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[uhm-pahyuh r] /ˈʌm paɪər/
a person selected to rule on the plays in a game.
one selected to settle disputes about the application of settled rules or usages; a person agreed on by disputing parties to arbitrate their differences.
verb (used with object), umpired, umpiring.
to act as umpire in (a game).
to decide or settle (a controversy, dispute, or the like) as umpire; arbitrate.
verb (used without object), umpired, umpiring.
to act as umpire.
Origin of umpire
1350-1400; Middle English umpere, variant of noumpere (a noumpere taken as an oumpere; cf. adder, apron) < Old French nomper, nonper arbiter, i.e., one not equal. See non-, peer1
Related forms
unumpired, adjective
Can be confused
empire, umpire.
1. referee, arbiter, arbitrator. 2. See judge. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for umpire
  • The game is important, as are the players, but some games need an umpire.
  • However, faint nicks sometimes go unnoticed by the umpire.
  • Guillen might argue so loudly that he'll get run from a game by an umpire.
  • Because of the timing of the request, the chair umpire initially turned her down before relenting.
  • The chair umpire asked the crowd to be quiet during points.
  • The chair umpire prepared to climb down to look, then stopped.
  • The ball was called out, but the umpire quickly came down from her chair and pointed to a mark that was partly on the sideline.
  • After the match, the umpires return the bag to an umpire station, where the cans and tops are sorted into recycling bins.
  • If there is a question about umpire's rates, this rate information should be shared.
  • umpire fees will now be included in the team fees which must be paid prior to your team being placed on the schedule.
British Dictionary definitions for umpire


an official who rules on the playing of a game, as in cricket or baseball
a person who rules on or judges disputes between contesting parties
to act as umpire in (a game, dispute, or controversy)
Derived Forms
umpireship, umpirage, noun
Word Origin
C15: by mistaken division from a noumpere, from Old French nomper not one of a pair, from nom-, non- not + per equal, peer1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for umpire

c.1400, noumper, from Old French nonper "odd number, not even," in reference to a third person to arbitrate between two, from non "not" + per "equal," from Latin par. Initial -n- lost by mid-15c. due to faulty separation of a noumpere, heard as an oumpere. Originally legal, the gaming sense first recorded 1714 (in wrestling).


c.1600, from umpire (n.). Related: Umpired; umpiring.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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