pa·​per·​work ˈpā-pər-ˌwərk How to pronounce paperwork (audio)
: routine clerical or recordkeeping 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 As for the property owner — Glory of the Snow Trust, whose trustee is Andrew Sahure — paperwork issued Friday by the city’s Department of Building and Safety and shared by Park’s office stated that the department intends to revoke the demolition permits. Emily St. Martin, Los Angeles Times, 9 Sep. 2023 The setup, under different circumstances, would be comic: two men die on the same day, and, owing to a paperwork mixup at the morgue, their bodies are conveyed to each other’s families for burial. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 7 Sep. 2023 In March, the government canceled a paperwork requirement in order to reduce the red tape around installing panels on existing buildings. Cameron Pugh, The Christian Science Monitor, 6 Sep. 2023 Among the secretary’s responsibilities were overseeing track records, horses’ paperwork and the racing program. Jacques Kelly, Baltimore Sun, 6 Sep. 2023 By midday Tuesday, all of the defendants had filed paperwork pleading not guilty in filings with the court and waived their rights to an arraignment hearing. Kate Brumback,, 5 Sep. 2023 JetBlue’s customer service advised her to bring the paperwork to the airport on the day of her flight. Amanda Morris, Anchorage Daily News, 29 Aug. 2023 The company filed paperwork for an IPO with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday. Allison Deangelis, STAT, 25 Aug. 2023 The new rule also calls for streamlining the paperwork required to apply and reapply for child care subsidies. Sabrina Eaton, cleveland, 25 Aug. 2023 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1899, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of paperwork was in 1899

Dictionary Entries Near paperwork

Cite this Entry

“Paperwork.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


pa·​per·​work -ˌwərk How to pronounce paperwork (audio)
: routine office or record-keeping work

More from Merriam-Webster on paperwork

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!