Also found in: Thesaurus, Idioms.
v. of·fi·ci·at·ed, of·fi·ci·at·ing, of·fi·ci·ates
1. To perform the duties and functions of an office or a position of authority.
2. To serve as an officiant.
3. Sports To serve as a referee or umpire.
v.tr. Usage Problem
1. To perform from a position of authority (an official duty or function).
2. To serve as an officiant at (a ceremony): officiated the wedding ceremony.
3. To serve as a referee or umpire at (a game): officiated the hockey game.
[Medieval Latin officiāre, officiāt-, to conduct, from Latin officium, service, duty; see office.]
Usage Note: Officiate has long seen use as an intransitive verb, but it has recently developed transitive uses. In our 1997 survey, 91 percent of the Usage Panel approved of the intransitive use, as in the sentence The wedding was held in the garden, a minister and priest officiating. The Panel views transitive uses of the verb less favorably. In our 2009 survey, only 45 percent approved of the use of officiate in sporting contexts in the sentence He officiated National Hockey League games for 15 years. This percentage of approval, however, had risen from 38 percent in 1997. Support for officiate with a direct object in more traditional contexts, such as weddings, was somewhat lower. Only 34 percent approved of the sentence A minister officiated the wedding, which was held in a garden. Resistance in this case has not weakened since 1997.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.