Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Administration of a government chiefly through bureaus or departments staffed with nonelected officials.
  • noun The departments and their officials as a group.
  • noun Management or administration marked by hierarchical authority among numerous offices and by fixed procedures.
  • noun The administrative structure of a large or complex organization.
  • noun An administrative system in which the need or inclination to follow rigid or complex procedures impedes effective action.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Government by bureaus; specifically, excessive multiplication of, and concentration of power in, administrative bureaus.
  • noun The body of officials administering such bureaus, considered collectively.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A system of carrying on the business of government by means of departments or bureaus, each under the control of a chief, in contradiction to a system in which the officers of government have an associated authority and responsibility; also, government conducted on this system.
  • noun Government officials, collectively; -- used especially of nonelected government officials.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Structure and regulations in place to control activity. Usually in large organizations and government operations.

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

  • noun nonelective government officials
  • noun a government that is administered primarily by bureaus that are staffed with nonelective officials
  • noun any organization in which action is obstructed by insistence on unnecessary procedures and red tape

Etymologies

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

[French bureaucratie : bureau, office; see bureau + -cratie, rule (from Old French; see –cracy).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

bureau +‎ -cracy, from French bureaucratie, coined by Jean Claude Marie Vincent de Gournay (died 1759) from bureau ("office") + -cratie ("rule of")

Examples

  • ‡ Today, the term bureaucracy suggests a lack of initiative, excessive adherence to rules and routine, red tape, inefficiency, or, even more serious, an impersonal force dominating the lives of individuals.

    bureaucracy

  • Political scientists have coined the term "bureaucracy bashing" to connote the temptation now rife among national politicians to beat up on the civil service for reasons that have nothing to do with reality.

    The Full Feed from HuffingtonPost.com

  • The opprobrious connotation of the term bureaucracy

    Mises Dailies

  • Indeed, SOME suggest the creation of the bureaucracy is the actual OBJECTIVE.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » House Democratic Leaders Drop “Deem and Pass”

  • Eric Cantor said he fears this EPA action will lead to what he call bureaucracy run amok.

    CNN Transcript Dec 7, 2009

  • At the moment I don't think this conclusion entails the usual host of anti-democratic arguments made regarding the legal system since the bureaucracy is at bottom a creature of the executive and the legislature.

    Balkinization

  • At the moment I don't think this conclusion entails the usual host of anti-democratic arguments made regarding the legal system since the bureaucracy is at bottom a creature of the executive and the legislature.

    Balkinization

  • At the moment I don't think this conclusion entails the usual host of anti-democratic arguments made regarding the legal system since the bureaucracy is at bottom a creature of the executive and the legislature.

    Balkinization

  • At the moment I don't think this conclusion entails the usual host of anti-democratic arguments made regarding the legal system since the bureaucracy is at bottom a creature of the executive and the legislature.

    Balkinization

  • At the moment I don't think this conclusion entails the usual host of anti-democratic arguments made regarding the legal system since the bureaucracy is at bottom a creature of the executive and the legislature.

    Balkinization

Comments

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  • "Bureaucracy is a giant mechanism operated by pygmies." - Honore de Balzac

    July 30, 2008

  • What

    December 3, 2012