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Related to officer: warrant officer, Safety Officer


1. a person in the armed services who holds a position of responsibility, authority, and duty, esp one who holds a commission
3. (on a non-naval ship) any person including the captain and mate, who holds a position of authority and responsibility
4. a government official



a member of the command staff in the armed forces, as well as in the militia and the police. Officers have military ranks conferred on them.

Originally, persons holding certain government posts were called officers. With the rise of standing mercenary armies and navies in the 16th century, first in France and then in other European countries, troop commanders came to be called officers. In the Russian Army, officer ranks were first introduced in the regiments formed and trained according to the Western model (“the new order”). In the feudal states the officers were recruited from among noblemen and formed a separate closed caste. With the development of capitalism, descendants of the bourgeoisie and of the middle classes were increasingly promoted to the officer ranks, and the corps of officers was democratized to some extent.

In the early 18th century in Russia, officers were divided into field-grade officers (from major to colonel) and company-grade officers (captain and lower). According to the Table of Ranks of 1722, an officer’s rank gave him the right to personal nobility, and the rank of captain and above, the right to hereditary nobility. From the mid-19th century, a captain’s rank gave him the right to personal nobility, and a colonel’s rank the right to hereditary nobility. Officer ranks were abolished during the Great October Socialist Revolution. At the time of the introduction of shoulder straps in the Red Army and Navy in 1943, commanders came to be called officers and were divided into junior and senior officers.

References in classic literature ?
That person is here, madame," said the officer, leaving the entrance open, and drawing himself up in an attitude of respect.
Then, turning toward the door, and seeing that the young officer was waiting for his last orders, he said.
But is it the custom for the officers in the English navy to place themselves at the service of their female compatriots when they land in a port of Great Britain, and carry their gallantry so far as to conduct them ashore?
It was the commander of a Chinese man-of-war who received a copy of the edict of 1972 from the hand of my illustrious ancestor, Admiral Turck, on one hundred seventy-five, two hundred and six years ago, and from the yellowed pages of the admiral's diary I learned that the fate of the Philippines was even then presaged by these Chinese naval officers.
We are born officers, and I reserve to myself no special credit for an early advancement in the service.
But there will be no change in commanding officers, in routine or in discipline, until after we have docked again in New York.
But it accomplished nothing other than to convince me that there were several officers upon it who were in full sympathy with Johnson, for, though no charges had been preferred against him, the board went out of its way specifically to exonerate him in its findings.
I had not asked any of my officers to accompany me, as I wished to be alone, and very glad am I now that I had not.
Measures have been taken recently by the City Council to boost recruitment and hire new officers to create a 10,000-officer department, a goal set by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
I used to put my gun on the coffee table, stand 4 or 5 feet away, jump up in the air through the cuffs, come down, grab the gun, and bring it back up in seconds," advised an offender who had attacked an officer while handcuffed.
Air Force officials will implement three changes to officer selection briefs, or OSBs; two changes deal with presentation of data related to developmental education, while a third change deals with deployment history.
Because there was no viable career track and little or no formal recognition of international skills as a critical warfighting enabler, the decision to be a foreign area officer was perceived as a career-ending move.