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paper

Line breaks: paper
Pronunciation: /ˈpeɪpə
 
/

Definition of paper in English:

noun

1 [mass noun] Material 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 napkin [count noun]: toffee papers
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • Taking out a sheet of paper with lots of writing on it, Daria nodded, took a deep breath, and began her story.
  • 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.
Synonyms
1.1Wallpaper: the walls were damp—paper hung away in long strips
More example sentences
  • A paper-hanging brush is about 25 cm wide, and is for smoothing bubbles out of freshly hung paper.
  • Wallpaper consists of a backing, ground coat, applied ink, and sometimes paste on the backing used to adhere the paper to the wall.
  • If the wallpaper patch is prepasted paper, soak it in warm water for 30 seconds.
Synonyms
2 (usually papers) A sheet of paper with something written or printed on it: he riffled through the papers on his desk
More example sentences
  • His first book on folklore, Custom and Myth, did not appear until 1884, but contained papers written and printed much earlier.
  • Well, they're probably excited they don't have to write any papers right now for their professors.
  • While studying at SFU, Terry would write his papers on cancer research.
2.1A newspaper: the story made the front page of the local paper
More example sentences
  • Besides the general-circulation papers, newspapers continued to flourish as agents of various special communities.
  • New York had nine daily newspapers then, plus papers in Brooklyn, Queens and New Jersey, and three wire services.
  • These findings provide a prescription for future newspaper content if papers are to gain young readers now and keep them in the future.
Synonyms
informal print, rag
2.2 (papers) Personal documents: the personal papers of major political figures
More example sentences
  • No matter how stupid a question or trivial an issue, the denial of full access to all files, working papers, memos, personal notes and so on will be treated as a cover-up.
  • They reconstructed the history out of personal papers, official reports, and interviews.
  • Shred personal or financial papers; archive long-term records, such as tax returns.
Synonyms
2.3 (papers) Documents attesting identity; credentials: two men stopped us and asked us for our papers
More example sentences
  • The Russians discovered, among other documents, false identity papers, including a Sudanese passport that he sometimes used.
  • He carried no papers or proof of identity, as such documents would have endangered his family who remained behind, if he had been captured.
  • They could not immediately identify the boy, whom they described as too young to have official identity papers.
Synonyms
identification papers, identification documents, identity card, ID, credentials, bona fides
2.4A government report or policy document: a recently leaked cabinet paper
More example sentences
  • Detailed policy papers, letters and ministerial submissions are taped and listened to late into the evening, absorbed at double the normal speed.
  • I think that both the report and the strategy paper are positive documents for Bulgaria.
  • Based on that work stage three of the process will see the production of a series of policy papers setting out various options
2.5 [as modifier] Denoting something that is officially documented but has no real existence: a paper profit
More example sentences
  • Once you've completed the sale that paper profit becomes real lolly that you can go out and spend or buy even more shares.
  • If you cash them in now you turn what is still a paper loss into a real loss.
  • Thirdly, save for its existence as a paper entry, it is unclear what assets are in the Business Reserve Account or in whose names.
3British A set of examination questions to be answered at one session: we had to sit a three-hour paper
More example sentences
  • I need to sit four papers (three hour exams) to graduate with the Masters, one paper per subject.
  • The body found that the standard of question papers had been fair, the conduct of examinations was regular, and the standard of marking and internal moderation was good.
  • While teachers and pupils are asked to retain question papers following the annual exam diet in May and June, there are rarely enough copies for every pupil.
Synonyms
3.1The written answers to examination questions: you need to test your students, mark their papers, and place them in the right class
More example sentences
  • However, the examiners who mark their papers will not be made aware of their circumstances, in order to preserve the integrity of the exams process.
  • The number of answer papers identifying all the scarecrows correctly was higher than usual.
  • The Department of Education and Science is also preparing to advertise for examiners to correct the papers to ensure the exams go ahead in June as planned.
4An essay or dissertation, especially one read at an academic lecture or seminar or published in an academic journal: he published a highly original paper on pattern formation
More example sentences
  • I presented my paper at the first session and, relieved it was over, took the nearest free seat.
  • This paper examines that question by considering the acute phase of care provided by the public sector.
  • Thursday had the best of the paper sessions from my point of view.
Synonyms
essay, article, composition, monograph, thesis, work, dissertation, treatise, study, report, analysis, tract, critique, exegesis, review, disquisition, discourse, piece of writing;
North American theme
5 [mass noun] theatrical slang Free passes of admission to a theatre or other entertainment.

