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of·fice fĭs, ŏfĭs)
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n.
1.
a. A place in which business, clerical, or professional activities are conducted.
b. The administrative personnel, executives, or staff working in such a place: Can your office handle that amount of work?
2.
a. A subdivision of a governmental department: the US Patent Office.
b. A major executive division of a government: the British Home Office.
3.
a. A position of authority, duty, or trust given to a person, as in a government or corporation: the office of vice president.
b. Public position: Is she inclined to seek office?
4.
a. A duty or function assigned to or assumed by someone: Our host performed the office of tour guide. See Synonyms at function.
b. often offices A service or beneficial act done for another: Through her kind offices we were given a room with a view.
5. Ecclesiastical A ceremony, rite, or service, usually prescribed by liturgy, especially:
a. The canonical hours.
b. A prayer service in the Anglican Church, such as Morning or Evening Prayer.
c. A ceremony, rite, or service for a special purpose, especially the Office of the Dead.
6. offices Chiefly British The parts of a house, such as the laundry and kitchen, in which servants carry out household work.

[Middle English, from Old French, duty, from Latin officium; see dhē- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices

    Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

    Indo-European Roots

    Semitic Roots

    The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.

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