I don't understand the phrase "paper thin" in this sentence:

The difference between genius and stupidity is paper thin.

Does it mean "the paper is thin"? help me


1 Answer 1


Paper is thin, and paper thin or paper-thin mean simply "[as] thin as paper", such that in the example sentence, we are told that the difference between genius and stupidity is (or can be) very small, as small as the thickness of paper. Compare thin-skinned. Places on your body where the skin is comparatively thick, such as your back, are less sensitive to touch than places where the skin is comparatively thin, such as your lips or the back of your hand. To be thin-skinned, then, means "sensitive to metaphorical touches like insults". Consider also a hair or a hair's breadth, taken to mean a very small distance, either actually or metaphorically.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.