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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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 bureaucrat reiterated Turkey's position that the drone deliveries were made solely by a private Turkish company and did not constitute an official government sale. Paul Iddon, Forbes, 13 Apr. 2022 Word of the test's relatively sophisticated assessment capabilities spread from sheriff to politician to bureaucrat. Amanda Chicago Lewis, Wired, 15 Feb. 2022 The civilian administration has been converted into a military one, and Vasyl Brovchuk, formerly the top bureaucrat here, now wears fatigues. Washington Post, 10 Mar. 2022 In a series of events still mired in mystery, Lananna in 2015 got a one-on-one, private meeting with Lamine Diack, the elderly Senegalese bureaucrat who then headed track and field’s international governing body. oregonlive, 6 Mar. 2022 And despite all the paper trails and testimonies stacked against him, the Russian president continues his charade of being a dutiful bureaucrat with a simple, middle-class lifestyle. Mahnoor Khan, Fortune, 2 Mar. 2022 The operation is overseen by Harmony (Patricia Arquette), a stern bureaucrat who reports to an unseen Board, as well as gleeful purveyor of perks Milchick (Tramell Tillman) and more kindly wellness counselor Ms. Casey (Dichen Lachman). Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 16 Feb. 2022 The government signaled its stance on gig work with a viral two-minute video, where a local Beijing bureaucrat was shown working as a delivery driver, earning just 41 yuan ($6), enough to pay for a modest meal but not much else. Masha Borak, Wired, 14 Mar. 2022 Philip English imagines a stuffy British bureaucrat parking his posterior on that seat and arguing that humans could never have descended from apes. Mary Carole Mccauley, baltimoresun.com, 13 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

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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The first known use of bureaucrat was in 1832

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Last Updated

9 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Bureaucrat.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bureaucrat. Accessed 18 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on bureaucrat

Nglish: Translation of bureaucrat for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bureaucrat for Arabic Speakers


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