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American Dictionary of the English Language

Webster's Dictionary 1828

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Office


OF'FICE, noun [Latin 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 sheriff, of a justice of the peace, etc. Offices are civil, judicial, ministerial, executive, legislative, political, municipal, diplomatic, military, ecclesiastical, etc.

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.

Insomuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify my office Romans 11:13.

3. Duty or employment of a private nature; as the office of a midwife. Exodus 1:16.

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.

5. Business; particular employment.

Hesperus, whose office is to bring twilight upon the earth.

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.

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.

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.

11. In the canon law, a benefice which has no jurisdiction annexed to it.

12. The person or persons entrusted 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.

OF'FICE, verb transitive To perform; to do; to discharge. [Not used.]