Questions tagged [onomatopoeia]

A word that phonetically imitates or suggests the source of the sound that it describes. Common occurrences of onomatopoeias include animal noises such as "oink", "meow", "roar" or "chirp", or human sounds like "yawn", "gulp" or "mwah".

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60
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5answers
146k views

How did the letter Z come to be associated with sleeping/snoring?

In cartoons and comics it's not uncommon to see a series of Z's to indicate that a person is in deep slumber, such as in the following political cartoon. How and when did the letter Z come to be ...
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8answers
7k views

English counterpart to Japanese signal word, “Dokkoisho”

What is an English counterpart to the Japanese signal word, “Dokkoisho” uttered unconsciously in such case as sitting down on the bench? When you get old, it becomes tough to move your body. We ...
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7answers
2k views

Name for music that imitates speech

I have searched and asked others for the answer to this but have come up dry: what is the name or technique in music where musical notes approximate/imitate speech? Note that I am not talking about ...
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2answers
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Is “corrosion” an instance of onomatopoeia?

I mean, obviously "corrosion" isn't actually onomatopoeic, because corrosion doesn't make a sound (or at least not one that humans can hear). Yet it seems to me that the word corrosion sounds like its ...
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4answers
28k views

What would be the onomatopoeia for “spit”?

Just wanted to know how to write in a chat room the sound for "spit". As in "meow" for the sound that a cat makes, what would you write for the sound of the verb "spit"? (Google wasn't very helpful, ...
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8answers
68k views

Word for the sound made while vomiting

Which word can I use to describe the sound somebody makes while vomiting? Is burp the right word for it?
13
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1answer
58k views

What is an onomatopoeia for heavy breathing?

The only one I can think of is "huff," but this isn't very good. I'm trying to find onomatopoeia for the way a person breathes just after they've been running hard.
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3answers
1k views

Do onomatopoeic words lose their onomatopoeic character?

Wikipedia mentions that: Some languages flexibly integrate onomatopoeic words into their structure. This may evolve into a new word, up to the point that it is no longer recognized as onomatopoeia. ...
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2answers
4k views

Fail trumpet onomatopoeia

There are several sound clips that are widely understood to mean "(epic) fail". I think the most famous one is the one with the oboe or trumpet... 4 notes with declining pitch, the last one being ...
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5answers
6k views

What part of speech are non-human “interjections” like “oink” and “bang”?

As a spin-off from this comment: If a human exclaims something like "ouch!", I believe it's considered an interjection. But if a pig exclaims "oink!", what is the part of speech? And if a bell goes ...
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4answers
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What do “Yeep” and “Go yeep” mean?

Today’s New York Times carries the article titled “Veeps go yeep! Nation nods,” which is followed by the following statement: “Obama versus Romney on Tuesday! That will be far more important than ...
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2answers
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What is the expression for coughing at the beginning of an utterance officially called?

I was wondering what is the name for the introductory "coughing" in English, i.e. when somebody clears their throat to start their utterance. For example: "Ekhm... Welcome! How can I help you?" ...
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Coughing captured in writing

My native language is German and although many people find German to sound like a coughing fit, the language totally lacks an onomatopoeia for coughing (real coughing). Nor can I think of one in ...
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16answers
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What sound do blinds make in English?

When you raise or lower a window blind with a one quick movement, it produces a sound, what do you call that sound in English? I rolled up/raised/opened/ pulled up the window blind quickly with a/...
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6answers
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To what extent do English words sound like what they describe?

Is it true that the way languages develop causes the tonal qualities of the words to have a tendency to match the nature of the thing the word stands for? I am not talking just about obviously ...
8
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2answers
108 views

Does “ook” as onomatopoeia for the sound a monkey makes originate with Terry Pratchett?

I just recently ran into someone making the claim that the use of "ook" to represent the sound a monkey makes is a reference to the librarian from the Unseen University of Terry Pratchett's Discworld ...
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1answer
248 views

When did animal sounds get codified?

