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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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for pasteboard
Historical Examples
  • I have often wondered how things would have turned out if Mary Virginia had lost or forgotten that pasteboard box!

  • How they had exclaimed as Marjorie drew the blue wonder from its pasteboard nest.

    Marjorie Dean Pauline Lester
  • Now solder the pasteboard to the jar with melted candle making the joints tight all the way around.

    The First Book of Farming Charles L. Goodrich
  • She relaxed her fingers, and dropped the pasteboard box on the turf.

    Mountain Blood Joseph Hergesheimer
  • The cloth had been glued to a heavy sheet of pasteboard the exact size of the trunk bottom.

    The Harvester Gene Stratton Porter
  • "I thought so," she said, reverting to her heap of pasteboard.

    Athalie Robert W. Chambers
  • He turned a pocket flash on the big card board Billy had erected, its daubed letters still wet and blurring into the pasteboard.

    The City of Fire Grace Livingston Hill
  • Women are exceedingly tenacious of these pasteboard appearances.

  • I had two white mice that were forever gnawing their way out of a pasteboard chateau, and crawling over my face when I lay asleep.

    The Story of a Bad Boy Thomas Bailey Aldrich
  • From it he withdrew a pasteboard which he laid on the table.

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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