onomatope

This is a list of the Japanese onomatopoeia, or onomatope, that I’ve used in my 2020 verses. Japanese language has countless ideophones—phonomimes (giseigo 擬声語), phenomimes (gitaigo 擬態語), psychomimes (gijōgo 擬情語), etc.—all of which infuse speech with sounds, emotions, and other qualities.

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aya-fuya あやふや when things cannot be made certain; when things are ambiguous and a decision cannot be made

banbarako ばんばらこ conveys a state of disorder; things that are slapdashedly strewn about

bashan ばしゃん the sound of hitting water’s surface with great force; also used for the sound of glass falling over/shattering; similar to pashan

buku-buku ぶくぶく the sound or state of bubbles forming with vigor one after the next; the sound or state of being plunged under water then rising to the surface; the sound of swishing liquid in one’s mouth, or liquid being swished about in general; also refers to something/someone pleasantly plump, and a voice that is difficult to hear (also butsu-butsu in the last case)

bun-bun ぶんぶん the sound of humming, whirring, or high-pitched buzzing

bu-ru-ru ぶるる the sound of a horse exhaling a deep fluttering breath through its nostrils; also the sound one makes when they are cold (brrr)

buu ぶー a thick, deep sound, such as a steam whistle or flatulence; the sound of a buzzer when one answers a question incorrectly; one’s voice when one expresses discontent (i.e., booing)

chapu-chapu ちゃぷちゃぷ the sound of something being immerse in liquid; splish-splashing sound, such as feet stomping in puddles

charari  ちゃらり also charari-charari, the high-pitched sound of small, thin pieces of metal bumping or rubbing together

chii-chii ちーちー The call of small birds (e.g., sparrow: chii-chii pappa, warbling white-eye [mejiro]: chu-chii-chii-chii), or cry of insects; also the high-pitched sound of hot water coming to a boil; also conveys a trait of stinginess, niggardliness (kechi-kechi)

chin ちん the high-pitched sound of somthing hard, such as metal, striking together once; also the sound of a bell or chime, like that of a microwave

daku-boku だくぼく used for paths and other surfaces that are not flat and smooth but uneven or rugged/ragged; also deko-boko or dakkuri-bokkuri

doba-doba どばどば something, particualrly liquid, expelled continuously in large quantities and with considerable force

dosha-dosha どしゃどしゃ The sound of rain pouring heavily, fiercly.

etchira-otchira えっちらおっちら represents walking with some difficulty, or (at last) walking after some time, e.g., when carrying something heavy, or when tired; also used for the way one might walk in old age

fukura-fukura ふくらふくら conveys a charmingly swollen or plump build (body), eyes, etc.

gabu-gabu がぶがぶ the sound of drinking something eagerly, as though devouring it

gachi-gachi がちがち the sound of something hard striking together repeatedly; also represents shivering when cold, or something/someone terribly stiff or rigid

gaji-gaji がじがじ the sound or act of vigorously chomping down on or chewing something; being continuously vexed or in pain; shivering as if chilled to the bone

gasa-gasa がさがさ the sound of something thin and dry rustling together; something parched and ragged; ruffled and ill at ease; having little substance

gatan がたん the sound of something heavy falling and hitting the ground or something hard below

geppu げっぷ the sound of air being expelled from the stomach through the mouth (i.e., belch).

goro-goro ごろごろ the sound of thunder, a stomach rumbling, or a cat purring; also the sound/scene of something heavy rolling; lazily lying about, not working; also expresses the presence of a foreign substance, such as grit in one’s eye

gureri ぐれり expressing something that undergoes a sudden change, for example the sky/clouds; also garari

gutsu-gutsu ぐつぐつ the sound of somthing simmering over high heat

guu-guu ぐーぐー the sound of a loud snore; also the sound of a rumbling stomach; also used for positive energy and feelings

gyutto ぎゅっと or simply gyu‘, the act of compressing, embracing, or squeezing something with considerable strength

hihiin ひひーん The sound of a horse whinnying

hono-bono ほのぼの 

hyuu ひゅー the sound of wind blowing; can also be used for flutes and steam whistles; stronger wind can be expressed with hyuu-hyuu, byuu-byuu, pyuu-pyuu

