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[kop-ee-boo k] /ˈkɒp iˌbʊk/
a book containing models, usually of penmanship, for learners to imitate.
a book for or containing copies, as of documents.
commonplace; stereotyped:
a copybook sort of phrase.
Origin of copybook
1550-60; copy + book Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for copybook
  • The copybook, pen, and ink were reserved for more permanent work in the last and previous century.
  • Greenspan blotted his copybook disastrously with his support of deregulated finance.
  • Listed below are the copybook names of the transactions being modified.
  • He would carry a copybook along to note his findings in bird watching and nature observation.
  • Later, when he was able to obtain paper, he practiced writing in a homemade copybook with a feather pen and blackberry ink.
British Dictionary definitions for copybook


a book of specimens, esp of penmanship, for imitation
(mainly US) a book for or containing documents
(informal) blot one's copybook, to spoil one's reputation by making a mistake, offending against social customs, etc
(modifier) trite or unoriginal: copybook sentiments
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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copybook in Technology

programming, library
(Or "copy member", "copy module") A common piece of source code designed to be copied into many source programs, used mainly in IBM DOS mainframe programming.
In mainframe DOS (DOS/VS, DOS/VSE, etc.), the copybook was stored as a "book" in a source library. A library was comprised of "books", prefixed with a letter designating the language, e.g., for Assembler, for Cobol, etc., because DOS didn't support multiple libraries, private libraries, or anything. This term is commonly used by COBOL programmers but is supported by most mainframe languages. The IBM OS series did not use the term "copybook", instead it referred to such files as "libraries" implemented as "partitioned data sets" or PDS.
Copybooks are functionally equivalent to C and C++ include files.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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