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Onomatopoeia 001 9181.jpg

"Yawn! You see, I say 'yawn' because when I actually yawn, you don't get it."
Jordan, Scrubs

A character will perform an action and say the onomatopoeia for that action while doing so, or alternately say the onomatopoeia in place of said action.

Often done to make a character seem cuter. Can sometimes make said character annoying. Also sometimes used sarcastically, especially with sound effects like "yawn" or "clap".

There are many words that are commonly used this way. For example:

  • yawn
  • clap
  • knock
  • GASP
  • groan
  • sigh
  • tap
  • cough
  • dot dot dot
  • saying the sound effect for either falling or hitting the ground when another character says something stupid.
  • saying "bonk" or something equivalent when hit on the head.
  • saying "beep" or some other sound effect when pushing a button.
  • saying, or more likely, yelling, "bam", "bang", or "boom" when firing a gun.
  • "Crickets" to indicate silence, particularly of the awkward type.

The Japanese also have many common words as well as some for actions that don't make sound.

  • jii/jiin (the sound effect for staring)
  • pita (the sound effect for stopping walking)
  • (the sound effect for shock)
  • small cute girls may sometimes say "niko-niko" (grinning) when they smile, or the alternate "nipa"
  • shii--n (the "sound" of silence)
  • pachi pachi (clapping)
  • kaa (sunshine)

See Unsound Effect for the reverse trope, and Reading the Stage Directions Out Loud for a related one.

Examples of Saying Sound Effects Out Loud include:



