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Unable to overcome bureaucratic rules, as in Brad couldn't get a permit without going through channels—you can't fight City Hall! This term transfers the seat of city government to a more general sense of bureaucracy in any sphere. [ Mid-1800s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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