An onomatopœia, om nom nom is a sound Cookie Monster makes when he eats. The term became a meme on the Internet, often being used with lolcat images. The term, without the lolcat association, was first posted on UrbanDictionary.com in December 2004 as "om nom".
As defined by the Linguistic Society of America, nom is an "Onomatopoetic form connoting eating, esp. pleasurably. Can be used as an interjection or noun to refer to delicious food."
Many viral videos of animals eating feature the term in their titles; among the most viewed are a hamster eating (with 11.4 million views on YouTube), and a "kitteh" (with 2.7 million views). Even Disney Living marketing has used the term.
As of 2011, Sesame Workshop does not seem to have standardized usage of this term, to capitalize on its popularity; paint line Sesame Street Colours includes the variety "Num Num Num". In the Sesame Street book S is for School, when Cookie Monster is told not to eat the alphabet, he replies, "Ok, ok, ok. But it very tasty. Num num!" Also, Cookie Monster's Muppetbook profile lists his catchphrase as "Un num num num num" rather than "Om nom nom nom nom".
Bioworld produced a line of Sesame Street hats, including a Cookie Monster baseball cap with "Nom nom nom" written on the visor. A Cookie Monster mug was also produced by giftware company Vandor LLC, on one side of which was written "Got cookie? Om nom nom nom." The PBS Kids online shop carries a personalizable cookie jar, on which is written "Om nom!" with the O's replaced by Cookie Monster and a cookie with a bite taken out of it. A pair of Cookie Monster women's pajamas were also manufactured, with "Nom nom nom nom nom" printed on the pajama top, as well as a pair of women's briefs with "Nom nom nom" written across the waistband.
As a promotion for the "Cookie's Crumby Pictures" segment introduced in Season 44, Sesame Street introduced OmNomNomify, a website that replaces all of the pictures on a website with pictures of Cookie Monster. This was updated in February 2015 as a promotion for The Cookie Thief.
2nd place in Word of the Year
At the 2011 conference of the Linguistic Society of America (LSA), the final round of the annual 2010 Word of the Year (as voted on by the American Dialect Society) debate was between "app" and "nom". In preliminary rounds, "nom" was up against several other words in the category "Most Useful".