The noun book is a general term for any work of fiction or nonfiction. But when the work in question is something as ponderous and time-consuming as War and Peace or Infinite Jest, the one-size-fits-all term book might feel insufficient. Tome is the synonym you’re looking for. A tome is an especially heavy, large, or learned book. Tome comes by way of Middle French from Latin tomus, meaning “a cut, slide, or bit” or “a piece of length of papyrus.” The Latin term is a borrowing of Greek tómos “a slice.” Tome entered English referring to a volume of a larger work, but nowadays tome is often used in a slightly humorous manner to emphasize the seriousness and importance of a work, especially in contrast to the ease (and possibly enjoyment) offered by more portable page-turners.
There’s never a dull moment when it comes to the English language—not even when reviewing the adjective dull. This descriptor is used many different ways; in the example we just gave, dull means boring or uneventful. It can also mean tedious or uninteresting (a dull sermon), listless, not bright (a dull day) not sharp (as in a dull knife). The synonym lackluster has two meanings: lacking brilliance or radiance (lackluster eyes) and lacking liveliness, vitality, spirit, or enthusiasm (a lackluster performance). The earliest instance of lackluster comes courtesy of William Shakespeare in the comedy As You Like It: “And, looking on it with lackluster eye …” In modern usage, lackluster is often used to talk about things that are unimpressive or underwhelming.
The verb see primarily refers to perceiving with the eyes. But it is a very general term with a wide range of uses: for example, when you see who’s at the door, you’re ascertaining or finding out who’s there. When you see the point of an argument, you’re understanding it or perceiving it mentally (not visually). Behold is used to talk about observing something, or giving it your full attention in order to see it completely—often with a degree of awe or appreciation. In this regard, behold is similar to the verb gaze: when you gaze upon something you’re looking at it steadily and intently, as with great curiosity, interest, pleasure, or wonder. Behold has a literary ring to it, and it is commonly used in religious texts. But look! see! Behold often appears as an interjection, especially in lo and behold, meaning “look! see!” a term of surprise frequently used in Biblical expressions.