What does bureaucracy mean?

Definitions for bureaucracy
byʊˈrɒk rə sibu·reau·cra·cy

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word bureaucracy.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. bureaucracy, bureaucratismnoun

    nonelective government officials

  2. bureaucracynoun

    a government that is administered primarily by bureaus that are staffed with nonelective officials

  3. bureaucracynoun

    any organization in which action is obstructed by insistence on unnecessary procedures and red tape


  1. bureaucracynoun

    Structure and regulations in place to control activity. Usually in large organizations and government operations.

    Etymology: from bureaucratie, coined by Jean Claude Marie Vincent de Gournay (died 1759) from bureau + -cratie

Webster Dictionary

  1. Bureaucracynoun

    a system of carrying on the business of government by means of departments or bureaus, each under the control of a chief, in contradiction to a system in which the officers of government have an associated authority and responsibility; also, government conducted on this system

  2. Bureaucracynoun

    government officials, collectively


  1. Bureaucracy

    "Bureaucracy" is "a body of nonelective government officials" and/or "an administrative policy-making group." Historically, bureaucracy referred to government administration managed by departments staffed with nonelected officials. In modern parlance, bureaucracy refers to the administrative system governing any large institution. Since being coined, the word "bureaucracy" has developed negative connotations for some. Bureaucracies are criticized for their complexity, their inefficiency, and their inflexibility. The dehumanizing effects of excessive bureaucracy were a major theme in the work of Franz Kafka, and were central to his masterpiece The Trial. The elimination of unnecessary bureaucracy is a key concept in modern managerial theory, and has been a central issue in numerous political campaigns. Others have defended the existence of bureaucracies. The German sociologist Max Weber argued that bureaucracy constitutes the most efficient and rational way in which human activity can be organized, and that systematic processes and organized hierarchies were necessary to maintain order, maximize efficiency and eliminate favoritism. But even Weber saw bureaucracy as a threat to individual freedom, in which the increasing bureaucratization of human life traps individuals in the an "iron cage" of rule-based, rational control.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Bureaucracy

    būrō′kras-i, n. a system of government centralised in graded series of officials, responsible only to their chiefs, and controlling every detail of public and private life.—ns. Bureau′crat, Bureau′cratist, one who advocates government by bureaucracy.—adj. Bureaucrat′ic, relating to or having the nature of a bureaucracy.—adv. Bureaucrat′ically. [Bureau, and Gr. kratein, to govern.]

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British National Corpus

  1. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'bureaucracy' in Nouns Frequency: #2279

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  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of bureaucracy in Chaldean Numerology is: 5

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of bureaucracy in Pythagorean Numerology is: 1

Examples of bureaucracy in a Sentence

  1. Ahmed Bekhi:

    We are happy with government support, but sometimes there are delays in opening the valves. This is the kind of bureaucracy from local authorities we face.

  2. Mitt Romney:

    I’m with his domestic policy agenda that he has put in place so far -- lower taxes, lower regulation, lower bureaucracy.

  3. Joseph Schumpeter:

    Bureaucracy is not an obstacle to democracy but an inevitable complement to it.

  4. Russell Moore:

    In the past, candidates could quote from hymn books and talk about personal faith in a way that evangelicals would respond to. I don't think that's going to work anymore, they are looking for a candidate who understands religious liberty and who can lead a massive bureaucracy.

  5. Hollaine Hopkins:

    It will lead to increased red tape and bureaucracy, and could actually increase costs for the state’s taxpayers, our greatest concern is that patients will get caught in the middle and have reduced access to the medicines they need. It’s for these reasons that we are actively opposing this measure.

Images & Illustrations of bureaucracy

  1. bureaucracybureaucracybureaucracybureaucracybureaucracy

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Translations for bureaucracy

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    (music) a curved line spanning notes that are to be played legato
    • A. preponderance
    • B. volubility
    • C. slur
    • D. brashness

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