I tried searching, but couldn't find anything. What's that sound called, the one you make when you purse your lips and make that kissing kind of sound? I guess people make the sound in different contexts, but for example:

Person 1 does all sorts of complicated things to accomplish a task, Person 2 does it easily. Upon seeing Person 2's method, Person 1 may make this sound.

If there are any Kannadigas, in Kannada it's called lochhguttodu.

  • 1
    I am from a neighbouring state (TN) and still I have no clue what that is. Perhaps you should provide an mp3 clipping making the sound yourself.
    – Bravo
    Commented Jul 15, 2012 at 16:13
  • Seems like "lip trill" would be the most appropriate term the way you presented it.
    – Eric
    Commented Mar 31, 2017 at 16:32
  • @asymptotically. Rather than leave it to guessing maybe better to upload a short Vimeo or such video.
    – Narasimham
    Commented Jun 12, 2017 at 5:20

7 Answers 7


Are you thinking of tsking? I realize that the action isn't the same, but I'm not sure there is a separate word for the specific mouth noise you're describing.

interjection, noun
(a sound) used to express disapproval, genuine or mock sympathy, etc.: a click, or sucking sound, made by touching the tongue to the hard palate and rapidly withdrawing it

Perhaps raspberries, as in to blow raspberries:

2 [short for raspberry tart, rhyming slang for fart] : a sound of contempt made by protruding the tongue between the lips and expelling air forcibly to produce a vibration; broadly : an expression of disapproval or contempt

  • Yes, I think 'rasberries' is what they're after. Or in the cited example: a raspberry
    – Lynn
    Commented Jul 15, 2012 at 17:09
  • Okay, tsking is the closest. Not exactly, but if you make a with pursed lips, it's the closest to what I want. Thanks! @Lynn No, raspberry isn't what I was looking for. Raspberries are rather teasing sounds, what I'm looking for is more of exasperation. Commented Jul 15, 2012 at 18:16
  • @asymptotically - It's not limited to teasing sounds, but at any rate I'm glad you found what you're looking for :)
    – Lynn
    Commented Jul 16, 2012 at 15:25

It's known as a bilabial click but that term mightn't be widely understood in the general population, and in linguistics, is a phoneme in certain languages. Note this relevant information from the Wikipedia page:

The labial clicks are sometimes erroneously described as sounding like a kiss. However, they do not have the pursed lips of a kiss. Instead, the lips are compressed, more like a [p] than a [w], and they sound more like a noisy smack of the lips than a kiss. The exception is the rounded bilabial click of Hadza, which is mimetic of a kiss.


English does not have a labial click (or any click consonant, for that matter) as a phoneme, but a plain bilabial click does occur in mimesis, as a lip-smacking sound children use to imitate a fish.


I wonder if you mean the noise that is written as 'pfffffft'? it seems to have become popular as a dismissive exclamation in recent years. It is akin to a raspberry, but not as 'wet' since unlike the raspberry, the tongue is not involved in its production. The closest I can think of as far as a name goes is the inelegant lip-fart.


  • No, it's not pffffft or lip-fart. It's not a rude sound as such. I'll ask around, and if I find a word better than tsk, I'll write about it. Commented Jul 16, 2012 at 7:46

Is this the gesture? If so, it's not a raspberry,"Bronx cheer", but a distantly related, dainty version - a Hoboken kiss, a kiss-off kiss?: City Fathers - Hoboken, New Jersey, from The Americans by Robert Frank, 1958/1959


What's that sound called, the one you make when you purse your lips and make that kissing kind of sound?

It is called a smack.

Smack > a loud kiss

Example: He was left with a bright red lipstick mark after Aunt Mae gave him a big smack on the cheek.

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/smack https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/smack


It's called kissing your teeth, sucking your teeth, le tchipage / le tchip, and tjoerie in different Caribbean islands.


From OP's supplied context, it seems clear to me the "non-verbal" sound being produced is a tut interjection: (used as an exclamation of contempt, disdain, impatience, etc.). There's an audio link on that dictionary.com page giving both "verbal" and "non-verbal" forms.

There are variations in the precise sound produced, and mechanics of production, but collectively they're all transcribed as "tut" far more often than "tsk".

enter image description here

  • 1
    Tsk, tsk... ;^) A lot of those tut hits are referring to King Tut, so there's no way to tell for sure if tut is used "far more often" than tsk in this context (at least, not by using that Ngram; this one might be more useful).
    – J.R.
    Commented Jul 16, 2012 at 10:16
  • @J.R.: How many is "a lot"? You get the same substantial bias in favour of "tut" with tsking,tutting or tsked,tutted. I think your NGram is the misleading one - it suggests "tsk" has recently become the more common of the two, which simply isn't true. Commented Jul 16, 2012 at 12:40
  • How many? LOL ~ do you want me to count them for you?? When I sifted through a portion of the results, though, I noticed there were 8 references to the boy king, one to some electical device, and 1 in the context you said. The next page didn't have as many refs to Tut-ankh-amun, but had plenty of other "tut" refs that weren't synonyms for "tsk," either. Your "tsking,tutting" is much better; it still favors "tut", but by nowhere near the margin as the Ngram you originally posted.
    – J.R.
    Commented Jul 16, 2012 at 15:12
  • As for which is the more common of the two, that may depend on which side of the ocean you're on. Go back to my Ngram, and change the corpus to American English. You'll see that tsk,tsk is favored by an even more pronounced margin. Change it to British English, though, and tsk,tsk will flatline (which I'm guessing is why you may have been so adamant that my graph was "misleading"). I believe that "tsk" may be nowhere near as foreign-sounding over here as it may be for you over there.
    – J.R.
    Commented Jul 16, 2012 at 15:19
  • @J.R.: I'm obviously not denying that tsk does in fact occur (it doesn't sound "foreign" to me). All I'm saying is it's less common that tut. I think that's still true of recent American usage as well as British, so it seems silly to me that all my answer gets is a single downvote. You can only get tsk on top with recent US usage of the doubled-up form. Even with just the US corpus, tutted and tutting consistently outrank tsked and tsking. Commented Jul 16, 2012 at 16:52

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