Meaning of BOOK in English

I. book 1 S1 W1 /bʊk/ BrE AmE noun

[ Language: Old English ; Origin: boc ]

1 . PRINTED PAGES [countable] a set of printed pages that are held together in a cover so that you can read them:

I’ve just started reading a book by Graham Greene.

a cookery book

book about/on

a book about cats

2 . TO WRITE IN [countable] a set of sheets of paper held together in a cover so that you can write on them:

a black address book

a notebook

3 . SET OF THINGS [countable] a set of things such as stamps, matches, or tickets, held together inside a paper cover:

a cheque book

4 . books [plural]

a) ACCOUNTS written records of the financial accounts of a business:

An accountant will examine the company’s books.

a small firm that is having problems balancing the books (=keeping its profits and spending equal)

on the books

They have £50 billion worth of orders on the books.

⇨ cook the books at ↑ cook 1 (3)

b) JOBS the names of people who use a company’s services, or who are sent by a company to work for other people

on sb’s books

an agent with a lot of popular actors on his books

5 . by the book exactly according to rules or instructions:

She feels she has to go by the book and can’t use her creativity.

do/play something by the book

The police were careful to do everything by the book.

6 . a closed book a subject that you do not understand or know anything about:

Chemistry is a closed book to me.

7 . be in sb’s good/bad books informal used to say that someone is pleased or annoyed with you

8 . LAW be on the books if a law is on the books, it is part of the set of laws in a country, town, area etc

9 . PART OF A BOOK [countable] one of the parts that a very large book such as the Bible is divided into

book of

the Book of Isaiah

10 . in my book spoken said when giving your opinion:

In my book, nothing is more important than football.

11 . bring somebody to book to punish someone for breaking laws or rules, especially when you have been trying to punish them for a long time:

War criminals must be brought to book.

⇨ ↑ statute book , ⇨ take a leaf out of sb’s book at ↑ leaf 1 (2), ⇨ read somebody like a book at ↑ read 1 (16), ⇨ suit sb’s book at ↑ suit 2 (5), ⇨ a turn-up for the book at ↑ turn-up (2), ⇨ throw the book at somebody at ↑ throw 1 (26)

• • •


■ verbs

▪ read a book

What book are you reading at the moment?

▪ look through a book (=look at the pages quickly)

I looked through the book until I found the right section.

▪ write a book

He’s written several interesting travel books.

▪ publish a book

The book is published by Penguin.

▪ a book comes out (=it is published for the first time)

Everyone was waiting for the new Harry Potter book to come out.

▪ borrow a book ( also take out a book British English ) (=from a library)

You can borrow up to six books from the library.

▪ return a book (=to a library)

Please return all your books before the end of term.

▪ renew a book (=arrange to continue borrowing it from a library)

If you need to renew a book, you can do it by phone.

■ book + NOUN

▪ a book shop ( also book store American English )

I got it from that little book shop in the village.

▪ a book seller (=a person, shop, or company selling books)

High street book sellers are experiencing a drop in sales.

▪ a book token British English (=a ticket that you can use to pay for a book)

She always bought me book tokens for my birthday.

▪ a book review (=an article giving critical opinions of a book)

She had a book review published in the student magazine.

▪ a book fair (=an event at which publishers and authors show new books)

▪ the introduction/preface/foreword to a book

In the introduction to this book I referred to a conversation between myself and a young student.

▪ a section of a book

The most useful section of the book is the list of suppliers of artists’ materials.

■ phrases

▪ the cover of a book

His picture is on the cover of the book.

▪ a chapter of a book

The first chapter of the book is about his childhood.

• • •


■ types of book

▪ novel noun [countable] a book about imaginary people and events:

The film is based on Nick Hornby’s best-selling novel.


a historical novel

▪ fiction noun [uncountable] books that describe imaginary people and events:

She reads a lot of romantic fiction.

▪ literature noun [uncountable] novels and plays that are considered to be important works of art:

I’m studying American literature at university.

▪ non-fiction noun [uncountable] books that describe real people and events:

Men tend to prefer non-fiction.

