paper

noun
pa·​per | \ ˈpā-pər \

Definition of paper

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a(1) : a felted sheet of usually vegetable fibers laid down on a fine screen from a water suspension
(2) : a similar sheet of other material (such as plastic)
b : a piece of paper
2a : a piece of paper containing a written or printed statement : document pedigree papers
b : a piece of paper containing writing or print
c : a formal written composition often designed for publication and often intended to be read aloud presented a scholarly paper at the meeting
d : a piece of written schoolwork
3 : a paper container or wrapper
4 : newspaper
5 : the negotiable notes or instruments of commerce
7 : tickets especially : free passes
8 : paperback
on paper
1 : in writing wants these promises on paper
2 : in theory the plan looks good on paper
3 : figured at face value on paper the stock was worth nearly a million dollars

paper

verb
papered; papering\ ˈpā-​p(ə-​)riŋ \

Definition of paper (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1 archaic : to put down or describe in writing
2 : to fold or enclose in paper
3 : to cover or line with paper especially : to apply wallpaper to
4 : to fill by giving out free passes paper the theater for opening night
5 : to cover (an area) with advertising bills, circulars, or posters

intransitive verb

: to hang wallpaper

paper

adjective

Definition of paper (Entry 3 of 3)

1a : made of paper, cardboard, or papier-mâché a paper bag
b : papery
2 : of or relating to clerical work or written communication
3 : existing only in theory : nominal a paper blockade
4 : admitted by free passes a paper audience
5 : finished with a crisp smooth surface similar to that of paper paper taffeta

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from paper

Verb

paperer \ ˈpā-​pər-​ər \ noun

Synonyms for paper

Synonyms: Noun

blank, document, form

Synonyms: Adjective

formal, nominal, titular

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of paper in a Sentence

Noun

We'll need pens, glue, and some paper. Be sure to print the letter on good paper. He scribbled the number on a scrap of paper. a crumpled piece of paper The border guards asked to see my papers. They published a landmark paper in 1995. The teacher was busy grading papers. She did well on her history paper.

Adjective

Their accounts showed lots of paper profits, but they went bankrupt anyway. there's a paper boycott of that company's products that nobody seems to be honoring
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

This article was updated on January 11, 2019 with comment from paper author Cherry Ng. John Wenz, Popular Mechanics, "Repeating Radio Signals Are a Deep Space Mystery and Astronomers Just Found a Second One," 9 Jan. 2019 Butter a 9-inch cake pan and line bottom and sides with parchment paper. Gabriella Gershenson, WSJ, "The Greatest New Year’s Menus on the Planet (at Least We Think So)," 26 Dec. 2018 Line two 8-inch round cake tins with parchment paper. Margaux Laskey, The Seattle Times, "Wrap up one of these sweet cookbooks for the home bakers in your life," 11 Dec. 2018 Lightly grease an 8- by 4-inch loaf pan and line with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two sides. Taylor Murray, Country Living, "Gingerbread Pear Loaf," 7 Dec. 2018 Preheat oven to 325 and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. ELLE Decor, "This Holiday Party Is Anything But Traditional—And We're Obsessed," 30 Nov. 2018 Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Slice into 1/8-inch-thick rounds and place on prepared sheets. The Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen, Good Housekeeping, "Lemon Thyme Coin Cookies," 30 Nov. 2018 And so the totems were born of the group’s desire to step away from the paper-swatch paint store paradigm. Asad Syrkett, Curbed, "Can Farrow & Ball’s new LA showroom change what people think of paint stores?," 30 Nov. 2018 Place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and bake for 30–40 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbly. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "What’s on the Menu at the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Awards Dinner? Chicken Pot Pie, of Course," 6 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Her dark, erotic, sometimes violent pastels, hung in scroll-like strips papering the booth, are an excellent introduction to this painter, who has also illustrated the work of the Norwegian uber-writer Karl Ove Knausgaard. Martha Schwendener, New York Times, "30 Must-See Artists at the Armory Show," 8 Mar. 2018 Brush a few more coats of decoupage medium over papered table to seal surface. Womansday.com Staff, Woman's Day, "7 New Ways to Decorate With Wallpaper," 26 Mar. 2010 Activist are now papering White House advisor Steven Miller's neighborhood in DC with wanted posters bearing Miller's image. Fox News, "Mike Huckabee: Peter Fonda ought to be in jail," 27 June 2018 Blankenship has claimed in court papers his primary residents in a massive six-bedroom, eight-bath Spanish style mansion near Las Vegas. Dino Grandoni, Washington Post, "The Energy 202: House Republicans divided on whether to turn up the heat on Scott Pruitt," 26 Apr. 2018 Nobody is mourning Starbucks here, but papered-over windows aren’t exactly cause for celebration. Nestor Ramos, BostonGlobe.com, "Weep not for Starbucks. But in the North End, what comes next?," 12 July 2018 And across the complex, there were instances of unmanned security posts, poor record-keeping, papered-over security cameras, rodent infestation, water leaks, sagging floors and expired fire extinguishers. New York Times, "New York State May Move to Close Rikers Ahead of City’s 10-Year Timeline," 14 Feb. 2018 The court papers Ramos authored, other records and interviews suggest an intelligent but isolated man who was willing to pursue a vendetta for years. Ian Duncan, baltimoresun.com, "Capital Gazette shooting suspect's anger flared, and fell silent. Then, police say, it exploded," 8 July 2018 The court papers Ramos wrote, other records and interviews suggest an intelligent but isolated man who was willing to pursue a vendetta for years. Anchorage Daily News, "Maryland newspaper shooting suspect’s anger flared, and fell silent. Then it exploded, police say," 8 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'paper.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of paper

