office

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search

English[edit]

Wikipedia has articles on:

Wikipedia

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English office &c., from Anglo-Norman and Old French office &c., 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.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

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, (chiefly) 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.
      • 1674, Richard Strange, The Life and Gests of S. Thomas Cantilupe, Bishop of Hereford, page 287:
        His spirituall exercises were chiefly Prayer, the H. Sacrifice of Masse, his Canonicall Houres or diuine Office.
    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.
    • 1340, Ayenbite:
      Þe mouþ heþ tuo offices, huer-of þe on belongeþ to þe zuelȝ...
      Þe oþer zuo is in speche.
    • 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, (chiefly) 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.
    • c. 1395, Geoffrey Chaucer, "The Freres Tale" in Tales of Caunterbury:
      ...I wol han .xij. pens, though that she be wood,
      Or I wol sompne hir vn to our office...
    • 1440, Promptorium Parvulorum, page 363:
      Offyce, or place of offyce, officina.
    • 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, &c., particularly (euphemistic, dated) a house or estate's facilities for urination and defecation: outhouses or lavatories.
    • a. 1422, petition, P.R.O. 117, 5842:
      ... Abbeyes, Priories, hospitals, chaunteries and chappels, chaces, parkes, offices, milnes, weres...
    • 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) Short for inquest of office: an inquest undertaken on occasions when the Crown claimed the right of possession to land or property.
    • 1432, petition, P.R.O. 26, 1259:
      Of the whiche Maner the seyd Oratrice... be an Offyce was put out.
    • 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 notes[edit]

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

Synonyms[edit]

Hyponyms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

Verb[edit]

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.

Statistics[edit]

Most common English words before 1923: opinion · according · walked · #592: office · government · particular · charge

Anagrams[edit]

References[edit]

  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.

French[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Borrowed from Latin officium.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

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 terms[edit]

References[edit]

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

Anagrams[edit]

External links[edit]


Latin[edit]

Verb[edit]

office

  1. second-person singular present active imperative of officiō

Norman[edit]

Noun[edit]

office m ‎(plural offices)

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

Old French[edit]

Noun[edit]

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

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

References[edit]