English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm curious if "the book" in question is the bible?

Does anyone know where this term first entered the lexicon?

share|improve this question

closed as general reference by jwpat7, Matt E. Эллен, simchona, kiamlaluno, Daniel Jan 10 '12 at 1:25

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Not, I think, the Bible, but the law book. The OED’s earliest citation is this from 1932:

The prosecuting attorney . . . determined to try to get the trial judge to ‘throw the book’ at him

share|improve this answer

According to EtymOnline the saying dates back to 1932 and refers to a "law book" during sentencing.

To throw the book at (someone) is 1932, from notion of judge sentencing a criminal from a law book full of possible punishments.

share|improve this answer
This etymology is misleadingly worded, even though it is what etymonline says; see my answer to this question. – Peter Shor Jan 2 '14 at 22:02

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.