The only one I can think of is "huff," but this isn't very good. I'm trying to find onomatopoeia for the way a person breathes just after they've been running hard.

  • 1
    "Huffing" also has a secondary meaning, which in some areas is more commonly-used than the original: it refers to the practice of putting spray paint/model glue/solvents/whatever into a paper bag, placing the bag over the nose and mouth, and breathing the fumes to get high. If you're writing for an American English audience with average exposure to news and popular culture, this might be a word to avoid.
    – MT_Head
    Oct 29, 2011 at 21:13
  • 2
    Puffing also has a drug usage connotation attached to it as well. :) Oct 29, 2011 at 22:17

1 Answer 1


Here are a few:

  • Wheeze
  • Huff
  • Puff
  • Pant
  • Gasp
  • 4
    Huffing and puffing, I would say. Somehow the two together capture the image better. Oct 29, 2011 at 20:20
  • 8
    "Huffing and puffing" do go together... but the first thing that comes to mind for me (and I suspect I'm not alone) is the Big Bad Wolf addressing each of the Three Pigs: "I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll blow your house down!" I think I would go with "panting" or "gasping" if the intended meaning is "exertional dyspnea". If the person who's breathing hard also has some sort of airway obstruction, I'd use "wheezing."
    – MT_Head
    Oct 29, 2011 at 21:07
  • @MT_Head ... and the second thing that comes to my mind is this :) Dec 3, 2012 at 17:27

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