Definition of codex in US English:



  • 1An ancient manuscript text in book form.

    • ‘Linguistic or numerical listing was employed and the storage media were clay tablets, papyrus codices, leather scrolls or hieroglyphics.’
    • ‘The original codex permitted digestible chunks of text to be presented on physical pages, but the electronic text is in essence pageless.’
    • ‘For a more informed assessment of Italian culture in the early Middle Ages we can now turn to the collections of ancient Latin codices in the libraries of the period.’
    • ‘For centuries before the codex became the normal form for the book, texts had been recorded on papyrus sheets glued together to form long rolls.’
    • ‘One example is this twelfth-century illumination from another Greek codex of the book of Job.’
    • ‘The Sierra codex was a document written by the master historian and master of deception, Crassus Syra, a runaway from home disguised as a man.’
    • ‘The later development of the codex (roughly corresponding to our present book format) made for greater ease of reference and portability.’
    • ‘The only known surviving copy of the gospel was found in a codex, or ancient book, that dates back to the third or fourth century A.D.’
    • ‘Whether codex or manuscript, they were here to love real books and real words.’
    • ‘The novelist incorrectly refers to the Nag Hammadi documents as scrolls; they are actually codices.’
    • ‘He suggests that they indicate that the stone vessel may have originally contained a Maya codex, or ancient book.’
    • ‘She holds a scroll, he a codex, on both of which the writing is clearly legible.’
    • ‘Like a medieval codex, the book seems laced with charms and spells, to seduce the innocent and repel the hostile.’
    • ‘Psychomachia, an allegorical poem, is illustrated throughout, as is the case in many other codices presenting this text.’
    • ‘Three codices survived the vandalism of Bishop Landa and these three burned around the edges.’
    • ‘The modern book descends from the codex, not the scroll, and it inherits and develops the advantages of the form.’
    • ‘These studies and sketches were collected into various codices and manuscripts, which are now collected by museums and individuals.’
    • ‘She peppers her recipes with citations from the ancient Aztec codices.’
    • ‘In AD 180 he may have known examples of the four gospels bound together in one codex.’
    • ‘Through the Vatican codex the text sets up an expectation that is then fulfilled in the images.’
    1. 1.1 An official list of medicines, chemicals, etc.
      • ‘In the case of the Vatican codex, its visual and verbal articulations function as a political tool that masks fracture as much as it creates cohesion.’
      • ‘This codex and similar specifications helped in identifying environmentally friendly as well as harmful chemicals.’
      • ‘A significant group of Frankish legal codices reflects the activity of a small group of scribes presided over by the cancellarius and associated with the royal court.’
      • ‘‘Let your memory be your codex,’ writes Augustine.’
      • ‘The chief judicial authorities must be clergy with advanced training in the codices of Islamic law.’
      • ‘Neither the philosophical content of the 12th century book nor the religious content of the law codex stimulated the creation of such a decoration program.’
      • ‘Nahuatl terms written in alphabetical characters accompany the multitude of indigenous persons, places, and things listed and depicted in the codex.’
      • ‘The Vatican codex, however, is of an altogether different genre.’


Late 16th century (denoting a collection of statutes): from Latin, literally ‘block of wood’, later denoting a block split into leaves or tablets for writing on, hence a book.