Definition of official in English:



  • 1Relating to an authority or public body and its activities and responsibilities.

    ‘the prime minister's official engagements’
    • ‘The first official engagement for the new chancellor of York University was on a subject close to his heart.’
    • ‘Yet, as it is with all our official bodies, the authorities are optimistic.’
    • ‘They therefore bar any possible interference with the official activity of foreign ministers.’
    • ‘There is no evidence of any official activity for framing a common civil code for the country.’
    • ‘Further official roles and responsibilities are being drawn up by the board.’
    • ‘Even today there is still no single official department taking overall responsibility for supervising milk production.’
    • ‘Private companies, the National Lottery, local authorities and other official bodies ask for the art and pay for it.’
    • ‘That demand itself was to a large extent created through official policy in response to the black militancy of the 1970s and early 1980s.’
    • ‘It was the third official investigation into his activities.’
    • ‘And the formal pictures of her on engagements or official trips never showed me the real person I wanted to see.’
    • ‘All official bodies have a responsibility for it in policy-making, management and resource allocation in their spheres of activity.’
    • ‘When on the force, he could be forced to divorce his private activities from his official duties and identity.’
    • ‘The unit is now refusing to do something that is not an official responsibility.’
    • ‘This is a very tricky question, not helped by the official response to recent public debate, which has been pure spin-doctoring.’
    • ‘Members will then vote in a chairman, secretary and two area officials to take on any official responsibilities.’
    • ‘Local organisers of popular religious activities also often sought official state recognition.’
    • ‘But most people assumed the money was spent largely on official activities.’
    • ‘This was his last official engagement in Sligo before Monday's mayoral election.’
    • ‘That would have entailed accepting official responsibility for the wrongs.’
    • ‘This pay helps minimize the personal costs for official responsibilities.’
    ceremonial, formal, solemn, ritualistic, ceremonious
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    1. 1.1Having the approval or authorization of an authority or public body.
      ‘members would know when industrial action is official’
      ‘official statistics’
      • ‘Both authors agree that the official account of the King's death and the arrangements for his burial raise difficulties.’
      • ‘Chadi says he still has not been approved as an official candidate.’
      • ‘Judge King from the city courts has granted this and it is now official.’
      • ‘As the spokesman admitted, there is an official ban on such activities, of which all scientists involved would have been well aware.’
      • ‘Spanish and Quechua are both recognized as official languages in Peru.’
      • ‘The statement is representative of much of the official rhetoric employed by the regime to engender support.’
      • ‘It is inconceivable, however, that the raids would have gone ahead without official authorisation.’
      • ‘We have been waiting for quite a while for this but it is now official.’
      • ‘The official figures count as employed anyone who works one hour in the surveyed week of the month.’
      • ‘A Garda spokesman could not provide official figures for seizures over the last 18 months.’
      • ‘Simple lack of official records of intelligence activities on both sides was another factor.’
      • ‘Yet, even though official statistics reveal this abysmal state of affairs, what is the Government's response?’
      • ‘The new name and logo will become official with new bylaws when they pass.’
      • ‘Deference to the Dutch referendum on Wednesday meant that official responses to last night's extraordinary result were muted.’
      • ‘For the first time emails were produced as official documents in a public inquiry.’
      • ‘Parents are being urged to ensure their children obtain official authorisation if they need to be out of school for any reason.’
      • ‘The opinions contained are those of the authors, and no official endorsement is intended or should be inferred.’
      • ‘Though official figures are difficult to come by, reports estimate that at least 200 people were killed.’
      • ‘Whatever happens, few members of the public accept the official line that the case is criminal and not politically motivated.’
      • ‘The most recent official unemployment statistic from China is only 4 percent.’
      authorized, accredited, approved, validated, authenticated, authentic, certified, endorsed, documented, sanctioned, licensed, formal, recognized, authoritative, accepted, verified, legitimate, legal, lawful, valid, bona fide, proper, true, ex cathedra, signed, sealed, and delivered, signed and sealed
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    2. 1.2Employed by an authority or public body in a position of authority.
      ‘an official spokesman’
      • ‘The Prime Minister's official spokesman said officials had been ‘quite open’ in admitting their blunder.’
      • ‘The report said the blame for the tests not being carried out rested with official veterinary surgeons employed within abattoirs to look for suspect animals.’
      • ‘The Prime Minister's official spokesman confirmed that a gift was in the pipeline - though he would not reveal what it is.’
      • ‘I will, of course, defer to your official spokesman there at the Pentagon.’
      • ‘The official spokesman said a handful of people would be targeted by the new laws and they would be offered the opportunity to travel to a third country if it could be arranged.’
      • ‘It is not a message that could be passed verbally or through official spokesmen.’
      • ‘The official spokesman of the town almost fainted when I confronted him with the statistics.’
      • ‘The official spokesman said the powder was being checked to make sure it was innocuous.’
      • ‘If he were still an official opposition spokesman he'd be on the spot now that ID cards are party policy.’
      • ‘This, the Prime Minister's official spokesman said, reflected the continuing value that the public placed on the honours system.’
      • ‘Foxx has agreed to be the official spokesman for the NAACP Disaster Relief Fund.’
      • ‘Then, during the Second World War, he was employed as an official cartoonist to the US forces stationed in Europe.’
      • ‘However, the Prime Minister's official spokesman insisted that Britain and the US were continuing to pursue the same course.’
      • ‘He is in uniform, and at first we think he might be some sort of official spokesman.’
      • ‘The Prime Minister's official spokesman was forced to clear up the mess.’
      • ‘We also need to demand that we don't get palmed off with some dubious official spokesman.’
      • ‘The format of the service is being dictated by the wishes of the families, said the Prime Minister's official spokesman.’
      • ‘His official spokesman said that he was emphatic that the incident should not be be allowed to damage community relations in Britain.’
      • ‘For some academic textbooks, the official authors are chosen for their market value, but do relatively little work.’
      • ‘He is best known for his activities as official theologian to the Republic of Venice in 1606.’


