Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English


English definition of “red tape”

red tape

noun [U]     disapproving
official rules and processes that seem unnecessary and cause delays : cut/cut through/reduce red tape He promised to reform and cut red tape . bureaucratic / excessive / government red tape
(Definition of red tape noun from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
Focus on the pronunciation of red tape

Browse related topics

You are looking at an entry to do with Rules & laws, but you might be interested in these topics from the Law and the police topic area:

Definitions of “red tape” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day


a good knowledge of something, or the fact that you know it so well

Word of the Day


Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More