English language has different verbs for different species of animals making sound, many are onomatopoeias. But is there a general verb that can be applied to an unnamed animal? e.g., can I say "I heard an animal cry" (replace cry with the appropriate verb) when I can't tell what animal is making this sound?

  • I heard an animal noise.
    – Jim
    Feb 7, 2018 at 4:10
  • @Jim yes, but sometimes one might want a verb to emphasize the action. Feb 7, 2018 at 4:15
  • Well then choose a verb that describes the sound...
    – Jim
    Feb 7, 2018 at 4:17
  • @Jim well, there's a long list of possible verbs to remember Feb 7, 2018 at 7:40
  • I heard an animal make a sound/noise...
    – Jim
    Feb 7, 2018 at 16:19

1 Answer 1


'Cry' is a generic term - the most generic term - that you can generally use for any animal or bird, but because the sound is indeed onomatopoeic, there are are general words for different categories of types of sound - for example:

  • bellow - is low and deep
  • roar - is a loud deep sound, like a lion
  • call - is a higher pitched maybe repetitive conversational sound, eg birds

And so on, a useful list is published here:


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