womp womp explained

What Does 'Womp Womp' Mean? The 'Sad Trombone' Sound Effect, Meme And Slang Term Explained

Filed under "Guides"
Published Apr 06, 2024 at 09:34AM EDT by Marwan.

The term "Womp Womp," refers to an onomatopoeic expression that mimics the Sad Trombone sound effect commonly used to indicate failure in TV game shows.

The slang term has gained lots of popularity on the internet, both as a soundboard and also on social platforms like TikTok, Reddit and more.

But what is the origin of Womp Womp? And how is it used in memes? Here's everything you need to know.


What Is The Womp Womp Meme's Origin?

While the origin of the actual Womp Womp trombone noise is unclear, it is widely rumored to have originated with vaudeville shows popular in North America between the 1880s and 1930s (shown below). The sound became more popular as it started being used on the small screen, particularly in game shows.


How Did The Womp Womp Term Spread?

On August 15th, 2006, Urban Dictionary user Perry Johnson submitted an entry for "womp womp," defining it as a "lighthearted phrase that indicates loss" (entry shown below). Another entry was also placed on Urban Dictionary for "sad trombone" claiming that the sound originated during the "vaudeville days."

womp womp A lighthearted phrase that indicates a loss.; A sound of loss heard on a gameshow. (first womp is a higher frequency sound than the second womp) ex 1: Friend 1: "Hey man, I can't find the list of people who were interested in joining the chess club" Friend 2: womp womp, maybe it's a sign for you to stop being lame ex 2: Friend 1: HAHAHA, that girl didn't give you her phone number...wonk wonk Friend 2: What did you just say? The proper phrase is 'womp womp What are you? An idiot or something? womp womp.


On May 5th, 2010, YouTuber Josh Streeter uploaded a sound clip of the Sad Trombone, which gained over 1.5 million views. On August 6th, an entry for "Losing Horns" was created on TV Tropes, and on January 4th, 2013, YouTuber Stroppel uploaded a video of a student playing the sound effect in class, which garnered over 6.4 million views (shown below).


How Is Womp Womp Used In Memes?

The term 'Womp Womp' became more prominent in the media over time, with the most notable example being the infamous Corey Lewandowski Interview, where he appeared to mockingly say "Womp Womp" to the story of a 10-year-old girl with Down Syndrome (original video shown below).


On July 1st, 2018, 34-year-old Shane Ryan Sealy was arrested after pulling out a gun during a protest in Huntsville, Alabama, where he marched in front of the crowd and yelled "Womp Womp!" with Twitter user @krassenstein tweeted video footage of the incident (shown below).



For the full history of Womp Womp, be sure to check out Know Your Meme's encyclopedia entry for more information.




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