Definition of official in English:

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Pronunciation: /əˈfɪʃ(ə)l/


1Relating to an authority or public body and its activities and responsibilities: the prime minister’s official engagements
More example sentences
  • All official bodies have a responsibility for it in policy-making, management and resource allocation in their spheres of activity.
  • This is a very tricky question, not helped by the official response to recent public debate, which has been pure spin-doctoring.
  • It was the third official investigation into his activities.
ceremonial, formal, solemn, ritualistic, ceremonious;
pompous, stiff, bureaucratic, proper
informal stuffed-shirt
1.1Having the approval or authorization of an authority or public body: members would know when industrial action is official official statistics
More example sentences
  • The opinions contained are those of the authors, and no official endorsement is intended or should be inferred.
  • Whatever happens, few members of the public accept the official line that the case is criminal and not politically motivated.
  • Parents are being urged to ensure their children obtain official authorisation if they need to be out of school for any reason.
authorized, accredited, approved, validated, authenticated, authentic, certified, endorsed, documented, sanctioned, licensed, formal, recognized, authoritative, accepted, verified, legitimate, legal, lawful, valid, bona fide, proper, true, ex cathedra, {signed, sealed, and delivered}, signed and sealed
informal kosher
1.2Employed by an authority or public body in a position of authority: an official spokesman
More example sentences
  • Then, during the Second World War, he was employed as an official cartoonist to the US forces stationed in Europe.
  • This, the Prime Minister's official spokesman said, reflected the continuing value that the public placed on the honours system.
  • The report said the blame for the tests not being carried out rested with official veterinary surgeons employed within abattoirs to look for suspect animals.


1A person holding public office or having official duties, especially as a representative of an organization or government department: a union official
More example sentences
  • Mostly obviously they now can use the right to be represented by a union official in disciplinaries.
  • He said that the questioning of another media representative and a public official is expected today.
  • The small boxes were delivered to his office through an official in the Department of Foreign Affairs.
officer, office-holder, office-bearer, administrator, executive, appointee, functionary;
bureaucrat, dignitary, mandarin;
representative, agent
derogatory apparatchik
British  jack-in-office
1.1 (also official principal) British The presiding officer or judge of an archbishop’s, bishop’s, or archdeacon’s court.



Example sentences
  • Actually, to delay reporting about disasters is almost a tradition here, partly because of officialism and localism.
  • Stunned by the cultural assumptions of this re-christening, Tseng became Kwong Chi in his photographs, posing with phony officialism in front of famous landmarks.
  • It is alarming that surgeries are bogged down by farcical officialism and red tape, instead of leaving medical staff to use their own discretion.


(also officialise) verb
Example sentences
  • They supposedly prefer dollars to pesos already, so it wouldn't be a big deal to officialize it.
  • When it came time for his brother to sign the witness statement officialising the marriage, he paused for several long moments and simply looked at the groom.


Middle English (originally as a noun): via Old French from Latin officialis, from officium (see office).

Words that rhyme with official

artificial, beneficial, initial, interstitial, judicial, sacrificial, solstitial, superficial

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: of|fi¦cial

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