\ 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 The couch beckons, and the brain yearns for that perfect book: the lyrical, binge-able tome that also dispenses heaps of knowledge. Wired Staff, Wired, "12 Science Books You Should Read Right Now," 23 Dec. 2019 Martin's tome about the history of House Targaryen, originally released in November 2018, will serve as the source material for the upcoming series. Kayleigh Roberts, Harper's BAZAAR, "Game of Thrones Announces Prequel Show House of the Dragon," 1 Nov. 2019 Verini does share his thoughts about the decision to launch the Iraq War, for example, but this is no political tome. David French, National Review, "Inside the Rise and Fall of ISIS’s Caliphate," 7 Nov. 2019 For several decades, textbook publishers followed the same basic model: Pitch a hefty tome of knowledge to faculty for inclusion in lesson plans; charge students an equally hefty sum; revise and update its content as needed every few years. Brian Barrett, WIRED, "The Radical Transformation of the Textbook," 4 Aug. 2019 But Sakai’s new tome also includes simpler dinner fare like okonomiyaki (see recipe), savory pancakes topped with quivering bonito flakes and a not-too-sweet homemade tonkatsu sauce. Janelle Bitker,, "The San Francisco Chronicle’s best cookbooks of 2019," 29 Nov. 2019 That’s using the same measure of counting words with the freely available digital version of the tome on Project Gutenberg. Chris Wilson, Time, "It's Official: President Trump Has Tweeted More Words Than James Joyce's 'Ulysses'," 6 Nov. 2019 Biographies of Chuck Berry, Hank Williams and Ray Charles compete for space on his shelves alongside beatnik tomes by Kerouac and Burroughs, and even a copy of Spoken Urdu. Jordan Runtagh,, "New Book of Jeff Buckley’s Journals and Belongings Offers a Vivid Self-Portrait of the Late Artist," 31 Oct. 2019 Before any major design project, Nussbaumer does a deep dive into past travel memories and tomes. The Editors Of House Beautiful, House Beautiful, "How Travel Inspires This Texas Designer," 30 Oct. 2019

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

19 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Tome.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 22 January 2020.

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More Definitions for tome


How to pronounce -tome (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tome

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tome

Spanish Central: Translation of tome

Nglish: Translation of tome for Spanish Speakers

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