\ 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 Sharon Seitz and Stuart Miller’s definitive tome on the subject counted 42 in total; others have arrived at slightly different figures. John Hirschauer, National Review, "New York City’s Island of the Dead," 28 Apr. 2020 For many companies, annual reports are no longer simply tomes of legalese, tables and footnotes. Nina Trentmann, WSJ, "Companies Find Ways to Keep Their Annual Reports From Being a Bore," 3 Mar. 2020 Lasky points out, and the duo’s devotion to the former sets their book apart from other astro-tomes to come out of the contemporary fixation with the zodiac. Mary Sollosi,, "The Astro Poets on the modern astrology craze, and why Britney Spears is 'a classic Sagittarius'," 30 Oct. 2019 The tome is astonishing in scope, yet underwhelming on most of the particulars. Robert Verbruggen, National Review, "Did Civil-Rights Laws Ruin America?," 5 Feb. 2020 Published by McClelland & Stewart, the 400-page tome is available on line at for $29.95 hard cover and $15.99 via NOOK . ., "Namestnikov couldn’t make it in NY," 6 Oct. 2019 The couple replaced the original thin shelves with one-and-a-half-inch versions that wouldn’t bow under the weight of their tomes. Kathryn O’shea-evans, House Beautiful, "How the Editor of Good Housekeeping Renovated a Gorgeous Victorian House," 30 Dec. 2019 All that to say there’s a lot the brand has to contend with in its new tome, Supreme, Volume 2, which was released in a limited edition online and in its stores today. Vogue, "Supreme, Volume 2 Covers a Lot of Ground, From Skateboarding to Streetwear Domination," 21 Nov. 2019 Just in time for Halloween, Campbell will sign copies of her cemetery tome on Tuesday at the West Hollywood Library, 625 N. San Vicente Blvd. Liesl Bradner, Los Angeles Times, "Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison live on here: A stroll through Père-Lachaise Cemetery," 23 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

24 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Tome.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 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

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tome

Spanish Central: Translation of tome

Nglish: Translation of tome for Spanish Speakers

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