  • 1A person holding public office or having official duties, especially as a representative of an organization or government department.

    ‘a union official’
    • ‘As a union official I've always been a collectivist.’
    • ‘Steve is also a local, now living in the town where I was an elected official.’
    • ‘The small boxes were delivered to his office through an official in the Department of Foreign Affairs.’
    • ‘I say this realizing that it could be a senior Administration official whom I generally have respected or admired.’
    • ‘A department official manning the roadblock said he and the police officers there had been instructed not to speak to the media.’
    • ‘A customs official described it as a sensible solution that helps those down on their luck.’
    • ‘An official on duty said the situation is changing too quickly.’
    • ‘All of the transactions only take place on paper, " a customs official said.’
    • ‘He said that the questioning of another media representative and a public official is expected today.’
    • ‘However, the society has been defunct in the district for quite some time, said an official of the Department of Animal Husbandry.’
    • ‘Mostly obviously they now can use the right to be represented by a union official in disciplinaries.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, Kilkenny County Council has also had to employ an official to supervise its new Scanlon Park recycling facility.’
    • ‘A department official told them on Wednesday that their request had been granted and a copy would be posted to them.’
    • ‘Market potential is enormous, according to an official from central government departments in Beijing.’
    • ‘The official whose responsibility it was to regulate the disposal of radioactive wastes is one Jackson.’
    • ‘He is a public official who believes he has a duty to answer people's questions.’
    • ‘There's one elected official representing each electoral district and voters vote for one candidate only.’
    • ‘The official added that the responsibility to pay these fees rests solely with the rights holders to whom the quotas are issued.’
    • ‘The BCC will have to do it, said a senior police official.’
    • ‘An official of the Public Relations Department had to be summoned ‘to identify’ the scribes.’
    officer, office-holder, office-bearer, administrator, executive, appointee, functionary
    bureaucrat, dignitary, mandarin
    representative, agent
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    1. 1.1British The presiding officer or judge of an archbishop's, bishop's, or archdeacon's court.


Middle English (originally as a noun): via Old French from Latin officialis, from officium (see office).