Entries linking to book-plate
Middle English bok, from Old English boc "book, writing, written document," generally referred (despite phonetic difficulties) to Proto-Germanic *bōk(ō)-, from *bokiz "beech" (source also of German Buch "book" Buche "beech;" see beech), the notion being of beechwood tablets on which runes were inscribed; but it may be from the tree itself (people still carve initials in them).
Latin and Sanskrit also have words for "writing" that are based on tree names ("birch" and "ash," respectively). And compare French livre "book," from Latin librum, originally "the inner bark of trees" (see library).
The sense gradually narrowed by early Middle English to "a written work covering many pages fastened together and bound," also "a literary composition" in any form, of however many volumes. Later also "bound pages," whether written on or not. In 19c. it also could mean "a magazine;" in 20c., a telephone directory.
The use of books or written charters was introduced in Anglo-Saxon times by the ecclesiastics, as affording more permanent and satisfactory evidence of a grant or conveyance of land than the symbolical or actual delivery of possession before witnesses, which was the method then in vogue. [Century Dictionary]
From c. 1200 as "a main subdivision of a larger work." The meaning "libretto of an opera" is from 1768. A betting book "record of bets made" is from 1812. The meaning "sum of criminal charges" is from 1926, hence slang phrase throw the book at (1932). Book of Life "the roll of those chosen for eternal life" is from mid-14c. Book of the month is from 1926. To do something by the book "according to the rules" is from 1590s.
mid-13c., "flat sheet of gold or silver," also "flat, round coin," from Old French plate "thin piece of metal" (late 12c.), from Medieval Latin plata "plate, piece of metal," perhaps via Vulgar Latin *plattus, formed on model of Greek platys "flat, broad" (from PIE root *plat- "to spread"). The cognate in Spanish (plata) and Portuguese (prata) has become the usual word for "silver," superseding argento via a shortening of *plata d'argento "plate of silver, coin."
From 14c. as "armor made of sheets of metal." Meaning "table utensils" (originally of silver or gold only) is from Middle English. Meaning "shallow dish on which food is served at table," now usually of china or earthenware, originally of metal or wood, is from mid-15c. Meaning "articles which have been covered with a plating of precious metal" is from 1540s.
In photography, "common rectangular piece of glass used to receive the picture," by 1840. The baseball sense "home base" is from 1857. Geological sense "nearly rigid part of the earth's lithosphere" is attested from 1904; plate tectonics is attested from 1967. Plate-glass for a superior kind of thick glass used for mirrors, shop-windows, etc., is recorded from 1729.
updated on October 10, 2017