from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A material made of cellulose pulp, derived mainly from wood, rags, and certain grasses, processed into flexible sheets or rolls by deposit from an aqueous suspension, and used chiefly for writing, printing, drawing, wrapping, and covering walls.
  • n. A single sheet of this material.
  • n. One or more sheets of paper bearing writing or printing, especially:
  • n. A formal written composition intended to be published, presented, or read aloud; a scholarly essay or treatise.
  • n. A piece of written work for school; a report or theme.
  • n. An official document, especially one establishing the identity of the bearer. Often used in the plural.
  • n. A collection of letters, diaries, and other writings, especially by one person: the Madison papers.
  • n. Commercial documents that represent value and can be transferred from owner to owner; negotiable instruments considered as a group: "billions more invested in American stocks, bonds, certificates of deposit, and other paper” ( Christian Science Monitor).
  • n. A newspaper.
  • n. Wallpaper.
  • n. A wrapper made of paper, often with its contents: a paper of pins.
  • n. Slang A free pass to a theater.
  • n. Slang The audience admitted with free passes.
  • transitive v. To cover, wrap, or line with paper.
  • transitive v. To cover with wallpaper.
  • transitive v. To supply with paper.
  • transitive v. Slang To issue free passes for (a theater, for example).
  • transitive v. To construct (something) in haste and with little forethought: papered together a new coalition of political convenience.
  • adj. Made of paper.
  • adj. Resembling paper, as in thinness or flimsiness.
  • adj. Of or relating to clerical work: paper duties.
  • adj. Existing only in printed or written form: paper profits; a paper corporation.
  • adj. Planned but not realized; theoretical.
  • paper over To put or keep out of sight; conceal: paper over a deficit with accounting gimmicks.
  • paper over To downplay or gloss over (differences, for example), especially in order to maintain a nominal, apparent, or temporary unity.
  • idiom in paper With a paperback binding; as a paperback.
  • idiom on paper In writing or print.
  • idiom on paper In theory, as opposed to actual performance or fact: It is a good team on paper, but its members play poorly together.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A sheet material used for writing on or printing on (or as a non-waterproof container), usually made by draining cellulose fibres from a suspension in water.
  • n. A newspaper or anything used as such (such as a newsletter or listing magazine).
  • n. Wallpaper.
  • n. Wrapping paper.
  • n. A written document, generally shorter than a book (white paper, term paper), in particular one written for the Government.
  • n. A written document that reports scientific or academic research and is usually subjected to peer review before publication in a scientific journal or in the proceedings of a scientific or academic meeting (such as a conference, a workshop or a symposium).
  • n. money.
  • n. A university course.
  • adj. Made of paper.
  • adj. Insubstantial.
  • v. To apply paper to.
  • v. To document; to memorialize.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Of or pertaining to paper; made of paper; resembling paper.
  • adj. Existing only on paper; unsubstantial
  • n. A substance in the form of thin sheets or leaves intended to be written or printed on, or to be used in wrapping. It is made of rags, straw, bark, wood, or other fibrous material, which is first reduced to pulp, then molded, pressed, and dried.
  • n. A sheet, leaf, or piece of such substance.
  • n. A printed or written instrument; a document, essay, or the like; a writing.
  • n. A printed sheet appearing periodically; a newspaper; a journal.
  • n. Negotiable evidences of indebtedness; notes; bills of exchange, and the like.
  • n. Decorated hangings or coverings for walls, made of paper. See Paper hangings, below.
  • n. A paper containing (usually) a definite quantity
  • n. A medicinal preparation spread upon paper, intended for external application.
  • n. Documents establishing a person's identity, or status, or attesting to some right, such as the right to drive a vehicle.
  • transitive v. To cover or line with paper, especially with wallpaper; to furnish with paper hangings; to wallpaper.
  • transitive v. To fold or inclose in paper.
  • transitive v. To put on paper; to make a memorandum of.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A material consisting of a compacted web felting of vegetable fibers, commonly in the form of a thin, flexible sheet: used in writing, for printing, and for various other purposes.
  • n. A piece, leaf, or sheet of this material.
  • n. Any written or printed document or instrument, as a note, receipt, bill, invoice, bond, memorial, deed, etc.: specifically, in the plural letters, notes, memoranda, etc.: as, the private papers of Washington.
  • n. A printed sheet of news; a newspaper; a journal.
  • n. An essay or article; a dissertation on a special topic.
  • n. Negotiable evidences of indebtedness, such as promissory notes, bills of exchange, etc.: used collectively: as, commercial paper; negotiable paper.
  • n. The written or printed questions, collectively, set for an examination.
  • n. Hangings of paper, printed, stamped, or plain; paper for covering the walls of interiors. See paper-hangings and wall-paper.
  • n. Free passes of admission to a place of entertainment; also, the persons admitted by such passes: as, the house was filled with paper.
  • n. A very thin, soft paper, of a faint yellowish or brownish tint, prepared from the bark of the bamboo. It is much used for fine impressions from wood-engravings, and occasionally for proofs from steel-plate engravings, etc.
  • n. In photography, any paper that has not a glossy surface, such as that of albuminized paper.
  • Made of paper; consisting of paper, in any sense: as, a paper box; paper currency.
  • Appearing merely in certain written or printed statements, and not existing in reality or in tangible form: as, a paper army.
  • To line or cover with paper, or apply paper to in any way; also, to cover with paper-hangings.
  • To fold or inclose in paper.
  • In book-binding, to paste the end-papers and fly-leaves at the beginning and end of (a volume), before fitting it in its covers.
  • To treat in any way by means of paper; perform any operation on, such as some kinds of polishing, in which paper enters as a material or medium; sandpaper, or smooth by means of sandpaper.
  • To fill, as a theater or other place of amusement, with all audience mostly admitted by paper—that is, by free passes; fill with non-paying spectators: as, the house was papered nightly during his engagement.
  • To register; note or set down on paper.
  • n. A sheet or piece of paper used to wrap up and carry small articles: as, a paper of nuts, a paper of soap.
  • n. A folded paper with needles or pins stuck through it in rows: as, a paper of pins, a paper of needles.
  • n. Sometimes applied to papier-mâché and other manufactured articles which are made with paper-pulp.
  • n. plural Credentials.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a business firm that publishes newspapers
  • n. a daily or weekly publication on folded sheets; contains news and articles and advertisements
  • n. an essay (especially one written as an assignment)
  • n. the physical object that is the product of a newspaper publisher
  • v. cover with paper
  • v. cover with wallpaper
  • n. a material made of cellulose pulp derived mainly from wood or rags or certain grasses
  • n. a medium for written communication
  • n. a scholarly article describing the results of observations or stating hypotheses


