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1905, "of an indefinite number," originally Morse code slang for "dash," influenced by association with numerals such as twenty, thirty, etc.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for umpty



Of any large unspecified number: exhausted all the encomia in your vocabulary on umpteen reviews

[fr WWI; said to have been first used by British military signalers during World War I to disguise the number designations of units]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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