From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Onomatopoeic Words

Words that imitate sounds


This evening, I was sorting through some old papers, and I came across some notes dated October 23. I left out the year when I wrote the date, but I think it was 1984. About that time, I took a class called "History of the English Language", and I must have saved only this little stack of pages from my notebook for that class.

On the long-ago October 23 when I made those notes, Dr. Eschlimann was wearing plaid pants. I know this to be a fact because Dr. E. always wore plaid pants. His lecture was about the ways that words enter the English language. My notes cover 17 different sources of words, with a list of examples for each one.

The list of onomatopoeic words (words that echo or imitate sounds) is kind of fun. Glancing through the list is like reading the "sound effects" of a comic strip. And it is dated October 23, so I decided to post it.

hiss
clatter
pop
sizzle
buzz
hum
bump
squeak
crash
snort
sob
howl
throb
jerk
knock
blab
flick
flip
gush
whistle
bleat
snicker
snore
snort
roar
purr
plunk
boom
bark
twitter
jabber
flash
blip
fuss
dump
crack
pat
squelch
blurt
lull
gag
gulp
and one of my all-time favorite words...
murmur (I just like the sound of that word.)

Such vivid words! I hope you enjoyed them!

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.