Definitions

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

  • n. An account of a person's life written, composed, or produced by another: a film biography of Adlai Stevenson; an oral biography.
  • n. Biographies considered as a group, especially when regarded as a genre.
  • n. The writing, composition, or production of biographies: a career entirely devoted to biography.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A person's life story, especially one published.
  • v. To write a biography of.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

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

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

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

Etymologies

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").

Examples

  • And as this historic race between two women candidates for the state's top office nears its conclusion, that gap in her biography is attracting increasing attention.

    GOP's Mary Fallin Cites Motherhood As Key Difference Over Dem Jari Askins In Oklahoma Governor's Race

  • I find it difficult not to acknowledge all the contributions the people in my lab have made, but this biography is already too long.

    Martin Chalfie - Autobiography

  • Clue #5: The author of this biography is a man who shares a name with a “lordly” English poet.

    Literary Contest Final Clue (#5)! Guess the Title of the Best Book I Read in 2006 « One-Minute Book Reviews

  • Throughout, Cook's adherence to the Corps 'traditional leadership principles and knowledge of the Code of Conduct are highlighted, and his biography is a unique case study of exemplary leadership under extremely difficult conditions.

    Cook, Donald G.

  • Humble to an almost saintly degree he created the theramin "biography" that is known to us today and remained the instrument's unsung creator, content to allow the false story to flourish, so as not to estrange his "familiar music" public.

    Happy Birthday, Ray Charles!

  • Toward the end of the biography is an extended episode, straight out of Evelyn Waugh at his cruelest, in which the elderly Yeats, having traveled to Majorca with Shri Purohit Swami (a flatulent Hindu mystic with whom he was "translating" the Upanishads) and Lady Gwyneth Foden (a deranged and vindictive fraud whose real name was Gertrude Woolcott), is stricken with nephritis and has to be rescued by his stalwart wife from his suddenly hostile companions, and also from the help offered by his crazed paramour, Margot Ruddock, an aspiring actress.

    Second Puberty

  • Agency Curtis Brown said the biography is set for worldwide publication on Tutu's 80th birthday in October next year.

    Frankfurt book fair finds publishers in buoyant mood

  • Explicitly, the book asks us to weigh ideas of fate: "Any biography is chance, and, beginning at conception, chance – the tyranny of contingency – is everything."

    Nemesis by Philip Roth

  • Tom Rosenbauer's biography is too long to list here, but rest assured as being head of the Orvis marketing department, and with the company for more than 29 years he's seen and done it all in fly fishing.

    Orvis's Tom Rosenbauer on Small Stream Fishing: Listen to the Locals!

  • But alongside the creative interpretations that take place in biography, there is also a pact with accuracy and a responsibility towards likeness.

    Virginia Woolf’s Nose « Tales from the Reading Room

Comments

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  • "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

  • 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