- 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.
- fool's cap(def 1).
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. 2018
Examples from the Web for foolscap
Only Marcia noticed that the hand which took up the foolscap shook a little.The Coryston Family
Mrs. Humphry Ward
The letter was a long one, covering several sheets of foolscap.
Judge Baxter folded the sheets of foolscap and laid them on the table.
To her who received it the one syllable was more than a page of foolscap.Daughters of the Revolution and Their Times
Charles Carleton Coffin
Green held out a pen to him and pointed to the bottom of the foolscap.The Grell Mystery
- 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
C17: see fool 1, cap; so called from the watermark formerly used on this kind of paper
Word Origin and History for foolscap
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