onomatopoeia words against bright colored comic book background

60+ Essential Onomatopoeia in Spanish for Sound Effects, Animals, People and More

Onomatopoeia—or, onomatopeya in Spanish—are words associated with sounds.

Take animal noises as an example. The word “buzz” represents the noise a bee makes.

Learning onomatopoeia in Spanish might not seem important at first.

But knowing these fun little words will help you better understand Spanish media—like TV shows, movies, songs and comic books—and spice up your study routine.

In this post, we’ll learn over 60 common onomatopoeia in Spanish.

Contents

Spanish Onomatopoeia for People

These onomatopoeia represent sounds made by people, such as when we sleep, chew, yawn, etc.

SpanishMeaningExample
Plas The sound of applause or hand clappingLa audiencia aplaudió al final del musical. ¡Plas, plas, plas!

(The audience applauded at the end of the musical. Clap, clap, clap!)
Zzz The sound of a person sleepingEl perro hace “zzz” porque está durmiendo.

(The dog goes “zzz” because he is sleeping.)
Rrrrrrr The sound of a person snoringMi padre ronca como un oso, ¡rrrrrrr!

(My father snores like a bear, huugh!)
Toc toc or tras tras The sound of knocking on a door"Toc, toc, toc". Mi vecino tocaba la puerta.

(Knock, knock, knock.  My neighbor knocked on the door.)
Ñam, ñam, ñam The sound of eatingCuando ella come la comida italiana, dice: “Ñam, ñam, ñam.”

(When she eats Italian food, she says, “Num, num, num.”)
Buaaa The sound of yawning“Buaaa”, ella bostezó por la mañana.

(“Aaah,” she yawned in the morning.)
Hip The sound of hiccuping"Hip, hip, hip", hace el elefante cuando bebe el jugo.

(“Hiccup, hiccup, hiccup,” the elephant goes when it drinks the juice.)
Cataplum , catapum , cataplún or cataplam The general sound of hitting, bumping or colliding with an object¡Cataplún!, el coche chocó con el camión.

(Crash! The car collided with the truck.)
Ejem, ejem The sound of clearing one's throat“Ejem, ejem”, el profesor carraspeó.

(“Ahem, ahem,” the teacher cleared his throat.)
Mua , muac , muak or chuic The sound of kissingTe quiero mucho, ¡mua!

(I love you a lot, muak!)
Ja, ja, ja or jejeje The sound of laughter¡Ja, ja, ja!, ¡eres muy chistoso!

(Ha ha ha! You’re very funny!)
Achís The sound sneezing¡Achís! ¡Me resfrié y no puedo parar de estornudar!

(Achoo! I got a cold and I can't stop sneezing!)
Glup The sound of swallowing¡Glup! Me comí un trozo de pastel demasiado grande de un solo bocado.

(Gulp! I ate too big a piece of cake in one bite.)
Uf The sound made at awful-smelling things¡Uf! ¡El queso limburger huele horrible!

(Yuck! Limburger cheese smells horrible!)

Spanish Onomatopoeia for Sound Effects

Sound effects are the sounds produced after something happens.

Think knock knock when someone taps on a door, ring ring when someone calls you, or splat splat when it rains.

SpanishMeaningExample
Chof or Plas The sound of splashing¡La chica salta en la piscina con un "plas"!

(The girl jumps into the pool with a splash!)
Paf The sound of a blow or slapLa mujer lo abofeteó, ¡"paf"!

(The woman hit him in the face, slap!)
Cataplum or Cataplún The sound of an explosion, hit, or crash, especially when it's loud¡"Cataplum"! Los fuegos artificiales explotaron.

(Boom!  The fireworks exploded.)
Zas The sound of anything being struck, such as smacking someone’s face or cracking a whip¡"Zas"! El domador de leones restalló el látigo contra la pared.

(Crack!  The lion tamer cracked his whip against the wall.)
Tan, tan, tan The sound a bell makes, striking an anvil, hitting a hammer, etc.¡Escuche! El herrero bate su yunque con el martillo. ¡"Tan, tan, tan"!

