red-tape

red tape

noun
excessive formality and routine required before official action can be taken.

Origin:
1730–40; after the red tape used to tie official documents

redtapism, noun
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World English Dictionary
red tape
 
n
obstructive official routine or procedure; time-consuming bureaucracy
 
[C18: from the red tape used to bind official government documents]

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

red tape
"excessive bureaucratic rigmarole," 1736, in allusion to the red tape formerly used in Great Britain (and the Amer. colonies) for binding up legal and other official documents.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

red tape definition


Bureaucratic procedures that delay progress: “Paula had hoped to settle the inheritance quickly but got caught up in a lot of red tape.”

red tape definition


Administrative procedures, especially in a bureaucracy, that are marked by complexity and delay: “Red tape delayed his passport.”

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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