official

1 of 2

noun

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

2 of 2

adjective

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
3
a
: 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
officially adverb

Example Sentences

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
For months, European Union officials have bemoaned how German coalition strife had begun to ripple through the bloc — tripping up fossil fuel engine regulations, budget plans and debt policy. Melissa Eddy, BostonGlobe.com, 30 May 2023 Village officials had the stormwater system surveyed, according to Rintz, and were told the pipe is in fine working order despite its advanced age. Alex Hulvalchick, Chicago Tribune, 30 May 2023 But details as to what kind of funds would be eligible to be clawed back by federal officials under the deal were not released as of Tuesday. Molly Beck, Journal Sentinel, 30 May 2023 In addition to a flag bearing what Kandula confirmed to officials was a swastika, investigators recovered a green book that contained his writings, according to the Friday filing. Luke Barr, ABC News, 30 May 2023 In the photo, Alcaraz is standing next to a man identified as Stratton, according to Cheatham County sheriff’s officials. Nathan Solis, Los Angeles Times, 30 May 2023 When asked to account for the race's constant skid in average viewership since 2015 (when the race averaged 6.5 million viewers), that decrease in overall TV audience across the board is often pointed to be series and network officials having a major impact. Nathan Brown, The Indianapolis Star, 30 May 2023 Chinese state media, officials and academics have all publicly rejected the distinction in recent weeks, in a seemingly concerted effort to undermine the rhetorical shift. Bloomberg, Fortune, 29 May 2023 China space officials said Monday that the program plans to place astronauts on the moon before 2030, as well as expand its space station. Julia Musto, Fox News, 29 May 2023
Adjective
The event's official website says it is scheduled for Nov. 17-19 at Las Vegas' T-Mobile Arena. Dave Clark, The Enquirer, 1 June 2023 The official gauge of China’s manufacturing activity fell deeper into contraction in May, signaling further cooling of momentum in the postpandemic recovery. WSJ, 31 May 2023 The city’s finance bureau said in a Friday statement published by the official Changjiang Daily newspaper that a total of 259 companies and entities owed it more than 100 million yuan ($14 million) combined. Laura He, CNN, 29 May 2023 Memorial Day as a national holiday did not pass into common usage until after World War II, and wasn’t even designated as the holiday’s official name until 1967. Alex Heigl, Peoplemag, 29 May 2023 The sheriff’s office is yet to release an official statement. Renee Yan, Chron, 28 May 2023 According to her official biography, King was born Billie Jean Moffitt on Nov. 22, 1943, in Long Beach. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, 28 May 2023 Although there’s been no official word from Grohl or his representatives about it, her inclusion in this fashion would seem to confirm it as true. Jonathan Cohen, SPIN, 26 May 2023 The park has miles of official and backcountry trails with views of waterfalls and old-growth forests. Stacey Leasca, Travel + Leisure, 26 May 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'official.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

circa 1585, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near official

Cite this Entry

“Official.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/official. Accessed 4 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition

official

1 of 2 noun
of·​fi·​cial ə-ˈfish-əl How to pronounce official (audio)
1
: a person who holds an office
2
: a person who enforces the rules in a game or sport

official

2 of 2 adjective
1
: of or relating to an office
official duties
2
: having authority to perform a duty
the official government of the 13 colonies
3
: prescribed or permitted by authority
the official language
an official American League baseball
4
: proper for a person in office
an official greeting
officially adverb

Medical Definition

official

adjective
of·​fi·​cial ə-ˈfish-əl How to pronounce official (audio)
: prescribed or recognized as authorized
specifically : described by the United States Pharmacopeia or the National Formulary compare nonofficial, unofficial
officially adverb

Legal Definition

official

1 of 2 noun
of·​fi·​cial
: one who holds or is invested with an office especially in government
a municipal official

official

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

More from Merriam-Webster on official

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