red tape



  • noun official paperwork which takes a long time to complete


  • The bureaucratic inconvenience one must suffer (forms to be filled out and approved, etc.) in order to get action by an organization. Most often, the action is just permission to do something, and the organization is an agency of government. When the action is importing, red tape becomes a nontariff barrier.

Information & Library Science

  • noun official rules and regulations which seem to have no obvious value


  • noun a red ribbon used to tie up a pile of legal documents
  • noun unhelpful rules which slow down administrative work