|—n , pl -reaus, -reaux|
|1.||chiefly (Brit) a writing desk with pigeonholes, drawers, etc, against which the writing surface can be closed when not in use|
|2.||(US) a chest of drawers|
|3.||an office or agency, esp one providing services for the public|
|4.||a. a government department|
|b. a branch of a government department|
|[C17: from French: desk, office, originally: type of cloth used for covering desks and tables, from Old French burel, from Late Latin burra shaggy cloth]|
in the United States, a chest of drawers; in Europe a writing desk, usually with a hinged writing flap that rests at a sloping angle when closed and, when opened, reveals a tier of pigeonholes, small drawers, and sometimes a small cupboard. The bureau (French: "office") first appeared in France at the beginning of the 17th century as just a flat table with drawers below the top, the bureau plat. By Louis XIV's reign, a kneehole type was in use, with a tier of drawers on each side and a single drawer in the centre above a space for the knees.
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