paper pusher

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paper pusher

1. Someone whose work is primarily to do with filing, filling in, or reviewing paperwork; a bureaucrat. Sometimes hyphenated. I just got sick of being a paper pusher, so I quit my job and moved to Thailand to surf and teach English. I know being married to a paper pusher can't be terribly exciting, but at least she's got a stable, well-paying job, right?
2. A bureaucrat, especially one who adheres inflexibly to the details of the bureaucracy or administrative procedure. Sometimes hyphenated. He's just a paper pusher—he can't get anything changed about the way the government collects your taxes. Ugh. I've got some paper-pusher looking over my case at the moment, and she's being so anal about over little detail!
3. dated One who writes bad or dishonored checks, especially out of habit or as a criminal profession. Sometimes hyphenated. Apparently there's been a paper pusher passing through the state, depositing bad checks on Fridays and then skipping town before the banks are open on Monday. He was a paper-pusher for a while back in college. Nothing too serious, mostly just did it to pay for groceries or school supplies when he was low on cash.
See also: paper, pusher
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

paper-pusher

1. n. a bureaucrat; a clerk in the military services; any office worker. (see also pencil-pusher.) If those paper-pushers can’t get their work done on time, make them stay late.
2. n. someone who passes bad checks. (see also paper, paper-hanger.) The bank teller spotted a well-known paper-pusher and called the cops.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Mansoor Malik, head of business development MENA, CIPS, added that over the last decade, the institute has seen a transformation [of the job] from being a paper pusher function or a compliance function to one that is performing and at the leading end of the organisation.
Porter made frequent references to the Ford presidency, during which he had served as a paper pusher, as if that were the model that the present administration should emulate.
Even though you know that you don't have any real power, that you are just a paper pusher, that the real power in this administration is closely held by about five or six people at the top, in Washington even the proximity to power is an aphrodisiac.