Grammar Guide
Language Basics
Onomatopoeia in Spanish

Onomatopoeia in Spanish

Quick Answer

An onomatopeya (onomatopoeia) is a word that sounds like the noise it refers to. For example, fu (hiss) imitates the sound an angry cat makes.

Onomatopoeia

You may have heard that animals make different sounds in different languages. ¡Eso no es cierto! (That's not true!) The truth is that people interpret sounds differently depending on the language they speak. The sounds themselves don't change! Speakers of Spanish and English often interpret the same sound in different ways, so the onomatopoeia for common sounds often differ.

Let's take a look at some examples!

Animal Onomatopoeia

SoundSpanish OnomatopoeiaEnglish Onomatopoeia
caballo (horse)
hiii
neigh
cerdo (pig)
oenc
oink
gallina (chicken)
co co co
buck-buck-ba-gock
gallo (rooster)
quiquiriquí
cock-a-doodle-doo
gato (cat)
miau
meow
grillo (cricket)
cri cri
chirp chirp
pavo (turkey)
gluglú
gobble gobble
perro (dog)
guau guau
woof woof or arf arf
polluelo (chick)
pío pío
cheep cheep
oveja (sheep)
beee
baa
rana (frog
croac
ribbit
vaca (cow)
muuu
moo

rooster

Other Onomatopoeia

SoundSpanish OnomatopoeiaEnglish Onomatopoeia
ametralladora (machine gun)
ra-ta-tá
rat-a-tat
asco (disgust)puaj o guácalaew o yuck
beso (kiss)
mua
mwah or smack
campana (bell)talán talán or tan tanding dong
chasquido (snap)chaso zassnap
claxon (horn)
piii
honk or beep
comer algo rico (eating something delicious)
ñam ñam
yum yum
corneta (trumpet)
tu ru rú
tan-ta-ra-ta
estornudo (sneeze)
achís
achoo
explosión o choque (explosion or crash)pum o cataplumboom or crash
golpe contra el agua (splash)paf or zassplash
golpe contra el suelo (hitting the ground)plaf o cloncboom or crash
tambor (drum)
tantarán
dumdadum

trumpet