paper

noun
pa·​per | \ ˈpā-pər How to pronounce paper (audio) \

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 How to pronounce papering (audio) \

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 How to pronounce paperer (audio) \ 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

That would have pegged Neumann’s current 22% stake in the unprofitable business at $14 billion, at least on paper, catapulting him into the ranks of the world’s 150 richest people. Sophie Alexander, Fortune, "As WeWork’s IPO Uncertainty Grows, Its Founder’s Projected Net Worth Shrinks," 11 Sep. 2019 The new paper is the eighth edition of Hazelden Betty Ford's Emerging Drug Trends report, designed to provide frontline treatment and research perspectives on America's No. Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, chicagotribune.com, "Report: Marijuana commercialization not a solution to opioid crisis," 9 Sep. 2019 Maybelline New York has partnered with New York Fashion Week since 2009 — an impressive 10 years on paper, and basically 100 years in industry terms. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "Maybelline New York Is Launching Two New Products Backstage at Fashion Week," 6 Sep. 2019 Moreover, according to Restore Our Communities' 2016 report on probation revocation in Wisconsin, staying on paper and out of prison is an accomplishment in itself. Talis Shelbourne, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Unlock the Vote campaign seeks to restore ex-offenders' voting rights," 5 Sep. 2019 The result is that there is more water promised on paper than flows annually in the river, by over one million acre-feet. Lucas Isakowitz, Time, "How to Save the Colorado River from Climate Change and Chronic Overuse," 3 Sep. 2019 The new paper is an attempt to remedy the situation. James Gorman, New York Times, "Humans Dominated Earth Earlier Than Previously Thought," 29 Aug. 2019 White Republican lawmakers — over black Democrats’ objections — passed the monuments bill, and that lady who insists she’s different now put her ink on the paper. al, "We didn’t need blackface to know who Kay Ivey is. She already showed us," 29 Aug. 2019 The court fight ended in favor of Israel, and the papers have been arriving in groups at the National Library, located at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. John Wilkens, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Kafka journey not over for local scholar," 27 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The walls are papered with prayers and more letters, more faces and names of dead women and girls, and so are the glass doors. Rosa Lyster, The New Yorker, "The Death of Uyinene Mrwetyana and the Rise of South Africa’s #AmINext Movement," 12 Sep. 2019 Within days, layoff notices started papering Brevard County. al.com, "The hard-charging space program: Breakthroughs, breakdowns and breakneck," 27 June 2019 Within days, layoff notices started papering Brevard County. al.com, "The hard-charging space program: Breakthroughs, breakdowns and breakneck," 27 June 2019 The Death of Elvis Bathroom is papered with stories of the King’s demise. Los Angeles Times, "At the Museum of Death, every day is like a Charles Manson anniversary," 10 Aug. 2019 Within days, layoff notices started papering Brevard County. al.com, "The hard-charging space program: Breakthroughs, breakdowns and breakneck," 27 June 2019 The store, within the Wantz Building located at 25 East Main, had a unique feature: the walls were papered with cigar labels neatly and artistically arranged. David Buie, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Yesteryears: Carroll County was once a hub for tobacco farms, ‘factories’," 26 July 2019 Within days, layoff notices started papering Brevard County. al.com, "The hard-charging space program: Breakthroughs, breakdowns and breakneck," 27 June 2019 Within days, layoff notices started papering Brevard County. Karen Heller, Washington Post, "The hard-charging space program: Breakthroughs, breakdowns and breakneck," 18 June 2019

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
: 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 How to pronounce paper (audio) \

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

authorized for issue (as a bond)

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!