(Listen! The blacksmith hits his anvil with the hammer. Clang, clang, clang!)
Uuuuh, uuuuh The sound of a police car, firetruck or ambulance¿Puedes oír las sirenas del coche de bomberos? ¡"Uuuuh uuuuh"!, ¡"uuuuh uuuuh"!

(Can you hear the firetruck’s sirens? Wee woo! Wee woo!)
Plic, plic The sound of soft rainPlic, plic. La lluvia pega sobre el techo.

(Plop. Plop. The rain hits the roof.)
Tras The sound of objects breaking¡"Tras"! El jarrón Ming se rompió en el museo.

(Crack! The Ming vase broke in the museum.)
Ñeec, ñeec The sound of mattress springsLos monos saltan en la cama, ñeec, ñeec.

(The monkeys jump on the bed, squeak, squeak.)
Bang or Pam pam The sound a gun makes¡Cuidado! ¡El ladrón tiene una pistola! ¡"Pam, pam, pam"!

(Careful! The thief has a gun! Bang, bang, bang!)
Tintín or Chin-chin The sound of clinking glassLos vasos se chocan, "chin-chin", cuando lavo los platos.

(The glasses clink each other when I wash the dishes.)
Glu, glu, glu The sound of bubbles in water or drinking a liquidLas burbujas hacían: "glu, glu" en la pecera.

(The bubbles went pop, pop in the fish tank.)
Ra-ta-tá, ra-ta-tá The sound of a machine gun¡"Ra-ta-tá"!, ¡"ra-ta-tá"! La ametralladora nunca paró de disparar.

(Ratatat! Ratatat! The machine gun never stopped firing.)
Tric or Tris The sound of a small explosionEl globo reventó: ¡"Tric"!

(The balloon burst: Boom!)
Chischás The sound of sword fightingLos mosqueteros luchan con espadas. ¡"Chischás"!

(The musketeers fight with swords. Clang!)
Din don The sound of a doorbell¡Din, don!, ¡la pizza llegó!

(Ding, dong! The pizza is here!)

Spanish Onomatopoeia for Animal Sounds

Animals make sounds, too! And many times, they’re not expressed in Spanish the same way they are in English.

Here are the most common onomatopoeia that come from animals.

SpanishMeaningExample
Muuuu Moo (sound of a cow)El campo resonaba con el "muuuu" de las vacas pastando.

(The field resonated with the moo of grazing cows.)
Guau Woof (sound of a dog)Un perro en la distancia soltó un fuerte "guau".

(A dog in the distance let out a loud woof.)
Miau Meow (sound of a cat)El gato me saludó con un suave "miau".

(The cat greeted me with a soft meow.)
Cuac Quack (sound of a duck)El estanque resonaba con el "cuac" de los patos cercanos.

(The pond echoed with the quack of nearby ducks.)
Beee Baa (sound of a sheep)Las ovejas en la granja emitieron un suave sonido de "beee".

(The sheep on the farm made a soft "baa" sound.)
Jiiii Neigh (sound of a horse)Desde el establo, un caballo relinchó con un largo "jiiii".

(From the stable, a horse neighed with a long neigh.)
Croac Ribbit (sound of a frog)El estanque estaba lleno del relajante sonido de las ranas haciendo "croac".

(The pond was filled with the soothing sound of frogs croaking.)
Oinc Oink (sound of a pig)En el corral, el cerdo emitió un satisfecho "oinc".

(In the pen, the pig made a satisfied "oink.")
Zzzzzzzz Buzz (sound of a bee)Intenté ahuyentar a la abeja mientras pasaba con un persistente "zzzzzzzz".

(I tried to scare the bee away as it passed by with a persistent buzz.)
Croac Caw (sound of a crow)El cuervo posado en la cerca emitió un distintivo "croac".

(The crow perched on the fence made a distinctive "caw.")
Ssss Hiss (sound of a snake)La serpiente nos advirtió con un amenazante "ssss".

(The snake warned us with a menacing hiss.)
Grrrr Gur (sound of growling)Un animal salvaje hizo “grrrr” a través del bosque.

(A wild animal went “roar” through the forest.)

Onomatopoeia Verbs in Spanish

Onomatopoeia can be expressed in verbs, too.

