\ ˈtōm How to pronounce tome (audio) \

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

There have been tomes written in honor of the quest to embrace all things Parisian. Kerry Pieri, Harper's BAZAAR, "Asking the Tough Questions," 2 Dec. 2014 Most of the hefty tomes of the 19th century, from Dickens to Tolstoy, first appeared chapter by chapter in weekly reviews and magazines. Daniel Mendelsohn, Town & Country, "How Infidelity Helped Create the Novel," 2 May 2019 Image The first generation of lesbian and gay scholars after Stonewall compiled tomes of evidence proving that men had gone to bed with men, and women with women, early in history and often. Caleb Crain, New York Times, "In One City, 2,000 Years of Gay History," 21 June 2018 One was a legal tome that spelled out terms of Britain’s divorce from the bloc. Laurence Norman, WSJ, "U.K., EU Approve Hard-Fought Brexit Divorce Deal. Now the Harder Work Begins.," 25 Nov. 2018 Like Twilight, Fifty Shades is no beautiful tome of language. Constance Grady, Vox, "Reckoning with Twilight, 10 years later," 21 Nov. 2018 Here Theroux, a T&C contributor and author of The Great Railway Bazaar, brings dark, domestic humor to more-than-500-page tome that any mom with a sense of humor will love to get for Mother’s Day. Adam Rathe, Town & Country, "The 5 Books Everybody Will Be Talking About in May," 1 May 2017 An energy-packed, vibrant tome brimming with eccentricity, color, beauty, patterns, movement and whimsy, Fashionable Selby will draw you in and keep you flipping page after page. Kristen Bateman, Harper's BAZAAR, "Book Corner: Fashionable Selby," 17 Mar. 2014 The tome was reissued this year, with a new chapter about their late grandmother, Barbara Bush. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Laura Bush Celebrates Barbara and Jenna's Birthday with a Sweet Throwback Instagram Post," 26 Nov. 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

8 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tome

The first known use of tome was in 1519

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More Definitions for tome



English Language Learners Definition of tome

formal : a very large, thick book


\ ˈtōm How to pronounce tome (audio) \

Kids Definition of tome

: a big thick book

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More from Merriam-Webster on tome

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tome

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Spanish Central: Translation of tome

Nglish: Translation of tome for Spanish Speakers

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