One of the major hurdles of becoming a sound effects editor is learning your library. This means knowing what keywords to search in a given situation as well as building up a mental catalogue of "go-to" sounds.
While it is always a good idea to start by looking at the picture and then thinking of descriptive words to search, it helps if you know which words will yield the best results. This is where onomatopoeia enters the scene. Onomatopoeia is defined as the formation of a word from a sound associated with what is named (e.g. cuckoo, sizzle). Following is a beginner's guide to onomatopoeic sound effects search words. Some of these terms can be found in any dictionary, and some are unique to sound effect library naming conventions.