1825, "person in ragged clothing," from duds (q.v.). Sense extended by 1897 to "counterfeit thing," and 1908 to "useless, inefficient person or thing." This led naturally in World War I to "shell which fails to explode," and thence to "expensive failure."
boys' knife-throwing game, 1650s, originally mumble-the-peg (1620s), of unknown signification and origin. The usual story is that it is so called because "The last player to complete the series is compelled to draw out of the ground with his teeth a peg which the others have driven in with a certain number of blows with the handle of the knife" [Century Dictionary]; see mumble (v.) in the original sense "eat in a slow, inefficient manner."
"government by bureaus," especially "tyrannical officialdom," excessive multiplication of administrative bureaus and concentration of power in them, in reference to their tendency to interfere in private matters and be inefficient and inflexible, 1818, from French bureaucratie, coined by French economist Jean Claude Marie Vincent de Gournay (1712-1759) on model of democratie, aristocratie, from bureau "office," literally "desk" (see bureau) + Greek suffix -kratia denoting "power of" (see -cracy).
That vast net-work of administrative tyranny ... that system of bureaucracy, which leaves no free agent in all France, except for the man at Paris who pulls the wires. [J.S. Mill, Westminster Review vol. xxviii, 1837]
bureaucrat, &c. The formation is so barbarous that all attempt at self-respect in pronunciation may perhaps as well be abandoned. [Fowler]