Is there a term for the sound word associated with a certain type of animal, that is considered the most frequent or usual representation?
e.g. Cat - meow; Duck - quack; Owl - whoo; Frog - ribbit; etc.

Generally, I guess these are all animal onomatopoeias. But wondering if there might be something more exact.

  • animal onomatopoeia seems to me to be perfectly exact. Is there a reason you think it's not?
    – DyingIsFun
    Commented Jan 20, 2016 at 4:24

2 Answers 2


The word you want is cry.

From Wiktionary,

Cry (plural cries)
6. (transitive, intransitive, of an animal) A typical sound made by the species in question.
"Woof" is the cry of a dog, while "neigh" is the cry of a horse.

More support from Merriam-Webster, Dictionary.com and Oxford Dictionaries.


It seems that the term is simply animal sounds. The study of animal sounds and their effects on living organisms is called bioacoustics.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.