Onomatopoeia is a long word with a very simple definition: It describes words that imitate a sound. (It’s pronounced ah-nuh-mah-tuh-PEE-ah.) These are words we all use all the time, and when you really start to look, you’ll find onomatopoeia examples pretty much everywhere! Use these onomatopoeia words to explain the concept to your students and bring excitement to their writing.
The sound a person makes when they sneeze.
Example: Greg’s nose twitched as the pepper reached his nostrils. “Ah … ah … ACHOO!” he sneezed.
The sound of a person clearing their throat as they prepare to speak or to get someone’s attention.
Example: “Ahem,” coughed Jessie. “Alex, are you even listening to me?”
A sudden loud noise.
Example: Dennis ran out the door, closing it behind him with a bang.
The sound a dog makes.
Example: Every time the mail carrier appeared, Duke began to bark nonstop.
A short high-pitched noise, usually made by a car horn or a piece of electronic equipment.
Example: The microwave beeped, and Jason pulled out his bag of popcorn.
The noise of a person burping.
Example: After drinking the entire can of soda in one long swallow, Chris let out an enormous belch.
A short high-pitched sound, especially the noise used to cover up an objectionable word or phrase.
Example: The censor bleeped out every offensive word he said.
The sound of a compressed spring being released or a ball bouncing.
Example: Boing! Liam bounced the ball off the wall over and over. Boing!
A loud, deep, resonant sound.
Example: All night long, thunder boomed in the distance.
The sound made when two objects collide, usually gently.
Example: Olivia tripped over her own feet and landed with a bump.
The sound of water rippling and flowing.
Example: The creek burbled gently over the rocks into the pool below.
A continuous humming or murmuring sound.
Example: The bees buzzed busily around the flower-filled garden.
The sound a hen makes, also describing a harsh cry or laugh.
Example: The witches cackled in delight as they threw more frog eyes into their cauldron.
A series of quick, high-pitched sounds.
Example: Dion’s teeth chattered as they stood waiting for the bus in the snow.
Sharp, high-pitched sound, often attributed to a bird or insect.
Example: Birds chirped sweetly in the trees as the rising sun lit the landscape.
A muffled explosive sound, often made by a train, car, or boat.
Example: The train chugged slowly as it left the station, building up speed as it went.
The sound made by metallic items striking together.
Example: The prisoner crept across the floor, his chains clanking behind him.
A sudden, sharp, explosive sound.
Example: Fed up with the ending of the story, Mariel shut the book with a sharp clap.
The continuous rattling sound of hard objects striking together.
Example: The kitchen rang with the clatter of pots and pans as they prepared dinner in a hurry.
A short, slight, sharp sound.
Example: Lin heard a click as someone flipped the light switch.
Short, sharp, ringing sound.
Example: Their glasses clinked as they drank a toast to their grandmother.
Small, sharp, sudden, repeated noises.
Example: The fire snapped and crackled in the hearth.
A sudden loud sound.
Example: With a loud crash, the shelf of plates collapsed to the ground.
A harsh scraping or squeaking sound.
Example: The floorboards creaked beneath his feet as he crept across the attic floor.
A grinding sound as of something being broken into smaller parts.
Example: Selena bit into the ripe apple with a loud crunch.
The sound of a doorbell ringing.
Example: Ding-dong! Elijah jumped as the sound of the doorbell broke the silence.
The sound made by a liquid falling drop by drop.
Example: The drip of the leaky faucet kept them up all night long.
A hissing sound, usually made by bubbles.
Example: Dominic poured the Coke too quickly, and it fizzed all over the countertop.
A deep inarticulate sound, usually in pain or disappointment.
Example: The whole class groaned as Mr. Diaz assigned extra homework over the holiday weekend.
A low guttural sound made in the throat, often by an animal.
Example: The dog growled as the cat got too close.
The sound of swallowing.
Example: Jaleel grabbed the last cookie and swallowed it with a loud gulp.
A hollow bubbling sound, usually made by liquid.
Example: The last of the water gurgled out of the bottle onto the ground.
The sound of liquid flowing rapidly and in a large amount.
Example: She turned on the faucet and hot water gushed into the tub.
The sound of cutting something with a heavy blow.
Example: The hack of the ax echoed throughout the tree grove.
The sound made by the involuntary closing (spasm) of the throat.
Example: Jin’s loud hiccups interrupted the silence again and again, making the other students giggle.
A sibilant sound like a repeated “S.”
Example: The leaky hose hissed as the precious oxygen slowly escaped.
The nasal cry of a goose, or the sound a car horn makes.
Example: The incessant honking of the car alarm started to drive her mad.
The sound an owl makes.
Example: Crickets chirped, while the distant hoot of an owl added to the music of the night.
A long, loud, sad cry, like that made by an animal like a dog or a wolf.
Example: Sanjay howled in pain as the doctor accidentally jostled his broken leg.
A low, steady, continuous sound.
Example: The motor hummed along smoothly after Mia finished repairing it.
The sound of quiet, especially after noise.
Example: The crowd hushed as the diver prepared for his final attempt.
A ringing metallic sound, often discordant.
Example: Her keys jangled as she threw them onto the table.
A light, ringing, metallic sound, often made by bells.
Example: The reindeer pranced across the roof with a jingle of bells.
The sound of a loud explosion.
Example: Maria lit the cannon fuse, and the crowd watched and waited—kaboom!
A short sound made by tapping an item on a solid surface, often wooden.
Example: The loud knock at the door woke them all suddenly.
The cry of a cat.
Example: The cat meowed loudly at the bedroom door, letting everyone know it was time for breakfast.
A long low sound made by a person expressing pain or displeasure.
Example: Jake moaned in pain after tumbling headfirst down the bleachers.
The sound made by a cow.
Example: The moo of the cows and cackle of the hens filled the farmyard.
To speak incoherently under one’s breath.
Example: She mumbled an excuse when the teacher asked where her homework was.
To speak softly, gently, and indistinctly.
Example: Mateo’s mother murmured comforting words as she bandaged his knee.
The sound made by a horse.
Example: As Divya approached carrying an apple, the horse neighed in anticipation.
The sound made by a pig.
Example: The pigs oinked in glee as the farmer filled their trough with slops.
A light tinkling sound.
Example: They could hear a plink as each coin dropped into the glass jar.
The sound of something landing heavily, especially into water.
Example: She plopped several ice cubes into the glass of water.
The sound made by a very small explosion, often accompanied by a puff a smoke.
Example: With a poof, the magician and his rabbit disappeared into thin air.
A light explosive sound.
Example: She poked the balloon and it exploded with a pop.
The sound of a blow or explosion.
Example: They heard sounds in the alley—pow! pow!—as the car backfired.
A burst of wind or breath.
Example: Archie huffed and puffed as he finally reached the 12th floor, collapsing in relief.
A throaty vibrating sound, usually made by a cat.
Example: The cat purred in delight as Riley stroked its rumpled fur.
A hissing noise made to quietly get someone’s attention.
Example: “Psst! Ava! Over here!” called Lucas from behind the couch.
The sound made by a duck.
Example: The quacking of the ducks rang across the pond.
A series of short, sharp knocking sounds.
Example: As she shook the wrapped present, she could hear the rattle of multiple pieces inside.
The sound of someone vomiting or preparing to vomit.
Example: The stench of rotten eggs made her retch.
The sound made by a frog.
Example: Ribbit! Ribbit! The frog hopped along the edge of the pond.
The sound of a bell, or a reverberating metallic sound.
Example: The bells began to ring as the wedding party emerged from the church.
The sound of something tearing, like cloth or paper.
Example: They ripped the old wallpaper off the wall, preparing it for a fresh coat of bright paint.
A full long prolonged sound, like that made by a lion.
Example: The engines roared to life as the plane started down the runway.
Continuous deep resonant sound.
Example: Trucks rumbled along the dirt road, one after the other.
A soft, muffled, crackling sound.
Example: The pages rustled as she searched for where she’d left off reading last.
The sound of two objects rubbing together harshly.
Example: The dangling muffler scraped along the pavement under the car.
The sound of two objects roughly scraping together.
Example: The mouse made a tiny scratching noise inside the walls.
A harsh, shrill, piercing cry.
Example: With a loud screech, Amanda ran away in fear.
The noise made by dragging something along.
Example: He shuffled along through the dry leaves on the sidewalk.
The hissing sound of something frying.
Example: Bacon sizzled in the pan, making Gia’s mouth water.
The sharp sound of two objects striking each other, especially an open hand striking something.
Example: Water slapped against the hull of boat as it rocked in the waves.
The sound of eating or drinking by sloppy sucking.
Example: Lee slurped up the spicy ramen noodles with relish.
The sound of a sharp blow.
Example: They heard a smack as the bat hit the ball, sending it over the fence.
The sound of something violently breaking into pieces.
Example: The crystal vase fell to the ground, smashing into a hundred pieces.
The sound of drawing in air through the nose.
Example: Slade sniffed loudly and asked, “Do I smell fresh cookies?”
A sound made by exhaling through the nose, often in derision.
Example: She snorted and rolled her eyes at his lame excuse.
The sound of something wet hitting a surface.
Example: The water balloon exploded with a splat.
A series of soft explosive sounds.
Example: The motor sputtered a few times, then ground to a stop.
A high-pitched shrill noise.
Example: The hinges squeaked as the door slowly swung open.
A soft sucking sound.
Example: They took off their shoes and squelched their way through the mud.
The sound of liquid being ejected through a small opening.
Example: Benjamin squirted ketchup and mustard onto his hamburger.
The sound of something wet being squeezed or crushed.
Example: Norah squished the slime in her hands, letting it ooze out between her fingers.
The sound made by a sudden rush of air or liquid.
Example: Bella took off down the ski sloops with a swoosh, sending snow flying behind her.
A dull heavy sound.
Example: He threw his shoes to the ground with a thud.
A dull heavy sound.
Example: The music thumped heavily through the walls.
The sound of a clock’s hands moving.
Example: As the seconds counted down to the start of summer break, the class watched the hands of the clock: tick-tock, tick-tock.
A light, clear ringing sound.
Example: The water tinkled gently from one level of the fountain to the next.
Short sharp sound, especially made by a horn or instrument.
Example: As the band marched by, Astrid tooted along on her toy trumpet.
The ringing vibrating sound of a plucked string.
Example: The song started with the twang of banjo strings.
The roaring sound of a running vehicle like a car or motorcycle.
Example: Vroom! Kate kicked the motorcycle into gear and sped off.
The sound of a sharp or resounding blow.
Example: Morgan swung the racket with all their might. Whack! The tennis ball sailed high over the net.
The loud sound of a hard impact.
Example: The runner and infielder both ran headlong for second base. Wham! When the dust cleared, the runner was out, but both had bumps on their heads.
The sound of obstructed breathing, often with a whistle or rattle.
Example: Jayden begins to wheeze whenever he’s around cats.
A low, continuous, regular sound.
Example: The ceiling fan whirred overhead, giving off a welcome breeze.
The sound of something moving by in a rush.
Example: With a whoosh, hundreds of swans suddenly rose into the air.
The sound of something electronic, especially a laser.
Example: Zap! The intense beam of light cut through the steel cable.
A quick, shrill humming noise.
Example: Peyton ducked as the tennis ball zinged right at his nose.
A brief sharp hissing sound.
Example: She dressed quietly, the only sound a sharp zip as she fastened her coat.
A loud buzzing sound made by a fast-moving object.
Example: With a zoom, the plane flashed by overhead.