Every kindergartner knows that a sheep says baa, a cow says moo, a cat says meow and a goat says maa. But this is just in English. In other languages, they say other things. When did animal sounds ...
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4answers
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What is the proper convention for writing onomatopoeia?

Say I'm attempting to write a sound, as in 'poof', 'thud', or 'clank'. What's the correct convention to write something like this? Is there one, or is it a grey area as long as it's clear to the ...
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1answer
4k views

Onomatopoeia for foxes

"What does the fox say?" Onomatopoeia, and Alien Languages claims there's no onomatopoeia for foxes: But you don't find fox onomatopoeia in this context. Foxes tend to do one of two things: ...
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3answers
10k views

Name for a word whose sound is contrary to its meaning

As onomatopoeia means words that sound like what they mean, is there a word which means words that sound contrary to what they mean? Pulchritude is an example of such a word.
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2answers
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Onomatopoeia Across Languages

Every language has its stock of onomatopoeic expressions, but they vary across nationalities and cultures. For example, the American “bow wow” (a rapper’s name) has its Japanese equivalent in “wan-...
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What verb would you use to describe the sound tires make when they roll on the asphalt?

In a previous question, I mentioned an English teacher who changed the following sentence “…the rustling of tires." to “…the rustle of tires.” It seems; however, that rustle has been assessed and ...
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1answer
69k views

Writing out heartbeat sound [closed]

Is it correct to write out the sound of a heart beat as lub dub or are there other variations that are also acceptable?
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4answers
23k views

Onomatopoeia for throat clearing

Clearing one's throat is a nice way to signal that special attention is needed. For example, two colleagues are making fun of their boss as she walks right by. She listens for a second and then ... ...
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3answers
6k views

What is the origin of “woof!”?

We know that woof is the sound a dog makes when barking. It is used both as a noun and a verb. The word is onomatopoeic but it is also used as an interjection. People woof too when they are attracted ...
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3answers
409 views

Word for Self-Exemplifying Phrase

Depeche Mode's song, "I Promise You I Will," contains the following lines: I'm sorry, but I'm just thinking of the right words to say (I promise you) I know they don't sound the way I ...
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5answers
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Onomatopoeia for disgust [duplicate]

Are there any English onomatopoeias for disgust / loathe? What exclamations are commonly used to express repulsion? Something that could be used like: (___) dog shit. I loathe it! (some sound here)...
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2answers
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Etymology of lisp

A lisp is a "a speech defect in which s is pronounced like th in thick and z is pronounced like th in this". Its etymology reads: Old English wlispian (recorded in āwlyspian), from wlisp (adjective)...
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What is the word most commonly used for the the sound of glass breaking? (Onomatopoeia) [closed]

Please provide me with the word most commonly used for the the sound of glass breaking. (Onomatopoeia)
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3answers
633 views

Onomatopoeia in “O madness of discourse”

While writing a commentary for Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida, my classmate and I got into a small quarrel over the classification of an onomatopoeia. We were wondering, for the line “O madness ...
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4answers
154k views

What are the words to express sobbing and crying sound?

Google doesn't help much. What are the sounds (written in words) that people usually use to express their crying/sobbing emotions such as in chat, social network? For example if I say, "I am sad [...
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2answers
9k views

Is “kekeke” considered an English word?

"kekeke" is somewhat of an alternative to "hehehe" or "huehuehue". From Urban Dictionary: This is an onomatopoeia for laughter. Its origin is the Korean onomatopoeia ㅋㅋㅋ, in which ㅋ stands for the "...
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6answers
7k views

How to describe this metallic sound?

