A sheet of paper.
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Borrowing from Anglo-Norman paper, from Old French papier, from Latin papȳrus, from Ancient Greek πάπυρος (pápuros).



paper (countable and uncountable, plural papers)

  1. A sheet material used for writing on or printing on (or as a non-waterproof container), usually made by draining cellulose fibres from a suspension in water.
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 10, in The Mirror and the Lamp:
      He looked round the poor room, at the distempered walls, and the bad engravings in meretricious frames, the crinkly paper and wax flowers on the chiffonier; and he thought of a room like Father Bryan's, with panelling, with cut glass, with tulips in silver pots, such a room as he had hoped to have for his own.
  2. A newspaper or anything used as such (such as a newsletter or listing magazine).
    • 1909, Archibald Marshall, The Squire's Daughter, chapterII:
      "I don't want to spoil any comparison you are going to make," said Jim, "but I was at Winchester and New College." ¶ "That will do," said Mackenzie. "I was dragged up at the workhouse school till I was twelve. Then I ran away and sold papers in the streets, and anything else that I could pick up a few coppers by—except steal. []."
    • 1935, George Goodchild, chapter 1, in Death on the Centre Court:
      “Anthea hasn't a notion in her head but to vamp a lot of silly mugwumps. She's set her heart on that tennis bloke [] whom the papers are making such a fuss about.”
  3. (uncountable) Wallpaper.
    • 1915, Mrs. Belloc Lowndes, The Lodger, chapter II:
      There was a neat hat-and-umbrella stand, and the stranger's weary feet fell soft on a good, serviceable dark-red drugget, which matched in colour the flock-paper on the walls.
  4. (uncountable) Wrapping paper.
  5. (rock paper scissors) An open hand (a handshape resembling a sheet of paper), that beats rock and loses to scissors. It loses to lizard and beats Spock in rock-paper-scissors-lizard-Spock.
  6. A written document, generally shorter than a book (white paper, term paper), in particular one written for the Government.
  7. A written document that reports scientific or academic research and is usually subjected to peer review before publication in a scientific journal or in the proceedings of a scientific or academic meeting (such as a conference, a workshop or a symposium).
  8. A scholastic essay.
  9. (slang) Money.
  10. (New Zealand) A university course.
  11. A paper packet containing a quantity of items.
    a paper of pins, tacks, opium, etc.
  12. A medicinal preparation spread upon paper, intended for external application.
    cantharides paper



Derived termsEdit

Related termsEdit



paper (not comparable)

  1. Made of paper.
    paper bag;  paper plane
    • 1893, Walter Besant, The Ivory Gate, chapter II:
      At twilight in the summer [] the mice come out. They [] eat the luncheon crumbs. Mr. Checkly, for instance, always brought his dinner in a paper parcel in his coat-tail pocket, and ate it when so disposed, sprinkling crumbs lavishly [] on the floor.
  2. Insubstantial (from the weakness of common paper)
    paper tiger;  paper gangster
  3. Planned (from plans being drawn up on paper)
    paper rocket;  paper engine

See alsoEdit



paper (third-person singular simple present papers, present participle papering, simple past and past participle papered)

  1. (transitive) To apply paper to.
    to paper the hallway walls
  2. (transitive) To document; to memorialize.
    After they reached an agreement, their staffs papered it up.
  3. (transitive) To fill a theatre or other paid event with complimentary seats.
    As the event has not sold well, we'll need to paper the house.
  4. (transitive) To submit papers to (a law court, etc.).
    • 2006, Drusilla Modjeska, The Best Australian Essays 2006
      As powerhouse lawyers shuttled to Cuba to meet clients and papered the federal courts with habeas corpus petitions, Guantanamo's isolation and lack of publicity, once the military's most powerful psychological weapon, was eliminated.
    • 2007, Thomas M. Hanna, The Employer's Legal Advisor: Handling Problem Employees Effectively ...
      [] the warning received only six weeks later for poor attendance as proof that the employer was unjustly papering his personnel file in an effort to create a reason for discharge.



Most common English words before 1923: particular · charge · church · #604: paper · object · faith · gentleman


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From Latin papȳrus, from Ancient Greek πάπυρος (pápuros).


paper m (plural papers)

  1. paper
  2. role




  1. 2nd person singular present indicative form of papērt
  2. 3rd person singular present indicative form of papērt
  3. 3rd person plural present indicative form of papērt
  4. 2rd singular imperative form of papērt
  5. (with the particle lai) 3rd person singular imperative form of papērt
  6. (with the particle lai) 3rd person plural imperative form of papērt

Old FrenchEdit

Alternative formsEdit


From Latin papȳrus, from Ancient Greek πάπυρος (pápuros).


paper m (oblique plural papers, nominative singular papers, nominative plural paper)

  1. reed (plant)
  2. paper (for writing on, etc.)
  3. document