bureaucrat

noun
bu·​reau·​crat | \ ˈbyu̇r-ə-ˌkrat, 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 extent of the state's independence from federal bureaucrats is even more relevant during Donald Trump's presidency. Dino Grandoni, Washington Post, "The Energy 202: Supreme Court to rehear moose-hunting case with wider implications for Alaska," 19 June 2018 The late 1980s and early 1990s were full of alarms from trade officials and experts about how Japanese bureaucrats were plotting to control the world. Peter Landers, WSJ, "The Old U.S. Trade War With Japan Looms Over Today’s Dispute With China," 13 Dec. 2018 The president should under no circumstance fire this beleaguered bureaucrat. Fox News, "Sen. Graham: Allegations against Kavanaugh are collapsing," 24 Sep. 2018 At first, the Russian Chess Federation, or RCF, supported Ilyumzhinov with some reservations, but now RCF has dropped him like a hot potato and is putting forward career Russian bureaucrat Arkady Dvorkovich. Chris Chase, BostonGlobe.com, "Chess notes," 7 July 2018 If the bureaucrats get their way, the co-op would have to hire a director with a background in childhood education or development, apply and pay for a license, obtain permits and abide by all other day-care regulations. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "The Play-Date Police," 16 Nov. 2018 The bureaucrat and the former head of the school have been charged with bribery. Mari Yamaguchi, The Seattle Times, "Japan med school to admit dozens of unfairly rejected women," 7 Nov. 2018 Now, the two long term time bureaucrats were once referred to as brothers and arms. Fox News, "Giuliani: Mueller does not have a legitimate investigation," 31 July 2018 The hard-Brexit crowd, who long to tell the bureaucrats of Brussels to get stuffed, admire Mr Trump’s no-nonsense approach to the rest of the world. The Economist, "Donald Trump lays into Britain’s Brexit plan," 13 July 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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Last Updated

14 Jan 2019

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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

: 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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