Word of the Day : February 12, 2012

vade mecum

noun vay-dee-MEE-kum


1 : a book for ready reference : manual

2 : something regularly carried about by a person

Did You Know?

"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.


Her latest book is an accessible and amusing vade mecum of the English literary tradition.

"Well into the 20th century, John Barlow's Ideal Handbook, the vade mecum of the rifleman, carried instructions for molding the Keene bullet." -- From Dan Shideler's book Gun Digest 2012

Word Family Quiz

What relative of "vade mecum" can mean "to enter for conquest or plunder"? The answer is ...


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