By the book

Spotlight - - FEEDBACK WORDPLAY - by Clau­dine We­ber-hof

Strictly ac­cord­ing to the rules.



“If you are go­ing to build a new house, then do it by the book: start by ap­ply­ing for the right build­ing per­mits.” To do some­thing by the book means to do it as closely to an es­tab­lished set of rules as pos­si­ble.

Here, the “book” refers to the law. An­other id­iom with the word “book” is seen in this sam­ple sen­tence: “He robbed a gas sta­tion again, so now the judge is throw­ing the book at him, and he’ll be in jail for at least a year.”

If some­one “throws the book” at you, it means that the full force of the rules (the law) is used to make sure that jus­tice is served.

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