dos·​sier | \ ˈdȯs-ˌyā How to pronounce dossier (audio) , ˈdäs-; ˈdȯ-sē-ˌā, ˈdä- \

Definition of dossier

: a file containing detailed records on a particular person or subject the patient's medical dossier Police began compiling a dossier on him.

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Gather together various documents relating to the affairs of a certain individual, sort them into separate folders, label the spine of each folder, and arrange the folders in a box. "Dossier," the French word for such a compendium of spine-labeled folders, was picked up by English speakers in the late 19th century. It comes from "dos," the French word for "back," which is in turn derived from "dorsum," Latin for back. Our word dorsal ("situated on the back"), as in the dorsal fin of a whale, comes from the same Latin source.

Examples of dossier in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The lawyer who killed the son of U.S. District Judge Esther Salas last July had a dossier on Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Salas said in an interview. Jake Dima, Washington Examiner, "Federal judge says lawyer who killed son had dossier on Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor," 19 Feb. 2021 Second place: The Finkenauer-Pappas-Wild-Golden-Case Act offers immunity to Eric and Don Jr. for corroborating the Steele dossier. Washington Post, "Style Conversational Week 1419: A smile for the Capitol?," 14 Jan. 2021 The dossier were developed to support his decision to replace them, the complaint said. Washington Post, "Controversial head of Voice of America resigns hours after President Biden takes office," 20 Jan. 2021 Declassified footnotes from Horowitz’s report indicate that the bureau became aware that Steele’s dossier may have been compromised by Russian disinformation. Jerry Dunleavy, Washington Examiner, "‘Completely untrustworthy’: FBI agent trashed Christopher Steele for leaking to the media," 18 Jan. 2021 Democrats were prime movers of the FBI’s Trump-Russia probe, handing the bureau a fictitious dossier that became the basis for secret surveillance warrants, years of media speculation, and special counsel Robert Mueller. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Special Counsel John Durham," 2 Dec. 2020 The dossier has to prove that the element is rooted in a communal or shared experience and is continuously, actively transmitted. Washington Post, "29 cultural traditions join UNESCO’s living heritage list," 31 Dec. 2020 Kahl began his defenses of Steele's dossier and public flirtation with claims of President Trump colluding with Russia in early 2017. Jerry Dunleavy, Washington Examiner, "'Russia on the brain': Biden pick for top Pentagon post was a vocal Steele dossier promoter," 30 Dec. 2020 The dossier was a detailed chronicle of Pavlou’s social media behavior. Los Angeles Times, "An Australian student denounced his university’s ties to China. Then he became a target," 21 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dossier.' 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 dossier

1835, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for dossier

French, bundle of documents labeled on the back, dossier, from dos back, from Latin dorsum — see dorsal entry 2

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Time Traveler for dossier

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The first known use of dossier was in 1835

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Last Updated

25 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Dossier.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for dossier



English Language Learners Definition of dossier

: a group of papers that contain detailed information about someone or something

More from Merriam-Webster on dossier

Nglish: Translation of dossier for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dossier for Arabic Speakers

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