8

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 a/an ______(?)

I found "squeak" for opening a door, in an onomatopoeia list, but I'm not sure if I can use it in my sentence or not.

PS: I'm looking for a word that can be used for any kind of blinds, Wooden or metal, but since this sound is produced by rapid opening, I think the blinds aren't that old. (However; in my sentence, the blinds I have in my mind are metal and new, like the white blinds in the picture below).

Unfortunately I don't know how to describe this sound, so you should imagine the last time you pulled the string on a blind and it was rolled up with one movement,to remember that sound! :)

I found these, please check them for hearing the sound!

http://www.freesound.org/search/?q=blinds

http://youtu.be/LLab_9MV22U

I just found this sentence too, (By No One's Leave, By Kevin Bache, page 202):

Britney pulled the string on the blinds, which closed with a loud “Swoosh”.

enter image description here enter image description here

  • 1
    You're going to have to describe your sound, or we won't know which one you mean. Old wooden blinds could even clatter. – tchrist Jul 31 '15 at 3:32
  • @tchrist, thanks, but I really don't know how to describe it, the blind I am talking is a metallic and new. :) – Soudabeh Jul 31 '15 at 3:41
  • 1
    Magicians and acrobats do things with a flourish because it is showmanship. If this is the idea you want to convey...seems strange though. The opening could refer to the opener in some way. "Bob opened the blinds with a tired sigh." although that doesn't fit your original question. "The blinds opened with a metallic sound." That works. You could use a simile to make it stronger or more visual for the reader, or relate the sound to an instrument. – michael_timofeev Jul 31 '15 at 4:28
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    Can you try to spell what sound you believe the blinds make? And/or post a picture of the type of window blind you mean? (Also, as Michael tried to explain, a "flourish" is a decoration, so we're not sure what you're trying to express with "open a window blind with a flourish".) – Marthaª Jul 31 '15 at 16:54
  • 2
    I think a sound imitation is the closest you can get, since English hasn't dedicated any words that I know of to the purpose you describe. I'd use "fwwwwwp" for the broomstraw blind and "frrrrrrrrr" for the plastic blind. And old-fashioned Venetian blinds go "krr-rr-rr-rr-rr-rr." But ears vary on all of these points. – Sven Yargs Aug 1 '15 at 19:51

16 Answers 16

9

I suggest rattle:

: to make a rapid succession of short sharp noises <the windows rattled in the wind>
Merriam-Webster

  • I imagined the kinds of sounds a snare drum might make. – jxh Jul 31 '15 at 18:01
8
+50

A blind that's of thicker hard plastic or wood might rattle as it goes up, or clatter.

A blind of cloth or made of thinner plastic might make a zipping sound from the sound of the cord moving, or even some sort of rustle if the cloth has a lot of play to move around or move against itself.

  • 1
    I think these are probably the best words available, but I don't think you'll find a very good word to describe the sound that isn't an onomatopoeia that doesn't appear in any dictionary. – Bacon Bits Aug 2 '15 at 16:36
5

schwap!

or

shhhhwap!


(EDIT) Example:

"Schwap, schwap, schwap . . . downstream they went, clutching their guns like babies. Kalashnikovs, unlike G3s, were unaffected by water. Sounds carried across the water. Dimly, they heard the sound of choppers on their trail."

ref: Mutasa, Garikai (1996) The Bridge: Two Novellas, page 20.


Beware: according to the Urban Dictionary, "schwap" also means:

An adjective used to describe a something that is low end, not good, laughable, pathetic or embarrassing.

