A universal sound of contempt and wordless disapproval, there is no better way to get across that a character is arrogant, smarmy, or contemptuous of something better than a firm "Hmph!" Often times it will be paired with crossed arms or an upturned chin, or perhaps a smug smirk if the intent is to show how little the person in question thinks of the person or situation they're dealing with. It is the favorite noise of the Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy, Smug Super, Jerk Jock, Grumpy Bear, and the Insufferable Genius. Tsunderes will often make this sound along with a Crush Blush to indicate how SO totally not into you they are. It is practically the Catchphrase of the Alpha Bitch.
The trope tends to come in two basic varieties:
- The disapproving, scornful "Hmph!" made by characters who feel slighted or are about to give you a piece of their mind.
- The smug, smarmy "Hmph." that shows a character is bemused and condescending towards something.
Sometimes the sound that's used isn't "hmph", but something similarly nonverbal, like "Ha!", "Pfft", or "Tch."
Characters that do this a lot are often in for a good breaking. In a lot of cases the villain can be expected to do this more than the hero, but not always. Anyone indignant or prideful might be expected to puff one out. Sub-Trope of Reaction Shot. Often paired with Unprovoked Pervert Payback. Compare Big "NO!" and Big "NEVER!".
Note: No Zero-Context Examples, please!
- Early on in the series, Sasuke Uchiha of Naruto did this to the point of it being a Verbal Tic. After he begins to doubt his own abilities and get lured by the promises of power of Orochimaru he begins to do it less and less, but never completely stops doing it. Sakura Haruno, likewise, used the scornful version quite often at the beginning of the series.
- Gary Oak and Misty of Pokémon are both known to do this a lot, especially in the latter's case. Jessie of Team Rocket is also one to do this pretty often.
- Coldblooded CP9 assassin Rob Lucci of One Piece uses these as pretty much his only way of emoting, usually along with a scary smug smile.
- Vegeta of Dragon Ball was smarmy to the core, and it showed in how often he'd use this trope. He does it at the beginning of virtually every single one of his fights in the series.
- Seto Kaiba of Yu-Gi-Oh! tends to use the more smug and self-confident version of this trope to show off his egotistical arrogance.
- Paptimus Scirocco of Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam is characterized by this in his first few appearances to indicate he isn't nearly as nice as he might initially appear. Moody teen protagonist Kamille Bidan also does this quite a few times.
- In the original Batman story in Detective Comics #27, Bruce Wayne gives one of these to commissioner Gordon to show his dismissiveness to a story he tells him about a bat-garbed vigilante. Gordon, annoyed, comments to himself that Bruce must lead a very boring life.
- Many of the characters in Calvin and Hobbes do this when they're in a bad mood, but Calvin does it particularly often.
- Jane Kangaroo does this in Horton Hears a Who! to the point that her son copies her with a "Hmph, too!"
- During the Ghost of Christmast Past sequence in Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, a teenage Scrooge is talking to a girl when his friend Dick Wilkinson surprises them, causing the girl to storm off with an outraged 'Hmph!' Scrooge himself does this at several points during the beginning portion of the play.
- "How the Camel Got His Hump" from Just So Stories tells how the Camel's verbal "Humph!" was turned into a physical hump by the magical intervention of a Djinn.
- Cera from The Land Before Time does this almost nonstop, but pretty much all characters in the series have done one at some point, including Petrie, Ducky, and even Littlefoot.
- Nana Noodleman of Sing has a lot of this when she's pestered by the ebullient Buster Moon for money on the back of flattery and appeals to her long jaded sense of show business.
- Jane Kangaroo of Horton Hears a Who! does this all the time through out the movie.
- Georgette of Oliver & Company uses this as part of her arrogant show-dog personality.
- Colette of Ratatouille gives this and a slap to Alfredo after Remy takes control of him while he sleeps and accidentally makes him look like a pompous ingrate.
- In Aladdin, one of Jasmine's potential suitors comes storming out of the room with parts of his pants missing and declares, along with this trope: "Good luck marrying her off!"
- Mr. Ages of The Secret of NIMH gives Mrs. Brisby a series of these as she desperately asks him what to do about her son Timothy's illness.
- Grumpy from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs does it so often, it's almost his Catchphrase.
- The titular character of The Cat in the Hat directly invokes and mocks this reaction with his own "Harumph!"
- There are several moments where this happens in The Wizard of Oz, like when the Scarecrow asserts that he isn't afraid of the Wicked Witch of the West.
- Regina George of Mean Girls gives an unbothered 'Hmph' when she see that someone has cut holes on her shirt to show off her breasts. When the rest of the school sees her, they just try to copy her style.
- Colonel Brighton of Lawrence of Arabia uses a Deadpan Snarker version when Lawrence tells him he's come to assess the situation: "Hmph! Well that won't be too difficult. The situation's bloody awful."
- Aunt Marge in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban gives a truly loathsome one after Harry loses his temper when she insults his mother. Just before she's about to follow it up with a piece of her mind, she inflates and flies away.
- In The Princess Bride, diabolical Vizzini gives a very smug one as he's told about the deadliness of iocaine powder.
- Edna Turnblat of Hairspray does a series of these during the first part of "Your Timeless To Me" as she misinterprets her husband Wilbur's compliments as insults.
- Camp Alpha Bitch Judy gives one in Sleep Away Camp just before she questions Angela about why she never seems to take showers with the rest of the girls.
- Elliot Reid of Scrubs often does this as part of her manic Girly Girl personality.
- Endora, mother of Samantha from Bewitched routinely sniffs at her son-in-law Darrin because he has no powers as one of the muggles. Add in Malicious Misnaming, and it's clear Endora regards Darrin as little better than a chihuahua.
- 50 Cent does a very intimidating one in "I Can Hear Your Heartbeat".
- Wario and Bowser Jr. of the Mario franchise are both very fond of this. Bowser Jr. in particular does one during the opening cut-scene of Mario Super Sluggers to convey his jealousy that Mario and his friends have their own Baseball island to play on.
- Onmyōji: Yōkinshi, being as arrogant as he can get, lets out this kind of noise when he is hit with an enemy attack and when he's executing one of his special skills namely, passing his turn to another teammate.
Yōkinshi: Do you think you can understand my melody at that level of knowledge? Haa What an annoying pest.
- He also does this in his in-game autobiography in which he expresses utter contempt for another person who wants to hear his music.
- Shadow from the Sonic the Hedgehog games does this frequently. This is one of his ways to express how snide and arrogant he can be and how he can be aloof and disapproving of someone.
- Several of the faction leaders will do this in Age of Empires III, especially Ivan the Terrible and Napoleon.
- Ayane from Dead or Alive also does this as part of her arrogant and aloof attitude.
DAN: I can't tell you yet. I said earlier that we have to take this one step at a time; I don't think you can handle it all at once.IJI: Humph! I'm not a child. Besides, you still haven't told me why this Humph! I'm not a child. And besides, you still haven't told me why this whole alien invasion thing has gone unnoticed by the rest of the world.
- In the beginning of Sector 2, Dan's holding back information, from Iji, his older sister, and she doesn't like that:
DAN: This high-security door can be opened by cracking a terminal above. You could also try cracking the door directly, but I doubt you can handle it.IJI: Wh, what's that supposed to mean?DAN: What? The door is hard to crack. I didn't mean to insult you. Drop the attitude, you're making this difficult.IJI: Hmph. Like you'd survive one minute in my shoes.
- Iji's been running around fighting aliens, while Dan's been sitting safe in a security room, and Iji takes the idea that there's something she can't do, as an insult:
IJI: I'm heading for Sector X to talk sense into the General. Then you'll see.ELITE: See what? Your burning corpse bouncing back here?IJI: I'm serious! You won't know if it works until you tried!ELITE: Humph. Good luck.
- And when an alien Elite is disbelieving when Iji says she'll convince the alien General to stop attacking Earth:
- Whateley Universe:
- Ayla and the Birthday Brawl: (Chap 6).htm, from Kismet who envies Fey for her greater magical ability:
They hurried out, although Kismet took the time to glare at Fey and make a little "Hmph!" noise.
- From Jade 7: Over the Top, after Jinn underwent Breast Expansion, making the other girls envious of her:
"I thought you didn't have anything to apologize for?" Jana reminded her.
"Hmph," Gadget hmphed. "Wonderful 'naive' act. It has all the charm of some perky blonde cheerleader cruising for her first date rape."
"What?" Jinn screeched, trying not to jiggle as she reacted. "That's pretty harsh! What did I ever do to you?"
- Ayla and the Birthday Brawl: (Chap 6).htm, from Kismet who envies Fey for her greater magical ability:
- Daffy Duck of Looney Tunes is especially prone to doing this any time he's in a short with Bugs Bunny. Almost all of the Looney Tunes have done this, however; some others who are particularly inclined are Granny, Sylvester, and Bugs himself.
- Mickey Mouse shorts: Minnie Mouse is a very frequent user of this trope, as is Donald Duck; in the former's case it's especially common after Mickey has done something to offend her or when she's rejecting the advances of Pete.
- Both of the title characters of Tom and Jerry will mime this reaction to each other, although in some iterations they actually do give an audible 'Hmph!'
- This is a very common Reaction Shot in Futurama, but it's especially common in female characters like Leela and Amy, especially with regards to the advances of Zap Brannigan.
- Wilma of The Flintstones is fond of this, typically after her husband annoys her.
- Helga of Hey Arnold! does just about every single variety of this trope, especially when it comes to her Tsundere secret crush on Arnold.
- Rarity of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic often has this as part of her high-class Fashion Designer vibe.
- Angelica of Rugrats, being the hideously spoiled brat she is, does this both when mocking Tommy and his friends or when she's angry about an innocent question they ask here. The adults are prone to this too, and it's very often paired with Losing Horns.
- Many characters of The Powerpuff Girls do this, including the title characters. Other people who do it a lot are Princess Morebucks and Mojo Jojo.
- Debbie of The Wild Thornberrys is prone to this, particularly when her sister Eliza asks if she wants to go into the wild with her.
- Spoiled school girl Mindy of The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy does this all the time to convey how much of an insufferable brat she it.
- Rabbit from Winnie-the-Pooh does this a lot to emphasize how much of a wet blanket he is on the other animal's silly antics.
- The titular character of Courage the Cowardly Dog often uses this to show his disapproval of something, since he's a semi Silent Protagonist.
- Marge Simpson's two sisters, Selma and Patty, are known to give a very gravel-throated version of this in The Simpsons.
- Alexandra Cabot fires these off Once per Episode of Josie and the Pussycats because she's bitterly jealous of Josie. Alexandra is conceited to the point of being The Load, and along with her dubious scowl, her "hmph"s mark her as the Token Evil Teammate.
- Brittany from Daria will periodically do this whenever she's miffed, most hilariously in one scene when Jodie tells her to "rent a brain".