Onomatopoeia is a sound device used in literature, poetry, and music. It may be a single word that imitates the sound it represents like snap, crackle, and pop, or animal sounds like meow, moo, and hiss.  


A more complex form of onomatopoeia is where many words or sounds in words create a sense of the subject making the sound; examples of this are found in hissing stanzas such as Chaucer's Canterbury Tales:


         Our first foe, the serpent Satanas,

         That hath in Jews' heart his wasps nest,

         Up swelled, and said: "O Hebraic people, alas!

         Is this to you a thing that is honest,

         That such a boy shall walken as him lest

         In your despite, and sing of such sentence,

         Which is against your law's reverence?


Here are a few links with additional information and examples of famous poems utilizing onomatopoeia:







Here are some poems written by my students utilizing onomatopoeia:


“Just Listen” by Amanda Huff (6th grade)


If you want to hear something very interesting

All you got to do is open your ears and be listening


So do you hear a creak when the mouse goes squeak as you hear the tippity tap of his feet

And do you hear a crunch while the dog goes munch on a bone that’s about to be his lunch

And do you hear a snap and then you hear a crack as your mom with a broom goes “skat, cat!”


Now weren’t all these things very interesting

See all you had to do was open your ears and be listening



“In The Skies” by Jonah Edwards (10th grade)


The eagle

Soars the skies and hears:


The sizzling of the bright, scorching sun

The whoosh-whooshing of quick clouds in a rush

And the whistling waves of wind through the chill air.


The eagle

Soars the clear, blue skies.



“Rubber bands” by Jonah Edwards (10th grade)


Rubber bands stretch when

“SNAP!” the flexible

Rings break right in two


“Pink Purrs” by Jonah Edwards (10th grade)


Pink tabby cats “purr…”

Under the sun, they

Relax and just “purr…”


“POP! ” by Jonah Edwards (10th grade)


Blowing bubbles when

Suddenly, a “POP!”

The bubbles are gone.