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[peyst-bawrd, -bohrd] /ˈpeɪstˈbɔrd, -ˌboʊrd/
a stiff, firm board made of sheets of paper pasted or layers of paper pulp pressed together.
Older Slang. a card, as a visiting card or a playing card.
Older Slang. a ticket, as for the theater.
made of pasteboard.
unsubstantial, flimsy, or sham.
Origin of pasteboard
First recorded in 1540-50; paste + board
Related forms
pasteboardy, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for pasteboard
Historical Examples
  • Mortimer exposed the pasteboard he had acquired on his entry to the stand.

    Thoroughbreds W. A. Fraser
  • It was enclosed in a pasteboard box, and, when packed, looked just like the parcel of pills.

    The Channings Mrs. Henry Wood
  • On every hand walls collapsed as though they had been made of pasteboard.

  • He took a card from his wallet and laid the torn bit of pasteboard upon it.

    The Film of Fear Arnold Fredericks
  • The pasteboard boxes went to the floor in a clattering rush.

    Shavings Joseph C. Lincoln
  • What could be the meaning of the words on that infernal piece of pasteboard?

  • Inside the wooden box was a pasteboard one of exactly the same shape.

    Madge Morton's Secret

    Amy D. V. Chalmers
  • Yes, there was the cache I had made by splitting the pasteboard with my jack-knife.

    The Plum Tree David Graham Phillips
  • And the boat part is about as substantial as a pasteboard battleship.

    Torchy, Private Sec. Sewell Ford
  • All at once, while I was looking at my pasteboard, and wondering what I should do with this end, it came to me.

    Three People Pansy
British Dictionary definitions for pasteboard


  1. a stiff board formed from layers of paper or pulp pasted together, esp as used in bookbinding
  2. (as modifier): a pasteboard book cover
(slang) a card or ticket
flimsy; insubstantial
sham; fake
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 pasteboard

1540s, from paste (n.) + board (n.1). So called because it is made of sheets of paper pasted together.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for pasteboard



  1. A ticket of admission; annie oakley, board: He studied the coveted pasteboard (1934+)
  2. A business card or calling card (1837+)
  3. Aplaying card: Okay, shuffle the pasteboards and let's commence (1859+)

[by 1856 in the first sense, ''railroad ticket'']

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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