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onomatopoeia (on-uh-mat-uh-PEE-uh) noun

The formation or use of words such as buzz or murmur that imitate the sounds associated with the objects or actions they refer to.

[Late Latin, from Greek onomatopoiia, from onomatopoios, coiner of names : onoma, onomat-, name + poiein, to make.]

"I couldn't say the `f' word for a while. I would explain the situation and not say the word. It is one of those words that sounds like what it is. I think that is called onomatopoeia. Fired is a harsh cutting word." Linney, Barbara J., Rising from the ashes: the aftermath of being fired. Physician Executive, 1 Mar 1996.

Why doesn't onomatopoeia sound the way it is?

This week's theme: What would you ask words if you could speak with them?


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