Subtitled movies sometimes have that nice feature, where important sounds and background noise are written out in words, something which you could not learn from just the audio.

In this way I understood that horses can neigh, whinny, snort, snicker, hooves, and whatnot.

There is that one sound that, if a human made it, we would call "blowing raspberries". Horses frequently do that in movies, but I found no consistent subtitling for that sound. Research on https://dict.leo.org finds discussions, but no clear answer. Wikipedia entries mention all sounds, but do not describe it in a way that would allow a clear assignment. Especially the distinction between neighing and whinnying seems to be blurry, my impression is that neither would match.

  • Horses also nicker, which is to produce a breathy rumbling sound.
    – TimR
    Sep 18, 2018 at 12:45
  • BTW, the term for these sounds animals make to communicate is vocalization. The word sound-effects refers to imitations of such sounds. Movie sound studios can provide a wide variety of sound-effects, for example, the sound of galloping hooves or of a display window breaking.
    – TimR
    Sep 18, 2018 at 13:23
  • 1
    Horses Make 8 Sounds To Convey Information, Moods mackinacislandnews.com/news/2005-07-09/Columnist/067.html - Horse communication learn-about-horses.com/horse-communication.html
    – user29952
    Sep 18, 2018 at 13:28
  • 6
    Horses make that "blowing a raspberry" sound by vibrating their nostrils, so it could be called a snort. Sep 18, 2018 at 13:58
  • 1
    Where sub-titles are concerned, though there may be many terms or phrases that could be applied in any given situation, the sub-titler will normally choose a simple word to convey a sound-effect. Their job is to enable the viewer/reader to concentrate on the on-screen action. Of course there will always be exceptions, but sound-effects are typically less critical than dialogue.
    – Tedinoz
    Sep 22, 2018 at 15:43

1 Answer 1


The "blowing raspberries" sound that horses make can be called a snort

The stallion snorted and pawed the ground as the cowboy approached slowly, swinging his lariat.

I don't know why snorts are not subtitled, but it would be perfectly natural to do so.

There is little difference between a neigh and a whinny. As with most onomatopoeia, the words are spelled like the sounds, so it's really up to you to choose which you want to use to describe any particular horsey sound.

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