Snap crackle pop

They’re everywhere.   In your bowl of Rice Krispies.  In comic strips.  On Old McDonald’s farm.

What are they?

Onomatopoeias (and there is some question about whether that is its correct plural form) are words that sound like their meanings.  Oink, chirp, meow.  Wham, pow, boom.  Jingle, zip, splash.  Crunch, slurp, hiccup.

Originating from a Greek word meaning “word-making,” onomatopoeias are great tools for adding texture to writing or speech.  And kids love ’em.   As school lets out for the year, coming up with clever onomatopeias could be a fun summer game for your youngsters at home.

Wordies of all ages should enjoy these lyrics by Todd Rundgren.  John Prine recorded an otomatopoeia song as well but I don’t care much for it.

Onomatopoeia by Todd Rundgren

Onomatopoeia every time I see ya
My senses tell me hubba
And I just can’t disagree
I get a feeling in my heart that I can’t describe
It’s sort of lub, dub, lub, dub
A sound in my head that I can’t describe
It’s sort of zoom, zip, hiccup, drip
Ding, dong, crunch, crack, bark, meow, whinnie, quack

Onomatopoeia in proximity ya
Rearrange my brain in a strange cacophony
I get a feeling somewhere that I can’t describe
It’s sort of uh, uh, uh, uh
A sound in my head that I can’t describe
It’s sort of whack, whir, wheeze, whine
Sputter, splat, squirt, scrape
Clink, clank, clunk, clatter
Crash, bang, beep, buzz
Ring, rip, roar, retch
Twang, toot, tinkle, thud
Pop, plop, plunk, pow
Snort, snuk, sniff, smack
Screech, splash, squish, squeak
Jingle, rattle, squeal, boing
Honk, hoot, hack, belch…

Do you have a favorite?


Filed under All Things Wordish, Music

4 responses to “Snap crackle pop

  1. William Greene

    Yuck and phooey.

  2. Maybe not onomatopoetic enough to be included in Todd’s songs, the best ones were in the original Batman TV series, especially “pow-ee,” and “clank-est.” Now that I think about it, there should be a word for an illustrated onomatopoeia. But, my real favorite is Zzzzz if it qualifies. Otherwise, snore and snort.

  3. Penny

    John Prine, too, wrote a song called “Onomatopoeia” and interestingly, he, too, rhymed “onomatopoeia” with “see ya.”

    My favorite onomatopoeia is one that can’t be shared on a public blog.

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