official

1 of 2

noun

of·​fi·​cial ə-ˈfi-shəl How to pronounce official (audio)
ō-
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

2 of 2

adjective

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
3
a
: 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
officially adverb

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.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Molina recommended that residents in the area pay attention to officials and local law enforcement and leave the area if an evacuation order is issued. Summer Lin, Los Angeles Times, 10 May 2024 Federal officials said the Biden administration’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure law is making the Brent Spence Bridge project possible. Patricia Gallagher Newberry, The Enquirer, 10 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for official 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'official.' 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

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

First Known Use

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

circa 1585, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of official was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near official

Cite this Entry

“Official.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/official. Accessed 24 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

official

1 of 2 noun
of·​fi·​cial ə-ˈfish-əl How to pronounce official (audio)
1
: a person who holds an office
2
: a person who enforces the rules in a game or sport

official

2 of 2 adjective
1
: of or relating to an office
official duties
2
: having authority to perform a duty
the official government of the 13 colonies
3
: prescribed or permitted by authority
the official language
an official American League baseball
4
: proper for a person in office
an official greeting
officially adverb

Medical Definition

official

adjective
of·​fi·​cial ə-ˈfish-əl How to pronounce official (audio)
: prescribed or recognized as authorized
specifically : described by the United States Pharmacopeia or the National Formulary compare nonofficial, unofficial
officially adverb

Legal Definition

official

1 of 2 noun
of·​fi·​cial
: one who holds or is invested with an office especially in government
a municipal official

official

2 of 2 adjective
1
: of, relating to, or holding an office, position, or trust
official duties
2
: fully authorized
an official policy of the bank
officially adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on official

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