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See more synonyms for functionary on Thesaurus.com
noun, plural func·tion·ar·ies.
  1. a person who functions in a specified capacity, especially in government service; an official: civil servants, bureaucrats, and other functionaries.
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Origin of functionary

1785–95; function + -ary, modeled on French fonctionnaire
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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.


    Joseph Conrad and F.M. Hueffer

British Dictionary definitions for functionary


noun plural -aries
  1. a person acting in an official capacity, as for a government; an official
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  1. a less common word for functional, official
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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 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).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper