Posted by Brian from Shawnee on October 14, 2006
In Reply to: Um-teenth posted by Craig on October 14, 2006
: I've often heard my mother and grandmother use the phrase, "um-teenth time" refering to an unlimited amount of times they have said something to my brothers ro I. I could not locate the phrase in your list. Does anyone know the origin?
Well it really comes down to a single word "umpteen", coined in 1917, which derives from the word "umpty". That word was coined in 1905 by telegraph operators, according to etymonline.com:
1905, "of an indefinite number," originally Morse code slang for "dash," influenced by association with numerals such as twenty, thirty, etc.; umpteen is World War I army slang, from umpty + teen.