9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[aw-fuh-ser, of-uh-] /ˈɔ fə sər, ˈɒf ə-/
a person who holds a position of rank or authority in the army, navy, air force, or any similar organization, especially one who holds a commission.
a member of a police department or a constable.
a person licensed to take full or partial responsibility for the operation of a merchant ship or other large civilian ship; a master or mate.
a person appointed or elected to some position of responsibility or authority in the government, a corporation, a society, etc.
(in some honorary orders) a member of any rank except the lowest.
Obsolete. an agent.
verb (used with object)
to furnish with officers.
to command or direct as an officer does.
to direct, conduct, or manage.
Origin of officer
1275-1325; Middle English < Anglo-French; Middle French officier < Medieval Latin officiārius, equivalent to Latin offici(um) office + -ārius -ary; see -er2, -ier2
Related forms
[aw-fuh-seer-ee-uh l, of-uh-] /ˌɔ fəˈsɪər i əl, ˌɒf ə-/ (Show IPA),
officerless, adjective
officership, officerhood, noun
subofficer, noun
underofficer, noun
unofficered, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for officer
  • There will not be a police officer there at the crucial moment.
  • So it seemed to be an individual tic of an aggressive police officer rather than a system-wide policy.
  • In his spare time he volunteered as a reserve police officer for the city.
  • Learn about the basic officer certification for law enforcement officers.
  • Then a soldier deposited at the officer's feet the bag full of fish, which he had taken care to bring away.
  • Holes blinked open in the fuselage, and a bespectacled officer sitting across from me toppled out of his seat.
  • The participant, a field-grade officer, observed that modularity cost brigades lots of things that a unit at war needs to succeed.
  • He starts off as an artillery officer in some war, and then the game tracks back and forth through his life.
  • Tasers are also employed in all kinds of situations in which an officer would never even consider pulling out his weapon.
  • The first step, though, may be getting a grunt to obey his officer's remotely-transmitted thoughts.
British Dictionary definitions for officer


a person in the armed services who holds a position of responsibility, authority, and duty, esp one who holds a commission
(on a non-naval ship) any person including the captain and mate, who holds a position of authority and responsibility: radio officer, engineer officer
a person appointed or elected to a position of responsibility or authority in a government, society, etc
a government official: a customs officer
(in the Order of the British Empire) a member of the grade below commander
verb (transitive)
to furnish with officers
to act as an officer over (some section, group, organization, etc)
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
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Word Origin and History for officer

early 14c., "one who holds an office" (originally a high office), from Old French oficier "officer, official" (early 14c.), from Medieval Latin officarius "an officer," from Latin officium "a service, a duty" (see office). The military sense is first recorded 1560s. Applied to petty officials of justice from 16c.; U.S. use in reference to policemen is from 1880s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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