book·​end | \ ˈbu̇k-ˌend How to pronounce bookend (audio) \

Definition of bookend

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a support placed at the end of a row of books marble bookends
2 : one of two usually similar things that begin and end something The second season started with stateside filming that included creating the "bookends," short segments that flank each episode …— Paula Parisi The trip has Eastern bookends. It began Monday in Ottawa and ends next Sunday in Atlanta.The New York Times
3 : one of two similar players on a team who play on opposite sides of the field or court … Taylor is playing without bookend outside linebacker Carl Banks, who is sidelined with a wrist injury.— Peter Kind


bookended; bookending

Definition of bookend (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to be on both sides or ends of (something or someone) : flank … dimples bookending his smile.— Jennifer Kornreich often used in passive constructions … a squat sports arena of concrete and black glass bookended by a pair of massive concrete cylinders …— Wells Tower
2a : to begin and end (something) with two similar things or with the same thing … Klim and Thorpe had bookended the relay with two of the fastest 100-meter split times ever …— Alexander Wolff He bookends his meaty battle narrative with a thorough analysis of Roosevelt's internment policy …— Jonathan Mahler
b : to serve as or mark the beginning and ending of (something) : to be the first and last parts or events of (something) … a movie that, together with All the President's Men, bookends the era of heroic investigative journalism.— Rand Richards Cooper often used in passive constructions … the period bookended by the Civil War and the civil rights movement.— Christopher Benfey The anthology is bookended by an introductory essay by the editors … and an epilogue …— C. L. Salter

Examples of bookend in a Sentence


a pair of bookends shaped like horses He used an empty flowerpot as a bookend.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Norwich also travel to Manchester City on the final day of the season as England's top two clubs act as bookends to the promoted side's campaign, while Liverpool and Chelsea await in their opening five games., "Norwich 2019/20 Premier League Fixtures: When Canaries Face Man City, Liverpool, Man Utd & More," 17 June 2019 Colston and Bush were the bookend selections of Coach Sean Payton’s first draft class and formed the core of the club’s eventual Super Bowl championship team in 2009. Jeff Duncan,, "Reggie Bush, Marques Colston headline stellar Saints Hall of Fame Class of 2019," 5 June 2019 Courtesy of Generations United Benefits for the bookend generations It may be assumed that the most important benefit of giving seniors and children more chances to interact is countering social isolation among seniors. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "How intergenerational living benefits the ‘book-end’ generations," 8 June 2018 Monde, a Japanese designer from Tokyo, created said bookends for a project that BoredPanda shared was first introduced at Design Festa, an international art event in Tokyo, where everyone fell in love with the creations. Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "This Tokyo Artist's Magical Bookshelf Dioramas Are The New Fairy Gardens," 5 Feb. 2019 Hours of lugging can go down the drain in seconds if the downhill bookend isn’t properly pitched to account for the natural slope of the ground. Jill Kiedaisch, Popular Mechanics, "What to Do with Cooped-Up Kids: Stack Wood," 23 Nov. 2018 The team’s second-worst pick provided an apt bookend to its successful pharmaceutical selection. Spencer Jakab, WSJ, "Who Won Heard on the Street’s Stock-Picking Contest? No One, Really," 24 Dec. 2018 As the bookend to his year-long collaboration with MAC, Slay Ride also signifies the completion of an experience that Starrr treasured as both the definitive face of men in makeup and a former MAC sales associate. Sandra Song, Teen Vogue, "Patrick Starrr on His Holiday MAC Collaboration, Makeup Shaming, and Inclusivity in the Beauty World," 23 Dec. 2018 Matt Wargo/Courtesy of Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates, Inc. Robert Venturi’s passing yesterday at age 93 bookends the life of an extraordinarily influential architect and scholar. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Masterpieces of Robert Venturi, a postmodern architecture icon," 20 Sep. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bookend.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of bookend


1907, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1956, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about bookend

Statistics for bookend

Last Updated

13 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for bookend

The first known use of bookend was in 1907

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for bookend



English Language Learners Definition of bookend

: something placed at the end of a row of books to hold them up


book·​end | \ ˈbu̇k-ˌend How to pronounce bookend (audio) \

Kids Definition of bookend

: a support at the end of a row of books to keep them standing up

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on bookend

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with bookend

Spanish Central: Translation of bookend

Nglish: Translation of bookend for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bookend for Arabic Speakers

Comments on bookend

What made you want to look up bookend? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!