from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun One who holds an office or a trust or performs a particular function; an official.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun One who holds an office or a trust: as, a public functionary; secular functionaries.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun One charged with the performance of a function or office

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A person employed as an official in a bureaucracy (usually corporate or governmental) who holds limited authority and primarily serves to carry out a simple function for which discretion is not required.

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

  • noun a worker who holds or is invested with an office


Sorry, no etymologies found.


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word functionary.


  • A government functionary is going to make rules about what you can get and what you can't! Truth Gets Its Boots On 2009

  • "No. We want a-- er -- what the deuce is it they call the functionary, Cassius?"

    A House-Boat on the Styx John Kendrick Bangs 1892

  • He had the characteristic of a good functionary, that is to say, he had no mind of his own, and simply did what he was told or what he conceived to be his duty as a member of the administrative system.

    Russia 1917

  • Most of what the public sees the practitioner doing could be described as functionary activity.

    RISMedia 2009

  • Finally, we referred to the transformation of the teacher's identity from that of a state "functionary" - "a word that is rarely used today, while a few years before it indicated a prestigious identity and an obsolete social-democratic, 2008

  • That said, I think I am right when I talk about the 'functionary'.

    From porn to Portillo | Mark Lawson 2011

  • According to GOP party "functionary" Hugh Hewitt, the conservative white men are chickening out because YouTube and CNN have that famous liberal bias.

    Archive 2007-07-01 2007

  • We must spell out what kind of functionary can be removed at any particular moment of the day or night.


  • There's a lot of crap you can say about Blanche -- and we do -- but a "functionary" of Nancy Pelosi?

    DownWithTyranny! 2009

  • The fish are being proffered—oops, offered—by a cold-hearted functionary of the New York Zoo, while the love emanates from, yes, you guessed it.

    'Buck': Champion Tale of a Horse Guru Joe Morgenstern 2011


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Moustafa called himself this in the second Austin Powers movie.

    June 12, 2012