um·​pire | \ ˈəm-ˌpī(-ə)r How to pronounce umpire (audio) \

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

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

Noun usually acts as umpire in the all-too-frequent squabbles between the two other roommates Verb in our family disputes regarding the use of our home entertainment system are umpired by Dad
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In 2017, after a decade as a varsity umpire, the OCBOA suddenly demoted Trentin. Los Angeles Times, 10 Apr. 2022 Tim Anderson swung right back into action after serving a two-game suspension for making contact with an umpire on Sept. 27, hitting two doubles and a single as the Chicago White Sox routed the Tigers, 10-1, in Detroit. Wire Reports,, 10 Apr. 2022 Bumgarner had a brief chat with the home-plate umpire at one point during his start on Sunday. Nick Piecoro, The Arizona Republic, 27 Mar. 2022 As Vega and teammates celebrated the final strikeout, Quintanar turned and shook hands with the umpire instead of joining the celebration. Eric Sondheimer Columnist, Los Angeles Times, 8 May 2021 The churning chaotic flows of information need to be monitored by an umpire of some sort, with certain people, ideas, and acts ruled out of bounds. Damon Linker, The Week, 26 Apr. 2022 Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga was denied a perfect game in 2010 when an umpire erroneously ruled that the 27th batter, with two outs in the ninth inning, had beaten a throw to first base. Jerry Carino, USA TODAY, 19 Apr. 2022 Five of them reached the major leagues — second baseman Al Newman, shortstop Bobby Meacham, closer Mark Williamson and outfielders Tony Gwynn and Kerwin Danley, who made it as an umpire. San Diego Union-Tribune, 31 Mar. 2022 In fact, Shapovalov hit a chair umpire and was fined $7,000. New York Times, 30 Mar. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Earlier this season, umpire Jeffrey Macias ejected Tennessee coach Tony Vitello in what has become a memorable moment in college baseball circles. oregonlive, 24 May 2022 Before third base coach Kyle Hudson could urge him to continue toward the plate, umpire Jansen Visconti was already pointing him back to third. Joe Noga, cleveland, 18 May 2022 The speedy Wade tagged and beat Kyle Tucker’s throw home with a head-first slide, but umpire Ryan Wills ruled that Wade’s left hand did not touch the plate. Mike Digiovannastaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 10 Apr. 2022 But Bazzana’s outburst lasted so long, umpire Alex Ortiz intervened to quiet the freshman from Australia. Joe Freeman, oregonlive, 2 Apr. 2022 An avid lover of baseball, West used to umpire baseball games on the base outside of work. Ellie Kaufman, CNN, 12 Sep. 2021 Darin Ruf drew a two-out walk and scored on Wade’s triple, but Mike Yastrzemski struck out looking (and barking to umpire Mike Estabrook about the call) to end the game. John Shea, San Francisco Chronicle, 23 July 2021 When the chair umpire Damian Steiner announced the tiebreaker at 12-12, the crowd murmured in excited approval. Ben Rothenberg, New York Times, 28 June 2021 An assignment to umpire at Malibu is a treat, the field perched on a bluff overlooking the Pacific, just across PCH and Zuma Beach. Los Angeles Times, 27 May 2021 See More

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.

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

Learn More About umpire

Time Traveler for umpire

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near umpire



umpire assay

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for umpire

Last Updated

26 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Umpire.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for umpire


um·​pire | \ ˈəm-ˌpīr How to pronounce umpire (audio) \

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

More from Merriam-Webster on umpire

Nglish: Translation of umpire for Spanish Speakers

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Eponyms: Words Named After People

True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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