I cringe when people use this word because very few seem to know when it is appropriate. You will hear people say such things as:

"I am now officially mad."
"This is officially the best movie ever."
"That was a bad idea -- officially."

I don't know whether or not people in general are ignorant, or if they use this word because they have some warped idea that it makes their speech cute. Think before you use this word. On whose authority do you have it that The Matrix is the best movie ever? Does some agency keep track of your moods and issue a press release when you're mad? No. When the word is used in the aforementioned context, it has ZIF -- zero information content. It means absolutely nothing.

People have been misuing this word for far too long. Where is the outrage? Your thoughts and opinions are not OFFICIALLY anything. Use this phrase if and only if a confirmation of something has been made by an official source. Get it? If you hear your fellow man use this word inappropriately and you don't let him know, you are doing him --nay, the world!-- a disfavor.

Of*fi"cial*ly (?), adv.

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 vertified or rendered; letters officially communicated; persons officially notified.

 

© Webster 1913.

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