Definition of paper in English:

paper

noun

  • 1Material manufactured in thin sheets from the pulp of wood or other fibrous substances, used for writing, drawing, or printing on, or as wrapping material.

    ‘a sheet of paper’
    [as modifier] ‘a paper bag’
    • ‘Then I wrote down the necessary directions to my place on a sheet of paper from that notepad.’
    • ‘I angrily tore off the sheet of paper from my plain notebook, and reached for a tissue, blowing my nose.’
    • ‘The supervisor nods and continues to make annotations on a sheet of paper.’
    • ‘She scribbles frantically on sheets of paper, then hunts through desk drawers for more writing material.’
    • ‘He continued to stare blankly at the sheet of paper until Loflen brought him out of his daze.’
    • ‘Slowly and carefully, I broke the seal on the envelope and pulled out a sheet of thin paper.’
    • ‘The printed paper sheets were pasted onto canvas mounts for display.’
    • ‘He took out the bacon from the skillet and placed it on three sheets of absorbent paper towel.’
    • ‘Any letter that included more than one sheet of thin paper was likely to go missing.’
    • ‘She slid her nail along the top to open it and pulled out a single sheet of paper with a drawing and a sentence hastily scribbled along the bottom.’
    • ‘The most readily available method for pressing paper sheets is in or under a large book.’
    • ‘Inside was a sheet of onionskin typing paper, the kind that's slippery but crinkles.’
    • ‘I noticed a sheet of thin, unlined paper beside the case that held the incredibly deadly drug.’
    • ‘Traditionally, a sheet of paper was used to cast or register a vote.’
    • ‘He pulled up the sheets of thin paper in front of his head as he squinted to read the small print.’
    • ‘I'd get lots of sheets of A4 paper, fold them over, staple them and make an instant book, write my story and draw covers.’
    • ‘At a push, the bag itself could be constructed from a sheet of paper or small carrier bag tied up with an elastic band or bit of string.’
    • ‘Taking out a sheet of paper with lots of writing on it, Daria nodded, took a deep breath, and began her story.’
    • ‘Then he pulled out a clean sheet of his stationary paper and took a quill.’
    • ‘The first thing to buy is a large sheet of white thick paper or thin card, which you gently bend into a right angled curve.’
    wrapper, wrapping
    writing paper, notepaper
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    1. 1.1 Wallpaper.
      • ‘If the wallpaper patch is prepasted paper, soak it in warm water for 30 seconds.’
      • ‘Wallpaper consists of a backing, ground coat, applied ink, and sometimes paste on the backing used to adhere the paper to the wall.’
      • ‘A paper-hanging brush is about 25 cm wide, and is for smoothing bubbles out of freshly hung paper.’
      wallpaper, wallcovering
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    2. 1.2
      short for cigarette paper
  • 2usually papersA piece or sheet of paper with something written or drawn on it.

    ‘he riffled through the papers on his desk’
    piece of paper, scrap of paper, sheet, note
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    1. 2.1 A newspaper.
      newspaper
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    2. 2.2papers Significant or important documents belonging to a person.
      ‘the personal papers of major political figures’
      documents, certificates, forms, letters, files, deeds, records, dossiers, diaries, archives, legal papers, paperwork, documentation
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    3. 2.3papers Documents attesting identity; credentials.
      ‘two men stopped us and asked us for our papers’
      identification papers, identification documents, identity card, id, credentials, bona fides
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    4. 2.4 A government report or policy document.
      ‘a recently leaked cabinet paper’
      documents, certificates, forms, letters, files, deeds, records, dossiers, diaries, archives, legal papers, paperwork, documentation
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    5. 2.5
    6. 2.6[as modifier] Denoting something that is officially documented but has no real existence.
      ‘a paper profit’
  • 3An essay or thesis, especially one read at an academic lecture or seminar or published in an academic journal.

