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a handwritten or printed work of fiction or nonfiction, usually on sheets of paper fastened or bound together within covers.
a work of fiction or nonfiction in an electronic format:
Your child can listen to or read the book online.
See also e-book (def 2).
a number of sheets of blank or ruled paper bound together for writing, recording business transactions, etc.
a division of a literary work, especially one of the larger divisions.
the Book, the Bible.
Music. the text or libretto of an opera, operetta, or musical.
books, book of account.
Jazz. the total repertoire of a band.
a script or story for a play.
a record of bets, as on a horse race.
Cards. the number of basic tricks or cards that must be taken before any trick or card counts in the score.
a set or packet of tickets, checks, stamps, matches, etc., bound together like a book.
anything that serves for the recording of facts or events:
The petrified tree was a book of Nature.
Sports. a collection of facts and information about the usual playing habits, weaknesses, methods, etc., of an opposing team or player, especially in baseball:
The White Sox book on Mickey Mantle cautioned pitchers to keep the ball fast and high.
Stock Exchange.

the customers served by each registered representative in a brokerage house.
a loose-leaf binder kept by a specialist to record orders to buy and sell stock at specified prices.

a pile or package of leaves, as of tobacco.
Mineralogy. a thick block or crystal of mica.
a magazine: used especially in magazine publishing.
book value.
Slang. bookmaker (def 1).
the book.

a set of rules, conventions, or standards:
The solution was not according to the book but it served the purpose.
the telephone book:
I’ve looked him up, but he’s not in the book.

to enter in a book or list; record; register.
to reserve or make a reservation for (a hotel room, passage on a ship, etc.):
We booked a table at our favorite restaurant.
to register or list (a person) for a place, transportation, appointment, etc.:
The travel agent booked us for next week’s cruise.
to engage for one or more performances.
to enter an official charge against (an arrested suspect) on a police register.
to act as a bookmaker for (a bettor, bet, or sum of money):
The Philadelphia syndicate books 25 million dollars a year on horse racing.
to register one’s name.
to engage a place, services, etc.

to study hard, as a student before an exam:
He left the party early to book.
to leave; depart:
I’m bored with this party, let’s book.
to work as a bookmaker:
He started a restaurant with money he got from booking.

of or relating to a book or books:
the book department; a book salesman.
derived or learned from or based on books:
a book knowledge of sailing.
shown by a book of account:
The firm’s book profit was $53,680.
book in, to sign in, as at a job.
book out, to sign out, as at a job.
book up, to sell out in advance:
The hotel is booked up for the Christmas holidays.
bring to book, to call to account; bring to justice:
Someday he will be brought to book for his misdeeds.
by the book, according to the correct or established form; in the usual manner:
an unimaginative individual who does everything by the book.
close the books, to balance accounts at the end of an accounting period; settle accounts.
cook the books, Informal. cook1 (def 12)
in one’s bad books, out of favor; disliked by someone:
He’s in the boss’s bad books.
in one’s book, in one’s personal judgment or opinion:
In my book, he’s not to be trusted.
in one’s good books, in favor; liked by someone.
like a book, completely; thoroughly:
She knew the area like a book.
make book,

to accept or place the bets of others, as on horse races, especially as a business.
to wager; bet:
You can make book on it that he won’t arrive in time.

off the books, done or performed for cash or without keeping full business records: especially as a way to avoid paying income tax, employment benefits, etc.:
Much of his work as a night watchman is done off the books.
one for the book / books, a noteworthy incident; something extraordinary:
The daring rescue was one for the book.
on the books, entered in a list or record:
He claims to have graduated from Harvard, but his name is not on the books.
throw the book at, Informal.

to sentence (an offender, lawbreaker, etc.) to the maximum penalties for all charges against that person.
to punish or chide severely.

without book,

from memory.
without authority:
to punish without book.

write the book, to be the prototype, originator, leader, etc., of:
So far as investment banking is concerned, they wrote the book.
Contemporary Examples

Geraldine Brooks’ Favorite Historical Fiction Geraldine Brooks May 10, 2011
U.S. Must Show It Respects Quran and Its Importance to Afghans Jere Van Dyk February 27, 2012
Chris Matthews on the Buckley Mystique Chris Matthews May 2, 2009
Tom Ford Unzipped: Interview Transcript The Daily Beast Video December 11, 2009

