'cutting the red tape'

Posted by James Briggs on January 11, 2004

In Reply to: 'cutting the red tape' posted by Ward Fredericks on January 11, 2004

: The expression relates to getting around bureaucratic barriers to the realization of some objective. But why 'red tape' and how did this expression start -- was it originally a UK based expression or elsewhere in the English speaking world?

Red tape: A load of red tape is a way of describing something that is overfull of bureaucracy. Charles Dickens is believed to be the first person to have used this phrase. The red tape is the tape (in fact pink in colour) used to tie up bundles of official papers.