20+ Onomatopoeias in Spanish – Ran Rataplán!

Onomatopoeias go beyond imitating animal sounds – Tic, tac! Learn how to reproduce some sounds with the most creative resource in the Spanish language.

Have you ever wondered what rain sounds like, or an object falling?

All languages use words that imitate or recreate the sound of the thing or action in question. They are an expressive resource that is both powerful and fun, bringing together an idea or situation in very little space.

This is what we call onomatopoeias and, as you will see, they apply to practically everything, including animal sounds.

We won’t keep you any longer, bla, bla, bla, bla. Below you will find a list of onomatopoeias for you to practise.

Animal sound onomatopoeias

1. ¡Beeee!: Sheep’s bleat.

2. ¡Quiquiriquí!: Cock crow.

3. ¡Co, co, co!: Cackle of the hen.

4. ¡Cucú!: Cuckoo’s song.

5. ¡On, on!: Squawk of the goose.

6. ¡Hiiii!: Horse’s neigh.

7. ¡Zzzzzz!: Buzzing of bees.

8. ¡Uuuu, uuuuu!: Hoot of the owl.

Some phrases with examples of onomatopoeia are:

¡Cri, cri! Nadie me contesta cuando hablo.

 (Chirp chirp! Nobody answers me when I talk.)

¡Los cerdos no paran de hacer ruido! ¡Oink, oink!

(The pigs won’t stop making noise! Oink, oink!)

Instrument onomatopoeias

9. ¡Ran rataplán!: Drum.

10. ¡Ria-pitá!: Castanets.

11. ¡Tururú!: Cornet.

12. ¡Tin, tin!: Triangle.

13. ¡Chin, chin!: Cymbals.

Note that some sounds can be expressed in different ways:

¡Se acercan los tambores por allí! ¿Los escuchas, tantarantán?

(The drums are coming that way, do you hear them, boom bang bang?)

Onomatopoeias of objects

14. ¡Rin, rin!: The sound of the doorbell.

15. ¡Ji, ji, ji!: Contained laughter.

16. ¡Plic, plic! Soft rain.

17. ¡Achís!: Sneeze.

18. ¡Buuuuum!: Gunshot.

19. ¡Puaj!: Disgust.

20. ¡Ra-ta-tá!; ¡ra-ta-tá!: Machine gun.

21. ¡Bua, bua!: Crying of a baby.

22. ¡Chap, chap!: Splashing.

23. ¡Paf!: Slap.

24. ¡Tachán!: Surprise.

25. ¡Ñam, ñam!: Eat.

¡Ejem, ejem! ¿Me prestáis atención?

(Ahem, ahem! May I have your attention?)

Practise, Invent and Laugh with Onomatopoeia

Onomatopoeias give free rein to the imagination. Many of them are obvious, such as animal sounds. However, others are more elaborate, such as the sounds of instruments.

Don’t worry, if you ever make one up, I’m sure you’ll be understood. Onomatopoeias are still creative resources. And remember, when two words are repeated in the onomatopoeia in Spanish, use a comma to separate them. Use iScribo’s spelling and grammar checker to help you express yourself in Spanish, you’ll see how it corrects your mistakes in real-time. Brrrrum, brrrum, brrrum, what are you waiting for?

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