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The word onomatopoeia comes from two Greek words: onoma, meaning “name,” and poiein, meaning “to make”, so onomatopoeia means “to make a name/or a sound”.
Onomatopoeia as a literary device includes words that imitate, resemble or suggest the sound of the things they describe. It is referred to a word which imitates/duplicates or sounds like the natural sounds of objects. Onomatopoeia words help the readers to hear the sounds of the words they reflect, and the writers use them to bring their stories to life in the readers’ minds.
Categories of onomatopoeic words
Sounds of animals: Meow, moo, tweet, oink, baa, arf, bleat, bark, buzz, coo, click, cuckoo, cock-a-doodle-doo, croak, growl, gibber, hiss, howl, hum, maa, neigh, quack, trumpet, roar, snort, snarl, shriek, squeal, squawk, squeak, tweet, whistle, whine, whimper, woof, yowl, …
Sounds of people: achoo, ahem, argh, bawl, blab, blurt, brrr, burp, chomp, chortle, chuckle, chatter, cough, clap, eek, gag, gargle, gasp, giggle, guffaw, groan, grumble, growl, grunt, ha-ha, hiccup, huh, hum, hush, humph, munch, murmur, mutter, mumble, moan, mmm, phew, slurp, snore, snort, sob squeal sniff, tsk, whisper, yawn,..
Sounds of things: Sounds of water such as -plop, splash, gush, sprinkle, drizzle, drip. Sounds of wind like swish, swoosh, whiff, whoosh, whizz, whisper. Others are bam, bang, beep, boom, bubble, bump, clang, clash, clatter, click, clink, crash, croak, ding dong, drip, flick, honk, jingle, poof, pop, pow, puff, ring, rumble, slap, smash, splatter, squish, sputter, thud, thump, thwack, tick, tock, vroom, whack, wham, whip, whir, whiz, whoop, zap, zip, zoom,…
√ They can hear the buzzing as they live near the hives.
√ Ssh! I told you to keep quiet.
√ I couldn’t hear the words; he just murmured a lot.
√ “I’m getting married in the morning! Ding dong! The bells are going to chime.”
√ Ahem! I can hear everything you are saying about me.
√ The snakes in the pit hissed menacingly.
√ The loud boom of the fireworks scares many people.
√ I couldn’t sleep. All I could hear was the drip, drip, drip of the faulty faucet.
√ The sack fell into the river with a splash.
√ The books fell on the table with a loud thump.
√ He looked at the roaring lion fearlessly.
√ The water gushed down the stream to the waterfall.
√ We heard the tlot –tlot of the horse’s hooves.
√ The robbers’ car screeched around the corner as they attempted to escape the police.
√ The rustling leaves kept me awake.
√ I was awoken by the cock-a-doodle-do of the neighbouring rooster.
√ You scared me when you shouted, “boo.”
√ Drink some water to help stop your hiccups.
√ Tick tock, ticktock … the sound of the clock was all that could be heard in the hospital waiting room.
√ I knew we had finally left the city when I heard the moo of the cows in the field.
√ Ding, dong, there was someone at the door.
√ Ouch! You just stepped on my toe.
√ I didn’t see the warning sign and bumped my head on the low doorframe.
√ The lion let out a loud roar as the ringmaster cracked his whip.
√ Quack, quack went the ducks as we threw them our stale bread.
√ The dog barked as the postman approached the gate.
√ Zip! My dress was fastened and I was finally ready for the wedding.
√ I squashed the snail when I stood on it by accident.
√ The wolf howled at the moon.
√ My teeth were chattering as we waited in the freezing cold for the bus to arrive.
√ Tsk,tsk,tsk , you shouldn’t be shouting in class.
√ Please do not beep your horn after dark.
√ The pig squealed.
√ I trembled as the door slowly creaked open.