foolscap

[foolz-kap]
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noun

a type of inexpensive writing paper, especially legal-size, lined, yellow sheets, bound in tablet form.
Chiefly British. a size of drawing or printing paper, 13.5 × 17 inches (34 × 43 cm). Abbreviation: cap., fcp.
Also called foolscap octavo. a size of book, about 4.25 × 6.75 inches (11 × 17 cm), untrimmed.
Also called foolscap quarto. Chiefly British. a size of book, about 6.75 × 8.5 inches (17 × 22 cm) untrimmed.

Origin of foolscap

First recorded in 1690–1700; so called from the watermark of a fool's cap formerly used on such paper
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for foolscap

foolscap

noun

mainly British a size of writing or printing paper, 13 1/2 by 17 inches or 13 1/4 by 16 1/2 inches
a book size, 4 1/4 by 6 3/4 inches (foolscap octavo) or (chiefly Brit) 6 3/4 by 8 1/2 inches (foolscap quarto)
a variant spelling of fool's cap

Word Origin for foolscap

C17: see fool 1, cap; so called from the watermark formerly used on this kind of paper
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

Word Origin and History for foolscap
n.

literally "fool's cap; cap worn by jesters," 1630s; c.1700 as a type of paper, so called because this type of paper originally was watermarked with a court jester's cap.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper