ombudsman

play
noun om·buds·man \ˈäm-ˌbu̇dz-mən, ˈȯm-, -bədz-, -ˌman; äm-ˈbu̇dz-, ȯm-\

Definition of ombudsman

plural

ombudsmen

play \ˈäm-ˌbu̇dz-mən, ˈȯm-, -bədz-; äm-ˈbu̇dz-, ȯm-\
  1. 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 The town's ombudsman said he would look into charges of corruption.

  2. 2 :  one that investigates, reports on, and helps settle complaints An ombudsman will deal with complaints from the hospital's patients and staff.

ombudsmanship

play \ˈäm-ˌbu̇dz-mən-ˌship, ˈȯm-, -bədz-, -ˌman-; äm-ˈbu̇dz-, ȯm-\ noun

ombudsman was our Word of the Day on 01/06/2015. Hear the podcast!

Examples of ombudsman in a Sentence

  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.

Recent Examples of ombudsman from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ombudsman'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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 and Etymology of ombudsman

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


First Known Use: 1959


OMBUDSMAN Defined for English Language Learners

ombudsman

play
noun

Definition of ombudsman for English Language Learners

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



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