  • Sakigake Cromartie Koukou: Waroom! Waroooom-waroooom! Bapbapbapbapbapbapbapbap-chika! Wroooom!!! Bapbapbapbapbap Warooom!!! Bapbapbapbapbapbap. Uing-uing-uing Pachu!!! Che-kyuuuuuuuuuuu!!!
  • Konata of Lucky Star does this all the time.
    • And in the OVA, Patty gets annoyed (more like in despair) that Minami's dog's paw pads don't go "puni puni".
    • Akira also gets in on it, whether she's being cutesy (episode 2) or not (episode 21).
    • Konata may enjoy doing this, but it would seem she doesn't always appreciate when people reciprocate. In one episode, Kagami lends Konata a book, trying to spark her interest in something other than manga. She then proceeds to watch Konata as she reads, all the while going "Staaaarrrrrrrreeeeeee." in the English dub, and "Jiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii" in the original Japanese.
  • The Hamsters from Hamtaro say "Hiff Hiff" when sniffing something and "Badabadabada" when running.
    • They have a lot more sound effects than that. Pretty much every sound effect is said out loud.
  • One of the easiest ways to tell when Tsunetsuki has entered the scene, assuming you don't see her peeking out of somewhere, is if you hear a low and constant "jiiiii" sound, which is the Japanese onomatopoeia for staring (as mentioned above).
    • Permeates Sayonara, Zetsubou-sensei. The voices that do it don't seem to have anything to do with the rest of the characters (it's not like a character is actually saying them), and they seem rather bored with it all.
  • In an episode of One Piece, Kaku narrated his own incredulous Jaw Drop. The appropriate Japanese sound effect is something like "gabiin".
    • Also the security camera snails of Enies Lobby, staring with 'jii--'.
  • During the trip to Okinawa, Tomo says "Boom, boom!" ("Clap, clap!" in the sub; "Ban, ban!" in the original) in front the main hall of Shurijo Castle as a show of appreciation.
    • In "Pool, Pool, Pool!", when teasing Yomi about being (supposedly) fat, she says "'Jiggle jiggle!' Hey, you made a jiggling noise!"
    • It doesn't come across in the dub, but in the sub, when Tomo smells sataa andagi, she says "Sniff, sniff, sniff" etc.; the original Japanese has her saying "Kun, kun, kun, kun" etc..
  • Fai from Tsubasa does this often - he can't whistle, so he just says "Hyuu" all the time. It annoys the heck out of Kurogane. Ironically, he can actually whistle.
  • Rika Furude from Higurashi no Naku Koro ni says "pachi pachi", which is Japanese for "clap clap". She does something similar when talking about kitties. However, her most famous demonstration of this trope is her Catch Phrase "Nii-pah~!"
  • Death Note L does this once in the anime, and also in the first live action movie. He's making a point with it, though.
  • .hack Sora does this whenever he does something dramatic, like jumping off a tall structure ("Boing!"). Whether he's doing this to whittle down people's nerves or if he's just being the 12-year-old boy that he is is unclear.
  • In episode 13 of Axis Powers Hetalia, Russia punctuates his staring at Japan by cheerfully intoning "Jiii!". Three times in a row. Also, Italy is fond of waving white flags and saying, "pata pata pata pata!" which is a flapping noise, as well as squishing kitties' paws and going, "puni puni puni puni," which is a squishy noise.
    • In the English dub, France smacks Austria on the head repeatedly while saying "smack smack smack smack."
  • Honey does this in the first episode of Ouran High School Host Club. "Poke poke?"
  • In one of Slayers Evolution-Rs filler episodes, Pokota gets a dramatic "death scene" after being run over by a cart. His last words: "My casting was... too late. Gurk." The fact that he pronounces the last word as "gaaku" only makes it better.
  • In Hayate the Combat Butler, whenever someone (usually Hayate himself) says or does something awkward, sometimes everyone else in the room will stare unimpressed, complete with vocalised 'jiin' Unsound Effect.
  • A few times in Rosario to Vampire, Mizore will say 'jiii' when staring at Tsukune from one of her many hiding places (or in plain view of everyone, like when she joins the core Nakama group). Amusingly, her mother does the same thing in her introduction.
  • Kururu of Keroro Gunsou says "Pochi!" (meaning *push*) whenever he presses a button.
  • In The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya Tsuruya says "nyoro", which is one of the Japanese words for "tilde" or "~". In informal written Japanese the tilde can be used as an extension of a syllable, giving it a drawn out, sing-song or playful pronunciation. This Verbal Tic of hers reached memetic status and even spawned a spinoff, Nyoron Churuya San.
  • Done a lot in Excel Saga. It is pretty common to see characters shouting "Gasp!" or "Shocked!".
  • Since Ikaros from Sora no Otoshimono was short-changed in the emotional department, it's very difficult to smile. When Tomoki tries to teach her how to do so, she says 'Niyabi' with a perfectly straight face. Hilarity ensues.
  • An episode of Seitokai Yakuindomo has Shino, Aria, and Suzu do this simultaneously to Tsuda as he tries to write an essay for the school paper. He is understandably annoyed.
  • Kotetsu Kaburagi from Tiger and Bunny has no shame in speaking in onomatopoeia on public radio.

 Kotetsu: ... And I went flying, like WHOOSH!, and then I was all BOOM and BANG!

  • To emphasize his quirky manga genius ways, Eiji Niizuma of Bakuman。 does this while working.

Comic Books

  • In The DCU there's a particularly creepy gun-toting villain named Onomatopoeia who actually speaks in nothing but those noises, aside from saying his own name once. Obviously, the last word you would ever want to hear coming from his mouth is "Blam," as some of his victims found out the hard way. Probably the only time this trope is used dead seriously. And he does this no matter the situation; even after using the bathroom, he says "Flussssh."
  • The new Blue Beetle does this sometimes. Notable in a recent story from a DC holiday special about a family of crooks where the first crook is punched out by Dan Garrett (the first Blue Beetle) and the second punched out by Ted Kord, each with the appropriate comic book sound effect. When it gets to Jaime Reyes (the third Blue Beetle) and he punches out his crook, he actually says the sound effect.
  • Hellboy does this in the comics from time to time, usually when he gets a bit too carried away beating up some monster.
  • Deadpool loves doing this.

  Deadpool: Patoom! Spaflunk! Shafwingg! Fwoosh! Thwump! Hmph. I was saying my sound effects out loud, wasn't I? Sfachangg! Okay. Stop that.

  • The usual sound effect for Jubilee's fireworks was "Paf." There was one occasion when she cast some of them to provide light in a dark area, saying, "Let me 'Paf' some light on the subject!"



