by the book

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by the book

In accordance with rules or regulations. If you're looking for someone to approve an exception, don't go to Ted—he does everything by the book.
See also: book, by
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

*by the book

 and *by the numbers
following the rules exactly. (Alludes to a (numbered) book of rules. *Typically: go ~; do something ~; play ~; run something~.) The judge of the contest ran things strictly by the rules and disqualified us on a small technicality. Everyone insisted that we go by the numbers and not accept the proposal.
See also: book, by
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

by the book

Strictly according to the rules, as in Our trip leader is going by the book, allowing us to wander off only for short periods. Shakespeare already used the term figuratively in Romeo and Juliet (1:5): "You kiss by the book." Also see by the numbers.
See also: book, by
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

by the book

strictly according to the rules.
See also: book, by
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

by the ˈbook

strictly following the rules or the official way of doing something: He insists on doing everything by the book.
See also: book, by
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

by the book

Very correctly, in strict accordance with the rules. Book in this expression is a set of established rules or, originally, of moral or religious precepts. Edgar Allan Poe was writing of the card game whist when he said, “To have a retentive memory, and to proceed ‘by the book,’ are points commonly regarded as the sum total of good playing” (“The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” 1841). A somewhat newer synonym is to play by the rules.
See also: book, by
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
Learning Resources, a provider of educational toys, games and learning aids, announced on Monday that it has launched a new game called 'Play by the Book'.
Play by the Book has two levels of difficulty and is ideal for 2 to 6 players aged 8+.
M2 EQUITYBITES-January 27, 2015-Learning Resources introduces new book-based board game 'Play by the Book'
Ane the one time we would have sanctioned some rigging, they decide to play by the book.
But whatever the future holds for the court, he says he won't let his own preferences color his reasoning: "I play by the book."