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paper trail

a written or printed record, as of transactions or judicial opinions, especially when used to incriminate someone.
Origin of paper trail
First recorded in 1975-80 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for paper trail
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Whereas Dale got the lantern, found my paper trail, and guessed at the ferry.

    A Man in the Open Roger Pocock
  • I'll tell you, Sam; we'll tear up paper and leave a paper trail.

    Two Little Savages

    Ernest Thompson Seton
Slang definitions & phrases for paper trail

paper trail

noun phrase

Records, documents, etc, that lead to a conclusion: Officials had expected to find a damning paper trail of incriminating evidence (mid-1980s+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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