SINCE1828
bureaucrat noun
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bu·​reau·​crat | \ ˈbyu̇r-ə-ˌkrat
, ˈbyər- \
Definition of bureaucrat
: a member of a bureaucracy
government bureaucrats
Synonyms
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Synonyms for bureaucrat
Synonyms
civil servant, functionary, mandarin, public servant
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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 numbers revealed a tight race between Eric Adams, the Brooklyn borough president, and Kathryn Garcia, the longtime city bureaucrat.
— Eric Lach, The New Yorker, 2 July 2021
Big Brother style, talking to a room full of scientist/​bureaucrat​/NGO-looking types.
— George Calhoun, Forbes, 25 June 2021
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.
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First Known Use ofbureaucrat
1832, in the meaning definedabove
History and Etymology for bureaucrat
borrowed from French bureaucrate, after bureaucratie — more at BUREAUCRACY, -CRAT
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Time Traveler for bureaucrat
The first known use of bureaucrat was in 1832
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Dictionary Entries Near bureaucrat
bureaucracy
bureaucrat
bureaucratese
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Statistics for bureaucrat
Last Updated
8 Jul 2021
Look-up Popularity
Top 4% of words
Cite this Entry
“Bureaucrat.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bureaucrat. Accessed 27 Jul. 2021.
Style: MLA
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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
See the full definition for bureaucrat in the English Language Learners Dictionary
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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