General English

Information & Library Science

  • adjective used to describe a book or other written document that has a permanent, usually hard, cover
  • abbreviationbd


Origin & History of “bound”

English has no fewer than four separate words bound. The only one which goes back to Old English is the adjective, meaning ‘obliged’ or ‘destined’, which comes from the past participle of bind (in Old English this was bunden, which survives partially in ‘bounden duty’). next oldest is the adjective meaning ‘going or intending to go’ (13th c.). Originally meaning ‘ready’, this was borrowed from Old Norse búinn, the past participle of búa ‘prepare’, which derived from the same ultimate source (the Germanic base *- ‘dwell, cultivate’) as be, boor, booth, bower, build, burly, bye-law, and byre. The final -d of bound, which appeared in the 16th century, is probably due to association with bound ‘obliged’. Virtually contemporary is the noun bound ‘border, limit’ (13th c.). It originally meant ‘landmark’, and came via Anglo-Norman bounde from early Old French bodne (source also of Old French borne, from which English got bourn, as in Hamlet’s ‘undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveller returns’). Its ultimate source was medieval Latin bodina, perhaps from a prehistoric Gaulish *bodina. Boundary (17th c.) seems to have been formed from the dialectal bounder, an agent noun derived from the verb bound ‘form the edge or limit of’. Finally, bound ‘leap’ (16th c.) comes from Old French bondir. It originally meant ‘rebound’ in English (rebound (14th c.) began as an Old French derivative of bondir), but this physical sense was a metaphorical transference from an earlier sense related to sound. Old French bondir ‘resound’ came from vulgar Latin *bombitīre ‘hum’, which itself was a derivative of Latin bombus ‘booming sound’ (source of English bomb).