Is there any English idiom with meaning "a lot of paper" (like documents), like "a tons of paper" or so?

I mean paper as paperwork, but not in the context of the work itself, more kind of going through the papers, filing it and so on. Someone in the comments suggested: “An avalanche of paper” which works great.

Are there any others?

closed as unclear what you're asking by jimm101, NVZ, choster, Edwin Ashworth, RegDwigнt Mar 12 '16 at 21:25

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    Can you give an example of when this idiom would be used? For example, if you mean paper as in paperwork or busywork, then would could suggest red tape. But that doesn't work in other contexts. So we need to know how you intend or would like to use the phrase. Thanks. – Dan Bron Mar 12 '16 at 13:51
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    Your only attempt at an example suggests you are just looking for an idiom for "a lot" of anything, as opposed to specifically of paper. If that is the case, start by looking up "a lot" in a thesaurus of your choosing. If that is not the case, please edit your question accordingly. Clearly if you can't come up with anything given all the context that you have, it is entirely impossible for others to come up with anything, let alone anything good, when given no context whatsoever. – RegDwigнt Mar 12 '16 at 21:28
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    Why put the question on hold because YOU don't understand? Many people seem to understand the question. – Merveil Meok Mar 12 '16 at 22:24
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    One vivid expression is "an avalanche of paper." – Sven Yargs Mar 13 '16 at 2:26
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    I mean paper as paperwork, but not in the context of the work itself, more kind of going through the papers, filing it and so. An avalanche of paper works great, thanks! – baflek Mar 15 '16 at 19:52

Reams of paper.

Definitions from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

n. A quantity of paper, formerly 480 sheets, now 500 sheets or, in a printer's ream, 516 sheets.
n. A very large amount. Often used in the plural: reams of work to do.

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    One of those golden moments when the proper term for something became an idiom for it as well. – John Clifford Mar 12 '16 at 14:48
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    Nice :) Is this used in a common language? But the meaning is precise I think. – baflek Mar 15 '16 at 19:54
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    Yes, this is an everyday, common term (in my experience). – Daniel R. Collins Mar 16 '16 at 2:54

Could an expression like:

  • I am buried in paper .

fit your context?

enter image description here

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    What came instantly to my mind when I read the Q was "drowning in paper" -- and it has internet references. – ab2 Mar 12 '16 at 19:44
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    Buried in/under a pile of paper / paperwork. OR Buried under a mountain of paperwork Just for a laugh, here's a funny cartoon historyofawoman.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/… – Mari-Lou A Mar 13 '16 at 11:26
  • I'm looking for something I can use as a noun. A mountain of paperwork/paper seems fine :) – baflek Mar 15 '16 at 19:55
  • You can cast your vote to reopen this question, so far four users have done so. I believe you have enough rep points for that "privilege" – Mari-Lou A May 23 '16 at 7:36

Given that paper copies of documents are sometimes known as "dead tree" versions, "a whole forest of dead trees" might do.


Along the lines of another answer mentioning forests, although it’s most frequently used figuratively to describe huge amounts of rain/vegetation/humidity/(even body hair!), “of {tropical} rainforest proportions" has a similar, somewhat logical connotation of “huge amounts of paper” when used in discussions of office/desk/paper clutter, such as:

… for every piece of paper that comes my way, and believe me this can be of rainforest proportions.

(from ‘Work From Home”/businessopportunities{dot]biz , paragraph 2)


Computers are notorious for churning out reports of rainforest proportions.

(from ‘Credit Management Handbook’ by Burt Edwards, via ‘Google Books’)


You might consider,

be snowed under with paper;

be swamped with/in paper;

be swimming in paper;

not to be able to swing a dead cat/stick [in here] without knocking over a piece of paper;

there's more paper [in here] than you can shake a stick at;

be up to one's neck/chin/ears/eyeballs in paper.

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