Bark is the abrupt, harsh, explosive cry of a dog.

Clatter is the sound made by two or more hard objects hitting each other.

Splash is the sound of something falling into a liquid, normally water.

What is the name of the sound made by a knife? And more in particular, is there a different name for the sound of a knife slashing through the air and the sound made by a knife hitting flesh?

Additional example:

Blindfolded, I could only hear noises: the distant barking of a dog, the shouting of a terrified man, the [word] of a knife being waved into the air.

  • 3
    Eager to know myself. Waiting for an answer – Magesh Kumaar Aug 9 '16 at 6:51
  • Snikt is established in a very similar context. I'm thinking of the hitting flesh part of the question. – Phil Sweet Aug 9 '16 at 22:32
  • I know these are words, but... Aren't they just onomatopoeias that caught on? Of that is indeed the case, you can use whatever onomatopoeia you want. – user2962533 Aug 10 '16 at 17:18
  • 1
    the whooshing of a knife being waved into the air – Oliver Mason Jun 5 '18 at 12:22
  • Sorry, Edgar; a knife can't be "waved into the air" even though it could be waved "in" or "through" the air. If you really doubt the sound of anything slashing through the air or hitting flesh are different, why not ignore that unreal difference and use the same term for both? In any case, what did your dictionaries, thesauruses or even search engines not say? Could you try reading several books whose authors have already overcome this "problem"? – Robbie Goodwin Jun 5 '18 at 21:35

There can't be a single word to describe so many different noises, or if there was such a word it wouldn't be very useful.

I suggest the swish of a knife through the air. Hitting a metal object (parried by another blade, or hitting armour or a shield) would be better served by clang. If a knife struck a living body, the dominant noise would be the cry of pain; chopping at a dead body would be more of a thud or thwack (correct me if I'm wrong, I haven't tried this personally but it's just meat).

Also I wouldn't say "waved into the air"; "waved through the air" or just about "in the air" would be better. "Into" would go more with "thrown" but then you wouldn't want to be there when it landed.


As you said slash might be used when the knife swings through air. Two knives scratch against each other. So scratch can be used in the latter scenario.


If you want a knife sound based on slicing a throat, you could use:

  1. 'Slice!'

  2. 'Slit!'

  3. 'Crrrr!' (If your writing is informal, only)

  4. 'Tss!'

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