noun, plural bu·reaus, bu·reaux [byoo r-ohz] /ˈbyʊər oʊz/.

  1. a chest of drawers, often with a mirror at the top.
  2. a division of a government department or an independent administrative unit.
  3. an office for collecting or distributing news or information, coordinating work, or performing specified services; agency: a travel bureau; a news bureau.
  4. Chiefly British. a desk or writing table with drawers for papers.

noun plural -reaus or -reaux (-rəʊz)

  1. mainly British 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
    1. a government department
    2. a branch of a government department

1690s, “desk with drawers, writing desk,” from French bureau “office; desk, writing table,” originally “cloth covering for a desk,” from burel “coarse woolen cloth” (as a cover for writing desks), Old French diminutive of bure “dark brown cloth,” which is perhaps either from Latin burrus “red,” or from Late Latin burra “wool, shaggy garment.” Offices being full of such desks, the meaning expanded 1720 to “division of a government.” Meaning “chest of drawers” is from 1770, said to be American English but early in British use.

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