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  1. a person selected to rule on the plays in a game.
  2. one selected to settle disputes about the application of settled rules or usages; a person agreed on by disputing parties to arbitrate their differences.
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verb (used with object), um·pired, um·pir·ing.
  1. to act as umpire in (a game).
  2. to decide or settle (a controversy, dispute, or the like) as umpire; arbitrate.
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verb (used without object), um·pired, um·pir·ing.
  1. to act as umpire.
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Origin of umpire

1350–1400; Middle English umpere, variant of noumpere (a noumpere taken as an oumpere; cf. adder1, apron) < Old French nomper, nonper arbiter, i.e., one not equal. See non-, peer1
Related formsun·um·pired, adjective
Can be confusedempire umpire


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

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British Dictionary definitions for umpire


  1. an official who rules on the playing of a game, as in cricket or baseball
  2. a person who rules on or judges disputes between contesting parties
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  1. to act as umpire in (a game, dispute, or controversy)
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Derived Formsumpireship or 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, peer 1
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 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).

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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper