One for the books

One for the books is an American idiom. We will examine the meaning of the common one for the books, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.

One for the books describes something that is historic, memorable, or remarkable. Something that is one for the books does not occur very often and has surpassed other, similar efforts or achievements. For instance, an election that attracts more voters than have ever voted before is an election that is one for the books. A man who is seven feet tall is one for the books. The expression one for the books came from the sports world; the original idiom, still sometimes seen, is one for the record books, though this version is usually meant fairly literally. The image is one of adding information in a book of statistical records. The term one for the books came into common use around 1930.

Examples

I’ve slipped in the bathtub and my most recent experience was one for the books. (Canton Daily Ledger)

Held in a new location with new youth-leadership programming and the exciting Nexus™ innovation stage, the 2021 event will be one for the books. (Wisconsin State Farmer)

The 2020-21 Tallulah Falls boys basketball team’s season was one for the record books. (Northeast Georgian)