com·men·tary | \ ˈkä-mən-ˌter-ē , -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

b : comment sense 2

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.

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Tony Romo spent his first season in the commentary booth predicting what would happen next with astounding accuracy. Steven Ruiz, For The Win, "Tony Romo predicts the Packers and Jaguars will meet in Super Bowl LIII," 12 July 2018 The show encourages viewers to tweet along with the episodes, which results in plenty of amusing commentary — but also a lot of hurtful messages. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "Bekah Martinez on "The Bachelor," Social Media Bullying, and Hair Secrets," 27 June 2018 The Washington establishment piled on the small restaurant and its seven-person staff, with an array of misguided commentary. Mari Uyehara, GQ, "Blacklist Every Last One of Them," 26 June 2018 Issues that need to be addressed include interviewing all employees involved, determining what, if anything was said, and if anything was said, what was the severity of the commentary. Michael Elkins, miamiherald, "In this ‘Me Too’ age, enforcing zero tolerance for offensive behavior may come at a cost," 25 June 2018 American Vandal may look like a joke-y investigation of some juvenile high school prank at first glance, but over the course of its eight-episode first season, the show revealed layer upon layer of sharp social commentary. Nathan Mattise, Ars Technica, "How American Vandal expertly crafted a doc (that just happened to be fiction)," 23 June 2018 The Pulitzer-winning columnist, Harvard Medical School graduate and intellectual provocateur left a legacy of acerbic and prolific commentary that helped shape decades of public opinion in Washington and the rest of the world. James Hohmann, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: Under Trump, Americans are becoming more supportive of immigration," 22 June 2018 Horror has long used its tropes as modes of commentary and symbolism to tell deeper stories than their chilling surface spectacles. Laura Bradley, HWD, "The Terror Season 2 Could Be One of 2019’s Most Important Shows," 22 June 2018 Viets has also been the target of vicious online commentary. Maya Dukmasova, Chicago Reader, "News / Education / Crime Distinguished CPS principal resigns after threats, controversy over anti-police speaker," 19 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.

See More

First Known Use of commentary

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

History and Etymology for commentary

see comment entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about commentary

Share commentary

Statistics for commentary

Last Updated

13 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for commentary

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on commentary

What made you want to look up commentary? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


by word of mouth

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Food Quiz

Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!