Definition of manuscript in English:



  • 1A book, document, or piece of music written by hand rather than typed or printed.

    ‘an illuminated manuscript’
    ‘early Gothic manuscripts’
    • ‘In Malaysia, most of the manuscripts discovered were written after the advent of Islam.’
    • ‘An entire manuscript of Urdu written in Roman is a precious treasure of the Lahore Museum.’
    • ‘Not all the manuscripts on show are spectacularly illuminated.’
    • ‘The completed manuscripts will be displayed month by month in a special cabinet in the north aisle of the Priory.’
    • ‘Priceless books and manuscripts will receive special protection as the restoration of a library gets underway.’
    • ‘Its Romany collection of rare books and manuscripts celebrates the culture and history of travellers.’
    • ‘At the same time, there are less than a dozen extant early medieval Welsh manuscripts, and only three are illuminated.’
    • ‘From about this time we have the earliest surviving manuscript written by Galileo.’
    • ‘Bits of the manuscript turned up in strange libraries, written in unlikely languages.’
    • ‘The author relies primarily on a variety of written sources, both manuscripts and printed.’
    • ‘The Burns Museum is a treasure-trove of manuscripts, books, paintings and artefacts.’
    • ‘The looters retuned the next day, stealing the library's most valuable manuscripts and books.’
    • ‘The books and manuscripts were written on vellum, a preparation of calf, goat and sheep skins.’
    • ‘The treasury has been converted into a bright little museum of censers, illuminated manuscripts and paintings.’
    • ‘His extensive collection of books and manuscripts later formed the basis of the British Museum library.’
    • ‘These manuscripts are written by people in the past to tell us what has happened.’
    • ‘One of the features of early modern manuscript and even printed language was its variable and unstable nature.’
    • ‘In antiquity Greek manuscripts were written in what we call capital letters, without any gaps between letters.’
    • ‘The illuminated manuscripts are so fragile the lighting is very low in the gallery.’
    • ‘The museum has a large collection of Islamic art objects, manuscripts and printed books.’
    document, text, script, paper, typescript
    codex, parchment, palimpsest, vellum, scroll
    autograph, holograph
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1An author's handwritten or typed text that has not yet been published.
      ‘several manuscripts in his own hand’
      [mass noun] ‘her autobiography remained in manuscript’
      • ‘Yes, but the anthropologist had sold his manuscript to some publisher who had no notice of any of this.’
      • ‘Works on political subjects tended towards the abstract, circulating only in manuscript.’
      • ‘The spy writer falsely claimed he wrote the manuscript for the Enigma book.’
      • ‘Informed consent for this purpose requires that the patient should be shown the manuscript to be published.’
      • ‘Those with ready works will be guided towards shopping their manuscripts to established publishers.’
      • ‘Which is why there are a lot more manuscripts available for publication than there are publishers willing to pay for them.’
      • ‘We are attracting more manuscripts and publishing more articles than ever before.’
      • ‘Of the three publishers she sent manuscripts to, only one asked for the rest of the novel.’
      • ‘He considered sending a legal letter asking for his manuscript back.’
      • ‘You could offer to let them see the manuscript before it's published, if necessary.’
      • ‘We thank the authors of the original manuscripts for allowing us to use them and the readers for taking part in our study.’
      • ‘One of these unsolicited manuscripts might be published every couple of years or so.’
      • ‘It was never his intention to publish the manuscripts, but a friend who was a teacher read them and sent them to a publisher.’
      • ‘They did so without seeing the manuscript, and with the book not due to be delivered for another two years.’
      • ‘Finally, at the end of August last year, I gave my manuscript to my publisher.’
      • ‘How then do publishers respond to proposals or manuscripts from authors of How To Write books?’
      • ‘He had been writing a book on Epstein, but the manuscript was never found.’
      • ‘Far from being unable to finish the book, he was on course to deliver the manuscript earlier than I expected.’
      • ‘All authors were responsible for revising the manuscript and for final approval of the paper.’
      • ‘If he did approach publishers with the manuscript, a lot of people could have tipped off the paper.’


Late 16th century: from medieval Latin manuscriptus, from manu by hand + scriptus written (past participle of scribere).