The Abbreviation for Officer: What Is It and How Is It Used?

The short form for the word officer may cause confusion, especially for people who are unaware of the different applications of the word.

An officer can be one of several things—an authority figure in a commissioned role in places like the U.S. Air Force, a police force, or even a passenger ship, a public servant fulfilling a civic duty, or an executive in an enterprise environment. Sometimes the word applies to politicians or public office bearers in religious organizations. In the U.S. Military, officers can be commissioned or non-commissioned. Non-commissioned officers (NCOs) can be found in all the ranks from corporals to sergeants.

In a corporation, you may find a chief executive officer (CEO) or chief operations officer (COO). It is a term associated with authority and respect. You’ll find abbreviations for different kinds of officers commonly used, even in formal, business, and academic writing. 

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Abbreviations for Officer

The common abbreviations for the word include:

·   OFC

·   Ofc

·   Off

·   OFF

·   OFFR

These abbreviations often appear as titles, so they must appear before the name of the person. The Department of Defense (DoD) refers to all officers with the title before their names. 

The History of the Word

The word officer originated with the Latin word officium, entering the English language in the fourteenth century. The Latin translation means “a person who holds high office.” The word officium evolved into officiarius in Medieval Latin before being adopted by the Anglo-Norman French, who changed the spelling to officier. It was first used as a military term in 1560.  

Interestingly, the word officer has given birth to similar names within different cultures and languages. For example, in Swahili, the word afisa is derived from officer and so is the word afsar in Punjabi. Both regions were colonized by the British, who introduced the word to many people in those regions.

Synonyms for Officer

·       Representative

·       Dignitary

·       Executive

·       Civil servant

·       Bureaucrat

·       Appointee

·       Administrator

·       Manager

·       Agent

Antonyms for Officer

·       Employee

When to Use the Word

You can use the word to describe officers in the Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard or Navy. Each branch of the military has its own abbreviations. For example, in both the Navy and the Coast Guard, a Petty Officer Third Class is abbreviated as PO3. Chief Warrant Officer can be abbreviated to CWO5.

When writers are tailoring their text for use with a general audience, even those in the military will commonly use the abbreviation Off. for officer. For instance, an author may write Petty Off. Third Class, rather than PO3, if he or she is expecting to be read by a broad audience. 

Here are a few examples of different types of officers:

  • First sergeant 
  • Second lieutenant 
  • Rear admiral
  • Chief petty officer 
  • Major general
  • Lieutenant colonel
  • Chief warrant officer
  • Brigadier general
  • Vice admiral

You can also use the word to describe an appointed or elected individual in a government or a corporation.

The common abbreviation to describe people who hold offices of authority and have the mandate to run governments and corporations is also Off. However, because the word officer is part of a larger title, an acronym may negate the need for an abbreviation. 

For example: 

He is the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the company.

In an instance like this, the word officer does not need to be abbreviated as Off.  

You may use the word to describe a member of the police force. In this context, you may also find secondary, popular abbreviations for the word, including Ofr. and Offr.

For example: 

Offr. Williams responded to the 911 call.

Lastly, you may come across the abbreviation for officer in reference to a licensed mate or master chief in charge of a ship. In this context, the popular abbreviations are Off. or Offr. 

For example: 

The ship’s master, Off. Carlos Santiago, gave the order to evacuate.

Rules for Abbreviating the Word

  1. Use the abbreviation only where applicable. Do not use the abbreviation for officer on a person without the appropriate rank.
  2. Use the abbreviation before the person’s name and not after. Using the abbreviation after the name should be reserved for academic and professional titles. Officer is an honorary title, so it goes first.
  3. Before you use the abbreviation, introduce the full word and put the abbreviation in parentheses. This should be done at the beginning of the text, so that the reader is familiar with the abbreviated form throughout the text.
  4. When dealing with an audience that might not be familiar with abbreviations, do not use them. Instead, write the word officer in its full form for clarity. For example, first lieutenant being abbreviated as 1st lt may not be a standard abbreviation for an international audience. In such instances, use the full title. 

