of·​fi·​cious | \ ə-ˈfi-shəs How to pronounce officious (audio) \

Definition of officious

1 : volunteering one's services where they are neither asked nor needed : meddlesome officious people who are always ready to offer unasked advice
2 : informal, unofficial officious conversations between foreign ministers
3 archaic
a : kind, obliging
b : dutiful

Other Words from officious

officiously adverb
officiousness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for officious

impertinent, officious, meddlesome, intrusive, obtrusive mean given to thrusting oneself into the affairs of others. impertinent implies exceeding the bounds of propriety in showing interest or curiosity or in offering advice. resented their impertinent interference officious implies the offering of services or attentions that are unwelcome or annoying. officious friends made the job harder meddlesome stresses an annoying and usually prying interference in others' affairs. a meddlesome landlord intrusive implies a tactless or otherwise objectionable thrusting into others' affairs. tried to be helpful without being intrusive obtrusive stresses improper or offensive conspicuousness of interfering actions. expressed an obtrusive concern for his safety

We Are Eager to Help You Define Officious

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 as officious in the 15th century it described dutiful people and their actions. That use shifted a bit semantically to describe those eager to help or serve. By the late 16th century, however, officious was beginning to develop a negative sense describing a person who offers unwanted help. This pejorative sense has driven out the original "dutiful" and "eager to help" senses to become the predominant meaning of the word in modern English. Officious can also mean "of an informal or unauthorized nature," but that sense is not common.

Examples of officious in a Sentence

an officious little man who was always telling everyone else how to do their jobs
Recent Examples on the Web There's an officious young secretary, Ms. McCormack (Laurie Veldheer), to keep reminding him of that, but the thrust and parry of the fast-dancing dialogue is between Sam (huffy, preoccupied) and Karen (tizzying, agitated, eager to please). Leah Greenblatt,, 1 Apr. 2022 The soul of this community is local queen bee Sherry Conrad (Search Party alum Shalita Grant, the season’s MVP), an officious, controlling momfluencer with a knack for stealing the spotlight. Judy Berman, Time, 17 Oct. 2021 At his side is the officious Bev Keane (a chilling Samantha Sloyan, from Hill House), the prototypical timeless, ageless, practically bloodless church lady, dressed like an overgrown Girl Scout and always judging, scolding, guilting. Judy Berman, Time, 20 Sep. 2021 On their first day, the resort manager (Gustaf Hammarsten) recommends an isolated beach and arranges for the family to be driven there along with a few other tourists, including an officious doctor (Rufus Sewell) and his family., 22 July 2021 Many are proxies in the audience’s war with Matt, the kind of officious know-it-all whom people generally cross the street to avoid. John Anderson, WSJ, 15 Apr. 2021 Nevarro’s cantina is now a school being run by a female protocol droid who sounds just as officious as C-3PO. Lauren Morgan,, 20 Nov. 2020 What luck, then, that an entire coven seems to have followed them to the seaside Southern resort the pair have escaped to, a grand old hotel overseen by the fussily officious Mr. Stringer (Stanley Tucci). Leah Greenblatt,, 21 Oct. 2020 Amid widespread demonstrations against the firing of Cinémathèque Française founder Henri Langlois for confounding the officious culture minister André Malraux, Cannes shut down midway through its 1968 festival. J. Hoberman, The New York Review of Books, 13 May 2020 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'officious.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of officious

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3b

History and Etymology for officious

Latin officiosus, from officium service, office

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The first known use of officious was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

20 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Officious.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 May. 2022.

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Nglish: Translation of officious for Spanish Speakers


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