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[wawl-pey-per] /ˈwɔlˌpeɪ pər/
paper, usually with printed decorative patterns in color, for pasting on and covering the walls or ceilings of rooms, hallways, etc.
any fabric, foil, vinyl material, etc., used as a wall or ceiling covering.
Computers. a design or picture in the background of the primary display screen of a graphical user interface:
Personalize your tablet by changing the wallpaper.
verb (used with object)
to put wallpaper on (a wall, ceiling, etc.) or to furnish (a room, house, etc.) with wallpaper.
Origin of wallpaper
1820-30; wall + paper Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for wallpaper
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The wallpaper had smothered the Kingdom of God; he had been, he felt, domestic; it had been an after-supper talk.

    Soul of a Bishop H. G. Wells
  • In the absence of art patrons, wallpaper was his only excuse for continuing as an artist.

    John Baptist Jackson Jacob Kainen
  • It is almost impossible to remove creosote and soot stains on plaster and wallpaper.

  • The Essay continued with a criticism of the current taste in wallpaper.

    John Baptist Jackson Jacob Kainen
  • This wallpaper seems to have been supplied by a tradesman in the station road in the village of Chizelrigg.'

British Dictionary definitions for wallpaper


paper usually printed or embossed with designs for pasting onto walls and ceilings
  1. something pleasant but bland which serves as an unobtrusive background
  2. (as modifier): wallpaper music
(computing) a graphics file that can be displayed in certain applications behind or around the main dialogue boxes, working display areas, etc, for decoration
to cover (a surface) with wallpaper
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 wallpaper

1827, from wall (n.) + paper (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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wallpaper in Technology

1. A file containing a listing (e.g. assembly listing) or a transcript, especially a file containing a transcript of all or part of a login session. (The idea was that the paper for such listings was essentially good only for wallpaper, as evidenced at Stanford, where it was used to cover windows).
The term is now rare, especially since other systems have developed other terms for it (e.g. PHOTO on TWENEX). However, the Unix world doesn't have an equivalent term, so perhaps wallpaper will take hold there. The term probably originated on ITS, where the commands to begin and end transcript files were ":WALBEG" and ":WALEND", with default file "WALL PAPER" (the space was a path delimiter).
2. The background pattern used on graphical workstations under the Microsoft Windows graphical user interface to MS-DOS.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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