Merriam-Webster Word of the Day: Officious

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day is officious. Read on for what it means, how it’s used, and more.

What It Means

Officious typically describes a person who tends to offer unwanted advice in a way that annoys the advice recipients. It is a synonym of meddlesome.

// After the boss told his workers what to do, his officious assistant stepped in to micromanage.

OFFICIOUS in Context

“Imagine, if you will, any professor from your past being told by some young, officious techie that his or her decades of training and teaching were about to be reimagined and transformed by the alchemy of the digital age into glitzy and compelling content sure to hold students’ attention and, at a minimum, entertain them if not educate them.” — Howard Tullman,, 22 Mar. 2022

Did You Know?

If you’ve ever dreamed of having your financial officer officiate your office wedding—well, you’re officially alone there. But we won’t meddle in your business; if we suggested a more, um, “charming” location, we’d be sticking our nose where it doesn’t belong. We have our own offic word for such behavior: officious. As with some key words in your hypothetical dream wedding, officious comes from the Latin noun officium, meaning “service” or “office.” In its early use, officious meant “eager to serve, help, or perform a duty,” but that meaning is now obsolete, and the word today typically describes a person who offers unwanted advice or help. Since, again, we don’t want to be such a person, we definitely won’t suggest marrying at a banquet hall or botanical garden in lieu of the office, but we do applaud any consideration of that office-fave for your celebratory sweet, the humble sheet cake.

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