Pamphlet: a short paper-bound or unbound booklet
According to the book, "Inventing English," the word pamphlet originated from a twelfth-century Latin love poem: "Pamphilus, seu de Amore" The first word of the Latin title means "loved by all" and was translated into French as pamphilet which became pamphlet in English. The poem, which has been lost over the centuries was either loosely bound or unbound, perhaps with a thin parchment as a cover.
After the invention of printing in the 15th century, the word pamphlet in reference to a small booklet came into popular use. Pamphlets were the mass media of the 15th and 16th centuries and became the primary method of disseminating propagandist treatises, political, philosophical and religious ideas, and current affairs. Pamphlets continued to be popular into the 19th century until the modern-day newspaper replaced them.
Thomas Paine's best know pamphlets. Online:.