vade mecum

noun
va·​de me·​cum | \ ˌvā-dē-ˈmē-kəm How to pronounce vade mecum (audio) , ˌvä-dē-ˈmā- How to pronounce vade mecum (audio) \
plural vade mecums

Definition of vade mecum

1 : a book for ready reference : manual
2 : something regularly carried about by a person

Brush Up on Your Latin With Vade Mecum

Vade mecum (Latin for "go with me") has long been used of manuals or guidebooks sufficiently compact to be carried in a deep pocket, and it would sometimes appear in the title of such works, as with one of the earliest known uses of the phrase in the title of the 1629 volume Vade Mecum: A Manuall of Essayes Morrall, Theologicall. From the beginning, it has also been used for constant companions that are carried about by a person, such as gold, medications, and memorized gems of wisdom. But these days, vade mecum is primarily encountered in reference to works which are intended to serve as one-stop references or guides to a particular subject, whether or not such a work can actually be carried in one's pocket (a moot distinction, perhaps, in an age when such works can easily reside in a smartphone's memory).

Examples of vade mecum in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web By the time the last of its five massive volumes appeared, in 1959, the Sowerby catalog had become the vade mecum of Jefferson scholarship. Jorge Dionis, Town & Country, 6 Dec. 2013

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'vade mecum.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of vade mecum

1629, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for vade mecum

borrowed from Latin, "go with me"

Learn More About vade mecum

Time Traveler for vade mecum

Time Traveler

The first known use of vade mecum was in 1629

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast About vade mecum

Dictionary Entries Near vade mecum

vade

vade mecum

vade retro me, Satana

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for vade mecum

Last Updated

1 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Vade mecum.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vade%20mecum. Accessed 24 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on vade mecum

Nglish: Translation of vade mecum for Spanish Speakers

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Which Word Does Not Belong?

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!