Linguists are now agreed that the
vast majority of words in every language are entirely arbitrary,
but a small class of signifiers
somehow mimic their signifieds. Examples include "thud,"
"screech," "bark" (the sound a dog makes, not tree-skin), "pop,"
and so on. (Of course these words vary from language to
language, so the mimicry isn't perfect.) Sometimes poetry can
use words which, through their very sound, suggest their
From the Guide to Literary Terms by Jack Lynch.
Please send comments to Jack Lynch.
Note: This guide is still in the early stages of development.
Three question marks mean I have to write more on the subject. Bear with me.