[bahy-og-ruh-fee, bee-]
See more synonyms for biography on
noun, plural bi·og·ra·phies.
  1. a written account of another person's life: the biography of Byron by Marchand.
  2. an account in biographical form of an organization, society, theater, animal, etc.
  3. such writings collectively.
  4. the writing of biography as an occupation or field of endeavor.

Origin of biography

From the Greek word biographía, dating back to 1675–85. See bio-, -graphy Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for biography

Contemporary Examples of biography

Historical Examples of biography

  • I propose to continue this biography, and include the whole in book form.

    Biography of a Slave

    Charles Thompson

  • Forkel's biography of Bach is the only authority for this story.


    Edward J. Dent

  • He has divided his biography into three parts, entitled—‘Faith, Hope, Charity.’

    The Secret Agent

    Joseph Conrad

  • He once began a review of George Eliot's biography, but left it unfinished.

  • What says our author about "biography, autobiography, and history?"

    A Dish Of Orts

    George MacDonald

British Dictionary definitions for biography


noun plural -phies
  1. an account of a person's life by another
  2. such accounts collectively
Derived Formsbiographer, nounbiographical (ˌbaɪəˈɡræfɪkəl) or archaic biographic, adjectivebiographically, adverb
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

Word Origin and History for biography

1680s, probably from Latin biographia, from Late Greek biographia "description of life," from Greek bio- "life" (see bio-) + graphia "record, account" (see -graphy). Biographia was not in classical Greek (bios alone was the word for it), though it is attested in later Greek from c.500.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

biography in Culture


The story of someone's life. The Life of Samuel Johnson, by James Boswell, and Abraham Lincoln, by Carl Sandburg, are two noted biographies. The story of the writer's own life is an autobiography.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.