bureaucrat

noun
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

Businessmen, not bureaucrats, will create the job opportunities voters seek. Sadanand Dhume, WSJ, "Modi’s Party Crashes to Defeat, Casting Doubt on His Re-Election," 13 Dec. 2018 Members of Mueller's team keep habits similar to any Washington bureaucrat, albeit with a far more secretive to-do list. Evan Perez, CNN, "Hot Pockets, mismatched chairs and a critical mission: Inside year one of the Mueller investigation," 17 May 2018 Some analysts hark nostalgically to a time when the RBI was led by former bureaucrats versed in the art of compromising with politicians rather than by professional economists. Sadanand Dhume, WSJ, "A $2.6 Trillion Economy Depends on a Credible Central Bank," 1 Nov. 2018 But what started out as incompetence or negligence, turned into something more serious, as bureaucrats repeatedly downplayed and dismissed the concerns of Flint residents. Molly Rauch, Good Housekeeping, "When Your Water Poisons Your Children," 16 Feb. 2016 As American businesses scour their communities for talent during an historic worker shortage, taxpayers seem to be paying to maintain the world’s largest reserve force of bureaucrats. James Freeman, WSJ, "The 380,000," 8 Jan. 2019 They were accused bribing a state bureaucrat into giving the university government subsidies in exchange for admitting his son and subsequently indicted. Jennie Neufeld, Vox, "Vox Sentences: An all-out brawl," 8 Aug. 2018 No one should expect otherwise, but the dedication of high-level government bureaucrats is not the issue. George Melloan, WSJ, "‘The Fifth Risk’ Review: Managing the Unmanageable," 1 Oct. 2018 And meanwhile, former CIA Director Brennan also freaking out tonight feeling the heat, actually called on government bureaucrats to defy the president's orders. Fox News, "Women who know Kavanaugh rush to his defense," 18 Sep. 2018

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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Statistics for bureaucrat

Last Updated

24 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for bureaucrat

The first known use of bureaucrat was in 1832

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More Definitions for bureaucrat

bureaucrat

noun

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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