FUNNY WORDS WITH REAL MEANINGS
Bang! Let's Make Some Noise With These 12 Onomatopoeias
Published on February 9, 2024
Credit: Ryan Wallace
A language as elastic and adaptive as English allows for words that describe anything you can think of. And, in that regard, onomatopoeias stand out as vibrant threads that weave together the sound and vision of our daily communication.
These words echo the sounds they represent, adding a symphony of sensory richness to our spoken and written expressions. From the resounding "crash" of a breaking wave to the gentle "whisper" of the wind, onomatopoeias bridge the gap between language and experience. How many of the following twelve words do you use every day?
Credit: Amadeo Tauses
The dynamic energy of liquid meeting resistance is perfectly encapsulated in the word "splash". Whether it's the rhythmic splashes of raindrops against a window pane or the exuberant splash of a diver entering a pool, this onomatopoeia captures the very spirit of fluidity and movement.
As a linguistic artifact, "splash" beautifully illustrates how onomatopoeias serve as a way of snapshots, freezing a moment in time and sound, allowing us to recreate the sensory image in our minds.
Credit: Moritz Mentges
A word that is royalty amongst onomatopoeias, "bang" emerges as a linguistic explosion, encapsulating the abrupt release of energy and the resounding aftermath. Tracing its roots back to the mid-16th century, the word finds its origin in the Old Norse banga and the Middle Low German bangen , both conveying the sense of striking or hammering.
As language evolved, "bang" assumed a versatile role, capturing the sharp sound of gunfire, an unexpected collision, or the slamming of a door. Its short, impactful nature reflects the very essence of its meaning—an auditory representation of force and suddenness.
Credit: Isabel Vitrup-Pallier
"Bark" carries us into the heart of the natural world, echoing the distinctive sound produced by dogs and other canines. Originating from the Old English word berken , meaning "to bark," this term not only mirrors the vocalization of our loyal companions but also describes the universal form of canine communication.
The onomatopoeia "bark" defines the sharp, often rhythmic vocalization of dogs, ranging from a friendly greeting to an alert warning. It stands as a testament to the onomatopoeic magic that allows us to hear a sound when we read it.
Credit: Joshua J. Cotten
The onomatopoeia "hiss" draws us into the realm of serpent-like sounds and angry cats, echoing the distinct noise produced by the expulsion of air through a narrow opening. Originating from the Danish term hysse , and with ties to imitative words across various languages, "hiss" expresses the sharp sound associated with a snake or a pressurized release.
This term goes beyond the reptilian realm, being used in expressing disapproval, anger, or even the audible escape of steam. As an onomatopoeia, "hiss" is a great example of the power of language to capture the essence of sound.
Credit: Edrin Spahiu
"Clang" resounds with the unmistakable reverberation of metal striking metal, capturing the sharp, metallic noise that accompanies collisions or impacts. The word is rooted in the Latin clangere meaning "resound or ring".
Whether echoing in the clang of swords in battle or the industrial noise of machinery, this onomatopoeia defines the essence of sharp, metallic sounds. "Clang" allows us to hear and mentally recreate the striking collision of metal objects.
Credit: Michael Jin
An expressive word to describe a collision or a sudden and impactful meeting of forces that resounds through the air, "crash" is derived from the Middle English word crasshen , meaning to break in pieces.
With roots echoing across languages, it has become a universal term, capturing the cacophony of breaking glass, colliding vehicles, or the collapse of structures. Beyond its etymological origins, "crash" works as a linguistic snapshot, freezing in time the noisy and often unsettling nature of collisions.
Credit: Bianca Ackerman
The onomatopoeia "buzz" puts us into the vibrant realm of incessant, humming vibrations, echoing the sound of bees or other insects in constant motion.
"Buzz" is a word that not only defines the collective hum of a swarm but also extends its resonance to the background noise of modern life, from the gentle whirring of electronic devices to the bustling ambiance of a crowded space.
Credit: Gauravdeep Singh Bansal
The onomatopoeia "chirp" captures the cheerful and rhythmic sounds produced by small birds. Coming from the Middle English term chirken which means "to make a sharp sound", "chirp" expresses the delightful twittering often associated with feathered companions.
While many birdsongs don´t sound like a "chirp", the word is mostly used to describe the singing of small birds and, as such, it is a widely applied verb.
Credit: Elyas Pasban
A "clattering" sound is the noise produced by chaos. It is a mixture of discordant sounds, encapsulating the collision and commotion of objects striking one another. Rooted in the Middle English word clatrian , meaning "to make a loud noise", "clatter" evokes a universal auditory experience, even if it's not a very pleasant one for most people.
This term captures the cacophony of falling utensils, the rattle of machinery, or the general noise of a lively environment. As an onomatopoeia, "clatter" allows us to audibly sense the disorder inherent in the collision of elements.
A far more discrete sound than the previous one, the onomatopoeia "click" invites us into the realm of precision, describing the sharp, short sound of two objects coming together.
Emerging from the Dutch word klikken , meaning "to make a weak, sharp sound", "click" imitates the sound of an object being gently tapped. Besides this, the term transcends its initial mechanical connotations, now serving as a descriptor for a multitude of actions, from the deliberate press of a keyboard key to the subtle closure of a door latch.
Credit: Alison Bogart
"Gulp" immerses us in the visceral and audible act of swallowing, capturing the unmistakable sound associated with the rapid intake of breath or a substantial drink. Rooted in the Dutch word gulpen , meaning to swallow greedily, "gulp" is an apt descriptor of the abrupt and resonant noise produced when one consumes a large quantity of liquid or food.
This term's evocative nature is a universal expression for both the physical act of swallowing and, also, the associated sense of surprise, anxiety, or anticipation.
Credit: Samuel Regan-Asante
We close this list with a word that does a great job phonetically describing the action that it implies. "Clap" resonates with the percussive sound of hands coming together, capturing the rhythmic and celebratory act of applause.
Originating from the Old English clæppan, which means "to throb or beat" this term embodies a universal expression of approval, joy, or appreciation. So, give yourself a round of applause for making it to the end of the list, and think about what other onomatopoeias you use in your daily life.