• According to this: "excessive bureaucratic rigmarole," 1736, in allusion to the red tape formerly used in Great Britain (and the Amer. colonies) for binding up legal and other official documents."
  • In the 17th and 18th century, the English typically bound legal documents and official papers with red tape. To this day most barristers' briefs are tied in a pink coloured ribbon known as red tape. Traditionally, official Vatican documents were also bound in red cloth tape. As such documents were the machinery on which bureaucracy runs...

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