bureaucrat

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

Definition of bureaucrat

: a member of a bureaucracy government bureaucrats

Keep scrolling for more

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

Opponents say that if enacted, the bill would interfere with the doctor-patient relationship and subject medical judgments to being overridden by faceless bureaucrats. Dan Walters, The Mercury News, "Walters: Newsom comment links California vaccination, abortion debate," 5 June 2019 Textualism holds that judges should enforce the literal text of a statute and rule against evolving interpretations — for example, by unelected bureaucrats who craft regulations. Joel Achenbach, chicagotribune.com, "A look at the list helping Trump reshape the Supreme Court," 8 July 2018 Protesters are targeting pretty much every government office, bureaucrat, political party, and armed group in the city that wields any power and influence. Jennifer Williams, Vox, "The violent protests in Iraq, explained," 8 Sep. 2018 Taliban bureaucrats collect taxes and electric bills, and their judges hear civil and criminal cases — some traveling by motorbike between hearings. James Hohmann, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: Under Trump, Americans are becoming more supportive of immigration," 22 June 2018 Abe has insisted he was not involved in either case and has suggested that bureaucrats may have acted independently. Motoko Rich, BostonGlobe.com, "As Abe meets Trump, scandals at home growing dangerous," 16 Apr. 2018 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

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about bureaucrat

Statistics for bureaucrat

Last Updated

16 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for bureaucrat

The first known use of bureaucrat was in 1832

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on bureaucrat

What made you want to look up bureaucrat? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

showing great care, attention, and effort

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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