ump·​teen | \ ˈəm(p)-ˌtēn How to pronounce umpteen (audio) , ˌəm(p)-ˈtēn\

Definition of umpteen

: very many : indefinitely numerous

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Other Words from umpteen

umpteenth \ ˈəm(p)-​ˌtēn(t)th How to pronounce umpteenth (audio) , ˌəm(p)-​ˈtēn(t)th \ adjective

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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

Even perfect graphs can be tremendously complex, demanding detailed consideration of each of their umpteen internal structures and seldom submitting to elegant, concise proofs. Quanta Magazine, "Theorists Draw Closer to Perfect Coloring," 20 Oct. 2015 The umpteen changes that go into the bird skull may all owe to paedomorphosis, to one set of molecular changes in the early embryo. Quanta Magazine, "How Dinosaurs Shrank and Became Birds," 2 June 2015 These smears resemble widespread allegations that Jokowi is a closet Christian, or has licensed the building of umpteen churches while restricting the construction of mosques. The Economist, "Local elections in Indonesia prefigure next year’s presidential poll," 28 June 2018 Treading the path of many business people who enjoy hearing themselves referred to as presidential timber, Mr. Schultz’s way ahead is clear: spend the next umpteen months trying to extend the boomlet that obliging scribes started this week. Holman W. Jenkins, WSJ, "Starbucks Chief Won’t Stay Hot," 5 June 2018 Hundreds of companies create data about people on the internet from Google to umpteen obscure little companies. Alexis C. Madrigal, The Atlantic, "Even Amid Scandal, Facebook Is Unstoppable," 1 May 2018 If farmers’ fears come to fruition, consumers could see prices go up not only on agricultural products, but also on the umpteen products that hide corn and soybean inputs such as gas. Hallie Detrick, Fortune, "The Justice Department Is Going to Let Bayer Buy Monsanto. Here's Why It Matters," 10 Apr. 2018 Never mind the umpteen hours of coverage NBC is sending back from South Korea for broadcast TV, cable’s NBCSN, USA Network, CNBC and the Olympics Channel as well as and the NBC Sports mobile app. Phil Rosenthal,, "By foot, CTA or Uber: NBC driven to ensure ignoring Olympics is no snap," 8 Feb. 2018 And for the umpteenth time in the past umpteen years, state and local officials have decided to focus on third-grade reading without doing anything to help school districts improve third-grade reading. Rochelle Riley, Detroit Free Press, "Riley: Duggan touts triumphs in State of the City — but fixing schools is crucial," 6 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'umpteen.' 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 umpteen

1898, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for umpteen

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

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Statistics for umpteen

Last Updated

11 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for umpteen

The first known use of umpteen was in 1898

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English Language Learners Definition of umpteen

informal : very many

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something desired as essential

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