Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Search: umpire etymology
Why: We have "referees" for kickball, even though we play on a baseball diamond.
Answer: 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." Due to faulty separation of "a noumpere," it was heard as - and became - "an oumpere."
Originally legal, the gaming sense was first recorded 1714 (in wrestling). The verb is first recorded 1609.
The More You Know: Other words that evolved according to their articles include: