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Onomatopoeia is a word that imitates the sound of the object or action it refers to. When you pronounce the word, it will mimic the sound of what it is describing.
It is one of many poetic devices that deal with the sounds of poetry and it is used by poets to engage the sense of sounds and create rich soundscapes, which is often difficult to convey with words.
Sometimes onomatopoeia can be confused with interjections, but they are both very different and distinct concepts. An interjection is a sudden outburst of emotion or excite. Examples of interjection include “ouch” or “wow”. There are some onomatopoeic words that can be used as interjections, but most do not imitate sounds.
The concept can be quite difficult to fully understand without onomatopoeia examples that will help to not only see the concept, but also hear it and sound out actual words.
Onomatopoeia Letter Combinations
Most onomatopoeic words can be recognized based on combinations of letters in the words. Often these combinations will be at the beginning of the word, but sometimes they also appear at the end.
Below are a collection of onomatopoeia examples grouped by how they are used.
- Words related to water. Often, these will start with sp- or dr-. Words ending in -le are used to indicate a small amount of water.Onomatopoeia examples related to water:
- Words related to the voice. Onomatopoeia words to do with the voice usually start with a gr- or mu-. Sounds from the back of the throat often start with gr- (like growl) and sounds from the lips, tongue and teeth begin with mu- (like mumble).Onomatopoeia examples related to the voice:
- Words related to collisions. These words are used to describe collisions and contact between objects. Collisions between metal or glass objects usually begin with cl- and collisions that resonate often end with -ng. Soft, heavy objects colliding – like wood or earth – are often described with words beginning with th-.Onomatopoeia examples related to collisions:
- Words related to air. Air doesn’t have a sound, so these words are used to describe the blowing of air through things, or of objecting rushing through the air.Onomatopoeia examples related to air:
- Animal sounds. These words are used to describe the sounds that common animals make.
Onomatopoeia examples in literature
With a neigh-neigh here,
And a neigh-neigh there
Here a neigh, there a neigh,
Everywhere a neigh-neigh
– Old Macdonald, Nursery Rhyme
Horsey horsey don’t you stop
Just let your feet go clippetty clop
The tail goes swish and the wheels go round
Giddy up, we’re homeward bound
– Nursery Rhyme
– “The Fourth” by Shel Silverstein
What is Onomatopoeia?
The word itself comes from the combination of two Greek words, ‘name’ and ‘I make’. Taken literally, onomatopoeia means “the name (or sound) I make”. The word is simply the way the noise sounds. So, for example, whoosh has no meaning other than to imitate the sound of an object flying quickly through the air.
Sometimes an onomatopoeic word will come to mean more than the sound itself. Take the word “Slap,” for instance. It mimics the sound made by skin hitting skin, but it is also used to describe the action of hitting someone with an open hand.
“Rustle” is the sound that papers make when brushed together and is also used to describe the action of somebody who is moving papers around and causing them to brush together: “He rustled the files nervously at his desk”.
Write your own onomatopoeia example
Using the examples of onomatopoeia and letter combinations above, try to write your own onomatopoeic poem to practice your knowledge.
Remember: look at the common patterns of onomatopoeic words and patterns and if you get stuck, just ask yourself, “what does it sound like?”.
This bundle contains 5 ready-to-use onomatopoeia worksheets that are perfect to test student knowledge and understanding of what onomatopoeia is and how it can be used. You can use these onomatopoeia worksheets in the classroom with students, or with home schooled children as well.
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Link will appear as Onomatopoeia Examples and Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, March 20, 2016
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.