phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at


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

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.