Word for Wednesday: Sizzle

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Our Word for Wednesday theme for May is onomatopoeia

An onomatopoeic word imitates the sound of the action or thing it describes.

Onomatopoeic words are often used to describe animal sounds (chirp, hiss, meow, oink, squeak, etc), collisions (crash, bang, wallop, etc.); voice-related sounds (grunt, giggle, guffaw, rasp, wheeze, etc.); and water-related sounds (drip, gush, trickle, pitter-patter, etc.).

So far we’ve looked at the words bumblebee, flip-flop, and hiccup. Today’s word is sizzle

Sizzle is a verb used to describe something that is making hissing a sound like that of frying fat. For example:

  • The sausages sizzled in the pan. 
  • We could hear the food sizzling on the barbeque. 

The word is also used in reference to extreme heat. For example:

  • The sunbathers sizzled in the blazing heat. 
  • The temperature will reach sizzling heights this weekend. 

Sizzle dates to around 1600 and possibly comes from the onomatopoeic Middle English word ‘sissen’ meaning ‘hiss’ or ‘buzz’. The word has been used figuratively since 1859. 

26 May 2021
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Sarah Taggart, Oasis Academy Lord's Hill