Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Etymology of the Word 'Book'

O.E. boc "book, writing, written document," traditionally from P.Gmc. *bokiz "beech" (cf. Ger. Buch "book" Buche "beech;" see beech), the notion being of beechwood tablets on which runes were inscribed, but it may be from the tree itself (people still carve initials in them). The O.E. originally meant any written document. Latin and Sanskrit also have words for "writing" that are based on tree names ("birch" and "ash," respectively). Meaning "libretto of an opera" is from 1768. Verb meaning "to enter for a seat or place, issue (railway) tickets" is from 1841; "to engage a performer as a guest" is from 1872. A betting book is from 1856; bookmaker in the wagering sense is from 1862.

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