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Which word can I use to describe the sound somebody makes while vomiting? Is burp the right word for it?

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7  
retch would be a more accurate word than burp (although neither of those describes the sound, so I'm just leaving this as a comment). –  J.R. Oct 31 '12 at 15:32
    
If you're looking for an existing word for the sound, then the sky's the limit unless you're specific. What aspect of the sound are you describing: the noise produced physically in the throat and mouth (e.g. gurgle), the figurative quality of the noise (e.g. horrible), or something else entirely? Can you please add some additional context on how you plan to use this word in a sentence? –  Zairja Oct 31 '12 at 15:45
    
@J.R. I didn't see your comment until after I submitted my answer, but I agree with retch. I've added some possible contexts for the use of retch in reference to the sound instead of the action. What makes retch appropriate here is that it defines the activity of vomiting, not just the end result. –  Zoot Oct 31 '12 at 15:59
    
whatever the right word is, 'burp' is -not- one of them. A burp and 'burp' as a sound to describe that are only associated with air coming out. If anything else comes out, it is not a burp at all. –  Mitch Oct 31 '12 at 16:29
    
@Mitch: Unless the one burping is less than a year old. At that age, the lines between burping and puking are much more blurry and muddled. –  J.R. Oct 31 '12 at 16:42
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7 Answers 7

up vote 21 down vote accepted

I would say that the sound made by vomiting is retching. I've also seen retching noises or the sound of retching used in print to specify the sound instead of the action.

Mirriam-Webster online give this definition:

transitive verb
: vomit 1
intransitive verb
: to make an effort to vomit; also : vomit

I was having a great time until I heard the sound of retching and saw that my neighbor had just vomited on my new rug. I'm sending him the cleaning bill.

Ngram: enter image description here

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Blech or blarg(h), with extra Hs for extra effect.

Some Google Image Search results for blargh:

Blargh

Blargh

Blargh

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Great word & images - +1 –  JAM Oct 31 '12 at 15:33
2  
Shoop da whoop isn’t really vomiting. –  Jon Purdy Oct 31 '12 at 18:50
    
But how is it pronounced? –  Pitarou Dec 3 '13 at 4:50
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Here are some 147 terms for ‘to vomit’. Interestingly, it says 57 of these, i.e. approximately 38%, come from or are primarily used in Australia.

Here are dozens more, but focussing on the sound itself, I think the most onomatopoeic one is...

call for huey

Another high-scorer on the "onomatopoeic scale" is hurling [over the toilet bowl].

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1  
Voting this one up, because I think it is wrong to imply that there is one word in English for this. A person is supposed to just pick a nice evocative one appropriate to the situation from our huge menu of them. I guess this probably says something profound about our culture.... –  T.E.D. Oct 31 '12 at 18:56
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@T.E.D.: I almost voted to close because I knew I'd easily be able to find dozens of terms meaning "to vomit", making it a non-constructive "list" type of question. But on reflection I have to admit I don't know any "word" with any currency that actually means the sound of vomiting. I'm not sure there's any equivalent to, say, the screech of nails on a blackboard, the moo of a cow, or the hiss of air escaping. All I know is "retch" doesn't seem very onomatopoeic to me. –  FumbleFingers Oct 31 '12 at 19:14
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It does to me. Perhaps we in the USA do it with a different accent? :-) –  T.E.D. Nov 2 '12 at 19:34
    
I guess they are either more experienced in Australia; or more creative; or perhaps both. –  Pieter Geerkens Dec 3 '13 at 1:07
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GACK maybe? And yea, it's totally got to be in all caps. INTERJECTIONS RULE!

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I don't know if boke counts as English (it's Scots) -- but it's a great word. Burp is not the right word at all -- it's a completely different function of the body.

Puke, barf and ralph are used in certain regions. They all mean "vomit" (the verb, not the sound) but are so onomatopoeic that to my mind they apply to the sound as well.

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I also consider hurl onomatopoeic. Perhaps spew might count, as well. Depending on the context, you could even mint your own word (e.g. I might write gluphc in a comic book setting). –  Zairja Oct 31 '12 at 15:09
    
The questioner doesn't ask for onomatopoeic words. boke is a word for vomiting, not for the sound it makes. It replicates the sound it makes, but that is not quite the same thing. Of course, the OP may not have been clear... –  itsbruce Oct 31 '12 at 15:20
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You may use kecking.

The etymology of this verb is as follows:

"to make a sound as if to vomit," 1530s, echoic.

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Also bleagh. You know the sound you hear before your carpet is ruined.

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