Definition of autograph in US English:



  • 1A signature, especially that of a celebrity written as a memento for an admirer.

    ‘fans surged around the car asking for autographs’
    • ‘Needless to say, lots of photos were taken and Tony was kept extremely busy signing autographs and chatting to his many young admirers.’
    • ‘According to experts, an autograph of a famous person on a share certificate can greatly enhance its value.’
    • ‘His job, and his obsession, is collecting and trading in the autographs of celebrities.’
    • ‘When there is news of a show, fans will find out where the band is staying and try to book rooms in the hotel in the hope they can at least get a glimpse of the celebrity, talk to them or get their autograph.’
    • ‘It wasn't everyday you met someone who didn't want your autograph when they realized you were a celebrity.’
    • ‘A number of youngsters approached the car and asked for autographs, but were turned away by a security guard.’
    • ‘But back in Bolton at the weekend, the 17 year-old wonderkid spent far longer than 97 minutes meeting fans and signing autographs at a celebration in his honour.’
    • ‘Now the heat is on to get as many celebrity autographs as possible.’
    • ‘All the while, Adam was politely giving autographs and smiling graciously to the fans and admirers.’
    • ‘The signature of a murderer and autographs from the Royal Family will go on sale in Swindon next week.’
    • ‘Most of those who write to the stars, ask for an autograph, a photograph, or an autographed photograph, so it is quite easy to fulfil the requests.’
    • ‘He signs autographs for those who are kind enough to write.’
    • ‘The staff were delighted to meet our newest celebrities, and they all got autographs, and said the group were very nice.’
    • ‘Apart from autographs, the gallery also sells small pieces of signed film footage, framed and mounted, the cheapest items in the shop.’
    • ‘The four day exhibition, organised by the Autograph Collectors Club of India, has on display over 1,000 autographs from collectors across the country.’
    • ‘They made a real effort with everyone, posing for pictures and giving autographs.’
    • ‘And in almost all cases it was the very same - no one seemed to ask for an autograph for themselves, it was always for my son, my daughter, my father, even granny got a few autographs.’
    • ‘I still have their autographs, written in English and Chinese, in my autograph album.’
    • ‘They all wanted our autographs just because they saw us wearing the British kit.’
    • ‘A small boy approached him later and there was Richard, pen poised, ready to sign an autograph for this admirer.’
    • ‘The veteran campaigner drew greetings from passing cars, and signed autographs and shook hands with endless supporters.’
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  • 2A manuscript or musical score in an author's or musician's own handwriting.

    • ‘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.’
    1. 2.1 A person's handwriting.
      ‘a songbook in Purcell's autograph’
      • ‘Fernandes left in autograph over 250 festal chanzonetas and villancicos.’
      handwriting, writing, hand, pen, letters, longhand, penmanship, calligraphy, chirography
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[with object]
  • (of a celebrity) write one's signature on (something); sign.

    ‘the whole team autographed a shirt for him’
    • ‘The author, who seemed a wee bit surprised by their presence in the shop, autographed the copies.’
    • ‘It turns out that a lot of the musicians had autographed instruments.’
    • ‘He was never unfriendly, always autographing bits of paper and napkins.’
    • ‘He autographed a picture showing the two leaders sitting together and asked that it be disseminated across the country.’
    • ‘I used to see him in service stations at 2am in the morning autographing serviettes for staff.’
    • ‘He had a pile of baseballs in front of him and he was autographing them.’
    • ‘After the program was over, books were for sale and I was autographing them.’
    • ‘You know, several years ago, I was in New York City autographing the first book that I had written.’
    • ‘He autographed copies of the directory for excited fans.’
    • ‘He worked the room slowly and patiently, autographing the flags, the rosettes, even proffered napkins.’
    • ‘I should thank you for autographing my copy last year when my classmates bought it as a birthday gift.’
    • ‘Would you do me the honor of autographing my copy?’
    • ‘He demonstrated extraordinary patience as he posed for photographs and autographed all sorts of items.’
    • ‘Baseball cards and autographed photographs festooned the wall as in a teenager's bedroom.’
    • ‘Letters and documents autographed by the great and the good can create a lot of interest among specialist collectors.’
    • ‘The first 100 copies are autographed by the band, so get one while they're still in supply.’
    • ‘I'll be there autographing copies of my new Tiger book.’
    • ‘The window rolled down and a hand reached out and began autographing my forehead.’
    • ‘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.’
    sign, write one's signature on, sign one's name on
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  • 1Written in the author's own handwriting.

    ‘an autograph manuscript’
    • ‘For the first time, we have detailed studies of all of Purcell's autograph manuscripts, together with surveys of the important secondary sources.’
    • ‘Both the melody and the four-part harmonisation are printed as facsimile reproductions of the composer's autograph manuscript.’
    • ‘The original Italian version has recently come to light, discovered in an autograph manuscript held in the Vatican Library.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In his autograph scores the solo part is often only sketched in or partly notated, and it is clear that he improvised throughout a performance, not just in his cadenzas.’
    • ‘Some 800 autograph letters survive, perhaps a year's effort for the mature Stanford.’
    • ‘After the premiere, this autograph manuscript was used for the preparation of the first edition.’
    1. 1.1 (of a painting or sculpture) done by the artist, not by a copier.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The surviving drawings related to these prints are held to be autograph by contemporary Bruegel scholars.’
      • ‘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.’


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’.