of·fice | \ˈä-fəs, ˈȯ-\

Definition of office 

1a : 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

4a : 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

7a : a major administrative unit in some governments British Foreign Office

b : a subdivision of some government departments Patent Office

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Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of office in a Sentence

She works at our Chicago office. Are you going to the office today? The supervisor held an informal meeting in his office. Her office is on the top floor near the elevator. He misbehaved in class and was sent to the principal's office. We use the extra bedroom in our house as an office. We stopped by the lawyer's office to pick up some documents. He has been in office for a decade. He was voted out of office. He won the election and will take office at the beginning of the year.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Mayer has since admitted her short leave was an exception and not the rule, but the message was clear: recovering from childbirth is relatively easy, and combining work and parenting is as simple as building a nursery next to your office. Michelle Garcia, Vox, "Serena Williams, working mom hero," 11 July 2018 Although his writings occurred well before Trump took office, the current president could end up benefiting from Kavanaugh’s argument for presidential deference. Matt Viser,, "For questions of presidential power, Brett Kavanaugh has several answers," 14 July 2018 Bridenstine visited Israel this week in his first trip abroad since taking office in April. Alex Stuckey, Houston Chronicle, "NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine wants to boost collaboration with Israel," 13 July 2018 Engler named Beekman as the interim AD a week after taking office. David Jesse, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan State to name Bill Beekman permanent athletic director on Monday," 13 July 2018 This is an opportunity for voters to hear ideas for solutions to sea level rise and other related topics directly from candidates running for public office, 5:30-8:30 p.m. Reception 5:30-6 p.m. Free; public invited. Mary Lou Cruz,, "Fort Lauderdale area events July 18-28," 13 July 2018 Aurora aldermen have approved an office, warehouse and distribution building in the West Corporate Center on the northeast side of Aurora. Steve Lord, Aurora Beacon-News, "Aurora council approves final part of West Corporate Center," 13 July 2018 Shortly after taking office, Mr. Trump took the unusual step of personally negotiating with Boeing for two brand new 747s. Kris Van Cleave, CBS News, "What would a new Air Force One look like under Trump?," 12 July 2018 Every president who took office in the 20th century did so having won the popular vote. The Economist, "American democracy’s built-in bias towards rural Republicans," 12 July 2018

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.

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First Known Use of office

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for 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, do entry 1

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."

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Statistics for office

Last Updated

8 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for office

The first known use of office was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for office



English Language Learners Definition of office

: 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


of·fice | \ˈȯ-fəs \

Kids Definition of office

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.



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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More from Merriam-Webster on office

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for office

Spanish Central: Translation of office

Nglish: Translation of office for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of office for Arabic Speakers

Comments on office

What made you want to look up office? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to reject or criticize sharply

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