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

Thirty of those employees were put on leave, and 18 no longer work there, including some who left years ago, officials said. Kantele Franko, Anchorage Daily News, "Ohio doctor accused of murder in 25 patient overdose deaths," 6 June 2019 Yosemite National Park will have cables on Half Dome installed by Thursday, giving hikers long-awaited access to the final stretch of the summit, officials said. Kimberly Veklerov, SFChronicle.com, "Yosemite’s Half Dome summit to reopen to hikers with cable installation," 5 June 2019 The Will County sheriff’s office, which is investigating Aranda’s death, is seeking two men believed to have been involved in the home invasion, officials said. Zak Koeske, Daily Southtown, "Man found dead in car trunk outside Crete home was beloved Back of the Yards grocery store owner," 5 June 2019 Proceeds from the latter, and the silent auction held earlier in the evening, will benefit the San Diego North Educational Foundation, officials said. Pomerado News, "Landon Donovan to speak at chamber awards dinner," 5 June 2019 Howard and other state health officials have argued the state's overall efforts to stem the outbreak were hobbled more by logistical challenges of reaching drug users than money. Chris Kenning, The Courier-Journal, "Hepatitis A death toll in Kentucky reaches 58 in state's latest report," 5 June 2019 In addition, local health officials are organizing the study of cancer cases in residents who live within seven miles of the plant, according to Matt Brewster, the Pike County health commissioner. Max Londberg, Cincinnati.com, "Health official: Planned study will review cancer rates near Portsmouth uranium plant," 5 June 2019 Those precautions could be similar to what health officials did during a mumps outbreak earlier this year that involved Pennsylvania State University during its big cancer fund-raiser, known as Thon. Mari A. Schaefer, https://www.inquirer.com, "How the record U.S. measles outbreak could affect your summer plans," 4 June 2019 Planned Parenthood sued that state after state health officials did not renew the license of their St. Louis clinic, the only one in the state, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Jim Morrill, charlotteobserver, "‘Abortion care hangs by a thread,’ Planned Parenthood head says as new clinic opens," 4 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The new authorities’ official histories efface the peninsula’s non-Russian past. The Economist, "Crimea is still in limbo five years after Russia seized it," 8 June 2019 Truffaut sharply reproached established French filmmakers for complaining about pressure from producers or from official censors. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "The Truffaut Essays That Clear Up Misguided Notions of Auteurism," 8 June 2019 March 2016 Shayk and Cooper make their official red carpet debut during Paris Fashion Week. Kaitlin Reilly, refinery29.com, "A Timeline Of Bradley Cooper & Irina Shayk’s Low-Key Relationship," 8 June 2019 Also, the songs must exist on an official streaming service (meaning sites like YouTube or SoundCloud won’t cut it). Todd Stewart, orlandosentinel.com, "NASA’s return to the moon preparations include building ultimate music playlist — and your help is needed," 7 June 2019 In Anchorage, programs have morphed over the decades from dedicated volunteer endeavors to official programs run by waste companies. Devin Kelly, Anchorage Daily News, "How to recycle like a pro in Anchorage," 7 June 2019 A month later, the two sides settled on a revised agreement and June 1 was set as the official split date. al.com, "Portables gone, construction underway as Gulf Shores eyes Aug. 9 school start," 6 June 2019 Players aren’t expected back in Davie until the final week of July for the start of training camp, which does not have an official start date yet, but usually takes place the final weekend of July. Omar Kelly, sun-sentinel.com, "Miami Dolphins cancel final minicamp practice," 6 June 2019 But Kim Jong Un’s favorite past-time was playing basketball on courts at the official residences — often with kids brought in especially to play games with the princes. Anna Fifield, Washington Post, "‘Great Successor’ book excerpt: Kim Jong Un’s gilded boyhood of chefs, travel and lessons on ruthless rule," 6 June 2019

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

9 Jun 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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