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

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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 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.

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

Sheryl McCallum has delicious timing as the officious black principal, who’s not without her own awkward boundary breaches. Lisa Kennedy, The Know, "Theater review: “Fairfield” at Miners Alley is an ouchy-funny race comedy," 22 July 2019 Larry Cedar projects officious judicial bluster as the family attorney and Tom Shelton excels as E.J. Lofgren, a taxi driver who unwittingly ties up the plot’s loose ends. Tom Titus,, "On Theater: ‘Harvey’ hardly looks his age in Laguna," 6 June 2019 But her loving husband, Dayton (Charles Browning); their teenage daughter, Keisha (MaYaa Boateng); and especially Beverly’s officious sister, Jasmine (Roslyn Ruff), aren’t being very helpful. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "Review: Theater as Sabotage in the Dazzling ‘Fairview’," 17 June 2018 Troops could be held up by officious passport-checkers and stubborn railway companies. James Hohmann, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: Liberal hostility toward Trump aides could galvanize the GOP base," 25 June 2018 There are solid supporting performances from Gabriel Marin as an actor friend of Mickey’s, Richard Frederick in several roles, and Robert Sicular as the officious Walter. Marcus Crowder, San Francisco Chronicle, "‘Finks’: Son’s TheatreWorks play about his parents, blacklist feels uneven," 12 June 2018 To her right sat a panel of officious-looking men at a desk equipped with buzzers. Lorraine Ali,, "Samantha Bee apologizes and lashes back at her critics on 'Full Frontal' over Ivanka Trump controversy," 7 June 2018 As such Miklovic brings an august presence, officious and ready to ensure the integrity of the brand. Theodore P. Mahne,, "Bryan Batt's divine performance key to comedy of 'Act of God' at Le Petit," 14 May 2018 Email can seem clumsy, slow and officious by comparison. Sue Shellenbarger, WSJ, "The Instant Message Generation Gap," 17 Apr. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of officious

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

History and Etymology for officious

Latin officiosus, from officium service, office

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Statistics for officious

Last Updated

15 Oct 2019

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Time Traveler for officious

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

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English Language Learners Definition of officious

disapproving used to describe an annoying person who tries to tell other people what to do in a way that is not wanted or needed

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More from Merriam-Webster on officious

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with officious

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for officious

Spanish Central: Translation of officious

Nglish: Translation of officious for Spanish Speakers

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