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administrative +‎ -ia (Latin plural) – literally, “administrative matters”. Popularized 1960s in US education. Preceded by administrivia, which dates from the 1930s.


administrativia (plural administrativia)

  1. Administrivia.
    • “House Copyright Group Mulls Educators’ Pleas”, Billboard, Vol. 77, No. 24, 12 Jun 1965, p. 3
      An “ASCAP-type” clearing and licensing operation under the statute would involve too much “administrativia,” said Dr. [Harold E.] Wigren — coining a word the subcommittee immediately wanted to put into the public domain.

Usage notesEdit

This is the Latinate plural for administrative, found also in Spanish and Romanian, and is preferred in formal use, but the earlier more humorous and pejorative blend administrivia is much more commonly used. Even more common are more informal terms such as paperwork.

As a Latin plural, in formal usage used as a plural, as if it were “administrative tasks” – “administrativia take hours each day”. More common is to use it as a singular collective noun – “administrativia takes hours each day”. Compare to usage of other Latin plurals such as data.