following words:
With a cluck cluck here,
And a cluck cluck there,
Here a cluck, there a cluck,
Everywhere a cluck cluck...
The word ‘cluck’ is used in the context of describing the sounds made by chickens. Similarly other words are used to describe the sounds made by more animals in the farm: oink
for pigs; baa
for sheep; neigh
for horse; quack
for duck and moo
for cow. All these words (cluck, oink, baa, neigh, quack and moo) are onomatopoeic words.
The dictionary meaning of ONOMATOPOEIA is 'the formation of words whose sound is imitative of the sound of the noise or action designated, such as hiss, buzz, and bang' and also is 'the use of such words for poetic or rhetorical effect'.
The meaning of the word OINK is the squealing or grunting sound made by a pig and OINK sounds very much like the noise it describes. It is easy for us to understand the words describing the grunts, growls, barks and roars of animals. As we go about our daily lives we come across situations where we can relate words to sounds heard in other situations too:
The zoom! or vroom! of a fast moving car,
The achoo! of a sneeze,
The whoosh! of the wind or an aeroplane,
The beep! of a car horn.
All of these examples above are onomatopoeic words. Just recall any situation and you will probably find an onomatopoeic word you can relate to. Take the quiz that follows to learn some more onomatopoeic words.