chapter and verse

C

chapter and verse

Meaning

  • accurate information about something.
  • thorough and exact details.
  • full and specific authoritative information.
  • every detail of a subject without missing anything.
  • verbatim; word-for-word details.

Example Sentences

  1. Conversations at the university can give you chapter and verse.
  2. He came home and gave me chapter and verse about the country he had visited.
  3. Although the main suspect refused to answer questions, the police got a chapter and verse from his friend.
  4. I was asked if I could give a chapter-and-verse account of what had happened that night at the party.

Origin

The idiom “chapter and verse” is an old English phrase that refers to a writer or speaker backing up their statement or opinion with facts and details. Moreover, the speaker or writer can cite an accepted expert or reference authority.

The idiom dates back to the 1600s. This was a period in Britain when the Bible was considered the only source of information on every topic. The Bible was structured such that it had chapters and verses. This helped readers find passages of scriptures easily and cite them. This enabled speakers or writers to back up their statements by quoting a specific scripture and citing the book of the Bible, where one can find the information. It was first used in the 1620s and in writings from the 17th century to ask for Bible books that back up a statement. Later in the 19th century, it passed into figurative usage, where most people understood it as requesting an authoritative source to back up information.

In modern times, this idiom is often used to describe someone’s thorough knowledge of a particular topic and where the source that backs up the information is published.

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