    • ‘Five more papers were presented in the morning session and four papers, all illustrated with lantern slides, were given in the afternoon session.’
    • ‘This paper examines Bedouin attitudes and practices relating to the evil eye as a cause of misfortune.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, due to the large number of papers presented at most sessions, hardly any discussion took place.’
    • ‘This is an edited version of a paper examining the difficulties of DNA evidence.’
    • ‘I presented my paper at the first session and, relieved it was over, took the nearest free seat.’
    • ‘In this issue, we present the final two papers from that session.’
    • ‘The object was to make it easier to assign papers to appropriate sessions.’
    • ‘She has presented papers and sessions on prevention of music-related injuries and biomechanics of piano technique.’
    • ‘The papers in this session have addressed several of the important issues facing the negotiators.’
    • ‘I am giving my paper in the first session on the last day, which is the day after the conference dinner.’
    • ‘This paper examines the transition between the short-term and the long-term responses to water status.’
    • ‘The paper attempts to answer some of the key questions necessary for reform.’
    • ‘Their role at conferences, for example, can span everything from presenting papers to fielding questions in open conference sessions.’
    • ‘Thursday had the best of the paper sessions from my point of view.’
    • ‘This paper examines that question by considering the acute phase of care provided by the public sector.’
    • ‘The papers in these sessions address these questions from three different directions.’
    • ‘Three papers have examined mineral localization in the needles of larch species.’
    • ‘The event will see a record number of more than 300 workshops, papers and poster sessions, grouped into 12 broad themes.’
    • ‘We examined references of relevant papers and contacted experts in the subject.’
    • ‘Simultaneous translation will be available during conference sessions, so papers may be presented in French or in English.’
    essay, article, composition, monograph, thesis, work, dissertation, treatise, study, report, analysis, tract, critique, exegesis, review, disquisition, discourse, piece of writing
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  • 4theatrical slang Free passes of admission to a theater or other entertainment.

    voucher, chit, slip, ticket, coupon, pass
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verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1Apply wallpaper to (a wall or room)

    ‘the walls were papered in a Regency stripe’
    • ‘The walls were papered in a floral pattern and there was light jazz emitting from a hidden amplifier in the ceiling.’
    • ‘He goes up to the flat and sees two workmen papering the walls.’
    • ‘A feature wall was papered in golden crushed vinyl wallpaper.’
    • ‘The entire room, as well as the adjoining powder room and bedroom, was papered in stark white.’
    • ‘The walls of this hall were papered with material that had a satin feeling to it.’
    • ‘The drawing room and dining areas are papered in Victorian style and have wooden floors and panelling.’
    • ‘The floor was laid with a thick burgundy carpet, the walls papered in pastel colours of cream and gold and peach.’
    • ‘Currently the bedroom walls are magnolia above the dado rail, and papered beneath, with a subtle striped magnolia patterned wallpaper.’
    • ‘The walls were papered with delicate designs and rich reds.’
    • ‘The walls were papered in a pleasing floral print, a few comfortable chairs and a matching footstool were scattered about, and in the fireplace, a happy little blaze was flickering away.’
    • ‘The curator of the museum, has suggested that perhaps Frederick Linder, a painter and paperhanger, papered the walls in exchange for free rent.’
    • ‘The walls were papered in a wide variety of rather dated and unpleasant wall papers.’
    • ‘And I already knew I could take radiators off walls to paint and paper behind them.’
    • ‘It is papered, ceiling included, in pink floral Sanderson wallpaper.’
    • ‘The walls were papered in elegant blue wallpaper, and the floor was soft carpet.’
    • ‘Originally wood-panelled, the walls in the office have been papered in a lighter colour, and the room is furnished with modern, pale wood desk and table.’
    • ‘Furniture was purchased in Philadelphia, and the rooms were painted and papered in stylish bright colors such as Prussian blue, crimson, salmon, and yellow ochre.’
    • ‘They both are papered with non-plastic type wallpaper.’
    • ‘The stylish look now is a room that's fully papered, especially with the new architectural textures.’
    • ‘The walls were papered in a light cream colour and two comfortable sofas were positioned neatly amongst the other items of furniture.’
    wallpaper, hang wallpaper on, line
    decorate
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    1. 1.1paper something over[no object] Cover a hole or blemish with wallpaper.
      • ‘Usually you will not want to paint or paper over old wallpaper but will want to remove it instead.’
      • ‘Never paper over existing wallpaper that is not firmly adhering to the wall surface.’
      • ‘If you are papering over paint, first clean the walls with sugar soap to make sure the paper sticks.’
      • ‘The council have sent out plasterers but I send them away because I don't want it replastered and the cracks papered over.’
      • ‘I have never painted over wallpaper nor papered over wallpaper. I've had to remove both though.’
    2. 1.2paper something over Disguise an awkward problem instead of resolving it.
      ‘the ill feeling between her and Jenny must have been papered over’
      • ‘He said that they got lots of complaints that they were papering over his faults and mistakes and glorifying his presidency.’
      • ‘But there are concerns that there will still be unfilled vacancies, and that schools are resorting to supply cover and swapping staff from subject to subject to paper over cracks.’
      • ‘In truth, more money in the teachers' pay packets is only papering over the cracks, not attacking and solving the real problems.’
      • ‘The damage they have done to this country's sense of itself as a moral force for good, however, cannot be papered over with soaring speeches about freedom and liberty.’
      • ‘But the gaping holes in the U.S. stance are being largely papered over in news coverage.’
      camouflage, conceal, hide, cover up, make inconspicuous, mask, screen, shroud, veil, cloak
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  • 2theatrical slang Fill (a theater) by giving out free tickets.

