Empire vs umpire

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Empire and umpire are two words that are very close in pronunciation and spelling and are often confused. We will examine the definitions of empire and umpire, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

An empire is a vast sovereign state, usually consisting of many smaller states or countries and ruled by one person. Today, empire is also used to mean a large corporation that is run by one person, or is used figuratively to mean a sphere of influence controlled by one person or group. The word empire is derived from the Latin word imperium, which means sole dominion, supreme authority, power.

An umpire is a referee or official who monitors a sporting event or game in order to enforce the rules of that sporting event or game and ensure a fair outcome. Umpire is used as a noun or an intransitive verb, which is a verb that does not take an object. The word umpire is derived from the Old French word nonper, which means not even. In this case, this refers to an extra person who is charged with making sure a competition between two matched participants is a fair one.


Price, nicknamed “Shorty” and “Hot Sauce,” acted ruthlessly to protect a lucrative drug empire that supplied heroin to open-air drug markets on Chicago’s West Side for seven years, prosecutors said. (The Chicago Tribune)

Now we have genetic sources, but no source speaks for itself.” says Patrick Geary, a historian at Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study, who is using DNA to track barbarian invasions during the fall of the Roman empire. (The Atlantic)

“What an honor,” said Sharon Adams, who was one of 12 selected to umpire last week at the Junior Softball Little League World Series in Kirkland, Washington. (The NOrthwest Florida Daily News)

Ken Kaiser, the Rochester native and colorful former Major League Baseball umpire who worked two World Series and an All-Star Game before being frozen out of the game following a mass resignation, died Tuesday at 72. (The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle)