Definition of reference book in US English:

reference book

noun

  • A book intended to be consulted for information on specific matters rather than read from beginning to end.

    ‘a beat-up old grade-school dictionary was the only reference book we ever had in our house’
    • ‘This hardback monster of a reference book is a Daily Telegraph production and is styled ‘The Bible of Motorsport’.’
    • ‘It is of considerable value as a reference book - to be consulted for specific information on the general content, hierarchy and location of sources.’
    • ‘The principal use for this book is as a reference book and a guide to sources, unless one is offering a course on legal history, the history of international law and practice, peace keeping, or some such kindred subject.’
    • ‘They all make their first appearance in the 2003 edition of the world-famous reference book Who's Who, which is published this week.’
    • ‘If you are unable to find a biography, check an encyclopedia or reference book at your library.’
    • ‘The book is not a biography but an easy-to-read reference book that dwells on the principles of the Mahatma.’
    • ‘This book is an excellent reference book for anyone wanting a brief overview of wars or battles in American history.’
    • ‘As a reference book and bench book, it should be on the bookshelf of everyone who has an interest in this area.’
    • ‘The book is an outstanding reference book that is of great value worldwide, and should be on the shelf of any serious researcher or extension agent working with sorghum or the millets.’
    • ‘The 32-volume book is the oldest reference book in English to be published continuously.’
    • ‘The book is excellent as both a history book and a reference book on artillery.’
    • ‘Is it intended as a reference book or a good read?’
    • ‘But a sympathetic relative consulted a natural healing reference book that advocated eating 15 cherries a day to arrest gout.’
    • ‘Now in its third edition, this handy reference book is a reliable source of useful information about more than seventy economic indicators, mostly those issued by government agencies but also by private organizations as well.’
    • ‘However, this volume should be available as a reference book in libraries that serve professional pharmacy students and pharmacists and in our laboratories.’
    • ‘I was asked to author a Peckham biography for a forthcoming reference book, and managed to write something a bit more nuanced.’
    • ‘For this information you need a reference book such as ‘Time Changes in the World’ by Doris Chase Doane.’
    • ‘It is less a book to be read through from start to finish than a guide book to be read in conjunction with the Confessions or a reference book to be consulted on specific topics.’
    • ‘Some of it is compelling, some seems contrived, and some left me feeling that I would rather just read the gospels and have a reference book with the relevant scripture passages and background information listed.’
    • ‘There is something for everyone, whether a person is looking for some entertaining fiction, a reference book, a volume on a popular hobby, or a scholarly work on the proper use of language.’
    volume, tome, work, printed work, publication, title, opus, treatise
    View synonyms

Pronunciation

reference book

/ˈref(ə)rəns ˌbo͝ok//ˈrɛf(ə)rəns ˌbʊk/