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From French bibliotaphe, from biblio- + Ancient Greek τάφος (táphos, burial, tomb).


bibliotaph (plural bibliotaphs)

  1. (rare) One who "buries" books, typically by hoarding them unread, hiding them, locking them away, or otherwise shutting them up and keeping them from use
    • 1866, The Bookseller, 31 Aug 1866:
      He was, by his knowledge of the intellectual value of his store, a little bit of a bibliotaph: we have reason to think he had this feeling to an extent he knew nothing of himself.
    • 1888, William Blades, Enemies of Books:
      The late Sir Thomas Phillipps, of Middle Hill, was a remarkable instance of a bibliotaph. He bought bibliographical treasures simply to bury them.
    • 1898, Leon H. Vincent, The Bibliotaph And Other People:
      The bibliotaph buries books; not literally, but sometimes with as much effect as if he had put his books underground. There are several varieties of him. The dog-in-the-manger bibliotaph is the worst; he uses his books but little himself, and allows others to use them not at all. On the other hand, a man may be a bibliotaph simply from inability to get at his books. He may be homeless, a bachelor, a denizen of boarding-houses, a wanderer upon the face of the earth.
    • 1950, Holbrook Jackson, The Anatomy of Bibliomania, page 534:
      the vast collection of State-papers [...] were found only when they accidentally fell out of a false ceiling of his chambers in Lincoln's Inn; but doubtless he was a purposeful bibliotaph, otherwise those documents might not have survived those revolutionary times.