What word or phrase does your mother always say?


[oo mf] /ʊmf/
noun, Informal.
energy; vitality; enthusiasm.
sex appeal.
Origin of oomph
1935-40, Americanism; imitative of the sound made during exertion, as in lifting a heavy object Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for oomph
  • Perhaps you'll remember it when you feel that you need the extra oomph.
  • It's a good idea to plant them with companion plants as in the photo, to give the planting more oomph during the off season.
  • But so far this season, the winter storms have lacked oomph.
  • The jets give him powered ascent and the oomph to do loops.
  • Four flywheels would have the oomph to run a standard-size car, but not for long distances.
  • The trouble is that turbochargers can take several seconds to provide the extra oomph.
  • It gets its extra oomph from a supercharger forcing more air into the combustion chambers of its engine.
  • They have more oomph, and no need of a gearbox to deliver it.
  • Today's turbochargers, however, take several seconds to deliver the extra oomph.
  • Without a follow through from household and business spending, the industrial sector won't be providing much oomph to the economy.
British Dictionary definitions for oomph


noun (informal)
enthusiasm, vigour, or energy
sex appeal
Word Origin
C20: perhaps imitative of the bellow of a mating bull
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for oomph

"sexual attractiveness," 1937, suggestive visceral physical sound. Ann Sheridan (1915–1967) was the original Hollywood oomph girl (1939).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for oomph


  1. Sexual attractiveness; compelling carnality; it
  2. Energy; clout, pizzazz: substance, drive, authority, emotional power, and oomph

[1937+; an echoic coinage suggesting the gasp of someone hit hard by a blow, a transport of desire, etc]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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