10 idioms about books you should start using today

Idioms about books - in someones good books

Book geeks express their love for reading in many ways. Using book idioms can be one of them.

To celebrate World Book Day, the team from Macmillan Education has prepared a wonderful chart that lists 10 idioms about books.

Some of the phrases, like “in someone’s good books,” are associated with positive feelings or actions. However, the word “book” can be also used to describe things in negative light. The example is “to bring someone to book.”

There is probably only one idiom on the list that most people know and use – “don’t judge the book by its cover.” What about the other nine? Your knowledge of idioms about books is not a closed book, is it?

You can download a high-resolution pdf file with the chart directly from this link. Don’t hesitate to meet book lovers from Macmillan on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

Below you’ll see every book idiom with full entry description from Macmillan Dictionary, which is, by the way, a great resource of English idioms. Scroll further down to see the entire infographic.

10 idioms about books


Idioms about books - a closed book

a closed book

1. something that you accept has completely ended
Example: As far as she is concerned, her marriage is a closed book.

2. something or someone that is very difficult to understand
Example: I’m afraid accountancy is a closed book to me.


Idioms about books - an open book

an open book

something or someone that is easy to know about because nothing is kept secret
Example: Her life is an open book.


Idioms about books - read someone like a book

read someone like a book

to be able to understand easily what someone is thinking or feeling
Example: I know what you’re thinking – I can read you like a book.


Idioms about books - the oldest trick in the book

the oldest trick in the book

a dishonest method of doing something that you know about because it has been used many times before
Example: Flattery is the oldest trick in the book, so don’t fall for it!


Idioms about books - in someones good books

in someone’s good books

used for saying that someone is pleased with you
Example: I’m trying to get back in her good books.


Idioms about books - by the book

by the book

correctly, following all the rules or systems for doing something in a strict way
Example: He always tried to do everything by the book.


Idioms about books - bring someone to book

bring someone to book

to punish someone, or to make them explain their behavior publicly when they have done something wrong
Example: If policemen have lied, then they must be brought to book.


Idioms about books - take a leaf out of someones book

take a leaf out of someone’s book

to copy what someone else does because they are successful at doing it
Example: They should take a leaf out of industry’s book and pay both management and staff on results.


Idioms about books - dont judge a book by its cover

don’t judge a book by its cover

used for saying that you should not form an opinion about someone or something only from their appearance


Idioms about books - cook the books

cook the books

to change accounts and figures dishonestly, usually in order to get money

10 idioms about books – infographic

10 idioms about books - infographic

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