Japanese Onomatopoeia Lists

To be proficient in Japanese, you need to have a good knowledge of onomatopoeia. It’s an incredibly important part of the language, and having these words in your vocabulary will help you to speak Japanese more naturally.

The Japanese onomatopoeia lists below are abridged samples from Maki Hayasaka’s Japanese Onomatopoeia dictionary. For over a thousand more sounds and their English meanings, pick up a copy of the book and make it part of your daily studies.

Page 1: A–F
Page 2: G–O
Page 3: P–Z

–––––G–––––


gabagaba
・ ガバガバ
1) Loose-fitting, baggy.
2) Profiting greatly (from something).
3) Sloshing, gushing (of a liquid).

gabatto ・ がばっと
1) Suddenly, swiftly, decisively, vigorously.

gabigabi ・ ガビガビ
1) Dried stiff (usually in regard to a sticky substance).

gabugabu ・ がぶがぶ
1) Gulping, guzzling, chugging (a liquid).
2) Sloshing or swilling around (of a liquid).

gaburi ・ がぶり
1) A strong bite or gulp of something.

gabutto ・ ガブッと
1) A large bite or gulp of something.

gacchiri ・ がっちり
1) Solid, robust, sturdy, well-built.
2) Tight, taut.
3) Shrewd, cunning, astute, calculating, sharp.

gachagacha ・ ガチャガチャ

1) Clattering, clanking, rattling (a noise associated with capsule-toy vending machines).

gachan ・ ガチャン
1) Slamming down or shut.
2) Banging or clashing loudly.

gacharito ・ がちゃりと
1) With a clank.

gachigachi ・ ガチガチ
1) Chattering teeth.
2) Frozen stiff, petrified.
3) Rigid, stubborn, inflexible, unyielding.
4) To do something without slacking off.

ga–n ・ ガーン
1) Boom, bang, the sound of a strong impact.

gehogeho ・ げほげほ
1) A wet-sounding cough.

getageta ・ ゲタゲタ
1) Boisterous or raucous laughter.

gichigichi ・ ギチギチ
1) Creakily, squeakily.

gokkun ・ ごっくん
1) Gulping down a large amount of liquid.

gudaguda ・ グダグダ
1) Exhausted, fatigued, tired.
2) Tedious, repetitive, wordy (similar to kudakuda).
3) Boiling something until it loses its shape or solidity.

gu–gu– ・ グーグー
1) Snoring.
2) Growling softly.

guzuguzu ・ 愚図愚図 ・ ぐずぐず
1) Slowly, dawdling, lingering, hesitantly.
2) Complaining, grumbling, nit-picking.
3) Unsettled, uncertain.

gyaagyaa ・ ぎゃあぎゃあ
1) Screaming, squealing, excited shouting.
2) Noisy or abrasive conversation.

gyotto ・ ぎょっと
1) Startled, surprised
.

–––––H–––––


harahara
・ ハラハラ
1) Anxious, nervous, on tenterhooks, excited.
2) Fluttering or trickling down.
3) Straggly hair, hanging down untidily.

hatahata ・ はたはた
1) Fluttering, flapping, of something light that is adrift in the air.

hatto ・ はっと
1) Taken aback, startled.
2) A sudden realization or awareness.
3) With decisive action.
4) Showy, gaudy, eye-catching.

hedomodo ・ へどもど
1) Flustered, stuttering, tripping over one’s words.

herahera ・ ヘラヘラ
1) Foolish laughter.
2) Careless, frivolous, flippant (especially in one’s conversations).
3) Thin, flimsy, slight.

herohero ・ ヘロヘロ
1) Exhausted, fatigued, weary, limp.
2) Frustrated.

hisohiso ・ ひそひそ
1) Whispering, in undertones.

hissori ・ ひっそり
1) Quiet, calm, silent, uninhabited.
2) Discreetly, modestly, quietly.

–––––I–––––


ijiiji
・ イジイジ
1) Hesitantly, reluctantly, timidly, bashfully.

isoiso ・ いそいそ
1) Cheerfully, merrily, eagerly.

–––––J–––––


jaajaa
・ じゃあじゃあ
1) The sound of gushing water.

jabujabu ・ じゃぶじゃぶ
1) Splashing, with a splash.
2) Pouring a generous amount of something.
3) Greatly, vigorously.

jarajara ・ ジャラジャラ
1) Jingling, jangling, clinking, clanking.
2) Flirtatiously, coquettishly.

jarijari ・ じゃりじゃり
1) Crunchy, gritty, coarse.

jii ・ じい
1) To stare fixedly at someone or something.

jimejime ・ じめじめ
1) Damp, humid, clammy, soggy, moist.
2) Gloomy, dreary, depressing.

jitto ・ 凝乎と ・ じっと
1) Motionlessly, still, immobile.
2) Stare fixedly, listen attentively.
3) Patiently, tolerantly, stoically.
4) Firmly, decisively, with restraint.

jururi ・ じゅるり
1) The sound of clearing one’s saliva after being enticed by food.

