bring someone to book


bring someone to book


  • make somebody accountable for their conduct.
  • to punish someone.
  • legally punish or summon someone to account for their actions.

The idiom “bring someone to book” is used when referring to holding someone accountable for something they had done. Its term usually means justice for a wrongdoing. Whether it be a crime, or something done to someone else it means to make them admit the wrongdoing and apologize publicly or to suffer a consequence for their actions. The book in this instance is usually referring to a law or a rule that was written or otherwise known.

Example Sentences

  1. If Jessica continues with this behavior, I will have no choice but to bring her to book.
  2. Ethan stole that boy’s bike. Bringing him to book is the only option to make him understand his actions are wrong.
  3. I will bring that man to book for the crime he has committed.
  4. Bringing Joshua to book for bullying that child on the playground is the only solution to help him understand his actions are unacceptable.
  5. It was frustrating for the victims’ kin as the police and court failed to bring anyone to book for the crime.


The phrase “bringing someone to book” is more widely used in British English-speaking countries such as England and Australia. Later, it became a phrase that has been used in America as well.

Where the idiom originated is much harder to determine. The term “book” has changed meanings over the years. So trying to find the person responsible for the phrase or even the exact time the phrase was coined is a little difficult and there are no records to help determine the approximate timeframe.

Some accounts will say as early as the 800s, during the time of King Alfred. The term book usually means a collection of accounts, usually legal documents such as land deeds or even accounts of finances.

It was the early 1800s when you can see the phrase being used more widely. Usually in legal proceedings or situations involving some kind of punishment.

Share your opinions1 Opinion

Smugglers are seldom brought to book.

‒ Anonymous February 3, 2022

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