The word for the day is: Onomatopeia.
It’s a fantastic word, not so much rolling off the tongue as emerging like a bemused rhythm. Try saying it out loud, “on-o-mot-o-pi-a.” The very sound of the word intrigues, and the penultimate syllable leaves you smiling internally as well as visibly.
A quick Google search – for those of us who might be less than stellar in remembering our English lessons of yore – should serve as a reminder that this is a term to refer to words that emulate sounds. Words like a dog’s “bark” (or, in the case of Will’s imaginary dog Jed, “bark! bark! barkbarkbark!”) or the “snap” of a tree branch. The search I just ran pulled up an intriguing example from Tennyson’s poem, “The Lotus Eaters”…
For whatever reason, 0nomatopeia was on my mind earlier today. I almost sat down this afternoon, after the small group I was leading left the home, to muse about it. But finding I had nothing really to say, I refrained. Then, as I was reading an article the current issue of Arizona Highways, I stumbled across another example! In an article talking about the scaled quail of the Chihuahuan Desert (don’t get me started on the word Chihuahua!), the article shared that “within hours of hatching, baby quails are up and walking, following their parents… they can forage for themselves, scoot away from predators and find their parents with calls of paycos, paycos, paycos.”
So there you go, onomatopeia in action. 🙂