Definition of autograph in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈɔːtəɡrɑːf/


1A signature, especially that of a celebrity written as a memento for an admirer: fans surged around the car asking for autographs
More example sentences
  • I still have their autographs, written in English and Chinese, in my autograph album.
  • Apart from autographs, the gallery also sells small pieces of signed film footage, framed and mounted, the cheapest items in the shop.
  • His job, and his obsession, is collecting and trading in the autographs of celebrities.
informal moniker
North American informal John Hancock
2A manuscript or musical score in an author’s or musician’s own handwriting: the earliest version of the work is possibly an autograph
More example sentences
  • The Cainan difference is not an error in the original autographs of Scripture, but one of the extremely few copyist's errors in the manuscripts available today.
2.1 [mass noun] A person’s handwriting: a songbook in Purcell’s autograph
More example sentences
  • Fernandes left in autograph over 250 festal chanzonetas and villancicos.


[with object]
Write one’s signature on (something); sign: the whole team autographed a shirt for him (as adjective autographed) an autographed photo
More example sentences
  • You know, several years ago, I was in New York City autographing the first book that I had written.
  • After the service, Alexander retreats to an office in the back of the building, where he spends the next hour autographing pictures and answering mail from fans.
  • I'll be there autographing copies of my new Tiger book.
sign, write one's signature on, sign one's name on


1Written in the author’s own handwriting: an autograph manuscript
More example sentences
  • For the first time, we have detailed studies of all of Purcell's autograph manuscripts, together with surveys of the important secondary sources.
  • Historically, sketches have been autograph manuscripts, but today a sketch of an electronic work might be in the form of a tape, or notation might be realized in a computer notation program, and so on.
  • Both the melody and the four-part harmonisation are printed as facsimile reproductions of the composer's autograph manuscript.
1.1(Of a painting or sculpture) done by the artist, not by a copier: five of the drawings are accepted as autograph
More example sentences
  • The computer has succeeded in dividing a set of landscape drawings by the artist between autograph works and others along the same lines as art historians.
  • Prized for their status as original autograph works of Greek art, these images stood as witnesses to the civilizing power of Rome.
  • It entered the gallery under a false provenance and for a short time in the nineteenth century was regarded as autograph.



Pronunciation: /ɔːtəˈɡrafɪk/
Example sentences
  • ‘The autographic handwriting is very important to me,’ he says.
  • The sketch itself is a work of art, and one that is autographic, in spite of its being used as a guide to the production of the final work.
  • Of course, these abstract markings have been enlarged and transferred from Rowland's own designs, which makes them iconic renderings of autographic originals.


Early 17th century: from French autographe or late Latin autographum, from Greek autographon, neuter of autographos 'written with one's own hand', from autos 'self' + graphos 'written'.

  • photograph from mid 19th century:

    The original of this was French photographie ‘photography’, first recorded in 1834. The word was apparently introduced to English (along with photographic and photograph) by Sir John Herschel in a paper presented to the Royal Society on 14 March 1839. Both the French and English words were formed from Greek photo- ‘light’ (found in numerous other words) and graphē ‘writing, drawing’, as in autograph (mid 17th century), something written in one's own hand, from Greek auto ‘by oneself’ and seismograph (mid 19th century) combined with Greek seismos ‘earthquake’. As early as 1860 Queen Victoria was using the short form photo, writing in a letter about someone ‘waiting to know…about the photo’.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: auto|graph

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