The Etymology of a Book

Reading – I like history and reading. This is a quick combination of the two.

Kristen Twardowski

We think of books as being filled with words and ideas, but they themselves are also a word and an odd one that. So how did the English word “book” come to be?

The term originated from several linguistic paths. Its closest relative is the Old English word bōc, which also meant book. As German speakers may guess, bōc shares a root with the Old Saxon word bôk and Old High German word buoh. The original meaning of these words was not “book” as we know it today, but rather referenced some sort of “writing-tablet, leaf, or sheet.”

Linguists believe that the various iterations of these terms are related to the Old English term bóc and Old Norse term bók, both of which reference beech trees. It is suggested that early written works may have been drafted on paper or tablets made from the bark of beech trees. It…

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