[ kop-ee-book ]

  1. a book containing models, usually of penmanship, for learners to imitate.

  2. a book for or containing copies, as of documents.

  1. commonplace; stereotyped: a copybook sort of phrase.

Origin of copybook

First recorded in 1550–60; copy + book

Words Nearby copybook Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use copybook in a sentence

  • Powell is someone who truly "blotted his copybook," as the Brits used to say.

    Powell's Lost Cause | W. Patrick Lang | October 20, 2008 | THE DAILY BEAST
  • Thee reading print like the young minister and writing letters like a copybook!

  • Sargent who alone had lingered came forward slowly, showing an open copybook.

    Ulysses | James Joyce
  • Rag and Tatters, and copybook wisdom, well-thumbed and learnt, and then retailed as the original article.

    Heriot's Choice | Rosa Nouchette Carey
  • This was another copybook much used by builders and provincial architects.

  • Audouin took the book in his hand—Sam Churchill's ten-cent copybook—and turned over the well-filled pages with a critical eye.

British Dictionary definitions for copybook


/ (ˈkɒpɪˌbʊk) /

  1. a book of specimens, esp of penmanship, for imitation

  2. mainly US a book for or containing documents

  1. blot one's copybook informal to spoil one's reputation by making a mistake, offending against social customs, etc

  2. (modifier) trite or unoriginal: copybook sentiments

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