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by the book

Meaning: If you do something by the book, you do it strictly according to the rules or the official procedures.

For example:

  • The match officials in the golf tournament acted strictly by the book when they disqualified a player for marking down the wrong score on his score card.

  • The embassy officials process visa applications by the book these days, so it's harder to get one than it was when they weren't so strict.

Quick Quiz:

When they arrested the suspected killer, the police did everything by the book. They
  1. wrote down what they were doing
  2. followed procedure exactly
  3. read from a book while arresting him

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