O is for what? Onomatopoeia, that’s what. What is an onomatopoeia, you ask? Well, you already know what it is if you’ve ever written or said words like “buzz” or “hiss.” Because onomatopoeia is a literary device that involves the naming of a thing or action by a vocal imitation of the sound associated with it, like “bang,” “boom,” “ca-ching,” “cluck,” “moo,” “oink,” “purr,” “snarl,” or — well, you get it.
From my perspective, onomatopoeia is not only a great word to say, but it comes in handy when writing. It adds color and description using something almost every reader can relate to. I mean how would you write about the low, continuous, vibratory sound that a contented cat makes if you couldn’t use the word “purr”?
But the word also brings back fond memories — for me, anyway — of the time when my fifth grade teacher introduced the class to that beautiful, six syllable word. Why? Because I had a crush on a girl whose name was Anna. And because I was an immature, smartass of a fifth grader.
I thought I would impress the hell out of Anna when I heard the word onomatopoeia by looking at her and saying, “So, Anna-wanta-pee-ah?”
I did impress Anna. Unfortunately, not in a good way. In fact, it only took two times of my saying, “Anna-wanta-pee-ah?” for her to suggest that I do something to myself that is both physically and anatomically impossible.
But even though I lost Anna when she told me to go “cluck” myself, I still love saying the word onomatopoeia.