I attempted to search for an onomatopoeic word for a chair rolling the floor- such as an office chair across a tiled surface- but to no avail. All that comes is "scraping" and similar for legged chairs. While words such as swivel and slide can be used to describe the action, I cannot find a sound effect word.

Addendum: In to resolve the dispute in the comments, and help clarify, here is a demonstration without words (unlisted). Just pretend a person is in it.


3 Answers 3


The word clatter would work well for this:

to make continuous loud noises by hitting hard objects against each other

used here in reference to casters:

Poorly chosen casters can clatter across many kinds of floor surfaces, [...]


Rumble: OED:

1.a. A low continuous murmuring, grumbling, or growling sound.

(a) Such a sound produced by thunder, heavy vehicles, etc.

Origin: Either (i) a borrowing from Dutch. Or (ii) a borrowing from Middle Low German. Or (iii) an imitative or expressive formation. Etymons: Dutch rommelen; Middle Low German rummelen.


For your particular case I suggest 'whir':

verb: to move or transport (a thing, person, etc.) with a whirring sound
noun: an act or sound of whirring

  • This is funny and whirr is what I suggested several years ago for helicopters. Anyway, this sound is for machines and the like.
    – Lambie
    Mar 25 at 14:30
  • @Lambie I thought that might come up :) I realize it is usually used for machines and the like, but since it is onomatopoeic in nature, it can apply to anything making a whirring sound.
    – Joachim
    Mar 25 at 18:32
  • A whirring sound in English involves blades turning. Wheels over the some type of base or ground simply do not whir.
    – Lambie
    Mar 25 at 18:34

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