umpteen

adjective

ump·​teen ˈəm(p)-ˌtēn How to pronounce umpteen (audio)
ˌəm(p)-ˈtēn
: very many : indefinitely numerous
Stephen King is beloved by fans of the horror genre for his umpteen bestselling books …Sam Swantek
Their well-crafted prose simply repeats what umpteen other basic books on wine already say.Harvey Steiman
Innumerable GIs were taught how to ask for a hamburger in umpteen different languages.Roy Harris
Our umpteen-year mission to explore new worlds and new civilizations.Salman Rushdie

Did you know?

"I'll go to bed and I'll not get up for umpty-eleven months." You know the feeling. The speaker here is war-weary Bill, a character in Patrick MacGill's early 20th-century novel The Great Push. His "umpty" originated as military slang around 1905 and stood for an indefinite number, generally largish. (It was probably created by analogy to actual numbers such as "twenty.") Soon, there followed "umpteen," blending "umpty" and "-teen." "Umpteen" usually describes an indefinite and large number or amount, while the related "umpteenth" is used for the latest or last in an indefinitely numerous series. We only occasionally use "umpty" these days (and even more rarely "umptieth"), but you're bound to hear or read "umpteen" and "umpteenth" any number of times.

Examples of umpteen in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Both had careers in New York — Lizzie in finance and Sarah in fashion — and were stopped umpteen times by strangers asking about the boots on their feet. Maria Halkias, Dallas News, 7 July 2023 And for the umpteen transitions, tall, slim screens glide across the stage like screen-wipes displaying distractingly different, hyper-realist close-up images ranging from location-setting photos to a (worryingly out of focus) video of a guttering candle. David Benedict, Variety, 26 May 2023 Capaldi has had umpteen small moments in which his comedic persona has been as loud as his songs. Jon Caramanica, New York Times, 6 May 2023 Instead, we were reminded umpteen times about the weight of the day — or, in at least one case, the literal weight of the queen’s crown — and forced to listen to speculation about the thoughts going through the mind of a 9-year-old boy at his great-grandmother’s funeral. Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times, 20 Sep. 2022 There are umpteen T-shirts — some insert Scott’s imprint name, Cactus Jack, into the Golden Arches; some are inspired by early 1990s sports aesthetics. Jon Caramanica, New York Times, 11 Sep. 2020 Yet the interior lights up like a raving party with umpteen tones of ambient LEDs in dazzling patterns while the Sky Lounge feature’s multicolor beams that strafe through the glass overhead. Ronald Ahrens, Robb Report, 28 Dec. 2022 And these had their umpteen popular secular counterparts, often no less absurd or tragic. Michael Robbins, Harper’s Magazine , 9 Nov. 2022 After umpteen tellings of the wooden-boy tale, and coming on the heels of Robert Zemeckis’ wretched Disney remake, Netflix’s rival adaptation has to announce itself as something different. Guy Lodge, Variety, 15 Oct. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'umpteen.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

blend of umpty (such and such) and -teen (as in thirteen)

First Known Use

1898, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of umpteen was in 1898

Podcast

Dictionary Entries Near umpteen

Cite this Entry

“Umpteen.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/umpteen. Accessed 22 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

umpteen

adjective
ump·​teen ˈəm(p)-ˈtēn How to pronounce umpteen (audio)
ˌəm(p)-
: numerous but not fixed in amount
umpteen million things to do
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