The onomatopoeias and mimetic words of snow, ice, and winter

オノマトペ: Onomatopoeias

Japanese article is here;

At first

Hello! This is MIKA again.

Yesterday(2022.1.6), we’ve observed the first snow in Tokyo and its suburbs!

So today’s theme is the onomatopoeias and mimetic words of snow, ice, and winter in Japanese.

What do they mean, “Giongo”, “Giseigo”, “Gitaigo” and “Gijogo”?

「擬音語(ぎおんご)」 means some sounds written in characters which are made by somethings or somebody and so on.

「擬声語(ぎせいご)」 means somebody’s voices or cries by some animals written in characters.

「擬態語(ぎたいご)」 is the words which express the conditions like sounds effects.

「擬情語(ぎじょうご)」 is the words which express someone’s feelings like sounds effects.

In case of ひらがな, its impression for readers is relatively weak.

In case of カタカナ, its impression for readers is relatively strong.

The writers can decide which characters they use.

Have you ever read Manga in Japanese?

There are too many onomatopoeias and mimetic words to count in Japanese. However, they give an amazingly power for expression to Manga.

It’s too difficult to remember, but the more you master them, the better your Japanese will become!

“Giongo” and “Gitaigo” of snow

So let’s get down to the main topic! First of all, it starts with “Giongo” and “Giseigo” of snow.


「しんしん」 expresses the situation when snow is falling silently.


When a snowstorm or wind is blowing strongly, we use 「ビュウビュウ」 to express that situation.


After snowing, you want to make a snowman, don’t you?

When we roll something spherical like a snowball or something circular, it’s better to use 「ゴロゴロ」 as onomatopoeia.

However, sometimes 「ゴロゴロ」 is the onomatopoeia to describe a lazy appearance, the sound of a thunderstorm or sound by an abdominal region when you fill a pain.


When there is a lot of snow, we shovel them off from the road to make easy to walk or drive.

The onomatopoeia when we dig the shovel into a snow many times is 「ザクザク」.


Active children in winter will play a snowball fight enjoyably outside.

When you throw something like a ball or snowball, we use 「ブンッ」 to describe its sound.

And when a snowball hits your body or something and be smashed up, we use 「バシャッ」or 「ベシャッ」 to describe its sound.


When we express the situation to sky or skate slowly, we use 「すいーっ」 or 「すーっ」 like 「すいーっと滑(すべ)る」、もしくは「すーっと滑る」.

“Giongo” and “Gitaigo” of ice

Next, I’ll tell you about “Giongo” and “Gitaigo” of ice.


「シャーッ」 expresses someone who sky or skate so fast!

It describes the speed, so it’s better to use カタカナ than ひらがな.


When the ground is enough frozen to slip, we can express that situation with 「ツルツル」.

If it’s not frozen, we can say 「ツルツルしている」 for everything smooth.

Also we use it when someone is eating a kind of noodles like a udon or soba.


Because we express the frozen street with 「ツルツル」, we use 「ツルッ」 when someone slips.

And if he/she falls on his/her backside, we can use some onomatopoeias like 「ビターン!」「バターン!」「ドターン!」 or others.


We call an icicle as “Tsurara” in Japanese, it’s written with “Ice” and “Pillar” in Kanji.

The situation when water is dropping down is described with 「ぽたぽた」 or 「ポタポタ」.

“Giongo” and “Gitaigo” of winter

Finally I’ll explain about “Giongo” and “Gitaigo” of winter.


When someone is shaking with cold, we describe it with 「ブルブル」 or 「ガクガク」.

Also we can use them to express someone who is trembling with fear.


Our bless becomes white when we go out in cold day, doesn’t it?

The sound of blessing can be described with 「はーっ」.


It’s possible to express how hot it is with 「ホカホカ」 for something like a bowl of rice.

「ホカホカ」 means a tender warmth.


And when we feel a raise of the body temperature by drinking something hot to make it warm from inside, we can say that situation with 「ポカポカ」.

In addition, it can describe a warmth given by the sun.


「ぬくぬく」 describes the situation when someone make warm their body slowly with onsen or something.

That 「ぬく」 has come from 「温(ぬく)もり」, a warmth in Japanese.


When something like a hotpot is boiling, we say it 「グツグツ」.

And we say 「アツアツ」 for something which might burn someone’s tongue or finger.

Finally comment

【Kotatsu; Japanese heating appliance which is made by a table and a quilt】

How was it?

They are too difficult to understand at first, become skilled step by step.

Today’s theme is the onomatopoeias and mimetic words of snow, ice and winter.

I’ll tell you about others next time!

Winter will be continuing on the northern hemisphere, keep warm your body like 「ぬくぬく」 when snow is falling like 「しんしん」!