Link to the sound in question Another example of the sound I'm trying to write a sword fight scene where a swordsman is able to predict his opponent's next swing. And every time he does, he hears ...
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2answers
44k views

Onomatopoeia for sirens (police, ambulance, fire engines)

I came across these two sentences in Peopleware The Furniture Police at one company we know even listed a number for spilled coffee on the Emergency Numbers decal affixed to every phone. We were ...
3
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1answer
76 views

Onomatopoeic words with repeated first syllable

I've come across a small number of onomatopoeic words whose first syllables repeat: borborygmus tintinnabulation ululation I was wondering is there is a word describing such words and if any of ...
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1answer
2k views

onomatopoeia for taking a deep breath before speaking

I'm writing a comic, and a character is about to ask another character for help, but it's taken her a lot of effort to be able to ask for help. So, before she finally asks she takes a deep breath and ...
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4answers
9k views

Onomatopoeia for a kettle [closed]

When the water is hot enough, what is the sound made by the kettle? Is Choo-choo correct ?
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4answers
587 views

Is “mellifluous” onomatopoeic?

mel·lif·lu·ous /məˈliflo͞oəs/ Adjective: (of a voice or words) Sweet or musical; pleasant to hear. As in the title: is "mellifluous" onomatopoeic or is the definition of onomatopoeia stricter ...
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1answer
1k views

I need a definition of, usage and correct spelling of caplui

I may be spelling this wrong or this may be a poor version of the word but I am looking for the spelling and meaning of the word caploui I am trying to use it in a sentence like ' and all of a sudden,...
2
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3answers
748 views

Verb or phrase for “to make an onomatopoeia”

In the event that a common, recognized, and understood onomatopoeia for a sound does not already exist, how would you phrase the creation of an onomatopoeia for the sound? Essentially the word ...
2
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4answers
528 views

Does “clack” necessarily refer to sound?

I have a question about the verb clack in the following paragraph taken from Sandkings by George R. R. Martin. In this paragraph, the protagonist, Simon Kress, is being shown a strange kind of ...
2
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1answer
71 views

Sound of gnawing a bone [closed]

I want the audience to be sure what was crunching was torn apart deer bones, not the crunch of the joint capsules of the old wolf, whenever it bent its knees to take another bite. What word or phrase ...
2
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1answer
134 views

What does walking on wet pavement sound like?

I've had the word 'clicking' down for a while, but it truly doesn't capture what I'm trying to express. I have a very distinct sound in my head, but I just can't find the right word. I would just ...
2
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1answer
3k views

What's the sound of a starting car? [closed]

I've been looking trying to find an onomatopoeia for a car starting. I've tried to come up with it by making the sound myself, but I come up blank and quite frankly failed to mimicking the sound. It's ...
2
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1answer
9k views

how to write an onomatopoeia in a short story?

I'm writing a short story and I would like to know how to add an onomatopoeia in a sentence. Do I have to underline it? Can an onomatopoeia be a sentence on its own? Thank you for answering.
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1answer
92 views

What is the onomatopoeia for when you remove a sticker or an adhesive from its place? [closed]

First of all: I'm not a native english speaker, I'm using a translator. I want to know what the exact sound is for when you take off a sticker from something. El sonido exacto para cuando despegas o ...
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1answer
1k views

Describing the sound of blood drops

I'm searching for a word describing the sound of blood drops falling on someone's shoulder. I found some describing the sound of liquids hitting a surface, such as tap, splat, and tuck. I was going ...
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0answers
2k views

Is 'to suck your teeth' the same thing as saying 'tsk'? [duplicate]

I am inclined to think that 'to suck your teeth' is a possible description for the sound 'tsk'. Is there any good source to support (or dismiss) my assumption? By 'tsk' I mean the onomatopoeia for a ...
2
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0answers
685 views

How to write the sound of a pool break [closed]

I am trying to write the sound of a pool break. Something like "thwock", but I need some input to capture it best.
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4answers
55k views

Interjection for the sound of a bell

I saw this other question, but it's not quite what I'm asking. A bell makes a sound. How would you write that sound in English? As an interjection, e.g. "boom!" I'm sure it varies with the type and ...