The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Bureau \Bu"reau\, n.; pl. E. Bureaus, F. Bureaux. [F. bureau
a writing table, desk, office, OF., drugget, with which a
writing table was often covered, equiv. to F. bure, and fr.
OF. buire dark brown, the stuff being named from its color,
fr. L. burrus red, fr. Gr. ? flame-colored, prob. fr. ? fire.
See Fire, n., and cf. Borel, n.]
1. Originally, a desk or writing table with drawers for
2. The place where such a bureau is used; an office where
business requiring writing is transacted.
3. Hence: A department of public business requiring a force
of clerks; the body of officials in a department who labor
under the direction of a chief.
Note: On the continent of Europe, the highest departments, in
most countries, have the name of bureaux; as, the
Bureau of the Minister of Foreign Affairs. In England
and America, the term is confined to inferior and
subordinate departments; as, the "Pension Bureau," a
subdepartment of the Department of the Interior. [Obs.]
In Spanish, bureo denotes a court of justice for the
trial of persons belonging to the king's household.
4. A chest of drawers for clothes, especially when made as an
ornamental piece of furniture. [U.S.]
Bureau system. See Bureaucracy.
Bureau Veritas, an institution, in the interest of maritime
underwriters, for the survey and rating of vessels all
over the world. It was founded in Belgium in 1828, removed
to Paris in 1830, and re["e]stablished in Brussels in