I'm unable to find a translation which isn't "rubbish", or a draft. I'm looking for the word to describe, for example, paper printed on one side, which you keep to use for making notes on.

Example sentence:

[Say I'm showing my son how to derive the quadratic formula, but have run out of space] Pásame otra hoja de _______ por favor.

  • Welcome to Spanish Language! I have provided you an answer, but you will get more accurate answers if you specify a region, as I am afraid this expression may vary between different Spanish-speaking countries. Besides, which are those rubbish translations? The more you tell us the better we will be able to help you!
    – Charlie
    May 27, 2017 at 17:07
  • Andalucia is the best region, I have two Spanish speakers who have been living in the UK for too long and have forgotten their vocabulary. They disagree with the dictionary translations. May 27, 2017 at 17:09
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    Then you are lucky, I am precisely from Seville, Andalusia. :-)
    – Charlie
    May 27, 2017 at 17:11
  • 4
    @carlosalejo he means that it probably translated it as "basura" or similar, not that the quality was poor haha May 27, 2017 at 17:15
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    The reason yo may be getting rubbish as translation is because you may be using US English as the source language, where scrap is unused material unfit for it's purpose, or, well, rubbish. Try setting the source language to UK English and you may get more accurate translations
    – hlecuanda
    May 27, 2017 at 20:42

4 Answers 4


Here in Spain we say "folios en sucio" for the papers you use for drafts in an exam, or as you say, papers that are partially written but you can still use for notes.

  • 1
    ¡Figura! ¡Enhorabuena por los 20K en poco más de un año! Hasta el infinito y más allá.
    – fedorqui
    May 27, 2017 at 22:24
  • @fedorqui ¡Gracias! Definitivamente os habéis propuesto entre todos ponerme colorado... :-)
    – Charlie
    May 28, 2017 at 6:50

The word I use to describe paper printed on one side which I keep for notes etc. is borrador, short for papel (de) borrador. This is also how other people around me call that kind of paper. If you look up borrador in the DRAE you will not find this meaning, strictly speaking: borrador translates roughly as "draft" (the provisional version of a work in progress and/or the medium in which it's written).

However it shouldn't be difficult to understand how the meaning of "scrap paper" can be derived from the former: borrador is not only a draft, or the paper on which the draft is written/drawn, but also the paper that is saved, generally, for the purpose of writing drafts and similar tasks, such as throwaway notes.

Of course "scrap paper" has other connotations: it may be just paper that is discarded and not thrown away but without any purpose in mind. It might be that there's no single Spanish word that translates it.

  • This also applies for Colombia. The accepted answer from Carlos won't be understood here.
    – DGaleano
    May 30, 2017 at 12:37

In US English, scrap paper would be the pieces of paper that were not used or partially used on something, say a book or a cutout. And scratch paper is closer to the meaning that the previous answers refer to.

So, Mexico being closer to the US, we have adopted a similar meaning as they are using, and it may be adequate and even understandable almost anywhere.

So instead of "trabajo en sucio" we use borrador (draft)

For scrap papers we use retazos sobrantes retazos de papel or simply retazos (literally leftover pieces) and it applies to any flat or sheeted material such as plywood or fabric, too; as long as they are leftover pieces of a larger stock material, written on, or otherwise =)


I'm from Colombia and here most of the people that surround me call them: "papel reciclado", which would be recycled paper. You could also say borrador.

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