- government by many bureaus, administrators, and petty officials.
- the body of officials and administrators, especially of a government or government department.
- excessive multiplication of, and concentration of power in, administrative bureaus or administrators.
- administration characterized by excessive red tape and routine.
Origin of bureaucracy
Related Words for bureaucracymanagement, ministry, administration, authority, government, directorate, officialdom, beadledom
Examples from the Web for bureaucracy
Contemporary Examples of bureaucracy
Depressing is really what Cuba has become—repression, bureaucracy, and crippling poverty.The Five Best Books on Cuba
William O’Connor, Malcolm Jones
December 17, 2014
In other words, what was once a matter of law, however imperfect, is now a matter of bureaucracy.Homophobia in Russia Is Taking a Kafkaesque Turn
June 9, 2014
Only in bureaucracy or horror movies do people get in trouble for compelling acts of kindness.Government Has Made America Inept
Philip K. Howard
May 4, 2014
When the mission becomes murky, and operations slow, bureaucracy creeps in to fill the gaps.How I’ll End the War: My First Week Back in Afghanistan
May 1, 2014
The ICAO, a bureaucracy with 191 members, is neither of those things.It’s Scandalous to Keep Using Black Boxes in Airplanes Like MH370
April 23, 2014
Historical Examples of bureaucracy
It is but fair to say that venality is not one of the characteristics of the German bureaucracy.England and Germany
Emile Joseph Dillon
You are from that hour regarded as one of the younger children of Bureaucracy.A Day's Ride
Charles James Lever
When this is understood, the nightmare of the bureaucracy of Socialism vanishes.
Even if the bureaucracy were omniscient, such a condition of life would be intolerable.
To live under a bureaucracy and not to see that it was funny!Gossamer
George A. Birmingham
- a system of administration based upon organization into bureaus, division of labour, a hierarchy of authority, etc: designed to dispose of a large body of work in a routine manner
- government by such a system
- government or other officials collectively
- any administration in which action is impeded by unnecessary official procedures and red tape
1818, from French bureaucratie, coined by French economist Jean Claude Marie Vincent de Gournay (1712-1759) on model of democratie, aristocratie, from bureau "office," literally "desk" (see bureau) + Greek suffix -kratia denoting "power of" (see -cracy).
That vast net-work of administrative tyranny ... that system of bureaucracy, which leaves no free agent in all France, except for the man at Paris who pulls the wires. [J.S. Mill, "Westminster Review" XXVIII, 1837]
bureaucrat, &c. The formation is so barbarous that all attempt at self-respect in pronunciation may perhaps as well be abandoned. [Fowler]
A formal, hierarchical organization with many levels in which tasks, responsibilities, and authority are delegated among individuals, offices, or departments, held together by a central administration. According to many sociologists and anthropologists, the development of bureaucratic organizations is necessary for the emergence of any modern civilization. (See Max Weber.)