Which word can I use to describe the sound somebody makes while vomiting? Is burp the right word for it?

  • 9
    retch would be a more accurate word than burp (although neither of those describes the sound, so I'm just leaving this as a comment).
    – J.R.
    Commented Oct 31, 2012 at 15:32
  • If you're looking for an existing word for the sound, then the sky's the limit unless you're specific. What aspect of the sound are you describing: the noise produced physically in the throat and mouth (e.g. gurgle), the figurative quality of the noise (e.g. horrible), or something else entirely? Can you please add some additional context on how you plan to use this word in a sentence?
    – Zairja
    Commented Oct 31, 2012 at 15:45
  • @J.R. I didn't see your comment until after I submitted my answer, but I agree with retch. I've added some possible contexts for the use of retch in reference to the sound instead of the action. What makes retch appropriate here is that it defines the activity of vomiting, not just the end result.
    – Zoot
    Commented Oct 31, 2012 at 15:59
  • whatever the right word is, 'burp' is -not- one of them. A burp and 'burp' as a sound to describe that are only associated with air coming out. If anything else comes out, it is not a burp at all.
    – Mitch
    Commented Oct 31, 2012 at 16:29
  • 1
    Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh Buick
    – user53432
    Commented Oct 4, 2013 at 18:57

8 Answers 8


I would say that the sound made by vomiting is retching. I've also seen retching noises or the sound of retching used in print to specify the sound instead of the action.

Merriam-Webster Online gives this definition:

transitive verb
: vomit 1
intransitive verb
: to make an effort to vomit; also : vomit

For example:

I was having a great time until I heard the sound of retching and saw that my neighbor had just vomited on my new rug. I'm sending him the cleaning bill.

Ngram: Google Ngram chart showing frequency of 'retching noises' and 'sound of retching', both of which begin to increase in the early 20th-century

  • 2
    I would say that "retching" is the verb that describes the sound you make just before you vomit, whereas "blargh" is the actual sound itself... >:-)
    – Fabby
    Commented Jun 10, 2016 at 21:07

Blech or blarg(h), with extra Hs for extra effect.

Some Google Image Search results for blargh:




  • Great word & images - +1
    – JAM
    Commented Oct 31, 2012 at 15:33
  • 2
    Shoop da whoop isn’t really vomiting.
    – Jon Purdy
    Commented Oct 31, 2012 at 18:50
  • But how is it pronounced?
    – Pitarou
    Commented Dec 3, 2013 at 4:50

Here are some 147 terms for ‘to vomit’. Interestingly, it says 57 of these, i.e. approximately 38%, come from or are primarily used in Australia.

Here are dozens more, but focussing on the sound itself, I think the most onomatopoeic one is...

call for huey

Another high-scorer on the "onomatopoeic scale" is hurling [over the toilet bowl].

  • 2
    Voting this one up, because I think it is wrong to imply that there is one word in English for this. A person is supposed to just pick a nice evocative one appropriate to the situation from our huge menu of them. I guess this probably says something profound about our culture....
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Oct 31, 2012 at 18:56
  • 2
    @T.E.D.: I almost voted to close because I knew I'd easily be able to find dozens of terms meaning "to vomit", making it a non-constructive "list" type of question. But on reflection I have to admit I don't know any "word" with any currency that actually means the sound of vomiting. I'm not sure there's any equivalent to, say, the screech of nails on a blackboard, the moo of a cow, or the hiss of air escaping. All I know is "retch" doesn't seem very onomatopoeic to me. Commented Oct 31, 2012 at 19:14
  • 1
    It does to me. Perhaps we in the USA do it with a different accent? :-)
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Nov 2, 2012 at 19:34
  • I guess they are either more experienced in Australia; or more creative; or perhaps both. Commented Dec 3, 2013 at 1:07
  • "Calling Ralph on the big white telephone..."
    – Conrado
    Commented Nov 7, 2023 at 21:06

GACK maybe? And yea, it's totally got to be in all caps. INTERJECTIONS RULE!


I don't know if boke counts as English (it's Scots) -- but it's a great word. Burp is not the right word at all -- it's a completely different function of the body.

Puke, barf and ralph are used in certain regions. They all mean "vomit" (the verb, not the sound) but are so onomatopoeic that to my mind they apply to the sound as well.

  • 2
    I also consider hurl onomatopoeic. Perhaps spew might count, as well. Depending on the context, you could even mint your own word (e.g. I might write gluphc in a comic book setting).
    – Zairja
    Commented Oct 31, 2012 at 15:09
  • The questioner doesn't ask for onomatopoeic words. boke is a word for vomiting, not for the sound it makes. It replicates the sound it makes, but that is not quite the same thing. Of course, the OP may not have been clear...
    – itsbruce
    Commented Oct 31, 2012 at 15:20

You may use kecking.

The etymology of this verb is as follows:

"to make a sound as if to vomit," 1530s, echoic.


Sploosh: the sound as it hits the ground and just trickles everywhere.


Also bleagh. You know the sound you hear before your carpet is ruined.

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