There is a noun meaning 'book of fiction': 'novel'. But there doesn't seem to be a noun meaning 'book of poetry/poems'. Or is there?


Lexico gives the word


1 A published collection of poems or other pieces of writing.
an anthology of European poetry

It is usually used for poetry, for example:

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  • Unfortunately without qualification it doesn't specifically mean a poetry book (since you can have other types of anthology, such as short story anthologies). – KillingTime Feb 14 at 9:47

There isn't such a word. There is a noun phrase "slim volume" that has the chief meaning of "a small book of poems", but this is now a little derogatory:

1920 E. Wallace "The Daffodil Mysteries" - Thornton Lyne was a store-keeper, a Bachelor of Arts,..and the author of a slim volume.

1979 Church Times "Friends will..welcome a slim volume of his poems that has come out."

A novel is not a book - it is a particular type of story.

OED: Novel (n.) A long fictional prose narrative, usually filling one or more volumes and typically representing character and action with some degree of realism and complexity; a book containing such a narrative.

So "He published his novel" approximately means "He published his story." Thus, not all story books contain novels.

  • I thought you were right in saying "A novel is not a book - it is a particular type of story." But then your own quote of the OED definition of 'novel' includes "a book containing such a narrative." – listeneva Feb 15 at 2:09

The OED regards poetry-book as something that can be hyphenated, or even written as a single word.


n. 1772 T. Bridges Burlesque Transl. Homer (rev. ed.) Ded. p. ii Your book's a poetry book, is not it?

1847 W. M.> Thackeray Vanity Fair (1848) xii. 103 She wrote whole pages out of poetry-books without the least pity.

2000 San Diego Union-Trib. (Nexis) 18 Apr. (Computer Link Section) 18 Bruce Lansky's books are among America's best-selling children's poetrybooks.

However I do understand your sense that there should be a specific word - of course if one is speaking of psalms one has psalter.

  • But this Ngram says the two-word "poetry book" is much more productive than "poetry-book" or "poetrybook": books.google.com/ngrams/… – listeneva Feb 15 at 6:03
  • @listeneva I suppose what it is telling us is that the fashion for hyphenating composite nouns has varied and is now in decline. However, as recently as 2000 the San-Diego Union-Trib clearly saw fit to express it as a single word. But look what happens when you add "book of poetry" – WS2 Feb 15 at 9:09

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