• (RP) IPA: /ˈpeɪpə/
  • (America) enPR: pā'pər, IPA: /ˈpeɪpɚ/


  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.
  2. A newspaper or anything used as such (such as a newsletter or listing magazine).
    • 1909, Archibald Marshall [pseudonym; Arthur Hammond Marshall], chapter II, in The Squire’s Daughter, London: Methuen, OCLC 12026604 ↗; republished New York, N.Y.: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1919, OCLC 491297620 ↗:
      "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. […]."
  3. (uncountable) Wallpaper.
    • 1913, Mrs. [Marie] Belloc Lowndes, chapter II, in The Lodger, London: Methuen, OCLC 7780546 ↗; republished in Novels of Mystery: The Lodger; The Story of Ivy; What Really Happened, New York, N.Y.: Longmans, Green and Co., […], [1933], OCLC 2666860 ↗, page 0091 ↗:
      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 (as a journal article or the manuscript for one) or in the proceedings of a scientific or academic meeting (such as a conference, workshop, or symposium).
  8. A scholastic essay.
  9. (Britain) A set of examination questions to be answered at one session.
  10. (slang) Money.
  11. (New Zealand) A university course.
  12. A paper packet containing a quantity of items.
    a paper of pins, tacks, opium, etc.
  13. A medicinal preparation spread upon paper, intended for external application.
    cantharides paper
  14. A substance resembling paper secreted by certain invertebrates as protection for their nests and eggs.
  15. (dated) Free passes of admission to a theatre, etc.
  16. (dated, by extension) The people admitted by free passes.
Synonyms Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations Adjective

paper (not comparable)

  1. Made of paper.
    paper bag; paper plane
    • 1892, Walter Besant, chapter II, in The Ivory Gate: A Novel, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, […], OCLC 16832619 ↗:
      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
  4. Having a title that is merely official, or given by courtesy or convention.
    a paper baron; a paper lord
  • French: papier, papier
  • German: indicated by forming compounds with Papier: paper bag: Papierbeutel, paper cup: Papierbecher, etc
  • Italian: di carta, cartaceo
  • Portuguese: de papel
  • Russian: бума́жный
  • Spanish: de papel

paper (papers, present participle papering; 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 official papers to (a law court, etc.).
  5. (transitive) To give public notice (typically by displaying posters) that a person is wanted by the police or other authority.
  6. (transitive) To sandpaper.
  7. (transitive) To enfold in paper.
  8. To paste the endpapers and flyleaves at the beginning and end of a book before fitting it into its covers.
  • Portuguese: empapelar

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