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[fuhngk-shuh-ner-ee] /ˈfʌŋk ʃəˌnɛr i/
noun, plural functionaries.
a person who functions in a specified capacity, especially in government service; an official:
civil servants, bureaucrats, and other functionaries.
Origin of functionary
1785-95; function + -ary, modeled on French fonctionnaire Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for functionary
Historical Examples
  • He pressed the button on his desk, and, as the doorman appeared, addressed that functionary.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • Justice Parsons, of Gloucester, was a functionary of this sort.

  • "It is always as the good patriot says," observed the functionary.

    A Tale of Two Cities Charles Dickens
  • Crawling in after the functionary, Jack handed him the letter.

  • The functionary who is called Alcayde of the carcel at Havana confused the men.

    Romance Joseph Conrad and F.M. Hueffer
  • Half an hour's walk brought him there, and the functionary was at home.

    Despair's Last Journey David Christie Murray
  • Opposite to this functionary was a bench whereon the witnesses were placed.

    Wagner, the Wehr-Wolf George W. M. Reynolds
  • I do not know if this be true, but of the functionary we might say as often as not, he does not think, he is thought.

  • It means, of course, when the functionary in question is a man who has his wits about him.

    Ten Years Later Alexandre Dumas, Pere
  • His own clothes were at once appropriated by that functionary, who carried them into his cabin.

    Eric, or Little by Little Frederic W. Farrar
British Dictionary definitions for functionary


noun (pl) -aries
a person acting in an official capacity, as for a government; an official
a less common word for functional, official
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for functionary

"one who has a certain function," 1791, from or patterned on French fonctionnaire, a word of the Revolution; from Old French function (see function).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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