Onomatopoeia Examples

Onomatopoeia is when a word’s pronunciation imitates its sound.  When you say an onomatopoeic word, the utterance itself is reminiscent of the sound to which the word refers.  Poets use onomatopoeia to access the reader’s auditory sense and create rich soundscapes.  It is one of many poetic devices dealing with the sounds of poetry.  Many people confuse onomatopoeia with interjections; however, they are two different and distinct concepts.  Interjections are one of the eight parts of speech. An interjection is a sudden outburst of emotion or excitement, such as “ouch” or “wow.”  

When a word’s pronunciation imitates its sound

While some onomatopoeic words may be used as interjections, most interjections do not imitate sounds. Contrarily, onomatopoeic words, such as “buzz” or “boom,” always mimic the noises to which they refer.  Here are 101 examples of onomatopoeia:

  1. The sheep went, “Baa.”
  2. The best part about music class is that you can bang on the drum.
  3. It is not unusual for a dog to bark when visitors arrive.
  4. Silence your cellphone so that it does not beep during the movie.
  5. Dad released a belch from the pit of his stomach.
  6. The bridge collapsed creating a tremendous boom.
  7. The large dog said, “Bow-wow!”
  8. Are you afraid of things that go bump in the night?
  9. My brother can burp the alphabet.
  10. Both bees and buzzers buzz.
  11. The cash register popped open with a heart warming ca-ching.
  12. The bird’s chirp filled the empty night air.
  13. Her heels clacked on the hardwood floor.
  14. The clanging pots and pans awoke the baby.
  15. If you want the red team to win, clap your hands right now!
  16. The cadets swelled with pride when they heard the clash of the cymbals at their graduation ceremony.
  17. The dishes fell to the floor with a clatter.
  18. Nothing annoys me more than rapidly clicking your pen.
  19. The bride and groom were not surprised to hear the familiar sound of clinking glasses.
  20. The horse’s hooves clip-clopped on the cobblestones.
  21. Those clucking chickens are driving me crazy!
  22. The dim-witted pigeon repulsed us with its nerve crawling coo.
  23. If you’re going to cough, please cover your mouth.
  24. The prisoner was terrified to hear the crack of the whip.
  25. We roasted marshmallows over the crackling fire.
  26. The two-year old crashed into the cabinet.
  27. The cabinet opened with a distinct creak.
  28. Dissatisfied with her work, Beth crinkled up the paper and threw it in the trash.
  29. The swamp frogs croaked in unison.
  30. The teacher heard the distinct crunch of ruffled potato chips.
  31. Jacob could not sleep with the steady drip-drop of water coming from the sink.
  32. The root beer fizzed over the top of the mug.
  33. The flag flapped in wind.
  34. Did you forget to flush the toilet?
  35. Daryl gargled the mouthwash.
  36. The wounded soldier groaned.
  37. As Tom got closer, the dog began growling.
  38. Juan had a hard time hearing the teacher over his grumbling stomach.
  39. When Mom asked Tommy how his day went, Tommy just grunted.
  40. Vince gulped down the Mountain Dew.
  41. The patient sounded like he was hacking up a lung.
  42. If you have the hiccups, you should try drink a glass of water.
  43. The snake slithered and hissed.
  44. If you see anyone coming, honk your horn.
  45. The wolves howled at the moon.
  46. The new pencil sharpener hummed efficiently.
  47. They knew that the principal was coming because they heard the jingle of his keys.
  48. Someone is knocking on the door.
  49. That cat will keep meowing until you pet it.
  50. John was disturbed by the strange moaning.
  51. The cow aggressively mooed at the passing freight train.
  52. Janet murmured the answer under her breath. 
  53. While lounging in the slop pile, the pigs oinked excitedly.
  54. The hail pattered on the tin gutter.
  55. When he saw the cheese, the mouse could not help but to peep excitedly.
  56. The lunch lady plopped a scoop of something on Kristen’s tray.
  57. Billy will cry if you pop his balloon.
  58. After eating the knight, the dragon let out a puff of smoke.
  59. Most cats purr if you pet them behind the ears.
  60. The kind man shared his bread with the quacking ducks.
  61. My favorite singers have raspy voices.
  62. Tim would have stepped on the snake had he not heard the rattle of its tail.
  63. The race-car driver revved his engine.
  64. Our peaceful dinner ended when the phone began ringing.
  65. I secretly ripped up the birthday checks that my grandmother sent me.
  66. The lion’s mighty roar could be heard across the Savannah.
  67. The earthquake rumbled the foundations of our house.
  68. When the wind blew the leaves rustled.
  69. He took off so quickly that his tires screeched.
  70. When Reuben saw what he thought was a ghost, he shrieked like a woman.
  71. I love the sound of bacon sizzling on a weekend.
  72. You could hear the slap echo across the valley.
  73. The thirsty dog slurped the dirty water from the puddle.
  74. The young girl smacked her lips and spoke rudely.
  75. Frank smashed the can on his head.
  76. After making a rude remark, Jade snapped her fingers and rolled her neck.
  77. Having never left the city, Juan eagerly sniffed the country air.
  78. Tommy made me laugh so hard in the lunchroom that I snorted milk out of my nose.
  79. The paintball splattered against the windshield.
  80. Fat Pat did a cannonball in the pool and made a big splash.
  81. Mr. Morton told the student to spit out his gum.
  82. Angie sprayed her neighbor with the hose.
  83. Mark tried sneaking in the house but the squeak of his shoes woke up Mom.
  84. Jenna ran around the lunchroom squealing like a pig.
  85. When he sat down, the young boy squished the unfortunate critter in his pocket.
  86. The musician used a coin to strum the guitar.
  87. Shaun loved the swish of the basketball net.
  88. Mitchel gently tapped the ball into the hole.
  89. Time just keeps on ticking.
  90. Bobby threw his books down with a thud.
  91. That thump made us jump.
  92. If you see him, toot your horn.
  93. The rain trickled down the gutter.
  94. Birds tweeted long before Twitter did.
  95. The lawyer chased after the wail of the sirens.
  96. The bullet whizzed by his ear.
  97. Bob’s big dogs woofed at the unfortunate mail main.
  98. Beth’s little dog would not stop yapping.
  99. Spaceman Spiff zapped the alien with his ray-gun.
  100. Ronald zipped up his sleeping bag.
  101. The race car zoomed past the finish line.

