Umpteen

From Academic Kids

Umpteen is a slang term for an unspecified but somewhat large number, generally used in a humorous fashion or to imply that it is not worth the effort to pin down the actual figure. Usually it refers to the number of times something has happened, rather than a number of objects.

Despite the -teen ending, which would seem to indicate that it lies between 12 and 20, umpteen is often assumed to be much larger than this—if it could ever be pinned down.

The word is derived from the slang ump(ty), a dash in Morse code (of imitative origin), plus -teen.

A derived term using the same root is umpty-ump.

A number of other slang terms exist to connote even larger, but equally uncertain, numbers. Most are constructed by placing a letter or nonsense syllable before the suffix -illion — e.g., Zillion.

Related terms

External links

  • How Many is Umpteen? (http://specgram.com/CXLVIII.2/04.hogg.umpteen.html): A Linguistic and Mathematical Exploration and Explanation
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