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

The free market disciplines industry leaders more quickly and justly than politicians or government bureaucrats can. Jessica Melugin, Fortune, "Why Recent Antitrust Regulation Isn’t Really About Consumer Protection," 16 July 2019 There are a few glorious sequences in which Mike and the other Leningrad rockers seize their moment, using their music to stick it to the Man, defy the bureaucrats and blow their audiences’ minds. Justin Chang, chicagotribune.com, "‘Leto’ review: From Russia, a love letter to ’80s rock 'n' roll," 3 July 2019 Its bureaucrats are also keen on other barriers to trade, from obscure rules on packaging to prohibitive red-tape on the import of dairy products. The Economist, "India presents America with a choice between geopolitics and trade," 29 June 2019 Taking over many functions would be your friendly neighborhood bureaucrat. Kimberley A. Strassel, WSJ, "Grim Lizzie," 27 June 2019 There are a few glorious sequences in which Mike and the other Leningrad rockers seize their moment, using their music to stick it to the Man, defy the bureaucrats and blow their audiences’ minds. Justin Chang, latimes.com, "Review: ‘Leto’ is a vibrant portrait of Leningrad’s underground ’80s rock scene," 19 June 2019 The latter group includes professional politicians, entrenched bureaucrats, condescending academics, corporate phonies, and propagandistic journalists. Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, "Why Are the Western Middle Classes So Angry?," 13 June 2019 The latter group includes professional politicians, entrenched bureaucrats, condescending academics, corporate phonies and propagandistic journalists. Victor Davis Hanson, The Mercury News, "Hanson: Why are Western middle classes revolting against the elites?," 13 June 2019 The disaster and the government's handling of it — the evacuation order only came 36 hours after the accident — highlighted the shortcomings of the Soviet system with its unaccountable bureaucrats and entrenched culture of secrecy. NBC News, "HBO miniseries success drives Chernobyl tourism boom," 6 June 2019

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

11 Aug 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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