Definition of oompah in English:


(also oompah-pah)


  • [mass noun] The rhythmical sound of deep-toned brass instruments in a band.

    [as modifier] ‘beer gardens from which oompah music thumped resoundingly’
    • ‘She was accompanied by a band that played oompah music, on a tiny stage, with the smell of fried potatoes wafting in from the kitchen.’
    • ‘In the ground-breaking ensemble pieces 1898 and Kantrimiusik, familiar scales and arpeggios are combined with oompah rhythms and the emancipation of the consonance was complete.’
    • ‘Over the course of 15 tracks, they gently shift from dark, carnival oompah to breathy, folky ballads to sweeping, expansive pop and old-timey backwoods country.’
    • ‘During the day when your head stops spinning longer enough for a memory to form in your head you may hear the oompah band playing the mooloo song.’
    • ‘How I envy my Other Half, who can not only boast a fine whistling technique, but who can summon up a veritable oompah band whenever he's got a tune on the brain.’
    • ‘We strolled down Broadway - alive with shoppers and the thumping bass oompah of norteno music - before reaching the modern face of downtown, Bunker Hill.’
    • ‘A German oompah band will perform there tonight and tomorrow.’
    • ‘‘What you must remember,’ the driver says, with added oompah, ‘is that what you're seeing in Berlin is a moment in a process.’’
    • ‘Twelve hours of enforced exposure to a traditional, lederhosen clad oompah band ought to set them back on the straight and narrow.’
    • ‘Almost immediately following the vintage Universal logo (nice touch) and subsequent verbal recap of the zombie world situation, we are greeted with a macabre, hilarious off-key (to say the least) undead oompah band.’
    • ‘Elsewhere on The Grove an oompah band and tombola stall made full use of the new bandstand.’
    • ‘You leave Germany, enter Austria and before you can say oompah band are into Switzerland.’
    • ‘Southampton's city centre could echo to the sounds of oompah bands and smell of sizzling bratwurst and schnitzels this Christmas.’
    • ‘Even the music was quiet, and was international popular music, with no hint of an oompah in earshot.’
    • ‘I find that German oompah music usually hits the spot.’
    • ‘The pair of movements might be thought of as urban and agrarian respectively, the scherzo being comic and a bit grotesque, apposite to city-slickers and clowns, with march rhythms and oompah basses redolent of music-hall.’
    • ‘I can't speak German, but I gave the line a bit of Teutonic oompah and it sounded kind of right.’
    • ‘They joined some local bands, including the Clay County Community Band, and also are members of a small band they call the Umpa Band, umpa being their whimsical spelling of the tuba's characteristic oompah sound.’
    • ‘In Town Hall Square there will be a dramatic feel to things, with performances from Keighley Amateurs and HYT, plus music from a Bavarian oompah band.’
    • ‘I play the bass line so if I wasn't able to go then the Great Escape would have sounded a bit odd without the oompah in the background.’


[NO OBJECT]informal
  • Make an ‘oompah’

    ‘the military band oompahed from the terrace’
    • ‘There's this one lone bass oompahing up and down the square, clowning around like we're some sort of marching band instead of the be-all and end-all of big parades and he slips in the elephant dung.’
    • ‘‘Very good value,’ she oompahs, ‘very beautiful.’’


Late 19th century: imitative.