Definition of red tape
: official routine or procedure marked by excessive complexity which results in delay or inaction
Examples of red tape in a Sentence
You would not believe the red tape involved in getting the required permits.
Origin and Etymology of red tape
from the red tape formerly used to bind legal documents in England
First Known Use: 1736See Words from the same year
RED TAPE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of red tape for English Language Learners
: a series of actions or complicated tasks that seem unnecessary but that a government or organization requires you to do in order to get or do something
RED TAPE Defined for Kids
Definition of red tape for Students
: rules and regulations that seem unnecessary and prevent things from being done quickly and easily governmental red tape
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up red tape? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).