15+ Interesting Idioms about Books in English

Are you a bookaholic? An open book, Don’t judge a book by its cover, ...


1. A closed book

Meaning: To be difficult to know or understand.

Example: I’m a scientist, so art will always be a closed book to me.

2. An open book

Meaning: Someone that is easy to know about because nothing is kept secret.

Example: Ask me anything, I’m an open book.

3. Read someone like a book

Meaning: To understand easily what someone or thinking or feeling

Example: There are a number of books on the market which suggest that it is possible to learn to read a person like a book.

4. The oldest trick in the book

Meaning: A dishonest action that has been used many times before

Example: Look, you can fix it by threading a paper clip through the hole. Oldest trick in the book!

5. In someone’s good books

Meaning: Used for saying that someone is pleased with you

Example: I cleaned the bathroom yesterday so I’m in Mum’s good books.

6. By the book

Meaning: Following all the rules for doing something in a strict way

Example: The lawyers want to make sure we’ve done everything strictly by the book.

7. Bring someone to book

Meaning: To punish someone when they have done wrong

Example: Police should be asked to investigate so that the guilty can be brought to book soon.

8. Take a leaf out of someone’s book

Meaning: To copy what someone else does because they are successful at doing it

Example: I think I’m going to take a leaf out of your book and start going for a run first thing in the morning.

9. Don’t judge a book by its cover

Meaning: Not to form an opinion about someone only from their appearance

Example: The candidate did not look very intelligent, but you can’t judge a book by its cover.

10. Cook the books

Meaning: To change accounts and figures dishonestly, usually to get money

Example: My partner had been cooking the books for years, but because I was the CEO, I got the blame for our company’s collapse.

11. Bookworm

Meaning: A keen reader

Example: My sister is a bookworm. She is always reading.

12. Book smart

Meaning: Possessing knowledge acquired from reading or study but lacking common sense

Example: Sure, she's book smart, but she can't cook a potato!

13. In my book

Meaning: In my opinion

Example: She's never lied to me, and in my book that counts for a lot.

14. On/off the books

Meaning: Officially on record/ unofficially and usually in secret

Example: 

I worked off the books in my uncle's restaurant for a few months during the summer.

Today is officially the hottest day on the books.

15. To close the books

Meaning: To put something aside and stop spending time and effort on it

Example: I think it's time for me to close the books on this situation because I'm clearly never getting my money back.

16. To hit the books

Meaning: To study

Example: I can't go out tonight. I need to hit the books.

17. To have your nose in a book

Meaning: To be reading intensely

Example: She always has her nose in a book.

18. To throw a book at

Meaning: to punish severely

Example: The judge was not lenient – he threw the book at him.

19. Every trick in the book

Meaning: All available methods of achieving what’s desired, every possible way.

Example: I've tried every trick in the book to get him to notice me, and still no luck!

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