14

What does "Red tape" refer to?

1
  • I liked the other answers as well, why did the authors delete them?
    – Wadih M.
    Commented Sep 9, 2010 at 17:15

1 Answer 1

13

Definition: Official routine or procedure marked by excessive complexity which results in delay or inaction .

Example: You would not believe the red tape involved in getting the required permits.

Origin: From the red tape formerly used to bind legal documents in England

First Known Use: 1736

Source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary

2
  • I wonder if ribbon cutting (as in opening a building) is in reference to red tape...
    – Dan
    Commented Sep 9, 2010 at 16:24
  • @burnt_hand: I can't imagine there being any kind of authoritative source on this, but I'd guess it's much more akin to cutting the ribbon on a gift package.
    – moioci
    Commented Sep 14, 2010 at 5:49

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.