Several times, I’ve encountered the term “onomatopoeic” in the OED’s etymologies in cases where it does not seem to apply. I’m not sure whether it is because the compilers are highly imaginative or the term is being used strangely.
gig, n.1 “something that whirls”
Etymology: Perhaps onomatopoeic; the identity of the word in all senses is very doubtful.
Etymology: Jag noun and verb are found from c1400. From the uncertain date of the Morte Arthur (MS. c1440) in which the verb first occurs, it does not appear whether the noun or the verb is the primary word. The noun, with the adjective jagged , but not the verb, is in the Promptorium c1440. The formation appears to be onomatopoeic; in some senses it coincides with dag n.1, dag n.3, dag v.1, dag v.2, and in some approaches tag and rag.
Etymology: Known only from 16th cent., and without cognate words. Probably onomatopoeic: compare bumble, fumble, mumble, rumble, stumble, tumble
Etymology: Probably onomatopoeic, to be compared with other words of similar sound and with the general sense of ‘protuberance, swelling’, e.g. bump n.1, bumb n.
flimsy, adj. and n
Etymology: First recorded in 18th cent.; possibly (as Todd conjectured) an onomatopoeic formation suggested by film n.
I don’t have a question, I’m just making an observation. It makes some kind of sense, if the compilers took onomatopoeic to mean “sounding like other words with similar meaning”, rather than its conventional meaning of “pertaining to words imitative of sounds”.
EDIT: replaced means with to mean