\ ˈtōm \

Definition of tome 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : book especially : a large or scholarly book

2 : a volume forming part of a larger work

Definition of -tome (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : part : segment myotome

2 : cutting instrument microtome

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Synonyms for tome

Synonyms: Noun

book, volume

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Did You Know?

Tome comes from Latin tomus, which comes from Greek tomos, meaning "section" or "roll of papyrus." Tomos comes from the Greek verb temnein, which means "to cut." In ancient times, some of the longest scrolls of papyrus occasionally were divided into sections. When it was first used in English in the 16th century, tome was a book that was a part of a multi-volume work. Now a tome is most often simply a large and often ponderous book.

Examples of tome in a Sentence


a long tome on European history picked up a thick tome on the Roman Empire at a used book store

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

What these scholars offer is not a dense political tome but a lively jeremiad. David Hawpe, The Courier-Journal, "Book review: There's more political warfare and polarization in Trump's future," 4 June 2018 John Ruskin: The Stones of Venice, at the Doge’s Apartment in the Doge’s Palace, brings to life Ruskin’s three-volume tome on Venetian art and architecture through paintings, including Ruskin’s own watercolors. Erica Firpo, Condé Nast Traveler, "How to Do the Venice Biennale of Architecture 2018," 31 May 2018 The result was an inconsequential paper on jails and penal reform, followed soon after by a two-part blockbuster tome on the democratic experiment. Linda Rodriguez Mcrobbie,, "Don’t get too comfortable: America’s relentless pursuit of convenience and relaxation," 19 May 2018 Journalists have continually described the backstabbing among Trump staffers as something out of Martin’s five-plus fantasy tomes. Margaret Hartmann, Daily Intelligencer, "Trump White House Drama Changes Drastically – But Is Still Just Like Game of Thrones," 29 May 2018 One side holds design and architecture books, and the other my collection of gardening tomes. Carter Berg, ELLE Decor, "HOUSE TOUR: Bunny Williams Transforms A Homely A-Frame Into An Inspiring Studio Space," 14 Feb. 2018 The tome — entitled Today and later republished as Hero 365 — became required reading for elementary school students in Taiwan. Kathy Boccella,, "Downingtown girl who raised millions for malaria nets treated as hero in Taiwan," 30 June 2018 Each tome contains a single person's code, written in the format a player piano could read. Sandra Upson, WIRED, "Westworld Recap, Season 2 Episode 10: What Is Real?," 25 June 2018 For the East India Company and Standard Oil the sources are historical tomes and court and parliamentary documents, not company reports. The Economist, "History’s biggest firms," 5 July 2018

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


1519, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for tome


Middle French or Latin; Middle French, from Latin tomus, from Greek tomos section, roll of papyrus, tome, from temnein to cut; akin to Middle Irish tamnaid he lops, Polish ciąć to cut, and perhaps to Latin tondēre to shear

Noun combining form

Greek tomos

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Statistics for tome

Last Updated

14 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tome

The first known use of tome was in 1519

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English Language Learners Definition of tome

: a very large, thick book


\ ˈtōm \

Kids Definition of tome

: a big thick book

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Comments on tome

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the setting in which something occurs

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