noun of·fice \ ˈä-fəs , ˈȯ- \
|Updated on: 13 Aug 2018

Definition of office

1 a : a special duty, charge, or position conferred by an exercise of governmental authority and for a public purpose : a position of authority to exercise a public function and to receive whatever emoluments may belong to it
b : a position of responsibility or some degree of executive authority
2 : a prescribed form or service of worship; specifically, capitalized : divine office
3 : a religious or social ceremonial observance : rite
4 a : something that one ought to do or must do : an assigned or assumed duty, task, or role
b : the proper or customary action of something : function
c : something done for another : service
5 : a place where a particular kind of business is transacted or a service is supplied: such as
a : a place in which the functions of a public officer are performed
b : the directing headquarters of an enterprise or organization
c : the place in which a professional person conducts business
6 offices plural, chiefly British : the apartments, attached buildings, or outhouses in which the activities attached to the service of a house are carried on
7 a : a major administrative unit in some governments
  • British Foreign Office
b : a subdivision of some government departments
  • Patent Office

Examples of office in a Sentence

  1. She works at our Chicago office.

  2. Are you going to the office today?

  3. The supervisor held an informal meeting in his office.

  4. Her office is on the top floor near the elevator.

  5. He misbehaved in class and was sent to the principal's office.

  6. We use the extra bedroom in our house as an office.

  7. We stopped by the lawyer's office to pick up some documents.

  8. He has been in office for a decade.

  9. He was voted out of office.

  10. He won the election and will take office at the beginning of the year.

Recent Examples of office from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'office.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of office

Middle English, "position of authority, duties of a position, proper function, ecclesiastical service, space used for business or domestic functions," borrowed from Anglo-French, borrowed from Latin officium "beneficial act in fulfillment of an obligation, duty, functions in a position, post" (Late Latin, "ecclesiastical service"), contraction of opificium (attested in sense "constructive work"), from opi- (base of opis, *ops "power, ability" and oper-, opus "work, effort") + facere "to make, do, bring about" + -ium, deverbal suffix of function or state — more at opus, 1do
Note: Though officium is formally a contraction of opificium, their senses diverge, the latter noun maintaining a transparent relation to the agent noun opifex "craftsman, artificer."

Synonym Discussion of office

function, office, duty, province mean the acts or operations expected of a person or thing. function implies a definite end or purpose or a particular kind of work.
    • the function of language is two-fold: to communicate emotion and to give information
    • —Aldous Huxley
office is typically applied to the function or service associated with a trade or profession or a special relationship to others.
    • they exercise the offices of the judge, the priest, the counsellor
    • —W. E. Gladstone
duty applies to a task or responsibility imposed by one's occupation, rank, status, or calling.
    • it is the judicial duty of the court, to examine the whole case
    • —R. B. Taney
province applies to a function, office, or duty that naturally or logically falls to one.
    • I felt it was not my province to inquire
    • —Anne Brontë

OFFICE Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of office for English Language Learners

  • : a building or room in which people work at desks doing business or professional activities

  • : a room with a desk where a particular person works

  • : a building or room where a doctor, lawyer, etc., works and meets with patients or clients

OFFICE Defined for Kids


noun of·fice \ ˈȯ-fəs \

Definition of office for Students

1 : a place where business is done or a service is supplied
  • a doctor's office
2 : a special duty or position and especially one of authority in government
  • My uncle wants to run for office.

Law Dictionary


noun of·fice

legal Definition of office

1 : a special duty, charge, or position conferred by governmental authority and for a public purpose
  • qualified to hold public office
; broadly : a special duty or position of authority
  • hold an office of trust
2 : a place where business or administration is conducted or services are performed
3 : a special administrative department or unit
  • office of the district attorney

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