noun bi·og·ra·phy \ bī-ˈä-grə-fē also bē- \
|Updated on: 4 Aug 2018

Definition of biography

plural biographies
1 : a usually written history of a person's life
  • a new biography of Abraham Lincoln
2 : biographical writings as a whole
  • the genre of biography
3 : an account of the life of something (such as an animal, a coin, or a building)
  • the biography of the commonwealth

Examples of biography in a Sentence

  1. a new biography of Abraham Lincoln

  2. an unauthorized biography of the actor gave him some serious headaches

Recent Examples of biography from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'biography.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

So You've Been Asked to Submit a biography

In a library, the word biography refers both to a kind of book and to a section where books of that kind are found. Each biography tells the story of a real person's life. A biography may be about someone who lived long ago, recently, or even someone who is still living, though in the last case it must necessarily be incomplete. The term autobiography refers to a biography written by the person it's about. Autobiographies are of course also necessarily incomplete.

Sometimes biographies are significantly shorter than a book—something anyone who's been asked to submit a biography for, say, a conference or a community newsletter will be glad to know. Often the word in these contexts is shortened to bio, a term that can be both a synonym of biography and a term for what is actually a biographical sketch: a brief description of a person's life. These kinds of biographies—bios—vary, but many times they are only a few sentences long. Looking at bios that have been used in the same context can be a useful guide in determining what to put in your own.

Origin and Etymology of biography

Late Greek biographia, from Greek bi- + -graphia -graphy

BIOGRAPHY Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of biography for English Language Learners

  • : the story of a real person's life written by someone other than that person

BIOGRAPHY Defined for Kids


noun bi·og·ra·phy \ bī-ˈä-grə-fē \

Definition of biography for Students

plural biographies
: a usually written account of a real person's life

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