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Ex libris

Classic Language

Meaning of Ex libris
The English meaning and translation of the Latin phrase 'Ex libris' is as follows:

 "From the books"

Definition of Ex libris
The meaning and definition of the expression 'Ex libris' relates to an inscription or label in a book indicating its ownership which is commonly referred to as a bookplate. It literal meaning of "from the books" is often used to indicate ownership of a book, as in "from the books of..." or "from the library of..." An example of 'Ex libris' is shown in the picture.

Ex libris


History of the "Ex libris"
The first example in the history of 'ex libris', meaning the mark of ownership, dates back to the ancient Egyptians when ceramic plaques reflected ownership of papyrus belonging to Pharaoh Amenhotep III
and Queen Tiye. Medieval Monks who painstakingly produced copies of bibles and codices by hand inscribed the name of the owner. The advent of the printing press in the 1400's saw the frontispiece engravings of books to indicate where they come from. The artist or engraver produced the 'ex libris' or bookplate bearing a heraldic motif that related to the owner of the book such as the owner's name, motto, coat-of-arms, badge or family crest. The people who could afford a personal library would also have a family crest. As time passed the 'ex libris' became a decorative label pasted into a book, often on the inside front cover.

Example of an Ex libris


Latin meaning of Ex libris
This famous Latin phrase Ex libris derives from  "ex" meaning 'origin' or 'from' and "libris" which is the plural of "liber" and means "books" and the term is now understood to mean "from the library of..."

Ex libris & Supralibros
In addition to the bookplate, also known as an 'ex libris'
there were also the 'supralibros' or book stamps. These consisted of a gilded heraldic motive such as a coat of arms or monogramme that were stamped on the cover of a book and indicating the ownership of a book. Due to their historical importance and artistic designs 'ex libris' or bookplates have become objects of collection. The value of a book is effected by the inclusion of an 'ex libris' or bookplate


Ex libris

Definition of famous Latin expression and phrase
Ex libris means "From the books"
Simple translation of this famous Latin phrase
Learn the meaning of Ex libris and bookplate
Examples, Meaning and Definition of Ex libris
Definition of "Ex libris"
The history of the Ex libris
Spell and Define: Ex libris

Classic Motto and Proverb


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