“bureaucracy: (deriv. Fr., office + Gk., rule) Originally a semi-ironic term analogous to democracy or aristocracy, originating in 18th-century France for officials given titles of nobility. Under Napoleon (1804-1815) the country was run by units of centralized administration known as bureau. The term now describes the rule of a body of high officials or the caste of officials itself, usually with connotations of lack of initiative and too strict an adherence to rigid rules.”
Excerpted from: Cook, Chris. Dictionary of Historical Terms. New York: Gramercy, 1998.