I'm writing a short story for my EAL Class and I was thinking of an onomatopoeia for coughing up blood. I tried all the words I knew but nothing felt quite right. Is there a proper English word that I can use to express this action?

  • 1
    -- Khoff! Khak!! -- there was blood! Not sure of a single word though! Aug 29, 2016 at 15:40
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    Coughing is already one ;)
    – Helmar
    Aug 29, 2016 at 15:48
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    I'm pretty sure the sound of coughing up blood is very close to identical to general coughing. So there could be no special onomatopoeia. Aug 29, 2016 at 16:50
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    @JohnLawler: /oya/? Not the pronunciation I've ever used :) I think /iya/'s much more common.
    – herisson
    Aug 29, 2016 at 19:30
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    @KristinaLopez "instantly coagulating"? Not a doctor, are we? (I'm just teasing.)
    – pyobum
    Sep 30, 2016 at 0:27

2 Answers 2


"Is there an onomatopoeia for coughing up blood?"

No. There is no word that would resemble or simulate the sound of coughing up blood specifically. It wouldn't make sense to have one anymore than it would to have a sizzling sound or hissing sound specifically for the frying of a skirt steak versus chicken.

But, is there a word that resembles, simulates, or is associated with any sound that would resemble 'coughing up blood', like coughing up syrup, baby formula, or hot wax? Maybe something that starts with 'gla', or 'ghluh', but they kind of sound weird to me. Go with your gut on that one I guess.


Hemoptysis is the medical term for coughing up blood. It is a noun though, so maybe no use to you if you're interested in a verb.

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