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

In addition, new demographic studies showing the city had been underestimating life expectancies for its retirees prompted city pension officials to significantly increase the projected cost of pensions in 2016. David Garrick, sandiegouniontribune.com, "If state Supreme Court rules against San Diego on pensions, it could could cost city millions," 14 July 2018 According to a new report from the HHS inspector general, 20 of the 21 official trips taken by Price during his brief tenure violated federal travel regulations. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "Auditor: Tom Price Owes Government $341,000 for Unauthorized Travel Expenses," 13 July 2018 British officials always knew there was the potential for an unhelpful intervention from America’s unpredictable president. The Economist, "Donald Trump lays into Britain’s Brexit plan," 13 July 2018 Algeria's deadly expulsions of migrants into the Sahara Desert have nearly ground to a halt after widespread condemnation and the abrupt firing of two top security officials. Lori Hinnant, The Christian Science Monitor, "Algeria stops expelling migrants into Sahara after pushback," 13 July 2018 French striker Nicolas Anelka was sent home for cursing at his coach: the players boycotted a day of training, a top official resigned in disgust, and France failed to win a game. Sean Gregory, Time, "32 Teams Entered, 2 Remain. Your Ultimate Guide to the World Cup Final," 13 July 2018 For starters, the restoration is a testament to what the city can achieve when top officials decide to make preservation a priority. Inga Saffron, Philly.com, "A tale of two historic Philadelphia buildings: One rises from the ashes. The other falls to the wrecking ball.," 12 July 2018 President Donald Trump and other top administration officials have spent months railing against the release of immigrant families as a recipe for widespread lawlessness. Dara Lind, Vox, "A new study blows up Trump’s “catch-and-release” myth," 11 July 2018 Trying to ease concerns, BIE Director Tony Dearman and his top officials had flown across the country to meet with parents and tribal leaders. Alden Woods, azcentral, "In the Grand Canyon, Havasupai parents want to regain control over failing school," 10 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Although the official start date falls on Friday, July 20, Nordstrom is allowing all cardmembers the chance to jump on the event before any one else with an early access sale that kicks off today. refinery29.com, "How To Shop Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale Before Everyone Else," 13 July 2018 His official biography lists a Ph.D. completed with a dissertation on how to finance renewable-energy projects. David Gauthier-villars, WSJ, "New Turkish Finance Minister Vows to Fight Inflation," 13 July 2018 According to Paul Chrystie, a City Planning Commission spokesperson, Philadelphia keeps no official or citywide count of parking spaces. Caitlin Mccabe, Philly.com, "Philadelphia has 2,172,896 parking spaces. So how come you're still circling the block?," 12 July 2018 Franco imposed rigid centralisation and banned the public and official use of Catalan (though over time his regime relaxed its grip, tolerating publications in the language). The Economist, "The siren call of separatism," 12 July 2018 Marcus Gallegos, Officer George Wolfe and James Smith are facing charges of tampering with governmental records and official oppression after a prisoner's mother came forward with the allegations earlier this year. Keri Blakinger, Houston Chronicle, "4 Texas prison officials indicted after alleged evidence-planting incident at Brazoria lock-up," 11 July 2018 Yet the project has antagonized the Afghanistan government, which does not consider this border line, known as the Durand line, as the fair and official boundary between the two neighbors. Hollie Mckay, Fox News, "Trump's wrath forces Pakistan to double down on push to eliminate terrorist sanctuaries," 10 July 2018 The edge of the bedroom mirror is still adorned with loads of credentials from the football camps he was invited to, and the official and unofficial visits to various college campuses. Mac Engel, star-telegram, "A parent's pain over his imprisoned football star son," 10 July 2018 Courtesy AUrate is poised to disrupt the accessories world with the official launch of its jewelry style box, Curate by AUrate. Marina Liao, Marie Claire, "AUrate Launches Its First-Ever ​Fine Jewelry​ Style Box​​," 10 July 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

27 Oct 2018

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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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