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Bibliothèque Mazarine, Paris


Middle English librarie, from Anglo-Norman librarie, from Old French librairie, from Latin librarium ‎(bookcase, chest for books), from librarius ‎(concerning books), from liber ‎(the inner bark of trees, paper, parchment, book), probably derived from a Proto-Indo-European base *leub(h) ‎(to strip, to peel). Displaced native Middle English bochus, bochous ‎(library, bookhouse) (from Old English bōchūs ‎(library, bookhouse)). Romance cognates often mean “bookshop” instead French librairie, Italian libreria, and Portuguese livraria. This is a recent innovation (16th century in French), displacing earlier sense.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈlaɪbɹəɹi/
  • (UK, nonstandard) IPA(key): /ˈlaɪbəɹi/, /ˈlaɪbɹi/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈlaɪˌbɹɛɹi/, /ˈlaɪbɹəɹi/
  • (US, nonstandard) IPA(key): /ˈlaɪˌbɛɹi/
  • (file)


library ‎(plural libraries)

  1. An institution which holds books and/or other forms of stored information for use by the public or qualified people. It is usual, but not a defining feature of a library, for it to be housed in rooms of a building, to lend items of its collection to members either with or without payment, and to provide various other services for its community of users.
  2. A collection of books or other forms of stored information.
  3. An equivalent collection of analogous information in a non-printed form, e.g. record library
  4. (computer science) A collection of software subprograms that provides functionality, to be incorporated into or used by a computer program.
  5. A collection of DNA material from a single organism or relative to a single disease
  6. (card games) The deck or draw pile

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