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ombudsman

[om-buh dz-muh n, -man, -boo dz-, awm-, om-boo dz-muh n, -man, awm-]
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noun, plural om·buds·men [om-buh dz-muh n, -men, -boo dz-, awm-, om-boo dz-muh n, -men, awm-] /ˈɒm bədz mən, -ˌmɛn, -bʊdz-, ˈɔm-, ɒmˈbʊdz mən, -ˌmɛn, ɔm-/.
  1. a government official who hears and investigates complaints by private citizens against other officials or government agencies.
  2. a person who investigates and attempts to resolve complaints and problems, as between employees and an employer or between students and a university.

Origin of ombudsman

1910–15; < Swedish: legal representative, equivalent to ombud agent, attorney + -s ’s1 + -man -man

Usage note

See -man.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for ombudsman

ombudsman

noun plural -men
  1. a commissioner who acts as independent referee between individual citizens and their government or its administration
  2. (in Britain) an official, without power of sanction or mechanism of appeal, who investigates complaints of maladministration by members of the public against national or local government or its servantsFormal names: Commissioner for Local Administration, Health Service Commissioner, Parliamentary Commissioner See also Financial Ombudsman

Word Origin

C20: from Swedish: commissioner
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

Word Origin and History for ombudsman

n.

1959, from Swedish ombudsman, literally "commission man" (specifically in reference to the office of justitieombudsmannen, which hears and investigates complaints by individuals against abuses of the state); cognate with Old Norse umboðsmaðr, from umboð "commission" (from um- "around," see ambi-, + boð "command," see bid (v.)) + maðr "man" (see man (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

ombudsman in Culture

ombudsman

[(om-buhdz-muhn, om-boodz-muhn)]

An official appointed by a government or other organization to investigate complaints against people in authority. This position is designed to give those with less power — the “little people” — a voice in the operation of large organizations.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.