on paper


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pa·per

 (pā′pər)
n.
1. A material made of cellulose pulp, derived mainly from wood, rags, and certain grasses, processed into flexible sheets or rolls by deposit from an aqueous suspension, and used chiefly for writing, printing, drawing, wrapping, and covering walls.
2. A single sheet of this material.
3. One or more sheets of paper bearing writing or printing, especially:
a. A formal written composition intended to be published, presented, or read aloud; a scholarly essay or treatise.
b. A piece of written work for school; a report or theme.
c. often papers An official document, especially one establishing the identity of the bearer.
4. papers A collection of letters, diaries, and other writings, especially by one person: the Madison papers.
5. Short-term debt instruments, especially commercial paper.
6. A newspaper.
7. Wallpaper.
8. A wrapper made of paper, often with its contents: a paper of pins.
9. Slang
a. A free pass to a theater.
b. The audience admitted with free passes.
tr.v. pa·pered, pa·per·ing, pa·pers
1. To cover, wrap, or line with paper.
2. To cover with wallpaper.
3. To supply with paper.
4. Slang To issue free passes for (a theater, for example).
5. To construct (something) in haste and with little forethought: papered together a new coalition of political convenience.
adj.
1. Made of paper.
2. Resembling paper, as in thinness or flimsiness.
3. Of or relating to clerical work: paper duties.
4.
a. Existing only in printed or written form: paper profits; a paper corporation.
b. Planned but not realized; theoretical.
Phrasal Verb:
paper over
1. To put or keep out of sight; conceal: paper over a deficit with accounting gimmicks.
2. To downplay or gloss over (differences, for example), especially in order to maintain a nominal, apparent, or temporary unity.
Idioms:
in paper
With a paperback binding; as a paperback.
on paper
1. In writing or print.
2. In theory, as opposed to actual performance or fact: It is a good team on paper, but its members play poorly together.

[Middle English, from Old French papier, from Latin papȳrus, papyrus plant, papyrus paper, from Greek papūros.]

pa′per·er n.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adv.1.on paper - as written or printed; "this is exactly what the composer had set down on paper"
References in classic literature ?
This was printed in enormous type on paper so fresh that it was still wet, and there had been no time to add a word of comment.
To be Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to the greatest power which the world had as yet known must certainly seem, on paper, to be as brilliant a post as a man's ambition could covet.
It was very well to say it was no predicament, that the way out was simple, that I had only to leave Venice by the first train in the morning, after writing a note to Miss Tita, to be placed in her hand as soon as I got clear of the house; for it was a strong sign that I was embarrassed that when I tried to make up the note in my mind in advance (I would put it on paper as soon as I got home, before going to bed), I could not think of anything but "How can I thank you for the rare confidence you have placed in me?