–––––K–––––


kachakacha
・ カチャカチャ
1) Clink, clank, clang.

kachikachi ・ カチカチ
1) Tick-tock, the ticking of a clock.
2) The impact of dry, hard, rock-like materials.
3) Frozen stiff, tense, nervous.
4) Stubborn, obstinate, intolerant.

kachin ・ カチン
1) Tinkle, jangle, clink, clack.
2) Annoyed, affronted, offended.

karakara ・ からから
1) Parched, dry, desiccated.
2) Empty, vacant, hollow.
3) Rattling, clattering.
4) Loud laughter.

karankaran ・ カランカラン
1) Clank-clank.

kashari ・ カシャリ
1) Click.

kerokero ・ ケロケロ
1) Ribbit, the sound of a frog’s croak.

kosokoso ・ こそこそ
1) Sneakily, stealthily, slyly.

kosotto ・ こそっと
1) Stealthily, secretly, slyly.

kossori ・ こっそり
1) Stealthily, secretly, slyly.

kotekote ・ コテコテ
1) Over the top, exaggerated.
2) Thickly, heavily, copiously, richly.

kunkun ・ クンクン
1) Sniffing, whimpering (especially of a dog).

kusukusu ・ くすくす
1) Giggle, snicker, chuckle.

kyapikyapi ・ きゃぴきゃぴ

1) In high spirits, raring to go, teeming with enthusiasm, acting cute and energetic.

kyaxtsu ・ きゃっ
1) “Yikes!”, “Eek!” (feminine)

kyorokyoro ・ キョロキョロ
1) Looking around restlessly.

–––––M–––––


magomago
・ まごまご
1) Confused, bewildered, flustered.

majimaji ・ まじまじ
1) Staring fixedly, unblinkingly, intently.

mattari ・ まったり
1) Rich flavor.
2) Laidback, mellow, comfortable.

mekimeki ・ メキメキ
1) Rapidly, remarkably, impressively.
2) The sound of something breaking or creaking.

meramera ・ めらめら
1) Bursting into flames.
2) Flaring up (e.g., with enthusiasm).

meromero ・ メロメロ
1) Head over heels in love.
2) Very drunk, sloshed, sozzled.

mesomeso ・ メソメソ
1) Weeping, sobbing, shedding a stream of tears.

mofumofu ・ モフモフ
1) Soft, fluffy, downy, fleecy.

mogumogu ・ もぐもぐ
1) Mumbling, muttering, murmuring.
2) Chewing food.
3) Squirming, writhing, fidgeting, wriggling.

mojamoja ・ もじゃもじゃ
1) Tousled, unkempt, windswept, disheveled, shaggy or scraggly hair.

munmun ・ むんむん
1) Steamy, sexy, sultry.

munyamunya ・ むにゃむにゃ
1) Mumbling, muttering (unintelligibly).

muramura ・ 群々 ・ むらむら
1) Horny, turned on, aroused.
2) Irresistibly, compellingly, suddenly.

–––––N–––––


nayonayo
・ なよなよ
1) Delicately, weakly, feebly, gently.

nechinechi ・ ネチネチ
1) Sticky, tacky.
2) Persistent, insistent (especially in regard to nagging).

netoneto ・ ねとねと
1) Sticky, tacky, gooey.

nikkori ・ にっこり
1) Grinning, smiling.

nikoniko ・ ニコニコ
1) Grinning, with a smile.

niyaniya ・ ニヤニヤ
1) Grinning, smirking.

noronoro ・ のろのろ
1) Slowly, lethargically, sluggishly.

nosonoso ・ のそのそ
1) Sluggishly, ploddingly, heavily (especially of movement).

nya– ・ にゃー
1) Meow, the sound of a cat.

–––––O–––––


odoodo
・ オドオド
1) Hesitantly, timidly, nervously.

orooro ・ おろおろ
1) In a fluster, in a dither.

otaota ・ オタオタ
1) Flustered, flabbergasted, shocked speechless.


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2 thoughts on “Japanese Onomatopoeia Lists

  1. Avatar
    Kyle says:

    It’s interesting how different a lot of these sounds are from English (like kerokero for a frog going “ribbit”). I never really thought about this part of different languages.

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