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

–––––P–––––


pacchiri
・ ぱっちり
1) Wide-open eyes.
2) Large and pretty eyes.

pachikuri ・ ぱちくり
1) Blinking in surprise.

pachipachi ・ パチパチ
1) Clapping (especially one’s hands).
2) Popping, crackling, snapping.
3) Blinking repeatedly.

pakapaka ・ パカパカ
1) Clip-clop, the sound of hoofbeats.

pakopako ・ パコパコ
1) The clickety-clack of typing on a keyboard.
2) Having sex.

pakupaku ・ ぱくぱく
1) Gaping open and closed (especially one’s mouth).
2) Flapping (especially the loose sole of a shoe sole).
3) Eating vigorously, munching, gobbling.

parapara ・ パラパラ
1) Falling in drops, a sprinkle or pattering of something.

2) Flipping or riffling through thin, flat objects (such as pages or cards).
3) Scattered, sparse, dotted about.
4) Crumbling, falling to pieces.

pasha ・ パシャ
1) Click (especially of a camera).

patapata ・ ぱたぱた
1) Flapping, fluttering (especially a flag).
2) Whack-whack.
3) Pitter-patter (especially of footsteps).
4) Swiftly, in quick succession.

pechapecha ・ ぺちゃぺちゃ
1) Chattering, jabbering.
2) Slurping up a liquid.
3) Biting into something juicy.

pekopeko ・ ペコペコ
1) Hungry, starving.
2) Bowing repeatedly, kowtowing.
3) Dented, giving in to something.

pettanko ・ ぺったんこ
1) Flattened, squashed, crushed.
2) A flat-chested girl (also pettanko).

3) The sound of mochi (sticky rice cake) sticking to something.

pettari ・ ぺったり
1) Clingingly, closely, tightly.

pextsu ・ ペッ
1) “Peh!”, an exclamation that is dismissive and disdainful.

pikapika ・ ピカピカ
1) Glittering, twinkling, sparkling.

pokan ・ ぽかん
1) Absentmindedly, idly, vacantly.
2) Flabbergasted, gaping in a stupor.
3) With a thump or whack.

potapota ・ ぽたぽた
1) Drip-drip, the sound of trickling.

puito ・ ぷいと
1) Suddenly acting crankily or rudely.

pukapuka ・ ぷかぷか
1) Floating, buoyant.
2) Puffing, the sound of smoking.

punipuni ・ ぷにぷに
1) Squishy, spongy, squashy.

punpun ・ プンプン
1) Pungent, an intense smell.
2) Furious, angry, fuming.

–––––R–––––


rinrin
・ りんりん
1) Ring-ring, the sound of a bell.

runrun ・ ルンルン
1) Happy, cheerful, in high spirits.

rorerore ・ ろれろれ
1) Slurring, stuttering, spluttering.

–––––S–––––


sabasaba
・ さばさば
1) Relieved, reassured.
2) Candid, frank.

sakusaku ・ さくさく
1) Crisp, brittle, dry and flaky.
2) Crunch-crunch.
3) Skillful, efficient, progressing swiftly.

samezame ・ さめざめ
1) Sorrowfully, miserably, mournfully.

sappari ・ さっぱり
1) Refreshed, relieved, revitalized.
2) Neat, tidy, plain, clean.
3) Frank, candid, sincere.
4) Completely, wholly.

sarari ・ さらり
1) Sleek, silky, smooth.
2) Promptly, at once.

sarasara ・ さらさら
1) Rustling, susurrating.
2) Fluently, smoothly.

sha– ・ シャー
1) Hiss (especially of a cat).
2) Sizzling.
3) Whooshing.

shakashaka ・ シャカシャカ
1) Rustling, rattling.
2) Whispering, susurration.

shiratto ・ しらっと
1) Dispassionately, indifferently.

shoboshobo ・ しょぼしょぼ
1) Drizzling, gentle rain.
2) Blinking weakly or faintly.
3) Dejected, downhearted, glum.

shonbori ・ しょんぼり
1) Gloomy, depressed, downhearted.

sowasowa ・ そわそわ
1) Restless, fidgety, nervous.

soyosoyo ・ そよそよ
1) The sound a gentle breeze.

surari ・ すらり
1) Long and slender.
2) Smooth, flowing movement.

surusuru ・ するする
1) Smoothly, readily, quickly.

