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What does a cow say in Spanish? 🐮

We know a cow says "moo" in English, but what does it say in Spanish?

Mu, of course 😊.

Words that imitate sounds

However, let's just say that was a lucky guess, as it isn't always the same. The words we give to animals are known as onomatopoeia or onomatopeya in Spanish (words that imitate sounds.) Onomatopoeia has a significant presence in all languages of the world.

Funnily enough, even though animals make the same sounds worldwide, onomatopoeia varies in different languages and cultures. This is because every culture perceives animal sounds in different ways, and it is reflected in their language.

Today we have collected 10 examples of animal sounds and how they are described in English and Spanish.

Cows don't moo

Vaca Mu

As you may know, the word for cow is vaca . In Spanish, we would say they mu , instead of "moo".

Spanish has the same onomatopoeia for cow noises. However, the spelling is different.

The verb for "mooing" is mugir.

Birds pio pio

Pajarito pio pio

In English, you might say a bird said "cheep cheep" or "tweet tweet". But in Spanish, it would be pio pio for las pajaritos 🐦🐦.

The verb is pipiar .

El gallo canta

Gallo cantar kikiriki

We would say roosters make a kikirikí noise, instead of "cock-a-doodle-doo".

The corresponding verb is cantar , meaning to sing.

What sound for los perros?

Perro guau Dogs don't say "woof woof", they say guau guau in Spanish!

The verb is ladrar .

Cat sounds

Gato miau

We would say "nuestro gato maúlla" when our cat makes the miau miau sound. It's not "meow"!

The verb is maullar .

Croar de rana

Rana croá croá

Instead of "croaking", we say frogs make a croá croá sound.

The verb is croar .

El caballo relincha

Caballo hii hii

In English, a horse may "neigh" but in Spanish they say hii hii .

And we would say "el caballo relincha", using the verb relinchar .

Oinc oinc

Cerdo oinc

The sound for pigs in Spanish is actually very similar to the English "oink oink".

We would use oinc oinc to describe gruñido de cerdo .

¿Qué sonido hace un búho?

Búho uu uu

Owls don't "hoot" in Spanish, instead we say búho uu uu .

The verb ulular can also be used for similar sounds, like a wind howling.

Beee beee black sheep?

Oveja beee

The verb balar would be used to describe when Spanish sheep say "beee" instead of "baah baah".

Summary Table of Animal Sounds

If you want to see everything listed in a simple table, here it is.

AnimalEnglish soundSpanish soundSpanish verb
vaca / cowmoomumugir
pajarito / birdtweet tweetpio piopipiar
gallo / roostercock-a-doodle-dookikirikicantar
perro / dogwoof woofguau guauladrar
gato / catmeowmiaumaullar
rana / frogcroakcroá croácroar
caballo / horseneighhii hiirelinchar
cerdo / pigoink oinkoinc oincgruñir
búho / owlhoot hootuu uuulular
oveja / sheepbah bahbeeebalar

Listen to all animal sounds

If you want to learn even more sounds (or if you just like looking at cute animals 😂) take a look at the video below:

I hope this list of animal noises comes in handy the next time you travel to a Spanish-speaking country.

Made with JoyBird