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[uh-fish-uh l] /əˈfɪʃ əl/
a person appointed or elected to an office or charged with certain duties.
of or pertaining to an office or position of duty, trust, or authority:
official powers.
authorized or issued authoritatively:
an official report.
holding office.
appointed or authorized to act in a designated capacity:
an official representative.
(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.
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.
1300-50; Middle English < Late Latin officiālis of duty, equivalent to Latin offici(um) office + -ālis -al1
Related forms
officially, adverb
nonofficial, adjective
nonofficially, adverb
preofficial, adjective
preofficially, adverb
pseudoofficial, adjective, noun
pseudoofficially, adverb
quasi-official, adjective
quasi-officially, adverb
subofficial, noun, adjective
subofficially, adverb
underofficial, adjective
unofficial, adjective
unofficially, adverb
Can be confused
official, officious. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for officially
  • The vernal equinox-one of two times each year when night and day are officially of equal length-is upon us.
  • He will officially retire from racing at the end of this year for a well-deserved, if unneeded, rest.
  • Twenty-five years ago this month, smallpox was officially eradicated.
  • And, with temperatures down and the flowers up, the season to visit has officially begun.
  • They say it's good to not be officially denied tenure, but never explain why.
  • But the group remains officially banned and is now under heavy pressure.
  • While wild chimps are officially endangered, captive chimps are only threatened.
  • Nothing should go there unless it's officially accepted for publication.
  • Harvard is yet to comment officially on the proposed changes, which, although approved have not yet been fully designed.
  • It is officially barbecue season or, for those to whom barbecue means burying a pig in a hole in the ground, grill season.
British Dictionary definitions for officially


in a formal or authoritative manner: the Queen officially opened the dome
in a way that is formally acknowledged but is not necessarily the case: officially on the dole but actually holding a job


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


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)
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
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Word Origin and History for officially



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
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officially in Medicine

official of·fi·cial (ə-fĭsh'əl)
Authorized by or contained in the U.S. 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.
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