Definitions

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

  • adj. Informal Relatively large but unspecified in number: umpteen reasons; umpteen guests.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • Relatively large but unspecified in number.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. An indefinite number, usu. more than ten and less than one hundred; a lot. Often used hyperbolically, and usually expressing the notion of more than the usual number or more than I would like.

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

  • adj. innumerable but many

Etymologies

Slang ump(ty), dash in Morse code (of imitative origin) + -teen (as in thirteen).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
umpty (“colloquial name for the dash "—" in Morse code”) +‎ -teen (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • LäraBars come in umpteen flavors and also have a chocolate bar counterpart, Jŏcalat.

    LäraBar, Gluten and Dairy-Free Energy Bars

  • That's the first in umpteen decisions to make, before reaching the end.

    Archive 2006-01-01

  • Or it might be an indication that Web companies are making the same "invest in umpteen businesses" mistake which leads to big losses when recession hits.

    March 9th, 2006

  • No one can do there best if they're being torn in umpteen directions after working for twelve hours. .sometimes more.

    U.S. Medical costs

  • We’re not meant to notice that what we’re looking at usually isn’t worth taking the trouble to watch because we’ve watched it a hundred times before in umpteen numbers of movies and TV shows.

    Lance Mannion:

  • If we signed up to these scaremongers, we could be about to waste a gargantuan amount of money on a problem that doesn’t exist – money that could be used in umpteen better ways: Fighting world hunger, providing clean water, developing alternative energy sources, improving our environment, creating jobs.

    Think Progress » Earth’s temperature highest in 400 years.

  • As an avid NPR listener, I recall hearing Nina Totenburg use this phrase umpteen times - even before September 11, 2001.

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  • And the phones are ringing off the hook: A socialite demands a table already reserved by a VIP, and Chef demands she get it; a couple "request" that "The Lady Is a Tramp" be sung at their table to celebrate their wedding anniversary, an impossibility, but he is mafia; and then there is Naomi Campbell's frenzied assistant who calls umpteen times to modify their demands for their table of 15.

    RutlandHerald.com

  • Along with the tremendous growth in basic barbecue sauce variety -- such as umpteen different combinations of hot pepper, liquor, wood smoke and fruit flavorings -- sauce manufacturers have seized on health concerns as an expanding market niche.

    Smoke Signals: Can barbecue sauce be healthful?

  • According to a report by The Associated Press, Mrs. Reagan — who sat through the G.O.P. debates at her husband’s library and listened to the candidates invoke the former president’s name umpteen times — decided not to wait until after the Republican convention this summer.

    Nancy Reagan Endorses McCain - The Caucus Blog - NYTimes.com

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