Linguistically, "clicks" are a type of sound found in certain African languages, mostly Khoisan and Southern Bantu. The English word is also used for various other sharp, high-pitched noises (like clicking your fingers).

If I wanted a technical term for how click sounds arise in languages (along the lines of "somethingogenesis"), is there an appropriate Greek or Latin root for this?

(Note that I'm interested in clicks as in the type of sound, not as in the action of pressing a button on a mouse.)

2 Answers 2


There are a couple of Finnish words for a click in the phonetic sense, one of them having a Latin origin. One of the words we use is avulsiivi, which would correspond to avulsive in English but such a term does not seem to exist in this meaning in English. The Latin word avulsio refers to the tearing out of a branch of a tree, and the Finnish phonetic term must refer to the corresponding snapping sound.

I am not sure whether other languages use a similar term, but it would be surprising to hear this to be a completely Finnish invention. This and the other Finnish words are recorded in a well-curated scientific terminology database.

So, perhaps avulsio or [sonus] avulsivus or something else derived from avellere could work?


OLD defines the noun crepitus as 'A short sharp sound or a succession of such sounds, a creaking, cracking, crashing, clashing, etc.'

This noun and related words are used to cover a fairly wide range of phenomena, such as the rattling of arrows in a quiver, the chattering of teeth, the fall of hail of a roof, the clicking of a bird's bill, the crackling of flames, the snapping of fingers, farts, the creaking of hinges, whip lashes, cymbals, the clapping of hands, and a child's rattle.

  • and the muttering of spells, and the chink of coinage.
    – Hugh
    Commented Aug 20, 2019 at 17:07

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