Word of the Day : December 15, 2012


noun hag-ee-AH-gruh-fee


1 : biography of saints or venerated persons

2 : idealizing or idolizing biography

Did You Know?

Like "biography" and "autograph," the word "hagiography" has to do with the written word. The combining form "-graphy" comes from Greek "graphein," meaning "to write." "Hagio-" comes from a Greek word that means "saintly" or "holy." This origin is seen in "Hagiographa," the Greek designation of the Ketuvim, the third division of the Hebrew Bible. Our English word "hagiography," though it can refer to biography of actual saints, is these days more often applied to biography that treats ordinary human subjects as if they were saints.


The book effectively portrays the leader's strengths without resorting to hagiography.

"'Lincoln' gratifyingly dodges the kind of safe, starchy hagiography that some Spielberg skeptics feared. Rather, the filmmaker … proves yet again that he is the best filmmaker currently engaging in the form of assiduous research and creative interpretation known as historical drama." - From a review by Ann Hornaday in The Washington Post, November 9, 2012

Word Family Quiz

What relative of "hagiography" can refer to the way in which the words of a language are spelled? The answer is ...


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