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See also: Red Book



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red + book as a fixed title for various official books from the 15th century, especially the Red Book of the Exchequer, a manuscript volume of the 13th century (OED).


red book (plural red books)

  1. A book, often bound with a red cover, or online equivalent, that is an official, or canonical, collection of data, regulations, or writings.
    • All the chauntry preestis whos composicions are enrolled in the rede boke. T. Smith & L. T. Smith Eng. Gilds (1479, ed. 1870, p. 419, cited after OED)
    • Some years ago I persuaded the L.C.C. to issue a red-book of comparative municipal statistics. Times 25 October 1920, 6/2, cited after OED
  2. A book supposedly belonging to the devil and containing the signatures of those in league with him.
    • 1655, Thomas More, An Antidote Against Atheism, pages 205-206.
      Her confession to Mr. Langley of Sarum, that she lived with D. Lamb and learnt the art of raising Spirits from him, which she also confessed to Edmond Bower to whom also she acknowledged her skill of curing diseases by Charms and Spels, that she could discover stollen goods, and shew any one the thief in a Glass; and being asked by him for the Red Book half wrote over with blood, being a Catalogue of those that had sealed to the Devil; she denyed not the knowlege of the book, but said that it was with one in Hampshire.
    • 1840, "The Quakeress", Southern Literary Messenger, vol. 6, page 830.
      Some of them related their intimacy with the Devil, declared they had signed his little red book, been present at his sacraments, and rode with him on sticks through the air to attend his diabolical meetings.
    • 2003, James Branch Cabell, The Devil's Own Dear Son, page 181, →ISBN
      "Upon West Tenth Street," said the devil, quietly.
      "I find it flattering, sir, that you should have preserved a so accurate account of my past doings in that morocco-bound red book of yours," said Diego, somewhat startled, but still speaking equably.
    • 2004, Marilynne K. Roach, The Salem Witch Trials, page 209, →ISBN.
      Richard believed this offer and so made a red mark with a stick in the man's little red book.

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