Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > Red Tape.

 Red SnowRed Tape. 
E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Red Tape.
Official formality; so called because lawyers and government officials tie their papers together with red tape. Charles Dickens introduced the phrase.   1
        “There is a good deal of red tape at Scotland Yard, as anyone may find to his cost who has any business to transact there.”—W. Terrell: Lady Delmar, bk. iii. 2.

 Red SnowRed Tape. 

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