[uh-fish-uh l]
See more synonyms for official on
  1. of or relating to an office or position of duty, trust, or authority: official powers.
  2. authorized or issued authoritatively: an official report.
  3. holding office.
  4. appointed or authorized to act in a designated capacity: an official representative.
  5. (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.
  6. 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 formsof·fi·cial·ly, adverbnon·of·fi·cial, adjectivenon·of·fi·cial·ly, adverbpre·of·fi·cial, adjectivepre·of·fi·cial·ly, adverbpseu·do·of·fi·cial, adjective, nounpseu·do·of·fi·cial·ly, adverbqua·si-of·fi·cial, adjectivequa·si-of·fi·cial·ly, adverbsub·of·fi·cial, noun, adjectivesub·of·fi·cial·ly, adverbun·der·of·fi·cial, adjectiveun·of·fi·cial, adjectiveun·of·fi·cial·ly, adverb
Can be confusedofficial officious Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for unofficial

Contemporary Examples of unofficial

Historical Examples of unofficial

  • These unofficial experiments did not take place till 26th July 1907.


    W. W. Baggally

  • You must look at it this way: what I know is unofficial; what he knows is official.

  • But he was very ready with his pen, and served as a kind of unofficial poet-laureate.

    Andrew Melville

    William Morison

  • It is only necessary to refer briefly to the unofficial Boer attempts at peace.

    The War in South Africa

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • Captain Erskine nodded, and did his best to conceal an unofficial smile.

British Dictionary definitions for unofficial


  1. not official or formalan unofficial engagement
  2. not confirmed officiallyan unofficial report
  3. (of a strike) not approved by the strikers' trade union
  4. (of a medicinal drug) not listed in a pharmacopoeia
Derived Formsunofficially, adverb


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


  1. 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)
  1. 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

Word Origin and History for unofficial

1798, from un- (1) "not" + official (adj.). Related: Unofficially.



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

unofficial in Medicine


  1. Of or being a drug that is not listed in the United States Pharmacopeia or the National Formulary.


  1. Authorized by or contained in the US 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.