Using onomatopoeia is a fun way to bring the reader into your poetry or writing. This list of 101 examples of onomatopoeia does not include all of the onomatopoeic words in the English language, but it is a pretty good start. I hope that you have gained a better understanding of onomatopoeia and the many onomatopoeic words that are used in the English language.

This is an image of the onomatopoeic word Boom.  It is surrounded by dust clouds and a cartoon explosion

Tick, tick, tick, tick…

Common Core State Standards Related to Onomatopoeia

Anchor Standards

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.4 – Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.L.5 – Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.

View All CCSS Standards Related to Onomatopoeia
ELA Standards: Literature

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.3.4 – Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, distinguishing literal from nonliteral language.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.4 – Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including those that allude to significant characters found in mythology (e.g., Herculean).

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.5.4 – Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative language such as metaphors and similes.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.4 – Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of a specific word choice on meaning and tone.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.4 – Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of rhymes and other repetitions of sounds (e.g., alliteration) on a specific verse or stanza of a poem or section of a story or drama.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.8.4 – Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including analogies or allusions to other texts.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4 – Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language evokes a sense of time and place; how it sets a formal or informal tone).

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.4 – Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including words with multiple meanings or language that is particularly fresh, engaging, or beautiful. (Include Shakespeare as well as other authors.)

ELA Standards: Language

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.3.5 – Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships and nuances in word meanings.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.4.5a – Explain the meaning of simple similes and metaphors (e.g., as pretty as a picture) in context.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.4.5b – Recognize and explain the meaning of common idioms, adages, and proverbs.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.5.5a – Interpret figurative language, including similes and metaphors, in context.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.5.5b – Recognize and explain the meaning of common idioms, adages, and proverbs.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.6.5a – Interpret figures of speech (e.g., personification) in context.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.7.5a – Interpret figures of speech (e.g., literary, biblical, and mythological allusions) in context.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.8.5a – Interpret figures of speech (e.g. verbal irony, puns) in context.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.5a – Interpret figures of speech (e.g., euphemism, oxymoron) in context and analyze their role in the text.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.11-12.5a – Interpret figures of speech (e.g., hyperbole, paradox) in context and analyze their role in the text.

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  1. freddie

     /  November 2, 2018

    Is the verb “stir” an example of onomatopoeia?

    • I don’t believe so, but if you think that stirring makes the same sound as the word stir, then yes, it would be onomatopoeic. I suppose I could see that.

  2. Aazmin

     /  November 2, 2018

    Are ‘break’ and ‘spread’ onomatopoeic words?

    • Break seems onomatopoeic to me. Not so much spread, although it is a smooth word. I could see a person successfully arguing that spread is onomatopoeic.

  3. Mona

     /  October 22, 2018

    Hi, is ‘fumbling’ one?

