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[uh-fish-uh l] /əˈfɪʃ əl/
a person appointed or elected to an office or charged with certain duties.
of or relating to an office or position of duty, trust, or authority:
official powers.
authorized or issued authoritatively:
an official report.
holding office.
appointed or authorized to act in a designated capacity:
an official representative.
(of an activity or event) intended for the notice of the public and performed or held on behalf of officials or of an organization; formal:
the official opening of a store.
Pharmacology. noting drugs or drug preparations that are recognized by and that conform to the standards of the United States Pharmacopeia or the National Formulary.
Origin of official
1300-50; Middle English < Late Latin officiālis of duty, equivalent to Latin offici(um) office + -ālis -al1
Related forms
officially, adverb
nonofficial, adjective
nonofficially, adverb
preofficial, adjective
preofficially, adverb
pseudoofficial, adjective, noun
pseudoofficially, adverb
quasi-official, adjective
quasi-officially, adverb
subofficial, noun, adjective
subofficially, adverb
underofficial, adjective
unofficial, adjective
unofficially, adverb
Can be confused
official, officious. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for official
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The purchase of official positions in the army was thus abolished.

    The Grand Old Man Richard B. Cook
  • In all history there is no parallel case, and no official record such as his.

    The Grand Old Man Richard B. Cook
  • The declaration, simple as it was, aroused the official to new indignation.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • It was Demarest who gave an official touch to the tragedy of the moment.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • They had small place in his concerns as an official of police.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
British Dictionary definitions for official


of or relating to an office, its administration, or its duration
sanctioned by, recognized by, or derived from authority: an official statement
appointed by authority, esp for some special duty
having a formal ceremonial character: an official dinner
a person who holds a position in an organization, government department, etc, esp a subordinate position


of or relating to one of the two factions of the IRA and Sinn Féin, created by a split in 1969. The Official movement subsequently renounced terrorism and entered constitutional politics in the Irish Republic as the Workers' Party (now the Democratic Left)
a member of the Official IRA and Sinn Féin
Compare Provisional
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 official

early 14c., from Old French oficial "law officer; bishop's representative" (12c.) and directly from Late Latin officialis "attendant to a magistrate, public official," noun use of officialis (adj.) "of or belonging to duty, service, or office" (see official (adj.)). Meaning "person in charge of some public work or duty" first recorded 1550s.


late 14c., "performing a service; required by duty," from Old French oficial "official; main, principal" (14c., Modern French officiel) or directly from Late Latin officialis "of or belonging to duty, service, or office," from Latin officium (see office). Meaning "pertaining to an office or official position" is from c.1600.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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official in Medicine

official of·fi·cial (ə-fĭsh'əl)
Authorized by or contained in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia or National Formulary. Used of drugs.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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