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

  • noun A place in which business, clerical, or professional activities are conducted.
  • noun The administrative personnel, executives, or staff working in such a place.
  • noun A subdivision of a governmental department.
  • noun A major executive division of a government.
  • noun A position of authority, duty, or trust given to a person, as in a government or corporation.
  • noun Public position.
  • noun A duty or function assigned to or assumed by someone: synonym: function.
  • noun A service or beneficial act done for another.
  • noun Ecclesiastical A ceremony, rite, or service, usually prescribed by liturgy, especially.
  • noun The canonical hours.
  • noun A prayer service in the Anglican Church, such as Morning or Evening Prayer.
  • noun A ceremony, rite, or service for a special purpose, especially the Office of the Dead.
  • noun Chiefly British The parts of a house, such as the laundry and kitchen, in which servants carry out household work.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To perform in the way of office or service; serve; perform; transact.
  • To intrust with an office; place in an office.
  • To move by means of office or by exercise of official authority.
  • noun Service; duty or duties to the performance of which a person is appointed; function assigned by a superior authority; hence, employment; business; that which one undertakes or is expected to do.
  • noun That which is performed or is intended or assigned to be done by a particular thing, or which anything is fitted to perform or customarily performs; function.
  • noun A position or situation to which certain duties are attached; a post the possession of which imposes certain duties upon the possessor and confers authority for their performance; a post or place held by an officer, an official, or a functionary.
  • noun Specifically, a position of authority under a government: as, a man in office; to accept office.
  • noun In old English law, jurisdiction; bailiwick: as, a constable sworn “to prevent all bloodshed, outcries, affrays, and rescouses [rescues] done within his office.
  • noun Inquest of office (which see, under inquest).
  • noun A building or room in which one transacts business or discharges his professional duties: as, a lawyers or doctor's office; the office of a factory or lumber-yard; especially, a place where public business is transacted: as, the county clerk's office; the post-office; the war-office: also (in the plural), the apartments wherein domestics discharge the several duties attached to a house, as kitchens, pantries, brew-houses, and the like, along with outhouses, such as the stables, etc., of a mansion or palace, or the barns, cow-houses, etc., of a farm.
  • noun The persons collectively who transact business in an office: often applied specifically to an insurance company: as, a fire-office.
  • noun An act of good or ill voluntarily tendered (usually in a good sense); service: usually in the plural.
  • noun Eccles.: The prescribed order or form for a service of the church, or for devotional use, or the service so prescribed; especially, the forms for the canonical hours collectively (the divine office): as, the communion office, the confirmation office, the office of prime, etc.; to recite office.
  • noun In the Mozarabic and in some old Gallican and monastic liturgies, in the Uses of Sarum and York, and in the Anglican Prayer-book of 1549, the introit. Also officium.
  • noun In canon law, a benefice which carries no jurisdiction with it.
  • noun Mark of authority; badge of office.
  • noun See the qualifying words.
  • noun Synonyms Business, Pursuit, etc. (see occupation), post, situation, place, capacity.

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

  • transitive verb obsolete To perform, as the duties of an office; to discharge.
  • noun That which a person does, either voluntarily or by appointment, for, or with reference to, others; customary duty, or a duty that arises from the relations of man to man.
  • noun A special duty, trust, charge, or position, conferred by authority and for a public purpose; a position of trust or authority
  • noun A charge or trust, of a sacred nature, conferred by God himself.
  • noun That which is performed, intended, or assigned to be done, by a particular thing, or that which anything is fitted to perform; a function; -- answering to duty in intelligent beings.
  • noun The place where any kind of business or service for others is transacted; a building, suite of rooms, or room in which public officers or workers in any organization transact business
  • noun The company or corporation, or persons collectively, whose place of business is in an office.
  • noun engraving The apartments or outhouses in which the domestics discharge the duties attached to the service of a house, as kitchens, pantries, stables, etc.
  • noun (Eccl.) Any service other than that of ordination and the Mass; any prescribed religious service.
  • noun Same as Inquisition, n., 3.
  • noun Same as def. 7 above.
  • noun (R. C. Ch.) an office recited in honor of the Virgin Mary.
  • noun an officer; one who has a specific office or duty to perform.
  • noun (Law) an authenticated or certified copy of a record, from the proper office. See Certified copies, under Copy.
  • noun (Law) the finding of an inquest of office. See under Inquest.


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

[Middle English, from Old French, duty, from Latin officium; see dhē- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Anglo-Norman office, offis etc., and Old French office, from Latin officium ("task, business, duty, official duty, office, court"), probably a contraction of opificium ("the doing of a work, a working"), from opifex ("one who does a work"), from opus ("work") + facere ("to do").


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  • I hereby declare that office remains on my Verbed! list only as an example of the travesty of modern advertising's fascination with faux neologisms.

    February 9, 2007