Results 1 to 5 of 5

Thread: red tape to do?

  1. Junior Member
    Student or Learner
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Greek
      • Home Country:
      • Greece
      • Current Location:
      • UK

    • Join Date: Feb 2009
    • Posts: 73

    red tape to do?

    Hello all,

    When someone says something like the following " There is much beurocracy and red tape to do" what does he mean?

    I know what beurocracy is...but what about "red tape" ?

    Many thanks in advance

  2. xpert's Avatar
    Senior Member
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Arabic
      • Home Country:
      • Saudi Arabia
      • Current Location:
      • Malaysia

    • Join Date: Feb 2006
    • Posts: 740

    Re: red tape to do?

    It means official rules that seem unnecessary and prevent things from being done quickly and easily. In other words, you can say routine

  3. Senior Member
    English Teacher
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Oct 2008
    • Posts: 907

    Re: red tape to do?

    Dear panosgr:

    'Red tape' is an expression used to mean the various bureaucratic hurdles one must jump to achieve one's goal.

    For example: 'I tried to get my student in to see the counselor, but there were so many forms to fill out and permissions to obtain, (this is the red tape), that by the time she was accepted into the program, the family had moved.'
    'We had wanted to start the building project before the rainy season began, but because our applications for the various required permits had to pass through so many hands before being approved (this is the red tape), we're going to have to wait another year.

    I have heard that the expression began long ago in England when various government documents were tied together with actual red (cloth) tape. Thus, people often say they'd like to 'cut through' the red tape.

    I hope this is helpful,


  4. Junior Member
    Student or Learner
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Greek
      • Home Country:
      • Greece
      • Current Location:
      • UK

    • Join Date: Feb 2009
    • Posts: 73

    Re: red tape to do?

    many thanks ))

  5. #5

    Post Re: red tape to do?

    Red tape:


    Rigid or mechanical adherence to bureaucratic rules and regulations especially those involving unnecessary paperwork.


    Legal and official documents have been bound with red tape since the 17th century and continue to be so.



    • Thought to allude to the former practice of binding government documents in red-coloured tape

    Idioms: red tape

    Official forms and procedures, especially those that are complex and time-consuming. For example, There's so much red tape involved in approving our remodeling that we're tempted to postpone it indefinitely. This expression alludes to the former British custom of tying up official documents with red ribbon. [Early 1800s]

    The origins of the term are somewhat obscure, but it is first noted in historical records in the 16th century, when Henry VIII besieged Pope Clement VII with around eighty or so petitions for the annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. A photo of the petitions from Cardinal Wolsey and others, now stored in the Vatican archives, can be seen on page 106 of "Saints and Sinners, a History of The Popes", by Eamon Duffy (published by Yale University Press in 1997). The pile of documents can be viewed in all their glory, rolled and stacked in original condition, each one sealed and bound with the obligatory red tape, as was the custom.


    "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.

    "Red tape," meaning rigid adherence to pointless bureaucratic regulations and procedures, comes from the old practice of tying bundles of legal papers with red cloth tape. This literal use of "red tape" began in England in the 17th century, but by the early 19th century "red tape" had become a common metaphor for delays caused by bureaucratic intransigence.
    I suppose we should all be used to red tape by now, but a few years ago, I survived the sort of red-tape experience that transforms mild-mannered columnists into raging lunatics. In my case I had the dubious honor of going up against perhaps the most diabolically senseless bureaucracy ever invented, the living embodiment of Franz Kafka's worst nightmares -- the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. I won't bore you with the details, but suffice it to say that after one full year of fruitlessly attempting to register an inoffensive little red car, I finally figured out why they make the counters so tall in government offices. It makes it remarkably difficult (although not absolutely impossible) to strangle the clerks who work there.
    Today's bureaucrats have, like my stubborn little friends at the DMV, found the computer to be a far more effective tool for driving their constituents to distraction than bundles of documents bound with red tape. But as long as there are rules, and blindly obedient clerks to follow them to the letter, we'll have no shortage of "red tape."
    Last edited by Red5; 26-Jan-2015 at 11:13. Reason: Fixed links issue

Similar Threads

  1. tape it or ...
    By jibou in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 10-Nov-2008, 23:20
  2. 1/4-in. tape
    By Bushwhacker in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 07-Oct-2008, 15:28
  3. video tape
    By peter123 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 22-Mar-2008, 01:18
  4. Severe problem with 'r'
    By veer_yodhaa in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: 03-Jun-2007, 10:13


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts