Word of the Day : May 21, 2015


adjective UMP-teen


: very many : indefinitely numerous

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.


By midmorning, Ellie had already phoned her sister umpteen times.

"It's the home chore that everybody hates most. I see that on the TV how-to shows, read it on umpteen do-it-yourself sites. Nobody likes removing wallpaper." - Allen Norwood, Charlotte (North Carolina) Observer, January 22, 2015

Test Your Memory

Fill in the blank in this sentence from our May 13th Word of the Day: "Rebecca's children looked _______ at her when she suggested they turn off their electronic devices and go play outside in the nice weather." The answer is …


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