cook the books

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From the mid-17th century. A metaphor based on cooking, whereby ingredients are changed, altered and improved. Thus financial statements can also be so modified to the benefit of the "cook".


cook the books (third-person singular simple present cooks the books, present participle cooking the books, simple past and past participle cooked the books)

  1. (idiomatic) To manipulate accounting information, especially illegally.
    Enron Corp., once a major U.S. corporation, is now famous for cooking the books.
  2. (Can we verify(+) this sense?) (idiomatic, by extension) To falsify an account of an event.


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