 Max Shreck: "Does it really matter who's mayor?"

Bruce Wayne: "It does to me."

Max Shreck: "Yawn."


 Mr. Krabbs: "You've got to keep a sharp eye out for paying customers!"

Squidward: "Yawn."

  • In the 2011 The Muppets movie, the villain of the piece never actually laughs maniacally. He instead says "Maniacal laugh. Maniacal laugh. Maniacal laugh." in a rather flat sinister tone. Like pretty much everything else in the movie, this gets a lampshade hung on it at some point.
  • In FFVII: Advent Children Complete, during the extended highway chase, when Reno and Rude have their Big Damn Gunship moment, Loz decides to fight back, by lifting his motorcycle and mounting one foot on his buddy's so that his front-facing machine guns are in the air, and starts wailing on the attacking chopper, all while shouting: "Ba- Bang! Babababababang Bang BANG!"
  • Cars: Lightning McQueen's Catch Phrase "Kachow!"


  • Gaspode the talking dog from Discworld says "bark," "whine", "woof", and "growl" instead of actually doing so.

  It could have been worse, squire. I could have said "meow".

  • A variation is found in The Phantom Tollbooth. Milo wants to get into the Soundkeeper's fortress. Since sound doesn't exist in the Valley of Sound at the moment, he must write "knock knock" on a slip of paper and tuck it under the door. Of course, since sound DOES exist within the fortress, the Soundkeeper would've heard it even if he didn't, but it's still a cute gag.
  • One of the short mysteries in the Clue book series opens with Professor Plum doing this while tinkering about with what he thinks is his intelligence multiplier (it's not, actually).

Live Action TV

  • In Living Color: "Oh my, we seem to be fresh out of business cards. Hold on... lemme check..."

 *Searches pockets for 3 seconds*

BAM!!!!!! *Business card in the face*


 Xander: Have you seen Ampata?

Willow: * makes indistinct movement while wearing thick fur coat*

Xander: What was that?

Willow: I shrugged.

Xander: Next time you should probably say "shrug." * leaves*

Willow: "Sigh."

    • Willow does this quite a bit. In the next episode she said "gulp" and in the one after that, it was "grr"
    • Xander, upon seeing the insane contraption of a tower that will claim Buffy's life: "Shpedoinkle!"
    • Xander, brushed off by a distracted Buffy when he tries asking her out, stands there and lets out a long descending whistle and a crash noise, mimicking the sound of Wile E. Coyote falling off a cliff.
  • One bit on Late Night With Conan O'Brien on the Academy Awards nominations showed a clip from Spider-Man (which was up for Best Sound Effects Editing) with all the sounds clearly being vocalized by some guy, ending with him actually saying "Grab!" as Spidey grabs Mary Jane.
    • Another "Late Night" bit had a a fake Geraldo Rivera on the TV where the picture is real but the lips are moved by someone else. "Geraldo" is trying to look like a hero in the middle of a warzone in Afghanistan, and Conan is skeptical as he can't see any fighting. "Geraldo" starts to make noises like "kaboom" and "ratatat" to try to convince Conan, but Conan points out he is making those noises with his mouth. "Geraldo" replies "well... they have very primitive technology here, Conan."
  • Say no more, wink, wink, nudge, nudge.
    • Howls of derisive laughter, Bruce.
  • Invoked on Whose Line Is It Anyway? with the game Sound Effects, where one offscreen player makes the sounds to go with whatever the onscreen player is acting out. These have ranged from remarkably good (Archie Hahn in the UK series), to this trope played straight (Ryan Stiles going "squeaky squeaky" instead of say, "eeeek") to So Bad It's Good (audience members going "eeeeaaooouuooouughh" no matter what was happening.)
    • AOOGA.
  • Power Rangers SPD episode 11 featured the Rangers yelling "Battle Cry!" as they piloted their Megazord into battle.
  • The Muppet Show: Trudge trudge
  • Repeatedly on Thirty Rock. 'Gasp', 'Sigh', even with non-sounds, like 'Twist!'
  • The Vampire Diaries has Damon taunting his brother Stefan about why he has returned to their hometown.

