Simple Definition of ombudsman
: a person (such as a government official or an employee) who investigates complaints and tries to deal with problems fairly
Full Definition of ombudsman
plural ombudsmenplay \-mən\
1 : a government official (as in Sweden or New Zealand) appointed to receive and investigate complaints made by individuals against abuses or capricious acts of public officials
2 : one that investigates, reports on, and helps settle complaints
Examples of ombudsman in a sentence
The insurance company's ombudsman was able to resolve the problem.
The town's ombudsman said he would look into charges of corruption.
Did You Know?
Ombudsman was borrowed from Swedish, where it means "representative," and ultimately derives from the Old Norse words umboth ("commission") and mathr ("man"). In the early 1800s, Sweden became the first country to appoint an independent official known as an ombudsman to investigate complaints against government officials and agencies. Since then, other countries (such as Finland, Denmark, and New Zealand), as well as some U.S. states, have appointed similar officials. The word ombudsman was first used in English in the late 1950s; by the 1960s, it was also being used to refer to a person who reviews complaints against an organization (such as a school or hospital) or to someone who enforces standards of journalistic ethics at a newspaper.
Origin of ombudsman
Swedish, literally, representative, from Old Norse umbothsmathr, from umboth commission + mathr man
First Known Use: 1959
Rhymes with ombudsman
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