Let's Compare Autobiography and Memoir


An autobiography (from the Greek, αὐτός-autos self + βίος-bios life + γράφειν-graphein to write) is an account of the life of a person, written by that person.

autobiography n : a biography of yourself

39 Moby Thesaurus words for "autobiography": Clio, Muse of history, adventures, annals, biographical sketch, biography, case history, chronicle, chronicles, chronology, confessions, curriculum vitae, diary, experiences, fortunes, hagiography, hagiology, historiography, history, journal, legend, letters, life, life and letters, life story, martyrology, memoir, memoirs, memorabilia, memorial, memorials, necrology, obituary, photobiography, profile, record, resume, story, theory of history

Autobiography \Au`to*bi*og"ra*phy\, n.; pl. {Autobiographies}. [Auto- + biography.] A biography written by the subject of it; memoirs of one's life written by one's self. [1913 Webster]


A memoir (from French: mémoire: memoria, meaning memory or reminiscence), is a literary genre, forming a subclass of autobiography – although the terms 'memoir' and 'autobiography' are almost interchangeable.

memoir n 1: an account of the author's personal experiences 2: an essay on a scientific or scholarly topic

129 Moby Thesaurus words for "memoir": Clio, Muse of history, account, accounts, adventures, adversaria, aide-memoire, anecdote, annals, annotation, article, autobiography, biographical sketch, biography, case history, causerie, chronicle, chronicles, chronology, commitment to memory, confessions, curriculum vitae, descant, diary, discourse, discussion, disquisition, dissertation, docket, entry, essay, etude, examination, excursus, exercise of memory, experiences, exposition, feature, first approach, flashback, footnote, fortunes, hagiography, hagiology, hindsight, historiography, history, homily, introductory study, item, jotting, journal, learning by heart, legend, letters, life, life and letters, life story, looking back, lucubration, marginal note, marginalia, martyrology, memo, memoirs, memorabilia, memorandum, memorial, memorials, memories, memorization, memorizing, memory, minutes, monograph, morceau, narrative, necrology, notation, note, obituary, outline, pandect, paper, paragraph, photobiography, piece, preliminary study, profile, prolegomenon, recall, recalling, recollecting, recollection, reconsideration, record, records, reflection, register, registry, remembering, remembrance, reminder, reminiscence, report, reportage, research paper, resume, retrospect, retrospection, review, rote, rote memory, scholia, scholium, screed, sketch, special article, story, study, survey, term paper, theme, theory of history, thesis, tract, tractate, treatise, treatment

Memoir \Mem"oir\, or pl. Memoirs \Mem"oirs\, n. [F. m['e]moire, m., memorandum, fr. m['e]moire, f., memory, L. memoria. See {Memory}.] 1. A memorial account; a history composed from personal experience and memory; an account of transactions or events (usually written in familiar style) as they are remembered by the writer. See {History}, 2. [1913 Webster] 2. A memorial of any individual; a biography; often, a biography written without special regard to method and completeness. [1913 Webster] 3. An account of something deemed noteworthy; an essay; a record of investigations of any subject; the journals and proceedings of a society. [1913 Webster]

Data Sources:

  • autobiography: WordNet (r) 2.0
  • autobiography: Moby Thesaurus II by Grady Ward, 1.0
  • autobiography: The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.44
  • memoir: WordNet (r) 2.0
  • memoir: Moby Thesaurus II by Grady Ward, 1.0
  • memoir: The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.44

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