Onomatopoeia is “the formation of a word that defines the natural sound of the object or actions, the naming of a thing or action by a vocal imitation of the sound associated with it (as buzz, hiss) 2. the use of words whose sound suggests the sense it s describing such as buzz, screech, murmur.” – www.onomatepiealist.com
“Sound gives life to our words just as well as the images they conjure up and the sound is there, whether or not we read them aloud.” ― A.A. Patawaranote
Some well-used onomatopoeia words (think all the Batman, Spiderwoman and similar comics) include:
Bam, bang, clunck, belch, bawl, thump, thud, jingle. growl, bark, purr, hiss, huff, puff, screech, splat, splooge, slosh.
And then there is its use in poems. Take this verse from The Pied Piper of Hamelin, by Robert Browning:
“There was a rustling that seemed like a bustling
Of merry crowds justling at pitching and hustling,
Small feet were pattering, wooden shoes clattering,
Little hands clapping and little tongues chattering,
And, like fowls in a farm-yard when barley is scattering…”
Contemporary examples of onomatopoeia are words such as dang, yuck, blech, ew, yucky, ick, and icky.
Although used as an artistic device in literature and poems and songs, onomatopoeia is especially effective in children’s books and poems, to enable children to associate sounds with words. Onomatopoeia is also employed a lot in comic books.
Most figurative language devices are there to to tell us more about what something looks like, what it feels like. Onomatopoeia is a device to help you understand what something sounds like, by enabling you to hear the sounds the words they reflect. There is a power in onomatopoeic words’ ability to touch every sense the reader has. Without often know why or how, the reader ‘gets’ the idea even though it is not written in plain English. In fact because all senses are challenged, the idea is conveyed in a more powerful way. The use of onomatopoeia conveys atmosphere as well as meaning.