book·​end | \ˈbu̇k-ˌend \

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

The unveiling bookends a celebration honoring Brooks’ 100th birthday. Lolly Bowean,, "On Gwendolyn Brooks' birthday, a statue of the powerful poet will be unveiled on the South Side," 6 June 2018 From this more accurate perspective, evangelical support for Alabamans George Wallace and, last year, Roy Moore, are bookends of a consistent narrative. Nancy D. Wadsworth, Vox, "The racial demons that help explain evangelical support for Trump," 30 Apr. 2018 Baltimore traded back into the first round and took Jackson with the last pick, making for a bookend of Heisman Trophy winners with Mayfield. Tim Bielik,, "NFL Draft 2018: Who are the best available players on composite big board after Day 1?," 27 Apr. 2018 These two bands represent bookends of the modern rock explosion attributed to Nirvana in 1991. David Lindquist, Indianapolis Star, "5 ways Weezer and Pixies conjured nostalgic magic at Ruoff amphitheater," 9 July 2018 Its bookends—and many of the more vital intervening minutes — seem to be as much about winning that beef with Pusha-T as anything. Andy Hutchins, Time, "Scorpion Finds Drake Struggling to Keep It All Together," 29 June 2018 There are many highlights here, but Jonathan Lucroy and Lyle Overbay on the bookends of the front row are something to behold. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "'Uecker Trip' dress-up theme the latest in great Brewers airplane attire," 18 June 2018 In emulating his mentor, Kline has created a worthy bookend to that landmark. Inga Saffron,, "How a Philadelphia lawyer turned a historic bank into a shrine to democracy (and his legal career)," 3 June 2018 Quinn, a two-time Pro Bowl selection, is viewed as a bookend pass rusher to Cameron Wake. Chris Perkins,, "Dolphins defensive end Robert Quinn talks football, political climate," 4 Apr. 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

19 Oct 2018

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


book·​end | \ˈbu̇k-ˌend \

Kids Definition of bookend

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


playful or foolish behavior

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Autumn Words of the Day 2018

  • a-top-down-image-of-road-through-an-autumn-forest
  • Which is a synonym of fugacious?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

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!