paper trail

noun

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

Joy Reid has got an amazing second chance going right now after a paper trail of homophobia. Fox News, "ABC axes 'Roseanne' following star's racially-charged tweet," 30 May 2018 And government watchdog investigators are now systematically building a paper trail of Pruitt’s time at the EPA. Umair Irfan, Vox, "Every legal and ethical investigation into the EPA’s Scott Pruitt we know of so far," 12 Apr. 2018 Five states use voting machines that don't produce an auditable paper trail of ballots, which the committee said should be the minimum security standard. Chris Megerian, latimes.com, "U.S. election systems need stronger defenses against cyberattacks, senators warn," 20 Mar. 2018 Kavanaugh, who worked for Ken Starr on the Clinton investigation and also for the Bush White House, was deemed vulnerable over the long paper trail from those jobs and his tenure on the bench. Howard Kurtz, Fox News, "The Media's Mixed Signals: How Trump got to Brett Kavanaugh," 9 July 2018 The paper trail stretching from 1999 to 2012 was irrefutable, leading the three defendants to plead guilty with no plea deal. Jay Weaver, miamiherald, "This couple stole millions from an MIA lounge. Now they’re doing prison time. | Miami Herald," 5 Apr. 2018 That speech — bolstered by Bork’s long paper trail of conservative opinions and his role in the Saturday Night Massacre during the Watergate scandal — galvanized liberal interest groups. Olivia B. Waxman, Time, "5 Reasons Why Supreme Court Nominations Have Failed," 10 July 2018 McGahn and others told Trump that Kavanaugh did have a paper trail from his time investigating President Bill Clinton in the 1990s and from the Bush White House that would be parsed by Democrats. Author: Ashley Parker, Robert Costa, Anchorage Daily News, "‘All a little misdirection’: Inside Trump’s sometimes-wavering decision to nominate Kavanaugh," 11 July 2018 McGahn and others told Trump that Kavanaugh did have a paper trail from his time investigating President Bill Clinton in the 1990s and from the Bush White House that would be parsed by Democrats. Ashley Parker And Robert Costa, chicagotribune.com, "Inside Trump's sometimes wavering decision on Brett Kavanaugh," 11 July 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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Last Updated

10 Oct 2018

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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

noun

English Language Learners Definition of paper trail

: 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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