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

  • noun An account of a person's life written, composed, or produced by another.
  • noun Biographies considered as a group, especially when regarded as a genre.
  • noun The writing, composition, or production of biographies.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The history of the life of a particular person.
  • noun Biographical writing in general, or as a department of literature.
  • noun In natural history, the life-history of an animal or a plant.

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

  • noun The written history of a person's life.
  • noun Biographical writings in general.

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

  • noun A person's life story, especially one published.
  • verb transitive To write a biography of.

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

  • noun an account of the series of events making up a person's life


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

[Late Greek biographiā : Greek bio-, bio- + Greek -graphiā, -graphy.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From modern Latin biographia, formed from Ancient Greek βίος ("life") + γράφω ("write").



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  • Me and the Major could become close friends cause we

    Get on the same train and he wants to talk to me

    Me and the Major could become close friends cause we

    Get on the same train and he wants to talk

    But there is too much history, too much biography between us.

    (Me and the Major, by Belle and Sebastian)

    April 27, 2009

  • "In 1939, Carl Van Doren's Benjamin Franklin won a Pulitzer Prize. That same year, Virginia Woolf published an essay called "The Art of Biography":

    'The question now inevitably asks itself, whether the lives of great men only should be recorded. Is not anyone who has lived a life, and left a record of that life, worthy of a biography--the failures as well as the successes, the humble as well as the illustrious? And what is greatness? What is smallness?'

    Also in 1939: Jane's house was demolished. In 1856, the 150th anniversary of Benjamin Franklin's birth, the house had even been decorated for the celebration. But so little was known about Jane that the claim that Franklin's sister had ever lived there was eventually deemed dubious. In 1939, Jane's brick house was torn down to make room for a memorial to Paul Revere. The house wasn't in the way of the Revere memorial; it simply blocked a line of sight. Jane's house, that is, was demolished to improve the public view of a statue to Paul Revere, inspired by a poem written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Jared Sparks's roommate.

    Van Doren found this crushing. While writing about Franklin, he had become fascinated by Jane. His affection for her grew into something of an obsession.

    He determined to collect her papers and write her biography."

    --Jill Lepore, Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin (New York: Alfred A. Knopf 2013), 264-265

    April 28, 2017