• (British) IPA: /bjʊəˈɹɒkɹəsi/
  • (America) IPA: /bjʊˈɹɑːkɹəsi/


  1. Government by bureaus or their administrators or officers.
  2. (business, organizational theory) A system of administration based upon organisation into bureaus, division of labour, a hierarchy of authority, etc., designed to dispose of a large body of work in a routine manner.
    At that time the administration replaced the system of patronage in the civil service with a bureaucracy.
  3. The body of officers and administrators, especially of a government.
    The bureaucracy is expanding to meet the needs of the expanding bureaucracy. (apocryphal quip)
  4. Any administration, body, or behaviour characterised by excessive red tape and routine.
    The head of the civil service promised to clamp down on bureaucracy.
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