ETYM French papier, from Latin papyrus papyrus, from which the Egyptians made a kind of paper, Greek. Related to Papyrus.
1. A material made of cellulose pulp derived mainly from wood or rags or certain grasses.
2. A scholarly article describing the results of observations or stating hypotheses.
3. Medium for written communication.
Thin, flexible material made in sheets from vegetable fibers (such as wood pulp) or rags and used for writing, drawing, printing, packaging, and various household needs. The name comes from papyrus, a form of writing material made from water reed, used in ancient Egypt. The invention of true paper, originally made of pulped fishing nets and rags, is credited to Tsai Lun, Chinese minister of agriculture, AD 105.
Paper came to the West with Arabs who had learned the secret from Chinese prisoners of war in Samarkand in 768. It spread from Morocco to Moorish Spain and to Byzantium in the 11th century, then to the rest of Europe. All early paper was handmade within frames.
With the spread of literacy there was a great increase in the demand for paper. Production by hand of single sheets could not keep pace with this demand, which led to the invention, by Louis Robert (1761–1828) in 1799, of a machine to produce a continuous reel of paper. The process was developed and patented in 1801 by François Didot, Robert's employer. Today most paper is made from wood pulp on a Fourdrinier machine, then cut to size; some high grade paper is still made from esparto or rag. Paper products absorb 35% of the world's annual commercial wood harvest; recycling avoids some of the enormous waste of trees, and most papermakers plant and replant their own forests of fast-growing stock.