office

noun

of·​fice ˈä-fəs How to pronounce office (audio)
ˈȯ-
1
a
: a special duty, charge, or position conferred by an exercise of governmental authority and for a public purpose : a position of authority to exercise a public function and to receive whatever emoluments may belong to it
b
: a position of responsibility or some degree of executive authority
2
: a prescribed form or service of worship
specifically, Office : divine office
3
: a religious or social ceremonial observance : rite
4
a
: something that one ought to do or must do : an assigned or assumed duty, task, or role
b
: the proper or customary action of something : function
c
: something done for another : service
5
: a place where a particular kind of business is transacted or a service is supplied: such as
a
: a place in which the functions of a public officer are performed
b
: the directing headquarters of an enterprise or organization
c
: the place in which a professional person conducts business
6
offices plural, chiefly British : the apartments, attached buildings, or outhouses in which the activities attached to the service of a house are carried on
7
a
: a major administrative unit in some governments
British Foreign Office
b
: a subdivision of some government departments
Patent Office
Choose the Right Synonym for office

function, office, duty, province mean the acts or operations expected of a person or thing.

function implies a definite end or purpose or a particular kind of work.

the function of language is two-fold: to communicate emotion and to give information Aldous Huxley

office is typically applied to the function or service associated with a trade or profession or a special relationship to others.

they exercise the offices of the judge, the priest, the counsellor W. E. Gladstone

duty applies to a task or responsibility imposed by one's occupation, rank, status, or calling.

it is the judicial duty of the court, to examine the whole case R. B. Taney

province applies to a function, office, or duty that naturally or logically falls to one.

I felt it was not my province to inquire Anne Brontë

Examples of office in a Sentence

She works at our Chicago office. Are you going to the office today? The supervisor held an informal meeting in his office. Her office is on the top floor near the elevator. He misbehaved in class and was sent to the principal's office. We use the extra bedroom in our house as an office. We stopped by the lawyer's office to pick up some documents. He has been in office for a decade. He was voted out of office. He won the election and will take office at the beginning of the year. See More
Recent Examples on the Web James' office previously sued Trump for misusing his own charitable foundation to further his political and business interests. Michael R. Sisak, arkansasonline.com, 17 Feb. 2024 Fulcher’s office did not respond to a request for comment. Nicole Blanchard, Idaho Statesman, 17 Feb. 2024 The same district attorney's office that had delayed Volar's prosecution, quickly charged the child with the intentional homicide, which in Wisconsin carries a mandatory life sentence, per The Post. Emily Palmer, Peoplemag, 17 Feb. 2024 Williams said the fire will continue to smolder for an undetermined amount of time before the fire marshal’s office can get into the house to investigate. Clarence Williams, Washington Post, 17 Feb. 2024 Paxton’s office, which reviews requests by governments in Texas to withhold information, said that at least a portion of the records should be released. Harriet Ramos, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 17 Feb. 2024 As a 29-year-old on his second startup, Brice Klein has perfected the working-until-late routine, often leaving the office at 8 p.m. or later. Byirina Ivanova, Fortune, 17 Feb. 2024 She is based in The Oriel Company’s New York office. Marc Schneider, Billboard, 16 Feb. 2024 The woman’s remains were unidentifiable, but the body was sent to the medical examiner’s office where an autopsy was performed, officials said. Paloma Chavez, Sacramento Bee, 16 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'office.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Middle English, "position of authority, duties of a position, proper function, ecclesiastical service, space used for business or domestic functions," borrowed from Anglo-French, borrowed from Latin officium "beneficial act in fulfillment of an obligation, duty, functions in a position, post" (Late Latin, "ecclesiastical service"), contraction of opificium (attested in sense "constructive work"), from opi- (base of opis, *ops "power, ability" and oper-, opus "work, effort") + facere "to make, do, bring about" + -ium, deverbal suffix of function or state — more at opus, do entry 1

Note: Though officium is formally a contraction of opificium, their senses diverge, the latter noun maintaining a transparent relation to the agent noun opifex "craftsman, artificer."

First Known Use

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of office was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near office

Cite this Entry

“Office.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/office. Accessed 24 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

office

noun
of·​fice ˈäf-əs How to pronounce office (audio)
ˈȯf-
1
: a special duty or post and especially one of authority in government
hold public office
2
: a prescribed form or service of worship : rite
3
: something done for another : service
4
: a place where a business is carried on
ticket office
a dentist's office
5
: a large government department
Patent Office

Legal Definition

office

noun
of·​fice
1
: a special duty, charge, or position conferred by governmental authority and for a public purpose
qualified to hold public office
broadly : a special duty or position of authority
hold an office of trust
2
: a place where business or administration is conducted or services are performed
3
: a special administrative department or unit
office of the district attorney

More from Merriam-Webster on office

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