 Damon: "That's for me to know, and you to dot dot dot."

  • A second season episode of The Good Wife has the Florricks attending an event on which an incomprehensible poem is performed. More than half of the words of the poem demonstrate this trope.
  • A regular feature of the Wayne's World sketches from Saturday Night Live was Wayne and Garth providing the “diddly-doop, diddly-doop” sound effects for a Dream Sequence.
  • On at least two occasions, the device that makes the Big Wheel beep on The Price Is Right has malfunctioned. As a result, Bob had the audience shout "beep beep beep" as it spun.
  • An ad for the Food Network show The Secret Life Of... had host Jim O'Connor referring to his show as "The Secret Life Of Dot Dot Dot."
  • The X-Files had a few bleeped-out instances of swearing in Jose Chung's "From Outer Space" that, because of the Rashomon style, were done as this trope

  Detective Manners: Well that's a dead bleepin' alien if I ever bleepin' saw one.

  • When The WB show Zoe Duncan Jack and Jane was renamed Zoe... it ws actually referred to in commercials and whatnot as "Zoe dot dot dot."
  • In one of the many Red Dwarf episodes where the ship is threatening to explode, Cat enters the room where Rimmer and Lister are talking to Holly. Referring to the Red Alert sirens audible in the background, he says:

  "Hey guys, I think they're playing our tune, the Ahwooga Waltz! Anyone care to join me in a quickstep?"

    • In an earlier episode, the siren breaks, forcing Holly to say "Awooga, awooga, abandon ship!"
  • In Jim Henson's The Tale of the Bunny Picnic, the dog — who is the main villain — had a habit of doing this.


  • Frank Zappa's album Waka Jawaka is named after a popular guitar riff in rock music at that time.
  • Jack Black frequently "sings" guitar licks to fill out bridges in some Tenacious D songs ("Tribute" being only one example).
  • The Who originally wanted to have a cello section in their song A Quick One While He's Away...Unfortunately they didn't have the budget to actually get a cellist so, when the appropriate section of the song came up, the band just sang the word "cello" to the tune of the music.
  • In "Weird Al" Yankovic's "Smells Like Nirvana", the first bridge (after the chorus) is punctuated with "burp" and "boing".
  • Josh Turner sings "Ssssssss... bang." at the end of "Firecracker".
  • Jerry Joseph & Wally Ingram's cover of Paper Planes, changes the chorus to the sung: "All I wanna do is bang bang bang bang, ka-ching, and take your money."
  • Serge Gainsbourg and Brigitte Bardot's "Comic Strip". SHEBAM! POW! BLOP! WIZZ!

Newspaper Comics

  • Calvin and Hobbes:
    • Scientific progress goes "boink?"
    • It's Stupendous Man! KAPWINGGG!
  • Beetle Bailey sometimes has the soldiers yelling shooting sound effects in simulated combat.


  • Bluebottle from The Goon Show often reads his sound effects aloud, along with his stage directions.
  • Tony Blair in Dead Ringers, especially the radio version.


  • In the musical The Frogs, there is the Travel Song, which has the chorus Dionysos and Xanthias walk and what they do and what they encounter. So the song has phrases like: "Walk walk trudge trudge slog slog travel travel" and "Pant pant puff puff drip drip dawdle dawdle" and my personal favorite, "Kvetch."
  • In the musical Into the Woods, when the Witch describes what a giant can do to an ordinary human, she says "Boom! Crunch." at the same time as the orchestra does actual sound effects for her.

