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Sep 8, 2007 03:46 AM

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,


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  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.