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[pey-per-wurk] /ˈpeɪ pərˌwɜrk/
written or clerical work, as records or reports, forming a necessary but often a routine and secondary part of some work or job.
Origin of paperwork
First recorded in 1580-90; paper + work Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for paperwork
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • There's a lot of paperwork to such a sale, and it's all handled by the company.

    The Risk Profession Donald Edwin Westlake
  • His desk across the room was there for paperwork only, and Taggert had precious little of that to bother with.

    Psichopath Gordon Randall Garrett
  • He sat down again and buried himself in paperwork, trying to avoid the edge of an old fear.

    Watchbird Robert Sheckley
  • During my Administration we cut the paperwork burden by 15 percent, and we created procedures to continue this progress.

  • Isobel turned away and took up some paperwork, without further words.

    Border, Breed Nor Birth Dallas McCord Reynolds
British Dictionary definitions for paperwork


clerical work, such as the completion of forms or the writing of reports or letters
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for paperwork

1580s, "things made of paper," from paper (n.) + work (n.). Meaning "work done on paper" is from 1889.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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