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?
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
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.
an open book
something or someone that is easy to know about because nothing is kept secret
Example: Her life is an open 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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
cook the books
to change accounts and figures dishonestly, usually in order to get money
10 idioms about books – infographic
More lists to explore: