1 having official authority or sanction; "official permission"; "an official representative" [ant: unofficial]
2 of or relating to an office; "official privileges"
3 verified officially; "the election returns are now official"
4 conforming to set usage, procedure, or discipline; "in prescribed order" [syn: prescribed]
5 (of a church) given official status as a national or state institution
1 a worker who holds or is invested with an office [syn: functionary]
2 someone who administers the rules of a game or sport; "the golfer asked for an official who could give him a ruling"
- Rhymes: -ɪʃəl
- Of or pertaining to an office or public trust; as, official duties, or routine.
- Derived from the proper office or officer, or from the proper authority; made or communicated by virtue of authority; as, an official statement or report.
- Approved by authority; sanctioned by the pharmacopoeia; appointed to be used in medicine; as, an official drug or preparation. See officinal.
- Discharging an office or function.
- Relating to an office; especially, to a subordinate executive officer or attendant.
- Relating to an ecclesiastical judge appointed by a bishop, chapter, archdeacon, etc., with charge of the spiritual jurisdiction.
relating to an office; especially, to a subordinate executive officer or attendant
- Dutch: officieel
- Esperanto: oficiala
- Norwegian: offisiell
- An employee of the public authorities who acts in an official capacity and with certain powers and authorities
an employee of the public authorities who acts in an official capacity and with certain powers and authorities
- Norwegian: offentlig tjenestemann
An official is someone who holds an office (function or mandate, regardless whether it carries an actual working space with it) in an organisation or government and participates in the exercise of authority (either his own or that of his superior and/or employer, public or legally private).
A government official or functionary is an official who is involved in public administration or government, through either election, appointment, or employment. A bureaucrat is a member of the bureaucracy. An elected official is a person who is an official by virtue of an election. Officials may also be appointed ex officio (by virtue of another office, often in a specified capacity, such as presiding, advisory, secretary). Some official positions may be inherited.
A person who currently holds an office is referred to as an incumbent.
Word historyThe word official as a noun has been recorded since the Middle English period, first seen in 1314. It comes from the Old French official (12th century), from the Latin officialis ("attendant to a magistrate, public official"), the noun use of the original adjective officialis ("of or belonging to duty, service, or office") from officium ("office"). The meaning "person in charge of some public work or duty" was first recorded in 1555. The adjective is first attested in English in 1533, via the Old French .
The informal term officialese, the jargon of "officialdom," was first recorded in 1884.
Uses of the noun
In Roman AntiquityAn officialis (plural officiales) was the official term (somewhat comparable to a modern civil servant) for any member of the officium (staff) of a high dignitary such as a governor.
Ecclesiastical judiciaryIn Canon law, the word or its Latin original officialis is used absolutely as the legal title of a diocesan bishop's judicial vicar who shares the bishop's ordinary judicial power over the diocese and presides over the diocesan ecclesiastical court.
The 1983 Code of Canon Law gives precedence to the title Judicial Vicar, rather than that of Officialis (canon 1420). The Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches uses only the title Judicial Vicar (canon 191).
In German, the related noun Offizialat was also used for an official bureau in a diocese that did much of its administration, comprising the vicariate-general, an adjoined secretariat, a registry office and a chancery.
The title of official principal, together with that of vicar-general, has in Anglicanism? England been merged in that of Diocesan chancellor of a diocese.
Other officialsIn sports, the term official is used to describe a person enforcing playing rules in the capacity of a linesman, referee and umpire; also specified by the discipline, e.g. American football official, Ice hockey official.
The term officer is close to being a synonym (but has more military connotations). A functionary is someone who carries out a particular role within an organization; this again is quite a close synonym for official, as a noun, but with connotations closer to bureaucrat. Any such person acts in their official capacity, in carrying out the duties of their office; they are also said to officiate, for example in a ceremony. A public official is an official of central or local government.
Max Weber on bureaucratic officialsMax Weber gave as definition of a bureaucratic official :
- he is personally free and appointed to his position on the basis of conduct
- he exercises the authority delegated to him in accordance with impersonal rules, and his loyalty is enlisted on behalf of the faithful execution of his official duties
- his appointment and job placement are dependent upon his technical qualifications
- his administrative work is a full-time occupation
- his work is rewarded by a regular salary and prospects of advancement in a lifetime career.
An official must exercise his judgment and his skills, but his duty is to place these at the service of a higher authority; ultimately he is responsible only for the impartial execution of assigned tasks and must sacrifice his personal judgment if it runs counter to his official duties.
Official as an adjectiveAs an adjective, official often but not always means pertaining to the government, either as state employee or having state recognition, or to analogous governance, or to formal (especially legally regulated) proceeding as opposed to informal business. Some examples:
- An official holiday is a public holiday, having national (or regional) recognition.
- An official language is a language recognised by a government, for its own use in administration, or for the use of citizens (for example on signposts).
- An official spokesperson would be an individual empowered to speak for the government, or some part of it such as a ministry, on a range of issues and on the record for the media.
- An official statement is issued by an organisation as an expression of its corporate position or opinion; an official apology is an apology similarly issued by an organisation (as opposed to an apology by an individual).
- Official policy is policy publicly acknowledged and defended by an organisation. In these cases unofficial is an antonym, and variously may mean informal, unrecognised, personal or unacknowledged.
- An official strike is a strike organised and recognised by a labour union, as opposed to an unofficial strike at grassroots level.
- An official school is a school administered by the government or by a local authority, as opposite to a private school or religious school.
- An official history, for example of an institution or business, or particularly of a war or military unit, is a history written as a commission, with the assumption of co-operation with access to records and archives; but without necessarily full editorial independence.
- An official biography is usually on the same lines, written with access to private papers and the support of the family of the subject.
official in German: Beamter
official in French: Office
official in Italian: Ufficiale (funzionario)
official in Lithuanian: Valstybės tarnautojas
official in Hungarian: Köztisztviselő
official in Dutch: Officiaal
official in Japanese: 職員
official in Polish: Funkcjonariusz publiczny
official in Swedish: Ämbetsman
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