photograph (n.)

"a picture obtained by any process of photography," 1839, coined by English polymath and photography pioneer Sir John Herschel (son of the astronomer) from photo- "light" + -graph "something written."

It won out over other suggestions, such as photogene and heliograph. Photogram (1859), based on telegram, did not catch on. Neo-Anglo-Saxonists prefer sunprint; and sun-picture (1846) was an early Englishing of the word. The verb is first found (along with photography and photographic) in a paper Herschel read before the Royal Society on March 14, 1839. Related: Photographed; photographing.

updated on May 27, 2020