Skip to main content

PHONAESTHESIA

PHONAESTHESIA BrE, phonesthesia AmE, also phonetic symbolism, sound symbolism. Vocal sound that suggests meaning, as in onomatopoeic or echoic words like cock-a-doodle-doo, cuckoo. The term is often used to refer to the occurrence of the same consonant cluster in a series of words with similar meanings: sl- in sleaze, slide, slime, slip, slope, sludge, slump, slurp, slurry, suggesting downward movement and a rushing, sucking sound; -sh in bash, dash, crash, flash, gush, hush, rush, splash, whoosh, suggesting swift or strong movement. These clusters are sometimes referred to as phon(a)esthemes, two of which may occur in one word: sl and sh in slash, slosh, slush. Such phonetic and aesthetic elements, often used to effect in verse and rhetoric, are semantically imprecise, and do not necessarily apply to all the words of a certain type: sleep and sleeve, dish and sash do not normally have the same nuances as slime and splash. Compare ALLITERATION, ASSONANCE, ECHOISM, ONOMATOPOEIA, ROOT-CREATION.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"PHONAESTHESIA." Concise Oxford Companion to the English Language. . Encyclopedia.com. 15 Sep. 2019 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"PHONAESTHESIA." Concise Oxford Companion to the English Language. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 15, 2019). https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/phonaesthesia

"PHONAESTHESIA." Concise Oxford Companion to the English Language. . Retrieved September 15, 2019 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/phonaesthesia

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.