In my mother tongue, there is a word for it, and it is a noun.

The action is observed when you think the paper is waste. You squeeze it, and it loses its texture/avatar. Then, it is no more straight or flat.

Here is the image. Check those papers. What have they become?

waste paper in a dustbin


I wanted to put everything in words. I tried it on a paper. I did not like it. I __________ it and threw it in a dustbin.

You find nothing in this dustbin except some __________ papers

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    A possible alternative with wad: I wad the paper up; a wad of paper; wadded balls of paper – Damkerng T. Dec 1 '15 at 10:53
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    BTW, you are using the word avatar incorrectly. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Dec 1 '15 at 14:10
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    @TRomano Yeah but now I want to start using the word "avatar" in strange ways. I'm sure when I do, people will get funny looks on their avatars. Maybe when I go to the dry cleaners I'll ask them if they can give my shirts back their avatar. It's just a cool word. – Todd Wilcox Dec 1 '15 at 22:05
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    I'm going to take a wild guess that 'avatar' is being confused with 'shape' since both can refer to the 'physical form' of something. The difference is that 'avatar' typically means the physical incarnation of a deity in hinduism, whereas a 'shape' is the physical form of a real world object. – Pharap Dec 2 '15 at 12:00
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    @DamkerngT. to "wad" is to pack tightly. – Ben Dec 2 '15 at 14:45

Crumple is a good option.

I wanted to put everything in words. I tried it on a paper. I did not like it. I crumpled it and threw it in a dustbin.

You find nothing in this dustbin except some crumpled papers.

| improve this answer | |
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    I'm 30 seconds late. +1 – shin Dec 1 '15 at 8:59
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    Do people really use other words (besides crumple) for this? – Yakk Dec 1 '15 at 15:50
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    @Andrew Grimm: your link doesn't work properly. It shows no graphic results. I think the asterisk in the url is giving SE problems. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Dec 2 '15 at 11:38
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    In the UK it's more usual to say "I crumpled it up"... here "up" acts informally as an intensifier.. Something which is "crumpled up" is more crumpled than something which is merely "crumpled". – Ben Dec 2 '15 at 14:48
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    @yakk yes, obviously; see the other answers. i don't find it hard to believe that people in different regions of the world might use different words for the same concept. – user428517 Dec 2 '15 at 23:18

Another is "wadded up"

I wadded up the paper into a ball and threw it in the garbage.


verb (used with object), wadded, wadding.

  1. to form (material) into a wad.

8. to roll tightly (often followed by up): He wadded up his cap and stuck it into his pocket.

9. to hold in place by a wad: They rammed and wadded the shot into their muskets.

10. to put a wad into; stuff with a wad.

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    As a native American English speaker, 'wadded up' sounds the best and most-specific to me. – user151841 Dec 1 '15 at 16:59
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    @Ben It also has sense (7) above, “to form into a wad”. Since wad (noun) itself doesn't denote “tightly-packed,” wadded would appear to apply just fine. – SevenSidedDie Dec 2 '15 at 19:50
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    @Ben this appears to be a uk/american difference that you're unaware of. "wad" is extremely common for this use in am.e—every native am.e speaker would understand this meaning immediately. it's probably more common than "crumple" in am.e, although am.e does use "crumple" as well. – user428517 Dec 2 '15 at 23:09
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    +1 for regional difference: I'm in Canada, and "wadded up" sounds unfamiliar to me; "crumpled" or even "scrunched up" are common here. – sebastian_k Dec 3 '15 at 2:39
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    To me, wadding (or balling) up a piece of paper is slightly different from scrunching/crumpling/screwing it up, in that wadding it up implies more determination and force, turning the paper into a compact ball. The other verbs can just be making a light, semi-ballish structure out of it, which wadding isn’t in my head. For instance, this is scrunched/screwed/crumpled (up), while this is wadded or balled up. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Dec 3 '15 at 9:11

"Balled up" is a good option. It visually explains what is done to the paper.

I wanted to put everything in words. I tried it on a paper. I did not like it. I balled it up and threw it in a dustbin.

You find nothing in this dustbin except some balled up papers.

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  • 1
    What location is this common in? I have certainly never heard this used in British English. – Mark Booth Dec 1 '15 at 15:08
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    I've heard it used in American English. Along with "Scrunched up" and "wadded up". – Zessa Dec 1 '15 at 15:16

"Scrunched up papers" is exactly what you're looking for.

I wanted to put everything in words. I tried it on a paper. I did not like it. I scrunched it up and threw it in a dustbin.

You find nothing in this dustbin except some scrunched up papers

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  • 1
    Use a right angular bracket [>] for that. – Maulik V Dec 1 '15 at 9:01
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    This works, but note that it's very informal sounding. "Scrunch" is a "cute" word, and especially in this sense. (Normally, it means a person making themselves small, or tightening their face or hands, so this is anthropomorphic.) – mattdm Dec 1 '15 at 14:12
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    This might be spot on in some places, but I've never heard it in my life in the USA. Maybe it's British? "Crumpled" is what I hear all the time. – Todd Wilcox Dec 1 '15 at 22:02
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    Why downvote an answer that's correct? An answer might be correct in one type of a language, but not in another. That doesn't mean it deserves a downvote. – Riley Francisco Dec 2 '15 at 23:41
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    @killermist American English is not the same as Internet English. English on the Internet takes all kinds of different shapes and forms—and besides, scrunching up paper is perfectly valid in American English, too; see, for example, Merriam-Webster’s definition 2b. Papers are scrunched up all the time, even if not necessarily where you live. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Dec 3 '15 at 8:52

Screwed-up is an alternative to scrunched up.

I wanted to put everything in words. I tried it on a paper. I did not like it. I screwed it up and threw it in a dustbin.

You'll find nothing in this dustbin except some screwed-up papers.

As found in the Collins English dictionary:

Verb If you screw something such as a piece of paper into a ball, you squeeze it or twist it tightly so that it is in the shape of a ball. BRIT.

"He screwed the paper into a ball and tossed it into the fire."

AM use crush

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    Thank you! It is best to provide details when sharing an answer to avoid misconception and ambiguity. (+1) – shin Dec 1 '15 at 14:57
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    In American English, this does not mean crumpled into a ball; it means "ruined by mistakes". My first assumption would be that the paper contained a form, and you filled it out wrong. – mattdm Dec 1 '15 at 15:02
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    In my experience (British English) this option would be far more commonly used than any of the other options presented. – Mark Booth Dec 1 '15 at 15:09
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    Yeah, this is definitely not American English. Screwed up is used in a VERY different way in AmE. I can't stress enough that this would get very confused looks and problems with understanding in America. – Zessa Dec 1 '15 at 15:13
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    Screwed up has multiple meanings. One meaning is to make a mistake (which I'd like to point out is a colloquialism), another is (according to wiktionary) "(transitive) To twist into a contorted state", which is the meaning applied here. – Pharap Dec 2 '15 at 11:09

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