vade mecum

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

Keep scrolling for more

Brush Up on Your Latin With Vade Mecum

Vade mecum is Latin for go with me (it derives from the Latin verb vadere, meaning "to go.") In English, "vade mecum" has been used (since at least 1629) of manuals or guidebooks sufficiently compact to be carried in a deep pocket. But from the beginning, it has also been used for such constant companions as gold, medications, and memorized gems of wisdom.

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, "Turn Up the Volumes," 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"

Keep scrolling for more

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

Statistics for vade mecum

Cite this Entry

“Vade mecum.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 May. 2021.

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

Comments on vade mecum

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Star Wars Words Quiz

  • cu jedi training
  • The bounty portion of bounty hunters (such as Boba Fett) comes from a Latin word meaning
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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