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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 ?
But under the influence of their degraded fortunes, both officers and men appeared better disposed to await the approach of their formidable antagonists, within their works, than to resist the progress of their march, by emulating the successful example of the French at Fort du Quesne, and striking a blow on their advance.
The judge bowed toward the probation officer, and she beckoned the prisoner to her.
Suffice it here to say that a Custom-House officer of long continuance can hardly be a very praiseworthy or respectable personage, for many reasons; one of them, the tenure by which he holds his situation, and another, the very nature of his business, which -- though, I trust, an honest one -- is of such a sort that he does not share in the united effort of mankind.
Don Fernando parted the officer and Don Quixote, and to their mutual contentment made them relax the grip by which they held, the one the coat collar, the other the throat of his adversary; for all this, however, the officers did not cease to demand their prisoner and call on them to help, and deliver him over bound into their power, as was required for the service of the King and of the Holy Brotherhood, on whose behalf they again demanded aid and assistance to effect the capture of this robber and footpad of the highways.
When this species of summons was made the officer inquired aloud the point of the brig's departure, its route, its landings; and to all these questions the captain replied without difficulty and without hesitation.
Sire, in a word," said the officer, "I am come to ask for my discharge from your majesty's service.
D'Artagnan, biting his mustache with that vivacity which denoted in him exasperation, closely to be followed by an explosion, approached the officer.
Have the officer tried and disgrace the whole regiment?
At first they sought to discover his location in No Man's Land; but when an officer looking over the parapet through a periscope was struck full in the back of the head with a rifle bullet which passed through his skull and fell to the bottom of the trench they realized that it was beyond the parados rather than the parapet that they should search.
Yes, Captain," answered a non-commissioned officer.
I should have made my escape at once; but for what I heard the officer say about the men who were waiting outside.
A CHIEF of Police who had seen an Officer beating a Thug was very indignant, and said he must not do so any more on pain of dismissal.