Onomatopoeic expression of a scream

Hikee

Senior Member
Polish/English - bilingual
Hey,

I'd like to express the character's scream with an onomatopoeia after he had stubbed himself painfully in the head.

What is the most common type of onomatopoeia to use in this situation? Or is it completely up to me to choose?
 
  • panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Hmm.
    One does not normally use "stubbed" with head.
    Toes are stubbed.
    How would you write what you hear as this scream?
    It may well be as good a suggestion as anything we might offer :)
     

    Hikee

    Senior Member
    Polish/English - bilingual
    Firstly, about the "stub". I thought that it simply means "to get hit painfully" and so it can be used with various body parts. Why only the "toes are stubbed" then?

    About the scream, I thought of something like this:

    "Awww!"
    "Arghh!" etc.
     

    futuromadrileño

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    "Stub," usually referring to running into (colliding with) an inanimate object, is generally only used with toes-- it's just a rather specific verb.

    You could say that "he hurt his head" or "his head collided painfully with [an object]," which would be a bit more formal-sounding.
     

    AngelEyes

    Senior Member
    English - United States
    Could you actually give us your sentence, Hikee?

    I think of ouch as an interjection, not onomato-whatsis.

    The first word I thought of reading your explanation was BOING! But that's what the person feels/hears just before they make a sound of pain, though.

    But you stated you want your character to scream, so I like Parla's suggestion, but I'd add mine, too:

    BOING...Aiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

    Note To pops91710: Very Funny. :D

    THIS is a good list.
     

    Hikee

    Senior Member
    Polish/English - bilingual
    The sentence previous to the onomatopoeia:

    [He's trying to reach behind a sideboard to pick up his lost scarf.]
    "So I pushed harder, lost my balance and bashed into the sharp edge of the sideboard with my forehead. "
    [here, the onomatopoeia follows]
     

    AngelEyes

    Senior Member
    English - United States
    Is this dialogue? Is the speaker telling another character what happened to him?

    Or is it written in first person? I know you put it in quotes, but I just want to be sure.

    I'll take you literally and look at it as dialogue and the character is speaking to someone else.

    "So I pushed harder, lost my balance, and...thunk, bashed into the sharp edge of the sideboard with my forehead."
    (I think boing would also work here.)

    I still like what Parla suggested for after that: Aiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! (Although this sounds girly to me.)

    (However, last time I hit my forehead, it hurt too much to scream. It was a more subdued groan. You might want to take that into consideration when deciding.)

    If you don't want it that dramatic, you could also use: Ugh. Or Urgh. I also like your "Arghh!" To me, these are more masculine forms of onomato-blah-blah than Parla's suggestion. You could add Grubble's suggestion of ow! or ouch!

    Personally, I would think there'd also be an Oh, shit or Sonovabitch in there, too, but you haven't given enough context to be sure.

    Hope this helps. Your example really has room for more than one use of an onomatopoeic expression.

    I'd be interested in reading here what you finally come up with.:)
     
    Last edited:

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    "Stub," usually referring to running into (colliding with) an inanimate object, is generally only used with toes-- it's just a rather specific verb.

    You could say that "he hurt his head" or "his head collided painfully with [an object]," which would be a bit more formal-sounding.
    I agree with what you say. I would personally "bang" my head, and I think that is the more common way to express it in my area of the USA.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    That's very true Packard, another common term would be 'bump'.
    I would guess that there is some sort of head-bashing word scale.

    "Bump" would be at the lighter end of the scale.
    "Bang" would be a bit harder but hardly sufficient to require a scream.

    I am trying to figure out what word to use for the really hard hit.

    "Smash"? "Crash"? "Bash"
     

    Hikee

    Senior Member
    Polish/English - bilingual
    I used "bash" because it seems to have the strongest impression of all those verbs like "crash", "hit", "bump", "bang", and so, and so forth.

    Longer context for reference:

    I combed hastily (through) the entire room and luckily spotted it behind the nearby steel sideboard. I crouched next to it, slid my hand between the wall and the sideboard and reached as far as I could. My fingers barely stroked the scarf’s hem. So I pushed harder, lost my balance and bashed into the sharp edge of the sideboard with my forehead.


    Unfortunately it's this very point where I don't have written anything about what happends next.

    About that "through" in brackets - I know it's supposed to be one question per thread but could you simply tell me, does "comb" work with "through", or not?

    And now to the point. So I guess that my "Arghh!" will be good enough, especially if it would be followed by something like "Stupid cupboard" or something like that.
     

    Aardvark01

    Senior Member
    British English (Midlands)
    I'm curious to know what nationality, age and personailty type your character is. Some of the expressions suggested (eg. son of a bitch!) I would consider American, others I would expect to hear from young people and others from people with a greater sense of moral reserve.
    Only Aargh! and Aiee! seem to cover all categories because they are both widespread and avoid actual swearing.

    Ow! and ouch! do not have the intensity of feeling, but these might be used to different effects; eg. a man who cuts off a finger or an arm and says Ow! might be considered as either quite stoic or a master of comic understatement. (Of course, a true stoic would not express any emotion but declare a lost limb "a mere flesh-wound", as does The Black Knight in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail")
     
    Last edited:

    AngelEyes

    Senior Member
    English - United States
    Aardvark01,

    Even though that slight profanity was a word I posted, I agree with you totally. It all depends on so many things if it would even have been appropriate.

    And you're right about nationality, too. An English person would spit out something different, I imagine.

    That's why these noise expressions work so well. They're more universal sounds we all make.
     
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