Definition of office in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈôfis/
Pronunciation: /ˈäfis/


1A room, set of rooms, or building used as a place for commercial, professional, or bureaucratic work: computers first appeared in offices in the late 1970s [as modifier]: an office job
More example sentences
  • These pesticides are used in schools, churches, business offices, apartment buildings, grocery stores, and homes on a regular basis.
  • The plan is to retain the office building and sub-divide it into offices for small businesses and meeting rooms.
  • She hopped into the truck and backed it into the hangar-like room of the office building.
place of work, place of business, workplace;
headquarters, base;
workroom, studio, workspace, cubicle
informal salt mine(s)
1.1The local center of a large business: a company that has four U.S. and four European offices
More example sentences
  • Claimants will be forced to use call centres instead of local offices.
  • This is me, on my way to their head office and the call centres so I can do away with the lot of them.
  • We need to modernise the Post Office - to give it new business so local offices stay open.
branch, division, section, bureau, department;
1.2A room, department, or building used to provide a particular service: a ticket office a post office
More example sentences
  • The dole office should provide a form that unemployed people could get stamped to say where they were looking for work.
  • The local tourist offices sell day tickets or contact the Glasgow Angling Centre.
  • The jobs are also passed on to local employment offices where they are either filled or advertised.
1.3North American The consulting room of a professional person.
Example sentences
  • We have visited professors' offices one by one, and announced the event in our classes.
  • For example, in the LEEP environment, students cannot meet for coffee after class or drop into their professors' offices unannounced.
  • I spent many hours in professors' offices, tutorials, and reading groups.
2A position of authority, trust, or service, typically one of a public nature: the office of attorney general
More example sentences
  • She joined the civil service in Dublin in 1980 and was appointed to the office of Public works.
  • The disappointment in the cases may be due to a misconception about the office and authority of the President.
  • The only real help here is for bishops to grasp the true nature of their office and live it out.
post, position, appointment, job, occupation, role, situation, station, function, capacity
2.1Tenure of an official position, especially a government position: a year ago, when the president took office he was ejected from office in 1988
More example sentences
  • This wave of resistance swept social democratic parties back into office throughout Europe.
  • In that year, the Conservatives took office in Ontario under Premier Mike Harris.
  • The governments that took office in post-war western Europe faced a series of challenges.
2.2 (Office) British The quarters, staff, or collective authority of a particular government department or agency: the Foreign Office
More example sentences
  • The Laois Youth Theatre is an initiative of the Arts Office, Laois County Council.
  • This was reprinted with kind permission of the Office for Official Publications of the European Communities.
  • The performance is promoted by the Arts Office of Laois County Council.
3 (usually offices) A service or kindness done for another person or group of people.
3.1 dated A duty attaching to one’s position; a task or function: the offices of a nurse rescued through the good offices of the Italian Ambassador, he was returned safely to England
More example sentences
  • The following recipe has been supplied courtesy of Arnott's Biscuits Limited through the good offices of Frank Townsend, Chief Chemist.
  • Yet we are ever-ready to listen to voices of reason, sanity and justice and we remain committed to an honourable solution with the government of India or through the good offices of the apex court.
  • Through the good offices of Willie Groarke, a new shrine to the Sacred Heart was blessed on Sunday at Cully.
assistance, help, aid, services, intervention, intercession, mediation, agency, support, backing, patronage, auspices, aegis
4 (also Divine Office) Christian Church The series of services of prayers and psalms said (or chanted) daily by Roman Catholic priests, members of religious orders, and other clergy.
Example sentences
  • The Divine Office has always been faithfully kept by lay people - not just clergy, monks and nuns-for centuries.
  • Though she loved the Divine Office and appreciated the Chant, she could not sing two notes in tune.
  • It is not a virtue for the monk… to lack time in which to attend the common recitation of the Divine Office, read a certain amount, and mix with his community.
4.1A prayer service conducted daily as part of the Divine Office: the noon office
More example sentences
  • His book is designed for up to four daily offices (morning, noon, evening and night).
  • Chapters 3 and 4 treat Evening Prayer as a counter to Morning Prayer and the minor offices as occasional rather than daily prayer.
  • A few days after reading this report I opened my Bible to read the lesson for the daily office.


Middle English: via Old French from Latin officium 'performance of a task' (in medieval Latin also 'office, divine service'), based on opus 'work' + facere 'do'.

  • In the Middle Ages office meant a duty that went with someone's position or employment. It goes back ultimately to Latin officium ‘performance of a task’, which in turn comes from the combined elements of opus ‘work’ (source of English opus in the early 19th century and of operation (Late Middle English)) and facere ‘to do’. The sense of ‘a place for business’ is recorded from the later Middle Ages. Someone officious (Late Middle English) was originally obliging or efficient in carrying out their office. The word developed its modern negative sense at the end of the 16th century.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: of·fice

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