HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >


Trying to learn the local lingo: "Yummy" (moved from U.K.)

I've been in London a few months and have been noticing wide use of the word yummy and its variant yum in the context of food and food reviews. I was surprised by this, because in the US yummy is confined mainly to children and adults communicating with children. After a few weeks of amusement I began to conclude that this must be a variant in usage, that yummy is acceptable as a synonym for delicious even for an adult. As a related point, I know that every food vocabulary has its overused words. In New York food reviews it was "hunks". Rather than pieces, or morsels, or chunks, everything in New York apparently came in hunks.

Is my reading of the use of the word yummy in the UK correct?

Lost in translation,


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Yes - it's an example of adults reclaiming language from their childhood! It's acceptable, but personally, I sometimes find it really irritating ... but I guess it depends on how it's said.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Theresa

      Unfortunately it seems to be becoming much too common here in the US, too. Without further comment on the, ahem, phenomenon, all you have to do is search on the word "yummy" on this site itself...

    2. Absolutely correct reading, BB.

      The word can be used exactly as a synonym for delicious (or "delish") in all circumstances. If anything, I might use "delish" to describe say a steak and "yummy" to describe dessert. But there are interchangeable.

      But coming from the north, I'd probably say "Yeah, it was alright". Or if a really really good restaurant I might go so far as to say it "was non too shabby". Masters of the understatement us northerners are.


      1. Don't forget "YUM-OH", our favorite love-to-hate FN personality's catchphrase! Do they get RR in the UK?

        3 Replies
        1. re: coney with everything

          I hope for their sake they are spared from the mediocre mess that is RR.

          1. re: kkak97

            Yes, we are spared. We have our own messes.

            Ex-Pat Yank

          2. re: coney with everything

            Oh no! Amercan living in England here. I've been known to say yummo, didn't realize it was an annoying catchphrase. Oh dear.

          3. I find the adding of 'y' or 'ie' is very common in the UK. Maybe that's how yum became yummy, but I think it's probably just another phrase that perhaps goes along with the more common usage now of American phrases such as 'family situation, 'have a nice day'' etc. I'm thinking of cutesy words like pressie, rellies etc.

            2 Replies
            1. re: zuriga1

              how 'bout "brekkie" for breakfast...........cutsey?

              1. re: zuriga1

                I do agree about the Brits and that tendency toward nursery-speak, but I've always thought it was the other way around, in the US at least, with "yum" being a misguided attempt to make "yummy" sound at least vaguely like an adult word.

              2. Us Brits do like to shorten words as much as possible so sarnie for sandwich, hankie for handkerchief, brolly for umbrella, barbie for BBQ, roast spuds, beddy byes for bedtime, nightie for nightdress etc.

                yes yummy is used by everyone or even yum. and delish.

                1. Just returned from 3 weeks on "the other side" (my eponymous trip).

                  The Food Network was full of US cooks saying things were"yummy".

                  1. Yes, but do they say food is "awesome" or "wicked good" like we do here in NEW England?

                    1. I only use "yummy" when I'm talking about a dessert. It is too trivial a word for anything better than that, IMO. I also find "awesome" vastly over used as an adjective. I prefer excellent, good, delicious, the good old stand bys. If I am totally enthralled by a dish I say "It was divine" or "pure bliss."

                      1. Maybe this is another case of Canadians being more like Brits than our neighbours to the south, but I've seen "yummy" used plenty of times here. I use it fairly frequently myself - mind you, I'm also a bit of an overgrown kid, so maybe it's not the best endorsement. :)

                        Come to think of it, a local boutique specialising in prepared meals and other ready-to-eat foodstuffs describes itself as a "Purveyor of Yummy Foods".

                        1. When I hear an adult say "yummy", I assume they're talking about another adult.

                          1. Lifelong American here, and for me "yummy" is only used by, and when talking to children. I never find it acceptable for an adult to use the term "yummy" to describe anything. There are much more intelligent words out there that can be used to correctly decribe food in my humble opinion.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: swsidejim

                              Agreed, I can't stand it. And as much as it makes me cringe to hear an adult say "yummy" (except when talking to my children, ages 3 and 1), I think it bothers me more to hear (or in the case of the internet, see) "delish". Makes me want to scream.

                              1. re: valerie

                                I agree it makes me cringe as well, "delish" is another word I dont like either.

                                1. re: swsidejim

                                  Delish is right up there with "Fab". Have we become so lazy we can't say an entire word?

                                  1. re: danhole

                                    hilarious.... I think some have become that lazy.

                            2. I love the word yummy and all its relatives. I don't see why it's such a big problem.

                              11 Replies
                              1. re: marmite

                                That it's just too "cutesy" for an adult to be saying. Yummy. Yummo. Sammie. Delish. Stoup. They're all dumb, childish words (or non-words) that RRay, for one, has chosen to bring back into the American lexicon.

                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                  ouch.... ; )

                                  well said....., you read my mind.

                                  1. re: swsidejim

                                    Mine too. I cringe every time I come upon it in a post.

                                  2. re: LindaWhit

                                    Eh, I suppose. I don't use any of your other examples, nor do I ever really hear them. Yummy doesn't bother me.

                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                      Oh yes, sammie is totally annoying too. Never really hear it, but see it on these boards occasionally. But for me, I don't associate them with Rachael Ray. In fact, she doesn't even bother me all that much.

                                      Can't even pinpoint it. Just something about yummy, delish, sammie, etc. (never heard "stoup") that makes my hair stand on end. Ok, maybe I need help!

                                      1. re: valerie

                                        i don't know about "stoup" . . .what does it mean?

                                        1. re: soupkitten

                                          It's a combination of stew and soup. My mother used it years ago, but I hadn't heard it again until RR started saying it.

                                        2. re: valerie

                                          not sammie but sarnie SARNIE - for sandwich

                                          1. re: smartie

                                            Sammy is American, sarnie is British, from my experience. As are 'cob' and 'bap.' They both refer to the bread roll, but people use them to describe the sandwich too.

                                            1. re: Kagey

                                              Nah. A Brit sandwich (sarnie or butty) is sliced bread. A cob, bap or barm(barmcake) are different regional names for a bread roll. Where I live, we have barms. Where I used to work (10 miles away) they have baps.

                                              It's how we spot folk "not from these parts". Let no-one tell you different.

                                    2. I can't comment on UK usage, but "yummy" as it's used (too often) in the US is one of those words I've come to accept other people using but that I would never use myself, not even when talking to a very small child. "Veggie" is another, whether adjective or noun. It makes it sound like the speaker (or, god forbid, writer) is apologizing for his vegetables, or maybe trying to emphasize the fact that he's eating vegetables and not meat.

                                      I will say "Yum," but it strikes me more as an alternate form of "Mmmm" than a real word.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Liana Krissoff

                                        Thank you. "Yummy" and "veggie" make me cringe, and should never be used in a professional review or menu.

                                        1. re: Up With Olives

                                          I agree not on a menu or by servers reading the specials

                                      2. Brits, take note: In Texas, where I lived 8 years and they chew tobacco and rope calves and ride bulls and metrosexual has too many syllables, a man's fork full of food is not "yummy". It's either friggin' delicious, or it sucks. No girlie-mantalk, and even sons are expected to drop "yummy" from their lexicon about the time they kill their first deer, usually around age 9.