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From Anglo-Norman office, offis etc., and Old French office, from Latin officium (task, business, duty, official duty, office, court), probably a contraction of opificium (the doing of a work, a working), from opifex (one who does a work), from opus (work) + facere (to do).



office (plural offices)

  1. A building or room where clerical or professional duties are performed.
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 2, The Celebrity:
      We drove back to the office with some concern on my part at the prospect of so large a case. Sunning himself on the board steps, I saw for the first time Mr. Farquhar Fenelon Cooke. He was dressed out in broad gaiters and bright tweeds, like an English tourist, and his face might have belonged to Dagon, idol of the Philistines.
    • 2013 August 3, “Revenge of the nerds”, The Economist, volume 408, number 8847: 
      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.
  2. A bureau, an administrative unit of government.
  3. A position of responsibility of some authority within an organisation.
    an executive or judical office; a municipal office
  4. A charge or trust; a function.
    • Bible, Rom. xi. 13
      Inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office.
    • Shakespeare
      They [the eyes] resign their office and their light.
    • Milton
      Hesperus, whose office is to bring / Twilight upon the earth.
    • Isaac Newton
      In this experiment the several intervals of the teeth of the comb do the office of so many prisms.
  5. Rite, ceremonial observance of social or religious nature.
  6. Religious service, especially a liturgy officiated by a Christian priest or minister
    • Evelyn
      This morning was read in the church, after the office was done, the declaration setting forth the late conspiracy against the king's person.
  7. A major administrative division, notably in certain governmental administrations, either at ministry level (e.g. the British Home Office) or within or dependent on such a department.
  8. (obsolete) That which a person does, either voluntarily or by appointment, for, or with reference to, others; customary duty, or a duty that arises from human relations.
    kind offices, pious offices
  9. (in the plural) The parts of a house given over to household work, storage etc.
    • Francis Bacon
      As for the offices, let them stand at distance.
    • 1887, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, A Study in Scarlet, III:
      A short passage, bare planked and dusty, led to the kitchen and offices.
  10. An office suite; a collection of work‐related computer programs (shortened from several such suites with 'office' in their name)).


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