1. [late 17C+] the place one works; ‘His Office, any Man’s ordinary Haunt, or Plying-place, be it Tavern, Ale-house, Gaming-house’ (B.E.) [this use has been sustained into 20C+, found outside the SE business context in a wide range of occupations, from pimping to commercial flying, in all of which the speaker terms their place of work, whether the street or an aircraft cockpit, the office].
2. [early 18C–1960s] a toilet, a privy [abbr. house of office under house n.1 ].
3. [mid-18C+] a hint, a warning, a ‘tip-off’; usu. in phrs. get/take the office, give (someone) the office [SE office, a duty to another, a service, i.e. the lookout’s duty is to give a warning].
4. [19C+] information (with no inference of secrecy).
5. [mid-19C+] (UK/US prison) a signal.
1. to tip off, to give a warning.
2. [early 19C] (Aus.) to survey an individual, prior to allowing them admission .
3. to inform, to tell, with no inference of warning.
[mid-19C] (UK Und.) to give some form of sign, usu. a warning.
1. to make some form of sign.
2. [1900s] to betray a secret.
SE in slang uses
[1940s+] (US) a typewriter.
[mid–late 19C] one who enters and steals from an office or business; e.g. coats and/or umbrellas.