n. pl. bu·reauc·ra·cies
a. Administration of a government chiefly through bureaus or departments staffed with nonelected officials.
b. The departments and their officials as a group: promised to reorganize the federal bureaucracy.
a. Management or administration marked by hierarchical authority among numerous offices and by fixed procedures: The new department head did not know much about bureaucracy.
b. The administrative structure of a large or complex organization: a midlevel manager in a corporate bureaucracy.
3. An administrative system in which the need or inclination to follow rigid or complex procedures impedes effective action: innovative ideas that get bogged down in red tape and bureaucracy.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.