One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A book of writing tablets; a notebook. Now historical.
2A book containing arithmetical or other tables; a ready reckoner.
3A book intended to be kept on a table for casual reading, especially one which is large and lavishly illustrated.
Late 16th century; earliest use found in George Whetstone (d. 1587), writer. From table + book.
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