Ask Difference

Official vs. Officially — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Updated on December 26, 2023
"Official" is an adjective describing something authorized or produced by a person in authority, while "Officially" is an adverb modifying how an action is performed, usually in a formal or authorized manner.
Official vs. Officially — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Official and Officially

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Key Differences

Official is used as an adjective, qualifying nouns to denote something formal or authorized, like official statement or official duties.
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Dec 26, 2023
Officially functions as an adverb, modifying verbs or adjectives, indicating the manner of action, such as officially declared or officially recognized.
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Official conveys a sense of formality, authority, or endorsement by a person in power or an institution, such as official policy.
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Officially implies an action taken or status conferred in a formal, public, or recognized way, like officially inaugurated.
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Official fits into sentences as an adjective, directly modifying nouns and providing information about them.
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Officially is used to modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs, often placed before or after the verb it modifies.
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The use of official often introduces a tone of seriousness, formality, or legitimacy to the noun it describes.
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Officially can add a tone of finality, recognition, or formality to the action or state it is describing.
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Official can be used in a variety of contexts like government, sports, or business to denote something sanctioned or recognized, such as official sponsor.
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Officially is often used in announcements, reports, or statements to denote the manner or state of being formally recognized or established, such as officially opened.
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Comparison Chart

Part of Speech

Adjective
Adverb
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Function in Sentence

Modifies nouns
Modifies verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs
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Contextual Use

Indicates authority, endorsement, or formality related to a noun
Indicates the manner or state of actions, often in a formal or recognized way
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Tone Implication

Adds formality or legitimacy to the noun it describes
Conveys formality, finality, or recognition to the action or state
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Example

"Official documents"
"Officially announced"
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Compare with Definitions

Official

A person holding public office or having official duties, especially as a representative of an organization or government department
A union official
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Officially

By or from an authority or official body.
It was officially confirmed today.
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Official

Approved by authority; authorized.
The Official Strategy Guide
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Officially

In a way that is formally recognized.
He is officially retired.
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Official

Pertaining to an authority or public body and its activities and responsibilities.
The official report clarified the situation.
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Officially

As acknowledged by a public statement.
The merger was officially announced.
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Official

Intended for or relating to formal or serious use.
He made an official statement.
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Officially

Publicly or formally.
Officially, the policy starts next month.
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Official

Representative of an organization or government.
She is the official delegate for the conference.
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Officially

Authorized by a proper authority; authoritative
Official permission.
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Official

An official is someone who holds an office (function or mandate, regardless whether it carries an actual working space with it) in an organization or government and participates in the exercise of authority, (either their own or that of their superior and/or employer, public or legally private). An elected official is a person who is an official by virtue of an election.
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Officially

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

Relating to an authority or public body and its activities and responsibilities
The prime minister's official engagements
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Officially

In an official role;
Officially, he is in charge
Officially responsible
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Official

Of or relating to an office or a post of authority
Official duties.
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Officially

With official authorization;
The club will be formally recognized
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Official

Authorized by a proper authority; authoritative
Official permission.
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Officially

In a formal or authorized manner.
The event was officially opened.
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Official

Holding office or serving in a public capacity
An official representative.
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Officially

Of or relating to an office or a post of authority
Official duties.
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Official

Characteristic of or befitting a person of authority; formal
An official banquet.
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Officially

Holding office or serving in a public capacity
An official representative.
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Official

Authorized by or contained in the US Pharmacopoeia or National Formulary. Used of drugs.
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Officially

Characteristic of or befitting a person of authority; formal
An official banquet.
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Official

One who holds an office or position, especially one who acts in a subordinate capacity for an institution such as a corporation or governmental agency.
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Officially

Authorized by or contained in the US Pharmacopoeia or National Formulary. Used of drugs.
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Official

(Sports) A referee or umpire.
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Officially

One who holds an office or position, especially one who acts in a subordinate capacity for an institution such as a corporation or governmental agency.
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Official

