Take a leaf out of someone’s book

What is the meaning and origin of this phrase? Take a leaf out of someone’s book.

By Ram, India - 27 Jan 2008

When you take a leaf out of someone’s book, what you are doing is copying or imitating the individual. You are using him as a model and are following his example hoping that you will gain something by this.

• I took a leaf out of Surendran’s book and started submitting my assignments on time.

The word leaf here refers to a page from a book. Therefore, when you take a leaf from someone’s book, you are copying what the individual has written. The original meaning of this idiom was therefore to Plagiarise. Now a days, this expression has lost its negative connotation and is used only in a positive sense: to imitate someone.

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