Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Of or relating to an office or a post of authority: official duties.
  • adj. Authorized by a proper authority; authoritative: official permission.
  • adj. Holding office or serving in a public capacity: an official representative.
  • adj. Characteristic of or befitting a person of authority; formal: an official banquet.
  • adj. Authorized by or contained in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia or National Formulary. Used of drugs.
  • n. One who holds an office or position, especially one who acts in a subordinate capacity for an institution such as a corporation or governmental agency.
  • n. Sports A referee or umpire.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Of or pertaining to an office or public trust.
  • adj. Derived from the proper office or officer, or from the proper authority; made or communicated by virtue of authority
  • adj. Approved by authority; authorized.
  • adj. sanctioned by the pharmacopoeia; appointed to be used in medicine; officinal
  • adj. Discharging an office or function.
  • adj. Relating to an office; especially, to a subordinate executive officer or attendant.
  • adj. Relating to an ecclesiastical judge appointed by a bishop, chapter, archdeacon, etc., with charge of the spiritual jurisdiction.
  • n. An office holder invested with powers and authorities.
  • n. A person responsible for applying the rules of a game or sport in a competition.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Of or pertaining to an office or public trust.
  • adj. Derived from the proper office or officer, or from the proper authority; made or communicated by virtue of authority.
  • adj. Approved by authority; sanctioned by the pharmacopœia; appointed to be used in medicine. Cf. Officinal.
  • adj. Discharging an office or function.
  • n. One who holds an office; esp., a subordinate executive officer or attendant.
  • n. An ecclesiastical judge appointed by a bishop, chapter, archdeacon, etc., with charge of the spiritual jurisdiction.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Of or pertaining to office or the performance of the duties of an office: as, official duty; official cares or responsibility.
  • Derived from the proper office or officer, or from the proper authority; made or communicated by virtue of authority; hence, authorized: as, an official statement or report.
  • Performing duties or offices; rendering useful service; ministering.
  • n. One who is invested with an office of a public nature; one holding a civil appointment: as, a government official; a railway official.
  • n. In English ecclesiastical law, a person appointed as judge by a bishop, chapter, or archdeacon, to hear causes in the ecclesiastical courts.
  • In pharm., authorized by the pharmacopœia of some country or countries: as, an official drug; an official preparation. In this sense recent, displacing the broader term officinal.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. (of a church) given official status as a national or state institution
  • n. a worker who holds or is invested with an office
  • adj. conforming to set usage, procedure, or discipline
  • adj. of or relating to an office
  • adj. having official authority or sanction
  • adj. verified officially
  • n. someone who administers the rules of a game or sport

Etymologies

From Middle English, ecclesiastical officer, from Old French, from Latin officiālis, an attendant of an office, from officium, duty, service; see office.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French official, from Latin officium ("duty, service"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • a1400 tr. Lanfranc Sci. Cirurgie (Ashm. 1396) 25 Official membris is to seie: a fyngir, a ioynt, an hand, either a foot or othere lymes of office.

    July 14, 2008