from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A chest of drawers, especially a dresser for holding clothes.
  • n. Chiefly British A writing desk or writing table with drawers.
  • n. A government department or a subdivision of a department.
  • n. An office, usually of a large organization, that is responsible for a specific duty: a news bureau.
  • n. A business that offers information of a specified kind: a travel bureau.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Office.
  • n. Desk, usually with a cover and compartments for storing papers etc. located above the level of the writing surface rather than underneath.
  • n. Chest of drawers for clothes.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Originally, a desk or writing table with drawers for papers.
  • n. The place where such a bureau is used; an office where business requiring writing is transacted.
  • n. Hence: A department of public business requiring a force of clerks; the body of officials in a department who labor under the direction of a chief.
  • n. A chest of drawers for clothes, especially when made as an ornamental piece of furniture.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A desk or writing-table with drawers for papers; an escritoire.
  • n. A chest of drawers for holding clothes and other articles.
  • n. An office or place where business is transacted.
  • n. A department of government for the transaction of public business.
  • n. A division of the United States Department of Commerce and Labor, charged with a general superintendence of many matters connected with the merchant marine.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an administrative unit of government
  • n. furniture with drawers for keeping clothes


French, cloth cover for desks, desk, office, from Old French burel, woolen cloth, probably from Vulgar Latin *būra, from Late Latin burra, shaggy garment.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
French bureau ‘desk’, earlier ‘coarse cloth (as desk cover), baize’, from Old French burel ‘woolen cloth’, diminutive of *bure (cf. Middle French bure ‘coarse woolen cloth’, French bourre ‘hair, fluff’), from Late Latin burra ‘wool, fluff, shaggy cloth, coarse fabric’; akin to Ancient Greek berberion ‘shabby garment’. (Wiktionary)



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