\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

This is a King tome, so stuff does get very weird, and The Outsider becomes a Midwestern race against time to close the case before another child becomes a victim. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, "Stephen King's 'The Outsider': Thriller is a witchy brew of crime, horror," 21 May 2018 Scattered around the room were several copies of one tome: The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. Katrine Jo Andersen, The New Republic, "Rejected by A.A.," 27 June 2018 Kohn is the author of the 568-page tome, which maps out 21 rules for whistle-blowers interspersed with stories from his 34 years in the business. Issie Lapowsky, WIRED, "Tusks, Horns, and Claws: The Fight to Dismantle the Facebook Animal Parts Bazaar," 5 June 2018 Researchers uncovered the deadly tomes by accident. Amanda Erickson, Washington Post, "Three poisonous books were found in University of Southern Denmark’s library," 10 July 2018 The 350-page tome often reads like an update to the blueprint from 2013. The Economist, "Scottish nationalists face up to the economic challenges of independence," 7 June 2018 Onward Together, released a 500-plus page campaign post-mortem and embarked on a lengthy speaking tour to promote the tome. Adam Shaw, Fox News, "Hillary Clinton claims 'Fox News is always trying to impeach me'," 4 Apr. 2018 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

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

26 Oct 2018

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

: a very large, thick book


\ˈtōm \

Kids Definition of tome

: a big thick book

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Comments on tome

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


playful or foolish behavior

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