a small, heavy object of glass, metal, etc., placed on papers to keep them from scattering.

Origin of paperweight

First recorded in 1855–60; paper + weight Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for paper-weight

Historical Examples of paper-weight

  • Her master kept it on his table as a paper-weight, and no one knew it was loaded.


    William J. Locke

  • Look out, Peter, let me shy this paper-weight at him—there, I'll bet that mashed him into jelly!


    Josephine Lawrence

  • And the paper-weight echoed, “Not a thing out of the ordinary!”

    The Brown Mouse

    Herbert Quick

  • The foot of the Princess Hermonthis to be used for a paper-weight!

  • Then he rose to his feet and tossed the paper-weight on to the desk with a crash.

    The Girl in the Golden Atom

    Raymond King Cummings

British Dictionary definitions for paper-weight



a small heavy object placed on loose papers to prevent them from scattering
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 paper-weight

"heavy object used to hold down papers," 1858, from paper (n.) + weight (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper