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

As a member of the 2016 Democratic Platform Drafting Committee, Lee first helped write Hyde’s repeal into the party’s official set of values. Christine Grimaldi, Vogue, "Senators Introduce Legislation to Finally Repeal the Hyde Amendment and End Wide-Ranging Federal Abortion-Funding Ban," 12 Mar. 2019 What do Downe House officials have to say about claims that Kate was bullied there? Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Kate Middleton Was "Desperately Unhappy" and Tortured by Bullies at Her First Secondary School, Downe House," 10 Mar. 2019 The Queen posted her first Instagram account today on the @royalfamily official account. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Queen Just Posted Her First Instagram, So Consider Her Your New Favorite Influencer," 7 Mar. 2019 At the Barcelona telecom-industry conference where U.S. officials plan... Stu Woo, WSJ, "Nokia Positions Itself as More Secure Than Rival Huawei," 24 Feb. 2019 Now, a wave of white-wearing officials pay homage to suffragists. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "Who Is Alexandria Ocasio Cortez's Brother Gabriel? He's an Artist and Musician," 8 Feb. 2019 This is consistent with what other military officials have said, noting the future battlefield in space may require nimble deployment of smaller assets. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Rocket Report: Rokot ending, more spaceports, back-to-back Falcon Heavies," 21 Dec. 2018 Creative officials said the card is rated at a 129dB signal-to-noise ratio and uses an ESS Sabre 32 digital analog converter. Gordon Mah Ung, PCWorld, "Exclusive first look: Creative Labs' high-end Sound BlasterX AE-9 breaks cover," 8 Dec. 2018 There were some slight discrepancies in how Chinese officials sold the deal, as Bloomberg pointed out in a comparison of the statements issued by the White House and the Chinese Foreign Ministry. Jen Kirby, Vox, "The US and China reach a compromise — but the trade standoff is far from over," 2 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

No official cause of death has been released for the late orthodontist, who placed second on the CBS reality series with his wife, Misti. Blair Donovan, Country Living, "'The Amazing Race' Contestant Dr. Jim Raman Has Passed Away at 42," 15 Mar. 2019 In place of the summit, Netanyahu held back-to-back meetings with Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban before hosting all three for lunch at his official residence. Aron Heller, The Seattle Times, "Israel hosts east European leaders after summit scrapped," 19 Feb. 2019 Cardinal O’Malley moved into a small rectory, eschewing and later selling the palatial official residence. Francis X. Rocca, WSJ, "‘It Will Cause a Scandal.’ The Pope and a Trusted U.S. Cardinal Clash Over Sex-Abuse Crisis," 14 Feb. 2019 Design-minded accommodation company BoutiqueHomes recently became the official distributor of the monocabin in the U.S. and Europe. Lauren Ro, Curbed, "Modern prefab cabin is now available to order," 22 Jan. 2019 Earlier this week, the official China Securities Journal reported that an initial handful of games had been approved, citing the deputy director of the Communist Party’s propaganda unit. Shannon Liao, The Verge, "China lifts video game ban but not for its biggest player," 29 Dec. 2018 That load might sound extreme, but even official documents describe carrying a 100 lbs. as standard. David Hambling, Popular Mechanics, "The Overloaded Soldier: Why U.S. Infantry Now Carry More Weight Than Ever," 26 Dec. 2018 Samsung's official news site had a bit of a mishap this week, and somehow Ars Technica's logo ended up in one of the company's press releases. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, "“Samsung x Ars Technica” is not happening," 26 Dec. 2018 The Duke of Cambridge is the first member of the royal family to make an official visit to the Jewish state and the Palestinian territories. Kainaz Amaria, Vox, "2018, explained in pictures by women and non-binary photographers," 21 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

17 Mar 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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Comments on official

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