Languages › Spanish 69 Spanish Words That Imitate Life in a Onomatopoeic Way Words often derived from sounds of animals, objects, or actions Share Flipboard Email Print El lobo aúlla. (The wolf howls.) Both the the Spanish "aullar" and the English "howl" are likely imitative in origin. Picture by Tambako the Jaguar / Getty Images Spanish Vocabulary History & Culture Pronunciation Writing Skills Grammar By Gerald Erichsen Spanish Language Expert B.A., Seattle Pacific University Gerald Erichsen is a Spanish language expert who has created Spanish lessons for ThoughtCo since 1998. our editorial process Gerald Erichsen Updated November 04, 2019 Onomatopoeia, or onomatopeya in Spanish, is the formation or use of words that are imitative or intended to sound like what they represent. A good example of this is the word "click" in English, which formed to imitate a clicking sound. Its Spanish equivalent is the noun spelled clic, which became the stem of the verb cliquear, "to click a mouse." Onomatopoeia is not the same for all languages because native speakers interpret each sound their own way and may form words differently. For example, the onomatopoeic sound for a frog differs greatly across cultures. The croak of a frog is coa-coa in French, gae-gool-gae-gool in Korean, ¡berp! in Argentinian Spanish, and "ribbit" in the United States. "Croak" itself in an example of onomatopoeia. In some cases, imitative words have evolved over the centuries to the point where the onomatopoeic nature of the word is no longer obvious. For example, both the English "touch" and the Spanish tocar probably came from an imitative Latin root word. How to Use Onomatopoeic Words Sometimes onomatopoeic words are interjections, words that stand alone rather than as part of a standard sentence. Also, interjections can be used when imitating an animal, like a cow's sound, which in Spanish is spelled mu. Onomatopoeic words can also be used or modified to form other parts of speech, such as the word clic or the Spanish verb zapear, coming from the onomatopoeic word zap. Spanish Onomatopoeic Words In English, common onomatopoeic words include "bark," "snort," "burp," "hiss," "swish," and "buzz." What follows are several dozen Spanish onomatopoeic words in use. Spelling is not always standardized. Spanish Word Meaning achí achoo (the sound of a sneeze) achuchar to crush arrullar to coo, to lull to sleep auuuu howl of a wolf aullar to howl bang bang bang-bang (the sound of a gun) be bleat (as of a ram or similar animal) berp croak (as of a frog) bisbisear to murmur or mumble brrr brr (the sound one makes when cold) bu boo bum boom, explosion, the sound of being struck by someone or something bzzz buzz (as of a bee) chascar, chasquido to snap, to pop, to crackle chilla the scream or screech of various animals such as a fox or rabbit chinchín the sound of cymbals chirriar to creak chof splash chupar to lick or suck clac click, clack, a very brief sound such as that of a door closing clic, cliquear mouse click, to click a mouse clo-clo, coc-co-co-coc, kara-kara-kara-kara clucking sound cricrí; cric cric cric the sound of a cricket croa croak (as of a frog) cruaaac cruaaac caw (sound of birds) cuac cuac quack cúcu-cúcu cuckoo sound cu-curru-cu-cú coo deslizar to slide din don, din dan, ding dong ding-dong fu growl of a lion ggggrrrr, grgrgr growl of a tiger gluglú gobble-gobble of a turkey glup gulp guau bow-wow, dog bark hipo, hipar hiccup, to hiccup iii-aah heehaw of a donkey jaja ha-ha (the sound of laughter) jiiiiiii, iiiio neigh marramao howling of a cat miau meow of a cat mu moo muac, muak, mua sound of a kiss murmurar leaves rustling in the wind, murmur ñam ñam yum-yum oinc, oink oink paf sound of something falling or two things striking each other pao the sound of a spanking (regional use) pataplum the sound of an explosion pío pío chirp, click piar to chirp, cluck, or squawk plas splash, the sound of something hitting something pop pop (sound) pop, pum the sound of a champagne cork popping puaf yuck quiquiriquí cock-a-doodle-do rataplán the sound of a drum refunfuñar to mutter or grumble silbar to hiss or whistle siseo, sisear hiss, to hiss tan tan tan the sound of a hammer in use tictac tick-tock tiritar to shiver toc toc knock-knock tocar to touch or to play a musical instrument trucar to trick tumbar to knock down uf phew, ugh (often a sound of disgust, such as after smelling something awful) uu uu the sound an owl makes zangolotear to shake or rattle zao shoo (a shout for getting rid of animals) zapear to zap zas sound of being struck zumbar to buzz, to slap (the noun form is zumbido) zurrar to hit, to clobber Key Takeaways Onomatopoeia involves the use or formation of words that imitate the sound of something. Words that imitate the same sound sometimes seem to have little in common in different languages. Meanings of onomatopoeic words can change over time so that the imitative origins of words are no longer obvious. Cite this Article Format mla apa chicago Your Citation Erichsen, Gerald. "69 Spanish Words That Imitate Life in a Onomatopoeic Way." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, thoughtco.com/onomatopoeia-in-spanish-3078356. Erichsen, Gerald. (2020, August 27). 69 Spanish Words That Imitate Life in a Onomatopoeic Way. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/onomatopoeia-in-spanish-3078356 Erichsen, Gerald. "69 Spanish Words That Imitate Life in a Onomatopoeic Way." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/onomatopoeia-in-spanish-3078356 (accessed June 16, 2021). copy citation Watch Now: What Is Onomatopoeia? 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