A handbook is a guide or list of instructions on one particular subject. A new car comes with a handbook explaining how its controls work and giving tips for problems that arise. Sometimes new parents wish their newborn infant came with a handbook.

A handbook is a type of reference book, offering information about a topic or a machine. Your bird handbook might include pictures of birds in your region, and the handbook that came with your blender will tell you how to use it and also might include several smoothie recipes. In Old English, it was handboc, though in Middle English this was replaced by manual, thought at the time to be a much prettier word.

Definitions of handbook
  1. noun
    a concise reference book providing specific information about a subject or location
    synonyms: enchiridion, vade mecum
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    a small handbook
    a book regarded as authoritative in its field
    guide, guidebook
    something that offers basic information or instruction
    ready reckoner, reckoner
    a handbook of tables used to facilitate computation
    consuetudinal, consuetudinary
    a manual describing the customs of a particular group (especially the ceremonial practices of a monastic order)
    a manual of black magic (for invoking spirits and demons)
    book of instructions, instruction manual, instructions, operating instructions
    a manual usually accompanying a technical device and explaining how to install or operate it
    reference manual
    a manual containing information organized in a summary manner
    sex manual
    a manual containing instruction in sexual techniques; intended to enhance the reader's sexual life
    field guide
    a guidebook describing natural objects of some type that might be encountered in the field
    a guidebook describing the roads of a country; contains maps and (sometimes) a gazetteer
    itinerary, travel guidebook
    a guidebook for travelers
    type of:
    book of facts, reference, reference book, reference work
    a book to which you can refer for authoritative facts
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