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[uh-fish-uh s] /əˈfɪʃ əs/
objectionably aggressive in offering one's unrequested and unwanted services, help, or advice; meddlesome:
an officious person.
marked by or proceeding from such forwardness:
officious interference.
Obsolete. ready to serve; obliging.
Origin of officious
1555-65; < Latin officiōsus obliging, dutiful, equivalent to offici(um) office + -ōsus -ous
Related forms
officiously, adverb
officiousness, noun
overofficious, adjective
overofficiously, adverb
overofficiousness, noun
superofficious, adjective
superofficiously, adverb
superofficiousness, noun
unofficious, adjective
unofficiously, adverb
unofficiousness, noun
Can be confused
official, officious.
officiate, officious.
1. interfering, meddling.
1. retiring. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for officiousness
Historical Examples
  • Crashaw did not imitate his example; he was all officiousness, he had the air of a chief superintendent of police.

    The Wonder J. D. Beresford
  • They are our friends to to such a degree as even to teaze us with their officiousness.

    The History of Louisiana Le Page Du Pratz
  • There were visits of kindness as well as visits of officiousness.

    The Wide, Wide World Susan Warner
  • Burns is not the only person who has suffered from this sort of officiousness.

    Robert Burns Principal Shairp.
  • Lavater's officiousness is well enough known, and disapproved by all right-thinking men.

  • But well-meaning, though ignorant, officiousness would not suffer it to be so.

    Robert Burns Principal Shairp.
  • But, I thank God, officiousness in other men's matters shall not be one of them.

    The Men of the Moss-Hags S. R. Crockett
  • Sir, officiousness is not politeness, she said very slowly and forcibly.

    The Story of My Life, volumes 4-6 Augustus J. C. Hare
  • Excepting their officiousness and arrogance, Barri and Rivera were moral and able men.

    Chimes of Mission Bells Maria Antonia Field
  • Her officiousness seemed to hurt him more than the pain in his chest.

British Dictionary definitions for officiousness


unnecessarily or obtrusively ready to offer advice or services
marked by such readiness
(diplomacy) informal or unofficial
(obsolete) attentive or obliging
Derived Forms
officiously, adverb
officiousness, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin officiōsus kindly, from officium service; see office
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 officiousness



1560s, "zealous, eager to serve," from Latin officiosus "full of courtesy, dutiful, obliging," from officium "duty, service" (see office). Sense of "meddlesome, doing more than is asked or required" had emerged by 1600 (in officiously). An officious lie (1570s) is one told to do good to another person (from Latin mendocium officiosum or French mensonge officieux). Related: Officiousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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