book learning

See synonyms for: book%20learningbook-learned on

  1. knowledge acquired by reading books, as distinguished from that obtained through observation and experience.

  2. formal education: She thought that common sense was just as important as book learning.

Origin of book learning

First recorded in 1580–90

Other words from book learning

  • book-learn·ed [book-lur-nid, -lurnd], /ˈbʊkˌlɜr nɪd, -ˌlɜrnd/, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use book learning in a sentence

  • Many things besides book-learning did Wang Ken teach his pupil.

    Our Little Korean Cousin | H. Lee M. Pike
  • I'm so glad spring is here at last that I've got to take it out in something besides book-learning.

  • They are good girls, both, and as busy as they are good; in spare moments they come up here, and take to book learning.

  • Mere scholarship—book-learning—is seldom effective in the solution of intricate national and economic problems.

  • You know what is before you, and these qualities are of far more importance, in your case, than any book learning.

    The Tiger of Mysore | G. A. Henty

British Dictionary definitions for book-learning


  1. knowledge gained from books rather than from direct personal experience

  2. formal education

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