from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A person's own signature or handwriting.
  • noun A manuscript in the author's handwriting.
  • transitive verb To write one's name or signature on or in; sign.
  • transitive verb To write in one's own handwriting.
  • adjective Written in the writer's own handwriting.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Written by one's self; in one's own handwriting: as, an autograph letter.
  • noun A person's own handwriting; something written by a person's own hand; an original manuscript or signature.
  • noun An autographic press (which see, under press).
  • To write with one's own hand.
  • To write one's autograph on or in
  • To copy or produce in autograph, or by an autographic process. See autographic.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective In one's own handwriting
  • noun That which is written with one's own hand; an original manuscript; a person's own signature or handwriting.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A person’s own handwriting, especially the signature of a famous or admired person.
  • noun A manuscript in the author’s handwriting.
  • adjective Written in the author’s own handwriting.
  • verb transitive To sign, or write one’s name or signature on a book etc
  • verb transitive To write something in one's own handwriting

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a person's own signature
  • verb mark with one's signature
  • noun something written by one's own hand


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Late Latin autographum, from neuter of Latin autographus, written with one's own hand, from Greek autographos : auto-, auto- + graphein, to write; see –graph.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

auto- + -graph. From Latin autographum, in turn from Ancient Greek αὐτόγραφον (autographon, "a writing in one’s own hand").


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word autograph.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • "An original writing of a biblical document. The original manuscript written. The autographs would be the actual, original written document from which copies are made."

    December 19, 2006

  • My understanding is that no autographs are known to exist today, though as apologists would point out, many reliable copies have been preserved over the centuries. Unfortunately, it's exceedingly difficult to verify "reliability," let alone to recognize an autograph if we found one.

    December 19, 2006

  • Depends what you mean by difficult. Textual Criticism, used for religious purposes or not, gives us a reasonable perspective on the matter.

    December 19, 2006

  • True, this works for correcting transcription errors and deciphering illegible characters. But we're still forced to trust the motives of the people who made the transcriptions, that more thorough alterations were not intentionally inserted.

    Not that we have any reason to mistrust those folks, most of whom were God-fearing monks. But common sense says we should still consider that possibility for any text, and more heavily so as it is passed through additional hands over the years. Even the most honest person is not without an agenda, and perfect objectivity remains a precious treasure.

    December 19, 2006