Word : vade mecum
noun: A book for ready reference, such as a manual or guidebook.
From Latin vade mecum (go with me), from vadere (to go) + me (me) + cum (with). Earliest documented use: 1629.
An iPad may serve as the modern vade mecum, but in earlier times there was no Wi-Fi with easy access to reference material. A moneylender may have had to carry a book of interest tables, a doctor a book of treatments, and so on. A vade mecum was often folded like an accordion or a map and suspended from the belt or girdle.
“The U.S. Senate, over which Dallas presided, ordered twelve thousand copies of Hickey’s pro-slavery vade mecum.”
Jill Lepore; The Commandments; The New Yorker; Jan 17, 2011.
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