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1. In a printed, written, or typed document. It's right there on paper that employees caught taking office supplies will be fired immediately. Please send me an email summarizing this conversation. I'd like to have it all on paper should the issue come up in the future.
2. Hypothetically or in theory. It's a good idea on paper, but I don't think it would work in a real-world environment. On paper, these magnets are supposed to be capable of superior adhesion, but I don't believe it.
In theory, hypothetically, as in Considering casualties, on paper the Americans won the Vietnam War, or They are a good team on paper but not so in the field. This metaphoric expression contrasts something written down with concrete reality. [Late 1700s]
on paper1 in writing. 2 in theory rather than in reality.
on ˈpaperconsidering something from what is written down about it, rather than what is actually true in practice; in theory: This idea looks very good on paper, but I’m not sure that it’s very practical.
1. In writing or print.
2. In theory, as opposed to actual performance or fact: It is a good team on paper, but its members play poorly together.