Spelling Sounds

In honor of March being National Literacy Month, I decided to talk about how to spell sounds that are not really words.

I learned how to spell sounds from reading comic strips. Crossword puzzles use these sound-spellings, too, so I started a collection. I am not sure about a lot of these spellings – what do you think? AND – don’t forget to play the game at the end of this post, “Can you spell this sound?” 🤣

From Hagar the Horrible: the sounds of hitting are “wham,” “clang,” and “smack.”

  • The sound of being frustrated is “arrgh” (I thought it was spelled “agh”)
  • But doesn’t a pirate say “arrgh” too?

From Batman: the sounds of hitting are “pow” and “bam” 

To cheer someone or a very positive reaction: “Yay!”

  • Not “yeah” or “yea”. Yeah indicates “yes,” but in a “whatever, I guess so” kind of way.

A fan’s sound is: “whir”

An evil laugh: “mwahaha”

A sly laugh sound: “heh heh” (fake laugh)

A positive laugh: “hah”! Or add more hahahaha . . . depending upon how hard you are laughing . . .

The sound of a frightened cry: “eek”

The sounds we make if we want someone to stop talking: “shhh. . .” or “hush”

The sound we make if we don’t like something: “ugh” or “eew” or “eeewww” (if you REALLY don’t like it)

The sound of being cold: “brr” (or however many “rrs” you want to add – if you know me, I would add several!)

The sound of a baby’s cry: “wah” or “waa” or “waah” (depending upon how upset the baby is 🙂

The sounds of sleeping: “zzz” (Is that what snorers sound like? That’s not what I have been told – hahaha)

Sounds of laughter: If made by a child – often spelled “giggle.”

  • Apparently, older folks’ laughs are spelled “Hah” or “Hee hee,” or “har dee har” (what?).

The sound for eating a snack: nom (if it’s really good, then nom, nom, nom!)

Sounds of someone drinking:

  • Drinking slowly = “gurgle”
  • Drinking quickly = “gulp”

Sound of a piece of paper being “crumpled” into a small ball: “crinkle”

Sounds a bird makes: “twitter,” “tweet,” “chirp,” “caw” (usually referring to a crow’s sound), “honk” (a goose), “quack” (a duck).

  • I just heard a duck near my neighborhood make a sound – I guess “quack” was a decent spelling of that sound. Not sure about “honk,” though . . . And I am definitely not sure about “tweet”!

Sounds a dog makes: “woof,” “yip,” “grr,” “growl,” “bark,” “arf, ” “roar” [online message: texter’s playful growl = “rawr”].

Sound a donkey makes: “bray”

  • Really? Is that the sound that a donkey makes?

Sound a sheep makes: “baaa”

  • Really?? The only sheep that I have seen have their heads down, eating grass, making no noise, so I am not the expert, here, but “baaa”? Is that true?

Sound a cow makes: “moo”

Sounds a cat makes: “meow,” “mew”

  • Not MY cats. 😄

Send in some more examples!

But before you do, play my new game called, “SPELL THAT SOUND!” based on the video of one of my cats, below. I sure don’t think it’s spelled “meow”! 🤪

8 thoughts on “Spelling Sounds”

  1. Maoww ! (as in Mao Tse Tung)

    Amazed that you have this list. Can’t think of others at the moment but will ponder.

    Is there a spelling of a word for thinking?

    • Hey, compare definitions of wowzer and wowser. Who knew? Not me!

      What a difference a single letter can make. Bet you have a list of that type of word also, Barbara! 🤭

  2. What a fun way to start the day!

    Hi baby kitty….merow, merow to you too! Never seen that in writing but sounds phonetic, YAY!!! Ugh, I sure hope that translates 😉 haha

    Another fun one, Barb! Your observations are the best!

  3. I definitely use “wah” if things didn’t go my way. But the way I say it isnt exactly Wah.
    More like whaya

    How bout “phew” for a close call? Or “phewie” for boy it’s hot outside. Is that also used for unpleasant odor? Oh, that’s “peuwee”

  4. These are great comments!
    Carol – I didn’t even know there were words like “wowser” and “wowzer”!
    Willie B – YES, I completely forgot about “phew” and “phewie” (I’ve never seen that sound spelled in print, but I like your spelling). “Peuwee” – we definitely say that sound!
    So far, the suggestions for spelling my cat’s (Sam) sound are: maoww and merow.
    Cindi, I definitely hear an “r” in there.
    You guys will LOVE this – when typing those words, my website told me to double check the spelling and BOTH suggested an alternative was “meow”! 🤣

  5. I thought of new ones! Including “whew” – Willie b – close to the ones in your comment. I used it the other day after walking and working in the yard – WHEW! 😄
    I’ll put the rest in an upcoming post that will update several of the past posts.

  6. My chickens are definitely vocal, and I wouldn’t say they ‘cluck’. They definitely have their own way of communicating! In my coop, it’s a toss-up between “brawk” and “braaque” Either way one thing’s for sure, they’re all very opinionated about dinner time!

    • That’s really funny, Stewart! Good spelling! Not at all like “cluck.” I vote for “brawk.”
      And I loved your comment about them being opinionated about dinner time!
      “Sounds” like my cat, Sam!


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