[ uhmp ]
/ ʌmp /
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noun, verb (used with or without object) Slang.
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Origin of ump

Shortened form
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does ump mean?

Ump is an informal short form of umpire—a kind of referee who enforces the rules during certain sports, such as baseball and softball.

Ump is especially used as an informal way to address an umpire, as in Hey, ump, that way out of the strike zone!

In higher levels of baseball and softball, there are often multiple umpires on the field. They are primarily responsible for determining whether base runners are “safe” or “out.” The most important one is the home plate umpire, who determines whether each pitch is a “ball” or a “strike.”

Umpire is also sometimes used to refer to someone who acts as an impartial judge during some kind of conflict, such as two friends having an argument. Ump can be used in the same way, as in Jane and Mike were losing their tempers with each other at the meeting so I had to step in and act as an ump until they calmed down. 

Less commonly, ump can be used as a verb meaning to perform the duties of an umpire, as in I signed up to ump my daughter’s softball games. 

Example: The ump called him out, but I’m pretty sure he was safe.

Where does ump come from?

The first records of the word ump come from the 1900s. It’s simply a shortened form of umpire, which comes from the Old French nomper, meaning “arbiter” or “one who is not equal,” from non-, “not,” and per, “peer” or “equal.” Nomper was adopted into Middle English as noumpere but eventually became umpere—the first two letters were struck out because people heard “a noumpere” as “an umpere.” This is called metanalysis, and the same thing happened in words like apron (originally napron) and nickname (originally ekename).

Several sports have umpires, including tennis and American football, but the term ump is typically used in reference to the umpire in baseball and softball. The role of the ump is to be an enforcer of the rules who does not favor either player or team. Being an ump is often seen as a thankless job since players and fans are known for arguing with their calls (which, yes, are sometimes terrible), often by saying things like “Hey, ump, you should get your eyes checked!”

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What are some synonyms for ump?

What are some words that share a root or word element with ump

What are some words that often get used in discussing ump?

How is ump used in real life?

The word ump is most commonly associated with baseball. It’s always used informally.



Try using ump!

Is ump used correctly in the following sentence?

I ended up having to ump their argument by acting as the voice of reason.

How to use ump in a sentence