A word that phonetically imitates or suggests the source of the sound that it describes. Common occurrences of onomatopoeias include animal noises such as "oink", "meow", "roar" or "chirp", or human sounds like "yawn", "gulp" or "mwah".

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Onomatopoeia for foxes

"What does the fox say?" Onomatopoeia, and Alien Languages claims there's no onomatopoeia for foxes: But you don't find fox onomatopoeia in this context. Foxes tend to do one of two things: ...
4
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1answer
26 views

When did animal sounds get codified?

Every kindergartner knows that a sheep says "baa", a cow says "moo", a cat says "meow" and a goat says "maa". But this is just in English. In other languages, they say other things. When did animal ...
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2answers
406 views

How to spell a sound I hear people make

When you stick your tongue outside of your mouth and gently blow, it makes a common sound to indicate "whatever!" or "I don't like your answer/response" or "Yes, you are smarter than I am." What is ...
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11k views

What is the expression for coughing at the beginning of an utterance officially called?

I was wondering what is the name for the introductory "coughing" in English, i.e. when somebody clears their throat to start their utterance. For example: "Ekhm... Welcome! How can I help you?" ...
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1answer
32 views

Should I use speech marks for sounds?

If I were to describe a sudden sound, in this example: Boom! Were I to put it in speech marks: "Boom!" Just like in a dialogue, or to do something else, in that case what?
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4answers
836 views

Onomatopoeia for a kettle [closed]

When the water is hot enough, what is the sound made by the kettle? Is Choo-choo correct ?
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2answers
5k views

Is there another way to write Gasping and Panting sounds?

I'm making a comic where a character is scared and is hyperventilating. What should I write to make it as if they're panting/gasping?
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2answers
126 views

How do you show someone is crying in dialogue?

How do you show someone is crying in dialogue? (as in, is there an onomatopoeia that can show crying well? I ask because "(insert dialogue)..sniffle..(insert dialogue)..snifle..", does show that the ...
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3answers
8k views

Onomatopoeia for throat clearing

Clearing one's throat is a nice way to signal that special attention is needed. For example, two colleagues are making fun of their boss as she walks right by. She listens for a second and then ... ...
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1answer
142 views

onomatopoeia for the sound of spoons hitting on the plate when eating? [closed]

Is there any word to describe this? I have tried inging but not sure if that is the best word.
0
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1answer
73 views

Where did “Pew! Pew!” come from?

To elaborate, I'm talking about the "sound effect" that people often make when imitating gunfire. Eg. "Pew! Pew! I shot you Billy, you're dead now!" I suppose this developed from the "Bang! ...
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3answers
252 views

How to describe making sounds with your throat?

Say if someone asked you a yes/no question, and you make that note of assent with your throat to let them know that yes is the answer to the question, how would you describe that through writing? I ...
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5answers
13k views

Coughing captured in writing

My native language is German and although many people find German to sound like a coughing fit, the language totally lacks an onomatopoeia for coughing (real coughing). Nor can I think of one in ...
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3answers
180 views

Word for Self-Exemplifying Phrase

Depeche Mode's song, "I Promise You I Will," contains the following lines: I'm sorry, but I'm just thinking of the right words to say (I promise you) I know they don't sound the way I ...
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2answers
79 views

Interjection made in mockery to make someone jealous

I seem to remember there is an interjection used by children when they have something another kid doesn't as a way to make them jealous: it's something along the lines of nuh-nuh-nah-nuh-nah said in a ...
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3answers
2k views

Onomatopoeia for sirens (police, ambulance, fire engines)

I came across these two sentences in Peopleware The Furniture Police at one company we know even listed a number for spilled coffee on the Emergency Numbers decal affixed to every phone. We were ...
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4answers
47k views

What is the proper convention for writing onomatopoeia?

Say I'm attempting to write a sound, as in 'poof', 'thud', or 'clank'. What's the correct convention to write something like this? Is there one, or is it a grey area as long as it's clear to the ...
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16answers
1k views

What sound do blinds make in English?

When you raise or lower a window blind with a one quick movement, it produces a sound, what do you call that sound in English? I rolled up/raised/opened/ pulled up the window blind quickly with ...
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5answers
84k views

How did the letter Z come to be associated with sleeping/snoring?

In cartoons and comics it's not uncommon to see a series of Z's to indicate that a person is in deep slumber, such as in the following political cartoon. How and when did the letter Z come to be ...
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3answers
86 views

Verb or phrase for “to make an onomatopoeia”

In the event that a common, recognized, and understood onomatopoeia for a sound does not already exist, how would you phrase the creation of an onomatopoeia for the sound? Essentially the word ...
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2answers
494 views

Sound of a zip fastener?

I was wondering, how would you best describe the sound a zip fastener makes when it's opened or closed slowly? You know, that "r-r-r-r-r" kind of sound? I thought about growling, but that feels too ...
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1answer
187 views

A word that describes a sound that is not an onomatopoeia

By necessity, visual phenomena have abstract descriptions. The word yellow is only linked to the actual color because our teachers told us so. Sounds are easier to describe. Because language is sound, ...
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4answers
561 views

What verb would you use to describe the sound tires make when they roll on the asphalt?

In a previous question, I mentioned an English teacher who changed the following sentence “…the rustling of tires." to “…the rustle of tires.” It seems; however, that rustle has been assessed and ...
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6answers
1k views

To what extent do English words sound like what they describe?

Is it true that the way languages develop causes the tonal qualities of the words to have a tendency to match the nature of the thing the word stands for? I am not talking just about obviously ...
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5answers
33k views

What are the words to express sobbing and crying sound?

Google doesn't help much. What are the sounds (written in words) that people usually use to express their crying/sobbing emotions such as in chat, social network? For example if I say, "I am sad [...
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3answers
1k views

What is the origin of “woof!”?

