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 pluralBlackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England
b : a record of events usually written by a participant usually used in pluralCaesar'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 Roz Chast and other star cartoonists at The New Yorker probably won’t lose sleep over the competition, but his drawings are irreverent commentaries on biotech. Jonathan Saltzman,, "Executive draws on his career experience (literally, for cartoons)," 28 Aug. 2019 This policy applies even if the content is purely commentary or contains no graphic imagery. Sara Harrison, WIRED, "No One's Happy With YouTube's Content Moderation Policies," 28 Aug. 2019 This is a not-so-subtle commentary on reality TV and its penchant for escalating drama and extreme intrusiveness, but also cancel culture and social media mob justice, which takes everything out of context and judges based on sparse information. Hanna Kozlowska, Quartzy, "A new thriller novel offers up twisted scenarios of the tech revolution gone wrong," 28 Aug. 2019 There is high-level commentary on finance and politics, but the narrative unfolds on a very human scale. Jacob Bacharach, The New Republic, "Who Gets to Speak Freely?," 21 Aug. 2019 Though the title may have suggested a portrait of a geographical landmark, Davis’ epic was much more than that: a gripping commentary on how a rising city changed the direction of a mighty river and, in so doing, evolved into a vast metropolis. Howard Reich,, "Orbert Davis’ epic ‘The Chicago River’ returns on DVD and CD," 15 July 2019 That this issue has even arisen is a sad commentary on the state of politics in our country and our state. Edward Lotterman, Twin Cities, "Real World Economics: New gas taxes are needed; here’s why," 14 July 2019 This was meant to be a commentary on people of color in the workforce. Dominique Hobdy, Essence, "Shop Black: This Brand Is Healing Old Wounds With Forward-Thinking Style," 11 July 2019 The Art of Imperfection’ is my commentary on the detriment of our hyper-perfectionist society and, in turn, how some of the most beautiful moments come from vulnerability, flaw, and leaving things to chance. Sara Radin, Teen Vogue, "Recent SCAD Grads and Fashion Designers Brandon Skipper, Linden Grace Colby, Haley Emerson, and Darren Apolonio Discuss The Current State of Fashion," 3 July 2019

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

25 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for commentary

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

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More Definitions for commentary


How to pronounce commentary (audio)

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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