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 official (audio) , ō-​ \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for official

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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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 official said there has been a positive reception to the concept of a global minimum tax among other countries abroad. Zachary Halaschak, Washington Examiner, "Yellen unveils Biden 'Made in America' plan to raise corporate taxes," 7 Apr. 2021 With states gradually expanding eligibility beyond such priority groups as older people and essential, front-line workers, the president plans to announce that every adult in the U.S. will be eligible by April 19 to be vaccinated, the official said. BostonGlobe.com, "Biden moving vaccine eligibility date to April 19, official says," 6 Apr. 2021 With states gradually expanding eligibility beyond such priority groups as older people and essential, front-line workers, the president plans to announce that every adult in the U.S. will be eligible by April 19 to be vaccinated, the official said. Darlene Superville, chicagotribune.com, "Biden to give states earlier deadline to make all adults eligible for COVID-19 vaccine," 6 Apr. 2021 The official said that initially Sudanese security forces did not intervene when the violence spread Monday. Tim Lister, CNN, "More than 50 dead as rival groups clash in Sudan's West Darfur, medics say," 6 Apr. 2021 The overall impact, the official said, will be to allow state housing authorities to expand existing plans or move up projects that had been on the back burner awaiting funding. Ashraf Khalil, Star Tribune, "Federal low-income housing grant doubles in size this year," 5 Apr. 2021 The official said investigators had talked to Green’s family, who spoke of his increasingly delusional thoughts. Anchorage Daily News, "Suspect in Capitol attack that left officer dead suffered delusions and paranoia, source says," 4 Apr. 2021 One strategy is to analyze federal travel data to trace the patterns of possible militia members and extremists, especially as American groups increasingly establish connections to Europe, the official said. New York Times, "Biden Steps Up Federal Efforts to Combat Domestic Extremism," 4 Apr. 2021 Among the others arrested was Sharif Hasan, who also is a member of the royal family; and Bassem Awadullah, a Saudi citizen, the official said. Washington Post, "Jordanian royal detained in alleged plot against King Abdullah II," 3 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the signing wasn't official. Brian Mahoney, ajc, "AP source: LaMarcus Aldridge to sign with Brooklyn Nets," 28 Mar. 2021 The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the signing wasn't official. Brian Mahoney, Star Tribune, "AP source: LaMarcus Aldridge to sign with Brooklyn Nets," 27 Mar. 2021 The person requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly until the signing is official. Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY, "Nets adding another All-Star in LaMarcus Aldridge after buyout with Spurs," 27 Mar. 2021 The latest batch of phones from OnePlus are official. Jason Cipriani, CNN Underscored, "The OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro offer an excellent Android experience for less," 26 Mar. 2021 On Thursday, Awwad al-Awwad, the president of the Saudi Human Rights Commission, revealed himself to be official in question. Washington Post, "Saudi official rejects reports that he threatened U.N. investigator in Khashoggi murder," 25 Mar. 2021 Nothing is official until the studio is ready to announce it. Jacob Siegal, BGR, "An exciting ‘Star Wars’ rumor was just shut down by one of Marvel’s Avengers," 25 Mar. 2021 These games, however, like so many games played by Negro-leaguers, were not official. New York Times, "Justice for the Negro Leagues Will Mean More Than Just Stats," 23 Mar. 2021 The supporting ballers around James aren't official, but NBAers Anthony Davis, Klay Thompson, and Damian Lillard are reportedly involved, as are WNBA superstars Diana Taurasi, Nneka Ogwumike and Chiney Ogwumike. Derek Lawrence, EW.com, "Everything we know so far about Space Jam: A New Legacy," 19 Mar. 2021

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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Time Traveler for official

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for official

Last Updated

10 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Official.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/official. Accessed 11 Apr. 2021.

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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 official (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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