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Pronunciation (US): 

 Dictionary entry overview: What does official mean? 

  The noun OFFICIAL has 2 senses:

1. a worker who holds or is invested with an office
2. someone who administers the rules of a game or sport

  Familiarity information: OFFICIAL used as a noun is rare.

OFFICIAL (adjective)
  The adjective OFFICIAL has 5 senses:

1. having official authority or sanction
2. of or relating to an office
3. verified officially
4. conforming to set usage, procedure, or discipline
5. (of a church) given official status as a national or state institution

  Familiarity information: OFFICIAL used as an adjective is common.

 Dictionary entry details 


Sense 1official [BACK TO TOP]


A worker who holds or is invested with an office

Classified under:

Nouns denoting people


functionary; official

Hypernyms ("official" is a kind of...):

skilled worker; skilled workman; trained worker (a worker who has acquired special skills)

Hyponyms (each of the following is a kind of "official"):

prosecuting attorney; prosecuting officer; prosecutor; public prosecutor (a government official who conducts criminal prosecutions on behalf of the state)

proconsul (an official in a modern colony who has considerable administrative power)

postmaster general (the official in charge of the national postal service)

provincial ((Roman Catholic Church) an official in charge of an ecclesiastical province acting under the superior general of a religious order)

agent; federal agent (any agent or representative of a federal agency or bureau)

officeholder; officer (someone who is appointed or elected to an office and who holds a position of trust)

noticer (someone who gives formal notice)

notary; notary public (someone legally empowered to witness signatures and certify a document's validity and to take depositions)

mandarin (any high government official or bureaucrat)

mace; macebearer; macer (an official who carries a mace of office)

quaestor (any of several public officials of ancient Rome (usually in charge of finance and administration))

recruiter (an official who enlists personnel for military service)

weigher (an official who weighs and records the weight)

vizier (a high official in a Muslim government (especially in the Ottoman Empire))

doorkeeper; usher (an official stationed at the entrance of a courtroom or legislative chamber)

town clerk (the official who keeps a town's records)

teller; vote counter (an official appointed to count the votes (especially in legislative assembly))

searcher (a customs official whose job is to search baggage or goods or vehicles for contraband or dutiable items)

sealer (an official who affixes a seal to a document)

returning officer (the official in each electorate who holds the election and returns the results)

regulator (a official responsible for control and supervision of a particular activity or area of public interest)

record-keeper; recorder; registrar (someone responsible for keeping records)

licenser (a official who can issue a license or give authoritative permission (especially one who licenses publications))

judge; jurist; justice; magistrate (a public official authorized to decide questions brought before a court of justice)

invalidator; nullifier; voider (an official who can invalidate or nullify)

civil servant (a public official who is a member of the civil service)

city father (an important municipal official)

church officer (a church official)

census taker; enumerator (someone who collects census data by visiting individual homes)

censor (a person who is authorized to read publications or correspondence or to watch theatrical performances and suppress in whole or in part anything considered obscene or politically unacceptable)

caretaker (an official who performs the duties of an office temporarily)

administrative official; bureaucrat (an official of a bureaucracy)

beadle (a minor parish official who serves as an usher and preserves order at services)

bailiff (an officer of the court who is employed to execute writs and processes and make arrests etc.)

commissar; political commissar (an official of the Communist Party who was assigned to teach party principles to a military unit)

Comptroller General (a United States federal official who supervises expenditures and settles claims against the government)

Comptroller of the Currency (a United States federal official who regulates the national banks)

Inquisitor (an official of the ecclesiastical court of the Inquisition)

incumbent; officeholder (the official who holds an office)

hangover; holdover (an official who remains in office after his term)

hearing examiner; hearing officer (an official appointed by a government agency to conduct an investigation or administrative hearing so that the agency can exercise its statutory powers)

fire warden; forest fire fighter; ranger (an official who is responsible for managing and protecting an area of forest)

fire marshall (an official who is responsible for the prevention and investigation of fires)

equerry (an official charged with the care of the horses of princes or nobles)

elected official (official who won the office in a free election)

diplomat; diplomatist (an official engaged in international negotiations)

appointee (an official who is appointed)

Sense 2official [BACK TO TOP]


Someone who administers the rules of a game or sport

Classified under:

Nouns denoting people

Context example:

the golfer asked for an official who could give him a ruling

Hypernyms ("official" is a kind of...):

adjudicator (a person who studies and settles conflicts and disputes)

Hyponyms (each of the following is a kind of "official"):

football official (an official who enforces the rules at a football game)

ump; umpire (an official at a baseball game)

timekeeper; timer ((sports) an official who keeps track of the time elapsed)

dispatcher; starter (the official who signals the beginning of a race or competition)

scorekeeper; scorer (an official who records the score during the progress of a game)

ref; referee ((sports) the chief official (as in boxing or American football) who is expected to ensure fair play)

linesman (official (in tennis, soccer, football, etc.) who assists the referee in some way (especially by watching for out of bounds or offside))

OFFICIAL (adjective)

Sense 1official [BACK TO TOP]


Having official authority or sanction

Context examples:

official permission / an official representative


semiofficial (having some official authority or sanction)

formalised; formalized (given formal standing or endorsement; made official or legitimate by the observance of proper procedures)

formal (characteristic of or befitting a person in authority)

ex officio (by virtue of an office or position)

authorised; authoritative; authorized (sanctioned by established authority)


authorised; authorized (endowed with authority)


unofficial (not having official authority or sanction)

Sense 2official [BACK TO TOP]


Of or relating to an office

Classified under:

Relational adjectives (pertainyms)

Context example:

official privileges


office (an administrative unit of government)

Sense 3official [BACK TO TOP]


Verified officially

Context example:

the election returns are now official


confirmed (having been established or made firm or received the rite of confirmation)

Sense 4official [BACK TO TOP]


Conforming to set usage, procedure, or discipline


prescribed; official

Context example:

in prescribed order


regular (in accordance with fixed order or procedure or principle)

Sense 5official [BACK TO TOP]


(of a church) given official status as a national or state institution


constituted; established (brought about or set up or accepted; especially long established)

Domain category:

church; church service (a service conducted in a house of worship)

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