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

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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 After graduating from umpire school in 1995, Dena went on to referee soccer, basketball and softball for over 20 years., "Geraldine Solan," 4 Nov. 2019 Baseball should just forget about the New York replay headquarters and the ludicrous sight of umpires standing around wearing headphones. Bruce Jenkins,, "Stephen Curry’s long absence will provide Warriors clear path going forward," 1 Nov. 2019 But beware, umpire Sam Holbrook will be behind the plate and his last seven games calling balls and strikes played to the Under. Johnny Parlay, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "Washington Nationals at Houston Astros World Series Game 6 odds, picks and betting tips," 28 Oct. 2019 Major League Baseball umpire Rob Drake is apologizing for a tweet that landed him in hot water. Christopher Brito, CBS News, "MLB umpire apologizes after calling for civil war if President Trump is impeached," 25 Oct. 2019 Last year during a varsity high school game our umpire heard the n-word used by a player. Alec Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Oconomowoc, Wauwatosa East high schools accuse each other of using racist language at a football game," 24 Oct. 2019 Gleyber Torres homered in the eighth off Houston reliever Joe Smith, one batter after replay umpires reversed a call and ruled Edwin Encarnación out at first base. Washington Post, "Cole pitches Astros past Yankees 4-1 for 2-1 lead in ALCS," 16 Oct. 2019 Jim Delaney, senior operations manager at the recycling center, pantomimed a gesture that reminded me of an umpire calling a batter out on strikes, complete with leg kick. Dave Mcintyre, Washington Post, "Does your county recycle wine bottles? The answer may surprise you," 14 June 2019 Receiver Tony Nicholson broke a Shyheim Carter tackle and got a block from the umpire for a 44-yard play to the Tide 5. Michael Casagrande |, al, " instant analysis: What Alabama achieved in 52-point blowout," 7 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Cooper umpired in 10 division series, four League Championship Series and the 2005 All-Star Game, along with two World Baseball Classics. NBC News, "MLB umpire Eric Cooper dies at 52; did playoffs 2 weeks ago," 21 Oct. 2019 As for Montgomery, well, his mind was drifting to the bigger picture after the game about the future of umpiring altogether. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Cruz hits 2 of 4 homers by Twins in 8-5 win over Royals," 19 Sep. 2019 On May 18, Salisbury split a doubleheader with Statesville in which players umpired the first game because nobody scheduled the umps. Tom Verducci,, "The Hard, Historic Roads That Lead to Baseball's Magic Number: .400," 8 Aug. 2019 Dine has umpired Little League games for 10 years and was the first female to officiate in the Midwest Prospect League, a wood-bat summer league for college baseball players hoping to demonstrate their abilities for Major League scouts. Mike Peticca,, "Hudson woman among umpires for Little League World Series," 30 July 2019 It was made worse by the umpiring crew reversing a third-out call in the outfield and bringing him back from the dugout in the second inning. Jon Meoli,, "Inside the between-starts routine of Orioles prospect Drew Rom as he looks to learn from rare adversity," 28 Aug. 2019 Coincidentally, the game Charlesworth-Seiler umpired featured Kai-Wei Teng, who pitched seven scoreless innings for Cedar Rapids, then was traded by the Twins to the San Francisco Giants for reliever Sam Dyson. Charley Walters, Twin Cities, "Charley Walters: Vikings still pack them in for preseason," 24 Aug. 2019 Barnett, who retired from umpiring in 1999, said a friend talked him into working with Disabled American Veterans, an organization created by Congress in 1920. Loyd Brumfield, Dallas News, "Retired major league umpire doesn't miss a call in visit to appreciative disabled vets at Dallas VA," 8 Aug. 2019 Hernandez's umpiring crew concluded that the Rays didn't gain any advantage from the lineup shuffle, so Kolarek was put in the No. Steve Gardner, USA TODAY, "Boston Red Sox protest loss to Tampa Bay Rays due to lineup card questions," 24 July 2019

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for umpire

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for umpire

Last Updated

12 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Umpire.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 21 November 2019.

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More Definitions for umpire


How to pronounce umpire (audio)

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 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

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