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The English suffix -graphy means either "writing" or a "field of study", and is an anglicization of the French -graphie inherited from the Latin -graphia, which is a transliterated direct borrowing from Greek.


The English suffix is derived from Greek γραφία, the -ία abstract of the verb γράφειν "to write", via Latin graphia. It often functions literally as a reference to writing (e.g. calligraphy, cartography, biography). However, it also has evolved to denote a field of study, particularly studies that involve some degree of collecting, cataloging and/or surveying (e.g. geography, demography, oceanography).

Of special note, -ography and -igraphy are not formal suffixes bearing separate connotations. The -o- (the thematic vowel) and -i- are distinct Greek suffixes.

The ultimate origin of γράφειν (aorist γράψαι; Doric also γρόφω) "incise, write" (compare γλύφειν "carve", whence glyph) is from a PIE root , cognate to OE ceorfan "incise, cut", MHG kerben and OCS žrěbii "lot" (originally probably a stick with carved markings). It has many derivations within Greek, such as γραφή "incision, inscription", adjective γραφικός (graphic), γράμματα "letters" (grammar), γράφημα (grapheme), γραμμός "the act of writing", γραφεύς (γροφεύς) and γραπτήρ "scribe".

List of -graphies

Some non-study -graphies are the following:

Some study-related -graphies are the following:

  • Cartography, the study and making of maps
  • Demography, the study of the characteristics of human populations, such as size, growth, density, distribution, and vital statistics
  • Encephalography, the recording of voltages from the brain
  • Geography, the study of spatial relationships on the Earth's surface
  • Hagiography, the study of saints
  • Historiography, the study of the study of history
  • Oceanography, the exploration and scientific study of the ocean and its phenomena
  • Orography, the science and study of mountains
  • Reprography
  • Selenography, the study and mapping of the physical features of the Moon
  • Uranography, the study and mapping of stars and space objects

See also

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