We know that woof is the sound a dog makes when barking. It is used both as a noun and a verb. The word is onomatopoeic but it is also used as an interjection. People woof too when they are attracted ...
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3answers
715 views

What is the right description of the word “squeaky” in “squeaky clean”?

Is squeaky in "squeaky clean" an onomatopoeia? Is there a right word to describe this word, other than simply an "adjective"? It's something that uses the description of a sound as an adjective. ...
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2answers
150 views

Similar forms to word-making as onomatopoeia

Onomatopoeia is defined as; the formation of a word from a sound associated with what is named (e.g., cuckoo, sizzle). (from Google). They also add: late 16th century: via late Latin from ...
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5answers
4k views

What part of speech are non-human “interjections” like “oink” and “bang”?

As a spin-off from this comment: If a human exclaims something like "ouch!", I believe it's considered an interjection. But if a pig exclaims "oink!", what is the part of speech? And if a bell goes ...
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5answers
7k views

What would be the onomatopoeia for “spit”?

Just wanted to know how to write in a chat room the sound for "spit". As in "meow" for the sound that a cat makes, what would you write for the sound of the verb "spit"? (Google wasn't very helpful, ...
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4answers
6k views

Onomatopoeia for stomach growling?

I've been thinking. How do I put the sound of growling stomach into words? I'm also curious about the Onomatopoeia for chewing food and swallowing water.
4
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1answer
23k views

Writing out heartbeat sound

Is it correct to write out the sound of a heart beat as lub dub or are there other variations that are also acceptable?
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3answers
798 views

Do onomatopoeic words lose their onomatopoeic character?

Wikipedia mentions that: Some languages flexibly integrate onomatopoeic words into their structure. This may evolve into a new word, up to the point that it is no longer recognized as onomatopoeia....
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1answer
24k views

What is an onomatopoeia for heavy breathing?

The only one I can think of is "huff," but this isn't very good. I'm trying to find onomatopoeia for the way a person breathes just after they've been running hard.
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8answers
26k views

Word for the sound made while vomiting

Which word can I use to describe the sound somebody makes while vomiting? Is burp the right word for it?
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2answers
2k views

Fail trumpet onomatopoeia

There are several sound clips that are widely understood to mean "(epic) fail". I think the most famous one is the one with the oboe or trumpet... 4 notes with declining pitch, the last one being ...
0
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1answer
279 views

Onomatopoeia/interjection for snatching something?

E.g. "the dog went [?snatch?] and away it ran with the Frisbee". The word indicates a sudden and unexpected move made to catch or grab something.
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7answers
1k views

Name for music that imitates speech

I have searched and asked others for the answer to this but have come up dry: what is the name or technique in music where musical notes approximate/imitate speech? Note that I am not talking about ...
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2answers
2k views

Is “kekeke” considered an English word?

"kekeke" is somewhat of an alternative to "hehehe" or "huehuehue". From Urban Dictionary: This is an onomatopoeia for laughter. Its origin is the Korean onomatopoeia ㅋㅋㅋ, in which ㅋ stands for the ...
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4answers
32k views

Interjection for the sound of a bell

I saw this other question, but it's not quite what I'm asking. A bell makes a sound. How would you write that sound in English? As an interjection, e.g. "boom!" I'm sure it varies with the type and ...
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2answers
6k views

Name for a word whose sound is contrary to its meaning

As onomatopoeia means words that sound like what they mean, is there a word which means words that sound contrary to what they mean? Pulchritude is an example of such a word.
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1answer
275 views

Onomatopoeia for Physical Objects [closed]

Here's something I was thinking about the other day: is there a word like "onomatopoeia" that can be used to describe words that sound like what they describe? This can include, for example, seeing a ...
11
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3answers
1k views

What do “Yeep” and “Go yeep” mean?

Today’s New York Times carries the article titled “Veeps go yeep! Nation nods,” which is followed by the following statement: “Obama versus Romney on Tuesday! That will be far more important than ...
2
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4answers
318 views

Is “mellifluous” onomatopoeic?

mel·lif·lu·ous /məˈliflo͞oəs/ Adjective: (of a voice or words) Sweet or musical; pleasant to hear. As in the title: is "mellifluous" onomatopoeic or is the definition of onomatopoeia stricter ...
2
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1answer
638 views

is onomatopoeia itself onomatopoeic? [closed]

As I note, is the word onomatopoeia itself onomatopoeic? Or does the use of the word not quite follow the rules? I recall being engaged in a spirited debate about this in my high school days—I cannot ...
18
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2answers
1k views

Is corrosion an onomatopoeia?

I mean, obviously "corrosion" isn't actually onomatopoeic, because corrosion doesn't make a sound (or at least not one that humans can hear). Yet it seems to me that the word corrosion sounds like its ...
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2answers
1k views

Etymology of lisp

A lisp is a "a speech defect in which s is pronounced like th in thick and z is pronounced like th in this". Its etymology reads: Old English wlispian (recorded in āwlyspian), from wlisp (...
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7answers
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English counterpart to Japanese signal word, “Dokkoisho”

What is an English counterpart to the Japanese signal word, “Dokkoisho” uttered unconsciously in such case as sitting down on the bench? When you get old, it becomes tough to move your body. We ...
3
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3answers
517 views

Onomatopoeia in “O madness of discourse”

While writing a commentary for Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida, my classmate and I got into a small quarrel over the classification of an onomatopoeia. We were wondering, for the line “O madness ...
6
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2answers
899 views

Onomatopoeia Across Languages

Every language has its stock of onomatopoeic expressions, but they vary across nationalities and cultures. For example, the American “bow wow” (a rapper’s name) has its Japanese equivalent in “wan-...