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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 style or design of such material.
    He is letting her select the wallpapers for the whole house.
  3. (uncountable, figuratively, 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.
  4. (computing, Microsoft Windows) An image or tiled pattern used as a background to personalize a computer desktop.
  5. (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.


  • (computing: background image): desktop image (Mac OS, untiled), desktop pattern (Mac OS, tiled)

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