"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: either they are silent, or they speak like humans do. It's certainly a testament to the fox's slyness that it's attributed with human speech, which fits quite well with its trickster qualities (and of course there are many myths that have the fox transforming itself into human shape, too).

The article goes on to cite a Wired article claiming that some of the sounds made in the Ylvis song The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?), such as "Chacha-chacha-chacha-chow", are accurate, but it doesn't indicate that they are commonly used onomatopoeia.

Are there any commonly used onomatopoeia for foxes in English?

  • Not any commonly used ones, no. Foxes do not feature much in English speakers' mythological life, perhaps because they no longer feature at all in their actual life. Most North Americans, for instance, have never seen a fox in person, and wouldn't recognize it as a fox if they did. Hence there is no need of onomatopoeic expression for foxes, any more than there is for armadillos or aardvarks. Jul 23, 2016 at 14:36

1 Answer 1


Short answer: No - hence the joke.

You can make one up that matches the sound they actually make or use the word "Bark"

Longer answer:

Here are more examples of fox sounds from http://greenmeditations.com/getting-foxy


  • Alarm bark
  • Vixen's scream
  • Gekkering
  • Howl

Literature seems to favour bark

I heard the foxes as they ranged over the snow crust, in moonlight nights, in search of a partridge or other game, barking like forest dogs... Thoreau

At night when I slept under an oak tree in the yard, when the white clouds scudded across a blue night sky of spring — it was then I heard the foxes bark on the high mountain top. They barked for me. Jesse Stuart

I heard the foxes howling near the house these two nights back. They always herald a death in our family. Sean O'Callaghan

I heard the fox kit begin to vocalize in a high-pitched, laughing yodel. John Ulanich

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