book 1 (bk)
a. A set of written, printed, or blank pages fastened along one side and encased between protective covers.
b. An e-book or other electronic resource structured like a book.
a. A printed or written literary work: Did you ever finish writing that book?
b. A main division of a larger printed or written work: a book of the Old Testament.
a. A volume in which financial or business transactions are recorded.
b. books Financial or business records considered as a group: checked the expenditures on the books.
a. A libretto.
b. The script of a play.
a. The Bible.
b. The Koran.
a. A set of prescribed standards or rules on which decisions are based: runs the company by the book.
b. Something regarded as a source of knowledge or understanding.
c. The total amount of experience, knowledge, understanding, and skill that can be used in solving a problem or performing a task: We used every trick in the book to finish the project on schedule.
d. Informal Factual information, especially of a private nature: What's the book on him?
7. A pack of like or similar items bound together: a book of matches.
8. A record of bets placed on a race.
9. Games The number of card tricks needed before any tricks can have scoring value, as the first six tricks taken by the declaring side in bridge.
v. booked, book·ing, books
a. To arrange for or purchase (tickets or lodgings, for example) in advance; reserve.
b. To arrange a reservation, as for a hotel room, for (someone): Book me into the best hotel in town.
c. To hire or engage: booked a band for Saturday night.
a. To list or register in a book: booked the revenue from last month's sales.
b. To list or record appointments or engagements in: A calendar that was booked solid on Tuesday.
c. To record information about (a suspected offender) after arrest in preparation for arraignment, usually including a criminal history search, fingerprinting, and photographing.
d. Sports To record the flagrant fouls of (a player) for possible disciplinary action, as in soccer.
3. To designate a time for; schedule: Let's book a meeting for next month.
4. To be hired for or engaged in: The actor has booked his next movie with that director.
To make a reservation: Book early if you want good seats.
1. Of or relating to knowledge learned from books rather than actual experience: has book smarts but not street smarts.
2. Appearing in a company's financial records: book profits.
bring to book
To demand an explanation from; call to account.
in (one's) book
In one's opinion: In my book they both are wrong.
like a book
Thoroughly; completely: I know my child like a book.
one for the books
A noteworthy act or occurrence.
throw the book at
1. To make all possible charges against (a lawbreaker, for example).
2. To reprimand or punish severely.
[Middle English bok, from Old English bōc; see bhāgo- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
Synonyms: book, bespeak, engage, reserve
These verbs mean to cause something to be set aside in advance, as for one's use or possession: will book a hotel room; made sure their selections were bespoken; engaged a box for the opera season; reserving a table at a restaurant.
Word History: From an etymological perspective, book and beech are branches of the same tree. The Germanic root of both words is *bōk-, ultimately from an Indo-European root meaning "beech tree." The Old English form of book is bōc, from Germanic *bōk-ō, "written document, book." The Old English form of beech is bēce, from Germanic *bōk-jōn, "beech tree," because the early Germanic peoples used strips of beech wood to write on. A similar semantic development occurred in Latin. The Latin word for book is liber, whence library. Liber, however, originally meant "bark"—that is, the smooth inner bark of a tree, which the early Romans likewise used to write on.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.