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Welcome to Young Writers' free Poetry Glossary

What is Onomatopoeia?

Onomatopoeia is a word that imitates the sound or suggests the source of the sound that it describes. It is commonly used in comic strips as action sounds and in nursery rhymes.

Examples of Using Onomatopoeia

Buzz – for a bee

Hiss – for a snake

Moo – for a cow

Woof – for a dog

Pow – for a punch

Whoosh – for a rocket taking off

Tick-tock – for a clock

In a poem or nursery rhyme they are used to entertain.

Old MacDonald had a farm,
Ee i ee i oh!
And on that farm he had some chickens,
Ee i ee i oh!
With a cluck-cluck here,
And a cluck-cluck there Here a cluck, there a cluck,
Everywhere a cluck-cluck
Old MacDonald had a farm
Ee i ee i oh!

Onomatopoeia is used to help the reader hear and be involved in the writer's written word, by describing the action with a sound.

Why don’t you try writing a poem using Onomatopoeia and enter it into one of our poetry competitions.

More poetry terms below.

Thank you for using Young Writers' Poetry Glossary

Have you visited the rest of our website yet? There are lot more free resources such as poetry workshops, activities and games for young writers as well as lesson plans and themed packs for teachers - come have a look!

Please see below for other poetry terms!
Please also visit our Poetry Glossary – Poetry Types

Teach in the USA? Then why not visit our American site today!