How to Speak Book Nerd

Is it really a surprise that the bookish community has its own language? No, not really. After all, we read a lot, so why wouldn’t we have our own bookish terms to go along with our social media (and sometimes in-person) community?

A lot of the terms are acronyms, which are usually easy to figure out, but sometimes you just have no clue what they mean when you’re new here. And terms like “bookstagram” can sometimes go over your non-bookish friends’ heads because they probably think it’s a knock-off of Instagram… no the bookish community of Instagram.

So whether you’re new to the bookish community or you’re not a bookish person, but have bookish friends or family, here’s a little guide to help with some of our most used terms in the bookish language.

How to Speak Book Nerd


Bookstagram – pretty simple, it’s the bookish community of Instagram. It is not a separate app, though we probably like to pretend it is.

Book Hangover – when the most recent book you finished was so good, you can’t pick up another book for days or weeks.

Book Polygamist: having a relationship with more than one book; reading more than one book at a time.

Canon – in line with the story. This usually pertains to fanfiction when for instance, a writer says they use canon pairings, meaning they use the pairings originally in the story

Instalove – when characters in the book fall in love right away.

Readgret – immediate regret after finishing a book that you hated; also regretting not reading a book sooner rather than later.

Shelfie – a picture of your bookshelf or yourself in front of your bookshelf

Tropes – plot devices commonly used in books (friends-to-lovers romance, love triabn

Wheelhouse – similar to musicians that have a wheelhouse of go-to songs, but this is your go-to genres that you like to read.


ARC – Advanced Reader Copy. Usually given to bloggers/book reviewers before release date for free in exchange for an honest review.

DNF – Did Not Finish. Those rare times when you can’t stand a book so you stop reading it.

MC – Main Character. Pretty simple… the main character(s) of a story.

OTP – One True Pairing. In cases where there can be multiple pairings in a story (Katniss/Peeta or Katniss/Gale) but your top one is your OTP (or the canon)

RTC – Review To Come. I see and use this on Goodreads for when I first rate a book with stars, but don’t write the review right away.

TBR – To Be Read. Bookworms often say that they’ll die crushed under their TBR pile. It’s likely… mine is actually taller than I am (yes, I measured)

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Those are some of the more basic/commonly used terms and acronyms that are used. I think my most used are book hangover, TBR, and bookstagram in conversations.

What are some bookish terms/acronyms that you’d add to this list?

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