He is in my books, or in my good books. The former is the
older form; both mean to be in favour. The word book was at one time
used more widely, a single sheet, or even a list being called a book.
To be in my books is to be on my list of friends.
“I was so much in his books, that at his decease he left me his
“If you want to keep in her good books, don't call her `the old
lady.' ” —Dickens.
He is in my black (or bad) books. In disfavour. (See
On the books.
On the list of a club, on the list of candidates, on the list of
voters, etc. In the universities we say, “on the boards.”
Out of my books.
Not in favour; no longer in my list of friends.
The battle of the books.
The Boyle controversy (q.v.). (See Battle.) To
take one's name off the books. To withdraw from a club. In the
passive voice it means to be excluded, or no longer admissible to enjoy
the benefits of the institution. The university phrases are “to keep my
name on the boards”; “to take my name off the boards,” etc.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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