Definition of official in English:



  • 1Relating to an authority or public body and its duties, actions, and responsibilities.

    ‘the governor's official engagements’
    • ‘There is no evidence of any official activity for framing a common civil code for the country.’
    • ‘The unit is now refusing to do something that is not an official responsibility.’
    • ‘Members will then vote in a chairman, secretary and two area officials to take on any official responsibilities.’
    • ‘Private companies, the National Lottery, local authorities and other official bodies ask for the art and pay for it.’
    • ‘Even today there is still no single official department taking overall responsibility for supervising milk production.’
    • ‘That demand itself was to a large extent created through official policy in response to the black militancy of the 1970s and early 1980s.’
    • ‘Local organisers of popular religious activities also often sought official state recognition.’
    • ‘This is a very tricky question, not helped by the official response to recent public debate, which has been pure spin-doctoring.’
    • ‘This was his last official engagement in Sligo before Monday's mayoral election.’
    • ‘They therefore bar any possible interference with the official activity of foreign ministers.’
    • ‘The first official engagement for the new chancellor of York University was on a subject close to his heart.’
    • ‘And the formal pictures of her on engagements or official trips never showed me the real person I wanted to see.’
    • ‘But most people assumed the money was spent largely on official activities.’
    • ‘That would have entailed accepting official responsibility for the wrongs.’
    • ‘It was the third official investigation into his activities.’
    • ‘Further official roles and responsibilities are being drawn up by the board.’
    • ‘When on the force, he could be forced to divorce his private activities from his official duties and identity.’
    • ‘All official bodies have a responsibility for it in policy-making, management and resource allocation in their spheres of activity.’
    • ‘Yet, as it is with all our official bodies, the authorities are optimistic.’
    • ‘This pay helps minimize the personal costs for official responsibilities.’
    ceremonial, formal, solemn, ritualistic, ceremonious
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Having the approval or authorization of an authority or public body.
      ‘French is the official language of Quebec’
      ‘official statistics’
      • ‘Chadi says he still has not been approved as an official candidate.’
      • ‘It is inconceivable, however, that the raids would have gone ahead without official authorisation.’
      • ‘The opinions contained are those of the authors, and no official endorsement is intended or should be inferred.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The official figures count as employed anyone who works one hour in the surveyed week of the month.’
      • ‘As the spokesman admitted, there is an official ban on such activities, of which all scientists involved would have been well aware.’
      • ‘For the first time emails were produced as official documents in a public inquiry.’
      • ‘The statement is representative of much of the official rhetoric employed by the regime to engender support.’
      • ‘Yet, even though official statistics reveal this abysmal state of affairs, what is the Government's response?’
      • ‘Judge King from the city courts has granted this and it is now official.’
      • ‘The new name and logo will become official with new bylaws when they pass.’
      • ‘Both authors agree that the official account of the King's death and the arrangements for his burial raise difficulties.’
      • ‘Parents are being urged to ensure their children obtain official authorisation if they need to be out of school for any reason.’
      • ‘Spanish and Quechua are both recognized as official languages in Peru.’
      • ‘Though official figures are difficult to come by, reports estimate that at least 200 people were killed.’
      • ‘Deference to the Dutch referendum on Wednesday meant that official responses to last night's extraordinary result were muted.’
      • ‘We have been waiting for quite a while for this but it is now official.’
      • ‘Simple lack of official records of intelligence activities on both sides was another factor.’
      • ‘A Garda spokesman could not provide official figures for seizures over the last 18 months.’
      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
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2Employed by an authority or public body in a position of authority or trust.
      ‘an official spokesman’
      • ‘The Prime Minister's official spokesman was forced to clear up the mess.’
      • ‘He is best known for his activities as official theologian to the Republic of Venice in 1606.’
      • ‘The Prime Minister's official spokesman said officials had been ‘quite open’ in admitting their blunder.’
      • ‘If he were still an official opposition spokesman he'd be on the spot now that ID cards are party policy.’
      • ‘For some academic textbooks, the official authors are chosen for their market value, but do relatively little work.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Foxx has agreed to be the official spokesman for the NAACP Disaster Relief Fund.’
      • ‘I will, of course, defer to your official spokesman there at the Pentagon.’
      • ‘The Prime Minister's official spokesman confirmed that a gift was in the pipeline - though he would not reveal what it is.’
      • ‘He is in uniform, and at first we think he might be some sort of official spokesman.’
      • ‘The format of the service is being dictated by the wishes of the families, said the Prime Minister's official spokesman.’
      • ‘The official spokesman of the town almost fainted when I confronted him with the statistics.’
      • ‘Then, during the Second World War, he was employed as an official cartoonist to the US forces stationed in Europe.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We also need to demand that we don't get palmed off with some dubious official spokesman.’
      • ‘This, the Prime Minister's official spokesman said, reflected the continuing value that the public placed on the honours system.’
      • ‘His official spokesman said that he was emphatic that the incident should not be be allowed to damage community relations in Britain.’
      • ‘However, the Prime Minister's official spokesman insisted that Britain and the US were continuing to pursue the same course.’
      • ‘The official spokesman said the powder was being checked to make sure it was innocuous.’
    3. 1.3derogatory Perceived as characteristic of officials and bureaucracy; officious.
      ‘he sat up straight and became official’


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

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


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