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 papers. Swift.
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.
☞ 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
reëstablished in Brussels in 1870.