When you first enter into the world of rare books, you might think you’ve encountered a new language in some ways. Rare booksellers, collectors, and archivists use many words and phrases that can be difficult to parse. In addition, there are simply a lot of those words and phrases to learn. Some refer to the condition of the book, others refer to the way the book was made or to its style and aesthetic, and yet others still reference information about the book’s publication or ownership. And in many cases, there are multiple terms in use that refer to the same thing! We couldn’t possibly provide you with every word or phrase you might see used in a description of a rare book, but we can certainly get you started. We’ve separated some of those words and phrases into distinct categories to help you get acquainted with the language of the rare book trade.