\ \ [17] Etymologically, bureau seems to mean ‘red’. Its ultimate source is probably Greek purrhósred’, a derivative of purfire’ (as in English pyre and pyrotechnic), which is related to English fire. This was borrowed into Latin as burrus, which developed into Old French buredark brown’. This seems to have formed the basis of a derivative burel, later bureau, meaning ‘dark brown cloth’. This cloth was used for covering the writing surface of desks, and so eventually bureau came to mean ‘writing desk’ itself. Offices being the natural habitat of writing desks, bureau was later applied to them too. The derivative bureaucracy is 19th-century, of French origin.

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.


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  • bureau — [ byro ] n. m. • 1495; 1316 « tapis de table »; burel XIIe « bure »; p. ê. de bure I ♦ 1 ♦ Table sur laquelle on écrit, on travaille. Spécialt Meuble à tiroirs et à tablettes où l on peut enfermer des papiers, de l argent. ⇒ secrétaire. Bureau d… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • bureau — 1. (bu rô) s. m. 1°   Grosse étoffe de laine. •   Mais qui n étant vêtu que de simple bureau Passait l été sans linge et l hiver sans manteau, BOILEAU Sat. I. 2°   Bureau, tapis qu on mettait sur une table, et de là la table même (voy. bureau 2) …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • Bureau — may refer to: *Office **Public office **Government agency **News bureau *Desk *Chest of drawers *The Bureau, English New Wave soul group *Bureau County, Illinois * Le Bureau , a French television series. * The Bureau, a British soul group formed… …   Wikipedia

  • Bureau — Жанры Электропоп Годы 2005 2006 Страна …   Википедия

  • Bureau — Bu reau, n.; pl. E. {Bureaus}, F. {Bureaux}. [F. bureau a writing table, desk, office, OF., drugget, with which a writing table was often covered, equiv. to F. bure, and fr. OF. buire dark brown, the stuff being named from its color, fr. L.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Bureau — ist: (französisch) deutsch: Pult, Büro, Amt, Anwaltsbüro, Kontor der Familienname einer französischen Beamtendynastie, siehe Bureau (Familie) Bureau ist außerdem der Familienname weiterer Personen: Louis Édouard Bureau (1830–1918), französischer… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • bureau — [byoor′ō] n. pl. bureaus or bureaux [byoor′ōz] [Fr, writing table or desk, office < OFr burel, coarse cloth (as table cover) < VL * bura < LL burra, wool, shaggy garment] 1. a writing table or desk, with drawers for papers ☆ 2. a chest… …   English World dictionary

  • bureau — 1690s, from Fr. bureau office, desk, originally cloth covering for a desk, from burel coarse woolen cloth (as a cover for writing desks), O.Fr. dim. of bure dark brown cloth, which is perhaps either from L. burrus red, or from L.L. burra wool,… …   Etymology dictionary

  • bureau — [n1] branch of an organization agency, authority, board, commission, committee, department, division, front office*, office, salt mines*, service, setup, shop, store; concepts 325,441,449 bureau [n2] chest of drawers chiffonier, commode, desk,… …   New thesaurus

  • bureau — ► NOUN (pl. bureaux or bureaus) 1) Brit. a writing desk with drawers and an angled top opening downwards to form a writing surface. 2) N. Amer. a chest of drawers. 3) an office for transacting particular business: a news bureau. 4) a government… …   English terms dictionary

  • Bureau [1] — Bureau (fr., spr. Büroh), 1) eine Gerichtsstube u. zwar der Theil derselben, welcher durch die Schranken von den Parteien abgesondert ist u. wo sich die Registratur befindet; 2) daher die Locale aller öffentlichen Behörden, so: Post B., Zoll B.… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

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