[ uh-fish-uhs ]
/ əˈfɪʃ əs /
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See synonyms for: officious / officiousness on Thesaurus.com

objectionably aggressive in offering one's unrequested and unwanted services, help, or advice; meddlesome: My brother-in-law is so officious that he can be unbearable.
marked by or proceeding from such forwardness: officious interference.
Obsolete. ready to serve; obliging.


1 interfering, meddling.
In effect, this quiz will prove whether or not you have the skills to know the difference between “affect” and “effect.”
Question 1 of 7
The rainy weather could not ________ my elated spirits on my graduation day.
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Origin of officious

First recorded in 1555–65; from Latin officiōsus “obliging, dutiful,” equivalent to offici(um) “service, duty” + -ōsus adjective suffix; see origin at office, -ous

words often confused with officious

The noun official refers to someone with a certain degree of authority because they were elected or appointed to a position of responsibility within a government, organization, etc. There are White House officials, corporate officials, school board officials, sports officials—the list is seemingly endless. Just keep in mind that the noun official is rather generic and is not used to identify a specific ranking of position or authority as are such titles as president, CEO, treasurer, referee, etc., all of whom could be referred to as officials.
Official can also be an adjective, and that’s when it’s sometimes confused with officious (which is always an adjective). Like many commonly misunderstood words, officious simply looks and sounds as if it could be a synonym for the word it’s confused with—in this case, official.
Given the meaning of official as a noun, it’s not surprising that its adjective senses relate to authority or authorization—for example, “relating to a position of authority” ( the official sovereignty of the queen ); “issued authoritatively” ( waiting for official instructions ); “authorized to act in a designated capacity” ( the project’s official spokesperson ).
Could the adjective officious be that much different? Well, to borrow one of the preceding examples, if you were “waiting for official instructions,” the last thing you’d want is for someone to show up and give you “ officious instructions.” Why? Because officious people rarely have any official authority whatsoever. In fact, what makes them officious is their inclination to be meddlesome and interfering in a self-appointed sort of way. Officious people deliver unsolicited advice, direction, and services regardless of what may or may not be appropriate, and especially without regard for the wishes of those on the receiving end of their “assistance.”
So, if someone shows up to give you officious instructions, by all means wait for the official instructions instead!



official, officious (see confusables note at the current entry)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use officious in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for officious

/ (əˈfɪʃəs) /

unnecessarily or obtrusively ready to offer advice or services
marked by such readiness
diplomacy informal or unofficial
obsolete attentive or obliging

Derived forms of officious

officiously, adverbofficiousness, noun

Word Origin for officious

C16: from Latin officiōsus kindly, from officium service; see office
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