womp womp meme

Womp Womp (Slang)

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Updated Apr 10, 2024 at 11:09AM EDT by Zach.

Added Jun 22, 2018 at 01:01PM EDT by Don.

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

About

Womp Womp, also known as Wamp Wamp and Sad Trombone, is an onomatopoeic expression mimicking the chromatic descending sound produced by a trombone used to indicate a failure on television game shows. Throughout the 2000s, 2010s and 2020s, the slang term was widely spread online across platforms like TikTok, Reddit and more.

Origin

While the exact origin of the sad trombone noise is unclear, it is widely rumored to have originated with vaudeville shows popular in North America between the 1880s and 1930s.

Spread

On October 3rd, 2005, Urban Dictionary user Reverend Dr. Mycopheles submitted an entry for "sad trombone," claiming that the sound originated during the "vaudeville days."[6] On August 15th, 2006, Urban Dictionary user Perry Johnson submitted an entry for "womp womp," defining it as a "lighthearted phrase that indicates loss" (shown below).[1] In March 2008, the domain for the single-serving site SadTrombone.com[3] was registered, which features a button that plays the trombone sound when pressed.


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 25th, 2010, YouTuber Josh Streeter uploaded a sound clip of the sad trombone, which gained over 1.5 million views and 290 comments over the next eight years (shown below). On June 10th, Board Game Geek Forums[5] member Neil Carr submitted a post asking "What is the history of the Sad Trombone?", to which several others speculated the sound originated in vaudeville.



On August 6th, a page for "Losing Horns" was created on TV Tropes.[2] On January 4th, 2013, YouTuber Stroppel uploaded footage of a student playing the sound effect in class, which garnered more than 6.4 million views and 4,000 comments over the next six years.

On December 17th, 2014, Redditor dancingnutria submitted a post asking "where does the phrase 'womp womp' come from?" to the /r/OutOfTheLoop[4] subreddit, to which user Weedwacker responded that it was a stock sound effect that "may be as old as vaudeville acts".



Corey Lewandowski Interview

On June 19th, 2018, former Trump campaign official Corey Lewandowski appeared on Fox News to discuss the controversy. While being told about a 10-year-old girl with Downs Syndrome who was separated from her parents, Lewandowski interrupted to say, "womp womp," mimicking the sound of a trombone, which signifies sarcastic compassion.

That day, Twitter user @jiveDurkey published a video of the changes with the comment: "you sitting down? here’s Corey Lewandowski mockingly saying “womp womp” to the story of a 10-year-old girl with Down Syndrome who was separated from her mother at the border." The post (shown below) received more than 30,000 retweets and 47,000 likes in 24 hours.


Immigration Rally Incident

On July 1st, 2018, The Washington Post[7] reported that 34-year-old Shane Ryan Sealy was arrested after brandishing a weapon at an immigration rally in Huntsville, Alabama, where he marched in front of an Episcopal priest delivering a prayer and shouted "womp womp!". That day, Twitter user @krassenstein tweeted video footage of the incident (shown below).



That day, Redditor thenewyorkgod submitted the article to /r/politics,[8] where it gathered upwards of 33,600 points (88% upvoted) and 4,000 comments within 24 hours. The following day, The Daily Dot[9] published an article about the incident.

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