um·​pire | \ˈəm-ˌpī(-ə)r \

Definition of umpire 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an official in a sport who rules on plays

2 : one having authority to decide finally a controversy or question between parties: such as

a : one appointed to decide between arbitrators who have disagreed

b : an impartial third party chosen to arbitrate disputes arising under the terms of a labor agreement

3 : a military officer who evaluates maneuvers


umpired; umpiring

Definition of umpire (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to supervise or decide as umpire

intransitive verb

: to act as umpire

Keep scrolling for more

History of Umpire

The word umpire was formed by metanalysis, or the changing of the division of words based upon how they sound together. The original word in English was noumpere, which was a borrowing of the French term nompere. The -pere of nompere was the French word for “equal,” a descendant of the Latin word par (“equal”) that is the root of words like peer, pair, and, of course, par. Noumpere became the form used in English for “one without equal” or “peerless,” but frequent references to a noumpere ended up becoming references to an oumpere, which became the modern word umpire. It’s ironic that the word for a person who literally calls balls and strikes is called by a name created by a linguistic foul.

Examples of umpire in a Sentence


usually acts as umpire in the all-too-frequent squabbles between the two other roommates


in our family disputes regarding the use of our home entertainment system are umpired by Dad

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Williams, who accused the umpire of sexism for his harsh treatment on her, also spoke about the double standard in the sport. Katherine Lam, Fox News, "Serena Williams insists she did not receive coaching in interview addressing US Open final," 16 Sep. 2018 Runners headed straight home from second base when the umpire was distracted. Cincinnati Enquirer,, "Our history: Major League Baseball birthed in Cincinnati," 27 June 2018 The veteran reliever earned his ejection by yelling in the umpire's face. Jon Meoli,, "Before Darren O'Day's first career ejection, history repeats itself with umpire's balk call," 26 June 2018 While Kemp carped about Gibson’s zone after the third out, Turner and others hollered at the umpire from the bench. Andy Mccullough,, "Dodgers settle for split in doubleheader with Cubs," 20 June 2018 The Rangers lost Sunday after a balk on Keone Kela was called only after Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch brought it to the umpires' attention. Jeff Wilson, star-telegram, "Rangers Reaction: Things get weird for Rangers at home plate," 14 June 2018 Pliskova’s sister, Kristyna, went on to call for the umpire to be banned. Andrew Joseph, For The Win, "Tennis player smashes racket against umpire's chair in post-match tantrum," 16 May 2018 Former Red Sox manager John Farrell asked umpires to check Michael Pineda — who had a noticeable glob of pine tar on his neck in a game in 2014. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Astros respond to cryptic, accusatory tweets by Indians' Trevor Bauer," 1 May 2018 Cricket has long been considered a genteel game, where the umpire’s decision is final and the rules were accepted rather than enforced. Washington Post, "Cricket council reviews code after “worst” behavior in years," 29 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Ace news at Lacoste, which today named Louise Trotter as its new creative director, making the Brit the first woman to umpire the French sportswear institution in its 85-year history. Luke Leitch, Vogue, "Lacoste Appoints Louise Trotter as Creative Director," 4 Oct. 2018 Tennis can sort out the gender, fairness and umpiring issues Ms. Williams raised during her courtside negotiation session. Daniel Henninger, WSJ, "Serena Williams’s Time Out," 12 Sep. 2018 His team was holding on by a thread to a one-run lead over the Twins, trying and failing to produce with runners in scoring position, when two umpiring decisions stopped any ounce of momentum the Royals had built. Maria Torres, kansascity, "'I don't know what's going on': Yost frustrated with umpires in Royals' loss to Twins," 9 July 2018 While the team’s translator Eugene Koo joined Oh and Russell Martin to go over pitches, the umpiring crew convened on the meeting and told the translator to return to the dugout. Andrew Joseph, For The Win, "Blue Jays coach throws gloves in post-ejection tirade over umpires stopping a translator," 8 July 2018 The smallest of those fans were the most boisterous, as Reading youth lacrosse players rushed to hug junior Joe Bean, a midfielder and faceoff specialist who umpires their games. Craig Larson,, "The spring season got off to a soggy start, but had a brilliant finish," 28 June 2018 Plus, he’s been umpiring and training umpires in fast-pitch softball for the past 18 years. Kyle Stackpole, Howard County Times, "Howard County announces 2018 Community Sports Hall of Fame induction class," 7 July 2018 His father was a coal miner who often umpired local baseball games. Matt Schudel, Washington Post, "Red Schoendienst, Hall of Fame baseball player and manager, dies at 95," 7 June 2018 Don also umpired for many baseball and softball leagues. Hartford Courant,, "Donald A. Comeau," 27 Apr. 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of umpire


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2


1609, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for umpire


Middle English oumpere, alteration (from misdivision of a noumpere) of noumpere, from Anglo-French nounpier, nompere, from nounpier, adjective, single, odd, from non- + per equal, from Latin par

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about umpire

Dictionary Entries near umpire





umpire assay



Statistics for umpire

Last Updated

10 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for umpire

The first known use of umpire was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for umpire



English Language Learners Definition of umpire

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a person who controls play and makes sure that players act according to the rules in a sports event (such as a baseball game or a cricket or tennis match)



English Language Learners Definition of umpire (Entry 2 of 2)

: to be an umpire in a sports event (such as a baseball game)


um·​pire | \ˈəm-ˌpīr \

Kids Definition of umpire

: an official in a sport (as baseball) who enforces the rules



Legal Definition of umpire 

: a person having authority to decide finally a controversy or question between parties: as

a : one appointed to decide between disagreeing arbitrators

b : an impartial third party chosen to arbitrate disputes arising under the terms of a labor agreement

c : one appointed to mediate between the appraisers of an insured and insurer in order to determine the amount of a loss

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on umpire

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with umpire

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for umpire

Spanish Central: Translation of umpire

Nglish: Translation of umpire for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of umpire for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about umpire

Comments on umpire

What made you want to look up umpire? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


having a pattern of small flowers

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Find the Cousins

  • a-large-tree-with-many-branches
  • Which pair shares a common word ancestor?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!