pa·​per·​work | \ ˈpā-pər-ˌwərk How to pronounce paperwork (audio) \

Definition of paperwork

: routine clerical or record-keeping work often incidental to a more important task

Examples of paperwork in a Sentence

She failed to file the paperwork on time. The lawyer had us fill in the paperwork for the mortgage.
Recent Examples on the Web Human remains cannot be buried or cremated without a death certificate and a permit, paperwork that requires doctors’ electronic sign-offs and county approval. Carolyn Said,, "Bay Area funeral homes cope with COVID-19 onslaught, and things could get worse," 11 Jan. 2021 The couple held the dog as James went in the back for some paperwork. Jay R. Jordan, Chron, "Woman rides on hood of car to save $10K dog, police say," 5 Jan. 2021 When Da Noriea told Gaugi of her new name and that her gender would be changed on her driver’s license, Gaugi began changing Da Noriea’s previous name on paperwork. Cameron Fields, cleveland, "Gas station associate Ally Da Noriea exudes kind, caring nature to her customers: Homegrown Heroes 2020," 3 Jan. 2021 But companies face new costs and paperwork, including customs declarations and border checks, and will have to digest the new rules imposed by the trade deal. Saphora Smith, NBC News, "New era for Europe as U.K., E.U. complete Brexit separation," 1 Jan. 2021 New procedures on customs declarations and regulatory paperwork will come into effect. Jason Douglas, WSJ, "The U.K. Is Finally Cutting Ties With the EU. Here’s What Changes.," 31 Dec. 2020 But companies face sheaves of new costs and paperwork, including customs declarations and border checks. Jill Lawless,, "Britain ends long Brexit journey with economic break from EU," 31 Dec. 2020 Some filled out paperwork as their colleagues, who had already been trained to deliver the vaccinations, set up inside. Morgan Cook, San Diego Union-Tribune, "San Diego’s firefighter EMTs and paramedics get vaccinated for COVID," 31 Dec. 2020 Yet interacting with government agencies often involves slogging through labyrinthine offices and leafing through paperwork. The Economist, "Update required Japan’s new prime minister drags government into the digital era," 30 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'paperwork.' 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 paperwork

1899, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for paperwork

Time Traveler

The first known use of paperwork was in 1899

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Statistics for paperwork

Last Updated

17 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Paperwork.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for paperwork


How to pronounce paperwork (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of paperwork

: routine work that involves writing letters, reports, etc.
: the official documents that are needed for something to happen or be done


pa·​per·​work | \ ˈpā-pər-ˌwərk How to pronounce paperwork (audio) \

Kids Definition of paperwork

: the documents that are a requirement for or a routine part of something

More from Merriam-Webster on paperwork

Nglish: Translation of paperwork for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of paperwork for Arabic Speakers

Comments on paperwork

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