One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Originally: drawing on a large scale. Later: the artistic depiction of things considered greatly significant, such as legends of the gods or events of history.
Early 18th century; earliest use found in Nathan Bailey (d. 1742), lexicographer and schoolmaster. From classical Latin megalographia painting on a large scale or with large-scale figures (Vitruvius; in subsequent art criticism sometimes taken to refer to depictions of grand and elevated subjects) from ancient Greek μεγαλο- + -γραϕία. Compare French mégalographie.
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