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 Only this week, a group called the Jewish Labour Movement submitted a dossier to the Equality and Human Rights Commission, which is investigating allegations of antisemitism in the Labour Party. Luke Mcgee, CNN, "Boris Johnson is hiding from scrutiny. It might win him the election," 7 Dec. 2019 Wonderkids are two a penny in the modern game but nearly every starlet comes ready-made with a dossier full of information from Twitter punditry to YouTube highlight reels., "Exclusive: Ansu Fati's First Coach Discusses Barcelona Wonderkid's Humble Sock-Ball Beginnings," 23 Sep. 2019 Steele himself won't even stand by his own dossier under oath. Fox News, "Rudy Giuliani reacts to Paul Manafort's plea deal," 14 Sep. 2018 Over the past year, congressional investigators found out that Mr. Ohr’s wife, Nellie, worked for Fusion GPS, the opposition-research firm that gave its infamous dossier, funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign, to the FBI. Kimberley A. Strassel, WSJ, "What Bruce Ohr Told Congress," 30 Aug. 2018 No way tea like this gets dropped in a book and the special counsel doesn’t already have a good bit of that info in his dossier. Monique Judge, The Root, "ICYMI: Oprah Wants Us All to Remember Recy Taylor," 9 Jan. 2018 Comey’s right, by the way, that the FBI didn’t dismiss the accuracy of the Steele dossier, although this isn’t a point in the agency’s favor. Rich Lowry, National Review, "The Slippery James Comey Gets Nailed," 16 Dec. 2019 Black and brown mothers shouldn’t need a dossier of their child’s accomplishments to win America’s compassion after tragedy. Nelba Márquez-greene,, "Read Nelba Márquez-Greene's Powerful Words 7 Years After Her Daughter Was Killed at Sandy Hook," 12 Dec. 2019 Horowitz probed the use of the Steele dossier as justification. Catherine Herridge, Clare Hymes, CBS News, "Justice Department watchdog releases report on origins of Russia investigation," 9 Dec. 2019

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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The first known use of dossier was in 1835

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Last Updated

12 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Dossier.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 18 January 2020.

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More Definitions for dossier


How to pronounce dossier (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of dossier

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on dossier

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with dossier

Spanish Central: Translation of dossier

Nglish: Translation of dossier for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dossier for Arabic Speakers

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