Video Games

  • In Kingdom of Loathing, your character imitates certain ranged weapons while firing them, leading to combat messages like "You point at your enemy and say 'Pew pew pew!' Then you remember you have an actual gun, so you just shoot them."
  • In Disgaea Hour of Darkness, in her introductory chapter Flonne provides her own sound effects... while sneaking around Laharl's castle. "Woosh! Nin nin nin nin..."
  • As with the television Buffy examples, the video game has Buffy, exasperated with the Scooby Gang's none-too-subtle hints that they'd like to go to the Bronze, actually say aloud, "Audible sigh..."
  • In Gears of War, the aptly named Boomer enemies will say 'BOOM' in a deep, menacing voice before firing their grenade (rocket?) launchers at the player.
  • Final Fantasy IV (the US Final Fantasy 2 release) had Rydia scream "Screeeam!" at one point.
  • Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Deadpool again. "Bang! Bang Bang Bang! Bang Bang Bang Bang!"
  • One or more of the web-spinners in Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions will exclaim "BOP!" in the middle of combat.
  • In Wind Waker, Salvatore tries to increase the immersion of his battleship minigame by producing the sound effects himself: "Spliiish. Spliiish. Ka-boooom!" The Japanese version had a different voice actor, but the principle is the same.
  • One of the defective turrets in Portal 2 being inspected can't fire bullets so he tries to fake it by saying "Uh, blam! Blam blam blam!"
  • A skull cut from Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary would have replaced the sound effects with 343 Industries employees saying them out loud.
  • The best weapon in Dead Space 2 is a foam finger gun. When you fire the primary attack, Isaac says "BANG! BANG!". When you fire the secondary attack, Isaac says "PEWPEWPEW!" It is exactly as hilarious as you are imagining.

Web Comics

  • Done in Books Don't Work Here notably in this one
  • Subverted or, um, something in Homestuck with Terezi's "PCHOOOOO". John thought she "was just making a little rocket noise or something", but it turns out it's actually the code for the rocket pack.
    • Later played straight with Gamzee: he both inserts honks in his chat and speech, and later, after going into a Slasher Killer mode, was the first confirmation of characters using their typing quirks in speech, speaking lines either quietly or shouting.
  • Done in this Sluggy Freelance strip.
    • And again in this one
    • Not to forget Torg's bad-guy alert, which is subsequently lampshaded by one of the other characters:

  I think he was saying "bad-guy alert", I don't think he has a bad-guy alert.

  • Inverted in this episode of Mountain Time when a guy mistakes the intro to a knock-knock joke for an actual knock on the door.
  • The easily amused Larxene made her own sound effects during the invasion of FOX in Ansem Retort. Ansem called her out on it...and then for making one up.

 Larxene: Ching-battle!

Ansem: Okay, that's so not a sound effect.


 Delaine: DON'T CORRECT ME ON MY GODDAMN-- * shlunk*

Both: * look down* "Shlunk"?

Kyran: * holds up stabbed hand* Whoopsies.

  • Skull attempting to eavesdrop on phone conversations.

 Brent: "Skull, hang up the phone!" * CLICK*

Brent: "... Did you just say 'click'?"

Skull: "Dial-Toooooone"


 Xykon: Gosh, minions, don't let any of those big scary adventurers touch my poor little gate, located to my left with significantly less guards than the rest of the room. Just a touch would destroy it. Wink, wink.

Redcloak: Sir, I hardly think that is going to accomplish anything.

Xykon: You'd be surprised.

Redcloak: Sir, you actually said the words, "wink, wink." I mean--


Web Original


 Deadpool: Poof! What did that low-budget sound effect mean?


 Metal Jason: Show me your moves. Falcon Kick!

Sonic: Looks like we're blasting off again! Twinkle.


