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a combining form denoting a process or form of drawing, writing, representing, recording, describing, etc., or an art or science concerned with such a process: biography; choreography; geography; orthography; photography.
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Origin of -graphy

<Greek -graphia.See -graph, -y3
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does -graphy mean?

The combining form -graphy is used like a suffix meaning “a process or form of drawing, writing, representing, recording, describing, etc.” or “an art or science concerned with such a process.” It is often used in scientific and technical terms.

The form -graphy comes from Greek -graphia, used to denote abstract nouns of action or function related to -graphos, meaning “drawn or written.” To learn more, read our entry on graph.

What are variants of -graphy?

While -graphy doesn’t have any variants, it is related to the forms -graph, as in radiograph, and -graphic, as in histographic. Want to know more? Read our Words That Use articles on -graphy and -graphic.

Examples of -graphy

An example of a word you may have encountered that features -graphy is topography, “the detailed mapping or charting of the features of a relatively small area, district, or locality.” Topography comes from Greek topographía, which features the equivalent of -graphy in that language.

The topo- part of the word means “place,” from Greek tópos. As we already know, the form -graphy means “a form of representing or recording.” Topography literally translates to “a form of representing or recording a place.”

What are some words that use the combining form -graphy?

What are some other forms that -graphy may be commonly confused with?

Break it down!

The combining form anthropo- means “human.” With this in mind, what does anthropography literally mean?

British Dictionary definitions for -graphy


n combining form
indicating a form or process of writing, representing, etccalligraphy; photography
indicating an art or descriptive sciencechoreography; oceanography

Word Origin for -graphy

via Latin from Greek -graphia, from graphein to write
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012