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[hand-boo k] /ˈhændˌbʊk/
a book of instruction or guidance, as for an occupation; manual:
a handbook of radio.
a guidebook for travelers:
a handbook of Italy.
a reference book in a particular field:
a medical handbook.
a scholarly book on a specific subject, often consisting of separate essays or articles:
a handbook of lectures on criticism.
Origin of handbook
translation of German Handbuch Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for handbook
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • As far as possible mere matters of opinion have been excluded from this handbook.

    Architecture Thomas Roger Smith
  • At all events here it is—this program or handbook of the beliefs for a people.

    The Ghost in the White House Gerald Stanley Lee
  • Well, it's loitering in a gambling resort and playing the handbook.

    Spring Street James H. Richardson
  • "So the handbook tacticians knew what they were about," Stryker said minutes later.

    Control Group Roger Dee
  • For details as to these matters, see my handbook of Astronomy, 4th ed., vol.

    The Story of Eclipses George Chambers
British Dictionary definitions for handbook


a reference book listing brief facts on a subject or place or directions for maintenance or repair, as of a car: a tourists' handbook
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for handbook

Old English handboc; 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, but execrated through much of 19c. as "that very ugly and very unnecessary word" [Trench].

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for handbook



  1. A place, other than a legal betting office, where bets are made away from the racetrack; Horse Room: I was in the handbook near Loomis and Madison
  2. bookie

[1894+ Horse racing & gambling; probably fr the fact that betting records were kept in small, concealable notebooks for secrecy and portability]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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