Describing sounds in writing can be a lot of fun. You can do this when you want to make different noises obvious to your readers. This article will look into how to describe choking sounds when they come up in your writing. Here are the best options for choking onomatopoeia:
- Kaff kaff
- Hack hack
The best words to describe the sound of choking are “eccch,” “accch,” and “kaff kaff.” These onomatopoeic words suggest that someone is being strangled or choking on something lodged in their throat. They usually imply someone is coughing aggressively to try and save themselves.
“Eccch” is a great example of how to spell choking when you want it as a sound. It suggests someone is coughing aggressively because they have something stuck down their throat.
A sound like “eccch” would encourage others to come and help the choking party. This might be good to include in your writing when you want the character to receive help from someone who might know what to do in a dangerous choking situation.
- Eccch! Eccch! All of the patrons turned to see the man on the floor gasping for air.
- Ecch! Ecch! They couldn’t work out where the pained gagging sounds were coming from.
“Accch” is similar to “eccch,” making it just as useful for choking onomatopoeia. You should use it to show that someone is coughing a lot, typically suggesting they are uncomfortable or choking.
“Eccch” and “accch” are letter combinations used to describe specific sounds. You may increase the number of “c’s” and “h’s” used in both onomatopoeia words to intensify the sound or make it last longer (which could help your readers understand more about it).
- Accch! There was something in the back of his throat, but it wouldn’t come out. Accch!
- Accccch! Accccch! I’ve never heard someone cough as violently as that. I hope they’re okay.
3. Kaff Kaff
“Kaff kaff” is a great way to show how to describe choking sounds when someone is trying to dislodge something from their throat. You can use it to show that someone is struggling to breathe and needs to clear their airway before it’s too late.
It’s great to include in writing because “kaff kaff” indicates a more violent coughing fit than a simpler “cough cough” might do. It shows the intensity or danger of the situation to your readers.
- Kaff kaff! She was going purple in the face. They had to do something quickly.
- Kaff kaff! Can’t you see that he’s struggling? You have to do something before he passes out.
“Gurgle” is a great term you can use to describe the sound of choking. It suggests that someone can only create a soft, gurgling sound because something is trapped in their throat, making it impossible for them to talk or ask for help.
“Gurgle” is often much more dangerous of a sound than a violent cough. If someone is at the point of gurgling rather than speaking, it suggests they need their airways cleared as quickly as possible.
This is great for added drama in your writing, especially if you must come close to killing a character.
- Gurgle! Gurgle! They could all tell she was on the verge of blacking out. Nobody knew what to do.
- Gurgle! That’s all I heard from him before they took him away. I hope he makes it.
“Aghhh” is another aggressive choking sound you can use. It suggests that someone is trying to draw breath in and out quickly to clear their throat. This is a great term that can have more “g’s” and “h’s” included to increase the intensity of the sound.
Onomatopoeia like this is very common when someone is being strangled. It suggests that someone is doing what they can to fight for their breath while also trying to fight someone off.
- Aghhh! He has him on the ropes, and Andrew won’t make it much further.
- Aggghhh! I’ve never been in a situation like this before. I’m not sure how to get out of it.
“Gasp” refers to a sharp inhale of breath. It’s great for choking onomatopoeia because it suggests that someone is trying to inhale quickly to open their airways and remove a blockage that might be there.
“Gasping” can be dangerous as it might suggest that someone can no longer speak or make proper sounds. Using this in your writing suggests a character is in dire need of assistance before something terrible happens. This will definitely build tension if you’re trying to do so.
- Gasp! She was choking worse than ever before now. Nobody was around to help her.
- Gasp! Gasp! The restaurant came to a standstill as Dr. Otto delivered the Heimlich manoeuvre.
7. Hack Hack
“Hack hack” is a great term for someone violently coughing. It’s another coping technique when someone is choking because it helps them try to dislodge a blockage in their throat or airway.
“Hack hack” is similar to “kaff kaff.” You can use it as a more aggressive variation of “cough cough,” suggesting that someone is trying their best to get something out of their throat. It indicates pain and panic to your readers better than most other options.
- Hack hack! She wasn’t stopping. If anything, the choking was getting worse. Nobody was offering to help her, either.
- Hack hack! Hack hack! Tim didn’t know why people hadn’t come over to help him yet.
If you’re looking for authenticity and realism in your writing, perhaps silence is the best option. Naturally, this means there isn’t an appropriate choking sound to include.
If you have a character genuinely choking on something, the chances are low that they’ll make any noise. It’s very common for people to choke in silence because their airway is blocked, and sound is nearly impossible to produce.
If you want to be authentic, perhaps describing the choking situation would be more effective than using choking onomatopoeia. It’s up to you to decide which works best for your writing.
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.