Descriptive Sounds English Grade 5 | Orchids International School
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Descriptive Sounds


  • Words that describe different types of sound are known as descriptive sounds. There are several words in the English Language that help us describe various sounds like soft sounds or loud noises.
  • Sound is the sensation that is experienced through hearing. It uses one of the five senses that is our ears to transfer the sounds to our brain.


  1. I could hear the bees buzzing in the garden.
  2. bees buzzing
  3. This morning I woke up to the sound of the chirping birds.
  4. chirping birds
  5. The storm was so severe that I could hear its roaring noise.
  6. storm

How to Form a Sentence with Sound Words?

Let us have a look at how to use sound words and how it can bring about a difference in a sentence.

Adjectives come usually before the noun they describe. For better description , the adjectives and words are known as adjective phrases.

Sentence Sound Words Added Explanation
She has a different voice. She has a husky voice. When the adjective sound word ‘husky’ is added to the sentence, the reader gets an idea of how her voice is exactly than mentioning it as a ‘different voice’.
The teacher saw the girls in the last bench laughing. The teacher saw the girls in the last bench giggling. In the first sentence laughing is a generic term , but giggling is a word used for a gentle laugh. Understand that in this sentence the girls could not be laughing loudly since they are in a classroom.
The music was disturbing. The music was annoyingly loud. The adjective phrase ‘annoyingly loud’ adds more descriptive power to the sentence.

Common Descriptive Sound Words

Let us have a look at some of the common descriptive sound words used in English.
shrill brittle silent
melodious squeaky noisy
piercing high-pitched hoarse
husky screaky whisper
loud screaming quiet
groan ring harmonious
thunderous grinding rhythmic
mellow howling roaring

Words That Show and not Tell

We hear various sounds all the time. But how do we say or pronounce them as words? There are many words that show and not tell. These words can be categorized as Onomatopoeia. These words phonetically which resembles the sound it describes. This makes the description more interesting.

Descriptive sound words

Let us have a look at some of the Onomatopoeic words in the table below.

bang boom beep
crash crackle fizz
knock flutter ping
sizzle splash tick tock
vroom shhh... crunched

Few More Words to Describe Various Sounds

Here’s a convenient list of descriptive sound words.

  1. To show 'piercing' or 'abrupt' or even 'loud' noise have a look at the following words:
  2. Words for Loud or Abrupt Noise
    beep blare bellow
    clack cackle clang
    clank croak clink
    ear splitting fullblast grating
    huff high frequency jarring
    rumble rasp scrunch
    shriek twank toot
    vibrating wail zap
  3. To indicate gentle sounds use the following words:
  4. Words for Gentle Sounds
    breathy chime
    droning fizz
    gurgle glug
    jingle moan
    squish sizzle
    swoosh swish
    trill tinkle
    wheeze whoosh

  5. To indicate animal sounds use the following words:
  6. Words for Animal Sounds
    bray bleat
    chirping cluck
    hoot howl
    moo cock-a-doodle-doo
    meow sizzle
    meow neigh
    purr quack
    roar snort
    trumpet chatter
    woof yelp
    rattle croak
    chuckle wine
    squawk caw

Common Mistakes

  1. Use descriptive sounds depending on the purpose. While writing a story or a sentence consider who will read it and use descriptive sound accordingly. Knowing the purpose of the passage and its readers will help to make the usage of descriptive sounds more effective.
  2. Do not forget to use Onomatopoeia. If you want to have sound specific descriptions in your passage or text, make use of onomatopoeic words and animal sounds like “bark” or “meow.”
  3. There is no doubt in the fact that sometimes less is more. Using too many descriptive sound adjectives can confuse the readers.


  1. Sometimes some words can be used in general to describe more than one sound source.
  2. Examples:

    1. The ‘whispering wind’ narrated a story.
    2. In this expression, the word whispering has been used for wind, though usually it is used for soft human voice. In fact it can be used for any soft sound.

    3. She howled in pain.
    4. Here howled indicates crying loudly in pain.

    5. Last night I heard a wolf howling.
    6. The sound of a wolf is known as howling.

  3. Sometimes one sound source can have more than one sound.
  4. Examples:

    1. The pattering of the rain is audible since morning.
    2. The rain kept drumming on the roof the whole day.

    Here the sound of the rain can change depending on what surface it falls on.

  5. To describe sounds, verbs can also be used for an affective description. For example, saying, “She was loud” is precise and descriptive, while “She screamed” suggests a stronger sound sense.

Have a quick look at the mind map below.

Mindmap for Descriptive sounds
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