the difference between words: umpire and referee

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A little while ago one of my readers asked me about the difference between “umpire” and “referee”, so that is what I’ll write about today.

Both words are used to talk about the person who decides if a particular play in a sport is good or bad. However, the word “umpire” is only used in cricket or baseball while “referee” is used in other sports such as football, soccer, hockey, etc. Here are some examples:

The umpire ruled that it was a foul ball.

The umpire at the baseball game said that Ron Jones was out, but I totally disagree. I saw the play, and I think he was safe.

According to the referee at the game, the goal didn’t count. A lot of fans were really angry at him.

The referee gave that hockey player a penalty for high sticking.

As you probably know, different countries have different words for certain sports. In Canada and the United States, we say “soccer” and “hockey”, but in other parts of the world like in Europe and Australia, they say “football” and “ice hockey”. In those parts of the world, when they say “hockey”, North Americans say “field hockey”. Because I’m from Canada, the words I used in my blog are North American based.

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