Can the word hagiography be used (sarcastically) for a speech you are giving praising yourself?

As in: "He continued his hagiography."

If not, what words would be suitable for a sarcastic reference to someone else praising themselves effusively?

  • 1
    Any word can be used sarcastically. If "biography" fits into the context, then you can use "hagiography" there sarcastically.👍
    – user361733
    Sep 18, 2019 at 19:52
  • What if autobiography fits into the context?
    – Dr Xorile
    Sep 18, 2019 at 19:59
  • Egotistical, though it doesnt follow the '-graphy' suffix Sep 18, 2019 at 20:05
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    Autohagiography is definitely grandiloquent, but a nice choice in the right context.
    – Juhasz
    Sep 18, 2019 at 20:28
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    Nothing wrong with ‘hagiography’. ‘Personal hagiography’ would narrow it down a bit further. The other candidate would be ‘encomium’, which means a speech in absolute praise of someone.
    – Tuffy
    Sep 18, 2019 at 23:21

1 Answer 1


Hagiography definitely carries a sarcastic tone when referring to someone doing their own. By its original definition, it's a writing about the lives of the saints. Hagio- is derived from the Greek for saintly and -graphy for writing.

Canonization for sainthood typically takes place after one's death. And, it's done by others as a celebration of the goodness/sanctity of that person. (It's also the origin of the term The Devil's Advocate)

Many religions have their own process, but it's rare that someone would present their own hagiography. It can be argued that presenting your own would invalidate your sainthood as it's commiting the sin of pride.

So given the irony, I'm going to say, yes, it's sarcastic.

But, to drive the point home (and bowing to social pressure), I'd change your example sentence to:

He continued his autohagiography.

  • 1
    Love it! Thanks. I also liked the autohagiography that was commented in the original post. I remember Christopher Hitchens commenting that the position of Devil's Advocate had been abolished so he took it on pro-bono. Very amusing.
    – Dr Xorile
    Sep 19, 2019 at 0:08
  • "his own hagiography" does not mean that of one's own life, though.
    – Kris
    Sep 19, 2019 at 11:48
  • @Kris In context, I believe it does.
    – David M
    Sep 19, 2019 at 15:34
  • @Kris See edit.
    – David M
    Sep 19, 2019 at 15:55
  • Lord it's Hard to be Humble (Mac Davis)
    – BoldBen
    Sep 20, 2019 at 6:26

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