hand·​book | \ ˈhan(d)-ˌbu̇k How to pronounce handbook (audio) \

Definition of handbook

1a : a book capable of being conveniently carried as a ready reference : manual
b : a concise reference book covering a particular subject
2a : a bookmaker's book of bets
b : a place where bookmaking is carried on

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for handbook


manual, primer, text, textbook

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of handbook in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Of the three mandates in the aviator's handbook—aviate, navigate, communicate—the last may have been most important in this emergency. Allen St. John, Popular Mechanics, "What Went Right: Revisiting Captain "Sully" Sullenberger and the Miracle on the Hudson," 15 Jan. 2019 And at Green Engine, a bright Haverford space with wood accents and potted plants scattered throughout, workers recently received new employee handbooks. Katherine Nails, Philly.com, "Consumers, coffee shops see changes after Starbucks incidents - but will they last?," 10 July 2018 While there are lots of RV-friendly handbooks, most van life gear advice consists of seven to 10 items that are nowhere near comprehensive. Megan Barber, Curbed, "The ultimate van life shopping guide," 14 Nov. 2018 Employee handbooks, which establish workplace rules, typically say employees have no expectation of privacy on work devices. Nicole Hong, WSJ, "At Stake in Lawsuit: What Can Bosses Access on Your Personal Devices?," 9 Sep. 2018 Internet addiction, for example, is not included in the DSM-5, the American Psychiatric Association’s handbook for mental disorders. Carrie Battan, Harper's BAZAAR, "Escaping the Seduction of Your Smartphone," 26 July 2018 The committee also called for the MIAA handbook to address transgender athletes. Nate Weitzer, BostonGlobe.com, "Nobles boys’ lacrosse remains in title hunt," 24 May 2018 Per the royal family's handbook, when greeting a member of the royal household (especially the Queen) men are supposed to bow with their neck and women are to politely curtsy. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "10 Ways the Royal Family Has Majorly Broken Royal Protocol," 3 Aug. 2018 Taking a cue from the Obama handbook, Hillary Clinton has identified the next fulfilling step in her career: shepherding her talents away from D.C. and toward the small screen. Devon Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "Hillary Clinton and Steven Spielberg Are Bringing a Women's Suffrage Drama to TV," 2 Aug. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'handbook.' 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 handbook

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about handbook

Statistics for handbook

Last Updated

23 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for handbook

The first known use of handbook was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for handbook



English Language Learners Definition of handbook

: a small book that gives useful information about a particular subject


hand·​book | \ ˈhand-ˌbu̇k How to pronounce handbook (audio) \

Kids Definition of handbook

: a book of facts usually about one subject

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on handbook

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with handbook

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for handbook

Spanish Central: Translation of handbook

Nglish: Translation of handbook for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about handbook

Comments on handbook

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


to reflect, repel, echo, or resound

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt-painting-a-young-scholar-and-his-tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
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!