4

Think of the ropes of boats moored to a dock, but having to listen carefully (not loud and obvious) like 'creaking' or 'squeaking'.

It would have to denote friction without screeching - more like 'scratching' but muted.

'Rustle' implies some crackling absent in the tiny snapping sounds of fibers running past each other.

'Rasping' sounds human and clinical.

There are some far fetched options, such as 'susurring', which don't really work.

Example sentence: 'He doesn't feel like he is finally home for the night until he listens to the [click here for audio recording] sound of his shoelace knots coming undone while sitting at the edge of the living room sofa.'

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    I've done a modest amount of sailing and have never heard such a term. The sound is so common that it's ignored. – Hot Licks Dec 22 '18 at 2:52
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    Though I'll note that the ropes are often described as "slapping" or "clanging against" the mast, when taut in a strong breeze. – Hot Licks Dec 22 '18 at 3:29
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    @Chappo Hopefully the edit meets the criteria. – Toni Dec 22 '18 at 11:13
  • Yes, that does the trick. Happy to upvote the question now, as it's a good one :-) – Chappo Dec 22 '18 at 11:22
3

Even though an actual zipper isn't involved, the sound of sharp humming associated with movement can be onomatopoeically described by zipping:

"He doesn't feel like he is finally home for the night until he listens to the zip, zip of pulling his shoelace knots undone while sitting at the edge of the living room sofa."

Since zippers are sometimes found in footwear, however, to avoid confusion, you might want to go full onomatopoeic:

"He doesn't feel like he is finally home for the night until he listens to the sszp, sszp of pulling his shoelace knots undone while sitting at the edge of the living room sofa."

I pulled this spelling out of the air; customize as desired.

(Note that the sound that ropes make under load is often described as "squeaking", but your example sentence precludes this use, as the shoelaces are no longer tight.)

  • There should be a specific word for fabric rubbing together, although your synthetic sszp is certainly musical. – Toni Dec 22 '18 at 19:39
1

Fabric whispers. It frequently rustles (particularly skirts)--a description that doesn't necessarily imply the crackling aspect that it entails for leaves/paper.

Shoelaces would probably also whisper. I might describe the sound in the clip as a hiss, but I think that comes off a little too sinister as a description for the example of "feeling at home."

  • Hissing doesn't strike me as sinister. Your post is very nice. Thank you. – Toni Dec 23 '18 at 21:25

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