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What is the origin of the word yummy, as in This food is yummy? All I can find are dates of known first uses.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 11 down vote accepted

Etymonline says:

"delicious," 1899, from baby talk. Yum-yum as an exclamation of pleasure is recorded from 1878.

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language says:

From yum, the sound of smacking the lips.

The Collins English Dictionary says:

From yum-yum, of imitative origin.

Merriam-Webster says:

Origin of YUMMY: yum-yum. First Known Use: 1899.

Everyone seems to agree that this is an onomatopoeia.

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'Yum' is the sound hard when lips smack? Sounds like a stretch to me. – Mark Oct 6 '11 at 14:31
yumyumyumyum sounds close enough to nomnomnomnom (frame of reference: animal sounds in other languages). Maybe the next generation of "yummy" will be "nommy". – tenfour Dec 20 '12 at 23:48
@tenfour: nom nom is already firmly established as meaning yummy, good to eat, as attested by 10's of millions of Google hits there. – FumbleFingers Dec 20 '12 at 23:57

Is it from the Chinese food culture of Yum Cha? Chinese immigrants flooded US and Australian goldfields from 1840s onwards.

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The OED doesn’t seem to think so. You would need a reference. – tchrist Dec 21 '12 at 2:04

protected by RegDwigнt Dec 30 '12 at 18:44

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