a book bound in a flexible paper cover, often a lower-priced edition of a hardcover book.


(of a book) bound in a flexible paper cover: a paperback edition of Orwell's novel.
of, for, or pertaining to paperbacks: a paperback bookstore.

Nearby words

  1. paper-shelled,
  2. paper-thin,
  3. paper-train,
  4. paper-weight,
  5. paper-white narcissus,
  6. paperbark,
  7. paperbark maple,
  8. paperboard,
  9. paperboy,
  10. paperclip

Also softcover; pa·per·bound [pey-per-bound] /ˈpeɪ pərˌbaʊnd/, softbound (for defs 1, 2).

Compare hardcover.

Origin of paperback

First recorded in 1895–1900; paper + back1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for paperbound

  • Mrs. Owen rose and transferred a pile of paperbound books from a shelf to her desk.

    A Hoosier Chronicle|Meredith Nicholson

British Dictionary definitions for paperbound



a book or edition with covers made of flexible card, sold relatively cheaplyCompare hardback

adjective Also: paperbound, soft-cover

of or denoting a paperback or publication of paperbacks

verb (tr)

to publish in paperback
Derived Formspaperbacker, noun

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 paperbound



1899, from paper (n.) + back (n.). Adjective paper-backed attested from 1888.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper