You may not realize it, but you use literary devices and figures of speech every day and in nearly every conversation. You probably learned about them in middle school or high school. It’s okay if you don’t remember them, though: As mamas, we have a lot of other, more important crap for our brains to hold onto, right? If you’re telling your friend to meet you down in “Bailey’s boiling-hot basement,” for instance, you’ve used an alliteration. And if you told your husband it took you “forever” to get to work today, then you’d be using hyperbole (one of the most widely used figures of speech). Another popular figure of speech? Onomatopoeia, or a word that is spelled exactly like the sound it makes. Some onomatopoeia examples include “crack” and “boom.” Still not exactly sure what it is or how to pronounce onomatopoeia? We’ve got your back.
Believe it or not, onomatopoeia is super easy to understand and use. Way easier than, say, trying to do an anagram or creating a palindrome. Here’s our primer on onomatopoeias.
How do you say onomatopoeia?
We get it. The word “onomatopoeia” looks pretty intimidating. It’s a large word with a ton of vowels at the end. We still pronounce that “t” as an “n” sometimes because that’s how we learned it as a kid. But if you didn’t learn how to pronounce it when you were young, fear not. First, try saying it slowly. Like this, “ah-nuh-mah-tuh-pee-uh.” Still not sure you’ve got it right? You probably already know that YouTube is an excellent resource for learning how to do practically anything, and that includes pronouncing hard words. We found this video that might help you figure it out.
What is onomatopoeia?
An onomatopoeia is, as previously mentioned, a literary device or figure of speech. It’s a word used to illustrate the sound of something. Wikipedia describes it best by defining an onomatopoeia as “the process of creating a word that phonetically imitates, resembles, or suggests the sound that it describes.”
What are the four types of onomatopoeia?
Oh, you know, it obviously can’t be too easy. While the gist of onomatopoeia is fairly simple and easy to understand, someone somewhere decided to make it a little more nuanced. There are actually four types of onomatopoeia.
1. Real Words That Mimic Real Sounds
One of the most-used types of onomatopoeia you’ll encounter are real, actual words you can find in a dictionary that sound like the noises they make. For instance, a cow’s moo sounds like he’s saying, “Moo.” The sound a cat makes (sometimes) sounds exactly like the word “meow.” Outside of animals, you might think of words like the, “tick-tock” of a clock or the “buzz” of an alarm.
2. Made-up Words That Make Real Sounds
You’ve probably encountered this type of onomatopoeia, too. Describing the sounds a Stormtrooper’s gun makes as “pew pew pew” is a solid example of this type of onomatopoeia. Another great example in multiple songs and movies is the “ratatata” sound to mimic automatic rifle fire.
3. Real Words Used As Sounds
This one is more tricky. A fantastic literary example is Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Bells.” The word “bell” doesn’t sounds like the ringing or “dong” sound of a bell. However, he repeats the word “bell” over and over again in a way that imitates and calls to mind the sounds of a clanging bell.
4. Letters That Mimic A Familiar Sound
The most modern example of this might be, “Okayrrr” which is used to imitate the sound of someone rolling their tongue when they say, “Okay.” Think Cardi B. You might also use this when referring to Mister Rogers’ removing his sweater with a “Zzzz!” — like the sound of his zipper going down. Or “Pspsps” when you’re calling a cat.
What are some more onomatopoeia examples?
Need a list of onomatopoeias? Easy-peasy, lemon squeezy! These are some of the most common examples we can found.
Examples of Onomatopoeia in a Sentence
- The ice clacked as it hit the bottom of the glass cup.
- I love the gentle rip of a hot bagel being pulled apart.
- The utensils pinged and clanged as I closed the kitchen drawer.
- The champagne cork popped as I removed it from the bottle.
- The egg made a sharp crack against the edge of the bowl.
- The butter sizzled as it melted in the hot pan.
- As she worked on her essay due at midnight, her fingers clacked on the keys.
- As the cows ate their food, they quietly mooed.
- As my grandpa patted his stomach, he let out a small belch.
- The room was so cold my teeth chattered.
- When the car cut me off, I beeped my horn.
- After my father ate his burrito, his stomach gurgled.
- The mouse squeaks as the eagle chases it.
- My father grunted as he pulled the couch up the stairs.
- When we camped out in the woods, we heard wolves howling.
- Since the twins learned to talk, they’ve been yapping ever since.
- The rain trickled down my window.
- When she poured the paint out of the can, it glopped into the tray.
- My grandfather groaned as he got up from bed.
- The baby hiccuped after she had her bottle.
- I slurped the smoother because it was my favorite.
- I sniffed as I entered the garden because of my allergies.
- I whispered in the dark to my sister that I needed to go to the bathroom.
- The floorboards creaked as I walked to my parent’s room.
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