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

Does anyone know where this term first entered the lexicon?


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


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.

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

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