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

Definition of umpteen

: 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

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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 Since then, Hilton has released umpteen product lines, made significant money in her own right, continued to trot out of airports around the world in velour tracksuits and colonized Instagram and TikTok as a more Gen X-friendly influencer. Holly Thomas, CNN, 19 Aug. 2021 Furloughs and layoffs inside the athletic department, and on down the line of umpteen factors and happenings in an unprecedented, unorthodox time in intercollegiate sports. Josh Newman, The Salt Lake Tribune, 18 June 2021 There are umpteen apple cakes (Dutch, French, Mecklenburg, Dorset, whole-meal, mincemeat, polenta, caraway) and pages of marmalades. Charlotte Mendelson, The New Yorker, 15 June 2021 Even, for goodness’ sake, the HFPA’s ne plus ultra star, Tom Cruise, gave back his umpteen-zillion Globes (technically, three wins in seven noms). David Bloom, Forbes, 12 May 2021 Your co-workers might be confused by your constant fanning, or your need for dressing in umpteen layers and peeling them off at seemingly random times. Lisa Deshantz-cook, Quartz, 3 May 2021 With one of the lowest light pollution levels on earth, the Big Bend region has the rarest of dark night skies—which is to say not dark at all, but shining white with bright planets and umpteen constellations. Marcia Desanctis, Travel + Leisure, 25 Apr. 2021 For starters, the model, which has already become popular in Europe and elsewhere, is based on limiting choice, which might not appeal to shoppers looking for umpteen options. WSJ, 24 Apr. 2021 There are umpteen medications to track, and insurance claims and bills to deal with. Adam Galler, Anchorage Daily News, 23 Apr. 2021

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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Time Traveler for umpteen

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The first known use of umpteen was in 1898

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Last Updated

1 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Umpteen.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for umpteen



English Language Learners Definition of umpteen

: very many


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