Definition of book in English:

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Pronunciation: /bʊk/


1A written or printed work consisting of pages glued or sewn together along one side and bound in covers: a book of selected poems
More example sentences
  • After some serious research he wrote a book on the subject, Ancient Mosaics in Bulgaria.
  • Rosie bought me the DVD along with a book on philosophy.
  • I sat there a while longer, staring down at the vellum pages of the book on the low desk before me.
volume, tome, work, printed work, publication, title, opus, treatise;
manual, handbook, guide, companion, reference book;
historical yellowback
1.1A literary composition that is published or intended for publication as a book: he’s writing a book about his experiences
More example sentences
  • Henry Miller had published seventeen books when he sent out an appeal to all his friends to help him out.
  • Merely getting books published serves little purpose if no one reads them.
  • Another, working on a novel for young adults, already has books published in that field.
1.2A main division of a literary work or of the Bible: the Book of Genesis
More example sentences
  • The book of Esther is the only book of the Bible that does not contain the name of God.
  • Of course, and that truth is preserved in the 66 books of the Bible, Old and New Testaments.
  • Esther is one of the most neglected books of the Old Testament, certainly as far as commentaries are concerned.
1.3 (also book of words) The libretto of a musical or opera, or the script of a play.
Example sentences
  • Keira took out the script book that she hadn't yet returned to the handbag.
1.4 (one's books) Used to refer to studying: he was so deep in his books he would forget to eat
More example sentences
  • But he never wallowed in self pity, and rather spent every available moment with his nose stuck deep in his books.
  • And there is naturally also a limit to how many hours they can be poring over their books after many hours at school and three hours of homework.
  • The campus has plenty of spots for students tired of slaving over their books in the library or dorms to get some fresh air.
1.5 (the book) The telephone directory for the area in which someone lives: is your name in the book?
More example sentences
  • Apart from in 2006/7, we are members of the Offa's Dyke Association, find us in the book, or the online entry they have for us.
  • We are not a secret organisation, but out of necessity you will not find us in the book.
  • And if you have fond memories of a special teacher, why not look them up in the book and say ‘thanks’ one more time?
1.6 informal or dated A magazine: women’s books like Cosmopolitan and Ladies' Home Journal Charlotte’s mother always called magazines ‘books’
More example sentences
  • Money meant that no one laughed behind her back when she called magazines books.
  • 'I read it in a book.' 'What book?' 'Vogue, that's what book.'
  • Their readers nearly always referred to these magazines as 'books'.
1.7An imaginary record or list (often used to emphasize the comprehensiveness of someone’s actions or experience): she felt every emotion in the book of love
More example sentences
  • Whether or not ‘long distance’ relationships can work is one of those age-old questions in the book of love.
  • There is a little known secret in the book of relationships, filed under the chapter on breaking up and I am here to share it.
  • The way he receives his partner in his hotel room wouldn't count among ‘nice and friendly’ in the book of etiquette.
2 [with modifier] A bound set of blank sheets for writing in: an accounts book
More example sentences
  • She leaned back against her pillows and tapped her pen against the leather bound book.
  • She reached into one of her few bags, and pulled out a leather bound book, and began to read.
  • She spotted Joel propped up against the wall, reading a thick, leather bound book.
ledger, record book, log, logbook, chronicle, journal, diary, daybook;
British  jotter, pocketbook;
North American  scratch pad;
French cahier
2.1 (books) A set of records or accounts: a bid to balance the books
More example sentences
  • They balance the books by selling places to students from developing countries.
  • What's more, balance the books properly and you can avoid the perils of going deeper and deeper into debt.
  • They need to be able to balance the books to continue to provide it.
account book, record book, ledger, log, balance sheet, financial statement
2.2A bookmaker’s record of bets accepted and money paid out.
Example sentences
  • According to both the bookmakers and the form book it's a two-horse race.
2.3 Soccer The notebook in which a referee writes the names of players who are cautioned for foul play: his name went into the book for a foul on Smyth
More example sentences
  • Newsome's name was soon added to referee's book when he deliberately tripped an opponent.
  • It was the 11 th of the season for a man who is no stranger to the referee's book.
3A set of tickets, stamps, matches, samples of cloth, etc., bound together: a pattern book
More example sentences
  • Perry specialised in making books of matches (advertising bars or restaurants, for example).
  • They have books of pictures and samples that you can look through there, and they can do it all.
  • It was then that he remembered the book of matches in his pocket, and drew it out.
4 (the book) The first six tricks taken by the declarer in a hand of bridge, after which further tricks count towards fulfilling the contract.
Example sentences
  • The person who plays the highest card of the suit led, or who plays the highest trump, wins the book.
  • If no one plays a trump, then the highest ranking card to the suit led wins the book.


