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From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Onomatopoeia \On`o*mat`o*poe"ia\, n. [L., fr. Gr. ?; 'o`noma, 'ono`matos, a name + poiei^n to make.] (Philol.) The formation of words in imitation of sounds; a figure of speech in which the sound of a word is imitative of the sound of the thing which the word represents; as, the buzz of bees; the hiss of a goose; the crackle of fire. [1913 Webster] Note: It has been maintained by some philologist that all primary words, especially names, were formed by imitation of natural sounds, but this is not believed by most. [1913 Webster +PJC]