\ 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

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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

Noun 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 This week, the State Board of Education is expected to approve the final draft, an 894-page tome whose own history illustrates the challenges of crafting an ethnic studies curriculum at a time of racial reckoning and national division. Jocelyn Gecker, The Christian Science Monitor, "History, herstory, hxrstory: Whose stories will be told in CA?," 16 Mar. 2021 The massive tome chronicling the life of an American literary giant had received several glowing reviews in the lead-up to its April 6 launch date and landed on the New York Times Bestsellers List after two weeks of sales. Washington Post, "Publisher pauses promotion of Blake Bailey’s best-selling Philip Roth biography over sexual assault claims," 22 Apr. 2021 Writers Richard Bienstock and Tom Beaujour conducted more than 200 new interviews for the tome. Matt Wake |, al, "The new bible of ‘80s glam-metal and hard-rock," 7 Apr. 2021 But there is no more ardent a disciple of the tome than Mejdal, a former biomathematician at NASA who earned master’s degrees in both cognitive psychology and operations research. New York Times, "This Book Is Not About Baseball. But Baseball Teams Swear by It.," 24 Feb. 2021 The 144-page tome is accompanied by a 20-track CD featuring the artists highlighted in the book. Billboard, "From History to Biographies, Here Are the Best Books About Jazz," 6 Apr. 2021 To celebrate the model’s 90th anniversary this year, watch expert and Robb Report contributor Nicholas Foulkes dived into the Reverso’s history to produce a sprawling tome, published by Assouline, dedicated to its timeless appeal. Paige Reddinger, Robb Report, "Horological Historian Nick Foulkes Literally Wrote the Book on the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso," 3 Apr. 2021 For his latest tome, his gaze shifts to Queen Elizabeth, her younger sister Princess Margaret, and their sometimes-fraught relationship in Elizabeth and Margaret: The Intimate World of the Windsor Sisters, out March 30. Rachel Burchfield, Vogue, "Royal Sibling Relationships Have Always Been Complicated," 29 Mar. 2021 The magical tome that Wanda is reading in the post-credits scene is kind of a big deal. Leah Marilla Thomas,, "WandaVision’s Second Post-Credits Scene — & Its Possible Ties To Doctor Strange — Explained," 5 Mar. 2021

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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Last Updated

9 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Tome.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 May. 2021.

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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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