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English, from Old French papier, from Latin papȳrus, papyrus plant, papyrus paper, from Greek papūros.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Anglo-Norman paper, from Old French papier, from Latin papyrus, from Ancient Greek πάπυρος (papyros).


  • And I'm still damn stressed cuz in 2 weeks 'time will be our science practical mid-year paper, and in 1 month's time will be our mid-year paper… damn…

    babycartercl Diary Entry

  • An artifact kind identified by a common description or concept can include several subtypes or species; for example, there are different paper clip types for which their authors (that is, their inventors) obtained separate patents; these fall under the more general artifact kind ˜paper clip™.


  • The sensitive paper may be readily prepared, the only requisite quality in the _paper_ itself being its ability to stand washing.

    Scientific American Supplement, No. 514, November 7, 1885

  • The volume is chiefly printed on paper _made from straw_; the appendix is on _paper made from wood alone_.

    Notes and Queries, Number 34, June 22, 1850 A Medium of Inter-communication for Literary Men, Artists, Antiquaries, Genealogists, etc

  • We have all had occasion to write on our hand, either because no paper was available or because we knew we'd probably forget the bit of ­paper along with the thing we'd written on it

    The Guardian World News

  • Hanging on paper, and yet weighed down by leavy burdens* Trade necefijury to Enable us to fuppbrt an enox - motts debt; and yet that debt, together with an excefs of paper* money, working continually towards the dcftruAion of trade. —

    The Monthly Review

  • •ale, 250 on Targe paper, and 1750 on small paper*

    Literary Anecdotes of the Eighteenth Century: Comprising Biographical Memoirs of William Bowyer ...

  • It was wrapped in snowman wrapping paper inside her old brown bag that she bought her bathing suit in last summer, stuffed with Victoria Secret’s pink and white tissue paper…

    goldylockz22 Diary Entry

  • “In point of _direct_ sensibility, the chrysotype paper is certainly inferior to the calotype; but it is one of the most remarkable peculiarities of gold as a photographic ingredient, that _extremely feeble impressions once made by light go on afterwards, darkening spontaneously and very slowly, apparently without limit so long as the least vestige of unreduced chloride of gold remains in the paper_.

    Photographic Reproduction Processes

  • Late that night, Annie sat at her computer, trying to bring to a close her term paper on the true authorship of the works attributed to William Shakespeare.

    Red Knife


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  • I just noticed this definition from the Century: "In book-binding, to paste the end-papers and fly-leaves at the beginning and end of (a volume), before fitting it in its covers."

    July 25, 2018

  • I have a list called tree-free paper alternatives.

    July 25, 2018

  • Does anybody have a list about paper and/or papermaking yet?

    July 25, 2018

  • "Another common trade item was paper, invented during the second century BCE, and surely a far greater contributor to human history than silk, which was used primarily for garments. Paper moved out of China via these overland routes first into the Islamic world in the eighth century, and then to Europe via its Islamic portals in Sicily and Spain. People north of the Alps made their own paper only in the late fourteenth century."

    --Valerie Hansen, The Silk Road: A New History (Oxford and New York: Oxford UP, 2012), 5-6

    "... paper was first used as a wrapping material and not for writing. ... Not until four centuries later, in the second century CE, did paper come into widespread use as writing material in China. It took even longer for paper to replace wood and bamboo as the most common writing material along the Silk Road. Because paper was always expensive, people wrote on other materials like leather and tree bark. The documents at Xuanquan consist mostly of wooden slips tied together to form bunches (much like a placemat made from Popsicle sticks).

    "... The scribes at Xuanquan distinguished among different types of wood: they reserved higher-quality pine for the imperial edicts and used poplar and tamarisk, which warped easily, for routine documents and correspondence."

    ditto, p. 15

    December 30, 2016

  • -page


    October 19, 2010

  • Wow. That's cool, a.

    August 10, 2010

  • It's true. My kids and I tried it. I could not believe it was true until I tried it myself.

    May 7, 2008

  • No piece of square dry paper can be folded more than 7 times in half.

    May 7, 2008