Of or pertaining to an office or public trust.
Official duties
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Officially

(Sports) A referee or umpire.
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Official

Derived from the proper office or officer, or from the proper authority; made or communicated by virtue of authority
An official statement or report
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Officially

In an official manner; according to official rules or regulations.
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Official

(Of a statement) Dubious but recognized by authorities as truth and/or canon.
Despite these testimonies, "accidental asphyxiation" remains his official cause of death.
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Officially

(slang) Thoroughly, completely.
That’s it! I’m officially outraged.
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Official

(pharmaceutical) Sanctioned by the pharmacopoeia; appointed to be used in medicine; officinal.
An official drug or preparation
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Official

Discharging an office or function.
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Official

Relating to an office; especially, to a subordinate executive officer or attendant.
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Official

Relating to an ecclesiastical judge appointed by a bishop, chapter, archdeacon, etc., with charge of the spiritual jurisdiction.
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Official

(slang) True, real, beyond doubt.
Well, it's official: you lost your mind!
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Official

(pharmacology) Listed in a national pharmacopeia.
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Official

An office holder, a person holding an official position in government, sports, or other organization.
Officials in the Firefly administration assure the Sylvanians they don't want war either.
In most soccer games, there are three officials: the referee and two linesmen.
The company's officials became nabobs as it took on more and more power after Plassey.
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Official

Of or pertaining to an office or public trust; as, official duties, or routine.
That, in the official marks invested, youAnon do meet the senate.
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Official

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.
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Official

Approved by authority; sanctioned by the pharmacopœia; appointed to be used in medicine; as, an official drug or preparation. Cf. Officinal.
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Official

Discharging an office or function.
The stomach and other parts official unto nutrition.
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Official

One who holds an office; esp., a subordinate executive officer or attendant.
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Official

An ecclesiastical judge appointed by a bishop, chapter, archdeacon, etc., with charge of the spiritual jurisdiction.
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Official

A worker who holds or is invested with an office
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Official

Someone who administers the rules of a game or sport;
The golfer asked for an official who could give him a ruling
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Official

Having official authority or sanction;
Official permission
An official representative
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Official

Of or relating to an office;
Official privileges
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Official

Verified officially;
The election returns are now official
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Official

Conforming to set usage, procedure, or discipline;
In prescribed order
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Official

(of a church) given official status as a national or state institution
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Official

Approved by an authority or sanctioned by a group.
The official uniform must be worn at all times.
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Official

Holding an office or position of authority.
The official spokesperson addressed the media.
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Common Curiosities

Can officially be used in casual contexts?

Officially is typically used in formal contexts, but it can be used casually to emphasize a change in status or condition.
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Can a person be described as officially?

No, officially modifies actions or states, not persons.
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Does officially always refer to a positive action or state?

No, it can refer to any formally recognized action or state, positive or negative.
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Can official be used as a noun?

Yes, in contexts like sports, it can refer to a referee or umpire.
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Is unofficial the opposite of official?

Yes, it means not formally recognized or authorized.
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Are official and officially interchangeable?

No, they serve different grammatical functions and are not interchangeable.
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Can something be official without being public?

Yes, official things can be confidential or internal.
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Does official imply endorsement?

Often, but not always. It depends on the context.
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Is official always related to government or formal entities?

While often associated with government or formal organizations, official can refer to anything authorized or formal in any context.
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Does officially imply truthfulness?

Officially implies formality and recognition, not necessarily truthfulness.
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Can something be unofficially official?

This is an oxymoron, typically used to describe something widely recognized but not formally acknowledged.
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Does officially always involve a formal announcement?

Not always, but it often involves some form of formal acknowledgment.
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Is official limited to contemporary contexts?

No, official can be used in historical or futuristic contexts as well.
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Can official refer to people?

Yes, it can refer to someone in a position of authority or representing an organization.
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Can officially be used in legal contexts?

Yes, it's often used to denote legally recognized states or actions.
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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to askdifference.com. As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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