For example, think about how the onomatopoeia “bang” can be a verb and a sound in English. Bang can be the sound of items colliding, and someone can also bang their head on a cabinet.

It’s important to note that not all of these verbs are derived from a sound. So they can’t be used as onomatopoeia like they might in English, but they describe them.

SpanishEnglishExample
Chapotear To splashLos niños disfrutaban de chapotear en los charcos después de la lluvia.

(The children enjoyed splashing in the puddles after the rain.)
Chasquear To snap or clickAl chasquear los dedos, llamó la atención de todos en la sala.

(Snapping his fingers, he caught the attention of everyone in the room.)
Chirriar To squeak or screechEl viejo carro chirrió al dar vuelta en la esquina.

(The old car squeaked as it turned the corner.)
Chispear To sizzle or crackleDespués de la lluvia, las gotas comenzaron a chispear en el suelo.

(After the rain, the drops began to sizzle on the ground.)
Chocar To collide or crashLos autos en la intersección empezaron a chocar debido a la confusión.

(Cars at the intersection began to crash due to confusion.)
Crujir To creak or crunchEl suelo de madera vieja comenzó a crujir con cada paso.

(The old wooden floor began to creak with each step.)
Estallar To explode or burstEl globo inflado finalmente empezó a estallar con un sonido sorprendente.

(The inflated balloon finally began to burst with a surprising sound.)
Gemir To moan or groanEl viento hizo gemir las puertas en la noche.

(The wind made the doors moan in the night.)
Gorjear To chirpLos pájaros en la primavera gorjeaban alegremente en los árboles.

(The birds in the spring chirped happily in the trees.)
Gruñir To growl or grumbleEl perro gruñó al ver a un extraño acercarse.

(The dog growled as he saw a stranger approaching.)
Ladrar To barkLos perros en el vecindario empezaron a ladrar al pasar un extraño.

(Dogs in the neighborhood started barking when a stranger passed by.)
Resoplar To snort, puffDespués de correr, el atleta empezó a resoplar para recuperar el aliento.

(After running, the athlete began to puff to catch his breath.)
Retumbar To rumbleEl trueno comenzó a retumbar en el cielo tormentoso.

(Thunder began to rumble in the stormy sky.)
Rugir To roarLa tormenta hizo que el viento rugiera a través de los árboles.

(The storm caused the wind to roar through the trees.)
Silbar To whistleEl viento hizo silbar las hojas en el bosque.

(The wind made the leaves whistle in the forest.)
Soplar To blowEl viento sopló fuerte hasta hacer que las hojas volaran por el aire.

(The strong wind blew until it made the leaves fly through the air.)
Susurrar To whisper or murmurEn la reunión, la gente empezó a susurrar sobre lo ocurrido.

(At the meeting, people began to whisper about what had happened.)
Toser To coughDespués de inhalar polvo, empezó a toser con fuerza.

(After inhaling dust, he began to cough forcefully.)
Tronar To thunder or crackLos fuegos artificiales hicieron un estruendoso tronar en la noche.

(The fireworks made a thunderous "crack" in the night.)
Zumbar To buzzEn el jardín, las abejas empezaron a zumbar alrededor de las flores.

(In the garden, bees began to buzz around the flowers.)

Where to Find Onomatopoeia in Spanish

  • Children’s books. Think back to the books you used to read as a kid and you’ll instantly remember tons of onomatopoeia in your native language. Find some in Spanish and you’ll learn just as many!
  • Songs. Many Spanish songs use onomatopoeia. If you listen to enough, you’re bound to come across several commonly used ones.
  • Comic books are filled with onomatopoeia. Try these classics to get started:

“Chistes para siempre: Cuentos graciosos y humor gráfico para reír sin parar” (“Jokes Forever: Funny Stories and Graphic Humor to Laugh Without Stopping”)

“10 años con Mafalda” (“10 Years with Mafalda”)

“Yakuza Girl” volume one (Spanish Edition)

 

Knowing onomatopoeia in Spanish will help you better understand native content and add some excitement to your studies.

From children’s books to Spanish sitcoms, you’ll find tons of these fun little words and many more.

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