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Alternative forms[edit]


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



bureaucracy (countable and uncountable, plural bureaucracies)

  1. Government by bureaus or their administrators or officers.
  2. (business, organizational theory) A system of administration based upon organisation into bureaus, division of labour, a hierarchy of authority, etc., designed to dispose of a large body of work in a routine manner.
  3. The body of officers and administrators, especially of a government.
  4. Any administration, body, or behavior characterised by excessive red tape and routine.

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Further reading[edit]

  • "bureaucracy" in Raymond Williams, Keywords (revised), 1983, Fontana Press, page 49.