Definition of officious
officious was our Word of the Day on 11/19/2014. Hear the podcast!
Examples of officious in a Sentence
an officious little man who was always telling everyone else how to do their jobs
Did You Know?
Don't mistake "officious" for a rare synonym of "official." Both words stem from the Latin noun officium (meaning "service" or "office"), but they have very different meanings. When the suffix -osus ("full of") was added to "officium," Latin officiosus came into being, meaning "eager to serve, help, or perform a duty." When this adjective was borrowed into English in the 16th century as "officious," it carried the same meaning. Early in the 17th century, however, "officious" began taking on a negative sense to describe a person who offers unwanted help. This pejorative sense has driven out the original "eager to help" sense to become the predominant meaning of the word in Modern English. "Officious" can also mean "of an informal or unauthorized nature," but that sense isn't especially common.
Origin and Etymology of officious
Latin officiosus, from officium service, office
First Known Use: 15th century
Synonym Discussion of officious
OFFICIOUS Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of officious for English Language Learners
—used to describe an annoying person who tries to tell other people what to do in a way that is not wanted or needed
Seen and Heard
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