Definition of biography
- a new biography of Abraham Lincoln
- the genre of biography
- the biography of the commonwealth
a new biography of Abraham Lincoln
an unauthorized biography of the actor gave him some serious headaches
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.
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.
First Known Use: 1665See Words from the same year
: the story of a real person's life written by someone other than that person
See words that rhyme with biography Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for biography Spanish Central: Translation of biography Nglish: Translation of biography for Spanish speakers Britannica English: Translation of biography for Arabic speakers Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about biography
What made you want to look up biography? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).
Merriam-Webster's New Words Quiz—Fall 2017 Edition!
Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.TAKE THE QUIZ
Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.TAKE THE QUIZ