Om nom nom

(Posted by Sandeep)

In honor of Thanksgiving (and my last day of classes for the semester!), I thought I’d pick a little lighter subject today: eating. Specifically, the sound most Americans will be making later today: “om nom.”

According to, om nom (pronounced [a:m na:m]) is:

An onomatopoeical adjective based on the sound emitted when something is “oh so tasty” (either through hunger or flavorological value) that one gnaws through it without regard to cleanliness or etiquette. This sort of ravenous eating will often result in an “om nom nom nom” noise being emitted from the eater.

“Om nom” is so popular now as an onomatopoeic representation of eating that it’s become a pervasive Internet meme. The conventional wisdom is that the “om nom” meme was started by none other than famous television eater Cookie Monster (who has, in fact, since learned to eat healthier):

“Om nom” and its cousin, “nom nom,” are frequently used by LOLcats, those charming (and only occasionally annoying) grammar-deficient cats who have nested on the Internet’s message boards and email chains.

For example:

There is a whole site,, dedicated to pictures of everyday objects drawn with eyes and teeth, seemingly devouring other things.

This is a picture of the St. Louis Arch eating a building. (It says “Om nom nom nom!” at the bottom.)

Cats can make the “om nom” sound in real life too, apparently:

According to a Wikipedia list of cross-linguistic onomatopoeias, “om nom” is in good company. The French say “miam miam,” the Italians “gnam gnam,” the Spanish “ñam ñam,” and the Swedes “nam nam.” The Japanese apparently say “mogu mogu,” but nobody asked them, anyway.

Finally, here is an interview of Cookie Monster, who explains the origin of om nom.

Happy Thanksgiving, and try not to “om nom” too loud at the table.