What is onomatopoeia?

What is onomatopoeia?

Author: Heather Schaaf

Students will be able to identify examples of onomatopoeia.

Onomatopoeia is a word which imitates a noise or action.

The bee buzzed around the flower collecting pollen. In this sentence, buzzed is an example of onomatopoeia because the word sounds like what the bee is actually doing.

Other examples of onomatopoeia are:

  • The cat meows.
  • The hammer banged on the nail.
  • Thunder boomed during the storm.
  • I tap my fingers on the desk.
See More
Try a College Course Free

Sophia’s self-paced online courses are a great way to save time and money as you earn credits eligible for transfer to over 2,000 colleges and universities.*

Begin Free Trial
No credit card required

27 Sophia partners guarantee credit transfer.

245 Institutions have accepted or given pre-approval for credit transfer.

* The American Council on Education's College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE Credit®) has evaluated and recommended college credit for 21 of Sophia’s online courses. More than 2,000 colleges and universities consider ACE CREDIT recommendations in determining the applicability to their course and degree programs.


Examples of Onomatopoeia

hiss, buzz, growl, moo, chirp, tweet, bark, oink, squawk


crash, boom, smack, ding, clomp, bang, pop, thump


clap, snap, stomp, hiccup, whistle, tap, whoosh, whisper

The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry

The Great Kapok Tree, a picture book by Lynne Cherry, is filled with wonderful examples of Onomatopoeia. As you listen to Mrs. Thomas read the story, see if you can hear examples of words sounding like the actions they describe.