General English


  • noun a small size of newspaper, as opposed to a broadsheet

Media Studies

  • adjective light and entertainment-based. This term is often used pejoratively.
  • noun a smaller-sized format of newspaper such as the Sun, The daily mirror etc., with the added implication that it covers the news in a light-hearted, entertaining and less serious manner than a broadsheet.


  • noun a small-size newspaper with a less serious approach to the news than the broadsheets

Origin & History of “tabloid”

Tabloid originated as a trade-name for a brand of tablets of condensed medicine, registered in 1884 by Burroughs, Wellcome and Company. It was an alteration of tablet (14th c.), which came from Old French tablete, a diminutive form of table (source of English table). this originally denoted a ‘slab for writing on or inscribing’. Such slabs would have been flat and often quite small, and in the late 16th century the term came to be applied to a ‘flat compressed piece of something’ – such as soap or medicine. The notion of ‘compression’ or ‘condensation’ underlies the use of tabloid for newspapers of small page size and ‘condensed’ versions of news stories, which emerged at the beginning of the 20th century (‘He advocated tabloid journalism’, Westminster gazette 1 January 1901).