▪ science fiction noun [uncountable] books about imaginary events in the future or space travel

▪ reference book noun [countable] a book such as a dictionary or encyclopedia, which you look at to find information

▪ textbook noun [countable] a book about a particular subject that you use in a classroom

▪ set book British English , course book British English noun [countable] a book that you have to study as part of your course

▪ guidebook noun [countable] a book telling visitors about a city or country

▪ picture book noun [countable] a book for children with many pictures in it

▪ hardcover/hardback noun [countable] a book that has a hard stiff cover

▪ paperback noun [countable] a book that has a paper cover

▪ biography noun [countable] a book about a real person’s life, written by another person

▪ autobiography noun [countable] a book that someone has written about their own life

▪ recipe book/cookery book British English ( also cookbook American English ) noun [countable] a book that tells you how to cook different meals

II. book 2 S2 BrE AmE verb

1 . [intransitive and transitive] to make arrangements to stay in a place, eat in a restaurant, go to a theatre etc at a particular time in the future ⇨ reserve :

Have you booked a holiday this year?

The flight was already fully booked (=no more seats were available) .

To get tickets, you have to book in advance.

The show’s booked solid (=all the tickets have been sold) until February.

2 . [transitive] to arrange for someone such as a singer to perform on a particular date:

The band was booked for a benefit show in Los Angeles.

3 . be booked up

a) if a hotel, restaurant etc is booked up, there are no more rooms, places, seats etc still available:

The courses quickly get booked up.

b) if someone is booked up, they are extremely busy and have arranged a lot of things they must do:

I’m all booked up this week – can we get together next Friday?

4 . [transitive] to arrange for someone to go to a hotel, fly on a plane etc:

I’ve booked you a flight on Saturday.

book somebody on/in etc

I’ll book you in at the Hilton.

5 . [transitive] to put someone’s name officially in police records, along with the charge made against them:

Smith was booked on suspicion of attempted murder.

6 . [transitive] British English when a ↑ referee in a sports game books a player who has broken the rules, he or she officially writes down the player’s name in a book as a punishment

• • •


■ book + NOUN

▪ book a holiday

People often book their holidays in January.

▪ book a trip

I booked the whole trip on the Internet.

▪ book a flight

He picked up the phone and booked a flight to Barcelona.

▪ book a ticket

It’s cheaper if you book your train ticket in advance.

▪ book a table (=in a restaurant)

I’ll book a table for 7.30 tomorrow evening.

▪ book a room/hotel

Ross found a good hotel and booked a room.

▪ book a seat

She booked me a seat on the 9 am flight.

▪ book a place on something

Students are advised to book a place on the course early.

■ adverbs

▪ book early

We recommend you book early to avoid disappointment.

▪ book (well) in advance

There are only 20 places, so it is essential to book well in advance.

▪ book online (=on the Internet)

It’s much easier to book tickets online.

▪ be fully booked (=all the seats, tickets etc are sold)

I’m afraid that show is fully booked.

▪ be booked solid (=all the seats, tickets etc are sold for a long period)

The restaurant’s booked solid for the whole of the Christmas period.

• • •


■ to arrange to do something

▪ arrange to organize or make plans for something such as a meeting, party, or trip:

He had arranged to meet Marcia outside the restaurant.


The company arranges skiing trips.

▪ fix/fix up especially British English spoken to arrange something, especially for someone else:

John had fixed up for me to give a talk.


I’ve fixed an appointment for you at the doctor’s.

▪ organize ( also -ise British English ) to make the arrangements for an event, especially a big public event:

They had organized a protest against the war.

▪ set a time/date ( also fix a time/date British English ) to arrange for something to happen at a particular time or on a particular day:

Have you set a date for the wedding yet?


We fixed a time for me to visit.

▪ reserve/book to arrange to stay in a place, go to a theatre, travel on a plane etc:

I’ve booked the flight to Zurich.


He had reserved a table at the restaurant.

▪ take care of/make the arrangements to arrange all the details of an event:

Uncle James is making all the funeral arrangements.

book in ( also book into something ) phrasal verb

British English to arrive at a hotel and say who you are etc SYN check in :

Several tourists were booking in.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.