Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Onomatopoeias Zipping Past

This morning while driving my son to school, he mentioned that yesterday was National Zipper Day. While I think all the various "National whatever days" are really silly, it did get me thinking about the word zipper. Zipper is a really cool sounding word because it sounds like what it does; zip clothing closed quickly. Words that sound like what they do are called onomatopoeias. Zip originally meant "to move quickly" because zip is thought to resemble the sound something makes when it moves quickly, thus it is onomatopoeic. Interestingly, zipper did not become the name of the fastener that we know by that name until it was trademarked in 1925 by the B. F. Goodrich Company, who used the fastener on rubber boots. And it wasn't until the fastener was trademarked that the word zip acquired its verbal definition of closing something with a zipper.

Some other onomatopoeias: buzz, hiss, fizz, boom, crackle, kerplunk, smack, whizz, whoosh, bang

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