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English Onomatopoeia: 62 Words that Sound Like Their Meaning

Onomatopoeia might sound like a mouthful (it’s pronounced uh-mat-uh–pee–uh) but we use them everyday, sometimes without even knowing it. Onomatopoeia are words that mimic the sounds or noises that they refer to.

It could be the sound of animals (moo, meow, or woof), human sounds (achoo, haha, grr) or sounds that objects make (bam, pop, tick-tock).

Here in this article, we’ll talk about some of the most common English onomatopoeia. It would be fun to compare them with the equivalent words in your language, too!

English Onomatopoeia: Human Sounds

First we have words for sounds that people like you and I make. From sleeping sounds to sneezing, laughing, and eating, let’s check them all out here.

achoosneeze
ahemsound of clearing throat
arghexpression of annoyance or frustration
babbleto utter meaningless sounds
barfthe sound of puking
bawlloud cry
brrrsound of shivering
burpexpel gas from the stomach through the mouth
cacklea loud, unpleasant laugh
chompsound of bite or chew
clapthe sound you make when you strike both palms together
growllow rumbling sound
gulpsound of swallowing
harumphexpression of disdain or protest
hahasound of laughter
hee-heehigh-pitched laughter
garglethe act of bubbling liquid in the mouth
grrrsound of anger
humsing with closed lips
hushsound of being quiet or still
munchchew noisily
slamto close violently
screechsharp piercing cry
shushthe sound of silencing someone
shhsound of silencing
smackthe sound when you hit something or someone
tska sound of disapproval
zzzsleeping

English Onomatopoeia: Sounds Made by Objects

Sounds that objects make also make up a huge list of onomatopoeia. This could be sounds from collisions, explosions, liquids, electricity, or vehicles among others. Let’s check them out now.

ba dum tssImitating a drum roll and cymbal crash played to underscore a joke
bangthe sound of an explosion or a gunshot
boomthe sound of an explosion
beepa high-pitched signal
beep-beepcar horn sound
clinksound of glass on glass
ding-dongringing bell
fluttersound of rapid motion
fizzthe sound of gas escaping from a drink or any liquid
honksound of car horn
ring-ringsound of a phone ringing
smashsound of a collision
splashsound of object falling on water
Tick tick ticksound of a timer
tick tocksound of a clock
thuda dull, heavy sound like a big object falling
vroomsound of an engine revving
zapsound of electric discharge

English Onomatopoeia: Animal Sounds

Finally, we’re down to the animal sounds. From the meowing cat to the hiss of a snake, let’s review what animal sounds are called in English.

baagoat / sheep
buzzinsects like bees, mosquitoes, or flies
chirpbird
chirpcrickets
cluckchicken
cock-a-doodle-doorooster
gobbleturkey
hisssnake
hootowl
meowcat
moocow
neighhorse's sound
oinkpig
quackduck
ribbitfrog
roarlion
woof / bow-wowa sound of a dog's bark

Conclusion

Learning about onomatopoeia in English can help you with your reading comprehension especially when you indulge in comic books and children’s stories. These words are also quite common in everyday conversations and they make storytelling quite fun!

What other words should we add on this list? And how different are these words to your native language? Do share with us in the comments!

About the Author Janey

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