Definition of Paper Trail

A set of documents that shows the sequence of events leading up to a particular decision or action. A paper trail can be used to track the progress of a project, to understand how a decision was made, or to provide evidence in the event of a dispute.

Example: After a major mistake was made on the project, the VP asked for a paper trail to better understand what happened, why it happened, and who was potentially responsible.

Variations: document trail

Usage of "Paper Trail" by Country

Business English is used in many different countries around the world. Some of the words and phrases listed on this site will be understood everywhere Business English is used, but some words and phrases are only used in specific countries. The map below shows where "Paper Trail" is most commonly used.

Word Usage Map

Learn More About "Paper Trail"

"Paper Trail" is in the top 30% most popular words looked up on this site.

"Paper Trail" is used in the workplace during meetings or emails.

The definition for "Paper Trail" was last updated in 2023.

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Business English Quiz

Question: What does "Calendar Invite" mean?

   (A) When a person wants to meet with you next week.
   (B) An email sent to schedule a meeting with the option to either accept or decline the meeting at the scheduled time.
   (C) When a person has available time on their calendar to meet with you.
   (D) When a person does not have any time to meet with you.

Answer: Find out the right answer here.

About This Site

Jargonism is a Business English dictionary. You can learn about words and phrases that are commonly used in the workplace like Circle Back, Thought Leader, and Offsite. We also have a Word of the Day, which is a daily Business English vocabulary word that is commonly used in the workplace.

On this site, we also have templates on how to communicate effectively at work, such as requesting PTO, declining a promotion, and taking a sick day.

Word of the Day

Date: 06/13/2024

Word: Close It Out

Definition: To mark something as completed.

Example: This task has been fixed, so let's close it out within the task tracker.

Cite This Page

"Paper Trail." Dictionary, Accessed 06/13/2024.