Foolscap Paper

Why is it called Foolscap Paper?

So what prompted a post concerning ‘foolscap’? Well, during a class at Xinmin Secondary (Feb 2013) a student asked me “why is it called foolscap?” Now obviously I didn’t know, however I promised to find out for the next lesson.


I find it interesting that this term is a legacy from the colonial days that has not been upgraded, even though the dimensions are different from the original term.

English words used in Singapore but not commonly used in the UK


  • Alight (to come down from something (as in a vehicle))
  • Bespectacled (wearing glasses)
  • Foolscap (lined, legal-size paper)
  • Mugging (learn or revise a subject as far as possible in a short time)
  • Spectacles (glasses)

English Words You Should Use With Caution in Western Countries Part 1 and Part 2.


  1. Greenrover06/02/2014

    I posted this on facebook: Foolscap AND quarto. It is odd that the British do not use this any more as they have only embraced SOME metric measures and not others. They still talk about pints and miles and gallons don’t they? Or is that the USA? I have a feeling the USA has not embraced anything decimal other than currency, while the UK has resisted attempts to fall in line with the rest of Europe over some parts of metrification in a last forlorn hope that Britain’s imperial majesty will still prevail over her dominions. Imperial weights and measures, right? Nobody told them that her dominions all use kilograms, litres and centimetres and have been since the sixties. They even use Celsius for temperatures. In this regard I think the US is equally clinging to outmoded attitudes that they rule the rest of the world. Only some of their marketing firms do!

    1. angmohdan06/02/2014

      Hi Greenrover, thanks for your comments. UK is mostly metric these days, however they still use miles (as does USA). Pints are still used in pubs. Weights and measures are now more or less metric. Celsius is metric, and is used in UK, not in USA. It’s an incredible situation to be in really when you can talk in two different measuring systems ;/


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