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BUREAU. A French word, which literally means a large writing table. It is used figuratively for the place where business is transacted: it has been borrowed by us, and used in nearly the same sense; as, the bureau of the secretary of state. Vide Merl. Repert. h. t.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in classic literature ?
The ambitious man of genius grows old in obtaining his triple crown; he does not follow in the steps of Sixtus the Fifth merely to become head of a bureau. No one comes or stays in the government offices but idlers, incapables, or fools.
"I've moved the bureau and I've taken out the drawers and I've looked in every crack and cranny" was Marilla's positive answer.
I remember now that when I took off my shawl Monday afternoon I laid it on the bureau for a minute.
Some minutes elapsed -minutes that seemed hours -- before she found the right key and raised the lid of the bureau. At last she drew out the inner drawer!
Keeping fast hold of Magdalen's arm with one hand, he took the letter from her with the other, put it back into the open drawer, and locked the bureau. She never struggled with him, she never spoke.
The veteran (breathing very hard over it) steadied himself on both elbows against the slanting top of the bureau, and from that commanding position addressed Magdalen once more.
Come and be locked up!" He slowly recovered an upright position, with the assistance of his hands, backed by the solid resisting power of the bureau; and lapsed into lachrymose soliloquy.
She rose, and tried to take the candle from the bureau, but old Mazey's cunning hand was too quick for her.
"Tell me, Professor Coram," he said, at last, "what is in that cupboard in the bureau?"
She came with the intention of possessing herself of certain documents which were in your bureau. She had a key of her own.
The banker's dressing-room was a plainly furnished little chamber, with a grey carpet, a large bureau, and a long mirror.
So indignant were the packers that they went farther, and compelled the mayor to abolish the whole bureau of inspection; so that since then there has not been even a pretense of any interference with the graft.