‘A slim tome’? Not possible
A tome is a book. But not every book is a tome.
Several weeks ago I gently corrected a reporter who wrote the phrase “a slim tome.”
The other day a different reporter tried it, using “tome” as a synonym for a children’s picture book.
No and no.
A tome is a large, heavy, scholarly book.
The word, my dictionary tells me, comes from French, via Latin, from a Greek word meaning “to cut,” as to cut a roll of papyrus into sections.
In today’s English, the dictionary says, the word is “chiefly humorous.” That’s being generous. It’s not funny; it’s breezy.
Even as attempted humor, “tome” can’t be applied to just any printed matter with a spine and a couple of covers.
Here’s quoting Bryan Garner in “Garner’s Modern American Usage”: “tome refers not to any book, but only to one that is imposingly or forbiddingly large.”
Garner’s reference book, which I got for Christmas, has 942 pages and weighs 4.4 pounds. I find it tremendously helpful and not “imposingly or forbiddingly large.”
Still, it’s big. It’s a deep, scholarly blue. If you dropped it on your foot, it would hurt. I wouldn’t call it a tome, but if somebody else did and I were copy editing, I’d let it go.