Using words to describe certain sounds is a great way to get more adventurous in your writing. That’s why this article is going to explore some ways to describe the sound of knocking on a door (both soft and loudly).
Which Words Can Describe The Sound Of Knocking On A Door?
You might be surprised by how many words we can use to describe the sound of knocking on a door. Try out some of the following to see which you like best:
The preferred version is “rapping.” It works well to describe both soft and loud knocking on a door. We can specify which one is meant when we elaborate on the context we use, but it is a great sound-based word that refers to all kinds of knocking sounds.
“Rapping” applies to both soft and loud sounds. Soft rapping is associated with someone gently knocking or scraping their knuckles against a door. Louder rapping comes from people smacking their knuckles repeatedly against a door.
“Rapping” is the most common onomatopoeia word used for door knocking. If someone were to knock on your door right now, it would be most likely that they are “rapping” on it to get your attention.
- I woke to the rapping of knuckles against the wooden frame, but I wasn’t expecting anyone at this time.
- The rapping of the wood was too much for me. I needed to get out of the house. I hate haunted buildings.
- You should listen for my rapping on the door at night. I’ll be there to wake you when the time comes.
“Tapping” is great because it only refers to softer knocking. We can use it when someone is sheepishly pressing against a door to create a small sound (or deliberately choosing to be quiet against the door).
There aren’t many ways to demonstrate a softer knocking sound, so “tapping” is a great candidate in most cases. If you want to show softer sounds, make sure you’ve got it saved and ready to go.
- There was a gentle tapping against the door, and it could only have been him to blame.
- I like tapping the door to let them know I’m here. It’s kind of like my own little announcement.
- You’ll need to be louder than that. Tapping the door isn’t going to get anyone’s attention.
“Rat-tat-tat” is a common form of onomatopoeia associated with knocking on a door. The “rat” is the first sound which is similar to the “rapping” of a knuckle. The repeated “tat” shows the following sounds that usually have less power behind them and trail off.
The next time you knock on a door, try to listen to the way you interact with it. You will “rat” first because it’ll be your most powerful knock, but every knock after that will lose power, which turns into a “tat” sound.
- Rat-tat-tat! He wanted their attention. Rat-tat-tat! He wasn’t going to give up until someone finally answered him.
- The rat-tat-tat of his knuckles told her that he was close, but it wasn’t loud enough to alert the other people in the room.
- You’ll have to give it a quick rat-tat-tat if you want to be discreet. We don’t want the others to hear you.
“Thud” is a great way to be more obvious with the noise being made. While the noises above are generally quieter, we can use “thud” to show that we are knocking with purpose and intention.
This purpose often means that we are knocking loudly. We will “thud” on a door when we want somebody’s attention. It’s common for people to “thud” multiple times to try to get somebody to listen to them or open the door for them.
- The thud was loud, but it wasn’t enough. The house stayed still as if nobody lived there.
- I don’t like the thudding noise that comes from heavy woods like this. I need a lighter door.
- The relentless thudding had to stop eventually. It was getting too much for anyone to bear.
“Pounding” is another great word we can use for louder knocking. The “pound” is synonymous with a “punch” in this way. It shows that someone is putting a lot of force into the way they’re knocking, and they’re looking for somebody to answer the door.
- The relentless pounding against the door finally drove him insane. He had to open it just to see who it could be.
- Are you pounding that door for a reason? I think you need to calm down, little man.
- You’ll be pounding at that door for a long while yet. I’m pretty sure the guy that lived here moved out last week!
“Hammering” is another great loud knock. We can refer to someone “hammering” a door when they are repeatedly creating loud knocking sounds. They will do this to try and get someone’s attention, and there are usually a lot of sounds happening very quickly.
Someone wouldn’t hammer on a door once and then leave it. They would often repeat the knocking until someone answered the door. The name comes from the tool “hammer,” which is hit multiple times to fix nails into walls.
- That painful hammering sound was thick. It was like he wanted me to know he was angry before he saw me.
- You’re hammering at the door, and I’m still choosing to leave it shut. What do you think that means?
- The door hammered away, and I didn’t want to listen to it. I covered my ears with my pillow and tried to sleep.
“Cracking” works for both soft and loud knocking. A soft crack typically means that someone is knocking with purpose. They are looking for a way to cause a sound without much effort.
A louder crack is much more common. We typically expect it when someone knocks on a door so hard that it sounds as if the wood is breaking.
- Your knocking sounds like the cracking of wood. It’s too much, and you need to calm it down.
- The cracking of the door was all I needed to hear to know that my time was up.
- He cracked his knuckles against the door again and again. I knew he wanted my attention, but I wasn’t going to give it.
A “thump” is a dull but loud sound. We can use it to show that someone is making a very loud banging noise on a door, but it might be dulled out because we’re not very close to them.
For example, if we are walking down a street, we might hear thumping. It might come from an alleyway, where we can tell that someone is knocking loudly, but we’re not close enough to hear the more distinctive “hammering” or “pounding” sounds.
- The thumping sound was carried throughout the house. It was loud, but I still ignored it.
- I thumped on the door until someone answered. I knew that they would eventually have to listen to me.
- Stop with that mindless thumping! If nobody has answered your knocking by now, I doubt they’re going to!
“Banging” is great when you want to show that someone is knocking loudly. People often “Bang” on a door for attention, and they generally have a purpose behind why they are making such a racket when they do this.
- The banging sound was getting louder. I wasn’t sure where I could turn, so I thought it was better to face it head-on.
- You’ll need to find a way to ignore that banging sound for a bit longer. He doesn’t want to stop knocking.
- The sound of banging was problematic for me. The doors weren’t meant to take that much force, and I couldn’t stand by while they broke in.
“Bashing” is another loud knocking sound. It’s aggressive because it takes quite a lot of force to make a sound similar to “bashing” against the wood. You can generally see “bashing” happen as well. It’s forceful enough for the door to shake.
- The bashing sounds were getting much louder. I think he wanted my attention, but I wasn’t going to give it to him.
- You should stop bashing on the door like that. It’s really bad for the wood!
- I think he likes to bash the door down. It makes him feel like more of a man, so you should probably let him do it.
“Kicking” usually relates to people’s feet. It’s not common to refer to someone’s hands doing the knocking, but we can use it to show that someone is being very aggressive while knocking on a door. It only applies to louder noises.
- The kicking sound from the door was getting louder. I needed to find someplace to hide before it was too late.
- I hate the sound of kicking against the door. It was unbearable, and I needed to find a way to shut it up.
- He kept kicking against the door to get her attention, but she wasn’t listening to his calls.
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.