Middle English Dictionary Entry

bọ̄k n.(1)
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Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

1.
(a) Any collection of sheets or leaves, bound or unbound, making up a volume of writings; a book as a material object; (b) ~ bindere, one who binds books; ~ haspe, a clasp for the covers of a book.
2a.
(a) A written composition or compilation (in prose or verse, occupying one or more volumes); a book as an authoritative source; ~ of laue(s; (b) maken a ~, to write a book; (c) setten, writen on (in) ~, to compose or record (sth.) in writing, write down; (d) knowen withoute ~, know (sth.) by heart; etc.
2b.
(a) A fundamental or authoritative source of knowledge or instruction; wis on ~, learned; (b) a model (good or bad) of conduct, an example.
2c.
(a) drawen, putten, setten to boke, to teach (sb.) to read and to interpret writings, instruct, educate; (b) leren on ~, to teach (sb.) to read, instruct; lered on ~, learned, erudite; lernen ~, read or study.
3a.
(a) The Bible; cristes ~, godes ~, holi ~, ~ of godspelles, ~ of lif, ~ o spell; -- with or without art.; (b) pl. the Scriptures; (c) the sacred book of any religion; (d) the Bible as used in giving a solemn pledge; sweren upon (the) ~, leien hond on ~, touchen the ~.
3b.
(a) Any of the individual parts constituting the Bible; ~ of widom; ~ of sighte, the Apocalypse; (b) a major division of a long treatise or literary work.
4.
(a) A service book of the Church, esp. the missal; masse ~; shriftes ~, the penitential book; (b) bok and candel, missal and candle as used in solemn excommunication; (c) ~ and belle, missal and bell (which is rung at the elevation of the Host); bi (with) ~ and belle, ceremoniously, solemnly, earnestly, utterly (often with reference to cursing or excommunication); (d) in oaths or as an emphatic: bi ~ and belle!, bau for bokes!
5.
(a) A formal legal document, such as a charter, deed, will; (b) an official record or register; a diary; also fig.; (c) law a brief or writ; (d) theol. God's record of man's behavior on earth; bok of lif, ~ of liveres, the roll of those chosen for eternal life.
6.
A register of financial or commercial transactions, an account book.
7.
Cpds. (a) bok-bindere [see 1]; ~ fel [OE], parchment or vellum; ~ hous [OE], library; ~ lond [OE], land held by charter; ~ leden [OE], the Latin language; also literary language; (b) ~ lered, ~ lerned, learned, erudite; ~ lore [OE], learning, erudition; (c) ~ makere, author; copyist; ~ making, composition; ~ man, ?copyist, scribe; ~ oth, an oath sworn on the Bible; ~ rune, letter; ~ sellere, book seller; ~ spel, a tale from a book, a story; ~ staf [OE], a letter of the alphabet.

Supplemental Materials (draft)

  • a1475 Gawain & CC (Brog 2.1)341 : Hett reynnyd and blewe stormus felle, That well was hym, be bocke and belle, that herborow hade cavʒt.
  • Note: Additional quot. for phrase bi bok and belle in sense 4.(d).
  • (c1426) Audelay Poems (Dc 302)223/19 : Ʒour namus wreton..be In þe bok of lyfe in heuen blys.
  • Note: Additional quot. for sense 5.(d).
  • (1434) Invent.Scarborough in Archaeol.5166 : Duo candelabra magna de Cupro stancia coram altare summo et unum vers boke.
  • Note: New compound for sense 4.(a): verse ~, a liturgical service book.
  • a1475 Gawain & CC (Brog 2.1)340 : Hett reynnyd and blewe stormus felle That well was hym, be bocke and belle, That herborow had cavgt.
  • Note: Postdates sense 4.(d).
  • (c1475) Ordin.Househ.Edw.IV (Hrl 642)59 : Juramentum Contrarotulator..ye or your undyr-clerkes, as ofte as it requiryth, shall take the remanentes and vyewes in offices, and surely make the booke of wyne, and all thys present in the countyng-house, as often as ye be desyred by the Steward.
  • Note: New combination for sense 6., which this quot. postdates: ~ of wine, an account of the wines purchased for the king's household.
Note: The list of variant spellings in the form section may be incomplete and / or may need revision to accord with standards of later volumes of the MED.--notes per MLL