Here is my passage for example:

“Now I can hear him through the walls hucking and sniffing, expectorating and blowing all kinds of things in a grotesque, unconscious, unhealthy sounding manner.”

Like the sounds a sick, mucusy person makes when trying to clear their throat.

Expectorate was the best I could find but I feel like there are some more, almost comically obscure words for this. Perhaps even some good onomatopoeias?

I think of words that might sound like gesticulate, conflagration, or 4-5 syllable equivalent to gurgle, gargle, huck or hawk.

Inventing a word like “gurgulate” would be fun here too, but I'm seeing what's out there first!

closed as too broad by Jason Bassford, jimm101, TaliesinMerlin, choster, Mark Beadles Feb 27 at 11:44

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • Merely a note of interest: A German friend and I heard her daughter sniffling one day, and asked the child whether she felt unwell. Her answer was "Ne, I'm only bischen snifflische." Growing up in two languages created a word, and sentence construction that was adorable, though technically improper. Snifflische was pronounced "sniff-lish-eh." Perhaps the words you seek can be built in similar ways. – Ann Tipton Clemment Feb 23 at 20:10
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    This site isn't meant for getting a list of words. You need to define specific criteria that would result in a single word that is best suited to what you're looking for. – Jason Bassford Feb 24 at 7:54

One word you might use is "tussiculation". It's the medical word for a hacking cough. The hacking aspect is built into the definition. You could use it alone or in concatenation with any number of adjectives like chunky, wet, productive, congested, expulsive, phlegmy, and/or glutinous. Only with reference to the latter part of your question, there is plenty of fertile ground for "invented words" among these as well.

He tried to speak, but all that came out was another series of chunky, glutinous tussiculation(s).





  • oooo- tussiculation is a great find! thanks so much! I've been playing with inventing too. I added -ing to my "gurgulate" mentioned above. That gave me the satisfying extra 4th syllable I was looking for. Gurgulating. -- do you know if there is a medical word or term for clearing your throat of mucus that's not an involuntary cough or hacking, but more the manual/intentional deep hmmmmpph hmmmphh, kind of grunt/gurgle/gargle... like the sound you make when you're about to "hock a loogie"? Though I think that might be expectorate which I already used... 🤔 – Adam Dexter Feb 24 at 20:52

Gollum in The Lord of the Rings was named for the sound he repeatedly made in his throat.

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