5

What is that sound called, when one produces a short demeaning (almost as if looking down upon the other person) sound, which might be followed by a very cunning smile.

Example:

A: The US is pressurizing Iran on genuine grounds. It has no horses of its own in that race.

B: That Sound, Are you really that dumb?

11

Alice: "The US has no horses of its own in that race".
Bill: (snorts) "Are you really that dumb?".

...where Google defines snort as...

an explosive sound made by the sudden forcing of breath through one's nose, used to express indignation, derision, or incredulity.
"he gave a snort of disgust"

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  • Exactly what I was about to post. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Dec 9 '13 at 18:43
  • I thought the Google definition was the most appropriate for OP's context, but I don't know how to post a direct link to the specific text I get in my first search result. I just posted the address bar contents from my search. I don't know if it'll work for others. – FumbleFingers Dec 9 '13 at 18:47
  • The intended pragmatics is as described; but the sound is in fact a human speech sound, and has phonetic properties. A snort does have to be (a) ingressive and (b) nasal. Blowing your nose is not a snort. Other than that, the phonosemantics are in line with other SN- words. – John Lawler Dec 9 '13 at 18:49
  • @John: I don't know the antonym of "ingressive" in this context, but I suppose harrumph would be a common enough noun/verb if we wanted to avoid being "sniffy". – FumbleFingers Dec 9 '13 at 19:25
  • The antonym is "egressive". Normal speech is egressive lung air. A snort is ingressive pharynx air with open velic nasal channel. If you want to be more precise. There are probly other phonations that would produce a snort; like most non-lexical phonation (think whistling or yodelling), there's enormous individual variation – John Lawler Dec 9 '13 at 19:35
5

Wiktionary lists several words as “representation of the dental click used to show disapproval”:

tch, “a representation of the dental click used to show disapproval; tut”
tut, “tut tut; an expression of disapproval”
tut tut, “An exclamation of disapproval”, with pronunciation note “IPA: /ǀ ǀ/ (dental clicks). Often the spelling pronunciation IPA: /ˈtʌt ˈtʌt/”
tsk tsk, “An exclamation of disapproval”, with pronunciation note “IPA: /ǀ ǀ/ (dental clicks). Often the spelling pronunciation IPA: /ˈtɪsk ˈtɪsk/ or IPA: /təsk təsk/”

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0

humph (which I would spell hmph)

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