inguri-chinguri いんぐりちんぐり something uneven, not well-balanced; weaving, meandering, winding

ita-ta いたた this is a variation of the adjective itai (painful); this is often drawn out, ita-ta-ta-ta or ite-te-te-te

jaran じゃらん the sound of something hard like metal striking against each other and momentarily making a loud noise

kerori けろり used to convey something with an unfixed nature, like a sky that has gone from cloudy to clear; also used to express indifference, and situations that have undergone change

kii-kii きーきー the sound of a high-pitched, shrill voice, like that of a bat or sandpiper; also used for other high-pitched sounds, e.g., hard things chafing against each other

kune-kune くねくね swaying to the left and right; can be used in reference to roads and rivers, snakes, cats’ tails, among other things

majira-majira まじらまじら refers to the act of staring at something/someone without averting the eyes

nikkori にっこり also nikori and niko-niko, this expresses a happy smile or broad grin

non-non のんのん 

nyaa-nya にゃーにゃ the sound of a cat mewing; also nyan-nyan

odo-odo おどおど expresses of state nervousness or apprehensiveness; unsure about what to; unsure and lacking in confidence

oro-oro おろおろ expresses unsureness about what to do; loss of peace of mind

pachi-pachi ぱちぱち the sound of small, sharp sounds reverberating (such as tapping or clicking); the sound of fire crackling and popping; the sound of clapping; the sound of a camera shutter closing repeatedly; also can refer to eyelashes fluttering, elaborate patterns/markings, and tight-fitting clothing

papparapaa ぱっぱらぱー the bright, high-pitched sound of a trumpet; also represents one who is carefree and doesn’t think deeply on things; also apparapaa あっぱらぱー 

pii-poo-pii-poo ぴーぽーぴーぽー the sound of an ambulance’s siren; compare uu-uu

pocha-pocha ぽちゃぽちゃ the sound of water moving about and splashing

poki’ ぽきっ the sound of something thin breaking or popping lightly; boki’ is the sound of something much thicker breaking with a good deal of force

pokkari ぽっかり the quality of one’s eyes or mouth, or a hole being wide open; without a care; a pleasant, warm feeling; floating lightly on the water’s surface or in the sky

pushu’ ぷしゅっ the sound of air or liquid emitting with great force, as when one opens a can of beer, or a tire is punctured

run-run るんるん expresses buoyancy, cheer, or exhilaration after an emotional release or disentanglement; happy enough want to hum a tune

saa’ さーっ conveys a motion or action that takes place in a brief moment; variations of this include sa’ さっ and sasa’ ささっ

saku-saku さくさく the sound of stepping on soft earth, sand, snow, frost, etc.; also the sound of repeated cutting, chopping, biting, etc.

san-san さんさん(燦燦 粲粲 璨璨)something vivid and beautiful; brilliantly shining

sappari さっぱり

shaa し ゃー the sound of liquid flowing down lightly, swiftly.

shito-shito しとしと the sound of rain falling softly

shū-shū しゅーしゅー

suu’ すーっ the sound of wind (or one’s breath) softly blowing; this is also used to describe something smooth and straight (like a nose), things quietly changing, and soft, cool, or relaxed, feelings

taka-taka たかたか 

to-to-ton とととん the sound of tapping/striking something repeatedly; also the sound of running lightly

tsuya-tsuya つやつや something beautiful for its sheen/luster; something moist and supple; also used for things that are complete/absolute (in both positive and negative contexts); taking in things carefully; falling into a deep sleep

uha-uha うはうは 

uiin ういーん the humming, whizzing, droning sounds made by machines in operation

uu-uu うーうー the sound of a patrol car or fire engine siren (compare pii-poo-pii-poo); also the sound of an animal growling

wacha-wacha わちゃわちゃ the sound of two or more people chattering, jabbering, prattling.

waku-waku わくわく

yurara ゆらら 

yattoko-dokkoi やっとこどっこい expresses an action is done to the maximum limit

zoku-zoku ぞくぞく shivering from chills or nervousness; the sound of carving or cutting into something with force

zuta-boro ずたぼろ a combination of zuta-zuta ずたずた (in pieces/shreds) and boro-boro ぼろぼろ (tattered, ragged), this expresses the state of something being cut and torn to shreds, something severely damaged


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