Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Etymology Today from M-W: hagiography \hag-ee-AH-gruh-fee\

1 : biography of saints or venerated persons
2 : idealizing or idolizing biography

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.

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