Also commonly used to describe low quality marijuana

  • 2
    Mrmeritoligy, please provide some actual uses of this word for the OP – michael_timofeev Jul 31 '15 at 5:19
  • @michael_timofeev Like many Onomatopoeia, this one is coined. But I did find one actual usage, added to answer above. – MrMeritology Jul 31 '15 at 5:30
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    Yeah but aren't the sound words ones we all agree upon? No one says a door meowed when it opened or that my cell phone fell into the toilet with a ruff sound. She's asking about metal blinds...not a solid roll up blind that goes thwap! When released suddenly. – michael_timofeev Jul 31 '15 at 6:18
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    @michael_timofeev You are incorrect to assume that these sorts of words are "...ones we all agree on". Do we all agree on the word for the sound of a crowing rooster? No. See: bootstrappin.com/2008/10/… In fact, it is these sorts of words where individual authors have the most freedom to coin their own words, because a phonetic interpretation is sufficient for comprehension. – MrMeritology Jul 31 '15 at 6:33
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    @michael_timofeev In Mandarin, (larger) dogs go 汪汪 wāng wāng (also sometimes pronounced wàng wàng). – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jul 31 '15 at 19:32
5

I think a sound imitation is the closest you can get, since English hasn't dedicated any words that I know of to the purpose you describe. I'd use "fwwwwwp" for the broomstraw blind and "frrrrrrrrr" for the plastic blind.
Sven Yargs

I agree with Sven Yargs here. Although if describing the sound is so important to the text/story, you could use a simile.

As she opened the [metal] blinds, it sounded like someone riffling a deck of cards

The verb riffle is unusual, but it has an onomatopoeic quality to it. When I listened to the audio clips posted by the OP they reminded me of a deck of cards, split in half, and shuffled by a croupier.

enter image description here

riffle

  1. Cards. to shuffle by dividing the deck in two, raising the corners slightly, and allowing them to fall alternately together.

Merriam-Webster
2. a : to leaf through hastily; specifically : to leaf (as a stack of paper) by sliding a thumb along the edge of the leaves
b : to shuffle (playing cards) by separating the deck into two parts and riffling with the thumbs so the cards intermix

3

'I want to say "I rolled up the blind with one movement" '

How about if we skip the auditory aspect, then:

I rolled up the blinds in one smooth motion

I rolled up the blinds in one swift motion

I will now try for the sound aspect:

I rolled up the blinds with one quick zipping sound

OR

I rolled up the blinds in one quick zip

Now, I have to say, I'm starting to have a bit of a problem with roll. I don't think the blinds we saw in your second link roll up. My 80-year-old German mother-in-law has a shade that rolls up. It has a spring. Very old-fashioned!

I would pull up the blinds, or open them.

--- Edit ---

Someone put swish in a comment and I like it a lot. So I propose

I opened the blinds with a swish.

  • Very good, +1, thanks ,@aparente001, actually I need to know this word (sound) because I should translate a Persian sentence into English, so I have to use that sound in my sentence. For "roll up the blind", I used it because I found it in many of my search results :), and I didn't know the point you mentioned. – Soudabeh Aug 2 '15 at 5:14
  • Here are some images of the window thing that rolls: google.com/… – aparente001 Aug 2 '15 at 14:09
3

I might use flutter.

: to flap the wings rapidly

: to move with quick wavering or flapping motions

: to vibrate in irregular spasms

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flutter

I imagine a flock of birds fluttering away when startled.

There's also a musical term Flutter-tonguing that adds to the concept

a wind instrument tonguing technique in which performers flutter their tongue to make a characteristic "FrrrrFrrrrr" sound.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flutter-tonguing

You can hear examples on the Wikipedia page . I think the end of the trombone example kind of matches.

3

clack--(verb intrans.) to make an abrupt, sharp striking sound or series of sounds. (Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary). Clacking (adj.) 'a clacking noise."

2

Whiffle is the word you are looking for. It is the sound of wind moving quickly through something or something moving quickly through air, like wind through the branches or a quickly swung stick making a "swishing" sound. This looks like what you want.

2

The closest word to the sibilant buzzing of blinds being retracted is whiz.

From WordNet 3.0:

whiz

n 2: a buzzing or hissing sound as or something traveling rapidly through the air; "he heard the whiz of bullets near his head"

2

Swoosh. A little louder than the aforementioned whoosh. My thinking: Curtains go whoosh; venetians go swoosh.

