Onomatopoeia is a figure of speech wherein the word imitates the sound associated with the object it refers to.
  • Onomatopoeia, 'Onoma' - name, 'poeia' - make, is the use of a word or words whose sounds itself conveys the sense of the author. Sometimes it is also referred to as 'Echoism'. It can range from animal sounds to doorbell ringing. It is used to create an effect of the event enfolding in the reader's mind.
  • It is a string of words used to create a sound effect. It can be used in both poetry and prose.
Example:
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door. “Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door— Only this and nothing more.”
- Edgar Allan poe (Raven)
Onomatopoeia can also be used in regular day to day usage of language:
  • It cracked and growled and roared and howled like noises in a theatre.
  • The murmurous sounds of bees buzzing on summer eves.
  • Over the cobbles, he clattered and clashed in the dark inn-yard.
  • Vroom vroom went the machines in a hurry.
Onomatopoeia from the poem "The House on Elm Street":
Lights flicker on and off - Flicker is the sound that creates an image in our mind of the lights turning on and off, as it is similar to the sound that the lights make when they glimmer.