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

  • adjective Marked by excessive eagerness in offering unwanted services or advice to others.
  • adjective Informal; unofficial.
  • adjective Archaic Motivated by the desire to help others.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Doing or ready to do kind offices; attentive; courteous and obliging; hence, friendly, in a general sense.
  • Having a bearing on or connection with official duties, but not formally official.
  • Forward in tendering services; zealous in interposing uninvited in the affairs of others; meddling; obtrusive.
  • Synonyms Impertinent, Officious (see impertinent); Active, Busy. etc. (see active); meddlesome, obtrusive, interfering, intermeddling, pragmatical.

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

  • adjective rare Pertaining to, or being in accordance with, duty.
  • adjective Archaic Disposed to serve; kind; obliging.
  • adjective Importunately interposing services; intermeddling in affairs in which one has no concern; meddlesome.

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

  • adjective obsolete obliging, attentive, eager to please
  • adjective Offensively intrusive or interfering

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

  • adjective intrusive in a meddling or offensive manner


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

[Latin officiōsus, obliging, dutiful, from officium, duty; see office.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

16th Century, from Latin officiōsus ("kindly"), from officium ("service").


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


  • A simplistic way of looking at this would be to adopt a kind of officious bystander test who is stood alongside the states making the treaties.

    German Constitutional Court approves Lisbon - with provisos 2009

  • There is a kind of officious attentiveness which is really the expression of a species of vanity.

    Letters to a Daughter and A Little Sermon to School Girls Helen Ekin Starrett

  • At one time, however, "officious" negotiations were kept up between the Holy See and the Italian Government through the agency of Monsignor Carini, Prefect of the Vatican Library and a great friend of Crispi.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 9: Laprade-Mass Liturgy 1840-1916 1913

  • Incomparably clever is the satire on the benevolent societies which exist to furnish a kind of officious sense of virtue to their aristocratic members.

    Essays on Scandinavian Literature Hjalmar Hjorth Boyesen 1871

  • All, therefore, that happened amiss, in the course even of domestic affairs, was attributed to the government; and as it always happens in this kind of officious universal interference, what began in odious power ended always, I may say without an exception, in contemptible imbecility.

    The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Vol. 05 (of 12) Edmund Burke 1763

  • The Sheriff made a joke over the similarity of the words 'officious' and 'official' to which there was some laughter, at which point one of the court officials sternly rebuked those present with a shout of "Silence in court!"

    Signs of the Times 2010

  • Ilicak was recently convicted in both a compensation case and a criminal trial for her article titled, "The immunity of the president", in which she described Osman Kacmaz, the presiding judge of the 1st High Criminal Court of Sincan (Ankara), as "officious".

    IFEX - 2010

  • "officious" lie for some useful purpose, and a "mischievous" lie in order to injure someone.

    Summa Theologica, Part II-II (Secunda Secundae) Translated by Fathers of the English Dominican Province Aquinas Thomas

  • "officious" action, and how subtle are the changes which can be rung upon the two, but there was nothing of that description here.

    Life in Morocco and Glimpses Beyond Budgett Meakin 1886

  • "officious" by the French journals, and it remains to be seen in which of the two senses attaching to the word the Americans will interpret the interference -- "officious" implying, according to their own Noah

    London; Saturday, January 31, 1863 1863


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

  • I always think of the opening of THE SHINING when I hear/read this word. "Officious little prick."

    April 13, 2007