Onomatopoeia Dictionary
Words that sound like the thing they refer to: Imitative words

human  laughter  pain  eating, drinking  animal  hit  hard hit  light hit  explosion  weapon  metal  engine  automotive  movement  weather  liquid  gas  crack  tone  music

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About this website

Most entries in this dictionary are based on at least two independent sources (dictionaries, books, popular websites). The descriptions are deliberately short and limited to meanings having to do with sound. For more information about a word, the first place to look is of course the dictionary. For even more detail, there is the academic discipline of linguistics, which is about analyzing language in all its forms.

Imitative words are prominent in comics. There is a dictionary specifically dedicated to onomatopoeia in comics, entitled Ka-boom, by Kevin J. Taylor. This website includes onomatopoeia from literature, internet as well as comics.

Onomatopoeia is also often used in children's books. Here you can find a list of suggestions. Especially Verna Aardema, an american author of children's books, and Dr Seuss, use onomatopoeia in their books.

I have included both words that directly imitate sound and words of imitative origin. For example, "atchoo!" directly imitates the sound of sneezing, but the word "sneeze" itself has imitative origin, according to some sources. Sources do not always agree because the etymology (the origin) of many words is simply uncertain.

Most languages have onomatopoeia but compared to Western languages, Japanese seems to be especially rich in onomatopoeia. There are books and websites about it.

About me

I am a neuroscientist who likes building websites and playing with words and sounds.