Additional Abbreviations for the U.S. Army

Pay GradeTitleAbbreviation
E-2Private 2PV2
E-3Private First ClassPFC
E-6Staff SergeantSSG
E-7Sergeant First ClassSFC
E-8Master SergeantMSG
E-8First Sergeant1SG
E-9Sergeant MajorSGM
E-9Command Sergeant MajorCSM
E-9 SpecialSergeant Major of the ArmySMA
W-1Warrant OfficerWO1
W-2Chief Warrant Officer 2CW2
W-3Chief Warrant Officer 3CW3
W-4Chief Warrant Officer 4CW4
W-5Chief Warrant Officer 5CW5
O-1Second Lieutenant2LT
O-2First Lieutenant1LT
O-5Lieutenant ColonelLTC
O-7Brigadier GeneralBG
O-8Major GeneralMG
O-9Lieutenant GeneralLTG
SpecialGeneral of the ArmyGA

Additional Abbreviations for the United States Air Force

Pay GradeTitleAbbreviation
E-1Airman BasicAB
E-3Airman First ClassA1C
E-4Senior Airman or SergeantSrA
E-5Staff SergeantSSgt
E-6Technical SergeantTSgt
E-7Master SergeantMSgt
E-8Senior Master SergeantSMSgt
E-8Senior Master SergeantSMSgt
E-9Chief Master SergeantCMSgt
E-9Command Chief Master SergeantCCM
E-9 SpecialChief Master Sergeant of the Air ForceCMSAF
O-1Second Lieutenant2d Lt
O-2First Lieutenant1st Lt
O-5Lieutenant ColonelLt Col
O-7Brigadier GeneralBrig Gen
O-8Major GeneralMaj Gen
O-9Lieutenant GeneralLt Gen
O-10General Air Force Chief of StaffGen
SpecialGeneral of the Air ForceGOAF

Additional Abbreviations for the U.S. Navy / Coast Guard

Pay GradeTitleAbbreviation
E-1Seaman RecruitSR
E-2Seaman ApprenticeSA
E-4Petty Officer 3rd ClassPO3
E-5Petty Officer 2nd ClassPO2
E-6Petty Officer 1st ClassPO1
E-7Chief Petty OfficerCPO
E-8Senior Chief Petty OfficerSCPO
E-9Master Chief Petty OfficerMCPO
E-9Command Master Chief Petty OfficerMCPOC
E-9Fleet Master Chief Petty OfficerFLTCM
E-9Force Master Chief Petty OfficerFORCM
E-9 SpecialMaster Chief Petty Officer of the Coast GuardMPCOCG
E-9 SpecialMaster Chief Petty Officer of the NavyMCPON
W-1Warrant OfficerWO1
W-2Chief Warrant Officer 2CWO2
W-3Chief Warrant Officer 3CWO3
W-4Chief Warrant Officer 4CWO4
W-5Chief Warrant Officer 5CWO5
O-2Lieutenant, Junior GradeLTJG
O-4Lieutenant CommanderLCDR
O-7Rear Admiral (lower half)RDML
O-8Rear Admiral (upper half)RADM
O-9Vice AdmiralVADM
O-10Admiral Chief of Naval Operations /Commandant of the Coast GuardADM
O-10 SpecialFleet AdmiralFADM

Additional Abbreviations for the U.S. Marine Corps

Pay GradeTitleAbbreviation
E-2Private First ClassPFC
E-3Lance CorporalLCpl
E-6Staff SergeantSSgt
E-7Gunnery SergeantGySgt
E-8Master SergeantMSgt
E-8First Sergeant1stSgt
E-9Master Gunnery SergeantMGySgt
E-9Sergeant MajorSgtMaj
E-9 SpecialSergeant Major of the Marine CorpsSgtMajMarCor
W-1Warrant Officer 1WO1
W-2Chief Warrant Officer 2CW2
W-3Chief Warrant Officer 3CW3
W-4Chief Warrant Officer 4CW4
W-5Chief Warrant Officer 5CW5
O-1Second Lieutenant2ndLt
O-2First Lieutenant1stLt
O-5Lieutenant ColonelLtCol
O-7Brigadier GeneralBGen
O-8Major GeneralMajGen
O-9Lieutenant GeneralLtGen

Examples of the Word and Abbreviations in Context

We got a call from New York dispatch, and Offr. Cruz and I responded to it. We learned that there had been a call for asst., but the bldg. appeared to be vacant.

Tom Hanks played the first officer in the movie Captain Phillips, depicting 1st Ofc. Capt. Phillips.

Off. Rodgers runs a tight ship. 

“Ousted Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg left the company with stock options and other assets worth about $80 million, but did not receive severance as part of his departure from the embattled company, Boeing disclosed late Friday.”
—CNN Business

“Miami Beach Police are investigating the scene of a police involved shooting that sent one officer to the hospital and left one suspect dead Saturday night.”
—NBC News

“U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Steve Strohmaier urged people to stay away from rocks and jetties, as a rogue wave could take someone out to sea.”
—Oregon Public Broadcasting