An onomatopoeia is another figure of speech that refers to a word that sounds like the thing it describes, like “bang” or “click“, or animal noises such as “moo“, “hiss” or “meow“.
Onomatopoeic words exist in every language, but of course they are not the same in each. Very often onomatopoeias are found in comics, usually typed in the background to emphasize an action. For example, a car accident will show the word “crash“, the drawing of people clapping hands at a concert will be accompanied by “clap clap“, while the drawing of someone falling into the sea or a swimming pool will 90% of the times contain the word “splash“.
What do you think of when you hear the words sniff, cough, ring, click, crack, gasp?
You probably never considered these words like REAL English words and very likely never thought of using them… well, they are! Of course, words like brambrimbrum have no meaning, but this is easily understandable!
Here is a list of some more onomatopoeias in the English language, starting from animal sounds again:
the buzz of a bee
the hiss of a snake
the growl of an angry dog
the roar of a lion
the chirp of a bird
the cock-a-doodle-doo of a rooster
the meow and purr of a cat
the moo of a cow
the woof of a dog
the hee-haw of a donkey
the squeak of a mouse
the neigh of a horse
the oink of a pig
the howl of a wolf
Other common onomatopoeias in English are
the rumble of thunder
the crunch of someone eating crisps
the rustle of leaves in the trees
the beat of a drum
the hoot of a horn
the pop of a bottle being opened
the slam of a door being closed violently
the tinkle of broken glass
Think of onomatopoeias in the Italian language. Can you find similarities of differences with the English language? What similarity or difference strikes you most?