verb

[with object] Back to top  
1Apply wallpaper to (a wall or room): the walls were papered in a Regency stripe
More example sentences
  • A feature wall was papered in golden crushed vinyl wallpaper.
  • The walls were papered in elegant blue wallpaper, and the floor was soft carpet.
  • He goes up to the flat and sees two workmen papering the walls.
Synonyms
wallpaper, hang wallpaper on, line;
decorate
1.1 (paper something over) Cover a hole or blemish with wallpaper: interior panels can be of fairly basic wood that will be papered over
More example sentences
  • Never paper over existing wallpaper that is not firmly adhering to the wall surface.
  • Usually you will not want to paint or paper over old wallpaper but will want to remove it instead.
  • The council have sent out plasterers but I send them away because I don't want it replastered and the cracks papered over.
1.2 (paper something over) Disguise an awkward problem instead of resolving it: the unions tried to paper over their differences
More example sentences
  • But the gaping holes in the U.S. stance are being largely papered over in news coverage.
  • 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.
  • 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.
2 theatrical slang Fill (a theatre) by giving out free tickets: surely the theatre could at least have papered the house if the box office was looking so poor

Origin

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

More
  • The words paper and papyrus are both from Greek papuros. Paper passed through Latin papyrus and Anglo-Norman papir, while papyrus was taken directly from Latin, appearing as the name of the reed in Middle English, but only in the 18th century as the material that the ancient Egyptians prepared from the pithy stems of the plant.

    We have the German statesman Otto von Bismarck ( 1815–98) to thank for paper over the cracks, ‘to disguise a problem rather than try to resolve it’. Bismarck used the German equivalent in a letter written in 1865, referring to a convention between Austria and Prussia. Tension had been rising since their combined victory over Denmark in the previous year had given control of Schleswig to Austria and of Holstein to Prussia, but neither was quite ready to go to war. The convention gave a semblance of order to the situation, while in fact giving time for both to make preparations for an inevitable conflict. Paper tiger for a person or thing that appears threatening but is ineffectual is a Chinese expression first found in an English translation in 1836. It came to wider attention through a 1946 interview with the Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong, in which he expressed the view that ‘all reactionaries are paper tigers’.

Phrases

be not worth the paper it is written on

1
Be of no value or validity despite having been written down: his tenancy agreement may not now be worth the paper it’s written on
More example sentences
  • We refuse to sign some agreement that's probably 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.
  • You only have to look at the source of this ‘research’ to realise it's probably not worth the paper it's written on.

make the papers

2
Be written about in newspapers and thus become famous: he thought he’d jump off the Brooklyn Bridge and make the papers
More example sentences
  • The incidence of maternal morbidity is now so low that it makes the papers rather than popular novels.
  • When a tourist gets robbed in Madrid that doesn't make the papers.
  • If something happens out in the middle of the country or to somebody who's not so affluent, it doesn't make the papers.

on paper

3
In writing: Portuguese, although similar to Spanish on paper, is pronounced completely differently
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • In his free time he began a long exploration of country and feeling, traced in these works on paper.
  • I mean, if you really have an idea, you ought to be able to put it down on paper and words.
Synonyms
3.1In theory rather than in reality: the combatants were, on paper at least, evenly matched
More example sentences
  • One may say that this sounds good on paper, but does this really model what happens in reality?
  • It seemed a feasible plan on paper, to the top and back in a day and a half.
  • She is one of those rare people who come across as very smart in person, not just on paper.
Synonyms

Derivatives

paperer

1
noun
Example sentences
  • In hanging wallpaper along the outside corner of a passageway utilizing the trimmer guide of this invention, the paperer first wraps the wet paper around the corner and onto the inside of the passageway a couple of inches and "sticking" it there temporarily.
  • Many a paperer comes ‘unstuck’ by buying a paste that is not suitable for the paper that they have bought. A good quality paste gives good quality results.

Words that rhyme with paper

caper, draper, escaper, gaper, raper, scraper, shaper, taper, vapour (US vapor)

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