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OFF'-HAND, adv. [off and hand.]

Readily; with ease; without hesitation or previous practice.

OF'FICE, n. [Fr. from L. officium; ob and facio, to make or do.]

  1. A particular duty, charge or trust conferred by public authority and for a public purpose; an employment undertaken by commission or authority from government or those who administer it. Thus we speak of the office of secretary of state, of treasurer, of a judge, of a sherif, of a justice of the peace, &c. Offices are civil, judicial, ministerial, executive, legislative, political, municipal, diplomatic, military, ecclesiastical, &c.
  2. A duty, charge or trust of a sacred nature, conferred by God himself; as, the office of priest, in the Old Testament, and that of the apostles, in the New Testament. Inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify my office. Rom. xi.
  3. Duty or employment of a private nature; as, the office of a midwife. Exod. i.
  4. That which is performed, intended or assigned to be done by a particular thing, or that which any thing is fitted to perform; answering to duty in intelligent beings. We enjoy health when the several organs of the body perform their respective offices. In this experiment, the several intervals of the teeth of the comb do the office of so many prisms. Newton.
  5. Business; particular employment. Hesperus, whose office is to bring / Twilight upon the earth. Milton.
  6. Act of good or ill voluntarily tendered; usually in a good sense; as, kind offices; offices of pity; pious offices.
  7. Act of worship. Shak.
  8. Formulary of devotion. The Lord's prayer, the ten commandments, and the creed, is a very good office for children if they are not fitted for more regular offices. Taylor.
  9. A house or apartment in which public officers and others transact business; as, the register's office; a lawyer's office.
  10. In architecture, an apartment appropriated for the necessary business or occasions of a palace or nobleman's house. The word is used also for a building pertaining to a farm. Encyc. Cyc.
  11. In the canon law, a benefice which has no jurisdiction annexed to it. Encyc.
  12. The person or persons intrusted with particular duties of a public nature. This office [of quarter-master-general] not to have the disposal of public money, except small occasional sums. Marshall.

OF'FICE, v.t.

To perform; to do; to discharge. [Not used.] Shak.


A person commissioned or authorized to perform any public duty. Officers are civil, military or ecclesiastical. There are great officers of state, and subordinate officers. Military and naval officers of the same grade usually take rank according to the dates of their commissions. Non-commissioned officers are nominated by their captains, and appointed by the commanding officers of regiments.

OF'FI-CER, v.t.

To furnish with officers; to appoint officers over. Count Pulaski raised a legionary corps, which he officered principally with foreigners. Marshall.


Furnished with officers. Addison.

OF-FI'CIAL, a. [Fr. officiel; from office.]

  1. Pertaining to an office or public trust. The secretary is engaged in official duties.
  2. Derived from the proper office or officer, or from the proper authority; made or communicated by virtue of authority; as, an official statement or report. We have official intelligence of the battle.
  3. Conducive by virtue of appropriate powers. The stomach and other parts official to nutrition. [Unusual.] Brown.


An ecclesiastical judge appointed by a bishop, chapter, archdeacon, &c., with charge of the spiritual jurisdiction. Blackstone.


By the proper officer; by virtue of the proper authority; in pursuance of the special powers vested; as, accounts or reports officially verified or rendered; letters officially communicated; persons officially notified.


The charge or office of an official. Ayliffe.


  1. To act as an officer in his office; to transact the appropriate business of an office or public trust. At this court the chief justice officiated. The bishops and priests officiate at the altar. Stillingfleet.
  2. To perform the appropriate official duties of another.


To give in consequence of office. The stars officiate light. [Improper.] Milton.


  1. Given in consequence of office.
  2. Performed the duties of an office or the office of another.


Performing the appropriate duties of an office; performing the office of another.

OF-FI'C-I-NAL, a. [Fr. from L. officina, a shop.]

Used in a shop or belonging to it. Officinal drugs, medicines and simples are such as are required to be constantly kept in the shops of apothecaries. Encyc.

OF-FI'CIOUS, a. [L. officiosus.]

  1. Kind; obliging; doing kind offices. Yet not to earth are those bright luminaries / Officious. Milton.
  2. Excessively forward in kindness; importunately interposing services. You are too officious / In her behalf that scorns your services. Shak.
  3. Busy; intermeddling in affairs in which one has no concern.


  1. Kindly; with solicitous care. Let thy goats officiously be nurs'd. Dryden.
  2. With importunate or excessive forwardness. Flattering crowds officiously appear, / To give themselves, not you, a happy year. Dryden.
  3. In a busy meddling manner.


Eagerness to serve; usually, an excess of zeal to serve others, or improper forwardness, interposing in affairs without being desired, or with a disposition to meddle with the concerns of others. 2 Service. [Little used.] Brown.

OFF'ING, n. [from off.]

That part of the sea which is at a good distance from the shore, or at a competent distance, where there is deep water and no need of a pilot. We saw a ship in the offing. Mar. Dict. Encyc.

OFF'SCOUR-ING, n. [off and scour.]

That which is scoured off; hence, refuse; rejected matter; that which is vile or despised. Lam. iii. 1 Cor. iv.

OFF'SET, n.1 [off and set.]

  1. A shoot; a sprout from the roots of a plant. Locke. Ray.
  2. In surveying, a perpendicular let fall from the stationary lines to the hedge, fence or extremity of an inclosure.
  3. In accounts, a sum, account or value set off against another sum or account, as an equivalent. O. Wolcott. [This is also written set-off.]

OFF'SET, n.2

  1. In architecture, the superior surface left uncovered by the continuation upward of a wall where the thickness diminishes, forming a ledge.
  2. In gardening, a young radical bulb, separated from the root.

OFF'SET, v.t.

To set one account against another; to make the account of one party pay the demand of another. Judge Sewall.

OFF'SPRING, n. [off and spring.]

  1. A child or children; a descendant or descendants, however remote from the stock. Acts xvii. Rev. xxii.
  2. Propagation; generation. Hooker.
  3. Production of any kind. Denham.