Phrases

  • be not worth the paper it is written on

    • Be of no value or validity whatsoever despite having been written down.

      • ‘We refuse to sign some agreement that's probably not worth the paper it's written on.’
      • ‘You only have to look at the source of this ‘research’ to realise it's probably not worth the paper it's written on.’
      • ‘Any document that he signs from now on clearly is not worth the paper it's written on.’
      • ‘The legislation currently in place is not worth the paper it's written on… you can find out very little about a person that might be a risk,’ she told the Waterford News & Star.’
      • ‘Everybody emerges with something; the question is whether it is worth the paper it is written on.’
      • ‘He is an advocate of daily ‘to do’ lists, but warns that if a list is not managed correctly it is not worth the paper it's written on.’
  • make the papers

    • Be written about in newspapers and thus become famous or notorious.

      • ‘When a tourist gets robbed in Madrid that doesn't make the papers.’
      • ‘She made the papers after her alleged racist remarks to diners at a New York restaurant.’
      • ‘If something happens out in the middle of the country or to somebody who's not so affluent, it doesn't make the papers.’
      • ‘The incidence of maternal morbidity is now so low that it makes the papers rather than popular novels.’
      • ‘In August that year, Prof. Warwick made the papers again claiming that watching television can actually increase your IQ.’
  • on paper

    • 1In writing.

      • ‘In his free time he began a long exploration of country and feeling, traced in these works on paper.’
      • ‘There were so many things that I wanted to put down on paper; it was so hard to sum Cormac up in a few verses.’
      • ‘Traditionally, pharmacies made claims for drug refunds on paper and claims took up to six months to process.’
      • ‘Of course Annie is his child whatever the law said or didn't say but it'll still be nice to have it down on paper and all official.’
      • ‘Speculation abounds, of the sort we dare not put down on paper lest we be accused of inciting unrest.’
      • ‘I will lay out my reasons for this below, starting with the argument against, which is easier for me to get on paper as it were.’
      • ‘Until now I've never had the confidence to actually put it down on paper.’
      • ‘He's clever and thoughtful and pays attention to everything, and then has the knack of putting that down on paper.’
      • ‘Her solicitor Fiona Burrill said once the new appeal goes ahead would all be done on paper but could take weeks to get a decision.’
      • ‘He always had amazing mental arithmetic skills but found it difficult to explain on paper how he got the correct answer.’
      • ‘Children can concentrate and put together their experience and their future on paper.’
      • ‘I mean, if you really have an idea, you ought to be able to put it down on paper and words.’
      in writing, written down, in black and white, in print, on record
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      1. 1.1In theory rather than in reality.
        ‘the combatants were, on paper at least, evenly matched’
        • ‘Public works immediately conjure up visions of roads and bridges that exist only on paper.’
        • ‘This current England team is, on paper, the best we have had for at least 35 years.’
        • ‘It all seems rather complicated on paper but pans out surprisingly well cinematically.’
        • ‘If I'm being honest, then I don't think we are, on paper, as strong as we were last year but you never know.’
        • ‘In reality, not on paper, the myriad elements that dictate our function in the world cannot be separated out.’
        • ‘I wouldn't be surprised if in Russia the law looks good on paper, but, on the ground, it doesn't work.’
        • ‘The proposal for digging rain pits to store rainwater may look good on paper.’
        • ‘Gelli surely knew about all these practices and committees must have been set up only to exist on paper.’
        • ‘She is one of those rare people who come across as very smart in person, not just on paper.’
        • ‘Scientists in Germany can now boast the fastest super computer in Europe - on paper at least.’
        • ‘I think people will enjoy seeing a different Otley even if only on paper.’
        • ‘Spain, as usual, go into a tournament, with probably the best squad of players on paper.’
        • ‘The quarterback looks great on paper but in reality he didn't do anything special at all.’
        • ‘One may say that this sounds good on paper, but does this really model what happens in reality?’
        • ‘It is trite to suggest that, on paper, Aberdeen's squad ought to be higher.’
        • ‘It seemed a feasible plan on paper, to the top and back in a day and a half.’
        • ‘We were taken in detail, at least on paper, through the matters of which complaint was made.’
        • ‘Some things look good on paper but sound absolutely dreadful when said aloud.’
        • ‘What looks like a rebuilding year on paper, is an optimistic one for team head coach Mike Renney.’
        • ‘It sounds on paper like intriguing stuff but the reality is another disappointment.’
        in theory, theoretically, hypothetically, in the abstract, supposedly
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Origin

Middle English: from Anglo-Norman French papir, from Latin papyrus paper-reed (see papyrus). The verb dates from the late 16th century.

Pronunciation:

paper

/ˈpāpər/