[with object]
1Reserve (accommodation, a place, etc.); buy (a ticket) in advance: I have booked a table at the Swan [no object]: book early to avoid disappointment
More example sentences
  • Much coastal and Dales accommodation is already booked up in advance, and Scarborough had to print 10,000 extra holiday brochures to satisfy demand.
  • The auditorium was packed and places were booked well in advance for this eagerly anticipated show.
  • Similar to one week packages in the Canary Islands, all places were booked well in advance.
reserve, make a reservation for, arrange in advance, prearrange, arrange for, order;
charter, hire
informal bag
dated engage, bespeak
arrange, programme, schedule, timetable, line up, secure, fix up, lay on;
North American  slate
1.1Reserve accommodation for (someone): his secretary had booked him into the Howard Hotel [with two objects]: book me a single room at my usual hotel
More example sentences
  • My boyfriend brought me to London and surprised me by booking us in at the Met Hotel, absolutely stunning and funky place to stay, I loved it!
  • Even booking you both into one of the most luxurious hotels in Moncton, Canada.
  • We have taken the liberty at booking you at Collelungo, an agriturismo near Castellina.
1.2 [no object] (book in/into) Register one’s arrival at a hotel: he booked in at a hotel
More example sentences
  • On arrival we booked into the hotel and then the festivities began with our annual pre-dive get-together.
  • We booked into our fleapit hotels and checked out, we got on our buses and got off them again, we signed up on lists and then found that a new list was being drawn up which we were not on.
  • Imagine booking into this hotel, with its romantic associations, and being faced with this brute of a building
register, check in, enrol, record/log one's arrival
1.3Engage (a performer or guest) for an event: the promoter booked him for another appearance
More example sentences
  • Work got underway booking performers as far back as last September and work on the parade for concepts and ideas got underway in March.
  • The singer was originally booked for a small concert in Hangzhou on June 12, sponsored by an ice tea company.
  • A promoter who booked them to play in Ripley, Derbyshire, suggested he change his name to Cliff Richard.
1.4 (be booked up) Have all places reserved; be full: at weekends we’re usually booked up
More example sentences
  • People can come on the night but it may be booked up so they should book in advance.
  • The Evening Press made a call to the centre to ask what accommodation was available and was told by that most hotels were booked up this weekend.
  • All places have been booked up this weekend, but the sessions will also be available next Saturday.
2Make an official note of the personal details of (a person who has broken a law or rule): the cop booked me and took me down to the station
More example sentences
  • Officers took the inebriated tourists to the Pattaya police station and booked them on charges of physical assault and drunk and disorderly behavior.
  • Eventually you'll get booked by the cops and handed a fine.
  • Clients who do stop in these areas are often harassed by police by flashing their lights or booking them for traffic offences.
2.1 Soccer (Of a referee) note down the name of (a player) who is cautioned for foul play: McMahon was booked for a foul
More example sentences
  • That is important now, because referees are liable to book players for trivial things.
  • The referee books him for a poorly concealed piece of play-acting.
  • He says players over here are booked for minor offences by referees who operate by the letter of the law and claimed the same offences would go unpunished in all other major European leagues.
3 [no object] US informal Leave suddenly: they just ate your pizza and drank your soda and booked
More example sentences
  • We gotta book—fast.
  • You gotta book, Officer. I gotta stay.
  • Look, I gotta book. I'll see you guys later.
3.1Move quickly; hurry: my sister and I booked to the playground I didn’t hear the verdict because I had to book it to work
More example sentences
  • She waved bye-bye and booked out of there.
  • He's booking through that park.
  • Book, man! Can't you run? Something wrong with your legs?



bring someone to book

chiefly British Officially punish someone or call them to account for their behaviour: the murderer will be found and brought to book
More example sentences
  • And he warned the troublemakers that they would be brought to book over the next few months using evidence gathered on the night and CCTV video footage of the disorder.
  • But they can be brought to book under legislation governing companies making false and misleading claims.
  • It's good that he has been brought to book and sends out a strong message to others.

by the book

Strictly according to the rules: a cop who doesn’t exactly play it by the book
More example sentences
  • For such policemen, I have no feelings, they ought to be dealt with strictly by the book.
  • We even have to keep an open mind about whether there were any dealings that weren't strictly by the book.
  • Business as usual, even when done strictly by the book, is not necessarily the safest way of operating.
according to the rules, in accordance with the rules, within the law, abiding by the law, lawfully, legally, legitimately, licitly;
honestly, fairly, openly

close the books

Make no further entries at the end of an accounting period; cease trading: branches will be asked to close their books at the end of December
More example sentences
  • Shareholder requirements for dividends made it necessary to define an accounting period, close the books and calculate profits.
  • In fact, Vermont closed the books on its 2003 fiscal year with a $10.4 million surplus, even as California, Massachusetts, and many other states battle huge deficits.
  • The Dow and Nasdaq were ready to close the books on their first down years since 1990.

