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From Ancient Greek ἅγιος (hágios, holy) + -γραφία (-graphía, writing).


  • (US) IPA(key): /ˌhæɡiˈɒɡɹəfi/, /ˌheɪd͡ʒiˈɒɡɹəfi/
    • (file)
  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˌhæɡiˈɒɡɹəfi/
  • Rhymes: -ɒɡɹəfi


hagiography (countable and uncountable, plural hagiographies)

  1. (uncountable) The study of saints and the documentation of their lives.
    • 2004, Rosalind C. Love, Goscelin of Saint-Bertin: The Hagiography of the Female Saints of Ely, →ISBN:
      The second half of the eleventh century saw a notable surge of interest in hagiography throughout England, which meant that many of the Anglo-Saxon saints of earlier eras were furnished, often for the first time, with a Latin Vita.
    • 2005, Thomas Head, Hagiography and the Cult of Saints: The Diocese of Orléans, 800-1200, →ISBN:
      Jacques LeGoff remarks, 'Hagiography tells us much about the mental infrastructure [of the middle ages]: the interpenetration between the tangible world and the supernatural world, the common nature of the corporeal and psychic, are the conditions which make miracles and related phenomena possible.
    • 2014, Jamie Kreiner, The Social Life of Hagiography in the Merovingian Kingdom, →ISBN, page 189:
      Charters, wills, and monastic rules offer evidence for this transformation, but it is hagiography and its double-scoped discourse that illuminates it best, and we will start with a vita that pursued the question of peroperty and prestige more comprehensively than the rest, the Vita Sadalbergae.
  2. (countable) A biography of a saint.
  3. (countable, by extension) A biography which expresses reverence and respect for its subject.
    • 2021 October 26, Peter Baker, “The Case Against Winston Churchill”, in The New York Times[1], ISSN 0362-4331:
      Churchill revisionism, of course, is almost as much of a cottage industry as Churchill hagiography.
  4. (derogatory) A biography which is uncritically supportive of its subject, often including embellishments or propaganda.


See also[edit]