–––––T–––––


tabutabu
・ たぶたぶ
1) Full to the brim.
2) Baggy, slack, loose-fitting.

tappuri ・ たっぷり
1) Ample, abundant, full.

taratara ・ たらたら
1) Dripping, trickling, dribbling.
2) Incessant, unremitting.

tehepero ・ てへぺろ

1) An embarrassed laugh accompanied by sticking out one’s tongue.

tekateka ・ テカテカ
1) Glistening, glimmering, gleaming.

tekipaki ・ てきぱき
1) Hurriedly, briskly, promptly.

tsurutsuru ・ つるつる
1) Smooth, velvety.
2) Slippery, slick.
3) Slurping a liquid or food.

–––––U–––––


udauda
・ うだうだ
1) Idle, dillydallying.
2) Long-winded, talking hogwash.

ufufu ・ うふふ
1) A quiet chuckle or giggle.

ujauja ・ うじゃうじゃ
1) In swarms or bunches.
2) Tediously, wearily.

uneune ・ うねうね
1) Meandering, twisting and turning, winding.

uppu ・ うっぷ
1) Burping, hiccupping.

urochoro ・ うろちょろ
1) Loitering, lingering, dawdling, wandering about.

urouro ・ うろうろ
1) Loitering, lingering, wandering about.
2) Restless, fidgety.

ussori ・ うっそり
1) Absentmindedly, distractedly, inattentively.

uzuuzu ・ うずうず
1) Impatient, eager to do something.

–––––W–––––


waiwai
・ ワイワイ
1) Rowdy, noisy, boisterous.

wakuwaku ・ わくわく
1) Barely contained excitement.
2) Trembling with anticipation.

wanawana ・ わなわな
1) Trembling, shaking with fear.

wanwan ・ ワンワン
1) Woof-woof, the barking of a dog.
2) Crying (especially of a baby).

warawara ・ わらわら
1) Bustling, lively, shuffling.
2) Squirming, wriggling.

–––––Y–––––


yainoyaino
・ やいのやいの
1) Badgering, pestering, urging.

yassamossa ・ やっさもっさ
1) Hustle and bustle, disorderly.

yoboyobo ・ よぼよぼ
1) Tottering, unsteady, wobbly.
2) Infirm, frail with age.

yochiyochi ・ よちよち
1) Tottering, with unsteady steps.

yuruyuru ・ 緩緩 ・ ゆるゆる
1) Loose, lax, slack.
2) Leisurely, slowly.

yusayusa ・ ゆさゆさ
1) Swaying slowly (especially of something large).

–––––Z–––––


zaaxtsu
・ ざあっ
1) The sound of running or rushing water.

zabun ・ ザブン
1) Splish, splash, plop.

zabuzabu ・ ざぶざぶ
1) Gushing, sloshing, splashing.

zarazara ・ ザラザラ
1) Coarse, gritty, rough.
2) Rattling, clattering.

zawazawa ・ ざわざわ
1) Noisy (especially of people chattering).
2) Rustling.
3) Feeling a chill (literally or figuratively).

za–za– ・ ザーザー
1) Heavy rain, the sound of gushing water.
2) White noise.

zokuzoku ・ ぞくぞく
1) Shivering, shuddering.
2) On tenterhooks, excited.

zotto ・ ぞっと
1) With a shiver or shudder.
2) Horrified, repulsed, appalled, disgusted.

zukazuka ・ ずかずか
1) Barging in impolitely.

zukin ・ ずきん
1) A throbbing, stinging, or pounding pain.

zunzun ・ ずんずん
1) Swiftly, steadily, by leaps and bounds (especially in terms of progress).

zuppuri ・ ずっぷり
1) Submerged or immersed in a liquid.
2) Soaked, drenched, sopping.

zuruzuru ・ ずるずる
1) The sound of slowly dragging something heavy.
2) Inconclusive, unresolved.
3) With a slither.
4) Slurping, snuffling.


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4 thoughts on “Japanese Onomatopoeia Lists

  1. Avatar
    Elle says:

    When I think of Japanese onomatopoeia, I always think of the children’s story in Monster, where the monster goes around eating everyone. The onomatopoeia they use for it is haunting.

    • Avatar
      Ashley says:

      Haha – ah, I can guess when that happens (meeting Tommy and Maria, right?) I played the Last of Us way too many times…

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