Western Animation

  • Super Bwoing of the Super6 - "ZIP, ZAM, ZOWIE and SWOOOSH!" — CLICK!
  • Harvey's secretary in Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law once said "slight retch" while talking over the intercom.
    • And all those times Harvey slumps and says "sigh..."
    • And anytime Mentok does his "Bweeop!" mindtakery.
    • And Birdgirl/Judy's tendency to sound out sound effects.
    • "I'll bite you on the ass... growl."
  • Tigger from Disney's version of Winnie the Pooh shouts "Gasp!" a lot.
  • King of the Hill: Dale Gribble likes to say "Shi Shaw!" or some variant when doing anything particularly action-based. It has become something of a catchphrase of his.
  • Both of The Angry Beavers used to say "dun dun dun dramatic reverb", whenever something was seemingly dramatic.
    • Also, in the episode where Dagget is training to be a ninja, he calls out his attack, the Silent Wind of Doom, whoosh!
  • Plankton from SpongeBob SquarePants does this in place of Audible Sharpness when he presents Spongebob with a golden spatula. "Shing! Sparkle sparkle."
    • He also GASPS during another episode.
  • Transformers has Warpath, a tank Autobot with a habit of saying things like 'BLAM' and 'POW', for no apparent reason. Also may count as a weird speech defect, which isn't uncommon in the Autobots.
  • In Garfield and Friends, The US Acres cast is visited by people from, as everyone puts it, "Da dum! The network." Even the network executive's card lists him as being from "Da dum! The Network".
  • Near the beginning of the Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy episode "Fa-la-la-la-Ed", the Eds indulge in this when Ed and Eddy are playing around in Edd's parents' room.

 Eddy: Stroke! Stroke! Stroke!

Ed: My turn! Boing!

Eddy: Smack!

Ed: Whoosh!

Edd: Pant! Pant! Pant! Pant!

  • "Range 42. Fire. BANG!"
  • The people behind Frisky Dingo and Archer are fond of this. Boosh! is a well known one (it's the sound of laser guns being fired).
    • Archer ramps up the adult-ness by repeatedly using "Sploosh!" as the spoken-word indicator for female arousal (often accompanied by a groin-height splashing gesture).
  • In the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Make'Em Laugh", a comedian introduces himself as "Smilin' Shecky Rimshot! Ba-doom-boom!" He's actually The Joker.
  • The Simpsons have the time-honored "yoink!"

 Homer: Dial tone?

  • It was more common during the early Fleischer era, but Popeye often did this when he let Bluto have it (after eating spinach of course).

 "Oh yeah? WHAM!!"

  • A Porky Pig short had him contending with Sylvester and group of alley cats. At one point when they're thrown out (again):

 Sylvester: Are we men, or are we mice?

(unnamed smallest cat): I like cheese!

Sylvester (while smacking the other cat): SMACK!


 Alfe (upon breaking the magic clock): SMASH!


 Rainbow Dash: DUN DUN DUNNNNN!


 Mr. Turner: Those gasping mice are right!

  • In "Getting to Paris is Hard" on Robot Chicken, Spencer walks away in anger saying "frustrated grunt."
  • The Invader Zim Episode, "Backseat Drivers from Beyond the Stars": After forcing Dib out of Tak's ship, Zim starts gloating:

 Dib: No, you've got to let me back in!

Zim: It's over, Dib! Dun dun DUUUN!

  • In one episode of Dan Vs., Dan attempts to mimic the phone breaking up by saying crackle and buzz.

 Dan: WHAT'S THAT? You're breaking up! Crackle, crackle! Buzz!

Elise: You're not even making good noises. You're just saying crackle, and buzz!

Dan: Crackle! Buzz! *hangs up*


Real Life

  • Often done by directors such as Graeme Harper when filming.
  • Brian Blessed claims to have spoiled a take in Flash Gordon doing this.
  • Similar case in Once Upon a Time In Mexico - they ran out of 'real' gun props, decided to use fake ones with the gunshots and muzzle flash added in post-production, and Antonio Banderas messed up a take or two by going "pchoo pchoo pchoo" while he mimed firing them.
  • Internet phrases (such as lol, rofl, and lmao) do this because of the lack of sound between two typing parties. Add a webcam to the chat and Hilarity Ensues as you are torn between typing out that you laughed at a joke when your conversation buddy clearly sees that you merely huffed. Or didn't even crack a smile. This leads to amusing anecdotes when people who are used to being online start saying things like "burb" (brb) when going on break at work.
    • Or worse, people sitting behind computers in the same room chatting with each other online, typing LOL in dead silence, without so much as looking up.
  • Emeril Lagasse's "BAM!"
  • Several actors filming the Star Wars prequels had to be told not to make lightsaber noises with their mouths.
  • Basketball players and spectators will often say "swoosh!" after a basket is made that hits "nothing but net."
  • Children are prone to this, especially during imaginative play.