bu·​reau·​crat | \ ˈbyu̇r-ə-ˌkrat How to pronounce bureaucrat (audio) , ˈbyər- \

Definition of bureaucrat

: a member of a bureaucracy government bureaucrats

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Did You Know?

In French, a bureau is a desk, so bureaucracy means basically "government by people at desks". Despite the bad-mouthing they often get, partly because they usually have to stick so close to the rules, bureaucrats do almost all the day-to-day work that keeps a government running. The idea of a bureaucracy is to split up the complicated task of governing a large country into smaller jobs that can be handled by specialists. Bureaucratic government is nothing new; the Roman empire had an enormous and complex bureaucracy, with the bureaucrats at lower levels reporting to bureaucrats above them, and so on up to the emperor himself.

Examples of bureaucrat in a Sentence

the bureaucrats at the town hall seem to think that we need a building permit to build a tree house
Recent Examples on the Web During captivity in Algiers he was also made a senior bureaucrat, advising and representing the interests of the ruler of 18th-century Algiers. Brett Goodin, The Conversation, "Americans are renouncing U.S. citizenship in record numbers – but maybe not for the reasons you think," 9 Sep. 2020 In May 1998, at the beginning of the hot Indian summer, Mr. Jasraj was invited to sing at an outdoor gathering at the home of a senior bureaucrat in Delhi. Shalini Venugopal Bhagat, New York Times, "Pandit Jasraj, Master Indian Vocalist, Is Dead at 90," 25 Aug. 2020 His long tenure as a healthcare bureaucrat should come to an end. Andrew Mark Miller, Washington Examiner, "Rep. Biggs: It's time for Fauci and Birx to 'exit left stage'," 8 Aug. 2020 Navin Kumar Choudhary, a senior bureaucrat from eastern Bihar state, was the first high-profile outsider to get residency on June 26. The Christian Science Monitor, "What India's new residency law means for Kashmiris," 4 Aug. 2020 Gotabaya, who was also crucial to the war victory as the top defense bureaucrat under his older brother, has served with less presidential power. Krishan Francis, Star Tribune, "Rajapaksa brothers to get strong support in Sri Lanka polls," 3 Aug. 2020 One thing that really stuck with me, hearing these stories from the history of epidemiology, was that so many of them involve a disbelieving bureaucrat. Gregory Barber, Wired, "A Mathematician’s Guide to How Contagion Spreads," 7 July 2020 Again using a mockumentary approach, the show stars Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope, a bureaucrat whose belief in local government didn’t just fire up her devotion to the Pawnee, Indiana parks department, but fueled her optimistic drive. oregonlive, "Missing your co-workers? 14 TV workplace comedies to watch while staying home," 2 July 2020 As a Washington bureaucrat, Dr. Bingham achieved a rare level of notoriety. Katharine Q. Seelye, BostonGlobe.com, "Eula Bingham, champion of worker safety," 25 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bureaucrat.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of bureaucrat

1832, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for bureaucrat

borrowed from French bureaucrate, after bureaucratie — more at bureaucracy, -crat

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Time Traveler for bureaucrat

Time Traveler

The first known use of bureaucrat was in 1832

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Statistics for bureaucrat

Last Updated

17 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Bureaucrat.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bureaucrat. Accessed 24 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for bureaucrat


How to pronounce bureaucrat (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of bureaucrat

often disapproving : a person who is one of the people who run a government or big company and who does everything according to the rules of that government or company : a person who is part of a bureaucracy

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