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Bible

[bahy-buh l]
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noun
  1. the collection of sacred writings of the Christian religion, comprising the Old and New Testaments.
  2. Also called Hebrew Scriptures. the collection of sacred writings of the Jewish religion: known to Christians as the Old Testament.
  3. (often lowercase) the sacred writings of any religion.
  4. (lowercase) any book, reference work, periodical, etc., accepted as authoritative, informative, or reliable: He regarded that particular bird book as the birdwatchers' bible.
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Origin of Bible

1300–50; Middle English bible, bibel < Old French bible < Medieval Latin biblia (feminine singular) < Greek, in tà biblía tà hagía (Septuagint) the holy books; biblíon, byblíon papyrus roll, strip of papyrus, equivalent to býbl(os) papyrus (after Býblos, a Phoenician port where papyrus was prepared and exported) + -ion noun suffix
Related formsan·ti-Bi·ble, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for bible

Bible

noun
    1. the Biblethe sacred writings of the Christian religion, comprising the Old and New Testaments and, in the Roman Catholic Church, the Apocrypha
    2. (as modifier)a Bible reading
  1. the English name for Tanach
  2. (often not capital) any book containing the sacred writings of a religion
  3. (usually not capital) a book regarded as authoritativethe angler's bible
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Word Origin

C13: from Old French, from Medieval Latin biblia books, from Greek, plural of biblion book, diminutive of biblos papyrus, from Bublos Phoenician port from which Greece obtained Egyptian papyrus
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

Word Origin and History for bible

Bible

n.

early 14c., from Anglo-Latin biblia, Old French bible (13c.) "the Bible," also any large book generally, from Medieval and Late Latin biblia (neuter plural interpreted as feminine singular), in phrase biblia sacra "holy books," a translation of Greek ta biblia to hagia "the holy books," from Greek biblion "paper, scroll," the ordinary word for "book," originally a diminutive of byblos "Egyptian papyrus," possibly so called from Byblos (modern Jebeil, Lebanon), the name of the Phoenician port from which Egyptian papyrus was exported to Greece (cf. parchment). Or the place name might be from the Greek word, which then would be probably of Egyptian origin. The Christian scripture was referred to in Greek as Ta Biblia as early as c.223. Bible replaced Old English biblioðece (see bibliothek) as the ordinary word for "the Scriptures." Figurative sense of "any authoritative book" is from 1804.

Walter Scott and Pope's Homer were reading of my own election, but my mother forced me, by steady daily toil, to learn long chapters of the Bible by heart; as well as to read it every syllable through, aloud, hard names and all, from Genesis to the Apocalypse, about once a year; and to that discipline -- patient, accurate, and resolute -- I owe, not only a knowledge of the book, which I find occasionally serviceable, but much of my general power of taking pains, and the best part of my taste in literature. ... [O]nce knowing the 32nd of Deuteronomy, the 119th Psalm, the 15th of 1st Corinthians, the Sermon on the Mount, and most of the Apocalypse, every syllable by heart, and having always a way of thinking with myself what words meant, it was not possible for me, even in the foolishest times of youth, to write entirely superficial or formal English .... [John Ruskin, "Fors Clavigera," 1871]
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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

bible in Culture

Bible

The book sacred to Christians (see also Christian), which they consider to be the inspired word of God. The Bible includes the Old Testament, which contains the sacred books of the Jews (see also Jews), and the New Testament, which begins with the birth of Jesus.

Thirty-nine books of the Old Testament are accepted as part of the Bible by Christians and Jews alike. Some Christians consider several books of the Old Testament, such as Judith, I and II Maccabees, and Ecclesiasticus, to be part of the Bible also, whereas other Christians, and Jews, call these the Old Testament Apocrypha. Christians are united in their acceptance of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament; Jews do not consider the writings of the New Testament inspired. The Bible is also called “the Book” (bible means “book”).

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Note

By extension, any book considered an infallible or very reliable guide to some activity may be called a “bible.”

Bible

The book sacred to Christians (see also Christian), containing the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament contains the writings sacred to the Jews (see also Jews).

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.