official

noun
of·​fi·​cial | \ ə-ˈfi-shəl How to pronounce official (audio) , ō-\

Definition of official

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : one who holds or is invested (see invest entry 2 sense 1) with an office : officer government officials A company official responded to our request.
2 : one who administers the rules of a game or sport especially as a referee or umpire a football official

official

adjective

Definition of official (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : of or relating to an office, position, or trust official duties official documents
2 : holding an office : having authority the president's official representative
3a : authoritative, authorized official statement an official biography
b : prescribed or recognized as authorized an official language
c : described by the U.S. Pharmacopeia or the National Formulary The official drug is sold under several trade names.
4 : befitting or characteristic of a person in office extended an official greeting official condolences

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Other Words from official

Adjective

officially \ ə-​ˈfi-​sh(ə-​)lē How to pronounce officially (audio) , ō-​ \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for official

Synonyms: Noun

functionary, officeholder, officer, public servant

Synonyms: Adjective

authorized, sanctioned

Antonyms: Adjective

nonofficial, unauthorized, unofficial, unsanctioned

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Examples of official in a Sentence

Noun

She interviewed a senior official from the previous administration. A company official responded to our request.

Adjective

She was accused of destroying official documents. Her illness did not prevent her from performing her official duties. The Vice President is on an official trip. We extended an official greeting to the ambassador.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

USA Today adds that the suspect allegedly used an AR-style weapon, according to police officials. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "Shooting at California Synagogue Leaves One Dead, Three Injured," 28 Apr. 2019 Considered one of the city’s most iconic architectural structures, The Notre-Dame has undergone extensive renovations for years, which, according to many officials could be the cause of the fire. Lucia Tonelli, ELLE Decor, "The Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris Catches Fire," 15 Apr. 2019 That included a series of posts from the Burmese military so inflammatory that, by the year’s end, Facebook had banned 60 accounts connected to government officials. Casey Newton, The Verge, "The Verge 2018 tech report card: Facebook," 26 Dec. 2018 The Trump administration says the policy responds to a crisis at the southern border that has overwhelmed the ability of immigration officials to detain migrants. Brian Melley, The Seattle Times, "Court won’t immediately stop wait-in-Mexico asylum policy," 13 Apr. 2019 This week's feud began when Trump complained on Twitter that the former veteran shared the Steele dossier (which alleged there were links between Trump and Russian officials) before the 2016 election, though this has not been proven. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'The View' Fans Are Fired Up After Meghan McCain and Ana Navarro-Cárdenas's Trump Comments," 22 Mar. 2019 But turning out a family from rural Guatemala into the United States — often with a check-in date with an ICE official in a different state — poses its own kind of problems. Dara Lind, Vox, "Trump administration to release hundreds of immigrant families from detention," 27 Dec. 2018 Even a recent report that the end of a data collection scheme could effectively end the program doesn’t represent an official — and officially stated — end to Google’s China ambitions. Dieter Bohn, The Verge, "The Verge 2018 tech report card: Google," 26 Dec. 2018 Beyond that, moving children to a family that government officials prefer is what authoritarian regimes all through history have done. Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "The U.S. Is Tracking Migrant Girls' Periods to Stop Them From Getting Abortions," 2 Apr. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

There hasn’t been any official confirmation, but there’s nonetheless a ton of smoke around this rumor. John Gilpatrick, Popular Mechanics, "Everything We Know About the Future of Star Wars," 10 May 2019 Nearly 3,000 children were separated from their families under the zero-tolerance policy, and thousands more were likely separated before the official policy was formally announced. Glamour, "Untold Numbers of Mothers Separated From Their Children Will Spend Mother’s Day Alone," 10 May 2019 The official unemployment rate has fallen to 3.6%, the lowest in 50 years. Neel Kashkari, WSJ, "Unemployment Isn’t What It Used to Be," 9 May 2019 If that wasn’t impressive enough, Louis Vuitton secured MoMA PS1 as its official after-party venue. Zachary Schwartz, Vogue, "Emma Stone, Ruth Negga, and Jennifer Connelly Pulled an All-Nighter at the Louis Vuitton Cruise After-Party," 9 May 2019 Before that, her last official appearance was at Commonwealth Day services with other members of the royal family. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle Wears a White Dress for First Photos with the Royal Baby," 8 May 2019 No official season two premiere date has been announced yet, but the CBS press release has the series slated for the 2019-2020 TV broadcast season. Blair Donovan, Country Living, "Is 'FBI' Renewed for a Second Season? Here's Everything We Know," 30 Apr. 2019 December 2017 Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attend their first official royal event together in Nottingham. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Love Story: A Timeline," 22 Mar. 2019 Aside from its official statement, Logitech hasn't responded further to the online outrage about the removal of local access. Valentina Palladino, Ars Technica, "Logitech disables local access on Harmony Hubs, breaks automation systems [Update]," 19 Dec. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'official.' 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 official

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

circa 1585, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for official

Noun

Middle English, "person presiding over an ecclesiastical court, domestic retainer," borrowed from Anglo-French & Medieval Latin; Anglo-French, borrowed from Medieval Latin officiālis "person performing the duties of an office, head of an ecclesiastical court," going back to Latin, "attendant on a magistrate," derivative of officiālis "pertaining to fixed duties" — more at official entry 2

Adjective

Middle English, "functional (of a part of the body)," borrowed from Medieval Latin officiālis "functional, pertaining to duties of an office," going back to Latin, "pertaining to fixed duties," from officium "duty, office" + -ālis -al entry 1

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Statistics for official

Last Updated

12 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for official

The first known use of official was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for official

official

noun

English Language Learners Definition of official

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a person who has a position of authority in a company, organization, or government : a person who holds an office
: a person (such as a referee or umpire) who makes sure that players are following the rules of a game

official

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of official (Entry 2 of 2)

: of or relating to the job or work of someone in a position of authority
used to describe something that is said in a public way by someone in a position of authority
used to describe something that is done in a public and often formal way

official

noun
of·​fi·​cial | \ ə-ˈfi-shəl How to pronounce official (audio) \

Kids Definition of official

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a person who holds a position of authority in an organization or government

official

adjective

Kids Definition of official (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : relating to a position of authority official duties
2 : having authority to perform a duty the official referee
3 : coming from or meeting the requirements of an authority an official team baseball We're waiting for the official announcement.
4 : proper for a person in office The White House is the President's official residence.

Other Words from official

officially adverb

official

adjective
of·​fi·​cial | \ ə-ˈfish-əl How to pronounce official (audio) \

Medical Definition of official

: prescribed or recognized as authorized specifically : described by the United States Pharmacopeia or the National Formulary — compare nonofficial, unofficial

Other Words from official

officially \ -​ˈfish-​(ə-​)lē How to pronounce officially (audio) \ adverb

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official

noun
of·​fi·​cial

Legal Definition of official

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: one who holds or is invested with an office especially in government a municipal official

official

adjective

Legal Definition of official (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, or holding an office, position, or trust official duties
2 : fully authorized an official policy of the bank

Other Words from official

officially adverb

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