Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for August 2, 2020 is:
ombudsman • AHM-boodz-mun • noun
1 : a government official (as in Sweden or New Zealand) appointed to receive and investigate complaints made by individuals against abuses or capricious acts of public officials
2 : one that investigates, reports on, and helps settle complaints
“High-performing nursing homes usually have waiting lists, said Salli Pung, the state of Michigan’s long-term care ombudsman.” — Craig Mauger, The Detroit News, 26 June 2020
“The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has named Jonathan Midgett as its consumer ombudsman, a new position that seeks to give consumers a greater voice and understanding of the agency and its activities.” — Thomas Russell, Furniture Today, 16 June 2020
Did you know?
Ombudsman was borrowed from Swedish, where it means “representative,” and ultimately derives from the Old Norse words umboth (“commission”) and mathr (“man”). Sweden became the first country to appoint an independent official known as an ombudsman to investigate complaints against government officials and agencies. Since then, other countries (such as Finland, Denmark, and New Zealand), as well as some U.S. states, have appointed similar officials. The word also designates a person who reviews complaints against an organization (such as a school or hospital) or to someone who enforces standards of journalistic ethics at a newspaper.