What is the word which describes the absence of formless, of long procedure with bureaucrats? I was thinking about formsless but it sounds weird...

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    Free-form, or ad-hoc seem to capture some of the idea.
    – user814064
    Commented Aug 26, 2013 at 2:22
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    This isn't really appropriate but for the extreme you could use anarchy.
    – Amory
    Commented Aug 26, 2013 at 2:26
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    @amory: It's very odd that bureaucracy is a negative term, and at the same time bureaucracy's antonyms often have a negative connotation as well.
    – user814064
    Commented Aug 26, 2013 at 2:28
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    That... is an excellent observation. Perhaps most implementations of government are unsatisfactory? Reminds me of the Churchill quote: "*...democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried..."
    – Amory
    Commented Aug 26, 2013 at 2:58
  • Ordered, well run, well regulated, structured; orderly, efficient, neat, tidy, methodical, organized.
    – Max
    Commented Aug 26, 2013 at 8:06

7 Answers 7


How about streamlined:

streamline, v.: to improve a business, organization, process, etc. by making it more modern or simple


Freedonia streamlined its archaic visa application bureaucracy, replacing it with a three-question online form.

  • Is freedom and flexibility the opposite of bureaucracy? If you think deeply not following a law/rule/convention is also a law/rule/convention.
    – user116212
    Commented Jul 8, 2021 at 6:51

There isn't a single antonym for "bureaucratic", because "bureaucratic" encompasses a number of ideas, although I think streamlined or possibly efficient is perhaps the closest to what you want in your case.

Other examples that you might want, depending on what aspect of the word "bureaucratic" you are contrasting include:

easy, simple, transparent, efficient, flexible, fast, direct, bespoke, personalized, streamlined, ill-defined, unprepared, undefined, undocumented, unaccountable and elected.


Absence of red tape or cutting the red tape could be used:

"excessive bureaucratic rigmarole," 1736, in reference to the red tape formerly used in Great Britain (and the American colonies) for binding up legal and other official documents, mentioned from 1690s.

From Wikipedia:

Red tape is commonly accepted to be a barrier to business, particularly small business. In Canada, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business has done extensive research into the impact of red tape on small businesses.

The European Commission has a competition that offers an award for the "Best Idea for Red Tape Reduction". The competition is "aimed at identifying innovative suggestions for reducing unnecessary bureaucracy stemming from European law".[6] In 2008, the European Commission held a conference entitled 'Cutting Red Tape for Europe'. The goal of the conference was "reducing red tape and overbearing bureaucracy," in order to help "business people and entrepreneurs improve competitiveness".[7]


Non-bureaucratic seems to me to be the obvious term to describe the absence of bureaucracy, but it may not be appropriate in all contexts depending exactly how you intend to use it.


Perhaps laissez-faire

a philosophy or practice characterized by a usually deliberate abstention from direction or interference especially with individual freedom of choice and action



Yeah, I believe 'freedom' is the best answer to your question.

From Merriam-Webster:

1 : the quality or state of being free: such as

a : the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action
b : liberation from slavery or restraint or from the power of another : INDEPENDENCE
c : the quality or state of being exempt or released usually from something onerous, freedom from care


Adhocracy, or in a positive business context, bureau-adhocracy.

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    This answer would be better if you explained what these terms mean. I would guess they are not generally used.
    – user3169
    Commented Jul 4, 2015 at 1:35
  • @user3169 Adhocracy is a flexible, adaptable and informal form of organization that is defined by a lack of formal structure that employs specialized multidisciplinary teams grouped by functions. It operates in an opposite fashion to a bureaucracy. - wiki.
    – user116212
    Commented Jul 8, 2021 at 6:47

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