Monday, April 4, 2016

N is for Noise (Sounds)

Ana researches words to describe sounds and voices.

From Audra Wolowiec’s blog, Lineforms:
Bang, bark, beep, bellow, blare, blast, bleat, bong, boom, bray, buzz, cackle, cheep, chime, clack, clank, clap, clatter, clink, cluck, clunk, crack, crackle, crash, creak, dingdong, drop, drumming, fizz, glug, gnashing, gobble, grating, growl, grumble, gurgle, hiss, hoot, howl, hum, jingle, jangle, kachink, knock, mew, moan, mod, murmur, neigh, patter, peal, peep, pop, power, pounding, pulsing, purr, put-put, rap, rat-a-tat, rattle, ring, rippling, roar, rumble, rushing, rustle, scream, scrunch, shriek, sizzle, slam, snap, snarl, snort, splash, sputter, squawk, squeal, squish, stamp, swish, swoosh, tap, tattoo, tearing, throb, thud, thump, thunder, tick, tick-tock, tinkle, toot, trill, twang, twitter, wail, wheeze, whine, whir, whisper, yap, yelp, zap.

From Writinghelpers: 55 Words to Describe Someone’s Voice
   adenoidal (adj): if someone’s voice is adenoidal, some of the sound seems to come through their nose
   appealing (adj): an appealing look/voice shows that you want help, approval, or agreement
   breathy (adj): with loud breathing noises
   brittle (adj): if you speak in a brittle voice, you sound as if you are about to cry
   croaky (adj): if someone’s voice sounds croaky, they speak in a low, rough voice that sounds as if they have a sore throat
   dead (adj): if someone’s eyes or voice are dead, they feel or show no emotion
   disembodied (adj): a disembodied voice comes from someone who you cannot see
   flat (adj): spoken in a voice that does not go up and down; this word is often used for describing the speech of people from a particular region
   fruity (adj): a fruity voice or laugh is deep and strong in a pleasant way
   grating (adj): a grating voice, laugh, or sound is unpleasant and annoying
   gravelly (adj): a gravelly voice sounds low and rough
   gruff (adj): this voice has a rough, low sound
   guttural (adj): a guttural sound is deep and made at the back of your throat
   high-pitched (adj): true to its name, a high-pitched voice or sound is very high
   hoarse (adj): someone who is hoarse, or has a hoarse voice, speaks in a low, rough voice, usually because their throat is sore
   honeyed (adj): honeyed words or a honeyed voice sound very nice, but you cannot trust the person who is speaking
   husky (adj): a husky voice is deep and sounds hoarse (as if you have a sore throat), often in an attractive way
   low (adj): a low voice is quiet and difficult to hear; also used for describing a deep voice that has a long wavelength
   matter-of-fact (adj): usually used if the person speaking knows what they are talking about (or absolutely think they know what they are talking about)
   modulated (adj): a modulated voice is controlled and pleasant to listen to
   monotonous (adj): this kind of voice is boring and unpleasant due to the fact that it does not change in loudness or become higher/lower
   nasal (adj): someone with a nasal voice sounds as if they are speaking through their nose
   orotund (adj): an orotund voice is loud and clear
   penetrating (adj): a penetrating voice is so high or loud that it makes you slightly uncomfortable
   plummy (adj): a plummy voice or way of speaking is considered to be typical of an English person of a high social class; this word shows that you dislike people who speak like this
   quietly (adj): in a soft, quiet voice
   raucous (adj): a raucous voice or noise is loud and sounds rough
   ringing (adj): a ringing voice is very loud and clear
   rough (adj): a rough voice is not soft and is unpleasant to listen to
   shrill (adj): a shrill voice is very loud, high, and unpleasant
   silvery (adj): this voice is clear, light, and pleasant
   singsong (adj): if you speak in a singsong voice, your voice rises and falls in a musical way
   small (adj): a small voice is quiet
   smoky (adj): a smoky voice is sexually attractive in a slightly mysterious way
   softly spoken (adj): someone who is softly spoken has a quiet, gentle voice
   soft-spoken (adj): speaking or said in a quiet, gentle voice
   sotto voce (adj, adv): in a very quiet voice
   stentorian (adj): a stentorian voice sounds very loud and severe
   strangled (adj): a strangled sound is one that someone stops before they finish making it
   strident (adj): this voice is loud and unpleasant
   taut (adj): used about something such as a voice that shows someone is nervous or angry
   thick (adj): if your voice is thick with an emotion, it sounds less clear than usual because of the emotion
   thickly (adv): with a low voice that comes mostly from your throat
   thin (adj): a thin voice or sound is high and unpleasant to listen to
   throaty (adj): a throaty sound is low and seems to come from deep in your throat
   tight (adj): shows that you are nervous or annoyed
   toneless (adj): does not express any emotion
   tremulous (adj): if your voice is tremulous, it is not steady; for example, because you are afraid or excited
   wheezy (adj): a wheezy noise sounds as if it is made by someone who has difficulty breathing
   wobbly (adj): if your voice is wobbly, it goes up and down, usually because you are frightened, not confident, or are going to cry
   booming (adj): very loud and attention-getting
   quavering (adv): if your voice quavers, it is not steady because you are feeling nervous or afraid
   a voice like a foghorn: very loud voice
   in an undertone: using a quiet voice so that someone cannot hear you

someone’s dulcet tones: the sound of someone’s voice as they speak


  1. Excellent list. I'm going to print it. It will come in so useful when I'm searching for alternative words.

  2. I'm hitting 'print', too. What a great resource!