on paper

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Prepositional phrase[edit]

on paper

  1. Used other than with a figurative or idiomatic meaning: see on,‎ paper.
  2. (figuratively) Based on debatable inference; in theory.
    • August 25, 1814, Thomas Jefferson, letter to Edward Coles:
      From those of the former generation who were in the fulness of age when I came into public life, which was while our controversy with England was on paper only, I soon saw that nothing was to be hoped.
    • 06 June, 2002, Graham Snowdon, The Telegraph:
      Hutchinson, the current champion at 50 miles, is on paper the fastest rider in the field for Sunday's event
    • 2011 Allen Gregory, "Pilot" (season 1, episode 1):
      Allen Gregory DeLongpre: Hey, just throwing out a random hypothetical to you. Let's say there's a new kid in school, and on paper he should be killing it, but for some reason the other kids don't like him? Why do you think that would be?