/byoor"oh/, n., pl. bureaus, bureaux /byoor"ohz/.
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 Brit. a desk or writing table with drawers for papers.
[1710-20; < F: desk, office, orig. a kind of cloth (used to cover desks, etc.), AF, OF burel, equiv. to bur- (prob. < *bura, var. of LL burra wool, fluff; cf. BOURRÉE) + -el n. suffix]

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(as used in expressions)
Communist Information Bureau
Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms Bureau of
Freedmen's Bureau

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      in the United States, a chest of drawers; in Europe a writing desk, usually with a hinged writing flap that rests at a sloping angle when closed and, when opened, reveals a tier of pigeonholes, small drawers, and sometimes a small cupboard. The bureau (French: “office”) first appeared in France at the beginning of the 17th century as just a flat table with drawers below the top, the bureau plat. By Louis XIV's reign, a kneehole type was in use, with a tier of drawers on each side and a single drawer in the centre above a space for the knees.

      In England the bureau did not appear until after the end of Charles II's reign, and even then the term was ill defined. As late as 1803 Thomas Sheraton (Sheraton, Thomas) stated, in The Cabinet Dictionary, that it had “generally been applied to common desks with drawers under them, such as are made very frequently in country towns.” In the early 18th century one form of bureau consisted of a bank of drawers below a sloping writing flap, the whole piece resting on cabriole legs. Many bureaus of this period and earlier were surmounted by a bookcase with one or two doors, which were sometimes glazed. The Dutch were quick to copy this idea, and thus the bureau-bookcase, often fitted with an ingenious combination of drawers and compartments, spread to other parts of Europe.

      About 1730, under the influence of Palladian (Palladianism) architecture, the central compartment of the large bureau-bookcase was designed to project, while compartments at the sides formed wings. In The Gentleman and Cabinetmaker's Director (1754), Thomas Chippendale illustrated bureau-bookcases with Rococo and chinoiserie (Chinese-style) decoration, the upper portions glazed within ornate framing.

      Two forms of bureau were used specifically in bedrooms. One was combined with a highboy (a tall chest of drawers with a legged base), one of the drawers pulling out and the front lowering to serve as a writing surface. The other, a bureau-dressing table, was surmounted by a mirror. See also secretary.

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Universalium. 2010.


Look at other dictionaries:

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  • bureau — 1. (bu rô) s. m. 1°   Grosse étoffe de laine. •   Mais qui n étant vêtu que de simple bureau Passait l été sans linge et l hiver sans manteau, BOILEAU Sat. I. 2°   Bureau, tapis qu on mettait sur une table, et de là la table même (voy. bureau 2) …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • Bureau — may refer to: *Office **Public office **Government agency **News bureau *Desk *Chest of drawers *The Bureau, English New Wave soul group *Bureau County, Illinois * Le Bureau , a French television series. * The Bureau, a British soul group formed… …   Wikipedia

  • Bureau — Жанры Электропоп Годы 2005 2006 Страна …   Википедия

  • 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.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Bureau — ist: (französisch) deutsch: Pult, Büro, Amt, Anwaltsbüro, Kontor der Familienname einer französischen Beamtendynastie, siehe Bureau (Familie) Bureau ist außerdem der Familienname weiterer Personen: Louis Édouard Bureau (1830–1918), französischer… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • bureau — [byoor′ō] n. pl. bureaus or bureaux [byoor′ōz] [Fr, writing table or desk, office < OFr burel, coarse cloth (as table cover) < VL * bura < LL burra, wool, shaggy garment] 1. a writing table or desk, with drawers for papers ☆ 2. a chest… …   English World dictionary

  • bureau — 1690s, from Fr. bureau office, desk, originally cloth covering for a desk, from burel coarse woolen cloth (as a cover for writing desks), O.Fr. dim. of bure dark brown cloth, which is perhaps either from L. burrus red, or from L.L. burra wool,… …   Etymology dictionary

  • bureau — [n1] branch of an organization agency, authority, board, commission, committee, department, division, front office*, office, salt mines*, service, setup, shop, store; concepts 325,441,449 bureau [n2] chest of drawers chiffonier, commode, desk,… …   New thesaurus

  • bureau — ► NOUN (pl. bureaux or bureaus) 1) Brit. a writing desk with drawers and an angled top opening downwards to form a writing surface. 2) N. Amer. a chest of drawers. 3) an office for transacting particular business: a news bureau. 4) a government… …   English terms dictionary

  • Bureau [1] — Bureau (fr., spr. Büroh), 1) eine Gerichtsstube u. zwar der Theil derselben, welcher durch die Schranken von den Parteien abgesondert ist u. wo sich die Registratur befindet; 2) daher die Locale aller öffentlichen Behörden, so: Post B., Zoll B.… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

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