From Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search



From Middle English bocstaff, bocstaf (letter; symbol; written character), from Old English bōcstæf (letter, written symbol), from Proto-Germanic *bōkastabaz, equivalent to book +‎ stave (inflected form of staff). Compare modern Norwegian bokstav, Swedish bokstav, Danish bogstav, modern German Buchstabe, modern Dutch boekstaaf.



bookstave (plural bookstaves)

  1. (rare or archaic) Alternative form of bookstaff (letter, alphabetic symbol)
    • 2018, Christopher Ocker, Luther, Conflict, and Christendom:
      [] “[Doctor Martin] had undercut the pope, cardinals, and the great bishops, ... he had proved they could not offer so much as a bookstave from holy scripture to prove that their great power and lordship were based on God's command.
    • 2019, James Meek, To Calais, In Ordinary Time:
      'I can't read bookstaves, but Holiday learned himself,' said Softly. [] 'He learned me a bare five bookstaves, but it was enough to read a whole word.'
    • 2020, D. Vance Smith, Arts of Dying, page 43:
      The poetic dialogue between Solomon and Saturn not only calls the rune for R the “best of bookstaves” (bocstafa brego), but it also spells out the Pater Noster, acrostically with runes, []