Are you looking for some common book idioms?
You are in the right place.
In this post, we will look at 47 useful idioms about books that you can use in your everyday English.
47 Common Books Idioms
A closed book
- Meaning: A person or subject that few know much about.
- Example: Sullivan is a closed book. We know nothing about him.
An open book
- Meaning: A person or subject that is easy to get to know, or is well known
- Example: Don’t be scared to ask Molly anything, she’s an open book.
- Meaning: A person who acquires knowledge from reading and studying, but lacks common sense.
- Example: Jennifer may be book smart, but she has no common sense! How many times do I have to remind her to look both ways before crossing the street?
- Meaning: A person who loves to read
- Example: Lisa is such a book worm. She has read 3 books just this week!
- Meaning: A way to describe someone’s financial state
- Example: I went through my bankbook and I have no money for my rent this month.
By the book
- Meaning: A person who does something according to the rules.
- Example: Chris does everything by the book, so you know it is getting done right. I really appreciate that type of dedication.
Cuddle up with a good book
- Meaning: To get cozy and comfortable while reading a book.
- Example: My plan for this afternoon is to cuddle up with a good book.
Do you read me?
- Meaning: Another way of asking “do you understand me?”
- Example: Hey Peter, do you read me?
Every trick in the book
- Meaning: To try all available means to achieve the desired result
- Example: I’ve tried every trick in the book, yet I still can’t get my car to start. I think I need to surrender and just buy a new one.
I’ll see you in the funny pages
- Meaning: A way to say farewell or goodbye to someone.
- Example: Thank you for everything. I’ll see you in the funny pages.
In my book
- Meaning: In my personal opinion
- Example: In my book, Rory is a good person. She tries her best and is always encouraging others.
In someone’s bad book
- Meaning: To be in someone’s disfavor, to have their disapproval
- Example: Timothy is definitely in Paul’s bad book.
In someone’s good book
- Meaning: To be in someone’s favor, to have their approval
- Example: Rosie is in Henry’s good book. She has made quite the impression on him.
Off the books
- Meaning: When something is off the record or done in secret
- Example: Keep Kayden’s contribution to the new library off the books. We don’t want to spark a competition between the employees.
On the books
- Meaning: When something is on the records, or known about.
- Example: Kyla’s donation is on the books.
One for the (record) books
- Meaning: An amazing event that will forever be remembered.
- Example: Jack’s touchdown with 2 seconds left in the 4th quarter, is one for the record books!
Read it and weep
- Meaning: To find out the bad results of something, many times, the expression is used in cards games.
- Example: A royal flush, read it and weep!
Read my lips
- Meaning: To listen carefully
- Example: Read my lips, I am not returning to Stanford next year. Do you understand?
The oldest trick in the book
- Meaning: A trick, prank or gimmick so predictable, it should not fool anyone
- Example: That is the oldest trick in the book, did he really think I would believe that he could pick up a 2000 pound horse?
The printed word/page
- Meaning: When something is printed or written on a physical piece of paper
- Example: Apparently the GPS needs to be updated. Hence, let’s just read what the printed page says, so we will know the directions.
To balance the books
- Meaning: To add up all credits and debits in one’s own personal or business finances.
- Example: Before you leave tonight, please balance the books for the company.
To be on the same page
- Meaning: To think in the same manner, or have the outlook as someone else
- Example: Kevin and I are on the same page as far as wedding details.
To be put in one’s black book
- Meaning: To be disgraced, or out of favor with someone.
- Example: Earl was definitely in my grandpa’s black book. He made some bad decisions in his younger years and my grandpa never forgave him for it.
To blot your copybook
- Meaning: To damage your reputation
- Example: Make wise decisions so you don’t blot your copybook.
To bring someone to book
- Meaning: To punish or penalize someone by bringing attention to their bad behavior
- Example: It’s not a surprise that Kris brought to book Ethan’s bad decisions. She tends to look for the negative in others.
To close the books
- Meaning: To stop spending time and effort on something.
- Example: For now, I just need to close the books on my science project.
To cook the books
- Meaning: To falsify information, including facts or figures.
- Example: Whatever you do, do not cook the books!
To have your nose in a book
- Meaning: To read with intensity
- Example: Jimmy has his nose in a book, so don’t expect him to come down for another few hours.
To hit the books
- Meaning: To study in general, but many times the idiom is used when studying for an exam.
- Example: I would love to go to the mall with you, but I have to hit the books today.
To make/open book
- Meaning: To take a bet on something.
- Example: I don’t like the idea of an open book.
To page through something
- Meaning: To flip through a book or other written work in a casual manner.
- Example: Tyler, can you page through the blue book for me? Perhaps my note is hidden in there.
To read between the lines
- Meaning: To look for or capture an implied meaning
- Example: Though he wasn’t direct with me, I could read between the lines.
To read from the same page
- Meaning: To have the same understanding or knowledge about something as someone else.
- Example: Josh and Jim read from the same page when it comes to cars.
To read into something
- Meaning: To give something meaning that may not be there.
- Example: Mike was known for always reading into something, whether he had a basis to or not.
To read of something or someone
- Meaning: To read news about something or someone
- Example: I just read of some kids who started a million-dollar company all by themselves.
To read up on
- Meaning: To read about a person or topic to increase one’s knowledge
- Example: I want to read up on the Holocaust to really understand what the Germans went through.
To read someone like a book
- Meaning: To understand or recognize someone’s thoughts or motives without actually being told what they are.
- Example: I don’t know how my Dad does it, but he can read someone like a book.
To read someone the riot act
- Meaning: To give a strong warning to someone because of their bad behavior.
- Example: He may not have liked it, but Luke needed to be read the riot act.
To read someone’s mind
- Meaning: To discern someone’s thoughts
- Example: Zach could always read my mind, I just couldn’t understand how.
To read something cover to cover
- Meaning: To read something in its entirety.
- Example: Lou read that book cover to cover in under an hour.
To read the fine/small print
- Meaning: To be certain of the conditions or circumstances of an agreement
- Example: Before you make a deal, be sure to read the fine print.
To read the room
- Meaning: To analyze the general mood in a particular setting and act in accordance
- Example: Lucas was so great at reading the room, I just followed his lead.
To take a leaf/page out of someone’s book
- Meaning: To imitate an admirable quality that someone else has
- Example: Next time Johnny, try taking a leaf out of Caleb’s book.
To take something as read
- Meaning: To accept or assume something is true, without actually knowing if it is, or discussing it further
- Example: Ms. Penny always takes it as read, so be careful what you say around her.
To throw a book at
- Meaning: To severely punish someone for bad behavior.
- Example: You better be good or else Mom will throw a book at you.
To turn the page
- Meaning: To move on or transition to something else, especially from a negative experience to a positive one.
- Example: After everything last year, I have decided to just turn the page.
You can’t judge a book by its cover
- Meaning: The outward appearance of a person or thing, does not always indicate who or what it/they really are.
- Example: Gina surprised us all with her knowledge of sharks. But like I said, you can’t judge a book by its cover.
There you have it, 47 useful book idioms. Did we miss one? Please share your favorite in the comments below.