From The Title Page to Colophon

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The word appendix is from Latin appendere , meaning "to be attached," and goes back to the 16th century. In English, it refers to things connected or joined to something larger or more important, like the back matter of a book added to the main text. The tube that is located at the bottom of a balloon to inflate it is also called an appendix.

Both plural forms of the word, appendixes and appendices , are standard in technical and nontechnical contexts.

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The anatomical appendix, the narrow tube at the beginning of the large intestine, is technically referred to as the " vermiform appendix " in Latin, vermis means "worm". The vermiform appendix is not essential and can be removed if it becomes inflamed. A book's appendix is also not essential to a book's main text, but it gives additional support to the writer's claims. In Middle English, chapter was often spelled chapitre. That spelling is taken directly from an Anglo-French word that is based on Late Latin capitulum —ultimately from caput , meaning "head," and itself meaning "division of a book," which is the common meaning of chapter in English.

The phrase " chapter and verse " in reference to providing exact information or details about something goes back to the early 17th century and, rather unsurprisingly, comes from the tradition of citing exact biblical passages by their chapter as well as their verse number.

Chapter was also used in Middle English for a meeting of clergy members, which was frequently opened with the reading of a chapter from the Scriptures. This sense of chapter eventually evolved into today's sense referring to the body of a local branch of an organization, as in "chapters of the American Red Cross" or "chapters of the fraternity. Epigraph refers to a short quotation from another source placed at the beginning of an article, chapter, book, etc. Its attribution is generally set by itself on the line below the quotation.

Alternatively if print space is a concern , it is run in on the last line of the quotation. When set on its own line, it is generally preceded by an em dash or, less frequently, it is enclosed in parentheses.

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Lawyers, I suppose, were children once. The word epigraph is derived from Greek epigraphein , meaning "to write on" or "to inscribe," and was written into the English lexicon in the 17th century, originally as a word for an inscription engraved on buildings, tombs, statues, or other objects, such as coins as in "In God We Trust," which is an epigraph on U. Skiver is an early 19th-century word that refers to a thin, soft leather made of sheepskin that is tanned in sumac and dyed.

In the past, it was used for hat linings, pocketbooks, and bookbindings. Its name is probably derived from Scandinavian skive , a verb meaning "to cut off as leather or rubber in thin layers or pieces. Readers might be familiar with skivvies as a word for "underwear," or maybe even skivvy , an early 20th-century term for a female domestic servant in British English. They are unrelated. An author's prefatory remarks that explain the object and scope of what follows are usually titled "Preface," which is appropriate since the word preface comes from Latin praefari , meaning "to say beforehand.

The preface often closes with acknowledgements of those who assisted in the writing, and it is usually signed and the date and place of writing sometimes follow the typeset signature. When a person other than the author writes an introductory essay, it is normally titled " Foreword " which denotes words said before something else and is presumably from a translation of German Vorwort ; the author's preface, if any, then follows it.

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Another type of prefatory matter is the " Introduction. In reference works, such as a dictionary, a section of explanatory notes concerning content and format might be included in the front matter. Vellum is from Middle English velym , borrowed from Anglo-French velim , which itself is related to an adjective meaning "of a calf" and a noun meaning "calf.

Vellum , in printing, refers to the skins of calf, kid, or lamb prepared as parchment for writing on or for binding books. The term is also used as a synonym of parchment. The production of parchment facilitated the success of the codex , an early type of manuscript consisting of a collection of pages stitched together along one side that replaced earlier rolls of papyrus and wax tablets.


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In modern usage, the terms vellum and parchment are sometimes applied to a type of cream-colored paper of high quality that is made chiefly from wood pulp and rags and having a special finish; they also refer to vegetable parchment , which we now call simply parchment paper and use in cooking. Additionally, they refer to translucent paper made for tracing purposes. Addendum refers to something that is added; specifically, it refers to a section of a book added to the main or original text that might include explanation, comment, or supplementary material.

It comes from a Latin word of the same meaning, and it is often used in its Latin plural form addenda as opposed to addendums when it is applied to a supplement of a book. In mathematics, the related addend , which is a shortening of addendum , refers to a number or quantity to be added to a preceding one or to a sum already accumulated. Index refers to a usually alphabetical list that includes all or nearly all items such as authors, subjects, or keywords that are considered pertinent and are discussed or mentioned in a book, catalog, etc.

An index gives with each item the location of its mention in the work, and it is located at the end of the work. The word, as well as this sense, goes back to the 16th century, and it is from the Latin verb indicare , meaning "to point out" or "to indicate," which explains why the forefinger is also called the " index finger " and, in economics, we have such terms as the " consumer price index " and " retail price index ," both of which indicate changes of prices over a given period of time. In the "book" sense of the word, the plural indexes is preferred, but the Latin plural form indices is also acceptable.

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free! List of illustrations, figures and maps List of tables List of abbreviations List of contributors Note to readers Epigraph This is a relevant quotation placed before the main text. Main text This is the main body of the work. It may include an introduction. The text maybe divided into parts, and then chapters within those parts. The chapters themselves may then be divided into sections and subsections, and then into paragraphs. Afterword Usually this is written by someone other than the author and is much the same as the epilogue.

End matter This consists of material that supplements the text and the index, if there is one. Appendix Provides additional information to supplement the main text. Glossary Explains specialist terms that are used in the main text. Endnotes Instead of placing footnotes at the bottom of pages within the text, or at the end of chapters, they can all be listed here.

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Colophon | Glossary | Daniel Crouch Rare Books

Bibliography Lists books and articles that the author has used in their research. Notes on contributors If a book is a collaboration biographical details of the authors will be included here. Picture credits This lists the copyright owners of pictures that have been used.


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  • Page numbers Page numbers are known as folios. The preliminary matter pages are usually numbered with lower-case Roman numerals but the numbers are not shown on each page, though every page has its number. This is to allow for alterations to be made to the preliminary matter, for example sections being left out or altered in length, without affecting the page numbering of the main text.

    The main text and end matter is numbered with Arabic numerals. The page number may appear at the bottom, top or at the side of a page. Textual Histories. Skip to content. Contributed by Stephen Reid. Share this: Twitter Facebook. Leave a Reply Cancel reply Enter your comment here Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:. Email required Address never made public. Name required. Blog at WordPress. Post to Cancel. By continuing to use this website, you agree to their use.