There’s a Word for That: Bibliotaph

atkins bookshelf wordsDefinition: a person who hoards books

Etymology: from the Greek word biblion  (meaning “book”) and taphos (meaning “burial”); literally, a person who buries books

Although a bibliophile and a bibliotaph both acquire books, the bibliophile cherishes and reads his or her books, while the bibliotaph acquires such a vast quantity of books at such a fast rate that he or she may never even see, hold, or read them. Case in point: Sir Thomas Philipps (1792-1872), a British book collector who acquired 60,ooo vellum manuscripts and 40,000 books. In his book, The Enemies of Books (1888), William Blades noted, “[Philipps] was a remarkable instance of a bibliotaph. He bought bibliographical treasures simply to bury them. His mansion was crammed with books; he purchased whole libraries, and never even saw what he bought.” Of course, such a thing would bring a bibliophile to tears.

Read related posts: There’s a Word for That: Esprit de l’escalier
There’s a Word for That: Jouissance
There’s a Word for That: Petrichor
There’s a Word for That: Deipnosophist

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