American English

Definition of book noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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    printed work
  1. 1[countable] a set of printed pages that are fastened inside a cover so that you can turn them and read them a pile of books hardcover/paperback books
  2. 2[countable] a written work published in printed or electronic form a book by Stephen King a book about/on wildlife reference/children's/library books Topic CollocationsLiteraturebeing a writer write/publish literature/poetry/fiction/a book/a story/a poem/a novel/a review/an autobiography become a writer/novelist/playwright find/have a publisher/an agent have a new book out edit/revise/proofread a book/text/manuscript dedicate a book/poem to…plot, character, and atmosphere construct/create/weave/weave something into a complex narrative advance/drive the plot introduce/present the protagonist/a character describe/depict/portray a character (as…)/(somebody as) a hero/villain create an exciting/a tense atmosphere build/heighten the suspense/tension evoke/capture the pathos of the situation convey emotion/an idea/an impression/a sense of… engage the reader seize/capture/grip the (reader's) imagination arouse/elicit emotion/sympathy (in the reader) lack imagination/emotion/structure/rhythmlanguage, style, and imagery use/employ language/imagery/humor/an image/a symbol/a metaphor/a device use/adopt/develop a style/technique be rich in/be full of symbolism evoke images of…/a sense of…/a feeling of… create/achieve an effect maintain/lighten the tone introduce/develop an idea/a theme inspire a novel/a poet/somebody's work/somebody's imaginationreading and criticism read an author/somebody's work/fiction/poetry/a text/an article/a poem/a novel/a chapter/a passage review an article/a book/a novel/somebody's work give something/get/have/receive a good/bad review be hailed (as)/be recognized as a masterpiece quote a phrase/a line/a stanza/a passage/an author provoke/spark discussion/criticism study/interpret/understand a text/passage translate somebody's work/a text/a passage/a novel/a poem
  3. for writing in
  4. 3[countable] a set of sheets of paper that are fastened together inside a cover and used for writing in an exercise book a notebook see also address book
  5. of stamps/tickets/matches, etc.
  6. 4[countable] a set of things that are fastened together like a book a book of stamps/tickets a checkbook
  7. accounts
  8. 5books [plural] the written records of the financial affairs of a business synonym accounts to do the books (= to check the accounts) You need to go over the books again; there's a mistake somewhere.
  9. section of Bible, etc.
  10. 6[countable] a section of a large written work the books of the Bible
  11. Idioms
    be in somebody's good/bad books (informal)
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    used to say that someone is pleased/annoyed with you I'm in her good books at the moment because I cleaned up the kitchen.
    bring somebody to book (for something) (formal)
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    to punish someone for doing something wrong and make them explain their behavior We will ensure that people who commit fraud are brought to book.
    by the book
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    following rules and instructions in a very strict way She always does everything by the book.
    close the book/books on something
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    to stop doing something because you no longer believe you will be successful or will find a solution The police have closed the book on the case (= they have stopped trying to solve it).
    a closed book (to somebody)
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    a subject or person that you know nothing about Nuclear physics is a closed book to most of us.
    cook the books (informal)
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    to change facts or figures dishonestly or illegally His accountant had been cooking the books for years.
    don't judge a book by its cover (saying)
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    used to say that you should not form an opinion about someone or something from their appearance only
    every trick in the book
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    every available method, whether it is honest or not He'll use every trick in the book to keep you from winning.
    the history books
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    the record of great achievements in history She has earned her place in the history books.
    in my book (informal)
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    used when you are giving your opinion That's cheating in my book.
    (be) on somebody's books
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    (to be) on an organization's list, for example of people who are available for a particular type of work We have very few nurses on our books at the moment. Most of the houses on our books are north of the city.
    on the books
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    contained in a book of laws or records Many discriminatory laws are still on the books. He’s got the longest pitching career on the books.
    an open book
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    if you describe someone or their life as an open book, you mean that you can easily understand them and know everything about them
    read somebody like a book
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    to understand easily what someone is thinking or feeling
    take a page/leaf from/out of somebody's book
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    to copy someone's behavior and do things in the same way that they do, because they are successful synonym emulate
    throw the book at somebody (informal)
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    to punish someone who has committed an offense as severely as possible “Get this man down to the station and throw the book at him!” yelled Curtis.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: book