I am trying to write a story about a paranormal tornado but don't know what to write to describe the sound of the tornado warning sirens.

I have tried stuff like waaaaaaaah, but it just doesn't feel right for the text

  • Wait, are you looking for actual words that happen to have onomatopoeic etymologies, or just for non-word phonetic representations of the sound, like "Eeeeooooeeeeooo"? Which I can't imagine would be on-topic here. (And I personally dislike when I'm reading aloud because they force me to become Tom Keith Commented Oct 14, 2021 at 14:57
  • 1
    Yeah I was not really looking for stuff like weeeeeeeoooooooooo or anything of that sort, but thanks!!! Commented Oct 14, 2021 at 15:00

1 Answer 1


Arguably, all of these qualify as onomatopoeia:

As we get more exotic:

  • I don't know that "keen" (the verb) qualifies as onomatopoeia, but it carries a nice connotation of trauma
  • It's perhaps a bit of a reach, but the sound of bagpipes is described as "skirling," which has onomatopoeic origins
  • Thank you for your answer I really needed that Commented Oct 14, 2021 at 14:55
  • Equating the sound of a tornado siren to that of bagpipes. Well done!
    – DjinTonic
    Commented Oct 15, 2021 at 13:20
  • @DjinTonic I mean, I might roll my eyes at an author using it, unless they go ahead and indulge an explicit extended metaphor ("Dorothy ran through the deserted streets, the tornado sirens skirling their monotonous air like a confused and forgetful Highland piper.") Okay, I'd still roll my eyes. Commented Oct 15, 2021 at 14:38

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