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

  • n. One who holds an office of authority or trust in an organization, such as a corporation or government.
  • n. One who holds a commission in the armed forces.
  • n. A person licensed in the merchant marine as master, mate, chief engineer, or assistant engineer.
  • n. A police officer.
  • transitive v. To furnish with officers.
  • transitive v. To command or manage as an officer.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. One who has a position of authority in a hierarchical organization, especially in military, police or government organizations.
  • n. One who holds a public office.
  • n. An agent or servant imparted with the ability, to some degree, to act on initiative.
  • n. A simple contraction of the term "commissioned officer."
  • v. To supply with officers.
  • v. To command like an officer.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. One who holds an office; a person lawfully invested with an office, whether civil, military, or ecclesiastical
  • n. Specifically, a commissioned officer, in distinction from a warrant officer or an enlisted man.
  • transitive v. To furnish with officers; to appoint officers over.
  • transitive v. To command as an officer.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To minister; be of service.
  • To furnish with officers; appoint officers over.
  • To serve as officers for.
  • n. One who holds an office, or to whom has been intrusted a share in the management or direction of some business or undertaking, such as a society, corporation, company, etc., or who fills some position involving responsibility, to which he has been formally appointed.
  • n. Specifically, a person holding a public office, under a national, state, or municipal government, and authorized thereby to exercise some specific function: as, an officer of the Treasury Department; a custom-house or excise officer; law officers; a court officer.
  • n. Used absolutely: One who holds a commission in the army or navy.
  • n. In the law of corporations, one who holds an office, such as a director or cashier, as distinguished from one who is an employee, as a bookkeeper.
  • n. A policeman, constable, or beadle.
  • n. In some honorary orders, a member of higher rank than the lowest; in the Legion of Honor, the degree next higher than that of chevalier or knight.

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

  • n. a person authorized to serve in a position of authority on a vessel
  • v. direct or command as an officer
  • n. any person in the armed services who holds a position of authority or command
  • n. a member of a police force
  • n. someone who is appointed or elected to an office and who holds a position of trust


Middle English, from Old French officier, from Medieval Latin officārius, from Latin officium, service, duty; see office.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Anglo-Norman officer, officier, from Late Latin officiarius ("official"), from Latin officium ("office") + -ārius ("-er"). (Wiktionary)



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