Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Jazzing Up Your Writing with ONOMATOPOEIA! Plus a Bonus WORD LIST By Eileen R. Meyer


POP!

BOOM! 

WHAM!



 

What exactly is Onomatopoeia?


     Besides being a word that we all have trouble spelling correctly, Merriam-Webster defines onomatopoeia as “the naming of a thing of action by a vocal imitation of the sound associated with it (such as buzz or hiss).” Simply put, onomatopoeia words are sound words. Clap, growl, jangle, vroom—all of these choices have distinctive sounds and are examples of onomatopoeia.

 

Why use Onomatopoeia?


     Using effective sound words in your writing—such as clang or achoo—will certainly help you come up with the most creative way to convey what is happening in a scene. Importantly, it also enhances the sensory experience for the reader. And it’s FUN!

You’ll also find that your sentences can be trimmed of unnecessary words—one onomatopoeia word choice usually replaces a much lengthier description. If you are writing children’s picture books where the economy of words is especially important, utilizing sound words will help you keep your word count low. Consider these examples:


“She made a low, mournful sound as if she were in pain” or She groaned

“He ejected gas spasmodically and noisily from his stomach through his mouth” or He belched


You get the picture. Onomatopoeia allows you to be concise. Additionally, sound words inject an element of humor and playfulness into your piece.

  

Children’s Books that showcase Onomatopoeia:

 

There are oodles of children’s picture books that effectively employ onomatopoeia. Here are a few of my favorites:

 


A Mouthful of Onomatopoeia, by Bette Blaisdell

Bear Snores On, by Karma Wilson

Boom Boom, by Sarvinder Naberhaus

“Buzz,” said the Bee, by Wendy Lewison

Click, Clack, Moo, Cows that Type, by Doreen Cronin

Hush!: a Thai Lullaby, by Minfong Ho

Muncha! Muncha! Muncha!, by Candace Fleming

Roller Coaster, by Marla Frazee

Split! Splat!, by Amy Gibson

Squeak! Rumble! Whomp! Whomp! Whomp!: A Sonic Adventure, by Wynton Marsalis

The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything, by Linda Williams

Watersong, by Tim McCanna

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, by Michael Rosen

Who Likes Rain?, by Wong Herbert Yee

Whoosh, Crunch, Roar: Football Onomatopoeia, by Mark Weakland

Zin! Zin! Zin!: A Violin, by Lloyd Moss

  

A Handy-Dandy Onomatopoeia Word List


             Writers love tools that save them time—at least, I know I do.  I recently began working on a picture book project where I wanted to associate a key sound with each of my anthropomorphic characters. I searched on the internet for an expansive list of sound words.  I found a few pretty good listings, but I couldn’t find ONE complete list that included the entire universe (or close to it) of great onomatopoeia words. So I took one for the team and gave up an afternoon to put all those lists into one comprehensive onomatopoeia word list. And POW!— I’m sharing it with YOU, our devoted GROG Blog Readers so that you may take advantage of it, too.

 

Find my list on this page on my website:  

https://www.eileenmeyerbooks.com/extras/

 

Note: I’m sure that YOU, our whip-smart blog readers may know some onomatopoeia words that I missed. If so, comment with additional words on this GROG post and I’ll add them to this handy listing. In a few weeks, I’ll reshare the document. Happy writing!


AND the winner of the picture book, SMELLY KELLY, by Beth Anderson is Angie Quantrell. Congratulations!

 

  

37 comments:

  1. This is such a wonderful list, Eileen! Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow, thanks for taking "one for the team,"Eileen. I love using onomatopoeia!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awesome - you know that feeling, Kathy. You're ready to sit down and write but then you need a key tool to enhance the process . . . happy to share my sound word list!

      Delete
  3. Yay! I've been so distracted, I'm glad I could keep it together long enough to read to the bottom of this email! Smelly Kelly-I can't wait to smell, I mean READ this one! Thank you so much!

    Great post! Thanks for the list!!! I used onomatopoeia in a recent testimony blurb. After reading the graphic above, it reminded me that I had written the testimony, but had not mailed it! ZOW! Mid-sentence I dashed off to send it. Whew. Thanks for the reminder.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Angie! It's a double-win for you today - the book gift win AND a super onomatopoeia word list! Congrats!!

      Delete
  4. I just checked out (and printed) the list! W0W! Thank you for all the hard work. This is a great resource!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My pleasure - it is an awesome list, if I say so myself :) BAM!

      Delete
  5. FUN post, Eileen! Thanks for the list. It is terrific, and I will be using it as a resource. (Loved your graphic, too.)ZOWIE!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is a high compliment from a retired language arts teacher! Enjoy, Julie!

      Delete
  6. Thanks for the list. I'll run it off for reference. I love using onomatopoeia in my picture books. I don't think I saw it on your list, but one word phrase I use when writing about the sounds an owl makes is whooo whooo whooo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great catch, Janet! How did I forget owl sounds? :) Glad to hear from another word sound fan.

      Delete
  7. Congratulations, Angie, on winning Smelly Kelly and His Super Senses! You'll find some onomatopoeia in it, too! It's coming your way.....whoooooooosh!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Angie wins big! Thanks for sharing a gift copy, Beth. :)

      Delete
  8. I love this! Thank you for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thank you Eileen! This list is terrific :) Finding the right onomatopoeia just got a whole lot easier.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fantastic, Charlotte! We writers stick together. :)

      Delete
  10. This is great! And, LOVE the list of words. Thanks for sharing them so generously Eileen!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My pleasure, Darlene. May this list help you find some new ZING to add to your writing (couldn't resist a sound word!)

      Delete
  11. My eighth graders start their “pandemic” stories next week. I will let them loose with onomatopoeia and your article. Can’t wait to “hear” their tales!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fantastic, Julie! Good luck with your students' "pandemic" stories. Likewise, I shared the list with many of my teacher and librarian friends for their students' use.

      Delete
  12. Eileen, thank you for these helpful resources!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My pleasure, Christy! Glad you can utilize it.

      Delete
  13. This is a great reminder. Thank you. Popping over to your blog now to see your list.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Eileen! So much fun. You know I LOVE sounds. One of the things I do is keep a journal just for onomatopoeia. I use an old telephone directory that has alphabetical tabs already. Then whenever I run across a good word, in it goes under it's first letter. Such a good reference for writing for kids, or adults. thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awesome, SHutta -- I'll bet that is one great journal! Share any of your favorites that you don't find on my list. I'll add them. :) I know that with your extensive poetry writing and librarian roots, you would have some amazing resources.

      Delete
  15. So fun, Eileen. Thank you. I love onomatopeia--you do the spelling ;-) And now I hope to have a whole list at my disposal. You're the best.

    ReplyDelete
  16. My pleasure, Patricia. I know - your books SIZZLE and POP with great sound words. I'm a big fan of yours!!

    ReplyDelete
  17. I especially like this point you make:
    >>one onomatopoeia word choice usually replaces a much lengthier description<<
    And Golly, gee! Your word list is a terrific resource. Thanks so much for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Carmela! Happy to share this resource with fellow writers. We're all in this together.

      Delete
  18. Absolutely fantastic, Eileen (and lovely website to boot). Thanks for hitting the nail on the head: SMACK!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Love it, Kitty! Glad you can put this to use. And thanks for the kind words about my website. Cha-ching! (I love that sound - LOL!)

      Delete
  19. This is really fun! Thanks for sharing the list.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My pleasure, Sue! We all love useful writing tools.

      Delete