chirp


chirp
chirp vb Chirp, chirrup, cheep, peep, tweet, twitter, chitter can all mean as verbs to make the little sounds character-istic of small animals and as nouns the little sounds so made, and all can be extended to sounds and the making of sounds (as by human beings) that suggest such small animal sounds.
Chirp implies the short, sharp, and thin sound that is made by practically all small birds and some insects; it regularly connotes cheerfulness but often also busyness and immaturity
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there was no sound save the chirping of birds

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the linnet . . . chirps her vernal song of love— Southey

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one of these birds ... began to ascend, by short hops and flights, through the branches, uttering a sharp, preliminary chirpBurroughs

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someone turned on the water down the hall and all the second-floor faucets chirped at once, like so many crickets— Algren

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wait until the boldest chirps: "It was tonight, dear, wasn't it?"— MacLeish

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Chirrup implies a more sustained effect than chirp, as though a bird is singing or is learning to sing; it also often heightens the connotations of cheerfulness or liveliness
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untucked his head from under his wing and chirruped drowsily— Sinclair

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the shrill persistent chirrup of a fledgling sparrow

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there is a new chirrup in their talk, feeling that they shall feel livelier in a livelier land— O'Casey

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made her little chirruping sound of welcome— Wool/

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the bullets chirruped by in the soft buzzing sound of insects on the wing— Mailer

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Cheep implies feebleness yet shrillness of sound such as that made by a very young bird or by a mouse, a bat, or a squirrel
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the persistent cheep of a crate of new-hatched chicks

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a brood of ducklings, which had lost their mother, filed into the barn, cheeping feebly— George Orwell

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fog seemed to rise from his raincoat and his shoes cheepedDorothy Parker

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Peep differs from cheep chiefly in stressing the weakness of the sound and so suggesting its faintness or the animal's helplessness
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the peep of a chick just struggling from the shell

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a worrisome mother . . . hovers over her child. Every time he peeps, she jumps to see what's the matter— Spock

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all the little boats peeped their klaxons, and the bells . . . suddenly burst into crashing, bashing peals— PanterDownes

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consisted for the most part of odd little squeals from the woodwinds. These peeps . . . added up to a fairly meaningless and silly score— Philip Hamburger

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Tweet usually implies the monosyllabic note of a very small bird or the call of small game birds (as the quail or bob- white)
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a redstart ... sat on the fence near my hut till dusk, tweeting rather plaintively on one note— KingdonWard

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the referee checked the play with sharp tweets of his whistle

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Twitter implies a succession of notes or sounds, uttered tremulously or excitedly; when applied to persons or their utterances or doings it can suggest feverish or disorderly excitement
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the trees twittered feverishly, and cool winds swept the ground— Peggy Bennett

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the swallow twittering from the straw-built shed— Gray

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these youngest girls . . . stood around twittering, trying to appear prim, but only succeeded in looking more and more excited— Styron

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The noun, especially, is often used to express a state of agitation
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in a twitter of excitement

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a nerve-racking place full of the twitters and colors and smells and giggles and screeches of too many unlovely shoving girls— Wouk

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Chitter, like twitter, implies a succession of sounds, but distinctively it can imply a briskness and sharpness of tone that belong also to chattering and then may carry such connotations as alarm, irritation, or fear
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heard a squirrel chitter in alarm, as if it had scurried around the trunk of a tree after something had startled it— Frazee

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the cawings of jackdaws, the chittering of sparrows— Powys

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from close by came the chitter of a screech owl— Saxon

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some teeth in angry fit may chitterAlexander Boswell

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chirp n chirrup, cheep, peep, tweet, twitter, chitter (see under CHIRP vb)

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • chirp´er — chirp «churp», noun, verb. –n. 1. the short, sharp sound made by some small birds and insects: »The chirp of a sparrow. 2. any sound like this: »One by one the ten Superforts touched down, with a chirp of tires (Time). SYNONYM(S): cheep. –v.i. 1 …   Useful english dictionary

  • chirp´i|ly — chirp|y «CHUR pee», adjective, chirp|i|er, chirp|i|est. Informal. 1. inclined to chirp. 2. cheerful; lively; …   Useful english dictionary

  • chirp|y — «CHUR pee», adjective, chirp|i|er, chirp|i|est. Informal. 1. inclined to chirp. 2. cheerful; lively; …   Useful english dictionary

  • chirp — chirp·i·ly; chirp·i·ness; chirp; chirp·ing·ly; …   English syllables

  • Chirp — Chirp, n. A short, sharp note, as of a bird or insect. The chirp of flitting bird. Bryant. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Chirp — Chirp, v. i. [imp. & p. p. {Chirped}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Chirping}.] [Of imitative orgin. Cf. {Chirk}, {Chipper}, {Cheep}, {Chirm}, {Chirrup}.] To make a shop, sharp, cheerful, as of small birds or crickets. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • chirp — [tʃə:p US tʃə:rp] v also chirrup BrE [Date: 1400 1500; Origin: From the sound] 1.) [I and T] if a bird or insect chirps, it makes short high sounds 2.) to speak in a happy high voice ▪ Yes, all finished, he chirped. >chirp n …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Chirp — [tʃə:p] der; s, s <aus engl. chirp »das Zwitschern, Zirpen«> Änderung der Trägerfrequenz bei kurzen Impulsen eines Lasers …   Das große Fremdwörterbuch

  • chirp — [ tʃɜrp ] verb 1. ) intransitive when a bird or an insect chirps, it makes a short high sound 2. ) intransitive or transitive to say something in a lively and happy way ╾ chirp noun count …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • chirp — mid 15c. (implied in chirping), echoic, or else a variant of M.E. chirken to twitter (late 14c.), from O.E. cearcian to creak, gnash. Related: Chirped. As a noun, attested from 1802 …   Etymology dictionary


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