Writing paper, usually a little fancier than ordinary notebook paper or typing paper. Used more for letters where you want your words to look good than for everyday note-taking.

Stationery can also include any kind of paper, or paper products that a business would use, and now be produced, not by a stationer, but by a print shop, or graphics outlet:

Business cards, letterhead, printed envelops, bookmarks, stickers, pamphlets, pads with pr stuff on them, etc.

A stationery store, in medieval/Baroque Europe could be translated by "copy shop", "used book store", "college bookstore", or simply college general store. The idea was, since there was no real reason to switch textbooks from year to year, why not simply lease them out to students, with a sizable refund at the end of the year? (a refinement ungrasped by J.K. Rowling). A stationery store also provided paper (made out back with rags and recyclables), ink (made from galls on oak trees from the ever-producing gall wasp), and pens (from geese, swans, ducks, and the ever-desired crow). Some also had private presses, from which announcements, broadsides, and leaflets could be launched.

Nowadays, stationery means 'social stationery': calling cards, invitations, and announcements, on fine laid paper, usually engraved, a hidebound and decadent remnant of The Gilded Age: my favorite stationery store turned me on to IBM punch-card computing, as well as their dress code.

Let's take back stationery! Get community colleges into a stationery model for assigning textbooks! Let's cultivate alternate penmanships! Make paper out of old tablecloths! And let a new age of Enlightenment ensue!

Sta"tion*er*y (?), n.

The articles usually sold by stationers, as paper, pens, ink, quills, blank books, etc.


© Webster 1913.

Sta"tion*er*y, a.

Belonging to, or sold by, a stationer.


© Webster 1913.

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