in someone's bad (or good) books

In disfavour (or favour) with someone: you could say he is in my bad books
More example sentences
  • They say: ‘Let's try and be in their good books.’
  • He's back in their good books, so his odds remain long.
  • Ministers and officials in the state see to it that they stay in their good books.

in my book

In my opinion: that counts as a lie in my book
More example sentences
  • True democracy, in my book, is one person one vote on any decision that effects the society that is voting.
  • The party was a real laugh, lovely people, tasty food - a good combo in my book!
  • It was a fish soup, no doubt made from yesterday's unsold fish - but that's a good thing in my book.

make (or open) a book

(US make book)
Take bets and pay out winnings on the outcome of a race or other contest or event: the bookies opened a book on his successor
More example sentences
  • You can think of it as an American alternative to those famous London betting shops that will make book on just about anything.
  • It will probably do worse - since the kind of events he wants to make book on are even more unpredictable and emotional than elections.
  • The company is always game to open a book on most events and we do get some unusual requests.

on the books

Contained in a list of members, employees, or clients: the club have six top foreign players on their books
More example sentences
  • The garage closes with 15 employees on the books, all of whom are entitled to transfer to the incoming dealer in Preston.
  • We have only got thirteen players on the books who have made more than 20 Premiership appearances.
  • The ailing team have finally resigned from division two with only seven or eight players on the books.

People of the Book

Jews and Christians as regarded by Muslims.
Example sentences
  • Muslim men are permitted to marry non-Muslim women from the People of the Book - i.e. Jews and Christians.
  • We cannot marry in any circumstances among the followers of other religious barring the People of the Book.
  • Do the People of the Book in the verse refer to the Jews and Christians of all times?

suit someone's book

British Be convenient for someone: it didn’t suit her book at all to be moved
More example sentences
  • My sister is quick to call somebody a friend, even somebody she hardly knows, if it suits her book.
  • Sorry if that doesn't suit your book or your plans for us but when you said for us to go home you forgot one thing.
  • Of course many of us have to relearn these lessons in a new cycle because changes in monetary policy seldom suit our book at the time.

take a leaf out of someone's book

Imitate or emulate someone in a particular way: worm-watchers should take a leaf out of Darwin’s fieldcraft book and sit still to observe the action
More example sentences
  • He wished more young people would take a leaf out of his book and follow his example.
  • He carried the club at times last season, but others must take a leaf out of his book.
  • I hope you do not mind Catherine, I am taking a leaf out of your book and asking anyone that passes this way to please call around and offer your support to John and his family.

throw the book at

informal Charge or punish (someone) as severely as possible: get this lot down to the station and throw the book at them
More example sentences
  • If the charges are proved, throw the book at the perpetrators, but not until.
  • And last week, in the run-up to his visit, the Kremlin was continuing to throw the book at the company.
  • Her bond has been set at $50,000 and it would be nice if a judge throws the book at her.

write the book

Used in reference to particular expertise or proficiency in a subject, area of activity, etc. they actually care about the product they are making and they wrote the book on customer service he pretty much writes the book on how to be perfect in the media
More example sentences
  • He's the man who wrote the book on duplicity.
  • California wrote the book on approachability.
  • I know how the whole ‘need-to-know’ system works: in fact I wrote the book on it!

you can't judge a book by its cover

proverb Outward appearances are not a reliable indication of the true character of someone or something.
Example sentences
  • And I think that, like this movie says, you can't judge a book by its cover.
  • Despite the admonition that you can't judge a book by its cover, I tend to find that, increasingly, you can.
  • I told you that you can't judge a book by its cover,’ he reminded her, in an ‘I-told-you-so’ type of manner.


Old English bōc (originally also 'a document or charter'), bōcian 'to grant by charter', of Germanic origin; related to Dutch boek and German Buch, and probably to beech (on which runes were carved).

  • The forerunners of the modern book would have been scrolls of papyrus or parchment, or engraved tablets—the first example of what we might recognize as a book came in Roman times. The word book goes back to Old English and has related forms in most of the other northern European languages of the time. Their ancestor was probably a word related to beech (Old English), which would have been a wood that people used for engraving inscriptions. A bookmaker is someone who ‘makes a book’. Bookmakers keep a record of bets made with different people, which was originally done in a memorandum book.

Words that rhyme with book

betook, brook, Brooke, Chinook, chook, Coke, cook, Cooke, crook, forsook, Gluck, hook, look, mistook, nook, partook, rook, schnook, schtuck, Shilluk, shook, Tobruk, took, undercook, undertook

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: book

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