    • No, I don’t believe it is. Unless you think that fumbling is the sound that fumbling makes when one fumbles.

      I don’t think it is.

  4. Selena panayotoui

     /  October 19, 2018

    I am a cadet whoop whoop

  5. idk

     /  October 19, 2018

    what sound does a spider make?

  6. Kim

     /  October 4, 2018

    What is an onomatopoeia for an elephant?

  7. Demetri

     /  September 3, 2018


  8. carly

     /  July 27, 2018

    is laughter and chattering an onomatopoeia?

  9. Awal

     /  July 17, 2018

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  13. Maki

     /  May 24, 2018

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  14. Michael

     /  May 22, 2018

    Is the Biblical word Woe! an onomatopoeic word? and what does it mean– Thanks

  15. Maria

     /  May 16, 2018

    What would a person laughing sound like?
    Anything except “ha, ha, ha” because I already tried it and it doesn’t work. Can you suggest something else?

  16. Maria

     /  May 16, 2018

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  17. Anon

     /  May 15, 2018

    What sound would a Cat purring make…Other than purring 🙂

  18. name

     /  May 3, 2018

    very cool

  19. Emma W.

     /  October 3, 2017

    What sound would a bull make?

  20. d

     /  June 15, 2017

    thanks , god bless you. buddy

  21. Gordon

     /  May 25, 2017

    Additional example: Shucking (corn, oysters)

    Do you have any wisdom to share about conjugating?

    Spit, Spat seems unusual.

  22. Khaotic

     /  May 17, 2017


  23. Tess

     /  April 4, 2017

    Love it!! Very HELPFUL!!

  24. kayte

     /  March 3, 2017

    what noise would a person screaming make

  25. Wayne

     /  January 19, 2017

    97. Bob’s big dogs woofed at the unfortunate mail main.

    This doesn’t make any sense unless you change “main” to “man”.

  26. Yvonne

     /  December 29, 2016

    Onatopoeia is also used to name some birds according to the sounds they make, such as chickadee, towhee et al. Commercially, we see it in products like Snap, Crackle and Pop! just to mention one.

  27. Seema parasrampuria

     /  December 23, 2016

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  28. Ravi Krishnan

     /  November 28, 2016

    Do incude “Muwaah” to the lexicon

  29. tisha

     /  November 11, 2016

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  30. Madison

     /  August 18, 2016

    This site helped me a lot to find good words for my stories. Thank you.

  31. marnelle pantaleon

     /  August 17, 2016

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  32. faizan ahmed

     /  August 8, 2016

    this is a nice website i love this website

  33. Jasmyn

     /  June 6, 2016

    this is a really good website to help you understand what an onomatopoeia is.
    My teacher also loved this site.

  34. AEron_ArAdOr

     /  February 2, 2016

    Hi, again. I also forgot. I have a question. Is the word “chatter” a onomatopoeic word? What if I say, “”The kids are son noisy because they always ‘chatter’ each other”
    Is the word ‘chatter’ an onomatopoeic word?
    Please give me an advice.

    • I could see an argument being made that the word chatter, while not strikingly onomatopoeic, is in fact an example of onomatopoeia. And, if the argument were phrased in a compelling way, I might be inclined to agree with it.

  35. AEron_ArAdOr

     /  February 2, 2016

    This is really useful for my English Subject!
    Thank you so much Mr. Morton. Hope that you will post more so that I can have big grades on my English Subject.

  36. Helpful….

  37. Jared

     /  January 5, 2016


  38. Susanne

     /  December 8, 2015

    What sound would you recommend for a fire engine?

  39. Umeema

     /  October 21, 2015

    This is awesome cool website it’s useful

  40. mark caramat

     /  August 25, 2015

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  41. emmanuel

     /  April 18, 2015

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  42. nick festa

     /  February 25, 2015

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  43. D. Sanders

     /  December 6, 2014

    What is the word for electronic sounds that emulate real activity? Examples: Paper-crinkling sound the computer makes when you empty the trash; money-shuffling sounds the ATM makes while processing your request.

  44. this be great and unique site

  45. skyler

     /  May 6, 2014

    Really helps with telling kids how and what a onomatopoeia

  46. Susan Shestakov

     /  April 4, 2014

    Fix this spelling error. You’re, NOT your.

    23.If your going to cough, please cover your mouth.

  47. Bieber

     /  February 26, 2014


  48. Karabo

     /  October 14, 2013

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  49. Mikey

     /  October 8, 2013

    I like it but I want more!

  50. Sarah

     /  August 23, 2013

    A very good website !


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