For some unknown reason, I got to wondering this morning just how interesting my life would actually be without all the usual distractions. So I decided to spend the rest of the day paying close attention to what was going on around me minus the artificial input of tv, phone, etc.. One of the surprising aspects of this experiment was an awareness that sound is everywhere. And I mean everywhere. For instance, I was not aware that there is a sound associated with putting on my shoes. It is muffled, sliding sound as the foot goes into the shoe. More surprisingly I discovered there is actually a sound produced by tying shoes laces. But how to accurately describe that was a real quandary. I just didn’t have the words. So what to do? Google.

I put in “auditory words” and the first listing is site called “DEFEAT THE THIRD JIHAD: For the third time in history muslims are making a serious bid for world dominance.” Okay, now I was spooked. It seemed to be a site designed to “educate” non muslims using “visual, kinetic, or auditory representational systems.” Apparently the authors consider themselves counter-jihadists. Their description of Islam is a very hard-core, strict interpretation of Islam as in the Quran. Scary stuff. However, describing a strict interpretation of several Christian sects could be pretty scary as well.

The fact that this was the first site, not a paid add but a regular spot, and which I am assuming is there because of the number of traffic that goes to its site, appears to be representative of our “Trumped-up” times.

Moving on, the next sites are about the theory that communication is based on auditory, visual, and kinesthetic systems and that to effectively communicate with someone you need to know which system they favor and use words and phrases that feed into that. Such as for the visual person:“that looks right to me,” the auditory person: “that sounds right to me,” and the kinetic: “that feels right to me.”

Also, according to this article, “Kinesthetic people usually have beards”. (Good to know because apparently all kinesthetic people are men and touchy-feely.)

Cruising through the next few pages of site listings, it was apparent that this Google search was not going to get me where I want to go. I switched to “words that describe sounds.”

Aha! Success at last. There are several sites that deal with this but surprisingly few words. After combining several sites I came up with my own list and added a few more words using one of my favorite resources, Rodale’s “The Synonym Finder.” Below is that list. A pdf copy can be downloaded by clicking:  WORDS TO DESCRIBE SOUND

So what is the sound of tying shoe laces? Soft, scraping sound with occasional clicking as  plastic ends bounce off the shoe.



Bang, bark, beep, bellow, blare, blast, bleat, bong, boom, bray, buzz, boisterous, brittle, brogue, buzz

Clank, clap, clatter, clink, clunk, crack, crackle, crash, creak, calm, clamorous, croaky, caterwaul, chime, chirp, chortle, chuckle, clash, croak, croon, crunch

Ding-dong, drop, drumming, discordant, dull, drone, deep

Ear-splitting, enjoyable, echoed

Fizz, faint

Glug, gnashing, gobble, grating, growl, grumble, gurgle, gentle, gruff, grind, groan, gulp, gasp

Hiss, hoot, howl, hum, half-deafening, half-shouted, harmonious, harsh, high, high-pitched, hoarse, husky

Jingle, jangle

Kachink, knock


Mew, moan, mod, murmur, mellifluous, melodic, muffled, musical, muted

Neigh, noiseless, noisy, non-deafening

Patter, peal, peep, pop, power, pounding, pulsing, purr, put-put, penetrating, piercing, pleasing, ping, plop, prattle, pecking

Quiet, quivering

Rap, rat-a-tat, rattle, ring, rippling, roar, rumble, rushing, rustle, rasping, raspy, raucous, resonant, riotous, rowdy, rippling

Scream, scrunch, shriek, sizzle, slam snap, snarl, snort, splash, sputter, squawk, squeal, squish, stamp, swish, swoosh, screaky, screechy, shrill, silent, smooth, soft, soundless, strum

Tap tattoo, tearing throb, thump, thunder, tick, ticktock, tinkle, toot, trill, twang, twitter, tranquil, tuneful, thunk


Wail, wheeze, whine, whir, whisper, warble, whack, whistle,

Yap, yelp, yodel



List complied from several web sources including:

A Creative Moment smell-sound-taste-touch/

Sight Words Game adjectives/sound/

Word Object/Audra Wolowiec 2011/04/16/words-commonly-used-to-describe-sounds/