One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Law. An arbiter; specifically a person appointed to decide on the outcome of an arbitrated dispute where the arbiters previously appointed have been unable to agree on a settlement. Compare "overman").
2Specifically. A foreman or supervisor in a mine or colliery.
Late 15th century. Alteration of overman, after genitive compounds in man, as e.g. doomsman, redesman, etc.
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