1

My American teacher once used shrak when the wind suddenly closed the window and blinds. I'm not confident with it, instead **Schwap is more preferred I guess.

  • +1 personally I like shrak better for that sharp clapped-shut sound. – W9WBH Aug 2 '15 at 6:18
  • @W9WBH you know why? I couldn't find any similar word in the dictionary and so thought he just made imitation. – Turkan Alisoy Aug 2 '15 at 6:22
  • @TurkanAlisoy - no I don't think it's a word either, but a more apt descriptor :) – W9WBH Aug 2 '15 at 6:52
  • @W9WBH Did you listen to the sound clips the OP provided? I listened to two, and also visited the Youtube link, and I didn't hear anything remotely sharp. (Altough I grant you, some blinds and some blinds raisers make a sharp sound.) – aparente001 Aug 2 '15 at 14:07
  • @aparente001 -My comment is to TurkanAlisoy for the teacher's use of "shrak" to describe the sound made when the wind snapped the blinds closed. I was not referring at all to the OP's question. – W9WBH Aug 2 '15 at 23:58
1

I have a couple lightweight vinyl blinds in my house, and when I raised them quickly, they all "said" the same thing. I can imitate the sound easy enough, but how to write it is a bit of a puzzle. If that is even what you are asking? If you start with a z-ish sound as in Zsa Zsa (Gabor) and draw it out a little, and into a v-ish that rises quickly (in tone) to an abrubt stop like a chopped-short t-end. So, zshhvvit or zzsshvvtt - it really does sound similar to a zipper! Zzzip.

  • On second look, they're actually a very thin metal. – W9WBH Aug 2 '15 at 6:33
  • Has anyone said whirr yet? – W9WBH Aug 2 '15 at 6:47
  • No,as far as I remember! – Soudabeh Aug 2 '15 at 6:53
  • Some are metal, some are plastic. I'm talking about modern mini-blinds. The old bigger ones were metal or wood. – aparente001 Aug 2 '15 at 14:14
  • @aparente001 -Not sure the why of your comment, but mine are the modern mini-blinds as well. – W9WBH Aug 3 '15 at 0:05
1

The rougher sort of interaction between the blinds and their frame I would call a rasping sound. If it's very rough, then rattling.

Swish is a reasonably clear onomatopoeic representation of the blinds moving through the air, or rubbing less roughly against the frame; zip is a reasonable representation of the cable rubbing against its eyelet or wheel.

1

I have used the word whoosh before to describe the sound. "Whoosh went the blinds as I raised them. Sunlight poured in and bathed me in a yellow glow. Little did I know that the neighborhood garage sale was taking place. There I was in full view, naked as a Jay bird. I yanked the cord hard to the right and with another whoosh my nudity was hidden. My embarrassment was only just beginning as the texts began pouring in."

Visit http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/whoosh whoosh [hwoosh, hwoo sh, woosh, woo sh]

Examples
Word Origin

noun 1. a loud, rushing noise, as of air or water: a great whoosh as the door opened. verb (used without object) 2. to move swiftly with a gushing or hissing noise: gusts of wind whooshing through the trees. verb (used with object) 3. to move (an object, a person, etc.) with a whooshing motion or sound: The storm whooshed the waves over the road.

1

Rip.
  She ripped open the blinds.
  The blinds opened with a rip.

1

Ruffle

The blinds made a pleasant ruffle when they were lowered.

A ruffle is a kind of vibrating drumbeat.

Trill

The wooden slats of the blinds emitted a trill as they fell into place.

A trill is usually associated with higher pitched notes, like bird song, but might be appropriate, depending on the sound.

Trill

  1. A fluttering or tremulous sound, as that made by certain birds; a warble.
  2. Music a. The rapid alternation of two tones either a whole or a half tone apart. b. A vibrato.

    Blockquote

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