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officer

[aw-fuh-ser, of-uh-]
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noun
  1. a person who holds a position of rank or authority in the army, navy, air force, or any similar organization, especially one who holds a commission.
  2. a member of a police department or a constable.
  3. a person licensed to take full or partial responsibility for the operation of a merchant ship or other large civilian ship; a master or mate.
  4. a person appointed or elected to some position of responsibility or authority in the government, a corporation, a society, etc.
  5. (in some honorary orders) a member of any rank except the lowest.
  6. Obsolete. an agent.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to furnish with officers.
  2. to command or direct as an officer does.
  3. to direct, conduct, or manage.
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Origin of officer

1275–1325; Middle English < Anglo-French; Middle French officier < Medieval Latin officiārius, equivalent to Latin offici(um) office + -ārius -ary; see -er2, -ier2
Related formsof·fi·ce·ri·al [aw-fuh-seer-ee-uh l, of-uh-] /ˌɔ fəˈsɪər i əl, ˌɒf ə-/, adjectiveof·fi·cer·less, adjectiveof·fi·cer·ship, of·fi·cer·hood, nounsub·of·fi·cer, nounun·der·of·fi·cer, nounun·of·fi·cered, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

officialdeputyexecutivemanageragentdirectorchiefrepresentativeleaderdetectivecaptainpoliceheaddignitarybureaucratmagistratepresidentappointeeofficeholderfunctionary

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British Dictionary definitions for officer

officer

noun
  1. a person in the armed services who holds a position of responsibility, authority, and duty, esp one who holds a commission
  2. See police officer
  3. (on a non-naval ship) any person including the captain and mate, who holds a position of authority and responsibilityradio officer; engineer officer
  4. a person appointed or elected to a position of responsibility or authority in a government, society, etc
  5. a government officiala customs officer
  6. (in the Order of the British Empire) a member of the grade below commander
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verb (tr)
  1. to furnish with officers
  2. to act as an officer over (some section, group, organization, etc)
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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 officer

n.

early 14c., "one who holds an office" (originally a high office), from Old French oficier "officer, official" (early 14c.), from Medieval Latin officarius "an officer," from Latin officium "a service, a duty" (see office). The military sense is first recorded 1560s. Applied to petty officials of justice from 16c.; U.S. use in reference to policemen is from 1880s.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper