Slang dictionary

food coma

[ food koh-muh ]

What is a food coma?

Food coma is a slang term for the state of feeling extremely tired or lethargic after eating a big meal.

Some people use the term in reference to actually falling asleep after a big meal, while others simply use it to refer to the state of feeling sleepy and sluggish.

Feeling this way is common after eating a lot of food and is attributed to a number of factors, including blood sugar changes and hormones related to digestion.

There is even a technical medical term for it: postprandial somnolence.

Example: Every year, Thanksgiving dinner makes everyone fall into a food coma.

Related words

food baby, hard pants, the proof is in the pudding, tendies

Where does food coma come from?

filtered image of table full of food

The exact origin of the term food coma is uncertain, but the term has been used to refer to sleepiness after a big meal since at least the early 1990s.

In food coma, the word coma is used to exaggeratedly liken a person’s post-meal drowsiness to the lack of responsiveness typical of a medical patient in a coma.

Examples of food coma

Never thought I could be so full from a vegan restaurant. Currently in a food coma
@TylerJCameron3, January 17, 2020
We ate ourselves into a happy food coma but still possessed enough energy to buy a couple of treats for the road.
Nevin Martell, The Washington Post, April 2022

Who uses food coma?

Food coma is informal and is typically used to be humorous. It’s especially used by people describing how they themselves feel after eating a big meal.

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This is not meant to be a formal definition of food coma like most terms we define on, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of food coma that will help our users expand their word mastery.