AskDefine | Define paperboy

Dictionary Definition

paperboy n : a boy who sells or delivers newspapers

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. Someone who delivers newspapers to houses on a paper round
    He was a paperboy, she said see you later boy.


Extensive Definition

A paperboy is the general name for a person employed by a newspaper, a news agent or even an official postal service to deliver newspapers to the homes of subscribers, as assigned by streets and routes. Paperboys traditionally were and are still often portrayed on television and movies as preteen boys, often on a bicycle.


The position of paperboy occupies a prominent place in many countries including the United Kingdom, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and Japan. This is because it has long been the first paying job available to youngsters. Despite that, the number of paperboys has declined greatly. This is due partly to the disappearance of afternoon newspapers, whose delivery times worked better for school-aged children than did those of morning papers which were typically delivered before 6 a.m. The numbers have also been affected by changing demographics, the availability of news and newspapers on the internet, employment laws and concern about the safety of un-escorted children, all of which have led many newspapers to switch to delivery by adults. Today, they are mainly used by weekly community newspapers and free shopper papers, which still tend to be delivered in the afternoons. Alternatively, sometimes paperboys are only employed once a week to deliver the paper on Sunday.


Paper boy is a job pertaining to one who distributes newspapers or a newspaper deliverer.


Paper distribution is a fairly inventful job. It consists of mapping out ones territory and using it to your advantage in distributing paper. Very little knowledge is needed. During the Christmas season in western countries, a paperboy can make an extra bonus - similar to a postman - by knocking on the doors of subscribers and wishing them a "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays". In some cities tips are left for paper boys on doors.


It is a low-standing job. As most papers are delivered early in the morning it requires the delivery person to get up early, which can also mean braving cold, dark and inhospitable conditions. Some delivery routes have also moved away from simple 'walking routes' to larger 'driving routes', which requires both a car and a license. 'Driving routes' have become less profitable with the rising price of fuel, since fuel is not paid for by most newspapers. Cons of this profession also include simple pop culture bias from what one refers to a kiddy profession.

In fiction

For motion pictures with the word in the title, see the IMDb; for others in which they feature, see
Arnold Bennett's 1911 novel The Card features a newspaper take-over. Part of the success of the stratagem depends on the proprietor temporarily detaining all his rival's paperboys, which he does by promising them food and locking them in. The paperboys are depicted as a rumbustious and tight-knit group.


paperboy in German: Zeitungsbote
paperboy in Japanese: 新聞配達
paperboy in Portuguese: Ardina
paperboy in Chinese: 報童
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