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[pey-per-bak] /ˈpeɪ pərˌbæk/
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.
Also, softcover; paperbound
[pey-per-bound] /ˈpeɪ pərˌbaʊnd/ (Show IPA),
softbound (for defs 1, 2).
Compare hardcover.
1895-1900; paper + back1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for paperback
  • Light and handsome paperback-size device can store dozens of books.
  • It's a pocket-size paperback, but it's chock-full of wonderful things.
  • It's not unusual for the paperback edition of a book to include some corrections from the hardcover.
  • There are organizations that ship paperback books to our troops overseas and to hospitals in your area.
  • It's not unusual for the paperback edition of a book to include some corrections from the hardcover.
  • We discussed his readings and radio appearances, chatted about the fact that the paperback was in its fourth printing.
  • The cloth went through four printings and the paperback is now in its seventh printing.
  • Each is about the size of a small paperback novel, wired to the pump but implanted in the abdomen.
  • One student follows along in a paperback that is held together with duct tape.
  • Then he grabs a slim paperback off a shelf and hurls it at my shoulder.
British Dictionary definitions for paperback


a book or edition with covers made of flexible card, sold relatively cheaply Compare hardback
of or denoting a paperback or publication of paperbacks
verb (transitive)
to publish in paperback
Derived Forms
paperbacker, 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
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Word Origin and History for paperback

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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