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Oompa Loompa

The term Oompa Loompa was coined by a beloved children’s author. We will look at the original meaning of the term Oompa Loompa, the additional meaning the term has acquired, who invented the word and some examples of its use in sentences.

An Oompa Loompa is a dwarf or short person. The term Oompa Loompa was coined by the author Roald Dahl to indicate a particular race of people who powered Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. The term Oompa Loompa is simply a reduplication, or a repetition of syllables for comedic or whimsical effect. Willy Wonka is a character in Dahl’s 1964 book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which has been adapted into two different films. In the original film starring Gene Wilder, the Oompa Loompas were depicted with orange skin. This inspired a common secondary meaning of the term Oompa Loompa, which is someone who has an orange cast to his skin tone due to a poor tanning job or substandard makeup. The Oxford English Dictionary has recently added Oompa Loompa to their list. Interestingly, the dictionary has also recently published a book dedicated to Dahl’s use of language, the Oxford Roald Dahl Dictionary. While the term Oompa Loompa is seen in many different iterations such as lowercase letters or with a hyphen, note that the Oxford English Dictionary prefers the capitalized version as it related to a specific, though fictional, race of people. The plural form is Oompa Loompas.


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Examples

This makes sense because as far as Rory’s boyfriends go, Dean is as romantically suave as an Oompa Loompa is good at dancing. (Elle Magazine)

Say you already increased the saturation of a photo; you can now bring skin tones back down, so you don’t look like an oompa loompa, for instance. (PC Magazine)

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