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book·​end ˈbu̇k-ˌend How to pronounce bookend (audio)
: a support placed at the end of a row of books
marble bookends
: 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
: 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


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bookended; bookending

transitive verb

: 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
: 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
: 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

Noun a pair of bookends shaped like horses He used an empty flowerpot as a bookend.
Recent Examples on the Web
Adding chrome table lamps, bookends or side tables can modernize an otherwise traditional room. Marni Jameson, The Mercury News, 11 Apr. 2024 The bookends to a meal are as compelling as anything between them. Tom Sietsema, Washington Post, 26 Mar. 2024 The whole vibe is very old-fashioned men’s club: dark wood, carpets, oil paintings of his two (now adult) children on the wall, a bronzed wooden bookend—in the shape of a duck, of course—on his desk. Maria Aspan, Fortune, 26 Mar. 2024 At the other bookend, companies could stay with business as usual and hope for a moonshot solution that removes all carbon emissions from the sky. Ian Palmer, Forbes, 29 Feb. 2024 The 49ers on Monday added some intrigue to their quarterback room and welcomed their latest attempt at a bookend pass rusher across from Nick Bosa. Edge rusher Leonard Floyd participated in a teleconference with local writers, officially signing a contract a week after agreeing to terms. Jerry McDonald, The Mercury News, 18 Mar. 2024 But the bookends adjusted their contracts to cut some hair under the cap. Nick Canepa, San Diego Union-Tribune, 16 Mar. 2024 There’s a basket on every table, filled with eight triangles of bread as thick as bookends. Jenn Harris, Los Angeles Times, 12 Feb. 2024 Interceptions, both by Greenlaw, served as bookends to the second-half comeback. Cam Inman, The Mercury News, 10 Feb. 2024
The innermost planets of the system, scorched by their proximity to their star, and the outermost, locked in eternal ice, bookend the real stars of the show: three planets residing in the Goldilocks zone. Tony Bradley, Forbes, 28 Mar. 2024 From Wall Street to the Nasdaq Exchange in Times Square to Cboe Global Markets in Chicago, loud, ringing bells bookend each trading session. Krystal Hur, CNN, 16 Mar. 2024 One episode, directed by the great Amy Seimetz (The Girlfriend Experience, Atlanta), devotes an entire hour to a series of couples therapy sessions, like the ones that bookend the movie, and contains one of the ugliest confrontations of the show. Ben Rosenstock, TIME, 2 Feb. 2024 To bookend a particularly wet February, another storm is expected to hit Southern California this weekend but the incoming rainfall should be relatively light. Summer Lin, Los Angeles Times, 29 Feb. 2024 On the first floor, four standard bedrooms bookend a vast, high-ceiling living room and an open kitchen. Nicolas Stecher, Robb Report, 16 Feb. 2024 For the 1980s — which bookends the decades-spanning film — the movie expands to a 1.85:1 widescreen aspect ra tio. Carolyn Giardina, The Hollywood Reporter, 14 Jan. 2024 Black Bear Diner chain locations now bookend Fort Worth. Bud Kennedy, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 5 Feb. 2024 Measured from their peak market capitalizations, the insolvencies bookend the loss of more than $46 billion of total equity value. Jonathan Randles, Fortune, 28 Dec. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'bookend.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


1907, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1956, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of bookend was in 1907

Cite this Entry

“Bookend.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


book·​end -ˌend How to pronounce bookend (audio)
: something placed at the end of a row of books to hold them up

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