BUREAU (a Fr. word from burel or bureau, a coarse cloth used for coverings), a writing-table or desk (q.v.), also in America a low chest of drawers. From the meaning of "desk," the word is applied to an office or place of business, and particularly a government department; in the United States the term is used of certain subdivisions of the executive departments, as the bureau of statistics, a division of the treasury department. The term "bureaucracy" is often employed to signify the concentration of administrative power in bureaux or departments, and the undue interference by officials not only in the details of government, but in matters outside the scope of state interference. The word is also frequently used in the sense of "red-tapism."
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)