• synonyms


[pas-boo k, pahs-]
  1. a bankbook.
  2. (formerly) a small book or ledger for each customer in which a merchant keeps a record of goods sold on credit and the amounts owed and paid.
  3. South African. reference book(def 2).
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Origin of passbook

First recorded in 1820–30; pass + book
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for passbook

Historical Examples of passbook

  • The bank had sent her a passbook with that amount to her credit.

    The Miracle Man

    Frank L. Packard

  • He was working out in his mind how handsomely this first payment would show up on the welcome side of his passbook.

    The Yellow Claw

    Sax Rohmer

  • But he had found in his passbook only this morning that she had already cashed his last cheque for fifty pounds.

    From Out the Vasty Deep

    Mrs. Belloc Lowndes

  • The official gave some instruction to the general office, and a passbook was produced.

  • He liked a pleasant object for a walk, so at least once a week he made a point of fetching his passbook from the bank.

    War-time Silhouettes

    Stephen Hudson

British Dictionary definitions for passbook


  1. a book for keeping a record of withdrawals from and payments into a building society
  2. another name for bankbook
  3. a customer's book in which is recorded by a trader a list of credit sales to that customer
  4. (formerly in South Africa) an official document serving to identify the bearer, his race, his residence, and his employment
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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 passbook


also pass-book, 1828, from pass (v.) + book (n.); apparently the notion is of the document "passing" between bank and customer.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper