noun, plural bureaus, bureaux [byoor-ohz] .
a chest of drawers, often with a mirror at the top.
a division of a government department or an independent administrative unit.
an office for collecting or distributing news or information, coordinating work, or performing specified services; agency: a travel bureau; a news bureau.
Chiefly British. a desk or writing table with drawers for papers.

1710–20; < French: desk, office, originally a kind of cloth (used to cover desks, etc.), Anglo-French, Old French burel, equivalent to bur- (probably < *būra, variant of Late Latin burra wool, fluff; compare bourrée) + -el noun suffix

subbureau, noun, plural subbureaus, subbureaux.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
bureau (ˈbjʊərəʊ)
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]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

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, shaggy garment." Offices being full of such desks,
the meaning expanded 1720 to "division of a government."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica


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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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
The report says the company addressed the complaints when approached by the
Give a copy of the complaint to your city's public health bureau.
The law firm was turned down flat by the government's trademark bureau.
And this is possible only if there is a regulatory bureau with the legal power
  to regulate.
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