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30 Idioms about Books and Reading


  1. a closed book – a topic or person about which/whom very little is known
  2. an open book – a topic or person that/who is easy to understand or about which/whom a lot is known
  3. book smart – possessing knowledge acquired from reading or study but lacking common sense
  4. bookworm – a keen reader
  5. by the book – in accordance with the rules
  6. ‘You can’t judge a book by its cover!’ – the outward appearance of something or someone is not a reliable indication of its/their true nature
  7. every trick in the book – all available methods of achieving what’s desired
  8. in my book – in my opinion
  9. in someone’s good/bad books – in favour/disfavour with someone
  10. on/off the books – officially on record/ unofficially and usually in secret
  11. one for the (record) books – an extraordinary event that will be remembered
  12. ‘Read my lips!’ – listen carefully
  13. the oldest trick in the book – a trick so unimaginative and commonplace that it shouldn’t deceive anyone
  14. to balance the books – to add up all debits and credits
  15. to blot your copybook – to tarnish your reputation
  16. to bring someone to book – to punish someone or draw attention to their bad behaviour
  17. to close the books – to put something aside and stop spending time and effort on it
  18. to cook the books – to falsify facts or figures
  19. to have your nose in a book – to be reading intensely
  20. to hit the books – to study
  21. to make/open book – to take bets on something
  22. to read between the lines – to search for an implied meaning
  23. to read someone like a book – to easily understand someone’s thoughts/motives without being told them
  24. to read someone the Riot Act – to strongly warn someone to improve their behaviour
  25. to read someone’s mind – to discern someone’s thoughts
  26. to read something into – to give something meaning or significance that may not be there
  27. to read the fine/small print – to make sure you are aware of the conditions of an agreement
  28. to take a leaf out of someone’s book – to imitate a particular (usually admirable) quality that someone else possesses
  29. to take something as read – to assume something as true without further discussing it
  30. to throw a book at – to punish severely

If you’ve found this post useful, why not check out our other articles on idioms?

Have a great week!


19 Oct 2016
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