paper trail

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paper trail

Physical or digital documentation of a person's activities. The con artist wrote fraudulent checks all over the state, leaving a paper trail for police to follow. Frank swore that he wasn't using the company's computer for illegal activities, but the digital paper trail he left proved otherwise.
See also: paper, trail
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

*paper trail

Fig. a series of records that is possible to examine to find out the sequence of things that happen. (*Typically: have ~; leave ~; make ~.) The legal department requires all these forms so that there is a paper trail of all activity.
See also: paper, trail
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

a paper trail

A paper trail is written evidence of someone or something's activities. Police investigations found a paper trail of checks that were written on false bank accounts. Unlike conventional voting systems, many electronic systems leave no paper trail to allow results to be double-checked.
See also: paper, trail
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
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References in periodicals archive ?
'One of the means for us to find out [the members of] the mafia is to check the paper trail. The documents will not lie.
The paper trail machines slips will be counted in the end.
NEW DELHI -- Leading opposition parties urged India's election commission on Tuesday to count the paper trail attached to electronic voting machines (EVMs) before turning to the EVMs amid reports of rigging by changing the machines across the country.
We have demanded that be it the Lok Sabha elections or state assembly elections, 50 per cent of votes should be counted through EVMs and 50 per cent of votes must be counted through paper trail and the paper trail must not be destroyed,aACA[yen] the Congress leader said.
We are trying to make sense of the metadata of the WhatsApp messages he has been sending the Sindh Police, the paper trail of the letter he sent the apex court.
The paper trail system is meant to supplement the existing procedure of voting and it allows voters to verify their respective votes.
The paper trail could be consulted in the event of a recount.
The focus of tribunal proceedings is consequently moving away from the witness evidence to the paper trail. A good piece of advice is to write your communications as though they might one day be read by a judge, although I don't suggest you go as far as my dad and write everything down on paper first.
Actually, it probably does: but there's a danger that, when endless boxes have to be ticked, completion of the paper trail assumes more importance than exercising common sense in the real situation.
Debt-ridden Alison Allan, 57, used her position at the Clydesdale Bank in Stonehaven, Kincardineshire, to transfer the OAPs' cash to her account, then hide the paper trail.
We travel to the world of Islamic philosophers and scientists, follow the paper trail as it invades Europe in the twelfth century and observe its growing impact on the world's affairs along the way.
"It would give a clear timeline and include all the facts from the paper trail which must be in place for any patient in any hospital."
When confronted with the paper trail during police interviews the sex fiend admitted it could only mean one thing - he was in Northern Ireland the day little Jennifer vanished during her bike ride to visit a pal Louise Major on August 12.
All the parties supported the paper trail proposal.