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 violent a choice.

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    I've always heard it described as a "zip". But that's generally when operated quickly. – Hot Licks Nov 18 '15 at 7:27
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    @Rathony How does the question of how to describe something in English not have anything to do with the English language? Yes, describing sounds may be subjective, but that's why I'm interested in this in the first place. – User1291 Nov 18 '15 at 8:30
  • @Rathony onomatopoiea is entirely on-topic – Mitch Nov 18 '15 at 14:06

A zip:

  • A brief sharp hissing sound.


The sound produced by a slow movement may be just a matter of personal interpretation. Probably a grinding sound:

  • A crunching or grinding noise.
  • Please read my question again. I'm not looking for "a brief sharp hissing sound". – User1291 Nov 18 '15 at 7:30
  • As it's a lower-frequency and longer-lasting sound than a fast zipping, maybe something like "zzzzzzup"? – David Garner Nov 18 '15 at 11:31

I will go with ri[iii...]ri[iii...]

If saying RIRI out loud approximates a zipper-like sound, then yes, it's onomatopoeic. However, I do not hear RIRI in American zippers. Our little plastic-coiled ones for ladies-wear and the big brass ones for 501 Levis and the three-yard long monster-toothed zipper on my camping text all have looong zzzzipzs that the short syllables of RIRI does not seem to represent.

If you are doing a radio ad or TV promo, you don't have to write the RIRI brand. Just record the zipper (going at various speeds) and have a good novelty voice-over say RIIIIIIIIIRIIIIIIIIII, sustaining for the length of the zip, sort of like the insurance co. that has trained us to hear a duck say quack quack but with a distinct "AFLAC" coming through -- the name of the firm. Quora


the word itself is onomatopoeic the noise closing a zipper makes is a zip sound.

Zziiipppp but perhaps only when closed quickly. you could also argue that it is like a growl or i prefer a purr when a zipper is closed slowly.

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