com·​men·​tary | \ ˈkä-mən-ˌter-ē How to pronounce commentary (audio) , -ˌte-rē\
plural commentaries

Definition of commentary

1a : an explanatory treatise usually used in plural Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England
b : a record of events usually written by a participant usually used in plural Caesar's Commentaries on the Gallic War
2a : a systematic series of explanations or interpretations (as of a writing) a commentary on Dante's Divine Comedy
3a : something that serves for illustration or explanation The dark, airless apartments and sunless factories … are a sad commentary upon our civilization.— Harry Allen Overstreet
b : an expression of opinion The magazine article is a commentary on cyberbullying.

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Examples of commentary in a Sentence

The television show features political commentary by well-known journalists. The magazine includes humor and social commentary. The book is a commentary on her experiences abroad. I like listening to his social commentaries. He provided commentary during the game. The major television stations provided running commentaries on the election results.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The plaster saints in the press corps picked through Mr. Moore’s divorce papers to smear him, and waded through decades of his political commentary to find embarrassing comments and misjudgments. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Diversity of Mind at the Fed," 2 May 2019 The cumulative effect of all this unhelpful commentary was mighty. Claire Gillespie, SELF, "What Exactly Does It Mean to Have ‘High-Functioning’ Depression?," 19 Nov. 2018 So much of my career at ESPN – almost exclusively at some points – has been in commentary. Amy Lieu, Fox News, "Jemele Hill, ESPN parting ways: reports," 26 Aug. 2018 But Barr isn't interested in the commentary, shouting into the camera about Jarrett and Iran. Julyssa Lopez, Glamour, "Roseanne Barr Addresses Valerie Jarrett Tweet in Unhinged Video: 'I Thought the B*tch Was White'," 20 July 2018 Have your social media feeds been filled with news and commentary on The Mind of Jake Paul? Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "What Mental Health Experts Want You to Know Before Watching the Buzzy New YouTube Series ‘The Mind of Jake Paul’," 12 Oct. 2018 Taken together, the evidence suggests breast-feeding has a small but durable impact on children’s intelligence, according to a 2017 commentary in the journal Pediatrics. Sue Shellenbarger, WSJ, "The Downside of Carrying the Most Weight at Work," 29 Jan. 2019 Being a bride meant being subjected to unsolicited commentary on nearly every aspect of my life. Lisa Peterson, Glamour, "I Grew Out My Hair for Months Before My Wedding. I Regret It.," 27 Sep. 2018 Basquiat’s works can also elicit the opposite response, very much in evidence in commentary on a recent retrospective mounted at the Barbican, in London, and then at the Schirn Kunsthalle, in Frankfurt. Stephen Metcalf, The Atlantic, "Jean-Michel Basquiat Is Still an Enigma," 24 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'commentary.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of commentary

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for commentary

see comment entry 1

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Statistics for commentary

Last Updated

10 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for commentary

The first known use of commentary was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for commentary



English Language Learners Definition of commentary

: spoken or written discussion in which people express opinions about someone or something
: a spoken description of an event (such as a sports contest) as it is happening
: something that shows or makes a statement about the true state or condition of something

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