“full scape” or “foolscap” paper?

Printing paper measuring 13.5 inches by 17 inches is usually called “foolscap” paper and not “full scape” paper. The first syllable is pronounced like the word “fools” and the second like the word “cap”. The main stress is on the first syllable. The paper is called “foolscap” because there was a time when paper was watermarked with a fool’s cap — i.e. a cap worn by a court jester. According to some people, it was Oliver Cromwell who decided to put this design on paper. It was to replace symbol of the royal crown which had appeared earlier. Many people however dismiss this idea.

The Hindu- ‘Know Your English’ Series, October 07, 2003

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