an onomatopoeia for the step sound


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).
  • 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...?

    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.


    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.


    Senior Member
    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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