bu·​reau·​crat·​ese | \ ˌbyu̇r-ə-(ˌ)kra-ˈtēz How to pronounce bureaucratese (audio) , -ˈtēs, ˌbyər- \

Definition of bureaucratese

: a style of language held to be characteristic of bureaucrats and marked by abstractions, jargon, euphemisms, and circumlocutions

Examples of bureaucratese in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The most striking aspect of Putin’s failure to accept responsibility for the Kursk disaster was his retreat into bureaucratese. Masha Gessen, The New Yorker, 18 Mar. 2020 Viewers in the late Soviet era had become accustomed to a heavy lexicon of bureaucratese and boosterism that verged on the absurd. Joshua Yaffa, The New Yorker, 9 Dec. 2019 As reporter Alfonso Chardy noted at the time, the facility’s mental health treatment center—known in placid bureaucratese as the Krome Transitional Unit (KTU)—had never before been shown to the media. Ken Silverstein, The New Republic, 19 Aug. 2019 In that sense, the beige tone of Mr. Mueller’s report — that desiccating bureaucratese denying the events their juice and soundbite-ability — is something of a radical act in this day and age. James Poniewozik, New York Times, 25 June 2019 Graff, a magazine journalist, delights in describing these hideaways (whose existence was first revealed in the 1990s) and the plans for using them; as a result, his narrative sometimes gets bogged down in elaborate, acronym-laden bureaucratese. Justin Vogt, New York Times, 16 June 2017

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

First Known Use of bureaucratese

1942, in the meaning defined above

Learn More About bureaucratese

Time Traveler for bureaucratese

Time Traveler

The first known use of bureaucratese was in 1942

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near bureaucratese




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for bureaucratese

Cite this Entry

“Bureaucratese.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bureaucratese. Accessed 26 Sep. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on bureaucratese

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bureaucratese


Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Words You Should Know

  • hedgehog reading a book
  • Often used to describe “the march of time,” what does inexorable mean?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!