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mid-14c., from Anglo-French paper, Old French papier "paper, document," from Latin papyrus "paper, paper made of papyrus stalks" (see papyrus).
Meaning "paper money" attested from 1722. As shortened form of newspaper, first attested 1640s. In plural, "collection of papers to establish one's identity, credentials, etc.," it is attested from 1680s. Paper chase is British slang from 1932.
1590s, "to write down on paper," from paper (n.). Meaning "to decorate a room with paper hangings" is from 1774. Related: Papered; papering. Verbal phrase paper over in the figurative sense is from 1955, from the notion of hiding plaster cracks with wallaper.
1590s, from paper (n.). Figurative of something flimsy or unsubstantial from 1716. Paper tiger (1952) translates Chinese tsuh lao fu, popularized by Mao Zedong. Paper doll attested from 1849; paper plate from 1723.
The expression in the Authorized Version (Isa. 19:7), "the paper reeds by the brooks," is in the Revised Version more correctly "the meadows by the Nile." The words undoubtedly refer to a grassy place on the banks of the Nile fit for pasturage. In 2 John 1:12 the word is used in its proper sense. The material so referred to was manufactured from the papyrus, and hence its name. The papyrus (Heb. gome) was a kind of bulrush (q.v.). It is mentioned by Job (8:11) and Isaiah (35:7). It was used for many purposes. This plant (Papyrus Nilotica) is now unknown in Egypt; no trace of it can be found. The unaccountable disappearance of this plant from Egypt was foretold by Isaiah (19:6, 7) as a part of the divine judgment on that land. The most extensive papyrus growths now known are in the marshes at the northern end of the lake of Merom.