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 Jesus Aguirre Medina, a Covid-19 patient with a nutritionist looking over paperwork in his room in the acute care unit of Harborview Medical Center, on Friday. Evan Bush, NBC News, 15 Jan. 2022 The stadium’s location was nothing more than a minor claim to fame and occasional inconvenience: two countries sometimes meant paperwork for two local authorities. New York Times, 14 Jan. 2022 With two potential candidates pulling paperwork to run for mayor of Peoria, the city’s 2022 election is generating more interest than the last. Wyatt Myskow, The Arizona Republic, 13 Jan. 2022 Nearly two weeks after a judge dismissed his initial suit after missing a deadline to respond to Nirvana‘s request to dismiss, Spencer Elden has refiled paperwork in U.S. District Court of Central California. Daniel Kohn, SPIN, 13 Jan. 2022 Filling out any finance paperwork beforehand will greatly speed up the process. CBS News, 13 Jan. 2022 An Associated Press review of public records later found that Hollingsworth was required to live in five states through paperwork filed on behalf of his business. Amelia Pak-harvey, The Indianapolis Star, 12 Jan. 2022 The payments were made in late November and early December — showing that Lamont got an early start soon after filing paperwork for governor on November 8. Christopher Keating,, 11 Jan. 2022 Most of the professionals advised that an employer’s certification is the key piece of paperwork needed to fulfill this need. Courtney Astolfi, cleveland, 8 Jan. 2022

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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Dictionary Entries Near paperwork

paper-white narcissus



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Statistics for paperwork

Last Updated

17 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Paperwork.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for paperwork



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


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