close the books

close the books


  • set the ending to a concerned issue
  • to cease trading or doing business
  • to make no new entries
  • to put an end to something
  • usually used in expressing sadness of something being over

Example Sentences

  1. The accountant closed the books and that was the end of your 40 year old favourite sweet shop.
  2. The lawyer closed the books of this case. There is no one remaining to be investigated.
  3. I do not like the idea of closing the books without meeting with the concerned head of the department and finding out why the payment cannot be made.
  4. My father closed the books when his father passed away and never went back to doing the same business.
  5. You cannot close the books as you please, the law of the land means something and you will get caught eventually.
  6. It’s time to close the books on the library theft of Oxford University in year 1956.


Although it is clear that the origin comes from the business world where writing the accounting entries in a physical book has abundant meaning, it is unclear about where this phrase was first used. It is popularly used in the UK and Indian parlance. In India especially, the books of accounts for many businesses are still used as they have been a century ago. Closing the books, could mean it literally.

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Idiom of the Day

put your foot in it

Meaning: say something (by mistake) that upsets, humiliates, or embarrasses someone

Example: Carla put her foot right in it when she congratulated her neighbour on being pregnant. It turns out she's not expecting but had just put on weight. Read on


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