Historical Examples

The Daltons, Volume I (of II) Charles James Lever
Fraternity John Galsworthy
The Works of Robert G. Ingersoll, Vol. 5 (of 12) Robert G. Ingersoll
A Pair of Clogs Amy Walton
Warren Commission (12 of 26): Hearings Vol. XII (of 15) The President’s Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy
Howards End E. M. Forster

verb (adverb)
to make a reservation (for); book
See booked up
a number of printed or written pages bound together along one edge and usually protected by thick paper or stiff pasteboard covers See also hardback, paperback

a written work or composition, such as a novel, technical manual, or dictionary
(as modifier): the book trade, book reviews
(in combination): bookseller, bookshop, bookshelf, bookrack

a number of blank or ruled sheets of paper bound together, used to record lessons, keep accounts, etc
(pl) a record of the transactions of a business or society
the script of a play or the libretto of an opera, musical, etc
a major division of a written composition, as of a long novel or of the Bible
a number of tickets, sheets, stamps, etc, fastened together along one edge
(bookmaking) a record of the bets made on a horse race or other event
(in card games) the number of tricks that must be taken by a side or player before any trick has a scoring value: in bridge, six of the 13 tricks form the book
strict or rigid regulations, rules, or standards (esp in the phrases according to the book, by the book)
a source of knowledge or authority: the book of life
a telephone directory (in the phrase in the book)
(sometimes capital) the book, the Bible
an open book, a person or subject that is thoroughly understood
a closed book, a person or subject that is unknown or beyond comprehension: chemistry is a closed book to him
bring to book, to reprimand or require (someone) to give an explanation of his conduct
close the book on, to bring to a definite end: we have closed the book on apartheid
(accounting) close the books, to balance accounts in order to prepare a statement or report
(informal) cook the books, to make fraudulent alterations to business or other accounts
in my book, according to my view of things
in someone’s bad books, regarded by someone with disfavour
in someone’s good books, regarded by someone with favour
keep the books, to keep written records of the finances of a business or other enterprise
on the books

enrolled as a member
registered or recorded

read someone like a book, to understand a person, or his motives, character, etc, thoroughly and clearly
throw the book at

to charge with every relevant offence
to inflict the most severe punishment on

to reserve (a place, passage, etc) or engage the services of (a performer, driver, etc) in advance: to book a flight, to book a band
(transitive) to take the name and address of (a person guilty of a minor offence) with a view to bringing a prosecution: he was booked for ignoring a traffic signal
(transitive) (of a football referee) to take the name of (a player) who grossly infringes the rules while playing, two such acts resulting in the player’s dismissal from the field
(transitive) (archaic) to record in a book

bookie (1860s+ Gambling)
A bookie’s function and place of business: Joey keeps a book (1860s+ Gambling)
The daily logbook of a police station (1840s+ Police)

Make Book
To charge someone with a crime or misdemeanor at a police station: They took the bum in and booked him for vagrancy (1840s+ Police)
To engage or reserve in advance: They booked eight readings in three days for the visiting poet/ Book me a table for six (1820s+)
hit the books
To run or depart, esp rapidly: And the couple booked off into the sunset for their honeymoon (1980s+ Students)


balance the books
black book
bring to book
by the book
closed book
close the books
cook the books
crack a book
hit the books
in one’s book
in someone’s bad graces (books)
judge a book by its cover
know like a book
make book
nose in a book
one for the books
open book
take a leaf out of someone’s book
throw the book at
wrote the book on


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  • Bookwork

    work or research that requires studying or reading, as distinguished from laboratory experimentation or the like. bookkeeping or other paperwork necessary to the running of a business. Printing. work on books or pamphlets, as distinguished from work on newspapers. Historical Examples The London Mercury, Vol. I, Nos. 1-6, November 1919 to April 1920 Various Primary […]

  • Bookworm

    a person devoted to reading or studying. any of various insects that feed on books, especially a booklouse. Historical Examples Beginner’s Book in Language H. Jeschke A Phenomenal Fauna Carolyn Wells Cornish Saints and Sinners J. Henry Harris A Little Girl in Old Salem Amanda Minnie Douglas Lilith George MacDonald Macaulay’s Life of Samuel Johnson […]

  • Book–the

    book, the A life sentence to prison (1920s+ Underworld) Instructions or conventional wisdom about someone’s performance; form: The ”book” on this player was to leave him alone, treat him politely, and pick him up if you happened to block him (1950s+)

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