Definition of commonplace book in English:

commonplace book


  • A book into which notable extracts from other works are copied for personal use.

    • ‘We learn that a youthful George Washington, in a fit of self-improvement, began keeping a commonplace book.’
    • ‘It's a journal, a commonplace book, a collection of poetry and in some ways a conduct book.’
    • ‘People wrote down particular phrases or quotations in commonplace books.’
    • ‘This project is producing a database guide to about 400 manuscript miscellanies and commonplace books by British women from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.’
    • ‘As presented, while these are called diaries, they are often more in the nature of a commonplace book.’
    • ‘I'm not sure how many people these days keep a commonplace book - a notebook in which to collect interesting and useful quotations for later reference.’
    • ‘One young woman named Mary Flower copied into her commonplace book a poem on women's power called, ironically, ‘The Withered Rose.’’
    • ‘But commonplace books indicate more than simply a person's reading material - they demonstrate practices of compilation.’
    • ‘Plays for the public theatres (with Shakespeare's predominant) were widely quoted in poetic miscellanies and commonplace books starting in the 1590s, for instance, in company with the brightest literary lights of the day.’
    • ‘Lack of early versions of Herbert's poetry in extant commonplace books has often been taken by critics as evidence that Herbert did not circulate his poetry significantly prior to print publication.’
    • ‘He or she was a committed dweller of libraries, a writer in margins, and a keeper of commonplace books, often with personalized cross-referencing systems.’


commonplace book