from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A man who investigates complaints and mediates fair settlements, especially between aggrieved parties such as consumers or students and an institution or organization.
  • noun A government official, especially in Scandinavian countries, who investigates citizens' complaints against the government or its functionaries.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun An appointed official whose duty is to investigate complaints, generally on behalf of individuals such as consumers or taxpayers, against institutions such as companies and government departments.
  • noun A designated internal mediator in an organization whose duty is to assist members with conflict resolution and other problems and to serve as independent consultant to recommend changes to policies or procedures to improve organization effectiveness, efficiency, and humaneness.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a government appointee who investigates complaints by private persons against the government


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Swedish, from Old Norse umbodhsmadhr, deputy, plenipotentiary : umbodh, commission (um, about, around, all over; see ambhi in Indo-European roots + bodh, command; see bheudh- in Indo-European roots) + madhr, man; see man- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Swedish ombudsman, from Old Norse umboðsmaðr.


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  • And The One Show should be required viewing, especially if you like woodland creatures and the word "ombudsman".

    The Guardian World News Stuart Heritage 2011

  • The word 'ombudsman' is the same in English, Dutch and Swedish

    February 20th, 2005 2005

  • An open government ombudsman is an inadequate substitute for the common sense reforms that the City of Seattle in general and Richard Conlin's Open Government Committee in particular have been putting off for about 17 months.

    Ethics Director Proposes Independent Oversight « PubliCola 2010

  • Now Janusz Kochanowski, a senior Polish ombudsman, is calling for criminal charges to be laid.

    Archive 2009-07-01 2009

  • An ombudsman is someone who writes as a kind of independent watch dog on what the newspaper is doing, then gives their opinion of whether the paper was right or wrong.

    11/20/2005 2005

  • Ontario's new ombudsman is investigating complaints from parents who say they must give up custody of their severely disabled children to get them the care they need.

    micassa 2005

  • By definition, an ombudsman is an unbiased individual who helps to manage differences and resolve disputes.

    Managing Differences Well 1997

  • The function of the ombudsman is not the marketing of financial services but rather to ensure that those served by the financial institution are treated fairly and properly.

    Managing Differences Well 1997

  • Two days after she called the ombudsman's office, she got the pills.

    Ottawa Sun 2010

  • Half of the total number of disputes referred to the ombudsman involved four of Britain's largest financial services groups: Lloyds (with 44,601 new complaints in the last financial year); Barclays (17,471 new complaints); the Royal Bank of Scotland (15,113), and HSBC (12,269).

    PPI mis-selling claims swamp banks 2011


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  • Learned this word watching World's Dumbest Criminals.

    February 1, 2012