Definition of officious in US English:



  • 1Assertive of authority in an annoyingly domineering way, especially with regard to petty or trivial matters.

    ‘the security people were very officious’
    • ‘An officious man forced me to wait by the door as another patron was seated.’
    • ‘Rangers were right to be upset by how the officious referee handled the match.’
    • ‘I was stopped at the University gates by an officious guard who asked me for my faculty card.’
    • ‘An officious camp guard, armed with a stout pole for the purposes of crowd control, herds them roughly away.’
    • ‘Almost all desirable buildings in New York are co-ops, run by officious, and sometimes vicious, board members who place stringent criteria on new members.’
    • ‘They all seemed impatient and officious and preoccupied.’
    • ‘The worst were the overly officious customs officials who are no advert for American hospitality.’
    • ‘And if you throw into the mix Southport's officious stewards then the ugly was very much on display as an end of season clash became spicier than anyone could have thought.’
    • ‘Two social workers arrived at my place of work two weeks later and in a very high handed and officious manner insisted on ‘interviewing’ me in front of my staff.’
    • ‘The hotel manager in Gansu is officious, just like the clean, well-appointed government facility she oversees.’
    • ‘What we really need there is officious immigration authorities who are willing to say ‘Nope, from now on you're Tina; trust me on this one.’’
    • ‘The officious official declared authoritatively: ‘It's already been decided that whether or not you have a ticket, you are not welcome.’’
    • ‘Overly officious, he issued an amazing 10 yellow cards and one red, in what wasn't a dirty game.’
    • ‘Though stiff-necked and officious, the commanders aren't demonized nor singled out for blame.’
    • ‘A polite but officious clerk explained he could not board the aircraft as he was a ‘high-level security risk’.’
    • ‘Our underlying concern is that we could get one or two officious people policing it.’
    • ‘Hospitals could be pointlessly officious on such matters as visiting rights for parents.’
    • ‘The problems are that it easily becomes a weapon in the hands of the officious, ignorant and punitive supervisor.’
    • ‘His officious and arrogant attitude towards players has also, remarkably, gone unpunished.’
    • ‘It is not arrogant, officious, overbearing or patronising.’
    peremptory, high-handed, commanding, imperial, overbearing, overweening, domineering, authoritarian, dictatorial, authoritative, lordly, assertive, dominating, bullish, forceful, bossy, arrogant
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    1. 1.1 Intrusively enthusiastic in offering help or advice; interfering.
      ‘an officious bystander’
      • ‘Should you find yourself getting a wee bit officious in your personal communications, remember the wise advice of Confucious: Be nice, go far.’
      • ‘These officious intermeddlers from Hollywood have no regard for baseball or its rich history of patriotism, and they have no business being at the Hall of Fame.’
      • ‘I believe that if an officious bystander in 1984 had suggested that, all parties would have denied that that was the case.’
      • ‘It is, however, often imprudent and officious to try and fix the problems and arbitrate the quarrels of strangers.’
      • ‘If the officious bystander had asked them whether they had intended to leave out the conditions this time, both must, as honest men, have said, ‘of course not’.’
      • ‘And it would be essential if, but only if, the material that was being filmed was material of a kind that the inevitable officious bystander would say should not be filmed without consent.’
      • ‘Ralph was eager to talk to Alex about something important, but he was interrupted by Edward who was busy being officious.’
      • ‘You're strolling absent-mindedly down Coney Street, glancing idly at the displays in shop windows, when an officious little man in a yellow reflective jacket pops out of nowhere and accosts you.’
      • ‘Had an officious bystander raised the possibility, can one doubt that George would have ridiculed it?’
      • ‘I have little doubt that they would have said so to an officious bystander.’
      self-important, bumptious, self-assertive, overbearing, overzealous, dictatorial, bossy, domineering, interfering, intrusive, meddlesome, meddling, importunate, forward, opinionated
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Late 15th century: from Latin officiosus ‘obliging’, from officium (see office). The original sense was ‘performing its function, efficacious’, whence ‘ready to help or please’ (mid 16th century), later becoming depreciatory (late 16th century).