1. Of or relating to an office or a post of authority: official duties.
2. Authorized by a proper authority; authoritative: official permission.
3. Holding office or serving in a public capacity: an official representative.
4. Characteristic of or befitting a person of authority; formal: an official banquet.
5. Authorized by or contained in the US Pharmacopoeia or National Formulary. Used of drugs.
1. One who holds an office or position, especially one who acts in a subordinate capacity for an institution such as a corporation or governmental agency.
2. Sports A referee or umpire.
[From Middle English, ecclesiastical officer, from Old French, from Latin officiālis, an attendant of an office, from officium, duty, service; see OFFICE.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.