Sunday, February 15, 2009


I have always loved words. Onomatopoeia is a word that sounds like the word it is describing, such as animal noises like oink or meow, or sounds such as boom, zoom, click, clang, zap, or bang. Whenever I eat something too quickly I get the hiccups. Is there any more perfect word than that? If we drop a pebble into a pool of water, it goes kerplunk. If we put an egg or a strip of bacon into a hot skillet, it sizzles.

When I am lying in bed at night, and all is quiet, I can hear my clock going tick tock. When I wake up in the morning, I can hear the birds chirping and the seagulls squawking.

Aren't words wonderful?

Here are some of my favorites:

Oh, there are so many, I could go on forever. Usually knock-knock jokes are good examples of onomatopoeia.

Knock Knock!
Who's there?
Little old lady.
Little old lady who?
Wow! I didn't know you could yodel.

Boo...! Hiss...! Heh.


Firefly the Travel Guy said...

Then there is the one that I feel like most days when the boss works on my nerves: AAAAAAAArrrrrrggggggghhhhhhhhhhh........

introspection said...

And I go "PHEWWW...!" after I am through with most discussions with my spouse...! they are always full of tension.

the walking man said...


KathyB. said...

I have a niece who put on quite a performance as she made the bacon sizzling sound and then ACTED like a piece of sizzling bacon....sizzle, fizz and splutter!Would this be onomatopoeia in action?

budh.aaah said...

You are such an inspiration Jo. I marvel at the regular posts from you..and pretty interesting stuff too. Keep it up.

Rod H said...

tick tock

I took my clock to a German horologist. He shook it and it ticked. Then he addressed it sternly.

'At ze moment you only tick, but ve hav vays of making you tock.'

Rod H said...

Seriously though, some of these sounds aren't as descriptive as they seem. They appear to be so because we are accustomed to them in this role.

If this were not so then the words descriptive of sounds would be the same in many languages - but they are not. For example, 'ding dong' in English, 'bim bam' in German.

Bagman and Butler said...

I'm howling, clapping, and chortling over this one. I'd warn your audience about reading it, however, because it got stuck in my head like a song that you can't stop humming...humming! There's another one.

Sally's World said...

Thats so weird, 2 days ago my six year old godson told me he learnt the word onomatopoeia, me and his mum had no clue what it was, he told us though, feeling smug!!!

big word for a six year old, I'd never heard it in 39 years!!! said...

Like that knock-knock joke! lol

Leslie: said...

What a great post! I remember having to teach kids about this figure of speech. It was lots of fun reading what they came up with.

btw...loved your previous post on the geography of a woman (& man)lol

Russell said...

Okay... I confess. I can't even pronounce that word!! I am sure it sounds good if you say it - but I will have to hear someone else say it!!

My dog, Bailey, speaks both DogTalk and English! He does much better than I do with linguistics!

I love the French lanugage. Any words, any phrases said in French are wonderful...!

Mclndesm said...

Great Post! I Love,Adore,Appreciate,Need Words,Words,Words. I would not have survived this life without the ability to capture experiences without words.(I know,I am slightly dramatic! :) ) I have my incredible mother to thank for teaching me how to speak and write and value knowledge. Doesn't hurt to have both parents be english teachers. Some of my favorite are

Oh, I could go on forever....

Mclndesm said...

I agree with Russell, Our dogs have there own words.
My Henry makes a lovely "ufff" noise when he is warming up to play or frustrated. My Madison cries in various octaves as she is policing my partner when her dinner is being made. I understand them perfectly.
I love the Spanish language,there is a wonderful lyrical quality I hear when my partner is consoling her mother.
Other lovely words
Ok, I'll try to stop now ;)

Stephen Leach said...

I'm assuming 'spash' is splash/
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Charles Gramlich said...

I like these kinds of words too. Probably gives us some insight into how language may have first formed.

Scoobyloves2004 said...

I lovr those words! I enjoyed learning them in school and I can't wait to teach them to my son next year in first grade!

Kathy's Klothesline said...

My youngest created her own vocabulary and I still use some of her words...she is now 30. She never had a stomach or a tummy ache, she had a stummy ache. When she wanted to try whatever beverage I was drinking she would ask for a "swip", not a sip or a swallow. She was tongue-tied at birth and remained so until her tongue was surgically loosed at 18 months. She had not spoken until then and when she recovered....well, we have yet to keep her quiet. Your love of words brought me a lovely memory today, thanks!

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jackc50 said...

ah words....sometimes thats all we have.....a few of my faves....conumdrum, preposterous, sleepy,wonder, purple, lilly,tumble and seduction. jc

Ann said...

When we came across this word in our homeschooling a few years ago, I had no idea what it meant!! I seriously wonder what I learned in school, somedays....

Cyth said...

As much as words, I'm drawn to names, or the sounds as you say them. I think it depends on my mood as to which may be my favorite. Today, though this has been in the top ten for years, is Apollonia. Now that's a name.

Country Girl said...

There was a child on Oprah today and she was teaching the audience to yodel. She told them to sing "little old lady, who?" And it worked!
I love words, too. One of my favorites is lullaby. It's such a beautiful word, and so soft.

meggie said...

Sigh. I love them all too.

Anonymous said...

I like to use eek! when one of my dogs uses my shampoo and bah! when someone doesn't agree with me.

PinkPanthress said...

Slurp is my alltime Favourite! :D

Lidia said...

Custard is one word that I like because it sounds comforting just like the thing itself...