Photo Credit: Pixabay

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Last Thursday (5 March) was World Book Day. As the name suggests, the day is a celebration of everything that involves the world of books – authors, illustrators, books, publishers and above all, reading.

As part of their celebrations, Macmillan Publishers produced an infographic showing 10 idioms about books. You can see it on their website and download the infographic here as a PDF file.

As I haven’t published an “idioms” post in a long while, I thought that I would share these 10 idioms with you. The definitions used here are provided by Macmillan Dictionary, but the examples are mine.

1. A closed book 
(a) Something you accept has completely ended
“As far as I am concerned, that matter with the council is a closed book

(b) Someone or something that is difficult to understand
“I have never been able to work or communicate with John. He is a closed book


2. An open book
Someone that is easy to know about because they don’t keep any secrets.
“Julia’s life is like an open book. You always know what she’s up to”.

3. Read someone like a book
To understand easily what someone is thinking or feeling
“I can read Angela like a book. I always know what she’s thinking and what she’s about to say at meetings”

4. The oldest trick in the book
A dishonest method of doing something that you know about because it has been used many times before
“It was the oldest trick in the book – one man distracted me while another stole my wallet. I can’t believe I fell for it.”

5. In someone’s good/bad books
Used for saying when someone is pleased/annoyed with you.
“Tommy has been on his best behaviour today. After yesterday’s tantrums, he’s been doing his best to be in my good books all day.”



6. By the book
Someone who strictly follows all the rules when doing something
“We’re not going to leave things to chance.We’re going to run this company by the book.”


7. To bring someone to book
To punish someone when they’ve done something wrong
“I had to bring Tom to book after our meeting. He shouldn’t have lost his temper at Bridget”.


8. Take a leaf out of someone’s book
To copy what someone else does because they are successful at it
” You should take a leaf out of Keith’s book. He has achieved wonders with those children”.


9. Don’t judge a book by its cover
Don’t form an opinion of something or someone only from its appearance
” When I first met Charlotte she had had a really tough two weeks and wasn’t in the mood for chatting and appeared very moody and unsociable. She is not at all like that. One should never judge a book by its cover“.


10. Cook the books
To change accounts or figures dishonestly normally to make money
“It appears that Stanley had been cooking the books for years. He was finally caught last year.”


And there you have it. Do you have similar idioms about books in your native language?

And talking about books, what are you reading at the moment? Do you know how to talk about books in English? If you don’t, you may want to check out this post I wrote last year.

If you liked this post please share it and don’t forget to subscribe to my blog if you’d like to receive my posts as and when they are published.

Ciao for now


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