[ad-min-uh-strey-shuh n]
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  1. the management of any office, business, or organization; direction.
  2. the function of a political state in exercising its governmental duties.
  3. the duty or duties of an administrator in exercising the executive functions of the position.
  4. the management by an administrator of such duties.
  5. a body of administrators, especially in government.
  6. (often initial capital letter) the executive branch of the U.S. government as headed by the president and in power during his or her term of office: The administration has threatened to veto the new bill. The Reagan administration followed President Carter's.
  7. the period of service of a governmental administrator or body of governmental administrators.
  8. any group entrusted with executive or administrative powers: the administration of a college.
  9. Law. management of a decedent's estate by an executor or administrator, or of a trust estate by a trustee.
  10. an act of dispensing, especially formally: administration of the sacraments.
  11. supervision of the taking of an oath or the like.
  12. application, as of a salve or medicine.

Origin of administration

1275–1325; Middle English administracio(u)n < Latin administrātiōn- (stem of administrātiō) service. See administrate, -ion
Related formsad·min·is·tra·tion·al, adjectivean·ti·ad·min·is·tra·tion, noun, adjectivemis·ad·min·is·tra·tion, nounpre·ad·min·is·tra·tion, nounpro·ad·min·is·tra·tion, adjectiveself-ad·min·is·tra·tion, nounsub·ad·min·is·tra·tion, nounsu·per·ad·min·is·tra·tion, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for administration


  1. management of the affairs of an organization, such as a business or institution
  2. the duties of an administrator
  3. the body of people who administer an organization
  4. the conduct of the affairs of government
  5. term of office: often used of presidents, governments, etc
  6. the executive branch of government along with the public service; the government as a whole
  7. (often capital) mainly US the political executive, esp of the US; the government
  8. mainly US a government board, agency, authority, etc
  9. property law
    1. the conduct or disposal of the estate of a deceased person
    2. the management by a trustee of an estate subject to a trust
    1. the administering of something, such as a sacrament, oath, or medical treatment
    2. the thing that is administered
Derived Formsadministrative, adjectiveadministratively, adverb
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

Word Origin and History for administration

mid-14c., "act of giving or dispensing; late 14c., "management, act of administering," from Latin administrationem (nominative administratio) "direction, management," noun of action from past participle stem of administrare (see administer).

Early 15c. as "management of a deceased person's estate." Meaning "the government" is attested from 1731 in British usage. Meaning "a U.S. president's period in office" is first recorded 1796 in writings of George Washington.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper