Definition of foolscap in US English:



  • A size of paper, now standardized at about 13 × 8 (or 13 × 15.75) inches (300 × 200 [or 300 × 400] mm)

    as modifier ‘a stack of foolscap paper’
    • ‘I would write six sides of this big foolscap with tiny lines.’
    • ‘One writer swears by always writing longhand in foolscap paper in fluorescent orange colours.’
    • ‘Her CV, hand scrawled in a bi-tel across nine pages of A4 foolscap is a terribly poignant autobiography.’
    • ‘A music journalist in front of me rips out a sheet of foolscap paper and spills himself on it.’
    • ‘Jack was furious when I put that blank piece of foolscap, headed Our Achievements, on the Bute House cabinet table.’
    • ‘She took foolscap paper, turned and folded it to form page spreads, and sewed it to hold the sheets together.’
    • ‘One day I gave her a chapter on four foolscap sheets.’
    • ‘Always he wrote on the back of foolscap paper, the front of which was filled with an early draft of a section of one of his books.’
    • ‘While he was doing so, one of his friends got a foolscap page, drew the TV3 logo on it and stuck it onto the screen.’
    • ‘The menu is a single page of foolscap, but what a page!’
    • ‘There will be about ten sides of foolscap paper, including perhaps half a dozen game reports.’


Late 17th century: said to be named from a former watermark representing a fool's cap.