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What do you call the action when you press your mouth against baby's tummy and blow air to make the baby laugh?

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+1 for this beautiful question. – uma Nov 5 '13 at 3:54
Motorboating Whistles and walks away slowly – MilanSxD Nov 5 '13 at 10:54

That is typically referred to as blowing raspberries:

Blowing a raspberry, strawberry or making a Bronx cheer is to make a noise signifying derision, real or feigned. It is made by placing the tongue between the lips and blowing to produce a sound similar to flatulence. In the terminology of phonetics, this sound can be described as an unvoiced linguolabial trill. It is never used in human language phonemically (e.g., to be used as a building block of words), but the sound is widely used across human cultures.

Here is a Google search as they relate to baby tummies.

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Although the resulting sound is very similar, I don't think this is what the OP is looking for. – Kevin Nov 4 '13 at 20:52
@cornbreadninja麵包忍者 I think that using this term could lead to confusion, or at least odd looks, as some people associate this term almost exclusively with derision. – Kevin Nov 4 '13 at 20:59
The sound made on a belly, though referred to as a "Raspberry", is not produced as described in the Wikipedia article you cited. Just saying. Don't ask me how I know. ;-) – Kristina Lopez Nov 4 '13 at 21:45
And the word Raspberry comes from the Cockney rhyming slang 'raspberry tart', meaning 'fart', does it not? 'Blowing a raspberry' means farting. – WS2 Nov 4 '13 at 22:43
+1 The term "raspberry" for this is very common where I live (midwest USA). – BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft Nov 5 '13 at 3:44

Zerbert is what I have always heard it called. Several sites of mixed authority confirm.



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Never heard of this, and was totally confused about how it could have come about (corruption of Herbert? something to do with sherbet? what? why?) until I saw that it was originally spelled ZRBTT. If you want to describe this sound/action to someone who is not up on their 80's TV, you can probably use "ZRBTT" without further explanation, but "zerbert"... not so much. – Marthaª Nov 4 '13 at 22:43
+1 But I've never heard it with the r at the end. It's always been "Zerbet" where I came from. (And for Bill Cosby as well). – Jim Nov 5 '13 at 5:29

Although there's evidence provided for "zerbert" and "blowing raspberries" providing the meaning you're looking for, it's worth mentioning that in many places, there isn't a particular word or expression for this except for blowing on a baby's belly.

If I (from California, US West Coast) went up to my sister and was like, "I'm gonna give you a zerbert," she'd probably think that I had a piece of candy or dish of sherbet (frozen non-dairy dessert, kind of like ice cream) to give her. On the other hand, if I said, "I'm going to blow raspberries," she'd then expect me to stick my tongue out at her and blow.

(of note that the urbandictionary link's #4 definition provides the etymology of zerbert, which would be of use to read.)

So, be advised, if you're going to use either of the above phrases – unless you qualify them with additional words like "on the baby's tummy" – you're just as likely to get blank stares or misunderstanding as you are to be understood. There's a big difference between "blowing raspberries" and "blowing raspberries on a baby's belly."

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Sure, not everyone has heard "blowing raspberries" in the context of blowing on a baby's belly. Still, it's a correct answer. There are dozens of published books that describe that gesture by saying "blowing raspberries on a baby's belly" (or similar phrasing). It may not be common knowledge on the street, but it appears to be a legitimate answer to the O.P.'s question. – J.R. Nov 5 '13 at 0:55
@J.R., true, but even looking at the books (on the first page at least) they specify "blowing raspberries on baby's tummy" in the context. According to those, the act of blowing raspberries isn't constrained just to the tummy. – pmusser Nov 5 '13 at 7:09
I took the liberty to modify your answer a little bit to clear up where we had a small disconnect. Feel free to roll it back if you don't think I made an improvement. – J.R. Nov 5 '13 at 10:24
Aha, I approve this (change of) message. – pmusser Nov 5 '13 at 18:51

Growing up in western Pennsylvania we normally called it a "belly fart", because of it's similarity to the fartesque noise you could make by blowing against the palms of your hand.

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+1 this is the only one that everyone will understand. – mikeTheLiar Nov 5 '13 at 16:48
growing up in south central Pennsylvania, I never heard of "belly fart", but +1 anyway. – antony.trupe Nov 5 '13 at 17:34

My family and I have always called it "belly-busting."

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