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

The Kardashian-Jenner family has apparently filed paperwork to trademark the names of its youngest members—including Stormi Webster, True Thompson, and Kim Kardashian West's three children. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Kardashians Want to Trademark "Stormiworld" & All of Their Children's Names," 18 Feb. 2019 The way that currently works, in a process mandated by Congress, is that Boeing does most of the safety evaluations itself, then passes paperwork to the FAA for review. Dominic Gates, The Seattle Times, "Boeing has 737 MAX software fix ready for airlines as DOT launches new scrutiny of entire FAA certification process," 25 Mar. 2019 Entrepreneur Andrew Yang Andrew Yang’s campaign, which filed official paperwork on November 6, 2017, has revolved primarily around a single issue: universal basic income. Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "Here's Every Democrat Officially Running in the 2020 Presidential Election So Far," 11 Mar. 2019 Early in November, Chopra and Jonas took care of the paperwork at the Beverly Hills courthouse. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas Are Married—Here's Everything We Know About the Wedding," 4 Dec. 2018 Western Dubuque then reprocessed the biodiesel and did the paperwork for a second set of 36 million RINs. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "Dept. of Justice cracks down on another multimillion dollar biofuel fraudster," 27 Sep. 2018 What authorities have managed to erect is a daunting bureaucratic pyramid of paperwork for victims to get their buildings evaluated, repaired, demolished or replaced. Fox News, "Damaged buildings, graft haunt Mexico City year after quake," 18 Sep. 2018 Back in her office, Sonavane files paperwork for each woman, hoping to thwart the government’s dam expansion attempts. Seema Yasmin, SELF, "In Rural India, Protecting Women From Witch Hunting, and an Impending Flood," 17 Aug. 2018 When student borrowing hits the limit, more parents start filling out the paperwork for private student loans or the federal Parent PLUS loans. Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press, "Students aren't the only ones crushed by school debt," 11 July 2018

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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Statistics for paperwork

Last Updated

15 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for paperwork

The first known use of paperwork was in 1899

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on paperwork

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with paperwork

Spanish Central: Translation of paperwork

Nglish: Translation of paperwork for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of paperwork for Arabic Speakers

Comments on paperwork

What made you want to look up paperwork? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


an enemy or opponent

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