Etymology
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handbook (n.)

Old English handboc "handbook, manual;" see hand (n.) + book (n.). It translates Latin manualis, and was displaced in Middle English by manual (from French), and later in part by enchiridion (from Greek). Reintroduced 1814 in imitation of German Handbuch, but execrated through much of 19c. as "that very ugly and very unnecessary word" [Richard Chenevix Trench, "English Past and Present," 1905].

updated on May 14, 2015

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Definitions of handbook from WordNet

handbook (n.)
a concise reference book providing specific information about a subject or location;
Synonyms: enchiridion / vade mecum
Etymologies are not definitions. From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.