When the water is hot enough, what is the sound made by the kettle?

Is Choo-choo correct ?

  • 6
    Choo-choo is the sound made by a children's steam train and/or its whistle. Not sure about teapots, I don't recall mine making any noise whatsoever as it just sits there... do you mean a kettle of some kind? – Prof Yaffle May 11 '16 at 14:41
  • @ProfYaffle You're right! I was thinking of a kettle. Question corrected. Sorry for the mistake. – Supersharp May 11 '16 at 14:43


  • sound from a tea kettle.

From (Onomatopoeia Book)


Stove-top kettles generally whistle to indicate the water has boiled—indeed, they're often called "whistling kettles", to distinguish them from electric jug kettles.

Electric kettles don't usually make a recognisable noise when the water has boiled, they just switch themselves off.

  • 2
    whistle is an onomatopoeia? – Supersharp May 11 '16 at 14:50
  • 1
    I guess not, technically. Though depending on the exact whistling noise, it's not far off. – calum_b May 11 '16 at 14:52
  • 1
    "Whistle" is onomatopoeia. Source: etymonline.com – MetaEd May 11 '16 at 15:34
  • it's from Swedish "vissla". It does not sound at all onomatopaic to me. – Fattie May 11 '16 at 19:23
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    It doesn't seem like a very good onomatopoeia, but there are lots of examples of onomatopoeia that don't really sound that much like the thing in question. – Era May 12 '16 at 19:16

You'd probably have to describe the water or steam versus the boiling kettle itself - the whoosh and the bubble, the grumbling of the water, the glugging, splashing stream as you pour it into the cup. Or somesuch.

  • I was thinking about the whistling... one word at a time! Thank you for your help anyway. – Supersharp May 11 '16 at 15:03

Another possibility would be scream, screech, or shriek. Ngram suggests that describing a kettle as screaming or shrieking is not unusual, though less common than whistling, while screeching is rare.

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