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EtymologyEdit

From Middle English office, from Old French office, from Latin officium (personal, official, or moral duty; official position; function; ceremony, esp. last rites), contracted from opificium (construction: the act of building or the thing built),[1] from opifex (doer of work, craftsman) + -ium (-y: forming actions),[2] from op- (base of opus: work) + -i- (connective) + -fex (combining form of facere: to do, to make).[3]

Use in reference to office software is a genericization of various proprietary program suites, such as Microsoft Office.

PronunciationEdit

NounEdit

office (plural offices)

  1. (religion) A ceremonial duty or service, particularly:
    1. (Christianity) The authorized form of ceremonial worship of a church.
    2. (Christianity, obsolete) Mass, (particularly) the introit sung at its beginning.
    3. (Christianity) Any special liturgy, as the Office for the Dead or of the Virgin.
    4. (Christianity) A daily service without the eucharist.
    5. (Catholicism) The daily service of the breviary, the liturgy for each canonical hour, including psalms, collects, and lessons.
      In the Latin rite, all bishops, priests, and transitional deacons are obliged to recite the Divine Office daily.
    6. (Protestant) Various prayers used with modification as a morning or evening service.
    7. (Christianity) Last rites.
      • 1582, Bible (Rheims), John, 12 (marginalia):
        The deuout offices of balming and anointing the dead bodies.
      • 1618, S. Rowlands, Sacred Memorie, 37:
        To show their loue in this last office done
        To a dead friend.
      • 1822, Walter Scott, The Fortunes of Nigel, Vol. III, Ch. xi, page 318:
        I... will be first to render thee the decent offices due to the dead.
  2. A position of responsibility.
    When the office of Secretary of State is vacant, its duties fall upon an official within the department.
  3. Official position, particularly high employment within government; tenure in such a position.
    She held office as secretary of state until she left office to run for office.
  4. (obsolete) An official or group of officials; (figuratively) a personification of officeholders.
  5. A duty, particularly owing to one's position or station; a charge, trust, or role; (obsolete, rare) moral duty.
  6. (obsolete) The performance of a duty; an instance of performing a duty.
  7. (archaic) Function: anything typically done by or expected of something.
    • 1704, Isaac Newton, Opticks:
      In this experiment the several intervals of the teeth of the comb do the office of so many prisms.
    • 1813, Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, Vol. I, Ch. viii, page 76:
      I hope you saw her petticoat, six inches deep in mud,... and the gown which had been let down to hide it, not doing its office.
    • 1971, John Needham, Science and Civilisation in China, Ch. iii, page 590:
      These ‘Pacific boom-lateens’... are believed to derive from a kind of sprit-sail... in which the upper sprit performs the office of a more or less aft-raking mast.
    • 1988, P. Fussell, Thank God for Atom Bomb, page 134:
      The anxious businessman will learn that in most of Southeast Asia,... presenting your business card with your left hand is an affront, every decent Moslem knowing the filthy, smelly offices you reserve that left hand for.
  8. (obsolete) A bodily function, (particularly) urination and defecation; an act of urination or defecation.
  9. (now usually in plural) A service, a kindness.
    The secretary prevailed at the negotiations through the good offices of the Freedonian ambassador.
  10. (figuratively, slang) Inside information.
    • 1803, Sporting Magazine, No. 21, page 327:
      Giving the office—is when you suffer any person, who may stand behind your chair, to look over your hand.
  11. A room, set of rooms, or building used for non-manual work, particularly:
    The office of the Secretary of State is cleaned when it is vacant.
    • 1611, Bible (KJV), 2 Chron., 24:11:
      Now it came to passe that at what time the chest was brought vnto the kings office, by the hand of the Leuites...
    • 1885, The Law Times Reports, No. 53, page 459:
      Griffith, having taken offices a few doors off, also carried on the business of a solicitor.
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, The Celebrity, Ch. 2:
      We drove back to the office with some concern on my part at the prospect of so large a case.
    • 1945, H.L. Mencken, The American Language, Supplement Vol. I, page 503:
      An English lawyer, whether barrister or solicitor, never has an office, but always chambers.
    • 2013 August 3, "Revenge of the Nerds" in The Economist, No. 408:
      Think of banking today and the image is of grey-suited men in towering skyscrapers. Its future, however, is being shaped in converted warehouses and funky offices in San Francisco, New York, and London, where bright young things in jeans and T-shirts huddle around laptops, sipping lattes or munching on free food.
    1. A room, set of rooms, or building used for administration and bookkeeping.
      • 1849, William Thackeray, Pendennis, Vol. I, Ch. xxxvi, page 347:
      • The ‘Pall Mall Gazette’ had its offices... in Catherine Street.
    2. A room, set of rooms, or building used for selling services or tickets to the public.
      • 1819 September 22, John Keats, letter to Reynolds:
        There will be some of the family waiting for you at the coach-office.
