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

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

That was when an umpire wagged his finger to signal a home run. Maria Torres, Los Angeles Times, "Andrew Heaney runs into trouble fast as injury-ravaged Angels fall to Rays," 13 Sep. 2019 Bryan's gun motion constituted unsportsmanlike conduct, an umpire decided on Sunday. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, "Player fined $10,000 for making shooting gesture with racket at U.S. Open," 2 Sep. 2019 His integrity as an impartial umpire now questioned, the Portuguese responded by docking Williams an entire game for verbal abuse. Danielle Rossingh, CNN, "US Open: 'There's going to be some kind of big drama in the final'," 26 Aug. 2019 West joined the National League as an umpire in 1976, two years after The Chicken debuted at San Diego Stadium. San Diego Union-Tribune, "San Diego Chicken feeling young again with return to Petco Park," 27 July 2019 Jokes come easy about that parent — the one who causes a scene by berating or threatening an umpire — but the problem is legitimate. Parth Upadhyaya, The Denver Post, "Colorado company using military veterans to combat dwindling number of youth baseball umpires," 16 June 2019 One of the first times Erin Bloomer saw Josh coach a softball game, he was ejected by an umpire who just happened to be his own sister. Jason Frakes, The Courier-Journal, "Love him or hate him, there's no denying Male softball coach Josh Bloomer is a winner," 13 June 2019 Dale was an avid tennis player and an umpire of both amateur and professional tennis matches., "Dale W. Van Winkle," 7 June 2019 But for an umpire to call the automatic out on the infield fly rule, there have to be runners on first and second or first, second and third. Bob Brookover,, "Did win over Padres cost the Phillies another reliever? | Extra Innings," 6 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 Angel Hernandez, to put it nicely, often struggles at umpiring Major League Baseball games. Andy Nesbitt, For The Win, "MLB fans crushed ump Angel Hernandez over brutal calls in Yankees-Blue Jays game," 4 June 2019 Wednesday night wasn’t the first time Mattingly has been critical of umpiring this season. Wells Dusenbury,, "Marlins manager Don Mattingly thinks it’s time for robot umps: 'Hopefully the technology gets there quick’," 18 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.

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

17 Sep 2019

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 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

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).


formidable, illustrious, or eminent

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
True or False

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


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!