Definition of umpire in US English:



  • 1(in some sports) an official who watches a game or match closely to enforce the rules and arbitrate on matters arising from the play.

    • ‘After a controversial call that went against their White Sox, Chicago fans were really giving it to umpire Red Ormsby.’
    • ‘But the point here is that such a play does not give umpires the mandate to reverse any call.’
    • ‘Most interventions by an umpire detract from the spectacle and hence are unwelcome to players and spectators.’
    • ‘Trouble flared on the third and final day of the match with Burgess wagging his finger at Lehmann, who was fielding at mid-wicket when James Middlebrook had an appeal for lbw rejected by the umpire.’
    • ‘It should have been a classic on a fast, true Adelaide pitch and, but for the intervention of umpire Ross Emerson, it would have been.’
    • ‘As Deane also mentions, Hoy merely assumed that his coach's signals gave later-day umpires the idea.’
    • ‘The fun-loving backstop once handed the card to umpire Larry Napp who erupted with laughter.’
    • ‘But there are areas of the rule book that give umpires the authority to decide on the ‘severest penalty.’’
    • ‘Up until this season the umpire closest to any suspicious or contentious incident would review the game tape and lay a charge if warranted.’
    • ‘It's certainly going to hit middle stump, but umpire Alim Dar makes a brilliant spot: Strauss got the tiniest of inside edges before it hit his pads.’
    • ‘I waited for what I honestly thought would be a safe sign from the umpire only to be pronounced dead at the scene for the final out of the inning.’
    • ‘The plate umpire that day was Lance Barksdale, a Class AAA fill-in.’
    • ‘If, after the umpires have made allowances for drinks intervals or extraordinary delays, a bowling side has not completed the overs in the designated time then points will be deducted.’
    • ‘We have all heard of cunning bowlers turning down their own appeals, withdrawing them is the proper term, the better to impress the umpire with their incorruptible honesty and win a decision next time.’
    • ‘They have started playing a veterans match at Dalnacraig as he speaks, and there is no undue pressure being put on the umpires out in the middle.’
    • ‘In between, Lara hit a flurry of boundaries and was involved in a verbal exchange with rival captain Steve Waugh that forced the intervention of umpire David Shepherd.’
    • ‘The primary purpose of UIS, he says, is to serve as a training tool, giving umpires objective feedback.’
    • ‘His low target and still body give umpires a great look at pitches, which leads to favorable calls for the staff.’
    • ‘I would have to say that the best moment of any cricket match for me is the very first; the stately procession to the middle of the two umpires.’
    • ‘The rule now gives umpires the authority to call the batter, as well as the runner, out when a runner intentionally interferes for the purpose of breaking up a double play.’
    • ‘The point simply here is that umpires need help when making distance calls.’
    • ‘You'd like to see the umpires be a bit more interventionist?’
    • ‘Hoy is often credited as the reason umpires adopted hand signals for safe, out, and strike calls, which would make for a nice little niche in baseball history.’
    • ‘The umpire intervenes in the rally after a Sharapova shot grazes the line, and the Russian takes the replayed point to win the match.’
    referee, linesman, referee's assistant, assistant referee, judge, line judge, chair umpire, adjudicator, arbitrator, arbiter, moderator, overseer, supervisor
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A person chosen to arbitrate between contending parties.
      • ‘Further frustration came when an equalising goal was disallowed by a contentious umpire decision.’
      • ‘His Garrymore colleague, Tom Murphy, who was acting as umpire, took charge, when Jarlath retired at the interval.’
      • ‘The government's model of collective bargaining, without an umpire and with no provision for parties to negotiate in good faith is the worst of all worlds.’
      • ‘The second great purpose of the monarchy is to be available as an impartial umpire above party when the nation is split by a constitutional crisis.’
      • ‘They never call on parties to negotiate and they don't want the umpire involved.’
      • ‘In the event the two arbitrators fail to agree on an umpire either party shall have the right to submit the matter to the Canadian Arbitration Association.’
      • ‘Before things escalated Monday, umpires got in the middle of the scrum.’
      • ‘Ground truth is, in effect, the sum of the scenario and the moves as privately submitted to controllers and mediated by umpires.’
      • ‘What the court was concerned about in that case was that the umpire had failed to achieve fairness as between the parties.’
      • ‘We've run off by refusing to have an international umpire in negotiations.’
      • ‘The workers' mischievous behavior deeply offended the General Motors umpire's middle-class sense of propriety.’
      • ‘There are three ways in which disputes are solved: either by the use of force, by an umpire, or by negotiated interaction.’
      • ‘Once the umpire had power to order parties to the negotiating table and broker a fair deal.’


[no object]
  • 1Act as an umpire.

    • ‘From a playing point of view, it's always been my belief that you get the standard of umpiring you deserve.’
    • ‘On the Wednesday they played Italy, whose hockey players have the same emotive feelings about umpiring decisions as their footballing colleagues do about referees.’
    • ‘He was considered so good at the job he was requested to stop playing and concentrate on full-time umpiring some years back.’
    • ‘This week we're considering the intersection of technology and sport especially as it affects umpiring decisions.’
    • ‘I think a larger strike zone up and down would make it a better game, but umpires have been umpiring the same way for 20 years.’
    • ‘Showing dissent at umpiring decisions can amount to violation of the conduct code for players.’
    1. 1.1with object Act as umpire in (a game or match).
      • ‘Linda Barker chose the school's head of girls games to umpire a rounders match.’
      • ‘Nigel Iggo, an international umpire from Christchurch who last month umpired both finals at four-nation tournaments in Australia, said umpires had been using the interpretation for some time.’
      • ‘He is standing in his 12th Test match and has umpired 62 one-day internationals.’
      • ‘In the recent interview he said, ‘Playing in a Test Match is a lot easier than umpiring one.’’
      • ‘David, a former solicitor, was Welsh junior doubles champion in 1968, captained the tennis team at Nottingham University in 1969 and umpired the Wimbledon Men's Singles Final in 1984.’
      referee, adjudicate, arbitrate, judge, moderate, oversee, supervise
      View synonyms


Late Middle English (originally as noumpere) (denoting an arbitrator): from Old French nonper ‘not equal’. The n was lost by wrong division of a noumpere; compare with adder.