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[aw-fis, of-is] /ˈɔ fɪs, ˈɒf ɪs/
a room, set of rooms, or building where the business of a commercial or industrial organization or of a professional person is conducted:
the main office of an insurance company; a doctor's office.
a room assigned to a specific person or a group of persons in a commercial or industrial organization:
Her office is next to mine.
a business or professional organization:
He went to work in an architect's office.
the staff or designated part of a staff at a commercial or industrial organization:
The whole office was at his wedding.
a position of duty, trust, or authority, especially in the government, a corporation, a society, or the like:
She was elected twice to the office of president.
employment or position as an official:
to seek office.
the duty, function, or part of a particular person or agency:
to act in the office of adviser.
(initial capital letter) an operating agency or division of certain departments of the U.S. Government:
Office of Community Services.
(initial capital letter) British. a major administrative unit or department of the national government:
the Foreign Office.
Slang. hint, signal, or warning; high sign.
Often, offices. something, whether good or bad, done or said for or to another:
He obtained a position through the offices of a friend.
  1. the prescribed order or form for a service of the church or for devotional use.
  2. the services so prescribed.
  3. Also called divine office. the prayers, readings from Scripture, and psalms that must be recited every day by all who are in major orders.
  4. a ceremony or rite, especially for the dead.
a service or task to be performed; assignment; chore:
little domestic offices.
offices, Chiefly British.
  1. the parts of a house, as the kitchen, pantry, or laundry, devoted mainly to household work.
  2. the stables, barns, cowhouses, etc., of a farm.
Older Slang. privy.
Origin of office
1200-50; Middle English < Old French < Latin officium service, duty, ceremony, presumably contraction of opificium, equivalent to opi-, combining form akin to opus opus + -fic-, combining form of facere to make, do1 + -ium -ium
Related forms
officeless, adjective
outoffice, noun
suboffice, noun
Can be confused
office, orifice.
5. post, station, berth, situation. 7. responsibility, charge, trust. 13. work, duty.
Synonym Study
5. See appointment. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for office
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He took me right into his office, and I told him what you said, and he'll be ready for you at two o'clock.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • This business attended to, Robert bent his steps to Mr. Paine's office.

    Brave and Bold Horatio Alger
  • "You will find my father in his office," she said, looking a little disappointed.

    Brave and Bold Horatio Alger
  • Going to his office, he was fortunate enough to find him in, and unengaged.

    Brave and Bold Horatio Alger
  • After a year of that, he'll be taken into the office and his hours will be cut down to eight.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
British Dictionary definitions for office


  1. a room or set of rooms in which business, professional duties, clerical work, etc, are carried out
  2. (as modifier): office furniture, an office boy
(often pl) the building or buildings in which the work of an organization, such as a business or government department, is carried out
a commercial or professional business: the architect's office approved the plans
the group of persons working in an office: it was a happy office until she came
(capital when part of a name) (in Britain) a department of the national government: the Home Office
(capital when part of a name) (in the US)
  1. a governmental agency, esp of the Federal government
  2. a subdivision of such an agency or of a department: Office of Science and Technology
  1. a position of trust, responsibility, or duty, esp in a government or organization: the office of president, to seek office
  2. (in combination): an office-holder
duty or function: the office of an administrator
(often pl) a minor task or service: domestic offices
(often pl) an action performed for another, usually a beneficial action: through his good offices
a place where tickets, information, etc, can be obtained: a ticket office
  1. (often pl) a ceremony or service, prescribed by ecclesiastical authorities, esp one for the dead
  2. the order or form of these
  3. (RC Church) the official daily service
  4. short for divine office
(pl) the parts of a house or estate where work is done, goods are stored, etc
(usually pl) (Brit, euphemistic) a lavatory (esp in the phrase usual offices)
in office, (of a government) in power
out of office, (of a government) out of power
(slang) the office, a hint or signal
Word Origin
C13: via Old French from Latin officium service, duty, from opus work, service + facere to do
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 office

mid-13c., "a post, an employment to which certain duties are attached," from Anglo-French and Old French ofice "place or function; divine service" (12c. in Old French) or directly from Latin officium "service, kindness, favor; official duty, function, business; ceremonial observance," (in Ecclesiastical Latin, "church service"), literally "work-doing," from ops (genitive opis) "power, might, abundance, means" (related to opus "work;" see opus) + stem of facere "do, perform" (see factitious). Meaning "place for conducting business" first recorded 1560s. Office hours attested from 1841.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for office



The cockpit of an airplane (1917+ Aviators)

Related Terms

front office

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with office
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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