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

Verb

1594, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Adjective

1549, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for paper

Noun

Middle English papir, from Anglo-French, from Latin papyrus papyrus, paper, from Greek papyros papyrus

Keep scrolling for more

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for paper

paper

noun

English Language Learners Definition of paper

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: the material that is used in the form of thin sheets for writing or printing on, wrapping things, etc.

: a sheet of paper with information written or printed on it

papers : official documents that give information about something or that are used as proof of something

paper

verb

English Language Learners Definition of paper (Entry 2 of 3)

: to cover (something, such as a wall) with paper

paper

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of paper (Entry 3 of 3)

: made of paper

: of or relating to paper

: existing or shown on paper or in documents but not real

paper

noun
pa·​per | \ ˈpā-pər \

Kids Definition of paper

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : a material made from fibers (as of wood or cloth) and in the form of thin sheets or a sheet or piece of such material Fold the paper in half.
2 : a piece of paper having something written or printed on it : document
3 : newspaper
4 : a piece of written schoolwork
5 : wallpaper

paper

adjective

Kids Definition of paper (Entry 2 of 3)

: made of paper paper plates

paper

verb
papered; papering

Kids Definition of paper (Entry 3 of 3)

: to cover with wallpaper paper a room

paper

noun
pa·​per

Legal Definition of paper

1 : a piece of paper containing a written statement: as
a : a formal written composition or document often intended for publication the Federalist papers
b : a document containing a statement of legal status, identity, authority, or ownership often used in pl. whether applying to one or more items naturalization papers this policy, including the endorsements and the attached papersMutual of Omaha
c : a document (as an answer, motion, or brief) prepared in furtherance of a legal action any paper after the complaint that is required to be served…must be filed within a reasonable time after serviceFederal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 5(d)
2 : a document providing evidence of a financial obligation especially : commercial paper in this entry
accommodation paper
: commercial paper used by one party to accommodate another party
bearer paper
: commercial paper that is freely negotiable by the holder and is made payable to bearer — compare order paper in this entry
chattel paper
: paper that sets out both a buyer's obligation to repay and a lender's or a seller's security interest in the goods bought or that contains the provisions of a lease of the goods
commercial paper
: a usually negotiable instrument (as a note, draft, or certificate of deposit) arising out of a commercial transaction specifically : any of the instruments constituting the obligations of a business organization that are sold as investments
order paper
: commercial paper that is payable to order — compare bearer paper in this entry
on paper
: figured at face value

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on paper

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with paper

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for paper

Spanish Central: Translation of paper

Nglish: Translation of paper for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of paper for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about paper

Comments on paper

What made you want to look up paper? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to gather or build up little by little

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!