paper

1 of 3

noun

pa·​per ˈpā-pər How to pronounce paper (audio)
1
a(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
2
a
: 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
5
: the negotiable notes or instruments of commerce
6
7
: tickets
especially : free passes
8

paper

2 of 3

verb

papered; papering ˈpā-p(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce paper (audio)

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
paperer noun

paper

3 of 3

adjective

1
a
: 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
Phrases
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

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
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
At least on paper, earning a college diploma in three years instead of four is the obvious move. Graham Hillard, National Review, 7 July 2024 There's something about saying something or even writing it down on paper that is powerful. Eileen Finan, Peoplemag, 6 July 2024
Verb
If no progress has been made on the contractual front—formal offers by the incumbent Disney and returning powers/newcomers Comcast and Amazon have yet to be papered—the broad terms of each arrangement were established weeks ago. Anthony Crupi, Sportico.com, 5 July 2024 For each game, this all-star squad would be ferried from the 40/40 Club to the park, then back to the 40/40 for an afterparty, in a bus papered with S. Carter sneaker ads. Abe Beame, Rolling Stone, 7 Apr. 2024
Adjective
In the financial world, assets can be divided into two types: paper assets, and non-paper assets. The Salt Lake Tribune, 24 Aug. 2022 Staples, clips and other non-paper materials must be removed. Shirley MacFarland, cleveland, 26 Aug. 2022 See all Example Sentences for paper 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'paper.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

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

First Known Use

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

Time Traveler
The first known use of paper was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near paper

Cite this Entry

“Paper.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/paper. Accessed 14 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

paper

1 of 3 noun
pa·​per ˈpā-pər How to pronounce paper (audio)
1
a
: a thin sheet made usually from rags, wood, straw, or bark and used to write or print on, to wrap things in, or to cover walls
b
: a sheet or piece of paper
2
a
: a piece of paper having something written or printed on it
b
: a written composition
3
4

paper

2 of 3 verb
papered; papering ˈpā-p(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce paper (audio)
: to cover or line with paper and especially wallpaper
paper a room
paperer noun

paper

3 of 3 adjective
1
a
: of, relating to, or made of paper or cardboard
paper carton
paper mills
b
: papery
nuts with paper shells
2
Etymology

Noun

Middle English papir "paper," from early French papier (same meaning), from Latin papyrus "paper, papyrus" — related to papyrus

Legal Definition

paper

noun
pa·​per
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

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