Definition of ombudsman
- The town's ombudsman said he would look into charges of corruption.
- An ombudsman will deal with complaints from the hospital's patients and staff.
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The insurance company's ombudsman was able to resolve the problem.
The town's ombudsman said he would look into charges of corruption.
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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.
First Known Use: 1959See Words from the same year
: a person (such as a government official or an employee) who investigates complaints and tries to deal with problems fairly
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