an onomatopoeia for the step sound

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Ptak, Jun 9, 2008.

  1. Ptak Senior Member

    Is there some onomatopoeia in English which imitates sounds of steps? I mean an onomatopoeia like "knock-knock" (if I'm correct, it imitates the sound when someone is knocking at the door).
  2. Trisia

    Trisia Senior Member


    Maybe you could help us. Is it a light stepping sound, or thumping sound, or the sound made by someone on tip-toes, or...?
  3. Matching Mole

    Matching Mole Senior Member

    England, English
    I don't know of an established echoic word or phrase for human footsteps. Manga (Japanese comics) translators seem to use "tap-tap-tap" to translate the Japanese words (that language is very rich in onomatopoeia), which is highly unsatisfactory, as all the others that I have seen used. Horses and such have one though, "clippety-clop", which is in dictionaries. I don't think this works for people.

    If you really need one, I think you have to be creative.
  4. Ptak Senior Member

    Thanks, I got it :)
  5. Nunty

    Nunty Modified

    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    There is a cliche about children, "the pitter-patter of tiny feet". Otherwise, I think I've only read descriptive language: He heard...

    -heavy footsteps
    -someone limping on the floor above
    -light footsteps outside the door

    ...and so on.
  6. emma42 Senior Member

    North East USA
    British English
    Yes, it really depends on lots of factors, including the type of footwear worn. For example:

    He heard her click-clacking along the street [she's wearing slender heels].

    He heard the clomp of her heavy workboots, walking wearily up the stairs.

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