Nearby words

  1. papaya,
  2. papeete,
  3. papelera,
  4. papen,
  5. papen, franz von,
  6. paper birch,
  7. paper chase,
  8. paper chromatography,
  9. paper clip,
  10. paper cutter


    on paper,
    1. in written or printed form.
    2. in theory rather than in practice.
    3. existing only in a preliminary state; in a plan or design: The university building program is still only on paper.

Origin of paper

1325–75; Middle English papire < Latin papȳrus papyrus

Related formspa·per·less, adjectivepa·per·like, adjectivere·pa·per, verb (used with object)un·pa·pered, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for paperless

British Dictionary definitions for paperless



of, relating to, or denoting a means of communication, record keeping, etc, esp electronic, that does not use paperthe paperless office



a substance made from cellulose fibres derived from rags, wood, etc, often with other additives, and formed into flat thin sheets suitable for writing on, decorating walls, wrapping, etcRelated adjective: papyraceous
a single piece of such material, esp if written or printed on
(usually plural) documents for establishing the identity of the bearer; credentials
Also called: ship's papers (plural) official documents relating to the ownership, cargo, etc, of a ship
(plural) collected diaries, letters, etc
a lecture or short published treatise on a specific subject
a short essay, as by a student
  1. a set of written examination questions
  2. the student's answers
commerce See commercial paper
theatre slang a free ticket
on paper in theory, as opposed to factit was a good idea on paper, but failed in practice


made of paperpaper cups do not last long
thin like paperpaper walls
(prenominal) existing only as recorded on paper but not yet in practicepaper profits; paper expenditure
taking place in writingpaper battles


to cover (walls) with wallpaper
(tr) to cover or furnish with paper
(tr) theatre slang to fill (a performance) by giving away free tickets (esp in the phrase paper the house)
See also paper over

Derived Formspaperer, noun

Word Origin for paper

C14: from Latin papyrus

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 paperless
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with paperless


In addition to the idiom beginning with paper

  • paper over

also see:

  • on paper
  • push paper
  • walking papers
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.