noun \ˈäm-ˌbdz-mən, ˈm-, -bədz-, -ˌman; äm-ˈbdz-, m-\

: a person (such as a government official or an employee) who investigates complaints and tries to deal with problems fairly

plural om·buds·men\-mən\

Full Definition of OMBUDSMAN

:  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
:  one that investigates, reports on, and helps settle complaints
om·buds·man·ship \-ˌship\ noun

Examples of OMBUDSMAN

  1. The insurance company's ombudsman was able to resolve the problem.
  2. The town's ombudsman said he would look into charges of corruption.


Swedish, literally, representative, from Old Norse umbothsmathr, from umboth commission + mathr man
First Known Use: 1959

Other Business Terms

amortize, caveat emptor, clearinghouse, divest, due diligence, emolument, green-collar, marque, overhead, perquisite


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Representative assigned by a large organization or a government to investigate citizen complaints and suggest solutions. An ombudsman's office was established by the Swedish constitution of 1809. The idea soon spread to other Scandinavian countries and later to New Zealand, Britain, Germany, Israel, and some states or provinces in the U.S., Australia, and Canada. An ombudsman's responsibility is to receive and investigate complaints and to serve as an independent and impartial arbiter in recommending what may be done to satisfy the complainant or in explaining why no action is necessary. Ombudsmen are now used in universities, corporations, municipalities, and institutions such as hospitals.


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