    3. (chiefly US, medicine) A room, set of rooms, or building used for consultation and diagnosis, but not surgery or other major procedures.
      • 1975, M. Duke, Death of Holy Murderer, Ch. viii, page 108:
        This one was made out at a private officeOffice is American for Surgery.
  12. (figuratively) The staff of such places.
    The whole office was there... well, except you, of course.
  13. (figuratively, in large organizations) The administrative departments housed in such places, particularly:
    He's from our public relations office.
    1. (Britain, Australia, usually capitalized, with clarifying modifier) A ministry or other department of government.
      The secretary of state's British colleague heads the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
    2. (Catholicism, usually capitalized) Short for Holy Office: the court of final appeal in cases of heresy.
      • 1642, J. Howell, Forraine Travell, Ch. x, page 131:
        A Biscayner is capable to be a Cavalier of any of the three habits without any scrutiny to be made of the Office, whether he be, limpio de la sangre de los Moros, that is cleare of the bloud of the Moores or no.
      • 1658, Pilgrim's Book, page 3:
        They abiured their Heresy bublikly [sic] before the Commissary of the holy office.
    3. A particular place of business of a larger white-collar business.
      He worked as the receptionist at the Akron office.
      • 1647, W. Bridge, Saints Hiding-place, page 17:
        But there is an Insuring-Office set up in the Gospel, as to the venture of our eternities.
      • 1732, Benjamin Franklin, "Proposals & Queries to be Asked the Junto":
        Would not an Office of Insurance for Servants be of Service, and what Methods are proper for the erecting such an Office?
      • 1816, Jane Austen, Emma, Vol. II, Ch. xvii, page 324:
        There are advertising offices, and... by applying to them I should have no doubt of very soon meeting with something that would do.
      • 1861, Charles Dickens, Great Expectations, Vol. II, Ch. xii, page 204:
        A large Danish sun or star hanging round his neck by a blue ribbon... had given him the appearance of being insured in some extraordinary Fire Office.
  14. (now in the plural, dated) The parts of a house or estate devoted to manual work and storage, as the kitchen, scullery, laundry, stables, etc., particularly (euphemistic, dated) a house or estate's facilities for urination and defecation: outhouses or lavatories.
    • 1720, William Willymott translating Francis Bacon as "Of Building" in Lord Bacons Essays, Vol. I, page 283:
      As for the Offices, let them stand at some Distance from the House, with some low covered Galleries, to pass from them to the Palace it self.
    • 1727, "The Grand Mystery":
      ... proposals for erecting 500 Publick Offices of Ease in London and Westminster...
    • 1887, Arthur Conan Doyle, A Study in Scarlet, Ch. iii:
      A short passage, bare planked and dusty, led to the kitchen and offices.
    • 1957, Emyr Estyn Evans, Irish Folk Ways, Ch. viii, page 112:
      Only in planted areas does one find old examples of planned ‘courtyard farms’ where the house and offices enclose a square or rectangular yard.
    • 1957, John Braine, Room at Top, Ch. i, page 13:
      The bathroom's to the right and the usual offices next to it.
    • 1980, William Golding, Rites of Passage, Ch. i, page 6:
      Aft of the lobby... is the dining saloon for the passengers with the offices of necessity on either side of it.
  15. (Britain law, historical) Clipping of inquest of office: an inquest undertaken on occasions when the Crown claimed the right of possession to land or property.
    • 1768, William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England, Vol. III, page 259:
      If they find the treason or felony... of the party accused... the king is thereupon, by virtue of this office found, intitled to have his forfeitures.
    • 1977, John McDonald Burke, Jowitt's Dictionary of English Law, Vol. I, page 280:
      If the Crown claimed the land of an idiot, the person had first to be found an idiot by office.
  16. (obsolete) A piece of land used for hunting; the area of land overseen by a gamekeeper.
    • 1617, Nicholas Assheton, Journal, page 60:
      All hunt in James Whitendales office.
  17. (figuratively, slang, obsolete) A hangout: a place where one is normally found.
    • 1699, A New Dictionary of the Terms Ancient and Modern of the Canting Crew:
      His Office, any Man's ordinary Haunt, or Plying-place, be it Tavern, Ale-house, Gaming-house.
  18. (Britain military slang, dated) A plane's cockpit, particularly an observer's cockpit.
    • 1917, Alan Bott, An Airman's Outings, page 161:
      I withdraw into ‘the office’, otherwise the observer's cockpit.
    • 1941 March 24, Life, page 85:
      In the slang of the Royal Air Force man, the cockpit of his plane is the ‘pulpit’ or ‘office’, the glass covering over it the ‘greenhouse’.
    • 1966 May 13, New Statesman, page 687
      ‘Up in the office they too knew it.’ ‘The office? You mean the flight deck?’ ‘Just that. No more. No less. The office.’
  19. (computing) A collection of business software typically including a word processor and spreadsheet and slideshow programs.

Usage notesEdit

In reference to professional services, the term office is used with somewhat greater scope in American English, which speaks of doctor's offices etc., where British English generally prefers particular words such as surgery.

