on·o·mat·o·poe·ia (ŏn′ə-măt′ə-pēə, -mä′tə-)
The formation or use of words such as buzz or murmur that imitate the sounds associated with the objects or actions they refer to.
[Late Latin, from Greek onomatopoiiā, from onomatopoios, coiner of names : onoma, onomat-, name; see n-men- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots + poiein, to make; see kwei-2 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
on′o·mat′o·poeic, on′o·mat′o·po·etic (-pō-ĕtĭk) adj.
on′o·mat′o·poei·cal·ly, on′o·mat′o·po·eti·cal·ly adv.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.