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 Commented Aug 9, 2016 at 6:51
  • 1
    Snikt is established in a very similar context. I'm thinking of the hitting flesh part of the question.
    – Phil Sweet
    Commented Aug 9, 2016 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. Commented Aug 10, 2016 at 17:18
  • 1
    the whooshing of a knife being waved into the air Commented Jun 5, 2018 at 12:22
  • 1
    knives through the air do not make an audible sound.....and knives don't "hit" flesh unless thrown.
    – Lambie
    Commented Mar 4, 2021 at 17:52

5 Answers 5


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.




A. adv. or int.

Expressive of the sound made by the kind of movement defined in B. 1; with a swish. Also reduplicated swish, swish.

a1911 in ‘G. A. Birmingham’ Lighter Side Irish Life (1912) iv. 72 So the executioner swung his sword and swish went poor John's [the Baptist's] head.

B. n.1

1. a. A hissing sound like that produced by a switch or similar slender object moved rapidly through the air or an object moving swiftly in contact with water; movement accompanied by such sound.

1896 ‘I. Maclaren’ Kate Carnegie 289 In my study I hear the swish of the scythe.

And from Google Books:

Delphi Complete Works of A. E. W. Mason 2019 We heard the swish of the knife, the struggle of George Crottle to arrest him, the slamming of the door, and the key turned in the lock.

Divided Loyalties Nilofar Shidmehr • 2019 Then, when the time comes — when the new haji approaches him, and his companions cheer in the name of Our Prophet Mohammad — the butcher cuts the sheep's head off with one quick swish of the knife.


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.


Tssik. If the knife is being thrown into a metal object. Not through. if you're throwing the knife through a metal object it would be more of a Ssoo-ik.

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    – Community Bot
    Commented May 19, 2022 at 18:20

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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