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wall +‎ paper


  • (file)


wallpaper (countable and uncountable, plural wallpapers)

  1. (uncountable) Decorative paper-like material used to cover the inner walls of buildings.
  2. (countable) A roll of such paper.
  3. (countable) A style or design of such material.
    He is letting her select the wallpapers for the whole house.
  4. (uncountable, figurative, sometimes attributive) Anything that serves as a background or part of the surroundings.
    • 2004, Brian Mooney, Barry Simpson, Breaking News: How the Wheels Came off at Reuters, page 114:
      This was not the wallpaper television that flickered away in the background in every dealing room but was not really watched. This was finely targeted and timely broadcast of stuff dealers would want to drop everything to watch.
    • 2007, Susan Nathiel, Daughters of Madness: Growing Up and Older with a Mentally Ill Mother:
      Her experiences are too early and too much part of the emotional wallpaper to be grasped in this way.
  5. (computing, countable, uncountable) An image or tiled pattern used as the background of a computer desktop.
    • 1997, Richard Dungworth, Philippa Wingate, Windows 3.1 & Windows 95 for Beginners, page 65:
      You can design your own wallpaper using Paintbrush. A wallpaper appears on your desktop in tiles. The number of tiles that are needed to cover the desktop depends on the size of the canvas you use to create a wallpaper.
  6. (television, slang) Generic footage of a building or location that may be used in the background of a related news report.
    • 1983, Av Westin, Newswatch: How TV Decides the News, page 88:
      Scripts that include brief reference to a picture turn stock footage from 'wallpaper' to illustration.
    • 2002, Kathy Chater, Research for Media Production, page 75:
      News bulletins on television may need general rather than specific footage. This is known as wallpaper — moving pictures over which the news item is read.
  7. (philately, informal) Gaudy mass-produced stamps, typically of little or no value and only produced for sale to collectors.
  8. (CB radio slang) A radio operator's collection of awards and QSL cards.
    • 1960, QST, volume 44, numbers 1-6, page 76:
      Some of my wallpaper includes ORS, OPS []
    • 1994, 73 Amateur Radio Today, numbers 400-411, page 155:
      So if you are a technical ham and are looking for one more piece of "wallpaper" to put up at the shack, consider []
    • 2013, H. Ward Silver, Ham Radio For Dummies:
      Wallpaper. Hams love awards, and thousands of awards are available.


Derived terms[edit]



wallpaper (third-person singular simple present wallpapers, present participle wallpapering, simple past and past participle wallpapered)

  1. (transitive) To cover (a wall, a room, etc) with wallpaper.


  • (cover with wallpaper): paper