Definition of vade mecum in US English:

vade mecum


  • A handbook or guide that is kept constantly at hand for consultation.

    • ‘Every generation of young Christians needs a vade mecum to guide them through their times.’
    • ‘This is a very impressive publication that should become a vade mecum to all those interested in Scottish history.’
    • ‘It was the type of vade mecum that I wish someone had given me my junior year of high school.’
    • ‘Legal Lynching is a convenient vade mecum on the death penalty, descriptive as well as critical.’
    • ‘No actor should step on a set without having digested this vital vade mecum.’
    handbook, companion, manual, guide, guidebook, reference book, instruction book, abc, primer
    View synonyms


Early 17th century: modern Latin, literally ‘go with me’.