official

noun
of·​fi·​cial | \ə-ˈfi-shəl, 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, 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

The Guptas, who deny wrongdoing, are accused of trying to influence appointments of government officials as a way to loot state coffers. Christopher Torchia, The Seattle Times, "South Africa power cuts hurt economy even as recession ends," 4 Dec. 2018 This meeting was to take place Tuesday morning, according to industry and government officials. William Boston, WSJ, "German Auto CEOs’ Planned U.S. Meeting Draws European Criticism," 3 Dec. 2018 The Washington Post noted that Trump could move an existing government official who has already been confirmed in Congress to the position, like Energy Secretary Rick Perry, to bypass having to get a person nominated and confirmed by the Senate. Cindy Otis, Teen Vogue, "Why Jeff Sessions's Resignation May Be Sketchier Than You Think," 8 Nov. 2018 In the past, the delta ecology was mostly overlooked as government officials prioritized flood controls and the region’s economic growth. Nate Berg, Curbed, "Can engineering save Louisiana’s coastline?," 7 Nov. 2018 For residents, a trip to the grocery store requires notifying border officials and then driving sixty miles each way through Canada to get to the nearest American town. Ken Jennings, Condé Nast Traveler, "This Tiny Minnesota Town Is Completely Surrounded by Canada," 5 Nov. 2018 Harry and Meghan also attended an official welcome ceremony in Albert Park, where Fijian culture and heritage will be on display. Maggie Maloney, Town & Country, "Meghan Markle Just Wore a White Zimmermann Dress in Fiji," 23 Oct. 2018 This experience soured the minds of some in Japan even today, where officials say the Japanese population tends to think that the country’s launch industry blows up a lot of rockets. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Quietly, Japan has established itself as a power in the aerospace industry," 15 Nov. 2018 Before 1995, Chinese citizens weren't allowed to leave the country, save for family visits to adjoining Asian countries, trips by government officials, business trips, or some kind of cultural exchange. Mark Ellwood, Condé Nast Traveler, "How Chinese Tourists Are Changing the Travel Landscape," 2 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The news is now officially official, though, thanks to a line in a story from The Hollywood Reporter about Paramount and Netflix inking a partnership deal. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Everything We Know About the To All the Boys I've Loved Before Sequel," 27 Nov. 2018 In a series of photos, Biden is seen posing with DHA staff after making it official, adorably showing Major a photo of himself as a puppy, and then in a final video, walking out to bring his new four-legged friend home. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "In More Uplifting News, Joe Biden Has Adopted an Adorable Rescue Dog," 18 Nov. 2018 The measure isn’t official dead yet, as the rule will come to the full floor on Wednesday. Alex Ward, Vox, "House Republicans are trying to block a vote on the Yemen War," 14 Nov. 2018 And now Battlefield V is the first game to support the technology, as EA Origin Access subscribers can play the game now ahead of its official release. Brad Chacos, PCWorld, "RTX on! Battlefield V becomes the first game to support DXR real-time ray tracing," 14 Nov. 2018 Dating apps typically don’t take much time or money, always a boon for campaigns and less-official volunteers. Natalie Andrews, WSJ, "Swipe Left, Swipe Right: Political Campaigning Invades Dating Apps," 2 Nov. 2018 Now, Andrew serves as a full-time representative of the monarch and — like his siblings — often carries out many official engagements on behalf of the crown. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Inside Queen Elizabeth's Complicated Relationships With Her Children," 18 Aug. 2018 For her first official engagement with Queen Elizabeth II in Chester, Markle let her hair down. Wendy Sy, Allure, "Happy Birthday, Duchess: See Meghan Markle’s Hair Evolution Through the Years," 4 Aug. 2018 Amazon’s official announcement breaks down the subsidies for both locations, each of which will receive approximately $2.5 billion in Amazon investment and 25,000 jobs. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Amazon HQ2 subsidies are deeply unpopular, but far from uncommon," 14 Nov. 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

8 Dec 2018

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 \

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 \

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 \ 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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