SynonymsEdit

HyponymsEdit

Derived termsEdit

Related termsEdit

DescendantsEdit

TranslationsEdit

VerbEdit

office (third-person singular simple present offices, present participle officing, simple past and past participle officed)

  1. To provide (someone) with an office.
    • 1966, United States. Congress. Senate, Hearings - Volume 8[1], page 451:
      Is he officed in Congressional Relations or is he officed in SCA?
    • 1976, General Technical Report RM.[2], page 128:
      Prior to that time, Station personnel were first officed in temporary wartime barracks on the campus and then on the second floor of the Journalism Building.
  2. (intransitive) To have an office.
    • 1988 December 2, Grant Pick, “He Survived Operation Greylord”, in Chicago Reader[3]:
      "I believed that Dave was just doing a favor for his brother," said Somerville, who added that he assumed Lou and Dave officed together.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Oxford English Dictionary. "office, n." Oxford University Press (Oxford), 2004.
  2. ^ Oxford English Dictionary. "† opifice, n."
  3. ^ Oxford English Dictionary. "opifex, n."
  • Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, 7th ed. "office". G. & C. Merriam Co. (Springfield), 1967.
  • The Century Dictionary. "office". The Century Co. (New York), 1911.

AnagramsEdit


FrenchEdit

EtymologyEdit

Borrowed from Latin officium.

PronunciationEdit

NounEdit

office m (plural offices)

  1. charge, task, mandate
  2. administrative bureau, department
  3. religious service, notably liturgical office
  4. place where a household's table (food and drink)-related services are conducted, especially by domestic staff

Derived termsEdit

ReferencesEdit

  • Nouveau Petit Larousse illustré. Dictionnaire encyclopédique. Paris, Librairie Larousse, 1952, 146th edition

Further readingEdit

AnagramsEdit


LatinEdit

Middle EnglishEdit

Etymology 1Edit

From Old French office, from Latin officium, contracted form of opificium.

Alternative formsEdit

PronunciationEdit

  • IPA(key): /ɔˈfiːs(ə)/, /ˈɔfis(ə)/

NounEdit

office (plural offices)

  1. The state of being employed or having a work or job; employment:
    1. Ecclesiastical or religious work; a church career.
    2. (rare) Unskilled work; any work that is unimportant or base.
  2. A position of responsibility or control; a crucial occupation:
    1. A clerical or church post or position; an religious office.
    2. A governmental or administrative position or post; a political office.
    3. The situation, status, or rank one has in the wider world or within society.
  3. A task, chore or assignment, especially one which is important or required; an obligation:
    1. The role, purpose, or intended use or utility of something (especially a bodily part).
    2. A task or function that one organ does to assist another or the body as a whole.
    3. A religious ceremony or ritual; a task performed for religious reasons.
    4. (Christianity) The beginning or the initial portion of the Eucharist.
      • c. 1300, St. Thomas Becket, ll. 942 ff.:
        He song þulke masse ilome, for al-so heo bi-ginnez
        Þe furste offiz is propre inov to þe stat þat he was Inne.
    5. A core human faculty (e.g. movement, talking, literacy)
  4. A part, faculty, or division of a larger body:
    1. A part of a house or estate devoted to manual work and storage.
    2. A part or subdivision of an estate devoted to a specified function.
    3. (rare) A part or subdivision of a government devoted to a specified function.
      • 1435, petition, P.R.O. 130, 6460A:
        John Duc of Bedford... Admirall of England in the office of þe admiralte in the Countees of Kent, Sussex...
  5. An inquest undertaken to investigate the possession of land or property.
  6. The intended or ideal working or operation of something.
  7. An officeholder invested with powers and authority.
    • c. 1440, Stephen Scrope translating Christine de Pisan as The Epistle of Othea, page 85:
      He pleide so sweetly þat... alle þe helly offices lefte there besinesses.
  8. (rare) A building or structure used for business purposes; an office.
  9. (rare) The process or undertaking of a task or assignment.
    • c. 1300, The Romance of Sir Beues of Hamtoun, ll. 3555 ff.:
      While Beues was in þat office,
      Þe kinges sone...
      A ȝede to Beves stable.
  10. (rare) The activities typical of and concomitant to one's place in society.
  11. (rare) A favour; a beneficial deed or act.
    • a. 1382, John Wycliffe, “2 Corinthis 9:12”, in Wycliffe's Bible:
      For the mynyſtrie of this office not oneli fillith tho thingis that failen to holi men, but alſo multiplieth many thankyngis to God.
      The administering of this favour isn't just fulfilling the duties that the faithful fail at; it's also producing many thanks to God.
Related termsEdit
DescendantsEdit
ReferencesEdit

Etymology 2Edit

From Old French officier.

VerbEdit

office

  1. Alternative form of officen

NormanEdit

NounEdit

office m (plural offices)

  1. (Jersey) office
    • 2010, Le Don Balleine, Mêfie-Te Des Monstres:
      L'Office du Jèrriais
      The Office of Jèrriais

Old FrenchEdit

NounEdit

office m (oblique plural offices, nominative singular offices, nominative plural office)

  1. office (building; room)
  2. office (position, role, job)
  3. service

ReferencesEdit