- noun a management employee who is given the freedom to move around the workplace to locate and remedy unfair practices
- noun an official who investigates complaints by the public against government departments or other large organisations. There are several ombudsmen: the main one, the Parliamentary Commissioner, is a civil servant who investigates complaints against government departments. The Banking Ombudsman and the Building Societies Ombudsman are independent officials who investigate complaints by the public against banks or building societies. The Pensions Ombudsman and Personal Investment Authority Ombudsman investigate complaints about personal pensions and employers’ pension schemes, and personal investments such as unit trusts.
- noun someone, especially a man, responsible for investigating and resolving complaints from consumers or other members of the public against a company, institution, or other organisation
- noun a UK government official responsible for impartially investigating citizens’ complaints against a public authority or institution and trying to bring about a fair settlement
Origin & History of “ombudsman”
The word ombudsman, denoting an ‘investigator of public complaints’, was introduced into English from Swedish, and was first used as a quasi-official term in the 1960s: New Zealand was the first English-speaking country to introduce such a post, in 1962, and Britain followed four years later. The Swedish word is a descendant of Old Norse umbothsmathr, literally ‘administration-man’; and umboth was originally a compound of um ‘about’ and both ‘command’ (a relative of English bid).