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

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 Notably, this first official -- of sorts -- Anchorage team was integrated, a few decades before Jackie Robinson made his heavy mark on history. David Reamer, Anchorage Daily News, "This baseball season might be canceled, but Alaska’s history with the game goes way back," 28 June 2020 The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to make public comment, noted that Macron expressed France’s anger at foreign interference, including by Russian private military contractor Wagner. Washington Post, "Putin, Macron discuss closer cooperation in video call," 26 June 2020 One senior Interior official, who was not authorized to speak on the record, said the department is following state health guidelines and is taking steps to reflect recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Josh Dawsey, BostonGlobe.com, "Despite virus and wildfire risks, Trump plans a big fireworks fund-raiser at Mount Rushmore," 25 June 2020 The top regional Border Patrol official, Carl Landrum, cited a vast increase in arrests during recent years before there was a barrier to prevent people from crossing. Anna Giaritelli, Washington Examiner, "Local Arizona leaders tell visiting Trump his wall is working," 24 June 2020 In a May 26 letter to Levine, California’s top prison official, CDCR Secretary Ralph Diaz, explained that the corrections department was taking a centralized approach, monitoring the pandemic from Sacramento. Jason Fagone, SFChronicle.com, "Coronavirus outbreak at San Quentin State Prison, linked to transfer of inmates, grows to more than 100," 19 June 2020 The revelations came out at almost the exact time that Secretary of State Michael Pompeo was meeting China’s top foreign policy official, Yang Jiechi, for secretive talks at the Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii. Jordan Fabian, Fortune, "John Bolton’s new book claims Trump sought Xi Jinping’s help to win 2020 election," 18 June 2020 Louisville's top public health official, who happened to be speaking at the meeting, crouched by his side and began emergency procedures. James Bruggers, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville’s 'Black Lives Matter' protests echo a long quest for environmental justice," 18 June 2020 Oregon’s top health official, Patrick Allen, has said his agency did not recommend to the governor that all staff and residents in senior care get tested. oregonlive, "Oregon to test all senior care workers and residents for coronavirus by October," 16 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The official announcement confirmed reports circulating in recent weeks that travelers from the United States will not be among people from a coveted list of countries allowed in because of the severity of coronavirus outbreak there. Washington Post, "Live updates: Fauci to testify to Senate committee on reopening schools amid coronavirus surge," 30 June 2020 Though there hasn't been an official announcement, a minor-league season is not expected, leaving a smaller pool of replacements for the Tigers should injuries hit. Anthony Fenech, Detroit Free Press, "Here's why Spencer Torkelson isn't on the Detroit Tigers' 60-man player list — yet," 28 June 2020 The person spoke on condition of anonymity because there hasn’t been an official announcement. Ben Walker, Houston Chronicle, "Yankees vs. Nationals in D.C. set for opening day," 27 June 2020 Adam Schefter first reported the news, and the Hall of Fame will make the official announcement today, a league source told cleveland.com. cleveland, "Pro Football Hall of Fame Game between the Steelers and Cowboys is canceled; enshrinement ceremonies postponed amid coronavirus concerns," 25 June 2020 The Free Press, which cited unnamed sources, said an official announcement would be released Tuesday. Fortune, "University of Michigan cancels October presidential debate," 23 June 2020 There was no official announcement from the Chinese government on the flight cancellations. Nectar Gan, CNN, "Hundreds of Beijing flights canceled after coronavirus resurgence," 17 June 2020 The official announcement of the class will be made in early 2021, with specific details to be announced at a later date. Joey Hayden, Dallas News, "Ex-Cowboys QB Tony Romo earns second nomination for College Football Hall of Fame," 17 June 2020 The industrywide expectation is for Minor League Baseball to cancel its season entirely, though no official announcement has been made. Chandler Rome, ExpressNews.com, "Q&A: Tracing the path to baseball’s impasse and assessing what’s next," 14 June 2020

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

2 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Official.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/official. Accessed 10 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for official

official

noun
How to pronounce official (audio)

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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