paper trail


Definition of paper trail

: documents (such as financial records) from which a person's actions may be traced or opinions learned

Examples of paper trail in a Sentence

They covered up the fraud and were careful not to leave a paper trail.

Recent Examples on the Web

The case for him: Kethledge has Kavanaugh’s assets — solidly conservative jurisprudence; longtime Republican bona fides; an appropriate level of discretion in public comments about hot-button issues — without Kavanaugh’s paper trail. Dara Lind, Vox, "If Republicans sour on Kavanaugh, here are 4 alternatives waiting in the wings," 27 Sep. 2018 The fact that someone has a paper trail, to me, should not be disqualifying. NBC News, "Meet the Press - July 8, 2018," 8 July 2018 Then that person can resell or give guns to others in Chicago, or keep them, leaving no paper trail behind. German Lopez, Vox, "I’ve covered gun violence for years. The solutions aren’t a big mystery.," 14 Feb. 2019 Homes have paper trails, too, with warranties, mortgage documents and insurance policies. New York Times, "Buried in Paperwork," 6 July 2018 The Trouble With Voting Machines Past: In the wake of 2016's election security scares, several states were aghast to find that their machines provided little in the way of a verifiable paper trail, rendering them useless if breached. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "If the 2018 Election Is Hacked, This Is How It Will Happen," 5 Nov. 2018 More than half of the sponsors of ads on Facebook that featured divisive political messages ahead of the 2016 presidential election have little or no public paper trails, according to a study from researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Bill Allison / Bloomberg, Time, "'Suspicious' Groups Paid for Most of Facebook's Politically Divisive Ads, Researchers Find," 16 Apr. 2018 Still, the legislation urged, but did not require, that the money be used for machines that leave a paper trail. Greg Gordon, kansascity, "Voting machines in 14 states — including Kansas — are highly vulnerable | The Kansas City Star," 3 Apr. 2018 And the search had gotten a boost from the 1998 discovery of a 200-year-old paper trail linking the troop transport Lord Sandwich to its former life as HMS Endeavour. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Captain Cook’s HMS Endeavour found off the coast of Rhode Island," 24 Sep. 2018

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

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First Known Use of paper trail

1935, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of paper trail was in 1935

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More Definitions for paper trail

paper trail


English Language Learners Definition of paper trail

chiefly US : documents (such as financial records or memos) that make it possible for someone at a later time to know what was done, discussed, etc.

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with paper trail

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