What Does Ex Libris Mean?

glitter and glueI was getting ready to share my copy of Glitter and Glue with my friend Andrea. (She loves creative non-fiction. Check out her site.) Since I’m very fond of Glitter and Glue, I wanted to stick a bookplate in it to mark it as part of the Julia Tomiak library. As I pasted the “Ex Libris” sticker in the paperback, I wondered what “ex libris” means. A Word Nerd ought to know.

To learn more interesting words, join in the Wondrous Words Wednesday meme, hosted by Kathy at Bermuda Onion.


Ex libris \eks-lē-brǝs\ noun. Literal translation from Latin: “from the books.” According to Webster’s, ex libris is a bookplate.

I should have known; ex = “out of”

Do you use bookplates? Here are some links to some cool looking bookplates on Amazon. I need to order more!

wondrous memeDon’t forget to visit Kathy’s site to learn more interesting words.

Word Nerd Workout

Share another Latin phrase that we’ve absorbed into English, like “pro bono”. (Which literally means “for the public good”)

Thanks for getting nerdy with me today!


Julia Tomiak

I believe in the power of words to improve our lives, and I help people find interesting words to read. Find me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and Google+. Member of SCBWI and Wordsmithstudio.org.


  1. It’s sad on my part that I don’t know these nice latin words. Unfortunately, it wasn’t part of my education even though the words are part of life. I too should have known ex libris, but didn’t.

  2. When I was teaching I had a form that students could use to design a book plate if they bought me a book or a book for the school library in my name. I don’t buy personal books, and if I did they’d be too personally valuable to lend out. My friends are not trustworthy with books.

    1. Excellent examples, Jess! Are you familiar with the movie Dead Poets Society? That film is all about carpe diem (“seize the day” for those of you who don’t know).

Comments are closed.