ombudsman

noun

om·​buds·​man ˈäm-ˌbu̇dz-mən How to pronounce ombudsman (audio)
ˈȯm-,
-bədz-,
-ˌman;
äm-ˈbu̇dz-,
ȯm-
plural ombudsmen ˈäm-ˌbu̇dz-mən How to pronounce ombudsman (audio)
ˈȯm-,
-bədz-;
äm-ˈbu̇dz-,
ȯm-
1
: a person who investigates, reports on, and helps settle complaints : an individual usually affiliated with an organization or business who serves as an advocate for patients, consumers, employees, etc.
The insurance company's ombudsman was able to resolve the problem.
Become a certified volunteer ombudsman, a trained advocate for residents of nursing and rest homes.classified advertisement in The Montague (Massachusetts) Reporter
At their best, some HMOs offer special programs for Medicare members, screening them for illnesses after they join, directing them to preventive services, keeping track of the drugs they take, and making ombudsmen available to coordinate care and answer questions.Consumer Reports
About 30 newspapers now also have ombudsmen—men and women who write regular columns criticizing (and responding to reader's complaints about) their own newspapers.David Shaw
After insisting for years that citizen oversight of the Sacramento County sheriff was unnecessary and undoable, the department's top brass has shifted to calling it inevitable. But what form the new watchdog might take—a commission, an ombudsman, a squad of civil rights lawyers—is hard to predict.Dorothy Korber and Christina Jewett Bee
2
: 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
Since 1962 the public has been able to have grievances about the conduct of government organisations investigated by a small department of ombudsmen headed by a Parliamentary Commissioner. This is a Scandinavian innovation which has been adapted to New Zealand's needs.About New Zealand
President Marcos has managed to evade, for the moment, the problem of what to do about the … findings on the murder of the opposition leader Benigno Aquino. To the disgust of the opposition and much of the press, he has turned the entire matter over to the Philippines' ombudsman.The Economist
ombudsmanship
ˈäm-ˌbu̇dz-mən-ˌship How to pronounce ombudsman (audio)
ˈȯm-
-bədz-
-ˌman-;
äm-ˈbu̇dz-
ȯm-
noun

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"). 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 also designates 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.

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.
Recent Examples on the Web At the request of residents, ombudsmen work with residents, family members, administrators and other to resolve complaints of residents. Joe Rassel, Orlando Sentinel, 3 July 2024 Why, if at all, is the ombudsman position important to you? Jaden Edison, Hartford Courant, 2 July 2024 The state will create an ombudsman for the department of corrections that will be selected by the state inspector general. Gregory S. Schneider, Washington Post, 28 June 2024 The country’s human rights ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets said the ICC decision meant Ukraine was a step closer to getting justice. Ivana Kottasová, CNN, 25 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for ombudsman 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'ombudsman.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Swedish, literally, representative, from Old Norse umbothsmathr, from umboth commission + mathr man

First Known Use

1831, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of ombudsman was in 1831

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Dictionary Entries Near ombudsman

Cite this Entry

“Ombudsman.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ombudsman. Accessed 14 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

ombudsman

noun
om·​buds·​man ˈäm-ˌbu̇dz-mən How to pronounce ombudsman (audio)
ˈȯm-,
-bədz-,
-ˌman;
äm-ˈbu̇dz-,
ȯm-
plural ombudsmen -ˌmən How to pronounce ombudsman (audio)
1
: a government official who investigates complaints made by people about unfair acts of public officials
2

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