co·​dex | \ ˈkō-ˌdeks How to pronounce codex (audio) \
plural codices\ ˈkō-​də-​ˌsēz How to pronounce codex (audio) , ˈkä-​ How to pronounce codex (audio) \

Definition of codex

: a manuscript book especially of Scripture, classics, or ancient annals

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Did You Know?

In the 3rd and 4th centuries A.D., the codex began to replace the older scroll as the preferred form for longer writings. Unlike the scroll, this wonderful invention permitted writing on both sides of a sheet, made it easy to locate a particular passage, and could contain a very long piece of writing. Codices (note this unusual plural form) were usually written on parchment, the specially prepared skin of a sheep or goat, or papyrus, the ancestor of paper. Because codices were handwritten, there were few copies of any single codex, and sometimes only a single copy. Today we no longer write our books in longhand, but the modern book has kept basically the same form as the original codices.

Examples of codex in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web There's a dungeon to conquer or a town to explore or a new codex of spells to master. Luke Winkie, Star Tribune, "This 'Gamer Grandma' has more than 900,000 'grandkids'," 18 Sep. 2020 On turning 18, each of Albert Reimann’s nine children signed a codex, pledging to stay out of Benckiser, the family chemicals business in Ludwigshafen, Germany, and never show their face in public. The Economist, "The Reimann hypothesis A peek inside JAB Holding," 20 June 2020 The codex explains that a surface crack measuring 2,800 brazas appeared after the quake. National Geographic, "Ancient Aztec records reveal hidden earthquake risk," 11 Oct. 2019 In the beginning might have been the Word, but ever since then the message of Jesus Christ has been adapted to whatever medium was available, from the scroll to the codex and eventually the podcast. Casey Cep, The New Yorker, "The Gospel in a Time of Social Distancing," 29 Mar. 2020 That’s why Suárez and his team turned to Aztec codices and the accounts of Spanish missionaries. National Geographic, "Ancient Aztec records reveal hidden earthquake risk," 11 Oct. 2019 Within some codices, such glyphs are accompanied by dates. National Geographic, "Ancient Aztec records reveal hidden earthquake risk," 11 Oct. 2019 Recently, Kasady, resurrected by his cult of followers, has gained control of Grendel and is coming after everyone who has ever possessed a symbiote in order to harvest their DNA, which contains codices that can free Knull. Richard Newby, The Hollywood Reporter, "Will Andy Serkis Take 'Venom 2' in a Darker Direction?," 8 Aug. 2019 Some of these pages exist as loose sheets today; others have been bound into the volumes now known as notebooks or codices. Claudia Kalb, National Geographic, "Why Leonardo da Vinci’s brilliance endures, 500 years after his death," 12 June 2019

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

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First Known Use of codex

1661, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for codex

Latin — more at code

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Last Updated

20 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Codex.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for codex


co·​dex | \ ˈkō-ˌdeks How to pronounce codex (audio) \
plural codices\ ˈkōd-​ə-​ˌsēz How to pronounce codex (audio) , ˈkäd-​ How to pronounce codex (audio) \

Medical Definition of codex

: an official or standard collection of drug formulas and descriptions a codex similar to the British Pharmaceutical Codex

More from Merriam-Webster on codex

Nglish: Translation of codex for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about codex

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